My Experience Buying Manga at a USED Bookstore | Cafe Talk

Hello, and welcome!

On the second to last day of winter break, I took a spontaneous trip to the city with my family for a brief vacation. (Or for one last desperate breath of fresh air before diving back into school work, take your pick.) Anyhow, as we were gliding through downtown, which was still lit by glistening Christmas lights, my brother reminded us of a bookstore he stumbled upon the last time he was here. Being people of culture (and idiots for picking the coldest night of the year to explore outside), we headed for the bookstore as quickly as the slick sidewalks would allow.

The outside of the shop was quaint; a rustic little cart sat just outside the door, which held the discounted-discount books. Lying dead center on the stack was Vol. 2 of A Distant Neighborhood by Jiro Taniguchi, an author whom I’ve heard about as a renowned mangaka, but nothing more.

Now, this was an ancient USED book store, so I was expecting a lot of dusty old books from the previous century stacked onto decaying shelves. To find manga—and without even opening the door—this had to be a good sign. I took the manga and walked in. Immediately, I was consumed by the scent of antiquity and a touch of lemon from presumably some dust cleaner sprayed just a few hours prior.

I had been looking forward to this visit, even if just to look and not buy, so my memory of walking in is a bit hazy. But I was right about one thing: there were a LOT of books, though not necessarily old. Some of the titles that my eyes hurriedly skimmed were, to my recollection, hot off the press from a month or two ago. That surprised me.

Brown wooden shelves lined the walls of the small shop, many of these towering shelves jutting out in to the walkway so as to divide the room into a dozen mini sections, pocket universes of thought for each genre: adventure, mystery, romance, drama, classical, science fiction, young adult, self-help, non-fiction, fiction, and the like.

Numerous unique chairs of all shapes and sizes from wooden to wicker sat pleasantly within reach, as if you were invited in to pull any book to your liking off the shelf, grab a seat, and lose yourself within the pages. It was a colorful place thanks to the thousand upon thousand of beautiful book spines (which were neatly arranged on the shelves, by the way), and despite the dark brown interior of the store, hanging industrial lights from both the ceiling and the shelves themselves lit the chamber with a warm ember glow.


Simply, I was in love. If you’ve ever imagined a fantastical library with a layout not unlike a labyrinth, in that it felt quite easy to get lost in, this was the place.


They had simultaneously less and more manga than I expected; it was just two or three rows of books on these narrow two-foot-wide shelves. The shallowness of the shelf itself was a perfect look for the tiny collection, so I took mental notes about how to remodel my own room once I made or bought new shelves.

There wasn’t much there, yet I was still thrilled anyhow to skim through the used manga. When was the last time I came to a used book store? I thought to myself as I borrowed the nearby step-stool to reach the top shelf where the manga was humbly lined.

I just had to buy something, I remember convincing myself at the time, so I walked away with two others besides Taniguchi: Devil Survivor by Satoru Matsuba (story by Atlus) and Merman in My Tub by Itokichi, two volume ones that I was acquainted with by name. With both in good condition and certainly cheaper than using Amazon’s used services, I consider this small haul a steal. The young woman at the counter rang up the items, wrapped them in a brown paper sack, and we were on our way back through the cold.

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Not a particularly novel (ha!) haul, but one I thought I’d share anyway.

This experience was special to me because it allowed me to reconnect with the charm of the bookstore environment itself. It was a magnificent little shop, and had I taken pictures, I definitely would have shared them with you all—I know you would’ve loved it.

In this digital age of online shopping and even browsing for digital books, I had temporarily lost that joyous feeling of walking out of a physical store, haul in hand. It’s not revolutionary thought; I just went into a bookstore and bought books, but even still, it makes me happy.

If ever you are offered the chance to peruse the shelves of a new or used bookstore—even if your goals in mind are larger than what the store offers—consider closing out of that internet tab for a reconnection with the physical and inviting yourself to the rustic charm of a dusty bookshelf. Trust me, you won’t regret your stay.


It’s always pleasing to use something for its specific purpose. — Mrs. Crocombe, a Victorian Chef at Audley End House


Now, I ask you: when was the last time you went to a used bookstore? What were you looking for at the time, and did they have it or not? For me, it had clearly been way too long, and I’m so glad I was able to spend the final days of my break absorbing pages and panels of so, so many books. I’d love to hear your personal stories if you’re willing to share! I suppose I’ll be off to reorganize my own manga collection, so until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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Hooked on Light Novels: The Amazon USED Blind-Buy Game! | Cafe Talk

Hey all,

I’m back with another “Cafe Talk” (woohoo it returns!), which is, for all my newcomers as of late, a free-flowing, comment-welcome segment that tends to lean towards anime “happenings,” or perhaps loose conversations related to my life and what’s new.

Today I wanted to discuss something that I’ve really been hammering down on in my updates (no, not my Danganronpa obsession). It’s reading, yup, I’ve gotten back into poppin’ open books and inhaling the words off of the pages. Specifically speaking, I’ve been getting into light novels more, partially to get to know them better (what they are, why they are so popular), but more so because I’ve been craving some light, short reads featuring our favorite anime characters. And what do you know? That’s exactly what a light novel is!

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I do not own this image.

Now, I have those couple series that I’ve been following on my own (Monogatari, Sword Art Online), but I was in search of something different at the time, a fresh tale featuring beautiful characters and all their cool adventures and mishaps. So I turned over to Twitter as a tool (and not just a place to retweet Yuri!!! On ICE artwork) to find out the kinds of light novels you guys are into right now. This way, I could also incorporate my Twitter with my blog more. Thank you to all who replied—it was very helpful, as I think I found some great contenders!

BEFORE I tell you the titles I plan to read, I want to let you know a bit about me: I’m a collector, a buyer of books, movies, and everything in between. This tends to put me at odds with libraries, as I find myself unable to simply rent/check out my entertainment—I NEED TO OWN IT, to hold it knowing that it’s MINE. Isn’t this terrible!? Gosh, I’m the worst, haha, but I might’ve found a remedy to my dilemma . . .

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Through Amazon’s USED books system (or eBay), if the volume I desire is available for, say, around $5 (shipping included), I’ll buy it, and hopefully review it, too! Doesn’t it kinda sound like fun? The idea just sorta came to me, and so long as I can get the books for cheap and have time to read them, well then, the more used literature, the better!

(I will ALSO be taking recommendations for single-volume/very short manga stories!)

AND SO, after weeding out the ones that didn’t intrigue me via synopsis, I present you with the following titles I picked up and the wonderful people who recommended them to me:

MelSeraph of the End—Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen

Simply GeeBook Girl and the Suicidal Mime

Lethargic RamblingsThe Empty Box and Zeroth Maria

MoonlitasteriaHarmony

MyselfA Certain Magical Index

As of right this moment, November 16, I’ve yet to actually purchase Guren Ichinose or The Empty Box, but I WILL, I promise!!

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So what do you guys think? Is this a great way to interact with the community, read the works that excite some of you, and give used books a nice home, or is it a terrible waste of money and a poor way to pick up new novels? You ought to let me know! If you see any improvements to this “game” that I can make, let me know those, too. And lastly, if you have a little spare cash, I encourage you to join in on the madness!

Should all of this go smoothly, look out for another spontaneous Twitter call, as I could end up reading one of YOUR favorites so long as it is daring enough to meet the requirements of the game! ‘Till next time, everyone!

– Takuto, your host

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Filling the Danganronpa Void | End of October Update 11/5/17

Hey everyone, what’s up? Another Spooktober has come and gone and very little blogging has been done. But where there’s a lack of writing there has been an influx in watching—just as much as last month, if not more!

As for school, first year of college is still smooth sailin’. With midterms out of the way, it’s now a barren wasteland until Fall break is over, after which the bomb that is “finals week” will be dropped. But until then, I’ve been trying to read more—and it’s been successful! Now if only I could feel motivated to write about it all . . .

Anyway, let’s take a look at what I’ve read/watched this past “spoop month” and see my desperate attempts at filling the Danganronpa 3 void end in utter failure. (And yes, the itch still has yet to be scratched.)

RECENTLY FINISHED:

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Tsuredure Children—My GOD, what I would have given for a continuation of this mess of high school romances. It’s not even that good, which is why I’m so confused as to how I became so addicted to it all. Maybe the 12-min per episode run-time was a key part, or that I streamed it dubbed via Funimation Now as my weekly comedy. Either way, I’m sad that it’s over—and just when it was getting sooo good! Likely won’t review, as I don’t have much to say, but it ends just as cute as it begins, which is enough for me.

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Knight’s & Magic—I should’ve taken the warnings on this one. No joke, it kinda sucked. I didn’t care for any of the characters (nor do I really remember any of them), and the story gave up on my interests. I wanted to continue learning more about the interactions and affects of combining giant mecha knights with magical forces, but instead it turned into a show “save the kingdom from the enemy evil blah blah blah.” I won’t review this either because of how little I have to say about it, though I’m glad that I did finish it.

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The Dragon Dentist—Another hyped show that turned into disappointment . . . sort of. A 2-episode (40 min each) short from Studio Khara (Rebuild of Evangelion) with Hidaeki Anno somewhere behind the desks, I was STOKED for this show. Only putting his name on two titles since Eva 3.33, this and Shin Godzilla, I was eager to see how this one played out in his journey to Eva‘s end. While episode one was quite pleasant, episode 2 unfortunately became, well, I’m not honestly sure what. It definitely had similar ideas that the OG Eva did, but didn’t have the same strong execution due to the short run-time. Eva is a big story to tell, after all, so you can’t just throw in a similar ending and call it so. Sentai Filmworks just released it with a dub, so maybe if it goes on sale I’ll pick it up and give it another go.

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SHIMONETA—AHAHAHA S-O-X, S-O-X, S-O-X!!! Funimation Peep Show host Cookie Stratford hooked me up with this little title after previewing it at last year’s Naka-kon. FINALLY it went on sale, so bought the blu-ray! (I did stream the dub in its entirety just to double-check that it was worth the money—in which it absolutely was.) I’m ecstatic to have some more “fun” titles on my shelf, as a majority of shows that I do own require you to basically analyze your existence in the universe, and that’s just no fun when I want to fool around on a late Friday night. So here it is, cock, balls, and all! And you know what? I enjoyed every second of it.

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Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PS Vita)—Don’t be fooled by the listing of this game title on my list, as there’s no way I have the money for a Vita right now, let alone the 20+ hours it’d take to complete this massive part of the franchise. Originally, I was watching walkthroughs of it via YT, living vicariously through the silent player as they traversed the game’s ins and outs. After making it a bit over half-way in, I realized that I COULD NOT wait any longer to watch Danganronpa 3, so talked it over with the Twitter fam (thx Gigi) and was directed to some “Recapitations” of the game’s story on the YT. WHAT A LIFE-SAVER, as Ultra Despair Girls just isn’t as neat as the rest of the franchise’s entries. It is still pretty cool though—soon after finishing the recap, I quickly found myself going back to the walkthroughs to watch the “animated” portions of the end, another 5+ hrs of video, but who cares—it was still a thrill ride! I then watched a recap for Danganronpa Zero and was all set for the ultimate despair: Danganronpa 3.

Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School—The viewing of this crazy third season(s) is as follows: Future Arc episode one, Despair Arc episode one, Future Arc episode two, Despair Arc episode two, so on and so forth. As such, here are my individual thoughts on each arc:

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Despair Arc—Starting with this one because it end before Future does, Despair Arc was basically everything that I wanted from a Danganronpa prequel and more. And much, much, much more. With the knowledge of Zero (an unlicensed light novel—you can find a 20-min recap of this on YT too, bless), Despair Arc combs together all of the grittiness, backstabbing, and betrayal of the viewer’s trust that we’ve come to know and love. Simply put, it’s a story of hope that ends in despair, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Future Arc—Though wildly unimpressed throughout a good majority of the GREAT Danganronpa‘s supposed “end,” once episode eight hit it was balls-to-the-walls insanity. Seriously, if there’s ever been an incredible comeback mid-season, Future Arc is where it’s at! I rushed to the end, eagerly anticipating each wild episode of this chase against the clock until series’ grand finale . . .

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Hope Arc—I won’t lie, it was kinda anticlimactic, hahaha, but I still love this show too much to complain, goddammit! Such a rewarding finale for all the blood that was shed, all the darkness that was traversed, and while I would have asked for another end-all situation, what we got was still excellent. It’s a shame that I’d be spending the next month or two trying to fill the void left by this show alone, but hey, it’s an opportunity to explore new shows, right? (plz send Danganronpa recs plz send Danganronpa recs)

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Chivalry of a Failed Knight—No joke, the only reason I watched this show (on YOUTUBE NO LESS BAHAHAHA) was because Luci Christian was the English voice of Stella, the female lead. I was expecting it’d be a harem story about a hero of zero somehow defeating the number one ace . . . and sure enough, that’s exactly what I got. Nothing to write home about, but I have no regrets watching, either. High production quality on the animation front, not to mention that it had a kickass OP and ED!

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Riddle Story of DevilDanganronpa knock-off #1 presents itself in this game of assassins killing each other just to off a single girl—Haru Ichinose. “Why her” remains the big question behind the game itself, and though it sounds like the perfect formula for a DR follow-up, it couldn’t have been worse. Seriously, each death is foreshadowed by that character getting the episode’s spotlight (a reoccurring problem with a currently airing title which I’ll discuss soon), leaving no fun in determining who would live or die. At least the dub was good. Morgan Berry needs to be the MC more often. Also, Jamie Marchi always plays best girl. Always.

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The Perfect Insider—Alright, we’re getting somewhere with this one. Recommended by our pal, the Otaku Judge (thanks man!), this one’s a locked-room murder in which a rag-tag group of individuals must piece together the puzzles. I remember it being a big hit when it aired a couple years back, and while I wanted to follow it, time got the better of me. Guess this was a good thing, because I got to save it for future me when I needed it most, and boy, Judge, did this one get me closer to hitting the mark! Though a bit confusing (and towards the end a bit contrived), it seeks a more philosophical, slow-burning case vs. DR‘s fast-paced madness. Both can be appreciated for their own merits, but yes, this one is worth seeing, and hopefully I’ll get to review it soon!

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Blade Runner: Black Out 2022—The last prequel short film in a trilogy designed to fill in and expand upon the world of the latest Hollywood hit, Blade Runner 2049Black Out is unique because it is the only “anime” part of the franchise, the rest being live action. Feeling an inkling to revisit the cluttered and damp world of the 2017 Ghost in the ShellBlade Runner 2049 instantly became a must, and I set aside my DR hunt to revel in the OG Blade Runner and it’s 2049 prequel trilogy. Black Out was not only epic, but absolutely stunning on the animation front. It’s no wonder considering that Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe was invited to direct this short film, as Blade Runner was his biggest inspiration for creating sci-fi during his younger days. Before I knew it, I found myself with my dad in the theaters on the last day of showing, and we had a blast. Such an incredible franchise with wondrous world-building that’ll leave you in utter awe and terror of the near future. Still thinking about this one now . . .

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Devil Survivor 2 The Animation—Aaaannnnd we’re back to Danganronpa hunting, this time for a game-turned-anime series about kids fighting against a mysterious alien force and time itself before their world reaches its end. Very cool premise, but ruined NOT due to the short runtime, but IMO because of the game’s gimmick—each of the 12 or so characters possess a smart phone that allows them to summon demons to fight against the aliens. I think it would’ve been much more enjoyable had the characters fought the aliens themselves somehow (special skills, weapons, whatever) because the demon-fighting thing just wasn’t doing it for me. Now, I realize that it defeats the entire premise of the game this way—I know—but with the demons out of the way, there would have been more room for character interaction, and the motives for survival would’ve been all the more crushing when they met their fate on the battlefield. Not a complete wreck of a show, but it EASILY could’ve been made better. Excellent animation, BTW, with a great OP and chilling ED to beat!

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Harmony—The second Project Itoh film, Harmony is set in a world where good health is king, and the hospital basically runs government. Everyone is consumed with medicine to the point where it becomes their ruler, not the other way around. People have lost their sense of identity, what with having perfect health and nothing to complain about. Tuan, a high-ranking military officer is sickened by everyone’s kindness in this age of monotony, of perfect harmony. And just when she thought she couldn’t hate it enough, a blast from her past causes mayhem in the present, as systematic killings and mass suicides suddenly take over the world. Out on a mission to stop the one robbing everyone of their utopian futures, Tuan comes to understand why she thinks the way she does, as well as what being human means to her. It’s a grossly underrated film, and though the CG action at the beginning can be a bit jarring, what is in store for the viewer far usurps any awkward animation sequences. Do not let the “meh” community rating stop you from trying out this film—it requires a bit of thinking, but it’s well worth the watch for any fans of dystopian fiction i.e. Huxley’s Brave New World. Might review!

CURRENTLY WATCHING:

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Welome to the Ballroom—Not much to say, as I’m a bit behind on this seasonal title. The addition of the new girl throws some chaos into the mix, but I think it’s slowly helping the show all things considered. Also, I’ve come to appreciate the new OP, so that helps. Looking forward to it!

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Juni Taisen: Zodiac War—Five episodes in and all I can PRAY is that it stops doing that formula thing I mentioned earlier. One of the novel’s (OG source) biggest complaints is that this formulaic system of deaths does continue as a prominent force, so I hope the finale at least has some shock saved for us. And I swear, if Rat wins, I will jump off a cliff.

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Electromagnetic Girlfriend—Ahh yes, continuing the DR hunt. Rated highly as a short 2-episode (40 min each) horror mystery show, I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this series. Probably due to the lack of localization. Anyway, I’ve watched one of two episodes and I can say that, while short, it does have some decent twists and turns in it. Not quite scary [yet], but engaging and will likely end with a decent rating from me. And the background art is incredible, holy shit. The anime follows a delinquent teen and his little stalker friend, a mysterious girl with long black hair claiming to be his knight from another lifetime. Interesting . . .

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Ergo Proxy—In my final efforts to secure a decent sci-fi mystery show, I’ve settled on this classic anime that has sat on my shelf untouched for a good while now. Though drab in terms of color scheme and quite on the slooooow side, I can already feel Ergo Proxy shaping up to be a much better show than half the entries on this list! It almost reminds me of a crossover between Star Wars‘s setting and Avatar the Last Airbender‘s humor. IDK why, it JUST DOES. An unraveling story of what is likely to be self-discovery in a dark future without much individual identity, Ergo Proxy manages to keep me interested by leading me on with new elements to the world at every turn. It’s also a bit of a cop/detective story, much like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Overall, I like what I’m getting, I only wish it were a bit more, hmm, thrilling.

CURRENTLY READING:

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A Certain Magical Index Light Novel Volume One—This was one of those late-night Amazon pick-ups, but like I mentioned last update I’ve been in the mood for some light novels, particularly to understand how and why they are written, as well as to take advantage of what they are—fairly cheap and disposable fiction meant to be read on a whim; you follow the stories you like, and drop the ones you don’t. Having already watched both seasons of the anime, I’m glad Index continues to be interesting even in novel format, and I’m eager to pick up the second volume soon! Also, did you hear the fantastic news?? INDEX 3 IS COMING IN 2018, REJOICE~!!!!! It’s just ironic that I started reading the original source now after all these years. Oh well.

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Murder on the Orient Express—BOI, you already know. Fall’s been mystery season for me, clearly, and what a better bang to end it on than with classic Christie and her film adaptation of the same name. I’M. SO. EXCITED. FOR. THIS. FILM. Having just rewatched bits of Hyouka (and my guy Oreki bringing up Christie in a case of his), my inspiration to check out the actual book from the library shot up, and now here I am. About 1/3 into the book with no serious evidence given yet, my blind guess for the killer is . . . the maid, cause it’s always the maid LOL. I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!


BLOGGING PROJECTS:

In regards to last month’s update, I DID not only end up reviewing Death Parade, but I used it as the focal point in my October OWLS post, WOOHOO! Such a neat show, it came just at the right time to match the month’s theme! If you want to read my thoughts, click below!

Also, prior to OWLS I FINALLY put together my thoughts on Shin Godzilla in post that has surprisingly gotten a decent amount of traffic, appreciation, and EVEN a feature on another cool person’s blog (thank you all so much)!! It was really hard putting that one together, not gonna lie, so it’s nice to see the payoff. In case you missed it, here ya go!


 

The End of Spooky Season

GOODNESS ME, that’s a lot of titles, no? And to think, I’ve also been rewatching Hyouka, Gosick, School Live, and Paprika as a part of the spoopy holidays! October has become a favorite holiday of mine, which is odd considering that I used to hate it. The cool weather and downtime have allowed me to explore reading and watching much more, and hopefully they’ll bring me back to the blogosphere soon. I’ve got two little nominations to attend to, plus a new Cafe Talk in the works, so look forward to, YES, learning even more about me!

How did you spend your Halloween season? Also, any good manga/light novel you’ve been reading lately? I want to know! Also, and last call (maybe), if you know a anime, game, or book that’s even remotely like Danganronpa (whodunnit mystery thriller survival game), PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!! I’m in quite rut, and the obsession has grown so large that I’ll even be cosplaying a male version of a certain “despairing” character in March, upupuPUPUPU!!! ‘Till next time everyone!

– Takuto, your host

 

Chill Season is Here | End of September Update 10/3/17

Hey everyone, what’s up? I did a header image thingy for an update! Like it?

Cool weather is finally here, ahh, yes, no more 100-degree F days. I’m in college now, in case you didn’t know that, and hey, I’m surviving (yay)! While I haven’t been utterly dumped with challenging homework yet, I am keeping busy, what with symphony orchestra and the long hours of practice that accompany it.

With all this “extra time,” I’ve done a lot of anime watching, some manga reading, and more posting. That’s always exciting. Now I have to get over the second slump—catching up on the millions of comments I’ve left unanswered. If I haven’t hunted you down in my posts yet, don’t worry, I will! I just need more energy within myself to keep the conversation going, and that can be tough. Blogging is a social sport, after all.

But slowly and steadily I am catching up. Painfully slowly, but it’s better than no progress at all. Anyway, let’s briefly check out what I’ve watched, read, and written within the past couple months!

RECENTLY FINISHED:

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Netoge: And you thought there is never a girl online?—I’ve finally signed up for a Funimation Now account, and this was one of the first shows I decided to watch. At the time, I was looking to satisfy simple needs: pretty characters, comedy, and a dash of nerd humor. And what do you know, Netoge was perfect for the job! I loved this show, and I’m not gonna lie, being able to stream a dub LEGALLY felt pretty good. This was my first time hearing Dallas Reid as Hideki “Rusian” Nishimura, and though I spent a lot of time deciding whether I liked him or not, I finally decided that if I kept needing to debate it, then he likely did a good job at it. We’ll likely hear A LOT more from Dallas Reid in upcoming dubs, I can just feel it. Anyway, fun show. Would watch more, but I likely won’t follow the novels.

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Saga of Tanya the Evil—After Netoge, I was craving something gritty, loaded with dark humor and kickass characters. Remembering Tanya from a couple seasons back as a big hit, I booted up the first episode on Crunchyroll and couldn’t put it down after that. Solid action, fantastic cast, and an engaging story of man vs. fate, or in this case, “bird mouth” Tanya vs. the cruel God who laughs from on high. It was just such a solid production that it left me here screaming, “WhErE iS sEaSoN tWo?!” I definitely plan to follow Tanya’s scheming and mocking of God in the novel series, which sees its first release I believe this winter. Awesome, high energy show that never lets up. When I watch the dub, expect a review!

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Aria the Animation—I participated in the huge Aria Kickstarter by Nozomi Entertainment AKA RightStuf back in September. At first, I donated blindly at the limited edition. Then I thought, “How stupid am I? Am I really going to blindly throw $60 at a title I don’t even know if I’d like??” And just as I questioned myself, Crunchyroll put the first season on their site to help with the campaign. After a watch of the first season, I can comfortably say that my gamble was a worthwhile one. Hopefully the +$200 that went into it will be everything that I wanted and more.

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Sailor Moon S—Awww yeah, I continue to knock through Viz’s releases of the beloved 90s series and I absolutely loved every bit of it! As a child, this was basically the first anime I was ever introduced to without knowing what anime was. It brought my whole experience of running around with sparkly ribbons and costumes full circle, and by the end (which I had never previously seen or known), I couldn’t help but melt down into an emotional wreck. I could never review a series that’s this close to heart, let alone slap a numerical rating on it, but maybe for an OWLS post or something I’ll get to dig out this series once again. Looking forward to seeing Crystal III this winter with all my heart—PLANET POWER!!!!

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Death Parade—This one you might recognize from my birthday haul! And while it’s quite up on this list, I actually started it in August and finished it just a day ago (hahaha that’s what I get for trying to watch it with my sister). Anyway, it was a wicked cool trip through the afterlife, and can’t help but think that the series needed something more for its ending . . . maybe for a future installment, right? It wasn’t as 10/10 masterpiece as everyone was making it out to be, but it was dark and fun, which is what exactly what I pegged the series for. Maybe I’ll review it, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.

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Code Geass: Akito the Exiled—Another from the b-day haul, yay! After breezing through the original Code Geass this past summer with my siblings, I was craving more of the universe. This calling just happened to be answered by Funimation’s rescue release of this spinoff, which takes place between the two halves of the original series overseas in the European Union. The dub had accents for the French and other nationalities represented, which was kind of a neat touch. I especially loved Jeannie Tirado’s resilient yet caring Leila Malcal. CG was used for the mechs this time around, and while one might find that originally distracting, the wild and dynamic movement and cinematography made for some excellent fights. My only great disappointment with it was the lack of involvement from returnees LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA and Suzaku Kururugi, as they were the main reason I even wanted more Geass. Oh well, cool show nevertheless.

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Shin Godzilla—It’s not anime, but it certainly counts for the reason I wanted to watch it: Evangelion. Director. Hidaeki Anno. Need I say more? Well, HAH, I wont’ actually, because a review of this titanic hit is coming very soon, so keep an eye out!

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Orange (anime and manga)—YES, I read some manga, and YES, it was an entry ruled off of the loooong backlog!! When the books were released and the anime adaptation of it aired, the ONLY thing people talked about was Orange. That popularity has since calmed down greatly, but the series is still definitely not one to be missed—especially that manga, dang! (I can officially recommend some manga to people, this is so fun!) The anime dedicates one episode to each chapter or two, so the pacing is absolutely flawless in terms of time/scene adaptation. Each frame of the manga held so much gorgeous facial expression, and the characters were each quirky yet very attractive. I wish the anime kept up with the quality on that front, but hey, taking a picture is easier than a video, I get it. Also, the manga was significantly more emotional than the series was. I’m not sure if that was just because I knew how it was all going to end, but hmm, yeah if someone wants the tear-jerker route, read the books. Both are still wonderful!

As a last note, though I never did actually cry, I was significantly touched by the morals of friendship, and how something so simple as friends can create beautiful moments and prevent terrible tragedies. It’s all about treasuring what we have, together, and living within each moment, not through them. I based my entire September OWLS post on the Orange manga, so if you’d like a spoiler free rundown on what it presents us with, consider checking it out! It gained a lot of traffic, and I consider it to be one of my bests posts because of how it was received. So, thank you if you decide to read it (link right here)!

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Re:CREATORS—OOH, OOH, now THIS is a show that saved itself during its run!! I was so happy with how it ended, and I won’t lie, I didn’t think the series had it in itself to finish with both story and emotional satisfaction, but it did, and because if that I do plan to review it! Until then, my lips are sealed—just go watch it!!

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Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBUKatsugeki had it all: incredible animation production, excellent digital effects by Ufotable, epic music by the composer of Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]‘s score, a solid franchise, and, of course, an overly supportive fanbase. So where did it go wrong? My theory is that it simply didn’t use the weight of each mission to fully impact the characters. From what I gathered, this is supposed to be a predominately character-driven franchise, so by not involving all of the characters, it walked away with only a couple of decently developed studs. Not to offend the fangirls, but it didn’t help when they decided to add a second wave of characters—the flashy First Unit—into the mix. Now you have +12 characters running around and all I can say was that the finale was very pretty. It was all more along the lines of “not my cup of tea” than “it sucked.”

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My Hero Academia Season 2—Bro, who wasn’t watching MHA this past season, cause like, dang! I thought the first was pretty good, but this second pulls out all the stops, especially with the famous TOURNAMENT ARC in the first half. Hell, I marathoned that shit cause I didn’t want to watch it at the time, and even though the Hero Killer/Hosu Incident Arc was a bit of a slump for me, I realize the importance it will have on not only the heroes but the villains as well. I won’t say too much more because I’d like to review it, but let’s just say it inspired me so much that I’ll be cosplaying the KING Todoroki #bestboy. Also, the first OP and the second ED were FIRE, man! Can’t stop listening!

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DIVE!!—So many thoughts. So much conflict. I think I like this show? See, I’m on the fence: I’ve admitted to the fact that this show did not turn out so well, but you can still like something that’s complete trash. I want to believe there is something of sustenance in this show, and that’s a very hard thing to do. It looks like I’ll be a bit against the crowd on this one, but don’t worry, I know that it’s garbage LOL. Review coming soon for sure!

CURRENTLY WATCHING:

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Tsuredure Children—Last spring’s trashiest show made its way to my Funi account and now I’m watching the dub. Not the greatest dub, but it’ll suffice for what I’m after: romantic nonsense. I want to watch curious kids fail miserably and hilariously with their love lives . . . is that sad? Beats me, but Tsuredure is defs fillin’ the cup up! It’s lighthearted, humorous, and charming in its own way, so sure, I’ll keep tagging along.

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Knight’s & Magic—Started this one yesterday night out of straight curiosity since half of the crowd said it was awesome and the other half hated it. I tend to like things that nobody else does, so here I come Ernesti! Episode one was good so far, but I can totally understand why people thought him being from another world was kinda pointless. I mean, in Saga of Tanya of Evil, it was part of the dude’s sin cycle, but here, IDK, Ernesti could’ve been a child genius and that would’ve rolled better with everyone. Anyway, the main reason I want to watch it is because the mechs look cool, so there’s that.

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I Hear the Sunspot—This is actually a manga that was recommended by Simply Gee over on YouTube. She found it to be lighthearted, soft, and simple; a story that doesn’t need to do very much to make our hearts warm. And she’s absolutely right. It follows a squirrely young college boy named Taichi who can’t seem to hold a job without getting into fights. This particularly sucks because he’s always hungry, that is, until stumbles upon Kohei, a quiet fellow college student who has a hearing disability. The two make a deal: Taichi be his note-taker and Kohei will provide him with free lunch!

Thus we watch the two struggle to understand just what they mean to one another, and how a problem isn’t too big of a problem when two people deal with it together. It’s got just the faintest touch of shounen-ai, but don’t let that turn you off—in fact, it’s half the magic. You’ll never know how friendly the two will get, but I’m willing to follow them throughout this standalone volume. Apparently it’s author Yuki Fumino’s first manga (which is overly impressive, my god), and due to its success, a sequel is on the way, hooray!

FALL SIMULCASTS:

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Fate/Apocrypha—I’m starting to understand characters, motives, and plugging their historical pasts with the present war. Apocrypha is getting better, but it’s still pretty rough given that only one servant has bit the bullet and we’re already halfway into this thing. I just hope they don’t start knockin’ down characters one by one. That always sucks. I don’t have much else to report on this one other than that it’s still engaging, action-packed, and rich with ancient lore. Did I ever mention the soundtrack? Besides the twisted Egoist OP (which I did finally decide that I like), the epic strings and main melody behind the show is just fantastic!

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Welcome to the BallroomBallroom is, ergmm, more fun to watch when it’s moving. There are SO many still shots it’s insane! And this is done by Production I.G.—aren’t they a powerhouse in the anime industry? That’s not to say that each frame is bad (cause they’re all friggin’ gorgeous), but man, it’s a sports show that requires a great deal of movement—so GIVE IT TO US, PLEASE! Otherwise it can sometimes be hard or embarrassing to watch. On several occasions during the first half’s Tenpei Cup, Tatara makes a comment on Gaju’s moves (“so powerful;” “oh he messed up here;” “he’s doing ___ move”), but then we see . . . nothing, it’s a SINGLE FRAME. Between the lack of movement, the loss of the season’s good first OP and ED, and the introduction of a potential new partner,  I just hope Ballroom knows what it’s doing in this second half.

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Food Wars! The Third Plate—Not much to say. It’s more Food Wars! and that’s about the best thing you could have for this fall season! I’m eagerly awaiting a tango with the Totsuki Elite Ten (dat alliteration tho) and all of the funny antics to follow! Cheers to more food porn!

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Juni Taisen: Zodiac War—The only reason I’m going to watch this series is because it sounds like the Holy Grail War. It’s a survival game; personifications of each Zodiac animal come to life and duke it out for the chance to make a wish come true (or at least I think that’s what it’s about). Sounds cool, looks cool, sure, count me in.


Blogging Projects

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Let’s see, in the last “Cafe Talk” I wrote about how “Having Unpopular Opinions Can Suck,” where I finalized my thoughts on the 2017 Ghost in the Shell Live-Action (spoiler alert: I loved it), as well as how frustrating it can be when nobody takes your side. There, I’ve jotted down just a few of my own “unpopular opinions,” so if you’re curious or feel I’m relatable, check that out. I’ve shared several great conversations with people on that post in the comments section, which is awesome—that’s what it’s there for!!! I’ll see if I can get on and answer some more soon!

I also recently partnered up with fellow gaming blogger NekoJonez on his expansive Legend of Zelda project, which brings in 13 of us to tackle the entire franchise from the first game to the latest. It was a surprisingly great deal of fun, especially at the end with those last couple hours before show time, and I made some awesome friends while reminiscing on a greatly beloved title. Honestly, it opened my eyes to the possibility of future collabs and projects with bloggers, but perhaps I should build up my own personal brand a bit more, right? Who knows, but I had a very fun time, and that’s all that matters in the end. Here are the games I covered if you are curious about Gaming Takuto!

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The Great Sea: Phantom Hourglass

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The New World: Spirit Tracks

I’m Tired of Playing Catch-Up

Whew! What an update! It’s just as large as last time’s, which means I need to get back to monthly ones, not this bimonthly nonsense! I mean, who wants to stick around for nearly 3,000 words of “I did this, and that, and didn’t do a lot of something else . . .” But inconvenience is how I roll, right guys? Haha, moving on.

I guess my biggest challenge right now isn’t “not wanting to write” as much as I’m sick and tired of playing catch-up! There are just WAY to many posts I want to read and comments that I need to respond to that, when I find myself going to draft another post, I just sigh at all of the responsibilities that should come first: responding to my readers, to my guests. What kind of host leaves their customer without their order? Not a very good one, that’s for sure. I’ll work on this more for this month as my biggest goal, and hopefully I can get out of this rut that I’ve sat in for MONTHS now.

I’m tired of playing catch-up, so I’ll change that. 🙂

I’m curious to know what you guys are following this fall season! Also, did you read any good manga or light novels recently? The new SAO series coming soon makes me want to purchase and read the Alicization books, as apparently it’s the best part of the franchise so far. But time is short, so we’ll see. ALSO INDEX III WAS ANNOUNCED HOLY CRAP I THOUGHT IT’D NEVER HAPPEN!!!! Now if we could just get an adaptation of Railgun’‘s Level Six Shift Arc, I could die happily with that franchise. I hope nicer weather has made its way to you as it has me, cause I’m partying in my fall jackets and hoodies now! Hahaha, take care you guys, until next time~!

– Takuto, your host

Conducting Anime Research | Cafe Talk

Do you ever conduct a little research?

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I’ve spent the past week eagerly awaiting the arrival of an Amazon package. Was it manga? Nope. Anime? Not quite? Ooh, a figure? Now you’re way off! Just like any kid, I’ve been DYING for my . . . Shakespeare . . . to get here? Welcome to “Cafe Talk.”


If it puts you at ease, I ordered from the “No Fear Shakespeare” line because, goodness me, there’s no way I could read the fully saturated original plays. Nope, I’ve adapted to the “side-by-side PLAIN ENGLISH” narrative that Sparknotes publishes, and might I add that they make the experience plenty more fun for a weak reader like myself.

But god, save for The Tempest, these covers are shit tho. Like seriously, who designed these? I’m not even going to show you what they did to Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But I’m sure you’re also just bubbling with curiosity as to what stories I’ve decided to pick up. First, that requires a little background (because heaven forbid someone just “start feeling like reading classic lit”).

Years ago I started a little anime called Blast of Tempest out of pure love for the stained-glass graphic they put on their promotional poster.

^^Yeah, this one!

Anyway, I never got past the first or second episode. Try as I might, no matter how many times I restarted I never progressed. Eventually I gave up. Guess I just didn’t understand it, which, looking back, doesn’t surprise me at all because within the first FIVE MINUTES of the show the characters start rattling off nonsensical quotes from Hamlet and The Tempest!

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So being the “smarter” person that I am now, guess what I did? I FREAKING bought Hamlet and The Tempest. (The concept of checking out books doesn’t sit so hot with me.) While I have vague ideas as to how both end, I decided that I’m NOT progressing with the anime until I’ve at least read one of them, starting with Hamlet.

Guys, I have TWO episodes left and the suspense is killing me.

I suppose what I’m asking you is this: “Are you ever inspired to do a little research before further adventuring into manga, anime, games, and the like?” You know, “get familiar with the original source for more background” or “understand allusions and make connections to classic lit, historical events, or even real people?” Recalling times where I had to google existing events, places, and people for reference, I came up with this sample list of past searches:

Type Moon myths, legends, and epics

Madoka Magica Walpurgisnacht, entropy

Joan of Arc anything

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood tree of life

Evangelion dead sea scrolls, new testament, EVERYTHING

Seraph of the End Abbadon, trumpets of the apocolypse

Rose of Versailles French Revolution

Eden of the East selacao

Cross referencing Tales games and anime

A Certain Scientific Railgun esper resonance, concepts

Sword Art Online Fairy Dance novels, Midsummer Night’s Dream

Yuri!!! On ICE real GPF skaters

and now,

Blast of Tempest Hamlet, The Tempest

The list goes on forever, but you get the gist. All of this research is done, of course, so that I can apply real world knowledge to better myself as a fan of entertainment. Take no shame in searching up something that confuzzles you–Odds are that you’ll learn something cool, or find yourself lost in the digital library of wonder. And THAT feeling is incredible. Many of my most cherished memories about certain anime spawned from browsing the archives of “such-and-such Wikia” because IF you can google it, odds are there’s a Wiki for it.

So there are my thoughts regarding the pursuit of knowledge. In other words, DO IT if it feels right. I hope you learned a bit about me, and I’d really like to know more about you anime “research” habits (if I can even call my Wiki pastimes research)! “Cafe Talk” welcomes open-ended discussions, however brief or lengthy you wish to be! In the meantime, I’ll be resuming Act 1 Scene 2 from Hamlet–wish me luch, haha! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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I feel you, Hakaze.

 

End of January Update 1/31/16

Evening all, not really sure why I am doing an update as I LITERALLY watched and read NOTHING, but for consistency’s sake I thought it’d be better to get this out there . . . for anyone who cares. Let’s get to it!

Recently finished:

Diddly squat. I’ve been sick, busy, sick, and more sick.

Did I mention sick?

Currently watching:

Cowboy Bebop – Yep. Still watching this one. Remember how I decided to watch it with my family? Well, that probably wasn’t the best decision I’ve made, as none of us have matching schedules, and even if we do, I feel bad for kicking someone else off of the TV! Agh, at least it’s a grand show thus far. We’re exactly halfway through, so I expect the lighthearted bounty hunter trips to switch to some deep stuff pretty soon.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (Erased) – If you’re not watching this this anime this season, you’re lying to yourself. Erased is about a boy (well, man in a boy body?) who is given the chance to (or kinda forced to) go back in time to save his mom and presumably a girl who died in his elementary school. I am two episodes in (gonna watch the third tonight >.<) and all I can say is WOW. Fast-paced, intense and consistent storytelling, and lovely animation provided by A1-Pictures (praise them “momma lips”). Yuki Kajiura’s music has yet to really stand out, but it supports what I’ve seen so far fairly well.

Dimension W – Yep, this is that other simulcast every anime fan and their grandma is following this season. Why am I? Well, aside it being science fiction, I am interested in its creation: FUNimation’s partnership in putting the production together. Admittedly, they only share a small part in the story department, but the production diaries they post on YouTube are very insightful. I’m not quite sure what the anime is about by episode two, nor where it’s headed, but I am nevertheless intrigued by what’s going on. The anime follows Kyouma, I think that is his name, and his job as a “Collector,” which involves retrieving energy-producing devices called “coils.”

Currently reading:

Sword Art Online Volume 4: Fairy Dance Part 2 – Still cracking through this one, over 1/4 done. Again, I put all reading and watching aside for a while, and I suppose this took the biggest blow. I’ll be picking back up on it soon, and plan to finish within the next week or two!

Last time I hinted as to my cosplay for spring convention(s), and while some of you will be disheartened to hear it is not Horn Skuld (Otaku Judge and Rocco B), it is still a beloved character from Seraph of the End. Everyone’s favorite blonde-headed vampire teen, Mikaela Hyakuya! I finally got the boots a few days ago, so everything’s pretty much set. All I need to do is trim the wig (or style it better), possibly find better pants, and decide whether or not to add light makeup just for eye effects and such. Not sure yet, though.

If you’ve already read my “I’ve been sick” post, then that’s all you need to know about me regarding the past two weeks. I do have the next 2 weeks of posts lined up, and all I have to do is write them (easier said than done, I realize, but oh well). We did add a new cafe-goer just yesterday, so a warm welcome to you and to all those returning ^.^ Thank you for your overwhelming support on my last update, by the way. It’s a lot easier to stand straight knowing an entire community of awesome friends is supporting your back, ya know? We gotta stick together during these rough times, haha! It’s cold yet oddly sunny where I’m at, but snow is on the horizon. Stay warm, everyone, and drink lots of hot chocolate and coffee – That’s what I’ll be doing! Alrighty, till next time everyone!

– Takuto, your host

End of December Update 1/4/16

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

Recently finished:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Currently watching:

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

Currently reading:

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

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

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

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

– Takuto, your host