Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san (Skilled Teaser Takagi-san) Anime Review

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When this anime first started airing back at the start of the season, I was a bit concerned that it might become too repetitive and I would lose interest after a while. That did wind up happening to an extent–I took a break from watching it around episode 6–but I think my problem was that I really needed to be in the right mood to watch this show. As I was watching the last couple episodes, I found myself laughing along to Takagi and Nishikata’s antics. Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san wound up being a fairly cute and funny comedy. It’s pairing of simple story and interesting characters makes both the comedy and the slight romance elements stand out all the more. And what an appropriate anime to review on the eve of April Fool’s day.

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san follows the antics of school desk neighbors Takagi and Nishikata. Takagi enjoys teasing Nishikata every chance she gets, and Nishikata is always looking for a chance to one-up her and get his revenge. The episodes follow the various pranks and teasing between these two as they sit together in class and walk home together. Adapted from the ongoing manga of the same name, it was picked up by Shin-Ei Animation for the anime and was licensed by Crunchyroll and Funimation for the US release this past season. Continue reading

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Manga or Anime? – Ancient Magus Bride

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga has probably earned a permanent place on my top 5 list of best romance manga. I’ve explored why I love this story so much in the past and have been delving into the lore and myths behind certain ideas and characters. With the last episode of the anime adaptation behind us, I think it’s safe to say I enjoyed the anime as well. I won’t say it’s perfect, and there are a few moments that I feel could have been handled better, but as an anime adaptation I have to say it was fairly faithful to the manga overall. So, in this post, I hope to explore the similarities and differences between the manga and anime. I won’t promise an answer for the question of which one is better, as I don’t think I have an answer for that. But I think it’s interesting to explore how each medium treats and/or improves a story by the nature of their differences in presentation. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-up (3/19-3/25)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for news and interesting bits so you don’t have to. There’s quite a lot of news on the anime/manga front today with some important announcements of anime adaptations and returning manga series. I was only able to find one Youtube video for y’all this time (as a sidenote, let me know your favorite anime/manga/comic Youtubers in the comics), but I have included two WordPress features this time around. I hope you all enjoy, and as always let me know if I’ve missed anything! Continue reading

The Prince and the Dressmaker Graphic Novel Review

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I’ve been hearing so much talk about this particular graphic novel since before it even published. Reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist, Nerdist have all been popping up with rave reviews as well as many recommendations from illustrators and cartoonists all around Twitter and other social media platforms. I’ve read some of Jen Wang’s books before, In Real Life for example, and have generally enjoyed them. I figured it was about time I picked up a copy for myself, and so swung by my local bookstore on my way home from work. As I was handing the book to the cashier, she also took the time to recommend the book to me, telling me just how cute and genuinely awesome it is. After getting a chance to read through the whole thing this week, I have to say, none of these recommendations were wrong. Jen Wang has truly created a charming story steeped in the discussion of gender expression and queerness that had me both on the verge of tears and laughing out loud.

The story of The Prince and the Dressmaker revolves around a young seamstress by the name of Frances who, after making a scandalous dress for a young lady, gets hired to be the personal seamstress to a mysterious high-class woman. It’s her dream come true. The only problem being that the mysterious woman just happens to be young Prince Sebastian of Belgium who wants Frances to make the most incredible dresses for him to wear when he goes out as Lady Crystallia. But when you’re a prince, you’re parents expect you to find a princess to marry, and Sebastian’s dual lifestyle quickly becomes threatened. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-up (3/12-3/18)

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Welcome to “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb through the internet to find the most important news you need to know so you don’t have to. This will be one of the only places on this blog that genre doesn’t matter. I’ll be featuring news stories from across comics, anime, and manga as well as general industry news. Obviously I’m going to miss things or think some things are more important than others. If I’ve missed something you think is important, let me know in the comments below! New additions to the format are Featured Articles, Featured Videos, and Featured WordPress Blog sections. Continue reading

Why Clear Card Will Never Surpass the Original Cardcaptors: A Mid-Season Review

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As you can probably tell by now, Cardcaptors is one of my top favorite animes of all time. I can honestly say that’s probably one of, if not the, best magical girl anime out there. It was one of my first animes as a child and one of the first mangas I picked up, so I’m sure you can understand how intensely excited I was for the new Clear Card arc. After almost 20 years, Sakura Kinomoto and all her friends and magic cards were going to come back for a new, modern story made for both nostalgic fans and a new generation of young girls. I’ve tried to keep my hype in check because I know how things things go most of the time. You get super hyped over something and then it just kind of lets you down, that’s just how new anime/media releases are. I knew already from the manga that it probably wouldn’t meet my nostalgia expectations, but when the anime started I was surprisingly confused on whether or not I liked where CLAMP was going with the series.

If you don’t know already, the Clear Card arc follows Sakura Kinomoto as she transitions into middle school. It picks up where the last movie left off, with Li returning from Hong Kong to join everyone for a new school year. All of our favorite characters are back with minimal changes. In the beginning, the magic front has been pretty quiet to the point where Sakura is considering putting away her key. But things quickly change when she begins to have weird dreams about a hooded figure trying to steal her magical key. Her Sakura Cards then become unusable, her key changes into something new, and new cards begin appearing around town. Sakura, Tomoyo, and Li must once again collect all the new Clear Cards. Continue reading

How March Comes in like a Lion Discusses Japan’s Wider Bullying Problem

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During the Fall 2017 anime season, I found myself watching an episode of March comes in like a lion, one of the few animes that will always be at the top of my all-time favorites list. During the second season of this show, there is an episode that really hits to the heart of the matter I want to discuss here. In episode 26, one of the main characters, Hinata, finds herself the brunt of attention from a bunch of bullies. Her best friend is chased out and forced to transfer, her shoes are stolen out of her locker, and she has to watch as everyone in the class turns their back on her for fear of their own safety. But as Hinata’s arc progresses, what we slowly see develop is actually a fairly positive message about bullying and how to overcome it. With stories of bullying and suicide cases in Japan popping up in the news, these episodes made me wonder if the mangaka, Chica Umino, wanted Hinata’s story to be a wider message to her readers, and if so, we first need to take a look at the actual climate around bullying in Japan. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Roundup (3/5-3/11)

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Welcome to “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb through the internet to find the most important news you need to know so you don’t have to. This will be one of the only places on this blog that genre doesn’t matter. I’ll be featuring news stories from across comics, anime, and manga as well as general industry news. Obviously I’m going to miss things or think some things are more important than others. If I’ve missed something you think is important, let me know in the comments below! New additions to the format are Featured Articles, Featured Videos, and Featured WordPress Blog sections. Continue reading

Skip Beat Volumes 1-3 Manga Review

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Skip Beat currently rests at number one on my list of top 5 manga, so I thought it was about time I finally reviewed the manga. Considering that the series currently stands at 40 volumes and counting, I figured I would try reviewing the combined 3-volume manga versions as I slowly add them to my collection. This series probably stands at the longest-running manga I’ve ever kept up with, and for good reason. It keeps pulling me back with its likable and multi-faceted characters as well as a story that stands out from the rest by putting an interesting spin on the romance genre. And, after finally getting around to buying the physical volumes, I’m highly enjoying the little asides and notes from the mangaka that give interesting insight into the creation of the series and characters. I will never stop recommending this series to people, and I think it’s worth reading through all 40 volumes. I hope after I’m done with this review, you’ll be convinced enough to start reading along with me.

The back-cover reads as follows: “Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he’s cashing her out now that he’ famous enough! Kyoko won’t suffer in silence—she’s going to get her sweet revenge by beating Show in show biz! Kyoko’s broken heart keeps her from getting into her talent agency of choice. The eccentric president at the agency decided to give her a second chance, but it requires her to wear a bright pink uniform, put up with spoiled stars, and try to live up to the name of her new position—the Love Me Section! Can Kyoko stand the indignity long enough to find her vengeance?” The manga is written and illustrated by Yoshiki Nakamura and was given a 25-episode anime series back in 2008. It is currently published by Viz Media for the US market.

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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness Manga Review

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I’ve been meaning to pick up this particular manga for a while, having seen it in various book stores as well as recommendation lists. Most recently, it won Manga of the Year in Crunchyroll’s anime awards, so I thought it was about time I gave it a read. And boy does Kabi Nagata really hit home and dig into your head with her discussions of mental illness, sexual orientation, and her journey to finally loving herself. A simple, two-tone art style gives way to deep introspection and heart-bearing truths, and I can see why it won Crunchyroll’s award and many others. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I do want to stop and point out to all my readers that this manga does deal with topics of self-harm, eating disorders, and severe mental illness for anyone who may need the content warning.

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an autobiographical manga that follows the life of creator Kabi Nagata as she explores her sexuality and searches for some sense of self worth, eventually leading to an encounter with a female prostitute. The comic was originally published on Pixiv, but was then picked up by East Press in 2016 for a single-volume Japanese release and then Seven Seas Entertainment in 2017 for its English release. Nagata notes in an interview on Pixiv that her reasoning behind creating this manga is because “drawing manga is the only thing I can do. Then I started thinking about how to make a living off this. That’s when I decided to base stories off my own private self.” In the process, not only has she won the Manga of the Year award from Crunchyroll as well as high acclaim across the internet from Publisher’s Weekly to Teen Vogue. Continue reading