This week

Manga street dates3L Comic: 10.20 · Elex: 10.22 · Level: 10.22 · m&c!: 10.22
Anime (on Animax Asia):
Parasyte –the maxim– simulcast Thursdays, 10pm
Chihayafuru Season 2, 10pm WIB (Mon–Wed)
The File of Young Kindaichi, 1030pm WIB (Mon–Fri)
Bleach Season 7, weekdays, 630pm WIB
Anime (on WakuWaku Japan):
tsuritama [Series Premiere] 23 October 2014, Thursday, 930pm WIB (Mon–Thu)

3.04.2007

Blog banners and layouts (December 2008 Mekakushi no Kuni banner added)

screencap sunny side up anime blog (December 2008)

This post, sheared off from the About page, maps my blog's banner and template origins. Header images and layouts used to change whenever the Blogger template blew up in my face; the meltdowns now seem a distant memory, allowing me to follow Angelique-san's model and replace banners monthly.

...a self-indulgent post in which I explicate sources and allusions much, to the point where the ramblings miraculously transform into a cure for insomnia.

Admittedly, I have committed sins of omission, so periodic fanart changes now submit to fickle Muse strikes or something-to-celebrate impulses.

IOW, this is nothing more than a self-indulgent post in which I explicate sources and allusions much, to the point where the ramblings miraculously transform into a cure for insomnia.

There are 20 banners/mastheads here. (2009 banners are on a separate page.)

sunny side up anime blog: banners/headers/mastheads by huamulan03

Images/characters © their respective owners

Classic template banners (2006.02 to 2006.08)

Ten months into blogging, I ditched the Minima template all newbies seem to start with and took off on a blog tweaking quest best described as evergreen.

no hesitation (2006.02 to 2006.05)

no hesitation LastEXILE banner by huamulan03 Last EXILE is © 2003 GONZO/Victor Entertainment • GDH

First to launch was the no hesitation masthead. Having unimaginatively named this blog imagination's travels at the outset, I was guided to this image of Last EXILE's Claus Valca and Lavie Head (ex the official DVD site) to indicate that To infinity, and beyond! thing (my inspirations don't fall very far from the tree).

Color schemes
Ms. Moto: Pinky Lee
pink hotter pink
Thisaway Rose
rose brown

In any case, the banner harmonized with the pink-paletted Blogger Classic templates Ms. Moto: Pinky Lee variation and Thisaway Rose.

The hard-to-see Life's too short for hesitation quote (from where the fanart title stems) doesn't hail from Last EXILE; it was co-opted for this fanart from another anime—Milinda from Yamada Norie and Yoshizuki Kumichi's Someday's Dreamers, to be exact.

The Thisaway Rose version also featured Lavie in a custom Support Blogger button.

Interested in the Last EXILE anime? (commercial links)

alice orange (2006.05 to 2006.08)

alice orange Alice Academy banner by huamulan03 Gakuen Alice is © Higuchi Tachibana / Hakusensha / Gakuen Alice Production Committee

Top-billed Gakuen Alice soulmates Sakura Mikan and Hyuuga Natsume, lead charas of Higuchi Tachibana's shoujo manga serialized in Hana to Yume (Hakusensha). I customized the Snapshot: Sable template by sticking anime images, capped from episode 12 学園祭がやってくる☆ (Gakuen matsuri ga yatte kuru ☆ or "The school festival is coming ☆"), on to the Blogger-provided header.

Color scheme grey teal orange

Interested in the Gakuen Alice manga or anime? (commercial links)

Blogger Beta AKA New Blogger banners (2006.08 - 2007.12)

Color schemes
Rounders russet grey
Minima white white+

By end-August 2006, I migrated to what was then Blogger Beta and to the Rounders template. Was mastheadless except for some custom Alice Academy buttons until I reverted to the shiroi Minima template (from November 2006 to March 2007).

endless friendship (until 2006.11.20)

endless friendship Alice Academy banner by huamulan03 Gakuen Alice is © Higuchi Tachibana / Hakusensha / Gakuen Alice Production Committee

Mikan and Natsume again, but this time with Hotaru and Ruka and the rest of Gakuen Alice Class B (click the banner to see them). Images come from the official 学園アリス website. The fanart title 友情は☆エンドレス (Yuujou wa ☆ ENDORESU) was lifted off episode 26's "Friendship is ☆ forever" title.

If Picasso had his Blue period, I had an Alice Academy one.

Interested in the Gakuen Alice manga or anime? (commercial links)

slice of life (2006.11.20 to 2006.11.30)

slice of life Aishiteruze baby banner by huamulan03 Aishiteruze Baby is © Maki Yoko / Shueisha / TMS / Animax / TOEI Video

Celebrated renaming this blog sunny side up with a new masthead. As my sunny side up alludes to the Aishiteruze Baby opening theme composed and sung by Hitoto Yo, I sourced images of Maki Yoko-sensei's characters from the official 愛してるぜベイベ★★ AishiBaby site to reinforce the refurbished blog identity.

From right to left, they are: Katakura Kippei; Kippei, Sakashita Yuzuyu, and Tokunaga Kokoro; Kippei's mom and Yuzuyu; and Yuzuyu.

Interested in the Aishiteruze Baby manga or anime? (commercial links)

The (fallen) stars are brightly shining (2006.12)

The (fallen) stars are brightly shining Christmas 2006 Spiral banner by huamulan03 Spiral Suiri no Kizuna is © Kyo Shirodaira, Eita Mizuno / SQUARE ENIX, Aniplex, Sotsu Agency, TV-Tokyo 2002. Licensed in North America by FUNimation Productions, Ltd.

My Christmas 2006 masthead, The (fallen) stars are brightly shining, featured Blade Children Eyes Rutherford, Asazuki Kousuke, and Takeuchi Rio from the Spiral anime. The original image can be found at the official Spiral site. "Fallen Stars" comes from the title of the fourth FUNimation DVD Shooting Fallen Stars, which I worked into the O Holy Night Christmas carol.

Interested in the Spiral anime or manga? (commercial links)

Kare Kano Forever (2007.01)

Kare Kano Forever Kare Kano banner by huamulan03 Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou is © by Tsuda Masami, Hakusensha/GAINAX, The Kare2Group, TV Tokyo, SOFTX

This masthead, showcasing fan-scanned images of Arima Souichirou and Miyazawa Yukino, marked TOKYOPOP's finale of Tsuda Masami-sensei's Kare Kano shoujo manga in January 2007. It's a dear to the heart, personal fave (I really like that AriMiya tango-ing thing).

I lost track of the source pix URLs, gomen, but I'm pretty sure I didn't download the images from the old Gainax Kare Kano English site (thanks to Gainax Pages Kare Kano for linking the web archive file). Additionally, none of the pix matches those on the extant Kare Kano anime site. Nevertheless, I say arigatou muchness to whoever uploaded these scans. *bows*

The banner text only changes the subject of the manga Act 26 title: On a clear day I can see forever (TOKYOPOP volume six).

Interested in the Kare Kano manga or anime? (commercial links)

Ouran Lunar Valentine (2007.02)

Ouran Lunar Valentine Ouran High School Host Club by huamulan03 Ouran Koukou Host Club is © Hatori Bisco / Hakusensha

Another fangirly favorite, this pink Lunar New Year and Valentine's day banner focused on Ootori Kyouya and Fujioka Haruhi from that most-overused Chinese cosplay illustration in Hatori Bisco-sensei's Ouran High School Host Club. I scanned the main image from Animonster's 2007 calendar (the cosplay originally appeared as the sixth Ouran manga cover). The blood siblings art in the background comes from manga volume three: the Kyouya and Haruhi omake.

You probably already know what Xin nian kuai le means. If not, you know what to do click.

Interested in the Ouran High School Host Club manga or anime? (commercial links)

White Day Chocolat (2007.03 to 2007.04.08)

Chocolat - White Day Chocolat banner by huamulan03 Chocolat is © Shin JiSangGeo / SIGONGSA / ICE Kunion

Inspired by shirakuto-san's 13 February comment in the chatbox, I abducted EWan and KumJi from the Chocolat soonjung manhwa and made them star in the March 2007 banner. ExK were a scrumplicious White Day treat, like KyouHaru were for Valentine's.

I scanned the images off Chocolat volume three and four. There were actually two banners. Predictably, the China blue one won over the rose (I have this partiality to blue).

Interested in the Chocolat manhwa? (commercial links)

Template change
In April 2007, I changed to the Denim template. Purely accidental; my fingers slipped on a button.

quod erat faciendum (2007.04.08 to 2007.10.29)

Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo "quod erat faciendum" banner by huamulan03 Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo is © Katou Motohiro / Kodansha

(Q.E.D.証明終了 ザ・トリック・ノート)—the official companion to Katou Motohiro-sensei's Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo shounen tantei manga—inspired this fanart. Despite the name, The Trick Note is not a relative of Death.... Banner overpopulation ensued as The Trick Note was Urusai! whimpering, "I'm lonely!" Other tankoubon covers (volumes 21, 22, 23, and 26, downloaded from the Kodansha shop) had to scramble to keep the darn thing company.

While I'd initially planned on quod erat faciendum becoming my thematic banner—for it to grace this blog whenever I missed out on a monthly—that's no longer viable. I tweaked the original two-column template to three-columns in February 2008, making 950-pixel widths compulsory (Q.E.F. is only 760px).

The manga title traces its roots to a mathematician's way of saying I win! Hero Touma Sou has this habit (gimmick) of writing down Q.E.D., short for "quod erat demonstrandum," whenever he solves a case (from the precedent of penciling this symbol at the end of mathematical proofs to show that that which was to be demonstrated has been proven). Q.E.D. as a title is infinitely preferable to Wonder Little Detective in which this series is released in Traditional Chinese.

On the other hand, the less-familiar "quod erat faciendum" or Q.E.F. stands for which was to be done or we have done what we were supposed to do. (Eugene Ehrlich, Amo, Amas, Amat and More) Like Q.E.D., it tags to mathematical solutions. The difference between Q.E.D. and Q.E.F. is roughly equivalent to the distinction between a proof and an illustration of the proof. (Wikipedia)

Don't ask me why this banner also ended up azure when I was actually going for orenji. It seems what Picasso had also applies to me. *sweatdrop* Because of this, I won't belabor the color scheme as it also took its cue from the fanart.

Interested in the Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo manga? (commercial links)

Boku no Death Note (2007.10.29 to 2007.11.30)

Boku no Death Note Death Note banner by huamulan03 Death Note is © Ohba Tsugumi & Obata Takeshi / Shueisha

Before anything else, let me clarify that I'm an L fangirl, much more so than I am Light's. So why the Boku no Death Note banner then? I could say it was for the upcoming Halloween and that would hold true to a degree, but there's another reason for opting to go with Death Note, instead of say, Ghost Hunt, this Samhain. A good (and vindictive) reason that I will go into some paragraphs down.

Color scheme
black PMS'g red dark grey

The Death Note images are crapola cellphone pix I took of the Death Note Animonster gave away as the magazine's 100th edition bonus (teh real thing looked better). Please observe that this is the first banner that didn't follow the header/masthead convention and instead went kitschy-retro like old calendar pin-ups. *ginormous sweatdrop*

I found it amusing that just like Kami!Kira, Animonster had to insert a fake rule among the instructions for use. Below is the How to use it LXVI notation (provisions for the limited number of Death notebooks with white or red front covers that have the same powers as the black cover Death Note):

Notebook ini dibuat berdasarkan konsep cerita komik Death Note karya Obata Takeshi dan Ooba Tsugumi. Namun tidak dimaksudkan untuk tujuan yang sama seperti pada kisahnya. Jadi, notebook yang ini silakan digunakan untuk kebutuhan menulis dan mencatat sebagaimana pada umumya. Dan jangan mengharapkan "khasiat" seperti yang berlaku pada kisah aslinya.

For those who don't understand Indonesian, the above simply states that the owner shouldn't hope to gain the same powers as Yagami Light, Amane Misa, Mikami Teru, and any real shinigami when using this Death Note ^^

Oh. The reason for the yami? Content theft. People who grabbed my Alice Academy episode guide and reposted it without attribution, much less links to the source material. How do I know the write-up's mine? Aside from the obvious, they went as far as copying my internal links and asides (talk about brainless copy pasta). I found five bloggers/sites who did this and of the five, only one bothered to link back without me vengefully coming down on her/him. So. Content offenders go down in boku no Death Note.

Interested in the Death Note manga? (commercial links)

The reindeer I want for Christmas (2007.12.01 to 2008.01.07)

The reindeer I want for Christmas 2007 Yoroshiku Master banner by huamulan03 Yoroshiku Master is © Tsukuba Sakura / Hakusensha

Yoroshiku Master or Welcome Master is an ongoing supernatural manga by Tsukuba Sakura-sensei who created Mekakushi no Kuni (Land of the Blindfolded in English; When Present Meet Future in Traditional Chinese; and Beyond the Blindfold in Indonesian) as well as Penguin Kakumei (Penguin Revolution or Qi E Ge Ming).

Yoroshiku Master follows the Christmas adventures of Sagara Kurumi and Kaito, the bishounen slash reindeer (minus the Rudolph red nose) who calls Kurumi Master. Par for a Tsukuba-sensei story, YM sounds pawwwfully cute and went down on my what-I-expect-under-the-tree list. Image used is the cover of volume two, downloaded from Amazon Japan and shopped.

Color scheme green red gold

Interested in Tsukuba Sakura-sensei's shoujo manga? (commercial links)

2008 banners

The theme for 2008 is animanga shipping [+/-], whether OTP or OT3, canon or no. That the shipment must produce a small vulnerable blue planet's worth of warm and fluffy constitutes my main criterion for consideration.

The 2008 Possibles list currently consists of:

  1. Auto Focus by Roppongi Aya (feat. Riku x Miwa or Wataru x Miwa x Riku)
  2. Japanese title: Auto Focusオート・フォーカス
    Shipping Riku x Miwa and Wataru x Miwa x Riku

  3. Ghost Hunt by Inada Shiho, Ono Fuyumi (Noll x Mai or Noll Davis alone) » Oct to Nov-08
  4. Japanese title: Ghost Huntゴーストハント
    Fangirling Noll Davis, shipping Noll x Mai

  5. Goong by Park SoHee (Shin x ChaeKyeong)
  6. » Jun-08

    Korean title: Goong궁(宮)
    AKA Princess Hours and Palace
    Shipping canon Shin x ChaeKyeong

  7. Hana-Kimi by Nakajo Hisaya (Sano x Mizuki or Mizuki alone)
  8. Japanese title: Hanazakari no Kimitachi e花ざかりの君たちへ
    Fangirling bifauxnen Ashiya Mizuki, shipping canon Sano x Mizuki

  9. Hatenkou Yuugi by Endoh Minari (Alzeid x Rahzel) » May-08
  10. Japanese title: Hatenkou Yuugi破天荒遊戯
    AKA Dazzle (English)
    Mainly shipping Alzeid x Rahzel; some days shipping Baroqueheat x Rahzel x Alzeid

  11. Honey by Tachibana Yutaka (Kuga x Chi-chan) » Jan-08
  12. Japanese title: HoneyHoney
    Shipping canon Kuga Naoki x Hasegawa Chizuru

  13. Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss by Fujiwara Yoshiko (Yuuya x Mao) » Feb-08
  14. Japanese title: Kiss, Zekkou, Kissキス、絶交、キス
    AKA I Hate You But I Love You (Indonesian title)
    Shipping canon Yuuya x Mao because Fuse just doesn't do it for me...

  15. M to N no Shouzou by Higuchi Tachibana (Natsuhiko x Mitsuru)
  16. Japanese title: M to N no ShouzouMとNの肖像
    AKA A Portrait of M & N (Indonesian)
    Shipping canon N to M, no matter how entertaining Hijirinko-senpai gets (or that's probably why...)

  17. Mobius Doumei by Minami Sachi (Andou / Matsuri / Watanuki)
  18. Japanese title: Mobius Doumeiメビウス同盟
    AKA Mebius Union (Indonesian title)
    OT3'ing Andou / Matsuri / Watanuki all da way!

  19. Special A by Minami Maki (Kei x Hikari)
  20. Japanese title: Special AS・A スペシャル・エー
    Shipping canon Kei x Hikari, especially after the Gonzo x AIC anime version.

  21. Tenshi Ja Nai!! (I'm No Angel!!) by Shigematsu Takako (Izumi x Hikaru)
  22. Japanese title: Tenshi Ja Nai!!天使じゃない!!
    Shipping canon Izumi x Hikaru

  23. Vampire Knight by Hino Matsuri (Zero x Yuuki and Kaname x Yuki) » Mar to Apr-08
  24. Japanese title: Vampire Knightヴァンパイア騎士
    Shipping both Zero x Yuki and Kaname x Yuki until the manga-ka decides which vampire to throw Yuuki at.

Some of these may still be replaced, pursuant to yet-to-fangirl titles or rediscovery of other classic shoujo/josei/BL manga or manhwa (a more than likely possibility, evinced by the reinstatement of Ghost Hunt; the addition of Hatenkou Yuugi; and the rescheduling of Fujimoto Yuki's Tonari no Megane-kun (となりのメガネ君。). Plus I'm itching to do something with C.M.B. Shinra Hakubutsukan no Jiken Mokuroku).

Or changes could happen, if only to make the list less Hakusensha-slanted (its titles comprise close to sixty percent of the total)—not that favoring 96 posts (and counting) Hakusensha is necessarily a bad thing.

Interested in any of the above manga? (commercial links)

If you have a banner request, leave me a comment and I'll see if it's doable. I'll definitely mention your name if I use your suggestion.

You're a shining star (2008.01.07 to 2008.02.01)

You're the shining star Honey banner by huamulan03 Honey is © Tachibana Yutaka / Hakusensha

I had trouble selecting a couple for the first 2008 banner. In the end, went with Hasegawa Chizuru and Kuga Naoki. I a-dore that manipulative, I'm-planning-something glint in megane kyara Kuga's eyes as he hugs Chi-chan from behind (manga volume eight cover).

Color scheme rose amaranthesque*
* From the tints in Chi-chan's hair

In case you're not familiar with Chi-chan and Kuga, they're the stars of Honey, a nine-volume female teacher-male student shoujo series by Tachibana Yutaka-sensei, author of Gatcha Gacha. Beyond genre-sharing, Honey doesn't have much in common with the other female teacher-male student title that might've crossed your mind—Onegai Teacher (but then what would?) In any case, Chi-chan is an idealistic school nurse who's highly popular with the student body; Kuga is the academy's Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel-reading best and most problematic student. As such, Honey shares more/reminds one of that classsic, part of the American idiom Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman which I read X summers ago.

One thing that makes Honey so memorable is Kuga dubbing Chi-chan, Mama Mary, and his admission that he lusts after her.

THUD! *faints*

Interested in the Honey manga? (commercial links)

Pink kiss deux (3-column tweaked, 2008.02.02 - 2008.02.27)

Pink Kiss Zekkou Kiss deux banner by huamulan03 Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss ~ Bokura no baai~ is © Fujiwara Yoshiko / Shogakukan

Color scheme
blush bashful

Haven't been this pinkified since my early bloggy days! Ah, well. The nadeshiko-iro and near-cerise combo conforms to Western convention dictating that February be an overload of romance and Pink kiss deux is all about this. (That I didn't luck into a WAFFy lunar new year image like I did in February 2007 is irrelevant.)

The characters in the fanart are Hatori Yuuya and Sakisaka Mao, childhood "sweethearts" from Fujiwara Yoshiko-sensei's Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss and Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss ~ Bokura no baai ~ shoujo series originally published by Shogakukan, and which I blogged/reviewed in its entirety.

I consider the series a punches-the-right-angst-buttons classic; if I had the funds, I would go as far as proposing it for anime adaptation à la Bokura ga Ita. Though sadly *peers into wallet* that's a no-go for now.

I scanned the images from the manga, obviously. From right to left, they are:

  1. Mao and Yuuya as kids (KZK ~ Bokura no baai ~ volume 1 back cover)
  2. The first kiss as memory (Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss)
  3. The *dies* Yuuya braiding Mao's hair Promise title page (v9 story 2)
  4. The angsty how-many-nights-will-you-be-away? pre-kiss in A Summer Together: Hatori's version (v7)
  5. The desperate clinch in Classmate for a Day: Sakisaka's version (v8)
  6. The jealous don't-ever-wear-something-some-other-guy-has-touched kiss from The Selfish Valentine: Hatori's version (v5).

Actually, this is the second Pink kiss banner. Had to put away the first when I changed the template layout to three-columns. The template's color scheme is in the previously noted shades of pink because I'm singularly uncreative.

Interested in the Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss series? (commercial links)

Vampire Knight Ketsudan (2008.02.27 to 2008.05.07)

Vampire Knight 決断 (Ketsudan) banner by huamulan03Vampire Knight is © Hino Matsuri / Hakusensha

Vampire Knight (ヴァンパイア騎士) is Hino Matsuri-sensei's latest/darker/longer shoujo horror manga, currently in serialization in Hakusensha's LaLa mangazine. Seven tankō have been released in Japan as of 5 April 2008 (the same day the novel Vampire Knight: Ice Blue no Tsumi or Vampire Knight -The Sin of Blue by Hino-sensei and Fujisaki Ayuna-sensei starring Aido-senpai was released).

VIZ Media and Chuang Yi publish the manga in English. Carlsen Verlag produces the German version (serialized in Daisuki) and Planet Manga/Panini Comics, the Italian and Portuguese. It is serialized in Indonesia's HanaLaLa. (ADDED | As of September 2008, VIZ's latest release was volume 5; CY is up to volume 7; huamulan03 has reviewed volume 6.)

This banner was inspired by the 7 April 2008 TV Tokyo airing of the Studio DEEN-animated adaptation. The anime stars the same cast (save for one) from the Vampire Knight drama CDs:

Color scheme
blue red grey

My titling the fanart 決断 (Ketsudan) or "Decision" should be Zero-x-Yuki-x-Kaname-self-explanatory. The images came from the Chuang Yi manga volume two: the front cover (Kaname and Zero) and back flap (Yuki holding whose bloodied hand, also the 6th night: Out of Cross Academy chapter title illustration).

VK "Ketsudan" will be retained until 7 April 2008 7 May 2008, ostensibly to celebrate a wishlist item being granted.

Interested in the Vampire Knight series? (commercial links)

The Unprecedented Game (2008.05.07 to 2008.06.12)

Hatenkou Yuugi Unprecedented game banner by huamulan03 Hatenkou Yuugi is © Endoh Minari / Ichijinsha. English translation by TOKYOPOP.

I've been wanting a 破天荒遊戯 Hatenkou Yuugi banner ever since I watched "Eternal light" (永遠のともしび - Eien no Tomoshibi), episode 1 of the Studio DEEN adaptation of this series. The tortuous seiyuu-sealed-it route my craving's evolution took becomes understandable—but only when viewed from a head titled at a 45° angle perspective: an avowed Saku-pyon (Sakurai Takahiro-san, Kanda Yuu in D.Gray-man) fangirl, I also adore Kobayashi Sanae-san as Allen Walker; throw the two together and from all that brilliantly-acted bickering rears AlleKan shipping—and from there, naturally progresses into Alzeid x Rahzel OTP'g once transplanted to the HY setting.

I admit I wasn't actively shipping the pair when I first read Endoh Minari-sensei's shoujo manga (also known as Dazzle and serialized in Ichijinsha's Zero-Sum after making the switch from Square Enix's Monthly G Fantasy in June 2002). Watching the anime made me revisit the manga and with the dialogue "heard" through a Sakurai-Kobayashi banter filter, grew to absolutely, positively heart Alzeid and Rahzel.

Color scheme
green red blue

Hatenkou Yuugi literally translates to Unprecedented game. I thought titling the fanart "Heartbreaking Romance" from the Itō Kanako OP was proclaiming my Alzeid x Rahzel shipping a little too much (something along the lines of retitling Hatenkou Yuugi "Dazzle"-from-Rahzel, perhaps).

The images come c/o the TOKYOPOP covers. Why I chose scans of Alzeid with chest displayed in all his ikemen biseinen glory, when there are actually more covers with him shirted (here, here, here, here, and here), is a none-too Freudian fangirl slip.

Interested in the Hatenkou Yuugi manga or anime? (commercial links)

Become someone's hero (2008.06)

Goong "Become someone's hero" banner by huamulan03Goong is © Park SoHee / Seoul Cultural Publishers, Inc. Indonesian language edition © PT. Gramedia (Magazine Division).

I started reading Park SoHee's 궁(宮) Goong or Palace (its literal translation and the series' alternate official title) after watching the MBC live-action adaptation Princess Hours.

The 2006 K-dorama (and the soonjung manhwa on which it was based) takes place in an alternate 21st century constitutional monarchy Korea. Starring Yoon EunHye as Shin ChaeKyeong; Joo JiHoon as Crown Prince Lee Shin; Kim JeongHoon as Prince Lee Yul; and Song JiHyo as Min HyoRin, the live-action series was instrumental in my emotionally investing in this Palace Story (another alternate title and the one which the Indonesian edition uses). It's not so much because I like commoner and royalty stories, although after reading/watching, I see the attraction.

N-E-way, I ended up hearting ChaeKyeong, the spunky, ordinary, and oh-so funny girl who marries into the royal family because of a covenant between her grandfather and Shin. And while in the dorama I shipped ChaeKyeong and Yul (Shin's cousin, originally the crown prince before Yul's father died and the title passed on to Shin's dad and eventually to Shin), I flipped 180 in the manhwa.

궁(宮)17

Goong the manhwa is still in serialization in Seoul Cultural's Wink and 17 volumes have been compiled as of March 2008. The Indonesian edition is up to 15. I have to confess that aside from liking Goong for the chara design (ChaeKyeong, Shin, and Yul revolutionize earlier standards of manhwa pretty), Gramedia m&c!'s almost superluminal release of the first 13 volumes in 12 months conspired to keep the series a constant fave. That it took 11 months for the next volume 14 to be released didn't extinguish my emotional investment; the patience-straining holdup just kept it on slow burn.

But at least the Indonesian version's release is still proceeding. The North American licensed Goong became one of the casualties of the Udon/ICE Kunion break-up and the span between volume 1 and 2 reached over two years in wait time (volume 2 streeted 30 July 2008). The Princess Hours English-subtitled DVD, meanwhile, fared better; YA Entertainment has already released the set of 24 episodes for the US and Canadian markets.

Color scheme
brownish pink roof tile red pale pink

In the course of following Shin and ChaeKyeong's story, I've jumped come to the conclusion that ChaeKyeong saved the arrogant prince; that's why I titled this, the second manhwa-based masthead, Become someone's hero.

I scanned the images off the m&c! covers. From left to right (how you read manhwa), they are volume 13, 3, 6, and 12. I don't know why I ended up with a monochromatic primary red color scheme, scratch that, I do. Because of unskedded template tweaking, I lost the banner preceding this, forcing me to come up with the overdue June replacement.

I still don't like the snap color scheme (picky, picky). I had been going for orange and—similar to what happened with Q.E.D.—failed.

Interested in the Goong manhwa or dorama? (commercial links)

Template change to A Day Without Chocolate (2008.07)
By June's end, I changed templates (somewhat deliberately this time). From a preliminary Not Now I'm Reading template from suckmylolly.com, I finally settled on A Day Without Chocolate, with a banner—Terminal Cuteness—that isn't even manga- or anime-themed. I dissert on why in this post.

Wunderkammer (2008.08 to 2008.09)

C.M.B. "Wunderkammer" banner by huamulan C.M.B. Shinra Hakubutsukan no Jiken Mokuroku is © Katou Motohiro/Kodansha

After living with A Day Without Chocolate this many days (the number of planets visible to the naked eye, or the fifth number in the Fibonacci series), I realized I couldn't co-habit any longer with an anime blog that lacked a manga- or anime-themed banner. It just seemed... I dunno, anti-climactic? At the same time, I couldn't just mothball the Terminal Cuteness thematic masthead, what with the effort expended in producing it.

My compromise: a monthly calendar pin-up (first seen here). August's straight shota was 14-year-old Sakaki Shinra from C.M.B. Shinra Hakubutsukan no Jiken Mokuroku, another Katou Motohiro-sensei shounen tantei manga (newly released in Indonesia at the time of writing), that's kin to Q.E.D..

The image on the Wunderkammer banner—Shinra with Nanase holding a cursed Deigan Noh mask—appears on the front cover of C.M.B.森羅博物館の事件目録 volume 2.

I myself am sweatdropping like anything from all my synopsis repetitions, so if you want more information, go here. Just let me just expound on a key difference between C.M.B. (also C.M.B. Sen Luo Bo Wu Guan Zhi Shi Jian Mu Lu, Traditional Chinese) and Q.E.D., the schoolboy detective heroes of which are cousins: a more paranormal ambience shrouds the former, undoubtedly due to the creepy oddities in Shinra's Wunderkammer or cabinet of curiosities.

The supposedly monthly pin-up endures for two months because the second Indonesian volume streeted in September—okay, okay, it's because I missed making a banner for the succeeding month. Happy now?

Interested in the C.M.B. manga? (commercial links)

Naru: If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him (2008.10 to 2008.12.12)

Ghost Hunt "Naru: If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him" banner by huamulan03 Ghost Hunt is © Ono Fuyumi, Inada Shiho/Kodansha/Ghost Hunt Partnership

First things first: the banner title has NOTHING to do with my feelings for Noll (or Gene or Mai or any of the Ghost Hunt Irregulars, for that matter). If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him... is actually the title of Sharyn McCrumb's eighth book in the Elizabeth MacPherson, Southern sleuth and forensic anthropologist, mystery series.

I chose the title in place of "Dark, but not stormy" simply because it provoked a visceral reaction (Nancy Pearl, More Book Lust). Beyond the Urgh! Volume 10!!! reax, I can't say what. In any case, it certainly has naught to do with what Gene's murderer might have felt on meeting Noll. Not that I would know; I haven't read the Akuryou novel that deals with this.

Now that that's outta da way — I was finally able to use Ghost Hunt for a Halloween banner. The fan-scanned image I used is the cover of the Ghost Hunt OST by Masuda Toshio (pics.livejournal.com/kuropon/pic) and linked from the Shibuya Psychic Research LJ community. Arigatou. *bows*

This banner will be around till the first (or second) week of November December, depending on which of the remaining 2008 Possibles inspires.

Interested in the Ghost Hunt anime or manga? (commercial links)

Arou Oujisama! (2008.12.12 to 2009.01.05)

Mekakushi no Kuni "Oujisama" banner by huamulan03 Mekakushi no Kuni is © Tsukuba Sakura/Hakusensha

That this is the second Christmas in a row in which I've fixated on a Tsukuba Sakura shoujo manga for the monthly banner is not intentional; I've actually been dying to put up this Naitou Arou pin-up for the longest time now, more so after having reread Mekakushi no Kuni (perennial favorite!) a couple months back.

I know it seems a little spare—okay, a lot spare, but if you've scarfed down the entire series (released as Land of the Blindfolded in English and Beyond the Blindfold in Indonesian)—preferably in under three days like I did—you'd appreciate, too, just how emotionally awww!-some this illustration turned out to be.

Essentially, it's Arou whining to soulmate Kanade about what he wants for his birthday in MekaKuni chapter 37. And what is Arou-kun's heart's desire? It is this:

Mekakushi no Kuni volume 9 kiss

Kyaaa~! × 109 deshou? ^^

The flood of emotion generated becomes even more significant once you factor in the countless times the manga-ka had to draw and re-draw this picture to get it right. Make him more handsome! Tsukuba-sensei's editor had been reported as demanding after the preliminary sketch drew more snickers than fangirly squees. After revisions × 10?, the drawing finally passed, with Tsukuba-sensei's assistants finally squealing: Oujisama! when eventually presented with the ultimate draft.

Arou is wub. Nuff sed.

(BTW, if you want to see the first version of this pix, just crack open your MekaKuni volume 9 to the ending omake.)

(BTW #2: The font used on my pin-up is Anime Ace BB from Blambot, downloaded from dafont.com)

Interested in Tsukuba Sakura-sensei's shoujo manga? (commercial links)

Peace on earth and stuff (Christmas 2008 thematic masthead)

Just for this holiday season, I thought I'd pack away my "Terminal cuteness" masthead and get into the (red and green) goose is getting fat spirit of Christmas.

Peace on earth and stuff Christmas 2008 thematic masthead by huamulan03"Peace on earth and stuff" masthead made by huamulan03

As with its precursor, I made this masthead with the help of downloaded brushes and typefaces (again from dafont.com). So, shout-outs:

  • KR Christmas 2001 from Kat's Fun Fonts
  • Christmas Cheer from Dani Foster Herring
  • 009 1 brush (from the pootato.org* 012 brush set) also used in "Terminal cuteness"

Arigatou gozaimuchness, y'all, and a joyous Christmas and a peace-filled New Year!

*The pootato URL I provided here doesn't seem to be working.

On the constant look-out for blogging inspiration (as if my To-Do list weren't already daunting), I remain,

~niki DBA 花木兰03 (huamulan03)

copyright information
Images used in the above banners/mastheads are © their respective owners. No infringement intended.

invaluable resources (click to unhide)

7&Y « online merchant (release information provider)
愛してるぜベイベ★★ « Aishiteruze Baby official
Amazon.co.jp « online merchant (Yoroshiku Master 2 and C.M.B. 2 front covers)
Amo, Amas, Amat and More: How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others by Eugene Ehrlich « paperback
Anime News Network
Animonster « 2007 giveaway calendar, Death Note bonus
Baka-Updates Manga « latest manga release information purveyor
dafont.com « downloadable fonts
Gainax Pages Kare Kano « fan site
学園アリス « Gakuen Alice anime official
a geek by any other name « Vampire Knight novel information
It's raining noodles!
Kare Kano fan-scanned images « URLs no longer available
Kodansha « shop for Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo covers
LAST EXILE « DVD official
Shibuya Psychic Research fan-scanned images (pics.livejournal.com/kuropon/pic)
Spiral « DVD official
Wikipedia

commercial stuph

Aishiteruze Baby

C.M.B. Shinra Hakubutsukan no Jiken Mokuroku

Chocolat manhwa

Death Note

Gakuen Alice

Ghost Hunt

Goong AKA Princess Hours

Hatenkou Yuugi

Honey

Kare Kano

Kiss, Zekkou Kiss series

Last EXILE

Ouran High School Host Club

Q.E.D. Shomei Shuryo

Spiral

Vampire Knight series

Miscellaneous manga

Tsukuba Sakura shōjo manga

related links

1 comment:

huamulan03 said...

Was fiddling with the template and now lost the Hatenkou Yuugi banner that had been going above and beyond the call of May 2008 duty to cover a part of the following month.

This is really going to push me to make a new--probably a masthead this time--banner for June.

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When commenting, kindly leave a name, make one up, whatever. I would like to call you something other than "anonymous-san" ^^

Arigatou gozaimuchness,
Niki

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