Kaguya-sama: Love is War Anime Review

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I think Kaguya-sama was probably one of the only romance anime that came out of last season to really capture my attention. There were definitely a few too many shonen harem anime during the winter, and that’s not usually a genre I know I’ll enjoy. But I think Kaguya-sama did a phenomenal job capturing the vast majority of anime fans in the US and Japan, making it arguably one of the stand-out hits of the season. I certainly enjoyed myself immensely, and I have a hard time getting both the opening and ending themes out of my head even when we’re now into the Spring season. A-1 Pictures did a great job with the animation, creating an aesthetic that is truly visually interesting and isn’t something I’ve seen for quite some time. And while the focus is certainly more on comedy than romance, there is definitely enough quintessential romantic moments throughout the series to be entertaining on both fronts. So if you’ve been holding off on picking this series up I would highly suggest checking it out especially if you’re looking for a good laugh.

Kaguya-sama follows Student Council President Miyuki Shirogane and Vice-President Kaguya Shinomiya who seem like they would be the perfect couple. Shirogane leads the school with his grades and is generally respected by the school and the community. Kaguya is the daughter of a wealthy conglomerate family, second only to Shirogane in grades. Both of them hold feelings for the other, but neither wants to be the one to confess first, because to confess would be to lose. So begins the war to make the other one confess their love first through trickery, mind games, or whatever’s necessary. Continue reading

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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Anime Review

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This anime has to be one of the most talked about of last season, and for good reason. This is another contender for top show of the Winter season for me as it is just all-around a great series in terms of animation, story, and characters. Bunny Girl Senpai has an interesting mix of romance, magical realism, and drama with a touch of wit to really keep you hooked for the long-haul. It’s the type of show that I can see sparking so many discussions about the nature of human psychology and how we cope with society and stress. I’ve already seen quite a few interesting discussions on its subject matter not to mention its catchy opening. I highly encourage anyone who has been wavering about watching the show especially due to its title, to really give it a chance.

The story follows Sakuta Azusagawa whose life takes a weird turn when he meets the actress Mai Sakurajima in the library dressed in a bunny girl costume with seemingly no one noticing she’s there. Mai is intrigues that he seems to be the only one who can see her, and as Sakuta begins to speak with her more, he discovers that more people are slowly losing their ability to see her as well. Sakuta calls this “adolescence syndrome” or “puberty syndrome” and works to help her solve this mystery as well as those of other girls he meets along the way. 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

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

Hyouka Anime Review

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I’m not sure what I expected going into Hyouka. I knew it was a mystery series and I had seen the occasional clip here and there, but it definitely wasn’t the kind of mystery I was used to. I grew up on old black and white murder mysteries from the 40s and 50s. One of The Thin Man movies was sure to pop up on our TV at some point every week. It was and still is, in some ways, a staple in my household to sit down every once and a while and watch those old shows. It’s something I’ve grown to love over time, a love passed from my dad to me. But going into Hyouka with this background made a bit confused as to how exactly this series was considered a mystery. It isn’t like any mystery show I had experienced, after all there’s no murder, no real crime to solve. I think that’s the appeal though. Hyouka isn’t just a mystery. It’s a slice of life show, a school life show, and a romance. It follows students being students, solving the kind of mysteries that matter to them in the moment. I have to say, it’s a really interesting show, and one that may make it onto my list of ones I come back to again and again.

The plot of Hyouka follows high school student Hotaro Oreki, someone who hates expending energy on anything, who is forced by his older sister into joining the Classic Lit Club to keep it from going defunct. He is joined by Chitanda Eru, Satoshi Fukube, and Mayaka Ibara. Together they try and solve various mysteries around school, mostly at Eru’s request. The series is based off of a 2001 mystery novel written by Honobu Yonezawa, book one out of six, the other five books being published between 2002 and 2016. A manga adaptation was created in 2012 by Taskohna, with the 22-episode anime by Kyoto Animation following soon after. Continue reading

How Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Managed to Disappoint One of its Biggest Fans

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The title of this blog post makes it sound like I’m feeling a bit betrayed right now, and in a way that is true. Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my all-time favorite series. It’s one that’s been a favorite of mine since early childhood and, because of this series, I was introduced to many more brilliant CLAMP series like xxxHolic and Kobato. It was one of the first magical girl series to really break the mold of what it meant to be a magical girl, doing away with transformation sequences, actually adding characterization to the male leads/love interest, and promoting positive views of single parenthood and same-sex relationships. To say that I was looking forward to this series when it was announced would be an understatement. I knew there was a chance it would turn out to be a sub-par remake, but I honestly had faith that CLAMP wouldn’t let one of their most popular series fail like that.

Back at the end of last season, the middle of the series, I wrote a blog post talking about Clear Card as it stood then and my hopes for where the story may go from there. There were a ton of questions circling around at that time about where the story would go, what kind of reveals we would see later on, and predictions on where the story around Akiho might go. Now, I can definitively say after watching the last episode that I honestly have more questions now than I did then. This review is probably going to end up being pretty spoilery, so if you haven’t caught up on the new series, I suggest you go watch it before reading further. Continue reading

Spring 2018 Anime First Impressions

It’s Spring and romance is in the air! I feel like there’s always a lot of romance anime that come out this season, either that or the amount of anime released in general has been increasing. Anyways, we’ve got a lot of romance anime to cover this time, some of them I’m genuinely looking forward to and some I’ll probably be crossing off my list. Just as last time, this blog follows the three-episode rule, where I try and watch three episodes of each new anime before making a decision. Sometimes I’ll only get around to watching two due to scheduling or time constraints, but I tend to like to give anime’s a fair chance to show me what they’re all about. Below are the romance animes of the season that I’ve checked out so far. Let me know in the comments below if there is something I’ve missed, and also check out my MAL account to see what other series I’m watching this season. Continue reading

Citrus and Why I’m so Critical of Yuri

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For some reason it’s been super hard for me to write this review. I’ve probably started and stopped writing this about three times so far. I went back and rewatched the whole series after stopping at episode four last season just to remind my brain what I actually thought of it as a whole. Maybe this review wouldn’t have been so hard to write if the series was bad or good for that matter, but I think it’s hard to write about just because it’s so average. And I think that’s why I have such a problem with yuri anime in general. There have been a few stand-out series for sure. I absolutely loved Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but Citrus leaves me frustrated and wanting (and not in a good way). I see so many tropes and pitfalls reflected in this series that I’ve seen pop up again and again, problems that have ultimately prevented me from liking yuri manga and anime in general for a long time (and some yaoi as well).

Citrus is a high school romance with a bit of sisterly taboo love thrown into the mix. Yuzu is your fairly typical fashionable teen, a self-proclaimed Gyaru defined by their bleach blonde hair, focus on flashy fashion, and love of large accessories. After her mother decides to remarry, Yuzu is forced to transfer to a new school, one that happens to be all-girl and strict on conformity. Her Gyaru style stands out ridiculously from all the other dress-code-adhering students. To make matters worse, she finds out that the student council president, a girl who lectured her and stole her phone on her first day, is her new half-sister. And they’re going to be living together from now on. But after her step-sister pins her to the bed and kisses her, Yuzu begins to think that her feelings for her sister may be more than familial love.

***Spoilers Ahead***

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Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san (Skilled Teaser Takagi-san) Anime Review

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When this anime first started airing back at the start of the season, I was a bit concerned that it might become too repetitive and I would lose interest after a while. That did wind up happening to an extent–I took a break from watching it around episode 6–but I think my problem was that I really needed to be in the right mood to watch this show. As I was watching the last couple episodes, I found myself laughing along to Takagi and Nishikata’s antics. Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san wound up being a fairly cute and funny comedy. It’s pairing of simple story and interesting characters makes both the comedy and the slight romance elements stand out all the more. And what an appropriate anime to review on the eve of April Fool’s day.

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san follows the antics of school desk neighbors Takagi and Nishikata. Takagi enjoys teasing Nishikata every chance she gets, and Nishikata is always looking for a chance to one-up her and get his revenge. The episodes follow the various pranks and teasing between these two as they sit together in class and walk home together. Adapted from the ongoing manga of the same name, it was picked up by Shin-Ei Animation for the anime and was licensed by Crunchyroll and Funimation for the US release this past season. Continue reading

Manga or Anime? – Ancient Magus Bride

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga has probably earned a permanent place on my top 5 list of best romance manga. I’ve explored why I love this story so much in the past and have been delving into the lore and myths behind certain ideas and characters. With the last episode of the anime adaptation behind us, I think it’s safe to say I enjoyed the anime as well. I won’t say it’s perfect, and there are a few moments that I feel could have been handled better, but as an anime adaptation I have to say it was fairly faithful to the manga overall. So, in this post, I hope to explore the similarities and differences between the manga and anime. I won’t promise an answer for the question of which one is better, as I don’t think I have an answer for that. But I think it’s interesting to explore how each medium treats and/or improves a story by the nature of their differences in presentation. Continue reading