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Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom Hearts

Why I Love/Hate Being a Geek and Some Favorite Geeky Things

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It’s geek week on YouTube and I’ve recently started reading the geeky section of BuzzFeed. Both of these things come on the heels of an article I read that “vindicates” anyone who was a geek in high school. As such, I’d figured this was a good time to show my geek pride and share some my favorite geeky things.

I like to think that I’ve been a geek since I was seven years old when I realized I loved books and Sailor Moon. Since that time, I’ve had great times and bad times. The great times came with discovering new anime and manga from Japan and reading the Harry Potter series. The bad times were in high school when I felt like the only black geek in existence and was bullied by my black peers.

My personal definition of a geek is someone who is obsessed with something most people aren’t, things like cartoons, sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal television, and comics. They may or may not be a brainiac.  I also think that some geeks (like myself) have eclectic tastes, that a geek can be geeky about many things.

I like being a geek because it allows me to discover new and creative things. Most of the time, being a geek makes for great discussion and fun. However, there are times that I wish people would take being a geek more seriously.

When I was in high school, I found solace for my geek outcast angst in books and alternative rock. However, there were times that I wished there were more realistic representations of a non-white geek in entertainment media. Seeing very few geeks of color in tv shows, movies, and books made me feel like  people like me had no place in society. Sometimes, I felt like it wasn’t worth being myself because the non-white geeks I did see were only made fun of and were not accepted as they were.

Growing up in the early 90’s, the only black geek I ever saw on television was Steve Urkel from the sitcom Family Matters. Since he was pretty much a stereotype and had the guy version of the “geek-turns-into-a-beauty-queen” moment, I loathed him. As I became a teenager in the 2000’s, things didn’t improve much.

During my sophomore or junior year of high school, I saw Akeelah and the Bee. Although I found it predictable, I thought it was a decent representation of a young black nerd and the impact they could have on their community.  Unfortunately, that was the only film I saw that was like that. Today, I still consider this film the only film to feature a black nerd in a decent manner.

In addition to the lack of diverse and realistic geek representation, the article I previously mentioned is complete trash because of the research but its findings. For me, being a geek is not about making a lot money. It is about sharing your interests, knowledge, and passion with others and knowing that other people are interested too. If you do make a lot of money and get sweet revenge on haters, then that’s just icing on the cake.

Now, I present some of my favorite geeky things:

1.  World is Mine AMVA fanmade anime music video featuring various anime and the song “World is Mine” by  Hatsune Miku.

2.  Japanese Sailor Moon Theme (Violin Cover)– A violin fan cover of the Japanese Sailor Moon theme by YouTube user JTehAnonymous.

3. Simple & Clean/Sanctuary Duet– A beautiful fan duet of the songs “Simple & Clean” and “Sanctuary” from the Kingdom Hearts video game series. Sung by YouTube users AmaLee and Adrisaurus.

4. What It’s Like To Be A Teen As Told By Harry Potter– Possibly the best Harry Potter related web post I ever read

Written by Serena Zola

August 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM

How to Gradually Appreciate Classical Music

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This summer, I decided to take a Music Appreciation course because of the convenience (it was online) and to fulfill an area requirement for my major. Since I already had an eclectic taste in music, I didn’t expect to appreciate anything new. Yet, to my surprise, I came out with a small taste in classical music.

You’d think that since I listen to scores from various tv shows, movies, video games, and cartoons, I would have developed a taste in classical music sooner. However, I was only able to enjoy the scores because the music in those media were connected to a moment that I emotionally responded to. With classical music, the music wasn’t composed for anything in particular. Until I took the Music Appreciation course, I avoided classical music because I figured it would be boring for me.

Once I realized that I could enjoy some classical music, I noticed there were a few things that led to it.

1.  Listening to scores and learning about their connection to classical music

I would have never gave classical music a chance if I hadn’t known about scores and their connection to classical music. You see, when movie scores were first created for moments in movies, those composers were classified as Romantic composers.  Originally, Romantic composers were people like Chopin and Brahms who composed music that focused on freedom of expression. Their influence eventually led to new styles of music and new methods of composing music.

When I first started listening to scores, I wasn’t trying hard to notice them. As I already said, I just noticed the music that played during certain moments. During the opening titles of the Toby McGuire Spider-Man movie, there is powerful opening music. I appreciate how it represents Spider Man as a superhero and a human who is learning important things.

Spider Man Main Titles  Music-

2.  Realizing what musical instruments I enjoy most

For me, those instruments were piano and violin.  I realized this after noticing why I enjoyed certain songs from scores. There were times that I would think, “That piano or violin sounds very beautiful on this track.” While I also enjoy other instruments and sometimes vocals on scores, piano and violin pieces will always be my favorite. As a result, some of the classical music I like are either piano or violin pieces.

I first learned about the beauty of the violin while watching season 3 of Sailor Moon. There were these characters known as the Outer Sailor Scouts and they had this theme that would play whenever they would transform into their Sailor Scout form. When it comes to piano music and orchestral music, I got into it with two video games known as Tales of Legendia and Kingdom Hearts II. Of the two, the music of Kingdom Hearts video game series is my favorite. One of the most memorable pieces of music from the series is a track called “Dearly Beloved.”

The Outer Senshis (Transformation Scene and Music)-

Dearly Beloved (Kingdom Hearts II Version)-

3.  Watch films about classical composers

The only film I’ve seen like this is Amadeus. I watched it for a class called Introduction to Film and ended up enjoyed a couple of pieces of Mozart. As with any other film, I enjoyed some of the music because I noticed it during certain moments. The only difference is that a film about a composer of classical music gives you plenty of opportunities to appreciate the music.

4.  Use YouTube and click on random videos

Basically, this is what I did to get twelve songs to go on my iPod.  I typed in the name of a piece on YouTube that I knew I already liked. After I listened to it to make sure it was the right one, I just looked on the right side of the screen and clicked on another video. Sometimes, I would do the same composer I looked up, sometimes I wouldn’t.

It is not too hard to learn to appreciate classical music, but it may take some time. It took me a while to find a CD’s worth of music that suited my taste! However, it is well worth doing. Classical music is all around us and you may be surprised where it could lead you once you notice it.

Written by Serena Zola

August 3, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Video Game Music

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What comes to your mind when you think of video game music? The theme from Mario Bros? How about a rock or rap song from a racing or shooting game?

The truth is video game music is different things to different people. It depends on what type of video game you play and where the music is coming from. There are some really beautiful things that can from video game music, especially from RPGs (role-playing games).

For instance, most people probably know the The Legend of Zelda theme:

However, video game music can tell you more than just what game it is. It can also convey a particular place, event, or character within the game.

An interesting thing about location themes is that it can play at a specific location as well as a location you don’t expect. A good example of a song that this is this song from the video game Tales of Legendia: In case you are curious, this song plays at the main menu of the game as well as the game’s town graveyard.

As for a song that creates ambience during an event, a song from the Legend of Zelda Wind Waker game is an excellent example:  As you will see, this song is background music to the backstory of Link aka The Legendary Hero.

With a character, a song can be called a theme. The purpose of the theme is basically to convey the nature of the character and at times to convey a sense of familiarity (this applies to a reoccurring character in an RPG). One of the best character themes can be found in Kingdom Hearts 358 Days/2: This song is called Music for the Sadness of Xion (pronounced Shee-on).

An amazing benefit from video game music is that you can sometimes hear it live via a concert or cd (turn the volume up some):

Lastly, there is only one downside to video game music. While you can listen to it without actually playing the game, you might not be as connected to the song as you would be if you did play. As long as you like the music though, it shouldn’t matter.

What video game music do you like?

Written by Serena Zola

May 22, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary

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This year marks the ten year anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. First created by Tetsuya Nomura in 2002, the series has released the latest chapter of the saga in Japan: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The game will be out soon in North America and everywhere else later on. In the meantime, fans are replaying the old games and reminiscing.

When Kingdom Hearts first came out with the original game, I thought it was just a kiddie Disney thing. However, one day in 2006 I was surprised to receive Kingdom Hearts II as a gift. Before I opened the game, I was happy and excited for some reason. Maybe some part of me knew how much I would enjoy the game.

As I progressed through it, I realized that the Disney, Final Fantasy, and original characters created by the creator were a part of a big story involving heart, friendship, love, light, and darkness. I was hooked on the storyline because I connected to some of the characters. Also, I had fun kicking bad guy butt with cool abilities.

After a while, I beat the game. However, I wanted more and so ended up borrowing a CD of the video game’s soundtrack. Eventually, this would lead me to reading Kingdom Hearts fan fiction, purchasing some of the Japanese manga adaptations, and trying out the original game. Although I haven’t been able to play every game, I will always be a fan of the series.

And now, for those who are fans or just curious, I present the special opening for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Not only is it a proper homage and celebration of the series’ anniversary, it is awesome for being shown on a building wall in Japan!

This is best viewed in full-screen:

Written by Serena Zola

April 7, 2012 at 8:39 PM

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