Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms – The Cyclical Nature of Life and Motherhood

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After months of waiting and teaser trailers that showed off its awesome animation and world, I finally got the chance to see Maquia in theaters. There seems to be more modern sci-fi or slice-of-life movies coming out than say high fantasy or stories that focus on fantastical worlds. Your Name and A Silent Voice being the bigger block-busters of the last two years, both focusing on the lives of highschoolers with the former having a sci-fi twist. We had Mary and the Witch’s Flower, which was pretty good, but it still doesn’t really capture the high fantasy feel that Maquia does with its towering castles, dragon riders, and almost elf-like race of humans.

We also have Mari Okada at the helm, one of the bright stars of the anime industry in her first directorial debut. The Canipa Effect has a great video on what makes Okada so great, from her her ability to pull apart scripts and figure out their flaws, to her work on Anohana that’s impact is still being felt in Japan seven years after the series debuted. She pushed and continued to push her role as a screenwriter as far as it could go, eventually getting the chance to write and direct her own project. As The Pedantic Romantic mentions in his video on Black Rock Shooter and Okada’s involvement in the production, she is sometimes seen as a sort of queen of melodrama by members of the anime fandom. But if we look deeper into her stories and characters, we see that Okada has a keen eye for human relationships and how people develop friendships and the nature of devotion. Continue reading

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Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (7/23 – 7/29)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. It’s admittedly been a weird couple weeks for this blog. My full time job is in its busy season right now as well as dealing with some motivational blocks. I’m going to try and get some more reviews and write-ups out this coming week including one on the movie Maquia that I got a chance to see last week. But in terms of news for this week, here are some of the important highlights from down below: Crunchyroll has added a ton of new titles to its catalogs including 90’s and 2000’s classics like Outlaw Star and Trigun; Image’s series Saga will be going on indefinite hiatus to let the creators recharge; and Bongo Comics, Matt Groening’s publisher, will be shutting down permanently in October. I encourage you all to check out the articles and videos I have featured down below as well, and as always, have a happy Sunday! Continue reading

Tada-kun Never Falls in Love (Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai) Anime Review

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Tada-kun Never Falls in Love was one of the stand-out animes of the Spring 2018 season. I mentioned in my First Impressions post that it was series I could see becoming one of the romances I would keep watching all season. It had some tough competitors last season, and while it didn’t necessarily come out on top, I did enjoy the time I spent watching. It is a series that managed to take a look at what it means for children to mature faster than perhaps they should, how regret can fester over the years, and how the people you meet only for a short time can have a huge impact on your life. It’s an anime that spoke to me in many ways, both through some stunning scenes and through the messages it tried to impart along the way. Tada-kun is definitely not a perfect anime, and I have problems with the way the show ended, but over the course of last season I found myself enjoying the time I spent with this series.

Tada-kun Never Falls in Love is a 13-episode romance anime that follows the life of Mitsuyoshi Tada, an aspiring photographer and member of his high school’s Photography Club. After a chance meeting with a captivating blond-haired girl while out taking photos, Tada finds his life getting turned upside down as he begins to run into her again and again including at school. This girl is Teresa Wagner, a foreign exchange student from the fictional European country of Larsenburg. She’s followed closely by her travel companion Alexandra Magritte. Both girls wind up joining the Photography Club, and the story continues to follow their new and building relationships with Tada and the other members of the club. This original anime was picked up by Studio Doga Kobo and licensed by Sentai Filmworks for US release.

[My reviews tend to have spoilers, so proceed with caution] Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (7/16 – 7/22)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. Sorry for the late post. I went to bed at 2am last night so understandably slept in a little late. I’ve also been having some trouble working through some writing motivational blocks lately, so that’s why my blog has been pretty inactive the last week. I may be posting an update on my blogging schedule sometime soon to go into it a little more. Otherwise, the highlights for this week include: The Will Eisner Comic Awards have announced the winners for this year including the first woman winner for Best Writer; Rumiko Takashi has been inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame; and more fans angry at changes to their favorite series throw threats around on the internet in two separate stories down below. Be sure to check out the featured articles and videos below and, as always, let me know if I missed something. Happy Sunday! Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (7/9 – 7/15)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. This weekend is my first full weekend in my new apartment, so to say my past week has been hectic would be an understatement. So if this round-up seems a little sparse, you’ll know why. I tried my best to pull together what news I could find this week, but I may be lacking on some on the anime and manga front, so feel free to let me know if I missed anything in the comments below. As for some highlights this week: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is coming back to theaters; Dust 18, an Osamu Tezuka manga from the 70s has come back to print in a new 400-page volume; and Comichron points to a 6.5% drop in overall comic and graphic novel sales in 2017. I hope you all have a great rest of your Sunday and be sure to check out the featured articles and videos below as well. Continue reading

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Anime 1st Cour Review

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I’m a sucker for youkai shows, so when this one started streaming on Crunchyroll last season, you bet I followed along with every episode. It matched well with both the other romance animes airing that season as well as the food-based shows. I was a little worried that it would wind up following a lot of tired tropes with the arranged marriage plot-line, but while Kakuriyo doesn’t quite present something different, it wound up being interesting enough in it’s characters and setting that I continued watching all the way to the end of the first cour. It’s at the end of the first cour, or 12 episodes, that we’ll stop for this review. I’ll pick back up the show this season and do a second cour review at the end of the Summer. So for those of you who are fans of youkai and cooking shows, I’d suggest checking this one out while it’s still airing, though I do still have a few problems with the series to talk about. If you’d like to hear more, keep reading.

Kakuriyo follows the life of Aoi Tsubaki who was born able to see youkai/spirits or ayakashi as they are called in this series. After her only relative, her grandfather, passes away she is left alone to deal with the ayakashi by herself. But one fateful encounter with an Ogre Ayakashi finds her transported to the spirit world. It’s there she learns that her grandfather wracked up a huge amount of debt in the spirit world while he was alive, and put Aoi’s hand in marriage up as collateral to the Head of Tenjin-Ya, a hotel for spirits. However, Aoi has other plans, and to escape her arranged marriage and pay off her grandfather’s debt, she decides to open a small eatery and cook for the spirits of the other world. Continue reading

Waxing Philosophical: Piercings as a Form of Self-Harm in Horimiya

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I’ve been going back over and re-reading one of my favorite manga series the past couple weeks, Horimiya. It’s one that I feel has a lot of aspects that are both entertaining and make you think in certain ways, and this last read-through has gotten me thinking about the nature of self-harm. I’ve thought about it a little bit before in the context of this manga, but I figured this time I’d try and get some of my thoughts down on paper in a more concrete form. I know this might be a bit of stretch, but I feel like it makes sense in the context of the manga given the characters and story, so hear me out.

Horimiya is a romantic comedy manga that takes place in high school. It has your standard high school worries: making friends, keeping up appearances, romance troubles, and bullying. One of the main characters, Miyamura, has been ostracised from his classmates since childhood for looking gloomy and nerdy with his long hair, glasses, and quiet demeanor. People began to see him as this unapproachable otaku and thus began bullying him. It’s not until a chance meeting between him and the other main character, Hori, that we see another side to his character, one where he becomes a stylish man with dozens of piercings and tattoos. It’s an interesting juxtaposition that speaks to how people, especially young adolescents, manage public and private personas given the situation. But I think it also has another connotation given Miyamura’s history of bullying: self-harm.

Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (6/25 – 7/1)

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Welcome back to another installment of “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t half to. I’m currently writing this while my apartment is being turned upside-down as we’re moving tomorrow. So it’s understandably been crazy especially when I lost internet yesterday. Anyways, I’m here now and will be trying to get a review up this Wednesday, but don’t be surprised if it’s delayed. For some highlights from this week: Sci-fi writer and comic creator Harlan Ellison has passed away at age 84, the US Justice Department has approved Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox assets, and the Harvey awards will be coming back this year. I also encourage you to check out the articles and videos I’ve featured down below. But otherwise, I hope you all have a great Sunday! Continue reading