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14 November 2011 @ 03:57 am
Title: Black Fairy
Focus: Celty Sturluson from Durarara!!
Owner: Linah (sonicblade)
URL: http://celty.twistedspoon.net/

You should visit this shrine because... "Black Fairy" is one of very few fully-fledged English Durarara!! fansites and frankly, it would be a difficult site to top. Linah has composed a fascinating dedication to the character of Celty Sturluson that is accessible and informative to fans and non-fans alike. Combining information garnered from both the Durarara!! novels and anime series, Linah paints an engaging picture of Celty as a dullahan of growth and fortitude. All the key bases are covered at "Black Fairy" - from Celty's awakening in Ireland right through to her present activities and relationships in Ikebukuro. Linah's voice is eloquent and informative, her articles tantalise you into wanting to explore Celty's canon further. "Black Fairy" is a quality site built on research, strong writing skills and a clear passion for Celty's character. Highly, highly recommended.

Highlight: "Soundless Voice" which delves into how Celty communicates and how she grows as a result of her interactions. Lovely stuff - just that bit different from the norm.
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Peaches - Hot Rod | Powered by Last.fm
20 March 2011 @ 10:56 pm
Title: Defining Royalty
Focus: Natalia Luzu Kimlasca Lanvaldear from Tales of the Abyss
Owner: Samantha (ghostprayer)
URL: http://natalia.ghost-lights.org/

You should visit this shrine because... Natalia isn't the most loved member of the Abyss cast amongst site-makers, but Samantha tackles her character with both substance and style. While Natalia is superficially something of an archetypal princess, as Samantha presents, there is far more depth to her portrayal than we're initially led to believe. "Defining Royalty" explores Natalia's story from start to finish, with particular emphasis given to her growing maturity and complexity. Even if you're not a fan of Natalia, Samantha's accessible articles will leave you pondering the character and her role in Abyss for a long time to come.

In addition to interesting analytical explorations, Samantha devotes a sizable chunk of "Defining Royalty" to the use of Natalia within the game itself - including some great strategy points. There's also a rich media section for those interested in Natalia art.

"Defining Royalty" is an articulate and expressive dedication to a character frequently dismissed in fan communities. By really getting into Natalia's motivations and her struggles with purpose, Samantha has created a notably rewarding site.

Highlight: The section titled "Defining Royalty" which examines, in detail, this key aspect of Natalia's character. A strong read.
Current Mood: productive
Current Music: Little Boots - Symmetry | Powered by Last.fm
28 August 2010 @ 06:02 pm
Title: Ace of Hearts
Focus: Kaitou Ace from Codename wa Sailor V
Owner: Ko (silkaura)
URL: http://ko.moon.nu/ace/

You should visit this shrine because... While anyone familiar with the world of Sailor Moon is no doubt aware of Codename wa Sailor V's presence on the outskirts of the franchise, there has been very little fan emphasis on the title (outside of references on general sites or Minako dedications). Ko's "Ace of Hearts" is a rare character dedication to the male lead from Codename wa Sailor V, Kaitou Ace. What makes "Ace of Hearts" so utterly compelling is its objective examination of the character. Ko acknowledges and examines Ace's faults and flaws just as frequently as she celebrates his noble goals and humble past. You get a real feel for the complexities of Ace's character rather than just mindless fan gushing. Ko definitely appreciates Ace, but she also enjoys presenting fascinating articles that muse over his portrayal as well.

While "Ace of Hearts" has no real media section to speak of, the large archive of articles is complimented by web goodies and fan works. As Kaitou Ace only appears in a three-volume manga series, the variety of additional content is commendable! There are still a few articles yet to go online, but the content already available outweighs the lacking by far. Overall, "Ace of Hearts" is an eloquently composed and highly articulate dedication to a somewhat under-appreciated character. Ko has worked hard to produce a high quality site to Kaitou Ace and this effort is more than apparent. Definitely another shrine to add to your bookmarks!

Highlight: "Cruel Medium" which examines whether or not Kaitou Ace "cursed" Minako's love life. Good arguments and solid facts make this article a great read.
Current Mood: cold
Current Music: Starlight Mints - Seventeen Devils
29 June 2010 @ 12:17 am
Title: Final Judgement
Focus: Sydney Losstarot from Vagrant Story
Owner: Linh (sarisa)
URL: http://www.venusgospel.net/sydney/

You should visit this shrine because... Sometimes I wonder if I focus on too many video game related shrines, but dammit, when they're as much fun as "Final Judgement" how can I help myself? Linh has pieced together a fantastic dedication to Sydney from Vagrant Story that is as informative as it is hilarious. While I love visiting sites that talk about powerful relationships and webs of intrigue in a serious manner, there's something wholly refreshing about a site that is lovingly tongue-in-cheek. This is the approach you'll find to Sydney's story at "Final Judgement" - one that intersects deep analysis with ruminations on Rosencrantz being a dip.

As someone who never got around to finishing Vagrant Story (someday I'll tell you about my deprived Sony product-free childhood) I found myself learning a considerable amount through the accessible and easily arranged articles. If you want to know about Sydney, this is where you should head. Whether she's examining Sydney's personality or his relationship with Ashley, Linh's writing is fun and enjoyable to digest. At the same time however, it is just as complex and informative as any more "serious" take on the character. While Linh's other shrines boast similarly refreshing approaches to their subject matter, overall there aren't a whole lot of webmasters mixing the serious with the hilarious in this way and it's a darn shame.

What really shines through in every facet of this site is Linh's passion for the character. She likes Sydney and, by the time you finish at "Final Judgement", you will too.

Highlight: Pretty much everything under the "Question" label. All the features there were a blast to read.
Current Mood: lazy
Current Music: A lecture on convict verse
05 May 2010 @ 09:01 am
Title: Everything To Gain
Focus: Ootori Kyouya & Fujioka Haruhi from Ouran Koukou Host Club
Owner: Suzumi (stagnated)
URL: http://kyoharu.tsuyamono.net/

You should visit this shrine because... I've said it before and I'll say it again - there's a decided lack of Ouran Koukou Host Club fan sites online, despite its ongoing popularity. Thankfully, the few available sites are of a standard such as this. "Everything To Gain" is a thoughtfully composed exploration of the relationship between Kyouya and Haruhi. What makes Suzumi's whimsical dedication such a breath of fresh air is the way it embraces the canonical interaction between the characters while still maintaining a solid sense of distance and affection.

"Everything To Gain" is composed primarily of written articles (plus a fanlisting) so those looking for media indulgences won't find them here. This does not however, detract from the strength of the site's written element - nor does it make for a dry visiting experience. Each article has been dutifully composed in an engaging and appreciative manner. You get a real sense of the characters from Suzumi's writing, as well as her own sentiments for them. Thoughtfully placed images and quotes sprinkled throughout the articles help to highlight key relationship points.

If you're interested in reading articles about a relationship that is at once both humorous and endearing, then this is the shrine for you. Suzumi has crafted a thing of beauty in "Everything To Gain" - and not just in its gorgeous visual style! The small collection of articles here explore a fascinating relationship and they never overstay their welcome. This, my friends, is how you make a relationship-focused site.

Highlight: "Friendship", which examines the friendly interaction between Kyouya and Haruhi. It was a tough pick though!

(Unrelated Community Announcement: You can now access all past recs via the handy-dandy http://start.io/rainymonday. Recs are listed under reviewer. I hope this makes our recommended site list a little easier to digest vs. traipsing through a bunch of "back 20" pages here on LJ.)
Current Mood: sore
Current Music: The Bird and The Bee - Maneater (Hall & Oates Cover)