Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Non Conventional Cosplay

Keroro Gunso (Sgt. Frog) Cosplay

Sen to Chihiro (Spirited Away) Cosplay

Unintentional Dragon Ball Z Cosplay

Cute One Piece Cosplay

Friday, May 27, 2011


I found these on my hard drive. I'm not entirely sure what they are, the files were like 10 years old. I had a translation file and these scanlated pages... I think I made them for practice when I was thinking of getting into doing scanlations. If the folder name is to be trusted, it was from a comic called "Rimu." It looks pretty funny, I wish I could figure out what it is and where I got it. Heh heh. There are 8 scanlated comics here total, you have to follow the break. Read the comics right to left.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ico Comics

Found these on my hard drive, thought they were hilarious so I decided to share, along with completely unnecessary translations. These are comics related to the game ICO.


Girl: There's lots of room...


Child 1: *kid noises, sorry, I'm not sure*
Child 2: *kid noises, sorry, I'm not sure*


Girl: Let go~~
Police Officer: Stop!

There's also the awesome "Training Day" comic.

And of course, the classic Penny Arcade Ico Comic.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Caramelldansen Taunts - A Brawl Hack

I told you yesterday that I was saving the coolest Caramelldansen for last... and here it is.

It's almost every Super Smash Brothers Brawl character doing the Caramelldansen dance as their taunt! Sure beats the animated versions (here and here.) And the best part? As long as you have an SD card, you can easily mod the taunts into the game for your own use.

Brawl modding is pretty easy and the results can be pretty cool. (hmm... i maybe should have chosen another example.) Just follow this guide and, if you can read directions, you'll be set up in half an hour. Once you're set up though... If you just want the Carmelldansen taunts, that'll just be copying one directory to your flash card and you're done. But see if you can stop at just that one mod... you can easily spend days sorting through assets and configuring your Brawl hacks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Top Ten Caramelldansen

It's Caramelldansen Time!

Caramelldansen is a meme combining a Swedish song of the same name with a very simple dance. The dance originated in Japan, where it's also called ウマウマダンス (uma uma dance) / ウッーウッーウマウマ (ua- ua- uma uma) due to confusion about the lyrics. I like the Chinese names for it. In addition to 焦糖舞 (caramel dance), they call it 兔耳舞, which means Rabbit Ear Dance. That's a pretty good description of the dance. People will release videos of their favorite anime characters doing the Caramelldansen dance.

Anyway, there are literally thousands of variations you can find on Youtube or Nico Nico Douga. I'm going to list my top ten favorites. (top 10s are good, right?) My favorites are mostly videos that are either themed or have large amounts of characters. As far as I care, this list is the best of the best. Well, except for the one I think is the absolute coolest, which I'll save for tomorrow's post.

3D-CG Vocaloid Nendroids

One Piece (cast up to 2010)

Full Metal Alchemist

Rurouni Kenshin


Evangelion (there's also a second part if you click this link)


Gundam 00

Yu Yu Hakusho

Lotsa Random Characters

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harry Potter Schools

I think it's pretty amazing how you can take a photo of Emma Watson as Hermoine, change the color schemes, and make it look like she belongs in a completely different Hogwarts house.

To Gryffindor go the bold and brave,
while Ravenclaw keeps the genius.
Slytherin claims the most ambitious,

and to the rest go Hufflepuff.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 comes out July 15th... it's so strange that the movie series is going to end.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flame of Recca Review

This manga takes place in the modern day.  16-year old self-proclaimed ninja Recca, a girl he chose as his master, and a group of friends who become increasingly close fight against an incredibly evil business man trying to find a certain magical artifacts, which are called madougouin this series.  This manga focuses on fights, character back stories, and small bits of comedy.  Each character has their own madougou which they must cleverly use to fight against their opponent.  The characters strength comes from learning new abilities from their madougou and due to their determination to protect each other.  It has a very good, diverse cast of characters who get good development throughout the series and are given good backstories.  This manga does include a lengthy tournament.

I was introduced to this series through fansubs several years ago.  I felt that the series started off very strong, then got linearly less interesting, but then ended strong.  Years later, I found that the anime series (which was 42 episodes) was based off of a manga series (episode 42 was roughly equivalent to volume 16 out of 36.)  I found scanlations for the manga and finished the series.  Later I read the first 16 volumes as well, after the series was released by Viz.

This is a highly recommended series as long as you're not tired of shonen cliches.  In my opinion, it is one of the top shonen fighting manga because of the great detail in defining the character's motivations and the pure awesomeness of the main character's power.

There are three points which I count as weaknesses.  The first is the art quality.  The first 16 volumes are not very fun to look at, in my opinion.  However, if you view this series as I did with the anime transitioning into the manga, this point is negligible.  The second is the fights themselves.  Many of the fights really aren't that interesting, specifically the ones where the victor is determined by "Oh, I suddenly found a new ability of my madougou that I didn't know about before."  This is not so bad though because there are a fair number of fights that are determind by the fighter cleverly using their known abilities.  The final weakness is the tournament in the middle.  While I understand why the author did it, it lasted too long and pales in comparison to the less cliche feeling and more revelation filled story arcs of the beginning and the end.

In any case, this series is in my top ten manga list.  Seeing these characters struggle and achieve their goals have motivated me, somehow.  "I must Protect my Princess" is a great life mantra, in my opinion.  Plus, thinking about summoning flame has done wonders for my imagination.  Definitely take a look at this one.

[warning! ending spoilers follow]

In addition to the three points of weakness I gave before, there is one more.  The ending.  This is probably just my preference, but... when you think about it, the whole series took place in less than a year.  I would have really liked a look into the future to see how the characters turned out in the long run.  Yes, I realized that the story was over and the whole thing isn't real anyway, but I would have enjoyed it more if the author showed the lives of the characters a bit after things got calm.  It's easy to grow, develop, bond, and such during a large crisis... but what happens once life is no longer crazy?  True, I'm asking for to much, probably, and it's probably just because I get too interested and involved with the characters in the story.

As a counterpoint, the ending does completely "end the story" without any lingering mysteries or any chances for continuation.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Onani Master Kurosawa

One of the best obscure manga out there is a doujin (amateur) work called "Onani Master Kurosawa"... or translated more completely, "Masturbation Master Kurosawa." Despite the name, it's not a pornographic story. It's a very good manga about growing up. The art itself is a very sketchy style, which I personally really like. While this manga is not porn, it does deal with mature issues and is probably best for late high school age and up.

If you want to read it, here's a file with all chapters of the manga as well the special short story that takes place after the last chapter. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Final Fantasy 13 Prologue

Ah, Final Fantasy 13... lots of opinions on this game. Personally, I thought it was pretty bad. I did really like the battle system and the battle music. If it used the old traditional system, I probably would have hated the game. I didn't like the characters and I didn't like the story at all.

Anyway, a prologue light novel was released before the game. You can read it translated here. If you like Final Fantasy 13 or have nothing better to do, it might be worth you time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chinese Poster

I like this poster. I found it on reddit and thought it was hilarious. The text is supposed to mean: "It doesn't mean anything, but it looks pretty." You're supposed to hang it up somewhere and when people ask you what it means, you can truthfully say "It doesn't mean anything, but it looks pretty." Hehe... I'd like a calligraphy version that looks a lot fancier though. Maybe later.

Lupin the 3rd

I was browsing pixiv the other day and was surprised at how many cool Lupin pics there were. I collected a bunch of them that you can download here. The image above is the image collection contents. (The screenshot of the scrolling window was created with FastStone Capture, which is a pretty nifty tool.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Final Fantasy 7 Plot Analysis

Final Fantasy 7 is almost certainly the most popular Final Fantasy. I played it when it first came out and really enjoyed it, although it's not my favorite. Due to the translation (or perhaps my age at the time), I didn't really grasp the entire story. After reading this incredibly well detailed plot analysis, I firmly decided that Final Fantasy 7 had the best story of all of them. There was a lot of cool stuff in there even without understanding everything.  After getting it all, it's even more interesting. That plot analysis is worth reading even if you hadn't played through the game. Final Fantasy VII's story was well thought out and (imo) had a better plot line than most manga out there and the plot analysis goes over this story well.

Advent Children (the CG movie) was a fun visual feast, although it was pretty confusing to follow what was supposed to be going on. An accompanying prequel light novel was released along with it, which you can read translated here. The novel is a series of shot stories, each focusing on a different character. The novel is only okay, but if you're a Final Fantasy VII fan, they're worth a read.

Fate Zero Anime Trailer

The Fate Zero anime, done by ufotable, is coming in October. The trailer was released yesterday... see the website for the anime over here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Castlevania: Harmony of Darkness

Got this game during a recent sale, which was good because it meant there were a lot of other new players. It's really fun; simply put it's multiplayer Castlevania. When you die in multiplayer mode, you become a really weak skeleton. You'll do 1 damage when you might normally do 70.

The scenario in the comic happened to me last night, it was really fun. One low level guy was randomly wandering around the castle we cleared out while we were fighting Dracula on Chapter 6 Hard. We all died from an attack we weren't expecting. The other guy was still alive so the stage wouldn't end. So we started throwing bones at Dracula, expecting to run out of time and lose. Suddenly, Dracula died, and we all shouted at the last guy to rush up and open the treasure chests (we only had 5 minutes left). He made it. Hehe, it was really funny. The last guy was playing Jonathan too.

By the way, if you like Metroidvania (yeah, we all hate the name, but it works) games, this page has a fairly complete list of them.

Densha Otoko

Read Densha Otoko online!

Densha Otoko is a fun story. It focuses on a Japanese geek who helps out an elegant woman on a train, then begins the unlikely process of courting of her. He's pretty clueless when it comes to women, so he turns to a huge Japanese forum for help. The (allegedly true) story is told through these forum posts. It's a fun read and not too long. You can read it online or buy the official English localization.

By the by, Densha Otoko was a pretty big property. It got a novel, a movie, a drama, an anime spinoff of the drama, and a manga. I watched the drama and highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cave Johnson is Awesome


Portal 2 is a pretty fun game and has pretty amusing dialogue. I kinda see it as a two-for-one deal: Game and Comedy. Out of all the dialogue, I think that Cave Johnson's parts are the best. As you've probably heard, his best scene is the following test sequence, where he talks about combustible lemons.

But all his stuff is pretty hilarious. Here's a link to an mp3 with all of Cave Johnson's lines (unfortunately not in order), as well as the new ending song.

On that note, I also enjoyed Jonathan Coulton's new ending song, "Want You Gone." Originally I wasn't so fond of it, but I have to admit that it grew on me a lot. I don't know if "Still Alive" is even a better song, or if it was just a better surprise.

By the way, if you're more a Wheatley guy, this link goes to voice clips of all the personality core lines:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hatsune Miku Sings the Heart Sutra

I know this song can be annoying to some people, but I love it. Not only do I think the song itself is catchy, but I'm this close to memorizing the allegedly best known and most popular of all Buddhist Scriptures in Japanese ^_^.

What is the Heart Sutra? Well, I'm not a Buddhist and a lot of this is based off of Wikipedia (so don't be offended if I'm not 100% right)... But from my understanding, the Heart Sutra (Prajna-paramita Hrdaya Sutram) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra. Sutras are more or less dense religious messages in the form of a poem, which allows them to be be easily chanted and memorized. The Heart Sutra is basically about the insights and liberation the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara discovered after performing deep meditation in order to awaken the faculty of wisdom. Um... now you know!

Hatsune Miku is a popular female character combined with a singing synthesizer application. This virtual idol has even performed successful live concerts!

This video is obviously (if you watched it) Hatsune Miku singing the Heart Sutra. This rendition got really popular on Nico Nico Douga and lots of variations of it were created. The following is a random list of Miku-sung Heart Sutras in slightly different musical styles. There are many, many more out there.

Pop -
Rock -
R&B -
Hardcore -
Ballad -
Dark -
Anime OP -
Mixture -
Techno -
Electronica -
Rock DC -
Samba -
ElectRock -
Lovers -
Gumi cover -
Loud Park 2010 -
Punk -
Pikopiko -
UmiNeko -
Luka -

Friday, May 6, 2011

Free Neal Stephenson Stuff

Neal Stephenson is a great writer who is able to put deep ideas and pretty technical detail in his entertaining stories and essays. He has a lot of works that are available freely on the internet, so you can give his writing a try. If you like these samples, you'll almost definitely like his novels.

Jepe and the Paranoid Chip - A freely available short story involving AI.

Spew - A freely available short story about... hmm... infomation and trending?

THE GREAT SIMOLEON CAPER - A freely available short story about currency.

In the Beginning, there was the Command Line - An essay mostly about Neal Stephenson's experiences and thoughts about computers. This is very long and slightly out of date, but it's still interesting, especially if you don't know much about the early days of computers.

Mother Earth, Mother Board - A cool, long essay that talks about the literally huge wires that connect the world.  It's about Neal Stephenson following FLAG, a global undersea fiber optic cable. He comments a lot about the history and politics around FLAG, as well as about his surroundings.

Snow Crash: A fictional cyberpunk novel about the metaverse, Y.T., and the sword toting Hiro is perhaps the novel Neil Stephenson is best known for.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jokes from a Dilbert Thread

Okay, a long time (2007!) ago I copied the jokes I liked best from some old dilbert blog thread to a text file. I was cleaning out my computer the other day and came across it. My tastes in jokes haven't changed too much and I still think it's a decent list, so I decided to post it. So here you go.

WARNING: Some of these jokes are pretty crude. They're jokes though, so they're not meant to be taken seriously. Still, don't read them if you just want PG related jokes... Dilbert blog readers apparently aren't PG joke people . ^^  Here are some awesome clean jokes, if you want.  Some jokes from reddit.  And even more reddit jokes.  And some pretty funny comments from a thread I've long lost.

Oh, and a bunch of math jokes.

Joke 1

Q: What is the difference between a chick pea and a garbanzo bean?
A: No guy would pay to have a garbanzo bean on him.

Joke 2

A Steelers fan, a Browns fan and a Titans fan were all in Saudi Arabia, sharing a smuggled crate of booze. All of a sudden the Saudi police rushed in and arrested them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe offense in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being caught consuming the booze, they were sentenced to death!

However, with the help of very good lawyers, they were able to successfully appeal their sentence down to life imprisonment. By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day their trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes each of the whip. As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik suddenly said, "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping."

The Titans fan was first in line (he had drunk the least), so he thought about this for a while and then said, "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. The Titans fan had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain when the punishment was done.

The Browns fan was next up (he almost finished an entire fifth by himself), and after watching the scene, said "All Right! Please fix two pillows on my back." But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again, sending the Browns fan out crying like a little girl.

The Steelers fan was the last one up (he had finished off the crate), but before he could say anything, the Sheik turned to him and said, "You support the greatest team in the world, your team has some of the best and most loyal football fans in the world. For this, you may have two wishes!" "Thanks, your most Royal highness," the Steelers fan replies. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes."

"Not only are you an honorable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave," the Sheik says with an admiring look on his face. "If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish? What is it to be?" the Sheik asks.

"Tie the Browns fan to my back."

Joke 3

Q. What do you call a Cleveland Brown with a Super Bowl ring?
A. A thief.

Joke 4

Q. Why doesn't Columbus, Ohio have a professional football team?
A. Because then Cleveland would want one.

Joke 5

Q. What's brown and sticky?
A. A stick.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It's kinda timely to post this picture by spacecoyote. In case you don't get the reference, it's a parody of the Okami box art. If you've played that great game, you're probably hearing echoes of the title call in your head by now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kyon Likes Ponytails

Kyon says things like "You know... ponytails turn me on"... but doesn't his sister... umm...

Hyadain's Kakakata Kataomoi

So, I like Hyadain's music and he's come out with something new. Namely, he's done the opening to an anime called "Nichijou" (imo, it's only an okay anime.) I really enjoyed the song and the music video. Hyadain looks a lot more normal than I was expecting, especially for a guy who writes such frantic songs and always sings the girl voices. If you want the single, you can buy it or download it from over here. If you want more, a list of a bunch of his lyricized video game covers have been posted on this blog before.

Monday, May 2, 2011

PCSX2 0.9.8!

Playstation 2 Emulator PCSX2 0.9.8 has been released! This release in particular is a big improvement (usability-wise at least) from the previous version.

If you haven't tried out PCSX2, you really should. It's a very good emulator and most of my PS2 games run at 60fps on my machine without any problem (granted, I have a pretty newly built system.) What's the benefit of using an emulator against using your own PS2? For me, it's simple: Save States and Cheats. These features let the lazy gamer I've grown up to be finally finish up my old games stress free. ^^ It's really easy to install this emulator, just follow the directions. You'll need a ps2 bios, but that isn't too much of an issue to find.

If you want to play the games using a Playstation controller, I suggest using your PS3 controller along with MotionJoy. It works very well for me. I plug it into my USB port, but you can do it over Bluetooth too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

List of Jin Yong's Wuxia in English

(last updated May 26, 2011)

A few years ago I started reading Jin Yong's wuxia stories and really enjoyed them. Wuxia is a broad genre of Chinese fiction that focuses on the adventures of martial artists; the stories are usually period pieces. Jin Yong (also known as Louis Cha) is one of the most famous and loved Wuxia writers. He wrote 15 stories that are well known throughout the world. I don't want to spend too much time here giving an overview of wuxia and Jin Yong, but if you're new and want to give the wuxia genre a try, I suggest you start with The Legend of Condor Heroes.

The sites where I found Jin Yong English translations stopped updating years ago and it wasn't until recently I found out that his stories were still actively being fan-translated. I decided to take a few hours and make an up-to-date list of the various Jin Yong translations I could find. I'll try to periodically update this translation listing. I hope having an easy to read list of Jin Yong in English will be helpful. Please post a comment or e-mail me if you notice I'm missing or misreporting anything!

But before I go into my list, let me provide some general links. Pretty much all the English translations (not to mention worthwhile wuxia discussion) that I know about come from the spcnet forums, specifically their wuxia sections. It is a huge forum though and takes some time to wade through, so it's worthwhile for me to point out more specific links.

Spcnet Wuxia Translations - All the active wuxia translation projects I know about take place here. - This site no longer seems to be updated, but they have a pretty nice layout. - This site houses translations of Jin Yong's Condor Trilogy in pdf format. The translations themselves originated from spcnet.
QiQi Jin Yong - This site has all of Jin Yong's novels in simplified Chinese. - For all further information, wikipedia is as good a place as any to start.


Green: Complete and pretty well edited. Ready to read!
Yellow: Not yet complete and well edited. Some translations are actively in progress.
Red: Very little to no progress.
*: I've read this translation and really enjoyed it. ymmv

I didn't provide any summaries because I think they'd be distracting for this list. Instead, I added links to the wikipedia entries. They have pretty good summaries, but be careful because there are massive spoilers as well.

It should be easy to navigate this list. The link names are generally shorthand for where the link goes to. I listed the links in the order I preferred to read them. (Although spcnet is great and very active, it is a forum and I'm not used to reading such huge blocks of text in a forum layout.) I've also added notes where I think it's appropriate.

Chronological Listing of Jin Yong Works

1. * The Book and the Sword / Book and Sword, Gratitude and Revenge (書劍恩仇錄) (Wiki)
COMPLETE Qiqi / New ending from the Third Edition
COMPLETE Official English Edition
Notes: The Official English Edition is an edited version of the qiqi link. This was the first Jin Yong translation I read and I enjoyed it.

2. Sword Stained with Royal Blood (碧血劍) (Wiki)
INCOMPLETE Spcnet Thread (Chapter 3-6)

3. * The Legend of the Condor Heroes / Legend of Eagle Shooting Hero (射鵰英雄傳) (Wiki)
INCOMPLETE Wuxiapedia (Chapter 1-27)
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread / PDF Version / PDB Version
Notes: First part of the Condor Trilogy. I'd highly recommend reading this Jin Yong novel first. The translation reads nicely and the story is very easy to get into.

4. Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain / Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain (雪山飛狐) (Wiki)
COMPLETE Official English Edition
Notes: The English Edition's translation is generally reviewed pretty negatively. I haven't read it and can't judge it myself, so I decided to list it in yellow.

5. The Return of the Condor Heroes / Divine Eagle, Gallant Knight (神鵰俠侶) (Wiki)
COMPLETE Wuxiapedia
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread / PDF Version
Notes: Second part of the Condor Trilogy.

6. Other Tales of the Flying Fox (飛狐外傳) (Wiki)
INCOMPLETE Spcnet Thread

7. Swordswoman Riding West on White Horse / White Horse Neighing in the Wind (白馬嘯西風) (Wiki)
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread 1 / Spcnet Thread 2

8. Blade-dance of the Two Lovers / The Lovers' Sabres (鴛鴦刀) (Wiki)
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread

9. Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre / Heavenly Sword, Dragon Slaying Sabre (倚天屠龍記) (Wiki)
INCOMPLETE Wuxiapedia (Chapter 1-22)
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread / PDF Version
Notes: Final part of the Condor Trilogy.

10. A Deadly Secret / Secret of the Linked Cities (連城訣) (Wiki)
IN PROGRESS Spcnet Thread

11. Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (天龍八部) (Wiki)
IN PROGRESS Spcnet Thread 1 (Chapter 1-24)

12. Ode to Gallantry (俠客行) (Wiki)
INCOMPLETE Wuxiapedia (Chapters 1-10)*
COMPLETE Spcnet Thread 1 (Chapters 1-10) / Spcnet Thread 2 (Chapters 10-21)
Notes: The second spcnet thread was translated by Abhay, primarily using online translating tools.

13. The Smiling Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) (Wiki)
COMPLETE LannyLand / Spcnet Thread

14. The Deer and the Cauldron / Duke of Mount Deer (鹿鼎記) (Wiki)
IN PROGRESS Spcnet Thread ( unabridged thread, has no comments but is not up to date )
COMPLETE Official English Edition Book 1 / Book 2 Book 3
Notes: The Official English Translations are very difficult to get a hold of. They are out of print and are pretty expensive. I was able to obtain them, but in my opinion, they're not worth the price. Not only is the translation only okay, but the story is very abridged.

15. * Sword of the Yue Maiden (越女劍) (Wiki)
COMPLETE ErrantCluster
Notes: This was Jin Yong's final wuxia work. Unlike his other works, this one is a short story.

Lists of other Wuxia Translations

So far I really only enjoy Jin Yong's wuxia. I'm not a fan of Gu Long, nor a few other short works I read. But other author's works have been translated and you might be interested. These links will help you find English translated wuxia by other authors, such as Gu Long or Huang Yi.

Spcnet Translation Links - The second post in the thread starts a good list of translated wuxia work.
Wuxia Society - This place also hosts translation projects. You can wade through this section. - This is a well formatted list of translated wuxia work.
Spcnet Translations - This is pretty much the definitive collection of English translated wuxia, but it'll take a while to wade through everything. - I enjoy the layout of this site. Although it seems like it's no longer active, I prefer reading stuff from over here to other sites.

If you've run out of stuff to read and still have an wuxia itch, you can give the dramas a try. You can find torrents over at d-addicts.  I've personally watched and enjoyed Demi Gods and Semi Devils 2003 and Legend of Condor Heroes 2003. I did not enjoy Return of Condor Heroes 2006.

Sword of the Yue Maiden

*** Originally translated by an anonymous translator at (  I changed the proper nouns to pinyin (personal preference) and tried my hand at some editing (mainly the grammar but also some localization.)  The anonymous translator also included an introduction and background essay, which I've retained.  This is a Chinese martial arts fantasy story by the internationally renowned author Jīn Yōng. You can find more of his translated works at ***

- Background -

Liveried: Wearing a livery, which in this case is distinctive clothing worn by retainers.

Qi: Chi; Chakra; Internal energy.

This is the only short story written by Jīn Yōng. Because of its short length, you can't really see Jīn Yōng's full talent at story-telling. However, this translation can give you some idea of what a martial arts story is like. My clumsy translation can't really do the original justice, but I hope I have stirred your interest enough that you'll go out there and find out more about Chinese culture, history, and legend. It may not be easy, but I assure you, what you find will never be dull.

This story is based on real historical events that occurred during the 5th century B.C. It's a period between what's known as the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring Kingdoms period. China was yet to be united under the First Emperor. The so-called Hàn race didn't exist yet. China was divided into big and small kingdoms, dukedoms, and counties which warred with each other constantly.

It all started when the king of Chǔ slept with his son's fiancee. Bad move for any era. The king feared that his son would turn against him. His fear was fanned into action by the allegations of an ambitious minister who wanted to destroy the crown prince's faction. The resulting purge destroyed many clans and families. One of the family, almost peripheral to the whole thing, was the House of Wǔ. The youngest son, Wǔ Zǐ Xū, escaped and vowed bloody vengeance.

After a long and dangerous journey through several kingdoms unwilling to help, he arrived at the newly founded kingdom of Wú (No, the Chinese characters for the Wú in Wǔ Zǐ Xū is actually different from the character for Wú in the Wú kingdom). He helped Prince Hé Lǘ assassinate his cousin the king in a convoluted power struggle. Then he built up the kingdom of Wú from a barely civilized kingdom to a modern kingdom with the best trained army in the known world. Sun Tzu, who wrote the immortal Art of War, served in Wú at this time.

When Wǔ Zǐ Xū was ready, he managed to convince King Hé Lǘ to invade Chǔ. At the time Chǔ was a superpower and Wú was an upstart kingdom, but the upstart kingdom managed to utterly destroy Chǔ's army. Unfortunately, Wǔ Zǐ Xū's vengeance was hollow. The object of his vengeance had already died several years ago. In his rage, Wǔ Zǐ Xū exhumed the body of the dead king and flogged it until it fell to pieces.

The kingdom of Wú proved itself incapable of absorbing the far larger kingdom of Chǔ, so Wǔ Zǐ Xū had to take his army back to Wú. Then Hé Lǘ began a series of wars to establish hegemony over the rest of China. During one of those wars he ran into the kingdom of Yuè. The Yuè people were even more primitive than Wú was a few decades before, but they were great fighters. They were ruled by King Gōu Jiàn. In a pitched battle, King Hé Lǘ was struck by a poison arrow and died.

Hé Lǘ's son Fū Chā became king. He was intent on avenging his father. A personal guard was ordered to remind him of this fact periodically by saying, "Fū Chā, did you forget to avenge the death of your father?" Fū Chā eventually rallied his army and destroyed the army of Yuè. King Gōu Jiàn became a prisoner of Fū Chā for several years. However, Fū Chā was not a brutal man. Instead of annexing the kingdom of Yuè and turning Gōu Jiàn into a slave, he released Gōu Jiàn after extracting an oath of fealty from the king of Yuè.

Unfortunately, that gesture of mercy was completely lost on King Gōu Jiàn. Gōu Jiàn, like Wǔ Zǐ Xū and Fū Chā before him, was possessed by a burning desire to avenge the wrongs done him.

Gōu Jiàn hired two wise men from the kingdom of Chǔ. One of them was Fàn Lí, the other was Wén Zhǒng. The two began to build up the barbaric kingdom of Yuè so one day their king could challenge the power of Wú. Many legends are associated with this period of history. One of the legends was the legend of the Yuè Maiden.

- The Sword of the Yuè Maiden -

"After you."

"After you."

The two swordsmen turned the points of their blades downward. With their right palms grasping their sword hilts and their left palms covering the back of their right hands, they bowed deeply to each other in a warrior's salute.

Before they fully raised from their bows, there was a sudden flash of white, followed by the sound of clanging. The two swordsmen each retreated one step as the audience gave out a soft cry.

The swordsman in blue slashed three times; the liveried swordsman blocked each slash. The swordsman in blue shouted and slashed his sword from his upper left straight downward. The slash was powerful and fast, but the liveried swordsman was too agile to be caught. A simple jump got him out of the way, his body barely bobbed after his left foot touched the ground. He immediately followed with two slashes. The swordsman in blue stood still with a grim smile as he lightly moved his sword to block the attacks.

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