Liebster Award and a Thank You to All My Followers!

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This is my first time doing something like this, but I really wanted to take the chance to thank all 59 of my followers for supporting me the past year and a half (has it really been that long?!). A big thank you to Irina in particular for nominating me for this award. I’ve loved getting to know the aniblogging community and reading everyone’s posts. I don’t get a lot of chances to sit down and do a “state of the blog” post or a personal post, mostly because my job keeps me fairly busy all week combined with my need to satisfy my FOMO when it comes to anime and manga. I wind up spending all my free time watching anime, reading manga/comics, and trying to find the time to play a video game or two. Anyways! I wanted to take the chance to go through and answer some questions for you guys.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Valentine’s OVA Review

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Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has to be one of the few yuri animes I actually like. It manages to combine great animation and enjoyable characters in such a way that you almost feel like you’re not watching a typical yuri show. The anime was originally part of the Spring 2017 simulcast season on Crunchyroll and ran for 13 episodes. Just recently, they released the 14th episode, a Valentine’s Day special OVA that brings us back to the world of cute dragons and ridiculously lovable characters. Compared to the previous episodes, this special may seem a little empty as it focuses on more mundane aspects of the character’s lives rather than the fantastical. However, I think the episode holds a lot of great, small character moments, and, while the episode doesn’t have the regular crazy dragon moments, it makes up for it in the quieter exploration of relationships.

If you haven’t watched Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid yet I highly suggest you do (and also read my review of the full series here). The basic story centers around an office worker named Kobayashi who opens her front door one day to find a large dragon staring back at her. The dragon transforms into a cute maid girl and introduces herself as Tohru. Apparently, the night before Kobayashi stumbled into the forest while drunk and found Tohru, and subsequently offered her a place to stay. Kobayashi now finds herself with a maid that happens to be a dragon who also happens to be madly in love with her. The recent OVA gives a look at their first Valentine’s day together and a hot spring trip with friends. Continue reading

Anti-Valentine’s Day: Ghost Stories English Dub Anime Review

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Everyday on this blog is Valentine’s Day, so for this and every year after, February 14th will be known as Anti-Valentine’s Day here. This will be a time where we take a look at one non-romance anime, manga, or comic whether it be horror, mystery, or even comedy. In the case of the one we’re looking at today, it’s all three. Ghost Stories, specifically the English Dub, has developed a cult following over the years mainly due to the ridiculous amount of freedom given to the voice actors during development. The story itself is generic to the point of being boring, and I can understand why the original bombed in Japan. I think it’s really only through the creativity of ADV Films that this show developed as much of a following as it has now. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest checking this one out as all 20 episodes are widely available online.

The anime is based off of some fairly popular books by Tōru Tsunemitsu. The story goes that a girl, Satsuki, and her little brother, Keiichirou, move to the hometown of their deceased mother. On the first day of school, while chasing their pet cat, they and three other kids (Leo, Hajime, and Momoko) are led into the school’s old building. It’s while searching through the building that they learn that it is in fact haunted. They also discover that Satsuki’s mother was the one who sealed this ghosts away in the first place through the discovery of a book she left behind, and that construction on a nearby mountain released all of the ghosts she sealed away. Now Satsuki and the rest of them have to re-seal these ghosts away one by one. Continue reading

The Healing Power of Gaming in Recovery of an MMO Junkie

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For the past couple years the isekai genre — stories about being trapped or transported to video-game worlds — has been dominating the anime, manga, and light novel marketplace. Into the middle of this boom enters Recovery of an MMO Junkie, a show that similarly takes a look at people and their interactions in a virtual world. However, MMO Junkie’s appeal in this genre is its divorce from the concept of trapping its characters in its world. Rather it focuses on examining the multi-layered relationship between our online and offline lives. Recovery of an MMO Junkie revolves around Moriko and her progression of healing through the MMO Fruits de Mer. Gaming, and MMO’s in particular, offer a unique way to both interact with other people and explore different identities and characters in a relatively safe environment. Over the course of the anime, we see Moriko explore the world of this game through the avatar Hayashi, make friends, and gain the confidence again to create meaningful offline relationships. These unique characteristics of MMOs helped Moriko reach a level of growth that she may not have been able to reach any other way. Continue reading

Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light (Hotarubi no Mori e) Anime Film Review

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I came across this short film a little while ago and it looked interesting enough to cover while waiting for the seasonal anime to finish up. The movie itself is about 45 minutes in length, good enough for a one-shot story with a fairly simple premise. Best known for her other work Natsume’s Book of Friends, it is thought that the mangaka Yuki Midorikawa took a lot of inspiration for that manga from this story which is fairly easy to see. I’m a huge fan of Natsume and could feel a lot of the same wonderment through her positive representation of the youkai characters throughout. However, I definitely think you can see a fairly big difference in experience and story-telling skill between this film and her later series. As much as I did like Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light, there are a few points of the plot and pacing that I think could have been handled differently.

Hotarubi no Mori e focuses on the relationship between a young girl named Hotaru who meets a strange man wearing a mask while lost in the forest when she is six years old. The man leads her out of the forest but warns her that if she touches him he will disappear. Every summer after that, Hotaru returns to that forest to visit the man named Gin. We follow their growing love as Hotaru gets older but Gin does not, ever limited in their relationship. The anime was adapted from its one-shot shoujo manga and picked up for production by studio Brain’s Base. It opened in Japan in 2011 and has since won the Jury Prize at the Scotland Loves Animation festival and the Animation Film Award at the 66th annual Mainichi Film Awards.

This review does contain some spoilers below, so if the movie sounds interesting, I’d recommend watching it first and then coming back for my analysis. Thanks! Continue reading

Four Short Romance Animations Worth Watching – Part 2

Welcome back to another long overdue installment of Short Romance Animations Worth Watching (I probably need a better name for this) where I pull a few animated shorts out of the internet that I think are a good representation of the genre. This series has always been about broadening my view of animation, and below I’ve found four animations that captured my attention from across cultures and styles, all within the romance genre. One of them is from one of the seasons of Japan Animators Expo, and if you haven’t checked out the creations that came out of that, I highly suggest you do. What makes a good short for me though, is the ability to compress a meaningful story into a small window of time using skilled directing and art style. In some instances, the draw of the short for me will be its visuals, but beautiful animation without a solid plot can still be frustrating to watch. So without further ado, look below to find my four animated shorts I think you should watch. Continue reading

Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen Manga Review [NSFW]

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Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen or Bikachō Shinshi Kaikoroku came to my attention when I was scrolling through the manga offered on the Crunchyroll manga app, and I’m genuinely glad I decided to start reading it. This manga is generally out of the ordinary for what I tend to read, being a josei story set in 20th century Paris where brothels were legal places to seek pleasure and the company of a woman. And the story could not have been written by a better josei mangaka, namely Moyoco Anno (interestingly enough, the wife of Hideaki Anno), who is the creator of such big-name mangas as Sakuran and Hataraki Man. You can really see her experience come through especially in her creation of characters and the design of the the specific pages.

Sometimes back-cover descriptions can be pretty terrible to read, but the one Crunchyroll has on their site is a great representation of the manga: “Perverts are people who know the shape of their desires. They have carefully traced those contours like a blind man using both hands to measure the shape of a vase. Colette works in a brothel in early 20th century Paris, an occupation she can’t escape. She and the other girls support each other, satisfying the desires of their clients, day in, day out. The one source of hope in her difficult life was her trysts with Leon. But Colette could never be sure if Leon really loved her… The strength of women in their pleasurable confines; the naked desires of the ‘amorous gentlemen.’ Welcome to a beautiful, bewitching bordello of love and desire.” Continue reading

The Mythology of Ancient Magus’ Bride: Part 2 (What Exactly Is Elias and more…)

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Welcome back to another installment of my new multi-part series where we look at the mythology behind Ancient Magus’ Bride. Throughout the series, we’ll be looking at both the origins of some of these characters as well as how their portrayals differ from the myth. As a general rule, each post will cover six new pieces of folklore and mythology, so if I’ve missed something, don’t be alarmed! I will most likely get around to it in a future installment. However, if you want to make sure I cover something, feel free to leave me a comment below or even tweet at me (link to my Twitter in the sidebar). Today, we’ll be covering some of the most interesting tidbits from the show and manga: my theories on the origins of Elias, the legend of Cartaphilus, the story behind the king of the cats, Silky’s dual history, the mythology behind Leanan Sidhe, and the history of changelings. As usual, I’ll provide links to all my sources, so feel free to click through them to learn more. Enjoy! Continue reading

Winter 2018 First Impressions

Welcome to another installment of First Impressions for the Winter 2018 season. If you’re new here, there are a few simple guidelines this blog follows when it comes to first impressions. One, the shows I review here all have to fall under the romance genre umbrella. If you’d like to know what other shows I’m watching this season, you can follow me on MAL  or my Twitter to see updates there. Two, I follow the general three episode rule. That means I’ll try my best to watch three episodes of any show I plan to cover depending on their release schedule. There are two shows on this list that didn’t have a third episode out by the time of this post, so we’ll be going off the current number of episodes. As usual, if I’ve missed something, feel free to leave me a comment below and also feel free to tell me what shows you’re excited the most about this season. Now, without further ado, here are the new romance shows I’ve checked out for the Winter 2018 season. Continue reading

L-DK Manga Review

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This is probably my second or third read-through of this manga, and while I don’t think it’s the best romantic comedy or romance manga in general, I do feel like I’ll return to this one again in the future. I feel like this is one of those semi-cliche shoujo mangas that contains moments that both annoy me and move me to tears. The premise is fairly simple, but as the story progresses, we see a significant amount of character development packed into the quiet, introspective moments between the comedy and drama. It’s not just the story however that draws me back, it’s the quality of art throughout the manga especially when it comes to expressions. So, if you’re looking for a standard shoujo manga that has a tad more depth than most, L-DK might be one to check out.

The story follows high school girl Aoi Nishimori who convinced her family to let her live by herself after they were forced to relocate. A choice encounter with the prince of her school Shusei Kugayama, who rudely rejected her best friend’s confession, leaves her with a grudge against the prince. However, later that day she is greeted by her new neighbor who just so happens to be Shusei. To make matter worse, after an accident in his kitchen that renders his apartment unlivable, Shusei decides to move in with her. But will her hatred for him hold up in such confined conditions? Created by mangaka Ayu Watanabe, this manga has been serialized in the magazine Bessatsu Friend since 2009. The manga supposedly has 24 volumes, with the series coming to an end just this past year. It was also adapted for a live-action film in 2014 and nominated for Kodansha’s best shoujo romance that same year. Continue reading