10/10, A+, would play again.
Quick post–I’m going to analyze one moment from episode two of Valvrave which I think kind of represents the general atmosphere of the series (so far). This post stems from a Twitter conversation with epic anibloggers Mira and Scamp. The question of the hour basically: Is Valvrave bad? Or is it “bad“? Or is it, in fact, actually good? Well, obviously it’s a matter of opinion like always, and if there’s an opinion there’s a blog for it.
Whelp, a discussion on Twitter got me wondering who I’d pick for my top ten favorite anime protagonists. So here’s a list I put together! Note that when I say protagonist, in this case I am referring only to the lead character of a series. I suppose it’s up to debate at times who the main character of some stories can be (e.g. at times you have a “title character” as well as your viewpoint character–it’s my opinion the viewpoint character is generally still the protagonist, unless said character doesn’t actually play a role in the story [i.e. just there to narrate, perhaps?]). I decided to include manga and light novels into this list, though I believe everyone here has actually been adapted into some kind of anime.
One thing to keep in mind for these sorts of lists is the fact that there are still many, many anime, manga, and light novels I have yet to enjoy. Also, there’s always some degree of “recency bias,” though I do try my best to not let that sway my placements on the list too much. But regardless, at the end of the day this is just a blog post–no serious business here. =P
So things are going well in Japan; I’ve finally settled in and am starting to get used to my new routine teaching children English and whatnot. And now that I have stable internet I can get back into the swing of blogging things every now and then. I’ve got a backlog of reviews to write for a whole bunch of games, at least. But in the meantime, feel free to check out my latest posts at Sea Slugs.
First of all, I wrap things up for Shin Sekai Yori:
And I start blogging an intriguing show for spring season:
- Zaregoto (Book One) – The Kubikiri Cycle – Everyone loves light novel reviews, right?
- Spring 2013 Anime Preview – What series may I watch, should I find the time???
- Kidds’ AniBloggers Choice Awards for 2012 – Four of my favorites made the list!
Look forward to some game reviews in the upcoming weeks. I’m behind on all the winter anime I was watching (other than From the New World), so it may be a while before I get to posts on any of those.
Consider this a mini-editorial where I get to the point right away! I like stories that keep me guessing. In other words, I appreciate it when a plot is set up in a way that encourages me to come up with theories regarding the work’s central mysteries. There are two anime from fall season that are starting to wrap up, and I am very excited to see how everything will pan out in the end. From episode to episode, I have been left wondering what would happen next. What decisions would characters would make? How will other characters react? Why did this series of events happen? Who is responsible for the central conflicts? And so on.
The series I have in mind, as you may guess if you ever visit Sea Slugs, are From the New World and Zetsuen no Tempest.
On Kikiyama-san’s official site for Yume Nikki, a mysterious countdown has appeared…
Well, suffice to say I’m very excited. Perhaps it’s just an announcement for merchandise or something, but there’s a chance we could finally be getting a significant update at long last. Whatever it may be, it’s nice to see something new happening in the world of Yume Nikki!
By the way, be sure to try the game out if you haven’t already.
Every now and then I’ll read some manga on a whim, and this time I ended up taking a look at Blue Exorcist (Ao no Exorcist). My interest in the series stemmed from a nice AMV, as is so often the case, but I decided to take a look at the manga instead of the anime since the comic is still on-going.
Meant to get this post up for Valentine’s Day, but today will have to do! Miki Falls is an OEL manga (original English language–i.e. not from Japan, but has an art style that shares some similarities with manga in general) and tells a complete story in four volumes. It makes for some quick reading, and overall I found it pretty enjoyable.
It’s a bit difficult to say what Miki Falls is about without “giving it away,” since its unique supernatural premise isn’t actually revealed until you’ve read most of the first volume. It really is a great premise though, since it works so perfectly for a romance. And the romance itself plays out in a way that is pretty unique–neither the protagonist Miki nor the love interest Hiro really fit the archetypes you generally see in manga. There’s a certain balance of logic and emotion behind the decisions of the two characters, and the story does well to play with this balance and develop their relationship bit by bit through the adversity they face over the course of the story, which gradually turns into a sort of adventure thriller. I’ve come to realize that there isn’t much I can think to actually say about the characters–there isn’t that much that is explored with them on an individual basis, really–but they fulfill their roles well for the sake of the story, and this seems like an instance where the author’s focus on the plot leads to a good payoff.
The art for Miki Falls is good, but it will also be a bit jarring for someone who has read a lot of manga. There’s a very “sketchy” look to the drawings, which makes the pages look more like rough drafts (though this does seem to improve a little from volume to volume). The art doesn’t look inked at least, and when combined with awkward-looking word bubbles that look like they were made in MS Paint–well, it gives off a fairly amateur vibe. The art is still very good (especially for the double-page spreads, like the one pictured above), but it is different. Of course, you should probably expect that anyways when reading an OEL series.
That said, I think it’s worth checking out, and I do recommend at least getting through the whole first volume before deciding to stick with it or not. It has to build up for a bit to get to its reveal for the central premise of the story, but once I reached that point I found myself hooked. The artist (Mark Crilley) has a website for this and other comic series he’s made, and has a lot of popular drawing tutorials on Youtube for those interested. Some of these videos are quite mesmerizing, and I imagine aspiring artists will find lots of good tips for their own manga-style drawings.
For those who aren’t aware, I’ve been blogging two series at Sea Slugs this season–I’m continuing with weekly posts for From the New World still, but also working with Epi and Kabitzin on posts for Zetsuen no Tempest. If you’re watching either of these shows, you should check out our posts and join the discussions! Latest posts:
- From the New World 19 – this episode was great for horror, so I decided to analyze what made it effective in eliciting fear and dread. Great writing and directing in this episode–I was very impressed with how intense the whole thing was. Can’t recommend this series enough, especially if you are into sci-fi and fantasy, or dark and thought-provoking stories in general.
- Zetsuen no Tempest 17 – didn’t expect to say this during the first half of the series, but this anime has become absolutely hilarious. The plot is still moving toward bigger things to come, but for now I’m enjoying the amusing interactions between all these great characters.
I have also been writing reviews for light novels at Sea Slugs. If you’ve missed out on those, feel free to check them out!
- Gosick (Vol 1)
- Ballad of a Shinigami (Vol 1)
- Book Girl and the Famished Spirit
- Boogiepop and Others
- Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime
I hope to get to some more of the Book Girl novels in upcoming months, among other things.
I should also note, if any of you have interest in joining Sea Slugs, the blog happens to be taking applications right now. It’s a fun blog to write for! And you’d get the chance to work with ME!
In the meantime, I’m starting to catch up on my backlog of posts for this blog. There are a couple manga posts I need to write, but after that I’d like to do a series of posts on a number of certain games I’ve been playing the past month or two.
Here’s a nice (obvious) hint of things to come:
Thought I’d share some good news on my blog… I’ve finally been accepted into a program to teach English in Japan! It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt I’ve made any kind of step forward in my life, but it’s something I’ve been working at for quite a while now. A year and a half of concentrated applying and studying and resume-building have gotten me results at last, so I’m really excited to actually start teaching. I enjoy working with kids, and as you can probably guess, I’ve had a great interest in Japan for a long time.
I’m not certain where I’ll be living at quite yet, but I should be finding out in the next month before I head out (assuming all goes smoothly with visa paperwork and whatnot). I imagine I’ll be happy wherever I get sent though; I’ve moved a lot growing up and have lived overseas for a few years in the past. That said, there will be a lot to learn and a lot to get used to–I hope I can continue to prepare well now in the meantime. That includes learning Japanese of course, though I’m well-aware I won’t be fluent at all before I get there. I’ll manage though, and I’ll obviously keep studying while I’m there.
For those who are curious about how to get a job teaching English in Japan, I’ve included some notes below that may be of interest to you.
Persona 4 is a game I’ve been aware of for a long time and been interested in, and the past few months I’ve managed to borrow a copy of the game from a friend and finally start playing. It’s my first experience with the Persona series, and so far I’m really enjoying it. (Note: I’m playing it on beginner mode since I’m mainly interested in the story, and don’t really care to have to restart dungeons a dozen times when it gets too hard.)
At the moment I am a little past the point where I rescue Rise, so near the end of July in the storyline. And I already feel like I’ve played much more than a full game’s worth of material! It’s a very long game–perhaps even longer for me, since I tend to take my time delving into the setting and trying out everything I can. So don’t spoil anything for me! I want to keep trying to figure out the mystery as the story goes along.
In the next few months I will reach the point where I’ve regularly blogged anime and manga for three years. I’m also getting close to 500 posts (400 here, 100 on Sea Slugs). That’s a lot of blogging!
That’s a… loooooooooooot of hours.
Well, I thought I’d write some of my thoughts on blogging. Every blogger’s favorite subject!
I’m a huge fan of the film 5 Centimeters Per Second. In fact, it’s my #1 favorite anime film (if not favorite film, period). Everything about it was beautiful to me, from the art and the music to the storyline and its style of presentation. It was perfect, and it’s given me more to ponder over than probably any other movie has.
So it was an extremely pleasant surprise when I saw there was a manga adaptation of the story sitting in the bookstore. Flipping through it quickly revealed that this was going to be worth buying. And I’m glad to say this manga is not just a rehash of the film, and actually manages to stand on its own as an excellent story.
Say I Love You, or Sukitte Ii na yo, was an anime I almost didn’t watch since there were so many good shows in the fall season. But during December I decided to watch a couple more episodes of it, and that led to watching the whole rest of the series shortly before the last episode aired. It was a wonderful anime–I strongly recommend it if you like the romance genre at all. It takes things a little more seriously than your average shoujo, but I wouldn’t call it dark or even that mature–it’s still a rather sweet and thoughtful series, and can put a smile on your face.
I really enjoy anime that get me thinking, or bring up really interesting ideas, or take me by surprise with unique concepts. But sometimes I just feel like watching something cute, funny, and heartwarming, and that’s where Kamisama Hajimemashita (AKA Kamisama Kiss) comes in.
I wanted to write a bit of a review/final post for each of the anime I watched in the fall that finished, so I decided I’ll start with K.
K is interesting because it somehow feels very familiar and very peculiar at the same time. Everything about it screams ANIME to me. It’s full of unusual characters, most of whom are as hip and stylish as can be. There’s battles with magic, swords, and guns. Really goofy jokes. Random fanservice. A convoluted plot. And a fun, exciting setting full of Cool Stuff.
Some time ago I randomly bought a volume from Shoujo Beat called Heaven’s Will, and last month I finally got around to reading it. And now it’s time to write something about it on this blog, right?
Heaven’s Will is just one volume long, but feels like it should have been at least several volumes longer. Which is a real shame! The premise for Heaven’s Will is a lot of fun, and the characters are quite interesting.
- Mizuku – our protagonist who can see spirits (“oni”). Her two fears are oni and men.
- Seto – a friendly cross-dressing exorcist. He loves cake. Much of the story entails finding out why he’s… like this.
- Kagari – a vampiric servant of Seto. He can turn into a wolf. He seemed a bit tsundere for Mizuku, though the manga ends too soon before it can get into that much.
The volume deals with how the three meet up and begin working together to exorcise ghosts. It turns out Mizuku is a ghost beacon of sorts, and Seto is eager to help her out in exchange for a regular supply of cake. There’s only a few chapters for the story to work with though, unfortunately, so things move at an extremely fast pace. I was okay with this, but I really wish there was more. Seto’s backstory turned out to be very interesting, for example, and there were hints that Mizuku was gradually starting to fall for him. Wouldn’t that have been amusing, to see how that would play out? But alas, the volume ends with an “and so life goes on” sort of conclusion.
Overall Heaven’s Will is a fun, goofy diversion–it’s a good-hearted shoujo one-shot, but I think most everyone will agree there really needed to be more to the story than just this. Perhaps one day the manga-ka can give these characters another shot.
This post is about the final episode of Clannad: After Story (i.e. episode 22). As such, there are major spoilers! If you want a spoiler-free post on After Story, click here. And for my thoughts on the first 21 episodes of After Story, you can find the post here (note that there are spoilers there as well).
I decided I will post my thoughts on episodes 1-21 of Clannad: After Story here, and my impressions on the final episode (ep 22) will appear tomorrow. There will be lots of major spoilers here, so this post is meant to be for those who have watched the whole Clannad series. For a review of After Story without spoilers, click here for yesterday’s post.
And now, CLANNAD: AFTER SPOILERS.
Clannad is an anime series based on a visual novel about a high school boy named Tomoya who helps out a number of girls with their life issues, and deals with a number of his own problems as well. A second anime season titled Clannad: After Story continues Tomoya’s story after he finishes high school, leading into him starting a family with the girl he falls in love with in the first season. In my opinion it’s very rare to see a story (in any medium) actually continue a romance into these later stages (i.e. from confession to marriage, events after marriage, having a child, etc), and for that reason alone I found After Story worth watching.
That said, I feel I need to organize my thoughts into three posts.
- Clannad: After Story Mini-Review – which is this post, which I’ll keep free of major spoilers
- Clannad: After Story (Ep 1-21) – which will focus on the first 21 episodes (and will have major spoilers)
- Clannad: After Story (Ep 22) – which will focus on the final episode (and will obviously have major spoilers)
Actually I might be lazy and just make the last two posts into one, and just call it my post full of spoilers. And you thought anime blogging was predictable! There’s no telling what I’ll do.
It’s no secret that I like all the characters in Pandora Hearts, but Uncle Oscar has always been a bit of a favorite of mine, at least for the side characters. He’s such a good guy, and really funny–I always kind of hoped he would be safe from all the drama of the series.
Of course, this is Pandora Hearts though, and he is just way too tied to the events that shaped Oz’s life in this series.
I still have a bunch of posts to write, but I thought I’d go ahead and put together a post for the start of winter to try to be pertinent. AKA here are the shows I tried the first episode of, and my opinion of each.
Who were my favorite characters from the anime that aired in the fall? Well, it’s a bit hard to choose, to be honest! There were a lot of anime I really enjoyed, and it was largely thanks to the characters in all of them.