October Mythology Special: Kuchisake-Onna, or What Happens When Ghost Stories Get Too Real

Kuchisake_onna_am_i_beautiful

You’re walking down a dark street at night. Mist is starting to cover the ground making the road ahead of you hard to see. Suddenly you see the shadow of a woman step out of the mist and walk towards you. She looks like a fairly normal Japanese woman and is wearing a surgical mask to cover her face. That in and of itself isn’t weird as many people in Japan wear masks when they are sick or for various other reasons. The woman continues to walk towards you, and when she is close enough for you to see her face clearly, she asks, “Am I beautiful?” Not wanting to be rude, you answer “Yes”. The woman takes hold of her mask, pulling it down to reveal a mouth that has been slit open ear-to-ear, and asks, “Even now?” You have just met the Kuchisake-onna, how do you answer? Be careful, if you answer wrong, you could end up looking like her. Continue reading

October Mythology Special: Gashadokuro, the Hungriest of Ghosts

152292762448901512020b8

Japan is known for its hungry ghosts, yurei who come back to haunt those who have wronged them or come back to fulfill some unfulfilled purpose before they can move on. In the last post, we had the Manekute no Yurie or the beckoning hand that appears sticking out of empty rooms, and will only go away once its wants are fulfilled or someone reads it some sutras. However, the the Manekute no Yurei is a fairly benevolent ghost despite its hunger. Hunger can be an extremely powerful force especially when put into the perspective of starvation and famine, and that’s where tonight’s ghostly story comes from. The Gashadokuro is the hungriest ghost of all and one of the most dangerous of the yurei who walk the darkened streets of Japan. You definitely don’t want to meet this one, but if you do there’s only one thing you can do…..run. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (10/22 -10/28)

bcb1205fc06b5af68cc478db33e331dd1524415345_full

Welcome back to another “Last Week in Geekdom” where I comb the internet for all the news you need to know so you don’t have to. I’m almost to the end of this year’s first October Mythology Special, with only two or three posts left. Be sure to check out my older posts and let me know what you think of them because I’m on the fence on whether to do it again next year. Anyways, for top news stories this week: My Hero Academia will be getting a live-action film adaptation; Misaaki Yuasa has unveiled his new anime film in the making; and NASA has announced some new pop culture themed constellations. There are a bunch of interviews and videos this week, so be sure to check those out. As always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

[Blog Update] I have a Ko-Fi page now!

Hi guys!

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, so I figured I’d give this a shot. I now have a Ko-Fi page where you can choose to drop me a couple dollars here or there. For the most part I think I’ll be using this to supplement my funds for manga and comics. This will mean I’ll have more freedom to take a chance on manga I might otherwise not pick up and it will help fund some of my longer-running series reviews. It may also help fund a future switch-over to a paid WordPress site that will allow me to make the site look and run a little better.

So if you like what I do, and have the money to spare, feel free to drop me some dollars over at my Ko-Fi page.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Thanks!

~Allison


Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress for all Bloom Reviews content updates and news!

October Mythology Special: The Disembodied Hands of Legend

x8

I’m sure you’ve noticed just how much I’ve been talking about XXXHolic, and it’s not just because it’s that time of year when I want to read slightly spooky or mystical stories. The content of XXXHolic hits on a lot of humanity’s biggest fears and insecurities, including the ones from legends and folklore. In chapter 26 of the manga, Watanuki keeps running into a disembodied hand on his way home from buying groceries. A hand sticking out of a cherry blossom tree. A hand lying behind a sandwich sign. At first he brushes it off as a mannequin hand, but when he makes it to the park, the hand is there again sticking straight up out of the ground. As he watches, a small petal falls onto its palm, the fingers close and reopen. The petal is gone. When some kids get too close, Watanuki loses his grocery bag to the hand and it drags it back into the earth where suspicious crunching noises are heard.

Stumbling into this short encounter while reading XXXHolic had me wondering what other kinds of myths were out there concerning disembodied hands, and is this one related to any in particular. I realize it might be a strange thought to have, but hear me out and join me as I go down this rabbit hole. I promise I’ll try and keep it short this time. Continue reading

October Mythology Special: Jorogumo/Tsuchigumo and Indigenous History

900_raiko20tormented20by20the20earth20spider

Japan Powered recounts one story about a curious thing that happened to a logger out in the forest: “One day a logger was going about his work. Since logging is an exhausting business, seeing as how this was Edo period Japan and the chainsaw hadn’t been invented yet, the man decides to take a short break. He hears the crash of a waterfall nearby, and decides that sitting on the stream bank and watching the waterfall would be a pleasant way to spend his lunch break. However, no sooner has the man settled himself and unpacked his food than a strange something attaches itself to his foot! Puzzled, the man pulls the sticky substance off. He sees that it is something like spider silk. He sticks the stuff to a nearby log. A moment later, the log goes zipping across the stream bank, only to disappear beneath the churning waters of the waterfall. Not a little spooked, our logger decides it’s best to take his lunch break elsewhere and he beats a hasty retreat back into the woods.” Continue reading

Fall 2018 Anime First Impressions

Welcome back to another first impressions post. I didn’t get a chance to do one last season, mainly because there was really only one romance show that season worth talking about, Banana Fish. It seemed like a lot of other bloggers had that one covered so I figured I could skip the first impressions post. Well, this season has certainly made up for the lack last season in both quality and quantity this season. There are six romances I wanted to talk about this time, and a few that I didn’t include in the list below because they sat on the line between romance and something else without specifically being tagged as a romance. In particular: Jingo-san no Yome and As Miss Beelzebub Likes. Both I have found to be pretty entertaining and I encourage you to check them out, but I won’t be talking about them here as neither are fully romance and sit more in the moe or slice-of-life genre. Anyways, see below for some first impressions of six romance shows currently airing this season, and if you want to see what other shows I’m watching this season, feel free to check out my MAL account. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (10/15 – 10/21)

4764091_orig

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. The last week or so has been tough for me and I think I might be getting sick, so I’m sorry if I missed a few key news items below. I’ve also been slacking on my Inktober goal, but you can still check out my art on my Instagram account. Anyways, for news highlights this week: Funimation and Crunchyroll have broken their content sharing agreement which will be leading to some animes leaving both platforms; the Japanese Government is starting to crack down more and more on bootlegged content cites online which will lead to a lot of cites being taken down in the future; and comic shops across the US will be participating in a new Halloween ComicFest featuring free comics for those you join in. Be sure to check out some of the other articles and videos I linked below, and make sure to have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

October Mythology Special: Raiju/Raijin and the Superstitions around Belly Buttons

2750628261_442f427d4b

Never clip your nails at night. Make sure to hide your thumbs when a funeral procession goes by. Don’t whistle at night or you’ll invite a snake into your home. These are just a few of many superstitions that can be found in Japanese culture used to scare children into good behavior. Another common one you may hear is “always cover your belly button when thunder is rumbling.” It’s very obviously a cautionary tale to prevent children from getting sick when the temperature drops during a storm, but what are the mythological and cultural origins of this phrase? Why thunder and why belly buttons in particular? Continue reading

October Mythology Special: Homunculi and Alchemy

0.jpg

The creation of artificial human life has long been connected to alchemy and can be traced back to the first recorded recipe for creating a Homunculus in an Arabic work titled The Book of the Cow. So what does an aspiring alchemist need in order to create artificial life? Well, according to this book you’ll need: magician semen, a sunstone, a cow or ewe, sulfur, a magnet, green tutia, and a large glass or lead vessel. Robert Lamb from How Stuff Works goes on to lay out the step-by-step instructions, and you can read those for yourself, but it says that after the cow or ewe is inseminated and fed exclusively on the blood of another animal it will give birth to some “unknown substance”. After being transferred to the large vessel with the before mentioned chemicals, it will start to form human skin and develop slowly into a small human.

At which point, alchemists thought these tiny creatures could be used in a variety of ways, some of which were: “The first type of Homunculus may be used to make the full moon appear on the last day of the month, allow a person to take the form of a cow, a sheep or even  an ape, allow one to walk on water and know things that are happening far away. The second type of Homunculus can be used to enable a person to see demons and spirits, as well as to converse with them, whilst the last type of Homunculus can be used to summon rain at unseasonable times and produce extremely poisonous snakes.” Continue reading