30 Day Anime Challenge- Day 8

Favorite Anime Couple

Takeo Gōda and Rinko Yamato

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Takeo and Rinko from Ore Monogatari!! This couple is just so unbearably sweet and I loved watching their relationship begin and grow.

They are both expressive in their self consciousness and joy in getting to know one another that it makes it both a hilarious and incredibly sweet show to watch.

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I don’t really know what else to say, but that I found them to be a joy to watch.

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This post was Takeo approved.

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Until next time: Happy viewing!

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30 Day Anime Challenge- Day 1

Very First Anime You Watched

Clannad

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But this is not entirely true…Let me explain.

I was a fan of animation throughout a lot of my life and in the 90s I did watch a very scant amount of anime but never got into it because it was always at the rental store and was super hit or miss. So I got discouraged throwing money at titles I didn’t like and gave up.

 Fast forward 15 or so years. I now have children. They are starting to get into anime themselves. Dragonball, Naruto and the like. I still didn’t watch it with them.

 It wasn’t until I got a Kindle Fire that I had more own little way to watch shows for myself (after years of watching what the kids watched). I was browsing through my Amazon Prime video app that I came across Clannad.

 I thought: “Why not?”

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It caught my attention.

But it was strange. It was slowly paced. The storytelling was different to what I was used to. It grabbed me in a quiet controlled way. It made me cry.

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I started to watch it with my boys. By the time we finished Clannad- After Story we were all sobbing emotional wrecks. It is something I shared with my boys and something I continue to share with them to this day: anime.

 Clannad was my gateway into becoming an anime fan and holds a special place in my heart. I have watched, and enjoyed, both the subbed and dubbed versions. Have met a few of the English voice actors for the show and last year got to see a panel by Key (the animation studio responsible for the VN and show).

 I recently just purchased the Visual Novel on Steam: more feels, more fun.

I usually re-watch it once a year.

 Still to this day I still get a bit emotional listening to the music from the show.

 

 So I consider this my first anime.

Watch it if you haven’t. It’s a treat.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

The Power of Love and Regret

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Orange

 I loved this show. Being beautifully animated and well written, it was engaging for me both visually and emotionally.

The story begins as a high school girl,Naho Takamiya, starts to get letters written from herself 10 years in the future. All of the the letters are in regards to her regrets having to do with the new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru Naruse.

At first, she doesn’t know what to make of the letters, but as events start to come true that were in the letters, she decides to follow her older self’s advice.

To change the future.

To erase her future self’s regrets.

To prevent Kakeru from committing suicide later that year.

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If you didn’t know: could you tell the person in the most pain?

I guess that is what I found compelling (and realistic) about this show to some degree. Behind the masks we wear, each of us, lies some pain.

Some struggle.

Something that we carry that just seems to heavy at times.

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I guess the other beauty of Orange to me was that Kakeru had what everyone needs (and ultimately wants): Friends.

Friends who will be in their corner.

Friends who will listen.

Friends who want you to reach out when in pain.

Friends who want you to live and will go that extra mile to make sure you’re okay.

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Attention Parents: If you have a teen or tween: please watch this. With them. And then talk about it. Teens go through all sorts of struggles that we, as parents, often have no idea about. They have friends going through struggles. Having talks with them about these kinds of subjects are worthwhile even if they are uncomfortable and scary.

Please, if you know someone in pain: Reach out. Be a friend. Help them get the help they need. Don’t have that kind of regret.

If you are in that kind of pain: Reach out. Someone will listen to you. Life will get better. These feelings will pass. There are (and will be) people who love you in this world.

Please also utilize the resources that are out there if you don’t know what to do.

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools

http://www.ifred.org/

 

Sorry to get heavy.

Watch Orange. It is really quite good.

Be well.

 

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Until next time: Happy viewing!

 

 

 

As Relaxing As It Gets.

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Flying Witch

One of the highlights of the Spring season for me was this casually paced slice of life.

The show follows Makoto (a young witch)  who has just recently moved Aomori to live with some relatives and finish her training. Much of what follows in the show consists of her daily life, spending time with her relatives, and making friends. The witchcraft is ever present in the show, but presented in a mostly low-key manner.

One of the high points of this show for me was the animation. It was consistently excellent and stunningly beautiful at times.

 

The show was mostly as “slice of life” as it gets. It is a quiet, slow (but appropriately so) paced, quiet show. And this kind of seemingly understated pace is powerful in it’s own way. I found it to be immensely enjoyable.

The characters are developed easily and well done. They are all likable and not a collection of poor anime tropes.

I really enjoyed the show. It was beautiful, quiet, and casually paced.

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Attention Parents: There is really nothing objectionable in this show unless you are morally opposed to witches or magic, but if that is the case you may want to re-consider watching anime as a hobby.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

Pork Bowl and Chicken Anuses

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Silver Spoon

I just finished Silver Spoon and found it to be a really well done, thoughtful anime.

The show follows the daily life of Yuugo Hachiken as a student at Ooezo Agricultural High School in Hokkaido. Yuugo is the fish out of water character. He grew up in Sapporo with no previous farm experience, but after not doing well on his high school entrance exams chose Ooezo Agricultural High School as a way to distance himself from his self perceived failure and from the disapproval of his father.

The show is an entertaining, fish out of water, slice of life, school anime. Watching Hachiken deal with a new life is fun and entertaining, as he experiences things his peers take for granted (as most of them are from farming families).

Early on in the show, is Hachiken’s revelation that eggs come out a chicken’s anus during his practicum time working in a hen house. This is a mental hurdle as he had never thought about his food (like most of us don’t). He gets past it, and also realizes he level of freshness of the egg he is getting at school is something great that he’d never experienced before.

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This is not the only hurdle he has to overcome. He also names a pig that was the runt of the litter and takes the pig’s care as a special project. His classmates (and teachers) warn him against this kind of attachment to an animal that will be slaughtered once it is big enough to go to market.

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Hachiken doesn’t listen and cares for the pig anyway. Later, when the pig has to go to market Hachiken is saddened, but uses money he had earned helping at a friend’s farm to purchase the pig’s meat and makes bacon out of it. His perspective on the pig he raised (he named it Pork Bowl)also has an effect on his friends and how they think about what is normal for them. In the end, he shares the meat with everyone (including sending some bacon to his parents).

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Like most fish out of water styles of shows, Silver Spoon is largely about the main protagonist’s journey of self discovery and this show delivers just that in a satisfying manner.

The animation is good, story enjoyable, and the are characters fun and generally likable. It is well worth a watch.

Attention Parents: This is a good show for kids. No cursing, no fan service, and not violent. Where it might be questionable for really young children is the realistic depictions of farming. There is poop. There is some blood. But overall I think the benefits are greater as it may give some kids to thinking a little more about where their food comes from and how it is raised. Sure this is just a show, but it does touch on these issues to a degree. In fact, I’ll probably make my younger son start watching it next weekend (I’m sure he won’t object).

And did you know that Edward Elric made a cameo in Silver Spoon?

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Just kidding! Gotta love Deviant Art though….

*all images in this post are not the property of the blog*

 

 

 

The Show That Made Me Want to Work on My Japanese Cooking

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Gourmet Girl Graffiti

Well, Shaft has done it again. Put out another show that I truly enjoyed and loved the art. Was this one of my favorites, no, but I liked it a fair amount.

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The show follows RyoMachiko, a middle school girl who has been living alone since her grandmother died. Ryo was inspired to learn to cook by her relationship with her grandmother and has gotten quite good, but has felt something was missing. The missing piece falls into place when her cousin,  Kirin Morino, comes to stay with her on weekends to attend cram school  in Tokyo. Company, and the act of sharing a meal is what makes food come alive for Ryo.

The show’s premise is summed up pretty well here.

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And so it goes. Kirin comes on the weekends. Ryo makes food. Food is enjoyed. Girls become close friends. It is a quiet and simple show that focuses on the importance of connection in one’s daily lives.

But wait there’s more….Is food erotic and sensual? Shaft thought so.

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Can food be a sensual experience? I would say so!

Attention Parents: There is no nudity, violence, cursing, or traditional fan service in this show. There is suggestiveness without a doubt.

My 11 year old keeps asking me if it is okay for him to watch. I know most of the imagery would go over his head, but I still keep imagining the following scenarios: “Dad? What are these funny feelings I’m having while I eat hot pot?” “Why does omurice make me tingle?”

Oh…perhaps I worry too much. Or perhaps I’m a little nuts.

Watch, if you like  low key shows about food and friendship. It is really well done and worth a viewing.

Itadakimasu!

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My Older Son’s “Reason For Living” This Season

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Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!

What can I say about this show…It was fun, a great concept, well enough animated, some not as great episodes, but I think it probably achieved what it set out to do well enough. To make a goofy, not too serious send up of the magical girl genre.

I first came across this show on RocketNews24 and had to show my son (15). He was so excited for it and after it came out, this show has been the one that I know I could always talk to him about since he rarely missed it.

The show revolves around 5 friends(Yumoto Hakone, En Yufuin, Atsushi Kinugawa, Io Naruko and Ryuu Zaou), students at Binan High School, who are members of  The Earth Defense Club (which just seems to be an excuse to hang out and not really do anything). Off school hours they frequent a bathhouse run by one of the member’s (Yumoto) brother. There, they are approached by a pink, talking, wombat like creature who wants them to become “Battlelovers”. To use the power of love to save the world. They are not really too interested in this offer. But once Wom-san (talking wombat alien guy) gets them to put on the “Loveracelets” the die is cast, and with these they can transform when ever evil, anger, or discord needs to be conquered with the power of love. Ridiculous? Yes. But it doesn’t really pretend not to be.

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But where does evil come from? Other pretty boys of course…Specifically, The Student Council.

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They can transform as well.

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And they have an evil alien counterpart to the Battlelover’s Wom-san… An Evil Green Hedgehog! Who, with his needles,shoots other students who are having troubles or emotional problems, thus transforming them into havoc wreaking monsters the Battlelovers will have to fight.

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And every club has to have an advisor… Why not a dead teacher that is being kept alive by the alien controlling it?

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What else to love? Well, if you were my son, you’d love all the yaoi overtones.

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But what is mostly to love, is the friendships between the guys on the show. Their conversations and comfort level with each other as long time friends is what makes for some good comedy and enjoyable viewing.

Attention Parents: Aside from the BL suggestiveness there is not too much that is objectionable. If that doesn’t bother you (it didn’t for me) then that is they worst of it. Oh yeah..There is a little incidental nudity in the bath house. Is it bad, not really. Watch it and decide for yourself if you are concerned.

And always remember about the power of  what in your life?

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Sparkles all around to my readers!

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Cute Girls Doing Cute Things: AKA Seinen anime

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From Wikipedia: Seinen manga (青年漫画?) is manga marketed to a male audience aged roughly 17 on into their 40s. In Japanese, the word seinen means “young man” or “young men.”

Hanayamata and Girls und Panzer are both of the seinien genre. They are both, as the title of the post implies, shows about cute girls doing cute things.

Hanayamata follows Naru Sekiya who feels average and doesn’t feel like she has much going for her until she meets a new transfer student from America (Hana N. Fountainstand) and they start a Yosakoi dance club at school. The show then follows them as they, practice, recruit members, and get ready for the big Yosakoi competition.

There is nothing inherently bad about the show. It’s cute. The story is what you’d expect and the characters are fairly standard, but not bad. Despite it not being all that remarkable I enjoyed the show.

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Attention Parents: There is nothing objectionable in this show.

I like the OP:

Girls und Panzer is a show that depicts tank warfare as a sport for high school girls. Referred to as “sensha-dō” aka “the way of the tank” is a popular martial art where teams of high school girls operate and fight with WWII era tanks. They live and go to school on Academy Ships which are large carriers that support an entire community.

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The story follows  Miho Nishizumi. A girl from a prominent “tankery”

family who has just transferred to a new school that doesn’t have a “tankery” program any longer. Tankery, needless to say, is revived and Miho is roped into taking tankery as an elective course. They then do the predictable things: get tanks, get members, train, and compete until the final big event.

It is a fun show. It is tanks fights with cute girls. The supporting teams are what made the show fun for me.
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The volleyball team

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The history club team

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The video gamers team

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The Student council team

The supporting team are a laugh and give the show some extra character. Is the show innovative or outstanding? No, it’s fun. Just mindless fun.

Attention Parents: There is nothing objectionable.

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And there is dancing…

So what makes this Seinen? I guess it is the market it appeals to: young men. Both of these shows follow teen girls which I guess is what the appeal is. The shows themselves are not overtly sexual, but the art that fans make after the fact are more so:

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It may not be the show that one finds objectionable, but the fan’s reaction to the show. Then again, this is the internet. If someone can think it they will. This applies to these shows as well.

Watch the shows. They’re cute and fun. Just don’t search Google images about the shows you enjoy.

Bondage and My Favorite Drunk Woman

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The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior was definitely one of my favorite shows of the last year. A low brow, slice of life comedy with heart is my best way of describing this gem.

The show follows  Kazunari Usa, a freshman starting high school. He is happy to be getting the chance to live on his own in a boarding house away from his family. He soon finds out that the place where he will be living in populated by strange characters much to his dismay. The only thing keeping him there (aside from his parents being unwilling to pay more money) is his discovery that his senpai (Ritsu Kawai), who he has a crush on, also lives there.

The Characters make the show. While not particularly deep, they are thoroughly enjoyable.

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Ritsu is mostly off inn her own world reading a book.

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There is Shirosaki, Usa’s mildly perverted masochist roommate.

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Sayaka. A manipulative college student who likes to sexually harass another of the residents.

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Mayumi Nishikino. A foul mouthed, sometimes drunk, working woman who has bad luck with men (also my favorite).

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And Sumiko. The manager of The Kawai Complex. A sweet woman with a bit of a devious side. She is also Ritsu’s great Aunt.

All these characters make for good comedy. That alone didn’t sell it for me. They gave the comedy and the characters depth and a heart. While Shirosaki is a pervert, he has standards (which seems funny to write, but true). He also has a big heart. There is an episode where he sends his days building a Pythagoras with an elementary school girl who seemed to not be getting along with her friends and he (along with other residents) helps her repair her friendships. So while there is silly comedy there is a heart as well.

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The art is also well done.

Attention Parents:

The show has Drunkenness, Jokes about bondage, and adult humor. You have been informed, what you do with this is now up to you.

Please watch this show. You won’t regret it. It is fun and that is what entertainment should be.

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