Blog Update 8/19/19

Greetings my fellow readers,It’s Josella here. My blog Personal Musings will be on hiatus starting next week once I return to school. The blog won’t be updated until winter break. Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude for the positive response on my Maquia film analysis. I was worried that I’d be delaying that forever. However, I managed to finish it early this month much to my satisfaction. Thanks for taking time to read it!

Until next time, my fellow readers. Keep following, Personal Musings.


Maquia:When the Promised Flower Blooms Anime Film Review



This is a film that should be seen by everyone so the synopsis will be spoiler-free but the review won’t be examining key themes in full-length detail. If the movie intrigues you, I urge you to check it out.

Plot synopsis: Maquia comes from a clan where all members stop aging in their mid-teens and live on to be immortal. Life within her clan is calm and peaceful until an enemy army invades intent on learning the secret behind her clan’s long life. Maquia is successful in her escape but loses everything and everyone. While wandering around in the forest, she finds an abandoned baby boy  whom she names Erial and raises him as her mother. Only time will tell how long the bond between Maquia and Erial will last. Will it strengthen or weaken over time.


At the film’s beginning, the Elder of Maquia’s people, the Clan of the separated gives a warning to Maquia, “You cannot fall in love with someone from the outside. If you fall in love, you’ll truly be alone.” 

This cryptic warning doesn’t take effect until Maquia meets Erial. She raises Erial from childhood to adulthood forming a maternal bond with him.  Once Erial becomes an adult, he enlists in the castle’s army to defend the kingdom leaving Maquia behind. Recalling the Elder’s warning, she breaks down in tears. Maquia became attached to Erial and loved him as her own. They promised each other that they’d always be together never leaving each other behind.

Naturally with Erial growing up and desiring his own independence the promise would eventually be broken much to Maquia’s dismay. From her perspective. Erial’s departure comes off as a “personal betrayal ” to her because she blames him for leaving her alone. Before she met Erial, Maquia was all alone after most of her tribe was captured and executed along with her close friends being separated from her.

Aside from Erial, Maquia only has a handful of close friends since she’s viewed as a “social outcast” due to her appearance. Taking care of Erial and being around him every day, she couldn’t help but become attached to him making the pain of his leaving unbearable. His abrupt absence from Maquia’s life reminds her of her own loneliness.

I don’t want to be alone.” Maquia remarks.


Maquia comes from the Clan of the Separated, a tribe characterized by their long flowing blond hair and everlasting youth. The Hibol cloth is a special cloth which contains the history of the Iorphs which is weaved everyday. Hibol cloth is  a source of communication for Iorphs since only Iorphs can interpret the hidden message in the cloth. It was this method which alerted Maquia of Leilia’s marriage.

In the forest, Maquia and Erial meet Mido, a kind woman from a farming village that teaches Maquia how to be a mother. Soon enough, they are introduced to her sons: Lang and Deol who aid her in running their farm. During her stay with Mido and her sons, Mido suggests that Maquia dyes her hair from blond to  carrot red so she fits into the village and is seen as Erial’s mother due to their matching hair color.

As time passes by, Lang and Deol’s dog, eventually dies and his death is mourned over by the family and Maquia. Mido and her sons are given a reminder of their own  mortality after the funeral. Someday all of them will die making their time on Earth precious.

Maquia runs off during this conversation to a bridge.  She can’t bear the thought of her friends and especially Erial dying. She’ll outlive all of them as they perish. Lang catches up to her at the bridge and gives her advice. He tells her that she needs to be strong for Erial. This means that she must not show her tears to him since it would be a sign of vulnerability and weakness. She must “chin up” and be brave. After this exchange, Maquia calms down and promises to “put on a brave front” for Erial.


Leilia, Maquia’s best friend is kidnapped for her immortality. Out of the arranged marriage, the child she bears will be immortal like her. As it turns out, Medmel, Leilia’s daughter is mortal and thus discarded. Before Leilia can bond with her daughter and build up their mother-daughter relationship.  She’s taken away and both are forbidden from seeing each other.

Leilia’s anguish , despair, and loneliness toward the separation from her daughter made me tear up. It reminded me of my mom.  My mom enjoys  watching these mother-daughter separation stories in Filipino tv dramas. The  mother and daughter  are kept apart  each living  separate lives. The mother’s one desire is to reunite with her daughter. The suspense builds wondering if /when mother and daughter will recognize each other and reunite.

As previously mentioned, the same goes for Leilia. She’s given wealth, fancy dresses, and jewels as distractions from missing Medmel. No amount of material possessions could ever replace her daughter. From Medmel’s perspective, she’s grown up without her mother. Her only companion is her maid. She’s  even curious about her mother’s existence.


Letting go

Maquia gets kidnapped by Krim, Leilia’s former boyfriend. He cuts off Maquia’s red hair, a symbol of  her time spent as Erial’s mother. This was a brief period of normality in her life however that now lies in the past. While trying to enter the palace both of them get separated.  Maquia stumbles upon Erial and Dita’s house. She discovers that Erial has married Dita, a girl from his childhood who was jealous of Maquia. Dita is pregnant with their child. Maquia assists Dita while she’s in labor making the delivery a success.

Afterwards, Dita wraps the baby in swaddling cloth. The baby holds on to Maquia’s finger. This  scene prompts a flashback of Maquia finding Erial as a baby doing the exact same gesture. Soon after, Maquia leaves and briefly reunites with Erial.

Erial recognizes Maquia without her red hair and the two reconcile. As much as it pains Maquia to leave Erial’s side, it must be done in order for her to move forward. Erial is left in anguish. Tears streaming down his eyes and onto his cheeks. He cries out to Maquia begging her to “come back” but is met with silence.

This scene and the ending [which will be discussed later] brought on a flood of tears. Up until this point, Maquia  and Erial have been separated for a long while.  Their reunion is short-lived and bittersweet. It’s heart-wrenching to see Maquia and Erial brought back together only to be torn apart.

With uncertainty hanging in the air of when the two will ever meet again. I can relate to this since I’m in a similar situation with a close friend.

In the castle, Krim meets up with Leilia hoping to rekindle their relationship. However, she favors Medmel instead of him. With his mindset stuck in the past, Krim decides to kill Leilia then himself so they’ll be together at least in the afterlife. Krim’s fantasy is cut short since he’s shot to death thus freeing Leilia.

Leilia finally meets Medmel but their long-awaited reunion is brief. She doesn’t even acknowledge herself as Medmel’s mother. Instead of introductions and mother-daughter bonding, Leilia requests that Medmel forget about her [Leilia’s]existence. She’s better off at the castle under the care of her maid.

Leilia jumps off the balcony onto a Renato handled by a Maquia. As they’re flying away, Leilia feels pain, anguish, and regret about leaving Medmel behind. Maquia informs her that “the brief moment of happiness “was completely worth it despite the pain.

Moving forward possibly 50 years in the future, Maquia returns to visit Erial and his family. She sees his daughter grown up with her own kid and has a brief chat with her. After that. Maquia locates Erial now an old man on his deathbed.

The two reunite and catch up. Maquia comments

“You lived your life to the fullest, didn’t you?”

Erial smiles in response. Also she reaffirms her promise to be strong and refrains from crying. A few minutes later, Erial closes his eyes finally able to rest in peace with Maquia by his side.

Departing from Erial’s side, Maquia walks away. She reminisces about her life with Erial through various flashbacks. These memories cause Maquia to be sentimental and acknowledge Erial’s absence. His impact on her life is  immeasurable and irreversible. The heavy weight of the loss prompts Maquia to break her promise.

For the first time in a long while, Maquia breaks down in tears allowing herself to be vulnerable.  The last time, she cried is at the bridge with Lang comforting her. It’s cathartic for Maquia to cry since it allows her to embrace all her emotions without holding them in anymore. With her son gone. she gives herself permission to weep. The tears cascade from her eyes, past her nose and down to her cheeks. Her face is tear-stained. Pulling herself together, Maquia doesn’t regret her time spent with Erial because it brought her happiness despite the pain.






Favorite Musicals


I’m not a huge fan of theater and Broadway musicals but I still appreciate and enjoy them for their colorful costumes, cool props, and memorable soundtracks.


Broadway Curtain


  1. Cinderella


Besides Sound of Music, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the other musical I grew up on. I’ve seen both the 1965 &1997 versions and enjoy them for different reasons. It was a treat for my mom and me to see it live on Broadway. I like how one of the stepsisters was better developed and given an actual character aside from the typical “wicked stepsister” trope.

2.  The Lion King

the lion king

The Lion King was the first musical that I saw live on Broadway. I remember being amazed by the costumes and props. It added more to the Lion King story including the soundtrack which I recall liking. I even saw it another time after.

3.  Legally Blonde


legally blonde

I’ve seen the original movie with Reese Witherspoon in the title role however, I like the musical more. It has the characters more fleshed out especially Elle and Luke. My sister introduced this musical to me and it has become one of my favorites.

4. The King and I

the king and I

I saw the animated film based off of this musical and the soundtrack is memorable. The best part was viewing a scene exclusive to the musical except I forgot what it was called. The animated film isn’t entirely faithful to the stage musical but it’s a good introduction for little kids.  I’m glad my mom and I were able to see this musical in 2016 while it was on tour.


5. Into the Woods

into the woods

I admit that I saw the Disney adaptation first before the actual musical. The Disney adaptation is alright. The concept of having different fairytales eventually crossover in one play is amazing. I recall a few of the songs from the soundtrack. “Agony” is such a hilarious and over the top song.


6. Wicked


Wicked is my sister’s favorite musical but not mine. I appreciate Wicked as a musical since it gives more backstory to the Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good Witch. I probably got tired of hearing the soundtrack with my sister playing it all the time. The soundtrack has tons of good songs though.

7.  If/then


This is the first musical I’ve seen with Idina Menzel into it. Her voice holds a long range. I enjoy the concept of “alternate lives”. If I chose this option then this would happen.  Towards the end, the show was a bit predictable but I still enjoyed it.

Violet Evergarden on the power of the written word (and more Victorian-era framing)

atelier emily

The finale of Violet Evergarden is superfluous to the emotional narrative of the series. Violet’s personal journey towards understanding what love means — and learning empathy in the process — ends in the tenth episode, “A Loved One Will Always Watch Over You.” The moment Violet bursts into tears and admits to fellow auto memoir doll Cattleya Baudelaire the difficulty of remaining emotionally detached from Anne Magnolia is the perfect bookend to her first disastrous letter attempt. Not only is she then one of the best in her field at CH Postal Company, but she is a more introspective, aware person — a person who not only recognizes her own emotions, but wields them to help others overcome their own personal problems.

Yet, the series doesn’t end with Episode 10, and continues for three more episodes that include extraneous action and fight sequences in addition to a somewhat hilarious festival…

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The written word and more Victorian-era trappings in Violet Evergarden

atelier emily

The Victorian-era trappings of Violet Evergarden are no accident. Victorian Great Britain has, retroactively, become a divergence point in fiction where, if industry had advanced along this particular timeline rather than another, things would have been different. This, along with rich aesthetic trappings that accompany any economic boom in history, make it a much-desired setting, begetting the entire steampunk genre.

A key factor to keep in mind when evaluating steampunk as a fiction genre is the boom of 19th-century novelists — and the novel as a leisure activity in and of itself — that accompanied the Industrial Revolution. Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, William Thackeray, and Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot) are all products of this time period. After them came Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and the scientific romance (later called scientific fiction, or sci-fi). Many works that are considered great or integral to understanding the development of western culture…

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The Who, Why, What, When, and Where of Writing

Learning to write

We are lucky enough to have another guest writer this week . Jenny Knipfer lays out her views on all things writing. I find it interesting to read about the different obstacles that are overcome and created as one improves as a writer. I am sure many of you will relate to the following piece. As a novice, it gives me a great insight into what is to come if I can keep at it!Louis

Who is a writer. The simple definition: anyone who writes. The complicated meaning: those who have a passel of experience, educated legitimacy, published work, or some esteem in the literary world. I fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

I read a book years ago on writing called, The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron, which I found to be an excellent and encouraging work. In it Julia puts forth that inherently we…

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Spirited Away reminded me why I love anime (my anime origin story)

Anime bringing outsiders together since forever.

Thoughts That Move

I started Thoughts That Move primarily as an anime blog in January 2017, gung-ho on analyzing the medium until I wrung it dry. It remained my bread-and-butter for (coincidentally) six months to the day; while I would intersperse posts on other topics, I was an anime blogger first and foremost. Then, my passion started to wane. There are a variety of reasons for this but the one most pertinent to our purposes is that I simply wasn’t enjoying anime anymore. I’ve blogged sporadically in the nearly six months since but never once about anime and on most occasions not at a level of quality I was satisfied with. It became so bad that I almost let my WordPress subscription lapse which would’ve effectively taken the blog offline. So why am I still here?

Because Spirited Away reminded me why I love anime.

Back at the end October I went to…

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