Saturday, June 28, 2014

Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2

Sometimes I'm really really hyped for a sequel, or a brand new movie, to come out and it's practically all I can think about during the more mundane moments of my day. But the more time that goes by between installments the less this happens, I'm still happy about it but it's been so long that I can never quite remember how much I enjoyed it and why I should be so excited. Which was the case here, this was absolutely on my list of "movies that I need to see in theaters" and even though I had surprised myself by adoring the first film I just wasn't as hyped for it. So with that I can very clearly say that I think this movie was even better than the first, and when I saw the first film I wasn't crammed into a front row seat getting a crick in my neck the entire time!

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Monday, June 23, 2014

Anime Review: Gundam Build Fighters

If some shows I've reviewed lately are a bit surprising but not wholly so since I've mentioned them before this has to be the oddest of the bunch. Considering that last fall people had next to no hopes for this show, that I remember seeing, there's no reason I would see the latest sort-of installment in a franchise I don't have any experience with (other than that one time my anime club watched a few episodes of Gundam Wing and I was deeply bored) and it seemed like a pretty blatant grab to get kids to buy toys, nope I have better things to spend my time on! But after the new year I was seeing more and more chatter about the show online and it seemed like people were really enjoying it and I actually had a number of friends who were also becoming interested in the show for the same reasons. Considering that Sunrise had done the rather unprecedented move of putting the show legally on youtube subbed in at least a half a dozen different languages I didn't have any reason to not try the show out when I found myself with some free time during my lunch and I was pretty quickly able to see why so many people were enjoying it.

Gundam Build Fighters

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: Sorrow's Knot

I can't remember if it was last summer or the year before but whichever it was I finally picked up a copy of Plain Kate, which I had seen at the library for years and avoided since the blurb didn't sound interesting, and feel completely in love with it. So, as it often happens, I poked around the internet, found out that she had a new book in the pipeline and that it would be a fantasy set in a Native American-esque setting which in an of itself is exciting since I can think of very few other books like that (the only one that even comes to mind is one I read back in middle school and I'm not completely sure of the title!). As per usual it took a little bit of time for my library to get the book, and more time for me to remember to search their catalog to see if they had it yet but I certainly got to it more quickly than Plain Kate!

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Manga Review: My Little Monster (volume two)

After simply not having a chance to buy manga on a regular basis for so many years it still feels rather odd to get back into the swing of things and pick up a volume every other month, even back in high school when I was somehow able to buy manga I wasn't buying series as they came out, I was always trying to catch up with a million different series whenever I had a coupon! Of course, even back then in 2007-2009 there weren't many series coming out bi-monthly, I think Viz may have "sped up" some of it's big three shonen series and I would have gladly devoured more Fruits Basket if it came out six times a year instead of three but oh well. It's interesting that there's been such a bit shift towards these quicker releases, especially since Kodansha isn't trying to "catch up" with this series, it's already finished in Japan, but at least this way I won't suddenly have to start waiting four or more months for a new volume!

My Little Monster (volume two) by Robico

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Anime Review: Space Dandy

When I was looking at the panel listing for Otakon I noticed that Shinichiro Watanabe had a panel on Sunday which was listed as something along the lines of "the second Watanabe panel" and I though "Oh so are they finally going to announce Space Dandy?" Some fans online had already found out about the project (I believe through searching who was buying what site titles) and sure enough the project was announced during his Saturday panel and they spent the first bit of the Sunday panel showing all the material again (and it was pretty fun to see the trailer that practically no one else had seen, and it wasn't a crappy cam-rip either!). It also lead to the most surreal moment of my life where I was on twitter, live-tweeting a tiny bit, sat back during the Q& A to just listen and read my own feed, to have someone in line say that they were live-tweeting as well, they had actually shown up on my feed, and that a staff member who had worked on the show had responded to something he had reported that Watanabe had said about him. So it was a given that I was going to watch it and when Funimation said that it would actually air on American tv before Japanese tv dubbed well that makes it even better, gotta take special situations like that as they come!

Space Dandy

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: Hero

This book was particularly hard to get a hold of. I'm not sure what is going on with one of my library systems but occasionally they'll list a book in their catalog which apparently they haven't actually received yet and it can take literally months for me to get an email saying it's on hold (I requested the fourth volume of Wandering Son around the same time, last December, and still have not gotten a hold of it, this isn't just me being impatient!). So I spent several months going "this idea I have for a story, did I really come up with it on my own or is that supposed to be the summary of Hero?" before I was finally able to double check for myself!

Hero by Alethea Kontis

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TV Series Review: Dance Academy (season three)

As I said in my last book review, writing openings to series where you've seen all of it in such a short period of time is hard. So I'll keep this dull, this is the third and final season in the Australian teen drama, Dance Academy, skipping straight to this third season would be dumb especially since you wouldn't get why half the characters' motivations this season are because of their dead friend from last time. So yeah, it's all on Netflix so it's easy to get a hold of at least!

Dance Academy

Monday, June 9, 2014

Anime Review: Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea

My past experiences with PA works have been mixed which seems to be the case for a lot of people and makes me feel better. And despite that, if you sit me down and tell me there's a semi-fantasy anime airing with some pretty visuals of course I'm going to try it out. Which is more or less why I'm interested in PA Work's latest show, Glasslip, although after this one I'm not sure what my expectations for it are....

Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea (Nagi no Asuka)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: The Far West

The bad thing about reviewing a series and reviewing all of the books so close together is that I run out of things to say to introduce it! So, here is the last book in Wrede's frontier magic series and as always, don't read unless you haven't read the other books first (for once it's not for spoilerly reasons however, it just defeats the purpose of the series!).

The Far West by Patricia C Wrede

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Manga Review: Nana

When most people think of anime with "broad crossover appeal" they tend to think of the shows like Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan, shows with flashy action that also spend quite a bit of time making their characters sympathetic so that any audience can follow their actions, not just hardcore anime fans who know what it means when a sister sighs after her brother. Nana doesn't have that flashy action that tends to grab people and yet I have heard so many people say that they don't usually read manga/watch anime or that they're fans but their parents aren't and yet this is one of the few series that has really grabbed them. I've been trying to get a hold of the series for years but given that, even unfinished, it's 21 volumes I've had a bit of a hard time, heck there's probably a review or two of volume one floating way back in my backlogs here. But when I had a lot of free time this past winter I decided to just go ahead and check out as many books from the library as I could carry at once (especially since it was a 30 minute walk each way to the silly place) and found out that the series was well worth my time indeed.

Nana (volumes 1-21) by Ai Yazawa

Monday, June 2, 2014

Anime Review: The Pilot's Love Song

Management here again, a combination of work, a book that I didn't have much to say about, and a stubborn head cold made me realize that it would be best to push back this past week's book review to this Friday instead of putting out something subpar. And the only reason this review is going up is because I already had 95% of it pre-written which hopefully makes up for it! 

I'm not sure why but this title first started popping up on the summer 2013 anime charts and I was rather excited when I saw it, the cover art for the light novel looked rather pretty and the premise sounded like it was high fantasy with an adventure, action, and people hiding secrets, excellent! I learned a bit more about the series as the months went on and had a chance to see The Princess and the Pilot movie at Otakon which was based on a novel by the same author and set in the same world. It's not necessary to see it, there's technically only one crossover character who I hadn't even recognized since they were produced by different studios (another character is name-dropped and the story strongly hints that a third is involved but those references are much easier to pick up on) and this story takes place afterwards (and possibly before and during since P&P took place over three days and this one takes about two years). Regardless, that made me even more excited for the show, even when I realized it was by a different studio and wouldn't have the same budget because hey, I can put up with some less than stellar graphics for a good story.

The Pilot's Love Song (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koi Uta)