My Problem With Nisekoi’s Second Season

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While it is still ongoing and I’d guess it will go for the 20 episode stretch, I will weigh in with my thoughts on it so far.

It follows the manga really well and that could be it’s undoing. The episodes (and the manga) I feel are inconsistent. The manga often doesn’t really go anywhere at many points and has a fair amount of filler. Sometimes these stories are amusing, sometimes weak.

There is the introduction of new characters which is good and needs to happen.

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Kosaki’s little sister, Haru.

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Paula McCoy a member of the Bee Hive Gang that looks up to Tsugumi.

Often episodes with these introductions are short, or weaker as a whole show, but they are also pretty close reflections of the manga.

There was the candy making episode where Haru and Raku have to get along and find common ground. It is a short episode, there’s not much to it. It does serve it’s purpose, which is to show that the two characters can get along and do share some common ground.

And I am not about to say it’s all bad. The episodes with Chitoge’s mother are some of my favorite bits from the series.

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This is my little opinion. Second season: not as good, but it is largely loyal to it’s source material. It is still worth a watch, but be aware it may feel like (and be) filler at times.

We shall see how the rest of the season plays out.

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Oh c’mon….It’s not that bad.

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Re-Kan! The weird Mix of Touching Stories and a Perverted Cat

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Re-Kan!

 Hibiki Amami can see ghosts. She can not only see them, but interacts with them on a daily basis. She leaves offerings for them, talks with the serial killer victim, knits for the ghost of the young girl that haunts a bathroom, and plays with the spirits of dead children. She has a generous heart to those who have passed on.

This sets her apart from others. She is a new student that has transferred to a new high school and has always had a hard time making friends (besides ghosts) because of her “gift”. Other students are mostly scared or weird-ed out by her behavior.

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And if you saw someone being dragged off by spirits you might be put off a little as well.

Luckily, the classmates at her new school seem to be a fairly tolerant bunch and she makes friends fairly quickly. And that’s what the show is about: a high school girl who can talk to the dead.

Overall I liked the show, it didn’t amaze me, but it was a fun diversion at times that had a few problems.

First off, the stories were a strange mix of comedy and sometimes really touching drama. The drama was usually done fairly well and there were some very touching moments. And then there was the comedy which could be a mixed bag. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I didn’t find the perverted cat that funny, but they didn’t over-use him and they tried to vary how he showed up at least.

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The animation was fine and had some good points to it, except one thing bothered me that I could never get past:

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Kana Urehara and Kyoko Esumi’s eyes through their hair!!! I found it so annoying! It definitely distracted me. I know it’s petty, but  it did.

Attention Parents: Overall the show is pretty harmless. There is the perverted cat yelling about panties in several episodes, but that is about the worst of it. The show does deal with spirits and issues of the afterlife, if that conflicts with your religious ideals then you might want to give it a pass.

Overall I liked the show, but it definitely has it’s faults. What it does have is a good sense of compassion and  interconnectedness (spell check says this isn’t a word, but you know what I mean). Hibiki’s compassion for the dead comes through in all the things she does for them which is often being a liaison to the living. It is when she is afraid she has lost her “gift” that her friend shows her the impact that she has had on the living. This is something that we all forget. Our impact on others. We, for better or worse, affect others. It is something to remember in your daily lives. Be nice, take a lesson from Hibiki. Sometimes a small kindness goes a long way.

It’s Gorgeous: Watch It!

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5 Centimeters Per Second

I know I come late to the game in this one, and that it has been out for a while, but it showed up on Crunchyroll so I decided to give it a try.

I watched it with my 11 year old. It is fine. There is nothing that I would call objectionable. What I will say about this film is it tends towards a somewhat mature story line that may not hold a younger viewers interest.

The film (with a run time of about 60 minutes) is stunningly beautiful. The story is subdued, dealing with love, loss, and unrequited feelings. I watched the dub (which is rare for me) which was well done. I enjoyed it a lot and honestly found myself just saying: “Wow” a lot in response to the animation.

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If you think your kids can sit through the story, have them watch it. Heck, if you want to explain to a friend or your parents how beautiful anime can be, have them watch this!

Until next time, keep watching and doing what you love. So will I.

Son Hacks Dad’s Blog Pt 1: Utaite/Youtaite – Basic Cover Stuff, I Guess

Heyo, I’m the hella homosexual 15-year old son of the owner of this blog! I kinda just got on my dad’s laptop and he doesn’t suspect a thing at the moment since he’s watching some live-action show (ew real people). (Just kidding, it’s the Mindy Project.)

Anyways, I’m gonna let you into a world that my dad doesn’t dabble in: The world of Nico Nico Douga and YouTube.

I should probably explain what an “Utaite” is before anything else.

An Utaite is a singer, one who covers Japanese songs (particularly Vocaloid ones from varying producers) and uploads them to the Japanese equivalent to YouTube, Nico Nico Douga.

If you’ve heard artists like MARiA from Garnidelia, the vocalist who sang “Ambiguous”, the second OP to Kill la Kill and the Mekakucity Actors OP “daze” or CHiCO , who occasionally sings with the producer Honeyworks for anime OPs (“Sekai wa Koi ni Ochiteiru” from the anime Ao Haru Ride or “Ai No Scenario” from Magic Kaito 1412), those vocalists started out as Utaite.

If you’re into Vocaloid (particularly covers), it’s likely that you’ve heard the names Lon, Soraru, Mafumafu, Halyosy, and/or 96Neko, they’re all Utaite.

Now for the Youtaite side.

As the name suggests, a Youtaite is basically the same as an Utaite, but rather than upload on NicoNico, they generally upload on YouTube (although some Youtaite/Utaite do both). Popular youtaite include Amanda Lee, JubyPhonic, Rachie, Chishio, Razzy, Saint, Sojiro, Mica Caldito, and countless others.

BUT, there are things to distinguish.

There are many different jobs that Youtaite and Utaite can have:
1.) Vocalist: This is pretty self-explanatory, the vocalist is the voice you hear in the cover.
2.) Mixer: A mixer is a magician– I mean, a mixer is someone who takes the raw vocals for a cover and edits them so they sound clearer, on-tune, and more connected to the instrumental. Mixing is one of the most important things when it comes to vocal covers.
3,) Instrumentalist: They make off-vocals, arrangements, and/or remixes for songs. The most popular example would be dj-Jo (but I like to call him the dubstep god).
4.) Artist: Many (Yo)utaite like to have original art for their covers.
5.) Animator: Similar to an artist, many people like to have original PVs, especially for choruses (which I’ll explain later).
6.) Translyricist: This is a more exclusive one. People who like to cover songs in English, Chinese, or any language that isn’t the original have to write or use other people’s translyrics (standing for “translated lyrics”). Translyricists have a lot of freedom in making the song theirs. They take the original translation, interpret the meaning of the song, and then convey them in a way that the words can flow naturally in whatever language they’re writing for.

I personally am both a vocalist and English translyricist. I enjoy interpreting songs, especially those from an anime that I’ve watched, as I can also connect the lyrics to the anime (I avoid making direct references to the show, and I’ve analyzed some songs more in-depth than my English papers).

The Youtaite community is extremely adverse, and pretty much everyone is really friendly and open! I’ve made several amazing friends, and collabed with them several times on different projects. There are many talented people that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to (and eventually collaborating with some of them).

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This is my channel. I know I have a lot to learn, but everyone is always working on improving their work, and always helping others do the same! It’s a really caring community, and it’s very fulfilling to hear compliments along with constructive criticism!

Sorry that this is probably super boring without videos and pictures and whatnot, but I’ll still be back one day, just you wait…

Until then,
Glace (the son)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion- AKA “Because no one can be happy!”

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I can’t tell you how badly I fanboy-ed when I found out “Puella Magi Madoka Magica; Rebellion” had been added to Netflix (yes, sad for a 40 something man). I had previously watched about half of it online on my computer, but knew it was something that needed to be experienced on a bigger screen if possible. How true that is.

This series has been a surprising favorite of  mine and (as many know) was put out by my favorite studio, Shaft.

I have now watched it twice. Once alone, and once with my boys.

It is beautiful, confusing, and wonderful.

First off. The animation is beautiful. You can tell the studio went to astound audience in a theater with the animation of the film. It is detailed, creative, and downright surreal at times.

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The confusing.

The story is confusing. This I’ll admit. I have read some of the criticisms and agree it could have ended half an hour earlier. However, after a second watch I found it more agreeable than the first time around. So to those who watched it once and got mad: Watch it again. You may come away with a different impression.

And there are things like the cake song that make you go: ????

The Wonderful.

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It is ultimately a love story. If not a romantic one, a one of a deep love for your friends and those you care about. I won’t give too much away, but this scene was a great one that nearly made my older son cry:

And who can blame him? I came to tears as well. But that was true in many parts. As the title of this post suggests: “Rebellion” is not the feel good film of the year. It is sad, touching, and a bit maddening at times (hence my son’s loud declaration that “No one can be happy! Can there just be an AU where they can just be happy lesbians where no one dies or turns into a fucking demon?!”).

He’s got a point.

A dramatic, teenage, point.

But if it wasn’t good enough…There was another ClariS song: Colorful

and that is a good thing.

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Click the link…JPopsuki doesn’t embed..

Watch it. But if you haven’t seen the show, watch that first (and don’t bother with the first two movies).

Watching Steins Gate with My Son: Episodes 5 & 6

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After a long break my son and I got back to Steins Gate: Episodes 5 and 6.

More exposition occurs. The IBN 5100 is gotten up and running. Daru hacks into SERN and the larger fears are confirmed: SERN is (and has been) doing time travel experiments and people have been dying.

We find that Suzuha is not a fan of Kurisu and warns Okabe not to trust her.

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Why so intense Suzuha?

Further experiments are done with the microwave and the emails that go back in time (now dubbed “d-mails”). They do experiments and deduce some of the rules around how and what can be sent through time.

We also get Moeka Kiryu back into the story as she shows up on the lab’s doorstep with a decided interest in seeing the IBN 5100. After everyone inadvertently spills the beans about the time machine microwave in front of her, Okabe feels compelled to make her a lab member as well.

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The most socially awkward Moeka.

And that is a minimal synopsis of what happens in these episodes.

From a parenting view there is not a lot that is new. More “hentai”/ “banana” jokes and a few yuri jokes thrown in as well (some of which my son caught, some not).

There are the scenes of the dead SERN experiment volunteers which may be uncomfortable for some, but they weren’t so graphic that I worried and my son didn’t seem to bat an eye at them either.

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Gruesome? A little, but not overly so.

What I find the biggest challenge for my son is the content. This is not on an appropriateness level, but a complexity of the subject matter. While he enjoys Okabe’s madness and Daru’s perverted jokes, the content of the story is confusing. He admitted that the characters speak fast and it is hard to keep up, but has a general idea of what is happening. But this is a time travel show with lots of  content and explanation of made up theory. It is really well done, but for an 11 year old who may not be giving it his full attention, it can be a hard show to follow.

Does this stop the experiment? No. We’ll keep watching as long as he’s enjoying it.

Until next time…

El Psy Congroo.

Watching Steins Gate With My Son: Episodes 3&4

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This update comes on the late side of things. With moving, life, and Anime Central I hadn’t gotten much time to work on this installment.

My son and I actually watched these episodes the week before ACEN so I am re-watching them to refresh my memory.

Episode 3: The “hentai” name calling episode.

With Okabe already having experienced a time skip in the previous episode where he accosted Makise after seeing her dead on another time line, she comes to the lab to find out what madness Okabe was spouting at her.

She walks in to find the result of the experiment prior to her arrival, the “gel-nana” sitting on the table.  Which prompts the following scene:

This opens up a bunch of the “hentai” name calling for a bit. My son found this amusing. Was it a little off to let him hear Daru asking about eating a pervert’s banana?  Maybe, but not life damaging.

Makise does get to see the microwave after Okabe, not fully trusting her, makes her a lab member. She leaves in a rush when she realizes that Okabe is suggesting that the microwave is an actual time machine.

There is the hacking of SERN where they discover a disturbing secret.

Episode 4: IBN 5100

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Stardust Handshake…

Okabe is able to drag Makise back in to his world (although she is curious but will never admit it) even if it is to prove to him that the Phone Microwave is not a time machine. Makise is fighting her past and determined not to make her father’s mistakes.

Much of this episode is centered around the acquisition of the IBN 5100 for the purpose of being able to hack SERN’s encrypted files. After a visit with Faris, who once again indulges Okabe’s delusions, they get a lead on obtaining an IBN 5100 which happens to stored at the shrine in Akihabara. Makise meets Okabe there and they take the computer back to the lab.

My son, for both of these episodes, was largely distracted with other things. There are a lot of details and exposition going on and I think it was hard for him to hold his attention on this. Was there much “bad” content? Not really, the “gel-nana” bit was probably the most quesioanable part and event that wasn’t that bad.

Episode 3 did also contain one of my favorite parts of the show though…

Until next time: El Psy Congroo!