Just Because Anime Review

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Just Because was one of the romances of last season I was most looking forward to. One of the reasons being that it strived to depict life for high school students during that interim period between college exams and graduation. Mixed with the problems of adolescent romance, it looked as though this could be a series that accomplished something different. I think we have far too many school romances that focus on the whole of high school life or the middle of it. They may depict college exams and graduation, but they don’t start their story there. This turbulent time adds to the drama and adds to the stress the characters are feeling as well as giving a sense of limbo to their relationships. Even with the problems surrounding this series production, I did find myself enjoying the ride through mundane life and romance.

This original series was written by Hajime Kamoshida, the creator behind The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Production was handled by the small studio Pine Jam and licensed in the US on Amazon’s former Anime Strike. This anime follows the lives of a group of high school students during their last semester and the drama that arises with the appearance of a new transfer student, Eita Izumi. Izumi had lived there during middle school but had to move away because of his father’s job. On his return, old feelings resurface and new relationships are formed. For most students, the end of the school year is expected to be devoid of fanfare, but not for these students. Continue reading

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Brothers Conflict Anime Review

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Brothers Conflict was something I watched a long time ago when the sub was still streaming on Funimation. I’ve always meant to review this one, and this interim period while the most recent shows are finishing up gave me a chance to sit back down again and watch it all the way through. This second watch-through, however, has made me realize just how uninteresting this anime is overall. It has it’s good moments, don’t get me wrong, and I think fans of reverse-harems and the otome genre might appreciate it, but I feel like I don’t get that much enjoyment anymore out of series that don’t try and do anything different with their concept.

The series was originally a novel which got turned into a manga, 4-koma comic, and then Playstation otome games before finally becoming an anime in 2013. The story follows the life of highschool student Ema Hinata who finds out that her father will soon be getting married to another woman and she will soon have 13 new brothers. In order to not be a bother to her newlywed parents, Ema decides to live together with her new extended family. As Ema tries to make a place for herself in this new family, her brothers are also having a hard time accepting her as just a sister. Continue reading

The Mythology of Ancient Magus’ Bride: Part 1

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Ancient Magus’ Bride has wound up being one of my favorite mangas and animes so far. If you haven’t read my review of the manga, you really should, if only to get my general overview of the series before I start diving into things here. I’ve always had an interest in mythology and religion, and this anime has revitalized that interest by giving me a lot of areas to dig in to and research. Below are just a few of the origins behind the main and side characters of this anime. This will have to be a multi-part series as there is just way too much to cover. As I’m writing this right now, it’s turned out to be about four pages worth of information. For this first segment, I’ve decided to stay within the anime and its content thus far, but for later segments, I will be delving more into the manga. I’ve included some links to my sources within the text and after each segment, but if I’ve missed a better source or some piece of information, feel free to let me know in the comments. As a general note, most of this will just be a general overview, as I don’t have the space to get into every bit of a certain legend. I hope these bits will inspire you to do research of your own as well. Continue reading

Dirty Diamonds #8: “Sex” Comic Anthology Review

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Dirty Diamonds is one of those anthologies I look for every time I go to a convention like MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo) mainly because I know there will be something in there I will like. Also because I definitely think women and queer comic voices don’t get the amount of attention they deserve. The anthology itself goes back to 2011 when it was started by the two editors, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman. Each volume is funded through Kickstarter and takes submissions from anyone who identifies as female. This volume’s specific theme is  sex, and it manages to present a lot of different semi-autobiographical stories about sex itself, our relation to it, and the social pressures surrounding it. I wanted to take a moment to look at some of the stories and issues presented in Sex as well as highlight some of my favorites. Continue reading

Hitorijime My Hero Anime Review

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Hitorijime My Hero was the token boys love anime of the summer season, and as not many mangas of this genre are adapted into anime, I was pretty excited to see what would become of this one. Unfortunately, I can say now after watching it though twice that this one doesn’t really give me much to be excited about anymore. For those of you who like the traditional boys love/yaoi tropes — semi-abusive semes, weird power dynamics, and overly naive ukes — this show will probably be fairly enjoyable. However, for me, I very nearly gave up halfway through after I found I wasn’t looking forward to a new episode every week as much as other shows on my list that season. I won’t say I completely hated it, there were moments that I liked, that made me laugh, but it definitely not a show I’ll be returning to.

The story follows the love stories of two couples — Masahiro and Kousuke; Kensuke and Hasekura — as they try to reconcile their feelings for each other. For the majority of the plot though, we focus on Masahiro and Kousuke as Masahiro’s admiration for the man who saved him from a life of gangs turns into love and Kousuke must admit that their relationship is more than teacher and student. Based off the mangas Hitorijime Boyfriend and HItorijime My Hero, the story was licensed for the anime adaptation by Sentai Filmworks and picked up by Encourage Films for the animation. It was simulcasted in the US by Amazon’s Anime Strike and ran for 12 episodes last season. Continue reading

Little Gods Comic Review

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Little Gods — much like Blue that I reviewed a week ago — was something that I found at Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) last month. I have to say, I don’t regret picking this up. I was a little skeptical of the art style, but I’ve found the comic to be pretty interesting overall. It manages to utilize Native American creation myths as a jumping off point for its own story of adolescence and discussions surrounding family and queer romance. As someone who loves both mythology and watercolor artwork, it was pretty much a done deal that I would find at least something to like about this comic.

Created by Leda Zawacki and published by Tinto Press, this single volume comic not only contains the story “Little Gods” but also its prequel “Sky Gods.” The prequel follows the Northwest Native American creation myth Shasta Mountain and the Grizzly Bears, using most of the original text. “Little Gods” diverts the story to focus on the Sky God’s eldest daughter as she dreams about descending the mountain to see the world her father created. After a failed kidnapping by a bunch of wind monsters, the eldest daughter — nicknamed Bunny Girl for her distinctive bunny mask — finds herself at the base of Shasta Mountain, free from the watchful eye of her father. Continue reading

Blog Update – Taking a Break

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Hi All!

It’s been a crazy couple months, and I want to thank you all for being patient with me about putting new reviews out.

I wanted to let you guys know that I will be taking the month of December off to work on some longer articles and spend time with family. I was thinking about continuing my Ghibli month from last year, but I have a steadily growing list of articles I want to write so I figured I should start crossing some off my list. Most of those should be posted here, and if I wind up pitching them to another site, I’ll let you know where to find them over on my Facebook page.

I’ll be putting up as many reviews as I can for the rest of November, so keep an eye out, follow me on Facebook, or here on WordPress! Be sure to check out my archives if you get bored, share your favorite articles around, and post some comments on ones you really like (or don’t like).

I hope you all have a great holiday season!

~ Allison

Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boyfriends) Anime Review

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Konbini Kareshi was one of those animes that I wound up dropping after about four episodes last season. I decided now was probably a good time to revisit what made me drop it and find out if it actually got any better in the following episodes. Short answer: not really? It’s an anime with a lot of problems that tries so hard at being good, but ultimately pales in comparison to others that have taken its concepts further. I mentioned in my Summer 2017 First Impressions that this is primarily a fluffy and easy watch in terms of romance, but ultimately feels dull if you’re looking for something more, and I’m going to stand by that assessment for this review.

The story centers around a group of four friends who always stop at a convenience store on their way home from school and the relationships that develop from chance meetings. It continues to follow these four high schoolers, two girls (Mashiki and Mihashi) and two boys (Mishima and Honda), as they make their way through their last years of school and the troubles that come with it. It started as a multimedia project by the publisher Kadokawa, first  as a mook (or like a cross between magazine and book), then a bundled drama CD, before being picked up for animation by Studio Pierrot. The simulcast was licensed by Crunchyroll and ran for a total of twelve episodes. Continue reading

Blue Manga Review

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Blue was something I found while wandering around MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo) a couple weeks ago. One of my purposes in going to that convention was to find interesting and little-known comics to review for this blog. I saw this particular one sitting on the display shelf, its cover almost a solid blue with the faint outline of a girl, and knew it would be something great to review for this blog.

Written by Kiriko Nananan, who got her start writing for the prominent magazine “Garo” in Japan, which specialized in alternative or avant-garde comics. The story itself follows the relationship that grows between two girls, Kayako Kirishima and Masami Endo. We see their friendship slowly develop into confused feelings of love as their high school years slowly come to an end. It’s a story of fleeting love, told in a sweet yet powerfully moving way. Continue reading

Fall 2017 First Impressions

Compared to last season, I feel like this season is lacking on some diverse romance options. As you can see, there are a four animes I can talk about, but definitely not as much of an offering as we saw last time. What I see lacking this year is our token shonen-ai series or the once and awhile shoujo-ai series. However, what we do have for options this season are a lot stronger than last time, and I can say now that I can recommend almost every show on this list. I’ll also list some other anime’s I’m watching outside the romance genre at the end or you can follow me on My Anime List to see what I’m watching and what I’ve dropped. Continue reading