A Fall Haul (Part 2) – Figures, Soundtracks, & Shirts || Amazon, Tokyo Otaku Mode, and More

Hello all!

Let’s not waste a minute of each other’s time and jump straight into things! This is the second half of my fall anime-related pick-ups. Be sure to check out part one here if you haven’t already, and without further ado, let’s dive in! And speaking of making a splash . . .

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We’ll start at the top with some soundtracks. Adding to my Tatsuya Kato Free! OSTs, here are the soundtracks for The Bond and The Promise, as well as High Speed – Starting Days. LitaKino and I gab all the time about how great Kato’s work is, especially for Free!, and now I’m just waiting on the season three soundtrack to arrive in the mail! Oh, and here’s a random soundtrack (“Volume 3” to be specific) for The Vision of Escaflowne, which has some of the series’ most iconic works by Yoko Kanno on it.

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The other soundtrack I picked up is technically a 4-in-1 for all of Sword Art Online seasons one and two by Yuki Kajiura. Y’all already know how much of a Kajiura fan I am, so picking this up was inevitable. What made me finally cave was seeing it for like $30 on Amazon or eBay, and when you consider that it’s basically four cours worth of excellent music, buying it was a no-brainer. It’s been my jam for the past month, and the set comes with a nice little full-spread illustration of all four arcs!

I’m someone who prefers subtlety when it comes to showing off my love for anime. Logos or silhouettes usually are enough for me, but I prefer an added creativity my anime shirts. One of my favorite purchases this month was this order of four shirts from TeePublic, an online graphic tee retailer that partners with artists and prints their designs on shirts. The site occasionally does these storewide discounts where all t-shirts are basically just $10, so it’s the perfect time to shop for otaku apparel. In the top left is a super retro-looking Evangelion-themed shirt with the show’s famous ED lyrics flying across space. Love the small details like the lance and the 5th Angel. To the right is a simple Ghost in the Shell tee inspired by the 1995 window scene. Clean and classic.

Bottom left is a fun Danganronpa x Starbucks blend which speaks for itself. (We proudly wear the queen across our chests, yes we do.) And the last one (and my personal fave) is this vintage-looking Ranma 1/2 shirt with female Ranma and P-chan in the center with Chinese design work around them. Something about the bright infrared and teal combo here makes this iconic duo so eye-catching, and because it is purposefully designed to look EXTRA anime and vintage-y, I totally love wearing it in public with a pair of black jeans.

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Onto the Nendos! Up first is Phichit Chulanont from the popular Yuri!!! On ICE. I had no initial intentions of picking this figure up, but after seeing him sittin’ there all cute in the background of Simply Gee’s videos, I eventually caved in. What really helped, however, was that Amazon was having some of Good Smile’s Orange Rouge figures on sale, so this lil’ guy was only $27 once you add in tax. He looks so pleasant just chilling there with his selfie stick on my shelf, I just love him!

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Here’s the other Orange Rouge I picked up from the Amazon sale. It’s the Uniform Version of little Kenma Kozume from Haikyu!!, and he looks absolutely adorable standing with the rest of my cat-related items on my shelf. Again, I wasn’t ever planning on picking this guy up, but for just $15 I couldn’t say no! The coloring in his hair has always drawn me in, and I’m glad he’s such a low-maintenance Nendo to keep up with.

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Up next is Kino and Hermes from Kino’s Journey! Ahhh, this was such a long-awaited pick-up, and I’m so glad to finally have ’em in my collection. (You have no idea how quickly I added this to cart when TOM put up the re-runs.) This Kino is particularly modeled after how she appears in recent reboot, The Beautiful World, so the model looks really pretty with all its deep green shades. The dark teal ombre in Kino’s hair is really gorgeous, and with so many accessories to play with, there’s lots of posing options with this one!

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Last but certainly not least for Nendos is Alice Synthesis Thirty from SAO Alicization, and WOW is she a beaut! Like with Kino, there’s lots of variability in posing. With her golden petals dancing around her, this figure can take up quite a bit of space depending on how she is posed. While I think they could’ve done a better job with the special effect petals, I’m really happy with how the armor and coloring turned out. (She looks so fierce!) And once she’s be together with Kirito and Eugeo, the Rulid Trio will be complete! ;_;

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And the final figure I have for this haul is the “Age of Heroes” Shouto Todoroki figure. There’s nothing super special about this $20 prize figure, aside from the fact that I really like the face sculpt for this one. You might say he looks a little bland, and you’re not wrong, but I personally think he looks better than even some of the pricier Todoroki figures on the market. Anyway, here’s another one to add to the Todoroki shrine I’ve got building up, heh heh heh, and I don’t plan on stopping here!


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This second half is much shorter than the first, but I figured it was appropriate to divide it up anyway since the subject manner was so different. If you want me to get up and personal with any of these figures, let me know and I can make an entire post for them—same goes for any of the LTD ED Blu-ray sets I showed off in the last haul post! There’s lots to catch up on before winter gets underway over here, so I better end this before I get too carried away. Now just to clean all this up . . . oh the joys of having a collection, haha. ‘Til next time everyone!

– Takuto, your host

A Fall Haul (Part 1) – Anime & Manga Pick-Ups || RightStuf, Sentai, and More

Hello all!

I am officially back from Canada and on fall break! The conference went swimmingly, Montreal was beautiful, and I spent lots of money on some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten. It is easily one of the best trips I’ve ever gone on, such a gorgeous city, and being with just my two professors made us feel like the closest group of friends ever. I’ll never forget it, and hopefully my return to the wonderful land in the North won’t be before too long now.

But you’re here for a haul, that’s right. I really need to space these things out better, cause we’ve got THREE months of stuff to catch up on! The last time I did this thing was in August, so here before you now is all the anime-related goodness I’ve picked up in September, October, and November. I’ll probably split this into two halves just so I can go into greater depth about each item. Now, let’s get to it!

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Our first anime LTD ED is Funi’s release of Steins;Gate 0, and might I add that a) this is probably one of the nicest sets the company has ever released, and b) that it is so freakin’ nice to finally own this series after pining after it for YEARS. The chipboard box is slightly holographic on both sides, showcasing some of the JP Blu-ray art. Included is a neat little reference/art book, an Amadeus acrylic phone stand (which I actually use daily!), a vibrant green Upa strap, and the first half of the series on Blu-ray/DVD.

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Inside the extras box are nice art boards featuring ALL of the JP Blu-ray covers, which is always awesome to have. Each art card is layered with a green holofoil effect that kind of reminds me of The Matrix. It’s a neat collection of prints to have, and overall this set just feels very premium. Clearly, lots of thought went into making this release shine, and to think I was able to snag it up brand new on eBay for just $40!

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Next is another highly anticipated Funi LTD ED release I’ve been dying to add to my collection: it’s Free! – Dive to the Future, and boy is this another fine release. I really like how Funi has been doing more to go out and replicate the JP Blu-rays, as this set features much of the JP cover arts pieces scattered throughout. I really like how this set matches the other Free! sets I have, and the art book, oh man the art book! It’s got lots of fun stuff in it, from exclusive promotional artwork to character bios stylized as if each character had actually “written” them.

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Contained in a separate envelope (grrrr) are a small collection of screencaps from the ending theme printed on holographic paper. They’re a nice bonus, even if I don’t really have any place to hang them. Perhaps I should put all these LTD ED prints in a photo book or scrapbook of some kind . . . Anyway, glad to have all of Free! (so far) on Blu-ray! And another $40 eBay find, hooray!

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Two reasons why I bought this next set: 1) We’re a KyoAni stan, and 2) it was $20. This is one of the Funi sets featured in the most recent pre-holiday sale at RS, and while I’m honestly not a huge fan of this set (and the show) in general, for just $20, c’mon, I couldn’t say no.

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I’ve actually seen the show, but subbed, so it’ll be fun to rewatch it in the dub. I remember liking the characters, but seeing as how I’m not a big fanservice guy, there wasn’t much else for me in this one.

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Oh yeah, and there’s a separate envelope (grrrrr) full of cool lenticular cards. Unfortunately (for me), it’s just art of the girls with their school uniforms and, when tipped in just the right direction, art of them in their swimsuits. Again, not for me, but the colors are fun enough.

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Also in the sale (and for just $20) was the LTD ED for 91 Days. Although it was a blind buy for me, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it. The leatherbound textured box is a nice touch, and an art book is ALWAYS a plus for me.

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Continuing with the theme, in a separate envelope (GRRRRR) is a small collection of art cards with art from the JP Blu-rays on them. From what I can tell, it’s a really nice, stylish set for an anime original series!

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This next one has a special story. Ever since this collector’s edition set was announced, I’ve been pining after for it, scouring eBay day and night for a decently priced offer. I’ve seen it go in and out of stores and sales like no other, so years after its release, I was really starting to think I wouldn’t ever pick it up. So, I settled for less and scored a deal for the LTD ED set . . . only for this to go on sale for $50 just a couple months later. Here I am now, having double-dipped in this series, but with no regrets!

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Look at it. LOOK AT THIS SET. The box has a gorgeous green beveled foil leaf pattern on it, which feels very premium when paired with the deep black matte texture of the box. The box alone is worth the price of admission, but we’re just getting started. The discs are held onto this massive digipak, which isn’t my preferred method of storage, but works well with the set. On the back is full art of each of the four main visuals for the series’ two halves, which is something I definitely wanted with whatever version of the show I decided to own. My sticker set was a bit mangled, but I don’t plan on really using it.

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The real catch here is the art book, which features over 200 pages of character and background art. Wit’s painted scenery and landscapes provide such a unique atmosphere to this show, and having this book full of pretty location art is just a joy. Also, more character art cards, and each showcases a cover from the JP Blu-ray releases! I’m honestly just so happy to have this exquisite, high quality set on my shelves!

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We’re on the last of the limited editions Blu-rays, and holy crud did Sentai knock this one out of the park. For starters, gone are the oversized DVD box sets, as they’ve started slimming down for space-conscious collectors like myself. Next, the matte full-wrap landscape art on the box—love it. There’s also the signature Sentai box of stuff (which fits IN the box), as well as not one but TWO art booklets, one being storyboards for the first episode.

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Inside the box are sticker sets and a dog tag, neither of which I’ll likely end up using, but the filler box art itself is pleasant and iconic to the series. I honestly think this is one of Sentai’s best sets to date, and if they were to keep up with this size and quality of release, I just might end up buying ALL of their sets!

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Onto the standard BDs, we’ve got some housekeeping to do with My Hero Academia Season 3 Part 1 and The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 1 Part 2. Not much to say about them other than that I’m glad to be able to keep filling out parts of the collection with more content from some of the best stories out there.

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More housekeeping with the second and FINAL set of Sailor Moon Stars. I’ll forever have gripes with how Viz could’ve made these sets look much, much better. But at this point, all I feel is an overwhelming gratitude toward Viz for bringing us the end to this classic series for the FIRST TIME EVER in the States. It has been a long time coming, almost six years in the making, but the journey has been wonderful. I can’t wait to see how this series comes to a close! And oh yeah, picked up Metropolis cause it was cheap on Amazon (and more cyber punk, yay), as well as Hitorijime My Hero cause we a BL dub stan up in this club.

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Last for the BDs are an assortment of $7-$12 Maiden Japan titles from the RS pre-holiday sale. Lots of colors! Going around, we’ve got Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, Hataraki Man, Den-noh Coil, Glask Mask, This Art Club Has a Problem!, and my personal fave that I am currently watching, Yumeiro Patissiere. Lots of colors here, and lots of anime gems!

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Onto the manga! I didn’t buy much this fall in theway of books, but one of my favorite simulcasts from the summer inspired this pick-up: it’s Fire Force volumes 1-3, and wow, how amazing the anime is at replicating Okubo’s style! It’s nearly 1:1, and I hope to continue picking up more as my reading goes along.

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I picked up some BL manga one-shots, the left being Bukuro Yamada’s Melting Lover, which also happens to be the first book published by KUMA. It’s a really nice quality publication with a softcover dust jacket, and I can’t wait to read it! The other is an older yaoi manga that I picked up on recommendation from Dynamic Dylan and Crimson, Same Cell Organism by Sumomo Yumeka. Equally excited to read this one!

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OMG, yeah, I bought a game this fall too! You should know that I’m not a gamer, but I make exceptions for some titles. Inspired by my revisit to Alicization, I snagged a used copy of Sword Art Online: Lost Song for less than $15 on Amazon. I played it once, and, heh, it’s a bit boring (as everyone warned me), but I won’t give up!

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This last item for part one of my “Fall Haul” has an interesting story. So, I’m lowkey obsessed with Abec’s work for SAO. I’ve always wanted to own the LTD ED releases, but never got the chance because, well, Aniplex. While browsing eBay one late night for used BDs, I came across the JP LTD ED box set for season two . . .

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While I had no intention of actually collecting the rest of the JP BDs, I did want this box—and the seller was giving it away for just $20. This thing goes on the market for AT LEAST a hundred, so it was in my cart before I could even comprehend it. The box now sits next to my SAO LNs as a bookend of sorts, adding a splash of color to that side of the shelf. I just love the way Sinon is posed with Kirito in this piece!

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Would you believe it that the night it arrived I actually ended up watching the first three episodes in Japanese without subs?? Haha it was surprisingly more entertaining than I thought it’d be, plus I’ve seen this beginning so many times that it makes sense without the narration. Anyway, the BD itself is a bonus—the box is the real catch here, and I’m so glad to have it on my shelf!


That’s everything for part one of the haul! Part two will mainly have figures and soundtracks in it, so stay tuned for that. Lots of money here, but don’t worry, ya boi only shops the sales, so rest assured I snagged all of these up for a decent price. What did you think of some of the shows I picked up? Are any of these LTD ED titles on your wish list, or are they already on your shelves? Let me know down in the comments! ‘Till part two~!

– Takuto, your host

Why the Hiatus? I’ve Been Prepping for CANADA! | Update

No, I’m not moving. I’m doing this for science—literally!

Hello all, been a hot minute (or a really cold one since winter’s basically here already), but I figured I’d stop by between my studies to address the sudden silence.

After an exciting month of Animanga Festival posts and series reviews, in which I published the most amount of posts I have in MONTHS, I’m now taking this time to prepare myself for the end of the fall semester here at uni.

A little less than a year ago, I was approached as an undergrad by my cognitive psychology professor to do some research with her. While I was uncertain of my career path at the time, I immediately said yes to put my foot in the door. Little did I know that this one small step would snowball into a trip outside the country!

Long story short, I’ll be presenting my poster research at a judgement and decision-making (JDM) conference in Montreal, Canada with just two other professors in, like, four days. This conference is pretty exclusive to PhD students and professors, so it’s kind of a big deal as a tiny undergrad kid! Also, I’ve only been to a handful of states in the Midwest, let alone LEAVE THE COUNTRY. I’ve never traveled by plane either, so this experience is full of firsts for me!

That said, you can probably understand my recent stress and decision to hold off on blogging for a few weeks until the dust (or the snow) settles. I’ve still got a couple reviews and hauls planned for November, as well as the monthly OWLS post, so I’m not totally down for the count. Just a bit busier than normal, which doesn’t really say much since it seems I’m always busy! Hah!

Anyway, sending positive energy and motivation to all my fellow scholarly bloggers who are pushing through academia during these bitter cold months. Wish me luck on my first flight, my first ventures outside the U.S., and my first opportunity to share all the hard work we’ve put into our research!

Cheers!

– Takuto

Only Three Months Left To Go . . . || Quarterly Update (Fall)

Hello all!

“It’s crazy to think that the next time I write an update like this it’ll be October.” That’s how I ended my July quarterly update, and wow, those three months are now behind us. I hope everyone enjoyed a hot summer full of fun and freedom. I miss those days already, lemme tell you.

Anime watching has slowed immensely due to work, classes, research, and extracurriculars. While I have been able to keep up with simulcasts (mopping up the last few episodes as I write this), very few films or Blu-rays from my personal library were tackled these past couple months.  With only three months in 2019 left to go, I fear that I will not have watched and read through as much as I would’ve liked.

On the other hand, the series I have gotten to enjoy were particularly awesome watches. Same goes for the few books that I’ve read. I’m sure you’re just itchin’ to know what I’ve been up to, so let’s get to it. Oh, but first, here’s the last reflection of my 2019 blog goals before December—and the last chance to improve before the end of the year is upon us!

Goal Reflection


#1 — Read More Posts

I am proud to announce (probably for the first time this year, actually), that I have successfully been keeping up with the blogging community! I usually check in with the reader every 3-5 days or so, and my home screen is for the most part free of to-be-read posts. Now, as school gets more and more intense post-midterms, I might have to bow out for a little bit. Until then, I’ve been enjoying keeping up with everyone like I used to once more.

#2 – Write More Succinct Reviews Posts

Ok, so my OWLS posts are still fairly long, as are my reviews, but participating in The Animanga Festival will allow me to tackle this goal more appropriately. I’ve really loved throwing together little pieces for the festival and just sending them out there into the world. The spontaneity and brevity of each festival post falls much more in line with what I believe blogging should be about (as opposed to me pushing out long formalized essays). There’s nothing wrong with a hefty analytical post, but it’s quite nice to know that the posts over the course of this month will be written quickly, easily, and in vivo.

#3 – Post More Often

Again, another goal that The Animanga Festival contributes to immensely! I wrote five posts in July, six in August, five in September, AND, looking ahead, TEN posts in October (if I keep to my schedule). Like I’ve said in each update, even posting four posts per month is huge for me, let alone six or even TEN. Half of those posts will be for the festival, but still—that’s five or six more posts more than the goal, so I’m calling this one a win for sure!

#4 – Bring Back Cafe Talk

I ACTUALLY WROTE ONE. As I’ve reported in each update, this is one of my goals that I’ve been terrible at following through with. So, to have even a single one slip through the cracks is something I’m content with. (“Jeez Taku, that’s low standards.” Yeah yeah, I know :/) For what it’s worth, half of my festival posts practically fall under “Cafe Talk’s” range. But just so it doesn’t seem like I’m being to lenient with myself, I’ll surrender and wave the white flag to this one. Maybe the winter will bring more talks.

#5 – Write More Haul/Collection Posts

I’ve posted THREE haul posts these past three months—that’s practically one a month, YEET. The reason you haven’t seen more lately is because I haven’t bought anything because I’m broke. My two July hauls and August birthday haul have been about it, so I’m confident that I’ve satiated this goal for now. I’m sure the winter season will bring more purchases—as it tends to do—and I’ll definitely share with you all my seasonal hauls!

What I’ve Watched


Continuing right where we left off mid-July, I finally got around to watching the classic Akira, and wow was it a trip. Like seriously, I was so excited to be able to write about it, only to be left without words by the end.

Two quieter titles from my shelves were used to sedate me after my long days at work: Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-, which I talked about in July’s OWLS post, and the spiritual Mushi-Shi, which I still have four episodes left before I review it. Both of these titles are beautifully atmospheric and thought-provoking, telling many traveler’s tales as they tread through their respective narratives.

For films, I FINALLY saw A Silent Voice, and get this: I had taken notes throughout my watch of the movie . . . and then accidentally deleted them from the WP app (damn the system!). It’s tragic, it really is, so when I rewatch it someday, I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts. I saw the most recent Yugioh movie, The Dark Side of Dimensions, with my brother and was hella impressed with all of it. In fact, looking back on the summer, it was probablly one of my favorite watches cause of the insane nostalgia and Seto FREAKIN Kaiba. I also watched and reviewed the thrilling Perfect Blue, as well as Origin: Spirits of the Past, a [long-awaited] watch I wasn’t expecting much from, and, well, didn’t get all that much from.

Somewhere in the heat of the summer was a recommendation from my sister, which we watched together: Kiss Him, Not Me!. THIS IS SUCH A GOOD SHOW Y’ALL WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TALK ABOUT IT. I never published my own review of it from watching, so I probably shouldn’t be preaching to the choir. But yeah, good stuff. Same goes for Tokyo Magnitude 8.0—now that’s some depressing shit, but really powerful writing, too.

My sister and I tore into Viz Media’s fifth set for Ranma 1/2 while taking her to Texas for uni, which I’ll continue when the call for 80’s comedy hits again. Since we were on a South-bound road-trip, it was only natural that I’d start her on Michiko & Hatchin, which I had to go and finish rewatching on my own cause DAMN that shit slaps so much harder now than it did years ago. (Thank you for the positive reception on that OWLS post btw! ^ . ^)

Also, and I was meaning to make a post about it, but I started Dragon Ball! Like, the first one when Goku’s a kid! I never saw past the first thirteen or so episodes (with Emperor Pilaf) as a child, so it’s been kinda surreal seeing what happens next. I’m 30 episodes in and taking a small break from it for now, but it’s been fairly pleasant overall.

When the rainy season hit, I made sure to finally watch Typhoon Noruda, which I reviewed and even wrote a “Cafe Talk” over! Really happy to have that one under my belt. The Blu-ray included a little short film on it, so I still have it out so I can get to that sometime soon.

Going back to the beginning, I’m currently working through my summer simulcasts, many of which are delayed since I’m watching them as a simuldub. I’ve finished Given and The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II, both of which will have reviews soon come hell or high water. Still waiting on the last dubbed episodes for Astra Lost in Space, Fire Force, and A Certain Scientific Accelerator.

Oh, and I randomly watched the Tokyo Ghoul live action film the other night for some reason. Lots of fluids, but was actually pretty good. Maybe I’ll review it since Halloween and all, but we’ll see.

Lastly, the most influential watch for me as of late has been Sword Art Online: Alicization, which started airing last year but I held off on to finish the books. I loved it, all of it. So much. Now that I’ve read the first half AND watched the anime for it, I’m excited to finally continue the epic story with the books, and pick up War of Underworld once I’ve finished reading those. Don’t worry: I’ve got not one but TWO Alicization posts coming out at the end of this month alone, so please look forward to those!

I Played NieR:Automata in Three Days


Considering that I’m not a gamer, I thought this was worth sharing. After Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, I was craving more apocalyptic cityscapes, which led me to this overgrown world of machines and androids. Three nights later and I’d played through all the major story routes (on easy, mind you). Yup, A-E my friend, and I freakin’ loved all of it. Seriously, this game is so good. It’s STILL stuck with me now, and I find myself often bouncing back between Alicization‘s soundtrack and this one’s.

I was intending on writing a post chronicling my experience—and maybe that’ll still happen, I’d like it to—but we’ll see. I’m just still shook by it all. Ending C. Dammit A2, you turned me into an emotional wreck!

A Figure-Buying Addiction


Before I close out this update, I just wanted to inform you all that ya boi has spent waaaaaaay too much money on figures as of late. Seriously, I’ve been draining $150 purchases like #BUCKETS over at TOM (Tokyo Otaku Mode), and I think it’s about time I deleted the app or something cause I CAN’T KEEP SPENDING MONEY LIKE THIS. This is probably why anime-buying has slowed these past few months lmao.

In case you need to know how bad it is, from now till June 2020, I’m expected to receive TWO figures in the mail PER MONTH. And get this, SIX in JUNE. We ain’t talkin’ cheap prize figures either. No, for the most part, these are fancy $75 scales and $40+ Nendos (and one $120 statue of Shinra that broke my bank, lord help me). It’s become a problem, an addiction, and I probably need to stop. I don’t need three scale figures of Todoroki or Eugeo, but I NEED THEM.

Thank You For Five Wonderful Years


I’ll keep it short, but just last month, Takuto’s Anime Cafe turned five! I distinctly remember starting this blog back in high school sophomore year. Wild how far we’ve come together. I consider every single like, comment, share, and follow a blessing, as y’all totally don’t have to hang out here. But you do, and I can’t thank you enough for pulling up a chair and listen to some kid rattle on about anime.

It’s kind of been an unintentional tradition of sorts, but each year I’ve gained ~100 followers. As of writing this update, I’m sitting at 480. It’d be totally awesome if we could hit 500 by the end of 2019—and I really think we can do it, too!

Alright, I’ve talked too much. But, I suppose there was a lot to talk about this time around. So, I’ll keep on slogging through the reviews of stuff from the summer. In the meantime, you can also look forward to the Animanga festivities, my Alicization love letter posts, and eventually a fall simulcast line-up sometime soon. Can you believe it, fall anime are here! What the heck!

With cooler weather settling in my town and studies starting to kick it up a notch, I hope I’ll still be as present here as I’d like to. Next time we meet for one of these it’ll be to recap 2019 and welcome 2020. Ain’t that nuts? 2020. Huh. Well, please, feel free to share your thoughts on what I’ve been doing or what you’ve been up to this fall season down in the comments. Until that final update post, thank you so much for reading, and take care of yourself!

– Takuto, your host

Let’s Go Traveling! Five Fall Vacation Spots in Anime || The Animanga Festival

Hello all, and welcome to my second official entry in The Animanga Festival, hosted by Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto!

Today we’re going on a vacation, all expenses paid, throughout anime—and right from the comfort of your own screen! Just as the title says, here we’ve got a few of my favorite anime hot spots I’d love to visit. I even themed our trip for the fall season just to add that realistic flair (you’re welcome). There’s a long journey ahead of us, so strap in, and let’s go traveling.

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Delight in the Refined English Air of Endor College

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

I know school is THE last place you want to be when on vacation, but hear me out: Most college campuses are beautiful in the fall, and Endor College is no exception. Although England is technically known for its smoggy air, this prestigious university floats high in the clouds, hidden from view.

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At Endor College, young witches learn about all things magic through their fantastical studies and whimsical teachers, not unlike Hogwarts. We may even bump into the famous headmistress, Madam Mumblechook, or the wacky Doctor Dee! College is a time of new beginnings—that’s why we’re starting here, and I hope you have a magical time.

Immerse Yourself in the Atmosphere of Victorian England

Emma: A Victorian Romance

Fall is Victorian weather. Rainy days, cloudy nights, always cool, and always busy preparing for winter. While we’re still in England, let’s make a stop at one of the luxurious estates the region is known for. Have you ever wished you could travel back in time and see what life was like for a wealthy and noble Victorian family? Well, now you can! Take your pick at touring and temporarily staying at the Jones Estate that the titular Emma loves visiting, the elegant Mölders Estate in Yorkshire, the traditional Campbell Estate in London, and other estates featured in the series—they’re all lovely, and very well-maintained by a hardworking team of maids, servants, butlers, cooks, and the like!

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Take a walk through their sprawling maze gardens, enjoy an elaborate and authentic feast in the great hall—just make sure to mind your manners at this stop. Remember, we are their honored guests. And who knows, you might even get the opportunity to dance with a handsome nobleman or fair noblewoman at one of the magnificent balls!

Room At the Nicest Lodging Ever in the Kind Country

Kino’s Journey

Not sure where it’s located, but here we are at our next stop: the Country of the Kind up in the mountains. Everyone who lives here seeks a life of kindness and respect, making them just about the nicest populace for a town you could ever stop through. The small country prides itself on its rich culture and village ancestry, which is reflected in intricate Italian architecture of this mountainside city. Take a walk down the spiraling cobblestone roads and admire the gorgeous fall forestry surrounding the country while munching on flaky, freshly baked pastries. The sweet cinnamon aroma of pastry shops is to die for!

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The famous traveler Kino regards this stop as one of the few that fellow travelers have actually been tempted to end their journeys at to start a new living here. The only caveat? Three nights is all we get, for then WOOSH, this village is gone, and nothing but wistful memories will remain. To say the least, it’ll be one country you’ll certainly never forget.

Witness Legendary Creatures Fly Freely in the Land of the Dragons 

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a dragon kid at heart. Our second to last stop is probably the most exciting on this list, especially if you, too, have wanted to see one of these beasts up close and personal. Who knows—maybe you’ll even get to fly with one and gaze down at the luscious landscape below.

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Gushing waterfalls, scenic nature hiking trails, and colorful dragons everywhere! Playing with the young dragons IS encouraged, so be sure to treat them to a few minutes of your time. Magic is in the air in the enchanting land of the dragons, so saddle up and get ready to soar in the clouds with one of nature’s most incredible creations.

Soak in the Ancient Waters of the Jusenkyo Hot Springs

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While we spent a good portion of this vacation touring places in Europe, I would be remissed if I didn’t allow us to spend our final destination relaxing at a hot springs. Taking us all the way out to the Bayankala Mountain range in China, this springs in particular carries with it an ancient history. Since long ago, people and animals have underestimated the water’s depths and have drowned in the various springs that make up Jusenkyo. As such, when a person mistakenly falls into one of these cursed springs, they might find themselves transforming into the creature of lore that drowned there.

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However, not all of the springs are cursed—but you should still stay close to the rocks! May relaxing in the springs, training with skilled martial artists, and admiring the natural landscapes of ancient China sooth your soul, strengthen your body, as well as rejuvenate your mind. And with that, our trip is complete!


How’s this for a travel itinerary through some of my favorite places in anime? Is this a vacation trip you’d be willing to go on? To keep with the fall theme (and not be as cliche as possible), I left out a TON of top-tier destinations. So, what other places in anime or manga do you think would be beautiful to visit in the fall? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments! ‘Till the next festival post!

– Takuto, your host

Takuto Will Be Participating in the 2019 Animanga Festival!

Evening all, and happy October 1st!

While I’m a little behind with everything right now, I just wanted to pop in and say that YES, I will be participating in The Animanga Festival this year! Auri reached out to me with a personal invite a couple weeks back, and of course I couldn’t say no. She’s the sweetest, and you all should be following her!

But what’s this all about? Well, it’s an event to celebrate anime and manga lovers in the blogging/vlogging community. Auri and Nairne also host this wonderful event to commemorate their blog’s anniversary. This year, Manga Toritsukareru Koto turns TWO, and I’m happy to take part in the celebration. Here’s a message from Auri and Nairne:


As our community grows larger, we find ourselves losing many near and dear companions along the way. This event was created to celebrate us animanga bloggers, vloggers, and reviewers in an effort to remember our amazing friends and our own work for years to come. As an added bonus, it also gives us a great chance to interact among ourselves and discover new friends. 


Throughout all of October, various bloggers and vloggers will be posting responses to fun writing prompts, intriguing competitions, wacky activities, and sharing what they love most about anime.

Posts in the first week follow under the “Loving what you love” category. The second week is “Expressing you,” highlighting the one behind the screen. Week three is about our roles in media, “Fans, fanworks, and fandoms.” Week four is for expressing gratitude for our most inspiring friends, the “Best of blogging.” And lastly, the end of October will include round-ups and award ceremonies for any activities we might’ve held.

When will I be writing? I’m glad you asked!

10/2 ~ Anime/Manga You’d Introduce to a First-Timer

10/5 ~ Trip Itinerary to Places You’d Like to Visit in Anime/Manga

10/10 ~ A Collection of Your Best Works

10/19 ~ A Crossover You’d Love to See

10/24 ~ A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great

Let me say that this is an INCLUSIVE project: if you want to take part and join the festivities at any point in the month, please, contact Auri @AuroraAcacia on Twitter and she’ll set you up right away. First and foremost, this is for fun, so it’s worth noting that this is not a project to stress over, but a time to enjoy casual writing—and connecting with our friends, of course! #TheAnimangaFestival

I’ll be here A LOT throughout the month, and I hope you’ll come back to celebrate with me and everyone else who’s taking part in the festivities. Once again, congrats and thank you to Auri and Nairne for including me in on the fun! What else can I say? Let’s hit it off everyone!

– Takuto, your host

Chill Season is Here | End of September Update 10/3/17

Hey everyone, what’s up? I did a header image thingy for an update! Like it?

Cool weather is finally here, ahh, yes, no more 100-degree F days. I’m in college now, in case you didn’t know that, and hey, I’m surviving (yay)! While I haven’t been utterly dumped with challenging homework yet, I am keeping busy, what with symphony orchestra and the long hours of practice that accompany it.

With all this “extra time,” I’ve done a lot of anime watching, some manga reading, and more posting. That’s always exciting. Now I have to get over the second slump—catching up on the millions of comments I’ve left unanswered. If I haven’t hunted you down in my posts yet, don’t worry, I will! I just need more energy within myself to keep the conversation going, and that can be tough. Blogging is a social sport, after all.

But slowly and steadily I am catching up. Painfully slowly, but it’s better than no progress at all. Anyway, let’s briefly check out what I’ve watched, read, and written within the past couple months!

RECENTLY FINISHED:

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Netoge: And you thought there is never a girl online?—I’ve finally signed up for a Funimation Now account, and this was one of the first shows I decided to watch. At the time, I was looking to satisfy simple needs: pretty characters, comedy, and a dash of nerd humor. And what do you know, Netoge was perfect for the job! I loved this show, and I’m not gonna lie, being able to stream a dub LEGALLY felt pretty good. This was my first time hearing Dallas Reid as Hideki “Rusian” Nishimura, and though I spent a lot of time deciding whether I liked him or not, I finally decided that if I kept needing to debate it, then he likely did a good job at it. We’ll likely hear A LOT more from Dallas Reid in upcoming dubs, I can just feel it. Anyway, fun show. Would watch more, but I likely won’t follow the novels.

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Saga of Tanya the Evil—After Netoge, I was craving something gritty, loaded with dark humor and kickass characters. Remembering Tanya from a couple seasons back as a big hit, I booted up the first episode on Crunchyroll and couldn’t put it down after that. Solid action, fantastic cast, and an engaging story of man vs. fate, or in this case, “bird mouth” Tanya vs. the cruel God who laughs from on high. It was just such a solid production that it left me here screaming, “WhErE iS sEaSoN tWo?!” I definitely plan to follow Tanya’s scheming and mocking of God in the novel series, which sees its first release I believe this winter. Awesome, high energy show that never lets up. When I watch the dub, expect a review!

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Aria the Animation—I participated in the huge Aria Kickstarter by Nozomi Entertainment AKA RightStuf back in September. At first, I donated blindly at the limited edition. Then I thought, “How stupid am I? Am I really going to blindly throw $60 at a title I don’t even know if I’d like??” And just as I questioned myself, Crunchyroll put the first season on their site to help with the campaign. After a watch of the first season, I can comfortably say that my gamble was a worthwhile one. Hopefully the +$200 that went into it will be everything that I wanted and more.

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Sailor Moon S—Awww yeah, I continue to knock through Viz’s releases of the beloved 90s series and I absolutely loved every bit of it! As a child, this was basically the first anime I was ever introduced to without knowing what anime was. It brought my whole experience of running around with sparkly ribbons and costumes full circle, and by the end (which I had never previously seen or known), I couldn’t help but melt down into an emotional wreck. I could never review a series that’s this close to heart, let alone slap a numerical rating on it, but maybe for an OWLS post or something I’ll get to dig out this series once again. Looking forward to seeing Crystal III this winter with all my heart—PLANET POWER!!!!

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Death Parade—This one you might recognize from my birthday haul! And while it’s quite up on this list, I actually started it in August and finished it just a day ago (hahaha that’s what I get for trying to watch it with my sister). Anyway, it was a wicked cool trip through the afterlife, and can’t help but think that the series needed something more for its ending . . . maybe for a future installment, right? It wasn’t as 10/10 masterpiece as everyone was making it out to be, but it was dark and fun, which is what exactly what I pegged the series for. Maybe I’ll review it, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.

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Code Geass: Akito the Exiled—Another from the b-day haul, yay! After breezing through the original Code Geass this past summer with my siblings, I was craving more of the universe. This calling just happened to be answered by Funimation’s rescue release of this spinoff, which takes place between the two halves of the original series overseas in the European Union. The dub had accents for the French and other nationalities represented, which was kind of a neat touch. I especially loved Jeannie Tirado’s resilient yet caring Leila Malcal. CG was used for the mechs this time around, and while one might find that originally distracting, the wild and dynamic movement and cinematography made for some excellent fights. My only great disappointment with it was the lack of involvement from returnees LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA and Suzaku Kururugi, as they were the main reason I even wanted more Geass. Oh well, cool show nevertheless.

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Shin Godzilla—It’s not anime, but it certainly counts for the reason I wanted to watch it: Evangelion. Director. Hidaeki Anno. Need I say more? Well, HAH, I wont’ actually, because a review of this titanic hit is coming very soon, so keep an eye out!

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Orange (anime and manga)—YES, I read some manga, and YES, it was an entry ruled off of the loooong backlog!! When the books were released and the anime adaptation of it aired, the ONLY thing people talked about was Orange. That popularity has since calmed down greatly, but the series is still definitely not one to be missed—especially that manga, dang! (I can officially recommend some manga to people, this is so fun!) The anime dedicates one episode to each chapter or two, so the pacing is absolutely flawless in terms of time/scene adaptation. Each frame of the manga held so much gorgeous facial expression, and the characters were each quirky yet very attractive. I wish the anime kept up with the quality on that front, but hey, taking a picture is easier than a video, I get it. Also, the manga was significantly more emotional than the series was. I’m not sure if that was just because I knew how it was all going to end, but hmm, yeah if someone wants the tear-jerker route, read the books. Both are still wonderful!

As a last note, though I never did actually cry, I was significantly touched by the morals of friendship, and how something so simple as friends can create beautiful moments and prevent terrible tragedies. It’s all about treasuring what we have, together, and living within each moment, not through them. I based my entire September OWLS post on the Orange manga, so if you’d like a spoiler free rundown on what it presents us with, consider checking it out! It gained a lot of traffic, and I consider it to be one of my bests posts because of how it was received. So, thank you if you decide to read it (link right here)!

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Re:CREATORS—OOH, OOH, now THIS is a show that saved itself during its run!! I was so happy with how it ended, and I won’t lie, I didn’t think the series had it in itself to finish with both story and emotional satisfaction, but it did, and because if that I do plan to review it! Until then, my lips are sealed—just go watch it!!

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Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBUKatsugeki had it all: incredible animation production, excellent digital effects by Ufotable, epic music by the composer of Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]‘s score, a solid franchise, and, of course, an overly supportive fanbase. So where did it go wrong? My theory is that it simply didn’t use the weight of each mission to fully impact the characters. From what I gathered, this is supposed to be a predominately character-driven franchise, so by not involving all of the characters, it walked away with only a couple of decently developed studs. Not to offend the fangirls, but it didn’t help when they decided to add a second wave of characters—the flashy First Unit—into the mix. Now you have +12 characters running around and all I can say was that the finale was very pretty. It was all more along the lines of “not my cup of tea” than “it sucked.”

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My Hero Academia Season 2—Bro, who wasn’t watching MHA this past season, cause like, dang! I thought the first was pretty good, but this second pulls out all the stops, especially with the famous TOURNAMENT ARC in the first half. Hell, I marathoned that shit cause I didn’t want to watch it at the time, and even though the Hero Killer/Hosu Incident Arc was a bit of a slump for me, I realize the importance it will have on not only the heroes but the villains as well. I won’t say too much more because I’d like to review it, but let’s just say it inspired me so much that I’ll be cosplaying the KING Todoroki #bestboy. Also, the first OP and the second ED were FIRE, man! Can’t stop listening!

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DIVE!!—So many thoughts. So much conflict. I think I like this show? See, I’m on the fence: I’ve admitted to the fact that this show did not turn out so well, but you can still like something that’s complete trash. I want to believe there is something of sustenance in this show, and that’s a very hard thing to do. It looks like I’ll be a bit against the crowd on this one, but don’t worry, I know that it’s garbage LOL. Review coming soon for sure!

CURRENTLY WATCHING:

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Tsuredure Children—Last spring’s trashiest show made its way to my Funi account and now I’m watching the dub. Not the greatest dub, but it’ll suffice for what I’m after: romantic nonsense. I want to watch curious kids fail miserably and hilariously with their love lives . . . is that sad? Beats me, but Tsuredure is defs fillin’ the cup up! It’s lighthearted, humorous, and charming in its own way, so sure, I’ll keep tagging along.

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Knight’s & Magic—Started this one yesterday night out of straight curiosity since half of the crowd said it was awesome and the other half hated it. I tend to like things that nobody else does, so here I come Ernesti! Episode one was good so far, but I can totally understand why people thought him being from another world was kinda pointless. I mean, in Saga of Tanya of Evil, it was part of the dude’s sin cycle, but here, IDK, Ernesti could’ve been a child genius and that would’ve rolled better with everyone. Anyway, the main reason I want to watch it is because the mechs look cool, so there’s that.

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I Hear the Sunspot—This is actually a manga that was recommended by Simply Gee over on YouTube. She found it to be lighthearted, soft, and simple; a story that doesn’t need to do very much to make our hearts warm. And she’s absolutely right. It follows a squirrely young college boy named Taichi who can’t seem to hold a job without getting into fights. This particularly sucks because he’s always hungry, that is, until stumbles upon Kohei, a quiet fellow college student who has a hearing disability. The two make a deal: Taichi be his note-taker and Kohei will provide him with free lunch!

Thus we watch the two struggle to understand just what they mean to one another, and how a problem isn’t too big of a problem when two people deal with it together. It’s got just the faintest touch of shounen-ai, but don’t let that turn you off—in fact, it’s half the magic. You’ll never know how friendly the two will get, but I’m willing to follow them throughout this standalone volume. Apparently it’s author Yuki Fumino’s first manga (which is overly impressive, my god), and due to its success, a sequel is on the way, hooray!

FALL SIMULCASTS:

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Fate/Apocrypha—I’m starting to understand characters, motives, and plugging their historical pasts with the present war. Apocrypha is getting better, but it’s still pretty rough given that only one servant has bit the bullet and we’re already halfway into this thing. I just hope they don’t start knockin’ down characters one by one. That always sucks. I don’t have much else to report on this one other than that it’s still engaging, action-packed, and rich with ancient lore. Did I ever mention the soundtrack? Besides the twisted Egoist OP (which I did finally decide that I like), the epic strings and main melody behind the show is just fantastic!

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Welcome to the BallroomBallroom is, ergmm, more fun to watch when it’s moving. There are SO many still shots it’s insane! And this is done by Production I.G.—aren’t they a powerhouse in the anime industry? That’s not to say that each frame is bad (cause they’re all friggin’ gorgeous), but man, it’s a sports show that requires a great deal of movement—so GIVE IT TO US, PLEASE! Otherwise it can sometimes be hard or embarrassing to watch. On several occasions during the first half’s Tenpei Cup, Tatara makes a comment on Gaju’s moves (“so powerful;” “oh he messed up here;” “he’s doing ___ move”), but then we see . . . nothing, it’s a SINGLE FRAME. Between the lack of movement, the loss of the season’s good first OP and ED, and the introduction of a potential new partner,  I just hope Ballroom knows what it’s doing in this second half.

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Food Wars! The Third Plate—Not much to say. It’s more Food Wars! and that’s about the best thing you could have for this fall season! I’m eagerly awaiting a tango with the Totsuki Elite Ten (dat alliteration tho) and all of the funny antics to follow! Cheers to more food porn!

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Juni Taisen: Zodiac War—The only reason I’m going to watch this series is because it sounds like the Holy Grail War. It’s a survival game; personifications of each Zodiac animal come to life and duke it out for the chance to make a wish come true (or at least I think that’s what it’s about). Sounds cool, looks cool, sure, count me in.


Blogging Projects

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Let’s see, in the last “Cafe Talk” I wrote about how “Having Unpopular Opinions Can Suck,” where I finalized my thoughts on the 2017 Ghost in the Shell Live-Action (spoiler alert: I loved it), as well as how frustrating it can be when nobody takes your side. There, I’ve jotted down just a few of my own “unpopular opinions,” so if you’re curious or feel I’m relatable, check that out. I’ve shared several great conversations with people on that post in the comments section, which is awesome—that’s what it’s there for!!! I’ll see if I can get on and answer some more soon!

I also recently partnered up with fellow gaming blogger NekoJonez on his expansive Legend of Zelda project, which brings in 13 of us to tackle the entire franchise from the first game to the latest. It was a surprisingly great deal of fun, especially at the end with those last couple hours before show time, and I made some awesome friends while reminiscing on a greatly beloved title. Honestly, it opened my eyes to the possibility of future collabs and projects with bloggers, but perhaps I should build up my own personal brand a bit more, right? Who knows, but I had a very fun time, and that’s all that matters in the end. Here are the games I covered if you are curious about Gaming Takuto!

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The Great Sea: Phantom Hourglass

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The New World: Spirit Tracks

I’m Tired of Playing Catch-Up

Whew! What an update! It’s just as large as last time’s, which means I need to get back to monthly ones, not this bimonthly nonsense! I mean, who wants to stick around for nearly 3,000 words of “I did this, and that, and didn’t do a lot of something else . . .” But inconvenience is how I roll, right guys? Haha, moving on.

I guess my biggest challenge right now isn’t “not wanting to write” as much as I’m sick and tired of playing catch-up! There are just WAY to many posts I want to read and comments that I need to respond to that, when I find myself going to draft another post, I just sigh at all of the responsibilities that should come first: responding to my readers, to my guests. What kind of host leaves their customer without their order? Not a very good one, that’s for sure. I’ll work on this more for this month as my biggest goal, and hopefully I can get out of this rut that I’ve sat in for MONTHS now.

I’m tired of playing catch-up, so I’ll change that. 🙂

I’m curious to know what you guys are following this fall season! Also, did you read any good manga or light novels recently? The new SAO series coming soon makes me want to purchase and read the Alicization books, as apparently it’s the best part of the franchise so far. But time is short, so we’ll see. ALSO INDEX III WAS ANNOUNCED HOLY CRAP I THOUGHT IT’D NEVER HAPPEN!!!! Now if we could just get an adaptation of Railgun’‘s Level Six Shift Arc, I could die happily with that franchise. I hope nicer weather has made its way to you as it has me, cause I’m partying in my fall jackets and hoodies now! Hahaha, take care you guys, until next time~!

– Takuto, your host