Mental Health Minute…Anime Edition

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Sometimes you are not alright. Sometimes you struggle.

We all do.

Some more than others.

Some people face everyday as a struggle.

I hope you find that thing that helps you hold on.

For some that is music, or books, or anime….people have things that inspire them to keep moving. I hope you find yours.

Just remember: Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, things will get better. And even if you can’t see it, you are not alone.

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Do you like Sci-fi? Do you like metal?

Then I have something for you!

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Seventh Wonder: Tiara.

Seventh Wonder’s 5th studio album released in October of last year and is well worth a listen. It is a great progressive metal/ hard rock album with incredible performances. Seventh Wonder is a progressive metal band from Sweden. Their singer, Tommy Karevik, also sings for the metal band Kamelot.

It is a concept album. It follows the story of humanity suddenly facing judgement by an alien race who has watched us throughout history (the Everones). The Everones have decided that humanity has squandered their gift of life and are destructive and indulgent, so therefor must be destroyed. Humanity’s fate lies with Tiara, a young girl prized for her honesty, and she is sent to plead humanity’s case to the Everones.

While there may be holes in the story, do remember it is not a full on book.

The musicianship and vocal performances are outstanding and well worth your time.

Give it a listen and see for yourself.

 

 

What’s in a song..

Oh so many nerds love our music…anime fans love their OPs and EDs. Yuri on Ice was a gift of music…I think on some level that is one aspect of that show that made it so memorable.

I, loving music and loving anime, admittedly have a few anime related songs mixed into my playlists of heavy metal, electronic, and 80s music.

The “Theme of King J.J.” came on the other day in all it’s cheesy glory while I was driving home one day.

I was sing along….don’t judge…you do it too…

I got to thinking.

The “Theme of King J.J.” is like an 80s hair band ballad…it’s stadium rock…it’s got the same kind of soul those songs have: unashamed, cheesy, egoistic, posturing. But you love it anyways.

 Here’s to King JJ!
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Kaiju Monsters! Oh My!

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 Opinions I read on MAL were quite mixed on this show. People seemed to love it or hate it. I fall in the “love it” camp….or just like it a lot…it was good!

Much of the confusion I read seemed to be centered around comparing it to other mecha shows…the problem with this is…it’s not a mecha show. It’s based off of the tokusatsu genre.

From Tokupedia:
“Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese word that literally means “special effects.” It is primarily used to refer to live-action Japanese film and television dramas that make use of special effects.

The term “tokusatsu” is a contraction of the Japanese phrase “tokushu satsuei” (特殊撮影), meaning “special photography”. In production, the special effects director is given the title of “tokushu gijutsu” (特殊技術), Japanese for “special techniques” or “tokusatsu kantoku” (特撮監督), which is Japanese for “special effects director”, the title usually used by English language productions.

Tokusatsu entertainment is often science fiction, fantasy, or horror, but movies and TV shows in other genres can sometimes be classified as tokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu are kaiju monster movies (the Godzilla and Gamera film series), superhero TV serials (the Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes series), and mecha dramas (Giant Robo). Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres (the Ultraman and Super Sentaiseries).”

Now this obviously wasn’t a live action, but still was, in it’s nature, a tribute to this genre. Sure, there were nods to the mecha genre (Neon Genesis High School), but it was a Tokusatsu at it’s core. It had Kaiju and superheroes to fight them.

I can’t say that I am particularly versed in that genre at all, so I can’t speak to it in depth. I went into the show blind. I am basically looking to be entertained. This can be surface…it can be deep…I am not fussy. I will take a deep story or mindless entertainment. As long as I am entertained, I am happy.

I was pleasantly surprised with SSSS Gridman. I liked the animation, soundtrack, and story. The characters were good, with the supporting characters being more memorable than the main protagonist.

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 There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with Yuta, but I found Sho and Rikka more memorable and interesting….perhaps because they had to make sense of their relationships more than Yuta did.

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 And then there’s Akane…a very good villain. Way too much power in a teenage brain trying to find itself. She was a delight.

I watched the dub of this and it was great. I recommend it highly. I often watch sub, but thoroughly enjoyed this dub.

Beyond the monsters and heroes there is the underpinning of trying to find friendship and a sense of belonging. I really like this aspect of the show. While one can cynically dismiss that as trite or cheesy, I like it and think the world needs more of that. A sense that we can find connection in others when we are lonely and lost ourselves.

Attention Parents: Nothing is too bad….or that memorable as really bad. Fantasy violence is about it. Akane is a bit psycho.

I liked the show. It is on Crunchyroll and the dub is on Funimation.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!

 

Goblins Revisited

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 I don’t have a lot to say beyond my first review. Goblin Slayer is what it is: a fantasy in the D&D style.

What I found funny was later finding out that is exactly what the Manga author had in mind. A manga based off a character for a D&D style role-playing game (if not D&D itself) that just likes killing goblins and nothing else. It actually works as a premise and makes it an enjoyable watch, as long as you don’t expect anything especially deeper than that.

The attention at the beginning of the season with the brutal first episode was actually brilliant marketing. It got people’s attention. While the rest of the series wasn’t quite that bad, there still were several points that were fan service-y or brutal and violent. The first episode served to set the tone, beyond a doubt, of what you needed to know in the show…. Goblins are bad..really bad. The Goblin Slayer, while not a sympathetic hero exactly, is good because he really wants to kill the bad goblins and does an excellent job at it. That first episode serves that purpose well.

The rest of the show was like a D&D campaign. Getting a party together and going on adventures. The supporting cast is nameless mostly, going just by their designation or description. And this is fine…you don’t really need names if you can accept what you are watching is a campaign unfolding.

All in all, I found it enjoyable. It was a fun adventure more than anything with some humanizing moments for the Goblin Slayer mixed in. I have to admit that I am sympathetic not because I am a role player, but because I was when I was a kid. I was playing D&D in the late 1970s when it first emerged and lived in Wisconsin where Gary Gygax lived.

It still is a show parents should use caution with when it comes to younger teens or tweens, because some of the content, but that’s up to you.

Give it a watch if you like adventure shows with monsters getting killed. It’s enjoyable enough of a story and a fun watch with good animation.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!