March 2018

Three extraordinary ladies rose up to the challenge in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. One was an American dramatic soprano who has been acclaimed for singing this punishing yet exciting tragic heroine of Elektra. The other was a gorgeous young South African spinto soprano who has made her role debut as the timid yet formidable sister, Chrysothemis. The third was an acclaimed German dramatic mezzo-soprano known for the versatility of her repertoire who has made her Metropolitan Opera House debut as the guilt- and angst-ridden anti-heroine, Queen Klytämnestra. How did these formidable singing actresses fare? Find out in this review!

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Hey, everybody! Antoni, here, with another fan fiction “recommendation”, you will see why I put those quotation marks there later in this post. This time, I am taking a look at an Inuyasha fanfic called A Hint of Hope which was written by darling krash and published on January 29, 2005. It’s rated M. It’s in English and the main pairing is Inuyasha and Ayame. Other characters involved are Kouga, Ginta, Hakkaku, and one random character who appears in the end. I will say this once and I will say this again. I am no InuKag fan in the slightest. I find it annoying whenever Inuyasha and Kagome bicker constantly even though they grow closer to each other, and it does not help matters when Kagome uses the “Sit boy!” command although there were times Inuyasha did not deserve to be punished in such a fashion. There are also times that despite being the main female protagonist and showing some strength and independence as a character, Kagome will at times be the designated damsel in distress probably because the plot seems to demand it. Even at thirteen, I always thought that Inuyasha should be better off with another girl aside from Kagome, who can be as strong, tough, and courageous as Inuyasha. Enter Ayame. Even though she is a filler character and was meant to be Kouga’s bride to be, she certainly has a presence to her which makes her all the more endearing and charming as a character. Yes, she only appeared in a total of four episodes, and spoilers I am not even a fan of KogAya, mostly because Kouga seems to have a lot more interest in Kagome, despite the respective couples being married in Inuyasha: The Final Act. When all is said and done, this is all just a matter of personal tastes so InuKag, InuKik, and KogAya fans please put down your torches and pitchforks. When it comes to shipping Inuyasha and Ayame, there are traits about the both of them which I love. Both Inuyasha and Ayame are strong, tough, capable, battle-ready, fiery, and badass characters with a lot of spirited personalities. Because Ayame has been raised by the white wolf yokai tribe, she was taught to fight at such an early age, and for that, she is respected by her tribe, though Ginta and Hakkaku are rather intimidated by her. In terms of Inuyasha, he grew up in such a harsh environment where both humans and demons repudiated him because of his ********** status, due to the fact that he has a human mother and a Daiyokai father. When one puts two and two together, one has characters like Inuyasha and Ayame who have gone through a lot in their lives, faced many a hardship, and even faced loss and heartbreak, Inuyasha with Kikyo and Ayame with Kouga. In spite of the obstacles, these two remain resilient and headstrong with their goals, Ayame in trying to get Kouga to marry her to reunite their tribes and Inuyasha in obtaining the Shikon no Tama or the Shikon jewel, in order to become a full-fledged yokai. Even more so, these fighters are intrepid enough to go headfirst into battling demons and other evil spirits. I love these two so much as characters, that at times I wish they could’ve been the main couple and let Kagome be paired up with someone as thrill-seeking as Kouga or calculating as Sesshoumaru. It is also a shame that Ayame did not get as many appearances in the TV show, as she was a pretty formidable ally, who was criminally underused. With that rambling out of the way, let’s get on to what I thought about the story. Ayame is sitting by a stream pondering about Inuyasha and Kagome liking each other so much. Kouga appears not to return Ayame’s love, but to scold her for interfering with his obsession with Kagome, and he assaults her. In storms, Inuyasha defends Ayame against Kouga, wards him off, and tends to her wounds and her overall loneliness. During Inuyasha’s stay with Ayame, the two of them become closer, a bit more intimate, and their relationship blossoms even further. All the while, Kouga is all the more obsessed in terms of having a bone to pick with Inuyasha, no pun intended. By and large, the story was pretty well-woven with sufficient interest. As always, I want to spoil neither the climax nor the ending. I will say this about the latter. The ending does make me want to draw fanart of how Inuyasha looked like with his new attire when he returns to Ayame. Okay, I know I have a no-spoiler policy when it comes to doing fanfic or general reading recommendations, but I will give myself the benefit of the doubt, the ending had a nice build up, it was nicely satisfying, and it was lovely to have Inuyasha and Ayame be together. The characters who managed to steal the show for me were Inuyasha and Ayame. Inuyasha does manage to keep his tough-guy personality, though it’s backed up with a chivalrous and noble personality without going too over-the-top with it. He makes sure that Ayame gets not only the protection she needs but the love she so wholeheartedly deserves. Speaking of Ayame, she herself manages to be thoroughly enjoyable as a character. She still keeps her loyal, fierce, and strong personality, but it’s also backed up by some vulnerability to make her all the more human and relatable. Kouga took a level in jerkass in this fanfic. Yes, he was rather villainous in his debut episode when he and his wolves ransacked a village, but he immediately had a 180 when he met Kagome at such a bizarre rate. Here, I actually like how darling krash made him a little bit more villainous in terms of his jealousy, animosity, and obsession to best Inuyasha, and he served his purpose well. The other characters like Ginta, Hakkaku, and a random black wolf yokai serve their…

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Hey, everybody! Antoni, here, with another fan fiction recommendation. Yes, I know I was supposed to review Rossini’s Semiramide live from the Met. However, because of my upcoming Spanish exam, I decided to postpone that said review until tomorrow evening, as after the exam, I also have to study for my upcoming Chemistry exam with some help from my private tutor. With that said, I will be taking a look at, of course, another Powerpuff Girls fanfic called, who you gonna call written by queen caffeine and published October 9, 2017. It’s rated T. It’s in English. It’s humor/friendship, and the main characters involved are Butch and Blossom, in which they have a platonic relationship as friends. There are also hints of Brick/Blossom, Butch/Buttercup, and Boomer/Bubbles. Aside from Brick, Buttercup, Boomer, and Bubbles being involved in this story, Princess Morbucks and a few extra characters make an appearance on here. The characters are all teenagers between 17 to 19 years old. Let’s get this started shall we?   Aside from me being a fan of Brick’s and Buttercup’s platonic relationship as friends, I also happen to fancy Butch’s and Blossom’s platonic relationship, as all of their dynamics are really interesting, in my opinion. You will find out why, but first my thoughts on the entire story.   Blossom goes about her normal day doing groceries when all of the sudden Butch attempts to call her, as something drastic happened. As she approaches her home, she sees Butch who then blurts out that Brick, Boomer, Buttercup, and Bubbles have been kidnapped. Through this revelation, an unlikely friendship is formed between the articulate, intellectual, usually composed pink Powerpuff girl and the hyperactive, big shot, tough dark green Rowdyruff boy. Thank goodness that not all hope is lost, as tracking devices were placed on Buttercup and Bubbles so that they can find their location via computer. Blossom initially wants to do this rescue mission alone, but Butch charmingly lends his aid to her, making her at first reluctant but she relents. After some expert-level hacking through different systems, Blossom finds out that Brick, Boomer, Buttercup, and Bubbles are on a huge ship in different cells, where they are deprived of their powers, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and they were kidnapped by none other than Princess Morbucks. So, our two main protagonists suit up, head off to rescue them, and stop Princess. I’m not going to spoil the rest, but let’s just say that the climax has sufficient action and tension to make it interesting and it’s nice to our heroes kicking loads of butt, especially Blossom and Buttercup. Although the ending was satisfying, I would’ve wanted to see what happened after the final battle. Maybe we could’ve seen Boomer waking up and having a moment not only with Bubbles but the rest of the Puff and Ruff gang, that would’ve been sweet. However, as it is, the story has a sufficient amount of humor, charm, action, and enjoyment to make it an interesting and fun ride.   In terms of characters, it should be no surprise that for the most part, Blossom was in character with a few moments, where she kind of swore but not on the sailor-mouth level like Brick, Butch, Buttercup, and Princess. She manages to keep her levelheaded nature to a T and she had her deadpan snarker moments, which made her all the more entertaining as an individual character. Complimenting Blossom’s levelheadedness is Butch’s charmingly lovable idiot jock, big shot personality. Alone, he too is extremely entertaining, being at times the chivalrous pervert to not only Blossom but, of course, to Buttercup. Even more so, he has his sarcasm and hilarity to make him all the more charming. He even blurts out the relationship status for each of their respective siblings, like Boomer and Bubbles officially dating for Lord knows how long, Butch being completely convinced that Buttercup wants him even though she is rather annoyed by him, and Brick and Blossom have a lot of unresolved sexual tension to the point where she is defensive about it. When one puts these two characters together, they are not only entertaining but also pretty good teammates, with Blossom being the savvy, articulate, composed technician and genius bruiser and Butch being the muscle and the impulsive yet lovable idiot big shot jock. These two definitely have some funny moments of dialogue where on the outside they show sass and irony but deep down one can tell that they care for each other as friends. I even enjoy how Butch calls Blossom “Rapunzel”, mostly due to her attractiveness and her long hair. Princess Morbucks and her troupe of guards serve their purpose as the big bads of the story, as she uses her master plan to lure Butch and Blossom to their fellow Ruffs and Puffs almost to perfection. The other characters also serve their purpose very well, like Brick keeping his impulsive and sardonic nature, Buttercup keeping her tsundere and tough girl edge, Bubbles keeping her sweet nature, and Boomer…Well, he passed out for the duration of this story. So, overall the characters were, as always, lovable and interesting with Butch and Blossom stealing the show all thanks to their fun character dynamics.   Now with such praise, I have to give this story in terms of build-up and characters, one would think this is perfect right? Sadly, no. There were definitely some technical issues to be found, most especially in the grammar. First of all, the title’s first letters should have been capitalized, as it is the standard protocol when it comes to writing. Secondly, when dialogues are not involved, the story is written in present tense, when it should have been past tense. For anyone who aspires to write stories, please, use the past tense, as they indicate what the characters did. How this story was written seemed more like a script than a piece of fan fiction or even a book. Third, there were times that…

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Hey, everybody! Antoni, here, with another fan fiction recommendation. As promised, it’s another Powerpuff Girls fanfic involving Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup called Cheater Cheater Heartbreaker! written by kuku88 and published back on August 28, 2013. It’s rated T. It’s in English. It’s romance/drama, and the main couples are Butch/Buttercup and Brick/Blossom. There are hints Brick/Buttercup and Butch/Blossom, but it’s mostly platonic. Other characters involved are Boomer, Bubbles, Brute from the Powerpunk Girls, Bunny from the episode Twisted Sister who is thankfully revived in the fanfic, and Dexter and Mandark from Dexter’s Laboratory. There are also some original characters to be found in the forms of the other Rowdyruffs, Bandit, Blaster, Braker, and the other Powerpuffs, Banana, and Bliss, the latter one not being the one from the PPG 2016 reboot. Even more so the characters in this story are teenagers, roughly 16 to 18 years old so there will be some curse words like the F- and S-words, the former being slightly more dominant.   Now, we are venturing into the less fluffy direction from Aqua Bailarina 15’s Sugar Song to A Bitter, Yet Sweet Step and head to something a bit more melodramatic. Before I begin talking about the fanfic’s melodrama aspect, I would like to mention that I’m sure in the previous fanfic it would have been also cool to see Brick, Butch, Blossom, and Buttercup form their own J-Rock, Alternative, or Rock band that would give the likes of ABBA and even the A-Teens a run for their money. With that little detail out of the way, let’s get on to what I thought about this fanfic.   And for those who asked, this is what I meant by this story being melodramatic, almost akin to a teen soap opera, but not as far-fetched nor over-the-top. The story starts off as Buttercup scolds Butch, whom she has dated for three months and counting, and wants to call off their relationship, as he made out with her evil counterpart, Brute from the Powerpunk Girls, during her, her sisters’, and Brute’s birthday party. In Butch’s defense, he states that he was horribly drunk, as he though Brute was Buttercup and he was in under so much pressure with Buttercup’s expectations for him to be the best boyfriend. Buttercup not wanting to hear Butch’s excuses storms off to her home, where Blossom, Bubbles, Bunny, Bliss, and Banana try to comfort her. Because of the breakup’s impact, Buttercup then ends up crying in her bedroom, until Blossom’s boyfriend, Brick, arrives. As Blossom’s boyfriend and Buttercup’s closest friend, he also comforts her and even stated that he tried to stop Butch’s excessive drinking, but he was unfortunately stubborn. Buttercup grows feelings for Brick, as he is deemed Blossom’s perfect boyfriend. Thus, she uses him to break his relationship with Blossom and get back at Butch. However, Brick is befuddled by how she is reacting, and he proceeds to go to Blossom, as they have a study session. He reassures Buttercup that he, her sisters, and the rest of his brothers are there for her and he knows that Butch does need help in rekindling his relationship with her. Meanwhile, Butch is still awfully guilt-ridden about the incident and starts to suspect that Brick is getting much closer to Buttercup than any friend should. Whilst Blossom is doubting Brick’s fidelity towards her, as he starts to become Buttercup’s tutor in physics, and she cannot stand the thought of her boyfriend cheating on her with her own sister. I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story, but how it builds up shows that there is almost a love square going on between Brick, Blossom, Butch, and Buttercup, more appropriately of how even though Butch and Buttercup broke up, she then ends up having her eyes on Brick, even though he is faithfully dating Blossom. Of course, there is also a fair amount of bickering and suspicions going on between the four main protagonists due to misunderstandings, and the pattern seems to build. At least I will give the climax and the ending some kudos for alleviating the ongoing melodrama and resolving the story with a happily ever after, especially for our main stars Butch and Buttercup as well as Brick and Blossom. There were also some instances where flashbacks were used and they were done in the right moments.   The character that really takes the cake here in this fanfic is Buttercup. Her impulsive nature is kept nicely intact as well as her tsundere edge, and I have to give kuku88 credit for keeping her characterization as it is. However, Buttercup in this fanfic also has the tendency to be manipulative, especially when it came to that break-up she had with Butch, as she tries to get her hands on Brick. Sure, it is not common for her to think about being lovey-dovey, but she always knew in her heart that Butch is not only her equal in terms of being counterparts but also someone she admires and adores so much because he is handsome, strong, and independent in his own way. In Butch’s case, I really like his characterization here. He is usually written by other fanfic authors as violent, a pervert, or even a psycho, but I love the route kuku88 was able to take him. What we have is a misunderstood and flawed male protagonist whose actions are rash and ill-timed but he still has enough loyalty, humanity, and compassion to make things right with Buttercup. Even more so, Butch has this charm which makes him all the more appealing as a character that I actually enjoy his presence. With Brick, it should be no doubt that I love the platonic sensible older brother and impulsive younger sister relationship he has with Buttercup. Given that he is her closest friend in this story, he does his best to support Buttercup and completely understands the situation she and Butch are in. Because of his act of kindness to…

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Hey, everybody! Antoni, here, with another fan fiction recommendation. Today, I’m taking a look at a Powerpuff Girls fanfic, Sugar Song to A Bitter, Yet Sweet Step! written by Aqua Bailarina 15, published back on November 27, 2015, and updated on March 26, 2016. It’s rated T. It’s in English. It has two chapters, one with the main story or more appropriately one-shot and the other with another author’s note, and the main character pairings are Brick/Blossom and Butch/Buttercup. Other characters involved in the story, though not as prominent, are Boomer, Mitch Mitchelson, Bubbles, and Robin Snyder. This entire story takes place in a middle school setting, so the characters are approximately 13 to 14 years old, as they are in the eighth grade. Let’s get this started shall we? Ah, the Powerpuff Girls. For those of you who watched my look back on ‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas, you will know that ever since I was a lad of seven years old, I was so excited to catch this show on Cartoon Network, considering the fact that it had two pilot shorts on The What a Cartoon Show, which a caught a year ago before the main show premiered in the Philippines, sometime during summer. I am still so happy to call myself a PPG fan to this day, as it is perched alongside my all-time favorite Cartoon Network shows, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Samurai Jack, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Dexter’s Laboratory, Codename: Kids Next Door, Chowder, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Regular Show. I am really looking forward to reviewing the original Powerpuff Girls because Craig McCracken and his crew made something unique, fun, endearing, absolutely high-octane, and something worth remembering until the end of time. Now in terms of the Powerpuff Girls’ rogues gallery, there is no other group of villains to get as much popularity as The Rowdyruff Boys consisting of Brick the hot-tempered leader, Butch the extremely violent one, and Boomer the dim one. They were initially created by Mojo Jojo with the help of snips of armpit hair, snails, and a dog’s tail from, of course, The Talking Dog. As an ersatz for Chemical X, he flushed the ingredients down a toxic toilet and thus, The Rowdyruff Boys were born. Yes, in their debut episode their personalities were almost similar to each other that they came off as angrier, nastier counterparts to the Powerpuff Girls. However, if you take that characterization aspect aside, they were completely on par with the girls in terms of power, that they almost defeated them. The Rowdyruff Boys do prove themselves to be formidable enemies to the girls and their episode was the second to the last one of the first season. Just when Mojo Jojo and the boys were gloating at their presumed triumph, Miss Bellum gave a pep talk to the girls saying that they can use their feminine charms to defeat the boys. From there, the viewers are then treated to the most famous scene, which has cemented the whole RRB/PPG pairing frenzy, the kissing scene. Blossom kisses Brick, Bubbles kisses Boomer, and Buttercup kisses Butch. With that, the boys exploded. These little bastards were so popular that they were even revived in Season 5 to 6. In their returning episode, The Boys are Back in Town, HIM resurrected them with a cootie shot and the boys’ personalities are not only more defined with Brick’s impulsive, mean-spirited, and hot-tempered nature, but also Butch’s bouts of psychosis, bloodlust, overall insanity, and undying loyalty to Brick as the middle brother, and Boomer’s dim-witted yet infantile nature as the youngest, as there were times that he was used as Brick’s and Butch’s punching bag evidenced in Bubble Boy. Sure, the boys’ personalities during their revival came off as obnoxious, jerkish, and irredeemable, but they were still very entertaining as characters. Heck, in The City of Clipsville, there was one scene where the Powerpuff Girls and Rowdyruff Boys were teenagers and they seemed to have a thing for each other. While that scene was interesting and kind of funny, I felt like they were all robbed of their distinctive personalities, as the girls acted more like clueless valley girls and the boys acted more like laid-back slackers. Speaking of RRB/PPG pairings, my goodness a lot of fan-related pieces are all over the web, mostly due to the whole bad boy/good girl pairings are very much all the rage and there is so much appeal. As for me, I really love this particular pairing. Sure, it’s not canon in the TV show given the fact that the Rowdyruff Boys and the Powerpuff Girls are between 5 to 6 years old. However, if this show continued with the girls and boys as tweens or teens, I’d say they would all go a different route. The boys would be very fed up with both Mojo Jojo and HIM telling them what to do and how to be evil, and they would eventually find their own paths, all the while realizing that maybe they were in the wrong, to begin with. They would develop from being villains to anti-villains to anti-heroes at most heroes at the least. I am really sure that among Brick, Butch, and Boomer, the latter would really turn to the good side and have an amazingly stable relationship with Bubbles. Heck, it would be amazing to see the Rowdyruff Boys team up with the Powerpuff Girls and be a great superhero team to rival that of the Teen Titans, the Justice League, the Suicide Squad, and the Avengers. I indubitably support Boomubbles with a passion, but I also enjoy Blossick and Butchercup, mostly because fanfic writers will tend to make their relationships a little bit more complex in comparison to the sentimental, lovey-dovey vibe of the youngest lovebirds Boomer and Bubbles. The usual case with Brick and Blossom in fanfics would be these two will have a will they or will they not type of relationship, and because they…

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New YouTube Achievement Unlocked, with some Reservations

Hey, everybody! Antoni, here! I know I have been AWOL on YouTube, due to the fact that I had a lot of major academic priorities to take care of. I had one presentation to accomplish in History regarding the Baroque period, one in English regarding the Philippines, and one which I will do alongside my colleague in Chemistry regarding the usage of superabsorbent polymers. I apologize for my disappearance, but don’t worry, as soon as everything calms down I will continue to make more content most likely on Easter break.   Now in terms of my channel, I have some bad news and good news. The bad news is I have been stripped of monetization for now, as I did not reach the new 4000-hour, 1000-subscriber threshold. This is a major shame as I have been releasing content on YouTube for a span of six to seven years, yet in spite of my best efforts, it was not enough to achieve something like this. At least, I can rely on Steemit in terms of getting my content paid, so all is not lost.   The good news is, I have reached 604 subscribers. I am so thankful to the people who have followed me so far on my journey as a reviewer, actor, singer, and voice actor and for that, you are all awesome. I thank you so much for the support you have given me and I bless each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Even when times get rough, I will not surrender and I will keep on going even after I reach 1000 plus subscribers. So, keep supporting, keep spreading the love, and thanks for making my time on YouTube very fruitful. I could not have accomplished this without your help.   Like I said, I am not going to disappear and I will keep going on. It’s just that priorities need to be set straight, things happen in real life, and I cannot deny nor ignore it. On top of that, I intend to review Rossini’s Semiramide live from the Met starring Angela Meade, Elizabeth DeShong, Javier Camarena, and Ildar Abdrazakov either on Tuesday or this coming Saturday, so look out for that. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful evening, please subscribe to my channel, spread the word about it to everyone, and see you all on the flipside. Take care. Subscribe to my channel, where I review opera, anime, cartoons, concerts, albums, musicals, and ballet

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