Asuna’s Position Cannot Define Her Personality | PART II: In Defense of Fairy Dance

This is part two of the five-part series “In Defense of Fairy Dance,” a collection and comprehensive analysis defending the positive aspects of Reki Kawahara’s “Fairy Dance” arc in Sword Art Online. Research was gathered from the anime (sub and dub versions) and volumes three and four of the light novel series. This is in NO WAY written to justify all of the second half of the series, nor is it to say that it is particularly well-written. Instead, it is a half-full glass of the neat things the series did, and why I enjoyed myself with most of the content despite the glaring flaws. HEAVY SPOILERS EXIST.

Introductions out of the way, we’re now getting down to business. For this second session, I’ll be taking a look at the target reason why Sword Art Online has a big fat red “X” scarred across itself on many people’s anime list. Her name was Asuna the Flash: Fierce, courageous, vigilant, and a knight for the people. Notice how I said was.

In “Fairy Dance,” our superior heroine was reduced to a weeping twig of a fairy begging for her mighty Kirito-kun to save her from her perverted, slimy (in more ways than one) captors. This unnecessary shift from castle knight to caged canary puts a fowl taste in the mouths of many, but was Asuna really as pathetic as she seems, or, perhaps, was there a special kind of development in play underneath the foliage? Did our coined “Damsel in Distress” actually have an iron backbone under those glittering wings we so frown upon?

Titania . . . That Stupid Name

Finding Asuna alone in the first half of “Fairy Dance” (third volume) is pretty rare. Often her sleazy captor Oberon the Fairy King AKA Sugou is found loafing around her chamber, mocking her hero, her helplessness, and even the game itself . . . We’ll cover that later. What is known is that by being forced into ALO, Asuna is unarmed – but still dangerous, mind you!

The book doesn’t start her off too strong, though. Upon her entrance in chapter three (98, vol.3), our first impression is her ‘silent prayer to Him,’ “’Hurry . . . Hurry and come save me, Kirito . . .’” Yeah, not a good start to our favorite ruby knight. Already, we feel her frailness of being a caged princess, as she first clings to the thought of someone else rescuing her rather than escaping herself.

That all fades away when Oberon graces his darling ‘Titania’ with his presence. In Aniplex’s English dub for the anime, she snappily remarks,

’Stop calling me by that stupid name. My name is Asuna, Sugou.’

In comparison, the light novel uses

’And stop calling me by that stupid name. I’m Asuna, Oberon . . . I mean, Mr. Sugou.’

If you read that second one closely enough, Asuna still reveres Sugou as an adult, hence, the respective Mr. in front. The ellipses further implies a cautioning, while the anime, specifically Cherami Leigh’s role of Asuna, is clearly firm with an unwavering glare to match it. That is one tiny detail where the anime did a better job at maintaining “The Flash’s” fire.

Another variance in tone between the two versions is shortly after, where Oberon requests that Asuna ‘give her heart to him.’ In the English dub:

’Never. The only things I’ll give you are disgust and hatred, and nothing more.’

Ooh, that’s tough talk. How about the LN?

’You will be waiting until the end of your days. All I feel for you is scorn and disgust.’

Interesting. Both are equally fierce and nearly identical in translation, but that wordier LN quote (Japanese language probably has something to do with that) comes across as a bit more, say, romantic, no? Not romantic as in “Oh Sugou, I love you” but more like a sweeter sass than “Never.” That brings us to the next point.

Romantic VS (not-so) Sexy 

Anime. Yup, that’s fan service, not motivation for Kirito.

I’ll stop here, but you get the point.

comparison

Here is a side-by-side, LN Left, anime Right, same chain scene. The LN looks more graceful, as if to be romantic. Little too submissive, but I think it’s better than the anime’s gritty, busty, shadowed version. The anime tried to be sexier, and it almost worked had we not gotten a full-fledged tongue rape by Sugou. Notice how the shackles are cruder in the anime as well. I realize the LN is cover art, but it is still there to represent the same scene or state of being.

 

Reading a scene versus watching the same scene visually are two completely different translations. In that regard, the Asuna in the LNs embodies this air of “romantically clinging to hope,” while the anime is more of an “Oh God please save me from this disgusting man.” Support for this comes from the repeated reference to other aspects of nature in the LNs:

The World Tree Warriors are moths, the Sylph are grasshoppers, the Cait Sith are beasts, Kirito is a cockroach, Asuna is a bird trapped in a cage . . . And this all makes sense considering ALfheim’s fairy world theme – Everything is supposed to be lovely, full of wildlife and excitement! Asuna also translates as more of a delicate, gold-shackled woman than the anime’s bustier bod meant to attract your eyes. She is an item for Kirito and Sugou in the anime rather than a prize to be revered and softly handled.

And that’s where people draw the line with the second half – Sugou’s ridiculously inappropriate touching of Asuna towards the end. Was it necessary? Arguably, I think yes. By then, we are asleep. Kirito will reach the top, kill Sugou, and save the girl. The end. So didn’t having the female physically exploited before the MC’s eyes by this atrocious monster fuel the excitement, the rage?! It’s completely disgusting and humiliating (and fan service) in the anime (not that it isn’t in the LN) but you cannot say it wasn’t effective. It was the most infuriating yet engaging moment in the entire second half!

As for the tentacle slug things that nearly raped her? Yeah, THAT is poor, stupid, and totally uncalled-for writing. An alarm system or perhaps HUMAN guards would have not only made more sense, but also would have purified the show even if just a tad bit more. This was plain disgraceful and distasteful, not to mention unjustifiable. *shudders*

Parallels with the Legend

Okay, so it’s not a legend, but Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” clearly was the basis for the second half’s cast. Oberon is the ruthless fairy king driven by jealousy and power. He is a man to be enthralled by jokes, and will wickedly pursue his lust by making an ass of his wife, Titania, his object, wife, and queen. Titania is the strongest female fairy in the land, and her struggle against her King’s will puts her foster son, whom she loves more and spends more time with, on Oberon’s wanted list – He even contemplates making him his servant! Now, whom do these characters sound like? I wonder . . .

By Bravely Leaving the Nest, POSITION DOES NOT DEFINE PERSONALITY

If you once thought that Asuna was a weak gal in ALO, think again. Sure, her sword was taken away, but the true sword is her commendable courage (call it corny, but it is true). Asuna could’ve been stuck in that damned cage forever and gotten her mind wiped clean had she been caught by Sugou – Yet this birdie still boldly left the nest. “’That ends today,’” she tells herself. The only sign of reliability at this point is her murmuring “’Kirito . . . I’ll do my best.’” That’s not, “Kirito, come save me when I get out.” That is “Kirito, you’re out there fighting, and I’ll do my upmost to match your spirit.” Know the difference.

And I’m so freaking sick of everyone calling her a “Damsel in Distress!” Urban Dictionary defines it as “a stereotype of portraying an unmarried female who needs to be saved.”

  1. Asuna is married. Childlike in execution, but nevertheless an item with the Black Knight in the first half.
  2. She doesn’t need saving – She’s doing it herself! Why else would she risk her life in the game and in the real world? Kirito is trying her hardest, and she knows she must reinforce her own backbone with the thought that they will both be reunited TO ESCAPE BY HERSELF. This Asuna is just as clever and observant as her red counterpart. Look how she figured out a way to sneak out using the mirror; How about when she did escape, saw the 300 trapped players, and muttered that she would save them, too; Or when she did find a logout source, was pulled away, but took the key with her only to give it to her best fighting option – Her daughter and husband down below the clouds. And she did this all without pissing off her captor enough to have him wipe her mind. She’ll push his buttons and resist as long as she can without closing off any chance of escape.

Asuna shook her hair back, puffed out her chest in resolution, and strode forward purposefully, the way she had once done in a different world . . . ‘I won’t stop. I’m getting back to the real world, alive. I have to see him again,’ she swore to herself, and then resumed her march. (202, vol.3)

Guys, she’s an incredibly talented and valiant spirit on the inside, so please do not let that piece of cloth they call a dress and her whimpering in disgust hamper that belief. This, above many moments in the franchise, shows her true willingness to live and free herself (struggled with when she first arrived in SAO) – That iron will to push through the impossible is the mark of a true heroine. I admit that I’d rather watch her slice and dice demons on the battlefield, but I can, to a degree, at least understand the position/inner conflict (to live, and to do so freely), and why it the series took this route. It’s setting up Kirito as the main hero and Asuna as a secondary character for future content. Again, I don’t prefer it, but observing Asuna endure in this manner was still nevertheless intriguing if you look past the fairy glitter. Queens can be just as resilient as the mighty knights they call upon.


Thank you for reading! Please, share any thoughts below and stay tuned for PART III!

(I own neither the anime nor the light novel series of Sword Art Online. All images and videos belong to A-1 Pictures and Reki Kawahara.

Dramatic Irony Causes Suguha’s Terrible Fate | INTRO & PART I: In Defense of Fairy Dance

This is part one of the five-part series “In Defense of Fairy Dance,” a collection and comprehensive analysis defending the positive aspects of Reki Kawahara’s “Fairy Dance” arc in Sword Art Online. Research was gathered from the anime (sub and dub versions) and volumes three and four of the light novel series. This is in NO WAY written to justify all of the second half of the series, nor is it to say that it is particularly well-written. Instead, it is a half-full glass of the neat things the series did, and why I enjoyed myself with most of the content despite the glaring flaws. HEAVY SPOILERS EXIST.

Welcome to ALfheim Online, a virtual realm where you and your friends can soar the skies of a fantasy world, fight enemy fairy clans, and, one day, reach the top of the World Tr—

Why fool ourselves? Nobody likes the “Fairy Dance” arc. Well, I shouldn’t say everyone, as those who merely dismiss the entirely new plot, characters, and atmosphere just to watch it for fun most likely don’t realize all of the sudden, arguably hypocritical, dishes the second half of the infamous Sword Art Online brings to the table.

But is it as “downright lazy, sexist, and stupid” as opponents claim? Do the underlying themes of dramatic irony, devotion towards love, true freedom, and misunderstanding of the bounds of humanity’s evil even matter if our favorite character gets her sword taken away? Can we merely cast these intense messages aside? Never, and this compilation will hopefully show you why.

Accompanying me on this journey will be the third and fourth volumes of the series because hey, “The books are always better than the movies, right?”

WIN_20160321_22_47_06_Pro


FIRST, learn the difference:

IRONY . . . the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

DRAMATIC IRONY . . . a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.


“You’ve been met with a terrible fate.”

Kawahara hints Suguha Kirigaya’s love for her brother Kazuto from as early as page 20. While we’ll eventually find out that they are not blood related, incest is its own beast to be tackled at a later date. All we know is that she is love-struck, and that love will be her driving focus to improve herself. She doesn’t discover this truth for herself until seeing the pain in Kazuto’s eyes when she visits the hospital with him for the first time. Just as they were spending sunrises together, training, happy as can be, Suguha immediately withdraws her heart, for she “realized what her heart truly desired, and that it was in a place she could never reach, (74, vol.4).” It is at this time where, for Suguha, the gaming world is all she can rely on. The real world will bring pain – a pain which sharing with anyone can destroy you from the inside out – and she knows this well.

Tragedy likes following Sugu around, though, as now it is Leafa’s turn to shoulder her agony. After her hospital visit, Sugu hits up ALO to vent. “If she cried here, she knew she’d never be able to give up on this. Instead, she’d cry a bit in the fairy world. Leafa was always peppy and energetic; she’d be back to laughing in no time, (74, vol.4).” Crying here means giving up, and girl’s got more backbone than that. So she thinks, “Ah, Leafa’s a good chap, she’ll fix me up right away!”

Wrong. Leafa was fighting her own battles regarding Kirito love, and now she’s got a war. From here on, Sugu will scarcely leave the virtual world. One reason is the quest at hand, to reach the World Tree, but the other is to avoid the tragic reality waiting for her back home. How do you confess your love to a sibling? I honestly don’t think you can without it corrupting the relationship. Holding it back as tightly as you can is the only safeguard (forgetting about a loved one is hard to do when you LIVE with them), so what better place to store the key than in an intangible world.

As the “stabbing pain deep in her heart” continues to ring, Leafa awakens in Alne following their overnight venture to “wait for the pain to turn into liquid so it could drip from her eyes.” When further confronted by Kirito, she replies, attempting to put a smile on her face, “’Well, Kirito . . . I . . . I’ve got a broken heart,’ (76, vol.4).” To which he charismatically responds:

’You’re allowed to cry when it’s hard – there or here. There’s no rule that says you can’t express your emotions in a game.’

I’m not the biggest Kirito fan, but that line was just the “bit of awkwardness” Leafa – no, Sugu – needed to hear most. “’I love my brother,’ she told herself . . . ‘But I can’t speak this feeling aloud. I have to keep it trapped deep in the deepest part of my heart. That way I might actually forget about it one day.’” This will have to be the tying point for her, and she’ll try her damnedest to bury her lust. If SAO and life itself has taught us one thing, however, it’s that everything comes to an end.

Suguha finds out

It’s a catastrophic moment we saw coming since episode one of the second half, yet here it is, and it’s even more devastating than we could’ve imagined. 

On page 102 of volume four, Suguha breaks down. Her efforts to conceal her “wicked thoughts” have been all for not when her knight in black armor Kirito reveals that cursed name of the princess he is searching for: Asuna.

’I . . . I . . .’ Her feelings turned into tears and tears into words before she could stop them. ‘I-I betrayed my own heart. I betrayed my love for you . . . ‘I was going to forget, to give up, to fall in love with Kirito. In fact, I already had. And yet . . . and yet . . . I’ . . . ‘I was so happy when you came back from SAO. I was so happy when you started treating me the way you used to. I thought you finally saw me for who I was’ . . . ‘But . . . after this, I’d rather you kept being cold to me. Then I wouldn’t have realized that I love you . . . I wouldn’t have been sad to learn about Asuna . . . and I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Kirito to replace you!!’

‘. . . Sorry . . . ‘

The ball just dropped. Readers and audience members only look to the floor in guilt and self-loath just like Suguha. Her slamming the door is the final sound to finish off her tirade, and it’s scary effective. Her thoughts of holding it in and shoving it down her throat are worthless now. For once, I have to give Aniplex’s English dub the props for providing the best reenactment of the performance. Cassandra Lee Morris absolutely crushes the role, vocalizing herself like she would in Sugu’s feet and topping it off with a tear-filled shattering cry.

Video posted by NintendoxWolf on YouTube. I do NOT own Sword Art Online.

The secret’s out, and this could arguably be where the curtain closes for SAO. The dramatic irony for Sugu, if you haven’t already guessed, is the multilayered thought she loves her brother, but that is, quote, “wrong.” So instead, she abandons her love to fall for Kirito, a bishounen badass whom she feels so alive with on quests. She’ll escape the harsh reality for a fantasy world of electrons only to discover the black avatar is none other than the boy she tried so hard to hide her heart from in the first place.

The legacy of this tragic yet classic scene

This scene is not only the most emotional and gut-wrenching part Sugu will ever shine in, but also a decent hit on Kazuto. All this time, he has known the Net to be a place where everyone has a “secret inner side.” It’s now that he questions his own familial and relationship status with his cousin: “Who is this person, exactly? Do I really know them? (105, vol.4).” This guilt is almost as heavy a burden as being responsible for killing off his first group of friends back in Aincrad. You should realize by now that it’s nearly impossible to knock Kirito off his feet – And Sugu did it verbally in less than two minutes.

As much as tragedy has woven these two fates together, SAO will once again prove that gaming and friendship can mend the bonds once broken by the game. Knowing that her knight would wipe his tears aside and grab his sword, Suguha reaches out to her “shining crown ahead of her” and “set it on her head.” Though its resolution was shamefully brief (a mere shrug to the side cause Asuna comes first), SAO fans of the dramatic irony device will revel in this classic scenario for years to come, and its outstanding effects it set on Suguha will not be forgotten so long as we remember the sacrifices she made to truly grow wings and take off.

Kawahara is guilty of adding more females to the story not only because he claims it’s easier to add a new face to give the MC a new relationship, but also because he likes the idea (Afterword vol.3). However, the light novel series is a monumental step up in terms of more cohesive understanding and better execution of elements like dramatic irony. In comparison to the anime, the “boobs and butts” are also much less distracting and in your face, being a bouncy visual production and all. I’m sure it’s meant to be pleasing to the eyes, yet I believe it deflowers Kawahara’s vision given the much more intricate and meaningful (and appropriate) actions, pauses, romantic elements, and thought processing found in text.

I realize that that her situation could be very difficult to imagine yourself in, but gosh dang, you’ve got to give a teen girl props for trying her hardest yet still falling into heartbreak – Not once, but twice. You may not like Suguha or Leafa – You may even detest SAO – but understanding both sides to every argument is half of life. The other half is of course being able to place your judgment on an issue. All I can recommend is that if you feel “lost” or ashamed of SAO, do try reading the original light novel series to possibly formulate a new outlook on the series that means something to you. I managed to uncover many of the less-apparent literary devices, dramatic irony being one, and that opened up a whole new window of exploration. Also, I just want to give Sugu a big ol’ hug after everything she’s been through, that poor, poor girl.


Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for PART II!

(I own neither the anime nor the light novel series of Sword Art Online. All images and videos belong to A-1 Pictures and Reki Kawahara.)

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

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

Sword Art Online Novel 02 Mini-Review & Chance to Win $50

Evening all,

For those who get the RightStuf.com emails, you would know that recently (or at least I noticed recently) that each month they apparently raffle off $50 as a giveaway incentive to those that write a review for a product in their store. All you need is an account (FREE and easy to make), but if you shop there regularly, then you probably already have one! All you have to do is follow their instructions that I’ve listed below. Be wary that there is a character limit – That bit me in the rump. Anyone can enter. Simple as that!

rightstuf50

I make this announcement because their system just caught wind of my Sword Art Online Novel 02: Aincrad Part 2 mini-review, and I had just double-checked to see if it was posted in their store. IT WAS! I can’t believe that I’ve just embedded myself into the RightStuf system, but I’ve done it, and there’s no going back – It’ll be there FOREVER muahahaha! If you’d like to check out my mini-review over the product, CLICK HERE. Maybe it’ll inspire you to pick it up yourself! I’d be overjoyed ^.^

But that’s all I’ve got for now. Stay tuned for a review of The Heroic Legend of Arslan or Sound of the Sky, whichever comes first! Who knows, maybe something else random will pop up and I’ll have to brag about it XD. Have a wonderful Friday tomorrow, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

End of October Update 11/4/15

Konbanwa minna-san, when was the last time we connected?

Yes, it feels like an eternity passes between each of my posts, but hopefully that hasn’t lost any of your attention. If you didn’t already know, I play the cello. Due to the inconveniences that the Christmas season brings, the private lesson teacher I meet with bumped the entire traditional winter recital a whole month. On this Saturday, I am supposed to have a solo ready to perform for the small get-together, but that has been rough in coming along. Awfully rough, I’m afraid. So when I’m not studying for tests or filling out the copious stack of homework, I’m practicing long and hard, metronome and tuner in hand.

As it is, Nagi-Asu and Hyouka have been the only ‘new’ anime that I’ve tackled. That’s pretty sad, considering it’s been a WHOLE month. Granted, I did spend my Halloween weekend hitting up Another with my siblings (I had already seen it, so more “Movie Theater” stuff). They LOVED it, though because I was unaware of their fright-tolerance, I kind of heavily foreshadowed the umbrella and teacher/knife deaths (even though it was fairly easy to predict). I didn’t want them to have nightmares, what can you say? I’m a nice guy. Though looking back, I wish I hadn’t put so much focus on “Ok, here’s that scene I’ve always been talking about.”

The second set of ALDNOAH.ZERO came out at the tail end of last month, so I pre-ordered and received that. Now all I need is some time to actually sit down and enjoy it, gosh darn it! Speaking of, I still haven’t even cracked open Baccano! nor A Lull in the Sea. In my defense, however, I might be upgrading to Blu-Ray for Nagi-Asu, budget permitting, so until then, that’s on hold.

For “Cafes Talks,” I had an interesting run-in at a Renaissance Festival, so if you are curious as to what happened to me, click here! Even though Halloween is over, here are ten places that you still should NEVER go into for the fear of dying a terrible death! That was fun to write. I am working on another “Cafe Talk” post, so stay tuned for more shenanigans.

But you’re here for the anime update, so here we go!

Recently Finished:

Another (previously-seen) – What can I say, guys? It’s freakin’ Another, one of the best horror anime to hit my list. Does it live up to a rewatch? Absolutely. My stomach was shaking right before all of those gruesome deaths, but after seeing them over and over again, they do tend to lose shock value. It was a spooky way to spend the break, no doubt, so if you haven’t checked out Another yet, I encourage you to do so if you’re hankering for good mystery and thirsting for blood!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – This. Show. Just. No. I’ll admit, Arslan came to clean itself up a bit at the end. But the announcement of a FREAKIN’ SECOND SEASON just astonished me. HOW?? This twenty-some episode mess gets a sequel but The Devil is a Part-Timer doesn’t? I really question Japan and more specifically Arslan‘s sales. Rant coming soon, so if you enjoy those, you’re in for a good roasting -_-

Hyouka – This one I finished way back in the beginning of October and I even wrote a review about it! Click here to see if we shared similar thoughts or are interested in a school/mystery anime with many other great things going for it.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma – I actually finished this before my last update, and a review just went up yesterday (oops). It was quite hard to wrap my head around all of the crazy fun that Food Wars! delivered, but I managed to settle on a rather lengthy review. I’d be overjoyed if you checked it out (if you haven’t yet) right here so that we can talk about this amazing anime!

Currently Watching:

Sound of the Sky – Weren’t expecting this entry, were you? I briefly mentioned back in the summer that this would be my breather anime for when I got busy, and boy did I choose just the right show! I’m so absorbed by the setting and the musings of the characters, but . . . Where is the show taking me? I’m about 8 episodes in, a good two-thirds, so I’ll be finishing this one very soon hopefully. I haven’t had a breather anime like this in months, so I feel very refreshed watching this mini wartime slice-of-life series. You can also expect a review, as I have many things I would like to say about Sora no Woto

ALDNOAH.ZERO (eps 7-12) – I’ll be starting this up as soon as Sound of the Sky reaches its end :'(, and I’m quite excited to see how the dub handles the end to this mecha tragedy!

Currently Reading:

That’s right, Takuto actually reads books when he’s not sifting through everyone’s wonderful posts (holy crap, some of you post way to often JKLOL)! I just finished Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume Two: Aincrad. Let me just say that this novel was TEN TIMES better than the first one. I loved each of the four stories about the different heroines of SAO, and it was a special treat to hear from Lizbeth’s side, specifically. Of the four stories, Lizbeth’s story was the best – and that last page for it, oh lawd, the feels! “Red-Nosed Reindeer” was still pretty depressing, but I think the anime actually handled that better. Same with the story of Yui. Silica’s story, the first one, was my second favorite. I never noticed how reminiscent to country life Silica’s character was based on. It’s all about details, I guess.

But as for what I’m currently reading, I’m 20 pages into Volume Three: Fairy Dance. And the mockery of the “Fairy Dance” begins! Let loose the sparkling fairies and soar into the sky with feelings of lust for a fairer world. Like I mentioned last update, “books are better than the movies that spawn from them” is the stereotypical debate that rears its ugly head, and I want to test that theory with “Fairy Dance,” considering all of its unanimous hatred by fans (even though I enjoyed it). We’ll have to see what ALO brings! Volumes 3 & 4 came in the mail with ALDNOAH.ZERO DVD Set Two, so hooray for Rightstuf sales!

If any of you follow NichiFix over on YouTube, then you would know that he unboxes anime and does manga hauls. While I don’t attentively search for that kind of stuff, I find what he has to say entertaining. He’s also nice (and a RailDex fan ^.^). Anyway, I won his nonchalant giveaway that he hinted at in a monthly manga pickups video about a month ago. I KNOW, I ACTUALLY WON SOMETHING!!! It was Volumes One and Two of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 17 of Negima!, and, due to his lateness (even though I forgot about it too :P), he threw in Haganai Volume 1. How kind! This was probably even more exciting to open than my mini Rightstuf haul!

And that about covers everything. Sorry for the long update, if you skipped over some parts, I don’t blame you. I just wanted to let everyone know why there’s been a huge lack of content. Once this dreadful recital is over, however, things should return to normal. I’ll be hitting up the simulcast for Seraph’s second season, Nagoya-something. That should be interesting. But it wouldn’t be an update if I didn’t complain about the passing time – Oh, where do the days go?! I’m still alternating with shorts (as in pants) over here even though fall has descended upon us. Maybe, just maybe, if it rains even an inch, I’ll marathon Baccano! like I’ve been wanting to for so long now. But how was your Halloween? Did ya do anything crazy, scare any kids or get spooked yourself? I ate candy, and Matt-in-the-Hat and MarvelouslyMismatched know that, haha! Feel free to talk to me at any time through the comments, as I always – always – look forward to what you have to say, even if it’s just a “hello.” Until next time everyone, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Cafe Talk #5: 10 Places In Anime I Would Hate to be Found DEAD In

Dying sucks. I mean, I’ve never done it myself, but it looks pretty rank. In the Halloween spirit, I could have just posted an ordinary “Top 10 Horror Anime” or something to that appeal, but I realize there are plenty of great lists already floating around the community at this time. Besides, I probably haven’t even seen ten horror anime. But back to dying. I know it’s depressing in real life, but in anime, where anything and everything is exaggerated to so much as a head tilt, deaths can pretty . . . graphic, and most are so tragic we feel as if we lost a sibling, or a mother, or a dog. Also, in the instance of Another or Higurashi, death is unusually cruel to witness and done so in the strangest of places. So what I’ve decided to do is compile my top ten places in anime I would hate to be caught dead in. Dying sucks, so enjoy! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

By the way, there are ***SPOILERS*** for the following anime, in no particular order:

The Future Diary, Psycho-Pass, Higurashi, Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, Deadman Wonderland, Sword Art Online, Another, [C] Control, and Attack on Titan

Though . . . If casinos were this flashy, I might spend a quarter or two . . .

# 10. From [C] Control, The Financial District

Do you know how to spend your money wisely? If not, you better learn fast! Because here, if your game of Pokemon results in your defeat, then you better expect to return home to an entirely different world. That’s right, put your money on the wrong slot and the collateral damage is astronomical! You could lose your job, your house, your family, and even your own life. And it’s all because you wanted to play the lottery. Shame.

What lies beyond this vault stays beyond this vault.

# 9. From Psycho-Pass, The Vaults of Sybil

Do you ever feel like you witnessed something that you shouldn’t have? Well b*tch, you just done it. You can’t “unsee” the computational law enforcement enterprise that runs the ‘utopia’ with an iron fist. The Chief is probably waiting behind the damp steel wall with the Dominator under her whim, ready to unleash your termination. Now your splattered body lies on the cold, hard, metal ground, just awaiting a mindless cleaning robot to sweep you into the trash. I would say curiosity killed the cat, but you’re a human, and I know you’re smarter than a domesticated fur ball. How embarrassing.

“Gather ’round, kids, it’s time for another game!”

# 8. From Deadman Wonderland, The Deadman Wonderland Amusement Park

Really, a horror amusement park? It’s cliche, but still a ruthless place to waste your life in. Imagine all of the cute bird costumed-people lined around the stadium, the audience thinking it’s all just apart of the thrilling show! NO. These security guards are armed with machine guns and rifles, and won’t think twice about your sorry corpse. Escape isn’t an option at Deadman Wonderland, so the only way to leave is by living and risking it all in the games, or by dying while the death is quick and painless. All the crowd would do is point and laugh at your decapitated head. That’s sickening!

Where would you go? What would you do?

# 7. From Steins;Gate, Any Lost World Lines

World line Theory. Whether you believe it or not, it’s a thing in this time-traveling masterpiece. So Okabe uses the microwave time machine to repetitively go back and save his friends from an ominous organization. After overworking his brain for 25 episodes, Okabe finally will get to sit on the couch and do whatever mad scientists do best. But what if this supposed “savior world line” still contained tragedy? The movie dives into that, but consider this different position: What if you ended up in a random world line where the microwave gets destroyed and your friends aren’t there anymore? What then? Let’s say that your family doesn’t recognize you either, and refuse to let you in, believing that you died in this timeline. You’ll now spend your remaining days roaming the sweaty streets of Akihabara until you die of depression. In a lost world line void of your existence, you were just a null concept, unmemorable and nonexistent. Scary AF.

I know, it looks so, sooo tempting – Don’t even think about it! Just go download ALO or something.

# 6. From Sword Art Online, The World of Aincrad

That’s right, of only 10,000 recipients of the first-ever virtual reality video game, how exhilarating! Upon your full-dive, however, there’s no escape. In a mere month, 1/5 of all players died, and you very well could have been one of them. Kirito eventually finds Asuna and also happens to know a lot of the ins-and-outs due to beta testing, so he’s all set with a dandy life. What about you? This is your first time, but you don’t get nearly as lucky as “The Flash.” You’re pretty pathetic as it is, and you don’t get along with others, so a guild is out of the question. Solo-playing might be the only way to go! WAIT, this is a trapped room – no Teleport Crystals allowed, too! They’re pouring in from the right and the left, and no one can hear your senseless yelping! It only takes 12 seconds to deplete your dinky life meter. As you fade and start to shatter, all you can do is pity yourself.

I suppose it’s more notoriously known for this giant hole. Talk about fine landscaping!

# 5. From The Future Diary, The Gasai Estate

Y’all know what goes on in this house, so I won’t even start. Even if you were a welcome guest and your terms were fair with Ms. Yuno, “you know” she’s got one giant, stark, pink eye aimed in your direction. The lights are out, so Yuno will take care of whatever you need. Thirsty? She’ll get you some water from the tap. Hungry? She’ll slice you an apple. Bathroom? Just down the hall, but only use the restroom. One turn to the left or the right will take you to a dark, damp, foul-smelling cage with two rotting corpses and vomit in it. Where were Yuno’s parents this evening?? “Oh, they went out, but don’t let that bother our private time together, Yuu-ki~”

It’s quiet . . . too quiet . . .

# 4. From Attack on Titan, Outside Wall Maria

Up for a game of tag? Great, they’re it, RUN, HIDE, not that it’ll do you any good because they can just sniff you out like bacon on a Sunday morning. Have you ever seen a mouse scrambling around a maze trying to find the prized cheese? It’s a horrifying sight, the poor cheese! Now, remove the walls and throw in 100 more mice. That’s just a square mile or two outside Wall Maria, where death is the only option – Just how long can you keep on running? Even the monarchy smells your fear from the Interior’s comfy walls!

What kind of childish nightmare is this!? It’s like my own vomit vomited on itself!

# 3. From Madoka Magica, A Witch’s Labyrinth

Your partner just got shredded into pieces by the Witch’s minions, and now they’re after you. Can you hear the chant? It’s for you. They split into groups and run with their fluffy axes of death, feeding on your trail of anxiety and fear. Run faster on the multi-colored ribbon road, dodge the cotton men, AH, there are the henchman! RUN the other way, go, HURRY! They’re catching on to you. Finally, She feels your presence and hope has just been swallowed. The wall behind you seals up with puffy candy and She licks her lips, ready to taste your despair. You shoot magic, she slithers out of the way. She wraps her slimy body all around you, ready to feast, but she can’t help it – that’s just the cycle of things. And just like a cycle, she swallows you whole, never again able to see the light of the real world. Why did I say yes? Was my wish even worth it? I guess you’ll never know . . .

Any day with these kiddos is a day closer to death. It could come at any time.

# 2. From Another, Class 3-C (Yomiyama)

“Things that were never properly buried come back to haunt the high school of the damned.” The worst part about sitting in this close-to-death class is know that you can and will die, you just don’t know how. The Calamity will consume you and the spread bloodshed by any means – you just have to die. A knife, a pole, a car, a fall, even an umbrella will do the trick. And your fellow classmates and family members will continue to perish aimlessly until the dead is sent back to death. That’s creepy!

I just can’t! NOPE, not gonna do it!

# 1. From Higurashi, Shion’s Underground Torture Chamber

Like Yomiyama, all of Hinamizawa is one large blood-red target, but Shion’s “Fun-Fun Underground Torture Chamber” takes the cake for my most-feared location out of all of the anime I’ve seen. I won’t even sugarcoat this one like I did with the others, because you all know of the horrid sh*t that goes on in this hell hole. The hard, brown, dirt ground with cells built into the cavern. A splintery table with rusty metal clasps that will hold your shaking body as Shion readies whatever ancient instrument she pleases. Now I’m shivering, and it’s not because of the cold rain outside or low thermostat (or my heart lol)! Higurashi, you win, so take your scary-ass setting and get outta my cafe!

So to recap, dying sucks. It can be even worse, however, depending on WHERE you get spirited away. This Halloween season, do yourself a favor and DON’T visit any of these horrifying places! You’ll thank me later, I know it. If you are so daring as to dive back into these terrifying settings, then please, please make sure you return in one piece. I’d feel bad for anyone who had to spend their holiday scraping up your sorry corpse 😀 If you had similar thoughts, hit the like button! I have been waiting so long to write this post you have no idea! My question for you: Where in anime would be a terrible place to die? In the meantime, thanks so much for reading, and have a spooky Halloween!!

– Takuto, your host

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 21: Songs You Want To Dance To At Your Wedding

Gosh, how I hope I’ll be just as happy as Asuna and Kirito when I get married. I mean, wouldn’t that just be a dream come true? This picture might come across a bit strong, but, umm, I like it a lot. Look at them, they’re so happy! Wait . . . 

MY WEDDING?? Woah, slow down there, I’m fine with rockin’ the bachelor status for now (the fandom, it’s too strong)! Oh, but celebratory dancing? Yeah, I can do that. Let’s see, I’ve already used the Log Horizon waltz, so that’s a no; I think I’ve mentioned “Continued Story” like five times on this blog because it’s so incredible, so let’s do something new. OOH, I think I’ve got a couple!

From Sword Art Online’s OST, “Dance With Me” by Yuki Kajiura

You all know I’m a sucker for a good waltz 😉 In fact, I used this song for an English project because I thought it matched the tone of a poem I once read. Anyway, I think this is one of those sweet waltzes you could dance with your loved one. Just set your arms in theirs, and move – move freely and elegantly together , just like the graceful strings singing to the 3/4 time signature.

From Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi

CAUTION: Spoilers for the TV series in both videos

I swore to myself before the challenge commenced that I would include this song in somewhere. I think I found a hit.

So you know how wedding parties always seem to have some throwback music playing from the DJ or whatever? C’mon, the “Chicken Dance,” “YMCA,” we’ve all forced ourselves to groove to them, but why not jam out to something that you actually like? That’s why I chose this 1995 baby and decided to put the ring on her! Upbeat, catchy as all hell, and fitting for the style IMO – it’s the ideal party song! Yep, I’m totally playing this at my wedding. It’s official. Call me trash for picking a classic, but I honestly can’t get enough of this song – I never have. The English fandub is, by the way, nearly as phenomenal, so I’ll leave it to you to do the right thing and give it a listen. Trust me, “Geeky McGeekstein” does one of the best covers EVER! Lyrics are absolutely perfect for the show’s story, and her vocal recording has that vintage quality this old song carries 😀

BUUUUUTT, if I for some reason don’t acquire these songs for my wedding, then “Pachelbel’s Canon” will suffice XD There are too many great songs out there, I swear! Until tomorrow everyone (ooh, it’s Friday! *does a little jig), this has been – Takuto, your host