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Movie Week: ‘The “Charming” Christopher Robin’ and The Very True ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

15 Aug

Christopher Robin

I took too long to see Christopher Robin. Listening to critics and family members who no longer appreciate movies that aren’t action-packed, I waited off on seeing this movie, feeling it wasn’t pressing. After seeing it today, I fully regret not contributing to its box office weekend count.

The story follows Christopher Robin from the Winnie the Pooh series as he transitions from child to adult. As he traverses through his adulthood, he slowly loses his boy-like wonder and playfulness, overwhelmed by the daily struggles of trying to make sure he keeps a stable family life. Eventually though, he manages to run back into Winnie the Pooh, the lovable bear he grew up with, as Pooh looks to Christopher to help him find his lost friends. This encounter allows him to get in touch with his childhood once again.

Question for all you adult viewers: Did you ever find an old toy or drawing you had as child? Did it make you feel excited? Did it make you laugh and smile? If you have, then you can relate to this story focused on renewing your childhood.

Though the story is kind of predictable, it’s predictable in a good sort of way. It isn’t more than I would expect it to be, and that’s what makes it so charming. Some people were taken aback by how gloomy and ruddy most of the scenes were because their original memories of the animated Winnie the Pooh were so colorful. But actually, I felt that this appearance felt more true to the original book series and felt more authentic. Some people also felt that seeing the characters from Winnie the Pooh enter London made them smaller than life rather than big important characters as some perceived they were in the animated series and movies and such.

But I guess I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts enough to get used to the characters feeling rather small…

In any case, I never should’ve listened to the naysayers. At the same time, it was the naysayers that lowered my expectations so that I could come into the movie with a fresh mind.

A little backstory on the movie: It was said that Christopher Robin the movie was based off of the author’s son Christopher Robin Milne. In fact, Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh series itself was based off of the real son of the author. But the author’s son had an estranged relationship with his father, similarly to the Christopher Robin in the movie. He hated that his father used him for the books. I don’t think he liked the fame and attention. The real Christopher Robin’s life was also very similar, if not almost exact, to the story developed for the movie. With, of course, a happier ending.

According to Wikipedia:

Christopher Robin Milne was born at 11 Mallord Street, Chelsea, London, at 8 am on 21 August 1920, to author Alan Alexander Milneand Dorothy (née de Sélincourt) Milne. Milne speculates that he was an only child because “he had been a long time coming.” From an early age Milne was cared for by his nanny, Olive Brockwell, for over 8 years until May 1930, when he entered boarding school. Milne called her “Nou”, and stated “Apart from her fortnight‘s holiday every September we had not been out of each other’s sight for more than a few hours at a time”, and “we lived together in a large nursery on the top floor.”[1]:19,21,55,97,104

Milne’s father explained that Rosemary was the intended name for their first born, if a girl. Realizing it was to be a boy, A.A. decided upon Billy, without the intention of christening him William. Instead, each parent chose a name, hence Christopher Robin, his formal name until 1928. Yet, from 1925 onwards, he was referred to within the family as Moon, which was Christopher Milne’s pronunciation of Milne. From 1929 onwards, he was referred to simply as Christopher, and as he states, it was “The only name I feel to be really mine.”

The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They have been on display in the New York Public Library in New York City since 1987. According to the New York Public Library’s web site, the items have been on display in the Children’s Center at 42d Street, in the “main branch” of the library (the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street) since early 2009.

At his first birthday, Milne received an Alpha Farnell teddy bear, which he later named Edward. This bear, along with a real Canadian bear named “Winnipeg” that Milne saw at London Zoo,[3][4] eventually became the inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh character.

Milne spoke self-deprecatingly of his own intellect, “I may have been on the dim side”, or “not very bright.” He also described himself as being “good with his hands”, and possessing a Meccano set. His self descriptions included “girlish”, since he had long hair and wore “girlish clothes”, and being “very shy and “un-self-possessed.”

An early childhood friend was Anne Darlington, also an only child, who as Milne described it, was for his parents “the Rosemary that I wasn’t.” In fact Milne’s mother hoped they would marry one day, hopes she abandoned when Milne turned 25.

In 1925, Milne’s father bought Cotchford Farm, near Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Though still living in London, the family would spend weekends, Easter and summer holidays there. As Milne described it, “So there we were in 1925 with a cottage, a little bit of garden, a lot of jungle, two fields, a river and then all the green, hilly countryside beyond, meadows and woods, waiting to be explored.” The place became the inspiration for fiction, with Milne stating “Gill’s Lap that inspired Galleon’s Lap, the group of pine trees on the other side of the main road that became the Six Pine Trees, the bridge over the river at Posingford that became Pooh-sticks Bridge,” and a nearby “ancient walnut tree” became Pooh’s House. His toys, Pooh, EeyorePiglet, plus two invented characters, Owl and Rabbit, came to life through Milne and his mother, to the point where his father could write stories about them. Kanga and Tigger were later presents from his parents.

Of this time, Milne states, “I loved my Nanny, I loved Cotchford. I also quite liked being Christopher Robin and being famous.”

When his nanny departed when he was aged nine, Milne’s relationship with his father grew. As he put it, “For nearly ten years I had clung to Nanny. For nearly ten more years I was to cling to him, adoring him as I had adored Nanny, so that he too became almost a part of me…”

When Milne eventually wrote his memoirs, he dedicated them to Olive Brockwell, “Alice to millions, but Nou to me”.

Of his time at boarding school, Milne says, “For it was now that began that love-hate relationship with my fictional namesake that has continued to this day.”

In 1941, during World War II, Milne left his studies to join the army, but initially failed the medical examination. His father used his influence to help get Milne a position as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. After the war, he returned to Cambridge and completed a degree in English literature.[5]:13–21,104,116–118

On 11 April 1948, Milne became engaged to Lesley de Sélincourt, a cousin on his mother’s side, and they married on 24 July 1948. In 1951, he and his wife moved to Dartmouth and started the Harbour Bookshop on 25 August. This turned out to be a success, although his mother had thought the decision odd, as Milne did not seem to like “business”, and as a bookseller he would regularly have to meet Pooh fans.[1]:167–168[5]:107,129–133,147

Milne occasionally visited his father when the elder Milne became ill. After his father died, Milne never returned to Cotchford Farm. His mother eventually sold the farm and moved back to London, after disposing of his father’s personal possessions. Milne, who, didn’t want any part of his father’s royalties, decided to write a book about his childhood. As Milne describes it, that book, The Enchanted Places, “…combined to lift me from under the shadow of my father and of Christopher Robin, and to my surprise and pleasure I found myself standing beside them in the sunshine able to look them both in the eye.”[5]

Following her husband’s death, Dorothy Milne had little further contact with her son, did not see him during the last 15 years of her life, and refused to see him on her deathbed.[6][7]

A few months after his father’s death in 1956, Milne’s daughter Clare was born and diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.

Milne gave the original stuffed animals that inspired the Pooh characters to the books’ editor, who in turn donated them to the New York Public Library; Marjorie Taylor (in her book Imaginary Companions and the Children Who Create Them) recounts how many were disappointed at this, and Milne had to explain that he preferred to concentrate on the things that currently interested him.[8] He disliked the idea of Winnie-the-Pooh being commercialised.

Despite the fact that many people felt the movie was a much dimmer or bleaker view of the Pooh series, the original story was far more grim and didn’t have quite the same feel-good ending. I think they kept as close to the original Christopher as they could and changed some things to make it relate well to the audience. It ended the way most of us would’ve wanted the real Christopher’s life to end.

Initially, I was going to write this story off as a Hook-alike, but it’s so much deeper than a re-telling of a classic. It’s really an awakening. This story had substance, stuck to its source, and inspired me to peer closer into the Pooh series and appreciate it. It made me do more research about the characters and story. Really, it made me deeply fall in love with the old classic. It was simply charming and heartwarming.

Besides, I can’t resist British films or films located in foreign countries, teddy bears, Disney movies, and sprinklets of history. I might be the only one who appreciates family tales like this anymore. I give this a 10/10. This movie might not be for everyone. It’s family-friendly, but it has a slower-paced story than the action-thriller movies most people are accustomed to seeing nowadays.

If you like this movie, I also recommend Paddington Bear.

 

Crazy Rich Asians

Finally, a movie with an all-Asian cast that doesn’t follow a Kung Fu, Taekwondo, or Karate story-line. Finally, a hot Asian man plays the lead character (though he’s been said to be mixed…).

There are so many reasons I’m grateful for this movie. We hardly get any Hollywood movies portraying Asian-Americans in any other roles but lame dorks or fighting masters.

On the story side, if you’re accustomed to watching Asian dramas, this movie might be a little predictable. Really, if you’re used to movies about fancy rich guys marrying down their class, you’ll find this movie to move along exactly the way you expect it too.

On the other hand, as much as the concept is common, they pull it off in such a stylish way and sprinkle it with different surprises, it feels a little different. Maybe it’s the Asian cultural pieces that make this movie stand out. It certainly makes itself distinct from just being any old movie about “rich people”. They are rich “ASIANS”.

This isn’t to say I don’t have my criticisms. There were many things left out of the movie that I felt would’ve added to the story (but then maybe it would’ve made the movie feel too cluttered…). Perhaps those things will come in a sequel (if this movie does well enough to get the “green light” for a sequel).

I also felt that one of the final scenes with the lead female and the lead male’s mother was actually unnecessary by the time it occurred and should’ve occurred much sooner. But I understand it was needed to show us (the viewers) the character’s resolve. It was a scene that was basically showing the character’s new-found strengths and courage.

Still, it seems like the writer was trying to depict the character in the scene as the one taking the “high moral ground”, but because of the timing, the scene just felt like a manipulative attempt to make the lead male character’s mother change her mind…

It would’ve been different if she’d have told the audience in some way that she had a clever idea to change his mother’s mind. Instead, it felt more like she was trying to preach to his mother about how bad she’d been acting, but chose a time when it didn’t really matter…until the end. Her actions felt a little more manipulative than “brave”. I felt the scene would’ve made more of an impact much sooner. By the time the scene occurred, it gave a “Are you happy now?” sort of feeling. Kind of like she was playing a psychological game with the lead character’s mother but told none of us about it in her behavior or attitude.

Other than that, this movie was fun, stylish, and romantic. I haven’t seen a romantic movie in theaters in such a long time, so it was sort of nice to watch a different sort of genre.

The biggest draw to me about this movie is that it aims to tell the truth about Asian families, especially Asians from respected families. I use the term “respected” because these incidences don’t just happen commonly among the wealthy Asians. I’ve heard many, many scary stories about men and women meeting their partner’s Asian parents and not feeling like they measure up.

Unfortunately, it appears the things that happened in this movie aren’t just dramatic tellings of the Asian parent-meeting experience. The issues found in this movie happen to REAL couples who are trying to bridge gaps between themselves and one or more Asian parents. This is especially common with Asian parents who aren’t from a western country.

The average person who watches this movie may think this is just an Asian cliche story (or rather a cliche period), but it really goes down like this in some families. Knowing that, all the drama in the movie made even more of an impact on my viewing experience. I’m not even Asian American. But if I were, how would I deal?

Overall, I think this was a good entertaining watch. I recommend it. I give it a 9/10.

Weekend Movie High: Black Panther Movie Review

18 Feb

I waited to give this review until after the weekend, so everyone can watch it without having to be inundated with spoilers.

*The following article may contain a few spoilers.

Black Panther brought together many elements to the cinema experience this weekend, elements both familiar to the current cinema experience and new experiences. The movie combines Marvel’s larger-than-life heroism and story-telling, the movie magic and money-making design of Marvel Studios and Disney, the perfect team: Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige, and Kendrick Lamar, and messages that fit with today’s social climate and rings closely with Black History Month—all combined to make a perfectly successful movie.

Breaking down everything I witnessed in this film, I have mostly positive things to say. I do have some minor critiques (which I’m certain I’ll get eaten alive for), but it’s not something that takes away from the film overall.

Usually, I’m not the type to be all over a movie just because of the hype. I support black representation in cinema, but I care more that the movies being produced actually PROPERLY represent black people.

I can tell you right now that this African American woman loved every moment of this film, for what it was worth.

Let’s break down what made this movie so fantastic.

Sense of Heroism

Even when the movie began, I could feel that this movie was leading us into the Marvel universe, a universe that focuses on drama, tragedy, strength, and ultimately victories. It was a superhero flick at heart. Yes, the very distinct fact being the superhero was black. But truly, it was a super hero movie. And because of that, I got there were many things one could expect in this movie. Don’t get me wrong, there were many plot twists to keep me interested. Yet, we knew who was going to win in the end and we knew how: through an epic showdown. Of course, this movie did break some Marvel traditions that usually come with the epic showdowns, but all in all, it did it in standard Marvel flavor.

Overall, it’s the traditional storytelling that works…and always will. Why? Because we all hope things work out in the end. No one wants to leave a movie sad and depressed, feeling as if there was no closure or feeling the movie was all for nothing. Some justice has to be served. So movies with this formula will always be successful. This formula is what keeps super hero movies breaking the Box Office. Despite any heavy themes or messages, the fact that the hero is always there to protect others and save the day inspires hope in people and brings them a sense of courage, making this a positive movie for the family overall. This is why having a black super hero is important for black youth. Having someone in cinema inspire the type of hope and courage no other figure can makes all the difference in shaping the mind. This is the power the cinema can have. But it’s important than the inspiration comes from a character that is generally deemed good overall, moral in character and just.

Marvel Heroism and the Black Panther

That sense of heroism is a staple of Marvel. Marvel brought about a black character who would fight honorably, without resorting to killing his brothers, something rare in films with black men as leads. The main character cares about people, is reasonable enough to admit his failures and where he went wrong, and is loyal enough to his culture, land, and tradition to defend it against all odds. This character is both tough and sensitive, making him an ideal figure for audiences. After all, heroes are expected to be ideal. They must live up to all expectations.

That weight was carried well by Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa). He was able to beautifully deliver the hero of heroes (as is common with Marvel). He conveyed inner strength more than brute strength, a sense of purpose, a clever mind, and the ability to reason and forgive. Marvel’s characters often have that effect. The characters always inspire their audience with heroic qualities combined with a sense of earthiness.

The best thing about the Disney/Marvel dynamic movie-making teamwork is that they can focus more on characters, not the stars who play them. With that in mind, we are not watching a film because “this famous actor is in it”. We are watching the film because this film has a great character and story, and these “stars” were the best fit to bring the story to life. That is the ingredient that creates great films.

A lot of news articles are saying that this movie broke Box Office expectations. I can’t see how the success of this was surprising or how anyone expected this movie to be unsuccessful. There really hasn’t been a movie about black super heroes from a major brand to even know how they would do at the Box Office. I suppose it’s the fact that Hollywood assumed black culture and people don’t sell well to people overseas, who have been European-washed and have come to see black people as “inferiors”. I suppose they assume that’s why the other movies didn’t sell very well. From my experience, it’s mostly been because the movies starring black people weren’t neutral in their content or were just bad overall. Other than that, I can’t see how anyone would think this would flop when Disney is in charge, the Marvel brand is lending a great character, and social media has the tools to promote any message and agenda it wants to.

Disney did mention they didn’t think a movie with a character that isn’t so familiar in the Avengers universe would sell in a stand alone movie, which is a reasonable doubt. However, I think having a stand-alone movie first is what made it better. After all, Spider Man, Iron Man, and Hulk all got that treatment, which was why we all were able to attach ourselves to the characters and their stories long before Avengers played on the screen.

A hero flick has the makings for success, especially when the production team and modern equipment are in place. How can the success of this movie be shocking? If Hollywood wasn’t full of old farts, they wouldn’t have been shocked. They would’ve been more in tune with today’s social climate and trends. They would’ve realized what was in demand. A black hero from the 21st Century has been in demand for a long time. Marvel is still in demand.

Girl Power

While we’re on the subject of Marvel and its sense of heroism, we can’t miss talking about the leading fierce ladies in this movie. Cinema really doesn’t have many black female heroes. And that became apparent when I saw how gracefully the women shined in this movie. Particularly, three ladies stood out the most.

Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) was definitely a stand-out character. A warrior and leader of her own group of female warriors, she was strong, fierce, and no-nonsense. She showed many different layers, though. She wasn’t just your one-dimensional “strong” female character. She could be humorous when she wanted to be, she could be sensitive, and then she could be loyal and graceful at the same time. Her strong loyalty to Wakanda and tradition was evident in her character. Still, she broke our very normal traditions, especially when it comes to her appearance. She was unashamed of the way she chose to wear her hair (really all of the women had the hair of their choice). Thankfully, she chose to wear her hair in a style honored by many African tribes.

Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o) served as the “reasonable one”, connecting Wakanda to the rest of the world. This character was a spy for Wakanda. She was also strong, but she had a sense of inner strength. She was loyal to her country, but she saw more of the world than other people in her kingdom and wasn’t afraid to present ideas that deviated from tradition. She had a lot of street sense. Her sense of compassion, her cleverness, and her diplomacy really helped save the day.

And then there’s Shuri (played by Letitia Wright). She is, by far, my favorite among the leading ladies. Shuri loved technology. Her lab was her playground. Yes, I’m happy that there were women in this movie doing many different things, from being warriors, lovely spies, to operating technology with powerful resources.  This character was cool, easy-going, funny, and intelligent. She brought in the humor and made the experience less intense. The actress herself is an example of how representation is important. She said that after seeing Akeelah and the Bee, she knew she wanted to be an actress. And look at her now! You never know how one person can inspire another person.

My only critique of this is one scene where all of the ladies, while climbing a mountain to escape, were trying to figure out who would take the herb to become the Black Panther (when they thought T’Challa was dead). I couldn’t understand for the life of me why none of those women stood up to take the responsibility, as strong and as powerful as they were. Nakia’s excuse was that she didn’t have an army…neither did T’Challa anymore! And yet, he still suited up and took down the kingdom. He dug into his courage. I felt Nakia showed a weaker spirit in that moment.

I’m not surprised Shuri didn’t step up. Shuri was obviously younger and weaker physically (no offense) and wasn’t a warrior. Nakia WAS a warrior. It would’ve made sense for her to take the herb.

Aside from that one bit, I fully connected with these ladies and actually would like to see more of them front-and-center.

The Movie’s Team and Magic

<> at Chivas House on May 18, 2013 in Cannes, France.

Everyone in the background who worked to make this movie a success has to be honored.

Director and writer Ryan Coogler delivered in really bringing this story full circle. He helped in properly portraying black people with a story that relates to black people. And based on the Box Office success, possibly a lot of other people too! I think we all can relate to the themes in this movie. Many people understand the damage of colonization, many understand the fight between holding on to tradition and becoming modern, and many more people understand the challenge of trying to overcome the damage done by one’s ancestors-something that can’t be undone so easily. Ryan seems to have a good sense of his own history as well as the people he is delivering his messages to.

Kendrick Lamar was the curator over the music. I was skeptical at first because…to be honest, I wasn’t all over “All the Stars” when I first heard it. But after seeing the movie, the song grew on me and I saw the relation. It sounded really good with the movie. The rest of the soundtrack though! My goodness. Kendrick really made this a film that fit with black culture overall. I really liked Erik Killmonger’s theme. It suited his wannabe-tough image and style.

The music gave us the feeling of this movie from the beginning. We knew it was going to be honoring the great black cultural aspects the audience was about to experience onscreen.

And I will give a nod to Kevin Feige. At first, I wasn’t sure what he added to this movie. Basically, he just funded it, as far as I was concerned. I had to research what a producer does to really get a good idea of what he contributed (to all the Marvel movies really). Time magazine says that a producer is someone who “finds the literary property (a novel, play or original script), shapes the idea into a viable film, raises the money, hires the director, chooses the cast, oversees production and post production, masterminds the marketing, negotiates the worldwide rights — be a movie’s begetter and first, demanding viewer.” With that being said, I would like to thank Kevin for seeing the value in this story enough to actually push it through. While other Hollywood producers have been sleeping on supporting proper representation, and haven’t had the guts to dive into a story with a black person as the lead, this producer decided to take a chance. And while it even took him too long to realize how needed this character was, the fact is he helped in funding this project and brought it to life.

I also want to give him a thumbs up on the casting. Everyone mostly delivered. I’m glad he realized a majority-black cast was needed to make this film a success, and he chose the right people for the job. I’m sure he worked closely with Ryan to make sure everything went smoothly.

Finally, the cast. These people really delivered their roles! Without them, this movie wouldn’t have been anything. Angela Basset was even a glorious goddess in her role, in the few scenes she was shown in. Everyone brought such fire and passion, humor and love, weakness and vulnerability, it really made the movie a gem. I was a little skeptical about Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Erik Killmonger at first. I liked his character, because I do believe many young black Americans have picked up that behavior, but later he was able to come out and show more depth.

The settings were awesome. Beautiful scenery in Wakanda. And then a trip to the modern city of Busan, South Korea, which is right on trend right now as a great destination spot. It definitely helped make this appealing to the Eastern movie market (which I’m thankful, because we know how they feel about darker skinned people over there…). It turns out this movie did really well in South Korea.

Message

Finally, one of the biggest gems of this movie is the messages it sends. It sends these messages in so elegantly and naturally, that one may overlook how powerful they truly are.

This movie was great because it wasn’t just a superhero flick. It was a super hero flick that meant something and said something important to many of the viewers who watched it, whether intended or not.

Representation

This movie has shown us why representation is so important. In other movies, usually, there are a handful of black characters in them. With so few black characters, the movie isn’t able to show a diverse range of people, with various interests, feelings, ideas, and abilities and gifts. In this movie, we see men of different backgrounds, feeling differently about life, offering many different versions of the black male experience. We also see women from various backgrounds, having different abilities and offering their own special gifts to their motherland. Having these different people represent black people around the world can be the start of people having a different view of black people (if the people of the world give this movie a chance).

Even while watching, I found myself relating to so many characters, and it got me thinking how I haven’t seen so many black people with as much diversity in a long time.

Keeping that in mind, the success of the mind comes from the fact that it appeals to the core Marvel fanbase while it draws in an outside audience that just appreciates the cultural aspect associated with it.

Themes of Colonialism, Motherland

Obviously, this movie would have this theme. It’s well-known that Africa’s resources have fallen into others’ hands when Europeans arrived on the continent and took the resources for themselves. But overall, many African nations allowed this open trade, which proved to be their undoing. Wakanda, on the other hand, isolated themselves from the rest of the world, so they were able to maintain their wealth and technology. They never experienced colonialism or oppression. This serves as a central plot point between the main character and the villain. Because the villain’s story resonates so closely with the African American experience, it left most American audiences caught between the hero and villain. But more importantly, it made us ponder the greater effects of colonialism and how it has changed African Americans’ relationship with their own motherland.

Even though most African Americans are proud to acknowledge their African roots, most don’t know what those roots are. Even if they did, they would be disconnected from it. Erik Killmonger echoes that in the movie. His whole purpose was to get to Wakanda, the land of his father, but when he arrived in the kingdom, he almost seemed lost in a foreign country. The “challenge ceremony” that happened in the movie seemed to confuse Erik, and he hardly showed respect for the actual culture and tradition of a land he wanted to rule. This was a very sad, but real fact. And this mirrors the damage colonialism and the African Slave Trade brought upon African Americans.

The Complexities Between African Americans and Africans

Bouncing off from what I said, the movie brought to the fore a very complex issue among African Americans and Africans. Because African Americans have African roots and are black people living in a colonial society, they long to attach themselves to a rich culture and they are constantly searching to connect more with Africa. And yet, they are American, raised in a Europeanized society with Europeanized values. This almost puts them at odds with their roots and other people of Africa.

This creates a sort of divide between real African cultures and African American cultures. African Americans have adopted other cultures from England, France, Spain, and the various Central and South American countries. This makes their experience with life more complex.

The title character in Black Panther has a rich culture and history. He can be proud of himself and his resources. He can feel “diplomatic”. He has something to protect and fight for. Erik Killmonger has nothing to fight for or protect. He knows little about where he comes from, but he knows how his people are living now in the USA. This drives him to find Wakanda. This gives him purpose.

I am wrestling with Eric being written as a “villain”. Truly, is he a villain? It’s hard to say. I would say the way he went about getting what he wanted was bad for others, as was written, but his intentions (to share some of the resources with fellow black people around the world who lacked in resources and manpower, to avenge his father who was murdered) wasn’t really so bad. Of course, he was just a victim of a broken system. That complexity made his role as a villain very interesting. It challenged the viewers’ thought process.

Because I question Erik as the villain, I question T’Challa as a hero. Yes, he was kind and good and cared about his people. But why does he have to show more honor and normalcy than a black American? Yes, colonialism has done a number on black youth, but we aren’t all damaged goods. We still carry a sense of pride and honor, even if we don’t live on the continent of Africa.

At the same time, the way Erik was written, I find him mirroring some of the attitudes found in much of the rap out there. Erik does reflect a very real attitude in black communities, even if it isn’t a reflection of everyone. Erik himself, as a character, was ruthless in getting what he wanted, and that shouldn’t be honor. T’Challa sought to make up for his mistakes. As a character, he is just and the right fit.

But in reality, it’s not that simple. Africans overall aren’t truly more honorable than African Americans. African Americans aren’t as damaged as believed. If anything, they are most aware of the evils of the world, which makes them stronger and wiser. Both groups have their strengths.

But with this character, he was damaged. Just clearing the air here.

Homogeneity and Isolationism V.S. Multiculturalism and Open Trade 

Finally, I want to talk about this complex message. This is actually a popular topic in today’s social climate as well, with so many fighting for ethno-states and so many others fighting to maintain cultural and racial homogeneity.

The theme brought up some pretty controversial messages regarding it, and it’s hard to know which path is right.

Wakanda isolated themselves for years, which helped them maintain their homogeneous society. While this helped them maintain their beautiful land and culture, as well as their wealth and technology and resources, they continued to neglect the horrors of the world, even horrors being done to their own people. They withheld their knowledge, knowledge that could’ve helped many people around the world. The extent that even T’Challa’s father went to protect his kingdom, just because he didn’t want anyone to know about Wakanda, showed how fighting to keep a society free from the influence of the world can prove more disastrous than giving in and sharing what one has.

On the other hand, if Wakanda had been as open, they would’ve been like all the other countries, filled with racial tensions, cultural destruction, and a lack of resources. They would’ve been overpowered and oppressed.

Which is right? Can a balance be achieved? I certainly think sharing medical knowledge and some technologies wouldn’t harm the Wakanda kingdom. But they should find a way to protect and hide their manpower. They shouldn’t completely give up all of their resources and power. They could allow some people to enter and live in Wakanda, provided the individual assimilates to the culture and accepts the traditions of the land. At the same time, the process should be difficult. The visitor should prove their loyalty to the kingdom.

But this brings up a greater topic about immigration overall. What do you readers think?

In conclusion, the movie brought honor to the Black Panther comic and the Marvel brand overall. It hyped up comic book fans and tickled the ears and eyes of the inner African and African American soul. It left an impression, that’s for sure. It also poked a giant hole through that tired saying inserted with any minority “Well, [insert minority] just doesn’t sell well at the Box Office”. This movie has grossed $192 Million at the Box Office to date. It surprised people, people who thought this movie wouldn’t sell overseas, especially in Asia.

This movie proves that you don’t need a popular Hollywood star to drive a movie to worldwide success. All that’s needed is a good story line, themes people can relate to, action and excitement, and a popular brand. All that’s needed is a focus on characters and stories, not star power. If only producers and directors had been smart enough to understand this sooner. Maybe Ghost in the Shell and Gods of Egypt might have been saved, or at least would’ve been without backlash. If only they would’ve been more in tune with the social climate and trends they might have had a few more viewers.

Hopefully, we continue to see movies that depict characters as written, envisioned, and as they way they are meant to be presented. After all, Black Panther shouldn’t be looked at as the last good movie with a black-lead and majority-black cast. It isn’t the first, and it shouldn’t be the last. In fact, it is only the beginning of a new era in Black cinema.

 

‘Wonder Woman’ (Quick Movie Review)

13 Jun

Last weekend, I had a movie day. I saw two long movies in one day at the movie theater. Spending money on movies isn’t normally my thing, but I needed someplace to cool down from the heat.

‘Wonder Woman’ was one I’ve been wanting to see for awhile.

I have grown up with the DC universe more than I have the Marvel universe. I watched the Batman cartoons on Cartoon Network as a kid, read Superman‘s comics, and was obsessed with Teen Titans. I know that’s not saying much in comparison to the serious fans, but it made Wonder Woman an attractive movie for me. Also, as a woman, why wouldn’t I support a female super hero movie?

That being said, let me sum up my feelings on Wonder Woman in one sentence: Your typical super hero movie.

Wonder Woman is getting quite a bit of praise from crowds. I can see why. It has the bells and whistles: Flashy lights, explosions, a moral center, and an attractive lead female character. Oh yes, and did I mention a lead female character?

Of course the feminists were going to eat this up. First off, it passes the “Bechdel test”, the test that requires a movie to have two or more women in a movie, discussing something other than men. With a look into the island of Amazons kicking this movie off, we are introduced to a warrior tribe of empowering women.

I was quite interested in this island. In fact, I found some of the other female Amazons on the island to be better representations of feminism than the leading goddess and would’ve liked to see more development for them. But no good movie can keep going without an idiot. Yes, the lead character has to be the “fool” otherwise this story wouldn’t have existed.

Yes, I said it. Wonder Woman played “the fool” in this movie. She was all brawn and no brains. I’ll give some spoiler examples…

When Wonder Woman, real name Diana, was trying to help the “strange American man” named Steve back to his home so she could “save the world”, there was this awkward scene with her speaking to him about the Amazons’ view of men, with her trying to understand why he won’t sleep next to her, and then her ultimately  convincing him that this is okay. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that she probably shouldn’t have been running away from all of her studies as a child. I’m sure the Amazons wouldn’t have just taught her how to wield a sword, but I’m sure they were adamant about teaching her the details of life. That is, if she had actually stayed in one of her classrooms. But because she focused so much attention on being strong, no one was able to teach her to be observant. If she had been observant, she would’ve been able to maneuver in the “world of man”. When the American man refused to sleep next to her, a shrewd warrior would’ve quickly caught on to the custom of man and kept a healthy distance.

When Diana first arrived in the world of man, she walked around sporting a sword and shield. A truly observant warrior would’ve observed the people around her and realized, “Hey, no one else walks around with their weapons drawn. I should keep a low profile until the time is right.” Without the careful shrewdness of a real warrior, I couldn’t take this Amazon princess seriously. Then again, I’ve never been able to take most super hero stories seriously, and I suppose this moment was to give us light humor and add flaws to her almost-perfect package, even if it didn’t exactly make her the “feminist” ideal. Furthermore, she wasn’t considered a real warrior. She clearly lacked experience.

I applaud the female director Patty Jenkins for bringing a female superhero to the screen, though. And she is exactly what all the other heroes onscreen have been: balls of power with dim wit. Very few heroes are depicted as intelligent creatures. She was treated equally, and that’s all we can ask for.

If there was one area Wonder Woman delivered on, it was on the battlefield. Sure, she’s stupid. But she’s not afraid to charge head-first into bullets and bombs. She shows no restraint or hesitation when she slices her sword through a man she assumed to be Ares (the villain she believes is responsible for causing WWI).

Still, her whole voyage was lead by her naivety.

I also wasn’t too convinced of her romance with American spy Steve. To me, from the first encounter, the romance seemed to be developing, which made it feel forced. It was bettered developed than the romances in other super hero flicks, but that doesn’t mean it was the best. I’m not one for romantic flicks much anyway, but the few that I’ve gotten into seemed to develop slower over time and moved about unexpectedly. I’ll take the Hermoine and Ron coupling for example (though I’m still team Harry x Hermoine). Hermoine and Ron’s relationship developed over the course of the series. Yes, it took several sequels to build them up, but for me, that’s how long it should take. In that sense, the romance didn’t have to stand in the way of the main plot and story. I can’t jump on the bandwagon of a love-at-first encounter match nor can I side with a story where romance becomes the center (or even a secondary plot) without the proper time.

Despite the hang-ups, Wonder Woman was still an enjoyable time. I particularly liked the scene where Diana (aka Wonder Woman) hopped out of the trenches, sword and shield in, and faced the guns firing at her, repelling bullets with her wrist guards along the way, too. Even though this part was in the trailer, something about this scene on the big screen brought out the best of the character: her determination and her strength.

Throughout it all, Wonder Woman also showed remarkable compassion for humankind, even when they showed more flaws than she expected. She was outspoken and spunky in her own way. She doesn’t have the slut-shaming mentality, so she doesn’t care if her skirts are above her knees, which made us all seem small-minded in comparison. She truly had a broader view of the world, even if the world wasn’t as idealistic as she’d assumed throughout the story.

Still, as “compassionate” as she was, she was blind to who her real enemies were and failed to truly investigate the situation around her. For example, I wish she could’ve talked to her indigenous friend a little more. So captured by her boyfriend-to-be Steve, it’s almost as if she ignored her comrades’ words regarding how Steve’s people wiped out tribes of other people. Once I’d heard of that, as a warrior, I would’ve immediately questioned Steve about it and that would’ve lead me to truly question the honesty and integrity of humankind as a whole. It could’ve opened a gate to more knowledge about humans and brought deeper truths to the screen.

But I forgot, Diana is stupid. And they obviously wanted us to continue to see Steve as tender and handsome. So, I guess some issues will just have to be tossed to the back.

And then her “compassion” did not compel her to spare a General’s life, even after she was repeatedly told that individual might not be who she thought he was. Heck, she failed to truly understand Ares, the God she was seeking. Her whole moral character seemed to sit only on the surface.

If you want to turn your brain off to real history, but you enjoy a slice of it with some mythological tales, lots of explosions, action scenes, and a strong female kicking butt, you’ll love Wonder Woman. If super hero movies are your taste, you’re in for a treat. It was a good movie, but for me, it could’ve been better.

I give this an 8/10.

“An American Girl Story-Melody 1963: Love Has To Win” Disappointed This American Girl Fan

29 Dec

melody-movie

I know. This movie was released two months ago in October 2016, and I am just now giving my review on it. I have my reasons.

For those who don’t know, American Girl is a widely popular doll brand that is known for its historical line of dolls and books, contemporary lines of dolls and books, and baby dolls for toddlers. The historical line is the oldest line in the brand. It has been around since the mid-1980s and it continues to impress upon the minds of little girls even to this day. Parents also love the dolls for their educational value.

Prior to Melody’s movie, four other historical American Girl characters have had movie adaptations produced by WB, HBO Films, and New Line Cinema. The original four movies (made for Samantha, Felicity, Molly, and Kit) were full-length, feature films. Melody’s movie and Maryellen’s movie are short films.

I loved the original four movies a lot. They really brought the characters to life. Of course, American Girl no longer has the budget for those kinds of films anymore, especially since they began focusing more on making new dolls (which is good enough for me).

Now, their movies are made by Amazon and are mostly released through Amazon Prime.

Set in Detroit during the Civil Rights Movement, “An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” examines the joyful life and troubled times of an irrepressible 10-year-old African-American girl whose vivid imagination and creativity reinforce her optimism. When shocking national events threaten her sense of security, Melody must find inner strength to restore her hope for a better world.

Director:

Tina Mabry

Writer:

Alison McDonald

Before I begin, I just want to inform new readers that I’ve always been a HUGE American Girl fan since the 1990s. I love toys and I love history. Combine the two, and you have one of my favorite doll franchises. I also want to remind readers that, as an African American, I am very happy that Melody was released. I loved her book series and the doll with her accessories…Just amazing.

But because I’m an American Girl fan and an African American at the same time, I can honestly say….I couldn’t really LOVE this movie. I don’t hate the movie, I just…don’t love it like I was expecting to.

Go ahead and chew me up. Call me self-hating, coon, liar, whatever. But before you decide to stop reading right here, just read me out.

One of the reasons I took so long to write this review was because I honestly wanted people to decide for themselves what they think of Melody’s movie. It was American Girl’s first movie dedicated to an American Girl doll of ‘color’, and I wanted people to mostly think positively. I didn’t want to shatter any dreams or feelings with my thoughts. I want Melody to be as successful as possible because I hope American Girl will continue to make more dolls of color in the future. I bought the movie on Prime because I wanted to encourage American Girl to make more movies with girls of color in lead roles.

I also waited to write this review because I saw how many people actually liked the movie (mostly people who never read Melody’s book series) and I knew they would just chew me up and spit me out for saying anything negative about this movie.

Last, I just really couldn’t find the right words to express how I was feeling. I tried to love this movie. I tried to force it, just because she was a girl of color and because I related to the message. But the American Girl fan in me just couldn’t attach herself to it.

The only reason I decided to share my opinion was because a fan emailed me and asked me.

*The following article may contain some spoilers.

It’s not that this movie was garbage. Far beyond that. In fact, it had its pros. Let me just run down the list of pros I saw.

PROS

The Message

Out of most of the other American Girl movies, Melody’s movie was one of the few that actually talked about a serious issue. The only other American Girls that presented issues that relate to our modern world were Kit (we were in the midst of the recession at the time) and Chrissa (bullying is still very serious). And Melody’s story was much deeper than all of those stories combined because real events were intertwined in the movie (particularly the Birmingham Church bombing).

Melody’s movie was designed to relate to issues young black children are facing today, and honestly, without the 1960s period outfits and references, I could see her being a girl in 2016/2017.

As an African American, I was happy that African American history was being represented by a movie, an American Girl movie at that. American Girl is a popular brand and it means a lot for such a brand to bring attention to girls of color and their struggle for equality.

The movie downsized the events that happened in the books, making the message clearer.

Marsai Martin

Marsai Martin was the actress that played Melody. She brought a lot of fire to Melody’s character (fire that wasn’t really felt in the books). Marsai is an intelligent and bright child herself, and I think she really shined in the movie. She had all the attitude, strength, and intelligence that I loved and that I feel all girls of color share. She had spunk.

Promotional Value

Melody’s movie has brought a lot of attention to the doll itself. Even though Melody has been out since August, a lot of people didn’t hear about her until after the release of the movie. There were many people on facebook inquiring about Melody after this movie was released. Hopefully, this will help Melody sell better than Black dolls prior. If Melody sells well at the end of this year and in 2017, American Girl may consider making more Black dolls in the future. This will shut the mouths of all the people who claim “black dolls don’t sell”.

Educational Value

The movie was educational for all races. For black children, it helped them connect today’s events to past events. This helps them see history as something that’s interesting and a major part of their modern lives.

Children of other races could learn to understand black people better through this story, through a beloved American Girl character.

CONS

Unfortunately, there were quite a few things that disturbed me about this movie. Please, don’t take offense. It’s just my opinion. I really felt there were things that would’ve made the movie better, but you readers are welcome to disagree.

The Cast

I felt everyone did a pretty good job with their acting. My problem was the lack of key characters from Melody’s stories.

Without Melody’s REAL family (and not that small family in the movie), her life felt empty. In comparison to older American Girl movies, her cast was the most butchered and horribly downsized. This made Melody’s family life seem lonely rather than bustling and close-knit, like in her books.

To add, by getting rid of most of the IMPORTANT characters, they left out potential black actors and actresses. Instead, more than half of the cast was WHITE. Not only was this totally opposite Melody’s story (which could’ve boasted an all-black cast), it was completely disappointing that black people still couldn’t get a chance to shine in this movie. There are few black actors and actresses getting screen time as it is. It’s especially rare in children’s films.

Maybe they added different races because they wanted to relate to more races of people, but I felt that using Melody’s real story would’ve related to more people. Melody’s life was similar to how most people lived in the 1960s and all of those 1960s references would’ve been appealing. Why switch it up so much?

They probably wanted to highlight the racism experienced in the 1960s, which was rightfully highlighted, sure. But I feel that racism was tackled well enough in Melody’s story, from an authentic and realistic perspective, and with mostly black people involved, for them to adapt it.

I’m not saying it’s bad to have white people in the movie, and maybe I should be grateful the lead characters were black. But wouldn’t it have been amazing if most of the cast was black? With Melody’s real family highlighted? Maybe that’s just my opinion.

Lately, it’s all about pushing agendas and less about telling the story.

Yes, I know that in American Girl movies prior, some characters were removed from the story. But the key characters were always present or at least mentioned. The family life could be “felt”. Melody’s family in the movie just didn’t feel like her family.

Characters

This is something that really bothered me. As an American Girl fan, and not just an African American, this bothered me a lot.

NONE, and I mean NONE, of the characters really seemed like they came from Melody’s stories. In fact, they all felt like totally new characters from a completely different story. Even Melody really wasn’t Melody.

In the older American Girl movies, all of the characters had the same personalities and interests as the characters in the books. It truly seemed like they brought the characters to life. The movies just weren’t teaching history; they were also telling a story.

Melody in the movie was NOTHING like the girl I grew to know and love in the books. Some people may have liked her better in the movie, but I didn’t. It’s not that Marsai didn’t do a good job with what she was handed, the problem was what she was handed.

Melody has been described as a sweet and hopeful girl. In the books, she was sweet, thoughtful, and caring. In this story, she seemed feistier. In the movie, she was a bit of a know-it-all. Melody wasn’t really a know-it-all kind of character in the books. I think they combined Melody with her sister Lila (who was in the STEM program in the book series, loved to read, and was super intelligent).

Melody was interested in singing (which they got right), but she also loved gardening. In fact, she was gifted with planting. In the movie, they made her more interested in sewing and space (giving her Maryellen’s interests). Gardening was a key part of her character, more than singing in the church choir, and they completely removed it. This was the first time I hardly recognized an American Girl in her own movie. The only thing “Melody” about the character was her outfits. I guess that’s all the doll company cared about when they allowed this movie to be produced.

Another thing that bothered me was the omission of Melody’s siblings. Having Melody’s siblings would’ve taught kids more about the 1960s. I understand that this was a short film, but somehow, in Maryellen’s short film (a movie for the strawberry blonde character from the 1950s) they managed to bring most of Maryellen’s siblings into her story. Why not in Melody’s? The Baby Boom was still in full swing in the 1960s. It would’ve made sense for Melody to have more siblings.

Dwayne and Yvonne did much more to add to Melody’s life than did Maryellen’s siblings, and yet Melody’s family was omitted.

music-in-the-movie

I felt cheated because I played this “quiz” on Americangirl.com that told me songs from the book would be in the movie. These songs were “written” and “composed” by Melody’s brother in the book series, so I thought he would be in the movie. I didn’t really hear all the songs in the movie, but even if I had, I would’ve been more upset. Dwayne influenced Melody’s music interests so much, it just didn’t feel right to keep him out. He would’ve showed the new generation how black people influenced modern-day music through his affiliations with Motown. He could have represented that part of history that is unknown to the new generation, but a part of history that influences them even today.

Yvonne was a particularly empowering young woman. Her role in the book series was really interesting. First off, she was the first in her family to wear her hair all-natural (an afro). She was a real civil rights activist (not just a participant). She went to college, she risked her life to educate people in the south, and she marched on Washington with thousands of people just to hear Martin Luther King give his most famous speech. I was torn to bits when there wasn’t anyone in the movie to represent her.

Yes, I know American Girl is on a budget. They can’t make their movies too long, with too many people. But I would’ve rather had Yvonne than any of those brats in Melody’s (fake) classroom. Again, how was Maryellen able to get away with having most of her siblings, but Melody’s movie had to succumb to the budget?

Finally, I want to talk about Melody’s mom. I’m happy that she was a hard-working African American woman and that her role revealed the struggle African Americans experienced in the USA. However, I found Melody’s mother to be more empowering and more authentic in the book series than in the movie. In the book series, Melody’s mother wasn’t a struggling seamstress working for racist white people. She was an educated, black teacher, teaching at an all-black school. Melody’s mother graduated from Tuskegee. The movie sort of combined Addy’s mom with Melody’s (maybe to make up for the fact that American Girl, LLC has overlooked Addy as a potential for a good movie all of these years). I was not pleased with this.

I feel that Melody’s mother was over-dramatized in the movie. The book series was more authentic. Maybe it felt more authentic because the panel that worked on the books lived and understood that time period. Maybe it felt more authentic because my own grandmother and her friends had gone to school and became teachers in the 1960s. When I read it in Melody’s stories, I immediately connected with Melody’s mother. But the movie was dramatically trying to show us a racist society. While they did that, they took away Mrs. Ellison’s strengths. Even though the 1960s was a harsh time for African Americans, many were educated by then, many were successful, and many lived comfortably, especially in the North.

I would’ve liked to see Cousin Tish’s salon brought in the movie and I’m still crossing my fingers for the playset in the future.

I also wanted to see Big Momma, one of the most important figures in Melody’s life. She is the one that taught Melody how to sing!

Melody’s friends barely appeared in the movie, and when they did, they were mean little brats. They weren’t supportive like they were in the books.

So much was missing from the movie because the key characters that shaped Melody’s life in the books were not there.

The Story

In the older American Girl movies, the stories were flipped, butchered, and changed around. Scenes were added and scenes were taken out. However, the heart and inspiration was clearly evident. Key important events were not taken out.

For example, Molly’s struggle with her hair was taken out of Molly: An American Girl on the Homefront. However, Molly getting the role as Miss Victory, the most important part of her Changes for Molly book, was in the movie.

There are more examples I could name, but the point is most of the older movies brought the important events from the book series to life.

The new Melody movie was so focused on pushing agendas and highlighting modern-day issues, it failed to actually tell Melody’s stories. Melody was used as a tool to tell an entirely different story unrelated to the released American Girl. And that’s fine. But I watched the movie looking for one of my favorite characters to come to life on screen. I was disappointed when I found I was being introduced to a completely different story with a completely different character in Melody’s wardrobe.

First issue, none of the events in the movie happened in the book. Melody never went to an all-white school in the book series. She attended an all-black school. Her school provided encouragement and support to the students, especially when it came to combating racism. In the books, when the church bombing happened, her teacher talked to the students to console them. Melody’s friends were there for her when she was frightened by the events.

Melody’s reaction to the bombing was different, too. In the movie, she was angry and bold. She posted clippings about events in her all-white school. In the book series, it hit her much deeper. It struck fear in her. It made her afraid to walk in her own church. That felt more realistic, considering she was 9 years old. These different reactions revealed that the two girls were actually TWO DIFFERENT characters. They didn’t react the same to situations, they didn’t have the same personalities. To me, they are two different “Melodys”.

I know the new story relates better to modern black girls. But I feel that they cheated Melody and spent less money on her movie than movies prior. I feel that her stories were butchered the most out of any of the other American Girl characters. And because of that, I don’t feel Melody’s story was really told.

Authenticity and Realism

While some modern day African Americans may find the movie to be more realistic, especially in relation to today’s events and some major occurrences in the past, I found the book series to tackle the Civil Rights Era in a more authentic and realistic fashion overall.

Considering the book series was meant to be told from the perspective of the average 9 year old, living in Detroit in the NORTH during the 1960s, the book series relates more to the real African American story. In the book series, there were many cases of racism in stores, when trying to buy property, or when trying to fix up black neighborhoods. But most black people lived in all-black neighborhoods in nice brick houses. Most children attended all-black schools. Most black families were close-knit. Families were large because of the Baby Boom. The book series had a naturalness to it that felt more authentic.

The movie was definitely what happens when “Hollywood” gets hold of something. With Hollywood taking hold of Melody’s story, everything became more dramatic. Racism and oppression became key themes, but strength, optimism, community, and hope were not added as themes as they were in the books. Especially not the community involvement.

I wish that theme had been brought out because I don’t feel enough African Americans are encouraged to get involved in their own communities. Some have given up hope that they can do anything to make a difference. I really hoped that there would be emphasis on community involvement and I was let down there.

Maybe these things don’t bother most viewers and American Girl fans, and I wouldn’t say it made me hate the movie. But I definitely felt disappointed and didn’t really have the same overwhelming happy feeling so many other people had after watching it. It was decent for a kids’ movie, but it just didn’t live up to former American Girl movies.

After this, I barely wanted to watch Maryellen’s movie. I was afraid it would also be butchered, and if it wasn’t, I would be mad that Maryellen’s movie was closer to her true series and Melody’s wasn’t. So far, I’m not a fan of the move to Amazon Prime. The movies are short, I don’t like paying for Prime just to watch these movies, and I would rather have a hard copy, like I did with other American Girl movies.

Anyway, sorry to be negative about this. I still love Melody and I still support American Girl bringing attention to dolls of color in the future. I’m just not a huge fan of this movie. I don’t think this movie really catered to the fan base and mostly catered to newcomers to the brand.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the movie. Do you think I’m being too petty about it? I am one of those people that can’t read the book series and fully enjoy loose adaptations. XD Do you agree with me? Are there any points you appreciated about the movie? Anything you disliked? Please share.

If you haven’t read the books and don’t plan on reading them, I think this movie would be good to watch. If you’ve already read Melody’s series, tread with caution and remember that this movie is a pretty loose adaptation.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura and Syaoran’s Natal Profiles

19 Dec

Ever since I heard about the Cardcaptor Sakura sequel, the Clear Card arc, I’ve been binge watching the Cardcaptor Sakura anime and re-reading the original manga to refresh my memory while I tackle the new Chapter in Sakura’s life.

carcaptors-sakura-anime

As I’ve been going through the manga and anime, I’ve been interested in the birthday profiles of Sakura Kinomoto and Syaoran Li. Their relationships with other characters (as well as with one another) have always been of interest to me (especially after reading Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic), but after analyzing their birthdays, I’ve come to realize even more details about these two characters and their relationships with others.

This is an astrological reading. To learn about their planets and signs, I had to retrieve a natal chart or birth chart. To learn more: How Can I Learn More About Zodiac Signs and Aspects?

How did I deduce the year they were born? Well, I started with Toya Kinomoto, Sakura’s older brother, as I’ve seen many fans online do to calculate the year. He is said to have been born on a leap year day: February 29. The only way it would be possible to have been born on a leap year day, and still be in his late teens in the 1990s, he would have to have been born in 1980. Sakura is 7 years younger than him; her year must be 1987. It is implied that Syaoran is a year older than Sakura; his year must be 1986.

Keeping this in mind, it makes perfect sense why certain events unfolded the way they did.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a birth time for either character. But a rectification isn’t totally impossible, considering there are plenty of events to analyze. Still, rectifications are less accurate. I will be updating this article as more information is revealed. * So far, what I have are their birthdates and years, which is enough to interpret planets in signs and aspects.

The following interpretations may contain spoilers. Most of the interpretations will make sense only to CCS fans anyway.

Dark Pixie, AstrologyclubInsightful astrology, Completehoroscope, and AlwaysAstrology are the sources where I got the information. Check out their websites for more info!

Sun-vitality, life, ego, creativity, expression, identity, self, main concerns, the father, consciousness, the will, power, masculine yang, the basic drive for significance, psychic and physical energy, stamina, rulers and authority figures, integrity, individuality

Moon-emotions, intuition, moods, mothers, children, instincts, the unconscious, material substance, female yin, receptivity, heredity, past, nurture, family, domestic life, wife, change, habits, feelings of belonging or alienation, the masses, containment

Mercury-intellect, logic, perception, thinking, communication, mentality, siblings, travel, reason, the rational mind, language, writing, memory, creating associations, symbolization, skills, movement, transportation, versatility

Venus-love, beauty, art, romance, partnership, values, women, pleasure, femininity, relatedness, social urges, creation, attraction, luck, personal magnetism, money, nurturing mother love, sensuality, bonding energy, harmony and merging

Mars-aggression, drive, power, instincts, masculinity, sexuality, men, brothers, desire, action, ego, individuality, survival, yang, passion, courage, competition, sports, war, stamina, independent in relationships, conflict, force, vigor, mechanical ability

Jupiter-expansion, optimism, abundance, wisdom, vision, convictions, space, growth, luck, higher learning, travel, religion, philosophy, material abundance vs waste and extravagance, understanding vs wanderer and dilettante, integration into society

Saturn-structure, restrictions, time, authority, discipline, limitations, challenge, concentration, pessimism, fear, karma, consolidation, delays but not denial, the father, old age, tests, collective law/reality, school, teachers, contraction, responsibility, obligation, ambition

Uranus-rebellion, eccentricity, upheaval, originality, renewal, revolution, individualism, humanitarianism, science, inventions, unpredictable change, intuition, genius, independence, freedom, social reform, rebels, electricity, joining the collective consciousness and the group mind

Neptune-dreams, illusion, delusion, spirituality, oneness, addictions, transcendence, suffering, imagination, sensitivity, psychic and mystical capability, deception, drugs, alcohol, obligation, bondage, fog

Pluto-power, transformation, obsession, alchemy, healing, life, death, humiliation, underworld, sex, the breakdown of psychological blocks preventing evolutionary growth, regeneration, phoenix

Aries –adventurous, energetic, pioneering, courageous, selfish, quick tempered, impulsive, impatient, brave, independent, assertive, hates to be restricted. I am

Taurus-patient, reliable, warmhearted, loving, jealous, possessive, resentful, inflexible, good taste, sensual, down to earth, pleasure-seeking, stubborn. I have

Gemini-adaptable, versatile, communicative, witty, nervous, tense, superficial, inconsistent, dynamic, many talents, likes games, two faced, mischievous. I think

Cancer-emotional, loving, intuitive, imaginative, changeable, moody, over emotional, touchy, sensitive, friend-oriented, practical, hates to argue, forgives but doesn’t forget. I feel

Leo-generous, warm hearted, creative, enthusiastic, pompous, patronizing, bossy, interfering, popular, faithful, dominating, too much pride. I will

Virgo-modest, shy, meticulous, reliable, fussy, worrier, overcritical, harsh, successful, creative, likes to please, clever, can lead others on. I analyze

Libra-diplomatic, urbane, romantic, charming, indecisive, changeable, gullible, easily influenced, irresistible, adventurous, lavish, complicated love life. I balance

Scorpio-determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, jealous, resentful, compulsive, obsessive, self-reliant, powerful, wise, dominant, secretive. I desire

Sagittarius-optimistic, freedom-loving, jovial, good-humored, blindly optimistic, careless, irresponsible, superficial, open-minded, achiever, loving, insensitive, cold. I see

Capricorn-practical, prudent, ambitious, disciplined, pessimistic, fatalistic, miserly, grudging, hard-working, straightforward, loyal, stubborn, uncontent until at the top. I use

Aquarius-friendly, humanitarian, honest, loyal, intractable, contrary, perverse, unpredictable, sets trends, innovative, admired, distant, eccentric. I know

Pisces-imaginative, sensitive, compassionate, kind, escapist, idealistic, secretive, vague, alluring, free, sensual, sensitive, can’t function alone. I believe

When a planet is exalted, it is an “honored guest” within the sign, bringing benefits easily from the planetary energy to the person, but only if they work hard and take full advantage of their opportunities, not taking any of it for granted. The planet receives strength and energy when in the sign of its exaltation. This often creates an exaggerated expression. (Example: When someone has Venus in Pisces, Venus is exalted. The person has a naturally charming, sweet, and loving personality, so they easily draw admirers and lovers to them. They have to work hard to maintain a stable relationship and figure out who is “the right one” among all their suitors. Pisces’s sweet and dreamy nature makes these individuals the ultimate romantics and appreciators of beauty. This gives Venus strength. These individuals have a natural quiet spirit, which creates the peace that Venus wants, and their ability to go with the flow allows them to enjoy pleasures without limit. There are enough resources for Venus to borrow from.)

When a planet is in domicile, it is at home. It is in its strongest and safest position here. The person can fully utilize the planetary power, easily expressing and understanding the nature of the planetary energy without hesitation or question. They must be cautious when using their power. They must never overuse or abuse this power. (Example: When someone has Venus in Libra, Venus is at home. That person will fully understand the mental power of love and know how to use their own charms to get what they desire. They never hesitate to express love and fully understand their own feelings without being told by someone else how they feel. They also understand others’ feelings of love. If they want to, they can abuse this power by being deceitful and manipulative. They must be careful not to do this. When Venus is in Libra, Venus is safe enough to express love freely. Libra is a partner oriented, peace-loving, and sensual sign. Venus has plenty of resources to borrow from. If these individuals want to, they can easily tap into these energies. They have no problem or shame feeling like they need a lover in their lives, lazing around with nothing better to do, and accommodating to others.)

When a planet is in a falling state, the people with this often have a hard time getting what they want from the planet in usual terms. They often have to work harder than most to overcome fear and insecurity to get what they want. The planet loses its strength and influence in the sign of its fall. This is often looked at as the planet entering a “foreign country”. (Example: When Venus is in Virgo, Venus is in a falling state. The people with this placement have a hard time finding the right lovers to appease their exacting taste. They do not easily fall in love. This sets the standards high for others, but it also means Venus in Virgo people will have to put in overtime if they ever expect to find someone suitable. They must overcome a simple distrust with love. Virgo’s exacting and practical nature takes away Venus’s strength and influence. There aren’t enough resources in Virgo, a critical and analytical sign, for Venus to spread love and pleasure.  Venus has to make it work. The individuals with this placement have to set aside their “critical” thoughts, and tap into their natural earthy senses a little more. They may need help from others so that they can just relax and take it easy.)

When a planet is in a detrimental state, the people with this position have to find unique ways to harness the planetary energy. They often have a unique point of view regarding the planetary energy, bringing new strengths but plenty of challenges in their lives because their expression doesn’t align with convention and makes others uncomfortable. They are often misunderstood. This is often looked at as the planet being in an “enemy’s” home. (Example: Venus is in detriment in Aries. When someone has this placement, they don’t see love the same way most people do. In fact, they often can’t separate love, passion, admiration, and lust from one another. Thus, they seem to fall in love with the first nice and attractive figure in their lives. These people have learned to get along without a whole lot of love in their lives, thus they are quite independent. Merging with another is a very challenging task for them and settling down may be the scariest thing for them to do. They often worry so much about being liked they don’t consider their partner’s feelings. Their feelings are often misunderstood as a result. Aries is ruled by Mars, Venus’s natural opposite. Venus is the planet of peace; Mars is the planet of war. Venus is a feminine planet; Mars is a masculine planet. Venus is sensual and lazy; Mars is rough and active. They don’t mix easily. There are few resources Venus can use to spread love and pleasure when in the sign of detriment. The individuals with this placement have to fight to remain committed in relationships, to accommodate to others, and to keep the peace at all costs without letting selfishness or impatience get in the way.)

Conjunct aspect is powerful. It is usually when two planets blend. They are usually in the same sign because it means the two planets are near one another on a natal chart.

Trine aspect is usually when two planets flow easily together. They are usually two planets in signs of the same element (fire, earth, water, air) because they usually form an exact “triangle” on a natal chart.

Sextile aspect is usually when one planet mildly supports the other. They are usually two planets in signs that share the same energy (introverted/extroverted, yin/yang, feminine/masculine, etc) but are NOT in opposite signs on the natal wheel. Earth and Water signs share the same energy, and fire and air signs share the same energy. The sextile planets are normally two houses apart on the natal chart (Houses are something I can’t introduce just yet, without a birth time).

Square aspect is usually when when planet produces conflict for another and vice versa. They are usually two planets in signs of the same mode (cardinal, fixed, mutable) but have opposite energies (earth and water (yin) have opposite energies from fire and air (yang)). In this case, they may have a similar style of achieving goals, but their goals differ. On a natal chart, when two planets form the aspect, it usually shows the beginning of a square. If all four signs of the same mode form this aspect, it will make the shape of a solid red square on the natal chart.

Opposition is powerful. It is usually when two planets are in opposite signs on the natal wheel (or very close to it). One planet is pulling the individual away from the other. Opposite signs are normally the same mode (cardinal, fixed, mutable), with the same energy (Yin/Yang), but opposite elements (fire and air are opposite elements, earth and water are opposite elements). In this case, they are just alike in behavior, but have different goals. On the natal chart, one line forms from one end of the natal chart directly to the other (North to south, east to west).

Sakura Kinomoto

sakura

Sun in Aries (Exalted)

Your entourage (Note: Sakura’s entourage is none other than Tomoyo, Kero, and Syaoran. 😛 ) is amazed by your energy, your courage and your boldness. Your reactions are quick, even instantaneous. Your enthusiasm prompts you to follow your natural impulses, even though you are not aware of all the consequences of your actions. Above all, you want to live each moment intensely, without fearing the future. Your enterprising spirit is supported by an acute sense of confrontation. Present! This is Aries answering the call. Any call, provided that there is some degree of new-ness or some challenge. If Aries’ dynamism and enterprising spirit are underlined, it is because the sign is more inclined to commit itself in the present and to start from scratch. This ability to take action on the spot in response to any stimulation also applies to the area of your relationships: you say outloud what you deem necessary to say, even if it means foolishly upsetting several persons. It is black or white, yes or no… often without balance! Beginning and undertaking are situations where you feel that you are in your element. Your qualities can also be expressed when you are bogged down in inextricable and complicated relationships: you know how to simplify things but you should beware not to do so in a caricatured manner.

AlwaysAstrology

Aries, you’re the first sign in the zodiac, the astrological newborn. As the first sign, you don’t have any of the baggage that the other signs carry, allowing you to approach everything in life with enthusiasm. You’re attracted to anything new, and you’re constantly pursuing things, always excited about whatever new trail you’re blazing, and you bring your enthusiasm with you. Not jaded like the other signs can be, your positive outlook keeps your from getting stuck in any bad moods for very long. You love to smile, laugh, and enjoy yourself, and you value your independence. You don’t want to rely on anyone else to get things done or make you happy. You’re perfectly capable of doing that on your own, and you want to. Once you decide to do something, you get to it quickly without much thought or planning, and since you really only like the adrenaline rush of the beginning, you get bored easily, becoming impatient when things don’t happen the way you want right away, and you have trouble seeing things through. You’re the type who starts a million projects but never finishes any of them. If you could learn a little discipline, it would take you far. You have plenty of energy to do whatever you want to do, so you don’t have to worry about that, but if you don’t have enough to do, you get restless, agitated, and prone to accidents, so it’s important for you to be physically active and keep a busy schedule. Most others might suffer a total collapse from the kind of schedule you need, but they don’t have the abundant energy that you have. Harness your energy so it’s not all over the place with no direction. When it has something to focus on, you’ll be able to do incredible things. You’re the pioneer of the zodiac, Aries, the one who can go where no one else has gone before, and you do so with a smile on your face and excitement in your soul that’s hard to match, squash, or not be in awe of.

Dark Pixie

Aries Sun (Dominant Parental Figures in Life-Father, Older Siblings, Guidance Counselors, Teachers, Female Leaders of Family, etc):If your Sun is in Aries, then your Sun parent (could also be the female head of the household) may have appeared to be in constant motion to you. He/she most likely enjoyed sports and could even have coached you in Little League or soccer if you showed an interest and aptitude in these activities. He/she probably seemed to be more interested in an active relationship than in long discussions on the origins of man. He/she might have been impatient with you and sometimes a little short-tempered. Tagging along with him/her on errands or bike rides would probably have been the best way of getting his/her attention.  If you have the sun in Aries, your relation to your Sun parent is active and impatient. It’s probably mutual. You may not talk much, but you enjoy doing things together – and challenging each other. When you talk, it’s often in an argument, but you rarely stay angry with each other for long.

Sakura is mostly described as cheerful and energetic, very descriptive of her sun sign energy. Sun in Aries are also known to be active and athletic. They are outgoing, enthusiastic, positive people. Sakura fits the bill. The Sun is exalted in Aries because the star is able to shine in a positive way in the fiery sign. This is probably why Sakura’s personal power is that of the “stars”. Even though it’s a faint light at first (and she has to work hard to grow her strength), she is able to be most effective with the power of the stars. She is a good leader, courageous, and somewhat impulsive (which is why she’s clumsy).

Unfortunately, Sakura can be a little preoccupied with herself and often forgets to analyze the feelings and thoughts of those around her. This is usual of someone with Sun in Aries.

With Sun in Aries, males are usually the most dominant figure in the child’s life (Mars, the ruler of Aries, being the other masculine planet). It’s not surprising that Sakura lives in a house full of males. It’s also not surprising that Sakura gets her athletic abilities from her father. All of of the males in her household are athletic.

With your natal Sun conjunct your natal Jupiter in Aries, you tend to be a positive person with energy and enthusiasm. You try to see the upside of situations and people, and you believe that everything will always work out for you. That might actually be true, with it seeming like you have great luck, and someone is always there to clean up your mess, but eventually, the gambling with life catches up with you if you’re not careful. If you can be more careful, you can accomplish a great deal in your life.

This is probably the reason for Sakura’s invincible spell “I will surely be alright”. And Sakura does seem pretty lucky most of the time, just relying on that spell alone. She certainly got lucky during the Final Judgment. This aspect intensifies her positivity.

With your natal Sun square or opposite your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you want to feel or experience something extraordinary. Your early life lacked a father or father figure, lacked rules or support, or didn’t help you form your own identity. You have to watch for being attracted to all of the wrong people. You can be self-destructive or escapist. You’re sensitive and bruise like a peach, and need to forge a stronger connection to reality.

Her sense of a “father figure” is probably because her own father decided to take on a nurturing role in her life. All of the things regarding her father is also a great mystery, so she doesn’t feel she really knows him. This aspect can also signify a father figure who doesn’t know much about himself. In Sakura’s case, this is true. Fujitaka has expressed that he didn’t know his own family (manga) or even where he was born.

Clearly, there are very few rules in Sakura’s household. She doesn’t get punished very often by her father, either.

It’s easy to see that Sakura can be attracted to all sorts of people, even people that Syaoran or others’ around her distrust. It’s not hard to see her being attracted to the wrong people.

Analyzing Mars’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-aries

Sun in Aries is energetic and enthusiastic (and often athletic)

Moon in Taurus (Exalted)

On the day and at the time of your birth, the Moon was in the sign of Taurus. Traditionally, the Moon is in exaltation in this sign: lunar values (quietness, rest, trust) find their complementary landmarks in Taurus… self-defense, need for stability and selectiveness. Your sensuality is strong and expresses itself in all life areas. You equally enjoy the pleasures of the senses and those of the mind and you never waste a single bit of a sensation. You take the time to enjoy life, to dream and to follow your imagination. You do not allow anything to disturb these moments of relaxation and calm. Your basic balance stems from these privileged moments where you can daydream at will and “have your head in the clouds”. Nothing bothers you, no external element disrupts the quiet course of your rest. Should anyone dare to break the charm, you become very upset…

Having your Moon in Taurus can make you very emotionally stable, and you’re not one to swing from mood to mood quickly, easily, or routinely. You tend to believe in the “happy medium” thing (XD). The downfall can be a lack of intensity when the moment requires it, especially in situations where you need to react quickly. You try to make situations work for you by squeezing as much time as you can to allow yourself to slowly and deliberately go over things. You don’t take anything too lightly, or too seriously. You’re very sensual, and you love to get in touch with your senses, stimulating each one to allow yourself to feel most in tune with yourself and the earth. You probably like nature (even if you aren’t the camping type, perhaps you like awesome views or are an environmentalist). When you don’t feel so great, you may be prone to overindulging in your senses, usually with food.. If you find yourself swaying one way emotionally, you can get stuck there, so often Taurus Moon natives who suffer from emotional/psychological problems will get stuck in them for much longer periods of time than most (especially if you have other indicators in your chart, like a lot of Virgo or water).

Dark Pixie

Nurturing Parental Figures in Life (Mother, Female Influences, Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Father, Grandparents, Older Siblings): Consistency could be your Moon in Taurus parent’s middle name. You sometimes feel that this parent was predictable to the point of being dull. You could guess what supper would be by the day of the week, and you could count on having the house cleaning and laundry done on schedule. Just when you were sure you had this parent figured out, he or she would throw you a curve, forcing you to rethink your relationship. The rules that seemed comfortable and flexible suddenly became rigid when you crossed the line. The Taurus Moon person didn’t intentionally spring new things on you, far from it. You knew the rules all along. You just didn’t know that your normally appreciative parent would crack down so hard. Your Taurus Moon parent appreciates value. This means that clothing had to be durable first, then attractive. You were not encouraged to wear frills, and probably everything tended to coordinate, except for dress up attire, which may have been distinguished. Whether father or mother, your Taurus Moon parent helped you through the toughest crises, and still does. This parent may experience serious ups and downs in life, not only financial, but also regarding career, health, or other matters. He or she knows how to handle difficult turns of events, and can teach you a lot about managing your life. You perceived your Moon parent (or father, if he played a nurturing role in the home) as emotionally strong and devoted. The parent was practical, calm, and security conscious.

Sakura’s life experience is filled with sensuality. From beautiful clothing, sweets, to a warm cozy home, she experiences nothing but positive memories from those she cares about. This is what happens when the Moon is exalted in Taurus. She’s pretty sheltered from negative memories, especially regarding her birth mother. This is probably why she hardly experiences negative emotions and harsh mood swings. Her life is stable; she’s mentally and emotionally stable.

Moon rules the mother and the mother’s side of the family. Very material, the Moon in Taurus often refers to a very comfortable living background, and in some cases even wealth! It’s not surprising that Sakura’s mother was the daughter of a wealthy man. Taurus is also ruled by Venus, the planet of love and beauty, and Sakura’s mother wasn’t just a loving and sweet figure, but also a beautiful model. Of course, the moon rules our perception of our mother. And again, Sakura is told mostly the beautiful memories regarding her mother.

Sakura has other “mother” figures that reflect her moon sign. Tomoyo, her best friend, acts as a mother figure, protecting Sakura, providing sensual glories such as sweets and fashionable (but gaudy) costumes. She’s also wealthy and beautiful. Mizuki Sensei also is beautiful and caring, providing assistance to Sakura. Most of the women in Sakura’s life are wealthy and opulent.

Sakura’s father plays a very nurturing Moon in Taurus role in Sakura’s life as well. He provides a warm, comfortable home for his family, as well as good cooking and more sweets!

Unfortunately, while these people are all very caring and loving to Sakura, they prefer to hide her from the ugly truths in life, which makes her naive and lack understanding of those with a deeper history.

With your natal Moon square or opposite natal Pluto, when you get hurt, it hurts deep. You’re terrified of being hurt, yet you crave intimacy. You can find yourself alone a lot because you’re too scared to be close to people, but you’re not satisfied alone either. You can be an intimidating person, overly controlling, and downright scary to others with your powerful personality. When angry, you can become enraged. You hold grudges for far too long, and have a hard time forgiving anyone for even the slightest of things. If you could learn to control your emotions and learn how to use them productively, you can be a force.

I think the Snow Card and Kero have realized this about Sakura. XD Her temper can be ferocious once activated. Fortunately, her Moon is in Taurus, so she’s likely not to get into that mode very often. But when she does…

Moon opposition Pluto could also signify the death of a mother or mother figure in certain charts as well.

With your natal Moon sextile or trine natal Mercury in Pisces, you don’t have any problem conversing with people, saying what you need to say, or giving advice. You’re a good listener and try to be nonjudgmental. You can merge your head and heart more easily than the rest of us, and you want to know what people have to tell you.

With your natal Moon sextile or trine natal Neptune in Capricorn, you’re a compassionate person who wants to help others however you can, and always seem to know what other people are feeling. Your imagination is active and you need a certain amount of time away from the real world. You have excellent intuition. You may have a hard time actively pursuing your goals, and have to cultivate that trait.

Analyzing Venus’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-taurus

Moon in Taurus needs the simple luxuries, especially good food.

Mercury in Pisces (Fall and Detriment)

In your chart, Mercury is in Pisces. You are connected to the world through your intuition. Contacts are established, and broken up, according to your sensitivity (Note: Yeah, like how she dreams about everyone before she meets them…). Your perceptiveness is amazing. You soak into your environment in order to grasp its subtle games and you feel that you know things without learning them. You assimilate them unconsciously and you very sharply pick up hints and unformulated thoughts. Some sort of sixth sense.

With your natal Mercury in Pisces, you’re more of a listener than a talker. You don’t mind having a conversation with someone, but it all depends on whether you’re in the mood for it or not. You can be a people pleaser and say what you think people want you to say. You have an active imagination, and love to daydream. You take in information from the world around you through feelings and emotions. This allows you to see things in a way that’s different from everyone else. You’re open, and listen to your gut, but can have a hard time expressing yourself directly. You need to learn to not worry about what other people want to hear so much.

Mercury in Pisces is revealing that Sakura will have many moments dreaming. Many of these dreams are premonitions that tell of the future. Unfortunately, Mercury is falling and in detriment in Pisces. This means that she can’t always share her visions and intuitions with everyone. Most of it hardly makes sense, even to herself. And most of the times, it will make her appear ditzy and cloudy. But she’s probably much more aware than others think. She is aware of things others’ can’t see (like Clow cards, spirits, ghosts, magic, etc). On the other hand, as a result of being so in touch with the spiritual world, she misses what’s going on around her in the everyday world (Syaoran’s feelings, her baton practice, classroom literature, etc)

Mercury in Pisces makes the mind cloudy. It’s hard for them to process information in a logical fashion and then express it to others. This is because they can’t always explain how they know something; they just do (such as her instant love of Mizuki Sensei). Their way of gathering information is not always just from reading books, but from experiencing and observing the world around them. Sure, this makes them appear like they’re not paying attention, but they are paying attention, just to the information that isn’t before them.

This cloudiness is also the reason Sakura isn’t so good at math. Math is a logical subject. You would have to pay close attention to remember the steps. Most times, there is one concrete answer. Mercury in Pisces have a hard time paying attention to each step, and they don’t like subjects that aren’t abstract, that don’t offer many different answers for all questions. Being a Mercury in Pisces is probably why her other favorite subject is music. Mercury in Pisces learn best with music and art, tapping into their imagination.

With your natal Mercury sextile or trine your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can come up with solutions to almost any problem because you try to get to the heart of the matter right away. There’s a magnetic power to your communications. You’re good at analyzing information, and once you figure yourself out, you won’t feel the need to be mysterious.

With your natal Mercury conjunct natal Venus in Pisces, you have a charming way of expressing yourself. You come across well, always trying to say the right thing, being graceful and gracious, and trying to get people to get along. You crave balance and fairness, and are a good communicator. You may be too rational in your approach to love, or are drawn to intellectual people.

With your natal Mercury square or opposite your natal Saturn in Sagittarius, you seem harsh in your communications. You can be overly negative and can push people away. There can be a sense of not being worthy of goodness, and you can be incredibly insecure. You can be a hard worker in school and professionally because you fear not being good enough. You have to be easier on yourself.

I think Sakura works really hard to develop the mental discipline for the Clow Cards. Mercury being in Pisces, this discipline wouldn’t necessarily apply to factual or analytical pursuits, like school. In fact, the square could also indicate that she finds it challenging to develop the discipline necessary for subjects she’s not interested in.

With your natal Mercury sextile or trine your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you can sense what people are thinking and feeling, and this helps you to know how to react to them. You’re sensitive to others, charismatic in your communications, and appreciate the arts. You can be spiritual and drawn to the metaphysical.

This is probably the essence of the whole story. This softens her Mercury aspect to Saturn.

Analyzing Jupiter’s and Neptune’s signs would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-pisces

Mercury in Pisces often listens to their gut and rely on their perceptive sense to get through life.

Venus in Pisces (Exalted)

Venus describes your affective life. On the day of your birth, she is found in Pisces. Your emotionalism is very strong and very unusual. You have your own manner to experience your emotions and your sensations, in an atmosphere that may be odd, you complicate your amorous life (Note: XD )… and this is part of your charm, at the same time. On the chessboard of your sentimental life, quite strange games enfold. Your affectivity is subtle, fabulous and unusual: love reinvents everything and anything becomes possible when your heart is sincere. You dream of a complete fusion and of giving yourself totally. No rules, no moral or social code is more important than the feeling of shared passion and than living for your partner. Your affective life is complex, sometimes mysterious: you don’t know why you love, or why you don’t love any more… Your sentimental life obeys a different logic than that of the external world. Love is elusive and fragile. Nothing is easier than to destroy a feeling and to forget a passion. Your sensitivity responds to an unknown call, a strange signal. Therefore, you may shift from intense and absolute feelings to cruel indifference. Although you don’t know why, you are being transformed. The most difficult thing is to love a real being and not a shadow (Note: I think Yukito was that “shadow”). You give yourself to persons who can understand and respect the fragile realm of your affectivity.

With your natal Venus in Pisces, you’re the ultimate romantic. You’re sensitive in love, and with everyone else. You can be attracted to people who need to be saved, or who want to save you, and it can lead you to be in bad relationships with people who cause more harm than good. You see the good in everyone, even the people that are the worst of the worst, and need to be more discriminating in love. You can be unreliable at times, having a hard time being dedicated to anything with your partner, despite how much you may love them. It can be hard for you to commit as you have a hard time sifting through your feelings or figuring out where you should be going together. You accept people for who they are, and are understanding and loving.

Venus is exalted in Pisces, blessing Sakura with charm, a sweet demeanor, cuteness, and compassion. Everybody loves Sakura; the exaltation reveals this. One of the main reasons everybody loves this girl is because she loves everybody. That is the Venus in Pisces secret. They never start off hating or being irritated by anyone. They assume the best in everyone they meet. It is only when they are seriously hurt do they act cold and cruel. Most of the time, though, they put a lot of faith in the ones they love and in love itself.

Unfortunately, this can make them seem a little idealistic and naive when it comes to affections. They even have a difficult time rummaging through their own feelings. Sakura experienced this in her own story. Because Venus in Pisces love everybody, and everybody loves them, it’s hard for them to know who they really are in love with romantically.

Most Venus in Pisces like the “idea” of love more than being in love, and they like being in love with distant figures. Truly, they don’t often understand real love. The real thing can often be scary for them. Real love requires a certain level of commitment and it pushes them to face reality. I think Sakura felt that when she received a confession from an unexpected friend, a friend she didn’t necessarily “idealize”, but someone she had to admit was there for her whenever she needed him.

Venus is also the planet of beauty and Sakura is said to look good in anything (by Tomoyo’s standard). With Venus in Pisces, style is translucent. The people are able to translate anything into art and style. Generally, they aren’t too particular about what they will or won’t wear.

With your natal Venus sextile or trine natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can see right through people and situations. You know how to use resources well, and gravitate towards relationships that allow you to transform yourself. You’re passionate without being overwhelming, and know how to sway people to your side.

With your natal Venus sextile or trine your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you have a gentleness to you, are charming, and can express yourself creatively. You have an active imagination and want everything in the world to be beautiful. You’re a generous person, though you may give too much at times.

Analyzing Jupiter’s and Neptune’s signs would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-pisces-2

Venus in Pisces often has a hard time sorting through their feelings, but they are kind to everyone

Mars in Taurus (Detriment)

The planet Mars indicates how you react to life concrete stimulations. It also describes your fighting spirit, your abilities to stand for yourself and to take action. With Mars in Taurus, your will is strong and you are a very efficient person, persevering and tenacious. When you are prompted by your instinct to undertake any given step, no obstacle can put you off. However, your reactions are not unconsidered: you thoroughly ponder over and over before taking action. But it is hard for you to let go. This planetary configuration endows you with an extraordinary steadfastness. The other side of the coin: tenacity may turn into stubbornness. It is important that you control this strength and that you display more flexibility. It is good to persevere in one’s efforts, but not in one’s errors.

With your natal Mars in Taurus, you take your time with everything, and no one can get you to hurry. You don’t see the point in rushing anything, and feel that everything will happen in its own time. If that’s not fast, that’s fine with you. You can formulate goals and work hard at achieving them, and you’ll stick with them no matter what happens. You don’t give up easily once you’ve decided on what you want. (Note: I think the Snow Card found this out the hard way…) You’re loyal, stable, and crave security in your life, and may buy a lot of nice things to surround yourself with items of value. You can be stubborn once you make up your mind, and there’s no convincing you to change your mind, even if deep down you know that you should. You do things in your own time, and won’t change for anyone.

Mars in Taurus is considered in detriment. This is not because they are weak or because they are not brave. It is mostly because Mars in Taurus is a sign of security and is ruled by Venus, the planet of love, beauty, and peace. They don’t like to fight aggressively without a purpose. This means nothing makes them more courageous than fighting for the people and things they love. In this case, they are mostly possessive.

Mars in Taurus, being in the sign of security, just don’t blindly jump in the fire. They carefully consider all at stake. To many, they don’t seem to act when they should, but many times they act right when they should because they are careful. Sakura hesitated to take on the Clow Card deal considering her own limitations and the risks. This didn’t necessarily make her a coward, but it made her cautious. When Mars in Taurus does get going, however, there is no convincing them otherwise. Once they have decided on a course of action, it will only anger them to try and stand in their way.

Mars in Taurus is also famous for procrastination. This can be altered with aspects, but in Sakura’s case, it’s true (especially because she has no aspects that alter this). This is probably why she always waits until the end of summer to finish her summer homework. XD Mars in Taurus take their time mostly with things they don’t enjoy or activities that seem to threaten their security. They mostly have energy for pleasurable pursuits and get grouchy when they have to do something they don’t like for long periods of time. With Sun in Aries, Sakura might be active and energetic, but with her ruling planet Mars in Taurus without aspects, not always proactive. XD

Analyzing Venus’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Mars in Taurus never give up once they get started

Mars in Taurus never gives up once they get started

Jupiter in Aries

Jupiter in Aries amplifies your tendency to charge ahead and your self-assertiveness. You have leadership qualities, you are optimistic and you can mix the boldness with the will to succeed that are specific to Aries. Management ability, leadership and independence: your enthusiasm is a real asset for your life and for your charm!

With your natal Jupiter in Aries, you can make what you want happen in life with a positive attitude. You relish competition and don’t like to wait for things to happen. You like doing things on your own, and that can be when you produce the best results. You can do well as a leader and when you’re being daring and courageous.

Sakura exemplifies Jupiter in Aries by being a cardcaptor. In every situation, Sakura has conquered both her opponents and rivals simply with positivity. Jupiter in Aries makes their own doors open through sheer faith in themselves. Sakura tries to believe in herself, and every time she does, she wins.

Most people born the same year have the same Jupiter.

With your natal Jupiter square or opposite your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you can have a hard time seeing reality, and find yourself confused or mislead. You can go overboard with excess, and that prevents you from getting what you want. Discipline is something you need to learn. You’re giving, but you don’t take the time to figure out who deserves it, and can be taken advantage of.

Analyzing Mars’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-aries-2

Jupiter in Aries always has a positive attitude, so their belief in themselves is very strong.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius limits your taste for exoticism and for rebellion. On the other hand, he strengthens your sense of responsibilities and your authority. You focus on what is concrete and real and you avoid venturing into unknown territories.

With your natal Saturn in Sagittarius, you take your beliefs seriously. You believe in them strongly, and can have a hard time being open-minded and accepting of other views, yet you try hard to appear to be open. You may have had a hard time with school early in life, and had to teach yourself.

Sakura is a little more open than her friends when it comes to foreigners. However, noticeably, she rarely travels outside of her own country. Saturn in Sagittarius, in the sign of expansion, often places a limitation there. She only was shown traveling in the Cardcaptor Sakura movie. However, she never traveled in the manga. There’s a certain limitation when it comes to her venturing outside of her usual territory. And when she does, she is often met with obstacles (like in the movie).

Most of her peers may experience this barrier and limitation. As they grow older and wiser, they will seek to experience more of the world.

Saturn rules the elderly. It can describe our grandparents or other wise relatives, as well as teachers and authority figures. Sakura’s great-grandfather is described by Saturn in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the sign of expansion and can often represent foreign relations. Sakura’s great-grandfather is of foreign descent.

Saturn also rules over the father and Saturn in Sagittarius says something about Sakura’s dad. His archaeological interests seem to be influenced by this. Saturn is the planet of time and limitation. His travels probably consume much of his time. Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, and it represents the higher mind. This could mean higher education, like college or university education, where people can study one specific study thoroughly. Saturn in Sagittarius can represent a father who is interested in philosophy or someone who is a scholar and has connections with a university. Sakura’s father is also a university professor. Saturn makes everything “important”, so I’m certain Sakura’s father makes sure Sakura learns the importance of a higher education.

With your natal Saturn conjunct your natal Uranus in Sagittarius, you try to mesh together creativity and innovation with tradition and convention. You find a way to bring the two together that other people wouldn’t be capable of. At times, you may feel pushed or pulled in one direction or the other, but you should try not to give in to choosing one over the other. Both are important for you, and you need to bring both into your life.

Analyzing Jupiter’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius take their beliefs seriously.

Generational Influences

Uranus in Sagittarius

Uranus in Sagittarius gives you the taste for feats and extraordinary adventures: as you are caught in the desire to discover, at any cost, you may become a hero, a conqueror, an explorer or, on the symbolic plane, a pioneer in such matters as philosophy, politics, economy or spirituality.

With your natal Uranus in Sagittarius, you’re an intuitive person and drawn to alternative beliefs. You want to help people, but you may not be reliable. You can be brutally honest at times, and don’t care if it gets you in trouble. You want to push through boundaries, are unconventional, and independent.

Sakura has experienced adventure after adventure and seems fascinated with them, too (considering her interest in Alice in Wonderland). Thus, she becomes the hero of the story.

She has become a pioneer in spirituality, creating her own “Sakura cards” and giving birth to “Star power”.

Analyzing Jupiter’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

sakura-sagittarius-2

Uranus in Sagittarius is a pioneer when it comes to philosophy and spirituality.

Neptune in Capricorn

 Neptune in Capricorn brings a touch of humanity and emotion into your ambition made of cold and calculated vision. Or, on the contrary, it may disrupt your precise and clear vision of your professional future.

With your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you want to achieve something in your life, and can be practical with your creative ideas. When it comes to your beliefs, you can go for traditional views, or find inspiration through the arts. You may wish life was more fair and rewarded hard work more than it does, and have to learn to accept life as it is.

I do feel that the future of Sakura’s life seems cloudy. What are her ambitions for the future? And honestly, it’s hard to tell what any of the characters in the same generation plan on doing in the future. Neptune is definitely disrupting their clear visions for the future. It all seems unpredictable.

At the same time, Sakura approaches her current vocation (Cardcaptor and Master) with compassion. She treats the cards well and all those involved with it.

With your natal Neptune sextile or trine your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you have an active imagination, and are an intuitive person. You can follow your dreams and make them real, and it happens more smoothly.

Analyzing Saturn’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Neptune in Capricorn wants everyone to get rewards for working hard.

Neptune in Capricorn wants everyone to get rewards for working hard.

Pluto in Scorpio

Pluto in Scorpio is in his own sign, and according to the Tradition, he is most potent and at his best; fantasies, powerful instincts, strong domineering tendencies, outbursts of passions…

With your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can be intense, but you fight hard for what you believe is right. You’re determined and can deal with your inner issues. You don’t care for the rules, are willful, and desire intense experiences.

This generation is a powerful one. There are probably many early anime characters from this generation because there was a burst of magical girls and martial arts animes throughout the 1990s (XD). Their intense will, their transformative power, and fixed passions have helped them succeed in areas unheard of. When Sakura and all of her comrades focus this will, they are all unbeatable. It is not shocking that Sakura’s power continued to increase throughout the series. Pluto in Scorpio individuals mostly want the power to control their own lives and they will do whatever it takes to achieve that.

Analyzing Mars’s and Pluto’s signs would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Pluto in Scorpio is passionate and powerful.

Pluto in Scorpio is passionate and powerful.

Syaoran Li

syaoran_li_1

Sun in Cancer

Your nature is impressionable. Your sensitivity is very developed and allows you to feel the influences of your environment and to draw your sensations and your feelings from surrounding ambiances. You are very receptive to your family roots, to your past and sometimes, to history. Your imagination is the refuge where you enjoy diving, on your own. The subtleness of your emotions is difficult to render. It is impossible for a cell – family, social, professional – to function by itself without homogenous references, without a “family likeness”(Note: The Li Clan is his life). You are able to convince your close friends to digest their differences and their specificities and to create an intimate relationship in which you can happily show your worth. Should an agent for cohesion be missing, and should everything seem too diverse or scattered, you are probably the most capable to unify the whole group: one after the other, you digest your surrounding characteristics and, as time goes by, you turn into the most perfect representative of your environment. You may need to handle hostility without shutting down the lines of dialogue. You must also learn to develop the fighting spirit that your sign lacks, so that your receptivity can be fully expressed.

Cancer, you are the fourth sign in the zodiac, and are a sensitive and emotional sign. You feel everything deeply, and are easily wounded as a result. When you get wounded, you hide in your shell, not wanting anyone to have the chance to hurt you again. You need to work on developing thicker skin so you don’t keep yourself locked away from people so much. Opening up emotionally would be good for you because it’ll help you have more closer relationships with people that will support you, and you need plenty of support if you’re going to feel safe in this dangerous world. You like to be comfortable, which tends to make your home your most favorite place on Earth. You’ll make it a cozy, inviting place that everyone loves, and it’s a good place for you to relax. Because you can relax at home, you tend to come across differently there, more like your true self, so if you come across as loud and flashy, you’ll be quiet and shy at home, and vice versa. At times, you can be quite ambitious, whether it’s with your work or your personal life, and you want to have some success in your life to create stability. You’re not someone who goes against tradition, and you prefer to go with conventional methods. Being daring or adventurous usually isn’t something you strive for, and you don’t understand why people can’t be happy with the way things have always been. It could be good for you to open up your mind though. You tend to experience life through your emotions, and you neglect your mind and body to a degree. If you want to gain more control over your emotions, you should try to form stronger connections to your mind and body. If you can do that, there wouldn’t be much that you couldn’t do, and you’d always feel secure, safe, and comfortable, no matter where you are.

Cancer Sun (Dominant Parental Figures in Life-Father, Older Siblings, Guidance Counselors, Teachers, Female Leaders of Family, etc ): If your Sun is in Cancer, then your Sun parents probably appeared to you to be very nurturing. Your earliest memories might be of your Sun parent reading you a story and tucking you in at night. If you had a boo-boo, the sun parent would clean it, put a band-aid on and seal it with a kiss (even if it were an imaginary cut). Going to the zoo, grocery shopping, or even cooking a meal together was always fun with your sun parent! If you have the sun in Cancer, your relation to your sun parent is one of deep affection, where both of you feel very committed to each other. You are also both quite protective, sometimes in ways that lead to frustration, because you both feel that you know what’s best for the other. Still, your bonds are unlikely to ever break, and you cherish each other’s company, without the need to either speak or do anything in particular.

His sun is clearly evident from the beginning. Sun in Cancer individuals have a strong tie to their family history and lineage. In fact, they are proud of where they come from. From the beginning, Syaoran has shown pride in his family, the Li Clan, and the fact that he is a descendant of the all-powerful sorcerer Clow Reed. The fact that he wears his robes in almost every combat scene shows that he’s not afraid to wear his pride on his sleeve. Syaoran has also shown that he’s generally interested in all history, especially when Sakura’s dad (an archeologist and university professor) visited their school.

The Sun even shows what makes us confident and happy. Syaoran may have been a little grumpy throughout the story because he had to leave his loved ones behind in Hong Kong. Sun in Cancer denotes an individual who is happy when surrounded by people they care about. In the anime, Sakura noted that Syaoran seemed “happier” when Wei (his Butler and martial arts trainer) moved to Japan to live with him.

He’s moody (Cancer being influenced by the tides of the moon) and often lets his emotions get the best of him (regarding Yukito and Sakura XD). But his sensitivity also hides a caring and compassionate side.

Can I also add that he’s domestic? Sun in Cancer men know how to take care of themselves fully, being both businessmen and great cooks and cleaners at the same time. Syaoran has shown several times that he is capable of performing tasks that are deemed more domestic, like cooking and sewing.

There is one thing that is super common among Sun in Cancer males: Their mother and sisters rule the roost in some fashion. It’s not uncommon to find Sun in Cancers in single parent homes where mother is both father and mother to the children. Older sisters and grandmothers may live in the home as well. Cancer is ruled by the moon, the planet associated with “mothers” and “women” in general, and often this means her influence is dominant in the child’s life, for better or worse. Syaoran’s mother is a single parent and is in charge of their family. In this case, Syaoran will often have to submit to women in his life if he expects to be respected. XD This even happened in his relationship with Sakura.

Still, Syaoran isn’t an uber dominant person unless he feels he needs to protect something. In his case, he was determined to make sure the Clow Cards, a precious family heirloom, got into the right hands. That is mostly when he exercises his will. For most males, the Sun’s energy is very important and usually defines their manhood.

Sun in cancers normally have keen intuition. Syaoran’s senses are sharp and he recognizes the importance of listening to his gut instincts.

The Sun is most evident in males, being one of the masculine planets. Many of Syaoran’s heros or those men he admires may have association with the moon, like Yukito.

With your natal Sun sextile or trine your natal Jupiter in Pisces, you don’t stay down for very long about things. Good things tend to come your way more easily, and you try to remain positive and generous no matter what you’re going through. You’re easy to get along with, and have a good heart. You have a good sense of humor and love to laugh.

Being an introverted sign, this aspect will probably come out more when he’s alone, at home, with close friends, or in intimate settings, rather than with a group of associates. But Syaoran definitely doesn’t stay down for long. Despite his initial harsh nature, he seemed to quickly get over the Final Judgment with the Clow cards (unless of course you count the WB dub).

With your natal Sun square or opposite your natal Mars in Capricorn, your energy is abundant and it’s hard to control, especially in your younger years. You were the kid bouncing off of the walls and always getting injured. You need to learn how to focus your energy into something productive, have an outlet for it, otherwise it drives you mad. You have the drive to get things done, and can act impulsively. Your temper can get the better of you at times. You’re not someone who avoids problems, but rather goes right at them, so you can get through difficulties and use the experience to your advantage.

With his Mars, his focus is better than the average person with this aspect. However, Sun in Cancer has knocked his focus out of whack, especially when he felt strong feelings of love. Eriol has had to constantly remind him to calm down and focus better. XD

Syaoran definitely has quite the temper, but he tackles problems head on. He never hesitates to go after Clow Cards when he first senses them.

Analyzing the Moon’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

syaoran-cancer

Sun in Cancer is very receptive to their family roots, to their past, and to history.

Moon in Vir* (Moon is near Libra)

On the day and at the time of your birth, the Moon was in the sign of Virgo. You have a strong need for security and your constant concern is to keep your intimate environment under control. You treasure and you protect all the things that make you feel comfortable. You have no exaggerated ambitions, no grandiose and boundless dreams. You only strive to organize all the elements of your everyday life, to find a place for each thing and to improve yourself. You can relax only if your habits are not disturbed by external events. You are selective in your intimate sphere and with your attachments, you are perfectly organized and in line with the self-set rules you establish as time goes by. For you, life is a puzzle composed of human pieces, a chessboard where you move according to an obvious logic. Daily landmarks and well-known items are important to you. You have the soul of a collector.

A master of the details, that’s Virgo Moons. You like having things to do and feeling like you’re needed, and don’t mind doing the kinds of things most of us find boring if people show you proper appreciation for it. Depending on other factors, you might be more than happy just living a normal life, which other people may not understand (since most of us are pretty unrealistic!). You like structure and organization, and you might be one of those people who cleans when they’re stressed out. Others may think you’re too predictable, but you’re likely okay with that (unless you’re an Aquarius!), and you’re pretty dependable. When you’re unhappy or stressed, you’re probably a nag and can whine with the best of them. You can be overly analytical and have problems with your nerves. You need to learn how to relax and let yourself just be. You can be too hard on yourself sometimes, and if not handled well, an excessive perfectionist (Note: It must have sucked when he lost the Clow Cards to Sakura… ). Hey, we all have flaws, it’s okay! If you’ve got a good sense of humor, then you’re probably self-deprecating (in a good-natured way). In relationships, you’re usually not one for grand gestures, but do a lot of little, everyday things. You like being of service to people and feel you have a purpose.

Nurturing Parental Figures in Life (Mother, Female Influences, Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Father, Grandparents, Older Siblings): Your Virgo Moon parent is mentally thorough and methodical. You get the sense that he or she has given substantial thought to any project before ever making the first move. When you ask a question, this parent doesn’t just toss back an instant response. Instead, you may hear several questions to clarify and explore the situation. In the process, you often come to your own conclusion. This parent teaches you how to approach problem solving by helping you to develop choices and make decisions. Sometimes it seems like this parent misses good opportunities by holding back a bit too long. You may want to jump in, metaphorically speaking, whereas your parent explores the depth and temperature of the water first. Generally you discover that your parent has been ahead of the curve all along. He or she has held back to allow a situation to play out before committing to a specific course of action, not because of hesitation, but because foresight suggests that shifts will occur in the playing field. While this approach may not work for you, this parent pulls it off time and time again. You sometimes feel that this parent is super critical of your behavior. You may feel that your schoolwork brings nothing but criticism, or your appearance is scrutinized constantly. Even your feeling life is open to criticism. Unfortunately, this kind of criticism is remembered long after any praise is forgotten. Your Virgo Moon parent has the capacity to study any subject deeply. If you share an interest, expect to delve deeply into the subject. Years later, your parent may continue to come up with adaptations or considerations relating to the subject. From this person you learn how to get a broad overview and then gather data to flesh out every area of the subject. You probably saw your moon parent as a bit critical and nagging at times. Proper and conservative, with a strong desire to care for the family, she may have gone unnoticed as one of the most devoted mothers. It would have been ok with her; her satisfaction comes from knowing she raised her children right.

The Moon is in Virgo, ruler of his Sun sign. This is partially why Syaoran is so good at domestic things. Virgo is clean, tidy, and useful at all times. It’s no wonder he was able to live by himself (in the manga only) and fully take care of himself!

The Moon in Virgo is also why he treasures the Clow Cards and seeks to collect them.

Moon in Virgos work hard. They need to work at something, especially at improving themselves. Syaoran, even after the Final Judgment, continued to train and increase his power just to be of use. In fact, he wanted to collect the Clow Cards to increase his power, to improve his power.

Sure, Syaoran can be very critical. But he’s critical because he cares. The Clow Cards were very important to him and he wanted to make sure they were handled efficiently.

Moon in Virgos can be perfectionists. When Syaoran didn’t do well on the flute test, he continued to practice after it was all over. He also dedicates himself to learning Japanese and actually spoke fluently throughout the story.

Moon in Virgos don’t get close to others easily, but when they do they treasure every moment with them. Syaoran didn’t get close to people easily, but to the ones he considered friends, he protected and cared for them.

The Moon rules the mother or nurturing figures. It’s clearly evident that Syaoran’s mother is very hard on him (as we can tell from the movie). She also has high expectations of him, which is why she sent him to help Sakura capture the Clow Cards. It’s probably one of the reasons Syaoran works so hard. He really seeks his mother’s approval.

With your natal Moon square or opposite natal Jupiter in Pisces, you want to help people, but can go too far and hurt yourself in the process, or try to give far more than you’re capable of. You can forgive people too easily when you shouldn’t. Your emotions can go too high or too low at times, and you have to learn to rein yourself in and deal with reality. You can be lazy and indulgent, expecting everyone to do everything for you. Conversely, you can do too much for others.

Analyzing Mercury’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Moon in Virgos are happy with the simple things, just living a normal life.

Moon in Virgo is happy with the simple things, just living a normal life.

Mercury in Leo (Some Consider Falling)

In your chart, Mercury is in Leo. You want to explain and to control complex situations. You express yourself straightforwardly and directly, at the risk of hurting your entourage. Communication means to figure out the character and the specificity of each individual; you need to understand and to define the personality of your interlocutor so as to clarify the relationship. On the human plane, you are sensitive to power struggles and to the power exerted.

With your natal Mercury in Leo, you talk with flair, and you command people’s attention. You express yourself with warmth and this gets people on your side. You’re strongly connected to your beliefs, stubbornly so at times, and can be a little proud. You need to express yourself, and may be a creative person. You can be a great speaker, with passion and flair. You need to watch for believing that your thoughts, opinions, and ideas are better than everyone else’s, and be more open to what other people have to contribute (This was felt at the beginning of the story). If you have a proper outlet for expression, this can be curbed, so make sure you’re not holding anything in and are properly expressing yourself.

In fact, Syaoran thought he knew so much about the Clow Cards, he overlooked the thoughts and opinions of the Guardian Beast of the Seal! This is partially why some people think Mercury is falling in Leo. Their pride is often connected with their thinking, and sometimes they overlook facts and logic to save their dignity.

Fortunately, Mercury in Leos like to appear competent. They often try to learn all they can to become intelligent beings. Most of the time, they have room to be proud of what they know and what they believe.

When Syaoran turned his speaking abilities towards comforting others, he was just as effective.

With your natal Mercury square or opposite your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can become obsessed easily. It’s difficult to pull yourself back once you get into something. Trusting people is a problem because you always think they have malicious intent, and you’ll keep digging until you find something that proves you’re right, at least in your own head. You can use your determined mind to your advantage through your work, if you can corral it.

XD

With your natal Mercury sextile or trine your natal Saturn, you have mental discipline and can focus when you need to. You’re honest and expect the same in return. You’re a reliable person, someone who’ll always do what they say they will. You’re good at making plans and sticking with them.

Mercury in Leo normally picks and chooses what they want to focus on, but with Saturn easily working with his Mercury, he is able to focus on any subject, even his least favorite subjects. His mental focus is probably why math is his favorite subject. Saturn makes him a good student.

Analyzing the Sun’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Mercury in Leo command people's attention.

Mercury in Leo commands people’s attention.

Venus in Virgo (Falling)

Venus describes your affective life. On the day of your birth, she is found in Virgo. The control of your emotions is essential to you. You need to understand all the aspects of your sentimental life. Therefore, you do not commit your affectivity in tortuous or hazardous paths. This attitude may be interpreted as a form of reserve, of modesty or of shyness (Note: Blush alert 😛 ). You complicate your amorous relationships for fun… Moderation in all things, even and particularly in love! Appearances are misleading: your behaviour may seem cautious, even shy or timid, however, your affectivity is strong… Your heart is discreet and its impulses are controlled and moderate. You do not want your relationship to run out of your control. Your soul is loyal, you are helpful when necessary and you avoid crises, clashes and tragedies in order to not endanger your couple. You are keen to maintain the balance of your unions. But, as you strive too relentlessly to keep your happiness intact, you may lose it. You do not dare to play the games of passion and of love at first sight. You fear burning feelings. In these conditions, it is important that you do not smother your emotions and you take the risk of experiencing a passionate love. Feelings cannot be calculated and they obey very few laws.

With your natal Venus in Virgo, you take a practical approach to love. You may not be the most romantic of people, but you’re incredibly dedicated, and you show how much you care by doing lots of little things for your partner and paying attention to all of the little details of their personality and life. At times, you can point out what they’re doing wrong too much, but in your mind, you’re just trying to help them be the best they can be. You don’t want someone who is too clingy or dishonest. You’re also not fans of people who seem too flashy and want to be the center of attention (Note: Meilin ahem). You don’t need to be in a relationship, and can be a bit insecure in love, so this keeps you from being in many of them, and you take your time getting to know someone first. (Note: Sakura and Syaoran have opposite Venus signs XD)

Syaoran’s Venus is in the falling sign of Virgo. He’s not the most romantic guy around, and it’s hard for him to warm up to people, too. He’s very much a loner. In the anime, Meilin mentioned how he stayed to himself and hardly mingled with others.

Venus in Virgos are really just shy. They also are particular about who they choose for company because they are so shy. Once he’s devoted his life to someone, he’s sweet, caring, and there for those he loves when they need him. Venus in Virgos do subtle things for the ones they love, things people don’t often notice (like he made the teddy bear and hid it for the longest time).

Unlike Sakura, with the exalted Venus, it was hard for others to warm up to him because he was super honest (or critical if you prefer to use that word). But when he does love someone, his feelings are sincere and real (and clear, unlike Sakura’s). In fact, he criticizes those he likes! Venus in Virgos like those who are efficient and perfect, but they always end up falling in love with the “imperfect” ones, those who need them. Tomoyo pointed out in the Sealed Card movie that Syaoran fell in love with the “unsophisticated” part of Sakura. That sums up Venus in Virgo. Many times, no matter how critical they are, they love to be around imperfect people because it helps them insert themselves in their loved ones’ lives.

One thing I always notice about Venus in Virgos is that they never want love to interfere with real life. Yes, many don’t see love as a practical part of life. And they think some people tend to act their most absent-minded when in love, too. They don’t want to be those kind of people. They don’t feel comfortable “losing their mind” just because they are in love. XD And feelings of love can release all kinds of emotions that can cloud the mind. They see it more as something they should invest in when they have the time. They try to control their feelings even more when they work alongside someone they love. Syaoran had this problem often. He found that the real solution to having better focus was to release his feelings so that they wouldn’t be a burden to him when he needed to be of use.

With your natal Venus square or opposite your natal Saturn in Sagittarius, you can have a hard time expressing the love you have for someone. Something stands in the way, and you have to confront whatever it is first before you can open yourself up. You may have a better time managing this aspect as you get older, and you learn to lighten up a little.

With your natal Venus sextile or trine your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you have a gentleness to you, are charming, and can express yourself creatively. You have an active imagination and want everything in the world to be beautiful. You’re a generous person, though you may give too much at times.

With your natal Venus sextile or trine natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can see right through people and situations. You know how to use resources well, and gravitate towards relationships that allow you to transform yourself. You’re passionate without being overwhelming, and know how to sway people to your side.

Analyzing Mercury’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

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Venus in Virgo individuals’ appearances are misleading: their behaviour may seem cautious, even shy or timid, however, their affectivity is strong

Mars in Capricorn (Exalted)

The planet Mars indicates how you react to life concrete stimulations. It also describes your fighting spirit, your abilities to stand for yourself and to take action. With Mars in Capricorn, your fortitude is quite exceptional. You strive to control your passions and your instincts and to keep a cool-head under all circumstances (Note: I’m sure his Sun in Cancer, the opposite sign, makes this very difficult). This is probably the reason of your strength. You show firmness with others and with yourself. In the course of an action, you are able to make sustainable, strong and well-structured efforts. You may be criticized for your lack of adaptability. Your first reaction is to immutably remain your true self. This propensity to stability, although it may slow down your initiatives, is very valuable, in many circumstances: your reactions are in line with your own values and you are not destabilized by prevailing trends and fleeting fashions… and by advice given to you!

With your natal Mars in Capricorn, you have control over your energy and focus. You come up with long-term goals and you stick to them easily. You like working hard, and you want to feel as though you’re achieving something in life. Your drive is towards success, and you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. You can hold in too much when you get riled up, and over time, that bottling up of emotion (especially anger) can lead to all sorts of problems. On the surface, you can seem like you’re as cold as stone, despite how grounded you are. You have great self-discipline, and you won’t waste any time on anything that you shouldn’t. You demand the best of yourself, sometimes expecting too much, and dedicate yourself to work even more when you’re upset.

Mars is considered the other masculine planet, and Syaoran’s is exalted. Mars is normally passionate, but impulsive and without control. With his Mars in Capricorn, he has the passion, but the mental focus and drive to put his energy somewhere.

Syaoran is focused and hard-working. He will do all it takes to succeed, letting nothing stop him. Sure, he may come across cold on his climb to success (aspects can alter this), but he will make sure the job gets done. The only thing that takes him off-guard at times is his own emotions (because of his Sun sign and the opposition aspect). But most times he tries to stay in control.

If Sakura hadn’t had loads of support, this boy definitely would’ve become the new master in a heartbeat. His determination to prove his worth was unbeatable and even Kero had to acknowledge (in the anime) when Syaoran deserved a Clow Card. He put a tremendous amount of energy into helping Sakura collect and transform the Clow Cards, even sacrificing his own magic and body in the confrontation against Eriol. This same drive brought him all the way from his hometown, Hong Kong, to Japan so he could work on his mission. He sacrificed the comforts of home and the familiarity of family and friends to accomplish his goal. Since the Sun is what makes us happy, he even sacrificed his own happiness (being around his loved ones) just to collect the cards. That is some serious ambition.

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, planet of time and wisdom. Most people with this placement handle their energy in a mature fashion. Syaoran was hard on Sakura, but he was also good motivation and a good coach. He made full use of his energy at all times and was always prepared.

With your natal Mars sextile or trine your natal Jupiter in Pisces, you believe in yourself, and this allows you to do more than most. You can embark on new projects and adventures with enthusiasm and drive. You’re a positive person and try not to be too serious. You’re always trying to see just how much more you can do.

Analyzing Saturn’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

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Mars in Capricorn wants to be successful and will do whatever it takes to get there.

Jupiter in Pisces (Domicile)

Jupiter in Pisces increases your natural generosity and your dedication capacity. Your empathy is strong and you are inclined to offer your strength and your enthusiasm to the most deprived people and to give unlimited assistance to others. Your imagination is powerful and your feelings may flare up easily: with your sensitivity on the alert and your unbridled affectivity, you belong to the category of people who intuitively detect other people’s sufferings and most valuable qualities of the heart, as if you were a human radar.

With your natal Jupiter in Pisces, you’re a compassionate person, and through your compassion, you can accomplish a lot. Help those who can’t help themselves, and be kind to everyone. You have a strong spiritual side, and just want everyone to get along, believing very much in the mantra, make love not war. Let your imagination soar.

Having Jupiter in the traditional domicile, one of the original homes of Jupiter, Syaoran’s faith is powerful. Syaoran understands the full meaning of faith, understanding that through good and bad times, that someone or something will get you through the worst of times.

This is why, in the end, Syaoran was there to remind Sakura of her invincible spell when she almost gave out. Deep down, Syaoran is kind, as Sakura and Tomoyo often point out about him. And when he performs acts of kindness, he will gain more benefits than he can imagine.

Jupiter in Pisces gives a strong spiritual leaning. This touch with the spiritual world was why he was able to master his own magic before he got hold of the Clow Cards and why he was able to channel this energy so well. He understands the nature of things others do not understand. Syaoran is like a “human radar”. He can immediately detect power and intentions. He also knows when someone is suffering and jumps to the rescue. Many times, he does so without acknowledgement (like when dealing with the Power Card).

Jupiter also rules the higher mind and higher learning, particularly with one field of interest in mind. With Jupiter in Pisces, it’s easy to see that Syaoran’s particular field of interest would be something magical, spiritual, or metaphysical.

Analyzing Neptune’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

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Jupiter in Pisces’s empathy is strong; they can intuitively detect others’ suffering.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius limits your taste for exoticism and for rebellion. On the other hand, he strengthens your sense of responsibilities and your authority. You focus on what is concrete and real and you avoid venturing into unknown territories.

With your natal Saturn in Sagittarius, you take your beliefs seriously. You believe in them strongly, and can have a hard time being open-minded and accepting of other views, yet you try hard to appear to be open. You may have had a hard time with school early in life, and had to teach yourself.

Saturn often puts a limitation on expansion when in Sagittarius. For Syaoran, this didn’t stop him from traveling, but it put “necessity” behind his travels. In other words, he only traveled to Japan because it was a necessity for him. Of course, Saturn placed plenty of obstacles in front of him in Japan, but all of these experiences made him wiser and more mature.

Saturn in Sagittarius also reveals that Syaoran takes his academics seriously. Sagittarius rules scholars and higher learning, particularly when it comes to mastering one subject. Syaoran studied and worked hard to master his magic and learn all he could about his family’s magic. He took it seriously.

Analyzing Jupiter’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

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Saturn in Sagittarius believe in their own beliefs strongly.

Generational Influences

Uranus in Sagittarius

Uranus in Sagittarius gives you the taste for feats and extraordinary adventures: as you are caught in the desire to discover, at any cost, you may become a hero, a conqueror, an explorer or, on the symbolic plane, a pioneer in such matters as philosophy, politics, economy or spirituality.

With your natal Uranus in Sagittarius, you’re an intuitive person and drawn to alternative beliefs. You want to help people, but you may not be reliable. You can be brutally honest at times, and don’t care if it gets you in trouble. You want to push through boundaries, are unconventional, and independent.

Syaoran became one of the heroes and the explorer within the story. You can’t tell me he didn’t feel some spirit of adventure when he left Hong Kong for Japan, right? 😉

Syaoran was interested in new philosophies and magic, which is a part of his generation’s path.

Analyzing Jupiter’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Uranus in Sagittarius is intuitive and drawn to alternative beliefs.

Uranus in Sagittarius is intuitive and drawn to alternative beliefs.

Neptune in Capricorn

 Neptune in Capricorn brings a touch of humanity and emotion into your ambition made of cold and calculated vision. Or, on the contrary, it may disrupt your precise and clear vision of your professional future.

With your natal Neptune in Capricorn, you want to achieve something in your life, and can be practical with your creative ideas. When it comes to your beliefs, you can go for traditional views, or find inspiration through the arts. You may wish life was more fair and rewarded hard work more than it does, and have to learn to accept life as it is.

I think, throughout the story, Syaoran learned how to implement humanity into his calculated vision. He admitted that when he first moved to Japan, all he cared about was collecting the Clow Cards and enhancing his own magic. But after meeting Sakura and the gang, Syaoran learned to do things for others.

Syaoran didn’t fully get what he wanted in the end, and maybe he didn’t feel it was fair, which was more evident in the WB dubbed version. 😦 But Syaoran did win the heart of the one he loved. That’s a victory in itself.

His future is just as unclear as Sakura’s and all the other characters in the series. Anything is possible for them, I suppose.

With your natal Neptune sextile or trine your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you have an active imagination, and are an intuitive person. You can follow your dreams and make them real, and it happens more smoothly.

Analyzing Saturn’s sign would give more clarity to this interpretation.

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Neptune in Capricorn can be practical with their creative ideas.

Pluto in Scorpio

Pluto in Scorpio is in his own sign, and according to the Tradition, he is most potent and at his best; fantasies, powerful instincts, strong domineering tendencies, outbursts of passions…

With your natal Pluto in Scorpio, you can be intense, but you fight hard for what you believe is right. You’re determined and can deal with your inner issues. You don’t care for the rules, are willful, and desire intense experiences.

This generation is a powerful one. There are probably many early anime characters from this generation because there was a burst of magical girls and martial arts animes throughout the 1990s (XD). Their intense will, their transformative power, and fixed passions have helped them succeed in areas unheard of. When Syaoran and all of his comrades focus this will, they are all unbeatable. Syaoran came to Japan to increase his own power. This generation is mostly focused on having power over their own lives and will do whatever it takes to achieve that.

Analyzing Mars’s and Pluto’s signs would give more clarity to this interpretation.

Pluto in Scorpio is passionate and powerful.

Pluto in Scorpio is passionate and powerful.

Hope you Cardcaptor Sakura fans (and other readers) enjoyed it! Was it enlightening? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

If you have any extra information, please share!

‘Fantastic Beasts (And Where To Find Them)’ Is Fantastically Magical (Movie Review)

21 Nov

I haven’t been this satisfied coming out of a movie theater since I went to go see the first Hunger Games movie.

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At a time when immigrants still had to travel through Ellis Island to land in the USA, a time when bell caps and bobs were a fashion trend, a time when mothers would make their children take off their own belts just to spank them with it (and there were hardly any abuse laws), the movie invites us back in time to the 1920s.

Mix magic and mystery with a little history, and you’ve got the gist of this movie.

The movie is inspired by a published book of the same name, and is meant to be both a prequel to and spin-off of the Harry Potter series, taking place 70 years before the start of the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling, of course, is the author of both. She also took the role of screenwriter for this film. It’s no wonder the movie was so interesting and engaging.

Five films have been planned for the series already. Warner Bros. is in charge of it again, which I’m thankful. (Sidenote: I wish they would also go back to producing American Girl’s films as well). They love to take on projects dealing with New York (remember the Dark Knight?)

Harry Potter put magic in the hands of youth. This movie is putting magic in the hands of experienced adults. Yet, though most of the characters in the movie most were adults, the child in all of us was released. I felt that I could see myself in the only main character without magic. I was spellbound.

We are introduced to an interesting protagonist, who distinctly but humbly leaves his head lowered in most cases, named Newt Scamander. He is a “beast rights activist” of sorts. He travels from England to the USA to collect rare creatures and release rare creatures back into their natural habitats. He captures these beasts within his briefcase. Walking the streets of New York City, Newt stops at a meeting that seeks to hunt down “witches”, sparked by disastrous events that have been happening in the city. While among this crowd, one of the creatures escapes Newt’s briefcase, causing mayhem at a New York City bank. This is the beginning of a fascinating and complex story.

The pacing of the movie was not bad. There are many scenes dedicated to showing off the visuals, especially when focusing on the beasts themselves. There were a lot of action scenes, magical scenes, mysterious scenes. There were few plot holes, aside from things deliberately left out. It was well-told.

Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, anyone could appreciate and understand this story. It was written in a way that can introduce newcomers to the franchise. The story only makes slight connections to the Harry Potter series.

For Harry Potter fans, there are quite a few “easter eggs” throughout. Mentions of Hogwarts, the spell “Alohomora”, and Dumbledore are just some of the familiar things mentioned in Fantastic Beasts. Mostly, though, Fantastic Beasts may feel like an entirely different series. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US), Fantastic Beasts is a textbook that Harry and his friends had on their reading lists. It’s a book describing the magical beasts in their universe. But the stories seem unique from one another, though the heart is still there. Everyone can go into this series with a fresh outlook with few expectations as a result.

David Yates returns as director and David Heyman returns as producer along with Lionel Wigram. With this team, this movie turned out to be a success.

I recommend people see this movie. It can be good for the whole family, but it may go over the heads of very small children.

10/10

5 Reasons To Love Cardcaptor Sakura

18 Oct

For the past three weeks, I’ve been binge watching an old Japanese anime from my childhood: Cardcaptor Sakura. This year marks Cardcaptor Sakura‘s 20th year anniversary, and it looks like CLAMP has added a new arc to the Cardcaptor Sakura series to celebrate: The Clear Card Arc. There is also an anime project in the works. ❤ I did happen to read the first five chapters of the new arc. So far…Regrettably…I’m once again addicted. XD

Recently, I got wind that Cardcaptor Sakura had also been re-dubbed by Animax. As an anime fan, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to watch it up.

A little bit of nostalgia and a little bit of a fascination with mysteries and wonders in the world brought me into Cardcaptor Sakura in the first place. Re-watching it again, no matter how bad the dub sounds, how bad I have to focus to read subtitles, or how poor my Japanese skills are, I can’t help but want to watch and read the whole thing over and over again.

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No matter how many times I’ve watched this anime, I never get bored or tired of it. I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time. Why can’t I ever get tired of this anime? What about this anime draws me in every time?

Sure, there are plenty of great Shoujo animes out there. I’ve watched my share. But this one always seems to capture my heart every time I watch it. I usually consider myself tomboyish…But this anime brings out my “girlish” side (?). It’s just so darn sweet and cute. ❤

With that being said, I gathered 5 things I love about this anime and I would like to share them with you, readers, and maybe you might find you like these things about the anime too! For all of you newcomers to Cardcaptor Sakura, I recommend you give this manga/anime a try.

1 .Love Has No Definition

In the Cardcaptor Sakura universe, and fans know this, love isn’t clearly defined, isn’t one-dimensional, and it evolves. Truly, CLAMP, the writers of the source material, had no qualms with inculcating relationships that defy the traditional. In many respects, it was ahead of its time (since it did come out in the 1990s).

For instance, there is one couple in the series that consist of two teenage boys (though technically one isn’t human, but whatever). However you take their relationship, the material doesn’t hesitate to express that these two individuals love one another the most. They don’t turn this into something perverted or unaccepted. It seems to flow naturally in the story, is accepted, and is very romantic. It still carried a level of innocence that is not common with this kind of relationship. All of the relationships could be taken any way according to the reader. There are relationships between family that are highlighted to be stronger than relationships between lovers within this story. However you want to see love and romance, this story has a lot to offer.

Other relationships expressed in the story are still not considered acceptable. However, I applaud CLAMP’s bold approach to the romance genre and their ability to look outside of the box. Even with their canon romance, throughout everything, it was anything but boring.

I usually hate the romance genre. In anime especially, the love interest is usually super obvious and is developed long before the story takes off. It makes the following episodes boring. But I am completely obsessed with this story’s romance story.

2. Everything is Mysterious

I love anything mysterious and unexpected. Cardcaptor Sakura is full of magic and mystery. There was always a suspicious new character being introduced, always a mysterious card lying around, and the story behind most all of the characters are very peculiar and interesting. All of the characters could have their own spin-off series and it would be interesting. Though there was a lot of information left out, it didn’t stop the characters from growing,learning, and changing.

3. The Characters Are Layered And Evolve

Adding on from the last point, the characters are very individual, unique, and evolve. Even the characters one would think is the most stereotypical has something different happen to them that changes the character’s whole perspective on life, thus changing the reader’s opinion of them. The main character is an example of that. One would think that everyone would be in love with the main character. Isn’t that how it is in most Shoujo (directed to girls) anime? But not in this one. Though sure, everybody likes her, this character is not immune to heartbreak. And her idea of a love interest…certainly not someone people would initially think of as “love interest” material. In most shoujo anime, the main love interest is a handsome, tsundere/cheerful guy, who is usually older than the lead character. While this anime starts typically, it evolves into something entirely different…

All characters have strengths and weaknesses, annoying traits and charms. I can’t really say I hate any characters in the story.

4. The Music

This is particularly a point about the anime. The music is mystical and soothing at the same time. The scores are epic.

5. CLAMP-The Creators

What isn’t cool about an all female manga group? I’d say that’s pretty empowering. The four businesswomen who came together to make this project have managed to create a “stamp” for all of their creations. In many of their stories, there is always an element of mystery and intrigue. However, the most notably intriguing part of their animation is how similar all of their characters look. Many times, references are made regarding the similarities throughout most of their other anime and manga work. It almost seems like all of their characters are a part of one big universe and are all connected somehow.

There are four ways to get into the Cardcaptor Sakura story if you’re an English speaker: the translated manga, the Japanese anime subbed, the Nelvana dubbed version, and the Animax dubbed Version…

There are typically two arcs: The Clow Card arc and the Sakura Card arc. But, in the anime, they are covered by 3 seasons with 70 episodes in total. With the new Clear Card arc, there may be more. There are also two movies for the anime series.

The manga is the original source material. NONE of the animes are super close to the original story in the manga, not even the Japanese anime, aside from certain key events and characters. In the anime adaptations, there were many new scenes, extra cards collected, and new characters that weren’t in the manga. At the same time, the animes equally left out other interesting scenes you can only find in the manga. Still, the animes added all the main characters and the most important card scenes.

The Japanese anime was the first adaptation of the manga. You can watch this version with subtitles now.

The Nelvana dub changed the feeling and tone from the original Japanese anime. The cast sounded more “American” (with popular American names and customs replacing Japanese names and customs) and there are hardly any Japanese undertones. Many scenes were edited and chopped up, the opening and ending songs were changed, and the title was changed to Cardcaptors. Season 3 never aired on tv in some countries, so it may all be new to some Cardcaptors fans. They can be found online and in DVD sets. This anime was meant to appeal more to boys as well as girls. I enjoy the dubbing and music on this version. It feels more natural to me (and less cutesy 😉 ). It may be because I’m American and I started with this version. XD

The Animax version was meant to be the direct dub of the original Japanese anime. It does a decent job, but some parts aren’t completely dubbed, for whatever reason…

My advice is to read and watch whichever suits your fancy. I’ve found charms in all versions. ❤

Fans can also look forward to a new chapter in the story! I’m both excited and exasperated. I do love this anime and used to want to know what happened next. But I’m afraid that the anime will outwear its beautiful simplicity. I really liked where the manga and anime ended and I’m afraid things may be ruined or may turn sour with more added to the story. One thing that has ruined other anime and manga was having too many episodes and volumes. Everything must find an ending. I feel that this anime will be more of a gem where it’s at. At the same time, I wasn’t satisfied not seeing the rest. So maybe just one more arc would be fine…

I’ll tell you this…I don’t want to wait two more years before the anime is released. I hope the manga and anime are released simultaneously. I’m too excited! XD

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Have you watched this anime before? Do you agree with my reasons? If you love this story, what are your reasons for loving Cardcaptor Sakura? Do you plan to watch and have any more questions? I’m open to any discussions.

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Ever After High: Is Darling Charming Destined to Be Apple White’s “True Love”?

16 May

darling and apple

In this progressive age, there is recently a push for films, tv shows, and even webisodes to be more inclusive and universal. This means not only are people focused on race, culture, religion, and gender, but also sexual orientation.

Ever After High webisodes, inspired from the dolls, have come to the fore for breaking a mold: They allowed two girls to touch lips.

Iphone 5 Ever After High wallpaper

A little summary on the EAH series: The series follows the descendants of popular fairytale characters who attend the high school to follow in their “parents'” footsteps. Throughout the series, however, they learn that they can be in charge of their own destinies. Apple White is one of the main characters and she is adamant about following the “Royal” destiny, the destiny written for her in the Storybook of Legends (basically a contract in the fairytale world), which encourages her to live out her life like her mother (Snow White) did. Raven Queen is her polar opposite in every way. She is represented as the “Rebel” deuteragonist. She was supposed to become the Evil Queen and villain in Apple White’s shining tale, but has decided that role doesn’t “fit” her. She is actually a “good girl”. She has “rebelled” against the Storybook of Legends and decided to re-write her own destiny.  In the movie Way to Wonderland, Raven Queen ripped out the pages of the Storybook so that she and other characters could write their own stories. Though the series was originally advertised as showing two different points of view, the actual series has mostly leaned toward the “rebel” side of things.

The Ever After High characters are all teenagers. Their high school was created by the “Grimm Brothers”, based off of two real-life German storytellers who were among the first to actually collect and publish the fairytales we know today. Of course, their versions were always more gruesome.

dragon games

In the recent Ever After High movie Dragon Games, Apple White had been choking on a piece of poison apple (given by Raven Queen’s evil mother). She ended up passing out (like Snow White did in the story). Daring Charming, her supposed “true love”, tried to kiss her, but his kiss didn’t work. So over struts Darling Charming, his heroic sister determined to be a knight. She gives Apple White “CPR” (which many think was a kiss). There is a magic light and then Apple awakens. This seemed to many to indicate that Darling Charming was actually destined to be Apple White’s “true love”.

This may seem like a proud day for the LGBTQ+ community. In so many respects, it is. It really is one of the few moments where two females in an animated show actually touched lips. It’s a step forward in showing children that the act is very normal.

But as progressive as it seems, I have doubts that the creators really intended to turn Darling Charming’s “CPR” into Apple White’s “true love’s kiss”. I do believe it was a play on “true love’s kiss”, but I believe the scene was mostly intended to show that “true love’s kiss” isn’t real by getting a random friend to save the day instead. They may have been trying to follow the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White tale closer, which never involved “true love’s kiss” at all.

I acknowledge that by giving a “princess” the job to “kiss” instead of a prince, it was meant to make Darling appear more “knight-like” instead of like the stereotypical princess most Royal girls subscribe to. She did want to prove she could save other princesses like the princes, and that a girl can do the “kissing” (or CPR) and save the day, too. However, in the end, I do not think these girls will end up being lovers. There are several indications in the webisodes and throughout the movie that reveal the REAL intentions of the scene, and there are several indications that the chemistry between Darling and Apple is just not there.

Aside from the fact EAH creators already stated on Facebook that they aren’t lovers, there were signs long before the post that they weren’t mean to be.

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As told in recent fairy tales (not Grimm Brothers, who actually told a completely different story), “true love’s kiss” can only work when the person kissing the princess has prior romantic feelings for her. In Apple and Darling’s case, neither one of them have ever shown signs that they were romantically “in love” with each other prior to the CPR.  Even if the princes didn’t know the princesses so well, there were at least obvious signs they were physically attracted to the princesses. In Darling’s case, she hardly seems interested in Apple or even girls LIKE Apple. Therefore, how can it be that Darling is Apple’s “true love’s kiss” in this case? The only “loving” feeling Darling Charming has shown in the series is the love of friends…and it was that love for one of her friends that led her to try and save Apple’s life. This is definitely the “family-friendly” message a Mattel product would be sending.

Friendship is a recurring theme throughout the Dragon Games movie, as with all of these movies and shows nowadays. With Frozen proving that the love of a sister is more powerful than romantic love and with My Little Pony‘s “Friendship is Magic” motto, Ever After High wants to use the same effective message to increase the bond of their female characters. They seemed determined to prove that the love between friends was just as powerful, if not more powerful, than “romantic” love.

Second, as the series seems to lean toward the “rebel” side of things, it’s also likely that the movie seemed to be showing that “true love’s kiss” isn’t necessary and is basically non-existent. Though it’s still considered pretty “magical” in the fairytale world, it is really looked at as an outdated joke, especially among those characters that want to re-write their own destinies.

Darling is one of those characters that just doesn’t care about destiny. She defied her destiny. Darling’s destiny was to be the next “Princess Charming”. In tradition, according to the Ever After High book Once Upon a Time: A Story Collection (canon to the series, as author Shannon Hale works with the web series as well), princess charmings were mostly damsels-in-distress. This was her actual destiny.

So, obviously, it’s not possible for her to have been destined to be “princess charming” or the “hero” in Apple White’s story. She wasn’t destined to save anyone and become their true love. Her destiny wasn’t even intertwined with “true love’s kiss”. She doesn’t seem to be following any one set story (considering she saved Duchess from a tower in a recent book and took on the alias as the White Knight in the Way to Wonderland episodes), and she wouldn’t let one act of heroism decide love for her either, even if she were “destined” to be Apple White’s “true love”. It’s likely she’d just rebel against that, too. She doesn’t appear to be the kind of character that likes to be controlled by “written destinies”.

She chose to become a savior rather than a damsel-in-distress. She decided NOT to follow any destiny she doesn’t want to, and that includes the concept of “true love’s kiss”. That’s why I believe she chose to perform “CPR” instead of a real kiss.

Overall, making a choice doesn’t equal destiny.

Furthermore, from her profile, she has stated the type of “guys” she likes.

How could Mattel “intend” to make her Apple White’s “true love” if they already set her up to be interested in “guys”? They might have some “love” between them, like a sisterly or friendly love (though they never talked much or interacted much before the Dragon Games movie), but romantic lovers is a far-reaching conclusion.

Darling stated she “likes guys who are pure of heart”. This might change. She could have a coming out story later, maybe coming to terms with her attraction to girls, but I doubt that Apple White would be the one to drive her there.

Apple White has shown herself not to be “pure of heart” in any way (And I theorize that she’s REALLY the evil Queen). I mean, the girl is vain, looks in the same magic mirror that the evil queen once used, manipulates people and situations to achieve her own selfish desires, and does not have Snow White’s features (“hair black as ebony wood” is missing).

Darling Charming’s best friends are Raven Queen and Rosabella Beauty, girls that she admire for being “strong and standing up for what they believe in”. These are the types of girls she likes. Apple White has no part of that in her personality. If everything were left to Royal Apple White, Darling would still be a damsel!

Yes, Darling dared to “kiss”(perform CPR) on Apple, rescuing her the way any Prince Charming would. But if you think Apple White is the only princess she has saved, think again! It more than likely won’t be the last princess she “kisses” or performs CPR on. So are we to think that every princess she saves will be her true love?

In the Ever After High book Once upon a Twist: Duchess Lets Down Her Hair, Darling Charming rescues Duchess from a tower (usually the role of the prince). Normally, all the knights that rescue the damsels from the tower end up falling in love with the maiden. Darling saved Duchess. So, are they lovers now, too? It’s obvious that Darling just wants to be a hero and she wants to prove she’s just as capable of being a knight as her brothers and other male knights.

Now, we can take comfort in the fact that rather than be “destined” to kiss (or perform CPR) on Apple White, Darling simply chose to do it, which means she didn’t feel compelled or obligated to do it because of some written “fate”. At the same time, we also have to keep in mind that by choosing her own destiny, her actions won’t lead anywhere she doesn’t want it to.

This might mean she won’t see love like other “Prince” Charmings have. Most of those princes fell in love with the girl they kissed rather quickly, mostly just by looking at the girl, and some of them never truly developed a relationship with the princesses. Darling might not look at love the same way, and I am quite sure she would be much smarter about love than that. Darling has shown that she would rather get to know a person before claiming she’s “in love” with them.

Third, let’s look at the scene in totality. Yeah, sure, when the “kiss” (or CPR) happened, there was a magical “light” and she ended up coughing up a cloud of smoke. But if Darling really gave her true love’s kiss, wouldn’t the surrounding characters have reacted in a stronger way? “True Love’s Kiss” is a big deal in the fairytale universe (even if it is seen as mostly a myth). Darling Charming, as well as all the other characters in the movie, treated the whole scene as if it wasn’t a big deal, not as if the characters assumed Darling was destined to be Apple’s “true love”. Everyone was happy that Apple White was “saved”, but they didn’t acknowledge or question why Darling was the one to awaken Apple. Darling didn’t even think anything of it. Usually, when something is emphasized, like “true love’s kiss”, the narrator usually highlights it so that all surrounding viewers can fully understand what is being implied. But in this scene, the other characters (Even Darling!) just laugh it off nervously and make Apple believe it was Daring. Couldn’t it also be that there was a magical light because it was a magical curse that was uplifted? As the series is continuing to encourage that all characters can write their own destinies, this scene seems to be another nod to that revolutionary idea rather than the idea that Darling is her “true love”.

Some people have suggested that if it was really meant to be just CPR, then it would have been done “right” using the Heimlich Maneuver.  However, that is actually incorrect in this situation.  Darling actually did the only thing possible in this situation. I personally had a chance to take CPR courses myself.  What I discovered is that HM only works when the person is responsive enough to stand on their two feet.  When the choking victim becomes UNRESPONSIVE and unable to stand, there is no way you can perform HM (abdominal thrusts). You must perform CPR to get the person breathing again.  You give a couple of breaths first then apply pressure to the chest.   Darling started by breathing in air into Apple which was the right move. Despite the fact that it was just CPR, I do think it was supposed to be a nod to “true love’s kiss”, even if Darling isn’t really Apple’s “true love”.

The magical light and the coughed-out “smoke” (which others have confused for a heart) could’ve been the aftereffects of a broken spell. I believe the irony was the fact that true love’s kiss wasn’t needed and that a simple, unmagical solution, such as CPR, was enough. After all, the evil queen never said that “true love’s kiss” was the only way to break this spell in this story at all.

Finally, the Dragon Games scene seems to be a play on the Grimm Brother’s story of Snow White. It’s paying homage to the original tale. After all, they are the ones who “created” Ever After High.

The reason why most people have associated Snow White‘s story with “true love’s kiss” is because of Disney. What is irritating is that most people are only familiar with Disney’s version of these tales. It was my main gripe with Alice in Wonderland. Trying to explain to others how the 1985 Alice in Wonderland version was the most accurate adaptation is still an aggravating challenge…

The original story of Snow White mirrors Apple White’s situation in the Dragon Games movie. In the original Snow White tale, Snow White also choked on a poison apple. No one could revive her, NOT EVEN THE PRINCE. Snow White was actually awakened by the Prince’s SERVANTS! While carrying Snow White’s coffin, they stumbled on some roots and the poison chunk was lodged out of her throat

The original Grimm tale NEVER SAID “true love’s kiss” would break the spell. That’s Disney’s version. Therefore, a kiss was never needed to begin with! Therefore, it isn’t an indication of Darling’s love for Apple. It’s an indication that just about any solution could break the spell, without a prince’s kiss, just like in the original Snow White tale.

Read about the original story here: Grimm Brother’s Snow White

Considering Ever After High puts a lot of emphasis on “changing” destinies, the confusion surrounding the tales fit with the EAH series in a strange way. Because there are so many versions of these fairytales, it further shows that the characters have many destinies they can follow and can even write their own futures. If we were to assume that the “kiss” (CPR) makes Darling her “destined” true love, it would contradict with the message behind the Dragon Games movie and the message of the whole Ever After High series. That message encourages the characters to decide their own futures. Therefore, Darling is only Apple’s “true love” if Apple feels she should be. At this moment in time, Apple has not shown any romantic interest in Darling before or after the scene.

An EAH fan brought something to my attention as well: What may have lead Apple White to believe that a “kiss” was in her destiny may have been due to the fact that her mother told her a distorted view of her own tale. Snow White was asleep when the poisoned apple was lodged out of her throat. She really didn’t know WHO saved her! In the story, all she saw was a handsome prince standing before her. He did explain what had happened but from his perspective. She may not have known that a bump in the road is what saved her life. If Apple White were to truly follow in her mother’s footsteps, the reality is that Apple White is NEVER GOING TO GET “TRUE LOVE’S KISS”. But seeing as the story focuses on choosing our own destinies, hopefully she discovers that she can create her own “happy-ever-after”.

One fan of EAH, Sorafanchick,  made an interesting comment on Youtube about the controversy:

My theory is that in the EAH universe their  “destinies” are actually moreso “written destinies” rather than literal fate. These were “written destinies” in the Storybook Of Legends that characters were at one point forced to fulfill. These written “destinies” were formed into a contract and placed in the Storybook of Legends.  By signing The Storybook of Legends, each character was supposed to seal their “written” destinies, vowing to live just as their parents did and vowing to follow the laws of the Fairytale world. Remember Legacy Day? But when Raven tore the pages out of the Storybook of Legends and gave it to everyone in the Way to Wonderland movie, this allowed everyone to write their own destinies and make their own choices as to how their destinies should be fulfilled. This also gave Apple the freedom to choose how her destiny will be fulfilled.  Of course, Apple has always been more conservative than the others.

In the movie Dragon Games, which of course, comes to us a few years after the original “Legacy Day” webisode, the Dragon Games movie teaches Apple White that even if she does follow in her mother’s footsteps…how she chooses to go about doing that is her choice.  This means that she doesn’t have to do exactly as her mother did to gain the same results of “happily ever after”.  She learns that she can still fulfill the destiny “written” for her, and yet still she can also choose how and when that “written” destiny will be fulfilled.

I will also talk about Apple’s excitement with “true love’s kiss” and what may have happened as to why she believed this would happen in her future if she chooses to live like Snow White.
In the original Snow White story, I don’t believe Snow White actually KNEW how she awakened that day. (It is only the readers that are made aware that a piece of apple was lodged in her throat). The only thing Snow White saw when she awakened was a handsome prince standing over her. So I believe in the EAH series that Snow White believed her prince awakened her, thus she may have told Apple that a Prince will awaken her with “True Love’s Kiss” as well (with Snow White still actually being unaware of how she herself was awakened).
I believe that Mattel played on this trope, too. When Apple White awakens she is a little bewildered and then she also wakes up to see Daring standing over her (just like her mother Snow White did). Apple then asks “did my prince wake me up?” lol Only her friends know that she was not awakened by the prince, but Apple is left not knowing how she awakened.

Raven’s mother wanted to force the “written destiny” to be fulfilled, hence why she sent a poison apple and hence why the things transpired the way they did in Dragon’s Games.  This caused Apple to temporarily fall into the same situation her mother once was in.  Just as Raven’s evil mother wanted. But the difference is that the people around Apple make their own dreams and destinies come true, and instead of waiting for destiny, they took matters into their own hands. Rather than wait for destiny to be fulfilled (with [the prince’s servants] carrying Apple or a Prince’s kiss), Apple’s friend Darling, who is the most heroic and clever of the team, realizes that there may be another way to awaken Apple White.  She decides to use CPR so that Apple White can cough up the poison. In turn, this saves the day.

I do believe that sometimes Mattel does play around with the literal fates of the characters. lol The reason for this has a lot to do with Mattel wanting to highlight the character’s fairytale stories while still giving each character their own free will to choose how the story will end or begin.  After all, mostly the characters are identified more so by their respective fairytales rather than anything else in the EAH franchise, right?  So some things will seem a part of their “destinies”, simply because the characters are meant to represent certain fairytales…which means there will be bits and pieces from their original fairytales inculcated within the webisodes and movies. Their original fairytales were how they were born and how they became to be who they are as of right now. This is why Apple White pretty much ended up in the same situation as her mother at that one time.  But how she was awakened and how her story at that time ended was totally different from the original Snow White story.  This shows us that how the characters’ own personal stories are told in their FUTURES, regardless of their pasts or regardless of their origins, is still entirely up to the students of EAH no matter how many times their parents try to force their “written” destinies upon their children. We are ALL influenced by our own past and origins…therefore it will always be apart of our world…but what we do with our past and origins is actually entirely up to US.  We can’t control our past and origins, but we can control our futures.  I think this is the lesson The Dragon Games was teaching and really what the entire EAH series is teaching us.

I don’t believe Darling Charming was set up by Mattel to necessarily be Apple White’s destined true love.  If this is what Mattel wanted, they would’ve given more hints and there would have been some sort of astonishment from Apple White’s friends about it.  But nothing was said.  In fact, Darling herself was not astonished that she was the one to awaken Apple. Even if actions do awaken true love instead of the being itself…, still I would think that the characters and especially Darling would have given a bigger reaction than they did. After all, being someone’s true love’s kiss is usually a BIG DEAL in the fairytale universe, right?  But because there was hardly any reaction to this scenario that took place, to me this means that Darling’s CPR was not meant to be something important to the destiny of both characters.  To me, this means Mattel didn’t intend for this situation to mean anything life-changing…hence why they never made the characters react to the situation.

No one was astonished that it was Darling that awakened her.  Darling herself was not astonished or amazed or questioning why it was her instead of Daring, either.  Instead, everyone carried on as if it was no big deal.  And usually in movies and stories when a person awakens their “true love”, doesn’t this cause the characters to feel some sort of connection?  Darling just moved on and didn’t really care. She performed CPR and that was it. Her mission was completed.  That is how it felt to me.  And then no one else really cared to say anything and everyone just kind of chuckled as if they realized “True Love’s Kiss” was not needed after all.  This also led me to believe that the characters did not see this as “True Love’s Kiss”; that Mattel was not technically trying to imply Darling is Apple’s true love. The casual reaction from everyone led me to believe that Mattel wanted to play on storybook tropes, using empowering feminist messages that men are not the only ones who save the day; that other women can too in their own special way. Mattel has always encouraged that women can also save the day, and in this case they wanted to show that Darling Charming has her own way of saving Damsels in distress.  Instead of a kiss, she used something as simple as CPR to do the trick, which actually turned out to be what helped.  She defied storybook stereotypes; that only true love’s kiss can awaken the princess….I think this is what Mattel was intending to show in this regard.

For both lesbians and non lesbian women, the situation still redefines the idea that a princess must always be kissed by a prince. 🙂    I just do not think it was Mattel’s original intention to make Darling Charming Apple’s true love in the future, and my reasons why are as I stated above.  If anything, I believe Apple and Raven have a stronger future together than Darling and Apple. Even one of the producers has acknowledged this pairing on tumblr.

And I agree, regardless of the intentions of the creators, it still really is a step forward. However, I believe that companies are still trying to “play it safe” and stick to friendship stories. Now, if this was Raven kissing Apple…then I believe it would mean something.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

For all the most up-to-date information on Ever After High: Royal & Rebel Pedia is the best wiki for it!

Frozen 2’s Elsa: Gay, Traditional, or Remaining Single? I’m For Single!

13 May

ElsaFrozen

Fans of Disney’s Frozen have been petitioning online for Elsa, the deuteragonist of the film, to finally find love in the sequel-only not with a man. Those among the LGBT community and beyond have been pushing for films to be more “inclusive” and have been pushing for homosexual romances to be seen as “equal” to heterosexual ones. They especially feel children’s shows should embrace the message. By allowing children’s programs and movies to openly represent homosexual relationships, the target generation may start to see it as beautiful and pure rather than taboo.

Many have zeroed in on Elsa. Elsa has come to represent alternative lifestyles. She seems to be a role model for those who don’t fit the “norm”. She steps out of society’s rules in several ways. For one, she’s one of the few Disney heroines without a love interest. Elsa also represents ‘freedom and tolerance’. When Elsa “let it go” in the film, it seemed to send the message that told kids, “It’s okay to be yourself. Don’t conceal what’s inside”. This especially relates to the LGBT because most of them often feel they have to “conceal” or hide who they are to feel more “normal”. So for them, if anyone is to represent LGBT, it should be her. There is plenty of art online that expresses this. 

There are many who are for the push and many who are against it. The conservative, religious folk just feel it isn’t right for their kids. There are also those fans that already shipped her with Jack Frost.

Where do I stand?

I’ll be clear. I’m against it.

I’m not against it because I hate homosexuality. I’m not a homophobe. In fact, a homosexual character in a Disney movie in the near future would be fantastically progressive and is sure to send a statement worldwide.

However, I don’t think Elsa should be that character.

First, I’m sick of Frozen. Disney milks that movie a little too much. It was a “plot-hole” of a story and never really deserved the praise it received. I have more to say on this at the Frozen Review and Frozen-A Feminist movie or a Sexist One? And if I’m sick of the movie, I’m sure others are. It wouldn’t do a homosexual relationship justice. It would be stuck to a sequel, second base to most heterosexual relationships.

Second, Disney’s sequels aren’t usually too good. Do I have to remind you of Tarzan 2? Have you seen the Little Mermaid 2? Nah, Disney should stick to originals. Why place a homosexual relationship in a movie that may not even have a well-developed story? It’s cheap to stick it in a sequel. It makes it feel insignificant and takes away the message that homosexual relationships should be treated equally to heterosexual ones. And if the movie flops, that will kill the cause.

Third, what’s wrong with a character being single? It’s bad enough for women to be damsels in distress, but let’s not forget that women are also often stereotypically clumped with the romance genre. It was refreshing to see a female character that showed no interest in romance and had no issues with betrothal or anything marriage-related (like Merida). Just a refreshing story about a woman who wanted to break free and show her strengths. Anna’s relationship was so distracting and pointless, I almost wish SHE had also been single!

I side with those who want Elsa to remain single.

Some excellent arguments were best summed up by commenter Raygirl from the comments section of the article ‘Why it Doesn’t Matter if Elsa or Any Movie Character is Gay’:

If she becomes gay, the movie will only sell in America…but the movie will be banned in other religious countries. So how is this going to be another billion dollar movie? If we’re thinking from a business perspective making Elsa gay can break the movie’s reputation and interfere with revenue. And its not because of what I believe [is] right and wrong. But rather most of the world is not as progressive or tolerant of gay people like Americans. Elsa would do better being single, for the sake of making worldwide success. If they make her gay, this movie will be a financial flop worldwide and will be filled with criticism.

Why must Elsa find love? Part of her appeal was being a single independent woman. She had different interests other than romance and proves that love does not always have to be romantic. The first movie proved that. By giving her a romantic love interest it will deviate from that message: that love does not always have to be romantic to save the day. The bond between sisters saved the day. I think they should focus on that.

…Why must we change [her from being single and independent to suddenly being a romantic] to fit an agenda? Why don’t they ask for a brand new character that is gay? Elsa was inspirational because she was single… By saying she should be gay or straight, people are insinuating that a person should never be without a romantic partner and that being single is somehow “sad”. Why is her being alone such a bad thing? Why is being single not good enough for people? It’s like the world suspects if you’re not straight, you’re gay and there is no room to be single or even in-between! I’m tired of people assuming a single woman or a man who refuses to marry or date is classified as “gay”. This just reinforces such stereotypes and doesn’t leave room for the imagination nor does it leave room for people to be okay living a single life regardless of their sexual orientation.
She was a loner and wanted to do her own thing. If this were to change, people like me would no longer relate to what made her character so great in the first place. She wasn’t focused on love, she focused on the powers inside of her.

In response to those who feel Merida, Disney’s and Pixar’s Brave heroine, already represents the single ladies and gents:

Why should I have to choose between Merida and Elsa? I like that both of them are single independent women with different personalities. It gives us single people variety to have two different types of women portrayed as single in Disney movies. We’re not all tomboys like Merida, y’know. Some women like wearing sparkly dresses and love our sisters. Are more feminine women like Elsa destined to just be in a relationship? Or can’t any of these women choose to be single? My question for you is why don’t you and many others ask Disney to make a brand NEW Disney princess who is lesbian? Does it have to be one that was already established as a single independent woman in their original form?

Now that she has come to terms with her powers I don’t feel it is necessary to make her a romantic necessarily. In fact, there is so much we have not learned about her powers! I want to see that part of her evolve rather than some offsetting romance. It was bad enough with Anna’s romance. Anna’s romance, in my opinion, interfered with the developing sister relationship in the first Frozen. I don’t want the same thing to happen to my favorite character Elsa.

…I have never had a romantic relationship. And I’m in my 20s. And I plan to keep it that way. My best friend is Asexual and my other best friend is handicapped. They also have never had relationships. My handicapped friend used to cry because she knew she could never date and get married. When she saw Frozen‘s Elsa she was so happy to see a story like Elsa’s and was relieved that Elsa was single. If Elsa had a romantic partner, this would make people like my friend feel bad. So you see, there are people that relate to Elsa in more ways than you realize, that are hoping romance won’t be shoved in their faces. To me relationships don’t mean “Happily Ever After”. My “Happily Ever After” and many others come from being with my friends and family more than some romantic partner. Friends and family will be in your corner no matter how you look or no matter your “sex appeal”. This is why I have chosen to be single. And many others feel the way I do.

In response to someone who related “sexuality” to skin color and gender:

…In Disney movies, the romances technically do advance or interfere with story plots. In fact, most times in Disney’s case the romance tends to be one of the focuses of the story. In the original Frozen, I would have never thought it was a sister story because they focused more on Kristoff and Anna’s growing love life.

A black person is only black by skin. But being black does not reflect a way of life nor a person’s behavior. A woman is only a woman by body, but this also does not reflect her behavior or way of life.
When it comes to homosexuality, it is very different. This reflects not only a feeling and a behavior, but it also reflects a way of life. Therefore, it will alter the story in more ways than being a woman or being black. Including a subtle sexual/romantic theme is the same as including a religion. If people asked for more Jews in Disney movies, this would change the behavior and feeling of the character.

Ari Moore from that same website’s comments section made this interesting note as to why she thinks Elsa should be single:

Loving [oneself] is different from loving someone else for me because my love for myself is unconditional. The love for people however is very conditional.

…The princesses don’t find love, they kind of just meet some random person and do a lot to have that man. Recently it has not been that way but it was like that for a time. To be honest, I do not believe in love and I think stories where there is a love interest is silly and [it is] why women are so ridiculous when it comes to love. To be even more honest, women don’t love, they love the idea of love and men just lust. You can really like someone but I do not think it is love. I think stories about love are setting people up for failure in that aspect because no one really knows what love is. Yes, love stories sell but they should not. It is like false advertisement for the real world because the world is much colder than these fairy tales that disney recreates.

I really just had to put some shine on these words. They really put something on my mind and shaped my view of the whole situation.

While many people may argue that romance and romantic relationships are universal and relate easily to others, nothing is more universal than being single. We are ALL born single; we have all been single at one time. Everyone will not experience relationships or romance. We are only in control of ourselves and the love we have for ourselves. It is the most powerful message for both heterosexuals, homosexuals, bi-sexuals, and asexuals. Heterosexual people don’t often relate to homosexual people and homosexuals don’t often relate to heterosexual lifestyles. But they BOTH can relate to being single. Single people come from all backgrounds.

I think an even better idea would be to give Elsa another female friend in the film but leave their relationship ambiguous. This will allow viewers to see what they want to see and it will satisfy everybody.

So readers, what do you think? Do you think Elsa should remain single or get a female love interest? Or perhaps you’re more conservative and would like Elsa to suddenly follow a traditional route?

It all depends on how you feel the character should evolve. At the end of the day, Disney is going to go with what sales anyhow.

It’s interesting how a children’s film can spark so much debate… Why not let the kids decide? Throughout all of this, no one asked what the kids wanted. These movies are for children who haven’t yet developed an interest in romance.

If you believe that Elsa should stay single, too, sign this petition: #SingleForElsa

Another great article on this topic: Why I’m All for Disney Keeping Elsa Single in Frozen 2 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

‘The Jungle Book’ Review

30 Apr

The_Jungle_Book_(2016)

Mowgli is every animal’s “man-cub” in this movie.

Disney has managed to bring to life one of its 1960s classics through this live-action adaptation. They literally brought it to life. While this movie is clearly more exciting than the original animated film, it still keeps the charm of the original.

Maybe the credit should be given to Jon Favreau, who honestly should be doing all the adaptations from now on. He knows how to take a classic and turn it into a masterpiece on-screen.

The Indian Express summed this up perfectly:

“Iron Man” fame director Jon Favreau took a basic structure of Rudyard Kipling’s timeless classic and charged it up with the power of the 1967 animation film to bring forth an advanced version of the story backed with technology. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/hollywood/the-jungle-book-crosses-rs-150-crore-mark-in-india-2774305/#sthash.BwPEiVOZ.dpuf

The story keeps pretty true to the original story and has just a few differences from the Disney animated film. In fact, much of the changes are BETTER executed than its animated predecessor. The biggest difference is the end…which I feel is both bitter and sweet. They kept what made Mowgli special in the story and took out what would destroy Mowgli’s identity…

We’ve all heard a story like this. It’s not the most original story in the world. If you’ve seen Tarzan or other movies like it (Avatar would be a close second), you could kind of guess that a young boy, who is associated with “man”, would be misunderstood among his family of animals. You could also guess that the boy is going to show more ingenuity and innovation than his animal friends, further emphasizing human “superiority”.

But what makes this story distinct is that Mowgli is the only developed human character in the story. The story also focused mostly on the jungle and the animals. Considering that the original story was created in the 1800s, we can’t expect the adaptation to be “original” in its story-telling. Too much originality would deviate from the plot, making it choppy. It would take away the story’s charm.

Jon, Brigham Taylor, and Justin Marks did the right thing by keeping the story simple but engaging. It was exciting, it was emotional, it had humor. It was structured in a simple, predictable manner, but with a few surprises here and there. For a child, this movie was probably more advanced than anything directed to kids nowadays.

Disney also did the right thing by choosing an actual Indian American boy, Neel Sethi, to play the lead role. This is something other directors should learn from…Honestly, authenticity is what people are looking for now. Controversy follows movies that aren’t “racially authentic”. Disney is usually so successful because they always have their hands on the pulse of the public. Somehow, they manage to be one step ahead of the trends. That’s partially what lead to this movie’s success. Indian movie-goers devoured this movie

The characters are mostly animals anyway, so that eliminates “racial” drama. The CGI graphics turned cartoonish characters into real-looking ferocious animals. I felt like I was watching a documentary, only there was a fictional story involved. Still, the animals had personality and humor. It had humor without trying too hard and it was serious when it needed to be. This was simple story-telling at its finest.

Possibly the best part of the movie was the CGI graphics. The setting brought viewers into the jungle and made us feel like we were traveling with Mowgli on his journey. The animals had “presence” in the film.

Oh, and did anyone tell you this was a musical? Yea, as random as I added it in this article is as surprised as I was to hear familiar songs from the animated movie. It wasn’t like there was a song in every scene, but there were two popular Jungle Book songs in the film. I didn’t expect to hear “Bear Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You” in this film. “Trust in Me” showed up somewhere in the ending credits. Quite frankly, hearing huge, scary animals sing the songs was awkward and creepy (the CGI took away the cartoonish feeling). Yet, I was delighted to actually hear the familiar tunes.

Overall this movie is a really good movie to watch with your family. People who are looking for simple, charming story-telling and just a moment to lose touch with reality will really enjoy the movie as well. There is a hint of imagination and Disney magic in the story.

It’s not the most original story, but it’s still an engaging tale.

I give it a 9/10.

I recommend this movie for families.

If you like this movie, I recommend Disney’s other CGI-animated movie Dinosaur.

SPOILER ALERT: Disney can add this movie’s villain to their famous trope: Disney Villain Demise

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