Flying Witch — Slowly Taking to the Skies

In contrast to the past season (which only managed to produce a few watchable shows, including the indelibly gripping Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi), there seems to be a fair number of promising anime shows this time around.

flying witch

Makoto, the Flying Witch

This early, I have already marked a few titles that I would happily watch until the last episode — Anne Happy, Bungou Stray Dogs, Kuma Miko, Kuromukuro, Shounen Maid — and then, there is Flying Witch (JC Staff).


 
If, like me, you harbor fond thoughts of that Hayao Miyazaki classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli), you will most likely be partial to Flying Witch, too. In fact, after the first 5 minutes I was practically seeing Makoto (the titular witch of this series) as a slightly older version of Kiki, because they share so many similarities — both of them are budding witches-in-training and have to leave their homes in order to become full-fledged members of their order, both have black hair, and both have black cats as their familiar.

Flying witch & her familiar

Makoto and her familiar, Chito

This slice-of-life series moves at a slow, meandering pace, but it is served well by its gentle humor, quirky characters (Makoto’s ditziness and horrible sense of direction make her even more irresistibly charming), and gorgeous artwork.

There are a couple of shows that I am still keeping my eye on — Mayoiga and Haifuri. It’s still 50:50 for me at this stage, although I am already strongly tempted to write them off.

They seemed to be okay at first, but I am slowly edging away from them for a couple of reasons. In Mayoiga‘s case, despite a promising start, I immediately got turned off by its cast of characters, who seem to be a bunch of much-parodied standard over-the-top cliche characters, it’s almost like being hit in the head every time you hear them spout stale lines. As for Haifuri, the premise of tasking a bunch of schoolgirls to handle warships and make command decisions with minimal training — and still manage look cute and girly while doing it — is just too much of a stretch, even for me.

Scaling the BELS Wall

BELSI have never been good at marking or recording career milestones, but this one feels like one of those odd moments that I need to post about before I get overtaken by events and it completely slips my mind.

During the course of my early start as a copyeditor, BELS (Board of Editors in the Life Sciences) certification was always one of those things that stood out like a giant landmark — a huge street sign emblazoned in bold letters — that looked imposing even from a distance. You could find a way to ignore it, but you know the issue will always be there.

In a vague sense, it feels like a mountain that a science editor would need to scale if (s)he wants to be taken seriously in this field. Back then, it was easy to set aside because of several roadblocks. For one thing, the test was not offered locally. The BELS certification exam, which is run and administered by BELS (St. Paul, MN, USA), was routinely given in the United States, Europe, Australia, and some parts of Asia (India, Japan, South Korea), but going to those places (to take the test) was just too prohibitively costly.

That all changed in 2015. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Jam P. of Synchrogenix, BELS finally agreed to hold the test here. After hearing that welcome news, I set out collecting all the documents I needed to qualify for the exam.

The BELS exam was held in Makati last March 12, 2016. I went through the questions with mounting trepidation and varying degrees of reaction — some questions were thankfully easy to deal with, some were rather tricky, and there were others that stumped me. The one thing that buoyed me through the rough patches was my editing experience, years and years of it.

I wasn’t gung-ho about my performance, but I was fairly confident with some of my answers. When the test finally ended, I felt drained and uneasy. I knew the next stage was going to be murder on my nerves — waiting for the results. The proctors told us that results would be sent by mail (snail mail!) and would likely reach us within 6 weeks. To maintain my equilibrium, I blocked all thoughts about the BELS exam from my mind. I wasn’t entirely successful, but I kept myself busy in the mean time.

And then last week came in with all the grace of a haphazardly launched cannonball. The results started arriving (barely 4 weeks after the test). I was basically on tenterhooks until my own results arrived — in a large white envelope. When I noticed a slight “bulge” in the lower left corner of the envelop, I heaved a giant sigh of relief. I knew it was the BELS lapel pin (picture), which BELS gave out to successful examinees.

I finally scaled the BELS wall.

BELS pin

For freelancers like me, this is a huge moment to be filed away and revisited when things get a little challenging. I know the glow will eventually fade away and feel comfortably familiar like a well-worn glove, but for now my biggest lingering doubts have been laid to rest. Where I’m headed after this is anybody’s guess. Adding those 3 letters (ELS) after my name feels a bit odd though. Maybe in time I will feel comfortable about using them, but the BELS pin feels and looks nice.

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On a related note, I feel like this needs to be said. Among the 20 examinees (plus one foreigner who was in our batch but whose fate is unknown to us), 11 passed — of whom 8 were former office mates (some of them have moved on to other firms, and two turned to freelancing, like me). That passing rate blew our mind because we never expected to get that far (9/11). To me, this was icing on a lovely cake.:)

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens — it’s almost here.

Oh man (*tries to breathe slowly*). I guess it’s about time to dust off those light sabers and Star Wars costumes that have been gathering dust in your closets, people.

Here’s another batch of Star Wars VII trailers featuring Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Han Solo and Princess Leia‘s twin kids, Jacen and Jaina.

and here’s another one…

The seventh episode (yes, it’s officially called Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens — as if you didn’t know) is expected to hit theaters worldwide by Christmas this year (2015).

However, along with the mounting anticipation is a nagging, uncomfortable dread that this could turn out to be another disappointing turn (Star Wars I, II and III, anyone?). Let’s all cross our fingers that this time it will be different.

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday 2015

Happy Easter everyone:).

 

easter 2015

I know. I know.  It’s been like forever since I last checked in here (if it were not for my Twitter feed I might as well have fallen off the grid). It’s kind of difficult to get into that — I’ve been held up for various reasons and I’m not even sure if I can still do this (blog) on a regular basis, but for now it feels like a good time to get online again and wish everyone Happy Easter.

Hope you guys have a great day/week ahead. Happy hunting, folks (the egg hunters, that is).