The Heroic Spirit Manifesto (Anime Ver) | Cafe Talk

Hi guys, so it would appear that I’ve missed this deadline by quite awhile. This post is about two weeks late, in fact. I’ll be posting some sort of mid-May update here soon to caption what’s been going on and why I haven’t been posting (though you could probably guess). This way, I can avoid cluttering up the hero week celebration. Welcome to café talk . . . ?

weareheroesreformatted

What was this post supposed to be about again?

That’s a good question, haha. Hero Week was ideally supposed to encompass my thoughts and reviews for four anime with heroes in them followed by a café talk to wrap everything up and conclude with a few of your guys’ thoughts.

Unfortunately, there were very few comments. On two posts, exactly zero. so I won’t be doing that part.

In huge part, this was all my bad. While I did get the first few reviews out on perfect schedule, I lacked the promotional qualities that would technically keep bringing people back. Little preparation went into setting up the “festivities.” In fact, I mainly set this all up as an excuse to review the recent flow of anime I had finished with heroes in them.

Another reason Hero Week fell pretty flat was – again, on my fault – the shows that I picked. ERASED was a good one, and it got the matching hits and comments it deserved. Since everyone has already talked about One Punch Man, I figured that it would attract little public eye. The hardest one to write, Yuki Yuna is a Hero, is the most obscure show on the list, and despite how much effort went into writing it, only a tiny handful of you checked it out — and that is FINE! As readers (and writers), we deem what we think is worth our time, and if it was worthwhile, we might even drop a like or a comment. As a content creator, I was a bit discouraged.

Then my dinky iPhone-published-on-the-spot My Hero Academia impressions post came out, and several of you rejoined the congregation. This was unexpected! While I didn’t feel it made up for the lack of activity on the previous ones, I was definitely happy to talk with all of you 🙂

So where does this leave us? I mean, why even bother? Because heroes should be celebrated, and also because I am NOT a quitter! I realize this was kinda a failed project (and I won’t rush into one like this again), but there were very important lessons learned during the process. Part of me is glad that it turned out like this just so that I can emerge even stronger and more knowledgeable about the whole ordeal. But enough about my pitfalls, let’s talk about what the heroic spirit means to some other popular anime (no spoilers)!

The Heroic Spirit Manifests in other Anime

Fate/Zero – Quite literally, the seven “heroic spirits” which are conjured up by the Holy Grail itself each contain their own ideology on heroism, some being more extreme than others. The majority believe, however, that heroes are leaders among the crowd, and they must continue to inspire their brethren in the pursuit of peace and triumph. They must be feared, awed, and worthy.

Attack on Titan – Heroes are hard to come by in this world overrun by gigantic zombies, but even those few reluctant heroes must spur comrades – and even humanity – to find the will to survive, and to be bold and brave during dark times.

Eden of the East – Twelve influential people are given the possibility change humanity for the better by transforming not only politics and economics, but also society itself. Though they all possess their own opinions on how the world should be saved, these heroes must give the average man or woman a sense of belonging and purpose in such an overwhelmingly crowded world.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica – All magical girls seem to do is fight bad guys with sparkles and pink dust, but this dark fantasy’s twist adds extreme weight to the biz. Whether it’s fighting to purge your mind of troublesome thoughts, clashing with others who oppose your methods, or moving forward (or going back) to save the lives of the ones you love, heroes must make devastating sacrifices and bear terrible burdens in order to protect those who are precious.

 

A Certain Scientific Railgun – In this massive network of a city for academics, darkness lurks behind forgotten alleyways and inaccessible files. To eliminate surface crime and the unspeakable evils of power and curiosity, heroes must possess good judgment and an open personality to keep their dearest friends out of the chaos. Consequently, they also must be able to accept a helping hand when faced against extreme odds.

Guilty Crown – Being ordinary is just dandy, but when accidents so tremendous shake the very foundation of science and human health, heroes must arise to the occasion and step up to bat when potential is thrust upon them. And in their pinnacle depression, they must be able to accept the guilt of others by transforming shame into valuable experience.

The Rose of Versailles – A life of luxury comes at the expense of others’ suffering. When that suffering becomes inhumanly great and revolution ignites on the horizon, a hero of passion, charisma, and valor must understand both sides of the spectrum before taking a stance.

I could go on until we’ve covered nearly every anime I’ve watched, but I think you get the picture.

Hopefully now you can see that in ERASED, heroes must be able to overcome trial and error by empathizing with the past. Or that in One Punch Man, heroes can be any guy off the street so long as they have fun fighting for the good of the cause. Or how about in Yuki Yuna is a Hero, where heroes must be able to bear the pain of others, however intense, and handle loss in order to keep them truly safe.

I’d like to conclude with one of the heartiest anime I’ve come across thus far: My Hero Academia. Loaded with stereotypes and gimmicks so cheesy and redundant that we know the outcome of every scene — But we still love it, why? Because heroes must be able to inspire others to do good deeds for the cause itself. They’re not out to eliminate all evil in the world, but to spread enough positive vibes that outdo negative potential.

Watching Izuku Midoriya stumble during every training session and getting back up again is what fuels us to believe that he is a hero. We can relate to him and the other students and heroes alike. All Might himself has decided to pass on his quirk, the culmination of strength of previous holders, to Izuku, which is proof from the get-go that Izuku has the capacity to serve the world well.

All of the celebrity-like heroes in My Hero Academia have this cool edge to them (beyond the neat costumes and variety of superpowers), and watching them soar in and save the day fills us with this familiar sense of well-being — like there truly is someone out there fighting behind the scenes for all of us and boosting our drive to right our wrongs, find hope, and smile through the pain. All of this isn’t set out to rid the world of evil, but more in the hopes that one day, we can inspire those around us and the world to do wonderful things.

To bring all of this in full circle conclusion, I TASK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU to comment below with an anime title and how the HEROIC SPIRIT manifests itself within the story or characters. It’s hard to go wrong, especially after the examples I listed, and I know that you have some interesting things to say on the matter. Upon submitting your comment, you will have completed Takuto’s hero training courseCongratulations, and thank you for celebrating Hero Week with me!

What do we have in Common? WE ARE HEROES!

If I Went Missing . . . ERASED | Hero Week Review

One Punch Man is Absurd, Out-of-this-World Fun! | Hero Week Review

Loss Has Little Meaning in Yuki Yuna | Hero Week Review

My Hero Academia (Eps. 1-5) Thoughts | Hero Week

Above are the Hero Week reviews just in case you missed them the first time around and wish to check them out and/or add something to them. Sorry again for the late finale (consider this a lesson learned for myself) and I can’t wait to see you in the comment party! We can still make this awesome 😀

– Takuto, your host

Advertisements

If I Went Missing . . . ERASED | Hero Week Review

A brief review of the 12-episode winter 2016 anime “Boku dake ga Inai Machi” (trans. The Town Where Only I am Missing”) or simply “ERASED,” produced by A-1 Pictures, based on the manga by Kei Sanbe.

Hearing about anime with time travel immediately make me feel two things: Exhilaration and skepticism. The rush of adrenaline is an obvious one. I mean, doesn’t finding out that trial and error will play a key part make you excited? The concept usually entails a character going through repetitive hardships to eventually overcome a goal that will better either themselves or the future or both. Often, however, shows will fail to use the gimmick to its maximum potential, either not developing a character enough to show improvement (or drastic change) or making an inconsistent story just for thrill’s sake.

ERASED executes a surprising mix of these turnouts, and depending on how you interpret the lead, Satoru, by the end, you’ll either walk away awestruck or feeling quite underwhelmed about the whole package.

Dismal 29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is a pizza delivery man/part-time manga artist/time traveler in modern-day Japan. Well, sort of. He just has these occasional bursts where, right as a disaster occurs, he is sent back a few moments to before the incident. He calls the unexplained phenomenon “Revival,” and he seems to be tasked with saving those facing inevitable peril.

Returning to his apartment from a seemingly normal outing, Satoru finds his mother brutally skewered on the floor and is unfairly accused of murder. Just as the adrenaline is enough to cause his heart to burst, Satoru is tossed back once again through “Revival.” But this time, a few breather minutes beforehand becomes 18 years—1988—and is enough to send him back to elementary school!

A man trapped in a boy’s body, Satoru comes to realize that his mother’s untimely death could be tied to the abduction and killing of a lone classmate of his during childhood, Kayo Hinazuki. Given a second chance at righting wrong and changing his own presently-dull fate, Satoru is challenged to save those lost in the past, protect beloved ones in the present, and ultimately expose the mastermind behind the killings.

Let’s get one thing straight: ERASED is not a good mystery anime. It has mystery elements, yes, but the identity of the killer at large is far too predictable. This mainly stems from the otherwise lack of possible suspects. A good mystery anime wouldn’t toss in a character at the end and label him the murderer—thankfully ERASED doesn’t do that. Where it fails is in the tiny toss up of possible killers. I wanted to say I was truly shocked by the end, but the abrupt change in slower pace and lack of characters to choose from left little room to ponder. Some of the animation cues are also at fault, but we’ll cover that department’s actual brilliance in a bit.

While we’re discussing the cons, I’ll add that the unexplained notion of how or why Satoru undergoes these “Revivals” really bothered me when I reached the end of the series. It’s as if they show us a preview of the power in a few beginning instances, then toss the idea once we hit the halfway point. Being a time travel fanatic, I was disappointed with how it was handled, unless . . . The gimmick doesn’t revolve around needing to save Kayo. Some otherworldly force did it so he could save himself, a man not interested in society and partially life. And where else do you meet friends and solidify family? Childhood. I see each “Revival” as a wake-up call for Satoru, like, “Get a hold of your life, man!”

At least the show’s wild predictability and faulty concept were led by memorable characters, specifically speaking, Satoru, Sachiko Fujinuma (his big-lipped, sharp-eyed momma and arguably best character of the season), and Kayo Hinazuki. The wide screen narrative for his revisited childhood days was fantastic contrast, and it fits the movie theater theme as represented by the opening and the “Revival’s” running film. While the background characters served their purpose, nothing was more entertaining than 28-year-old Satoru’s thoughts being accidently leaked from his little kid mouth. The fixed goal set by his favorite manga hero that is always referenced helps guide his character. I could go on about how smart and well-intertwined these main characters are, but my friend Rocco B laid it all out in his comprehensive review, which I urge you to check out for more depth on every layer.

As for production quality, it’s once again A-1 Pictures and Yuki Kajiura—could a guy ask for more? Honestly, the intense color palette and flowing imagery accompanied by Kajiura’s deeply-felt and haunting main melody brought the story to life. She conveys Satoru’s soliloquy with excellent intensity.

The real question is for ERASED, are you an OP or ED guy/gal. For me, the tune of the ending “Sore wa Chiisana Hikari no Youna” by Sayuri was much addicting and romantic, albeit Sayuri’s voice being a bit on the high and nasally end. Fight me.

With a future thrown into mayhem (Satoru running from the cops and getting into house fires 24/7), ERASED only seemed fun and truly thrilling in childhood; the future seems lost in purpose. Speaking of excitement, where its mystery failed to convince me, its thriller levels were off the charts! It seems every time red flashed across the white 1988 snow, my heart skipped a beat. That is, until you reach the last episode or two.

HERO WEEK SEGMENT: Archetypical Hero qualities represented by Satoru

I’ve taken a quick trip to Google to provide qualities of the typical hero. Let’s briefly exercise each prompt:

  • Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty
    • Other than the fact that his father is out of the picture, not much can be said for this one.
  • Leaves family or land and lives with others
    • Satoru, as we see it, is on a long journey from age 10 to 28. In the present, he lives by himself with a part-time job and a hobby he wishes to pursue. I assume he moved out not only because he was old enough, but because he wanted to get a job as a manga artist for his hero story, and his career path led him to the city where these kinds of options are more prevalent.
  • An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure
    • The death of Sachiko is the big one, obviously. Satoru lost his one and only crutch supporting him in these seemingly purposeless days.
  • Hero has a special weapon only he can wield/always has supernatural help
    • “Revival” anyone? This is the weakest point, as his power is truly the unexplained supernatural, but all that matters is that he is given a second chance—only he can change fate.
  • The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure
    • Protect Kayo Hinazuki. Keep Airi out of harm’s way. Prove Jun Shiratori’s innocence. Save Sugita and Nakanishi. Find the murderer. These and many more challenges await Satoru on his rugged journey.
  • ***SPOILERS START HERE***
  • The journey and the unhealable wound
    • Coming in episode 9, Satoru is drowned by the killer, thus becoming ‘erased.’ Though the story proceeds to save his rear with the ‘sudden coma treatment,’ this imprisons Satoru for several years. When he reawakens, he is a changed man—he suffers brief amnesia, but then quickly marks the line between good and evil by pointing out the killer on the cold hospital rooftop. He won’t be able to regain these lost years, but they have changed him for the better, as he is able to see the wonderful lives that have sprouted from those he saved.
  • Hero experiences atonement with the father
    • Upon her sudden death, Satoru melts at being with his mom once again in the past. He uses her passing as a motivator (avengement) for seeking Kayo’s safety, watching over her and struggling against the inevitable.
  • When the hero dies, he is rewarded spiritually
    • THIS is the key one, and tends to affect people’s enjoyment. Clearly Satoru didn’t die at the end, but the part of him that revisited the past and was able to undergo “Revivals” is no longer with him. The traumatic event in episode 9 caused the split in spirit. For his work, Satoru is rewarded with a new start at middle-aged life rife with opportunity and good fortune, contrasting the beginning. But unlike most heroes, Satoru loses his special power, leaving us to assume that his journey wasn’t about a kid saving the lives of many, one about a man seeking redemption through experiencing loss. Because he mentions in the epilogue that he never experienced another “Revival,” we are led to believe that his mission is complete, which somewhat defies the typical hero. He ACTUALLY gets to relive his life, while most retire to death following their journey.
  • ***SPOILERS END HERE***

Good things have been said about ERASED for a reason: Its intense thriller fantasy atmosphere is awesome, the music and animation are top-notch, and Satoru is an exciting main character (voiced by an incredible actor, mind you). Fair enough. The end also gets a lot of slack for being anticlimactic. That I really also agree with. It all comes down to how you interpret the hero’s journey—Was the enemy too easily identifiable, or was Satoru’s reward too gracious? All that can be surely said is that we tend to notice how much we have only once we’ve lost it. In a town where only you went missing, I’m sure I would realize the impact you’ve made.

“Kayo, my fate is my own. There’s no need for you to feel responsible. I’m sure that what’s become of me was a result of something I wanted.” – Satoru Fujinuma

Being entertaining is not the same as being well-written. A solid “Cake (4/5),” ERASED was definitely my favorite from the winter 2016 season, then again I only watched two anime. What did you think of the show? How did you interpret the same issues everyone had with it? FEEL FREE TO TALK ABOUT SOMEONE IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE, or how you thought Satoru was a good/bad hero! I want to celebrate the cause with all of you! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Just look at how happy momma Fujinuma is. Best mom 2016!

 

What do we have in Common? WE ARE HEROES!

There’s a reason for my frequent absences. Hosts hold social get-togethers, and I feel I’ve been failing a bit in that department. 

Join Takuto in celebrating “Hero Week” from May 2nd through the 8th! To combat my recent stumblings in anime with heroic themes, throughout the week I will be posting reviews of the following anime:

Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)

One Punch Man

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

My Hero Academia (episodes 1-3, possibly 4)

What can you do to help (besides reading and commenting, like ya do)? Comment on any of these posts with your favorite heroes in anime or heroes in real life. These can be both the characters we love and people you value on your side of the fence. Each review will also contain a special mini-segment regarding the values of the hero archetype presented, and any flaws behind their ideology.

I urge you to involve as many spirited bloggers as you can! I want this to be a HUGE project that dominates the café for a solid week and floods it with iconic idols and wonderful people! I’ll be working around the clock trying to respond to each and every comment that comes in as soon as possible (because comments typically tend to slip by me once I unintentionally open them up to preview them). At the very end, I’d like to write a “Café Talk” post to encompass our many ponderings, much like I did with the Revisit of Evangelion and to an extent In Defense of Fairy Dance.

If you don’t have (for whatever reason) a favorite being of justice, feel free to browse around and get to know your other fellow bloggers and the important figures in their lives—Use this as your makeshift Memorial Day if you don’t celebrate such a holiday! Comment below if this interest you, or that you feel you’d like to participate 😀

A small blog like this one can’t do a whole lot on its own, but together, we should be able to have a grand time and spread awareness to the awesome individuals who have dragged us out of darkness at some point in our lives. I’m overflowing with all kinds of crazy ideas, so I can’t wait to start pumping these reviews out! Until next week, stay awesome guys! WE ARE HEROES –

– Takuto

P.S. (Spread dorky hashtags if you’d like #takutoheroweek #weareheroes :D)

End of March Update 4/10/16

Hello cafegoers! March was a big month for me. I finished all ongoing anime that I started way back in the winter and concluded my research over one particularly tedious project. With all slates wiped clean, it’s time to move on to bigger and better anime. But first, we must recap the cool things I finished! Onto the update!

Recently Finished:

Cowboy Bebop – We (my family) arranged a weekend solely dedicated to finishing this classic “space western.” Let’s just say we were in for a long (12 episodes) and emotional haul. The end was a bit underwhelming, yet at the same time being everything that I wanted from a show such as this. The manner in which the crew disperses towards the finale is a sort of wake-up call, like a reminder that this wasn’t the kind of story we’ve been really following. It left a depressing hole in my heart, but that’s not to say I wasn’t satisfied. More thoughts to come in a brief review!

Girls und Panzer – You might recall this lil’ title in a previous haul, but yeah, finally got around to watching it. While the dub was pretty cringy (probably the worst I’ve ever seen), I managed to love EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of this tanks-meet-chicks comedy. I marathoned it in like two or three days, actually! Review on the way!

Baccano! – Mhmm, that’s right, the mafia stopped by to tell me that my job wasn’t over. In just 16 episodes, I witnessed a ragtag chase in the back alleys of the Big Apple, the struggle for immortality by alchemists, and a chain of bloody, grisly murders aboard the continental train The Flying Pussyfoot (HAHA HE SAID PUSSY). This was one of the most confusing anime I have seen, but oh boy, does Baccano! do A LOT of things right! You can bet your sweet tuckus I’ll hit more on it in a future review!

Erased – This one kept me entertained until about the last two or three episodes. It tried – it really did – but I just found the end predictable and lackluster. The thriller vibe it upheld through the entire ride, however, was absolutely incredible. Erased was only the most-watched and reviewed show of the season, so if I do write a review, it’ll be brief like my Bebop one would be.

Dimension W – This was the greatest disappointment of the season for me. I came in expecting so much: It was the season’s only big sci-fi, FUNimation had a part in the anime’s production, and the premise was thoroughly invested in a futuristic concept. It was only natural to expect something grand to come from all of this, but the story fell so short so early on. After episode 6 or so, I lost interest. Don’t worry – I still finished it and plan to write a semi-rant/review.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero – Last but certainly not least is this seemingly innocent magical girl anime . . . Gosh, have there been any pure, fluffy magical girl anime since Madoka Magica? This one takes inspiration from its groundbreaking ‘predecessor’ by throwing all kinds of twists and turns in the typical magical girl system. As such, you can expect it to go from zero to one hundred come two-thirds into watching. I have many good (and iffy) things to say about Yuki Yuna coming soon, particularly why the show falls a tad bit short of PMMM!

Currently Watching:

One Punch Man – That’s right! Takuto finally gets around to the top hitter of last season AND possibly the best anime of 2015! Is it a man? Is it an egg? Is he bored with all things in life? Yes to all! I’m three episodes in, and so far it’s not half bad. Will I like it more than, say, Sound! Euphonium or Food Wars!? Hmm, probably not . . . but I’m very excited to see how the show will carry on without dulling its satire.

Simulcasts I plan to follow this spring:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – HYPE HYPE HYPE ATTACK ON TITAN HYPE HYPE HYPE

Kiznaiver – It’s studio Trigger and it’s not Ninja Slayer. Need I say more?

My Hero Academia – THE REAL HYPE. Mainly watching this to know what all the buzz is.

Mayoiga – I’m a sucker for mysteries, and this one looks genuinely interesting. It also sounds sort of like a survival game, which is another trick to bait Takuto.

Any Sword Art Online fans out there? I wrote this humongous five-part comprehensive analysis over the first season’s second half, “Fairy Dance.” CLICK HERE for the series! Be warned, it’s quite wordy, but it’s so far THE hardest thing I’ve ever written for this blog. I had a blast writing all of it, and I encourage you to check it out if you’ve enjoyed my musings thus far!

Now that the “Fairy Dance” analysis is out of the way, I’ve been slowly working on a lot of new projects behind the scenes. Some involve just tackling new simulcasts, some just checking on previous popular shows, and some are secret. More to come on those later, hyuk-hyuk-hyuk.

I had the time of my life at Naka-Kon 2016! Click here for more!

I’ll also be testing out some new review formats, so be on the lookout for your favorite one and let me know! I normally clock in with 1,000 to 1,400 words per review, but I’d like to try writing these next few in under 900. Partial reasoning for this cut is to practice my wording, but another comes from the fact that most bloggers (and readers) prefer shorter posts. It’s rare to come across a person who enjoys 5,000+ words of analysis 🙂 so I want to try shorter, more meaningful posts! I’m sure we all know the struggles.

So yeah, that’s about it. I’ve been busy with music and academic competitions these past several weeks (studying, practicing, studying). As you can see, I have no problem fitting in time to watch anime. It’s just hard to get around to writing about it, publishing a post, reading other posts, commenting, then replying to everything – WAH! But I enjoy reading from you guys, and I definitely get motivational-boosters from reading the comments you leave. 😀

In other news, it’s getting much warmer here . . . so much so that some afternoons are unbearable, ugh. Why can’t we get more rain?? I’ll be up all night drafting reviews for the many shows that I want to talk about, so I better end things here. What shows did you recently complete that knocked your socks off? Y’all have a pleasant week, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of February Update 3/6/16

A week into March and here I am with February’s recap! What did you expect? Me to show up on time? Haha. Hardly.

Anguish statements aside, hello everyone, I’m back. And I’m so glad to be here!! Remember me being sick in January? Well, Mr. Stomach-aches stopped by for no apparent reason other than to spread his good name, so that’s what has bugged me up the past several days (that and music/school-related happenings). It’ll be another slow week of recovery, so once again, apologies if I skip by most of your posts. I hate doing it, but it’s what I’ve gotta do to stay afloat.

As for updates, I can successfully say a fair amount has transpired this past February!

Recently Finished:

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth – There’s not much to say for this one that I haven’t already covered in my review (click me). It’s a nonsensical recap only meant for hardcore collectors/fans of the series, and as such is absolutely skip-able. On another note, YouTube recently did take down the “Canon in D” credit theme and WOW, that made me pretty ticked!

Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo. – This was the crux of all psychological response this past month (my first-ever comprehensive review here!). Loaded with twists and turns that illogically fit in the current Rebuild story, it’s ultimately just a prequel to the beginning of the end. After waiting a whole year for its localization, I can soundly say that it was worth the wait, though. However, while I applaud the bold choices made in 3.33, I voice a lot of concern for not only the Rebuild series, but for the franchise as a whole (click here). The final film is really setting itself up with a huge-ass checklist of glossed-over history that I’m nearly positive won’t get touched on. And that’s the saddest part. Will it be worth the wait? At this point, only God knows.

Evangelion: until You come to me. –  You might recall this one being bunched together with another Eva short called Another Impact, but this was easily the more beneficial and emotional of the two. Looted with possible hints to the fourth film, it was a side project of Anno’s team that succeeded brilliantly. Read about it HERE and listen to someone’s breathtaking AMV with a different cover of “Danny Boy” attached to it HERE. I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out both (honestly, the AMV is better)!

Asuka Langley Soryu AMV “Oh No!” by Marina & the Diamonds – Guilty Pleasure Alert! This came up on YouTube so being the lost lamb I was I clicked on it. BEST. ASUKA. AMV. EVER. The creator CLEARLY knows their cinematography, matching up the perfect scenes of our red-haired girl to this empowerment song. Call me crazy, but baby, I’m addicted! Click here to listen! 

The Rose of Versailles – My V-Day marathon finally concluded, totaling 40 episodes in two weeks for this historical shoujo classic! This anime offered oh-so very much to the famous anime tropes we’ve come to know and love/hate in many of today’s shoujo anime. Namely, the “strong woman” that is Lady Oscar, a bravado of devotion to loyalty and justice, while struggling against the cult of domesticity and finding love for the first time. Additionally, flashing through history once again with the French Revolution is a dark thing to leave behind. Am I glad it’s over? So very much so, yet it’s an adventure I’ll never quite be able to shake off for its strong impression. You can bet a review is coming soon!

Someone’s Gaze – This one’s a bit obscure, but once you hear it was directed by award-winning Makoto Shinkai, I’m sure you’ll leap for it, too! Not to mention, it’s only 7 MINUTES LONG AND IT CAN BE FOUND ON YOUTUBE! Now there’s no excuse to check it out! Shinkai’s works are famous for crunching an incredible amount of relatable scenarios and emotions into a small film run-time to create an overwhelming effect. While I’ve only seen this one and Voices of a Distant Star, I still highly recommend it. And once you’re finished, come back and let me know: Did you immediately call your dad first or cuddle with your cats after you watched? 🙂 CLICK HERE TO WATCH Someone’s Gaze!

Wolf Children (rewatch) – So I had stomach aches, my mom was taking care of me, spring has FINALLY arrived (how long it stays, who knows), cleaning the house – It’s time to rewatch Hosoda’s beautiful gift that is Wolf Children. My sister ended up joining me for the second half, and I got to say, this second time around was much better than when I initially watched it. Perhaps we become less critical when we watch things by ourselves, I have no clue, but it was a nice watch. Very nice. I think this sums up my week quite well, actually, kinda knockin’ me back on my feet. #growingupsucks

Sword Art Online Volume 4: Fairy Dance Part 2 – Okay, this one’s not an anime, but I FINALLY FINISHED MY SAO READING!! I’ve been doing this side research project on the franchised, mainly its difference between the infamous anime adaptation vs the original light novel interpretation of the Fairy Dance arc, and I can finally say I’ve concluded the note-taking part. Now it’s time to compile my efforts into my thesis and BAM put this sucker out on the blog! It’s come a looong way (doesn’t help that I’m a slow reader AND that it’s SAO) but within March, my mini-series will finally be released, and I hope you enjoy my analysis and efforts!

Currently Watching:

Cowboy Bebop – The Bebop train is ridiculously slow – thanks family. Since last month, only three more episodes have been covered. We’ve all just been so absorbed in our own schedules, but we have agreed to set aside next week towards finishing. We learned of Faye’s past (or lack thereof) and have also discovered the reason for Jet’s metal arm. There was also a nice episode about an old man who just wants to play chess. That was sweet.

Erased – Of the two simulcasts I am following, this one definitely steals the spotlight. Intense thriller vibes, sadistic characters, underlying mystery that’ll leave you holding your breath through the next episode, one mom so evil she’ll make you cringe and another mom so righteous you just wanna give her a big ol’ hug  – Erased has all of the good stuff, my attention included. Come next update, the show will have concluded, so I hope it pulls out everything its got for these next couple of weeks. I can’t wait for more!

Dimension W – I started off really enjoying the premise of this sci-fi. The balance between its decent main cast and episodic nature made for something I could just turn on each week, enjoy what I got, then dismiss it until next weekend. The show is starting to draw out its true intent – the focus shifting to these ‘coils’ – and it’s cause me to need to follow more intently. Is that a bad thing? Well, not necessarily, it just still leaves me scratching my head as to where it’s going sometimes. I’m sure Mira will eventually be leaving Kyouma as part of the plot or whatever, but other than that, I can’t say that I’m still gripped. A survival game/chase is beginning on Easter Island, the original root of coil experimentation (I think . . .), so that ought to be exciting. I just wish they didn’t add 10 new characters. Sheesh.

Currently Reading:

Seraph of the End (manga) – With SAO out of the fight, I can finally return to reading stuff I actually enjoy XD. I’ve read the first 1 and 1/2 volumes of the manga series and so far things are pretty static. The art style of the characters is really pleasant, as expressions are easily defined and the outfits are always cool. It is a little hard to envision the ruined world of Japan even with the drawings, though. The anime did a fair job at this, so I was hoping the manga would be even better, but my feelings remain mixed. Moreover, I just can’t wait to catch up to the anime’s second season and beyond, because while what I got in the first was O.K., it was enough to push me to uncover more. Also, sometimes this “trope trash” is a nice relief after revisiting the freakin’ French Revolution.

I once again would like to apologize for the lack of material lately. If I’m not busy, I’m suddenly ill, and vice versa. There was also a period after 3.33 where I just didn’t want to do much of anything. Ah feels ~ what crazy things. But do not fear, for I have the rest of my March posts all lined up . . . I just need to write them 😛 Haha, it’ll all be fine. How are all of you? Did you watch anything cool lately and want us to know? Drop a comment!

For those who stuck around until now, I HAVE been greatly considering creating a Twitter account for the blog to meet the demands of a certain group of kind folk!! The only thing holding me back is the fact that, yes, it’ll ultimately be another thing to add to the list of daily tasks. At the cost of building on friendships and making new ones (and attracting new cafe-goers, huehuehue) most of me thinks it’ll outweigh the pitfalls. We’ll just have to see! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of January Update 1/31/16

Evening all, not really sure why I am doing an update as I LITERALLY watched and read NOTHING, but for consistency’s sake I thought it’d be better to get this out there . . . for anyone who cares. Let’s get to it!

Recently finished:

Diddly squat. I’ve been sick, busy, sick, and more sick.

Did I mention sick?

Currently watching:

Cowboy Bebop – Yep. Still watching this one. Remember how I decided to watch it with my family? Well, that probably wasn’t the best decision I’ve made, as none of us have matching schedules, and even if we do, I feel bad for kicking someone else off of the TV! Agh, at least it’s a grand show thus far. We’re exactly halfway through, so I expect the lighthearted bounty hunter trips to switch to some deep stuff pretty soon.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (Erased) – If you’re not watching this this anime this season, you’re lying to yourself. Erased is about a boy (well, man in a boy body?) who is given the chance to (or kinda forced to) go back in time to save his mom and presumably a girl who died in his elementary school. I am two episodes in (gonna watch the third tonight >.<) and all I can say is WOW. Fast-paced, intense and consistent storytelling, and lovely animation provided by A1-Pictures (praise them “momma lips”). Yuki Kajiura’s music has yet to really stand out, but it supports what I’ve seen so far fairly well.

Dimension W – Yep, this is that other simulcast every anime fan and their grandma is following this season. Why am I? Well, aside it being science fiction, I am interested in its creation: FUNimation’s partnership in putting the production together. Admittedly, they only share a small part in the story department, but the production diaries they post on YouTube are very insightful. I’m not quite sure what the anime is about by episode two, nor where it’s headed, but I am nevertheless intrigued by what’s going on. The anime follows Kyouma, I think that is his name, and his job as a “Collector,” which involves retrieving energy-producing devices called “coils.”

Currently reading:

Sword Art Online Volume 4: Fairy Dance Part 2 – Still cracking through this one, over 1/4 done. Again, I put all reading and watching aside for a while, and I suppose this took the biggest blow. I’ll be picking back up on it soon, and plan to finish within the next week or two!

Last time I hinted as to my cosplay for spring convention(s), and while some of you will be disheartened to hear it is not Horn Skuld (Otaku Judge and Rocco B), it is still a beloved character from Seraph of the End. Everyone’s favorite blonde-headed vampire teen, Mikaela Hyakuya! I finally got the boots a few days ago, so everything’s pretty much set. All I need to do is trim the wig (or style it better), possibly find better pants, and decide whether or not to add light makeup just for eye effects and such. Not sure yet, though.

If you’ve already read my “I’ve been sick” post, then that’s all you need to know about me regarding the past two weeks. I do have the next 2 weeks of posts lined up, and all I have to do is write them (easier said than done, I realize, but oh well). We did add a new cafe-goer just yesterday, so a warm welcome to you and to all those returning ^.^ Thank you for your overwhelming support on my last update, by the way. It’s a lot easier to stand straight knowing an entire community of awesome friends is supporting your back, ya know? We gotta stick together during these rough times, haha! It’s cold yet oddly sunny where I’m at, but snow is on the horizon. Stay warm, everyone, and drink lots of hot chocolate and coffee – That’s what I’ll be doing! Alrighty, till next time everyone!

– Takuto, your host