I’m Back! (Kinda) + More Posts Incoming + Thanks for 7 Years!

Hi all!

I realize it’s been well over a month since my last post. I’m terribly sorry about that. Looking at my social media presence in general, you can see exactly when I dropped off the face of the earth to start graduate school.

Speaking of, school is great! I love being able to finally focus all my energy on English classes after having graduated with my psychology B.S. already. Those four years sure went by fast, and I imagine these next two will breeze by all the same.

Between reading and researching for classes, my new job at our campus’ writing center (which I LOVE omg), recording and editing for YouTube, and keeping up with manga and anime progress on the socials, I’ve left very little time for blogging. Thankfully, the WP algorithm has still been working in my favor, for despite my inactivity, my blog’s overall views have eclipsed last year’s already. (Don’t get me wrong, that’s not much in itself, but I have to take the little victories when I can!)

On the subject of blogging itself, Takuto’s Anime Cafe officially turned 7 a couple weeks ago!! I wanted to push out a celebratory post, but it just didn’t feel right since I hadn’t done anything in a month. So, to right this wrongdoing, I want to thank you all again for continually supporting me. Whether it’s on the blog, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, I cherish our interactions, and I hope I can be more present in the year to come. None of this would be here without you guys, so thank you!!

Going forward, I have a few projects planned. Immediately, I’ll publish a post over YenPress’ SAO audiobook—the first of its kind—which Yen was kind enough to send to me to review! Next, I plan to start releasing posts for all the videos that have yet to be shared on the blog. (I realize a lot of y’all don’t care about Kpop, but it helps sustain traffic and such.) Then, I want to resume writing short manga reflection posts to cover my reads. After that, well, we’ll see how far I get with just these goals.

Lastly, I just want to tag on that I’ve been in the works of trying to draft my first novel! It’s an exciting process, but a long and frustrating one, too. Not sure what will become of it or how far I’ll get, but it’s been a fun (and time-consuming) endeavor so far.

So, this is my “I’m back!” post, as well as an anniversary thank-you, and finally an announcement of things to come. I hope to see many familiar faces in the blogosphere again, especially after being gone so long, and I look forward to our little talks again! Until then, I hope you’re all staying safe, staying hydrated, and keeping up with the various Asian media we all love!

– Takuto

Blog Goals & Resolutions for 2021!

Happy New Year, my friends!!

We’ve made it through the fog of the terrible year that was 2020, during which I pretty much stopped blogging and even went unemployed for a bit. For many personal reasons, it wasn’t a great time.

BUT NO MORE will I let the shadows of 2020 overcast my ambitions and goals for the new year! Many things are changing for the blog in 2021. First, the monthly updates will make a comeback! Sticking to a quarterly basis (though helpful in times of low productivity) felt somewhat cold and distant. I want to remove that gap between us and go back to how I used to run this place. Second, I’m going to be synthesizing my blog and YouTube content much more than I did in 2020. This may help my content reach those that don’t operate much on YouTube. Third, I’ve got five new blog goals for 2021, which we should talk about next!


#1 – Write Five Posts Each Month

Unlike the unfulfilled promises of 2020, I plan to go seriously hard in 2021. And really, it’s not all that different from what I used to do three or four years ago. I want to write more posts, even if they’re not the full series reviews and informal analyses I’ve been known for. Maybe I’ll talk more about individual episodes or characters from a series. Or, perhaps, certain themes or musings I happen to grasp from these works. Whatever these posts end up being about, you can certainly expect more than what I wrote the past six months. And, when troubles do inevitably arise (what with college and all), I’ll simply adapt this slightly. 🙂

#2 – Review More Anime

When you watch more, you can review more. Naturally, these two ideas go hand in hand. Although I took a pretty big break from anime the past year, I want to get back on my anime game in 2021. Specifically, I want to go back to how things used to be. I spent so much time reflecting over whether I wanted to even do this, and my mind finally told me “Screw it: Go for broke and watch more stuff.” And so I will.

#3 – Continue Writing Manga Reflections

Writing over manga in general became the blog’s saving grace in 2020, and I want to keep that up. I especially made a lot of new friends in the mangatube community, and I don’t want to lose their company. More manga content to come!

#4 – Write Posts for Video Content

I started talking about this at the beginning of the post you’re reading right now. Basically, if I were to film four or five videos in a month (which is one of my channel goals), I want to write individual posts with respective links to each video. This will no doubt aid in keeping blog traffic up, but also allow for potentially greater outreach through my blog audience. So, with the five regular posts each month, hopefully you’ll be getting roughly two posts each week.

#5 – Achieve 750 Blog Followers

As you know, I’ve never paid much attention to blog stats, views, followers, likes, etc. Well, after seeing the success of my blogger and YouTube friends over the course of 2020, I want to try setting numerical goals like this for once. The numbers game was never one I played, but maybe I should. Anyway, 2021 will be the road to 750! Given we’re already at 685 followers, it’s a pretty achievable goal in my eyes. Now, let’s see if we can make it happen!


This is going to be a tall order, I realize this. But, after deep meditation over what I wanted from the future of this blog, I decided on this return to form of sorts. I can’t give this up now—I’ve gone too far with this blog, and losing it would hurt me beyond words. More than anything, however, I just hope I can still count on you all, my friends, for your generous support that you’ve continued to give me for years. YOU are the reason I can do what I do now, and I never want to forget that for a second. It’s going to be a challenging year, absolutely. But, knowing that you’ll be there with me will make the fight all the more worthwhile. Blogging is something I still want to do, and I hope my posts are still ones you want to read!!

All this said, THANK YOU for an incredible 2020. Even during those rough patches when I was gone, you guys kept showing up to read my stuff, comment, and even share it, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I’ll admit I wasn’t the best blogger buddy in 2020, but I plan to change that going forward—this much, you can count on.

What is something you wish to improve on in 2021, either for your blog or your own personal life? Let’s talk resolutions down in the comments. I said the same thing here as I did last year, but I have even higher feelings about 2021! Thank you so much for reading, stay safe, and I wish you all a Happy New Year! ^ . ^

– Takuto

Memento Mori

All good things really do come to an end, don’t they?

Well, in part, yes. But really, ALL things in general will have an ending, good or bad.

Thankfully, I can call the efforts of Mark (Markiplier) and Ethan (CrankGameplays) a good thing, as they’ve toiled away for the past 365 days to deliver nothing but wild, cynical humor and an endearing acceptance for “the end.” With their grade-A act as a duo and lovable, contrasting characters, my 2020 has been made a little easier to bear.

And to think that Unus Annus will end in less than 14 hours from the writing of this post. I’m not gonna lie—for as long as they’ve poked fun at and prepared us for the end, I’m not ready for the channel to go.

In case you didn’t know, Unus Annus is (was) a YouTube channel created by two gamers, Mark and Ethan, in which they upload(ed) one video each day somehow related to (or shoehorned to be so) the inevitability of death. Through their silly bits and skits, obscene dares and challenges, and downright weird and stupid dialogue, the two have amassed a *literal* cult following, of which I’m proud to be a part of.

It’s too late to watch all of 365 of their videos now. But, perhaps this is for the best, as I’m sure you’d only end up spiraling down into sadness upon realizing that these two heartwarming personalities will cease to exist together as we know them now in less than 24 hours.

So, I just wanted to leave behind my own love message for the channel. (Special thanks to Megan over at Nerd Rambles for inspiring me to write this through their own post!) I’ve shared many a laughs with my siblings watching Mark and Ethan do dumb shit every day this year, and my only regret (ironically, and cruelly so) is that it all had to end so soon.

Indeed, it is time to say goodbye.

If the channel has proven one thing to me, it’s that we really don’t have enough time to do everything we’ve ever wanted to do. BUT if we can start somewhere—and maybe take a friend with us for the ride—we can hopefully make the most out of the time we’ve got. Heck, having started a YouTube channel myself in 2020, I can only thank people like Mark and Ethan for pushing the boundaries of expectation and collaboration. You guys absolutely KILLED it!!

For all their celebration of death and the great beyond, no channel will ever be able to match the unique energy and sheer spirit of Unus Annus. I’ll miss these two so much.

So, my most sincere thanks to Mark, Ethan, and Amy for giving us a year of laughs, inspiration, and memories to last a lifetime. Every video was a delight, and I wish only the best for all the exciting projects next to come! Memento Mori!

Happy 6 Years, Takuto’s Anime Cafe!

Hey guys!

I hope you have all been staying well these past couple weeks. I’m finally starting to get a grasp on how school is going to roll this semester. I’ve never taken virtual classes before, so it’s been a test of my time management, that much is for sure. But, after a month now, I think I know where blogging fits within all this.

Before I get back into the swing of my reviews and such, I did want to share this little announcement with you all that I accidentally missed a couple days ago:

That’s right! Takuto’s Anime Cafe is officially SIX years old, I can hardly believe it! 🥳

It was during my sophomore year of high school when I first set up shop here on WordPress. Back then, I did most of my blogging in the mornings before class in our school’s library. I can distinctly recall the table where I sat, and I reflect back on those early days with a warm fondness.

I’m now in the fall of my senior year of college—I know, where did the time go?! Well, I spent most of it here, of course (or at least, as much as I could). The WP aniblogger community is where I get my roots, and it’s honestly where most of my dearest friends come from. We’ve been through so much together!!

Thank you for sticking with me all these years. Even through my long absences and silences, you’ve sat here keeping my seat warm. This cafe wouldn’t have much business without my lovely guests. Likewise, I wouldn’t be who I am today were it not for your continued kindness, patience, and generosity. Really, I can’t thank you enough.

As we head into the blog’s seventh year (wow, that still sounds crazy), please continue to support me on here with my writing. To those who have also graciously extended their hand towards my YouTube and Insta, I can’t thank you enough. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed all that you‘ve read and watched, and I’m looking forward to making more content on all these platforms. I aim to work hard, and show you an even better side of myself!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for six wonderful years together—and here’s to a merry seventh~! 💜

With love and gratitude,

– Takuto

I MADE MY FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO!!!

Hello all!!

I’ve got some pretty big news to share today! As of a couple hours ago, MY FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO WAS UPLOADED TO THE INTERNET. Crazy, right?? I never thought I’d make the leap to YouTube, even though I’ve been wanting to for probably a decade now. WELL, things change, and people change, and I finally mustered the courage to sit down in front of my camera (that is, my iPhone XR) and film myself.

What is the video about? I wanted to make my first video something relatively easy that I wouldn’t regret making. SO, I filmed one of my favorite types of videos to watch: an unboxing video! It’s pretty basic, I realize, but I have plans to expand, absolutely. It’d be cool to make video essays about my favorite anime, discussions over the manga I read, video diaries about collecting and being an otaku (or a K-pop fan)—anything and everything, really!

Basically, I want to expand into video-making because it looks fun. As much as I enjoy blogging, there’s something very personable and relatable to seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice—aspects which can’t be attained with online writing alone. I don’t just want to archive my words anymore. I think I’m ready to be seen, to be heard, and to finally get out of my comfort zone.

In case you’re worried, I WILL NOT be neglecting the blog in favor of my YT channel. Blogging will always come first. Whether I make 10 videos, 100 videos, or even stop after the first, I will always return to blogging at the end of the day. This is my home. BUT, I hope YouTube will eventually yield its own fruit. Give it time, I suppose.

What can you expect? Pretty much the same stuff I do here, just in video form. AKA, you’ll HAVE to look at my ugly face, muahahaha. I’m honestly not sure how long I’ll last, but at least I can cross “Make a YouTube video, you coward!!” off the bucket list, right?

So, that all said, below here is THE first of hopefully many videos to come. And did I really decide to make this first K-pop related?? YOU BET I DID!!

To my readers, followers, and my friends, thank you for all your encouraging words—especially my fellow anitubers out there. You are my endless inspiration, and—wherever this journey takes us—I hope we’ll stick with each other. It’d mean the absolute world to me if you decided to subscribe to Takuto (channel link) and kept him company as he explored this wild new land.

Thank you for reading, and (if you clicked the link) thank you for watching! 🙂

– Takuto

I’M BACK + Celebrating 600 Followers Giveaway!

Hello all!

I’ve missed you guys! I thought multiple times these past several weeks to come on and say something, even if just to tell you that I’d need a couple more weeks until school was done. Buuut, you know how these things go. Time and energy got the best of me, and before I knew it, five weeks had passed.

But school is DONE now, or at least till the fall rolls around. It’s crazy how time flies—I distinctly recall those early days of blogging in the library during my sophomore year of high school. And now we’re here, ready for my senior year of college to begin. Oh how far we’ve come together!


Speaking of time and progress, Takuto’s Anime Cafe has officially hit 600 followers!!


I’ve been averaging a (slow) pace of +100 followers per year, but here we are hitting the 600 milestone before my next blog anniversary! It’s this kind of unexpected success that has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, I can hit my ambitious goal of 750 followers at the end of 2020. Who knows, but it’d be so cool, wouldn’t it!?

In celebration of 600 followers, I’ve decided to do a little daily giveaway of sorts. (My first ever!) Nothing big, just a chance to express my gratitude to you guys!

Starting tomorrow, May 18th, 2020, and each day after for about a month, I will be posting the Funimation Digital Copy Code for one of my favorite anime titles. From the website, Funimation Digital Copy is “a digital streaming version of episodes or movies included in a DVD or Blu-ray release. A Digital Copy can be added to My Library by entering the code found in the DVD or Blu-ray release.” (NOTE: You do NOT have to be a Funimation Premium Subscriber to unlock the Digital Copy.)


Anime you can expect to see include . . .

Steins;Gate, Free!, My Hero Academia, Attack On Titan, Code Geass, Space Battleship Yamato, A Certain Magical Index, and more!


How can you enter to win? Easy, just follow my Twitter @TakutoAnimeCafe and each day on Twitter I’ll randomly upload a pic of a Digital Copy Code from the little stack I have. THE GIVEAWAY WILL BE ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. In other words, your chances of winning will be solely based on how quickly you can see and unlock the code before someone else takes it! And yes, I will tell you the series title so you know if it’ll be a show you want to download.

Now, you can increase your chances of winning by also following my Instagram @ takutoac! On my Insta story, I’ll tell you the EXACT TIME that day in which I will be uploading the code to my Twitter. Since the times will be random, this will be the only way to guarantee your shot at winning the code. If you’re playing to win, following my Insta will be the way to go!

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Those are the terms of the giveaway. Pretty simple, right? Since I personally don’t utilize Funimation’s Digital Copy service, I figured this would be a nice way to use the codes besides just tossing them. Plus, it’s ENTIRELY FREE to participate! The giveaway will end when I’m out of codes to share.

Should you be the lucky winner of a Digital Copy Code, PLEASE, tweet me in the replies or message me so I can share your blog as well. After all, it’s thanks to you guys that I’m here where I am today! 🙂


Regularly scheduled blogging will resume in a day or two. Since I’m kind of wanting to try new things with the blog, I’ve been gathering a lot of good info about what you guys may be interested in reading on Twitter. (I appreciate the feedback!) While I do have some anime reviews planned, more manga and collection-related content will be on the way, so please look forward to it!

I’m eternally grateful for these years I’ve been able to blog for you all. Blogging really has helped me grow as a writer, but also as a curious human. The writing skills and experience I’ve gained through blogging have helped me learn how to express my feelings and opinions while social networking. These are irreplaceable skills. Truly, I believe everyone should try blogging at least once in their life.

I’m just amazed that 600 people (and bots, probably) were willing enough to hit that follow button for more content. Blogging can seem like a difficult platform to get your work seen, but when you’re not doing it just for the likes and views, it can be one of the most rewarding art forms. Going forward, I hope to show you an even better side of me, as well as strive to learn more about this crazy medium we’ve all fallen in love with.

Being back has never felt better.

Thank you for 600!

– Takuto

I made an Instagram (and You should follow it) || Celebrating 500 Followers

Hello all, welcome to 2020!!

Happy New Year to everyone out there! It’s crazy how much I’ve resolved to change myself in this new decade within the past couple weeks. It is as if a light just suddenly clicked on and I was like, “Wow, ok 2020, let’s NOT keep on doing what we have been our entire lives and try something new for once!”

So I am: I’m taking the plunge into the world of Instagram in celebration of 500 blog followers. I only briefly mentioned my gratitude for achieving this milestone in a quarterly update post. But, to reiterate, I am eternally grateful for all of your support.

Every single like, share, or even comment just to say “hi” brings me so much happiness. At the same time, I can only wonder, you must have a lot of time on your hands if you’re willing to stop by my little blog, haha.

500 followers

Seriously though, thank you for sticking with me these past five years. I love interacting with you all, and I hope the Insta can bring us that much closer into each other’s lives. Many of you have been begging for me to get this, and I hope I can deliver the content you deserve!

You can follow my Insta adventures at the handle @takutoanimecafe

Thank you for a wonderful 2019.

Cheers to 2020.

Love you all!

– Takuto

A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great (& Round-Up) || The Animanga Festival

Hello all, and welcome to my fifth and final official entry in The Animanga Festival, hosted by Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto!

We’ve come a long way, and here, during the “Best of Blogging” week, I offer you my final celebrations with an inspiring prompt if I do say so myself. Today’s a day for recognition and appreciation as many of us tackling the day’s prompt ask ourselves, “Who is the blogger who motivated us to be great?” That is to say, “Who is the one that brought you to where you are, as well as continues to push you to strive for your best?”

While I personally take inspiration for any person who likes my posts, comments on them, or even just drops by to peep in on things, I would be remissed if I didn’t give extra special thanks to the one who’s been with me since the beginning. I think you all know her quite well by now.


Thank You, LitaKino, for all you’ve done for me!


No surprises there, right? Guys, Lita has been my biggest support system for as long as I can remember blogging here at the cafe. Many will describe her as fun, crazy, goofy, hardworking, and heavily involved in the community—to which you’d be exactly right! But—and not to sound selfish or creepy—what I have with Lita feels extra special. It’s not just surface deep; it’s a genuine friendship.

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For one, we both love seaside settings (which is rare) and the mecha genre, sharing a mutual infatuation for shows like Free!, A Lull in the Sea (NagiAsu), and Gargantia. This means that whenever something related to either of those two starts airing or is released, we’re both the first to usually let the other one know about it AND fan the heck out of it.

Naturally, when she initially approached me for a collab idea and we succeeded in churning out our Free! collab just a couple months back, it was and still is a highlight from this year. You could even call it a dream come true, believe it or not! I’m so happy we did that together, and I look forward to the next thing we scheme up.

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So, you could say we have similar tastes in shows. We’re also both big on collecting, from buying the latest Blu-rays (or browsing eBay for bargains) to stocking up on manga. (The only huge difference there is that she actually reads the stuff she buys, whereas it seems to take me five months just to read three volumes. I know, I’m workin’ on it!) Whenever she posts pictures of her shelves, it just makes me reflect on my own collection and how much each title in it means to me.

Now, about blogging, Lita writes a lot more frequently than I do—and perhaps that’s why she’s a big inspiration for me as someone who comparatively posts much more sparsely. Whether a series review or a personal reflection, every time she puts something out into the world from her #LitaLaboratory, I am reminded that I should be getting on it too! In her reviews especially, what she writes is quite honestly her opinion about something; she gives it to you as it is, as she feels it, and I admire that honest writing style of hers.

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She’s also incredibly supportive—and you all can probably vouch for this about her as well (#ThugLita stans). Lita’s always going around sharing my stuff, bringing in new audiences to my writing, and her comments never fail to put a smile on my face. Back during OWLS’ early years when it was just Kat, Naja, and Lita running the live stream, I always made the time to especially pop in to hear what she had to say about my stuff, as well as thank her and the other ladies in the comments. (Spoiler alert, she’s too kind.)

On top of all this nice stuff she’s done for me, she never once told me not to pursue YouTube, even if she herself was going through a period where she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her channel. I never did get around to starting a channel, but it’s the encouragement that counts. Same for Instagram, but, well, perhaps I should just say “stay tuned.”

Ok, plus, she sent me a LETTER. Sure it was for our OWLS little secret Santa card exchange, but y’all, Y’ALL, I still keep it with my small collection of letters from my dear friends around the globe.

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The long and short of things is this: Where Lita goes, good company follows her. I’ve never run into a sour apple who was also a friend of Lita’s, and quite often, I end up becoming friends with the same peeps she does. In fact, I probably met over half of you just through her, and now I consider myself great friends with many of you guys! Her kindness comes in waves, and each time it arrives along the shoreline, I make sure to dip my feet in.

She’s a self-made gal, a good ol’ time, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her. Lita, you’re way too good for me—too good for us all!—and I can’t thank you enough for being such an amazing friend!

So if you see her around, be sure to give her a high-five and a hug from me. Lita is one of the sweetest bloggers out there—but I’m sure you already know that by now. If you’re not already following LitaKino Anime Corner and all of the crazy shenanigans she cooks up there, what are you waiting for?? Go see for yourself what this awesome person from down under—who does too many things on the interwebs involving anime—is like. If your relationship turns out to be anything like ours has been, I guarantee that your blogging experience will only go up further from here!

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The Festivities Come to an End

For me, that is. Many other bloggers will continue writing for The Animanga Festival throughout these next several days, so be sure to follow them through to the end. But alas, it’s time for me to bid the festivities farewell. This stop is where Takuto gets off—and what better way to end than by celebrating a beloved friend in the aniblogger community.

Below are links to each of the days I’ve written for. I had a blast answering each of these prompts, especially the Trip Itinerary, so please check ’em out of you have a minute or two!

10/2 ~ Anime/Manga You’d Introduce to a First-Timer

10/5 ~ Trip Itinerary to Places You’d Like to Visit in Anime/Manga

10/10 ~ A Collection of Your Best Works

10/19 ~ A Crossover You’d Love to See

10/24 ~ A Blogger Who Motivated You to be Great

And again, thank you so very much to Auri and Nairne for bringing me out here and inviting me in on all the fun. Participating in The Animanga Festival has reminded me about the joys of blogging, and that not every post has to be a review for it to be fun and engaging. Additionally, I haven’t blogged this much in a single month in years, and so for that reason alone, my gratitude is immeasurable. I sincerely hope everyone had as much fun reading my posts as I did writing them, and until the next one, this has been

– Takuto, your host

A Little 2019 Birthday Haul!

Hi there!

Yup, August 27th is/was my birthday, and I’m officially 21! While it wasn’t the best 21st birthday a teen could’ve wished for, I really did appreciate all of the birthday wishes from my family and you guys here on the internet. I did a little Twitter rant venting some of the week’s frustrations leading up to that Tuesday, and I actually feel better somehow.

Anyway, thank you all very much for supporting me on that day and every day since then (and now of course). No words can express my gratitude for having all of you wonderful people in my life.

Now, no birthday is complete without a gift or two! So, I’d like to share a couple of the books and movies I received from family since one of my blogger goals for 2019 was to do more with my collection. Here we go!

From my sister are three of the new Funi “Essentials” releases designed to replace the yucky SAVE line. Having all the episodes, Blu-ray only—with no hassle of making sure it comes with a slipcover or not—is actually proving great on my psychological health lol. Plus, they’re VERY affordable!

As an artist myself, she picked up Barakamon and Handa-kun, and threw in The Morose Mononokean since it kinda matches the aesthetic. NICE! Not pictured is the new DVD collection for Beyblade Metal Masters (whoops, I forgot). Thanks sister!

My brother bought the Time of Eve: Another Act light novel years ago, but he must’ve thought he’d never read it (or that I’d get more out of it since I’m the one who showed him the film), so he regifted it to me. He also got me the first two novels of the Danganronpa series, a specific part of the franchise I wasn’t planning on picking up myself, so I was beyond happy to receive it as a gift!

From him, I also received two novels he picked up at a bookstore in the city: United States of Japan and the Alita: Battle Angel prequel, Iron City. I didn’t even know that a prequel to the Alita live action existed, so that was a surprise! Looking forward to reading more dystopian sci-fi.

He kinda went overboard this year. The next two items are more books—and look, I can write in these! The green journal has a much darker, classier green in person, trust me. The other book is a pastel agenda, which will prove quite handy with the busy semester ahead. Can’t wait to write in these!

Last but not least is this figure of the “Railgun of Tokiwadai,” Mikoto Misaka, from the electrifying A Certain Scientific Railgun. This specific figure is from Index III, which came in nice timing since I had just finished watching the series. She is my first Railgun figure, and I absolutely just love her!

Funny story, I actually remember my brother picking this up from Naka-Kon in the spring, but noticed he never opened it. Eventually I forgot about it, and lo and behold, she makes her thunderous grand appearance once again as a gift for me! I always thought it was an interesting buy for someone like him, as I didn’t believe he liked the character that much to buy a figure of her. WELL, now it makes sense!


There you have it, a little haul for my 21st birthday last week. I can’t thank my family enough for being so supportive of my hobbies! In the same way, I’m so very thankful to all of you for your birthday wishes. The personal stories and thoughts some of you shared with me did numbers for my self-esteem, and I really value your kindness and concern.

So once again, thank you all!! ‘Till the next post!

– Takuto

Amagi Brilliant Park: The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With KyoAni || OWLS “Believe”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” For the OWLS blog tour’s eighth monthly topic of 2019, “Believe,” I wanted to spend some time revisiting one of Kyoto Animation’s most fun yet often overlooked titles: the incredible, the amazing Amagi Brilliant Park!

Kyoto Animation. We all have that one anime we enjoyed from Kyoto Animation. Whether it is pain or joy, Kyoto Animation has brought to life stories that can touch our emotions. For the month of August, we will be honoring Kyoto Animation and all it has done for art, storytelling, and popular culture by discussing some of our favorite Kyoto Animation series. We will discuss what we love about these series and what they taught us.

The fire that happened at the studio is indeed a tragedy. We pray for the lives that were lost in this tragedy and the families that are suffering at this time. Fires may be dangerous, but there are flames that burn within us that spark passion, hope, and belief in ourselves.

I think it’s so wonderful that bloggers, YouTubers, and fans in this community have been reacting to this tragedy by sharing what they love most about the studio and its people. Although my words will not likely reach them, I hope our collective sentiment does, even it’s just to say a heartfelt “Thank You.” Lyn, thanks for this prompt!

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A brief discussion of the 13-episode fall 2014 anime “Amagi Brilliant Park,” animated by Kyoto Animation, directed by the late Yasuhiro Takemoto, and based on the light novel series of the same name by Shoji Gatoh.

A Land of Magic and Fun

Seiya Kanie is one good-lookin’ high school dude, and boy does he know it. Of course, this smart yet extremely narcissistic guy would believe that the quiet and beautiful Isuzu Sento has invited him on a date at an amusement park (even if she threatened him at gunpoint to get him there). His expectations are shattered when the bus pulls up to a run-down facility, where Seiya discovers that the titular Amagi Brilliant Park is running itself into the ground.

An employee herself, Sento takes Seiya through various disappointing attractions. Eventually, she brings him to see the owner of the theme park, Princess Latifa Fleuranza, who reveals to Seiya that Amagi is no ordinary amusement park. That very sentiment wins him over when Latifa bestows upon Seiya magical powers of his own. To further prove her point, she tells him that many of the park’s employees hail from her kingdom of Maple Land, and that they are mysterious magical beings who are nourished by animis, or the energy created by people having fun.

Because of his impressive intellect and natural charisma, Sento recruited her classmate not for a date, but to become the park’s new manager. Why so desperate? As per the park’s land-use contract, Amagi has less than three months to meet a quota of 500,000 guests. If they fail, the park will be closed for good, and all of its employees will have to scrounge up jobs—and a living—elsewhere. Entrusted with the hopes and dreams of this far-off enchanted land, Seiya declares he’ll use his many skills to bring Amagi back on its feet within this three-month span, or else watch it crumble to the ground.

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Amagi Brilliant Park is a fun fantasy romp that balances comedy and drama surprisingly well. You come for the stupid gags and lewd humor, but stay for the heartfelt character moments and the blood, sweat, and tears that come with hard work. Although the end wraps up a bit quicker than I’d have liked, this is ultimately just an adaptation of a much larger story.

Meet the Cast of AmaBri!

Seiya Kanie’s time at AmaBri challenges his character in a sort of redemptive way. As he comes to know the quirks of the park and its staff, he realizes that his boundless narcissism won’t help him through all situations. Sometimes he needs to lend a hand; other times, an ear will do just fine. That doesn’t stop him from gazing at his own reflection to remind himself of his dashing good looks.

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Our broad-shouldered, dead-panned Isuzu Sento is our female lead and Seiya’s partner in crime. She means so, so well by her actions, but her history as one of the Princess’ soldiers from their Maple Land days has whipped her into a prim and proper manager’s secretary that just can’t take a joke. Many of the park staff have a love/hate relationship with Sento, as her soldier instincts lead her hand to her magic rifle to solve any problems with rascally customers or staff. As she watches Seiya and learns from his diplomatic skills, however, Sento’s feared reputation slowly dissipates, as does that expressionless face of hers.

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The majority of AmaBri’s other staff are magical misfits from Maple Land, from cute talking sharks, digger moles, and dragons, to an anthropomorphic wrench and . . . a globe? Yeah, they’re a buncha of weirdos for sure. But the true stars of the park are the biggest freaks—and in the most unconventional way. Who knew a perverted cat, a foul-mouthed sheep, and an overly aggressive, umm, Moffle (?) would be Seiya’s biggest headache.

Seriously, Tiramie the flower fairy, Macaron the music fairy, and AmaBri’s sweets fairy mascot Moffle are an absolute HANDFUL, but man are they THE trio of goons. Most of the series’ hilarious moments come from Macaron’s laziness (a true artist must “take time off” if they’re not feeling inspired), or Tiramie’s perverted gawking and awful facial expressions. Overall, such a fun, endearing cast, even if their main purpose is just to put a smile on your face (kinda like . . . a theme park’s staff). 😉

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KyoAni IS the Magic of AmaBri

Animation lies at the core of anime, and like any comedy series, delivery is everything. Timing hilarious visuals with outrageous sounds is the goal with these kinds of shows, and in regards to humor, Amagi Brilliant Park is one of the bests out there. For me, much of Tiramie and Macaron’s slapstick comedy landed so hard I was left laughing hours after the episode ended. Not only do their faces twist in wacky, grotesque expressions, but the dialogue itself is absolutely hysterical.

Seriously, the dub script is GOLD, and the delivery by the actors has gut-busting potential. Can Adam Gibbs just voice every KyoAni male protagonist from now on, because he just has that perfect blend of charisma, charm, and awkwardness down pat. He can be goofy, but also attractive, which fits very well with Seiya’s personality. Molly Searcy’s Sento is much stiffer than what even the writing makes her out to be, but it grew on me throughout the series. Other fave performances included the dynamic duo of Tiffany Grant and Allison Keith as Moffle and Macaron, respectively. Hearing two of Eva‘s most iconic characters as giant stuffed cussing mascots was just awesome beyond words.

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Despite how perfect I thought the anime’s comedy skits were executed, I actually found the drama moments to land even better. Moments of bitter pain or sudden realization are captured perfectly by not only the characters’ facial expressions, but the space they inhabit. When Sento and Seiya were deeply pondering how much one meant to the other, deep blue shadows are cast over a blinding orange sunset, filling the screen with contrasting colors and conflicting emotions.

And of course, the all scenery is just beautiful to take in. The bright-colored landscapes work well with the cheery, cartoonish character designs. Plus, Seiya and Sento, as well as the other “human” characters, look very pretty—the KyoAni standard. In fact, had any other studio adapted AmaBri‘s story, I can bet you money that it wouldn’t have turned out as nearly as magical and fun as it did here with KyoAni.

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On the audio side of things, Shinkichi Mitsumune’s soundtrack supports all the laughs and the feels with incredible emotion. And if there’s a song more positive and upbeat than AKINO and bless4’s OP “Extra Magic Hour,” I haven’t heard it yet!

The humor hits home, and the drama is very much respected by the late Yasuhiro Takemoto’s sensitive directing style. Sure the story and characters were written long before the show was created, but Kyoto Animation, YOU were the ones who put the real magic into this series, and it shows with every laugh I gave and every tear I shed while watching. You are the magic that saved AmaBri, and I honestly can’t celebrate my enjoyment with this series enough!

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Dreams Only Come True if You Believe

Amagi Brilliant Park is a story about a boy who prides himself above others, thinking that he is good at everything, and that same boy’s struggle to help those that don’t believe in themselves become proud of their own abilities. It’s a story about give and take, hard work, and at the end of the day, finding the fun in what you do for a living. Seiya may manipulate and play on the staff’s whims and emotions throughout the series, but a strong sense of trust always lies at the core of his plans.

Seiya’s magic doesn’t stem from his newfound power—it comes directly from his belief in the resilience and strength of all the people of Maple Land. Seiya makes an investment in these people, pouring all his time and energy into transforming the workers of AmaBri into employees worthy of their gifts.

Seiya draws out the inner passion for their work, and with a little faith, is rewarded with the park’s continual success. It is a belief driven by transformation and grounded by trust. Trust in Seiya’s process, and you, too, will enjoy one of—if not—Kyoto Animation’s most fun creation they’ve ever given us.

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If you wanna make people dream, you’ve gotta start by believing in that dream yourself! — Seiya Kanie


Afterword

At LAST, I’ve written the post about AmaBri that I’ve been wanting to ever since I saw it a couple years back. Again, I’d like to extend my thanks to the lovely Kyoto Animation for giving us the gift of fun all wrapped in a pretty little bow—I hope I was able to do the series justice! Amagi Brilliant Park is one of the studio’s most underrated series, and I hope some of you will decide to watch this hilarious and heartwarming “Cake” title! To those few who have actually seen this gem, you ought to let me know your thoughts!

This concludes my August 10th entry in the OWLS “Believe” blog tour. Mel (Mel in Anime Land) wrote about Free! and Tsurune, two of my favorite series by the studio, that you can enjoy right here! Now, look out for Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews) also with a post on Tsurune (ahh, all the love!) tomorrow, August 11th! Thank you so much for reading, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host