HUZZAH! TONARI NO KASHIWAGI-SAN HAS FREED ME FROM ITS KAWAII CLUTCHES!

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Everyone, it has happened. I’ve been waiting for this day… for too longTonari no Kashiwagi-san has finally finished its scanlation thanks to the aid of one brave Spanish reddit user named “u/desdnt.” This man(?) has no idea the impact he(?) has made on my life upon the release of the last chapters of this manga. This is my salute to them, as a fellow human being and a peruser of pixelated pictures online. Thank you. Continue reading “HUZZAH! TONARI NO KASHIWAGI-SAN HAS FREED ME FROM ITS KAWAII CLUTCHES!”

Commencing the 2019 March of the Movies

For those unaware, two years ago I started an annual tradition called March of the Movies, where I watch a film every day for the month of March and write reviews for them on the blog for people to peruse. The premise will be the same as it was last year: I watch a film at any part of a particular day and will release some sort of review, whether fully detailed or comically short, in that same specific day. I promise to kick myself into writing them far before 11:59 P.M.

As a bit of a preview for what’s to come (time-wise), expect movies and reviews to be done earlier in the day on weekdays and fairly late in the day on weekends. There will be some Saturdays, specifically, where reviews won’t be too long, just so I can get out a post for that day’s film on time. All of this is with the expectation that my irl job will continue giving me the typical shifts.

Since the blog has moved to include every interest of mine as a topic for posts, I will not try and squeeze in any anime films, as I did years prior, to suit the interests of my major audience. This isn’t to say I won’t watch any anime films, as I still like anime (believe it or not), but they likely won’t be as prevalent as in the last two years of this event.

I don’t have any special plans to give this year’s March any spice compared to the other years. I’m just gonna go ahead and do it normally. I’ll pick a movie and I’ll review it. I hope to see you here in the next thirty-one days!

(For those interested, I also have an archive for past and present films included in this event.)

Top 10 Anime I Watched… for Some Reason

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If you’ve been watching anime for a long time, it’s likely that there have been some choice titles that you look back on and think, “What was I thinking?” The wonderful world of anime has a number of different shows of different genres and quality, but there are some where those who develop a certain palate for anime look back on and realize that they wouldn’t touch it with a seven-foot bamboo stick in their current state. This list is dedicated to my personal journey with this colorful medium, where I look back on titles I watched in my early years and can only question why I even bothered. That said, expect a lot of poor, or at least average, titles to make up a majority of the list, as anything with a positive impression would likely have a valid reason for my taking a chance on it (a la “It looked good.”).

And as always, a disclaimer: how I view these titles and what I say about them are just my opinion. They aren’t bad or average or whatever because I say they are. It’s my opinion. Continue reading “Top 10 Anime I Watched… for Some Reason”

Commencing the 2018 Summer of Manga

Now that I have finished up the long-overdue series of Traveling Thoughts on Breath of the Wild, my attention can turn to the annual tradition of gorging myself on Eastern content. This year, a return to the printed form will be what’s on the menu, as the usual Summer of Anime moniker has shifted to the Summer of Manga. While the rules are roughly the same, I did add a little more to the total count from the last year I did this, so I should have a little more to strive for come tomorrow. For those who missed it, you can read these updated rules here.

The first title for the Summer will be everyone’s favorite adaptation to anime form, Pupa! Here’s to a successful season!

Commencing the 2018 March of the Movies

For those unaware, last year I started an annual tradition called March of the Movies, where I watch a film every day for the month of March and write reviews for them on the blog for people to peruse. This year will be no different; no gimmicks or special conditions to torture myself with. The premise will be the same as it was last year: I watch a film at any part of a particular day and will release some sort of review, whether fully detailed or comically short, in that same specific day. I promise to kick myself into writing them far before 11:59 P.M.

As this blog is primarily anime-themed, I will sprinkle some anime-esque films that interest me (expect some Ghibli and Satoshi Kon) throughout the month to hold over people less interested in my thoughts on things outside the specific medium. Some of my original purpose of creating this month-long tradition was to expand my palette of films and give me opportunity to watch things that I feel, as a fan of cinema, I should watch for the sake of legacy and differentiation. Last year, I managed to venture somewhat outside of my comfort zone (I don’t typically like horror films), but this year I want to vary it up even more. I don’t have any specific plans for what I’ll watch, but I’ve always been good at winging things.

The March will begin tomorrow with the recent release of Annihilation. I hope to see many people visit in the next 31 days!

(For those interested, I also have an archive for past and present films included in this event.)

The (Rarely) Good, The (Usually) Bad, and Saekano ♭

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Light novel adaptations have a reputation for being disasters waiting to happen. The number of light novel adaptations that come and go each season seems to increase as time goes by, with a number of them being pelted by viewers with verbal insults and sarcastic raspberries. History has shown that many of these novel-to-anime transitions can be fairly successful (Toradora!, Monogatari series, Baccano!, to name a few), but to compare it to all the misses, the scale tends to dip towards a dark and stormy direction. In recent years, the number of these adaptations that have given me a stir has been quite low—try as some might to remain on my good graces—but a certain series has appeared that has reminded me that light novels can be a source of quality entertainment.

It does so by laughing at the clichés light novel stories normally cruise upon.

Saekano’s first season was a rocky trail, full of ups and downs and rough footings. Its biggest fault lie with its inability to stay consistent in both its parody and level of seriousness with its actual story and characters. It paints the image of the typical high school setting with the typical female character archetypes fighting over the typically overbland male lead while working together in the typical environment of a club. However, quite soon into the first episode, viewers will find something off about the dialogue, the situations, and one specific character. It follows the trends perfectly, though not without some subtle inclinations of self-awareness. Self-awareness? Subtlety? Together?

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Gloriously, it found its shtick. It uncovered the power of quiet strength within the ability to gently mock what it’s so keenly identifying with. With this, a path of unpredictability follows, allowing the writer to control exactly how these typically overdone situations play out, and how these typical archetypes are developed as people. Unfortunately, I feel it overindulges in its display of tense, sexual situations involving the male lead for the sake of sexual fan service. Too often it paraded itself as being self-aware while also partaking in everything it seemed to mock without reason. What would be a great way to mock the oversimplified, one-dimensional, and horribly slow pace of developing relationships between teenage characters abundant with sexual tension? Actually developing their relationships. Saekano doesn’t quite seem to understand this.

Hearing that a sequel was announced, I was honestly excited. I found there was enough potential left undone in the first season to warrant more chances in a sequel. To some extent, there are some lingering drawbacks to what Saekano ♭ does that ring familiar when reminiscing about the first season. What ends up becoming different is what it almost drops altogether.

The biggest compliment that one could give to Saekano ♭ is that it feels like a serious story. From beginning to end, the situations presented feel realistic within the context of the characters’ bonds and the weight of their club’s growing popularity. This doesn’t feel tight within its beginning episodes, which is probably the biggest flaw and another level of inconsistency that the story takes in stride. An occasional line about the characters being self-aware exist, but as the series goes on, it disappears. All it does is embody the drama and the emotions that would come with the story at its current position, months past its chronological starting point. As though Saekano as a series had evolved from its caterpillar roots into a butterfly of its own volition, it almost completely abandons its cynical nature and takes it upon itself to sterilize the tone for the sake of maximizing its emotional potency.

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This ends up being the most intriguing factor of Saekano ♭, seeing as it wonderfully transitions from its condescending mimicry to hopeful drama concerning following in one’s decisions and ideals. It does exactly what I felt should have been done more in the first season, even if somewhat sporadically and with many spoonfuls of bitterness. Its final few episodes provide a lot of character insight and how they would react under tense situations; “adversity,” if you will. Even if one character seems to be getting more than the other. There’s something there for people to latch onto, and no longer does the series rely on balancing the act of being serious about not being serious. Should it have taken this seriously from the start, who knows how the series could’ve ended up. As it is now, it at least gains points for being fairly unique.

I suppose the entire point of this post was to both generate buzz for a light novel-adapted anime I find of good quality while also lamenting that light novel-adapted anime can’t take more risks. I understand the business, the desire to make a profit by taking refuge into the clichés that sell and that work. Primarily sex and fantasy flicks that don’t offer much intellectual stimulation. But imagine a world where stories can be free to be as imaginatively weird or stupid or challenging as possible. To cast off the shackles of what the money commands and have people be given the liberty to write what they please. Ah! Please excuse me, I’m getting a little too idealistic. In any case, Saekano ♭ is a decent sequel and a rare example of a light novel-adapted anime that has enough to tickle the noggin to stimulate the internal pump, all while transcending its initial identity to prominent execution of industry standards.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.