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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Hanasaku Iroha: Finding Beauty & Grace in Hard Work, Dignity, and Servitude | OWLS “Bloodlines”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” As part of the OWLS blog tour’s  eighth monthly topic, “Bloodlines,” I decided to incorporate what would have been my standard Hanasaku Iroha review into this discourse about “it runs in the family.”

Family means everything (or does it?). This month, we will be discussing the importance of family relationships in anime and pop culture. Familial relationships include a child and his/her parents, sibling rivalries, adoptions, etc. Some questions about family that we will be contemplating on include how does one’s family shapes his or her identity? How do we define family? How does a broken household influence a person’s view on family?

This show probably deserves a review all on its own, but hey, I’m just gonna go for it here! Thanks Lyn for the prompt!

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A brief discussion on the 26-episode spring 2011 anime “Hanasaku Iroha: Blossoms for Tomorrow” and the 2013 film “Home Sweet Home,” produced by P.A. Works, directed by Masahiro Ando (Blast of Tempest), based on the original story by Mari Okada (A Lull in the Sea).

Out On Her Own

Ohana Matsumae: bursting with rebellious energy and only 16 years old, her picture-perfect Tokyo life could’ve been every girl’s dream—if only her mom wasn’t such a mess! Carefree, irresponsible, and always on the go, mother Satsuki Matsumae and her boyfriend hurriedly pack their bags to flee from debt collectors, forcing Ohana to seek refuge out in the countryside at her grandmother’s Kissui inn. It is there at the Kissuiso that Ohana forms the resolve to work hard under her grandmo—I mean, Madame Manager’s—cold and strict guidance as a maid to prove that she is just as strong and independent as her mother, reevaluate her unrequited love life, and “fest up” her otherwise mundane city life.

As Ohana grows deeper connections with the quiet countryside land and the changing seasons, she is faced with the trials of working as a maid, as well as countless interactions with the many customers that come and go at the Kissuiso. Bonds of friendship are born, and inexpressible relationships blossom beautifully.

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The Kissuiso Staff

Much of the love and respect I have for this show lies right here with the inn’s staff. That said, it can also be the most frustrating part. The busybody maids remain my favorite: Ohana’s fresh, persevering face even if she’s not exactly helping in the best way just makes you want to shout “SHE DID NOTHING WRONG” (at least she’s always trying, unlike some of the others); Nako, the”quite literally” big sister character never fails to support Ohana in that soft and gentle way that she does; and Tomoe, the playful and typically jealous woman tends to catch gossip and spread rumors throughout the inn, adding in the comedic elements.

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It’s the cooking staff that annoys me the most. No, not Renji, the stoic and buff head chef who minds to himself—my issues lie with an outspoken young man named Tohru and a girl Ohana’s age named Minko who “secretly” has the hots for him. They’re just both so rude to everyone, scolding one another whenever they can and not leaving much room for fun. I guess part of that adds to the staff’s dynamic (and conflict for Ohana), but Minko’s attitude really got on my nerves; far too distracting for what her character honestly represents. I also couldn’t stand her voice.

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Lastly, I couldn’t forget the two loudmouths that pop in throughout the series: Yuina, the daughter of a rival inn’s family and Ohana’s new classmate who honestly only wishes to enjoy her youth while discovering her true passion; and Takako, the glamorous business consultant adviser for Kissuiso who always wants to revitalize the rather old-fashioned inn to suit the times. She often bumps heads with Sui, as her ideas are indeed ludicrous at times, but when it comes down to it, they both only desire what’s best for the inn and its customers.

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I could go on about how genuine the personalities and relationships of each character feel, but half the appeal of Hanasaku Iroha is witnessing how they go about their days, both the ordinary ones for those slice-of-life vibes and the hectic ones to see how this seemingly disjointed team tackles wild problems head on!

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One of P.A. Works’ Finest Pieces

I’m all about scenery. Whether it’s a schoolyard from heaven (or hell) or an enchanting undersea village, P.A. Works never fails to embody this ideal vision of a “gorgeous world.” The anime’s characters are all beautifully designed and fluidly animated in their own right, Ohana especially, but the colorful Kissuiso takes the cake as a visionary set piece. Perfectly blending antiquity with its polished, hand-carved wooden exterior with the luscious greens from nature, the rustic countryside inn almost feels tangible, one that you can breath fresh air easily in and instantly feel comforted by the relaxing atmosphere. I could probably lose myself in the pages of an art book if I ever got my hands on one (which I will surely try to).

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The same glowing things are to be said about the charming piano and string tracks by Shiro Hamaguchi, my favorite being a little sad piece called “Remember that day with a smile like that.” For OPs and EDs, I’m not a huge fan of nano.RIPE’s lead singer’s nasally voice, but its random fifth ending “Saibou Kioku” happened to play at just the right time.

It Runs in the Family

Hanasaku Iroha enters the realm of slice-of-life with a little drama thrown in the mix. While it’s easy to label it as just that—a simply relaxing show—the series poses much more than that. From the beginning, it presents a moving story about family and adulthood, parenting and role-modeling. Like most titles with drama elements, the events of the larger present story are results of a little, once-close-knit group from the past.

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This group now makes up the adults in Ohana’s life: her stern grandma, Sui, her defiant mom, Satsuki, and her scatterbrain uncle (Satsuki’s brother), Enishi. When these parental figures were supposed to guide Ohana as a child, Satsuki often left Ohana to do all of the chores and “take care of herself”—a mantra that she still employs—choosing to put her efforts into her work as a pro writer instead of parenthood. Satsuki gave up her entitlement as the inn’s next manager, and as a result Sui stayed behind at the inn, Enishi working for her, and that was that.

Ohana spent her whole life cleaning up after her own mother.

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As depressing as that sounds, the story’s realism is probably the best thing that it has going for it. It’s a show that doesn’t want to boast, but simply leave itself out there by remarking, “This actually happens in real life.” By intertwining the lives and efforts of the inn’s staff, using the Kissuiso itself as the anchor, everyone comes to understand the tension between Satsuki and her mother, why Ohana’s personality is so brazen and spirited, why Enishi is so desperate to win his mother’s approval over his big sister, and why their boss Sui acts like such a secluded hag. It all comes down to family in the end, or rather the lack of a strong one to bind them together.

I think we can all relate to this.

Genes have the power to shape a family, but only you can decide what path it takes. As people, we make mistakes—for some of us, a lot of them—and maybe you got that from someone (or you’ll pass it on). But regardless, if we spent as much time thinking about the ones we are supposed to love as we did ourselves, I think we’d all be better off.

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Ohana put herself in her mother’s shoes when she reconnected with the source that threw her mom off to begin with, and her entire world changed for the better as a result. She realized that as different as she liked to think they were, they both made the same mistakes as young girls. Knowing this, she vowed to be like her grandma one day, hopefully ending the cycle of familial neglect.

And this made momma very proud of her little girl.

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Hard Work Really Does Pay Off

Hanasaku Iroha walks us through the struggles of the worker class for a girl living in a somewhat broken home. As Ohana comes to find beauty and grace in hard work, dignity, and servitude, we can’t help but feel inspired by her bold newfound identity. Most important of all, we’re told an endearing story about being the best that only you can be, and that even in this self-centered world that is so consumed by “give and take,” there exists wonderful places like the Kissuiso, safe havens that offer both a relaxing time to heal old wounds and a staff that only wishes to work hard to serve YOU. And that, well, that’s really special.

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“You may come to a standstill or get irritated because things don’t work out the way you want them to, but what you gain from hard work will never betray you.” – Tohru Miyagishi


So there you have it, the very gentle and sweet Hanasaku Iroha. By the end of it, you just want to smile and cry at the same time. For those wondering, the film takes place before the finale, and acts more like three episodes linked together rather than a standalone film. Still wonderful stuff—so wonderful that I present it with the certified “Caffe Mocha” rating, one for the menu and it’s all on me (actually it’s on Crunchyroll for FREE)! You HAVE to let me know what you thought about my review over this quaint little gem if you’ve seen it, as it’s a quiet show that doesn’t get much buzz anymore. I found this to be the perfect show for this month’s OWLS theme since “Ohana” does mean “family” in Hawaiian, after all!

This concludes my August 4th entry in the OWLS “Bloodlines” blog tour. Since I was first again this month, I’ll give you the weekend before handing it off to my buddy Matt (Matt-in-the-Hat) with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (I REMEMBER THIS FILM!) on Monday, August 7th! Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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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

Happy V-Day, “V” for Versailles, that is!

HELLO cafe-goers, it’s Valentine’s day!! I hope you all are having a grand day, whether that’s spending time with that special sweetheart, relaxing with the fam, or crying to yourself as you watch anime and stuff your face with chocolates you bought on sale. Personally, I am tending to those last two options, but I won’t be crying because, in the strange annual spirit of V-Day, I plan to marathon an anime classic from the past! The previous menus have included:

2013 ~ Steins;Gate

2014 ~ Ouran High School Host Club/Gosick (couldn’t remember which)

2015 ~ Neon Genesis Evangelion

2016 ~ The Rose of Versailles

When I’m not chatting it up with my siblings, attempting to put together my thoughts on 3.33 (it’s coming soon, I swear!!), I’ll be attempting to knock this shojo classic out of the park! I picked it up for pretty cheap during a holiday sale, and thought, sure, what the heck – I only heard it was THE historical anime of the century! So yeah, hope you all have had a sweet day, and I promise, the conclusion to Eva-Week is on its way. See you all soon!

With love,

– Takuto, your host

End of December Update 1/4/16

Evening all, I hope your new year has kicked off with a marvelous bang! Mine was a bit anticlimactic, but at least the snacks were oh~so tasty! As we all usher in 2016 with open arms, high hopes, and huge wishes, I’d like to proudly say that not much will be changing around here. The café will still welcome guests, host reviews, and whatever else intrigues me! That being said, here is, as per the norm, the first casual update of 2016!

Recently finished:

Redline – Oh man, where to start with this one? How about watching those Star Wars races (yes I saw the new movie, pretty good, even coming from non-SW buff) while huffing every shroom on the face of the planet, wearing one of those old blue/red 3D glasses, and chugging Root Beer. Sounds pretty damn wild, don’t it? I’m not very good at writing reviews for movies, so if I don’t ever get around to it, just know that my socks were blown off of my feet five times even after tying them down with duct tape. In other words, go watch Redline, and FAST!

Diamond Daydreams – This is one of those anime that you feel is so crappy just because it has meh reviews, regardless of how much you’re actually enjoying yourself. This light drama about 6 women in the winter has just enough empathy to tie yourself to each of them and make you want to just give ’em a box of chocolates after a grueling day 🙂 Review more than likely on the way!

Charlotte – Yeah, I remember this one! In fact, I wrote a review about it right here which you should totally check out if you haven’t already! This sucker’s got so many plot twists that it’ll keep you on your toes. Unless its surprises don’t appeal to you, to which I still reckon you finish what you’ve already started ^.^ It doesn’t seem to know what it’s going at for over two-thirds of its run, but the rush to the finish is chaotic and emotionally stirring. I’m still trying to recover from the damage – good and bad – it has caused.

Fate/stay night (2006) (rewatched) – If you caught my mini “Happy Holidays” post a week or so back, you’d know that I spent a nice time with this dubious show. Much like the first time I saw it: Bland animation, boring story, Shirou’s a big baka, etc. But despite its numerous flaws, it felt right to revisit Fuyuki City. Glad I got the chance to witness the original Fifth Holy Grail War on DVD!

Danganronpa The Animation (rewatched) – OMG OMG I finally got to reunite with my favorite courtroom mystery show after two years!!! Supposedly the game is 100 times better, but I don’t have a PS Vita to join in the fun. That said, the animation has to suffice, and I think it does so marvelously! Revisiting all of the characters, the story, and the creepy mystery-enshrouded high school was a high in my winter break – AND THE DUB, OH GOSH, FUNimation did a bloody fantastic job with it 😀 More to come on the physical release of it, and I might even write a review!

Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume 3: Fairy Dance Part 1 – I am halfway through my exploration and research on the infamous fairy arc and I’ve got to say, it’s much more exhilarating and less distracting in novel format. I thought it was good.

Fujoshi Rumi Manga Volumes 1, 2, 3 – GUILTY PLEASURE FUJOSHI STATUS: ACHIEVED. I fell in love with this manga after YouTuber Animepalooza recommended it in a video of hers. This obscure shoujo school comedy/romance absolutely entranced me, and I plan to find the remaining three novels translated on the web sometime, as they were never licensed, discontinued, I think. That’s a tragedy considering that I would’ve bought the SHIT outta it 😉

I’m still sad my smut is gone 😦 Why didn’t they license the rest? WHY??

Currently watching:

Cowboy Bebop – “That’s right. 3, 2, 1, let’s go.” After I told my dad it was getting a rerelease, he flipped his sh*t and I went and bought it for us to watch. So far, with my family, we’ve watched 11 episodes, and loving each and every one of them! The characters and their quirks are unforgettable and its episodic nature with a boiling overarching storyline is handled perfectly. I completely understand why it’s a classic, and I can’t wait to see how these unlucky bounty hunters finish their journey 🙂

Currently reading:

Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume 4: Fairy Dance Part 2 – Yep, my work to bring this half of the anime justice continues with the fourth novel. Very peculiar thus far, as so far the books have followed the anime in a parallel fashion. Now, we diverge a bit to reveal other musings that happened during Kirito’s rescue trip. Hopefully  it proves to clear its name in novel format.

Seraph of the End Volume 1 – So I haven’t started it yet, but I know I will either this week or the next. Not much to say other than it better be a step up from its anime adaptation -_-

On the convention side of things, I have settled on cosplaying as character from . . . Seraph of the End, in fact! As to whom, I want you to guess, muahaha! Let’s just say I chose this character because A) They were pretty cool and B) They look EPIC. Betcha can’t guess, haha!

And there you go, my second half of December in a nutshell. Lot’s of watching, but now that school has started back up (TOMORROW OH GOD SAVE ME NOOOOOOO), I assume that all of this will be set off to the side. I’ll try not to let that happen, but it is what it is. How was your December and the holidays? Breaks are always outstanding for me, so you all know I had a wonderful time 🙂 I’ll try to warm up my typing fingers and find my reviewing spirit so that I can get some great content to you guys, and in the meantime, I’ll be wishing on the diamond dust we all survive this after-break train wreck. This has been

– Takuto, your host

Cafe Talk #4: “HARMONIZE WITH ME MAGGOT!” (a Ren-fest experience)

Grab some hot apple cider or a chilled fruit drink because it’s finally time for another “Cafe Talk!” Chinese food, old men in capes, and bee swarms – This one’s a doozy but I’ve managed to get it all (and no, I’m not just trying to reach to a wider audience)! I won’t be leaving an outro at the end like I usually do, so if you have had similar experience you HAVE to let me know in the comments! While you’re at it, feel free to hit the like if you enjoyed the story 🙂

First some prior knowledge:

I frequent a Renaissance Festival every year with my family and I absolutely love the art of it. It started off as my siblings and I performing music with a Celtic group in “The Chapel,” but when the academy went under we stopped going because we had to and started actually enjoying the festivities.

Flash forward and I’m eating Chinese food on a Friday night. I know right, great way to spend the day. But after devouring my beef fried rice, my fortune cookie did as they usually do: It told my future.

Next week, green is a lucky color for you.

So I got super paranoid and tried to remember to wear green throughout the week. I think I managed to fit one day in, sporting a regular lime Nike shirt, but nothing “spectacular” happened. In fact, I was probably even more exhausted that day . . . But Saturday came around ( I realize that a new week would have passed the Friday right before, but it’s a fortune cookie, and their magic can be a bit iffy at times), and this was our family’s planned day to wake up at the freakin’ crack of dawn, dress like fools  epic knights, elves, what have you, and arrive at the Renaissance Festival at 10 AM-ish. Due to my crazy student life (also noticeable by the lack of posts, sorry), I had virtually no time to prepare a costume like I usually do. So what did I end up with?

My makeshift Attack on Titan cosplay outfit. It’s the stereotypical neat jacket, the tight-ass white jeans, that leather skirt thing, a plain gray shirt, and my brother’s old Ren-fest-bought leather boots that resembled giant socks after so much wear and tear. Lastly, a short leather cloak with metal clasps with a freakin’ awesome hood that I bought in the previous year or two to function as the Scouting Regiment’s symbolic flare. Seems legit, so no biggie.

Long story short, I had a fantastic weekend. My weirdo sister kept SnapChatting pictures of an old man in a red cape, crown, and shades who, I’m SO SORROW OLD MAN, looked like a fool. My mom ordered a delicious apple-pie-ice-cream-thing-which-has-a-name-that-escapes-me, and was pretty much attacked by bees that buzzed around occasionally (they left after a while). The sad part in that is that my mom hardly orders anything for herself, but at least she liked the dessert! Anyway, she ended up buying herself a damned nice black cloak and a fancy blue corset, so it all worked out.

Seriously though, awesome weekend! But the story doesn’t end there . . .

We spent the whole day there. Tired in my sock boots, we were making our last rounds of enjoying the smell of roasted peanuts and turkey legs, the cloudy atmosphere, the assorted wooden structures in the hills, and the cool 60-degree HEAVEN until we ran into a large group of young adults. I looked down as per usual and kept to myself, but then an enchanting cosplayer in a white and red fox outfit called:

“MY YOUNG TITAN SLAYER, come hither ~!”

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Something like this.

F*ck.

What do I do?? EVERYONE was looking at me, but I couldn’t even notice them I was so nervous. I bumbled around but quickly accepted my fate. This could have been a call of sorts, you know?

Honor took over me, and I did the fist over heart salute like they do in the show. Everyone smiled.

Capture

I approached the now nicknamed fox demon woman and, after a bit of small talk – her spewing compliments about my wondrous leather one-of-a-kind Scouting cloak – the tall man in the group towering over me (whom I now just noticed) gave a hearty chuckle. The fox lady and the others coaxed their bud into saying something that I’m not sure he himself was wanting to say or do, but he did:

“I can do an impersonation of Keith Shadis’ abridged voice from the YouTube video.”

“Well,” I sputtered, “You have to do it now.” hehehe

And then, clearing his throat, he yelled the scene during training camp right before he twists Armin’s neck. He yelled it loud and proud, starting with the “sweet mother” part.

“Do you sing?”

“No,” I sputtered, according to the skit.

“HARMONIZE WITH ME, MAGGOT!!” woooaaahhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

“WAHAHAHAHGAGAGAAGAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAH!!!!” I screeched at the top of my lungs.

Then he twisted my neck, gently of course. And it was awkward for everybody.

Oh Internet, how you . . . scare me sometimes. But seriously, where’s the lie?

It was the first time anything like this had ever happened, but oh boy, how I’ll never forget. Everyone around was sharing good cheer, smiling and laughing. I, like everyone else, applauded his and my efforts to pull it off.

That’s when the fox-lady burst out how cool of a guy I was, and then she asked a fatal question:

“Wah, you’re so freakin’ awesome!! Do you have Facebook or something so that I can contact you?”

Ouch. Yep, I’ve got no social media. Just an email, a phone number, this cafe, and of course my MAL . . .

WAIT?!? Doesn’t every anime fan under the sun have a MyAnimeList account??

Too bad I didn’t think of that in time. 

I replied with a weak “no,” and she and the rest were like, “Bummer, well this was so much fun, anyway! :D” I had missed my chance at a real-life stranger-to-friend situation. I had failed as a human. I mean, I didn’t want to just give my email, isn’t that a bit too personal for not having even getting to know each other?

But then she glimmered with hope. “Do you go to any conventions? Maybe we can meet up again sometime for something silly like this!”

“NAKA-KON!” I probably shouted hoarsely. Maybe there is a chance at redemption now!

“Cool! Well then, we’ll be seeing you around!”

And that was that. Two seconds of fame but no way to ever get it back. Perhaps this spontaneous coincidence was meant to be. Heck, a nearby girl in Scouting Legion cosplay ended up being right behind me, and after hearing our skit, she ran up to me with a high-five and we took a picture. So one with her, and one with the other big group. Proud memories to cherish as an anime fan!

We had no Armin since I have dark hair, but hey, pretty much.

So what was the message in it all? It is what it is, or it’s all ultimately left up to Fate? I’m not really too sure myself. But as for my fortune cookie I hinted at in the beginning (but sadly managed to squeeze no luck out of), what color was my Scouting Regiment cloak – the very thing that spotted me out from the crowd?

Oh damn it all.

🙂

– Takuto, your host