“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!

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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.”

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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.

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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

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 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

Sentai Filmworks 2019 Summer Sale HAUL!

Hello all!

Just as the title says, I caved and spent $107 at Sentai Filmworks’ summer sale. They always go all out, and you know I can’t resist $10 anime Blu-rays.

Seeing as how one of my 2019 blog goals was to post more of my hauls (as I tend to buy a lot but not tell anyone, shhhh), here we are. Let’s get this box sliced open and see what’s inside!

First up is The Ambition of Oda Nobuna and BTOOOM!, two series that I’ve wanted for quite some time, but for entirely different reasons. BTOOOM! I’ve heard is an awesome survival game show, one of my favorite sub genres of the overarching thriller genre, so there’s that. But Oda Nobuna has been a long-awaited buy. I watched it in the summer of 2016, and enjoyed it immensely for some reason. Glad to finally have her in the collection—or should I say, on the throne where she belongs!

Here’s a couple more pickups I’ve been meaning to make for a while: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions!: Take On Me, the movie. I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about the former, but it was always out of stock whenever I tried to buy. Happy to have these after all this time!

I wasn’t actually planning on ever watching Knights of Sidonia, let alone buying it. Yet, it would seem even titles produced by Netflix expire on Netflix, meaning it was $20 now or a missed opportunity forever, and I thought hey, CG space fights sound pretty aight.

I used to TORTURE myself over whether to settle for DVD or pay practically double for Blu-ray back in the day. Thankfully, with Blu-ray prices steadily declining and DVDs going extinct, I’ve been limited to the obvious choice. It would seem that everyone’s trying to get ahold of this beloved title, however, so it was DVD for both sets or eBay Blu-ray hunting for one of the OOP collections. I chose laziness. Settled for less, perhaps, but was it really worth the effort to begin with? Only time will tell.

Last, but certainly not least, is Sentai’s massive Patlabor Blu-ray collection, which contains ALL of the classic series. That’s like, 47 episodes, 3 movies, and a boatload of OVAs. And it was just $40! A no-duh purchase for a sci-fi fan like myself, right?

Here’s what the inside cases look like. Love the coordinating art and the blue, white, orange color palette. The silver shine on the “box” also adds a nice industrial feel to the release. Did I mention the window on the box sleeve is really neat, cause it is.

And here’s the back, since I’m feeling generous and all (and I’m totally not exploding with happiness for the quality of this release). They even included a little timeline for all this animated stuff—how thoughtful! Speaking of time, I heard the first film just had its 30th Anniversary this past Monday, July 15th! What a perfect way to celebrate the franchise and its success! (Plus, a wonderful way to end this post!)


I love hauls. No matter the contents, no matter the amount, they bring me so much joy. Did you buy anything from the summer Sentai sale? Show me your haul over on Twitter or let me know down in the comments! Have you seen Patlabor, and did you like what you saw? Let me know that, too!

I typed all of this spontaneous post on my phone, so yay for mobile blogging. I’ll get around to posting a manga review here within the next couple days, so that’ll be cool. Same goes for a summer simulcast line-up . . . it’s, eherm, on the way, yeah. Otherwise, that’s all I’ve got, so till next time!

– Takuto, your host

The Revisit of Evangelion: We Have Begun Third Impact | Cafe Talk

Ladies and gents, children of all ages, welcome to a very special week here in the cafe (and to another wonderful cafe talk!). One fateful year ago from this upcoming Valentine’s Day, I was (not) alone (click to read the backstory). I had previously spent the first two weeks of the month building up to this day: Canceling holiday meetups, telling my family “see ya,” leaving my girlfriend (HAH, no such thing exists now and then :/), and even preparing snacks. To what end? I was determined to introduce myself into the fantastical world of the (in)famous mecha anime Neon Genesis Evangelion (click on link for my thoughts!!!!!). Primarily, I just wanted to watch the Rebuild films, but seeing as I didn’t know what they were (and that they were just tempting me at the store since childhood), I thought I’d just sit through the series so that I could get to the meat.

Well, I got myself into much more than a robot fight, mind you.

I ABSOLUTELY fell in love with everything the franchise had to offer. For days-weeks-heck, this whole YEAR after, I spent my time endorsing myself into whatever I could get my grubby little paws on. I finally got to buy those two films, went eBay dumpster diving for the original Platinum litebox release of the series, and even dipped my toes in picking up that controversial movie we all love but don’t understand (some hate it for that mere factor): The End of Evangelion (click link for my cool thoughts on it!!!) . And you know what? I even got (well, my cool bro picked them up for me on a music trip of his :D) the last two volumes of the manga, 13 and 14, just to coincide my experience with the last volume’s release. That’s right. I’m edgy~

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I even formatted some pictures on Google (thank you respective artists) and printed posters!!! Wow, not sure if that’s cool or lame . . . I think I’m pretty cool . . . o_o

Flash forward one crazy year, and here I am again, (not) alone. But I have other plans for this V-Day which I’ll advertise in a future post. This week is Evangelion week in the cafe – Specifically, my “Revisit” (get it, Rebuild, Revival, “Revisit,” oh I am so damn clever) to the beloved Tokyo-3. After what, 3 or 4 years of waiting, coincidentally, FUNimation finally decided to release the third installment of the Rebuild franchise: Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo. It was officially released this past Tuesday, February 2nd (yes, a fan such as myself had it on pre-order ;)), and in celebration of its release and my anniversary of uncovering the franchise for myself, I declared this Eva week, and spent a good chunk of Monday and Tuesday rewatching my favorite episodes (“The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still”).

Aren’t you loving how this all pans out for me? Coincidence after coincidence, lucky me ~

Here is how the week’s been running so far, and will proceed as planned:

2/1 Monday – Rewatch favorite episodes of NGE between 1-13

2/2 Tuesday – Rewatch favorite episodes of NGE between 14-26

2/3 Wednesday – Rewatch Evangelion 1.11

2/4 Thursday – Rewatch Evangelion 2.22

2/5 Friday – Watch Death & Rebirth

2/6 Saturday – Watch Evangelion 3.33

2/7 Sunday – Rewatch Evangelion 3.33, with siblings (movie theater, click here for backstory)

You’re probably sittin’ there gagging, “Takuto, why bother with Death & Rebirth? Isn’t it just a sh*tty retelling of the series followed by the first episode of The End of Evangelion?” 

Why yes . . . well, apparently, I suppose? I never included D&R during the grand binge of ’15, so I’ve only been going by speculation. It’s time I grow a pair and see what I think, though, right? Can a true HUGE fan of the franchise say they love it to death if they haven’t absorbed all of it? That’s my thinking at this point, at least, so I paid the $15 bucks just to have it in my collection (because collecting is fun).

I’ve rambled enough! Won’t you join me on this epic conquest to reestablish, reaffirm, rekindle, and revisit this anime classic (gosh, one would think we were about to do something again, wouldn’t they, sheesh)??!! If not, well, the door’s right over there (just kiddin,’ go find another one of my reviews to munch on until the cool kids are done partying LOL)! I mean, we’ve been with each other since the beginning, so let’s finish the third lap on the track that has been etched in anime history: 3.33, here we come!! You can expect a review of both Death & Rebirth and Evangelion 3.33 at the end of the celebration, and hey, if you haven’t already checked out my old reviews of parts in the franchise, click on the links scattered above. They could sure use some lovin.’ 🙂

I’ve already changed my wallpapers, blocked out the world, and prepared tons of snacks. Oh wait, SHHHH, the movie is starting!!!!!!!!

We have begun Third Impact once again, everyone. Join me in this segue so the End. “The end of every world has a beginning, and this is (not) the world we thought we knew.” It’s time to Revisit and Redo.

– Takuto, your host