End of January Update 1/31/21

Hey guys,

Is it just me or is the weather still kinda nasty outside? Right when I thought spring was on her way, we had a snowstorm that left us trapped indoors for a few days. It’s wild how one snow day can throw off an entire week, am I right? Anyway, I hope the weather is a lot warmer wherever you are reading this from.

In case you missed my big blog update of 2021, I’m thrilled to let you know that I’m returning to my traditional monthly updates that I used to do for years during the start of the blog! Along with making me more active on here, it’s also a nice return-to-form for me, given that I want to get back into the spirit of blogging and all. Anyway, let’s check out what I’ve been enjoying this past month.

Goal Reflection


Write Five Posts Each Month | With the publishing of this post tonight, I will have accomplished this goal for January!

Review More Anime | I published two anime reviews this month, one for Maria the Virgin Witch and another for Akudama Drive. More anime reviews to come.

Continue Writing Manga Reflections | I didn’t have much time to read manga in January. BUT, I did finish volume 10 of Yona of the Dawn this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have more Yona content for you all.

Write Posts for Video Content | Aside from the latest video over the BLACKPINK online concert, all of my videos have been uploaded here as blog posts. I do hope someone has been enjoying them. 🙂

Achieve 750 Followers | WE JUST HIT 700 FOLLOWERS A COUPLE DAYS AGO. Thank you so much for all the love and support!!! I think it’d be so cool to do something fun to celebrate, but I’m not sure what. (Or, if I should wait until the 750 milestone.) Regardless, many thanks again!! ^ . ^

What I’ve Watched


Emma: A Victorian Romance — If you’ll recall my recent video showcasing all the rewards I received from the Emma Kickstarter, you may remember that Nozomi Entertainment and RightStuf successfully crowdfunded an authentic English dub to go along with this 18th century Victorian romance. And guess what? It’s. AMAZING. I love it so much, it’s too perfect. Definitely planning on revisiting this title in a post, either to reflect on its intricate character drama or simply rave about the English dub!

Psychic School Wars — An odd little film about young love and time travel. Simply Gee and I talked about it briefly on Twitter. Yeah, it’s pretty, but the plot is all over the place. I may review it, but I’m more so happy that I finally got around to watching the Blu-ray on my shelf.

Maria the Virgin Witch — This Blu-ray watch turned out much better. In fact, I share my pleasantries with this title in my review (which you can read right here)!

MAGATSU WARHEIT — A terrible mutant-changing disease ravages through the land when a secret government project goes wrong. This series follows two boys on opposite sides of the discourse. I like the angle, but I couldn’t help but feel I was missing something critical about the plot . . . like, why is the MC all aged up in the poster, yet young in the series? I think this anime is a prequel project for the game. It was an ok watch.

Attack on Titan Final Season — Ironically, this one has a similar plot to the previous title. BUT THIS ONE’S DOIN’ THINGS RIGHT, lemme tell you! If you’re not watching AoT this season, I dare say that YES, you are in fact missing out on an epic in the making (to quote Funi on the series). Every episode is more mind-blowing than the one that came before, and I can’t believe it’ll all end here in a month or two!

The Promised Neverland Season 2 — Unlike the first season which knew exactly where it was going from the first episode, The Promised Neverland S2 got off to a weird start. It introduced some characters, then left them behind (?), so IDK if they’ll come back or not. The latest episode was more promising (heh) than the others, so I’ll still stick it out for the kids.

Wonder Egg Priority — Aside from AoT, this little curiosity is by far my favorite watch of the season. Each episode brings with it much emotional baggage, but also equally satisfying payoff as we watch young girls help each other combat their worst fears. With fluid yet trippy visuals and a bright color palette livening the scene, Wonder Egg borders on the creepy, the dreamy, and the sublime of what anime can deliver.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation — I know I’m not supposed to like this show to the extent that I do, yet here we are. While I don’t appreciate the MC’s personality, I can acknowledge the growth and development his character is undergoing in this other world. The series is also very well animated, especially during the spell-casting scenes. OKAY, and Rudeus is kind of a cutie. Only in that childlike cute sort of way. Sue me.

Skate-Leading Stars — Ahhh yes, a trashy shounen sports anime with semi-quality animation and 110% teenage ANGST. I’m clearly at home with this title. The latest episode really places Maeshima on a pedestal, and I don’t like that (I’m #TeamKubota all the way!), so I hope my boy Kubota will get to shine on his own in the episodes to come.

Horimiya — I finally got around to watching the first episode the other day and I can already tell this one’s gonna make my heart melt. I love the character designs, and I think Miyamura being bad at so many things (yet lookin’ so fine with all his tattoos and piercings) is absolutely hilarious. We also stan Hori as #BossMom, so Horimiya pretty much wins on all accounts for me!

Galaxy Express 999 — Currently on hold. Will revisit when I want to moan about the sadness of deep space.

What I’ve Read


At Night, I Become a Monster — I took to Insta to talk my thoughts out for this one. Yoru Sumino of Pancreas novel and anime fame has written a novel that tackles the issue of bullying in an interesting way. In a Kafkaesque manner, our protagonist Adachi finds himself waking up at night transforming into a terrifying monster. But, every morning, he reverts back to his shy, nonconfrontational school boy self. When Yano Satsuki, the subject of his class’ bullying and hatred, witnesses his transformation, however, the two form a peculiar bond. Never had I finished a book that I so quickly wanted to pick back up again and reread. I’ll have to review this one for sure.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 10 — Tae-jun catches wind that the object of his affection, Princess Yona, had actually survived her perilous fall—and that she’s roped up with a group of bandits!? Yona continues to win my heart. When I read the next two volumes, I’ll do a recap of all three together.

Night on the Galactic Railroad — Yes, it’s the classic Japanese fantasy novel by Kenji Miyazawa! I picked up a copy of the anthology by One Peace Books and I’m slowly making my way through it. 🙂


A lot of material’s been covered in January, and I hope to keep up this pace as we enter February. My last semester of uni will no doubt get tougher, but we’ll make it through, as we have these past 7 semesters (and every year of high school before this). Time sure flies, doesn’t it? I hope you’re all staying warm and keeping busy with your favorite anime, manga, games, music—what have you. The winter 2021 simulcast season is especially exciting, a little something there for everyone to enjoy. You ought to let me know what you’re watching down in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading and for following along with this blog of mine. I do love writing for you all, and I look forward to the next post!

– Takuto

Maria the Virgin Witch: A Clash of Magic & Maidenhood || Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the 12-episode Winter 2015 anime series “Maria the Virgin Witch,” animated by Production I.G, directed by Gorou Taniguchi, and based on the manga of the same name by Masayuki Ishikawa.


The Peacemaking Witch

A powerful young witch living in medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War, Maria detests nothing more than human violence. With war comes pain, suffering, and destruction, and when the innocent are caught in the crossfire, Maria can take it no longer. Wielding her magic, Maria endeavors to halt the bloodshed by intervening on the battlefield as often as she can. When the heavens finally catch wind of Maria’s plots for peace, however, the archangel Michael is sent to keep her from meddling in the affairs of humanity.

Through direct confrontation, the divine Michael forbids the witch Maria from using her powers, decreeing that her magic will be taken the moment she loses her virginity. Maria, bold as ever, refuses to heed the warnings of heaven and marches on with her plans to disrupt the war. Despite her claims of peace, neither France nor England plan to give up the fight, leading the steadfast Maria to wonder if her noble efforts only serve to prolong the violence. Worse yet, as the Church schemes to take away the witch’s power, Maria’s peacemaking days may soon come to a close.

With the likes of other sex comedies like Yamada’s First Time and Shimoneta, I enjoyed the laughs and toilet humor of Maria the Virgin Witch‘s script. Unlike these others, where Maria finds itself on tricky ground is in the way it attempts to balance bawdy sex talk with sincere human drama befitting the time period. From costuming to ethics and even dialect (at least in the English dub), the story remains weirdly faithful to history as it tries to sell itself as a fantasy romcom with a horny edge to it.

You would try to take an emotional moment between Maria and her human love interest—Joseph—with some seriousness, only for Maria’s familiars to fill the silence with senseless discussion on anything pertaining to the body’s private parts. (Or one character’s lack thereof . . . it’s a long story.) Tonally, the series is kind of all over the place. But thankfully, the characters remain endearing enough to want to love and support—or at least prove interesting enough to want to follow along.

The Virgin Mary

Maria is the main lens through which we view this quasi-medieval France, a country which is undergoing major societal, political, theological, and moral changes as a result of the war. War itself is one theme which the series continues to return to, as it propels Maria to charge into battle with her obnoxiously large monsters and send warriors from both sides home for the day. Yet, without the inevitability of such conflict, the witch Maria, the human Joseph, the mercenary Garfa, and so many other key figureheads wouldn’t have crossed paths on this fateful stage. Although Maria’s efforts do prolong the length of the war, I admire the way she sticks to her values and persists in pursuing peace in spite of most soldiers despising her heretical nature. (And the fact that, yeah, Maria is full-blooded witch living in the Middle Ages.)

Unsurprisingly, our namesake virgin witch also frequently finds herself wrapped up in the politics of gender. In the eyes of men, women of this time period should hold very little power, let alone intervene in the affairs of war–and yet, Maria manages to do both, consistently. She’s not only a threat as a powerful dragon-summoning sorceress, but also as a woman standing up to the petty conflicts of men. The devout of the peacemaking patron witch worship her; the fiends who crave blood and the battlefield curse her. It must be tough being so strong AND beautiful AND virtuous!

Life in Medieval France

I enjoy much of the humor and drama that is to be found in Maria, but what I perhaps love more than both is the production itself. Despite being produced at Production I.G, many of the same talented staff who worked on Code Geass also came out for Maria. This includes Yuriko Chiba, who designed the attractive characters of Maria (along with being chief animation director for Geass), and, of course, the genius Gorou Taniguchi, who directed both. The series boasts bright colors and lots of movement, along with a keen eye for historical accuracy in the various villages and castle towns. Top-notch stuff for a sex comedy!

You all know I love talkin’ music when it comes to anime, and I’m proud to have one of my favorites back for the theme song arrangement: Tatsuya Katou! Not only that, we’ve also got Masato Kouda of KonoSuba and Monster Hunter fame (among several other hits) composing the main series OST. Add ZAQ for a pop of excitement with the OP and the production package is complete. Did I mention that Funimation’s dub work here is also fantastic? Massive props to Caitlin Glass and her team for the vocal direction on this sometimes silly, sometimes serious fantasy series.

A Play of Magic & Morals

What bothers me most about Maria the Virgin Witch is how it transitions roughly between intimate character relationships and a bunch o’ bad dick jokes. Sure, I chuckled a lot when watching, but I couldn’t help but feel that the dramatic elements of the plot far outshine the toilet humor, especially considering the elaborate character work woven together throughout these short 12 episodes. And that’s another point for demerit—the series tries to navigate through all these heavy themes in just a single cour. (Not that I could guarantee I’d actually watch more Maria than this first season alone.)

Despite the tone problems, I was still quite surprised with the overall quality of the series. The show watches like a wacky Shakespearean plot unfolding on an anime stage—a play of human morals, magic, and the divine—and it deserves a first viewing at the very least. I bought the Blu-ray over a year ago, and it’s comforting to know that it will stay on my shelf for at least a little while longer. I’d probably have phased off Maria were I someone who dabbled in this sex-com genre more frequently. But, seeing as I’m not that kind of anime fan, I’d say Maria the Virgin Witch was a fun “first time,” so to speak.


“They’re lucky I’m such a pacifist, or there would be hell to pay!” 

– Maria


Afterword

I haven’t got much else to report on this one. Come for the laughs, stay for the heartwarming bits. Speaking of bits, there’s not a lot of ecchi presentation in Maria, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. Sure, our titular maiden is scantily clad in a few strips of leather. But Maria is a modest woman, and I think most will like her. Maria the Virgin Witch is a “Cake” title here at the cafe, a series well worth your time, if not for a one-time watch. (Or a one night stand . . . ok, I’m done with the awful puns.) You can watch all of the series on Funimation both dubbed and subbed! If you have seen Maria, definitely let me know your thoughts on the series or this review down in the comments. Thanks for reading, and ’till next time!

– Takuto