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Oni

Oni are defiant spirits of chaos and mischief from Japanese folklore. The word Oni can be translated to mean ogre or troll, but unlike the trolls we see in traditional western belief, these trolls are very intelligent and have magical powers. Some believe their magic is so powerful that their limbs are able to instantly re-attach themselves to the Oni’s body once removed, making them very formidable opponents. Not all Oni are evil either. Since they love a good battle, some may take it upon themselves to banish evil spirits just for the fun of it.

Some sources say that Oni like the taste of human flesh, and from this belief came the belief that Oni are spirits of death. In Buddhism, the Oni guard the gates between various hell and death realms (watch out Dante, there are 18 levels). Here’s a link with some pictures of the different stages of hell, and you can see Oni torturing the people here. Some sources say that Oni predate Buddhism in the far East however and were later incorporated into Buddhism to assist with assimilation. Their role changed from guardians to evil beings with the rise of the samurai class in Japan. Stories then featured samurai facing off against the evil Oni (knight vs dragon).

While there are supposedly female Oni (and they are supposedly growing rarer and rarer), Oni were originally pure spirits who did not keep up population by sexual reproduction. As legends have it, when men die while they are overwhelmed by excessive anger, they transform into Oni.

Oni have horns, tusks, and fangs. They have either red, blue or black skin and are often clad in a tiger skin of sorts. In more recent times, Oni statues are used to keep out bad spirits, kind of like gargoyles in the West.

There is a legend about a man named Shoki who would battle the Oni, and you can read more about that here

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This is a coming of age fantasy about a boy who is fascinated with trolls, but he’s reached an age where believing in trolls has stopped being acceptable. The boy goes in search for a troll one day after his mother has told them they don’t exist. Since the book he reads about trolls says that they live under bridges, he goes in search the bridge that is hiding the troll he believes exists. Fate allows him to meet a series of adults who give him information, but all of these adults tell him that trolls do not exist. He eventually finds what he is looking for, finds that his new friends are in trouble, and has to save them.

This is a made for tv movie… and you can really tell. I have only ever seen this on the internet, but other reviewers have stated the poor quality so it’s not just me. It looks a little bit better than a home movie, but if you grew up with this I’m sure nostalgia will equip you with a pair of rose-coloured glasses. The plot sounds like a good idea, but the actual product falls short of the mark. Labyrinth does a much better job at conveying this story line, but if you are willing to overlook the poor production and the cheesy story line you will find an acceptable family film.

The whole thing is currently cut up on youtube

And here is the IMDB page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086996/

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This is a cheesy little movie from the 90′s that is both a coming of age story and a concert on film. The story is about this young girl who gets a bike for her birthday, but when she gets it she realizes that she can’t ride it. She doesn’t want her friends to know that she can’t ride a bike because they might laugh at her and falls into a bout of self-pity. At this point a ‘troll’ appears in a tree and tells her that she can give the girl the secret to riding a bicycle, but first she must do a favour. The troll gives her a ticket that lets her go into a tree to this underground world, which is a theatre. The troll gets her to be a backstage assistant and then tells her that the production was for a birthday party and the birthday boy was missing, so the girl has to go find him. During this time she meets various people and then these people perform on stage in front of an audience also dressed up as ‘trolls’, which just means they have some feathers and glitter on, but it looks like a live filming of a concert. Some of the performers are Robert Munsch, Fred Penner, Rockapella, etc. So the girl follows a trail of broken candles and ends up finding the birthday boy, who is a dragon. Unfortunately, the dragon doesn’t want to go on stage to blow out the candles because he can’t blow fire, which he must do on this birthday. The girl then motivates the dragon to just keep trying and to believe in himself and not to give up, and then he ends up breathing fire and lighting his birthday cake. The troll sends the girl back to her own world but before she can tell her how to ride a bike the girl says that she already knows what she has to do and then just keeps practising until she can ride.

This clip can be found in the clip below, so if you’re going to watch that skip this… but if you aren’t going to sit through 15 minutes, here’s the clip with the troll.

I really liked this movie when I was a kid, cheesiness and all. I liked watching the performances and I liked the story too. Definitely not the best of the 90′s but fun none the less.

Here is the first part of the movie. In this clip there are the artists Rockapella, Jackie Richardson, and Robert Munch telling Mortimer

Here’s a site with a little bit more information http://kensingtontv.com/web/index.php?id=9

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Theodore Kittlesen is a Norwegian artist who does paintings of nature and of fairytales. http://kittelsen.efenstor.net/

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Fairy Wings is a story about a fairy named Fia who was born without wings, and because she isn’t flying around with the other fairies and instead plays with frogs and rats and crows, she is ridiculed and outcast. One day while she’s playing along the river, a boy fairy finds her and asks her to play. He tore one of his wings and is grounded for the time being. Fia tells him that she can fix his wing and they play together for a while. when Fia returns home that evening her family tells her that the royal family has come and is throwing a ball. Her sisters don’t want Fia to come because of her winglessness but her father says that she could attend. The night of the ball her friends frog and rat bring her a chair floating on a lily pad with wings on it and pull her to the centre of the ball. as it turns out the her friend who happens to be the prince sent over the chair to her (and her friends added the wings). He lifts her out of the chair and dances with her, but when he lifted her everyone sees that she doesn’t have wings, especially the king and queen and they are outraged and they send her away. Right after this happens however, a troll comes by and captures all of the fairies at the ball in a net and walks off. Fia scrambles around to find help and comes across some woodkins. Normally woodkins don’t like fairies because fairies are mean to them, but the like Fia because she doesn’t bully them. They do not go with her because they feel that it’s bad luck to help a fairy, but one of them tells her a riddle about trolls that will help her. And the riddle goes like this, the old troll’s home is a rat like place. his greed is a frog like thing. but when crow wakes, troll hides his face, or gather moss not wing. Fia then goes to save the fairies with only her friends rat, frog, and crow and solves the riddle, turning the troll into stone. Then all the fairies fawn over her and the royal family want her to marry their son.

This story is somewhat predictable and almost feels a bit overplayed because of the every popular Cinderella story line, but I do like this story because unlike many stories these days, Fia doesn’t gain wings at the end of the story. The fairies just accept her as she is, she doesn’t have to change her form to become acceptable, which is where the story deviates from the Cinderella idea. The prince takes time to notice her and like her when she is playing in the mud and being herself, and the rest of the fairies only accept her after she saves them even thought they’ve treated her so poorly, but no ugly duckling transformation takes place. This is really rare in children’s books, and adult books too, and is really discouraging to people with disabilities or differences. There are very few stories saying that you don’t need to change your physical state of being to be accepted. She still ends the story getting married, not so great, but it’s still really refreshing that she remains wingless.

There’s a preview on google books http://books.google.ca/books?id=0xckim28fDIC&dq=Fairy+Wings+By+Lauren+Mills&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=0ZEnTIiDA8H_lgfsm7XVAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

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