Arslan Senki, When the OP/ED is Better Than the Actual Show

A spoiler-free review of the 25-episode spring 2015 anime “The Heroic Legend of Arslan,” produced by LIDEN FILMS and SANZIGEN, based on the manga (story) by Yoshiki Tanaka.

Undefeated King Andragoras rules over the flourishing kingdom of Pars with a firm grip through his mighty Royal Capital, Ecbatana, a city structured around a slave system that fuels the royal palace. However, the baby-faced prince Arslan, a wide-eyed and curious boy, knows deep down that he does not possess the same iron fist that his father, the King, leads with.

Pars Era, Year 320. At the tender age of 14, Arslan sets out on his maiden battle at Atropatene only for everything to go up in flames. Ecbatana falls to the Holy Lusitanian Empire, an enemy not only smart on the battlefield, but one that follows their all-empowering god “Yaldabaoth.” The youthful Arslan witnesses bloodshed of his people and the capture of his glorious Ecbatana. Arslan quickly flees the war mounted on the steed of his faithful knight, Daryun. It is at this moment that Arslan’s destiny is written in the stars, and through the help of his new followers and friends, he will rise to reclaim his golden capital no matter the cost.

 

At its core, this anime is about growing up and finding the courage to lead, and it pulls this decently enough. Arslan is faced with countless tasks that he must overcome before he begins his reclamation: Inviting members to join his party, establishing his force, rebuilding his army, seizing a base of operation – those are his main goals. But there are many bumps in the road for the poor blue-eyed prince. He must first find his drive to fight, his charisma to keep others around him, and lastly, his ethical approach to war. All of this ties into leadership, and through the guiding pen of Narsus, the master tactician, Arslan’s ideals become clearer.

Arslan Senki is set in a world based on past historical cultures, and I can proudly say has it done its research quite well. Although I’ve never been out of the country [yet], its portrayal of distant desert lands are captured in such a rich manner that I feel as if I’m actually sitting on a silk cushion in bright banquet room watching minstrels and men get heavily drunk!

You must not forget that Arslan is a fantasy. The magic may only be sneaking in the shadows (receiving no explanation whatsoever), but it’s still there. And since there is a hint of magic, it seems that the anime takes the typical fantasy copout: “It’s magic. I ain’t gotta explain sh*t.” Know that it works in mysterious ways, charming characters in the background, but it’s not the main focus. That’s on our characters.

Wait, what? No. Go home.

We’ve already talked about Arslan; decent kid, fair development, a bit bland, but not a poor character. Following Arslan right by his side – both his sword (javelin-thing) and shield – is Daryun. Daryun’s loyalty to his “prince” is admirable by many and his strength is unmatched – even by those in foreign lands. When he is not speaking to his prince, Daryun chats with Narsus, an old pal of his from back in the day. The two share conversations of strategy and wit, a combo both deadly and humorous. Just don’t bring up Narsus’ side-hobby of painting. Really, don’t.

Hey buddy, that’s what I thought

The other two I enjoyed were also fine warriors in their own rights. Gieve, a whimsical “traveling musician” who can skillfully wield many weapons and the chill Farangis, a muscular yet enchanting cleric and master of the bow which whom Gieve proclaims his love to. Although they are somewhat a gag duo, Gieve neither siding with Narsus nor the enemy half of the time, they receive very little backstory (specifically Farangis) – which is the biggest disappointment. I would have sacrificed ten Arslan balcony-contemplation scenes for one Farangis side story if I could.

That’s right. Slip and slide outta that room Gieve, you perv.

These adventurers along with a couple others compose Arslan’s force against lord “Silver Mask” (oh the cheese, it hurts), an incredibly skillful brute who is after Arslan’s head for some reason . . . Among the challenges that Arslan faces, this is his toughest one yet! This man is what triggers Arslan’s moral conflict. I won’t say much, but it was an intense endeavor for the crew to keep away from this madman.

Too bad NO ONE knows who you are even without the mask

Now, if you’ve thought that up until now Arslan Senki was an A+ for me, you’re incredibly mistaken. The entire show is one sloppy quest, and here’s why:

They say adventures are all about “the getting there,” and that the resolution just happens to tie loose ends. But Arslan Senki doesn’t give us either of these things! Instead it drags on for 25 boring episodes of pointless side plots doing FLIP that take far too long to resolve – Speaking of, IT DOESN’T END. Spoiler alert, but it doesn’t. Instead, we have Arslan and the gang mounted majestically, waiting to take back the kingdom until blah blah blah “here’s a season two B.S. announcement because we couldn’t get our crap together in the first.” Seriously, WHAT!?

Yuck

More yuck

Don’t even get me started with this anime’s production value. It’s TERRIBLE. I’ve had enough of CG-gummy army men, retarded-angry horses, and derpy Arslan faces to last me enough time to figure out the secrets of “Silver Mask” and overthrow Pars THREE times over. The animation is extremely inconsistent, relying on its few high-budget fight scenes and opening animation alone, and it really drags the show in the mud. You know it’s bad when you can tell where the money went in each episode. Art may look pretty, but for the love of Yaldabaoth DO NOT get this show in motion!! It’s so IRRITATING.

Heavens, I find that very hard to believe

Why do those horses look so . . . evil?

why do they go to the dark side

No seriously, what the hell IS that??

23WCsqc

“Yes, he’s supposed to be killing that horse.”

And now for the music. Does it fail epically like its visuals? Well, slap UVERworld, Eir Aoi, and Kalafina in the same anime and you tell me. The first opening “Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai, Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba” by UVERworld is pretty darn solid, and the second, “Uzu to Uzu” by NICO Touches the Walls has that quality “second half” feel to it. Once you hit Eir Aoi’s ending “Lapis Lazuli,” however, you’ve entered my top 5 endings. If Arslan is remembered for one thing, it’s gonna be this song (that moment when the OP/ED is better than the show). Lastly, Kalafina brings all under their graceful wings with “One Light,” the second ending, giving us some air of conclusion to grasp onto.

I’ll give Taro Iwashiro’s soundtrack props to filling out the fantasy-adventure tone enough to immerse me in the setting. No tracks in specific to highlight, but being supportive is all I could ask for with this shambling show.

So whoopty-freakin’-doo, there are my thoughts on The Heroic Legend of Arslan, or more accurately titled, The Heroic Legend of Asslan, pardon my French. Unless you are an absolute diehard fan of the fantasy-adventure/war drama genre, then throw this one out with yesterday’s garbage. We don’t need it, and certainly not a flippin’ sequel. That’s bullticky. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find Farangis’ cult and burn crosses in Lusitanian yards.

“The throne itself does not have a will of its own. Depending on who sits in it, it can be the seat of justice or it can be the seat of inhuman cruelty. As long as it is a man, and not a god, doing the governing, he can never be perfect. But should he neglect to make efforts to reach for perfection, a king will surely tumble down the slippery slope towards evil with no one around to stop him.” – Farangis, and amen at that

+ Arslan’s main troupe, though a bit lacking in development, comes across as a pleasant party

+ All openings and endings were the only features keeping me attached to this show

– IN-CONS.ISTENT. ANIMATI-ON.

– Sloppy execution of story, not enough character spotlight, specifically for Farangis and Arslan

– So much wasted potential in all categories, ending was unsatisfactory

For the café rating, it’s average even during its best moments. Did anyone else feel disappointed with this anime? If you had other thoughts, I’d be very interested to read them, but otherwise charge into the like button if you found my “spittin’ fire” on Arslan at all amusing. “Yashasuiin!” I won’t lie, if felt darn good to hate on something since all I do is spread cheer about shows. And right as I return, I must bid you all farewell again, so until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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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

End of September Update 10/3/15

Konbanwa, minna, it has been a while, has it not?

If you’ve recently taken your head out of your own blogging and anime whatnot, then you might have noticed my lack of content. No, I haven’t been caught by the mafia (yet), nor am I being held ransom by some third-world pirate. I’ve just been occupied with all of the great anime I received last month. Also, it’s pretty hard to run a review-based blog when you have nothing to review! I suppose I could have written another “Cafe Talk,” but my ideas are currently in the wash – soon to be in the dryer – so you can probably expect one sometime soon, fingers crossed.

Fall has abruptly shoved its way into life here and I have no qualms about that! 60-degree weather, cloudy days starting with rain, setting my car to heat rather than fan – It’s all good stuff. This kind of weather is the best to snuggle up with some anime, and I’m going to maximize this potential before the snow falls (where I live, it’s pretty much summer-winter, no intermediates).

But you’re probably reading this for my usual update, so let’s get to it already!

Recently Finished:

selector infected WIXOSS (English dub) – While I wasn’t blown away by the voices of particular characters, I was still overall satisfied with the results. Ruko, Akira, Hanayo, Iona, and Kazuki had really nice fits, albeit Akira sounding a bit mature for her age. Yuzuki’s actor really threw me off. I was expecting Luci Christian or someone with a less “stuffy” voice, but at least the acting was fair. FUNimation really needs to get on that second season; such a cliffhanger, a true joy to revisit this hidden gem after what feels like forever!

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) Season One (English dub) – Now this one was just freakin’ epic! I admit, it took me a couple episodes to get used to hearing Rin’s voice, but once I adjusted, man, such a phenomenal dub! Just hearing Kari Wahlgren as Saber once again rouses my spirits. 🙂 I just might do a dub reaction/review like I did with ALDNOAH.ZERO just because I think it was so well done.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma –  IT’S FINALLY OVER, and I’ll be missing this one for sure. Even though the last couple of episodes were somewhat tedious and lacking, it’s unbearable to think that I won’t be tuning in each weekend to chill with Soma and the crew as they pass their trials and work hard to become master chefs. I’ll find a way to fill this void (besides by eating and trying to cook professionally). Y’all can expect a review coming within the next week or two!

Currently Watching:

The Heroic Legend of Arslan –  Yeah, I’m definitely burned out with this one; stick a fork in me, I’m done. Sh*t animation, a story moving away from the main character’s development, and the exiling of one of my favorite party members. Geez, what else could go wrong? I have two episodes left, so unless Arslan pulls his pants up, there won’t be much of a hearty review from this cafe.

Hyouka – A little over halfway through and LOVING IT!! It’s everything I thought it’d be and MORE! Wah, I’m captivated by the various mysteries surrounding the school and Oreki’s nonchalant way of dealing with the day-to-day schemes of his gray life. “I’m curious!” Give me all you’ve got, Hyouka! A review will be arriving to the menu within next few weeks 😀

I’ll be starting up A Lull in the Sea English dubbed as soon as these others are over. I’ve also picked up Baccano! because I had a $5.00 off coupon from my local bookstore (hooray for parental memberships). But I’m saving that one for a rainy night hehe, cause I foresee another grand marathon coming up! I’ve managed to persuade my siblings into “diving into the heart of terror” with Another for a Halloween celebration binge-watch. It’ll be one night of pants-wetting and eye-covering that they’ll never forget hehehe 😉 Good luck, guys.

Last but not least, I’ve read the first two of four stories from Sword Art Online Aincrad Volume Two, which encompasses Kirito’s meetups with Silica and Lizbeth (best girl kinda sorta) from the anime. Silica’s story was particularly better than the adaptation’s, or maybe it’s just been a while since I last saw the show. Probably both. Anyway, I plan to zoom through the novel so that I can read the infamous Fairy Dance arc. Why? Because there’s a stereotype that goes “books are much better than the movies that spawn from them.” I won’t lie to you guys, I actually liked this arc, and I’m one of the few to say this. I loved the first, don’t get me wrong, but the second half – to me – wasn’t all that bad. I want to see if the books provide a much better case and back up the laughable arc.

And I think that’s it. I got an old younger friend (ironic IKR) of mine into Attack on Titan just last night, so that’s always fun. Where do the days go?? September flew by and here’s October! School kids are bundling up and neighbors are putting up their ghostly decorations (and assorted pumpkins). Meanwhile, here I am still trying to reach out to the last few days of “shorts season.” Am I depressing or what (rhetorical don’t answer). Well, I suppose I’ll keep tagging in on you guys, dropping my thoughts here and there for those who care! How was your September? You ought to let me know so we can catch up in the comments below ^.^ Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 30 (FINALE): Songs That Would Be The Theme Song To A TV Show About Your Life

It’s finally arrived. 30 days later, we finally made it, minna! Enjoy the finale ~

I feel like I should be making some sort of elaborate speech, but truth be told, it’s just another day of the challenge XD. One last time, I shall be breaking the rules by uploading as many songs as I freakin’ can just to prove my point. What is today’s topic anyway? A theme song for a show about my life? Well, that’d be pretty boring, IDK, probably just some awkward little string pizzicato diddy. But if it’s like any TV show nowadays, the theme song’s grandeur would be exponentially higher than what the show actually makes out to be. So let’s just blow my life story out of proportion and get to rockin’!

These songs, by the way, will be considered the “opening theme” for a show about my life.

From Gosick, “Resuscitated Hope” by Lisa Komine

If my life was a mystery-occult-romance-drama thrown back in the 1920s, then my opening song would easily be this masterpiece. I’ve been waiting this whole challenge just to fit this song in the mix, and I think it’s more than appropriate here, wouldn’t you? The anime Gosick, by the way, is totally epic! It’s a rarity that surprisingly many people don’t know about, so go check it out as soon as you can. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the time period and the characters, not to mention getting wrapped up in all of the intense mystery horror (too bad my life’s not like Victorique’s)!

From Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W, “Koi wa Chaos no Shimobenari” by Ushiro kara Haiyori-tai G

If my life was a rom-com-harem-fan-service-ecchi anime, then hells yeah this is what it’d sound like! Now, I haven’t seen the show at all, let alone this sequel, but with the way it bounces all around just makes me think of ecchi things. WOAH, Takuto, you’re a pervert? Well, as much as the next guy I suppose, but doesn’t this song sound kinda . . . naughty . . . ? Think about it.

😉

“Endless Tears” by CLIFF EDGE feat. Maiko Nakamura

If my life was a romance-intense-drama-heartbreaker, then here you go. “Endless Tears.” Yes, I know I’ve already talked about this one, but seriously, this is my drama-bomb cry-forever song. My life will most likely never be so complicated in the field of love (cause I’m a loner), but if things did take a drastic turn and BAM, sudden dramatic twists, then I can’t think of a better match. Enjoy it this last time ~

From The Heroic Legend of Arslan, “Lapis Lazuli” by Eir Aoi

If my life were a fantasy-tragedy-action anime, then you’ve got “Lapis Lazuli.” I mentioned a cover of this song, but try out the original sometime. It’s fantastic! It’s got just enough sass and swing to carry the melody, and the beat is perfect for imagining all kinds of exciting adventures over various lands. But I include tragedy because I feel a bittersweet longing in this song – a craving for something special. In the end, I don’t think I would ever find it, so I mark my ending as tragic. At least it was one hell of an adventure, right?

From In Search of the Lost Future, “Le jour” by Satomi Sato

If my life were a romance-drama-sci-fi-thriller, then I think this would be a decent fit. Now for those who have not watched this obscure anime (or haven’t even heard it before), don’t watch it. It’s sh*t. But it had several wonderful aspects to it that made me want to see it through to the end. What was the best thing I got out of it – this song, the opening. It’s rejoicing, tragic tone just reminds me so much of, well, myself! I probably didn’t match the genres up as well as I could have, but here it is nevertheless.

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

If my life were a psychological-supernatural-sci-fi-thriller, then what else would you expect from me?? Honestly, if you didn’t expect this infamous song to hit the list, then you probably don’t know me LOL Seriously though, this song kills me every time – but in a good way, mind you. Eva always manages to remind me of how the world works for some odd reason, and that’s probably due to the way it destroys its characters over and over again until you can hardly not stop crying for them. It’s got giant aliens, giant robots, comedy, romance, tragedy, action, drama – Everything for me!! If my life were anything like this, then this would easily be my theme song without a doubt.

But my life is none of these exciting things, and most likely will never be so exquisite. I manage, day by day, facing the harsh reality like anyone else. I live a normal slice-of-life-rom-com whether I want to or not. As such, there’s really only one song that can capture my struggles:

From Kyoukai no Kanata, “Daisy” by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION

It’s casual, light-hearted, but also has this relatable passion of feeling like another day is passing by. Fleeting is perhaps the word I’m looking for. While most episodes would take place in the classroom or at home, besides being the opening, this feels like the song that would burst out when I chase the one I love . . . whenever I find them. “Daisy” is very well-rounded, and as such I think it’s the ideal match. It’s slow-drumming groove and slightly delicate chord work timed with the incredible male singer transforms this into a song befitting of my average life. If you listen closely, you can hear the anguish of this normal life within the song, and its subtlety grabs me by the heart every time.

[listen to one of these as you read the rest for maximum feels]

This right here is magic.

And there you have it. 30 days; a ton of songs to listen to! I won’t lie, I’m pretty sad that it’s all over now 😥 We’ve gone through so much together in just these last 30 days. You’ve probably learned so many new things about me, whether they’re personal quotes or whatnot. Thank you for all of the support during this challenge 🙂 If you’ve stuck it through from day one to now, then you’re a really dedicated trooper! I found so much love from you guys, reading boat-loads of comments at three in the morning, or receiving text alerts all throughout the day (*sniffs, stifles back a tear). I’ll really miss this.

If you happened to miss a day during the challenge, or are curious to compare before and after certain days, then never fear. I’ve linked the challenge in the header menu above. If that’s too much work for you, I’ll just leave a convenient listing below. Click on a day and take in all of these feels!!

Day 1: A song that makes you happy
Day 2: A song that helps you clear your head
Day 3: A song that makes you laugh
Day 4: A song that reminds you of something sad
Day 5: A song that has a new meaning to you every time you hear it
Day 6: A song you can always relate to
Day 7: A song that holds a lot of meaning to you
Day 8: A song that makes you cry
Day 9: A song that makes you want to dance
Day 10: A song that annoys you
Day 11: A song that reminds you of summer
Day 12: A song that reminds you of your best friend
Day 13: A song you sing to in the shower
Day 14: A song you liked when you were younger
Day 15: A song people wouldn’t expect you to like
Day 16: A song that is your guilty pleasure
Day 17: A song you like hearing live
Day 18: A song you have as your ringtone/want to be your ringtone
Day 19: A song you’re currently obsessed with
Day 20: A song from a new album you are waiting for to come out
Day 21: A song you want to dance to at your wedding
Day 22: A song that you haven’t listened to in a while
Day 23: A cover song that you like
Day 24: A song that makes you angry
Day 25: An acoustic song you love
Day 26: A song by your favorite band
Day 27: A song you make fun of
Day 28: A song that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend (if you don’t have one, make one up)
Day 29: A song currently stuck in your head
Day 30: A song that would be the theme song to a TV show about your life

[Challenge Starting Date: August 14, 2015]

[Challenge Completion Date: September 13, 2015]

Did you have a particular favorite day of the challenge? If so, tell me down below – Let’s have a party in the comments! Wow, I guess I could go back to watching anime and writing reviews now. Also, I have a crap ton of lovely nominations for various awards to follow up with. I guess wherever the wind takes us next will be our new quest! Thank you all again for your support throughout this challenge. I had way too much fun writing for each of these special moments 🙂 WE DID IT! This challenge was so, so incredibly tiring, but well worth the new friends and songs that I got to meet and listen to. I recommend this 30-Day Song Challenge to anyone daring to take up 30 within a month. I thought it was supposed to be done day-by-day, but apparently other bloggers have been posting to their own liking, which I won’t lie, it probably would have been an good idea to try 😛 BUT I’m crazy like that, so there you go! Until next time everybody, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Takuto, your host

End of August Update 9/2/15

Hello all, ’tis I, Takuto, back with the usual update ~

As many of you know, the 30-Day Song Challenge has been draining my already-minuscule breaks from daily labor. I hope you have been enjoying the music, by the way, as I certainly have picked up playlists of great songs recommended by some of your challenges :> On another exciting note, I just posted day 20, which means only 10 left!! Then all will be back to normal; “Cafe Talks” and anime reviews for all! (Click here to view the previous 20 days of the song challenge if you missed any. You know want to) Just click on a day to revisit the music 😀

With that said, I’ve also had virtually no time to watch anime. I’ve been reading a chapter or two here and there of the Pandora Hearts manga, an ongoing battle I’ve been fighting to finish my first manga series, but I suppose that’s not anime. Planning to hop into Hyouka with a clean slate as soon as the challenge is over, I’ve been prepping myself by drafting my Nagi-Asu review when I can eke out the spare minutes.

But let’s move onto what I have been following, shall we? I’ll give you a hint: There’s nothing new -_-

Recently Finished:

Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea – Oh lawd, no, why did this one have to end?? This anime probably took the cake as my anime of the summer (remember, simulcast break?). Enjoyable characters, lovely story, engaging drama, and the art and animation MAKES ME MELT even though it’s such a cool show >.< Just everything about this one is precious – so precious, in fact, that I once again gave Aniplex my left leg (cause they already had my right) in exchange for the first DVD set with the English dub! Now, my birthday order is still “Pending Fulfillment,” which I shot Rightstuf a question regarding it today, as it has been a week and my order still hasn’t shipped. But I’m working it out, so cross your toes it gets here soon (maybe I’ll do a birthday gift haul if you’re interested)!

Currently Watching:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Let me just start by saying that this has been the greatest simulcast I’ve probably ever watched. In the last few episodes, all of the chefs-in-training had been working diligently to find the perfect spice to use in the upcoming competition, which I think will determine the new members of this 10-seated hierarchy. The anime seems to be building up to this climax, so the next time we meet for this show, it’ll probably be the season review. Nikumi, Takumi, Megumi, kid in Polar Star Dorm with the maroon hair who smokes (grills) everything, and Soma – Give it your all!!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – Thank heavens that the whole Rajendra side plot is over! I was about to keel over and drop the show entirely. With Lord Silvermask back in the picture, Arslan and crew reach the final buildup to this wartime drama, if I can even call it that. I wanted more characterization with Arslan’s inner party, like Gieve x Farangis, Elam x Alfreed, and Narsus being Narsus, but I don’t think we’re gonna get anymore. Bummer. BUT, the latest episode with Etoile’s reappearance, disguised as a girl, really has improved the story tenfold. I actually felt emotional connection with Arslan. Hopefully the anime continues with more moments like this in store, but for now, all we can do is wait it out. Episode 19’s end card supported ravishing artwork of the graceful Farangis, which I honestly loved so much it’ll probably be this post’s head pic ~

EEP, that’s it? Gosh, umm, okay. Short is good sometimes, right? Like you, this song challenge has been fun, but I CANNOT wait to get back on the review trail. I’ve got several “Cafe Talks” in store, too, so if you enjoyed sitting around the cafe sippin’ that espresso with crema on top or that delicious caffè latte, then you can look forward to that 🙂 My, how these months have flown by. Where I live, we’re sliding into the autumn season, so maybe the weather will get cooler. I need this ridiculous 100-degree F heat to just go away! I guess that’ll do it. Thank you for reading, I’m eager to see what September will bring us. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

30-Day Song Challenge Day 20: A Song From A New Album You Are Waiting For To Come Out

I don’t really listen to songs by the album, nor even pay attention to albums in general. So when this uneventful day reared its apathetic head, I was doing the ‘bites thumb’ expression, as I have nothing to show you guys! Hmm, I suppose I could just throw out a few more songs that I often listen to, but wouldn’t that be cheating? I also thought about recommending soundtracks for newer anime, crossing my fingers that it would slide.

What I ended up was . . . researching an album to present to you all. YES, I did it just for you! Without further ado, we’ve got more from Kalafina since that seems to be the only band I listen to 😛 Enjoy!

From Kalafina, Album Title: “Far On The Water”

Release Date: September 16, 2015

Tracklisting:

  1. INTOTHEWATER
  2. MONOCHROME
  3. GOGATSUNOMAHOU
  4. RINGYOURBELL
  5. USUMURASAKI
  6. IDENTIFY
  7. HOKAGE
  8. ONE LIGHT
  9. MUSUNDERHIRAKU
  10. HEAVENLY BLUE
  11. SORAIRONOISU
  12. BELIEVE
  13. FARONTHEWATER

I’ve never researched albums before nor given them much thought, but this was actually kinda fun to write 🙂 And what impeccable timing I have to discover it before the release in two weeks! While my favorite on the list is unarguably “heavenly blue,” I also find “believe,” “ring your bell,” and “far on the water” to be extremely catchy. But what newer song besides the title drop will be considered day 20’s pick?

From The Heroic Legend of Arslan, “One Light” by Kalafina

Hot damn, it’s Arslan Senki, a show that I will satisfy me when it finally ends! I’ve been following it since the first episode was simulcast, and am finding myself a bit . . . frustrated. It’s okay so far, but I wouldn’t hop the fence to reach this one. But that doesn’t stop it from having a near full set of openings and endings! I’ll touch back on that when I do a season review of it, but here is the second and last ending theme for the 25-episode legend about a boy who will become king. 3:30 and on is especially pretty epic!

We learn new things every day, and today’s topic was pretty exciting, wouldn’t you say? Do you track album release dates and concerts for your favorite artists, or do you just enjoy the music when it happens to fall in as an opening, ending, or insert song for an anime? Let’s talk in the comments, and until tomorrow, this has been

– Takuto, your host