Keeping Busy in Quarantine || Quarterly Update (Spring 2020)

Evening all,

I realize I recently posted an update a couple weeks back on how this whole pandemic has suddenly impacted my life, but I figured I’d keep consistent with my quarterly updates anyhow. In case you forgot how these things go, in my quarterly updates I will be reflecting on the five blog resolutions I set for myself at the beginning of 2020. This was a pretty successful system that I gave a trial run for last year, and it’s certainly less redundant than the monthly updates I used to do. Plus, it puts my resolutions into perspective each season, which helps reaffirm what I want to do better and how far I’ve come. Let’s see how 2020 has treated me thus far!

Goal Reflection


#1 – Read More Posts

Ok, so I was on top of this one until about mid January when school started up again. Then I was pretty much off the WP grid until this past week where I spent a couple afternoons scrolling through the feed and checking out all the content I missed. I guess you call this one a flop on my part, but I do have intentions to do better—and with all this social distancing, I plan to spend a lot more time online. So yeah, fear not, I’ll read your stuff!!

#2 – Write More Succinct Posts

Except for my big SAO Alicization review and my lengthy Weathering With You write-up, I don’t think I’ve gone over the 1,500 word mark on any of my posts (or at least not more than a couple hundred over). I hope this helps make my content easier to stomach, as I know long posts can lead to blog fatigue (for both you and me). I realize it will “always depend on the content” yada yada, but what do you generally prefer, longer or shorter posts? I personally like short reads, but I understand it excruciatingly difficult to evaluate every single quality of a piece in a review with less than a thousand words. It’s just not possible. For now I’ll take the win, but I’ll try harder to write more frequent, quicker reads for you all.

#3 – Read & Review More Books

So I DID actually review one book this month, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and I had a lot of fun just sorta free-writing my thoughts away. Such a cool read. Thanks to self-quarantining, I’ve done a lot more reading—and I don’t plan on stopping. I’m trying to read all the manga and light novels I’ve accumulated over the past couple years that I bought but never read (DON’T DO THAT). If it all works as it should, I’ll have several manga reviews and first impressions posts coming your way here shortly!

#4 – Write More About Me

Interestingly, this has taken the form of me trying to fulfill those award/nomination/tag posts that circulate around the community. Do y’all like reading these? Cause they’re SUPER easy to write, and lots of fun! I’ve made sure to do one of these each month, so if you’re wanting to know more about me, here’s January, February, and March’s nomination posts. Thanks to the bloggers who keep tagging me in these—I’ve got more coming, just wait!

#5 – Build Up My “Personal Brand”

Like with the blog nomination posts, I’ve found myself writing at least one non-review/analysis post each month (that is also not an award or haul post). In January, I shared some of my anime and book collecting tips with my readers (specifically, what you shouldn’t do). In February, I used a tripod that I recently bought to do a little photoshoot for my first-ever clothing try-on. It was really fun to experiment with, even if not many people read the post. Hey, something different. And just a couple days ago I did the whole social distancing and what I’d been up to update where I just kinda unloaded some of my stressors and aspirations alike for the next coming weeks. Maybe I’m not as interesting as a thought (*laughs*) but I hope they’re still posts worth reading!

What I’ve Watched


Back in January when I was on my idol grind (still am, BTW), I watched iDOLM@STER SideM and discussed the nature of idol culture and personal branding for my OWLS post. I even started watching IDOLiSH7, which I still need to finish. Then, as previously mentioned, I went out to theaters and thoroughly enjoyed Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You. Lastly, I started the K-drama Cinderella and the Four Knights on Netflix. I’ve been holding off on the end because, well, I don’t want it to end!! But, perhaps it about time I finished it LOL.

We skip most of February because I wasn’t in the mood to watch anime. This was carried over from the end of 2019 though, so I wasn’t surprised; I just didn’t want to force myself. So I took a break, which also affected my Gunbuster marathon. Don’t worry though, it’ll still happen, just at a later date!

Most of my winter stimuls joined my watchlist in March (none of which I’ve completed yet because I’m waiting on the last few simuldub episodes). These are A Certain Scientific Railgun T (watching this one subbed, but waiting for more episodes to air so I can watch it all at once), ID: INVADED, Darwin’s Game, and Smile Down the Runway. I love all these shows a lot, actually, and cannot wait to see how they end—especially Smile Down the Runway and Darwin’s Game for some reason! I already know Railgun T will be great, so there’s no worries there.

I also ended up starting a lot of random shows cause of spring break, one of those being Hozuki’s Coolheadedness. I actually had no plans to watch this until Simply Gee brought it up in a recent haul vid, but it’s alright so far. I also decided to watch the Azur Lane (review here!) anime on Funimation cause the poster art was so epic looking, and it ended up being much better than everyone was saying it was.

I even dug into my personal backlog with the first K-Project anime, which I just reviewed. Now, had I watched this series a couple years back, it’d probably be one of my all-time faves. But in 2020, it’s just a good little series. Excited to explore the rest of the franchise! Oh, and I FINALLY STARTED Shirobako—unsurprisingly, it’s GREAT SHIT. Defs planning to review it.

Just a few days ago I published my March OWLS post, which gave spotlight to Millennium Actress, one of my favorite watches of the year so far. I loved it so much that I even hung up the exclusive lithograph that my preorder from Shout! Factory came with, so that’s cool. In other news for films, I finally busted into the Code Geass film trilogy, having watched all but the third. It’s quite good, surprisingly!! I just need to pick up the final film ASAP cause I know I’ll want NO breaks between the third film and the grand finale. Looking forward to seeing how this new iteration comes to a close.

Finding Enjoyment in Solitude


That’s pretty much all I’ve been up to these past three months. I’ve learned to balance my rekindled spark for K-pop with my long-time love for anime a lot better, so expect more anime content here soon. I gotta say, it’s been immensely pleasurable just being able to throw a random watch on screen and binge it all the way through. It feels like I haven’t done that in AGES. Man, anime is good.

Beyond idols and anime, however, I’ve been trying to monopolize on this time by reading as much as I can. I’ve read all of Ten Count (boy, that was a thing), picked up Snow White with the Red Hair once again, and also started Yona of the Dawn since I bought the first NINE FREAKIN’ VOLUMES a year ago cause I have NO restraint apparently. In times like this, though, I can only be thankful that I picked up what I could, as it’s wonderful being able to read a little Yona each night with no fear of running out anytime soon. (And if I do, there’s, like, 15 more volumes I could pick up—and THEN I could justify spending more money on books.) Until that time, I’m just enjoying what I have.

I hope you’re all managing yourselves well during this time. Do you find yourself picking up any old hobbies, or perhaps starting new ones? I haven’t watched, read, and written this much since I started blogging years ago, so that’s the biggest thing in my life. Are you getting enough sleep? Enough food to eat? I hope you and your friends, family, and loved ones are staying safe.

Although spring is here, the cool weather has continued to linger. I’m fine with it though, as I love the fresh chill and cloudy skies. As we move forward these next couple weeks, I’ll try to update you on any big changes in my life—as I’d hope you would, too. Until the next post, friends, stay well. Much love for all your support. ❤

– Takuto

Winter 2020 Simulcast Line Up (Better Late Than Never)

Hello all,

I’m back with a quick update on what I’ve been following this season. It hasn’t been so much of a “bad” season as I just haven’t been in the mood for anime as of late. (Or rather, I haven’t found the perfect show to sink my fangs into and love unconditionally.) So, until I find that anime gem to bounce me back into the swing of things, I’ve found decent entertainment in what this winter 2020 season has to offer.

misaka and kongo

A Certain Scientific Railgun T

J.C.Staff | Streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation (Dub)


Ok, so I prefaced this post with “finding the right show to get me back into anime sort-of-thing,” and technically Railgun is it. You all probably know that I LOVE this franchise by now. Even though I haven’t reviewed any of Railgun or Index in the past (partially because I already know the reviews will be biased), I have talked at length about some of the reasons why I love this series.

Anyway, this title is a highly anticipated watch specifically because it’s always been one of my “anime production dreams” to have the entire Daihasei Festival/Level 6 Shift Arc animated in full J.C.Staff glory. Nearly SEVEN years after the explosive sequel we finally get the third, and I couldn’t be happier! There’s lots to look forward to in this newest installment, and with solid direction backing Misaka and the gang up (unlike what happened with Index III and Accelerator), I’m expecting this continuation to be truly electrifying. Thrilled to be back in the city of science!

id invaded episode 1

ID: INVADED

NAZ | Streaming on Funimation (Dub)


Now this is a peculiar one. While it’s uncharacteristic as is for me to hold of on watching Psycho-Pass 3 (don’t worry, I’ll get to it), it’s even more rare for me to start one of these sci-fi detective thrillers when I barely knew anything about the title before it aired. I’m not a cop show kind of guy. And yet, something about ID: INVADED‘s premise (where a dude essentially deep-dives into a killer’s subconscious to sort out the crime) has me honestly captivated. The character designs are a little wonk, but I trust Ei Aoki’s direction to lead us on the right path.

darwin's game episode 1

Darwin’s Game

Nexus | Streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation (Dub)


Survival game, CHECK. Creative rules involving phones, CHECK. Unique powers for each participant, CHECK. Now, if only the animation wasn’t so middle-of-the-road, we’d have ourselves here one the must-see show of the season. Darwin’s Game is hardly unique for its action/mystery/survival genre, but I’ll still love watching it anyway because I want to know what makes the game itself tick. The characters may be meekly interesting, but I wanna give this one a couple more episodes before passing any final judgments.

fate grand order babylonia goddess

Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front – Babylonia

CloverWorks | Streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation (Dub)


That just leaves Fate/Grand Order as this season’s only fall 2019 leftover. I’m such a Babylonia stan that I know I’ll enjoy the second half of this one, wherever the story goes. The animation is so fluid and sublime, the character designs are charming, the dialogue is witty and entertaining—what isn’t there to love about the Babylonia adaptation? Looking forward to the sakuga fest of a finale this second half will bring, as well as bearing witness to the end of an era—the time in human history where humans and gods part ways. It’s gonna be epic.

The following titles may be adopted as seasonal pick-ups: Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, Haikyuu!!: To the Top, and Smile Down the Runway


It’s a short and sweet list, but one that’ll be manageable for me as school inevitably gets busier. What are you watching this season? If you had to recommend to me one title that’s not on this list, what would it be? Let me know in the comments! ‘Till next time, everyone!

– Takuto, your host

The V-Day Sci-Fi Special Returns for 2020!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

It’s that joyous time of the year again, a season of love and spending time with the one you cherish most—or in my case, locking myself in my room and binging anime until the wee hours of the morning!

The mecha gods also bless the cycle with back-to-back giant robot franchises for this annual celebration. Can’t remember what we’ve done in the past? Here’s a refresher for ya!

2013 ~ Steins;Gate

2014 ~ Kokoro Connect (I think . . . )

2015 ~ Neon Genesis Evangelion

2016 ~ The Rose of Versailles

2017 ~ Ghost in the Shell

2018 ~ Haikyuu!!

2019 ~ RahXephon

And for this year, the big 20-20, we’ve got an extra special title on the menu. Give it up for . . . *drumroll~~~~~*

2020 ~ Gunbuster

YAY!!! There it is, my next adventure awaiting me ahead!! Guys, I’ve been holding off on this precious piece of Gainax history ever since watching the groundbreaking Evangelion as the V-Day feature for 2015. FIVE years later, Gainax takes the stage once again with a classic mecha title that I’m sure to enjoy with all my heart.

This year’s V-Day special will actually take place during next weekend, February 21-23, on account of the fact that I am busy performing at a Valentine’s Concert this weekend!

In terms of watching methods, fear not! I recently picked up all of the DVDs and Blu-rays I’ll need to marathon the Gunbuster franchise in the RightStuf holiday sale (with exception to the 1988 series, which I’ll hopefully find online) so everything will be viewed in the best quality that I could get a hold of. Oh yeah, we’re ready for this one.

So until next weekend, spend these next couple of days with the ones you love most. And if you’re rockin’ it single like many of us are, TREAT YO SELF, and use this holiday for some self-care—you deserve it!

Much love and chocolates from me~!

– Takuto

Chasing After the ~Vibes~|| Quarterly Update (Winter 2019)

Evening all!

As the title of this post suggests, I have for you all the final big update post of 2019. In the last update, I spoke briefly about how I hadn’t watched much anime due to school and, well, not much has changed since finals haha. Goal reflection in general will be pretty weak this time around, but hey, it’s the last couple days of 2019—new goals will be on the way before we know it!

Goal Reflection


#1 – Read More Posts

If any of these goals had the greatest crime done to it, it’d be this one. Guys, I am criminally behind on keeping up with the community. My phone home screen is once again backed up with posts I’ve been wanting to read, and that doesn’t include all of the OWLS posts I’ve missed out on since January. Yeah, not good. But with the New Year, hopefully I’ll dedicate some time to some much-needed housekeeping.

#2 – Write More Succinct Posts

You know, just scrolling through the site’s main page at all of the posts, I think I have done a better job at keeping things on the short and sweet side. Between October being nothing but Animanga Festival posts and November and December being full of hauls, there hasn’t really been too much to say for each post. Thinking in terms of the entire year, I’ll count this one as a win.

#3 – Post More Often

Ten posts in October, four posts in November, and so far five posts in December makes my initial four-posts-per-month goal a success! Productivity definitely slowed down for school, but even with a three-week study hiatus in there, I’ve still managed to blog as often as I wanted to in 2019. Maybe I’ll kick things up a notch in 2020, who knows, but for now—WE DID IT Y’ALL.

#4 – Bring Back Cafe Talk

Hahaha nope. I don’t know what’s stopping me from writing these kinds of posts, especially when they can be the easiest things in the world sometimes. But here we are. Overall, this was 2019’s most-failed goal.

#5 – Write More Haul/Collection Posts

Guys, GUYS—I’ve done like SIX haul posts this winter season, and honestly, I could totally throw together another one if you guys were interested in seeing the straggler TOM pick-ups or what I got for Christmas. If goal #4 was my worst-achieved goal, #5 is 2019’s big winner. Hooray for hauls!

What I’ve Watched


Well this part isn’t gonna take long (LOL). For Halloween this year I binged all of Castlevania seasons one and two on Netflix. Excellent series, full of incredible action sequences and bloody good comedy (surprisingly). It was easily one of my favorite watches of the year, especially for the spooky season, and I honestly can’t wait for season three. I’ve actually got notes for the entire series ready to be transformed into a review, so hopefully I’ll muster the energy to finish that and get my thoughts out there.

Around the same time before finals started hitting hard, I picked up a little extra time to watch Fairy gone in the mornings. While I’m only five or six episodes in, I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone said it was when it aired. Plus, the dub is really good. (Special shout out to Caitlin Glass for making that one of the show’s redeeming qualities!)

Skipping ahead to the colder days of winter, I began an unexpected watch with Yumeiro Patissiere, which I actually featured in my November OWLS post that you can read right here! Most of my thoughts on the series are contained within that, but long story short: Watch Yumeiro Patissiere. It’s light-hearted and fun, but also sometimes bittersweet and full of heart. Easily a better food competition series than Food Wars! in my humble opinion.

Fall simulcasts have also been slow for me. Like, really slow. Notice how I never posted a fall seasonal line-up post like everyone else did? Yeah, it’s cause the only show I’ve managed to keep up with has been Fate/Grand Order: Absolute Demonic Front – Babylonia, and my motivation for watching that namely stems from seeing anime Gil once again. Even still, it’s also been one of my favorite watches in years, and just might end up being my favorite Fate anime besides the glorious Fate/Zero where my love for the franchise all began. Can’t wait to see how it ends!

While we’re still on Fate, I’ve rewatched the first 12 episodes of Apocrypha since the entire series is on Netflix. Only this time it’s dubbed, and the English dub is FANTASTIC. I think all the VAs were perfectly cast, and I’m excited to watch the epic second half!

Obsessed With BTS


In case I never make it apparent, I’m a half white, half Korean 21-year-old currently residing in the U.S. I’ve liked K-pop ever since I became an anime fan, but never really rocked out to it as much as I did J-pop or even Western pop music. Until now.

To make a long story short, I’ve fallen back in love with BTS. They’ve had my heart since 2017, but this time I tripped BIG and fell down several flights of sparkly stairs into K-pop hell. And I have no regrets. I’ve listened to BTS, Super Junior, Girls Generation, NCT Dream, and Red Velvet albums literally every second of the past two weeks, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Please share your K-pop recommendations with me in the comments!!

Naturally, my rekindled love for K-pop brought me to K-drama and idol culture in general, so I’ve been bouncing between Hello, My Twenties on Netflix and The iDOLM@STER SideM on Crunchyroll. If you have any K-drama/idol recs (and the places I can watch them), please send me those too!

I feel like I’m chasing a vibe whenever I do my daily workout to these pop icons, or even unhaul more parts of my collection to make space on my shelves for some added greenery. For sharing these personal parts of my life, I think these quarterly updates work the best both for me as the writer and you all as readers. So, expect these to continue throughout 2020. A goals and resolutions post for 2020 will be out very soon, along with a very, very special surprise announcement for all my followers!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrated it. Mine was quite pleasant and relaxing—in fact, I’m still in vacation mode, which is why I haven’t done much of anything (besides listening to BTS, of course)! I’ve got one more post for 2019, so please look forward to that. Till then, this has been

– Takuto, your host

2019 Holiday Haul #3 – Tokyo Otaku Mode Pickups

Hello all!

We’re back today with yet another holiday haul. Seems kinda weird to be sharing about more stuff I bought when I just underwent a huge “unhaul” on my collection, but worry not: all of the items in this haul will be kept nicely in my home.

Ready to see what I preordered from TOM many moons ago? Let’s do it!

It seems classic for me to begin a haul with a soundtrack now, so here we’ve got the OST for Free! – Dive to the Future. I love Tatsuya Katou’s work, you all should know since I’ve only picked up every single Free! OST ever. And I kid you not when I say this, but this third season OST just might be the best one so far! It helps that TOM had this discounted half the price, too. 🙂

Makoto Shinkai art books are a bit of a rarity here in the states, so I had to snag this import from TOM while it was on sale. This is probably the most gorgeous single art book I own, and not just for the content. The thick cardstock sleeve on the left slips over the actual book like an o-card would on a Blu-ray, and the book itself has bold blue foil printing on its cover and spine. All of the pages are printed on heavy quality paper, with the cover and back having a soft lined texture to them. It’s a beautiful little set!

Alright, time for some Fate stuff. Also another rare find in the states, this imported art book and little set of postcards are from Fate/Zero and The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II, respectively. I’m a sucker for anything Fate, so it was a lucky find when I found this hundred dollar book discounted for just $30! While I believe the bread and butter of the franchise’s beauty lies in the character designs, it’s cool to have background art from two of my favorite Nasuverse titles!

Attack of the Nendos!! Here we’ve got a beloved character from the hit anime, Miss Zoe Hange of Attack on Titan fame in all her badass glory. I love her expressions, they’re so cheeky. The cloak is also a fantastic touch. What’s left to say? She’s fun, gorgeous, and ready to fight!

Now, of course I wouldn’t send a scout into battle alone, so here’s a reprint that I was fortunate enough to pick up: the feisty, angry boi himself, Eren Yeager! Guys, these two look so cool next to each other. The strong peg stand allows for lots of mobility and possibly for poses, including these dynamic midair shots I have them posed in. Really happy to have my favorite characters from the series in Nendo form!

Oh no, now for my other trash favorites haha. I’m a huge SAO fan, ok? Especially for Alicization. In fact, the Alicization story is what made me like Kirito as a character, so when they put up the preorder for this guy way back when, there was no hesitation in ordering the bro clad in black. I think the SAO character style in general transfers really nice into Nendo form. No regrets here, especially when you see the next guy I picked up . . .

AHHHHHH MY HEART IT’S MY FAVORITE BOY EVERRRRR!!! Would you believe me if I told you that I only picked up Kiri cause he’d match his partner here? HAHA! He’s one of my favorite figures I own, I just love how they did all of his poses—and the icy rose vines, ughhhh, so beautiful! My favorite SAO character sits valiantly on my shelf next to the others, officially completing the Rulid Trio if you add in Alice from the previous figure haul. Love these three with all my heart! ❤

I love Eugeo lots, but we save the King of Heroes for last, of course. Guys, GUYS, here he is, Gilgamesh in all his Babylonia glory, just as the original legend depicts him. Well, sort of. Just like the Fate/Zero Gil (another fave figure of mine), this one featured the shimmering Gate of Babylon behind him as an extra piece. I find it so cool how this one contains a different set of weapons from his Storehouse of the Gods—they’re all staffs of varying styles, fit for this new Caster form he’s taken in the Grand Order story. He’s such an amazing Nendo, the pictures just don’t do our King justice!


Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! I’ll have more Holiday Haul posts coming likely after Christmas cause, you know, gifts and such. But also who knows, cause another TOM packaged just arrived the other day that I’m just dying to show off bahahaha. Let me know if you’d like a closer look at any of the LTD ED sets, art books, or figures I featured in these past three hauls and I can totally do a separate review post on them just for you! I’d love to hear any thoughts on these pickups in the comments, too. Remember, ONLY but what will bring you happiness, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

“Unhauling” for the Holidays: Why I’m Giving, Not Getting || OWLS “Holiday”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” For the OWLS blog tour’s twelfth monthly topic of 2019, “Holiday,” I wanted to sit down and have an honest little conversation with you all on my anime collection. Specifically, how I will spend the remainder of 2019 with a focus on giving rather than receiving gifts.

We are at the end of the year! For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS Team

Sounds pretty first-world, I know, but maybe you’ll read this and take it as cautionary advice for any eager collectors out there currently doing their own holiday shopping. Thanks Lyn for the freedom with this prompt!

Image result for anime cleaning from up on poppy hill


To Haul, or to Unhaul

We begin this post with a brief etymology of the subject word here. As you’ve probably guessed by now, “unhaul” is not a real word. I was introduced to this term by fellow anime and manga-collecting enthusiast Simply Gee over on YouTube through her video, “The Great Unhaul: Unburdened for 2020.” If to “haul” something means to address recent pick-ups or goods that are new to one’s possession, ‘un’haul means just the opposite:

un·haul (verb): essentially, to oust items from one’s possession, either by selling or donating. 

It’s not a novel concept by any means; people have been tossing out old junk or selling their collectibles on eBay for ages. And yet, the video struck a powerful chord with me. “What does a collection represent for its owner? What does it mean for someone to own something that they a) do not like or b) will not watch/read/use/wear/etc.”

Image result for up on poppy hill school

Just when I thought my collection was at its peak and brimming with success, I found these fundamental questions to be picking at my brain all through the night. I couldn’t sleep. I had too much stuff, and only now just realized it, which brings me to my next point.

2019 was TOO Good for the Collection

I mean this in the least bragging way possible. Guys, despite posting all kids of crazy hauls of fancy anime limited edition boxes and figures (especially as of late, yeesh), I am not a wealthy individual. Really, this is money I should be saving for my higher ed stuff to come later. But like most of us, I find ways to pocket money to my hobbies.

Within these past couple of telling days, I finally realized that maybe I am spending a bit too much on hobbies, though. 

I never understood it when anime collectors talked about “running out of space,” or “putting stuff in storage.” How could someone have so much as to put some of it away? I didn’t get it, until this year I found myself stressed that I couldn’t maintain the balance of white-space-to-object ratio.

AKA I have too much crap, and if I get more I risk losing any sense of aesthetic or clean organization. 

Guys, I spent a lot of money on hobbies this year. A LOT. From cosplay and books to anime and figures, I spent far more than an undergrad student in college should. And now, I’m gonna get rid of some stuff.

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Unhauling for the Holidays

I’ll skip the part where I stayed up till two each night the past couple days just going through everything I own and throwing away “old shit.” (Yes, I recycle. And YES, I have plans for proper dispersal of all this stuff from my room.) I got rid of clothes from freshman year of high school, recycled tons of old papers from middle school, and disposed of the junk that just plain didn’t work. It was, as I reported on Twitter, “the most intense decluttering of my life.”

You may ask, “Why have you held onto all this crap all these years, Taku?” The easy answer is I’m a hoarder, but the more truthful one is that I genuinely apply the same collecting mentality to my school work, old hobbies, etc. as I do my anime and manga.

Until now, that is.

It was “a great unhaul” indeed, and once I got started (following my mental breakdown where even looking at my shelves started making my breath heavy), I couldn’t stop. I got rid of everything. ALL of my possessions were thinned, combed through for the usefulness and happiness each item brought me. Only the things that gave me #goodvibes stayed; for all else, it was the great purge. Eventually, all that remained for me to examine were the shelves themselves: the heart that I’ve been filling for the past six years of my life.

Methodically scanning through each shelf, one-by-one I started pulling various manga volumes, novels, and eventually anime down from my shelves. “If you have (or I know can) make me happy, you stay,” I told myself as I held each book, each Blu-ray, and weighed their fate. The volumes, series, prints, and knick-knacks that my siblings don’t want will be sold online to any willing buyers. As for the “good” stuff . . .

I’ll be giving away parts of my collection, my very soul, to my siblings. By reading my personal posts, you may have realized that I’m very close with both my older brother and younger sister (yeah, I’m the middle child). I’ve watched just as much stuff with them as I have on my own. Through this unhaul, it finally dawned on me, like a light-bulb clicking on in the dark:

Why don’t you give the shows that your siblings like more than you do to them?

I’ve always been the one they came to for entertainment; rarely was it the other way around. If they want to watch something physically, they’d come to my room and peruse the shelves, not unlike how someone would at a library. I have so many wonderful memories with all different kinds of anime—but half the reason I have those memories is because I didn’t watch those shows alone.

So for the holidays, in addition to whatever gifts I had already bought, I’m giving back to my siblings the shows and series that mean something to both of us, in addition to the memories we made along the way. I think this focus on giving rather than getting will prove psychologically beneficial, as well as help free up shelf space.

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My Recovery from Unhealthy Collecting Habits

Yeah, I spent a lot of money on anime stuff this year. Yes, I realize I have accumulated some stuff that I know I’ll never get to, but bought anyway cause it was “on sale.” And yes, my own collection, that which I hold most dear—which I *literally* look up to each day for inspiration and motivation—was somehow able to make me physically sick just looking at it.

That was where I was two days ago. Through ousting piles of old papers, clothes, and junk from a decade ago—and by listening to lots, and lots, and LOTS of BTS—I’ve come to realize that receiving can be a deceptively more draining and daunting act than giving. When you get something, it’s gotta go somewhere, and I had finally run out of space for new stuff to go.

So, what goes in that space I just made? Love for myself. Happiness for myself. I’m not kidding: I’m keeping these blank spaces on my walls, in my closet, under my bed, and on my shelves to remind me that if I can’t breathe in my own room, I’m doing something wrong.

This enlightening philosophy has also transferred to other aspects of my life: I filtered through my phone’s photos and music, only keeping the pictures and songs that make me feel happy about myself. Additionally, I’m eating healthier AND exercising to k-pop music every day, and I honestly haven’t felt this much body positivity in ages—perhaps BTS is the real hero of this story, hahaha!

I’m unhauling pieces of my collection for 2019 because others might be able to get more happiness out of something than I could have, absolutely. But also, I’m unhauling because I have to. This is self-care for me, and thanks to seeing that life is much better when you can feel light and weightless—physically and emotionally—I can finally charge into 2020 feeling unburdened, content, and lighter than ever before.

And honestly, I’ve never felt better.

Image result for bts mma 2019 dionysus


Twinkling starlight
Building with blinking light
We’re shining brightly
In our own rooms, in our own stars

Mikrokosmos – BTS


Afterword

Wow, that’s a load of my chest. This holiday season, I encourage you all not necessarily to toss out a bunch of shit like I did, but just to sit down for a moment and get in touch with your own belongings. What brings you happiness? If something doesn’t, why have you held onto it? Would my life be better without this thing I won’t ever use? You’d be surprised how such simple questions can lead to life-changing moments. I’ve always been a cheesy one for liking that “New year, new me” bullshit. But this year, more than any other before, I actually feel in charge of my life—who knew all it would take was leaving behind all the weight that held me back.

This ended up being much more personal and diary-like than I initially intended, but I hope you, too, might be able to help yourself out with my story. Be cautious of hoarding stuff and overbuying this holiday season; it’s a terrifyingly easy thing to do. Love each and every thing you own—if it doesn’t bring you happiness, chances are you’re better off without it, trust me!

Guys, this officially completes three full years of my being with OWLS. I’ll have another Top-5 post for that coming out soon. Until then, this concludes my December 19th entry in the OWLS “Holiday” blog tour. The incredible Irina (Drunken Anime Blog) took to the keyboard once more to write about her beloved Natsume that you can read right here! Now, look out for THE Lyn (Just Something About LynLyn) of OWLS herself with a post this Sunday, December 22nd! Thank you so much for reading, and remember, pursue happiness—you owe it to yourself!

– Takuto, your host

2019 Holiday Haul #2 – Cyber Monday Deals || RightStuf Pickups

Hello all!

I’m back for day two of showing off all the stuff I bought for the holidays this year. Honestly, I spent waaay too much on myself, haha. But it’s so hard to pass up great deals on anime and manga you know you’ll want to have in your collection eventually, right?

So I splurged, as I often do, and here’s what I picked up through RightStuf’s 2019 Cyber Monday sale—enjoy!

Oof, we’re starting off with a strong one, and one of my favorite releases of the year no less. Space Battleship Yamato 2202 is one of those sequels that I normally wouldn’t recommend, if only the studio didn’t do such a fan-FREAKING-tastic job at reanimating the story for the modern day. This is my personal favorite remake of a classic series, and although it’s not everything I wanted Yamato’s sequel to be, it is told EXACTLY as the original story was, if not better on every front.

More pictures of the box and the art book. Funimation did such an incredible job making this as similar to their 2199 release as possible—as a collector, I am thankful to own such beautiful cohesive sets. The back of the Blu-ray shows off stunning art of the series’s villains, and while the art book is a little more bland than the previous one, it’s still a great bonus!

Ughhh the reverse side of the Blu-ray features gorgeous art of the side protagonists of 2202 preparing to engage the enemy. I love the violet sky and ship looming in the background. The discs are also uniquely designed with artwork from the series.

And if you were wondering what was inside that silver box up top, YES, we got some high quality art boards featuring artwork from the original Japanese releases. Really wish I could frame ALL of them, but alas, I’ve got very little space to spare. Kinda weird how there’s a duplicate of one of the cards . . . maybe I’ll give it to my brother or something, as he’s also a fan.

Up next is some more classic mecha stuff, this time with Gainax’s hallmark Gunbuster and it’s sequel recap/rebuild film Diebuster. Other than the fact that this franchise is absolutely iconic to the genre, I know very little about it. Spoiler alert, there’s a high chance that this will be my pick for my Valentine’s Day special, but we’ll see!

While the first season from the 70s or 80s (can’t remember) is long out of print here in the states, the second season is fairly easy to pick up. Here are all three volumes I picked up for like $2 each, and just like the films each release comes with its own little art book—such a pleasant little addition! Happy to finally be able to explore this lost gap in my Gainax history!

Lots of Aniplex stuff was/is on sale this year, and while I had no original intent on picking up the second half of Aldnoah.Zero (those who’ve seen it know why), I decided to snag them up before they went OOP like all of Aniplex’s older releases seem to be doing.

For half price off, just $15 each, I really didn’t want to miss out on owning this series complete if I ever turned the other cheek in the future. It’s not a great sequel, but I love this series nevertheless. Here are the reverse arts of the DVD, which I personally leave on display this way cause the warm color palette for these two DVDs congrats nicely with the cool-toned blue and turquoise of the first season sets.

Lastly for anime is this little one, Maria the Virgin Witch (clearly keeping up with the space/mecha theme, I know). In all seriousness, I picked this series up because it was recommended to me years ago at Naka-Kon and I never ended up watching it for some reason. Well, that changes now, and for $11 how could I resist!

Last but not least, I bought more manga! Continuing with volumes 4-9 in my collection, here we have the majority of what the second cour is currently adapting if I’m not mistaken. Guys, I unashamedly LOVE Fire Force. I find the series to be tons of fun, the bits of unnecessarily flashy fan-service aside, and the character outfits/designs are just the coolest in my eyes. I’ll actually be cosplaying little Shinra Kusakabe in March, so I’m really excited to beef up my manga knowledge of the flame hero!


There it is, the second of more holiday hauls to come. Like the first haul’s unintentional blue-green blend of items, this haul is also by chance themed out for a color. Can you tell what that is? (HINT: It’s the color of FIRE.) Feel free to share your thoughts on any of these pick-ups down in the comments, and I’ll see you all tomorrow with yet another batch of anime-related goodies!

– Takuto, your host