Summertime Sadness

DestinieTitle: Summertime Sadness
Subject: Hotarubi no Mori e
Owner: Megan of like-knives.org
URL:

 

Since summer is coming to a close here in the northern hemisphere, I wanted to take the opportunity to recommend Megan’s Summertime Sadness. This shrine is one of personal favorites to visit and reread and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

What makes this shrine amazing:

Summertime  Sadness is a short shrine for an anime short film entitled Hotarubi no Mori e (“Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light”) based on a one-shot manga. Megan briefly and clearly talks about the history of the film to give the reader a good grounding on the topic. She also talks fairly in depth about the two main characters of the film and provides us with neat tidbits and minor analysis (such as name meanings and personality highlights).

My favorite parts of the shrine are the Story and Opinions pages. In the Stotry, Megan takes us through a rich and detailed synopsis which makes me feel like I am actually watching the short film as I am reading it – it’s that extensive. Megan’s writing is also always clear and friendly which helps to really understand what she is writing about. Never once does it read as though she is talking down to you, rather, her pages always read as someone who is very excited to share something that they love. This is why I love the Opinions page. She talks about why this story is really so special to her and you can see that she is really invested due to its unorthodox ending for a shoujo story.

I can really feel the emotion that Megan is writing about, and what she feels herself, through the shrine. I love Summertime Sadness because it invokes these same feelings in me when I read it: the end of summer, the feelings of loss and grief, and yet the joy of knowing and loving someone close to you.  The site may be but a few pages but I think it has the ability to resonate with you after visiting.

In the spirit of Megan’s other shrines, Summertime Sadness houses a plethora of media and screencaps of the film. I especially appreciate the time she puts into creating 100×100 avatars and gathering screenshots for us to browse.

If you’re in the US and are celebrating Labor Day today, which marks the end of summer here, please take some time to visit Summertime Sadness I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Dornenkaefig

DestinieTitle: Dornenkaefig
Subject: Friederike of Ludwig Revolution
Owner: Lethe of oubliette.nu
URL: http://idike.oubliette.nu

Greetings! I am new to The Amazing and this is my first recommendation. I’m happy to share some of my favorite shrines with you! Without further ado I bring you Dornenkaefig by Lethe!

What makes this shrine amazing: Once upon a time…

Is how most fairy tales begin. Dornenkaefig is a shrine dedicated to the character Friederike (Idike) from Kaori Yuki’s Ludwig Revolution; a manga that retells classic Grimm Fairy Tales in a gothic fashion.

Lethe does an excellent job introducing the series and outlining the basics for any new reader. I was not at all familiar with the series but the extensive introduction really captured everything I needed to know, and more, as Lethe also recommends chapters for those who are new and interested in reading more.

The size of a shrine does not always equivalent to the quality. We learn that Idike is a somewhat minor character in the series, but overall impactful on the story, as Lethe walks us through her story, her motivation, her emotions, and her origins.  Dornenkaefig is beautifully composed in a way that is engaging to read and easy to grasp. Idike’s character is revealed as Lethe walks us through her motivations and relationship with Lui, the protagonist. Through Lethe’s writing I began to feel like I was actually reading the manga itself. It is also worth noting that Dornenkaefig’s design very much leads us through the site in a linear fashion, which aids the feeling of an overall narrative versus a traditional website.

My favorite pages are the symbolism within the story and the  comparison of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale. While I was reading through Dornenkaefig, I started to draw certain conclusions myself, so it was a fun experience reading through the associated symbolism and comparisons. (I kept thinking: “Yes, but, mention the dragon already!”) Lethe walks us through the Brother’s Grimm “Little Briar Wood” and Perrault’s “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood” in a side-by-side comparison that prepares you for Kaori Yuki’s retelling. I felt that was the perfect way to wrap up the shrine and tie all the themes together.

The way Lethe ties together a manga character and classic Fairy Tales seems to branch across interests, and makes this shrine one that I think would reveal more to the reader over each visit.

Pro-bender

GuestTitle: Pro-bender
Subject: Mako of Avatar: Legend of Korra
Owner: Jae of Fayth.skyspell.org
URL: http://fayth.skyspell.org/mako/

Guest Recommendation: The following recommendation was written by Stefi of Blizzara.org. I (Todd) am happy to say Stefi is a good friend of mine, but she is also a fantastic shrine maker. I asked her to write a recommendation for The Amazing because she has a unique view and appreciation of shrines. Making shrines since the early 2000s, Stefi has been making and visiting shrines for over a decade. She has had the opportunity to not only watch shrines evolve and change, but experiment and pioneer some of that change herself. Back in the days of Livejournal, she created her own community to discuss video game shrines, which she was and is still clearly passionate about. Her own site, Antihero, made a huge impact in the shrine community when it was revamped to its current state, because it showed that shrines don’t need to have certain things to be a shrine, and it encouraged webmasters to put more of their own unique thoughts and insights into their own shrines. In addition to Antihero, you might know Stefi from her other amazing Square-Enix shrines Awakening, Boundless, and Fair Verona.

What makes this shrine amazing: Let’s all admit it: It is hard making a shrine. Whether it’s 3 pages or 50, every shrine maker puts all their hard work and effort into an entire site that we may or may not be embarrassed about bringing up over Thanksgiving dinner. And with every shrine we make, we try to not only make it different from other sites in some way shape and form, but we also try to give it its own unique character (hah, no pun intended!).

Jae’s Pro-bender features Mako, who is probably one of the more discussed protagonists in Legend of Korra simply because, well, he kind of started off unlikable. But all the more reason to love him! Truth is, Mako eventually made tons of progression throughout the show in terms of development, turning out to be one hell of a character.

Visually, the design of Pro-bender is distinctive and elegantly minimalist, with the newspaper theme a hat-tip to the series’ 1920’s time period aesthetic. The layout is well-balanced and uses all the space accordingly, with no awkward blank areas. In terms of writing style, the site also reads like a newspaper, which is brilliantly appropriate given the way the actual show presents itself. Though it is only one page, it comprehensively summarizes a lot of about the character in the first season while also covering all of Mako’s important relationships.

The content also has tons of personality. Including its journalistic tone, there are tinges humor and sarcasm with underlayers of intelligent insight. Jae hits all the positive points about Mako, but also makes sure to not ignore flaws and criticisms about the character. The “Letter from the Editor” section at the end of the site wraps up and gets to the heart of the character from Jae’s perspective, making evident her genuine appreciation for the character.

Pro-bender hits a lot of what I love about shrines. It’s clever, warm-hearted, well thought out, and it has seriously got a lot of style, both in terms of writing and design. I don’t think there are enough nice things I can say about this site. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more “editions” of Pro-bender in the future!

Copy Cat

ToddTitle: Copy Cat
Subject: Mew and Mewtwo of Pokémon
Owner: Denise of Delve
URL: http://rigelatin.net/copycat/

What makes this shrine amazing: I have actually been working on my own Pokémon shrine, an upcoming tribute to my favorite Pokémon, Drifloon. I’ve been scouring the web reading as many Pokémon sites as I can, to see how others tackle these creatures with little development and depth (as far as video game characters go). Copy Cat stood out to me in a really good way. In this shrine to Mew and Mewtwo, Denise shows shrines to Pokémon can be just as full and engaging as any video game character shrine, and I can only hope my own shrine will be this good. Granted, there is more information on Mew and Mewtwo than many other Pokémon, but Denise doesn’t miss a thing.

Mew is, as Denise puts it, the beginning and the end of Pokémon, and Mewtwo, the clone of Mew, is “Frankenstein’s monster of the Pokémon world.” Denise introduces both Pokémon in clear, interesting pages with images and personal thoughts. Vital Statistics cover each Pokémon’s Pokedex entries, appearance, and powers, but go even further covering voice actors, names, and even sounds. Denise has even set up an Ancient Mew page, covering the unique Pokémon card.

Mew and Mewtwo are featured not only in the games, but in the anime and Pokémon movies, and Denise has covered them all in the story section. Cultural Differences is a really interesting section, discussing changes in the story from language to language. Denise has even covered Mew and Mewtwo’s cameos, going as far as to highlight them in a season opening. In the Story and Games & General sections, visitors are able to gain a clear understanding of both Pokémon. This is great even for somewhat-new Pokémon fans like myself (My first game was Pokémon Pearl.), who haven’t played the early games or watched the films, but have heard of the legendary Mew and Mewtwo and want to learn more. Mew and Mewtwo aren’t as prevalent in later generations, and new fans might be missing out. Denise’s site will quickly catch anyone up.

Denise’s whole shrine is wonderful, but the “fanstuff” section, titled Telekinesis, is where Copy Cat really shines. She has some silly, fun stuff like Nicknames and Ask Mew & Mewtwo, but in this section she also has out-of-the-box pages like Theories, where she hypothesizes and discusses Bill’s possible occupation (a great read!), and Impersonators, where she compares Mew and Mewtwo not only to other Pokémon, but characters from other anime and games, like Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog and Master Chief from Halo.

There is a plethora of other pages and features to get lost in including extensive galleries, quotes, and a personal section explaining Denise’s own connection to Mew and Mewtwo. Denise has been working on this shrine since 2001, and it really shows, because there is so much thought and careful analysis scattered throughout. Some of the pages say Under Construction, which I’m excited about, because it means we’re in store for more, but what’s up and completed is definitely worth a visit or two or ten.