Friday, 7 November 2008

The end of Nabari: Finding hope in despair

Once in a while, an anime show comes along that changes the way I perceive anime. Over the summer, Nabari no Ou has earned it's place alongside Kino's Journey and Last Exile as one of the best anime shows I've ever seen. Whilst the anime ended a while back, I have only just seen a fansub, and felt I had to write about the ending. Many of those who have followed this series to the very end have felt a certain affinity to the two main characters, Miharu and Yoite and it was with a little sadness that this story finally drew to a close.

Yoite throughout this series has wanted his existence to be erased and only Miharu, the keeper of the Shinrabanshō, has the ability to grant Yoite's wish. The final episode finds Yoite in a church wishing that he had never been born because of all the suffering his existence has caused others. But it is Miharu who says that, how would this make the others feel? All the people who he has met and those who have tried to help him, even at the sacrifice of their own lives.

Yoite decides to live on, making the most of the remaining time he has left.Miharu offers to erase the Kira technique but Yoite realises if it wasn't for the Kira technique, he would never have met the people he now knows. The Shinrabanshō tries to force Miharu to use her power, but Miharu defiantly says he wished the Shinrabanshō never existed and with that the cycle of bloodshed that has plagued the world of Nabari comes to an end. This decision surprised everyone, but perhaps only a child like Miharu could have the courage to throw away the power that the adults would use.

When the final scene of Yoite's departing comes, it is a sad one. Miharu leaves the room to get a drink and when he returns, Yoite has gone. Somehow, I had always thought that no matter what, Miharu would save Yoite, as this is what would happen in a typical anime. So it surprised me that the series ended this way. In a way, the series gave some kind of dignity to Yoite's death, but that scene has remained at the back of my mind for a number of week's now. Picking up the scarf that Yoite had been making for him, Miharu promises that he will never forget Yoite.

Perhaps that is the duty of those left behind.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

How to cut your food bill in half

Over the summer I wrote an article about how families are changing their shopping habits in order to beat the rising cost of food inflation. At the time, this was just another of my stories for my final university project, but if you had asked me a couple of months ago, I would never have imagined that it would end up in The Daily Telegraph newspaper. The article ran a few days ago and looked at how to cut your food bill in half. It was the cover story on the personal finance section. I was so surprised when I found out! It was a big achievement for me.

The article looks at two families, the Parry family in Wales and the Morgans in London as they changed their shopping habits over a number of weeks in an attempt to save money. Using a combination of tactics such as switching supermarkets, using up store cupboard ingredients and even skipping the supermarket altogether resulted in both families cutting their food bills in half.

With food prices going up, it can be hard for families to think up new ways to save money, but both families showed that with a bit of planning and a little ingenuity, there are big savings to be made.

Learning from their examples, my own family decided to ditch the supermarket once a month and this saves us £50. Which might not sound like much but add that up and over a year that's a saving of £600.

If you want more inspiration on how to save money on your weekly grocery shop, check out the article above.