FINISHING STRONG: Until Finals Are Over, Bye Bye!

Greetings! 

It’s been quite a while since I last promised you guys so many posts, and my excuse for the lack thereof is school. Studies and finals, you know the drill. I still haven’t forgotten about finishing my Ghost in the Shell journey, nor have I discarded my drafts and ideas for my Grimgar and Blast of Tempest reviews, as well as my swim career story in a cafe talk (which might be integrated into June’s OWLS discussion).

I’m also quite behind on comments and your guys’ posts, but if you TWEET YOUR POSTS, there’s a huge chance I’ll catch you in the feed that way. 🙂

I’m doing just fine, but gotta finish strong, ya know? So rather than leave the cafe empty without a trace, thought I’d drop by with this quick note. Until the dreaded finals are over, study hard as I am, students! Please take care of yourselves, as I’m looking forward to returning to all of you wonderful people~!

See you in a week and a half! Finish strong!

– Takuto

TAKING A WEEK OFF | End of June Update 7/5/16

Helloooo cafegoers, ’tis I, Takuto, and it would appear yet another month has slipped between our fingers. Seriously, what’s up with that? Summer is going by way too fast! U-PUPUPUPUPU

Have you noticed my presence gradually increasing behind the scenes with this past week? Yup, it’s not just your imagination. Inspiration just kind of hit me smack dab in the face and, well, here I am! I think most of that natural high can be contributed to all of the Anime Expo announcements made, my favorites of which I’ll list later. However, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to keep tabs on AX if it weren’t for all of you pressing me to get a GODDAMN TWITTER. So I did, and it’s great! I already feel at home, though I’m not sure if I should drop the “Anime Cafe” part on Twitter and just leave my name. Let me know.

Being on Twitter, I noticed that if I had anything brief to say, I said it there rather than in a blog post. That’s a good and a bad thing. Good because hey, whatever stupid in-the-moment things I have to say usually don’t require a full-on post. I’d like to keep the blog a little more cleaned up, so having a Twitter for small talk and catching up with you people is great.

The bad is obvious — Everyone now knows that I’m alive and kickin’, so why leave comments? I’m sure you all noticed that waaay before I did, but now instead of discouraging me, it’s done quite the opposite. I feel like I’m a part of the community that’s on the edge of excitement and new things coming out, but I also feel like I’m pumping out my own material with a blog. In other words, I can be social on two planes now, one is just for ‘work.’

But you all wanted an update right? Sounds good, I can deliver!

Recently Finished:

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – WHAT A SHOW! Watching this one was not only fun, but it felt educating in a way to see where KILL la KILL, a huge favorite of mine, sort of got its roots. It’s often wacky, and the battles are quite frequent, but that’s just shounen action anime, right? I could ramble on about its ups and downs, but why clutter the update when I did a whole review on the series RIGHT HERE!

The Lost Village – So I watched only 4 of the 2016 spring anime, and of those this was my  least favorite. Bad? Not necessarily . . . just a bit of an odd egg. It’s along the lines of “setting was awesome, concept was solid, but the execution of it was a bit rough.” There’s a good chance I’ll be writing a review on this one here soon, so stay tuned.

My Hero Academia – Last time I updated on this one I was about half way through. Having watched the last three episodes last night, I can confirm that this is indeed a fantastic show — And the prospect of a second season so soon makes me even happier, cause this first one just sort of ends. It’s a pleasant ending nevertheless, and it doesn’t fail to provide a solid story with quirky characters and exciting fights. Really happy with how this one turned out. Review on the way!

Absolute Duo – If you’re not familiar with FUNimation Entertainment’s YouTube account, then you might not know that they’ll frequently post episodes of shows that (I presume) didn’t do so hot in their airing phase, yet the plan to release anyway to make some greens. This was one of those shows and, oh my lands, was probably THE WORST anime I have ever seen!!! Loaded with tropes, bad animation, chicks that endlessly follow a shallow guy, and a story that is so unbelievable that it retracts the viewer from even calling it fiction, Absolute Duo is Absolute Shit. I’m not even going to dignify it with a review.

Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya – So I’m a huge Seraph fanboy. ‘Nuff said. I know this franchise is kind of stupid and that its first season in particular is pretty trashy, but after picking up on the manga series from the beginning, it has at least rocketed itself up into being one of the more entertaining franchises I have played with. Once I got my hands on the volumes that this sequel covers, I squealed like a girl when I also got to watch it play out in anime format, like pawns on a board, muahahaha! This second season was much more exciting than the first, having fixed many of the animation and soundtrack glitches that were omnipresent. It’s a series riddled with darkness at every turn, and that sometimes, we have to muddy our hands in that darkness to fight bigger nightmares. That ending though…It makes me so excited, yet so scared. Guess I just need to order volume 10 to find out if they did it right! Review might come your way, but don’t be surprised if it gets sidelined for a while.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita game) – No, I didn’t play the game, nor do I even own a Vita. As several know, this summer season we’ll be getting TWO Danganronpas!!! One continues where the first series left off, the second being a prequel to the franchises second game, Goodbye Despair. So, in preparation of tangoing with despair once again (and having rewatched the first season with my siblings), I decided to flee to the YouTube game walkthroughs where 44 freakin’ hours of “NO, THAT’S NOT QUITE RIGHT!” stole my evenings. During this period, I decided to put the simulcasts I had been previously watching on hold, which is why I was missing for a while there. But it’s done now, and holy God is this the MOTHER OF ALL PLOT TWISTS. Seriously, the last three hours of gameplay are mindf*ck after mindf*ck until I couldn’t even see straight. Totally worth it though. I only wish they decided to adapt this instead of making a prequel. I mean, I’m not complaining — more Danganronpa is definitely a good thing. So hyped!!

Kizumonogatari (novel) – Having dabbed around in several different medias this past month, I can officially report that Kizumonogatari is my new favorite book!!!! Thanks to Seraph, my vampire phase couldn’t just end with manga, so it spread to light novel. And the Monogatari franchise of all things! This book is a thrill ride from beginning to end; a story of tragedy playing out on a school ground lit by the light of the moon; a tale of wounds inflicted, one onto her by him, the other done to him by her, both sharing this incredible burden and twisted fate. Brilliant tale, a masterpiece of supernatural-meets-school done right! Also, Vertical’s matte finish copy of it just feel so damn good in my hands, mhmm.

Currently Watching:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – It’s interesting how sick people probably are about hearing the spring titles being mentioned, but hey, I still got three episodes to go! While I still think that episode 6 was the series’ highest point, the latter episodes were starting to pick up the pace a bit. Biba is simply an incredibly annoying character, manipulating Mumei like she’s some fodder of his. I already know that the series will end with a bang of beautiful animation thanks to ANN’s ‘reliable’ reports, but I want to explore that for myself. More exciting than the actual series though, did you all here that it’s getting released — and by Crunchyroll no less??!! I’m getting ahead of myself. Kabaneri still feels a bit lost, and I’m sure the end will not cover everything, but it’s been a hell of a ride — One clustered with glorious animation and music that’s hard to beat!

Kiznaiver – For me, nothing has changed much with this show. I still want to call it one of my “Top ten favorites,” even though I know it’s just a tad bit behind the others. With three episodes to go, it has reached lowest point so far, one where everyone has felt the pinnacle of their pain. Or at least it has me believe. I actually plan to rewatch this one from beginning to end BEFORE I give my final thoughts on it, for simulcasted isn’t the best way to watch Kiznaiver. The others just aren’t as sensitive as this one is. Loving everything that Trigger has done so far, and hoping that everyone pushes just a teensy-weensy bit more so that I can indeed let it go having watched a fantastic series.

2016 Summer Movie Theater Shows – We’ve gone through A Lull in the Sea, Girls und Panzer (recently wrote 5 reasons you should watch it here), Danganronpa, ef – a tale of memories and melodies, and Baccano! Currently about to start Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. Being one lucky enough to show anime to his siblings, I am thankful that everything has gone fairly smoothly thus far. Everyone loved Nagi Asu, and Panzer seemed A-OK by the end. What really got the riled up was Danganronpa — Oh my, how they were thrilled by this one!! AGH, it makes me so happy! My sister even decided to, right after finishing, to recommend it to a friend and watch with them. It’s nice to know I’m doing my job, heh heh. While it was all well and good, they only thought ef – memories was fine, and they really didn’t care for melodies at all, which is sad, considering that they hold such a dear place in my heart. I guess not everyone will like everything you will *sighs*. Baccano! just sort of happened. They thought Isaac and Miria were the best part, haha, me too!

I’ll be starting up the summer anime soon after everything is finished and reviewed. There will be a separate post for that, so if you’re curious to see what I’ll be following, keep your eyes peeled. Same goes with my favorite announcements from AX 2016. I may not have gone, but everything was reported here on the home front, and boy, there are a lot of good things coming our way soon!!

Let’s see, what else . . . ah, home life. I’m not sure if many of you knew this, but I don’t blog on my own computer. During the school year, I get a rental one to do all of my posts, which is why you’ll actually see more of my reviews then. What am I typing on now then? Why, it’s our bomb-ass family laptop — The one that: can’t be unplugged without it shutting off, frequently overheats itself, has lost Google and instead uses some sketchy browser (we got Chrome tho), and finally, that half of us need to use all the darn time.

So life is stressful in that regard. If my dad decides to upgrade to an iPad soon (because he is starting to pick up on its convenience), I’ll graciously be inheriting his mini laptop, which is leaps and bounds ahead of what I currently use because it EHERM, ACTUALLY WORKS. Also, for WP’s privacy sake. Fingers crossed that this all goes down soon because, uff, I’m not sure how much more I can take.

I’ll be away from the 10th to the 16th of July

Lastly, I’ll be taking a week off due to a music camp that I really don’t want to go to, haha. You see, you can enter to win camp scholarships by recording a solo and the people picking yours. There’s only one rewarded to a camper who gets in for free, however . . . AND I’M THE FREAKING ONE WHO GOT IT. Damn my rotten luck! So now I’m out a week of pay from work AND a week of blogging, and instead I’ll be sitting in a stupid classroom like a domesticated animal being forced to re-audition to get a spot. Then, of course, there’s the whole week of activities that I didn’t want to do in the first place. Why, kami-sama, why?

That pretty much wraps up this lengthy update. I wasn’t expecting 2,000 words, hah! Sorry about that. I’m hoping that all of us Americans had a wonderful Independence day with lots of tasty food, good company, and explosions! Summer is hot as balls here, and being a lifeguard for 7-8 hours in a day doesn’t help that. I got a nice tan already though, so I guess entrance fee was paid for. Until my seasonal line up, favorite AX announcements, spring anime review, or whatever comes next, I hope you’re having a great day! See ya~!

– Takuto, your host

End of March Update 4/10/16

Hello cafegoers! March was a big month for me. I finished all ongoing anime that I started way back in the winter and concluded my research over one particularly tedious project. With all slates wiped clean, it’s time to move on to bigger and better anime. But first, we must recap the cool things I finished! Onto the update!

Recently Finished:

Cowboy Bebop – We (my family) arranged a weekend solely dedicated to finishing this classic “space western.” Let’s just say we were in for a long (12 episodes) and emotional haul. The end was a bit underwhelming, yet at the same time being everything that I wanted from a show such as this. The manner in which the crew disperses towards the finale is a sort of wake-up call, like a reminder that this wasn’t the kind of story we’ve been really following. It left a depressing hole in my heart, but that’s not to say I wasn’t satisfied. More thoughts to come in a brief review!

Girls und Panzer – You might recall this lil’ title in a previous haul, but yeah, finally got around to watching it. While the dub was pretty cringy (probably the worst I’ve ever seen), I managed to love EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of this tanks-meet-chicks comedy. I marathoned it in like two or three days, actually! Review on the way!

Baccano! – Mhmm, that’s right, the mafia stopped by to tell me that my job wasn’t over. In just 16 episodes, I witnessed a ragtag chase in the back alleys of the Big Apple, the struggle for immortality by alchemists, and a chain of bloody, grisly murders aboard the continental train The Flying Pussyfoot (HAHA HE SAID PUSSY). This was one of the most confusing anime I have seen, but oh boy, does Baccano! do A LOT of things right! You can bet your sweet tuckus I’ll hit more on it in a future review!

Erased – This one kept me entertained until about the last two or three episodes. It tried – it really did – but I just found the end predictable and lackluster. The thriller vibe it upheld through the entire ride, however, was absolutely incredible. Erased was only the most-watched and reviewed show of the season, so if I do write a review, it’ll be brief like my Bebop one would be.

Dimension W – This was the greatest disappointment of the season for me. I came in expecting so much: It was the season’s only big sci-fi, FUNimation had a part in the anime’s production, and the premise was thoroughly invested in a futuristic concept. It was only natural to expect something grand to come from all of this, but the story fell so short so early on. After episode 6 or so, I lost interest. Don’t worry – I still finished it and plan to write a semi-rant/review.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero – Last but certainly not least is this seemingly innocent magical girl anime . . . Gosh, have there been any pure, fluffy magical girl anime since Madoka Magica? This one takes inspiration from its groundbreaking ‘predecessor’ by throwing all kinds of twists and turns in the typical magical girl system. As such, you can expect it to go from zero to one hundred come two-thirds into watching. I have many good (and iffy) things to say about Yuki Yuna coming soon, particularly why the show falls a tad bit short of PMMM!

Currently Watching:

One Punch Man – That’s right! Takuto finally gets around to the top hitter of last season AND possibly the best anime of 2015! Is it a man? Is it an egg? Is he bored with all things in life? Yes to all! I’m three episodes in, and so far it’s not half bad. Will I like it more than, say, Sound! Euphonium or Food Wars!? Hmm, probably not . . . but I’m very excited to see how the show will carry on without dulling its satire.

Simulcasts I plan to follow this spring:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – HYPE HYPE HYPE ATTACK ON TITAN HYPE HYPE HYPE

Kiznaiver – It’s studio Trigger and it’s not Ninja Slayer. Need I say more?

My Hero Academia – THE REAL HYPE. Mainly watching this to know what all the buzz is.

Mayoiga – I’m a sucker for mysteries, and this one looks genuinely interesting. It also sounds sort of like a survival game, which is another trick to bait Takuto.

Any Sword Art Online fans out there? I wrote this humongous five-part comprehensive analysis over the first season’s second half, “Fairy Dance.” CLICK HERE for the series! Be warned, it’s quite wordy, but it’s so far THE hardest thing I’ve ever written for this blog. I had a blast writing all of it, and I encourage you to check it out if you’ve enjoyed my musings thus far!

Now that the “Fairy Dance” analysis is out of the way, I’ve been slowly working on a lot of new projects behind the scenes. Some involve just tackling new simulcasts, some just checking on previous popular shows, and some are secret. More to come on those later, hyuk-hyuk-hyuk.

I had the time of my life at Naka-Kon 2016! Click here for more!

I’ll also be testing out some new review formats, so be on the lookout for your favorite one and let me know! I normally clock in with 1,000 to 1,400 words per review, but I’d like to try writing these next few in under 900. Partial reasoning for this cut is to practice my wording, but another comes from the fact that most bloggers (and readers) prefer shorter posts. It’s rare to come across a person who enjoys 5,000+ words of analysis 🙂 so I want to try shorter, more meaningful posts! I’m sure we all know the struggles.

So yeah, that’s about it. I’ve been busy with music and academic competitions these past several weeks (studying, practicing, studying). As you can see, I have no problem fitting in time to watch anime. It’s just hard to get around to writing about it, publishing a post, reading other posts, commenting, then replying to everything – WAH! But I enjoy reading from you guys, and I definitely get motivational-boosters from reading the comments you leave. 😀

In other news, it’s getting much warmer here . . . so much so that some afternoons are unbearable, ugh. Why can’t we get more rain?? I’ll be up all night drafting reviews for the many shows that I want to talk about, so I better end things here. What shows did you recently complete that knocked your socks off? Y’all have a pleasant week, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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

End of February Update 3/6/16

A week into March and here I am with February’s recap! What did you expect? Me to show up on time? Haha. Hardly.

Anguish statements aside, hello everyone, I’m back. And I’m so glad to be here!! Remember me being sick in January? Well, Mr. Stomach-aches stopped by for no apparent reason other than to spread his good name, so that’s what has bugged me up the past several days (that and music/school-related happenings). It’ll be another slow week of recovery, so once again, apologies if I skip by most of your posts. I hate doing it, but it’s what I’ve gotta do to stay afloat.

As for updates, I can successfully say a fair amount has transpired this past February!

Recently Finished:

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth – There’s not much to say for this one that I haven’t already covered in my review (click me). It’s a nonsensical recap only meant for hardcore collectors/fans of the series, and as such is absolutely skip-able. On another note, YouTube recently did take down the “Canon in D” credit theme and WOW, that made me pretty ticked!

Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo. – This was the crux of all psychological response this past month (my first-ever comprehensive review here!). Loaded with twists and turns that illogically fit in the current Rebuild story, it’s ultimately just a prequel to the beginning of the end. After waiting a whole year for its localization, I can soundly say that it was worth the wait, though. However, while I applaud the bold choices made in 3.33, I voice a lot of concern for not only the Rebuild series, but for the franchise as a whole (click here). The final film is really setting itself up with a huge-ass checklist of glossed-over history that I’m nearly positive won’t get touched on. And that’s the saddest part. Will it be worth the wait? At this point, only God knows.

Evangelion: until You come to me. –  You might recall this one being bunched together with another Eva short called Another Impact, but this was easily the more beneficial and emotional of the two. Looted with possible hints to the fourth film, it was a side project of Anno’s team that succeeded brilliantly. Read about it HERE and listen to someone’s breathtaking AMV with a different cover of “Danny Boy” attached to it HERE. I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out both (honestly, the AMV is better)!

Asuka Langley Soryu AMV “Oh No!” by Marina & the Diamonds – Guilty Pleasure Alert! This came up on YouTube so being the lost lamb I was I clicked on it. BEST. ASUKA. AMV. EVER. The creator CLEARLY knows their cinematography, matching up the perfect scenes of our red-haired girl to this empowerment song. Call me crazy, but baby, I’m addicted! Click here to listen! 

The Rose of Versailles – My V-Day marathon finally concluded, totaling 40 episodes in two weeks for this historical shoujo classic! This anime offered oh-so very much to the famous anime tropes we’ve come to know and love/hate in many of today’s shoujo anime. Namely, the “strong woman” that is Lady Oscar, a bravado of devotion to loyalty and justice, while struggling against the cult of domesticity and finding love for the first time. Additionally, flashing through history once again with the French Revolution is a dark thing to leave behind. Am I glad it’s over? So very much so, yet it’s an adventure I’ll never quite be able to shake off for its strong impression. You can bet a review is coming soon!

Someone’s Gaze – This one’s a bit obscure, but once you hear it was directed by award-winning Makoto Shinkai, I’m sure you’ll leap for it, too! Not to mention, it’s only 7 MINUTES LONG AND IT CAN BE FOUND ON YOUTUBE! Now there’s no excuse to check it out! Shinkai’s works are famous for crunching an incredible amount of relatable scenarios and emotions into a small film run-time to create an overwhelming effect. While I’ve only seen this one and Voices of a Distant Star, I still highly recommend it. And once you’re finished, come back and let me know: Did you immediately call your dad first or cuddle with your cats after you watched? 🙂 CLICK HERE TO WATCH Someone’s Gaze!

Wolf Children (rewatch) – So I had stomach aches, my mom was taking care of me, spring has FINALLY arrived (how long it stays, who knows), cleaning the house – It’s time to rewatch Hosoda’s beautiful gift that is Wolf Children. My sister ended up joining me for the second half, and I got to say, this second time around was much better than when I initially watched it. Perhaps we become less critical when we watch things by ourselves, I have no clue, but it was a nice watch. Very nice. I think this sums up my week quite well, actually, kinda knockin’ me back on my feet. #growingupsucks

Sword Art Online Volume 4: Fairy Dance Part 2 – Okay, this one’s not an anime, but I FINALLY FINISHED MY SAO READING!! I’ve been doing this side research project on the franchised, mainly its difference between the infamous anime adaptation vs the original light novel interpretation of the Fairy Dance arc, and I can finally say I’ve concluded the note-taking part. Now it’s time to compile my efforts into my thesis and BAM put this sucker out on the blog! It’s come a looong way (doesn’t help that I’m a slow reader AND that it’s SAO) but within March, my mini-series will finally be released, and I hope you enjoy my analysis and efforts!

Currently Watching:

Cowboy Bebop – The Bebop train is ridiculously slow – thanks family. Since last month, only three more episodes have been covered. We’ve all just been so absorbed in our own schedules, but we have agreed to set aside next week towards finishing. We learned of Faye’s past (or lack thereof) and have also discovered the reason for Jet’s metal arm. There was also a nice episode about an old man who just wants to play chess. That was sweet.

Erased – Of the two simulcasts I am following, this one definitely steals the spotlight. Intense thriller vibes, sadistic characters, underlying mystery that’ll leave you holding your breath through the next episode, one mom so evil she’ll make you cringe and another mom so righteous you just wanna give her a big ol’ hug  – Erased has all of the good stuff, my attention included. Come next update, the show will have concluded, so I hope it pulls out everything its got for these next couple of weeks. I can’t wait for more!

Dimension W – I started off really enjoying the premise of this sci-fi. The balance between its decent main cast and episodic nature made for something I could just turn on each week, enjoy what I got, then dismiss it until next weekend. The show is starting to draw out its true intent – the focus shifting to these ‘coils’ – and it’s cause me to need to follow more intently. Is that a bad thing? Well, not necessarily, it just still leaves me scratching my head as to where it’s going sometimes. I’m sure Mira will eventually be leaving Kyouma as part of the plot or whatever, but other than that, I can’t say that I’m still gripped. A survival game/chase is beginning on Easter Island, the original root of coil experimentation (I think . . .), so that ought to be exciting. I just wish they didn’t add 10 new characters. Sheesh.

Currently Reading:

Seraph of the End (manga) – With SAO out of the fight, I can finally return to reading stuff I actually enjoy XD. I’ve read the first 1 and 1/2 volumes of the manga series and so far things are pretty static. The art style of the characters is really pleasant, as expressions are easily defined and the outfits are always cool. It is a little hard to envision the ruined world of Japan even with the drawings, though. The anime did a fair job at this, so I was hoping the manga would be even better, but my feelings remain mixed. Moreover, I just can’t wait to catch up to the anime’s second season and beyond, because while what I got in the first was O.K., it was enough to push me to uncover more. Also, sometimes this “trope trash” is a nice relief after revisiting the freakin’ French Revolution.

I once again would like to apologize for the lack of material lately. If I’m not busy, I’m suddenly ill, and vice versa. There was also a period after 3.33 where I just didn’t want to do much of anything. Ah feels ~ what crazy things. But do not fear, for I have the rest of my March posts all lined up . . . I just need to write them 😛 Haha, it’ll all be fine. How are all of you? Did you watch anything cool lately and want us to know? Drop a comment!

For those who stuck around until now, I HAVE been greatly considering creating a Twitter account for the blog to meet the demands of a certain group of kind folk!! The only thing holding me back is the fact that, yes, it’ll ultimately be another thing to add to the list of daily tasks. At the cost of building on friendships and making new ones (and attracting new cafe-goers, huehuehue) most of me thinks it’ll outweigh the pitfalls. We’ll just have to see! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

TCTX Aniblogger Club: Spring 2015 Anime Picks

Hello all! This afternoon I return with the TCTX Aniblogger Club to give you my anime picks of this lovely spring season. The club agreed to pick a show that either started and ended this spring or a show that had been previously running, but finished during the 2015 spring season. 2-cour shows that have not concluded yet can be selected, however, it’s up to the member to determine if their comfortable picking a  show that, yes, could still flop later down the line. If you’ve glanced over a few of my recent reviews, there were a lot of shows this spring that started off without flaw but then ended up floppin’ around to the end. Today, I bring my picks of the season – the best of the best simulcasts this spring – and we’ll see what sets them fantastically apart from the rest!

First, here’s a quick list of the anime I followed this season:

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (season two)

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Plastic Memories

Sound! Euphonium

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (season one)

And for the runner ups:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Hell YEAH! Food Wars! claims the first runner up spot for being the most enjoyable show this season, and many can agree. With incredible amounts of five-star food, unnecessarily high degrees of tension, and FAN SERVICE OUT THE WAZOO, Shokugeki constantly arrives with waves of entertainment each week, making Saturdays all the more tasty! The anime centers on Soma, a kid practically raised in his father’s local Japanese restaurant so that he’ll one day take over the family business. He loves cooking and dreams that nothing will ever change, but when his sly father suddenly closes down shop for a bit to play chef in America, Soma is challenged by his old man to attend Totsuki Culinary Academy, which is basically hell itself! As Soma dives into delicious, daily tests and mouthwatering missions, he makes new friends and even more enemies, but will his luck soon run out?

Food Wars! is about half way done with much more to come, so I can’t completely pick this series without hesitation. So far, it’s hilariously addicting, and if you can get past the first four or so wacky episodes of solid fan service, you’ll definitely be hooked and helpless to drool at the sight of heavenly food porn.

The second runner up is:

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV)

That’s right, F/sn:UBW takes the silver for not only successfully remaking a beloved series/film for fans, but also for standing as one of the most gorgeously animated shows I’ve ever come across. Designed to be a sequel to the masterpiece Fate/Zero, this anime takes place during the next Holy Grail War ten years later. Rather than viewing through the eyes of each servant and master pairing, however, we follow the idiot Shirou Emiya as he chases after his late father’s dream of becoming a hero. Hot-headed master Rin Tohsaka also plans to win, and though it takes a while for the two to see eye-to-eye, they both agree that teaming up against the other deadly masters might be their only option for survival.

UBW‘s first season ran last fall while the second season concluded the Grail War this past spring. With first-rate animation by ufotable, four total OPs and EDs each better than the last, and more from Type-Moon’s sacred universe, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works gave every show a run for their money this season and could have come out on top if it weren’t for the main character’s indestructible plot armor and prolonged, tedious justice speeches.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! My pick of the 2015 spring season goes to:

Sound! Euphonium

I’ve been joined at the hip with music since a young age, and having been a first-chair orchestra member for seven years and counting, this series exemplified the hearts and minds of every band and orchestra member to T. Sound! Euphonium is about Kumiko Oumae, a talented euphonium player, and her first year at the high school’s brass band club. There, she encounters her old classmate Reina, and memories of a previous junior high incident flood back and cause Kumiko to be hesitant. As Kumiko remains strong buddies with other girls, though, Reina slowly opens up and the two become very close friends. Looming in the darkness is the national contest, which their new teacher, Taki-sensei, proposes to have the students decide for themselves whether or not they should pursue the gold.

Much like in real life, hours of practice, enduring hardships, insanely challenging musical passages, kids who have talent that start to waver, competition among new and old recruits, and countless other issues make this anime not only RELATABLE, but outstanding! From start to finish, the show knows exactly where it wants to go, and when you get there, you can’t help but saddened yet overjoyed for the band. KyoAni does its finest job I’ve ever seen from them in terms of animation, and it’s a crime not to watch the opening at least once to get a glimpse of TRUE BEAUTY!! In terms of character development, pacing, featuring the entire class as a whole and as individuals, animation, music and content, Sound! Euphonium did several things right and executes everything with near perfection! Band and Orchestra kids were given the best representation – for most, more than what we could ever ask for. Congrats, Kitauji High School Band – You most definitely deserve the Gold in my eyes!!

Thank you for reading up on my picks of the spring season! But wait, there’s more! Check out Trystan and Cassandra by clicking on their names to hear their thoughts on the 2015 spring season, as I’m sure they have great picks, too! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of March Update 4/1/15

Mina-san, konbanwa ~

It feels like forever since I’ve talked to you guys! I hope you are still enjoying the Cafe :3

As much as I don’t want to sound stereotypical, I have been very busy lately. And it’s not just school work and such – I’ve just been watching a lot of anime, but not in the mood to review any. That’ll change though – I’ve got the reviewing spirit back!

This past month, during my Spring Break, I had the wonderful opportunity to venture to Naka-Kon by Kansas City, Kansas, my first anime convention. IT WAS UNFORGETTABLE AND AMAZING!! I will slap together a post (with pics :D) if you want to see how it went! My many thanks to all who made the experience so fun and memorable. Domo arigato ~

And without further ado, my usual update:

Recently Finished:

Date A Live – while Tohka was great, it was overall disappointing and did not live up to my expectations, check out the poor little review here

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – very interesting and artistic film, a classic to time travel for sure, has not been reviewed by me yet

Ben-To – I probably had more fun with this show than I should have, but who cares! Check out a tasty review here

Kill la Kill – 5/5 entertainment wise! Masterful execution, lead characters, music, and quirky art, for more click here

Wolf Children – the first half was excellent, showing off the ideal, optimistic and persevering mother, but the second half about the children growing up was frankly a bit depressing, sad but beautiful movie, apologies for no review

Yona of the Dawn – I decided to jump on this one towards the end of the simulcast season and I did not regret it one bit! The story was classic, characters were fun to watch, and the traditional Japanese tone was cool, review on the way!

Parasyte -the maxim- – it has finally come to its end, and while I wish we got to know more about the parasites’ background, I was still moved and will miss Migi đŸ˜„

Currently watching:

Log Horizon 2 – I will miss this one when I watch the last episode, but I heard they might do a season 3 . . .

ALDNOAH.ZERO – I have one episode left, and things are definitely wrapping up, what’ll happen next??

Soul Eater – after meeting Micah Solusod in person at Naka-Kon, he inspired me to check out this infamous show, so I picked this one up

SHIROBAKO – haven’t started this one, but I heard it’s about the anime industry. You have my attention

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign – one of the spring simulcasts, looking forward to high-energy fights and glorious animation!

Fate/ stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – if you know me, then you would know I’m a big Fate fan!  Woohoo for ufotable – can’t wait to watch the epic second half

Finally, I have a My Anime List account!! You can find me and friend 🙂 me here:

http://myanimelist.net/profile/takuto27

I guess that’s all on the menu today. Please look forward to my Naka-Kon post, Yona of the Dawn review, and Parasyte -the maxim- review. So what’s new with you? What are you looking forward to this spring season in anime? Comment below! Thanks for reading and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host