We Don’t Deserve Niccolo [Video]

Part one of Attack on Titan’s fourth season is officially over. The manga has recently concluded. And I’ve only just completed episode nine of the latest season. I don’t know whether I should be embarrassed that I’m so completely behind, or proud that I still have no idea about what’s actually in store for the ending.

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One of The Best Shoujo Animes of the 2000s – ToraDora!

Even though the reason behind my revisit of the anime, ToraDora!, still remains unknown, it’s definitely safe to say that this anime is timeless, beautiful, and will forever remain as a truly pure example of how moving and immersive shoujo animes were in the 2000s.

ToraDora is a legendary anime series that is grossly underrated, and if you haven’t already immersed yourself in this wonderful tale of adolescence, the series centers around our two main characters — Taiga Aisaka and Ryuji Takasu. Both teenagers come with their own set of issues, ranging from innocent high school crushes to deeply dysfunctional families, and it’s almost impossible to not get swept up in their daily shenanigans.

While both Taiga and Ryuji are as different as night and day, impossible as it may seem, they have two things in common. Both juveniles are constantly judged for their physical appearance and often have negative assumptions made about them.

For example, Ryuji constantly finds himself cursed with his father’s fierce facial features, as he’s often perceived as a delinquent, despite the fact that his housewife-ish tendencies are unbeatable — not to mention that he’s more caring than you could ever fathom. On the other hand, Taiga’s perpetually tired of other’s drawing conclusions about her based on her tiny physique.

Our female protagonist is petite and packs a mean punch. Thanks to this, she’s been labelled as the ‘Palm-top Tiger’ — a tiger so small, it could fit on top of your palm, yet is still a tiger nonetheless. Due to people often being frightened of her, Taiga only truly has one friend — Minori Kushieda. Much like Taiga, Ryuji also deals with the difficulties of forming friendships, when everybody is constantly avoiding him based on their preconceived notions about him. However, thankfully, there’s one classmate who sees past his physical appearance — the class president, Yusaku Kitamura.

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Great characters

It may be common for shoujo animes to have their very own ‘tsundere’ character, and it’s safe to say that Taiga would immediately be categorised as such. It may also be said that some viewers simply can’t stand ‘tsundere’ characters, which is completely understandable, everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions. Personally, I don’t gravitate towards such characters, mostly because they do often rub people the wrong way. After awhile, their behaviour and harsh treatment towards the other characters can get exhausting. However, I didn’t develop any negative feelings towards Taiga’s character, at all.

As I took some time to search for the reasoning behind this, I realised that it’s due to the fact that Taiga’s treatment towards others are completely justifiable. She isn’t exceptionally mean to anyone, and when she is, it all boils down to the fact that she’s aware of something that the other characters aren’t. While viewers aren’t exactly in the know of her difficult family background, as everything is mainly revealed in the second half of the season, her behavior and the way in which she carries herself all makes perfect sense as the anime progresses on. In the end, Taiga is a good person and there’s absolutely no reason why viewers should dislike her, when deep down all Taiga wants is the best for those around her.

On the other hand, there’s simply no way that any viewer could harbour any negative feelings towards Ryuji. He’s compassionate, trusting, and an all-around good person. In fact, I’m shocked that he’s not included as one of the top anime guys; on any list. He’s able to fight when he needs to, and he’s an excellent cook to boot! You’re sure to be in good hands when you’re around him. Some might argue that he’s not the stereotypically attractive male anime character, but I personally love his character design and I wouldn’t change a single thing about him. He’s perfect the way he is, and judging him based on his looks would just further highlight the reason as to why he’s treated like a delinquent.

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The most charming thing about this series is that viewers don’t only end up falling in love with the main characters. The creators made sure that they equipped each one of their characters with a significant personality. Not every character is as they seem, Kushieda may be cheerful and optimistic, but there’s more to her. Kitamura may be the go-getter class president, but there’s more to him. What I truly appreciate about this series is that the characters don’t exactly feel like ‘supporting characters’ because we’re provided with the opportunity to truly get to know them. Through that, ToraDora truly provides its viewers with an immersive world for their coming-of-age story.

Watch it for the first time, or simply pay it a little revisit

I first watched this anime while I was still in primary school, and I loved it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it was just so good. But how can we all trust the opinion of such a young individual?

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In order to confirm my previous thoughts about the anime, I recently revisited the series. Just for your reference, and my despair as to how many years have gone by, I shall inform you that I graduated university at the beginning of this year. Which ultimately means that since my last viewing of this anime, I’ve entered high school, graduated high school, entered university, and have since graduated from it. Also, while I have absolutely no desire of returning back to my high school years, I’d like to think that I at least possess the years of experience to accurately determine whether or not this series is worth your time. Be it whether you should watch it for the first time, or simply pay it a little revisit.

It’s unique, it’s different

While I can easily see how individuals may quickly write this anime off as your run-of-the-mill shoujo anime, especially compared to the plethora of shoujo animes which currently exists, ToraDora is innately in an entirely different league of its own. We’re all familiar with the boy-meets-girl trope. But you would be hard-pressed to find a rom-com anime as immersive and personal as ToraDora. Even though the main theme of the series can been be simplified and summed up as ‘love’, the story is comfortably complex. It hits you with a storm of emotions, but ultimately leaves you with a feel-good feeling.

Another notable aspect of this anime series that I must point out, is that unlike many shoujo animes — which were adapted from a manga series — this one is complete. It’s nothing amazing for a shoujo series to run for 25 or 26 episodes, however, many of them were solely created to attract more fans to check out their manga counterpart. Which is ultimately unfortunate for those who fell for the anime; and are left to hopelessly pine for a continuation that will never be made. ToraDora is, thankfully, one of the few that successfully leaves viewers satisfied and blessed with its conclusion.

One of the best OSTs

Not only is ToraDora’s dialogue, story and visuals so thoroughly effective at inspiring laughter, and oh-so-many emotions, but what truly triggers one’s feelings is this series’s official soundtrack. While there are certainly many animes out there who can be proud for their outstanding soundtracks, there aren’t as many shoujo animes who can confidently claim that their music has been effective at pulling their viewers’ heartstrings.

While it can’t be said that the music featured in ToraDora is indefinitely the best of all time, it is one of the few that has effectively captured the essence of its most important scenes. We can all admit that nothing hits quite as hard as ToraDora‘s ‘Lost My Pieces’, but the series also contains happy and moving musical gems, such as: ‘Start Up’, ‘Happy Monday’, and ‘READY STEADY GO’.

In my opinion, this shoujo anime literally achieved the perfect blend of lightheartedness to heart-wrenching ratio. And if you’re thinking that that aforementioned statement is literally impossible because it appears to be one of the most unbelievable oxymorons ever stated, I’d like to inform you that ToraDora’s unique enough to have perfectly captured both elements — which makes it one of the best shoujo animes from the 2000s.

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Yumeiro Patissiere 夢色パティシエール Anime Review

Due to my clear negligence of writing any reviews for a very long time, I would say that I’m doing a rather good job of actually committing right now. I thought that I would take a little break from the whole Marvels scene and actually write about an anime. How long has it been since I did one of those aye?

For the past week I have been re-watching the anime: Yumeiro Patissiere. Why? I have absolutely no idea but now I’ve found it to be rather inspirational. Strange, I know, for me to find inspiration -of all places- in a cooking anime. But this anime is definitely more than just a cooking anime, it really instils the importance of establishing a goal and working hard towards reaching that dream. Not to mention it constantly brings up the fact that you should never give up, no matter what.

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Ao Haru Rideアオハライド [Anime Review]

Hello.

I know. I know.

I haven’t been reviewing many animes recently…and there’s a perfectly good reason behind it.

School and life has just been getting in the way between all this and I haven’t even been able to catch up on any anime goodness, much less review anything.

The good news is Spring Break is coming up soon in a couple of days time and I am free to catch up on everything, which of course includes watching anime because honestly, I am so deprived of it.

Seriously, no joke. While I was doing without anime, I wasn’t able to focus on all the drama in the series and I started focusing more on my life, which made me just over-analyze everything that was going on in my life. It’s made me realise that focusing on the drama in my life is very taxing and now I know why I occupy myself with the make-believe drama that you find in animes. Much less stressful but just as entertaining.

I’m getting off task here, today this post will be focusing on the anime adaption of the manga: Ao Haru Ride [アオハライド]

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This anime is still fairly recent, considering that it only finished airing yesterday (22/09/2014).

I’ve been able to complete over these past 12 weeks. Since they only released one episode every week, it’s been pretty easy to be able to fit it in while studying and such. Also, it was really amazing to finally see the characters ‘come to life’. The voice, the colour…it was beautiful. As a fan of the manga from the very beginning, waiting for the chapters to come out one by one, it was breath-taking and heart-stopping.

There will also be a drama adaption coming out soon too, so look out for that if you’re a fan.

Synopsis

Ao Haru Ride is basically an anime centered around young love.
The main girl, Yoshioka Futaba, a middle-schooler is depicted as the typical young shoujo school girl. Misunderstood by the girls and extremely adored by the boys. She’s cute, pretty and oozing ‘femininity’ from every possible angle! Of course, she attracts all the boys with all her physical looks and feminine personality. As an outcome of this, the girls in the school don’t particularly like her very much, in short, they pretend to be her friend while they trash her behind her back. (Like what most teenage girls without a life do.) However, Yoshioka Futaba does not attract the boys on purpose! She actually does not like boys, in general, at all, maybe even to the point of being slightly scared and repulsed by them…except for one guy. Tanaka Kou (Later known as ‘Mabuchi’)

Kou is different from the other guys, he’s gentle, small and maybe even slightly feminine. (It may be because of the fact that he’s slightly feminine that Futaba doesn’t really mind him.) Kou, much like the other guys, starts developing a little crush (I’m not sure if I could refer to it as ‘little’, let’s just say that he liked her so much to the point that he would write her name all over his notebook and even go back just to circle it over and over again.) on Futaba, just that his ‘like’ for her was much more pure-hearted and innocent.

After a while, after a couple more encounters and some light sniffing action (You’ll understand later..), they both decided that they had a mutual ‘like’ going on between them and Kou asked Futaba out. Thought after some stuff, Kou found out that Futaba ‘hated’ guys so he bailed out on their date and stood her up. Also due to some family issues he left and went to a different middle school.

Fast forward a couple of years later and they’re in high school now.

Both of them have changed slightly, Futaba is now no longer feminine and she acts like a complete slob (I’m not sure if I feel very comfortable referring to her as a slob, since I’m always like that and I certainly do not do it on purpose…or maybe I am a slob..) just so that her ‘friends’ don’t leave her and hate her because she doesn’t attract guys anymore. Kou’s moved back too and they meet once again, now that they’re going to the same high school. However, he’s changed too, he’s no longer ‘nice’ or ‘gentle’ and that slight hint of ‘femininity’ is completely gone, he’s actually quite silent and mean now. So life carries on after that … do they still have feelings for each other, do they even remember each other?

You’ll have to find out for yourselves.

Anyway, watching this manga come to life in an anime has been a dream come true for me, I had always thought that it would make a great anime but much like many great mangas, they never get produced as an anime and it really is such a shame. It was quite surprising learning that it would be turned into an anime. However, though it was not a surprise that they ended the series at 13 episodes, though it is quite a shame, I would’ve loved to see it at least reach 25 or 26 episodes.

As for whether there will be a second season, it doesn’t look like it’ll be very promising, which makes sense since they’re probably much more focused on producing the drama version of this series than continuing the anime version right now.
I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for a manga from the shoujo genre but you’re tired of all the cliche storylines. I’m not going to falsely imply that this series is the best and that it’s completely out-of-this-world so much so that it would knock your socks off. I am going to say, however, that it doesn’t really follow to the normal ones in the sense that it jumps from the past to the present and it shows how much people can change over time. It also shows the true meaning of friendship and how incredible it is when people can work so hard for another person just out of pure love.

I thoroughly enjoyed the anime version and I just hope that the manga releases more chapters soon.

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Sekaiichi Hatsukoi 世界一初恋 Anime Review [First Impression]

Now, before I even begin to say anything, I am not a YAOI fan and I swore that I would never ever watch Junjou Romantica. Now before people start sending me anonymous hate mail, I’m not particularly against YAOI, I just can’t develop any liking towards it. Plus as I have mentioned before, I have learnt to cope with the YAOI side of things in this anime by picking the most feminine guy out of the two and just imagining that he is of the female gender. Now THAT makes my heart pound uncontrollably.

 

Anyway, we’re getting off topic here people!


 

Synopsis:

 

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is an anime adaption of the manga: ‘Sekaiichi Hatsukoi’. It is based around the main protaganist, a 25 year old man (Onodera Ritsu) that quits his dad’s editing company to join another company because his colleagues were always teasing him, saying that he was only at his current position because his dad was the head of the company.

At his new company he is placed in the shoujo manga editing section instead of the literature section which was where he originally wanted to hold a position at. Surprise surprise! Turns out the boss of the shoujo manga section, Takano Masamune, was Ritsu’s ‘boyfriend’ back in high school. Once that huge secret is revealed Masamune claims that he will make Ritsu confess his love towards him once again.

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One thing I forgot to add, there’s an awkward ‘thing’ that’s going on between them right now because for the last ten years that they’ve been away from each other, both of them thought that the other one played with their feelings and left them broken-hearted. Also, since Ritsu decided to move houses, he finds out that he’ll be next door neighbours with Masamune! I’m not even sure whether I think this is absolutely classic or just plain cliche..

 


 

 

Now on to my personal thoughts about this anime. Honestly, I thought that this anime would be the less explicit version of Junjou Romantica but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m just going to say that the level of explicitness is pretty much on par. Just that I find the characters to be way hotter in Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. But I guess it’s not completely fair since I only know the two main characters of Junjou Romantica, only because they’re on the covers.

Also, another confession that I have to make, this is my first time seriously watching a YAOI series and I definitely think that this is really inappropriate for teens under the age of 15. I would say that this is really a MA15+ material. I’m not going to lie there are many overly sexual scenes but they don’t really go pass the heated make-out sessions. I could be wrong after all, I’m only up to episode 7.

By the way, Onodera and Takano are not the only YAOI couple in this series, there are 3 couples all together, if I’m not wrong. I’m not going to lie, I have mixed feelings about the character that Nakamura Yuuichi is playing. (Hatori Yoshiyuki)

 

Sure, his voice still makes me melt and I want to just hug him but those damn words that are coming out of his mouth, all those lovey dovey things that I want to hear… ARE BEING DIRECTED AT ANOTHER GUY!

 

Again, I am not a homophobe, but just imagine this, your boyfriend is ditching you and saying erotic things to another guy.

How would that make you feel?

That’s how I feel!

 

Now let me just insert a little rant about one of my favourite Seiyuus. Nakamura Yuuichi and I go way back, ever since my giant crush on him when he played Ikuto, my heart has been a slave to him. I can recognise his voice from any role, yes, even when he’s playing a man cross-dressing as a woman. Shout out! Tsukimiya Ringo!

 

 

Anyway, back onto the real topic here, aside from all the ‘new’ things that still continues to overwhelm me. I find the storyline moving way too fast. I’m the kind of person that usually watches Shounen and Shoujo series so I’m not very familiar with the structure of the Shounen Ai type animes. I’m only used to the innocent love in all those Shoujo series where I build up all those cute hug scenes or those sudden eye-contact scenes until the very last episode where I’m rewarded with that little simple kiss that just ends with a peck. But that’s all okay with me because I think it’s absolutely magical.

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However, with Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, it is completely different. I’m just whacked in the face with a full-on make-out session in the very first episode, it just shocked me and I didn’t know how to react so I laughed. Hit ‘pause’. Before proceeding to scream into my pillow.

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I’m still not used to it though, I’m already up to the 7th episode and my reaction is still the exact same. Call me immature but holy crap man, how can you get used to seeing a kiss scene in every single episode?!

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Now aside from all the romance going on, I also really love the atmosphere that this anime creates. I am a big fan of watching the process of editing things, especially books and of course, mangas. (I’m also well-aware of the annoying process, seriously, you have no idea.) But the result is well worth it! So just being able to watch that, really just makes my day, I could watch people working like that for hours on end. It’s crazy.

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So far, I have many positive things to say about this anime, it’s funny, the seiyuus just melt your hearts, I love the drawings, there’s hot guys, the storyline is good and I love it’s atmosphere. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it is a little bit too explicit for me. But that’s just me.

However, my favourite thing about this anime is how hilarious it is. Seriously, how can you not love it when this happens?

 

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Is this not just the best?

 

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The anime on the other hand is not as bad, and if you’d enjoy a laugh and some romance then I suggest you look into it. It can get quite awkward though so, just be prepared.

I also really enjoyed that scene in the ending song, where both of the main characters are sitting down in their junior high days, reading books. As a book lover, that really hits the spot and I don’t know somehow, it inspires me.

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That’s it for me, if you want to try something new then why not try watching this?

Anime Review: [Tamako Market] [たまこまーけっと] (Spoiler..?)

Hi, I know it’s been quite some time since I had last posted an anime review.

Tamako Market Cover Shot

If some of you don’t already know, I’m currently now on my summer break, therefore I have plenty of time to kill by completing anime series. So long story short, I was really busy this year (caught up in school and other stuff) leaving me with not much spare time to seriously watch new Animes. Tamako Market was one of them.

I was actually pretty excited to watch this series, when it was first released because it was produced by Kyoto Animation. Kyoto Animation also produced the anime series: K-ON! Which I’m a really big fan of. The drawings are also really similar! Since these two series were produced by the same people I was sort of expecting their story lines to be pretty similar. Initially, I thought that Tamako Market was going to be a story based on the lives of these three ordinary female students. However, it didn’t really contain as much ‘Slice of Life’ in it as I had hoped.

However, there are still a lot of Slice of Life scenes in it! Don’t get me wrong.

My Synopsis:

Tamako Kitashirakawa, the main heroine of this series, is the eldest daughter of a Mochi Maker. (Haha, Mochi Maker..? Sorry, her father runs a family store where they make and sell mochi.) Tamako helps out a lot, she wakes up early every morning to help make fresh batches of Mochi to sell. (There’s your Slice of Life bit.. ^^) This family’s Mochi store is just one of the many stores found in Tamako Market. [If I’m not wrong I’m pretty sure that that’s the market’s name.]

Anyway, I still have to say that even though the storyline was not really what I had hoped it would be, I still thoroughly enjoyed watching this series. And if you haven’t already watched it. Now is the perfect time to since it starts off at the start of the new year. Which is extremely important for Mochi stores. Or any traditional Japanese Sweets stores. Though Mochi isn’t technically a sweet.. but it is..?

NOW ONTO THE POTENTIAL SPOILERS

If I had to pick my favourite character, I would probably pick Tamako’s father. I’m not trying to give any spoilers but you’ll love him so much more after completely episode 9.

Okay, actually I give up, I’m just going to go all out and ruin it for you, so stop reading if you want to back out.

I absolutely loved the ending for episode 9. There was a mix of sadness and explosive cuteness just messing up my system. You’ll get what I mean.

My thoughts on the characters:

   Tamako Kitashirakawa 北白川 たまこ: Honestly, (And this is strictly just my opinion though I sense I’ll be getting some hate) I think that Tamako’s just the typical cliche female lead in pretty much 80% of all animes out there. She’s nice, sweet and the perfect girl all-round. You just can’t hate her. But for me: I’m just going to toss her in my ‘Non-memorable-female-leads’ pile. But what annoys me is that she is so painfully oblivious to Mochi’s feelings towards her. But I guess that that’s also so cliche. Overall, I don’t really have much of an opinion about her.

   Mochizō Ōji 大路 もち蔵Now this Tamako’s childhood guy friend. He’s also a son of a ‘Mochi Maker’ (?), however he’s the son of Tamako’s dad’s rival. But that doesn’t stop Mochi from crushing on Tamako. Now honestly, I wish that I still had a guy friend like this at my age but I kind of let him back in Singapore. Sad, I know. Anyway, I really admire this Mochi guy. He’s had a crush on Tamako since they were kids and she’s still completely oblivious about his romantic feelings to her. Which are blindingly obvious, might I add. Which I find adorable. But he really needs to confess to her or it’ll soon just get on my nerves.

   Dera Mochimazui デラ・モチマッヅィ: Dera was a very lovable character and his fabulous personality was just…sophistication. I thoroughly loved this obese bird. Sure, I think that he should go on a diet because honestly I cannot even remember how he looked like before he gained so much weight. And I think Tamako should stop stuffing his face with mochi. Which brings me to my next point, even though she claims her love for mochi is unbeatable, I have never seen her consume mochi. EVER. I’ve only seen her giving them out to people. Anyway, Dera was one of my favourite characters in this series and his last name is just too funny.

   Midori Tokiwa 常盤 みどり: I really like Midori at the start but after that episode where she was interfering between Mochi and Tamako, I lost all respect for her. Mochi was finally getting the courage to confess to Tamako and here you are ruining all his hard work! Have a heart woman! That’s all I have to say.

   Kanna Makino 牧野 かんな: I really liked her, builder, forehead-measuring and all. She’s just an all-round lovable character.

   Shiori Asagiri 朝霧 史織: Sure, my first impression of her wasn’t good. I just thought that she was a bit stalkerish at the start but after a while, it was fine. Plus Dera has a crush on her so no complaints here.

  Choi Mochimazzwi チョイ・モチマッヅィ: I really liked her. Plus I think that she should end up with the Prince. I also have a sinking suspicion that she’s his destined bride but she’s keeping it a secret for some reason. Why do you think they zoomed into her neck when she was in the van and why do you think that her neck is always covered? OOH. I really hope I’m right.

   Mecha Mochimazzwi メチャ・モチマッヅィ: I know he doesn’t really have a lot of screen time. And I don’t have much of an opinion of him, just that he’s really short. Not that I have any right to say that. But I love his name, I know that english subtitles didn’t do a very good job of putting the point across. But direct translation: Mecha= very Mochi=mochi Mazui= bad [general sense] So Mochi tastes super bad.. How can you not love it?

That’s it for me. I recommend that you watch it for a quick slice of life pick up, plus it doesn’t take a very long time to complete this series and it doesn’t take up a lot of concentration either. But if you’re looking for more of the Slice of Life stuff. Go look up K-on! And watch the movie too while you’re at it.