Shin Godzilla is a Terrifyingly Realistic & Meaningful Ode to History | Review

A brief discussion on the summer 2016 Japanese film “Shin Godzilla” (also known as “Godzilla: Resurgence”), produced Toho, co-directed by Hidaeki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, based on the original story by Anno (Evangelion). 

*I am not overly familiar with the Godzilla franchise (meaning I cannot properly decide whether it is a particularly “good” or “faithful” addition), but I do respect it and the impact it has had on the Japanese people and the rest of the world.*

“A God Incarnate. A City Doomed.”

This is how Funimation captions the deadly film containing the biggest, baddest Godzilla known to mankind, and accurately so. (He’s literally the tallest in the franchise!) But before the King of Monsters surfaced from the deep, it was just another quiet day for Japan. Chaos quickly floods the scene when a giant, strange gilled creature explodes from the ocean’s surface and begins tearing through the city.

Prioritizing citizen safety above all else, the government attempts to keep the situation under control, only to realize that their technicalities and formalities are useless in the face of true terror. It’ll take a rag-tag team of volunteer scientists, engineers, and public safety officials to come up with some sort of way to combat this seemingly perfect lifeform. “But time is not on their side—the greatest catastrophe to ever befall the world is about to evolve right before their very eyes.” – Funimation

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More Than BOOMS! and BANGS!

Despite boasting action (it’s a Godzilla film for crying out loud), there’s a surprising amount of substance, particularly a possible social commentary on the hierarchy of the Japanese government and they way the nation handles foreign affairs during war time. Specifically, we are frequently shown how frustrating and slow policy can be. The film’s first half centralizes on political officials arguing about who should do what, when, and their reactions to the unbelievable events unfolding—most were consumed with disbelief, in fact, except for the young yet forward-thinking Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi, our basically-main character (and wow, what a title).

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We join Yaguchi in his frustration against the higher-ups, as well as his struggle to make amends with the innocent lives lost because of the government’s inability to act early on. While those above him in rank merely wish to hold fast to their comfortable, well-paying seats, shrugging off the impending doom that is about to likely kill them all, Yaguchi pulls together every asset that he can to find out what Godzilla is, and solve the mysteries surrounding Goro Maki’s research on the subject. It’s sad to admit how painfully real the execution of this all is.

Unlike the other officials who merely bicker about bureaucratic protocol and semantics (and not take things seriously), Yaguchi deals with exactly what’s in front of him. He knows he’s trapped within the system’s web, but he doesn’t fear questioning those above him in order to do his job correctly and honorably. Actor Hiroki Hasegawa conveys the complexity of Yaguchi’s character impressively, balancing fitting facial expressions for each emotional hit: a mix of concern, anger, sadness, and confusion.

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As I side note, I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement that came with watching Godzilla transform from the weird gilled lizard on all fours to the menacing tower of terror we’ve come to know and love. It was so much fun! One small small complaint that I did have was (and I’m not sure if this actually counts) that I couldn’t really tell if the CG done on Godzilla was “good” or not. Seriously, I couldn’t. Was he creepy lookin’? Sure, but I’m not sure how this makeover compares to previous ones. Also, while his explosive beams later on looked absolutely terrifying, I didn’t like the cheesy sound effects for the explosions—they felt like they were missing a low boom to ’em, or perhaps an epic bass you’d expect from a Hollywood explosion.

Intense Dialogue, and the Engrish Doesn’t Help

Most of the film’s complaints are targeted at the lead female, Kayoko Ann Patterson, portrayed by Satomi Ishihara, whose unfortunate script is loaded with English-heavy dialogue. In an interview, she even stated “Sometimes it’s so frustrating, I just want to cry,” and by NO means is any of this her fault—that’s a director issue. Her character is meant to seem very American, and while we definitely get that feeling, I can’t help but think that her normal Japanese speaking would’ve sufficed the whole way through. Anyway, I still love Kayoko to death because of how her character acts as an excellent foil to Yaguchi’s—both see themselves in higher positions, but for now, they work together efficiently with what they’ve got in their own ways.

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The Engrish problem is solved by switching the language settings to Funimation’s English dub, which is especially wonderful because the subtitles just fly by! Shin Godzilla is a film about talking through the problem, and less about any spectacular human actions. The political nonsense in the first 20 minutes, as well as the ending with solving Maki’s quote (which I’ll get to) are much easier to understand with the dub. If you don’t mind live-action dubs, do give this one a go—it could help immensely with understanding the film’s main messages.

Understanding the Legacy of the Atomic Bomb

More than having knowledge of the franchise, it’s historical context that is needed for full emotional effect here. Japan was rocked not once but twice by an evil that shouldn’t have even been unleashed on the planet: the atomic bomb. History has learned that the destruction that follows an atomic bomb is not cool. It’s not something the U.S. or any country should glorify, and this film makes sure of that. Godzilla was birthed once the long-term effects of radiation poisoning revealed themselves as something just as fearsome and frightful as the bomb itself—gosh, perhaps worse.

This brings us back to the film, which could stand an allegory for nuclear war and its long-standing effects, Godzilla itself mirroring the disastrous earthquakes, tsunamis, and radiation that hit the poor nation all at once. Unlike normal action films where you’re just waiting in anticipation for the bad guy to unleash their awesome powers, I was left not cheering, but shaking with fear of the results that, very closely, mimic an atomic bomb. The theme of destruction is a powerful one, a scary one, and that’s how this film shocked the viewers—the moment Godzilla unleashes its wrath is one that can only be witnessed . . . and feared.

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The People that Made this Experience Special

1. Sharla (Sharmander on YT)—Being one of my favorite YouTubers, it’s rare to ever hear about her work life as a dialogue coach, and so I was ecstatic once she put out a video saying that she worked with the cast (particularly Yaguchi and Kayoko on those stubborn English lines) and Anno himself.

2. Shiro Sagisu—Known for his epic music in Evangelion, Shiro gives the film a really neat character. His famous “intense operations planning” music that plays throughout the franchise makes several appearances in this film, and though it felt overplayed at first, a second watch through with the dub made it all feel like it blended seamlessly, as if Eva and Godzilla were truly “a match made in kaiju heaven!”

3. Hidaeki Anno—THIS MAN puts me through so much stress, and yet I can’t ever look away whenever I hear his name involved in a project. He is the reason I jumped into this foreign franchise, after all, so that’s got to mean something, right? He perfectly combs together realism, destruction, and rebirth in such a way that merits a masterpiece with every work. In Shin Godzilla, he took me back to the first time when I saw Evangelion and was impacted in such a way that I’d never be the same without it. I’m glad Anno took the break between 3.0 and the final Rebuild film, because hey, sometimes we have to “Do as we please,” and I respect that.

Thank you for giving me my Evangelion fix—it was an incredibly enjoyable experience!

“Do as you please.”

These are the few words left by the enigmatic Maki, and yet, they remain the strongest message within the work. It’s something so simple, to do as you want to, though I get the impression that it’s not a common Japanese lesson taught. No, this isn’t a wish or a passing thought, but a statement aimed DIRECTLY at Japan. Towards the end of the film, the Prime Minister must either give consent to or deny the United States’s declaration against Godzilla: “Take care of it now, or we will nuke it.” That’s right, history will repeat itself. Japan would risk losing the pride and dignity it spent so many years recuperating to the humiliation of starting at ground zero once again.

With the titular creature MIA towards the end and the U.S.’s threat, it almost begs the question: Are humans deadlier than Godzilla?

But oh, “Danger is an opportunity for personal growth,” remarks the U.S. President in the film. Yeah, not for this country. The true climax of the film comes down to a duel between philosophies—to accept help and then rebuild, or own up to the situation. And when Japan finally does decide to take matters into its own hands, fighting the way only they do best by studying their enemy, the scientific team makes work of the King of Monsters in a way that, without spoilers, makes me proud to be human. Using science, mankind’s greatest weapon, the team transforms the impossible into plausible—theory into reality.

It’s that moment when you realize you CAN stand for yourself WITHOUT having to kill another being—THAT is the big takeaway. Take pride in the things you can create and accomplish together, NOT destroy. And finally, for ONCE in your overly obedient life, do as YOU please, NOT what the others want.

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Shin Godzilla is incredibly smart, realistic, meaningful, and genuinely scary at times. Most of all, my god, if this film had come from my country, I’d be overflowing with pride, too.

“Accountability comes with the job. A politician must decide to own it or not.” – Rando Yaguchi 

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(None of these screenshots belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended.)


Have I been completely Godzilla-fied? Haha, not quite, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future installments, including the wildly anticipated CG Godzilla film directed by Gen Urobuchi, another one of my favorite directors in the industry! Shin Godzilla may not be anime, but I’ll let it slide into the “Caffe Mocha” selection as grade-A movie material for sure, and for everything it stands for. Shout-out to Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews) for hyping me up about it, and for covering the film way better (and quicker) than I did here.

Lastly, thank you so much for reading, as this was a film that has grown to mean a lot to me. I’m dying to know what you thought about Shin Godzilla, especially regarding its production, so let me know your thoughts in the comments! Until next time everyone, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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!

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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) . . .

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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!!

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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.)

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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

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Takuto’s Naka-Kon 2016 Haul and Recap!

Greetings all, it’s haul time~! First, let’s briefly talk about the convention itself.

This year was by far Naka-Kon’s largest year for attendance. I believe it had about under 10,000 people per day, which is mind-boggling considering that last year, I believe there were 7,000 or 8,000 attendees. This was also the con’s greatest year for number of guests, of which, I got to personally meet many!

The majority of panels this year were headed by the guest voice actors, very similar to years past. That’s not to simply ‘cast’ them aside, though (hehe, puns). My favorite two panels were Erica Mendez’s “DON’T LOSE YOUR WAAAAY” and surprisingly, Karen Strassman’s “Accents, Dialects and Voice Acting.” With Erica, her touching person-to-person interactions and meaningful responses made for a very entertaining late-hour sit-in. My favorite of all panels I visited, Karen’s regarding dialects, was not only informational, but hilarious and crowd-involving. She clearly knows her way around the human voice (could’ve said mouth, but yeah, no). After asking her for her autograph, she asked me for a hug. We basically became best friends. 🙂

The vendor’s/dealer’s room, while it wasn’t a disappointment, could’ve been much better. I remember last year they had several “hundreds” of bins full of small anime figures. They were cheap in price and quality, but scrounging through those bins was a crap ton of fun. It was sad to see they weren’t there. Also, many of the artists were returners from last year, which was no surprise considering their talent, local access, and presumably, affordability. These artists had many of their same previous works, so there wasn’t a whole lot to look through in terms of art (not that they’re bad at all, heck no, we just had already seen many of them before).

In terms of technical aspects, I absolutely love the convenience of this smaller con being connected to the hotel we stayed at. Last year, like floor 18. This year, floor 7 (ah yeah, took like 30 sec to hit the ground floor). I had the entire map memorized by an hour into the night, and as such managing our time and making it into lines early enough was pud. Speaking of our arrival, we left just late enough to arrive at 9:30 PM, and entry time was 9:00 PM *facepalms* so we missed ALL of Friday’s activities. Yeah, it bites, but I still got to attend plenty of cool events, trust me!

But you came here for a haul post, didn’t you? Well then, let’s not keep you waiting!

*MIGHT NEED TO VIEW SLIDESHOWS IN BROWSER*

Saber Alter Prize Figure

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First up is this bad boy (woman, knight, spirit)! I’m actually not the biggest fan of Saber Alter, but I picked it up in a 2 for $45 deal. Initially, this was supposed to be that Asuka Langley Soryu I’ve proclaimed I’ve wanted for months now, and SHE WAS THERE, but after thinking, “Hey, let me scope out other prices here,” SHE WAS GONE!!! This was honestly the most stressful thing that happened to me. So instead, Saber came home with me, and I admit, she does look nice on my shelves. For being prize figure quality, this is clearly a grade B+ or even A figure. Solid build, nice metallic armor paint, though the hair lacks any shading. Minor details.

Eren Yeager Prize Figure

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I really like how this one turned out. This was the second prize figure in the 2 for $45 deal, and I’m more than happy how he turned out! The shading in the cloak’s ruffles is outstanding, and all of the paint details on the chest, jacket,boots, and leather skirt part are superbly done as well. I also dig the hair texture, though there is only a solid black layer over it. Details in the face, specifically the eyes, are crisp, much like Saber Alter’s. The only disappointments are the lazy paint-overs on the Wings of Freedom logo, in that the green was presumably just airbrushed over the cape without regard to the logo. This green mysteriously also shows up on the back of the jacket, so I’m not quite sure what happened here. Finally, the base is weak. Not in design, because it stands quite balanced, but in paint job and texture. Could’ve been better there, but for $45 dollars for TWO figures (my first “statue” figures, BTW!), I’m more than happy with everything. Eren sure is tall…

Pins: Chibi Souma and NERV

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If you might recall, I visited this same artist last year and bought a couple Log Horizon pins and an Attack on Titan one. I love this artists style, and seeing lil’ Souma eating away was a must-have for me (my sister bought two more so we could achieve the 3 for $5 deal). And that second one is just delightful for Eva fans like myself. It was only $2, and I plan to stick it on my bag at home! Love puns, love pins ^.^

Evangelion AT Field T-Shirt

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So without Asuka, I had to compensate somehow for my lack of Eva merch, and this T-shirt was my tipping point. In addition to getting my first figures, this is my first anime shirt! I “absolutely” love the classic, bright yellow-orange AT-field from the original over the print! It works phenomenally, and I cant’ wait to wear it around! Hopefully the print stays on for a looong time.

Wall Scrolls: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Negima!, and Kill la Kill (autographed)

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This one’s easy. An Eva wall scroll for only $10?? C’mon, that’s as cheap as they come! Also, it features one of my favorite franchises in artwork I have never seen before. BAM, its mine! As for Negima!, yeah, I just have a soft spot for the series. The sequel, as you might recall, was the first anime I ever watched, so finding merch for it was pretty rare. The last one is one of my favorite art pieces for Kill la Kill, so getting that one in scroll form was an instant hit with me. I also got Erica Mendez, the wonderful English VA for Ryuko to sign it ❤

AUTOGRAPHS

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Warning: Lots of Text Ahead! @_@

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I’ll just list my experiences with each VA below in sequential order:

Erica MendezThis gal is as down-to-earth as you can get! She politely signed my LTD Vol. 1 release of Kill la Kill  and even signed the scroll above. I think I’ll leave pictures of us out for now, but yes, she even took one with my sister and I. While at her table, I asked her about what it was like to be in the Aldnoah.Zero dub, and she replied that it was her first-ever role in a mecha anime, so getting to voice a pilot was pretty exciting. Thought I’d ask her about something different just to stand out, hehe, so at her open Q&A panel, I asked her what it was like to voice a calmer role in contrast to Ryuko, like Akari Sakishima in A Lull in the Sea. Erica responded claiming that she never thought she’d qualify as having an “older sister” voice, so to do it so early on in her career was sheer joy. Playing calmer characters brings her to a different level of understanding, she says, and especially in a slice-of-life/drama-heavy series like this one. 

Austin Tindle I DID NOT realize how big of a goofball this man was! Hah, his first panel, which was supposedly his serious one, was a joke, but I had a fair amount of fun sitting through and getting to know the voice behind Accelerator and Shu Ouma. At his autograph table, I asked him to draw what my void from Guilty Crown would look like upon merely meeting me for the first time. Thus, the “Badass gun” was born, and you can read about that XDD I sent my brother and sister with Index II and Railgun S, respectively, to get signed, as they wanted to meet him yet had nothing with them. After, we took a picture where he drew out my void. I’m such a dork, but it was hilarious!

Micah Solusod – Met this cool dude last year, and at his Q&A panel in 2015, I asked him what the most impactful moment in the RailDex franchise was, to which he responded correctly with the finale of the Sister’s Arc in Railgun S. So this year, I brought it up and told him about my meeting him last year (I was that self-proclaimed ‘RailDex kid’) and he remembered and was more than willing to fulfill the memory by signing my Railgun S part 2 DVD. Then we took a picture as “magical girls,” another ridiculous concoction from my stupid brain that made a lot of us laugh out loud! I also sent my brother with the same Index II and my sister with the Guilty Crown artbook. She, not knowing what to sign, brought up Austin’s idiotic doodle, to which Micah fired with his own drawing. Love this guy 😀

Karen StrassmanComing in knowing her only as Kallen and Sola-Ui, this was otherwise a blind meet-up. We had extra time in our schedule to burn, so I suggested going to her dialect panel. BEST PANEL EVER! She’s such a compassionate, exciting, and generous person to be around, and after telling her so at her autograph table, she asked for a hug after signing my mini Fate/Zero pin-up and posing for a truly badass picture. I’ll never forget this woman for as long as I live!

Ayu Sakata After re-reading the schedule of events the night before, I realized that Apphia Yu did NOT have an autograph booth set up (I only realized she had her own booth supporting her visual novel AFTER the con). Thus, she became the rare find of the day. My mom, who had caught her and taken a picture with her earlier that day, was willing to run around to her booth and have my Robotics;Notes part 1 and my brothers Airi art card signed. SHE DID BOTH, and upon my brother’s messaged request gave us a weather report (watch Robotics;Notes after Steins;Gate, both excellent anime with fantastic dubs). 71 degrees. Thanks mom XD

Greg AyresI also met this cheeky guy last year, but being in that”gotta catch them all” spirit, I went ahead and got a ticket for this last VA, and boy was it worth it. This guy is such a joy every time I’ve spoken to him, so this time, I brought the first DVD and show I had ever bought/seen for anime – Negima!?, the SAVE edition. I told him my story and how I got my brother and sister into anime with it, and I believe he was touched (or at least I was) because he gave me an extra-special message that I’ll hold close to heart, forever. I also got No.6 signed because he was mah boy Shion in it, and sent my sister with Kokoro Connect because she didn’t want to be awkward and have nothing. We took another picture, and that completed my 2016 VA-dex (Pokedex, anyone?)!!

The last thing I wanted to talk about was my cosplay of Mikaela Hyakuya – HUGE SUCCESS!!! Part of me wants to avoid pictures due to Internet security and stuff, but maybe if enough of you holler… Anyway, unlike last year, I had more people come up and as ME for a picture rather than me ask them. Can you believe that? Little ol’ me and my ugly mug, hah! It was so wonderful walking around as one of my current favorite characters, and I’m even more glad with the reception. Yes, I did buy it all (jeans, boots, and undershirt were mine), though I did have to modify a lot of the uniform and cloak accessories. Regardless, LOTS of cosplay experience was made, and it makes me want to try even harder next year – either make more props like swords and stuff, or even try make-up, who knows!

Thank you to ALL those who made this event so memorable and all-around wonderful! To the guest voice actors and actresses who followed through with my stupid requests and spent the time to chat with me, an EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS!! The con security was either body-guard-strict or bouncy and light-hearted, so I much preferred the latter of folks who volunteered with a NICE attitude. FINALLY, I want to thank Kausus of OtakuGamerZone and Crimson of MyFujoshiLife for capping this off as one of my most memorable years!! It was a pleasure – an honor – to meet such substantial figures in our small aniblogging community. I only wished we had more time set aside to sit down and chat, but we all came with our own groups so tension was high. Though brief, our meet-up was LEGENDARY, and hopefully next time (if there is one), we’ll have more time to revel in the experience. Was I the person you expected to meet?? We should talk!

If you read this to the end, thank you very, very much! I feel I’ve been so out of touch with the community as of late, but hopefully that’ll change. As always, I enjoy talking to you, so leave a like and comment below about your own recent con experiences or a simple hello! Anything cool you saw in my haul? VA autograph experiences? Let me have it all, and until next time everyone, 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

The End of EVA-Week: Voicing CONCERN for the Rebuild | Cafe Talk

Hello cafe-goers, welcome to cafe talk, a segment where I ramble and you are more than welcome to ramble with me! Today’s post is the last one (for some of you thinking, thank goodness he’s done) concerning my recent EVA-Week, a celebration centering around the official English release of Evangelion 3.33. I hope you have enjoyed what has come out, and I ask you to join me on this last little voyage to Tokyo-3 for the foreseeable future . . . maybe . . . ?

TheRevisit calender (2)

Here is the calendar on my board. I’ve been filling in the days with their respective colors as they pass.

This goes more along with my 3.33 review which was recently posted. I thought dividing this into two parts would tremendously help cut down on the word count (it is so far the largest post on this blog)! This comprehensive aftermath will also explain the mindset I currently have with both Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Rebuild, so SPOILERS EXIST FOR ALL OF THE EVANGELION FRANCHISE.

Three groups of people exist when it comes to the franchise, and here are my thoughts on them:

  1. Those who interpret the Rebuild as its own series of 4 stand-alone films.

Stand-alone meaning that I could watch 1.11, not look back, and be satisfied with what I got; the film should be able to support itself without additional knowledge like most movies. I’ll admit, this method works fairly well for 1.11 and I dare say 2.22 if you decide to overlook the last ten or so minutes. With 3.33, this all falls apart – and NOT because of the 14-year gap. I was honestly thrilled when Anno decided to take such a ballsy risk, and it would’ve worked if

A) the events between the gap were explained by the end (Shinji’s confusion is decently handled, so putting it at the beginning would be all for not);

and B) The mental states of each character, not just Shinji, were further delved into. This viewpoint, I believe, is defunct due to the lack of both of these. Sadly, 3.33 just doesn’t stand by itself no matter how you look at it (my review will further explain why).

  1. Those who interpret the Rebuild as its own singular story, requiring knowledge of all 4 films.

This interpretation kinda piggy-backs off of the first, but in more of a coherent fashion. It is comparable more to a series, in that imagine if you watched the films back-to-back in one long slew (taking out credits, disc switches, etc.). This helps support the idea that the third leg of a four-person race is most tiring, complex, and occasionally (if you already assume how it’ll end), most climactic. I swam the 100-yd free, which is down-back-down-back. Without a doubt, that second down is the hardest part, as you have to manufacture your own adrenaline rush. For ROE, this means that 3.33 decides to take a more emotional approach and build up to the “beginning of the end,” much like a typical plot diagram. Still, this method lacks explanations for the unreasonable character motives and those deep psychological treats we savored in NGE. This viewpoint will be defunct should the last film present itself similarly to 3.33 or add nothing “new” like 3.33 did (I say “new” lightly, as causing the Fourth Impact isn’t something to just shrug off).

HEAVY THEORY/POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THE FUTURE AHEAD, TREAD CAREFULLY

  1. Those who interpret the Rebuild as a rehashing of the original series, and believe elements between the two stories are interchangeable or that the Rebuild continues the story . . . somehow.

This is the wacky one. 1.11 is basically an exact copy of the first six episodes of NGE, only introducing Lilith earlier, showing off the red sea and the corpse outline on the hill, and sliding down the Angel appearance count by one – That’s it. It’s a wonderful remake of the original and deserves more appreciation. 2.22 is the break, the deviation. We get Asuka, but less Asuka (her name is even changed, WTF). Rei is kickin’ out hormones like crazy. Misato fails to tell her own story. Ritsuko is sidelined. Mari has little purpose other than to contrast against the others and be different. It’s a high-quality film, just a little lacking in the character department (nothing that the remaining two films can’t fix, right?). Then 3.33 comes along and breaks the flow. This is Anno’s different route, and unless that theory about the Rebuild being a successor to The End of Evangelion is trueThat it might all be a “dream,” another world route, or a chance to redo the past – then this is what we get. This viewpoint FORGIVES EVERYTHING that the Rebuild has caused thus far, as we fans can just plug n’ chug the backstories and memories, but should this fantastical theory prove false then this viewpoint is defunct as well. It is a well-constructed theory with much evidence, though. Then again, there’s the keyword. Theory.

I have much concern for this series, this franchise, at this point in time. Making 4.44, 3.0+1.0, Shin Evangelion Theatrical Edition 😐| – WHATEVER you want to call it – a masterful conclusion to the Rebuild series like The End of Evangelion was so many years ago is nearly impossible (unless something like option 3 happens, but it sounds all too easy). Its lack of characters which thought for themselves and had psychological issues that were conquered by individual experience and self-evaluation doesn’t even feel like the same Evangelion. And god dammit, SHOCK VALUE that receives no logical explanation is a SIN. Should the last film fail, ROE will be remembered as a series loaded with Grade A+ animation and soundtrack, a high-powered story full of twists and turns, and an emotional ride for some that found their calling with it. But hardly will you hear them say, “That doctor chick with the blond hair was an excellent character full of dynamic and emotional struggle,” because kid, the Rebuild‘s Ritsuko Akagi is not such a powerful woman.

Evaweekcelebration

Here is EVERYTHING referenced throughout The Revisit of Evangelion, or EVA-Week. It is mainly here as a compilation for me to look back on and remember all the fun times we had. You’re more than welcome to browse the menu and comment/reminisce with me 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day: You Are (Not) Alone

Neon Genesis Evangelion Review

The End of Evangelion Review

Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone. Review

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance. Review

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

Evangelion’s Rebirth isn’t so Sweet after this Disposable Death | Review

THIS IS WHY WE CAN (NOT) REDO | Comprehensive Review

ATTENTION: 2 More Treats EVA Fans Might Have Missed!

The End of EVA-Week: Voicing CONCERN for the Rebuild | Cafe Talk

This concludes the EVA-Week celebration here at the cafe . . I’m starting to get emotional now, trying to hold back the tears! If you stuck around to read, like, or even comment with your own meaningful thoughts once, I thank you! This series means a lot to me, to many of us, and we just want to see it do well – So damn well we cry our eyes out and meld into the proverbial sea of life. Do you have any similar thoughts on the subject, or are you completely indifferent and just watch it for the giant robots? How do you prefer to interpret the Rebuild? Any other interpretations?? Let me know so we can party hard in the comments! Thanks for celebrating this joy with me, and may the inevitable conclusion of a lifetime rock our world!~

– Takuto, your host

I’m gonna be humming “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” “Beautiful World,” and “Canon in D” for the next several weeks, aren’t I. . .

ATTENTION: 2 More Treats EVA Fans Might Have Missed!

Hello Evangelion fanboys and fangirls, it would appear that EVA-Week is nearing its inevitable end. But don’t worry, if you’re not already sick of me going on and on about this series, here are two treats to the franchise you might have glossed by. After all, they are only a few minutes apiece.

Gosh, I’m starting to sound like a teacher emailing his students the latest assignments . . . I thank Wikipedia pages for helping me with this one!

Evangelion: Another Impact (CONFIDENTIAL)

This was an anime short project from Studio Khara and the media company Dwango. It was, like everything else, directed by Hideaki Anno, but produced by Joseph Chou and Tomohiko Ishii. Released on February 6, 2015, the website of the project describes the plot as follows:

“Another time, another place. An activation test of a decisive weapon was underway. With its development and operational trials shrouded in complete secrecy, the Another Number – Unit Null, suddenly breaks free of human control and goes berserk. For what purpose was Another Number – Unit Null created?

The story of an Evangelion’s activation, rampage and howling in another world.”

Supposedly it’s cannon, but I don’t think that was the intent. The project was meant to see what Evangelion looked like in realistic CG animation, and you know what? IT LOOKS HELLA COOL!! You don’t even have to be a fan of the series to enjoy this EPICNESS! Just enjoy the little clip:

This is the full thing, HD quality, though there is a voiceover in another language.

For those English buds who need the translation, here it is with subs, though in lower quality.

 

Evangelion: until You come to me.

Now this one was specifically directed by Anno and released with more serious intent and style. It was an entry in the 2014 Animator Expo, and is designed as a sort of prelude/possible 3.0+1.0 hype/just-for-art for the Rebuild series, specifically set after 3.33 as it had “emotionally drained him.” The background song is Shiro Sagisu’s rendition of the popular Irish tune, “Danny Boy.”

You’ll have to click on this link to watch it:

https://vk.com/video1785371_170606473?list=07610468a6ce66812c

Don’t get parts of it? All of it? Here is an excellent analysis which I encourage ALL EVA fans to watch REGARDLESS of having seen the original, as YouTuber GoatJesus does a wonderful job picking apart this piece of art and appreciating it for the sadness, beauty, and hope it inspires.

 

Had you seen either of these Evangelion shorts, or were you living under a rock like I was? I do hope you enjoy something out of this, whether it was the high-energy Another Impact or the more delicate, melancholic, emotionally-touching until You come to me. Both are more Evangelion, and both do it pretty damn well, providing not only new material but different medias the franchise can be viewed through. If you’d like to chat about any of it, drop me a comment below! Until the next and final EVA-Week post, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Evangelion’s Rebirth isn’t so Sweet after this Disposable Death | Review

A review of the spring 1997 anime movie “Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth,” produced by Gainax and Production I.G, based on the original story and series by Hideaki Anno.

 – View in browser, not app, for best experience –

I knew I would be disappointed with this film just by hearing all of the negative feedback it received. Now, would I have sent Hideaki Anno death threats? Lord, no, but I can understand why Death & Rebirth, despite its critically-acclaimed impact on the series, is often – and should be – skipped. To those who haven’t seen it, you’re probably thinking, “Why pass up more information to a series that lacks much explanation as is?” That’s because Death & Rebirth offers absolutely nothing new. Zilch, save for interspersed musical quartet scenes, a one-minute firsthand account of the Katsuragi Mission, and pretty half-way credits moment.

The following song just reminds me of all of the sh*t these poor kids went through. It’s sad, really:

The “movie” is actually two episodes: one 70-ish minutes and the other 30-ish minutes. Part one, Death, is a shotty recap of the first 26 episodes of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Instead of taking the typical approach of sequential order used by most recap episodes, Death jumbles all of the scenes up and attempts to sort them out by characters. That’d be like saying, here’s 20 minutes of Asuka, followed by 10 minutes of Rei, then 20 minutes of Misato, etc. It fails incredibly, however, due to having inconsistent rhythm, nonsensical ordering, and honestly, all of the “meh” scenes from the original series. While I understand going for a psychological approach to sort of line everyone’s emotional patterns, flaws, and triumphs up, that doesn’t mean you cut out all of the quality combat scenes that made Evangelion a fan-favorite.

I always thought this was going to be Death & Rebirth. WHAT IS THIS ARTWORK FROM?? That Angel looks B.A.

By the way, over 90% of the film is REUSED ANIMATON from the series. Wait, what?? The only new thing Death brings to the table is those lackluster quartet scenes mentioned above. Kaworu on first violin, Asuka on second, Rei on viola, and Shinji behind the cello. Even though we don’t get to see them play (cue typical Evangelion black screen and text), the film merely putting classics like the “Canon in D” or “Air” in the background, the assigning of their instruments speaks for itself. Don’t get it? Here:

Shinji Ikari, cello. First to arrive, set up, tune, and practice Bach’s “Cello Suite #1,” a soothing piece which weaves notes on all four strings together; arpeggio (yes I’ve played it, often overhead in media, but whatever). The cello is the closest string instrument to the human voice. Specifically, some say it was modeled after a woman’s — a mother’s voice. Shinji pilots Unit-01, which we all know by now contains the essence of his lost mother. The cello is a mirror to Shinji’s desire to be with his mother again. Also, it’s the only instrument in a traditional quartet that you can hide your chest behind.

Asuka Langley Soryu, second violin. Second to arrive, cheerfully giving Shinji a “good morning call,” unpack, tune, and burst out the first few bars of Bach’s “Gavotte in Rondo,” a busty and springy song full of independence and repeated melody. Want to know why they’re called “second violins?” Simple. It’s because they’re not first; that is what Asuka has been struggling with since the beginning – Always trampling over the competition with a fierce façade, yet falling so short in the last second.

Rei Ayanami, viola. Third to arrive, set up, tune, and wait patiently to start. I can’t remember what she practices (if she even did so), but she plays the viola, an instrument that has been joked about for centuries because it’s nearly impossible to hear. It’s shaped like the violin – an imitation, a clone, much like Rei herself – but it harbors the same strings as the cello. Remember that warm and fuzzy mother feeling I was talking about? Yeah. Starting to see the connection?

Kaworu Nagisa, first violin. Fourth and last to arrive, set up, tune, and become ready to play. I also can’t recall what he practiced, but the instrument speaks for itself. It’s the first violin: It guides the group, provides cues, gets all of the high licks, and impresses us most upon first glance. Kaworu was only around for an episode or two toward the very end, yet his impression not only on Shinji but the audience as well enraptured viewers. SPOILER: Kaworu is not only the last to show up in the film and to quartet practice, but is also the last angel. He’ll literally fly higher than everyone else, whether that’s over the planet or in the music. It is through his death (his final cue) that the show can ascend into its final stage.

Then there’s a 5-minute intermission which plays “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” on acoustic guitar and another track from the original series . . . Yep, a real freakin’ intermission. That sh*t just made me laugh.

Rebirth, the second half (last third), is actually the first half of the film The End of Evangelion. As such, you should skip this copout and head straight on over to that masterpiece following your Evangelion experience!!

Supposedly, the animation and sound quality in Death & Rebirth is a huge improvement over the original series. I neither saw nor heard a difference, SOOOO, for those interested in my thoughts in those areas, please check out my review of the original series!

I get what Death & Rebirth was supposed to be: a grand compilation of the psychological sides of the main characters meant to “butter you up” for the true end. But it FAILS MISERABLY, and as such I only recommend it to EXTREME fans of the franchise. The content was great, but its presentation just doesn’t do the original series a bit of justice. The playing of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by our favorite quartet of psychologically-scarred NERV-lings was a nice end to Death, but since they aren’t actually animated performing (and it’s a crappy compilation), I’m not even going to personally rate it. Instead, I’ll be leaving Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth in the “Breads” section of the café NOT because it’s necessarily bad, just disposable for non-fans. Did I like it?

Let’s just say that in my case, more Eva is a good thing. A wonderful thing.

As always, I hope you found my thoughts interesting! Until the next part of Eva-Week, this has been

– Takuto, your host