My Top Five Favorite OWLS Posts That I Wrote in 2018

Hello! Happy New Year!

I realize 2019 has already begun, but there are still a few 2018 round-up posts I plan to write, one of those being this one right here. My top five OWLS posts of 2017 listing was fairly well-received by you all, so I decided to bring it back! As I mentioned last year, it’s hard to pick favorites. But, in the spirit of the New Year and bidding the old farewell, I’ve managed to select five OWLS posts that accurately represent the sum of who I am, why I write, and what I want you, the reader, to learn!

As previously mentioned, all of my OWLS posts are my babies—in fact, they’re probably some of the best posts I’ve ever written, if not THE best of what I’ve got so far, and I thoroughly LOVED writing ALL of them—so enjoy my reminiscing, and feel free to scope them out if you missed them, or are feeling the urge to relive each month’s thought-provoking topic.

On the header/taskbar thingy of my site, you’ll see that OWLS has its own tab (and rightly so), so you can find the rest of 2018’s posts there! Alrighty then, let’s take one last look at some of the posts I wrote in 2018!


RUNNER UP:

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Tour #19 July – The Royal Tutor: A Heartfelt Lesson on Judgement | OWLS “Mentor”

Like several of the titles I featured for each month, my watch of The Royal Tutor came at just the right time. I recall desparately searching my watch catalog just nights before the post was due, and then Heine Wittgenstein waltzed into my life and all was well. Not a single episode goes by where Heine fails to offer a valuable lesson on what it means to be human, and its that strict attention to theme that gives this OWLS post an easy runner-up position on the list. Heck, Heine practically wrote the post for me!

Life Lessons Learned:

  • Before quitting something you want to do, you should always explore alternative solutions.
  • This world is very big. Do not deprive yourself of people who will understand and care for you.
  • We should all believe in second chances.

NUMBER FIVE:

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Tour #24 December – Finding a Place to Belong: Tokyo Godfathers & the Gift of Kindness | OWLS “Miracles”

Here’s another one of those last-minute struggle watches that I managed to cram in right before the deadline, and boy am I glad I finally watched this anime cult Christmas classic. In the post, I dabbled a bit on how “God’s miracles” are what guide these three crazy homeless friends through an eventful Christmas Eve in Tokyo. The unfathomable number of plot conveniences can be explained by the presence of this guiding light, and this wild series of events—which can only be described as miraculous—are what make it the perfect fit for not only the monthly theme, but the holiday season.

Life Lessons Learned:

  • Life has a funny way of dealing with some situations—embrace chaos with faith.
  • A simple conviction to kindness will surround you with good company and food aplenty.
  • We will always have the opportunity to be kind to others.

NUMBER FOUR:

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Tour #13 January – All That Glitters IS Gold in “Land of the Lustrous” | OWLS “Revival”

Similar to our first tour of 2019, “Metamorphosis,” January and the New Year revolve around change. It involves a spirit of revival, an air of renewal, and the determination to change oneself for the better. Similarly, I found Phos’ journey to find purpose and self-worth to be an excellent fit for 2018’s first monthly topic. (I also happened to be watching it at the time, but I digress.) Just as how humans are fragile beings at heart, the Gems of Land of the Lustrous can shatter into hundreds of tiny pieces—some Gems more than others, namely Phos. Although the post is a tad bit on the longer side to accommodate every aspect that I wanted to hit on, I still look back on it fondly as how 2018 started—a shimmering, hopeful time to try new things. 

Life Lessons Learned:

  • Change is scary. It can be painful, it can be sudden, and it can be dangerous. Change involves suffering, but that grief is a necessity for growth.
  • Self-worth isn’t determined by the people around you, but rather what YOU make of yourself.
  • So long as we can hope to become better individuals—actively seeking to help others in return—change and improvement just might someday find us, too.

NUMBER THREE:

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Tour #20 August – From the New World: Through Horror, Calamity, & the Truth | OWLS “Journey”

This show, oh man, how far we go back together. I find it quite rare for a series to impact my views on critical concepts like justice and dignity so easily. And then comes along Shinsekai Yori to flip everything that I knew on its head. Absolutely loaded from head to toe with painful themes of reality and the duality of man, From the New World represents so much more than sci-fi series about good and evil. Rather, it’s a journey through horror, calamity, and the truth, and how the truth can sometimes be the cruelest thing of all. Given how complex it is, I was quite satisfied with how I was able to sum up each of the story’s arcs and how they impact Saki Watanabe, the lead character. (Also, I really, really like the header image I designed for this one.) It’s riveting, it’s meaningful, it’s powerful, and of all the shows I’ve EVER scene, few deserve the title of masterpiece quite like From the New World does.

Life Lessons Learned:

  • To feign ignorance is the greatest crime of all. Corruption breeds from within when we close off our minds and our hearts to new peoples and ideas.
  • People are twisted, easily corrupted, and worst of all, easily scared. But while we are weak when we are desperate, we are strong when it counts.
  • “We have to change our way of thinking if we really want to change the future.”

NUMBER TWO:

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Tour #16 April – Yūki Hayashi: Music to Motivate the Soul | OWLS “Melody”

I try to dedicate a solid paragraph in each of my anime reviews to the series’ soundtrack composer. What can I say, I’m a music man, and Yuuki Hayashi just so happens to be my favorite anime soundtrack composer! He’s done the background music for so many of my favorite shows, and it was about time that I dedicated an entire post—a very special OWLS post at that—to Hayashi’s genius. At long, long last, I got to practically fanboy about all my favorite anime soundtracks, but there’s another reason I picked a composer rather than a single song or series to focus on. You see, Hayashi’s music isn’t just epic—it’s also inspirational, a set of notes and sounds designed to motivate the very soul. And although this one low-key has my favorite header graphic, it’s missing one final relatability factor to push it into number one.

Life Lessons Learned:

  • Music encapsulates and can provide inspiration to lift us off our feet, motivation to push us forward, heartache to make us grow, the strength to go beyond, and the ambition to fulfill our dreams.
  • Know that the view from the summit is one that exists ONLY for you—so chase after it relentlessly.
  • Try new things, make mistakes, meet new people, but never, never give up on your reasons for wanting to improve. Because maybe, in the process of overcoming your own impossible odds, you’ll inspire someone else to be a better human.

AND FINALLY, NUMBER ONE:

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Tour #18 June – Princess Jellyfish: Confidence, Community, & the Beauty Below the Surface | OWLS “Pride”

Here’s your number one for 2018! Did it surprise you? Princess Jellyfish burst onto the scene of my life and totally changed my views on confidence, community, and the inner beauty we each possess below the surface. It features a dynamic, hilarious, and heartwarming cast of otaku NEETS who are all just struggling to get by in society, as well as the one queen who will unite them all in their effort to freely express themselves. Princess Jellyfish is the epitome of pride, a story that is attest to how vast our personalities truly are, and although I was a bit long-winded with other technical aspects of the series, this post really is just one big expression of love. Princess Jellyfish is a series about loving what you want to love, and bonding with those who share that same incredible sentiment. At its very end, the story of Princess Jellyfish embodies something so pure, hopeful, and passionate that it becomes impossible to not enjoy—and it’s for all these wonderful reasons and more that I select June’s “Pride” post as my favorite OWLS post of 2018.

Life Lessons Learned:

  • Sometimes you need to see yourself in a different way in order to appreciate who you’ve been this whole time.
  • Beauty is not something you simply put on: it’s an emotion you feel when you’re at your best. 
  • Above all else, so long as you take pride in yourself and the things you love, all people—including us adults—still have plenty of room for growth and change.

A HUGE Round of Applause to the OWLS Crew!

WHEW! After binge-reading ALL of the 2018 OWLS posts from January 1st to December 31st, I can officially say that each and every one of us deserve a pat on the back. Seriously though, all of lovely individuals in OWLS are not only fantastic people, but awesome writers as well, and while I didn’t share every single post over on Twitter (for fear of clogging up everyone’s feed), each one of them most certainly deserves the read.

This post compiles my favorite OWLS posts that personally wrote. As bloggers, I’m sure we can all identify our stronger posts compared to the rest of our catalog. So, if you are an OWLS member, I’d love to read what you found to be your own favorites! Think of it as celebrating your accomplishments for being a member of such a cool group. 🙂

Speaking of accomplishments . . . to my knowledge, I am one of the few who has posted for every single tour. That’s 24 posts since our debut in 2017! While I plan to write more posts aside from OWLS ones (as that is what became of me this year, whoops), I am happy with myself for not giving up and sticking with the group through each thought-provoking monthly topic. It’s just a small sidenote, but I’m proud for having come this far, and I look forward to hopefully adding 12 more posts come December 2019!

Anyway, that’s it for me. What did you think of the line-up? Did you have a particular favorite month to read/write for, either of my posts or everyone else’s? Or are you, like I was less than a month ago, still in the process of catching up? Haha! Either way, thank you so much for supporting me throughout my 2018 OWLS journey, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of June Update 7/5/15

Konbanwa mina-san ~

For those in the U.S., I hope you all had a great Independence Day! Mine was pleasant. I stayed at home with my family and my mom had invited one of her friends over to spend the day. My favorite part – we ate tons of watermelon and pineapple! After dark, we went to lay out on our driveway to watch all of our neighbors light fireworks which is always a blast (hehe, get it), though the thought of getting bitten by a bug was overwhelming >.<

With all of the spring simulcasts coming to an end, I’ve been experiencing all kinds of feels! I know this update is already pretty late, but I figured I better shoot this out there before the wave of reviews hits me (gosh, I’ll never get some sleep). So here is the list:

Recently finished:

From the New World – yeah, I realize this was done a long while ago, but I have to bring it up again because I’m still thinking about it! Such a wonderful piece of entertainment, nearly a masterpiece, if you missed the review the first time, click here!

Tokyo Ghoul – a very gripping horror series that has/had a lot of potential. This first season was pretty good, though. I wrote a review on it here

Tokyo Ghoul √A – a disappointing sequel that, though not bad per se, just filled with a gazillion plot holes. The ending was nice. I have my reasons, and a review will be out sometime tomorrow

Seraph of the End – I have mixed thoughts on this one. Really darn entertaining, but when analyzed closely  it’s so terribly flawed! If you wanna, I have a review here you can read!

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? – it was much more fun during the start, but at the end I was kinda sick of watching it. It wasn’t horrendous, but nothing like I thought it’d be, review on the way!

Plastic Memories – ironically unmemorable by this point. A slow romance built on a tragic concept that could have taken advantage of the setting, but sadly didn’t, review coming soon

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – man, I’m really gonna miss one:'( Easily one of the best watches this season despite the rocky dialogue these past couple of weeks. Nine months have passed since I started . . . this was a good journey, stay tuned for my thoughts

Attack on Titan OVAs – YESS! More AoT! They actually came out shortly after the original series did, but I’m now just getting to them. They remind me so much as to why I fell in love with the series in the first place. I still have two left

Currently Watching:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Megumi finally gets the spotlight, though the reason is not necessarily a good situation. I’m loving every single episode, and I can’t wait for the gang to return to the academy rather than remain at this fancy shmancy diner dash hell! 🙂

Sound! Euphonium – OMG episode 13 is going to be great, I can feel it!! This show is nearly flawless in my eyes, so please don’t let me down like some of the others! I’ll watch the contest on Tuesday, then shortly after you can expect a review

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – everyone is giving this show so much praise, but I don’t see what’s all the buzz about. I mean, it’s interesting, sure, but the animation inconsistency is driving me insane! I’ll watch episode 12 (or 13?) tomorrow and hope things get better

I also finished volumes 13 and 14 of the manga for Neon Genesis Evangelion. I didn’t read the whole series, as I just wanted the bits covered in The End of Evangelion. Things made so much more sense in those books than in the film! Like holy moly! I also finished Pandora Hearts volume 4. I’ve been wanting to make this my first manga series to read from start to finish and own, but I realized that this is going to be an expensive project that I just don’t have the money for. I’ll find it online somewhere and see if things get good. It’s pretty confusing, but the art is some of the best and characters are cool!

A few days ago I purchased an Attack on Titan Survey Corp jacket because a) I want to try out more cosplay and b) my sister wore one to Naka-Kon in March and the OVAs have rekindled my love for this show, not like it ever went out ;). I got it in the mail a couple days ago and, though the color is disappointingly and significantly lighter than the orange ones in the show, it’s still freakin’ epic! I also went cheap and only spent $16 on it, so hey, wasn’t expecting the highest quality, but this works perfectly fine. I’m waiting on that brown leather short skirt to arrive, so hopefully this all comes together well. *fingers crossed*

How have you all been? Who is excited for the summer simulcasts?! After watching so many this past season, I might hold back for a while just to ease the stress. I’ve been reading everybody’s pre-thoughts and you all have gotten me super excited – stop it! XD I’m also going to try a slightly different approach to my reviews, so I hope you notice them and enjoy the changes. I always enjoy the conversations we have, so please continue to stick around! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of May Update 6/3/15

Mina-san, konnichiwa (sorry about that gif, I just had to) ~

First off, good God – it’s already June. Where did the time go?? Secondly, a warm welcome to all of my new followers and viewers, and a welcome back to my usual guests. I hit the most likes yesterday, and it’s all thanks to you guys. Thanks so much!

I’ve been scavenging for a new anime just to buy, sit down, and watch, but my pockets are empty 😦 On another note, I have a ton of shows on my list (like everyone else), so the river never runs dry!

Onto the usual anime update:

Recently finished:

Love Live! School Idol Project (1st and 2nd Season Review) – such a joyride! I am a μ’s fanboy! For a fun review under “Cakes,” look no further

Bakemonogatari – hmm, I’m not sure what to think of the Monogatari series yet, not as epic as I heard it’d be, but still an enjoyable watch, a “Coffee” review here!

Currently watching:

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – while extremely slow and dragging at first, the latest episode (was it 8 or so?) really started to kick it in, mildly interested

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – ugh, little by little we’re uncovering more info regarding the setting, but the characters and the story are so weak, that car scene with Yuu, Shinoa, and the guy with glasses was hilarious, though!

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? – not really sure where this show is even going, the villain better make a move soon, Bell, Hestia, and Lili are still fairly enjoyable to watch, latest episode with Bell really shocked me, though

Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season – while I’m getting lost in some of the heroic dialogue, the action is still phenomenal, Lancer in UBW is X10 more loveable than the original series

Sound! Euphonium – with that last episode featuring relationships and Kosaka, everything is reallly coming together, one of the best shows this season!

Plastic Memories – it waddles around playfully with Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship; not its strongest point, cases with taking back more Giftias are still very emotional, wishing for more of that before Isla’s time expires

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – still food porn, though everyone says otherwise, I’m having the best time with this show, love it so much!

I would write a review but I haven’t finished anything else, so I’ll get started on something soon. For those interested, I am writing another “Cafe Talk” because it was fun to write and the first one received a lot of positive feedback – Thanks! I was also recently nominated for the Sunshine Award, and you can check out my responses here! How are all of you doing? What simulcasts this spring season do you enjoy watching? Comment down below, I appreciate you reading and liking my posts, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host