Summer anime review: DRAMAtical Murder (DMMD), Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Sengoku Basara: Judge End

And here, we have part 2 of my summer anime review (part 1 is here):

DRAMAtical Murder (DMMD)

dmmd1

Mink, Aoba, Koujaku, Noiz, Clear (with AllMates Tori, Beni and Ren)

Story: 6/10 Unlike the game, there were no r-rated scenes (please go Wikipedia DMMD for more information and you’ll see why).

I don’t know if my summary is accurate but I guess if I had to tell you what it was about I’d say: the story is about Aoba who doesn’t know that he has a secret power that some bad guy (Touei) wants to get his hands on. I’m quite sure that’s the main gist of the story but you don’t really find that out until halfway through the season. Okay, I think there was some connection to the ‘Rhyme’ game that Aoba used to play but that’s about it.

Set in a futuristic world, Aoba is first put on the path to finding out his ‘true form’ (or something like that) when he encounters a Rhyme game and is forced to play it in another instance when he is transported into the Rhyme world. The person who dragged him into the game is none other than Noiz though I have since forgotten why. Anyway, from there he kind of joins Aoba’s, shall we call it, party (think party quest)?

In Aoba’s original party, there’s Koujaku who is his childhood friend (read further for my thoughts about Koujaku) and Ren who is his AllMate (read this up on Wikia if you want to know what it is). Then Aoba meets Clear who appears seemingly out of nowhere and claims that Aoba is his master. Clear has joined the party. The last person to join his party is Mink… sort of.

I’m sorry there is probably more important information about the story but I forgot so you’ll have to watch it. The story-telling was indeed slow and confusing, the characters had unexplored backgrounds, and the lines were cheesy and suggestive to the point of LOL-ing really hard but DMMD is one of those shows which is so bad that it’s actually good. People are hating on how stupid or boring it was but I actually didn’t find it that bad.

dmmd3

The only two characters you should care about: Aoba and Koujaku (I’m kidding)

Characters: 8/10 Aoba is the main character of DMMD. You can immediately tell who he is from his blue hair and seriously ugly outfit. What is UP with those boots? Are those mutant Uggs or what? And how is that cropped puffer jacket even legal? I don’t get it. Well, I guess his kind and caring personality makes up for the fashion disaster. Aoba is a great friend to have because he seriously goes ALL out to save his friends and even people he doesn’t know.

Koujaku is my favorite character, hands down. He’s sooooo dreamy. Especially in that red kimono. Tall, gorgeous, long-haired, tattooed, and elegant. He’s a freelance hairdresser but is somehow always seen carrying a huge*ss sword on his back. I am partial to tattoos on anime characters (think Kensei, Hisagi and Renji from Bleach and Kawafuji from Barakamon) but I think Koujaku’s tattoos are beautiful. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. It’s not really elaborated in the anime but Koujaku supposedly has a dark past. He’s a sweet and gentle sort (except to Noiz) and basically you would want to invite him over for dinner ahaha.

Side note: Skye says I have a thing for “long-haired, sometimes stoic, sunglasses, punks in general.” (cough Abarai Renji cough Misawa Mitsuyoshi cough Suoh Mikoto cough Nura Rikuo in night form cough) I deny! I like sweet characters like Tachibana Makoto and Maeda Keiji and Kise Ryota too T_T

Clear is a sweetheart whose true form I will not reveal to you. He starts out wearing this gas mask which is actually quite a unique piece of headgear then later he removes it. He can sing and you can trust him to be at Aoba’s side whenever Aoba is in danger.

Noiz is a bunny-loving tech geek with multiple piercings and a stoic personality. Didn’t think much of him in the first few episodes but he got better in the second half. Not that he had many lines or much emotion…

Mink is the vague kind of character that is there but somehow not really there, know what I mean? If I had to describe him, I’d probably say: kidnapper, smoker, biker, cockatoo-owner, dreadlocked macho man. I still don’t really get his story but whatever.

REN IS SO HANDSOME. Virus and Trip are a shady pair whose personalities didn’t get much past manipulative and weird.

Aoba’s grandmother, Tae, is an important part of the story since she’s one of the few people who knows about Aoba’s ability. Then there’s Mizuki… Forget it. I don’t even remember much about the whole gang story.

In any case, character development was poor even though their backgrounds were really interesting and should have been explored.

Sound: 6/10 The OP was weird. I didn’t quite care for the songs in DMMD except for Clear’s Jellyfish song.

The voice acting was not too bad but there were too many deep-voiced characters, making it quite difficult to tell one from another. Kisaichi Atsushi as Aoba, Takahashi Hiroki as Koujaku, Takeuchi Ryota as Ren, Hino Satoshi as Noiz, Matsuda Kenichiro as Mink, Nakazawa Masatomo as Clear, Majima Junji as Virus, Higuchi Tomoyuki as Trip, Takahashi Kenji as Mizuki, Iguchi Yuuichi as Sei. Okay, go figure.

Art: 5/10 Okay, they really screwed up the art. Either the studio was on a low budget or there were screw-ups in other departments. The second episode was aired in its incomplete state; the art was unfinished and it just looked bad. They released the completed one the next week but things went downhill from that unfinished episode. The art was inconsistent and the animation half-shoddy.

Overall: 7/10 While the art was sloppy and the character development barely there, I don’t know, I quite enjoyed watching DMMD. It’s one of those guilty pleasures, I guess – it’s bad but you can’t help liking it somehow. We had a few good laughs from watching DMMD but we probably wouldn’t watch it again.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

gekkan1

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Story: 9.5/10 Such a unique story about a high school girl (Sakura) confessing her love to a completely thick-headed manga artist (Nozaki) but having him take her as a super fan of his manga instead. Sakura ends up agreeing to help Nozaki out with his manga art and from there, lots of funny things ensue. Along the way, Sakura and Nozaki’s friends come into play and even funnier things happen.

There’s Mikorin, Kashima, Hori-senpai, Seo Yuzuki, and Wakamatsu and a few other side characters. Most of them are Nozaki’s manga assistants even though they think that they’re his only helpers until later on when some of them meet at Nozaki’s house.

I loved the brief glimpses of Nozaki’s manga story in the anime. Kind of like an Inception thing. The ending of Gekkan Shoujo was sweet with a touch of hope. I like my anime to end on hopeful notes.

It’s not your typical romcom anime. Every time you think something is going to happen and you know what it is, it turns the other way and makes you crack up instead. I’ve lost count of how many times the predictable turned unpredictable.

gekkan2

Characters: 10/10 Nozaki is the most ignorant character to ever exist. He doesn’t get hints at all! It’s funny and awkward to watch at the same time because he just keeps letting Sakura down lol.

Sakura is adorable! She’s the poster girl for kawaii, seriously. I love those bows in her hair and her dedication to Nozaki even though he totally doesn’t get it. She is such a great girl and I envy her ability to make friends easily.

My favorite character is probably Hori-senpai though. It was unexpected but he ended up being my favorite. There’s something about his maturity (that none of the others seem to possess haha) and the way he treats Kashima that I like. Oh, and he’s cute with his fringe let down.

Mikorin is the kind of person who adores flattery and likes to act like the flirtatious kind but he’s actually painfully shy and feels embarrassed when he tries to be flirty. Ah, he’s so cute. Kashima’s concept is interesting – a girl being the high school prince – and I love that the only person she listens to is Hori-senpai. Wakamatsu is the bimbo freshman basketball player. His helplessness is hilarious.

Everyone had their moments and everyone’s personalities meshed so well with each other’s.

gekkan3

Sound: 9/10 The OP and ED were really fun and upbeat as were the videos. I didn’t notice the background music though.

The voice acting was A-class. I never expected Nakamura Yuuichi to voice such a doofus but he actually played the role really well. Side note: I ADORE him as Kumo Tenka in Donten ni Warau which started airing recently. I’m new to Ozawa Ari who voiced Sakura but I’m impressed by the non-whiny-ness and will look out for more of her roles.

Other names were more familiar: Okamoto Nobuhiko as Mikoshiba Mikoto (hey, I got his name right on my first try), Nakahara Mai as Kashima Yuu (she voiced Sunako from Yamato Nadeshiko!!), Sawashiro Miyuki as Seo Yuzuki (Miyuki-san never fails to impress me), Ono Yuuki as Hori Masayuki (lol who would have thought?!), Kimura Ryohei as Wakamatsu Hirotaka (as always, Ryohei-san played the air-headed jock perfectly).

Art: 10/10 Great character designs, great settings, great colors and wonderful animation. The art was fantastically detailed, especially the manga scenes. I like!

Overall: 10/10 An unpredictable and hilarious romcom that has gone into my book of favorites.

Sengoku Basara: Judge End

sengokubasara8

Sengoku Basara: Judge End From L-R: Ishida Mitsunari, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Sanada Yukimura, Date Masamune

Story: 6/10 This was just a remake of Sengoku Basara: The Last Party and a worse one, if I may say so. I don’t know why they couldn’t have just left it at The Last Party which was already pushing the limit of freakin’ absurdity. There was WAY too much going on in The Last Party for the absurdity to be awesome and funny. Can you even imagine what they did to Judge End? Yeah, it was crappy from the get-go.

The only thing I got from the whole season: Mitsunari and Ieyasu are enemies after Ieyasu killed Hideyoshi. Mitsunari feels betrayed by Ieyasu but more importantly, he wants to take revenge for Hideyoshi so he sets out to rally allies to go to war against Ieyasu. Then there’s Ieyasu who overuses the word ‘kizuna’ to make a point which we kind of got after the first three times he said it. He doesn’t believe in Hideyoshi’s plans to take over the world by force and instead aims to create a world made of bonds.

Basically Judge End tried to do WAAAY too many things at the same time – the battle of Sekigahara, the attempt at reviving Oda Nobunaga, Mitsunari and Ieyasu’s clashes, the introduction of new characters ON TOP of bringing back tons of old unimportant characters. The lack of exaggerated fights also made me think that Judge End shouldn’t have made the cut. We watch Sengoku Basara for the ridiculous fights and epic characters. There was nothing epic about Sengoku Basara: Judge End.

If you were looking for heated Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura action this season, you’ll be sorely disappointed like we were. They had minor roles this season and even then their fights were unimpressive. We did get to see the addition of Saika Magoichi, Kuroda Kanbei and Fuuma Kotaro but they weren’t even important.

sengokubasara9

From L-R: Katakura Kojuro, Date Masamune, Sanada Yukimura, Sarutobi Sasuke

Characters: 8/10 Ishida Mitsunari was even more extreme this season. His actions and words were too much for me. Great haircut, poor personality. Two words about Tokugawa Ieyasu: just no.

Masamune and Yukimura had significantly fewer lines but Kojuro and Sasuke had a few more. I feel like there was less emotion in Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura’s voices. Masamune had a hissy fit this season but was quickly put in his place by Kojuro <3

Saika Magoichi was interesting but she didn’t get much character development. I would have loved to see more of her relationship with Maeda Keiji(<3). Maeda Keiji = my number 1 sweetheart.

The characters mostly stayed true to their personalities from previous shows so… moving on…

Sound: 6.5/10 The OP and ED were unimpressive. The ED sounds more suited for Hakuouki and the OP for DMMD -_-

The voice acting was good but nothing great except maybe if you count Seki Tomokazu’s screaming power. That guy can raise his voice by 20 pitches, seriously.

Art: 7/10 I’m not sure I dig this season’s art since it’s different. It’s not bad but I prefer the old style. Nothing much stood out so not much to say here.

Overall: 6.5/10 It was okay. Let’s endless rumble party… away from Sengoku Basara: Judge End.

~

Sorry not sorry about my giddy teenage crush on all these characters. I also know I use a lot of ‘probably’s and ‘sort of’s and ‘maybe’s and ‘quite’s (prolific writers shake their head at me) but bear with my uncertainty lol.

Which of these three shows have you watched? What did you think? What fall anime are you watching? Let us know.

Raine

Not your average blogger/blog reader

Here are some things from ‘blogging guidelines’ and ‘blogging must dos’ that I couldn’t give two hoots about:

1. Looks. I rarely ever give two hoots about how a blog looks. As long as I find the content enjoyable and relatable, for the most part I don’t care. I have – and do – read blogs with bright blue backgrounds and horrible font color that contrast poorly against the background simply because I enjoy the content.

Your blog is bare and barely has any icons on the sidebar – I don’t care. Your blog design is so cheesy that you’re mistaken for a kindergartener’s blog – I don’t care. Your blog is fancy and you paid $200 for someone to do it up – I don’t care. As long as I can read what you have to say and find the ‘next page’ and ‘about’ button, I don’t care. If the blog design really starts taking a toll on my eyes (don’t read blogs with blue backgrounds for too long), I’ll just add it to my RSS feed and read from Feedly or whatever.

It would help if you didn’t have yellow words against a black background or light gray words against a white one or strange alignment or a cheesy header but maybe that’s just what you like. Cool. You don’t want to/cannot afford to spend $150 on a fancy schmancy blog design? Cool. I can’t either and I don’t want to.

Once upon a time, back in the day (maybe 3 years ago) when I used to do link-ups where you have to follow people on GFC, I loathed bad blog designs. Specifically, I didn’t quite care for blogs that had their social media buttons all over the place and sidebars the length of twenty posts. But that was only because I couldn’t find the GFC button and that was frustrating.

2. Niches. Whoever started this whole ‘you HAVE to have a niche’ should just sit down. I don’t care about niches. You have one? Good for you. You don’t have one? Cool, neither do we. Why does everyone have to have a niche? Who is to say niche-less-ness can’t be good?

I feel like these ‘blogging guidelines’ try to make everyone fit into a box. Not everyone fits into a box. Not everyone can fit into a box. Being a social oddball and having never been in a clique, boxes just don’t do it for me and I won’t have you tell me what to do because you clearly have never felt like a social outcast before therefore you won’t understand. I can’t believe I actually spent time thinking about what niche we should fit into.

What I do care about:

1. Content. I want to read about your day. I want to read about real stuff that’s happening. I want to read about your feelings about the things that are happening. I don’t want to read a bajillion how-tos. How many ‘how to be happy’ posts can one write? That is the question. Don’t answer it. Some, of course, are really simple and inspirational. Many others seem phony and unrealistic and ignorant.

2. Language. I don’t mind foul language in blogs, if anything some people really know how to use them to create great effects. I do mind poor grammar and spelling. It’s DEFINITELY, not DEFIANTLY. It’s SHOULD HAVE, not SHOULD OF, know your its and it’s. English is a beautiful language and seeing it being used carelessly makes me cringe. I do, however, respect people who are learning English and putting effort into writing a blog in English. Kudos to you and you put all the other ‘native speakers’ to shame.

I know bloggers who don’t use capitalization or punctuations. It used to bug me but I guess I don’t really mind anymore because sometimes I tweet like that and it’s liberating. As long as you got your grammar together, you’re good.

The end. Just felt like getting this off my chest.

What do you look for in a blog?

Raine

You’re a pretty little flower, I’m a busy little bee

I heard this song the other day when I was bored and shuffling through songs. Beekeeper’s Daughter by AAR if you’re wondering.

A little list of the things I’ve picked up about work:

i-dont-mind-going-to-work1. 9-5 hours suck.

home-from-work2. Don’t take your work back home. It’s unhealthy. Also, by the time work is over, is there even time to do anything??

tumblr_n1l7755naa1tnbpnjo2_1280

3. Pen and paper do wonders when you’re bored/the internet is down.

leaveat6

4. … because most of the people don’t get work done UNTIL it’s 6pm. I don’t get it. What’s wrong with these people?

jonsnowknowsnothing

5. You know nothing, Jon Snow. I’m impressed by how little working people actually know. Or maybe it’s just this place…

foodcourt6. The food court won’t change much within 3 years so expect to fight for tables (in my case, let people snag the empty tables because I’m not aggressive enough) and eat less-than-mediocre food for lunch every day.

publictoilets7. When in doubt, go to the clean ladies’ room. Really. Don’t do anything stupid by going to the toilet on the ground floor.

disgusted3

Me after tasting the ‘honey green tea’

8. The drink machine spits out horrible drinks.

tumblr_m6e8dh4cR91rziwwco1_500

9. There are snakes in the office. Figurative ones. Watch yer backs.

observation

10. You learn something new every day…

Bonus: You re-discover music you haven’t listened to in ages.

Looking back, this post describes my feelings exactly at the time I was slogging away at the office.

What’s work like for you? Ever worked a crappy job?

Raine

Things I have learned from this office lyfe

Y’all, after sitting at a desk for two weeks from 9-5 (not really, it’s more than that), I have noticed a crapload of stuff about an office job that I would never have known. I’ve always told my mom that I don’t think I could – never mind, lost my train of thought and left this sentence hanging ahaha. Anyway, here’s what I learned:

1. I’m appalled at the bad/defaming things that people say about others behind their backs. Like one minute they’re talking bad about someone and the next minute, they’re talking to that someone as if they weren’t just insulting him or her. Er, okay, man. Scary.

2. The customer service department is interesting but it’s emotionally draining. Like, seriously, how many complaints can you read? Apparently hundreds of them in one day. It is not very uplifting.

3. What are dress codes anymore?! For women, that is. People wear the weirdest things to work. I just feel like I’m at the mall…

4. Can one actually spend the WHOLE day on the phone? Apparently so. Can one actually spend the WHOLE day talking LOUDLY on the phone? Yes sirree bob. This guy talked from morning till the end of the work day. It was so distracting. I wonder if that’s his job – to just make phone calls. Also, I wonder if anyone even understands most of what he’s saying. Let’s just say pronunciation and professional lingo are not his forte.

5. You can never have too much tissue in your pocket. My jacket pocket is STUFFED. #soAsian I don’t trust the toilet paper in the toilets. Instead I take the tissue from the pantry once it’s newly refilled. True story.

6. Don’t trust the ‘free breakfast’ that the department gives out every morning.

7. I just cannot sit properly for too long. Y’all, don’t look under the table while I’m at the desk because chances are I have my shoes off and my feet stacked on the empty cardboard boxes under the desk. Sometimes I have my feet crossed, sometimes I have one knee propped up (only when nobody’s looking), sometimes I have my bare feet resting on the legs of the chair. Dunno how you ladies do it but you have my respect.

Aaand this post was written a while back. I’m back at school, whew. But trust me, I’ve learned lots from my time at the office.

Raine

Summer anime review: Barakamon, Free! Eternal Summer and Haikyuu!!

First off, I’ll have you know that some of the best anime I’ve watched were this year’s summer anime. Second, I planned on writing separate reviews but figured that would take too long and I want to write the reviews while the details are still fresh.

Barakamon barakamon2 Story: 10/10 This goes right up there with K Project, Darker than Black, Rurouni Kenshin and Natsume Yuujinchou. Absolute masterpiece of an anime and adapted from such a simple but beautiful manga.

This slice-of-life anime is about Handa Seishuu (aka Sensei as he is known to the village people), a talented calligrapher from Tokyo, who is sent off to a remote island after punching an art director in a moment of anger in to repent and in the process, try to find his own unique writing style. There he learns to adapt to the slow and laid back and bare country life. This is also where he forms new friendships and bonds with all the strange and crazy people in the tiny village.

It’s so beautiful, I cry. There’s character development in every episode and even though I can’t picture myself living in a town that small, it was all very interesting and I found myself thinking how amazing it would be to live in a town where everyone knows each other.

barakamon1

L-R: Kawafuji, Sensei, Hiroshi, Naru, Kousuke

Characters: 10/10 Naru might start out as one of those annoying kid characters but don’t be fooled. She is the most lovable anime kid. She’s mischievous and adventurous (she has this strange obsession with bugs) and is always bugging Sensei to play with her. Her relationship with Sensei is so heartwarming.

Sensei is the best. He is a goofball with a quick temper but a big heart. He is as handsome as he is old-school. After being told by the art director that his calligraphy is boring and unoriginal, he sets off on a quest to create his own style of calligraphy. He’s a determined guy but with a mentality set to ‘live by the basic rules of calligraphy’, he finds it difficult to break out of the mold.

Then there’s Tama and Miwa, the two 14/15 year old girls who love a good prank and are generally fun-loving. They are the ringleaders of the town’s kids and lead them into all kinds of mischief.

Hiroshi is the oldest ‘kid’ in town at age 17 or was it 18? He’s got a dry sense of humor but is fun to be around.

The other kids are Hina, Kentarou, Daisuke and Yutaka. Hina is a crybaby, Kentarou is a boy version of Naru and the other kids are just part of the gang. There are a few other interesting characters like the Village Chief, Naru’s grandpa and Tama’s brother.

Sound: 9/10 The OP and ED are perfect. I don’t know which I like better. The OP is Rashisa by Super Beaver (coolest band name since Goat Bed but that’s a whole different story). The ED is Innocence by Noisy Cell. I know, what absurd band names… until you listen to their songs.

The background music fit the mood but I don’t remember a particular score catching my interest. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to re-watch it soon.

The voice acting was amazing mostly because of Ono Daisuke’s talent but also because they actually hired kids to voice the children. Usually they get women to do the kids’ roles but Barakamon has real kids playing the characters. I think it felt a lot more raw because you can ‘feel’ the innocence of the kids through their voice acting.

Ono Daisuke as Handa Seishuu (aka Sensei), Hara Suzuko as Kotoishi Naru, Suwabe Junichi as Kawafuji, Uchiyama Kouki as Kido Hiroshi, Kaji Yuki as Kanzaki Kousuke, Furuki Nozomi as Yamamura Miwa, Okubo Rumi as Arai, Endou Rina as Kubota Hina, Tamako Sugino Tanuki as Kido Yuujirou, Kimura Seiya as Oohama Kentarou.

Art: 10/10 Handa Seishuu is so cute. <3 <3 I love his character design. Actually everyone’s character design fits their personality. Naru’s expressions are the bomb.

The calligraphy was brilliant – every piece was breathtaking!! The animation was smooth and I didn’t find any inconsistencies. Gorgeous setting and warm-toned colors – so inviting.

Overall: 10/10 Watch this. I love it so much. It’s heartwarming and a great feel-good show. Another classic example of simplicity can be beautiful.

Free! Eternal Summer

free12

L-R: bottom row: Haru, Rin, Rei; second row: Nagisa, Makoto

Story: 5/10 So bad, seriously. I don’t know if more time between this season and the last would have resulted in a better storyline but I doubt it. The story is about Haru this time (sort of) and Rin and Sousuke(why). I don’t want to recount the story for fear that I might get riled up and go off track so here’s the gist:

Haru, Makoto and Rin are in their last year of high school while Nagisa and Rei are in their 2nd year of high school. They’re determined to go to the swimming championship this year but since it’s Haru, Makoto and Rin last year of school, they also have to concentrate on their studies and plan their future. But wait, before that, Sousuke who is Rin’s childhood friend, shows up in town and starts going to Rin’s school, bringing more drama in the process.

Most of the whole season focuses on Haru not knowing what he wants to do in the future (boy doesn’t want to go to college, doesn’t want to take up swimming as a profession, basically just wants to be ‘free’ whatever that means) and Sousuke being jealous of Rin and Haru’s relationship (boy needs to take a chill pill and realize that nobody is out to snag his boyfriend) while hiding a ‘secret’ from Rin.

I think the name Eternal Summer should have been played down a little simply because of the fact that they kept stressing the point of everyone not being to swim together after school ends. They made it sound like a sure fact – like oh no, this will be laaast time they get to swim together. Sorry, what ever happened to public pools and school holidays?? I mean, I understand that sometimes it is difficult to meet up after high school because everyone kind of goes their own way but the way they made it sound was way too dramatic.

Completely unrealistic story part: Haru FLEW TO AUSTRALIA with Rin in the middle of the school year after he fought with Makoto. Who even does that? Where does the money come from? Also, the episodes didn’t add up. The first half of the season was about each character’s troubles then halfway through the season, the story changed and well, it was disjointed from there.

Characters: 7/10 Haru’s character development was in the negative zone this season. He was a whiny, angry, ungrateful brat. Makoto should have just slapped him across the face. Instead of being a supportive friend, he has been holding Makoto back all this while with his indecisiveness and bratty behavior. So annoying. His catchphrase this season is ‘What future?’ instead of ‘I only swim free’. It got annoying after the first three times he said it.

Makoto probably had the most development. Like Haru, Makoto has always kind of been uncertain of what to do in the future but in this season, we got to see Makoto find his place in the world after teaching kids how to swim and realizing that that was what he enjoyed. It was pretty sweet. I am really glad that there was character development for Makoto since he is my favorite character. Makoto is everything – kind, gentle, handsome, affectionate, patient and CHECK THOSE ABS OUT.

Nagisa and Rei improved in this season too even though I’m sure their lines were decreased.

Rin was also surprisingly better this season too. I didn’t like him in the first season but I have to say, after his hissy fit in season 1, he seems to have matured/improved a lot. I like that. He’s waaay better than Haru in terms of character personality.

I did not like the addition of Sousuke’s character. It was painful to watch even though some might argue that he’s the best part of Free! Eternal Summer. Sousuke basically acted like Haru in season 1 except with an injury. His story didn’t feel relevant to the main story and why does everyone want to ‘swim with Rin once more’?? He and Rin’s relationship are like two emo high school girls. -_- ‘Because I knew you would cry’ is probably the poorest reason for hiding the fact that your shoulder is broken and you can’t swim anymore but you’re just forcing yourself so that you can swim with someone.

Kisumi was interesting though but we saw all of 30 seconds of him for the entire season. Oh well. We also got to see much less of Gou even though she’s one of the more interesting characters. Less Coach Sasabe but more Ren and Ran (Makoto’s siblings awww).

Momo is the cutest. I LOVE him and his sea otter impressions. He’s as hilarious and sweet as his brother Captain Mikoshiba Seijuurou (ah, my heart goes doki doki for this cutie). Minus points for the lack of Mikoshiba scenes. Okay, there were a few scenes but I love my Mikoshiba too much for those bits to be enough.

free13

L-R: Sousuke, Rin, Ai, Momo

Sound: 9/10 If it’s one thing that they’ve kept consistent this season, it’s the music. The OP is by OldCodex again and somehow we managed not to listen to it at all. I don’t know, there’s a lot of screaming. The ED is Future Fish by Style Five (haha, yeah, Haru, Makoto, Nagisa, Rei and Rin) and it’s as catchy as Splash Free, maybe more. I love it. Neo Blue Breathing (who even comes up with these titles and what do they actually mean??) is awesome.

Makoto’s character songs are great but the rest are just okay. The background music is even better and I can’t wait for all the tracks to be released.

The voice acting was consistent. Old cast: Shimazaki Nobunaga as Nanase Haruka, Suzuki Tatsuhisa as Tachibana Makoto, Tsubasa Yonaga as Hazuki Nagisa, Hirakawa Daisuke as Ryuugazaki Rei, Miyano Mamoru as Matsuoka Rin, Miyata Kouki as Nitori Ai, Yanaka Hiroshi as Sasabe Gorou, Watabe Akeno as Matsuoka Gou, Yukino Satsuki as Amakata Miho, Tsuda Kenjirou as Mikoshiba Seijuurou.

New cast: Suzumura Kenichi as Mikoshiba Momotarou (as adorable as SuzuKen gets), Hosoya Yoshimasa as Yamazaki Sousuke was ehhh but I guess his voice fit Sousuke’s size??

Art: 10/10 What can I say? KyoAni’s best art and animation yet. Stop it, Makoto is infinitely HOTTER in this season. I melt.

I love that there were more clothes this season as in more outfit changes. I can’t get enough of everyone looking so good in whatever they’re wearing. Hah, there was tons of fan service so don’t worry, the swimming boys are still in epic shape and look better than ever.

The animation is wonderful!! Absolutely flawless. I love the attention to detail and the ending video topped the first season’s which is saying something because how can you top Rin splashing in water in the Sahara Desert lol? Makoto as a fireman. Makoto as a fireman. Makoto as a fireman. The end.

Overall: 7/10 I know this review sounds critical of Free! and while I am disappointed in the poor storyline and lack of character development, I have a love-hate-love relationship with Free. Everything about Free! is beautiful, just not the parts that are most important aka the story. I would probably say that I enjoyed the first season better (minus the betrayal of Rei part).

Haikyuu!!

haikyuu1Story: 7.5/10 This is a story about high school volleyball. Most sports anime have the same concept: the high school team trying to win some kind of championship (except maybe Free! where there’s a lot of high school drama between boys lol jk). And how interesting can that get, you wonder? Actually, very. I enjoyed Kuroko no Basuke immensely.

The story is centered around Karasuno High School and its volleyball club. Kageyama (aka King of the Court) and Hinata, who were originally from rival junior high schools, transfer to Karasuno. They both join the volleyball club where they learn to put aside their old rivalry and play as a team. Because of their skill and talent, they become quite the duo but even then they soon learn of the importance of training and working together in a team.

Man, I don’t really know how to summarize the story but to simplify it further: The story is mostly about those two but then there’s also the challenges faced by the whole volleyball team and the main goal is to win the Inter High volleyball competition.

The episodes near the ending were a bit too far-fetched but luckily the ending wasn’t too unrealistic. The last episode was weird though… I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t watched. Haikyuu!! has 24 episodes but it sure didn’t feel that way. Everything went by really quickly, meaning there was a lot of action so no boring moments.

haikyuu2

Teams: Karasuno (orange and navy), Aoba Jousai (white and green), Nekoma (red and black)

Characters: 8/10 Wow, there are too many to list. I’ll just give you Karasuno’s members. Kageyama Tobio, Hinata Shouyou, Tanaka Ryuunosuke, Sawamura Daichi, Nishinoya Yuu, Sugawara Koushi, Azumane Asahi, Tsukishima Kei, Ukai Keishin, Yamaguchi Tadashi, Takeda Ittetsu.

Kageyama is okay. I probably don’t like him as much as Kagami from KnB even if he did turn down the obnoxious ‘King of the Court’ behavior. Hinata is better. Maybe too enthusiastic but a better comic relief than Kuroko. I liked Nishinoya better than I expected to. Tanaka is hilarious. I just wish they focused less on Kageyama and Hinata since the other members got far less screen time. Coach Ukai is cool.

In terms of character development, it was there though I wouldn’t say there was a lot of it… Well, there’s probably going to be a season 2 so hopefully we’ll see more character development there.

Oh then there’s Kuroo Tetsurou and Oikawa Tooru. Because they are important. And so fine. You did not hear that from me ahaha.

Sound: 8.5/10 NICO Touches The Wall has gone into my music folder. They sang one of the three EDs and I love it. I don’t remember what the other EDs sound like so I’ll probably go listen to them later. The OPs were okay (better than OldCodex IMO).

Here we have some (fairly) new voice talent: Ishikawa Kaito as Kageyama, Murase Ayumu as Hinata, Hayashi Yuu as Tanaka, Saito Soma as Yamaguchi. Regulars: Hino Satoshi, Okamoto Nobuhiko, Irino Miyu, Kamiya Hiroshi, Hosoya Yoshimasa, Uchiyama Kouki, Tanaka Kazunari,  Nakamura Yuuichi, Namikawa Daisuke, Kaji Yuki, Yoshino Hiroyuki… Everyone was great!

Art: 9/10 Nice art, great animation. The movements were fluid so the actions felt very real. The setting was nice – I liked the whole countryside feel to it… Kind of like Barakamon but not as small.

Overall: 7.5/10 Good show. It’s fast-paced and volleyball is an interesting sport so I recommend it. Prepare to be high strung on emotions while watching it.

And that’s it! We watched wayyy too many shows in such a small frame of time so my recollection of each show is jumbled up.

Raine

Driving around town and other highlights

Today was one of those chill days. And this is also one of those delayed posts that I finished but didn’t get around to posting. No idea why.

Highlights:

1. Skye was a passenger in my car. Er, I mean, my mom’s car. We went for a spin and I drove. Of course I picked the hour when traffic wasn’t too bad. I don’t think I could handle heavy traffic. My mom and Skye approve of my driving. ;)

2. We had an okay lunch then had a very brief walk around IKEA. Played around at the cutlery section where I found this HUGE metal serving bowl. When I say huge, I mean HUGE. I wish I’d taken a picture. If you have an IKEA nearby, go check it out.

3. Spent the afternoon writing and it felt really good.

4. I painted my nails. China Glaze – Exotic Encounters and China Glaze – Salsa. I looked into my folder of nail pictures the other day and felt really sad. I stopped doing nail art when I was in Vancouver. I should pick it up again. It was such a great creative outlet for me.

5. Went for an evening errand run with my dad and Skye. It was interesting. Dad says: learn how to sing some Japanese songs, it’ll help you to learn faster. That awkward moment when you have been having karaoke sessions in Japanese with your sister and your dad thinks you can’t sing a single Japanese song. Er, yeah, our neighbors can testify to us bawling Hikari by Fukuyama Jun at the top of our lungs.

6. And then I was a passenger in Skye’s car. Er, I mean, my dad’s car. Skye has been taking lessons from Dad. Wha, automatic car, you say? Nope, she’s learning how to drive a manual car first. And let me tell you, she’s a boss at that darned stick shift that I try to stay away from. I was impressed that she managed to get the car to move right away. I’m not too good at balancing the clutch and accelerator. I give her an A+ for being a boss at balancing the clutch AND changing gears without looking at the gear box. And this was her 3rd time behind the wheel. Like ever. Soon I’ll have a certified chauffeur to drive me around T_T I’m ecstatic.

How was your day?

Raine

My thoughts on Sengoku Basara

It’s a party and it’s a Sengoku Basara kind of party today. We watched SB early this year and couldn’t get enough of it.

sengokubasara6Story: 10/10 Sometimes the story doesn’t take itself seriously with the over-the-top fight scenes (mostly between Masamune and Yukimura) and laugh-out-loud lines but there is a plot and the story follows through till the end. The story and characters are based very loosely off real life events and people.

The story is about the clashes between the warring states of Japan. Er… did I take that line from Kingdom? Oda Nobunaga has plans to take over all of Japan and obviously he’s up to no good. He intends to use force to conquer the scattered states. Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura, although from different clans, have the same intention to stop Oda’s despicable plans so they try to rally other states to join them in their counterattack.

Things get heated from there and lots of fun new characters are introduced. The story is epic but not hard to follow so you won’t find yourself lost in anything too complex. It’s supposed to be a fun watch, that’s all.

Characters: 10/10 Date Masamune aka Leader of Oshuu is one of the main protagonists of the story. He’s GREAT!! He’s charismatic and hot-blooded and cool as all heck. He’s got the best lines, hands down. I mean, he had us at, ‘ALRIGHT, ARE YOU READY, GUYS?’.

Katakura Kojuro, his right eye/right-hand man/advisor/strategist/bodyguard/loyal bff/father figure/babysitter/mom/cook/no 1 fan. Yes, Kojuro is all that and so much more. Kojuro’s soft spot is farming, specifically tending to eggplants and leeks. What a sweetheart. He is the one who can keep a reign on Masamune in his own surprisingly effective reverse psychology ways.

Sanada Yukimura aka Tiger Cub aka Young Tiger of Kai aka Oyakata-sama’s #1 fan. Yukimura is also overenthusiastic and hot-blooded but in a different way. While Masamune is independent and doesn’t care for people smothering him, Yukimura is still a kid and is really attached to his master, Oyakata-sama. He wields a pair of badass spears.

Sarutobi Sasuke. Kojuro is Masamune’s protector as Sasuke is to Yukimura. Takeda Shingen aka Oyakata-sama aka Tiger of Kai. He loves Yukimura like a son and wants to see him succeed him as the leader of his clan.

Maeda Keiji. Who can not love Keiji? He’s the gentlest, most peace-loving, most carefree and kindest one of them all. He’s the sweetest of sweethearts, he’s got a badass 7-foot long sword AND he’s got a little monkey friend called Yumekichi. You’re in love with him already, I know. NO, YOU MAY NOT HAVE HIM. He’s mine.

Other characters: Uesugi Kenshin, Kasuga, Chosokabe Motochika, Mori Motonari, Matsunaga Hisahide, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Akechi Mitsuhide, Oda Nobunaga, Ichi.

The camaraderie is, once again, enviable. Everyone’s got a best friend/mentor and they always have each other’s back. I love friendships like that.

Sound: 9/10 LOVED the opening credits scene with the dancing soldiers. So funny! The voice acting was top notch too. I accidentally mixed up the OP from the first season with the second. The OP is by abingdon boys school which is about my new favorite Japanese band because they also sang for Darker than Black (favorite show yet). The ED for SB was okay.

What a fun cast!~ Nakai Kazuya as Date Masamune – I don’t know if anyone else would have made a better Masamune especially with all the English lines; Morikawa Toshiyuki as Kojuro – tears of joy because Skye joined the Morikawa fan club after watching Sengoku Basara; Morita Masakazu as Keiji – YES PLEASE I LOVE MORITA MASAKAZU, NO I AM NOT AN OBSESSED TEENAGER… maybe… he’s just got an amazing voice and he seems like a likable guy in real life; Soichiro Hoshi as Sanada Yukimura – haha, it’s great, we didn’t expect him to be Sanada but he’s perfect as Sanada; Koyasu Takehito as Sarutobi Sasuke – another new favorite seiyuu of ours. Paku Romi as Uesugi Kenshin. Fujiwara Keiji as Matsunaga Hisahide – eeeeee! <3

Art: 9/10 Really consistent and clean lines. Great character designs too! Everyone is unique and whoever did the costume design should be applauded. The studio did a great job with the animation. The action scenes were breathtaking except for one fight between Masamune and Yukimura where it looked like they forgot to do some touching up for the art.

Overall: 9.5/10 Best samurai anime since Rurouni Kenshin but on a completely different level. If you’re looking for something highly enjoyable, I highly recommend Sengoku Basara. It is SO good.

Are you ready guys?! Here we gooooo!

Raine

Lately

welcome-pumpkin1

I have a long overdue update of how things have been. Firstly, hello October! I’m seeing lots of excitement over the fact that it’s October.

While the excitement over pumpkin spice latte, October 3 which for some reason is of some importance because of Mean Girls (which I still don’t get why has to be a reference for almost everything) and Halloween everything are beyond us, we do appreciate beautiful fall foliage, cooler weather, and the pumpkin patch that we’ve seen in our neighborhood!!

Halloween is around the corner. We don’t celebrate it but it’s a big deal here, isn’t it? If you need us, we’ll just be here… hiding behind our computer screens LOL. We are wondering if any kids from the neighborhood will come around trick-or-treating. We’ll have to run out to Costco to get candy. Speaking of which, we just came home with a big box of chocolates. Because they were on sale and you know, because chocolate.

Anyway, on with the update:

1. I have a tan. I arrived all white and pasty after four months of winter in Vancouver. I’m approximately three shades darker. -crying in the corner- Even with copious amounts of sunblock and an umbrella, I still got tanned… Oh well. See, you don’t need to go to the beach to get a tan.

2. Girl power prevails. We’re miles away from home and we’ve had to do stuff that we’re not used to doing (read: have never done before).

We did okay, I think. I managed to get a decent phone plan for us, we managed to apply for internet and electricity service AND set up our own modem, I ordered a printer and set it up, we managed to ‘assemble’ our own furniture (okay, it was pre-assembled but we had to cut it out of the damned boxes because the tables were stuck inside), we’ve hauled stuff way heavier than ourselves, we’ve unscrewed bulbs and bought insect spray that we had to use on a cockroach (omg). That’s taken care of at home by our dad and in Vancouver, our brother. So this is all new to us.

Sometimes I am torn between thinking of myself as a princess who would much rather leave the ‘tough’ work and techy stuff to Dad and a do-it-yourself-and-depend-on-yourself kind of girl who takes interest in how Dad fixes the door. I guess that would make me a warrior princess? Just call me Xena. Lol jk. My mom has always told us that girls can do or be anything that guys can, sometimes even better (#badassmom/#ladybossadvice/#onlyfemalemanagerinherdepartment).

In short, you can do this, ladies. You are just as capable as a man. Except maybe for trying to lift a mattress by yourself lol.

3. I occasionally find myself thinking about the astronomy class that I took in my Vancouver uni. I still can’t believe that I finally took an astronomy class and what more the professor’s love and enthusiasm for the subject made it even better. I find nature incredibly fascinating and in part I have my mom to thank for this. We had quite a few books about things like volcanoes, wildlife and nature in general while growing up. Astronomy is one of those things I have marveled at since young and wanted to study even if it was only for the briefest four months in college. And I did it and I’m happy that I did.

I even learned about black holes which was something I have always been very fascinated about. I remember asking my dad how black holes worked (I think it was while we were watching some outer space show, maybe Star Trek) and he couldn’t really tell me. They seemed scary and interesting at the same time. Astronomy tidbit of the day: black holes are massive dead stars that collapse from the sheer weight and pressure exerted onto itself.

And one thing that I took away from the class is that astronomy is for everyone. Everyone can learn stuff about the universe from the internet or books or whatever. It’s not like chemistry where you have to memorize chemicals and stuff (ugh, why). I always thought that you had to be a super physics genius to get astronomy. Which is why I’m motivated to start reading up on astronomy stuff and subscribing to newsletters (if you know any, let me know). Did you guys read about the story of how the ‘Man in the Moon’ came about? The article came out a few days ago and apparently, the craters on the moon aren’t formed by asteroid impact but rather, a volcanic event. Very cool stuff indeed.

I am still upset that I didn’t get to go to at least one star viewing event but I know one day I will go (very Disney-like of me, I know… I’m thinking Rapunzel finding her new dream ahaha). And here’s what I also learned from astronomy which somehow isn’t ingrained into everyone’s well of common sense: there is so much more out there than meets the eye and you are just the teeniest tiniest most microscopic speck in the universe. The end. Infer for yourself.

4. My sister and I are taking an art history class this semester and the professor is HILARIOUS. He throws in the wittiest, driest, most accurate references all the time and we’re just rolling on the floor, laughing. Well, it’s more like trying not to burst out laughing so there’s more shaking and trembling in our chair than anything. The professor knows his stuff – seriously, he’s like the only person I’ve known so far who has endless general knowledge. I highly recommend his class and art history in general because it is such a fascinating subject.

5. The library is awesome. That is all. I am in love with Robert Crais’s Cole and Pike novels and was SO happy to see the whole collection in the library. I know I’ve said this many times before but Robert Crais is just a literary genius. I hope he has a book signing nearby so that we can go and tell him exactly that. Picking out The Watchman out of all the books on the thriller shelf two years ago… amazing. The appeal was mostly in Pike’s name though.

6. About the weather (because what’s a ‘lately’ post without weather updates?)… it was cool for a few days – like the 70s – and now the temperatures are soaring back up again (yay -_-). People showed up in full winter gear on the days when it was cool. That was amusing. It’s like they were just waiting to bust out the scarves, boots and heavy sweaters. Which would have been fine if it hadn’t gotten bleeding hot in the afternoon.

7. About food. We have a hangout spot that we love. We’ve been to a Korean BBQ twice and I personally rather like it. I know my mom loves it (hehe). We tried a Japanese place which is supposedly ‘the bomb’ and has lots of positive reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: a cramped and kinda gross place (and trust me, we’ve been to some pretty yucky places before) with a messy ordering system, no waiting area for takeout orders, abrupt and unsmiling staff, and dry, so-so food. We are on the hunt for better Japanese places.

We also tried a Chinese restaurant which had raving reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: nothing that special, nice interior but super salty food, and what the heck is General Tso’s chicken anyway? I’ve never even heard of it and we’re Asian. If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food and you see General Tso’s chicken on the menu, run. Chinese food tip of the day: chicken dim sum will never be as good as pork dim sum.

Cheesecake Factory was disappointing in terms of service and we discovered that we don’t fancy key lime cheesecake. Oh well, at least the pasta was good. We’ve also just recently discovered a Thai restaurant that’s cheaper and WAY tastier than the one we went to twice. The lady is also much friendlier. Score.

On the home kitchen front, we’ve been cooking like nobody’s business. The oven has been put to good use and I hope we get to roast turkey for Thanksgiving this year. The cooking is fun but the cleaning is another story. Who likes washing the dishes anyway?! Or scrubbing that damned pan with the burnt sides?? Please send kitchen help lol.

8. Oh, you know what we’re excited about for the fall? Fall anime. Ahaha, you totally saw this one coming, didn’t you? Well, we’ve got a lineup of shows to watch and we’ve already kicked one off the list. Hopefully I’ll have time to write some brief reviews of the summer anime we watched.

9. In other random pieces of Spud news: we have a cat (if you didn’t read about that); I am on Instagram (it’s getting lonely there, having only one follower); we are in LOVE with Antique Bakery – it is an excellent show with an opening theme we have been playing on repeat and I love the originality of the idea behind the story; checking the mailbox and seeing the parcels I ordered is always a highlight of the day especially when it’s all wrapped up nicely; we are thinking of getting some fall decor for our place (maybe a cute wreath) but have no idea where to look; and we are also thinking of getting plants since we have a little patio outside but we’re not exactly green thumbs so we don’t know what plants to get. Suggestions?

Pretty sure there are tons of other stuff that happened; they are just eluding me at the moment.

What have you been up to lately? Any plans for October?

Raine