Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 ROUND-UP

Well this sucks, I totally planned to put up a couple of regular reviews this week but got hit with a killer head cold and I've had a hard time being coherent/awake the past few days. Thankfully this post should be shorter than it usually is so let's get down to it:

Friday, December 25, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: My favorites of 2015

Technically I should've done this yesterday but I've had a hard time figuring out my top of 2015 list. I never have a set number of top titles and I never purport that this list is supposed to be a best of the year, some critics say they can separate out favorites from bests but I would rather make a favorites list and just call it that. As per usual however, split cour series ending in 2016 or multi-cour series ending in 2016 are not eligible for this list after having some series really burn me that way in the past (if I was up to date on Precure I would make an exception for that since it only has four episodes in 2016 but I'm not).

So, onto the list!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: The potentially best anime of 2015 that I haven't seen

Or rather, to some shows I didn’t watch and others I just didn’t finish. Even though this year has felt “light” to me in terms of shows to watch I still managed to keep busy every season so there were a few shows that fell through the cracks, that had last minute payoffs, so that I simply put aside to finish another time and never found it! So, a listing of what I never quite finished and a chance for everyone to try and convince me to do so!

Monday, December 21, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: Gender Insight

As I have already made clear, I really liked Gatchaman Crowds Insight and thought it was eerily well-timed but there was one thing I didn't find time to talk about in my review, how other fans were reacting to some of the more gender-fluid characters.

(minor spoilers for late in series events, nothing spoiling the ending or major plot points)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: Concrete Research

To finish up my informal, four parter on anime and my life this year, as I mentioned yesterday, for some reason at my job I'm the one who does the main fact-checking my show, which is non-fiction so we really want everything to be right. I'm still not sure exactly why this is my job, I did it as an intern and then later when we had other interns, it might just be because I am meticulous and nit-picky, but I have actually come to enjoy it to an extent. I don't like how long it takes (a single, 51 minute script takes 6-8 solid hours of research and the script do change a bit during production) but research is something I've always been rather good at.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015 My Shirobako Life

So, as I touched on in my post a few days earlier, I went to school for photography and I did so without a car. Not having a car in the US is the worst, I moved to a metropolitan area partially for the public transportation but even then that's a stop-gap solution, it's as if you have neither money nor time in your life.

So I wasn't able to work as a photography assistant because of it, I could get a few jobs but when a photographer and I chatted about trying it out and seeing if I wanted to be her assistant and work with her a lot we realized I simply wouldn't be able to get to a lot of the jobs. And realizing that, that I had graduated, I had done well, but didn't have a car, and didn't have one because I came of age in the second shittest economic period in American history so I had a hard time finding jobs as a student (and had divorced parents so they couldn't afford me one) and this was going to keep biting me in the ass until I magically got the money to change it threw me into a pretty deep despair for honestly a year. I had to stop assisting, I got a couple of retail jobs where I would go to the same place every day and could find one route to get me there and stick with it, all the while questioning my life choices every single day.


TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: Space Bros and growing up

A quick one today and I feel like I already mentioned a lot of these things in my full review on Space Brothers but I still wanted to say thanks again to the show for being something I didn't realize I would need.

I started watching the show while in college, I was going through a period where I was completely sick of high school settings in shows so the idea of adult characters (and not just young 20s, like, people in their 30s, they're totally adults!) was cool to start with and space? Space is pretty cool. But Space Bros was a long running show that took me even longer to finish so I was long past college once I finish and, problems in the show aside ("racist cartoon theater") I found that I enjoyed it even more once I was a little older. Aside from giving me a little bit of real world adult advice ("oh I can tuck my lanyard into my shirt pocket so it stops choking me when I lean over? Brilliant!") it was really satisfying to come back to the show after a break and really see just how all of the characters, Mutta especially, just become more confident in themselves. It was really obvious in one of the last arcs, the undersea training one, where Mutta is handling unexpected stress and moving forward while his friend Kenji, who seemed more put together and much more confident previously, is suddenly having to deal with stress that he's never had before and panicking a bit (he does get better later but not before he notices that hey, Mutta is actually doing better than him in all of these tasks for once). 

It seems like an obvious reminder, that yes, you will get better at dealing with what life throws at you as you get older (it's even backed up by some studies that if you have some stress in your teen years you handle it better later vs someone who had none) but it still made me feel better to hear that one more time. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015 "It's up to you"

Sound! Euphonium did a lot of things right and many of those things had to do with its characters. I feel like I've seen pieces of a lot of these characters before but the band conductor, Taki-sensei, really stuck out to me because finally, that felt like the teachers I had had in high school, in college, that I had never seen in fiction before


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: Giving thanks to the JICC

Like last year, I saw quite a few movies at the JICC, the Japan Information and Culture Center which is associated with the Japanese embassy (but not physically connected to, no I'm not seeing movies at the embassy once a month) and it feels like I saw more this year. They had an entry in their Animazing film series just about every month and while I wondered what would happen when they simply ran out of current films to show they instead switched to showing older movies, some of which I'm not sure every got a full release here. Some were good and some were not, I didn't like Patema Inverted or Brave Story at all but really liked Letter to Momo and an old classic, Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise a lot, although I was rather apathetic on Mai Mai Miracle and Giovanni's Island. They also show a number of live action films and I've been making an effort to go to more of those screenings as well especially since a number of these films are also quite hard to find (like the Seijun Suzuki films they showed in conjecture with the Freer & Sackler or the live action Thermae Romae).

So, thank you JICC for so many amazing films and I hope that even more anime nerds in the DMV discover what a wonderful resource this is (free movies guys, freeeeeee moooooovieeeees!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015 Anime Review: Gangsta.

Yep, still catching up with these anime reviews! But after this one I'm onto the more traditional 12 Days of Anime posts with smaller moments and more introspection. This show has some of both of those but a far less personal connection.

Gangsta.



Monday, December 14, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015 Anime Review: Castle Town Dandelion

Yep, still using this as an excuse to catch up on reviews, I only wish that I was using this time to talk review some of the best shows of the year instead of my least favorite summer shows!

Castle Town Dandelion (Jokamachi no Dandelion)


Sunday, December 13, 2015

TWELVE DAYS OF ANIME 2015: Anthem of the Heart

Alright folks, it's the start of 12 Days of Anime so have a late movie review post (which works out well for me since I'm not sure I have 12 days worth of material yet....)

I almost didn't see this movie, it was playing only for two days near me (a simultaneous release with the rest of the US so there weren't any advance reviews), tickets are expensive, and while I liked the 30 minute making-of feature it just didn't sell me on it (it has a lot of the same team that worked on AnoHana and while I did like that show it was so melodramatic I wasn't sure I could handle all of that compressed into a single movie). Thankfully some folks started writing reviews on it after they saw it on the first day and that pushed me to go you know, why not? 



Anthem of the Heart



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Anime Review: Snow White with the Red Hair (part one)

Stress, work, job-hunting, car shopping, and sewing are all big timesinks folks. So is reading too much manga so you can review it in the next few weeks but I feel like that one is an understandable excuse for me at least.

Snow White with the Red Hair (Akagami no Shirayukihime)



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: November 30-December 5th

So, every post was a day late this week, including my OASG review of the first volume of Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun, I'm almost impressed that I was that consistent. Hopefully I'll do better this week (I'm only seeing a movie one day this week instead of two which should help!) but if you missed anything with these irregular updates, I continue plowing through the summer anime season with Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, post my penultimate webcomic review for the year, Check Please!, and then speak about why I have problems with a generally praised YA novel from this year Shadowshaper

Outside of reviews, I have really fallen behind on watching Garo BUT I did start Go Princess Precure which I had been meaning to do for a while. And I bought/read a lot of manga this week, I won one of Global Bookwalkers "answer this survey and go into a drawing to win ¥20000 in web money!" drawings and since I had to use it all by the 9th I went ahead, bought all of Inari Konkon, all of Maoyu that they have (not sure if it's current with the Japanese release or not but it's way farther along than the scanlations I used to read), and all of The Legend in Annatour which I am completely unfamiliar with. Plus they actually have a lot of free first volumes now (which is great since their previews are only 8 pages long which I think is too short, wish they were like Viz and CR and offered the first full chapter for free) like Itihasa, Ga-Rei, Samurai Drive, and Student Council's Discretion. Review for those first volumes will probably go up on OASG instead of here at some point but since I still have a few, hefty omnibuses to read first I don't think that will be anytime soon. Oh and I also blitzed through both the new chapter of Spirit Circle and the new volume of The Morose Mononokean this week, basically I was drowning in manga but that's the best situation to be in.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Shadowshaper

I grabbed this book from a display at my library and it was only later that I discovered that it was actually on my to-read list anyway. I like coincidences like that, especially now that it's close to the end of the year so I'm trying to get through as many 2015 books as I can. Although, I must confess that I'm not quite sure why this book made it onto my list in the first place.

Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Webcomic Review: Check Please!

I started reading this comic between late July and early September, I believe I got this recommendation from one of the many "webcomic recommendation" links I posted, and then realized I had actually seen this comic earlier. I had actually seen a banner for this at Otakon but since it was an image of Bittle holding a pie I couldn’t tell if it was about hockey or about a waiter whose customers just never seemed to leave/pay. I mention this not because I think it’s a bad banner advertisement, just because I think this would be a hilarious AU and someone should get on that now please!

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Anime Review: Rokka Braves of the Six Flowers

And now we get to the "this wasn't nearly terrible enough to drop it but boy did it have problems" series from the summer anime season. Just about all of these titles had one big thing in common, they started strong and then slowly started to stagger with different amounts of crashing and burning.

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: November 23-29

Well, I did better with posts this week, although it feels easier to get away with half assed posts if you don't really like what you're talking about. I mean, I did enjoy Classroom*Crisis a fair bit but Belle Epoque was a mixture of fine and boring and Brave Story was just bad. This week is looking a bit crazy for me so hopefully I've gotten enough pre-writing done over the too-short Thanksgiving holiday to stay on track. Should probably get back to that, I'm only four hours into an eight plus train ride after all....

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: Belle Epoque

I don't really have anything to open up this review with so I'll just make a general announcement first. It only recently occurred to me that it is both late November and that I've barely read any 2015 books. So, while I have checked out several armfuls of them from the local library I doubt that I will have reviews of any of them up before the end of the year and thus, like this year I'm going to push my general listing of the best books of 2015 back. Probably not until June this time, this year I realized I didn't actually need a full six months, but March or April seems likely.

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Movie Review: Brave Story

While I can't say that I've seen many movies in theaters this year, there simply weren't many I was interested in, I can at least say that I've seen quite a few anime movies thanks to the JICC so once again, thanks guys, I really do appreciate it (even if I don't always like the films).

Brave Story


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Anime Review: Classroom*Crisis

Okay, baby-steps to getting these reviews back on time, baby steeeeps. Oh and I'd like to note, while I still have over half of my summer shows to review, this is the last of the "this was good for sure" tier of shows. Nothing else was terrible, I don't have the time to finish terrible, full seasons of anime, but going forward I had quite a few more problems with the next few shows on the list.

Classroom*Crisis


Sunday, November 22, 2015

A round-up

Hey guys, so I'm really far off track from where I wanted to be review-wise right now. There's a bunch of things going on, work is getting crazier as my contract is only a few weeks away from finishing, which means I'm also job hunting (which is never fun but the fastest I have ever found a job, and that was a very basic, retail job where I already had experience, was 2.5 months, I have really terrible luck at this), and I'm trying to relax in the evenings by working on sewing which also eats up time. There is no especially good way to balance these things, I'm hoping that with my Thanksgiving vacation I can at least build up a small backlog of posts but beyond that I'm at a bit of a loss for how to make this all work.

So, what have I put out since I last did a round-up? For starters, I'm really enjoying Concrete Revolutio and a few episodes back some other folks convinced me to do a special post on it since I was apparently the only person watching the show who also has very specialized knowledge of Cold War nuclear bomb accidents that the show was clearly referring to. I mean that entirely seriously too, for all that this show has a lot of things going on in it at once and it's very reference heavy, if you are familiar with what it's talking about then the ideas aren't that hard to spot, like realizing that the protests in the show are at the same time there were a lot of real world student protests. At the same time though, I do wonder if it's even possible for anyone aside from the director/writer to even pick up on everything in the show because there are so many ideas floating around (thankfully while they are cool to notice you only really need to be familiar with say 20% of them to get the show and a lot of it is basic like, different superhero tropes). I have a few more thoughts on ConRevo, and all of the other fall shows I'm watching, right over here in it's own round-up.

For more anime posts, I did start my reviews on the summer 2015 series and once again I'm going from best to worst so, logically, my top two series of the summer were Gatchman Crowds Insight and Knights of Sidonia: The Battle for Planet Nine (it aired on Netflix in July so it's totally a summer show!) which were both really great. Then I continued the sci-fi trend with reviews of the webcomic O Human Star and a combined book and movie review of The Martian, all of which are also really good.  But there was one dud in the mix which was the non-sci-fi title, The Last Dragonslayer which had a plot that dragged and simply sloppy world-building. Thankfully the next dragon related book I have in my to-read pile should be much better, although with the number of books in that pile I'm not sure when I'll get around to posting it!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fall 2015 Anime Mid-season Round-UP

Guys I'm sorry, I just cannot seem to get back on track with these reviews. This is getting ridiculous so, as I try to sort this all out, an "extra" post of sorts. We're halfway through the fall season and here are my thoughts on what I'm still following and what's been dropped. And remember, if you do watch streams, the "best" time to watch them is to finish within one week of airing. Funimation has said several times that those are the views that matter the most when they determine the future of a title so if you love it, make all your friends watch it ASAP!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book & Movie Review: The Martian

So I mentioned I was going to try this a few weeks ago but a refresher for folks who have forgotten; I'm always at a loss for how to review adaptions based off of books that I have read recently. I don't want to just review one or the other but it's tricky to write something substantial both times without either repeating myself or spending the bulk of the review simply making comparisons. So, since I read The Martian quite recently I'm going to try this, one review to talk about the story as it relates to both version and how the versions differed (with characterization, pacing etc) and yes, saying if one version should be avoided over the other. I know that some people are a little, hesitant, to call a movie etc bad if it's not a faithful adaptation of a book but let's face it, a lot of times those are bad because they take out what made the story work (like, in terms of coherency, basic building parts) and I am anything but hesitant to tell you guys if a story was crap.


The Martian Original story by Andy Weir



Thursday, November 12, 2015

Anime Review: Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine

At some point I will get back on track with this blog, I've just been distracted and tired a lot lately. So let me keep this short and get to the meat of the post, Knights of Sidonia is back and I couldn't be more thrilled about it.


Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Anime Review: Gatchman Crowds Insight

I, like everyone else, was surprised when I heard that were was going to be a sequel to the 2013 incarnation of Gatchaman since it seemed like the series had tied itself up quite nicely. However, after having seen this sequel it's a must see, that story wasn't complete before which I suppose makes this the best sequel ever in a sense.

But first things first, if you have seen Crowds but not the director's cut of episode 12 you need to see that. Given the half recap episode in the tv run they had to re-edit episode 12 on the DVDs (Japan only, Sentai could not get the license in the US) which includes how Hajime finally defeated Berg Katze and a few other key details. Next, make sure to watch episode 0 on Crunchyroll before going onto episode 1 since it has new stuff as well. And then you're all set for what may be the most decisive anime of 2015!



Gatchaman Crowds Insight




Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer

The curse of reviewing mediocre things "man there are so many things I'd rather be doing right now than trying to find the energy to talk about THIS". And I'm afraid this might be happening a lot in the next few weeks, I've been reading my usual book and a half a week but very few of the fiction works have really been grabbing me (I tend to alternate reading fiction and non-fiction but I find non-fiction tricky enough to review that those thoughts tend to get shoved into the weekly round-ups). It's not a burn-out per say, alternating with non-fiction is helping, but it's frustrating week after week I start up an interesting looking book and am completely bored with it by the end.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Webcomic Review: O Human Star

I mentioned this comic recently in my A Boy and A Girl review, the human-robot relationships in a near future instantly reminded me of O Human Star, and found myself thinking about it again after I picked up a copy at SPX back in September. So, since it looks like the last time I did a review of it was a few years ago, allow me to convince you dear readers once again why you should give this very human story a shot.

O Human Star by Blue Delliquanti


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: October 18th-25th

So, deadlines, weddings, and headaches, one of any of those is bad enough for my schedule but all three? Oy vey, and a con this upcoming weekend so I'm trying to sew like mad and don't have enough time as it is. This week's reviews are a little different anyway so look for hopefully an anime review on Monday, another Wednesday, and then I'm going to talk about both the book and the movie The Martian on Friday and see how that combined format goes.

But in the meantime, I did write about Ms Marvel volumes 2 and 3 and My Wife is Wagatsuma-san for comics and Finnikin of the Rock for books without pictures. I didn't put out an APR this week since I didn't see everything in time but Noragami Aragoto was killer, I've dropped Comet Lucifer unless it gets REALLY good, The Perfect Insider has the best OP ever and it seems like both Garo and ConRevo are slowly getting better (I've already seen this week's ConRevo and that was actually a good episode, wohoo!). I also did more manga shopping this week and used Barnes and Nobles buy 3 get the 4th free manga sale (plus my membership) to get The Ancient Magus' Bride volume 1, AssClass vol 2, Drug and Drop 1, and No. 6 vol 1 for $30 together which is pretty good!

Book Review: Finnikin of the Rock

So I had actually read part of this book before several years ago and returned it to the library since it just wasn't grabbing me. When I checked it back out I thought the cover and the premise sounded a bit familiar but, since I obviously never finished it, I couldn't remember enough details either way. And by the time I started reading it (while trapped in a three hour line for a last day museum exhibit) it was too late to grab something else and I ended up reading the whole thing anyway.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Comic Review: Ms Marvel (volumes 2 and 3)

So this week's anime review is Gatchaman Crowds Insight which is a complicated thing to talk about so I'm taking my time and will get it up later in the week, that's why that one is late. Honestly even if I tried to rush it I don't know if I could get a coherent post out earlier because that show just requires a lot of thought, not impulsive button-pushing.

And this review is also later than I'd like, not only because my review backlog is large but because I didn't realize my library was getting new books in this series until I saw volume 3 appear on the shelves and then started looking for volume two. Wohoops, at least I know now that I should start looking for volume four soon!


Ms. Marvel volumes 2 and 3 written by G. Willon Wilson and illustrated by Jacob Wyatt, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Elmo Bondoc

 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: October 12th-17th

Whelp, between deadlines and a wedding this week I'm not sleeping, probably. Reviews are coming but expect delays etc etc, I would like to be out of deadline season soon please.

Looking back on this past week, I put out my big Fall 2015 Anime Round-UP with just about everything I'm watching, I caved and started watching Seraph of the End today for my b-tier fantasy fix. No clue how I'll keep it in my schedule with Too Many Shows to watch anyway but I do like having choices for when I'm in the mood to watch this. And then I talked about MORE anime as I broke down K: Missing Kings and hopefully convinced all of the K watchers to see the movie before the second season, and maybe even contextualized why I like such a weird show (weird as in "this isn't exactly good so why am I enjoying it?"). And then I talked about EVEN MORE anime, kinda as I talked about the first Log Horizon novel. And then I talked about a totally different medium, manga, as I reviewed the first volume of Fuuka for OASG (with excellent timing since Kodansha USA just said they were going to put it out as an ebook). 

To continue with this week's theme, I actually picked up volume 8 of No. 6 from a bookstore while I was out. I haven't started collecting this manga yet but I know that when I do I want one of the original print run with the colored pages in it so I might as well. Plus, I didn't really like the ending to the No. 6 anime but I know the manga follows the original light novels (which also had a crazy ending but a thematically coherent crazy ending) so this seemed like the better way to support the series. 

Finally, now that I have memberships to all of the places that show anime I finally feel like participating in the Anime Power Rankings again! So for this week I went with:

1. Noragami ep 3
2. Gundam ep 2
3. Haikyuu ep 3
4. Perfect Insider ep 2
5. K ep 3

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book Review: Log Horizon volume 1

As I alluded to in my Tokyo Demons 2 review, I was reading a real light novel recently! I really enjoyed the Log Horizon series while they were airing so, since I've already poked into the side material some, it was natural that I'd pick up the light novels and see how everything played out originally.


Log Horizon by Mamare Touno, illustrated by Kazuhiro Hara, translated by Taylor Engel




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Movie Review: K: Missing Kings

As I mentioned in my Fall 2015 Anime Round-UP, K is back after a two year break! But in those years this movie came out and the second series is a direct sequel to this movie, which was a direct sequel to the first series. Basically, you need to watch the movie first and, for American viewers, it just went up on hulu a few weeks ago for those of us who missed it in theaters. Do to the fact that you are only going to be watching this movie if you're already a fan of the show I am going to put some spoilers in the review! I imagine most people reading this review will either be seeing if my views matched up with theirs for the movie or if they can possibly read the review to skip watching the movie immediately, newcomers this is not the place to start!

But for those newcomers, since my review of the first season is a little old by now let me do a general recap of the entire show up to this point and hopefully sell you on "the most anime to ever anime". In a slightly alternate world, a discovery in Germany back in World War II has enabled some people to gain powers through a mysterious slate and others through pledging themselves to a "king". There are always seven kings in Tokyo (where the Dresden Slate was moved to) and hapless high school student Shiro is accused of not only being the new Colorless King but also of killing a beloved clans-member from another clan who is now out for his blood. He doesn't have any memory of this but everyone else has video so he's on the run with a sometimes-cat-sometimes-girl "strain" (people who have powers without a king, can be animals, there is honestly a pegasus in one of the spin-offs) and a man from yet another clan. Kuroh had orders to kill the next Colorless King if he was evil but has been won over by Shiro through sheer force of charisma than anything else. Look it's a rather ridiculous set-up but trust me, this trio somehow works and this is one of the rare times where I care only about the these characters and barely about the (more popular) side characters. It's a pretty silly story and a go-to example for "style over substance", especially with it's over-use of colored filters making every scene look even more rainbow-y than an instagram at a pride parade, but the show is also sneakily good at foreshadowing and more subtile hints too. Shiro's situation is eventually explained and it was a funny payoff since I had seen people speculating about it for weeks at that point and while their proof was winning me over I couldn't quite believe until that moment that the show had some idea of what it was doing.

This is also a multi-media project so in these intervening years there has been a beaucoup of manga, light novels, and drama cd spin-offs as well. There aren't necessary to enjoy the show but I have looked into a lot of them so I will reference them in these reviews since that's where you get a lot of the world-building details from and again, some surprising foreshadowing. And so, with all of that said, onto the movie!



K: Missing Kings



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall 2015 Anime Round-UP

Things are finally looking up guys! It’s true that all of the shows I was most excited for this season were sequels and, for the third season in a row I had no carry over shows, but I actually had more shows than I knew what to do with when it came to trying them out! It’s true that there have been a lot of really fantastic shows in this year, working out my top whatever list for the end of the year will actually be hard for once, but for me everything has been either great or terrible, there haven’t been as many middle-of-the-road, nice shows that I usually count on to fill up my time. You know, the shows where you think about them a few years later and go “oh yeah that was good, I should rewatch it someday”.

Although that might’ve been the best for me now with how crazy my schedule has gotten, oh well. In any case, here’s what I’ve been checking out over the past week:

Monday, October 12, 2015

(Two) Weekly Round-UP: September 27th - October 11th

Deadlines suck guys and I have a lot at work between now and, hmm, I should figure that out. So today's normal post, my fall anime round-up, is going up tomorrow but I honestly half expected that anyway given the sheer number of premieres, there's finally a lot of stuff I'm interested in!

But to backtrack for a moment at first, in this past week I tackle the decidedly not-new Precure series Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, which was loads of fun, as well as the almost-new, second volume in the Tokyo Demons series. For newer stuff, I highlighted some of my favorite tales in Erstwhile to get people interested in the series before it's final kickstarter and we tried something new on OASG! We're tinkering with a new column idea of looking at a long running series and why it's worth getting into now (since I have had this thought way too many times) and so I started us off with Magi which I only started earlier this year but I'm now current with the US release and really can't wait for more. At this point it's tempting to go ahead and watch the anime but since I've heard less than spectacular things about it I think I'll hold off for the moment (especially since again, holy cow there are so many shows to try out this season!).



Also in a final, non-review related note, oh my god Akatsuki no Yona got licensed! Like, the 19+ volume shoujo manga! I think it's a sign that the US manga market is doing better again if more publishers are starting to pick up longer series again, I feel like we're seeing Kodansha get more longer, girl's titles as well, even if they're putting them out in omnibus to help mitigate the costs. Do wish they had announced it at Otakon because 1) Slightly less long wait time (next August seems forever away) and 2) hearing me shriek would've been pretty funny to everyone else in the room, holding that in on a public bus was not easy....

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Review: Tokyo Demons volume 2

"Alright Helen, what's your excuse for not having this review up on time?" Well, it was one I was having some trouble with this review which is never a good sign. Plus, I'm trying to cut back on caffeine but had a soda at work Friday and spent literally nine hours trying not to bounce off of the goddamn walls, made focusing on writing a little hard! And with the fall anime round-up coming up on Monday it's been a little chaotic around here.....

Tokyo Demons: Add A Little Chaos by Lianne Sentar, illustrated by Rem



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Webcomic Review: Erstwhile

I may be a week off from my usual schedule now but I still wanted to take the time and highlight the just-ended Erstwhile before it holds the kickstarter for it's third and final volume next month. I have the first volume from the very first kickstarter and I'm still deciding if I want to pledge for another volume or not (it's a matter of "will I reread this?") but don't think that means I didn't like this anthology, on the contrary this is the most consistently well-drawn and well-told anthology I've ever come across.


Esrtwhile by Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, and Elle Skinner

Monday, October 5, 2015

Anime Review: Happiness Charge Precure

"Didn't you say you were trying to be more on time last week?" FIFTEEN HOUR WORK DAYS MAN and this is why I keep planning on building up my buffer of reviews and it doesn't happen. But this show is already a year old so a few days don't matter as much, I already have to explain to people why I'm watching last year's iteration of Pretty Cure instead of this year's Go Princess (which is apparently quite good!). So here it is: two years ago I watched Heartcatch Precure and loved it so I tried out the new series that year, Doki Doki Precure as well as the original. I plan to go back to the original someday but it starts slowly and all of the official streams are pretty low quality, Doki Doki just ended up being really nuts so I gave up on it after a bit. So then I returned last year to HaCha and while I liked it I just fell behind with everything else I was watching.

And so, after I finished Wish Upon the Pleiades it seemed like a good time to go, finish HaCha and see if I could maybe, maybe catch up with GoPri before the end of it's run next January.


Happiness Charge Pretty Cure



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: September 20th - 26th

And I'm back and fighting to stay that way! I really do like writing these reviews but man, I'm trying to start writing them farther in advance but I've had something going on literally every night (be it already having another review to write, social fun, or just my bus being 50 fucking minutes later) for the past week and a half that I haven't even been able to start yet. I'd say maybe this week but it seems like this is when my work kicks into overdrive until, oh the end of the year.....

Uncontroable aspects of life aside, four good-ish reviews this week! I start out with an oldie as I finally got through Witch Craft Works (which I totally stayed with for possible cosplay ideas, didn't like anything enough though!) and finally got the review for Wildwood Dancing up, followed by the more recent A Boy and a Girl for a comic review and Kings Game: Origin over on OASG. Not sure I'm going to continue reading Origin or not, I did like it but as I say in my review, it has to have a reeeeally solid ending and that's going to be hard to pull off, even if there are supernatural aspects involved (which I don't honestly think will happen, I'm betting it's the love interest, in the storeroom, with centuries of family knowledge of medicines).

Below the cut, now that all of the summer anime are wrapping/have wrapped up, a quick few thoughts on the season as a whole, full reviews start up next week.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Review: Wildwood Dancing

This is the review that doesn't want to go up  I swear, it's not even a case where "the most average books are the hardest to review". Occasionally I just read a book and even though I have thoughts on it, they're either too spolierly or just too bland on there own and take forever to finesse. 

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Comic Review: A Boy and A Girl

Man I have such a big backlog of comics to review, usually I don't have this problem! Let's chalk it up to the DC libraries recently being excellent in aquiring books, although I do need to message them and say "hi, for some reason all of these manga are listed under two different spellings of the authors name so it's really hard to see what you have!" I have been informed by library friends that no, This Should Not Be Happening, it feels especially since manga have copyright pages with the official spelling of the manga-ka's name in them just like every other comic.....

A Boy and a Girl Written by Jamie S Rich, illustrated by Natalie Nourigat


Monday, September 21, 2015

Anime Review: Witch Craft Works

Alright, back to the blogging game. The summer anime season is winding down and the leaves are starting to fall on my block, let's get to a few older shows before jumping into the new stuff and the new new fall stuff first shall we?


Witch Craft Works




Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: September 6th - 12th

So that book review still isn't up for this week, guys I've been having a rough few weeks. Nothing big has happened just, lots of little, nagging thoughts that won't go away which drive me around in circles and keep me from being productive at all which then makes me stress since there's so much I want to do every day. Since writing reviews is part of that stress I'm just going to take this week off, I'll get last week's book review up this week (hopefully tomorrow) but no more posts for the rest of the week so I can catch up with other things and then resettle. 

Before that however, I did get a few other things reviewed this week. I wasn't a big fan of Mai Mai Miracle or Tenth Prism but I did, really, really like Space Brothers by the time I finished up it's very long run. The science-"fiction" felt right to me, like I could see the global space agencies being where they were in another 20 years or so and it really did give me confidence to see Mutta continue to grow through the series. Sometimes I wonder, if you're supposed to "grow up and be an adult why are adult characters still so flawed?" (I'm a young adult, I don't even feel like an adult so it doesn't seem like a contradiction to ask that!) and this show did a good job at answering it for me, because goals sometimes change and the way you go after them changes, plus some people still just suck and interacting with other people even as adults! I really connected with a lot of Mutta's inner dialogues (although I think that I'm a lot more like Hibito at times, his arc in Russia reminded me of how I act when I'm really down and just cannot seem to shake it) and I recommend it to anyone who wants a long, character study with varied, mature characters and also for that glorious hope that science will continue on and that we will do wonderful things with it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Movie Review: Mai Mai Miracle

No post yesterday because I had a headache that could split mountains and quite predictably those make my writing rather incoherent, even for a shorter post like this one. But I think a day's delay for this review is fine since once again almost no one else has talked about it! I'm not sure how the JICC scored a viewing copy of the movie before the Kickstarter DVDs had released (in fact I'm not sure if they're out yet, given that the KS updates are backers only and the last update was in late July) but this wouldn't be the first time they have showed a movie that doesn't have a physical media release in the US.

Mai Mai Miracle



Monday, September 7, 2015

Anime Review: Space Brothers

Well this review is a long time coming, the Space Brothers anime originally ran from April 2012 to March 2014 and I did keep up with it for the first year or so but I slacked off in my senior year of college and only checked in sporadically on reviews after that. I did like it while I was watching, it was just long, slow at times, and when I fell off it was in an especially slow period and followed by a little, for-kids cartoon segment each week other folks dubbed "racist cartoon theater" which really didn't spark my interest again immediately.

But I did really like the show and that's why I always planned on coming back, since it has been three years and some change since the show aired. In the end, part of the fun for me was to see how far Mutta had come in the show and also how different my own life was since I started it. I went from being a college junior to an adult who actually has friends who work at NASA! Heck, I can say it now but my first, long-term job after college was working in the museum store at the National Air and Space Museum (which is far less glamours than it sounds, running past rocket engines to get to the bathroom is hilarious however!) so I think I can say that watching this show in the staff cafeteria, with its great view of the capitol and surrounded by photos of people eating in the space station and on planes, is possibly the nerdiest place this show has ever been watched in. And I do like space, I like harder sci-fi, and while this isn't the usual kind of hard sci-fi it's certainly one of the more realistic series I've ever come across

Space Brothers



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: August 25th - September 5th

So, no post last week means twice as many posts here I suppose; taking it from the top I first talk about how the summer anime season is coming along and then I tackle a title from last year, The World is Still Beautiful (for the record, the current "recently adapted shoujo title" rankings go Yona > Akagami >> Still Beautiful because I said so) and wrapping up the tv I talked a little about hardly-known film Giovanni's Island. On the comic side of things, I talked about the award-winning This One Summer and over on OASG I talked about Sweetness and Lightning as well as Inari Kon Kon. Finally, for reviews anyway, I reviewed two very different books, the light-novel-title-esque The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and the rather mid-tier YA The Demon Catchers of Milan.

And now for something a little different, I've been on a webtoon binge again! If the term is unfamiliar, manhwa is published, traditional Korean comics (like manga) and webtoons are the online comics (like webcomics). I'm not entirely sure why they get their own word, I did hear years ago that webtoons were practically driving manhwa out of business which is also interesting, but my only real interaction with them is from the appropriately named webtoon.com (which has legal, official translations as far as I can tell!). Quite honestly, these are the soap operas of comics, I'm not surprised that I get ads for some of them with blurbs like "the inspiration for the hit drama!" on them since they have the tone down pat! 

I've tried (over the past year, not in a two week binge read or anything....) Cheese in the Trap (which I liked until I realized just how long it was and then dropped it), Orange Marmalade (bored me immediately, felt like a different kind of bad shoujo than what I'm used to), Witch Hunt (not bad but I just didn't like the characters), Hooky (okay this one had no idea how to keep a story together tonally), and Magical 12th Graders (which I was also liking but it moves veeeery slowly and was starting to frustrate me). Incidentally, I recommend everyone look at the first update for Magical 12th Graders, I had actually seen the comic on tumblr before (unattributed) so if you've seen a girl "come out" to her parents and wanted to read more of it now you can! If you flip through these you can start to feel how similar a lot of these stories are and I find it fascinating how there is a distinct, atmosphere/tone to all of these stories like you find in some genres of shoujo or YA fiction, it's something I feel much more faintly in English-language webcomics*.

There are still a ton of comics on the site I haven't tried yet (heck I'm not even sure how to go through everything to see what I want to try and not miss stuff) but my favorite title so far is Space Boy which is a rather cool piece of science fiction with some more heavy parts and some lighter-sci-fi parts. I'm probably a little behind, I was also having trouble figuring out how to even follow the comics if I didn't remember to check the site everyday, but being a little behind on a comic that no one I know talks about never hurt me before!


*if pressed to talk about a commonality in style in webcomics I'd honestly point towards a proclivity for deadpan humor over all else

Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: The Demon Catchers of Milan

Phew, last review of the week and now I can spend my weekend wracking my brain for how to keep up these reviews when my life seems to get busier and busier....

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Comic Review: This One Summer

Well I feel topical for once, this book came out last year but it's getting awards now in 2015, I had honestly been wondering if it was a bit award winner when I saw just how many copies my library had. And the author's names are familiar but I don't think I've actually read anything else by them, I do remember trying Skim in college but the main character was going through a life just so different from my own (both in terms of experience and how she mentally handled stress and set-back) that I decided it was better to drop the book than to be continually frustrated by it. That was not the case here thankfully, although there was still some frustration involved


This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki


Monday, August 31, 2015

Anime Review: The World is Still Beautiful

Running too behind for a weekly round up this week so let's get going, I've actually made some progress on my backlog!


The World is Still Beautiful (Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii)



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Since this is really late I'll be brief, I was aware of this book when it was first a serialized novel online but was always too busy to get around to reading it. I've also been hesitant to try it out since I've seen reviews of the later novels (the book was later picked up by a traditional publisher, hence why my library had a copy) that say they've gone downhill. The good news is that this book could be read entirely on it's own so if you're nervous like me worry not, no obligation to keep reading!


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by  Catherynne M. Valente, illustrated by Ana Juan


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Movie Review: Giovanni's Island

When the JICC announced the date for this film I was a little surprised, I've never heard anyone else talk about the movie aside from Enzo at Lost in Anime. When I asked if I should go he told me yes, absolutely, that more people should see the film so I took advtange of the showing!

Giovanni's Island


Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer 2015 Anime Mid-Season Round-UP

So, we're over halfway there and this season isn't quite as dire as I feared! I did drop Ranpo Kitan since I found I had absolutely no interest in the second episode, and Rokka turned out to be part-mystery anyway, I still haven't had a chance to watch Knights of Sidonia 2 and I've decided to hold off until the very end of the season to see if Charlotte is worth watching or not. With that in mind, here's the cream of the crop and then everything else.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Round UP and This Girl Plays the Manga Tag Game!

Well this week's posts were way more delayed than I expected. Basically, I've been using a computer more at my new job so my wrist started aching (it does this every now and then, I'm not too worried) and it was bad enough Monday night that I put off the Fate/ review, had to play catch-up to get my Lucky Star review for OASG written on time, I had a bad headache when I tried to initially write my already-delayed review of Strays so I lost my one day of breathing room I usually had and then Born Wicked was just a bad book I didn't want to talk about. Hopefully no problems like that this week, currently I have no headaches and it's my knee that hurts not my wrist! 

To further prove how exciting my life is, Muse of Subdued Fangirling tagged me in the Manga Tag game and I have pulled together quite a few pictures to make this work!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Book Review: Born Wicked

Sorry for the delay in all of the reviews this week guys, details tomorrow but it's nothing exciting, just too many things going wrong at once. And speaking of things going wrong....

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood



Friday, August 21, 2015

Webcomic Review: Strays

Normally I try to use Webcomic Wednesdays to focus on currently updating series but since this series literally ends in a few weeks and I have such a backlog of comics that I wouldn't be able to talk about it regularly until nearly October, I'm going to be flexible here and explain why I kept up with this series for nearly six out of it's eight years.


Strays by  Samantha Whitten and Stacey Pefferkorn

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Anime Review: Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Part Two (2015)

God that is the longest title ever and this is my last review of the spring 2015 anime season! We're right around the halfway mark for the summer 2015 anime season so I know a lot of people have been doing mid-season review posts and I'm going to post mine next week, just wanted to finish what I started first.


Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Part Two (2015)


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekly Round-UP: August 9th - 15th

Well I hit a milestone this week here on NI by having 1000 posts posted, wohoo! I'm surprised it took this many years actually since I've been putting posts up since 2010 and started new posts New Years Day 2011 (the timing was an accident, that was just when I ran out of old livejournal reviews to put up!). Sadly, although perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a rather negative review of the comic In Real Life that was lucky post one thousand, I really did go that comic hoping to like it but the "mighty whitey" parts were too much for me (which is weird since I double checked and Jen Wang is in Asian-American, that just leaves me more stumped about all of this!).

As for more positive reviews this week, I continue to wind down my reviews of the spring shows with another fluff/popcorn flick Seraph of the End (vampires! intense friendships! costumes that cosplayers are eagerly planning!), a book that reminds me a lot of another, A Long Long Sleep, and then on OSAG I do my best to cajole more people into reading The Morose Mononokean. They only have the first volume up right now and the wording of the summary makes me worried that this is a test so clearly the best thing to do is give the series as many page views as possible to get them to put up the other three volumes and beyond!