A Fall Haul (Part 2) – Figures, Soundtracks, & Shirts || Amazon, Tokyo Otaku Mode, and More

Hello all!

Let’s not waste a minute of each other’s time and jump straight into things! This is the second half of my fall anime-related pick-ups. Be sure to check out part one here if you haven’t already, and without further ado, let’s dive in! And speaking of making a splash . . .

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We’ll start at the top with some soundtracks. Adding to my Tatsuya Kato Free! OSTs, here are the soundtracks for The Bond and The Promise, as well as High Speed – Starting Days. LitaKino and I gab all the time about how great Kato’s work is, especially for Free!, and now I’m just waiting on the season three soundtrack to arrive in the mail! Oh, and here’s a random soundtrack (“Volume 3” to be specific) for The Vision of Escaflowne, which has some of the series’ most iconic works by Yoko Kanno on it.

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The other soundtrack I picked up is technically a 4-in-1 for all of Sword Art Online seasons one and two by Yuki Kajiura. Y’all already know how much of a Kajiura fan I am, so picking this up was inevitable. What made me finally cave was seeing it for like $30 on Amazon or eBay, and when you consider that it’s basically four cours worth of excellent music, buying it was a no-brainer. It’s been my jam for the past month, and the set comes with a nice little full-spread illustration of all four arcs!

I’m someone who prefers subtlety when it comes to showing off my love for anime. Logos or silhouettes usually are enough for me, but I prefer an added creativity my anime shirts. One of my favorite purchases this month was this order of four shirts from TeePublic, an online graphic tee retailer that partners with artists and prints their designs on shirts. The site occasionally does these storewide discounts where all t-shirts are basically just $10, so it’s the perfect time to shop for otaku apparel. In the top left is a super retro-looking Evangelion-themed shirt with the show’s famous ED lyrics flying across space. Love the small details like the lance and the 5th Angel. To the right is a simple Ghost in the Shell tee inspired by the 1995 window scene. Clean and classic.

Bottom left is a fun Danganronpa x Starbucks blend which speaks for itself. (We proudly wear the queen across our chests, yes we do.) And the last one (and my personal fave) is this vintage-looking Ranma 1/2 shirt with female Ranma and P-chan in the center with Chinese design work around them. Something about the bright infrared and teal combo here makes this iconic duo so eye-catching, and because it is purposefully designed to look EXTRA anime and vintage-y, I totally love wearing it in public with a pair of black jeans.

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Onto the Nendos! Up first is Phichit Chulanont from the popular Yuri!!! On ICE. I had no initial intentions of picking this figure up, but after seeing him sittin’ there all cute in the background of Simply Gee’s videos, I eventually caved in. What really helped, however, was that Amazon was having some of Good Smile’s Orange Rouge figures on sale, so this lil’ guy was only $27 once you add in tax. He looks so pleasant just chilling there with his selfie stick on my shelf, I just love him!

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Here’s the other Orange Rouge I picked up from the Amazon sale. It’s the Uniform Version of little Kenma Kozume from Haikyu!!, and he looks absolutely adorable standing with the rest of my cat-related items on my shelf. Again, I wasn’t ever planning on picking this guy up, but for just $15 I couldn’t say no! The coloring in his hair has always drawn me in, and I’m glad he’s such a low-maintenance Nendo to keep up with.

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Up next is Kino and Hermes from Kino’s Journey! Ahhh, this was such a long-awaited pick-up, and I’m so glad to finally have ’em in my collection. (You have no idea how quickly I added this to cart when TOM put up the re-runs.) This Kino is particularly modeled after how she appears in recent reboot, The Beautiful World, so the model looks really pretty with all its deep green shades. The dark teal ombre in Kino’s hair is really gorgeous, and with so many accessories to play with, there’s lots of posing options with this one!

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Last but certainly not least for Nendos is Alice Synthesis Thirty from SAO Alicization, and WOW is she a beaut! Like with Kino, there’s lots of variability in posing. With her golden petals dancing around her, this figure can take up quite a bit of space depending on how she is posed. While I think they could’ve done a better job with the special effect petals, I’m really happy with how the armor and coloring turned out. (She looks so fierce!) And once she’s be together with Kirito and Eugeo, the Rulid Trio will be complete! ;_;

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And the final figure I have for this haul is the “Age of Heroes” Shouto Todoroki figure. There’s nothing super special about this $20 prize figure, aside from the fact that I really like the face sculpt for this one. You might say he looks a little bland, and you’re not wrong, but I personally think he looks better than even some of the pricier Todoroki figures on the market. Anyway, here’s another one to add to the Todoroki shrine I’ve got building up, heh heh heh, and I don’t plan on stopping here!


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This second half is much shorter than the first, but I figured it was appropriate to divide it up anyway since the subject manner was so different. If you want me to get up and personal with any of these figures, let me know and I can make an entire post for them—same goes for any of the LTD ED Blu-ray sets I showed off in the last haul post! There’s lots to catch up on before winter gets underway over here, so I better end this before I get too carried away. Now just to clean all this up . . . oh the joys of having a collection, haha. ‘Til next time everyone!

– Takuto, your host

A Fall Haul (Part 1) – Anime & Manga Pick-Ups || RightStuf, Sentai, and More

Hello all!

I am officially back from Canada and on fall break! The conference went swimmingly, Montreal was beautiful, and I spent lots of money on some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten. It is easily one of the best trips I’ve ever gone on, such a gorgeous city, and being with just my two professors made us feel like the closest group of friends ever. I’ll never forget it, and hopefully my return to the wonderful land in the North won’t be before too long now.

But you’re here for a haul, that’s right. I really need to space these things out better, cause we’ve got THREE months of stuff to catch up on! The last time I did this thing was in August, so here before you now is all the anime-related goodness I’ve picked up in September, October, and November. I’ll probably split this into two halves just so I can go into greater depth about each item. Now, let’s get to it!

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Our first anime LTD ED is Funi’s release of Steins;Gate 0, and might I add that a) this is probably one of the nicest sets the company has ever released, and b) that it is so freakin’ nice to finally own this series after pining after it for YEARS. The chipboard box is slightly holographic on both sides, showcasing some of the JP Blu-ray art. Included is a neat little reference/art book, an Amadeus acrylic phone stand (which I actually use daily!), a vibrant green Upa strap, and the first half of the series on Blu-ray/DVD.

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Inside the extras box are nice art boards featuring ALL of the JP Blu-ray covers, which is always awesome to have. Each art card is layered with a green holofoil effect that kind of reminds me of The Matrix. It’s a neat collection of prints to have, and overall this set just feels very premium. Clearly, lots of thought went into making this release shine, and to think I was able to snag it up brand new on eBay for just $40!

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Next is another highly anticipated Funi LTD ED release I’ve been dying to add to my collection: it’s Free! – Dive to the Future, and boy is this another fine release. I really like how Funi has been doing more to go out and replicate the JP Blu-rays, as this set features much of the JP cover arts pieces scattered throughout. I really like how this set matches the other Free! sets I have, and the art book, oh man the art book! It’s got lots of fun stuff in it, from exclusive promotional artwork to character bios stylized as if each character had actually “written” them.

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Contained in a separate envelope (grrrr) are a small collection of screencaps from the ending theme printed on holographic paper. They’re a nice bonus, even if I don’t really have any place to hang them. Perhaps I should put all these LTD ED prints in a photo book or scrapbook of some kind . . . Anyway, glad to have all of Free! (so far) on Blu-ray! And another $40 eBay find, hooray!

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Two reasons why I bought this next set: 1) We’re a KyoAni stan, and 2) it was $20. This is one of the Funi sets featured in the most recent pre-holiday sale at RS, and while I’m honestly not a huge fan of this set (and the show) in general, for just $20, c’mon, I couldn’t say no.

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I’ve actually seen the show, but subbed, so it’ll be fun to rewatch it in the dub. I remember liking the characters, but seeing as how I’m not a big fanservice guy, there wasn’t much else for me in this one.

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Oh yeah, and there’s a separate envelope (grrrrr) full of cool lenticular cards. Unfortunately (for me), it’s just art of the girls with their school uniforms and, when tipped in just the right direction, art of them in their swimsuits. Again, not for me, but the colors are fun enough.

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Also in the sale (and for just $20) was the LTD ED for 91 Days. Although it was a blind buy for me, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it. The leatherbound textured box is a nice touch, and an art book is ALWAYS a plus for me.

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Continuing with the theme, in a separate envelope (GRRRRR) is a small collection of art cards with art from the JP Blu-rays on them. From what I can tell, it’s a really nice, stylish set for an anime original series!

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This next one has a special story. Ever since this collector’s edition set was announced, I’ve been pining after for it, scouring eBay day and night for a decently priced offer. I’ve seen it go in and out of stores and sales like no other, so years after its release, I was really starting to think I wouldn’t ever pick it up. So, I settled for less and scored a deal for the LTD ED set . . . only for this to go on sale for $50 just a couple months later. Here I am now, having double-dipped in this series, but with no regrets!

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Look at it. LOOK AT THIS SET. The box has a gorgeous green beveled foil leaf pattern on it, which feels very premium when paired with the deep black matte texture of the box. The box alone is worth the price of admission, but we’re just getting started. The discs are held onto this massive digipak, which isn’t my preferred method of storage, but works well with the set. On the back is full art of each of the four main visuals for the series’ two halves, which is something I definitely wanted with whatever version of the show I decided to own. My sticker set was a bit mangled, but I don’t plan on really using it.

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The real catch here is the art book, which features over 200 pages of character and background art. Wit’s painted scenery and landscapes provide such a unique atmosphere to this show, and having this book full of pretty location art is just a joy. Also, more character art cards, and each showcases a cover from the JP Blu-ray releases! I’m honestly just so happy to have this exquisite, high quality set on my shelves!

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We’re on the last of the limited editions Blu-rays, and holy crud did Sentai knock this one out of the park. For starters, gone are the oversized DVD box sets, as they’ve started slimming down for space-conscious collectors like myself. Next, the matte full-wrap landscape art on the box—love it. There’s also the signature Sentai box of stuff (which fits IN the box), as well as not one but TWO art booklets, one being storyboards for the first episode.

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Inside the box are sticker sets and a dog tag, neither of which I’ll likely end up using, but the filler box art itself is pleasant and iconic to the series. I honestly think this is one of Sentai’s best sets to date, and if they were to keep up with this size and quality of release, I just might end up buying ALL of their sets!

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Onto the standard BDs, we’ve got some housekeeping to do with My Hero Academia Season 3 Part 1 and The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 1 Part 2. Not much to say about them other than that I’m glad to be able to keep filling out parts of the collection with more content from some of the best stories out there.

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More housekeeping with the second and FINAL set of Sailor Moon Stars. I’ll forever have gripes with how Viz could’ve made these sets look much, much better. But at this point, all I feel is an overwhelming gratitude toward Viz for bringing us the end to this classic series for the FIRST TIME EVER in the States. It has been a long time coming, almost six years in the making, but the journey has been wonderful. I can’t wait to see how this series comes to a close! And oh yeah, picked up Metropolis cause it was cheap on Amazon (and more cyber punk, yay), as well as Hitorijime My Hero cause we a BL dub stan up in this club.

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Last for the BDs are an assortment of $7-$12 Maiden Japan titles from the RS pre-holiday sale. Lots of colors! Going around, we’ve got Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, Hataraki Man, Den-noh Coil, Glask Mask, This Art Club Has a Problem!, and my personal fave that I am currently watching, Yumeiro Patissiere. Lots of colors here, and lots of anime gems!

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Onto the manga! I didn’t buy much this fall in theway of books, but one of my favorite simulcasts from the summer inspired this pick-up: it’s Fire Force volumes 1-3, and wow, how amazing the anime is at replicating Okubo’s style! It’s nearly 1:1, and I hope to continue picking up more as my reading goes along.

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I picked up some BL manga one-shots, the left being Bukuro Yamada’s Melting Lover, which also happens to be the first book published by KUMA. It’s a really nice quality publication with a softcover dust jacket, and I can’t wait to read it! The other is an older yaoi manga that I picked up on recommendation from Dynamic Dylan and Crimson, Same Cell Organism by Sumomo Yumeka. Equally excited to read this one!

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OMG, yeah, I bought a game this fall too! You should know that I’m not a gamer, but I make exceptions for some titles. Inspired by my revisit to Alicization, I snagged a used copy of Sword Art Online: Lost Song for less than $15 on Amazon. I played it once, and, heh, it’s a bit boring (as everyone warned me), but I won’t give up!

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This last item for part one of my “Fall Haul” has an interesting story. So, I’m lowkey obsessed with Abec’s work for SAO. I’ve always wanted to own the LTD ED releases, but never got the chance because, well, Aniplex. While browsing eBay one late night for used BDs, I came across the JP LTD ED box set for season two . . .

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While I had no intention of actually collecting the rest of the JP BDs, I did want this box—and the seller was giving it away for just $20. This thing goes on the market for AT LEAST a hundred, so it was in my cart before I could even comprehend it. The box now sits next to my SAO LNs as a bookend of sorts, adding a splash of color to that side of the shelf. I just love the way Sinon is posed with Kirito in this piece!

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Would you believe it that the night it arrived I actually ended up watching the first three episodes in Japanese without subs?? Haha it was surprisingly more entertaining than I thought it’d be, plus I’ve seen this beginning so many times that it makes sense without the narration. Anyway, the BD itself is a bonus—the box is the real catch here, and I’m so glad to have it on my shelf!


That’s everything for part one of the haul! Part two will mainly have figures and soundtracks in it, so stay tuned for that. Lots of money here, but don’t worry, ya boi only shops the sales, so rest assured I snagged all of these up for a decent price. What did you think of some of the shows I picked up? Are any of these LTD ED titles on your wish list, or are they already on your shelves? Let me know down in the comments! ‘Till part two~!

– Takuto, your host

A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great (& Round-Up) || The Animanga Festival

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

We’ve come a long way, and here, during the “Best of Blogging” week, I offer you my final celebrations with an inspiring prompt if I do say so myself. Today’s a day for recognition and appreciation as many of us tackling the day’s prompt ask ourselves, “Who is the blogger who motivated us to be great?” That is to say, “Who is the one that brought you to where you are, as well as continues to push you to strive for your best?”

While I personally take inspiration for any person who likes my posts, comments on them, or even just drops by to peep in on things, I would be remissed if I didn’t give extra special thanks to the one who’s been with me since the beginning. I think you all know her quite well by now.


Thank You, LitaKino, for all you’ve done for me!


No surprises there, right? Guys, Lita has been my biggest support system for as long as I can remember blogging here at the cafe. Many will describe her as fun, crazy, goofy, hardworking, and heavily involved in the community—to which you’d be exactly right! But—and not to sound selfish or creepy—what I have with Lita feels extra special. It’s not just surface deep; it’s a genuine friendship.

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For one, we both love seaside settings (which is rare) and the mecha genre, sharing a mutual infatuation for shows like Free!, A Lull in the Sea (NagiAsu), and Gargantia. This means that whenever something related to either of those two starts airing or is released, we’re both the first to usually let the other one know about it AND fan the heck out of it.

Naturally, when she initially approached me for a collab idea and we succeeded in churning out our Free! collab just a couple months back, it was and still is a highlight from this year. You could even call it a dream come true, believe it or not! I’m so happy we did that together, and I look forward to the next thing we scheme up.

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So, you could say we have similar tastes in shows. We’re also both big on collecting, from buying the latest Blu-rays (or browsing eBay for bargains) to stocking up on manga. (The only huge difference there is that she actually reads the stuff she buys, whereas it seems to take me five months just to read three volumes. I know, I’m workin’ on it!) Whenever she posts pictures of her shelves, it just makes me reflect on my own collection and how much each title in it means to me.

Now, about blogging, Lita writes a lot more frequently than I do—and perhaps that’s why she’s a big inspiration for me as someone who comparatively posts much more sparsely. Whether a series review or a personal reflection, every time she puts something out into the world from her #LitaLaboratory, I am reminded that I should be getting on it too! In her reviews especially, what she writes is quite honestly her opinion about something; she gives it to you as it is, as she feels it, and I admire that honest writing style of hers.

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She’s also incredibly supportive—and you all can probably vouch for this about her as well (#ThugLita stans). Lita’s always going around sharing my stuff, bringing in new audiences to my writing, and her comments never fail to put a smile on my face. Back during OWLS’ early years when it was just Kat, Naja, and Lita running the live stream, I always made the time to especially pop in to hear what she had to say about my stuff, as well as thank her and the other ladies in the comments. (Spoiler alert, she’s too kind.)

On top of all this nice stuff she’s done for me, she never once told me not to pursue YouTube, even if she herself was going through a period where she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her channel. I never did get around to starting a channel, but it’s the encouragement that counts. Same for Instagram, but, well, perhaps I should just say “stay tuned.”

Ok, plus, she sent me a LETTER. Sure it was for our OWLS little secret Santa card exchange, but y’all, Y’ALL, I still keep it with my small collection of letters from my dear friends around the globe.

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The long and short of things is this: Where Lita goes, good company follows her. I’ve never run into a sour apple who was also a friend of Lita’s, and quite often, I end up becoming friends with the same peeps she does. In fact, I probably met over half of you just through her, and now I consider myself great friends with many of you guys! Her kindness comes in waves, and each time it arrives along the shoreline, I make sure to dip my feet in.

She’s a self-made gal, a good ol’ time, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her. Lita, you’re way too good for me—too good for us all!—and I can’t thank you enough for being such an amazing friend!

So if you see her around, be sure to give her a high-five and a hug from me. Lita is one of the sweetest bloggers out there—but I’m sure you already know that by now. If you’re not already following LitaKino Anime Corner and all of the crazy shenanigans she cooks up there, what are you waiting for?? Go see for yourself what this awesome person from down under—who does too many things on the interwebs involving anime—is like. If your relationship turns out to be anything like ours has been, I guarantee that your blogging experience will only go up further from here!

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The Festivities Come to an End

For me, that is. Many other bloggers will continue writing for The Animanga Festival throughout these next several days, so be sure to follow them through to the end. But alas, it’s time for me to bid the festivities farewell. This stop is where Takuto gets off—and what better way to end than by celebrating a beloved friend in the aniblogger community.

Below are links to each of the days I’ve written for. I had a blast answering each of these prompts, especially the Trip Itinerary, so please check ’em out of you have a minute or two!

10/2 ~ Anime/Manga You’d Introduce to a First-Timer

10/5 ~ Trip Itinerary to Places You’d Like to Visit in Anime/Manga

10/10 ~ A Collection of Your Best Works

10/19 ~ A Crossover You’d Love to See

10/24 ~ A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great

And again, thank you so very much to Auri and Nairne for bringing me out here and inviting me in on all the fun. Participating in The Animanga Festival has reminded me about the joys of blogging, and that not every post has to be a review for it to be fun and engaging. Additionally, I haven’t blogged this much in a single month in years, and so for that reason alone, my gratitude is immeasurable. I sincerely hope everyone had as much fun reading my posts as I did writing them, and until the next one, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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

Takuto Will Be Participating in the 2019 Animanga Festival!

Evening all, and happy October 1st!

While I’m a little behind with everything right now, I just wanted to pop in and say that YES, I will be participating in The Animanga Festival this year! Auri reached out to me with a personal invite a couple weeks back, and of course I couldn’t say no. She’s the sweetest, and you all should be following her!

But what’s this all about? Well, it’s an event to celebrate anime and manga lovers in the blogging/vlogging community. Auri and Nairne also host this wonderful event to commemorate their blog’s anniversary. This year, Manga Toritsukareru Koto turns TWO, and I’m happy to take part in the celebration. Here’s a message from Auri and Nairne:


As our community grows larger, we find ourselves losing many near and dear companions along the way. This event was created to celebrate us animanga bloggers, vloggers, and reviewers in an effort to remember our amazing friends and our own work for years to come. As an added bonus, it also gives us a great chance to interact among ourselves and discover new friends. 


Throughout all of October, various bloggers and vloggers will be posting responses to fun writing prompts, intriguing competitions, wacky activities, and sharing what they love most about anime.

Posts in the first week follow under the “Loving what you love” category. The second week is “Expressing you,” highlighting the one behind the screen. Week three is about our roles in media, “Fans, fanworks, and fandoms.” Week four is for expressing gratitude for our most inspiring friends, the “Best of blogging.” And lastly, the end of October will include round-ups and award ceremonies for any activities we might’ve held.

When will I be writing? I’m glad you asked!

10/2 ~ Anime/Manga You’d Introduce to a First-Timer

10/5 ~ Trip Itinerary to Places You’d Like to Visit in Anime/Manga

10/10 ~ A Collection of Your Best Works

10/19 ~ A Crossover You’d Love to See

10/24 ~ A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great

Let me say that this is an INCLUSIVE project: if you want to take part and join the festivities at any point in the month, please, contact Auri @AuroraAcacia on Twitter and she’ll set you up right away. First and foremost, this is for fun, so it’s worth noting that this is not a project to stress over, but a time to enjoy casual writing—and connecting with our friends, of course! #TheAnimangaFestival

I’ll be here A LOT throughout the month, and I hope you’ll come back to celebrate with me and everyone else who’s taking part in the festivities. Once again, congrats and thank you to Auri and Nairne for including me in on the fun! What else can I say? Let’s hit it off everyone!

– Takuto, your host