My Top Obsessions This Month: October 2019

Welcome back to another top obsessions post where I give myself a nice slice of space to discuss some things I’ve been interested in the past month outside of the romance genre and this blog. I’ve added sections for podcasts, books, TV shows, Youtube channels, and for this month a section on two events I got involved in. I hope you all had a spook-tacular October. I know it’s my favorite month out of the year, and I hope you all got some enjoyment out of my October specials as well. Let me know in the comments how your month went, any interesting obsessions you might have, and what cool things you’ve noticed the last month. See you all in November! Continue reading

Waxing Philosophical: Kiki’s Delivery Service and Burnout

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Kiki’s Delivery Service is the quintessential animated witch movie, brimming with magic, energy, and the imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. It’s been a while since I got the chance to sit down and watch this one, so I thought this month might be the perfect time and atmosphere to revisit one of Miyazaki’s most popular movies. I have to say, I definitely forgot much of the finer details, and I never realized just how universally adult some of the themes are. It’s definitely something that is supposed to be marketed towards a younger audience, given the age of Kiki and the general themes around adolescence and growing up. But what I wasn’t expecting was how this movie could relate to the issues affecting an older audience. Miyazaki was known to create stories that appealed to a wide audience, with themes like environmentalism, religion, family, and politics.  And while the movies almost always seemed like they were made for a younger audience, they may also be speaking to a generation plagued by political and economic unrest, long work hours, and a desire to find a purpose in life.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is the story of young Kiki who has just turned 13 years old, which means that according to family tradition she has to move out of her home and city to complete her training as a full-fledged which. For at least one year, Kiki has to move to a new place and work to establish her mark on the community. And on one perfect full moon night, Kiki heads out in search of the perfect place with her best black cat friend Gigi. She winds up finding a beautiful coastal town, and after a bit of searching, finds a bakery that needs a delivery girl. And so Kiki’s Delivery Service is in business and begins making her own place in the community. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (10/21 – 10/27)

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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. The month of October is coming to an end and I must say it’s been fun visiting fantasy and witch-themed manga and anime for the last month. I’ve got at least one more review for you all next week before October and spooky-season ends, but I also hope you’ll go back and take a look at the rest of the reviews as well. As for news highlights this week: Japan responds to the Kyoto Animation fire with new regulations; the Joker has become the highest grossing R-rated film to date; and rumors are abound that actor Jared Leto tried to shut down the new Joker film. Be sure to check out the articles and videos linked below and, as always, have a great Sunday! Continue reading

Flying Witch Anime Review

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I can’t conclude this month’s reviews of witch and magic related anime and manga without a look at Flying Witch, one of the best magic related slice-of-life’s to come out so far (in my humble opinion). The series is a calming look at the life of witches and magic users in rural Japan, an alternate society where witches exist in a semi-secret state within society. Due to the laid-back tone of the series as a whole, I would even go so far as to categorize this as an iyashikei series, or healing anime. The narratives of each episode give the viewer an intimate look at a witch’s everyday life without going into too much drama, going so far as to have very little plot at all. That is what I would call an iyashikei: warm life stories with light plots that allow the viewer to relax into a comfy state. Flying Witch has the comfy feelings down pat, the magic elements adding just the right touch of interest and difference to draw in fans looking for something unique instead of the typical slice-of-lifes out there.

The series follows the life of young teenage witch Makoto who leaves home for the first time to complete her witch studies in rural japan, living with her cousin’s family. The episodes are filled with stories of Makoto’s life living with her cousins, studying magic, going to school, and experiencing the hidden magical world around her. Each episode contains one or two contained stories with a specific story, interaction, or learning experience for Makoto or her cousins, most containing something to do with magic, but not always. The series is based off of a manga, and was picked up for the adaptation by J.C. Staff and released in 2016. Continue reading

Generation Witch Manga Volume One Review

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Generation Witch is the story of what would happen if witches existed in the modern world, fully open and integrated into society. I feel like we don’t get many of these stories. Flying Witch was one that was close, but even then the existence of witches was still considered somewhat of a secret and knowledge of them among regular people was few and far between. This series asks the question of what would society and people look like if there was no barrier between normal human and witch, if anyone with the right blood, male or female, young or old, could become a witch and practice magic. In this way, this world has taken on the qualities of a magical realism narrative, where the fantastical is normal. Generation Witch brings us differing stories from this world, from different parts of society and age groups, letting the world build a chapter at a time. If you enjoy a modern twist on witches or magic girls, then I think you’ll enjoy this peek into a society where magic is right out in the open.

Each volume of this series features four or five different stories, each following a different set of characters through their troubles and goals. Chapter one brings us a story of a powerful witch who saves her dear non-witch sister from a bully. Then we are sent off to high school in chapters two and three where a young and fairly talentless witch is trying to start up a magic club at their school. She winds up finding the only other witch on campus and ropes him into doing odd jobs around school for the other students. Created by Isaki Uta, the series was recently picked up for its English release by Seven Seas. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-Up (10/14 – 10/20)

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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 month has been very hectic for me with the October Fantasy Special reviews (which you should all read, if you haven’t already checked them out) and the yearly Inktober art challenge. New reviews will keep coming out though, so keep an eye out! This week in news was a lot more busy than last week. Some highlights from the week: GKIDS announced that pretty much all Ghibli movies will be available for streaming on HBO Max next Spring; Crunchyroll will be partnering with WebToons to bring more animated content based off their comics; and Netflix is planning a new animated series based off the hit graphic novel series BONE. Be sure to check the articles and videos down below, and as always, have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

Giant Spider and Me Manga Mini-series Volumes 1-3 Review

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Do you enjoy a good post-apocalyptic story? How about cooking? Giant spiders? A feel good slice-of-life? If I’ve hit on one or more of your genre faves, than I’ve got a manga for you. Giant Spider and Me: A Post Apocalyptic Tale is a short, 3 volume miniseries published by Seven Seas that hits all of the genres I’ve listed above. It may seem like a strange combination, but I assure you it works! This manga very quickly catapulted itself into one of my top favorites for just how unique its story and narrative combinations are, and I truly wish this series could have had more volumes. Three volumes definitely does not seem like enough, but the stories told within hold a fascinating combination of feel-good iyashikei/slice-of-life and post-apocalyptic horror. If you haven’t already picked up this manga, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s not a large reading investment and I do think there’s a bit of something for many different manga lovers out there.

Giant Spider and Me follows the young girl Naga who has grown up in a post-apocalyptic version of Japan where the seas have risen to flood all the major cities. People have adapted to a more rural way of life as they slowly recover. In the midst of this, Naga’s father decides to head out on a journey around the world, leaving his daughter to fend for herself in their small cabin and farm. One day coming back from checking on their farm, she encounters a giant spider like nothing she’s ever seen before. It follows her home and slowly becomes the lonely Naga’s best friend and confidant, if only the rest of the village thought the same way. Continue reading

Irregular at Magic High School Anime Season One Review

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Magic school narratives have been and. I suspect, will always be very popular. With the overflowing fandom surrounding books like Harry Potter and other similar fantasy novels, the amount of stories of this type have proliferated far and wide into varying mediums. Anime and manga, in particular, took a strong interest in this narrative type. Manga like Witch Hat Atelier, Ancient Magus Bride’s most recent arc. Anime like Little Witch Academia, Gakuen Alice, and now Irregular at Magic Highschool (honestly the list goes on). It’s certainly not a new anime, having originally aired in 2014, but with the recent announcement that it would be getting a second season soon, I figured I had the perfect time to talk about it considering the time of year. The series started as a novel and then became a light novel series before being picked up by Madhouse for the anime adaptation. I became a fan shortly after, attracted by the unique view of magic presented in the series and the well-crafted fight scenes. I’m not saying this is a perfect series, but it definitely has its strengths, especially for fans of magic school narratives.

The anime follows two siblings, Shiba Miyuki and Shiba Tatsuya, who are accepted to one of the top magic schools in the country. Miyuki manages to pass all of the entrance exams with flying colors and is accepted into the full Course 1 program, while her brother Tasuya has a slower magic processing speed and winds up being accepted into the lower Course 2 class. The narrative follows these two siblings as they navigate the culture of their new school with its favoritism towards Course 1 students, while trying not to be dragged into the country’s various political struggles in the process. Continue reading

Last Week in Geekdom – Your Weekly News Round-up (10/7 – 10/13)

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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 been a busy week for me in terms of October specials, so if you haven’t checked out some of my reviews of magic and fantasy-themed anime, manga, and comics I’d highly suggest heading over to my home page and scrolling through. A new special will be going up tomorrow. However, it’s been a very slow week for news. I had a lot of trouble finding major news items for the anime and manga section but there were quite a few series announcements that I listed below. What I’m really excited about is the announcement that Lore Olympus from Webtoons is getting an animated series from the Jim Henson Company. There’s also been a lack of good articles this week, but some pretty good videos I’ve linked below. Be sure to check those out, and have a great rest of your Sunday! Continue reading

Sabrina the Teenage Witch Comic Miniseries Issues #1-5 Review

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch has been a staple show in American culture since the TV show premiered on ABC in the late 90’s, adapting the story from the ever popular Archie series of comics. Now we have a resurgence of this iconic series with the recent adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina that premiered as both a comic series and Netflix TV show last year. Well, the series has been adapted again by Archie Comics into a less chilling mini-series, simply titled Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The miniseries runs 5 issues, or 1 volume, and winds up being a great companion to the more chilling series for those, like me, who prefer a less horror themed Sabrina. The last issue was released this past September, concluding the first arc of the series, but plans for a second mini-series have already been announced for 2020. If you’re a fan of the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch with all the teenage hijinks and snarky Salem come-backs, then I would highly suggest checking this out. 

This mini-series reboot follows Sabrina Spellman as she makes the move to Greendale to live with her two aunts. But adjusting to a new school and a new town has its challenges, especially for a teenager who can use magic. Not only does she have to deal with all those pesky teenage hormones and the bullies at her new school, but something seems to be transforming the teenagers of Greendale into monsters. After being forced to do battle with a Wendigo and a giant Kraken, Sabrina puts all of her magical knowledge to the test in order to figure out this mystery…in between kissing some cute boys of course.  Continue reading