How Made in Abyss Became My Dark Horse Winner of Last Season


Made in Abyss has to be one of the biggest surprises of the Summer 2017 season. I certainly did not see this show I had never heard of, that looked like it might be geared towards a younger audience, becoming one of my favorites. But once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. The world that was being built from one episode to the next, the characters, the overarching story, and even the smaller stories all combined to hold my interest. Though the romance aspect is a very small part of the show, I couldn’t help but write a post about this anime. Originally a manga created by Akihito Tsukushi, it was picked up by Kinema Citrus for the anime. In the US, Amazon’s Anime Strike service picked it up for simulcasting.

The anime centers around the city of Orth that surrounds a mysterious hole going deep into the earth, called the Abyss. In the city lived a young orphaned girl named Riko who is training to become a Cave Raider, or someone who ventures down into the Abyss to dig out and bring back ancient artifacts. On one raid, she finds and befriends a humanoid robot named Reg. Some time later, she is informed that personal effects of her mother, who was also a cave raider, were recovered in a deep part of the Abyss. One contains a note that encourages her to make the long and dangerous journey to the bottom of the Abyss. Continue reading


My Love-Hate Relationship with Gamers!


Gamers! was an anime that I was honestly excited to watch when it first started airing this past season. The first couple episodes were funny and the characters were people I could relate to as someone who avidly follows videogame culture. Then the episodes started to get more and more into relationship drama and I finally had to take a break at episode seven. It strange to think that as someone who loves romance, has built this blog around romance, that I would find relationship drama in this show grating and way too awkward to watch, but I did. However, I came back to the show a few days ago to write this review and found myself oddly enjoying it for the most part. There were still moments that annoyed me, but that instinctual hatred of awkward comedy that I was feeling before was dulled. I’m still on the fence about whether I like the series or not, but logically I can see the good and the bad in it.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on the Summer 2017 season, Gamers! is a show that follows the life and troubles of five high school students whose love of videogames brings them together. Their friendship quickly becomes fraught with misunderstandings, relationship drama, and he-said-she-said moments. Originally an ongoing light novel series written by Sekina Aoi, it was picked up by Studio Pine Jam for its 12 episode run. While not one of the top-rated shows of the season, it still clocked in at 7.33 on My Anime list. Continue reading

My Love Story Anime Review


My Love Story has been on my list to check out for a while now, and I finally decided to give it a shot this week. This anime was adapted from a manga of the same name written by Kazune Kawahara with art by Aruko. It was picked up by studio Madhouse for animation and was simulcast on Crunchyroll in 2014. I went into this anime only knowing the small snippets I had heard from other people and other reviewers so I was honestly surprised to learn how many nominations and recommendations the manga had received among the shoujo genre. This is mostly because I found the series as a whole fairly hit and miss in terms of story and my own level of engagement and enjoyment.

This romantic comedy features the high school student Takeo Goda who doesn’t have much luck with women. He’s tall, muscular, and not classically handsome. To make matters worse, all the women he falls in love with are more attracted to his best friend Makoto Sunakawa. That all changes when he spots Rinko Yamato, a petite shy girl, getting groped on the train and rescues her. Takeo, who’s never had a girlfriend in his life, must now try to make sense of what it means to be in a relationship. Continue reading

Manga or Anime? Say I Love You


I wanted to give something new a try this time around and take a look at some short anime series to see how they compare to the manga. For our first review, we have Say I Love You, created by Kanae Hazuki, and picked up for its 13 episode anime adaptation by Studio Zexcs and Sentai Filmworks. The manga itself currently has 17 volumes published with the 18th and final volume due to come out sometime this year. Like most anime adaptations, the manga continues well after the anime ends, but the question then becomes whether it’s actually worth it to continue reading the manga or even if it’s worth it to check out the anime. I’m hoping with these types of reviews, I can answer those questions for you guys. Over the past couple days I’ve binged through all 13 episodes of the anime and 17 volumes of the manga, and have come to the conclusion that while I love how the anime handles the story, the manga has its good points as well.

Say I Love You follows the growing love story between high school students Kurosawa Yamato and Tachibana Mei. Mei doesn’t trust people, not after being bullied her whole life, and refuses to make friends or open up to people. But that all changes when she round-house kicks the most popular boy in school, Yamato, and gains his unwavering attention and phone number. While she vows never to use it, soon finds herself hiding from a stalker in a convenience store with Yamato the only person she can call for help. After he shows up to rescue her and subsequently steals her first kiss, she begins to see that opening up to the people around her isn’t such a bad idea after all. Continue reading

Four Romantic Animated Shorts Worth Checking Out

Lately I’ve been finding myself drawn more and more to different animation styles and animations from different countries, particularly those from different countries and cultures. I’ve been on a mission to branch out my love of animation beyond Japanese anime and so have started to compile a list of the romantic shorts I like the most. You can find these across the internet, ranging in length from 4 minutes to 12 minutes, but I generally say anything around or less than 15 minutes is what I would consider a short. Going over that amount of time and you’re getting close to a full length cartoon episode. These are animations which display story, creative animation, and great directing in a very short amount of time. Those that have made it onto this list display some or all of these features to create a well-crafted story or message in a small package. Feel free to check out any that interest you and let me know what you thought in the comments below! Continue reading

The Place Promised in Our Early Days Anime Film Review


The Place Promised in our Early Days is something I saw years ago but completely forgot about until I was rewatching it earlier. I also completely forgot it is a Makoto Shinkai piece, which is fairly embarrassing, and watching it again — after seeing his most recent work Your Name — has given me a much better idea of the kinds of films Shinkai likes to create. Produced in 2004, this film was Shinkai’s directorial debut and was the first time he worked with a full team and large-scale funding. Compared to Voices of a Distant Star, his other major work before this one, you can tell just how much just having a team and adequate funding can mean for a project. With high-quality animation, a great sci-fi mixed story, and skilled direction The Place Promised in Our Early Days becomes a breathtaking movie about friendship, promises, and tragedy.

The film begins with a look at a Japan split in two after Hokkaido was taken over by the Soviet Union. A large, mysterious tower in the center of the northern island looms over the rest of Japan, making the rest of the world question its purpose. Is it a weapon or some sort of machine used to study something? Three friends, Hiroki, Takuya, and Sayuri, are drawn to this tower and make a promise to fly there one day on the plane they are secretly building. But when Sayuri suddenly disappears and war begins edging ever closer, their promise is soon forgotten. That is until the area around the tower begins to disappear. Continue reading

Summer 2017 Anime First Impressions

So far Summer 2017 has had some great romances and some pretty trash ones. Below are the shows from this season that I think you should both watch and avoid for various reasons. I’ve included series that you can find on Crunchyroll and Anime Strike if you have those services. If there’s anything I missed that may not be on either of those, let me know! Also let me know in the comments below what you thought about any of these. If you’d like to talk about non-romance anime I’m watching this season, you can head over to my Facebook page and drop a message there. Without further ado, here are the new romance animes of the Summer 2017 season. Continue reading

A Silent Voice Anime Film Review


I’ve been meaning to check out A Silent Voice ever since I heard it was coming to the States this year. It looked like it could be a fantastic movie that could rival Your Name for the top spot in the box office, and it wound up being that both of those things came true. A Silent Voice hit theaters in Japan in September of 2016 to a very positive reception, and hit number two in the box office, right behind Your Name. By the end of 2016, it became the 10th highest grossing Japanese film of the year, with Makoto Shinkai — Director of Your Name — calling it a “fantastic piece of work.”  However, what drew me to this movie was the concept, the story of a former bully and the young deaf girl he used to bully coming to forgive each other, both seeking redemption for how they’ve changed each other’s lives. And, after I learned that the director of this movie is none other than Naoko Yamada, Director of K-ON, a lot of aspects of this movie fell into place.

Shoya Ishida walks along a bridge as he contemplates suicide, flashing back to the time he was in elementary school. His teacher had just introduced a new student to the class, Shoko Nishimiya, who they found out soon after is deaf. And so the bullying started, led my Shoya and helped along by the general willingness of the rest of the class to ignore them. But after Shoko’s mother finds that all her hearing aids have gone missing, Shoya and his mother are made to pay nearly 1,700,000 Yen to replace them. From then on, his class turns against him and he’s left by  himself to wallow in regret and anxiety all the way into High school. But when Shoya works up the nerve to return Shoko’s lost notebook to her in an effort of redemption, he comes to find out that all she wants is to put the past behind her. Continue reading

Top 5 Romance Anime

There were a lot of anime that were considered for this list and, in the end, didn’t make it on. In the process of choosing my top five romance anime, I looked for series that I’ve found myself going back to and those that have done something unique with their stories. I ultimately decided not to include OVA’s, movies, or feature films if only to make sure this list wasn’t full of Ghibli movies. I have enough reviews covering my opinions of most of his movies already. Below are five series and two honorable mentions that I thought encapsulated all of the different facets of a good romance anime. Whether it be great characters, an interesting setting, the ability to parody shoujo anime to perfection, great animation, or a combination of all of these, a series has to be more than just great romance to make it onto this list. I hope you enjoy this last top 5 list and I encourage you to check out the other three that I’ve posted this week. So starting at number one, here are my top five romance anime. Continue reading

Top 5 Yaoi Anime and Manga

Yaoi anime and manga are not for everyone, but I think it’s important to examine all kinds of love stories when searching for the best romances. However, it can be hard to weed through the smut and less serious works to find the stories that really have something great to tell. Below are my top five picks for best yaoi anime and manga, starting at number one. I will admit that this specific area is one that I need to experience more, so in the next couple years this list will most likely be changing. But so far, the series below are ones that I find myself coming back to or have displayed a unique art or story that has managed to stick in my memory. Before we get into it, I want to preface this review by saying that I will not be making a top five yuri list, more for the fact that I have not found many I like than an overall dislike of the series. This is also something that will change in the future. But enough of that, almost all of the series below have full reviews of their own, so be sure to visit those if you find a series interesting. Continue reading