Pick A God And Pray

ToddTitle: Pick A God And Pray
Subject: Fire Emblem Series
Owner: Rems of Nevarra.org
URL: http://fire.nevarra.org/

What makes this shrine amazing: Rems’ Fire Emblem site is in her words, a reflection of her journey within Fire Emblem. Starting with Blazing Sword, her first Fire Emblem game, Rems takes visitors through the entire series, providing an introduction to each game, discussing each game’s mechanics and story, and spotlighting favorite characters from each entry.

In each article, she speaks to the visitor. Her writing style and voice really shine in this tribute; they not only make the subjects of the articles easy to understand for veterans of Fire Emblem and newcomers alike, but they make her articles interesting and engaging. It really feels like a friend is telling you about her favorite video game series.

Her style and layout are visually pleasing and stimulating. From her gorgeous layout that features a different character on each page to animated battle sequences within the character sections, her pages are just a lot of fun to scroll through. Appearances definitely do not deceive; Pick A God And Pray is just as much fun to read through.

Rems’ personality is interjected throughout the entire site through her opinions to funny little comments and captions. What I admire most about her work on this tribute, though, is that she keeps it real. Rems is critical of the series almost as much as she praises it. She doesn’t pretend to like everything about each game, and she even admits straight up to not liking one of the entries of the series. She gives each game the attention it deserves, however, marking her opinions for what they are, and presenting each game in the same style and format, whether she liked the game or not.

I loved going through Rems’ Fire Emblem journey with her, and I am so excited to recommend this site. As a Fire Emblem fan, this site was such a treat. I imagine it’d be a great read for anyone who has stumbled across the series and wants to know more about it, however; Pick A God And Pray offers fan insight you won’t find anywhere else. The unique experience provided to all visitors makes this site truly amazing.

Level 20

DestinieTitle: Level 20
Subject: Gyarados from Pokémon
Owner: Larissa of redcrown.net
URL: http://pkmn.redcrown.net/gyarados/

This isn’t the first time a Pokémon shrine was recommended on this blog but since Pokémon Sun and Moon just came out (and I’m on a Pokémon kick), I thought it would be fun to recommend a shrine that I really like to a Pokémon I also really like!

What makes this shrine amazing: Larissa is one of those shrine makers that I associate with the Pokémon fandom and has (unbeknownst to her) inspired me to continue working on my own Pokémon shrines. It’s nice to see so many Pokémon shrines popping up in the shrine community again but there comes a point where we as shrine-makers get stuck. How do we write a shrine about something we really like without sounding incredibly repetitive and yet still include the information we think is relevant? I would constantly ask myself this question and it seems as though Larissa had a similar thought, and an elegant solution.

One thing that I love about Level 20 is its narrative approach and how Larissa parallels the growth of her Magikarp with her own growth through the Pokémon fandom. Now, this may not be explicitly stated in the shrine but it is something that was illustrated to me as I was reading through this site for the first time. Here we begin as we travel to Larissa’s past when she discusses her first Pokémon game (level 1!) and she details her experience with the game, what she learned, what she questioned, and what was revealed to her. In a way, we’re taken through a time warp through the last 20 years and we eventually make it to her most recent team. Her voice is more casual as she tells a story rather than displaying stats and facts in a dry tone, which I really enjoyed. While that information is there and available for us it is not the center focus of the shrine.

This is not just a shrine to a Pokémon but a time capsule and a general opinion piece on each Pokémon generation up to Generation VII. Even though Larissa admits to not playing Pokémon Black and White, she provides us with the snippet of information on the Pokémon but also her quick thoughts on why she didn’t. I thought that was an interesting touch to use the opportunity to give an opinion on a piece of the franchise.

My final thoughts were on the layout and how Larissa’s very bold style aids the flow of the information. The calming blue color is a contrast to the personality of a Gyarados, in fact, the entire design and feel of the shrine is very calm. Instead of having an overarching navigation we flow through the site, clicking the “next” link, as though we are turning a page. In doing so, you’re forced to read through it in a linear way and makes me feel like I am casually floating down a river. A perfect addition for a water-type Pokémon.

I hope if you visit you enjoy Level 20 as much as I did! (And congratulations to the Pokémon franchise that is now 20 years old!)

Summertime Sadness

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

 

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.