30-Day Song Challenge Day 9: Songs That Make You Want To Dance

Whoop whoop! All the people in the café, get up and DANCE! Naw, just kidding’, I can’t dance even if my life depended on it. But what I can do is pick songs that I would dance to. Sound good? Great, let’s get our groove on ~

“Mr. Taxi” by Len Kagamine, original by Girl’s Generation (SNSD)

First up is the ultra sexy “Mr. Taxi.” Did I ever mention that my favorite Vocaloid was Len Kagamine? To me, his voice sounds the most natural, and is easiest on the ears. I don’t listen to a whole lot of Vocaloid music, but when I do, clear outta my way, cause I’ll be jiggin’ to Len’s sassy voice for days! This song’s hot beat and techno jam are incredibly addicting! Maybe I should start my Vocaloid season again . . .

“Electric Angel” by Rin and Len Kagamine, arranged by Giga-P

Enter my first and favorite Vocaloid song ever! This song is so uplifting that just one listen any day could make me happy out of my mind! Plus, it’s cute 😉 The contrast between the Kagamine twins (Rin’s sharp sweet high voice vs Len’s rich youthful tone) is the best by far. Rin and Len give all of the Vocaloids a run for their money in my opinion, and this song drives that point home. Like “Mr. Taxi,” this song is super addicting, so make sure you listen to this song only if you don’t mind it pounding your brain for a week after LOL

From Yona of the Dawn, “Akatsuki no Hana” by Cyntia

I gotta give my girl Yona the spotlight sometime, so what better time than with her second opening? This guitar-slapping J-pop song is one that never gets old for me. Beginning the song is some beaming techno, but after the verse, the chorus explodes with this rebellious shoujo red-headed princess! You ought to check out Yona of the Dawn if you want a shoujo anime with a strong female lead who develops from a frail, spoiled princess to a proud women, and finally, a fierce warrior. My only problem with this recording is that it is a Nightcore arrangement 😦 sorry, I couldn’t find one without some sort of audio change.

From Log Horizon, “The Elder Tale Waltz” by Yasuharu Takanashi

Haha, gotcha! Did you think we were just gonna jam out to Vocaloid and techno music? There’s got to be some variety, and nothing compares to a good old fantasy waltz. Waltzes, in fact, are probably my favorite type of classic music! So naturally, when this popular game anthem cued in the show, and the Shiroe and Henrietta recognized it as the game’s main theme, I flipped sh*t! It was such a cool gimmick and a wonderful surprise for us fans. This song is also responsible for my loving the character Henrietta. When she started teaching the bumbling strategist how to dance the waltz, using her bard skills to their fullest, I fell in love 🙂

And now I’m all caught up . . . until tomorrow. Darn, this challenge is really keeping me occupied. I’ve been nominated for a few awards in my absence from my normal blogging (THANK YOU SO MUCH), so when this is over, I’ll have to thank everyone properly. But until tomorrow, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 2: Songs That Helps You Clear Your Head

It was quite hard to come up with a match for this one, considering that each song that I listen to only ushers in waves of feels and memories. So after a bit of browsing, I finally remembered an inspiring tune or two that fit the bill. I can’t deny the fact that both of these songs carry so much sweet reminiscing for me, but it’s a different kind of recollection; they’re not necessarily heavy in the heart, but open in the mind, if that makes any sense at all. Whenever I boot up some soundtracks to listen to, they’re the first I pick because they don’t drag me into a state of senseless staring, but clear up my thoughts and bring a cloudless sky into view. I hone in on whatever I happen to be doing, open up my head, and focus 100% on my mission (which is usually just searching the web -__-). Anything prior to my moment with these songs becomes irrelevant, and that can be especially helpful after a busy week. Enjoy ~!

Maoyū Maō Yūsha Main Theme: “Beyond the Hill” by Takeshi Hama

Do you remember Maoyu? It’s a charming show, isn’t it? I came across this song in the depths of YouTube and thought, yeah, this is pretty neat, OOH it’s an anime, too?! Slowly but surely, I realized that this was not the main theme, waiting all 11 or 12 episodes just for this song to be heard in the background. It finally did play, I honestly can’t remember when, but it was only once. 😦 And though we never truly got beyond that hill, I still found closure in this song’s low violin and flute swing.

Log Horizon Main Theme: “Log Horizon” by Yasuharu Takanashi

First off, let me just announce that Log Horizon‘s OST is one of THE BEST SOUNDTRACKS TO EXIST FOR ANIME EVER. But this song, man, I can’t even express how epic it is. When this song plays, my game face is on, and be prepared to lose all ya damn hit points!! I could go on and on about this one track, but you should just go watch the anime to capture all of Shiroe’s legendary-ness. Awesome show, brilliant anthem!

And those are two songs that I listen to for an open mind. Both fantasy songs, too, so maybe it’s something about that type of music that gets me? As a person involved in music, they’re definitely the most fun to play, that’s for sure! Until tomorrow, this has been

– Takuto, your LV 90 host

Log Horizon Review

Log Horizon is the newest “stuck in a video game” anime since Sword Art Online. Rather than try to escape as the main goal, however, one brave geek steps out of his cloak and glasses to answer “Who’s gonna do what, what we’re up against, when things are going down, where we’re going next, but interestingly, not why we’re here” – and that could be Log Horizon‘s biggest fault.

Eight-year Elder Tales Veteran Shiroe among 30,000 Japanese players (700,000 worldwide) are suddenly transported into game that they all love upon installation of the “Novasphere Pioneers” expansion pack. Most everyone quickly realizes that the game is not quite as friendly when you’re actually in it: all of the food taste like the same mush, combat with the menus spinning around your head is difficult, and if you made your game avatar a little taller or shorter than in real life, well, now you have to adjust to it!

But here’s the most intriguing bit: when you die in the game, you simply revive at the cathedral, just like normal so no big deal . . .

That means you are trapped in the game.

With no known way out, no sense of order, player killers running about, and the CPUs (now “People of the Land”) acting strangely personal, the level 90 enchanter Shiroe picks up that you can’t just play in Elder Tales anymore – you have to live in it. Partnered with the faithful ninja Akatsuki and the beefy guard Naotsugu, Shiroe takes on his own quest of restoring order to Akiba, even if it means becoming a “Villain in Glasses” instead.

What’s best about this anime is the way it handles situations. Covering food to personal qualms to economics to ethics to community issues -all of these critical points in structuring modern civilization are hashed out with incredible detail and with consideration of the characters’ emotions. For instance, sparking the industry with the invention of the Crescent Burger was not only creative but it mattered in the context. The people wanted flavorful food and Shiroe need more money to execute his plan, so what a better way than that? It’s probably one of the best examples of world building I’ve ever seen.

Acting as the mastermind behind all operations is Shiroe, a socially awkward young man who is an expert strategist. To the kids, he’s a savior and a teacher, but to adults he’s a creepy guy with mysterious intentions. I’d say Shiroe’s a good mix of both; he means well, but the way he performs maneuvers could be considered rather extreme. He’s willing to make himself look like the bad/strict guy if it’s to better the people, which aggravates the ones that love him. Regardless, Shiroe’s best feature is that he values progress. He is the most achieving character I’ve seen in a long time, but often times, the plot just uses Shiroe as a means to convey this progression rather than developing his character.

Also, instead of the frontline swordsman, he’s the man pulling all the strings and gauging the stats, and makes for a really fresh, enjoyable point of viewa view not usually popular with this kind of story.

Though the majority of characters in the series lack any real development, there are several characters that I enjoyed because of their quirks: Akatsuki’s loyalty and shyness is super cute; Marielle and Henrietta (the playful Crescent Moon gals) are not only hilarious to watch, but a hardworking team, too; RUNDEL HAUS CODE and Isuzu are quarreling lovers that receive the best development; and finally Lenessia, a straightforward, lazy, cowardly princess who makes a few damn good speeches despite her lack of attention. Log Horizon‘s cast may be large and unremarkable, but it’s well-balanced and enjoyable as you’re watching.

Animation by Satelight is by far the show’s weakest point. Characters can look really botched at times, though during some of the fights scenes you’re sitting on the edge of your seat! The luscious green background of Akihabara is also standout artwork in itself. I guess the word is inconsistent.

Driving the fantasy story and installing bravery into the characters is the wonderful soundtrack composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, now a music genius in my book. The grand main theme “Log Horizon” is the most notable for carrying out Shiroe’s plans. “Daisaigai” welcomes players to foreign, mysterious lands with an eerie tone. “Akiba no Machi” celebrates with festivals, food, and friends. Finally, the “Elder Tale Waltz” elegantly reminds adventurers of their love for the game. While the story is inventive and the characters are fun, to me, the surely overused music is the best feature!

The obvious big problem for this series is that it’s only a small portion adapted from the books as well as not explaining the reason they were trapped there in the first place. Wouldn’t you be dreading to know what was happening to your body in reality? Why are we here? Apparently, the adventurers don’t seem to care, but hey, I’m glad they just didn’t drain episodes into this cause – there are a lot more interesting factors to consider besides whining to go home.

I was never much of a hardcore gamer, just glazing the surface when it tickled my fancy, and that was part of another problem as I watched this show. Terminology such as battle positions and skills/combos glazed past my ears, but the approach is what gripped me most. The show takes a very economic and political approach to a usually action-dominated premise, which is something that I am slowly starting to love. Rather than sword and shield being the issue, it’s supply vs. demand that we have to fight! Start stocking those shelves, boys! 😀

Log Horizon is a very peculiar show, as rather than acting with the laws of the land, characters like Shiroe constantly challenge the rules. He rebuilds the world with all things considered and frankly, it’s just fascinating to watch! Yes, the pacing can be slow with the kids arc, and yes, a lot of the opening dialogue is quite cheesy, but beyond that is Shiroe, a thinker, an enchanter, a teacher, a gambler, and a villain. If you understand the concept of RPG styled gaming and also love anime, drop what you are doing right now and check this show out! If not, well then, it’s completely up to you. Just know that all of us “gamer geeks” will be enjoying the ride.

“If you can’t do something, then don’t. Focus on what you can do.” – Encouraging words of Shiroe himself

+ Classic concept with a very different yet much more interesting viewpoint and approach

+ Story always seems to have some things kept secret, Shiroe’s world building experiments and rule-challenging offer engaging twists

+ Fantastic fantasy-appropriate OST with game theme included in story

– Filler episodes and slow pacing during times without Shiroe drag on

– Does not answer “why” they are there, does not end (more to come)

Presently Collections 1 and 2 of Sentai Filmwork’s Log Horizon English dub release stand fantastically on my shelf awaiting my next login to the hearty world of Elder Tales. The dub by the way is outstanding, new actors and actresses all around, my only problem being Nyanta the cat chef – what happened there?? *shakes head with disapproval*

Thanks for reading my review of a “Caffé Mocha” worthy series I absolutely love! Have you seen this anime? Comment below with your thoughts because I want to talk with you all! Want more Log Horizon? Check out my season two review here! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Cafe Talk #1: Movie Theater Madness!?

Mina-san, konbanwa ~

Welcome to the first Cafe Talk, a new segment to my Anime Cafe where I pretty much chat about anything that I want to – hopefully interesting and engaging conversation, though! Unlike my reviews, I literally have no structure for this bit, so here we go! 😀

Every summer, my siblings and I like to get together and do lots of fun, youthful activities, whether it’s playing cards, games, drawing, etc. Two years ago, our little games were starting to get old, and it seemed like there was absolutely nothing else to do but browse the web – a rising pastime. Now, a year prior to this, I stumbled upon anime, and was slowly yet secretly watching some in my free time – my greatest private haven!

Without knowing how the others would react, I bravely proposed that “I have a couple of shows I think you guys would like, are you interested?” We’re all teens that had lived up Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Sailor Moon, so I thought, “What the hell, ya know?” What’s the worst that could happen?

I printed up a schedule, lined up the shows, started my first anime collection, printed posters of each show, “advertised,” and finally, the day came – the first showing of the 2013 Summer Movie Theater. How would they react? Was my secret hobby too much/not worthy of them? *Gulp, sweat beads*

They loved all of it. Every single show.

Since then, I have been showing them more and more anime through my seasonal theaters, summer being a slew of shows with fall and winter receiving one overly-hyped title each. As silly as it sounds, it was successful, ridiculously fun, and most of all, I stepped out of the looming shadow of my love for anime – I was accepted by others, sure, siblings, but for nobody knowing to now my whole family – whew!

Now marks the third summer movie theater, and though budget problems arise, I’ve managed to pull together a pretty solid set:

Act One – Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Yamada’s First Time, Log Horizon, and The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Act Two – Psycho-Pass, Rebuild of Evangelion 1.11 & 2.22, A Certain Magical Index II (with Endymion movie), and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (with Rebellion movie)

The Raildex universe is always featured towards the finale of our theaters, as it just feels like a great way to end the summer. But otherwise, what do you think? Is that a good lineup or what!?

Did you ever bond with your siblings like this? Yeah, we’re dorks with our business-like format and all, but hey, we have a great time! How did you “come out” as an anime fan? Was it just a small hobby of yours or did you come out with a bang like I did? Also, what do you think of Cafe Talk? Comment below – I love hearing from you guys! Tickets are on sale now :P, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Log Horizon 2nd Season Review

I’ll be doing a review of the first season sometime this summer, but until then, here are my thoughts on the fall simulcast season’s Log Horizon 2, the sequel to the realistic adventure/ trapped in a game anime that is NOT Sword Art Online. :3 Enjoy~

We return to Elder Tale through the eyes of veteran gamer Shiroe who, along with all of the other players, has been trapped in the game for six months now. The Round Table Alliance continues to bring order to Akiba, and the People of the Land have begun to trust Shiroe by teaming up for war against the Goblins. As a result, Princess Lenessia has moved to Akiba to protect the Cowen family wealth and name.

Presently, winter is approaching quickly, and the Adventurers start to ponder their goals in this world: Are we going to keep living in Elder Tale? Can we get back home, and if so, how will we get there? Should we travel to the West or remain here in Akiba? What about the North or even further? These rival opinions cause mayhem and disorder to spread. Shiroe and his team, of course, do the best they can to maintain public order and expand their knowledge of the mysterious world, stumbling into new foes that might know a way out . . .

Log Horizon is known for its slow pacing – despite the great story, it does drag often. This sequel is no exception, and in fact, it drags even more than the first season. The plot starts strong with Shiroe leading the largest raid to the Abyssal Shaft, the supposed source of the world’s gold flow. Meanwhile, Akatsuki the cute ninja and the women of Akiba fight off a player-killer who stole transporting armor from the Royal Guard. Both of these stories flesh out characters, and allow us to get to know them better all while watching action-packed fights . . .

And then there are a few filler episodes that lead up to the children’s arc, which like the first season, focuses on the kids of Akiba and their own adventures. IT WAS PAINFULLY SLOW TO WATCH. Not only was it boring, but besides Rudy’s depressing truths, there wasn’t much development for them. The only things good that came from this dull period was a new mysterious character Roe2 and a personality reveal of Nureha and other Plant Hwyaden members, both of which raised more questions than answered. None the less, the new additions are still awesome!

Best for last, the series ends with a couple of thriller episodes pertaining to a way of going home, and as such leads off with a direction already pointed towards a third season. I suppose I don’t mind a third, but I was really hoping the series would end considering the drastically slow pacing at times.

As I mentioned, Roe2 is a new character among a few others. The “villains” of Elder Tale have also been splattered in here and there, but they sadly weren’t very interesting or the main focus. Akatsuki gets sidelined for quite a few episodes, so if you liked her like I do, you’ll be disappointed. The best thing that came from the characters in this sequel were the epic encouragement speeches made by guild leaders like William, who in particular brought tears to my eyes 😥 So freakin’ relatable! Such powerful dialogue!

Now the animation, yikes. A switch in animators to the infamous Studio Deen – most likely caused by budget issues – causes a lot of changes in art style compared to the old studio – specifically, the eyes are drawn differently and characters are bland as hell. It takes a while to get used, but it’s not necessarily “bad” by any means. The finale was superbly animated, however, which ended this category with an overall positive review.

The electric/orchestral music has always been one of this series’ best features, and this second season only continues to impress. While most of the adventuring and Renaissance-esque pieces return from the first season, there are many new tracks like “This World and its Music” by Yasuharu Takanashi that are absolutely bliss. There are tracks like “A Hopeful Journey” and “The Uncertain Path Ahead” that ring with the Log Horizon SPIRIT in just the perfect moments! Seriously, one of my favorite OSTs.

“database feat. TAKUMA (10 Feet)” by MAN WITH A MISSON returns as well as the show’s annoying rap opening. In addition, the ending “Wonderful Wonder World” by Yun*chi represents Akatsuki’s sweet, shy attitude perfectly! Love that song 😀

So, does the practical “stuck in a video game” adventure anime live up to its first season’s standards? No, but then again, that bar was already pretty high. Filler episodes about Valentine’s Day, slow anticlimactic Children’s arc, and overall poor pacing ONLY to be led to a third freakin’ season has me awarding Log Horizon 2 4/5 stars. While that’s still pretty darn good, this slightly disappointing sequel could have been better – in all categories. Fans of the first season should like it, so long as they manage to stay awake for the whole thing!

“There are things you can only learn by accepting your weakness.” – Akatsuki

You can watch all of Log Horizon 2 and the first season on Crunchyroll for free! I was rather impressed by Sentai Filmwork’s English dub of the first season, so I hope to see a release of this soon. I’d like to extend my thanks to all of my newest customers and my frequent café-goers – you’re all awesome! Thank you for reading and as always, this has been

Takuto, your host

End of February Update 3/2/15

~ Konnichiwa, and I’m back with another update for anyone who actually cares! LOL

As those who’ve been in the café recently know, I’ve had the pleasure of diving myself headfirst into Evangelion, an old staple for the deconstruction of robot anime. While that has definitely been the highlight of my month, I have also been diggin’ around FUNimation’s website – specifically in the slice-of-life/harem genres to quell my pensive Eva mood.

Recently finished:

Neon Genesis Evangelion – though confusing at times, it struck a nice chord with me, read my review!

The End of Evangelion – the thorough conclusion to the series, check out my thoughts here

Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone – what it lacks for in retaining original quality makes up for with winning animation, review on the way

No Game No Life – cut-short anime in need of a second season, review on the way

 

Currently watching:

Ben-To – only two episodes in, but it seems it doesn’t get more complex than this

Date A Live – been wanting to watch this one for a loooonnnggg time, and I hope it doesn’t disappoint

Unbreakable Machine Doll – yeah, I haven’t technically started this one yet, but it has an interesting setting

Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Redo – again, waiting to pick this up, but I might as well include it in this update

Parasyte – things are definitely reaching an end, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad one

Log Horizon – is it sad to say that I am awaiting its end? It’s fascinating, yes, but it drags quite a bit

ALDNOAH.ZERO – season two continues to flesh out one of the main characters and support itself with more clever fights; bravo!

 

And for those who read these, I still have not even touched the Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume One. It’s a good book – I swear! – But yeah, no progress . . .

Thank you to all of my new followers and of course, returning customers! I love reading what you guys have to say, even if it’s just a “hey” or whatnot 🙂 Please continue to like and follow like ya do, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of January Update 2/1/15

If you’ve been on the site within the past week or so, then you would’ve noticed that there’s been major reconstruction going on. I’ve been slowly remodeling the place, and will continue to do so for just a little longer until I am satisfied. Until then, you can find my reviews under the new headings – “breads, coffee, cakes, and caffé mochas (rated by stars).” Why? Doesn’t it feel more like a cafe? I don’t know if I’ve completely settled on the idea, but I’ll keep messin’ around.

Now here is the anime-watching update!

Recently finished:

Psycho-Pass – super crazy awesome, check out my review under “caffé mochas!”

WataMote – a wacky show, that’s for sure, you can check out my review under “coffee”

Black Bullet – ugh, the disappointment . . . review on the way

Yamada’s First Time – surprisingly entertaining, review coming soon!

Currently Watching:

No Game No Life – I’ve dropped this series like 3 times already, and I’m determined to finish it this time!

Log Horizon – what’s to say, lovin’ every bit

ALDNOAH.ZERO – hmm, still thinking about this second part

Parasyte -the maxim- – cool, yet kinda wanting this one to end soon, no offense

And yes, Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume One has made no progression. Damn.

Other than trying to save money for that Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Collector’s Edition and the Limited Edition for Unbreakable Machine Doll, there’s not much new with me. What are you currently watching? Anything interesting or recommendable? What do you think of the new site? Leave a comment below and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host