Assassin’s Creed movie review: A hit or miss?

The Tuesday I have been waiting for arrived yesterday. We went to watch Assassin’s Creed, the movie adaptation of a popular video game series that blends science with historical fantasy themes.

It was our first time going to the theaters over here so we were pleasantly surprised to find no lines and that it was totally okay to buy your tickets 15 minutes before the movie began. The nice and sunny morning was destroyed by my awkward mumbling to the box office lady who asked me to repeat myself.

We went inside the building, gawked at how different it was from home, stared at the ridiculous popcorn prices, took a few pictures outside the auditorium and went in, ready to watch our first movie in what seemed like years. It felt strange that we got to choose our own seats and that it was so darned bright inside. Even the ads were sectioned into fun facts and then other movie trailers (and I swear there’s a sequel for Planet of the Apes every other year).

You don’t know how tempted I was to start my post with “As a fan of Assassin’s Creed for EIGHT years…” but I figured it would be too cheesy, too boring, too pompous. I have not played a video game in more than a year until last week, a shocking comparison to my high school days (video games, I love you), so you could say that I didn’t think too much about what the plot was going to be like and that I didn’t have many expectations.

This is the part where you look away if you hate spoilers!

As a non-gamer looking for some good entertainment over winter break, the movie was decent. As a gamer, the movie was mediocre at its best. There wasn’t enough action at all. The three times that the main character went into the Animus was all we got. And if you’ve never played the game, Assassin’s Creed is 90% historical and 10% modern day. The way important moments in history are intertwined with an entirely fictional storyline is part of what makes the game so rich and so compelling. And the movie was quite the opposite – 80% modern day, 20% historical.

There was far too much focus on the modern day story, which, I suppose, was used to appeal to a wider audience and not just those who have played the game. Some parts could have been shorter. It was obvious that the movie was only building and focusing on the main character, Cal, to set up a nice background for its movie sequels. The huge miss for me was that Aguilar, the assassin from 500 years ago, did not have a story of his own. The appeal of AC games lie, as I mentioned earlier, with the historical scenes and characters. We don’t care about the main character but we care about his ancestors.

With that said, I loved how dedicated Michael Fassbender was to this adaptation. In 2011 or something like that, I read he was attached to the project and was very surprised that he did not drop out all this while. I was glad because I thought he really looked similar to Desmond Miles (main guy in the modern day part of the games) and his acting was great in X-Men. He was successful in creating a great character out of Cal who seamlessly fit into the AC universe unlike new characters in movie adaptations of video games or comics who often seem out of place. I thought the other actors/actresses did a great job as well. Some part of me wished that they had kept the original modern day characters like Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca, but oh well.

I also did not expect the historical scenes to entirely be in Spanish. It certainly made it more realistic and interesting but there was something lacking about it. I figured it was because the characters didn’t have enough lines. It made everyone seem really stiff because there was less talking so the characters were either nodding or staring at each other with intense gazes.

The cinematography was messy. I thought the Prince of Persia movie did a better job at recreating the feel of the games. I could barely see the parkour because the scenes were cutting wildly from spurring horses to wide angles of mountains to dark silhouettes and blinding white lights. The eagle was iconic but there was no need to keep following it around because it made the panoramic shot of the city lose all its magic (it’s freaking magical in the game). Another appeal of the games (because I can’t help but compare) is the beauty of the historical cities. With the lack of exploration, there was nothing to appreciate about the dusty and poorly lit locations.

While the movie’s Animus didn’t make me cringe as much as I expected to, though there were cheesy sci-fi elements about flying around with metal arms and football field lights, it was extremely distracting to have the scenes cut from the past to the present just to capture Marion Cotillard’s wide-eyed look of anticipation. It made it more difficult to get immersed in the action that was happening in the historical timeline.

I’m glad they did not throw romance into the storyline. I thought Aguilar and that female assassin were going to have a scene together or something but it didn’t happen, thankfully. That would have racked up the cringe factor. I hope that they won’t in future sequels because that would turn it into another romance/action/sci-fi thing. What they should add is some wit and humor but just a little. Like, really little. Too much would take away its essence. In the game, Desmond Miles was a crappy character but his sarcasm made up for all that he was lacking. At the same time, I suppose the serious tone in the movie wasn’t all too bad either.

I enjoyed the soundtrack. I actually thought Jesper Kyd (musical genius who composed the soundtracks for the games; this might be a bit outdated since I only played until AC3) composed it because it sounded similar, but it wasn’t him. It was good though. The rock music at the beginning was also very AC-like because all the game trailers have really awesome non-mainstream songs that sound epic.

Overall, I would give this movie a 7/10. It was a hit AND a miss for me. Would I watch it again? Probably, because Fassbender’s sport shoes and sweatpants look is fab! Just kidding. I wouldn’t mind watching it again but not so soon. People actually clapped after the movie was over! I didn’t yawn or complain which tells me that I found it entertaining. It was nice to be reunited with in-game jargon and understand all the references. I would probably watch the sequel. I was mostly disappointed that people who have never played the game did not get to experience the feeling captured through AC’s use of history as its playground because it was, and still is, a great feeling that inspired me to delve deeper into the subject of history and see video games as a wonderfully unique form of art.

If you want a great story, play the game (preferably, most definitely, infinitely, the second game, AC2) but if you’re not picky and got about 2 hours to spare, I would say give the movie a try.

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My thoughts on Riddick

Aliens — That was the only thing I knew about Riddick. I was pretty sure it would turn out as bad as Oblivion because of the word aliens. The poster didn’t look attractive at all. But my sister was going and it was the weekends, so I went… and I didn’t regret any minute of it. (I also had no idea that Riddick was a sequel and a movie based on a book.)

Riddick wasn’t just an alien show. There were no aliens, actually. There were only two kinds of predators, three if you count in the humans. The movie was a survivor’s tale. A survivor who was being hunted after being labelled for violent crimes. The first thirty minutes of the movie was about survival and problem solving. I didn’t mind that for one thing. It kept the tension going and slowly unfolded the story of Riddick. As a post-apocalyptic fiction fan, I find the perception of daily life in a destroyed world (or in this case, a planet with nothing but vast fields of land) incredibly interesting.

Riddick went on to fight the scorpion-like creatures inhabiting the land and caught himself a puppy who would later on become his loyal companion. In between all this, there was some humor, which really surprised me. It’s not often you find humor in a futuristic movie about danger and survival. (Ahem, I’m totally referring to Oblivio– yaaawn.)

The CGI wasn’t that great, but the action scenes were good. It wasn’t the kind of action that made you cower in the seat with your hands over your face. It was action you find in a normal action movie. You know, all the stealth takedowns, gory violence and several intense moments. No explode-in-your-face action (like Looper, by far one of the worst futuristic movies ever) that made me jump in my seat.

As for the acting, Vin Diesel was nothing short of stellar in his performance. His portrayal of Riddick was an A+ for me because for not one moment I felt that he was an action hero or a hero at all. He was a survivor with a set of useful skills that helped him through the tough days and that was a really good feeling for me because for once, I wasn’t watching some antihero vigilante guy or a hero who was there to play the super good or the super selfish guy. It was like he could only be classified in adjectives — deadly, charismatic, gritty, intelligent, fast.

All in all, I enjoyed it and I would definitely watch it again. If there is a specific kind of sci-fi genre that I love, then this is it.

Freaking plot twister: I wrote this post almost THREE years ago and I did not post it!! Why!! I don’t know why because this post is fabulous in the most mediocre way. I love writing movie reviews and reflecting on this and that about the plot. I believe I was writing for a gaming blog in that year, so you can see how I absolutely loved inserting a load of adjectives to describe Mr. Diesel’s character. I still do. Adjectives and characters – we belong together. Rereading this post makes me miss the movie theaters (cries) and all the fun times we all had. Nostalgic, so darn nostalgic.

Well, I hope you have a new movie to add to your to-watch list now!

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Thank you, 2015. Hello, 2016.

sb-happynewyear I previously put the title as ‘you’ve been real, 2015’ but it sounded like I’m glad 2015 is over. That’s not how I feel about this year though. If I wanted to use ‘real’ in my title, the word ‘surreal’ would be more appropriate.

So how was 2015 for me? is what I always use in my year in review posts.

This year was surreal and filled with lots of firsts. Our biggest first this year was being alone for school over here. When Mom went home right at the beginning of this year, we had to manage on our own and having technically never been away for school alone, we had no idea how we’d do. I’d say we did okay. We fumbled, learned, and grew. For me, the most important thing I learned was to go easy on myself. I’m always very hard on myself and I have control issues born out of fear of things not being done right and also the annoying need to take on burdens by myself but this year I’ve actively tried to let go.

Other firsts: making jams and sauces from scratch (!!), lots of cooking and baking firsts (mishaps and deliciousness all happen in the kitchen, my friends), my sister getting her driver’s license (holla!!), going to our first college basketball game (and subsequently trying to go to all of them this season because we love basketball), taking a flight alone (well, with my sister but it was our first time doing it ourselves), witnessing all 4 seasons in California (fall is gorgeous), first time at a Christmas party, driving through decorated neighborhoods for Christmas, first time going to a craft fair (read about it here), Major’s first birthday (wait, you mean you don’t name your car?), and I really cannot list everything here.

Here have some pictures that I cannot seem to slot into the post appropriately (and please feel free to follow me at my new Instagram handle @raineandraisin because I forgot the password to my other account lol):

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I am rereading last year’s ‘year in review’ post as I write this. Reading the part where I quoted the Barakamon opening theme song, I’m really moved because I feel that I’ve found bits and pieces of myself this year and it’s true that you don’t have to go back to the beginning to find yourself. I compared myself with others less this year and I was kinder to myself (for the most part).

One of the biggest turning points in my life so far has been learning more about Buddhism. Buddhism is something I want to write about one day. Though I have some ways to go, I am determined to learn and practice Buddhism as much as I can. Hustle, hustle, muscle, muscle! (That’s a quote from one of the weirdest, funniest shows we’ve watched this year)

I am also pleased to tell you that this year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed myself more than I ever have. So one of the biggest things that I accomplished this year is getting into an honors program. The thought of doing research is nerve-wracking yet exciting?! These 3 sentences don’t even begin to describe all the feelings I had during, before, and after applying for the program. I wrote 2 long posts about it but never got around to wrapping them up.

I met a number of people this year who have inspired me to do better and learn more. I met new friends and kept up with old ones. I feel like this year I have become a better friend which is nice (oh god my vocab). I am thankful for all the people in my life this year, whether they taught me something or silently motivated me or made me feel like I belong or remained by my side when I most needed it.

As usual, I’m throwing in a bit about my birthday since my birthday is in December and I ended up not writing about my birthday. I turned 22 this month. It was a modest affair (I reread 2013’s year in review post and it seems that ever since I entered my 20s, my birthdays have been really mild). My mom and sister took me out to another fancy lunch AND had dessert just like last year. This time I had a huge chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream and it was deeply satisfying.

My ninja gift givers also pulled off yet another birthday surprise. My sister got me a keychain which is always nice because I used to be a keychain hoarder (had literally 20 keychains on my pencil case at one point in time) and I still do love keychains. I did NOT expect anything so it was a fun surprise. I asked my mom for lipstick but there have been some hiccups with the site that we want to order from so I’m still waiting for that. I haven’t made birthday wish lists in years because as I’ve grown older, I realize that I don’t need material things to be happy on my birthday. I’m happy with just cake and family.

As for our love for Japanese things, I’m happy to say that it was a successful year of discovering Chemistry, watching sooo many new animes, and finding manga gems. Oh yes, we managed to make a huge step forwards in our Japanese learning which is super exciting. Has it already been 2 years since we dove back into the anime/manga world?! Like I said, surreal.

Random: I took 6 weeks of Korean classes this year during summer but sadly haven’t made time to continue learning it on my own. My retention is likely 15% haha but I want to work on it so that all that time and money won’t be wasted. Also, I just really love languages and want to learn as many as I can. Being in California, I would like to learn Spanish buuut I don’t know how doable that’s going to be if I’m still working on my Japanese. This was so random.

Learning a new language isn’t easy and though it has taken us longer than expected to get to this point, it is still deeply rewarding and I want to tell everyone who is learning a new language not to give up even if you think you’ve fallen behind or that you won’t get to where you want to be or that you won’t actually get to use it so why bother. And whatever you do, don’t feel discouraged by people or books telling you that their way is the best and only way to learn the language. There is no RIGHT way to learn a language and it’s perfectly OKAY to go at your own pace.

There is one main thing that I wanted to do this year which I half-accomplished, half-failed at. That was to control my emotions better. I am disappointed at all the times I gave in to my emotions and did/said things I can’t be proud of.

Overall, this year didn’t feel like it went by super fast. It had all the ups and downs and loop-d-loops but it was also a year of accomplishments and solid life lessons. To quote last year’s post but with a different spin: I stumbled and fell now and then, sometimes I was helped up, sometimes I helped myself up, but ultimately I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned this year and for the less pleasant things, I will chalk them up to experience and grow from there. Probably the wisest thing I said last year.

I don’t have a theme song going into 2016 like I did for last year. I hoped that I would find one but I didn’t. I have been trying to think of my ‘word’ or ‘phrase’ for 2016 because I’ve seen lots of inspiring ones out there but ultimately, here I am on the last day of 2015, still undecided. When I think of next year and some of the things that I know lie ahead, a few words come to mind but if I want to pick a word, I want it to encompass both the known and unknown.

Mindfulness.

It’s been a word that has been coming to me frequently and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to bring it up. Mindfulness used to be a word I didn’t understand and didn’t think about often. It is actually a really simple concept – that is to be fully present – yet it is not as easy to practice as we think.

With that, I would like to declare mindfulness as something I would like to actively practice going into 2016.

Here’s to being present and cultivating more compassion! Let’s meet again soon.

Raine
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Movies I watched on yet another long flight (edition 2)

Hello. Hope we are still doing this blog justice by blogging once a month. Here’s a short post.

The Avengers 2

Yes, after trying to work out our schedules to watch it with a friend before summer and ending up not being able to coordinate a proper movie time, I watched it on the plane. I didn’t expect to watch it for another year or so because I hate to admit it but my interest in blockbusters have kind of gone down the toilet.

So what happened in Avengers 2? There was no Loki but there were… Transformers… uh, I mean, Russians… uh, alien Transformers, I guess. Or maybe it was that melting silver dude from Terminator, only less handsome.

Never mind. The plot was okay but nothing to scream about. The enemy was what you would expect of a superhero movie but honestly at some parts, I thought I was watching Transformers. Did anyone else feel that way? There was lots of action and lots of green screen scenes but also plenty of stilted, unnatural conversation. No, actually, I feel like everyone’s lines were limited to like 10 words and most of them were attempts at humor. I didn’t like the lines.

5/10. What a disappointment.

Dragon Blade

Okay, this was a Mandarin+English movie that I watched with subtitles because my Mandarin isn’t powerful enough to get me through a whole movie. The story was about Jackie Chan and his friends who work as peace negotiators on the Silk Road (recall your world history classes for this). They were betrayed and sent to a hard labor camp as punishment… and somehow one day, while they were working at this base, a bunch of hungry and wayward Romans came to invade them. John Cusack was the general leading the small party of Romans who had fled from Rome because some other guy was out to kill his kid brother. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie.

I liked it. It was exciting and intense and gory. I didn’t like the gory parts. I didn’t expect to see John Cusack in a Chinese movie but there you have it. There was lots of camaraderie and fight scenes – signature Jackie Chan movie elements. I wouldn’t watch it again though.

6.5/10

Tangled

After flipping through countless movies and TV shows and music albums, I gave up and picked something familiar. You can’t go wrong with Tangled. I fast-forwarded through all the Mother Gothel parts and listened to most of the songs but ended the movie before it ended.

Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of (Backstreet Boys documentary)

It wasn’t what I expected but it was alright. I expected the documentary to be a journey through the years but somehow they cut out a whole chunk in the middle that range from the Never Gone album to Unbreakable to This Is Us. All the focus was on how they started out and the current album.

I thought the movie would be more personal but mostly it was band-related and only skimmed over some parts which I thought would have been nice to delve a little deeper into. I was also thinking we might get to see live performances but we only got glimpses of acapella performances. But at the end of the day, the movie had its heartfelt moments, great acapella moments, and it showed us even though they are larger than life during performances, the Backstreet Boys are as human as they get. And that’s what we love about them.

Showbiz isn’t easy and I don’t think I could do it so I salute people who can stick true to their values throughout their years in the showbiz. And I salute the Backstreet Boys. They’ve had their own personal struggles but they managed to overcome them and give the fans all they’ve got, and you can see how much each of them has matured.

Proud to be a Backstreet Boys fan. P.S: We are behind you all the way, Brian!

As for other movies, I tried to watch Cinderella after watching bits and pieces while my sister was watching it but I gave up. I wasn’t in the mood and zoned out eventually.

I had high hopes for the Japanese and Korean films since I watched some on a previous flight and enjoyed them but this time, they all sucked. They were all so bad, I couldn’t get through FIVE minutes of any show I selected. The Japanese movies were depressing as heck and one even showed a man’s bare butt in the first 5 minutes. The Korean movies were all somehow related to adult elements which I didn’t care for. Does anyone even screen the movies that they put on flights? Because I could do that for them.

I’m sure I watched another movie and fell asleep halfway but I don’t remember what movie it was. Update: my sister just reminded me that it was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (I had to Google that). I watched it years ago and enjoyed it so I thought, hey, since the other movies aren’t my cup of tea, why don’t I re-watch Indiana Jones? Nope, got about 5 minutes into it and zonked out.

Oh yes, I remember one other show I watched. As you may or may not know, we used to watch White Collar. It was good – and if it’s relevant, Matt Bomer is gorgeous – but we stopped watching halfway after things got in the way and we didn’t have time for TV. I decided to cut to the chase and watch the last 2 episodes of the final season. Have I told you that I do not mind spoilers? So I watched it… and the last episode didn’t even feel like a last episode… which, after I thought about it, was good. I’m not spoiling it for you because almost everyone I know hates spoilers.

That’s all I have. What movies have you watched lately?

Raine
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A short post about music and movies

Good evening! Let’s start my post with a lovely picture of the sunset. It’s funny how the same sky and sun that we all live under can look so different in another country.

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I guess this is the part where I type hashtag ‘no filter’.

Moving on to the movies I watched recently and what’s new on my music playlist because I just, you know, find strange joy in updating everyone about my latest interests.

I watched Focus on the plane. The story begins with how con man Nicky met Jess, an amateur con artist. He takes her under his wing and she soon becomes even better at his game of cheating. In the process, they become a couple. Nicky decides he doesn’t want romance mixing in his type of lifestyle and breaks up with her. A few years later, he meets Jess again. This time, she’s a professional con artist, but he doesn’t know it yet.

Without giving any spoilers away, I found the synopsis a little misleading because it sounded as if the movie was about Nicky meeting Jess years later. In reality, half of the movie was about how they met and how things went from there. The ending seemed a little underdeveloped and rushed for me.

To my surprise, I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. I thought it was just another action/romance flick, but I was deeply entertained by the chemistry between Nicky and Jess. Margot Robbie as the sexy and sophisticated Jess was absolutely delightful to watch. I was surprised to find out that she’s Australian. Will Smith as the lead was surprisingly different in a good way.

I also watched Cinderella. Finally. I think the story emphasizes a very important message that everyone should remember: Have courage and be kind. I loved how the modern retelling of this fairytale explored new themes like perseverance, loss, and humbleness. The Prince had his own story, which made him better than the usual romantic blockhead in previous adaptations.

Cate Blanchett did a stellar performance as the Stepmother. Lily James as Cinderella was perfect in looks and expressions, though she could’ve been a little less breathy and little more natural. Richard Madden as Kit/the Prince was incredibly charming. His looks remind me of a young Brad Pitt. Loved and enjoyed the movie. Oh, and the ending song, “Strong” by Sonna Rele, is beautiful in a magical Disney way!

I watched the Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of documentary. It made me sad in many ways because I was reminded of what entertainers have to go through while trying to put on their best show for fans. They have to smile through the thick and thin just to live up to public expectations. It made me think twice about my teenage dream to be a singer (haha). The documentary is a real treat for fans who love the Backstreet Boys. I wish that they included performances in the documentary, though.

I listened to music for more than an hour on the plane (a really fantastic way to make time pass quicker). I’m actually glad I picked up Taylor Swift’s new album during the summer because I listened to a great deal of her songs. It was fun, though the woman sitting beside me was probably highly irritated by my singing.

I also listened to my first Korean pop album… ever. I always knew I would have a K-pop phase because I love dance pop and electropop music; it was just a matter of when it would happen.

The Korean girl group is called AOA (short for Ace of Angels) and the album is Like A Cat. Catchy pop songs with a touch of amazing R&B? I had this album on repeat. I watched some of their dance videos and was reminded that Korean bands/groups have extremely tight training schedules to perfect their performances and public image. I was impressed. Synchronized dancing? Not something anyone can do. Dancing on high stilettos and in whatever outfits their managers/stylists decide? Definitely not an easy task.

If I had to pick my favorite out of the AOA members, I would probably say Choa because of her distinctive voice and her bold, blond bob that totally suits her. Yes, I’m totally in my K-pop mode right now, talking about the members and all!

That’s all from me today.

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Part 1: anime we haven’t managed to continue

Hello. This is a post that has been sitting in the draft box for way too long and I decided to pick it up and finish it once and for all. Initially I thought this would be a great post to list which anime didn’t catch our attention and why. Then I had second thoughts – maybe it’ll be too harsh, maybe people will think we rant a lot, maybe I should keep it to myself, maybe we should just write positive posts.

One year later, after reading reviews for K Project and Durarara!, I’ve decided to just say what I want to say.

1. Hyouka – Bored indifferent boy joins Literary Club because his older sister asked him to. There he meets an ‘interesting’ girl. Reason: We found the main character interesting and relatable but the story was slow and confusing.

Pro: Nakamura Yuuichi as the main character. Possible second chance: yes.

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2. Durarara! – About some kids and a gang – or is it many gangs? – in Ikebukuro. Reason: Boring and confusing. We may actually be the only ones who didn’t enjoy Durarara even after sitting through half the season and rewatching it just in case we missed some quality content the first time. Apparently there are people who found the show just as ridiculous and boring as we did so it has me wondering how the other people who rated it 9 and 10 found this show ‘awesome’ or ‘the best show I’ve ever watched’.

Nothing seems to make sense even after so many episodes and the main characters (the pathetic school boy and his megane crush) are so boring omg. The attempts at making the story somehow link up to each other were poor and the texting scenes were the worst. Good luck trying to make sense of who is saying what or why they’re even sending messages to each other. No real villain shows up and we’re supposed to be satisfied with some missing girl as the beginning plot. Okay, you know what? There is no real plot throughout the 12 episodes we watched and there were 24 (!!) episodes… makes you wonder why other shows with potential don’t get new seasons or more episodes, jeez.

And I’m sorry but how is Izaya interesting?? He’s supposedly the anti-hero who likes psychological games, playing them on humans to see what they’re made of, and provoking Shizuo. God no. He was the most annoying character for me. Besides those kids and Izaya, there was Celty the headless biker in a Catwoman suit, Shizuo the bartender who enjoys getting violent over every little thing, Shinra the strange doctor who lives with Celty whom he supposedly kidnapped (man, I don’t even know), and the strange sushi man who apparently had some kind of role but we didn’t get that far so I can’t say how big his role became.

Overall, the story is slow, draggy and tries really hard to be dark, mysterious and futuristic, and the characters are horribly bland. Not even the catchy OP and ED could keep me watching or bump the score up for me.

It baffles me as to HOW Durarara!’s rating on MyAnimeList can be way higher than K’s. Did we watch the same show, people?!

Pro: -. Skye’s additional comment: Magic Mike is all I can say. Translation of her comment: slow and boring. Possible second chance: no.

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3. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – Hero meets Demon King who turns out to be a woman. This story reminds us strongly of Spice and Wolf with similar concepts about a country’s economics and interesting characters. Reason: Kind of fell off the wagon and forgot about it. Does Maou’s boobs have to be so big and distracting? I mean, she’s not all about the body since she’s intelligent and tactical but yeah, they were distracting.

Pro: JunJun and Ami Koshimizu (who actually voiced Lawrence and Holo from Spice and Wolf). Possible second chance: yes.

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4. Sukitte Ii Na Yo – two words: aishiteru creep. Slice of life anime about a creepy boy, an emo girl and their high school romance. Reason: the first episode was actually convincing right up till the last minute when the boy suddenly confessed to the girl and kissed her outside the convenience store in front of the guy who had been following her. Yeah, that was REALLY weird.

Pro: T_T none because even Sakurai Takahiro’s voice can’t make the boy less creepy. Possible second chance: no.

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5. Inu x Boku – a girl moves into this Upper-East-Side-like apartment where she finds out that everyone is assigned their own bodyguard (?) and she gets one too. Reason: Boring and elements of ridiculousness.

Pro: Nakamura Yuuichi. Possible second chance: no.

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6. Servant x Service – slice of life anime about civil servants. Reason: dull characters, lame jokes and trying-too-hard feel. It has a similar concept as Working!! which Skye watched and enjoyed, which I watched and didn’t enjoy but it was a unanimous decision to stop watching Servant x Service. I feel like they could have done a better job with the plot since slice of life shows usually have a certain element that can make even mundane day-to-day life activities interesting.

Pro: Tatsun. Possible second chance: only if we run out of shows to watch.

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7. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu – Kyon is a high school student who doesn’t believe in supernatural stuff but the girl in his class, Haruhi, is completely obsessed with the idea that the supernatural exist. Thus they form a club along with two others to investigate any kind of supernatural incidents should there be any reports of such things. Reason: it started out perfectly well – funny, witty and different – but suddenly it turned into a Disney love story mashup and we couldn’t make sense of it anymore. Maybe that’s the appeal of the show but I didn’t care for it. The purple-haired girl did the show in for me. What is she supposed to be? A robot? A supernatural creature? An alien? Oh wait, I think they said she’s an alien…

Oh, and you’re supposed to watch the episodes in a certain order because they’re not all lined up. O… k… a… y…

This story feels like Durarara!’s for me. Not in the sense that the stories or characters are similar but the fact that tons of people adore this show and Durarara! and furiously write elaborate reviews on how fantastic the show is and rewatch the show annually just because they love it sooo much… And I’m just sitting over here trying hard to think of some things I enjoyed about either show. One man’s meat sure is another man’s poison.

Pro: Sugita Tomokazu’s character, Kyon, is hilarious and the only one who’s got his head screwed on right. Possible second chance: no.

x

So there. I have a part 2 of this post because we’ve watched SO many shows but I just didn’t realize until I started to compile this list.

Have you watched any of these? Which ones of these did you like or dislike? Any hyped-up shows that you found boring and worthy of dropping?

Raine
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How we are surviving winter with only two layers

It’s 50F out there (when it’s not 70F, pfft Californian winter) and windy but I walked out this morning in only two layers – a thin cotton T-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt. Now this may not seem like a big deal to people who are still wearing tank tops outside (I salute thee) but if you’re like us and you struggle to think of how to stay warm, read on.

I’ve been seeing people in college bundled up in scarves, coats, boots and beanies since early October when the temperature dropped to… 75F. Omg and I thought I was a water crab (a Chinese saying to describe a person who can’t stand the cold). I think I do okay in the cold but obviously not to the extent of being able to walk out in a tank top right now. Also, since Vancouver, I’ve been telling myself, this is nothing compared to Vancouver, I can do this.

The weather right now is kind of frustrating because while it’s cold, it’s not cold enough to be wearing fur-lined jackets. I tried to wear my fur-lined jacket the other day and nearly passed out from the stuffiness. I’ve since shoved it back into the closet. The other thing that annoys me is the fact that it’s cold outside but the school library is SO. DAMNED. HOT. I walk in and feel like all the furnaces are on full-blast. Why?

Oh, but people are STILL wearing their fur coats, boots, scarves and beanies INDOORS. I don’t understand. How are they not fainting yet? What powers do they have to keep them functional in such a stuffy situation? I’m just sitting there, panting like a dehydrated dog in summer, complaining to my sister about the heat and wondering why I even bothered with a jacket.

I’ve since figured out the perfect outfit combo to stay warm yet not too warm.

Here’s how we’re enduring the mild winter weather without a jacket or scarf: Uniqlo Heattech tops and leggings. I wear my Uniqlo Heattech crew neck long-sleeved top under a T-shirt and I’m good to go from morning till night.

In Vancouver I wore a Heattech top and Heattech leggings every. single. day. I accredit my ability to stay warm in the windy, rainy and freezing Canadian winter to these wonders.

So what is Uniqlo’s Heattech all about? It’s some kind of technology used in clothes to absorb and retain heat. That is a good enough explanation for me but if you want to read in detail what it does, the site tells you a lot.

Pros of Heattech:

#1 reason: They. keep. you. SO. warm. I’m not kidding. Technology is amazing.

2. Minimalistic styles. Just your regular old long-sleeved tees, turtlenecks, crew neck tops, tanks, camisoles, leggings, socks, leg warmers, jeez this is endless. You can go check it out yourself. There’s also a men’s section if you’re interested.

3. They are easy to match. There are so many colors to choose from. We bought a few dark colors and some subtle patterned ones. Your inner fashionista’s idea of mix-and-match heaven.

4. Endless layering options.

5. Soft and stretchy. I love soft clothes. I also love stretchy. Stretchy everything please.

6. LIGHTWEIGHT. Warm doesn’t have to be bulky/heavy anymore. No more rolling around in 3 thick layers.

Cons of Heattech:

1. Too thin/sheer to wear on its own. I think there are some fleece Heattechs which aren’t sheer though.

2. Too warm for certain cases. The other day I wore a long-sleeved Heattech top under a hoodie and it was so freaking hot. I couldn’t take off my jacket because the Heattech is too sheer so I had to bear with it for the entire day… I came home with a headache @_@ The turtlenecks also give me a headache if I wear it in a warm room. Same thing happens to me when I wear a scarf for too long.

~

Best part is, my friends, Heattech now comes in EXTRA WARM so for you guys thinking, oh it may serve you in a Californian winter but what about us in the colder regions? I personally haven’t tried the Heattech Extra Warm products because we don’t need that extra warmth but you should definitely check it out if you’re in the colder parts.

We basically raided the Uniqlo store before coming over. Do we get a member discount? Haha.

Update: It’s finally getting to winter temperatures here and I’m still going out in 2 layers (one Heattech and one sweater).

This is not a sponsored post or paid review in any way. I just think it’s a great way to stay warm in winter. Let me know how you stay warm in winter and if you’re a Heattech fan like us!

Raine
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