2017 August Anime Haul [Birthday Edition]!

Greetings cafe goers!

August was a special month for me: first day of college, beginning my Funimation Now and Amazon Prime subscriptions, and most special of all, my birthday! Thank you so much to all those who sent me birthday wishes and good cheer that August 27th! It was just another reminder as to how many friends I’ve met thanks to blogging, and how far we’ve all gone together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Now, my siblings like to go overboard on birthdays. They’re HUGE in my house. Like, even if you’re 40 or 50 you’re gonna get a ton of gifts and feel celebrated for—that’s just how we roll!

This year, my siblings asked for a list, and while that doesn’t guarantee anything will get picked, it gives them an idea of what I like (even though they already know by now). As always, I try to remain cost efficient, pulling together items that are currently on sale from various sites and places into one big list of fairly inexpensive anime-related items.

At the time, the biggest sale going on was Funimation’s end of summer (or was it middle of summer, I can’t remember) sale. We’re talking $5 films, $10 classics, and $30 new shows—that’s like RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP. And for that reason, I can understand why I received so many new titles. I’m now gonna brag about how cool they are by showing off what I got, so thanks bro and sis!

FullSizeRender (3)

My sister gifted to me one of the big hitters, if not THE biggest, of 2015: the chic yet suspenseful Death Parade. We’ve already busted it open, and have been watching an episode each night to relieve stress (or to add to it since there’s so much suspense and, well, death). She also got me the Trigun: Badlands Rumble film, and while that’s neat and all, I don’t have Trigun, nor have I watched it. There’s a reason she gave it to me (and wrapped it in my signature paper wrapping decorated with hints to the show as a little guessing game) . . .

FullSizeRender (6)

AND THIS is why she got me the film, hahaha she had coordinated with my brother!! Now I can enjoy this classic and not feel bad that they spent a ton of money on anything. He also got me the last book in the Bakemonogatari trilogy, which I’ve been reading since the first, Kizumonogatari.

FullSizeRender (4)

But he doesn’t stop there, oh no. He got me the SECOND big-hitter of 2015, everybody’s favorite Blood Blockade Battlefront, as well as the next film in the Project Itoh trilogy, harmony. (I showed the first film, The Empire of Corpses, to them, and told them the history of the project’s writer. Guess it must’ve made him curious.) I haven’t watched either of these yet, but I can’t wait!!

FullSizeRender (5)

To finish of my Ghost in the Shell collection (which I also showed to them the 1995 film), he got me the second of two OVA sets, which contains borders: 3 & 4Ghost Tears and Ghost Stands Alone. While I thought that Arise was mediocre at best, I am a collector, and this is just as wonderful as receiving a 10/10 title!

FullSizeRender (7)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST (oh god, how truly spoiled I am), he gifted to me this curious little oddity I found in the RightStuf 30th Anniversary sale, Freedom, which is supposedly from the creators of the apocalyptic Akira. I haven’t watched either of these yet, but I’m excited to explore more of the anime sci-fi branch and its origins. Plus it came in this stupidly high-quality box set (despite being under $30), complete with a mini artbook and YES black Blu-ray cases. Again, thank you so much bro!!

FullSizeRender (2)

But OF COURSE, I had to spoil myself #treatyoself with two titles that I’ve been VERY excited to watch! The first, a short series (like Arise, composed of four or five one-hour-long episodes) which takes place between the legendary Code Geass‘s first and second seasons: Akito the Exiled. After rewatching the series with my siblings this past summer (which they ABSOLUTELY LOVED TO DEATH), getting this ASAP was a must. Now we can enjoy the events that took place between the two seasons, as well as witness stunning CG mecha fights. I’ve plugged in the first two episodes, and so far it’s quite entertaining. Oh, and it came with an art card set like the first did, YAY! (ugh I’m wet for Clamp artwork.)

FullSizeRender (1)

The other movie I picked up was the wildly anticipated 2016 Japanese masterpiece film Shin Godzilla. I’m not a huge Godzilla fan, but knowing that Evangelion director Hidaeki Anno directed this project, too, made it a MUST HAVE. I NEED to know what he worked on between 3.33 and his upcoming 3.0+1.0 in order to understand the emotions running through his mind (or dare try), so the other title I need to pick up is Sentai Filmworks’ The Dragon Dentist, which I believe comes out in the fall.

I also know that Life-in-Japan YouTuber Sharla (Sharla in Japan, Sharmander) worked with the lead actors and actresses on pronouncing their English, as there is quite a bit despite being an otherwise subtitled film. I like Sharla, her videos being a large source of relaxation, exploration, and fun for me.

For another #TakutoMovieNight on Twiter, I watched Shin Godzilla as soon as it came in and I LOVED IT to pieces!!! Still not converted to a full-on Godzilla fan, haha, no, but the directing is very much like his films (1.11 especially), to which I honestly can’t get enough of. I’ll review it sometime if you’d like, just know that it’s already a thumbs up from me! When I watch it again, I’ll try out Funimation’s English track to see if it’s any good!

That’s all from me! For those wondering, I had a nice relaxing weekend with the family, to which we exchanged good food, laughs, and films together. Specifically, we continued the tradition of watching a film of my choice, and to follow up last year’s 1.11 (review here), we watched Evangelion 2.22 (review here).

Surprisingly, it left my parents intrigued as to what happens next, so my dad decided we’d watch 3.33 (review here) the following week. That made me happy. After watching it, however, they both got pretty confused (no surprise there), but I still think that they hold as much hope for the last film as I do, and that also reassures me.

In otherwords, it’s been a very Evangelion weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way~!

Again, big thank you to all who said such kind things to me throughout my little holiday!! I’ll be posting an End of August Update soon, so look forward to that! I really do have the BEST, most supportive family one could ever want, both IRL and through the net. Thanks for making my day that lil’ bit of “extra” we all need! Love you all, you party crew!!!

– Takuto, your host

IMG_5168

Advertisements

Time to Unravel

Mina-san, konnichiwa! Takuto here with a spontaneous update because, you know, why wait?

So if you’ve been around the cafe recently, you’d notice that I’ve been doing a bit of exploring. Starting with the school idols, Love Live! School Idol Project, and I had a grand time with them. Though a great start for my summer, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something a little more, hmm, profound.

kotori meme

If this doesn’t prove my point, IDK what will.

Then I hit up the Monogatari series with Bakemonogatari. Again not quite what I was searching for, but it was definitely a lot closer. It was still a great watch, still contemplating moving on to Nisemonogatari or not . . .

monogatari meme

Good question, I don’t see it, do you? (ARARAGI BUSTED!)

Finally, I got the full-on human analysis with From the New World, and boy was that a ride. I freakin’ loved that show (if you read my entire dang long review, pat on the back for you)! 😀 A bit slow at first, but it only spiraled from the middle and on. After watching, my slate was pretty much scraped clean. Blank.

yori meme

Oh god! This one was just too good, haha!

So with all of this time, what anime do I tackle next, if any? I mean, I still got seven simulcasts to keep up with. That’s enough, right?

Apparently not.

I play the cello. If you didn’t know, well, now you do! My private lesson teacher has like three other students, and each season there’s a humble ‘lil house recital where we “strut our stuff.” It’s become an amazing tradition.

But there is another student besides me that watches anime, and when we proposed a summer song that we would play at the recital (like we always do, summer is for recommendation group pieces), she brought up “Unravel,” the opening of the recently famous horror thriller Tokyo Ghoul. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t plan on watching the series. Sure, it looks good, but meh, there are other shows that I’d like to pick up on.

tokyo meme

Me too, Kaneki. Me too.

So I passed when the show started airing. Skip forward and we’re back to music. My teacher wants to commission me to transcribe a cello quartet version of the crazy rock song. WHAT!? She said she gave it a listen and thought it was possible, then tossed the burden upon my already crushed anime-binge-watching tired shoulders. In the picture above, the music that my sweet coffee is under, yep, that’s the beast.

kazoo

BUZZ BUZZZZZ BUZZZ JUST TRYIN’ TO PLAY

Now, I love anime openings like no other, and in order to grasp the song completely, I needed context. *sighs* I suppose I’ll just watch the show now. *droopingly uploads the first episode*

I marathoned the whole damn thing from the 18th to the 19th.

My mind is absolutely blown by this point, and you can expect a review soon! So many questions left unanswered, though, so you can all guess what I’ll be hitting up next:

root a

Don’t know if I’m happy for more or scared it’ll ruin everything

That’s right, Tokyo Ghoul √A! Now I’ve heard it’s complete and utter CRAP, but let’s have Takuto decide that for himself, right?

As far as transcribing “Unravel” goes, it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but at least I know the song’s background much more than before. I’m kinda excited to get started, actually!

So I guess that’s it for my random update. With simulcasts ending and me rushing through the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, I wonder what show comes next in my anime adventures. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of May Update 6/3/15

Mina-san, konnichiwa (sorry about that gif, I just had to) ~

First off, good God – it’s already June. Where did the time go?? Secondly, a warm welcome to all of my new followers and viewers, and a welcome back to my usual guests. I hit the most likes yesterday, and it’s all thanks to you guys. Thanks so much!

I’ve been scavenging for a new anime just to buy, sit down, and watch, but my pockets are empty 😦 On another note, I have a ton of shows on my list (like everyone else), so the river never runs dry!

Onto the usual anime update:

Recently finished:

Love Live! School Idol Project (1st and 2nd Season Review) – such a joyride! I am a μ’s fanboy! For a fun review under “Cakes,” look no further

Bakemonogatari – hmm, I’m not sure what to think of the Monogatari series yet, not as epic as I heard it’d be, but still an enjoyable watch, a “Coffee” review here!

Currently watching:

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – while extremely slow and dragging at first, the latest episode (was it 8 or so?) really started to kick it in, mildly interested

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – ugh, little by little we’re uncovering more info regarding the setting, but the characters and the story are so weak, that car scene with Yuu, Shinoa, and the guy with glasses was hilarious, though!

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? – not really sure where this show is even going, the villain better make a move soon, Bell, Hestia, and Lili are still fairly enjoyable to watch, latest episode with Bell really shocked me, though

Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season – while I’m getting lost in some of the heroic dialogue, the action is still phenomenal, Lancer in UBW is X10 more loveable than the original series

Sound! Euphonium – with that last episode featuring relationships and Kosaka, everything is reallly coming together, one of the best shows this season!

Plastic Memories – it waddles around playfully with Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship; not its strongest point, cases with taking back more Giftias are still very emotional, wishing for more of that before Isla’s time expires

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – still food porn, though everyone says otherwise, I’m having the best time with this show, love it so much!

I would write a review but I haven’t finished anything else, so I’ll get started on something soon. For those interested, I am writing another “Cafe Talk” because it was fun to write and the first one received a lot of positive feedback – Thanks! I was also recently nominated for the Sunshine Award, and you can check out my responses here! How are all of you doing? What simulcasts this spring season do you enjoy watching? Comment down below, I appreciate you reading and liking my posts, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Bakemonogatari Review

So I decided to take up another large anime project and have settled on the Monogatari series. Famous for its dialogue-driven stories full of supernatural phenomenon, I thought “hey, sounds like a blast.” What I got instead, sugar coating scraped off, was a hit-or-miss subtitle-heavy anime that, with all careful decision in mind, I might not explore to its fullest.

“Ghostory” centers on Koyomi Araragi, a high school boy who, after surviving a vampire attack, became half-vampire himself, giving him various powers such as regeneration and heightened vision. To the best of his abilities, Araragi lends a helping hand to five different girls who have also become entangled with ghosts and spirits. His first encounter with the sadist tsundere Ms. Senjougahara Hitagi, however, sets him down the path of frustration yet eventually love.

I came into this anime expecting dark, twisted stories about ghosts and the occult, but instead I got a romance harem. *sighs* The series is divided into five different arcs – one for each girl – and while each one is interesting and rounds out a particular character to a considerable degree, the lack of coherence to each story chops up Senjougahara and Araragi’s overarching relationship. In an anime filled with nothing but dialogue, each arc manages to keep the story fresh, but their relationship suffers heavily.

In terms of character dialogue, there is nothing wittier than this, well, besides Okabe and Makise from Steins;Gate. Crafty wordplay, playful teasing, and intense argumentative banter are so well presented in Bakemonogatari that often times than not, it’s even worth reading in subs. Sure, some of the comical value of the puns is lost, as I sadly do not know Japanese, but the interactions are still super entertaining. A downside to this factor is that these quirky conversations can last the span of half an episode, where the characters are just standing around or sitting on a park bench. AS SUCH, THE SHOW CAN BE EQUALLY BORING.

Another disappointing thing was that arcs would begin mysteriously and uber creepy (YESS!!), but then they sometimes build up to a lackluster finish. For instance, I really liked how “Nadeko Snake” started, but man, it was such a boring finish. This show was good, but not a masterpiece by any means, and I honestly don’t know if I want to watch the second season.

Each of the girls have been “cursed” so-to-speak by an apparition, and as a result carry some sort of deformation that affects their body: Hitagi’s physical weight was stolen from her, Mayoi can’t seem to return home, Suruga’s arm became that of a monkey’s, so on and so forth. In addition to their dilemmas, each girl is a personification of various anime girl stereotypes – but with a twist. Take Hanekawa: class rep, studious, kind, but has parental problems at home. Suruga is the loud athletic girl, but she’s extremely perverted as well as a hardcore lesbian! These additions not only help personalize characters, but they feel more realistic, too.

Watching all of the characters interact with each other is where this anime shines. Because the show has such a small cast, each of the characters are explored and developed quite thoroughly. Even Araragi is hilarious to watch, witnessing his switch from lolicon to pervert, serious man to joker! The comedic skits are fast-paced while the “return fire” in arguments are just as quick-witted! Great voice acting, especially for Araragi and Senjougahara, also helps to bring out the sass talk!

Animation studio Shaft brings it all together with its attractive presentation. Silhouettes, background shadows, geometric lining, extreme symbolism and color balance are all presented with such unity that it’s truly remarkable to watch! Not to mention, varying camera angles and flash frames attempt to keep those long conversation scenes as exhilarating as possible. Also, it’s hilarious to watch the characters anger Araragi; I love all of the cartoon faces that he makes!

About the flash frames, though –  while some shows flash a couple of words that can easily be read, Bakemonogatari seizures us with occasionally paragraphs of plot-important text. I found myself slamming the pause button every five seconds during the episode openings where they are most abundant.

As for OST, the fight scenes are not necessarily well-supported, but the lengthy conversations have several strange and upbeat scores playing in the background. While the OST is not worth mentioning, the fourth opening “Ren’ai Circulation” by Kana Hanazawa and the fifth opening “Sugar Sweet Nightmare” by Yui Horie are both really catchy!

Bakemonogatari is a very surreal anime built around cursed characters that try to fight their own nightmares. They speak cleverly, some a bit smart-assy than most! I strongly recommend walking into this anime with an open mind, as lots of information are thrown at you – and you gotta read fast! Underneath all of the jokes is a memorable cast of colorful and deep characters, each complete with a story of their own no matter how grim, and it’s all about diving into their personal hell and finding the cure so that they can be at peace once again.

“If I kill you, that means I’ll be the one closest to you when you’re on your deathbed. Isn’t it romantic?” – Senjougahara to Araragi

+ Incredibly well-developed characters with entertaining dialogue

+ Sense of “something’s not quite right” establishes great tone

+ Shaft’s unique animation adds to the series quality

– Lots of subtitles to read

– Drastically boring during periods without suspense

Haha, Senjougahara, I’m not sure if that’s romantic, but it’s definitely true (and freakin’ weird)! If you want, you can watch the first 12 episodes of Bakemonogatari on Crunchyroll for free, and you’ll have to find the last three episodes somewhere . . . umm . . . on the web. What did you think of this anime? Does it get better after the first season? Staplers and head tilts!? Let me know in the comments, thanks for reading, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host