Takuto WILL be Attending Naka-Kon 2020!

Hello all!

It seems that time is slipping through my fingers with each passing day. And yet, I have managed to find a little time for anime and cosplay still—at the cost of time spent blogging, that is. I’ll have a more formal update here at the end of March, but I suppose I should address the topic of this announcement first:

I WILL be attending Naka-Kon 2020 this weekend!

While school, life, and other fandoms have been on my mind lately, I won’t let that stop me from having a great weekend ahead. Oh yeah, and I’m gonna be cosplaying too!

I’ll for sure be cosplaying villager Eugeo from Sword Art Online: Alicization and Rantaro Amami from Danganronpa V3, with Shinra Kusakabe from Fire Force as a potential alternative (assuming I can finish the adjustments I’d like to make). I can’t wait to show off Eugeo’s Blue Rose Sword—it’s my first build with EVA foam, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Pics will be coming soon (also, check out my Insta for more)!

As for guests, I hope to meet Amanda Celine Miller so she can sign my big Danganronpa art book for her fabulous Junko Enoshima performance (and potentially my Sailor Moon VIZ DVD for Sailor Jupiter). Zach Aguilar will also be present, so if I could get him to sign my second Aldnoah.Zero DVD for Slaine Troyard (as Max Mittleman signed for Inaho Kaizuka a couple years back), I’d be more than thrilled!

Again, a bigger update will be forthcoming from me, which will detail the simulcasts I’ve been watching (and what happened to my Valentine’s Day Gunbuster marathon . . . oops!). I hope the spring season has found everyone well, and until next time, thanks for stopping by!

– Takuto

“What’s My Favorite ____?” Real Neat Blog Award || Keni’s Nomination

Hello all!

I found myself here with a couple minutes to spare and figured I’d answer one of these tag posts. This Real Neat Blog Award comes from Keni (CrackerzAnime) whom I honestly haven’t interacted with much, but hope to get to know more of. I’m over a month late with this reply, but I hope you know I appreciate the nomination—Thank you Keni!


RULES:

The following is the rules for those who received and will receive the Real Neat Blog Award.

  • Display the Award logo
  • Thanks the blogger for the award
  • Answers the questions given from the one who nominated you
  • Nominate 7 to 10 bloggers
  • Ask them 7 questions

Since this award has already made its rounds several times within the past couple weeks, I’ll refrain from tagging anyone this time around!


Keni’s Questions:

1. Who is your favorite singer/artist?

Are you all sick of me plugging my love for BTS yet? Cause yeah, they’re my favorite. However, since the question seems to indicate a single vocal artist (and they are a septet of idols), I’ll go with Kanako Ito or Utada Hikaru. ASCA’s songs have also been making their way up my playlists list, though.

2. What are your goals for 2020? (can either be short or long term)

Easy one: 1) Read more posts. 2) Write more succinct posts. 3) Read and review more books. 4) Write more about me. 5) Build up my personal brand. I’ve outlined them in detail right here if you’re interested in my angle for 2020!

3. What are your 3 best anime of all-time?

Best specifically for me? Neon Genesis EvangelionFate/Zero, and Steins;Gate. Now, what has been best for anime’s history? Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. A basic answer, but you can’t deny the impact of these classics. Other favorites of mine include: Ghost in the Shell (all of it), HyoukaYuri!!! On ICEKILL la KILL, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Sailor Moon, A Certain Scientific Railgun, and Eden of the East. 

4. What are your thoughts on blogging BEFORE starting one vs AFTER? Did you debunk any myths made up in your head? etc…

This is such an intriguing question. Over the past five years I have been blogging, I’ve realized that this can often times feel like such a lonely sport. You really have to put yourself out there, and even when you think you’ve followed all the right people and have posted just the right content that’ll get you “views,” you still may wind up with only a handful of followers. BUT DON’T GIVE UP. If you do it solely for the “fame,” you’ll never make it. While I think it’s admirable to try to increase your blog’s traffic and success (heck, more power to ya), I think it’s perfectly fine to be content with having a small group of blogger friends. So long as you put good energy out there, good things will come your way in due time.

5. What are your most favorite and least favorite anime genre?

Least favorite: that harem fantasy school stuff. I’ve had just about enough of it. My favorite genre is sci-fi thriller. Anything with a battle royale/mystery element to it will also likely catch my attention. Psychological mysteries in general are just, oof, *chef’s kiss*.

6. Who is your current best waifu/husbando?

I don’t often think about waifus and husbandos, but if I had to pick . . . Fate‘s Saber as best waifu and Free!‘s Makoto Tachibana as best husbando. Yet another basic answer, I know. (But c’mon, those back muscles tho ~)

7. If you play video games, what is your favorite gaming genre? Name them!

As I’m sure many of you already know, I actually don’t play games that often! But I do enjoy a good night of Smash and Mario Kart. On a more serious note, I really love the post-apocalyptic aesthetic of JourneyPortal 2, and Nier: Automata. Each have this psychological mystery element to them that I just can’t ignore (and given my tastes in anime, imagine that LOL).


And that’s all Keni’s got for me! Thanks again for the nomination, and since I’m not nominating anyone myself, please feel free to provide your own answers to any of Keni’s questions in the comments. I’d love to read them! Speaking of reading, please check out my latest announcement for the return of the V-Day Sci-Fi special. Not sure if everyone was busy over the weekend or if I fudged with the publishing again (DOH!), but the post could really use some love. My thanks to those who give it a read. Until the next one, this has been

– Takuto, your host

My BTS Clothing Collection + Try-On

Hello all,

I’m here with something a bit different today. As you may know, I love online shopping of any kind. Naturally, this includes clothing, something which I barely talk about.

I like to think I’ve upped my fashion game for 2020, and with BTS barreling through every single major news headline out there as of late, I figured now’s the best time to show off my collection of BTS-inspired graphic tees, long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies!

Most of these items came (recently) from TeePublic, a popular fashion and apparel website that works with independent artists to print their lovely works on clothing, prints, stickers, mugs—you name it.

I spent the afternoon setting up the tripod and some lighting and did a little fashion shoot for today’s post. So yes, that is ME in the photos you see. I thought this would be a little more interesting than just me taking pics of clothing. Enjoy the haul/try-on!


We’ll begin with the hoodie since it’s the only one from Amazon. I’m not the biggest person in the world, but I had to size up to 3XL to get the loose fit that I wanted. The seller was super nice and flexible, though, so that made the process easier despite the hiccups. Anyway, it’s SUPER soft, and the print has stood up the wash test! I imagine it’ll fade soon, given enough time though. It’s my first white hoodie, so I love it for that, but the floral design (which mimics the Love Yourself: Tear album cover) on the sleeves is what really caught my eye. Love having the boys’ names printed on my back too! >.<

Onto the tees! This Map of the Soul: Persona-inspired logo design has me LIVING. I love simple shirts. You can’t tell cause I filtered the heck out of these (for art), but the bright pink design is actually printed on a very deep navy heather-colored shirt. Heather shirts look best on me, so all the short-sleeved shirts are printed on this material. 😛

“You can’t stop me lovin’ myself” when I wear this shirt, that’s for sure! Guys, GUYS, “Idol” is easily one of my top three favorite BTS songs (if such a list were to exist . . . which it doesn’t cause my brain would implode). I specifically requested for the design to be printed on a dark blue shirt because it matches the “Idol feat. Nicki Minaj” thumbnail. The bright yellow and red vibrantly contrasts against the backdrop, and if you love this artist’s style, you’ll love the next look . . .

We just HAD to do it to ’em. “Yeah, you makin’ me a boy with LOVE,” baby, and this shirt is just so much fun to wear. Again, I requested that this particular design be printed on a bright heather teal shirt to match the skies in the “Boy with Luv” thumbnail on YouTube. Really happy with how this one turned out. If the retro design seems familiar somehow, it’ll be no coincidence for you to know that this artist ALSO made the “Fly Me To The Moon” Eva-inspired tee that was featured in a holiday haul a little while ago. I’ll defs have to find the artist on social media!!

Long-sleeved shirts are IN, y’all, and this Wings shirt (with a design ripped right from the album’s own cover art) has me reliving the angsty days of “Awake,” “Lie,” and “Blood Sweat & Tears” like no other. Also “Mama”—how could I forget our beloved Hobi??

I love black clothing more than anything in the world, but sometimes ya just gotta have fun—and I find that a bold yellow is the best way to do that. Contrasting the purple font (also a decision I made to match the music video), the shirt features RM’s opening lines of “Idol” as the central design: “You can call me artist / You can call me idol.” The quote is so iconic, yet also celebrates the notion that fame can sometimes be a good thing, as it doesn’t always change the person beneath the shirt. 🙂

Last but not least is a return to black, my forte, with this simple long-sleeved Love Yourself shirt. (Yeesh, this one could’ve benefited from a good ironing. Oh well.) Yes, the design is printed with the pink-blue-white coloring that the album logo itself is done in. And yes, I DO love this shirt! Whether you’re a new ARMY, a hardcore fan, or even just a casual listener, I think this simple yet elegant design is perfect for anyone wanting to share their love of BTS and their music. ❤

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Will I be buying more BTS-inspired clothing in the future? Umm, duh. But for now, this is what I’ve got, and I have so much fun coordinating each of these colorful designs with my OOTD. Do you have any BTS apparel that you like showing off? Tag me on Insta with a photo or comment below!

I’ve bought off of TeePublic in the past for most of my anime shirts, so if this kind of thing is something you guys show interest in, I’ll definitely make a separate post for those! I hope you enjoyed this sort of try-on/lookbook with me, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Five Things You May Not Know About Me!

Hello all,

There was this thing going around on Twitter where people were sharing five things about themselves to their followers in honor of the new year beginning. Because I thought this kind of content might make the best “first” personal post (with much more spontaneity to come), I figured I’d share my answer here on the blog as well.

So, in case you didn’t know . . .

  1. I’ve always wanted to be famous, but only for creating something I love.
  2. I’ve recently gotten back into Kpop.
  3. I made an Insta (plz follow).
  4. I’m currently growing out my bangs.
  5. I’ve never been more serious about diet/exercise than I have now!

This tweet also made me realize that I’ve kinda neglected those who are new to my blog. To my latest followers, a warm welcome from me to you! I don’t know why you decided to follow my blog, but I hope you stick around for a long time to come. I’ve got lots of fun stuff coming in 2020, and it would mean the world to me if you were there by my side!

Now, I’ve shared something about myself. What’s something about you that I don’t know yet? Please, share something about yourself in the comments so we can get to know each other better! Thanks for stopping by~!

– Takuto, your host

Blog Goals & Resolutions for 2020!

Hello all,

We are officially one full week into 2020! Crazy, right? I remember the holidays like they were yesterday, yet behold, two weeks have passed since. In case you missed my last quarterly update, I achieved ~3.5 out of my 5 goals. (Not bad considering it was my first time actually setting AND making plans to stick to my goals.) Given my low standards, I’m gonna say I kicked 2019’s ass pretty hard.

But the coming of a new year brings with it a new set of blogging goals and resolutions. And so, with your blessings and support, here are five goals I’d like to achieve in 2020.


#1 – Read More Posts

Yeah, kind of a cop-out choice given that it was also last year’s first goal, but it’s something I really do need to improve on. I love being a part of this community and writing for it, but that also means that I need to do my part and read your guys’ stuff. I’ll work harder in 2020!

#2 – Write More Succinct Posts

I know what you’re thinking, “Not another duplicate goal!” Nah, it’s exactly as it looks. On top of reading more posts, I’d like to write shorter posts myself. This may encourage you all to read my stuff more, sure, but I like the prospect of having more posts that chunk up my ideas as opposed to one mammoth-sized write-up that frankly even I don’t want to read. More posts may also increase blog productivity, so there’s that too.

#3 – Read & Review More Books

Within this past year, I’ve noticed myself gravitating more towards manga and light novels than anime. Hell, lately I’ve even watched more K-drama than anime. Yet, it it would seem that I never write about the books I’ve read. So, starting in 2020, I not only want to read more (to justify all the money I’ve spent on books in 2019 that are slowly accumulating dust) but also share my thoughts on what I’ve read here on the blog.

#4 – Write More About Me

In the least self-centered way possible, this goal is basically saying “Make this blog more about Takuto, the writer.” I want to write more posts about myself. You’re all my precious readers, but also my dearest friends. And after doing this for FIVE years, you deserve to know more about the guy behind the keyboard. You can look forward to more log/diary-like posts chronicling my thoughts and feelings as I go through life, be it in the form of Cafe Talks or other spontaneous write-ups. I hope we can get to know each other better in 2020.

#5 – Build Up My “Personal Brand”

This is more of a fun bonus goal, but working on my “personal brand” entails me building up my Instagram. (Follow me @takutoanimecafe if you haven’t yet!) Ever since I started blogging I wanted to become someone personable, someone who you feel like you know and can relate to in your own lives even though we’ve never physically met before. I don’t just want to be some faceless blogger anymore—I’ve outgrown that mentality, and firmly believe I can become someone you and I can both be proud of. Essentially, I want to become closer with you all by presenting a better, more true version of myself. Opening up the Insta is one way I can do that. Looking forward to sharing our life adventures together one photo at a time!


We are healing in 2020, and working on presenting the best, most true versions of ourselves that we can.


Or, at least, that is my main goal. I want to connect with this community more than I have in the past. I realize that I’ve kinda been isolating myself in No Man’s Land for all these years, and I apologize. 2020 will be different, I assure you—I feel like a new person, reborn and refreshed to take on whatever comes next!

But there you have it, five new goals for a brand new year—and the start of a new decade at that! What is something you want to improve on in 2020, either for your own blog or in your personal life? Let’s talk resolutions down in the comments. Until the next post, I hope you’re all having a fantastic 2020 so far!

– Takuto

I made an Instagram (and You should follow it) || Celebrating 500 Followers

Hello all, welcome to 2020!!

Happy New Year to everyone out there! It’s crazy how much I’ve resolved to change myself in this new decade within the past couple weeks. It is as if a light just suddenly clicked on and I was like, “Wow, ok 2020, let’s NOT keep on doing what we have been our entire lives and try something new for once!”

So I am: I’m taking the plunge into the world of Instagram in celebration of 500 blog followers. I only briefly mentioned my gratitude for achieving this milestone in a quarterly update post. But, to reiterate, I am eternally grateful for all of your support.

Every single like, share, or even comment just to say “hi” brings me so much happiness. At the same time, I can only wonder, you must have a lot of time on your hands if you’re willing to stop by my little blog, haha.

500 followers

Seriously though, thank you for sticking with me these past five years. I love interacting with you all, and I hope the Insta can bring us that much closer into each other’s lives. Many of you have been begging for me to get this, and I hope I can deliver the content you deserve!

You can follow my Insta adventures at the handle @takutoanimecafe

Thank you for a wonderful 2019.

Cheers to 2020.

Love you all!

– Takuto

Why the Hiatus? I’ve Been Prepping for CANADA! | Update

No, I’m not moving. I’m doing this for science—literally!

Hello all, been a hot minute (or a really cold one since winter’s basically here already), but I figured I’d stop by between my studies to address the sudden silence.

After an exciting month of Animanga Festival posts and series reviews, in which I published the most amount of posts I have in MONTHS, I’m now taking this time to prepare myself for the end of the fall semester here at uni.

A little less than a year ago, I was approached as an undergrad by my cognitive psychology professor to do some research with her. While I was uncertain of my career path at the time, I immediately said yes to put my foot in the door. Little did I know that this one small step would snowball into a trip outside the country!

Long story short, I’ll be presenting my poster research at a judgement and decision-making (JDM) conference in Montreal, Canada with just two other professors in, like, four days. This conference is pretty exclusive to PhD students and professors, so it’s kind of a big deal as a tiny undergrad kid! Also, I’ve only been to a handful of states in the Midwest, let alone LEAVE THE COUNTRY. I’ve never traveled by plane either, so this experience is full of firsts for me!

That said, you can probably understand my recent stress and decision to hold off on blogging for a few weeks until the dust (or the snow) settles. I’ve still got a couple reviews and hauls planned for November, as well as the monthly OWLS post, so I’m not totally down for the count. Just a bit busier than normal, which doesn’t really say much since it seems I’m always busy! Hah!

Anyway, sending positive energy and motivation to all my fellow scholarly bloggers who are pushing through academia during these bitter cold months. Wish me luck on my first flight, my first ventures outside the U.S., and my first opportunity to share all the hard work we’ve put into our research!

Cheers!

– Takuto

Anime Crossovers I’d Love to See || The Animanga Festival

Hello all, and welcome to my fourth official entry in The Animanga Festival, hosted by Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto!

It feels like it’s been weeks since I last wrote for the festival, yet I suppose I’m still on schedule according to my notes. This week’s prompt(s) start leaning a lot more toward the fandom side of things, so what better way to crack things open than with a good old anime crossover. I used to be huge into crossovers when I was a younger fan. Now, they just don’t interest me as much, mainly because I’ve come to really appreciate the uniqueness of each character’s universe and where they come from. I don’t really need crossovers to give me that “What if” satisfaction anymore.

But alas, we’re celebrating them nonetheless. So here are a few of crossovers in anime that I would find pretty neat!


A New Killing Game

Danganronpa 1 & 2 and Danganronpa V3

Does this one count as cheating? Eh, who cares. I’m a huge Danganronpa fan—an Ultimate Fan, as I’ve once called myself before on this blog—and it’s a pity that the only bit of character interactions I can get between the characters of 1 & 2 and V3 are in fan comics. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, each Danganronpa game/anime focuses one class of students as they fight for their lives in a horrific survival game. The cast of the second game still stands as my favorite, but V3‘s often creep up there, and the first killing game’s cast will always have a place in my heart.

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While the first and second entries share decent relation with one another, for story purposes, V3 remains an entirely different beast (and no, I’m not gonna spoil it for anyone so hush). It’s a shame that there’s not a single bit of V3 that has been adapted into an anime (yet), as the characters of Danganronpa really do standout as favorites of mine. If only there were something to tie the stories together . . .

She With the Crimson Hair

Snow White with the Red Hair and Yona of the Dawn

Two powerful red-headed women not about to take shit from anyone. Risking their necks for the ones they cherish, and standing up in the face of evil. Intelligent, skilled, courageous, and ever bold. What fantastic shows, and what incredible ladies we can thank for making them so!

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Every fantasy party should carry with them someone knowledgeable on plants, herbs, and vegetation. Similarly, every royal court should possess a brave badass (and archer!) who isn’t afraid of ruining her clothes or messing up her hair. Although it takes Yona considerably more time to develop into the fearless gal we all love, she still gets there, and boy should she be feared. The Kouka Kingdom ain’t ready for Yona’s historic return, just as the the Wisteria family isn’t prepared for the amount of herbal justice Shirayuki is about to serve to the Clarines Kingdom.

Heroes of the Stars

Gurren Lagann and KILL la KILL

I am 100% satisfied with how Lagann ended. I am equally content with the ending of KILL la KILL. But c’mon, don’t you wanna see the crew of the Gurren and the star-studded students of Honnouji Academy go on ONE LAST EPIC ADVENTURE ACROSS SPACE TOGETHER!?!

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Often, I see fan artists reminisce about the two, drawing artwork in which characters are stylized in one another’s signature looks, Yoko perhaps donning Ryoko’s iconic uniform, or vice versa. Mako piloting the Arc-Gurren, and Satsuki’s Elite Four standing all cool next to the Gunmen. Even in fan art, this kind of stuff gets to me, making me all sentimental about “the good ol’ days” each legendary story had. Perhaps one of these days we’ll set for the stars once more. Until then, be sure to send all the art you find of these two series my way!

A Showdown of Supernatural Students

My Hero Academia and A Certain Scientific Railgun

Both have hierarchical school systems based on supernatural powers. Both feature dynamic characters that are shown to have academic lives AND encounters with evil forces lurking in the shadows. And both live with that duality, perfectly balancing seriousness and moments for fun. The real question is why HAVEN’T the two been married off yet??

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Personal wishes aside, one probably wouldn’t think of pitting the two together because of how truly comic-esque MHA‘s style is. And I’m not complaining about that whatsoever! Art style, character design—they’re what can give a series its charm, an edge to stand out against the rest. MHA is very eye-popping and colorful; the world of Railgun is clear, architectural, and refined. Still, just think of what an electrifying tournament arc they could’ve had together.


Ahh, it feels good to trash ship two shows together once again. I literally had no idea what to write for this post, but I got to typing, more and more ideas kept bubbling forth. Surely there’s something good to match with Attack on Titan . . . more for another day, I suppose. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my “dream crossovers that totally didn’t just pop off the top of my head” down in the comments! And with that, only one post remains left for me to write for the Animanga Festival. Right when things were getting good, I know! Glad I got those latest couple reviews out, but more are coming, I assure you. Hope everyone’s been enjoying the festivities so far. ‘Till next time!

– Takuto, your host

A Collection of My Best Works (From 2019) || The Animanga Festival

Hello all, and welcome to my third official entry in The Animanga Festival, hosted by Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto!

It’s totally a coincidence that this post, a collection of my best works, falls on #ThrowbackThursday. Because it’d be waaaay too time consuming to sift through every single post I’ve ever written, I figured I’d keep this list 2019-only. It’s kind of weird to be writing this while there are still three whole months left to go for this year, but oh well, we love a good reflection. Let’s look back on some of the cool posts I’ve written this year! (I mean, I think they’re kinda neat at least. They’re cool, right? RiGhT??)

In no particular order, here are what I consider to be my favorites write-ups thus far, as well as a little excerpt from each post. If the tiny tidbit I’ve included intrigues you, please, consider giving the full post a look if you haven’t already!

Reviews


I’ve written more reviews this year than probably last year and the year before combined. Even still, I merely picked three as what I’d consider “bests” of mine. Hopefully these are titles you might remember me writing about!

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Cacophony in Paradise: RahXephon & Accepting the World

Ayato’s complexity becomes the leading force in this very much character-driven story about being useful to others. It sounds simple enough, but it’s much harder to live up to others’ expectations than we give the act credit for.

I Finally Watched the Old Fruits Basket 

Whether the old, stale, yet genuine 2001 version or this latest vibrant retelling, watch Fruits Basket. Then you, too, will see what all the ruckus is about in the Sohma household—and why it’s such a heartwarming, endearing little place to stay.

Run with the Wind: Wholesome, Heartfelt, & Inspiring Every Step of the Race

Every step of this journey felt sincere and wholesome, and I absolutely enjoyed laughing with the Aotake guys just as much as I did crying with them. Whether you’re a fan of sports anime or not, a genuinely passionate and realistic series like Run with the Wind isn’t the kind that comes often—so don’t miss it. Otherwise, you’ll be sleeping on what is perhaps one of the best anime to come out in years.

OWLS Posts


Even though I’m a “reviewer” by trade, I consider my OWLS posts to be the bread and butter of my work. Truly, I am so honored to be a part of the OWLS crew, as writing each of these posts fills me with immense emotional satisfaction. It’s something I can’t quite get out of a review, which is designed as an evaluation as opposed to an analysis.

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The Conviction to Change in Bunny Girl Senpai | OWLS “Metamorphosis”

If there’s one big takeaway from Bunny Girl Senpai, it’s that deep down, we’re all just trying to keep the past out of the future, even if that means giving up on some of the things we love. It’s a romantic notion, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not how we should be living our lives—and Sakuta Azusagawa knows it.

A Story That Loves Love: Go For It, Nakamura! | OWLS “Adore”

Syundei’s Go For It, Nakamura! is a story that loves love, and about loving yourself, too. I was left squealing and stirring in my chair for hours after reading the last page, and if there’s any BL title out there to boast the word “adore,” this is easily the one.

Chasing You, Chasing Me: The Heart of Run with the Wind | OWLS “Masculinity”

As strong as men—as strong as people—try to be, we’re not all as tough as we seem. Together, however, we can inspire and push each other to accomplish everything that we couldn’t do alone, and that seemingly small sentiment echoes loudly and proudly in the hearts of Kazetsuyo‘s characters

What My Anime Collection Means To Me | OWLS “Happiness”

Wherever I gaze, I am transported into another time, another place where another me was living and experiencing yet another story. This mental time travel serves as a constant reminder as to where I’ve gone, how far I’ve come, and even where I’m headed next. It is simultaneously the past, the present, and the future.

Kino’s Journey: Navigating This Beautiful World | OWLS “Technology”

Blogging, social networking, and even just browsing the internet in general has transformed me into a person who knows of what the world outside is like, and as a direct result, I’ve learned how to broaden my horizons and accept and appreciate diversity of all things in life. Hermes takes Kino to unimaginable lands and their people, and the internet brings me to all of you.

Amagi Brilliant Park: The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With KyoAni || OWLS “Believe”

Seiya draws out the inner passion for their work, and with a little faith, is rewarded with the park’s continual success. It is a belief driven by transformation and grounded by trust. Trust in Seiya’s process, and you, too, will enjoy one of—if not—Kyoto Animation’s most fun creation they’ve ever given us.

Michiko & Hatchin, Two Against the World || OWLS “Lover”

What Michiko’s story also tells us about love is that a relationship fueled solely by the “good old days” of the past cannot survive in the future. At one point, Hiroshi was something special to her. But now, at the end of the road, he may not be so special anymore.

Miscellaneous Posts


From collabs to talks and even the start of a new segment, here are a couple more shameless plugs to add to the list. Really happy to have stoked the conversation by writing each of these!

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The Scope of the Universe: Gurren Lagann Revisited

Within Simon, Yoko, and everyone else is this incredible swell of kinetic energy, a rawness that can only expressed through a studio like Gainax. Sometimes this spiral force spills over as a storm of chaotic emotions; other times it is love, a powerhouse which carries the potential to change this simultaneously rational and insane universe we live in.

These Silly Guys: What Makes Kazetsuyo A Very Special Anime | Cafe Talk

We watched Kakeru grow from a haughty teenager into a man who exudes genuine compassion and encouragement towards others, and his growth is equal parts satisfying and wholehearted. He finds that talent can get a person far in life, but it’s all pointless if you don’t have friends to share your gifts with. Finally, he learns how to smile around others and not let shadows from the past prevent happiness in the future.

Ending Summer With a Splash! || “Free!” Collab w/LitaKino

Free! gave me an entire new world to express myself in and meet new people through, and I think it’s that unique combination of personal history and actually appreciating the series as more than a character drama (but as an actual sports anime) that has made me love Free! more than most people I know.


You might’ve noticed that, aside for my year-in wrap-up, I never write these kinds of round-up posts. It’s mainly because I dislike tooting my own horn. Also because I sometimes feel my own stuff is, idk, just mediocre? Bah, who cares. Y’all will have to let me know your thoughts: Are these my bests from 2019, or did you remember something better? I’d appreciate the feedback. Oh man, I only have two more chances to revel in the Animanga festivities with you all. Hopefully between now and the next one I’ll have a couple reviews for ya. ‘Till next time!

– Takuto, your host

Let’s Go Traveling! Five Fall Vacation Spots in Anime || The Animanga Festival

Hello all, and welcome to my second official entry in The Animanga Festival, hosted by Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto!

Today we’re going on a vacation, all expenses paid, throughout anime—and right from the comfort of your own screen! Just as the title says, here we’ve got a few of my favorite anime hot spots I’d love to visit. I even themed our trip for the fall season just to add that realistic flair (you’re welcome). There’s a long journey ahead of us, so strap in, and let’s go traveling.

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Delight in the Refined English Air of Endor College

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

I know school is THE last place you want to be when on vacation, but hear me out: Most college campuses are beautiful in the fall, and Endor College is no exception. Although England is technically known for its smoggy air, this prestigious university floats high in the clouds, hidden from view.

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At Endor College, young witches learn about all things magic through their fantastical studies and whimsical teachers, not unlike Hogwarts. We may even bump into the famous headmistress, Madam Mumblechook, or the wacky Doctor Dee! College is a time of new beginnings—that’s why we’re starting here, and I hope you have a magical time.

Immerse Yourself in the Atmosphere of Victorian England

Emma: A Victorian Romance

Fall is Victorian weather. Rainy days, cloudy nights, always cool, and always busy preparing for winter. While we’re still in England, let’s make a stop at one of the luxurious estates the region is known for. Have you ever wished you could travel back in time and see what life was like for a wealthy and noble Victorian family? Well, now you can! Take your pick at touring and temporarily staying at the Jones Estate that the titular Emma loves visiting, the elegant Mölders Estate in Yorkshire, the traditional Campbell Estate in London, and other estates featured in the series—they’re all lovely, and very well-maintained by a hardworking team of maids, servants, butlers, cooks, and the like!

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Take a walk through their sprawling maze gardens, enjoy an elaborate and authentic feast in the great hall—just make sure to mind your manners at this stop. Remember, we are their honored guests. And who knows, you might even get the opportunity to dance with a handsome nobleman or fair noblewoman at one of the magnificent balls!

Room At the Nicest Lodging Ever in the Kind Country

Kino’s Journey

Not sure where it’s located, but here we are at our next stop: the Country of the Kind up in the mountains. Everyone who lives here seeks a life of kindness and respect, making them just about the nicest populace for a town you could ever stop through. The small country prides itself on its rich culture and village ancestry, which is reflected in intricate Italian architecture of this mountainside city. Take a walk down the spiraling cobblestone roads and admire the gorgeous fall forestry surrounding the country while munching on flaky, freshly baked pastries. The sweet cinnamon aroma of pastry shops is to die for!

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The famous traveler Kino regards this stop as one of the few that fellow travelers have actually been tempted to end their journeys at to start a new living here. The only caveat? Three nights is all we get, for then WOOSH, this village is gone, and nothing but wistful memories will remain. To say the least, it’ll be one country you’ll certainly never forget.

Witness Legendary Creatures Fly Freely in the Land of the Dragons 

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a dragon kid at heart. Our second to last stop is probably the most exciting on this list, especially if you, too, have wanted to see one of these beasts up close and personal. Who knows—maybe you’ll even get to fly with one and gaze down at the luscious landscape below.

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Gushing waterfalls, scenic nature hiking trails, and colorful dragons everywhere! Playing with the young dragons IS encouraged, so be sure to treat them to a few minutes of your time. Magic is in the air in the enchanting land of the dragons, so saddle up and get ready to soar in the clouds with one of nature’s most incredible creations.

Soak in the Ancient Waters of the Jusenkyo Hot Springs

Ranma 1/2

While we spent a good portion of this vacation touring places in Europe, I would be remissed if I didn’t allow us to spend our final destination relaxing at a hot springs. Taking us all the way out to the Bayankala Mountain range in China, this springs in particular carries with it an ancient history. Since long ago, people and animals have underestimated the water’s depths and have drowned in the various springs that make up Jusenkyo. As such, when a person mistakenly falls into one of these cursed springs, they might find themselves transforming into the creature of lore that drowned there.

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However, not all of the springs are cursed—but you should still stay close to the rocks! May relaxing in the springs, training with skilled martial artists, and admiring the natural landscapes of ancient China sooth your soul, strengthen your body, as well as rejuvenate your mind. And with that, our trip is complete!


How’s this for a travel itinerary through some of my favorite places in anime? Is this a vacation trip you’d be willing to go on? To keep with the fall theme (and not be as cliche as possible), I left out a TON of top-tier destinations. So, what other places in anime or manga do you think would be beautiful to visit in the fall? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments! ‘Till the next festival post!

– Takuto, your host