Takuto’s Naka-Kon 2016 Haul and Recap!

Greetings all, it’s haul time~! First, let’s briefly talk about the convention itself.

This year was by far Naka-Kon’s largest year for attendance. I believe it had about under 10,000 people per day, which is mind-boggling considering that last year, I believe there were 7,000 or 8,000 attendees. This was also the con’s greatest year for number of guests, of which, I got to personally meet many!

The majority of panels this year were headed by the guest voice actors, very similar to years past. That’s not to simply ‘cast’ them aside, though (hehe, puns). My favorite two panels were Erica Mendez’s “DON’T LOSE YOUR WAAAAY” and surprisingly, Karen Strassman’s “Accents, Dialects and Voice Acting.” With Erica, her touching person-to-person interactions and meaningful responses made for a very entertaining late-hour sit-in. My favorite of all panels I visited, Karen’s regarding dialects, was not only informational, but hilarious and crowd-involving. She clearly knows her way around the human voice (could’ve said mouth, but yeah, no). After asking her for her autograph, she asked me for a hug. We basically became best friends. 🙂

The vendor’s/dealer’s room, while it wasn’t a disappointment, could’ve been much better. I remember last year they had several “hundreds” of bins full of small anime figures. They were cheap in price and quality, but scrounging through those bins was a crap ton of fun. It was sad to see they weren’t there. Also, many of the artists were returners from last year, which was no surprise considering their talent, local access, and presumably, affordability. These artists had many of their same previous works, so there wasn’t a whole lot to look through in terms of art (not that they’re bad at all, heck no, we just had already seen many of them before).

In terms of technical aspects, I absolutely love the convenience of this smaller con being connected to the hotel we stayed at. Last year, like floor 18. This year, floor 7 (ah yeah, took like 30 sec to hit the ground floor). I had the entire map memorized by an hour into the night, and as such managing our time and making it into lines early enough was pud. Speaking of our arrival, we left just late enough to arrive at 9:30 PM, and entry time was 9:00 PM *facepalms* so we missed ALL of Friday’s activities. Yeah, it bites, but I still got to attend plenty of cool events, trust me!

But you came here for a haul post, didn’t you? Well then, let’s not keep you waiting!

*MIGHT NEED TO VIEW SLIDESHOWS IN BROWSER*

Saber Alter Prize Figure

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First up is this bad boy (woman, knight, spirit)! I’m actually not the biggest fan of Saber Alter, but I picked it up in a 2 for $45 deal. Initially, this was supposed to be that Asuka Langley Soryu I’ve proclaimed I’ve wanted for months now, and SHE WAS THERE, but after thinking, “Hey, let me scope out other prices here,” SHE WAS GONE!!! This was honestly the most stressful thing that happened to me. So instead, Saber came home with me, and I admit, she does look nice on my shelves. For being prize figure quality, this is clearly a grade B+ or even A figure. Solid build, nice metallic armor paint, though the hair lacks any shading. Minor details.

Eren Yeager Prize Figure

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I really like how this one turned out. This was the second prize figure in the 2 for $45 deal, and I’m more than happy how he turned out! The shading in the cloak’s ruffles is outstanding, and all of the paint details on the chest, jacket,boots, and leather skirt part are superbly done as well. I also dig the hair texture, though there is only a solid black layer over it. Details in the face, specifically the eyes, are crisp, much like Saber Alter’s. The only disappointments are the lazy paint-overs on the Wings of Freedom logo, in that the green was presumably just airbrushed over the cape without regard to the logo. This green mysteriously also shows up on the back of the jacket, so I’m not quite sure what happened here. Finally, the base is weak. Not in design, because it stands quite balanced, but in paint job and texture. Could’ve been better there, but for $45 dollars for TWO figures (my first “statue” figures, BTW!), I’m more than happy with everything. Eren sure is tall…

Pins: Chibi Souma and NERV

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If you might recall, I visited this same artist last year and bought a couple Log Horizon pins and an Attack on Titan one. I love this artists style, and seeing lil’ Souma eating away was a must-have for me (my sister bought two more so we could achieve the 3 for $5 deal). And that second one is just delightful for Eva fans like myself. It was only $2, and I plan to stick it on my bag at home! Love puns, love pins ^.^

Evangelion AT Field T-Shirt

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So without Asuka, I had to compensate somehow for my lack of Eva merch, and this T-shirt was my tipping point. In addition to getting my first figures, this is my first anime shirt! I “absolutely” love the classic, bright yellow-orange AT-field from the original over the print! It works phenomenally, and I cant’ wait to wear it around! Hopefully the print stays on for a looong time.

Wall Scrolls: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Negima!, and Kill la Kill (autographed)

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This one’s easy. An Eva wall scroll for only $10?? C’mon, that’s as cheap as they come! Also, it features one of my favorite franchises in artwork I have never seen before. BAM, its mine! As for Negima!, yeah, I just have a soft spot for the series. The sequel, as you might recall, was the first anime I ever watched, so finding merch for it was pretty rare. The last one is one of my favorite art pieces for Kill la Kill, so getting that one in scroll form was an instant hit with me. I also got Erica Mendez, the wonderful English VA for Ryuko to sign it ❤

AUTOGRAPHS

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Warning: Lots of Text Ahead! @_@

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I’ll just list my experiences with each VA below in sequential order:

Erica MendezThis gal is as down-to-earth as you can get! She politely signed my LTD Vol. 1 release of Kill la Kill  and even signed the scroll above. I think I’ll leave pictures of us out for now, but yes, she even took one with my sister and I. While at her table, I asked her about what it was like to be in the Aldnoah.Zero dub, and she replied that it was her first-ever role in a mecha anime, so getting to voice a pilot was pretty exciting. Thought I’d ask her about something different just to stand out, hehe, so at her open Q&A panel, I asked her what it was like to voice a calmer role in contrast to Ryuko, like Akari Sakishima in A Lull in the Sea. Erica responded claiming that she never thought she’d qualify as having an “older sister” voice, so to do it so early on in her career was sheer joy. Playing calmer characters brings her to a different level of understanding, she says, and especially in a slice-of-life/drama-heavy series like this one. 

Austin Tindle I DID NOT realize how big of a goofball this man was! Hah, his first panel, which was supposedly his serious one, was a joke, but I had a fair amount of fun sitting through and getting to know the voice behind Accelerator and Shu Ouma. At his autograph table, I asked him to draw what my void from Guilty Crown would look like upon merely meeting me for the first time. Thus, the “Badass gun” was born, and you can read about that XDD I sent my brother and sister with Index II and Railgun S, respectively, to get signed, as they wanted to meet him yet had nothing with them. After, we took a picture where he drew out my void. I’m such a dork, but it was hilarious!

Micah Solusod – Met this cool dude last year, and at his Q&A panel in 2015, I asked him what the most impactful moment in the RailDex franchise was, to which he responded correctly with the finale of the Sister’s Arc in Railgun S. So this year, I brought it up and told him about my meeting him last year (I was that self-proclaimed ‘RailDex kid’) and he remembered and was more than willing to fulfill the memory by signing my Railgun S part 2 DVD. Then we took a picture as “magical girls,” another ridiculous concoction from my stupid brain that made a lot of us laugh out loud! I also sent my brother with the same Index II and my sister with the Guilty Crown artbook. She, not knowing what to sign, brought up Austin’s idiotic doodle, to which Micah fired with his own drawing. Love this guy 😀

Karen StrassmanComing in knowing her only as Kallen and Sola-Ui, this was otherwise a blind meet-up. We had extra time in our schedule to burn, so I suggested going to her dialect panel. BEST PANEL EVER! She’s such a compassionate, exciting, and generous person to be around, and after telling her so at her autograph table, she asked for a hug after signing my mini Fate/Zero pin-up and posing for a truly badass picture. I’ll never forget this woman for as long as I live!

Ayu Sakata After re-reading the schedule of events the night before, I realized that Apphia Yu did NOT have an autograph booth set up (I only realized she had her own booth supporting her visual novel AFTER the con). Thus, she became the rare find of the day. My mom, who had caught her and taken a picture with her earlier that day, was willing to run around to her booth and have my Robotics;Notes part 1 and my brothers Airi art card signed. SHE DID BOTH, and upon my brother’s messaged request gave us a weather report (watch Robotics;Notes after Steins;Gate, both excellent anime with fantastic dubs). 71 degrees. Thanks mom XD

Greg AyresI also met this cheeky guy last year, but being in that”gotta catch them all” spirit, I went ahead and got a ticket for this last VA, and boy was it worth it. This guy is such a joy every time I’ve spoken to him, so this time, I brought the first DVD and show I had ever bought/seen for anime – Negima!?, the SAVE edition. I told him my story and how I got my brother and sister into anime with it, and I believe he was touched (or at least I was) because he gave me an extra-special message that I’ll hold close to heart, forever. I also got No.6 signed because he was mah boy Shion in it, and sent my sister with Kokoro Connect because she didn’t want to be awkward and have nothing. We took another picture, and that completed my 2016 VA-dex (Pokedex, anyone?)!!

The last thing I wanted to talk about was my cosplay of Mikaela Hyakuya – HUGE SUCCESS!!! Part of me wants to avoid pictures due to Internet security and stuff, but maybe if enough of you holler… Anyway, unlike last year, I had more people come up and as ME for a picture rather than me ask them. Can you believe that? Little ol’ me and my ugly mug, hah! It was so wonderful walking around as one of my current favorite characters, and I’m even more glad with the reception. Yes, I did buy it all (jeans, boots, and undershirt were mine), though I did have to modify a lot of the uniform and cloak accessories. Regardless, LOTS of cosplay experience was made, and it makes me want to try even harder next year – either make more props like swords and stuff, or even try make-up, who knows!

Thank you to ALL those who made this event so memorable and all-around wonderful! To the guest voice actors and actresses who followed through with my stupid requests and spent the time to chat with me, an EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS!! The con security was either body-guard-strict or bouncy and light-hearted, so I much preferred the latter of folks who volunteered with a NICE attitude. FINALLY, I want to thank Kausus of OtakuGamerZone and Crimson of MyFujoshiLife for capping this off as one of my most memorable years!! It was a pleasure – an honor – to meet such substantial figures in our small aniblogging community. I only wished we had more time set aside to sit down and chat, but we all came with our own groups so tension was high. Though brief, our meet-up was LEGENDARY, and hopefully next time (if there is one), we’ll have more time to revel in the experience. Was I the person you expected to meet?? We should talk!

If you read this to the end, thank you very, very much! I feel I’ve been so out of touch with the community as of late, but hopefully that’ll change. As always, I enjoy talking to you, so leave a like and comment below about your own recent con experiences or a simple hello! Anything cool you saw in my haul? VA autograph experiences? Let me have it all, and until next time everyone, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 23: Cover Songs That You Like

Oh boy. It’s gonna be a full house tonight – and I won’t even get into instrumental covers, DARN. Enjoy the selection!

From Guilty Crown, “Euterpe” English Cover by Amanda Lee

It has begun, the AmaLee FAN RAVE! Gosh, this woman is incredible. All of her English lyrics are superbly written, fitting for any original song and show they come from. Not to mention, her voice is very easy on the ears; whenever I search for English covers, the voices tend to be a bit pitchy (whiny, scratchy, poorly recorded, what have you, still glad people try though), but not hers, uh, nope. She’s fantastic, and I love the way she always rhymes the lyrics ^.^ “Euterpe” is one of my all-time favorite insert songs from a show, and AmaLee covers it wonderfully.

From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, “Magia” English Cover by Amanda Lee

Now for the dark side of AmaLee. Dive into Hell itself with Madoka Magica‘s twisted, corrupt ending theme. What I like most about this cover is the way she transfers the lyrics into English. They’re simple, but incredibly powerful; intense and understandable. I used to have her dub memorized at one point, but time stole that from me (perhaps I should frequent this song more often).

From Attack On Titan, “Reluctant Heroes” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I swear to God, I never even noticed how bloody tragic this song was until I listened to this fairly recent cover. Since the original is sung by male Engrish and features loud rock instrumentals, this softer and sweeter feminine contrast shines even brighter. Her harmony is timeless, and the piano – LAWD, the piano! You’re bringing me to tears!

From Fate/stay night: UBW, “Brave Shine” English Cover by Amanda Lee

Sh*t, this is brilliant, like I can’t even. First off, the song is so EPIC, but then you have the English lyrics that make it understandable. I think people can better relate to music sung in their own language, don’t you agree? But it is necessary to give foreign songs a listen, too. Otherwise, you’re not sampling all of the lovely flavors the buffet of song offers, right? 😉 Great dub lyrics, on-point harmony!

From ALDNOAH.ZERO, “Heavenly Blue” English Cover by Amanda Lee

This is one of those songs that giving a new drum to changes the entire meaning of the work. Personally, I still prefer Kalafina’s to this new meter, but these lyrics are so, soo good, fitting for the show’s tone.

From Parasyte -the maxim-, “Let Me Hear” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I love everything that she does with this one. The remixing is intense, but it’s a subtle eeriness. I think it gives the show a whole new beauty, one that I can’t honestly get enough of. Pull the song out of its screamo rock context and you’re left with an emotional ballad about humanity.

From The Heroic Legend of Arslan, “Lapis Lazuli” English Cover by Horiphin

Sick of AmaLee yet lol? The recording itself may not be the brightest, but oh boy is this a gem of a cover. THESE LYRICS ARE PERFECT!!! It’s already one of my favorite songs, but once you put it in my native tongue, it nearly doubles the value of the entire experience! I hope this cover hits a million views someday, because it definitely deserves a listen. Did I mention that the lyrics were absolutely incredible? Hot damn.

From Negima!?, “1000% Sparking” English Cover by FUNimation 

FIRST ANIME SWAGGG. Part of me wishes that studios still dubbed their songs (maybe as an extra or something), because I really like this cover – In fact, I prefer it tenfold over the original! This song embodies a small warm spot in my heart, and it’ll never leave, so I had to throw this one out there. I hope you like the cover, too (ignore the audio issues, I know, audio skips are the pits)!

From Sword Art Online, “Overfly” English Cover by Amanda Lee

I know, you’re probably all sick of this name (show or singer or both), but before I head onto my number one cover (no, this list is not in order, just best for last), I had to mention that this “Overfly” cover is absolutely brilliant. I can’t even speak about how great this cover’s lyrics are without foaming at the mouth and collapsing. It is Miss Lee’s Magnum Opus in my eyes, and I always feel so alive when I give this a listen. The message transfers so differently in English, but it feels so righteous! This one I do have memorized 😉 and I hope you enjoy her beautiful voice one last time on this list ~

From Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” English Cover by Geeky McGeekstein

Here it is. My favorite English cover to ever exist for a song. These lyrics transcend the song, and the recording itself carries a quality that makes it feel vintage, much like the 1995 anime. I already mentioned this one a couple days ago, but it’s seriously one of the best songs and covers ever. I CANNOT think of another cover that surpasses this masterpiece! Top-notch singing and bloody fantastic English lyrics!!!!! (and no, I don’t care if you dislike it)

If you read all of this, then a high-five for you *slaps hands* Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy my selection. It’s quite the extensive list, but I couldn’t just leave one or two on this one. Besides, it wouldn’t be like me if I didn’t have you reading a freakin’ 10-paged B-essay every time I posted 😉 See you tomorrow!

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 11: Songs That Remind You Of Summer

Ahhh, summer, it’s a shame you have passed, as my S word has taken your throne (ongoing joke with MarvelouslyMismatched, hi btw). I think I’ll start sobbing if I continue, so I’ll just get to the songs. We’ve got a lot of them today, so I’ll keep my ramblings short!

“Sailor Star Song” by Kae Hanazawa

I’ve never actually seen all of this particular season, but I came across this song while searching for something Beyblade way back in the day. I think we were looking for songs to listen to while we played, and BAM, summer was complete! I reminisce about my childhood quite often, as I cherish all of the lovely memories, and this just happens to be a snippet from my life. 🙂

From Negima!?’s character soundtrack, “Kenkou Ichiban” sung by characters Fei Ku and Lingshen

More Beyblade background noise, but ooohh gawd, this song brings back all kinds of memories of playing with my sister. We made our own B-Pit, which was the shop in Beyblade Metal Fusion. We took turns playing shopkeeper and sold our own parts to each other :> Oh the silly things of youth! It’s been a while since I’ve heard this one.

From A Certain Scientific Railgun, “LEVEL 5 – judgelight” by fripSide

As part of my “first summer anime expansion,” Railgun was the best anime from the selection. I clearly recall obsessing the hell out of it, even to the point where I took notes about the AIM concepts (I still OBSESS). Since I already used the first opening, I opted for the second, as it’s just as fantastic! It fits the atmosphere Therestina created in the second half perfectly! I spent many a hot, sunny, summer days watching this one on my bed, like ya do ~

From Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club, “Splash Free” by Style Five

C’mon, you can’t have summer without this girl-pleasing water-dripping muscle-flexing show! This sassy song is the ending for the swimming anime, and its desert visuals are such an outstanding contrast! I think that’s all I say for now. Yup. Who’s excited for the English dub??

From Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea, “lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~” by Ray

Nothing screams summer than an anime that takes place 50% in THE WATER! I just got done watching this anime a couple weeks ago, and it left quite the void. Those days I spent relaxing in my room while the sun hammered the city will never be forgotten with this cool song ~

From The Future Diary, “Kuusou Mesorogiwi” by Yousei Teikoku

Weren’t expecting this, were you. You thought it’d be something so cheery and summer-y, right? I watched this anime when I reunited with my California cousins who I rarely get to see. After a bit of catching up, and awkwardness, we both revealed that we love anime, and BAMMM instant buddies again 😀 We watched it through my sister’s Thunderbolt (a phone) and I remember one of the local kids trying to squeeze himself into our frame. He had a dripping dill pickle in his right hand, and I think some of the juices got on our pants. *facepalm* But it’s the memories that count, right?

Whew! That’s a lot of songs for one day. Tune in tomorrow where I’ll try not to upload my entire playlist, hehe. ‘Till then, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 3: Songs That Make You Laugh

Unless it’s something in the lyrics specifically, I don’t find songs by themselves very humorous. Now, soundtracks and openings on the hand, have a different context that goes with them. Call me a cheater, sure, but the songs that I chose today are ones that rely on visuals to go with them. All three are kinda quirky, so I can understand cracking a smile, but the first thing that comes to mind when I hear these songs is not the words, but scenes from the show or opening sequence. If you’ve seen these anime before, then maybe you’ll spill a laugh or two as you remember the hilarious moments!

Negima!?: “Heiwa na Toki” by Kei Haneoka 

Negima!? “Motsu to Shichimi” by Kei Haneoka 

Negima!? “Chupa Kenbushitsu” by Kei Haneoka 

Hells yeah, we got more Negima!? up in here, but these three soundtrack tunes come from the franchise’s second season (the obvious better of the two)! I lumped all three of these songs together because they all carry the same hilarity: either it’s quest for the chupacabra, Motsu and Shichimi being Motsu and Shichimi appropriately, or someone just FAILED. This anime was the first one I ever watched, and to this day I occasionally plug a few episodes in just to hear this soundtrack and shoot out explosive chuckles 😀

“Zannenkei Rinjinbu” by Tomodachi Tsukuritai

Have you seen Haganai? It’s absurd, and totally awesome in all aspects! Comedy is great, themes are on point, and it’s relatable. This is the first season’s opening, and I’ll never forget watching this show for the first time! My favorite part of the song itself is the verse part, and of course, it’s not just because the main girls’ jugs are pressed up against the screen and it’s dripping wet and hot and sooo sexy EHERM, I slipped a bit there. But seriously, I do like that part in the vocals ;). Besides the fact that it belongs to hysterical show, why does the opening make me laugh? Easy, it’s Rika at 0:34 shakin’ her ass to “mousou nara baibaibai shinyuu nara inai nai nai.”

HA-HA-HA-HA-HA I hope you shared a laugh with me and bonus points if you recognized the scenes when those Negima!? tracks played! I should probably stop picking so many songs, but it’s so easy to just toss in another one, ya know? Have a great new week, and until tomorrow, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 1: Songs That Makes You Happy

“Happy Material” by The Class of 2-A’s Voice Actresses

What would be a better way to start a happy day than “Happy Material?” This is Negima!‘s first opening theme, and it’s several variations are sung by the different cast members from Negi Springfield’s giant ass bouncy harem EHERM, ‘class.’ Exploding with energy and positive vibes, there are few songs that rival “Happy Material’s” joy! I frequently listen to this tune, the 31 Girl’s version, in fact, while I sweep away dust bunnies and I clean my room.

“Susume→Tomorrow” (ススメ→トゥモロウ)” by µ’s

Ahh, my favorite Love Live! song evahhh! It’s the first thing we hear when the show starts, and sadly it’s not heard after that. 😦 But it left such an impact that, yes, it was the kick that made me want to finish the rest of the series. I use it as an alarm in the morning on occasion, but I have to turn it off as soon as possible before the girls bust out after Honoka’s sweeeet solo!

And these were just two of the many, many songs that make me happy! They’re both quite energetic, which is part of the reason I smile and lighten up after an extensive, exhausting day. Have an amazing Friday :D, and until tomorrow, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Cafe Talk #2: When Anime Became Commonplace?

Mina-san, konnichiwa ~

I’m back the second “Cafe Talk,” and today I’m here to ramble on about how I got into anime. It’s quite the embarrassing story, but I figured I let someone know. Lord, this one’s for the history books, gosh. The rest of the chat is my journey through the beginnings of anime. I hope you enjoy!

O.K. So I had known about Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon when I was a young child but I never really knew that they were “anime.” In fact, I didn’t know what “anime” was. The closest things that hooked me on the Japanese culture were Ghibli films Kiki’s Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky.

How I became fully inducted into the anime life was . . . don’t laugh . . . I didn’t know what hentai was. I WAS A KID, OK! CUT ME SOME SLACK I’M NOT A PERVERT I SWEAR!!! Anyway, after searching it in Google I found a small clip of guess what? The Negima!? Spring OVA, you know, the one where they go to Ayaka’s private resort island and party hard!? It’s not a full-on hentai  by any means (not that I’d know what that’s like or anything :P), but it was far “bustier” than any cartoon or animation I had ever seen.

Yeah, that’s the one.

I watched it in three parts, and fell in love with the animation style, the art, the comedy OMG, the voices (in English – go Greg Ayres!), the boobs plot – everything! I then went on to research the main series, watch it all and if you want to know my weaboo thoughts on my first anime series, click here to read my first ever review!!

Back to the topic, for those who’ve seen Negima!?, you’ll know that besides comedy, magical fanservice and a poor shota boy-genius, there’s actually a lot of great animated action sequences to accompany the main story (that’s studio Shaft for ya’ll) – and that is what hooked me most, the gripping action.

Back on YouTube, I saw “Top 10 OPs” and “Best Fight Scenes,” and while those all amazed me (and weirded me out at the same time), what I ended up sliding the cursor over was “Japanese Tales Of Symphonia Opening.” *click*

God what I’d give to own it now on DVD . . .

I was blown away.

What I came across was an enchanting ballad where fights in glorious animation were commonplace – the Tales of Series, and specifically my favorite Tales of Symphonia. I had hit the entertainment goldmine for a youth in desperate search of heartbreaking and relatable characters, incredible stories, and all of it brought to life not as a game, however, but as video entertainment – anime.

From there, anime only continues to secretly provide me with an escape from everything in the real world, not that anything was particularly bad, but ya know, boring as all hell.

Shows like No.6 and Ef – A Tale of Memories and Melodies invoked  periods of pure sadness yet true joy at the same time through memorable romantic ties and gut wrenching tragedies.

Head-scratchers like Steins;Gate opened up my brain to its full capacity with a beautiful story revealing the cruelties of time, showing me that there’s a deeper meaning behind very tiny details (SYMBOLISM) such as blue butterflies, microwaves and lab member pins . . .

This is it right here. I’ll never look at normal things ever again. Thanks anime.

Crossover shows like A Certain Scientific Railgun/Magical Index forced me to realize that no matter your level or rank, you can still impact lives and make true friends, all while being a badass at the same time!

Even Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club inspired me to go out for my first sport ever – swimming – and I’ll never forget the fun times that they had and all the amazing memories that I would make myself!

A hundred or so anime passed. This leads me to my “common era.” I participate in simulcasts, check the anime news, indulge myself in the industry – it’s great and all, but can I just return to the old days? Even for just a sec?

Probably not. So that’s why I started reviewing.

Maybe, just maybe, I can find that thrill of untapped territory once again if I explore some of the aspects that made me love anime so much! Then, perhaps, I could uncover the sweet, sweet bliss like I did back then. Don’t get me wrong, there have been TONS of great shows that I’ve watched after that, some I’d even call masterpieces, but each anime feels different, and that feeling can be a double-edged sword. Did I get really into the show and “feel it,” or did it just have good concepts?

I’m Takuto, and while I operate this cafe and meet all of you wonderful people, I have a deeper quest, and that is to find that “feeling” I felt during those days. It’s indescribable, almost lustful at times, but I’ll find it for sure!

Chasing after the feels.

Do you understand that feel that I’m talking about, or do I just sound like a crazy guy – well, that one’s probably a guarantee, but regardless LOL, do I make sense? Did you know anime when you first saw it, or was it just a good ol’ childhood show? What was your first non-childhood anime? Also, I put pictures for the first time! Comment below because man, I’m getting tongue-tied! Haha thanks so much for reading and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Negima! (season one) Review

After watching Negima!?, I just had to check out its first season, which I have to say I was a little disappointed, as prequels are usually better than sequels. This season was darker than its successor especially towards the end, which changes the entire picture of what Negima! is.

Season one of the Negima franchise starts off similar to its sequel. Negi Springfield, a 10 year-old wizard in training, is transferred to Mahora Academy in Japan, which is an all-girls school. Here, he fights with a vampire, makes pacts with middle school girls, teaches English and searches for his father. The major difference between this series and the next is that this one focuses on the girls more and the other magicians besides Negi. Minus the Star Crystal plot and the Black Rose Baron, you can check out my Negima!? review for a better synopsis of the plot. Personally, I prefer the second series.

The actual story doesn’t really progress until episode 20. Yes, you heard me. 20. Up until then, it’s all about the girls and a more in-depth look into their lives beyond the school. Specifically speaking, we get a look on why Ayaka Yukihiro, class representative, acts the way she does (I love that episode to its entirety!). When class 2-A travels to Kyoto, Japan, for a cultural trip, Negi and co. encounter Fate, an antagonist who is better described in the manga. Fate desires Konoka Konoe, who, unknowing to the class, possesses a rare magical background, which I will not spoil! Because Fate is thrown it the series to make up for the manga, he seems very unexplained and random, which I did not fancy.

During the climax of the series, Asuna gets dark. If you’ve seen this series, you know what I mean. Not gonna lie, I cried. A lot. It was a simple yet tragic story that I will never forget. To this day, I can’t watch the last couple episodes without getting all worked up. This plot device really shows that Negima! isn’t all fun and games; it does have a more depressing movement to it. It was such an unexpected twist that it literally changed my view on the Negima series.

In this first season, the characters are better defined. Unlike the sequel which only shows comedy, these characters reveal some sad memories. As I mentioned earlier, Ayaka gets a nice treatment in this series. To be revealed later, Ayaka’s brother actually died during birth. Negi reminds Ayaka of her to-be little brother and that is why she loves him. In the second series, she just comes off as a creepy shotacon, so it’s better to view her from this series than the other. Regardless of her attractions, I love Yukihiro as a character!

Not gonna lie, none of the tracks stick out. Besides I think “Magical Battle” and this one relaxing theme which I still have never found :/ , there is nothing else that I can recall. Season two has a more memorable soundtrack than this one. One moment that I can remember, however, is the following day of the grand plot twist. Holy crap! It starts with a sad cello soloing and more instruments are added until the weight is to heavy to bear. At that point, I break down in tears. Whoever wrote that song did very mature job! The opening, “Happy*Material,” is also a very motivating song to listen to. Its playful chords and different vocalists (who are, BTW, the Japanese cast for the girls) make it a magical and, get this, “happy” song to listen to!

For being animated in 2005, I thought it was decent. I haven’t seen many older anime so I can’t really judge this one. It’s not distracting to any degree, but there some awkward animation pauses where the “camera” just stops on a character after they are done talking. Because of this, dialogue doesn’t flow to well sometimes. On a side note, I did watch the English dub for this one; it’s fairly well done, but nothing superb. Unlike the second series, the view isn’t anything crazy like frames flying across the screen, so take it how you will. Some think that is distracting, but with the second series in particular, I thought it was a nice touch.

I feel like I keep comparing this season to its sequel, but one really can’t help it. The second season embellishes on what the first season failed while the first season dives into concepts that were not explored in the second. Both series balance each other nicely. As such, I was entertained a decent amount. The character stories are interesting enough but the small individual arcs do get kinda boring after a while

The Negima franchise keeps with a fun, magical atmosphere, yes, but the first series not so much. I know it was the first adaptation, but still. It’s good, but not great or stunning. Motsu is not in this one, so it gets old just watching the same characters attempt and fail at various tasks. Though it seemed thrown in, the ending did actually improve my score of this show. Negima! is a series that you can watch a few times and still not get too bored, which is a good thing for sure! All in all, if you are a fan of the sequel, go ahead and pick this up. Otherwise, it may not be worth your time.

Presently, FUNimation’s Complete Series of Negima! sits on my shelf performing its magical mayhem while awaiting its next viewing.

Thanks for reading!

– Takuto, your host