Mahou Shoujo Site (Anime) Review

Ayappi, not Asagiri Ayappi, here 。゚(TヮT)゚。

This review will contain 2 parts. The biased and the unbiased review. This will be a VERY long post as I have a lot of things to say, so please do make use of the sub headings to navigate. Also this will contain spoilers from BOTH the Manga and Anime so please proceed with caution.

If you haven’t read my “Defense of Mahou Shoujo Site” article, you can read it here

Table of Contents:
Intro
Unbiased Review
     > Opening and Ending
> ORIGINAL Story
> Characters
> Theme Discussion
> Final Thoughts and Recommendation
Biased Review
===============
Introduction
I have said this time and time again, but I will say it again: Mahou Shoujo Site is my Number 1 favorite anime and manga. Despite the negative reception it has received from many of the international community, mostly due to the overabundance of themes and scenes that set off majority of this generation’s “triggers,” I honestly didn’t give a crap and proceeded to watch the show and read the manga. However just because it is my favorite now, does not mean I will be super lenient with its flaws and not expose them. I can try to defend it with a close analysis of the work, but that doesn’t mean I’ll simply brush over them. With that said here are my thoughts on this anime adaptation of a manga that I consider to be my all time favorite.

Unbiased Review:

Mahou Shoujo Site spanned 12 episodes total for its first season run. This review will focus mainly on the anime’s Opening and Ending, the original story, its characters and will end with my final conclusion and recommendations.

I will not tackle the anime’s art in this review as really there’s nothing that stood out in particular for me to point out. Other than the characters are now colored, are moving, and look cuter (in my opinion) compared to the manga, there really isn’t anything I’d like to say. Well, actually I do, but it’s so minor that it won’t make a difference whatsoever anyway (has something to do with the animation speed of some blood scenes).

Opening and Ending Themes
Let’s start with the OP and ED of the anime, they’re well done and executed. The opening, Changing Point by iRis is in my opinion, well done. The voices have this hint of despair that fits in with the theme of the series: “misfortune,” while at the same time, give energy and excitement to the viewer. This is something, paired along with good visuals and mood setting imagery, which the anime does well too, that is in my opinion crucial to any anime opening. It is an opening for a reason, it sets the mood for something and/or gets people fired up for the show. Normally I skip openings, but this is one of those openings that I didn’t skip from reasons ranging to Nana suddenly singing in Episode 10, to the subtle changes in the openings with each passing episode. Examples of these would be Aya crying blood in the first opening, and switching to Tempest after Episode 2: Tempest.

The ending is probably the more controversial of the two. The ending song is okay, it’s not the best but it’s not the worst. The choice to go live action was a huge but welcome surprise to me, it’s done pretty well. However, the ending decided to make use of sperm cells flying around a real life Tokyo among others. This is one of the things that sparked controversy among members of the international anime community, leaving some utterly confused and some dismissing it as something merely done for the edginess.

Now in defense of the flying sperm cells, remember that the Tempest will “give birth to a new world.” What do most living organisms do when they give birth? That’s right, a sperm and an egg cell. Remember that the “King” will give birth to a new world using “the people’s misfortune.” When a man and a woman do “it” and sperm gets released, remember that there are many of them trying to fertilize the egg cell. In this case, there’s only one King, and many people’s misfortune. It has also been mentioned that “not many will survive the Tempest,” and if you watched Episode 12 of this series you would know that the same sperm cell imagery has been shown, but with a sperm cell withering out when Nana says how not many will survive the Tempest. This is much like how not many sperm will survive after sex.

That isn’t to say that I found the flying sperm cells weird at first though. This is probably because I grew up in a somewhat conservative household that holds topics such as sex and whatnot as taboo. At the first few episodes I found myself skipping the ending to “Ikitai.” I might do a separate piece on that “Ikitai” in the future, for now I’ll stick to the anime.

ORIGINAL Story 

One of the biggest surprises that hit me was really the first scene of the first episode. I called it, it was a foreshadowing of two things: that Nana would be killed in the end, and that this isn’t going to follow the manga’s timeline. The anime made use of an original storyline that is mostly faithful to the source material at the first nine episodes, but proceeds to take its own course starting the tenth. Allow me to highlight first the major differences between the anime and the manga.

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Remember this photo? Yup that’s Alice.

In the anime, we lose out on many things found in the manga. Let’s start with Maganuma Alice, the girl who could turn back time with a flip phone stick. This girl is also related to Detective Misumi, Nana’s human accomplice who “rescued” Aya and the rest of the team from shitty brother  Asagiri Kaname’s attack. While her face was shown at the ending scene featuring Kaname’s rape in Misumi’s “sex dungeon,” it can’t be denied that she had absolutely ZERO screentime other than a cameo in a picture frame.

 

Her disappearance from the anime has caused many of the other differences in this anime, including Shizukume Sarina’s involvement with Nana, and the explosion during Anazawa Nijimi’s funeral. In the manga, Sarina was actually killed by Nana but was saved by Alice’s stick. In the manga, Aya and the rest of the mahou shoujo (she met at least) died in the explosion but was saved by Alice’s stick.

In the anime however, Sarina was just threatened with death by Nana. This non-killing of Sarina ties well with how the writers dealt with a lack of Maganuma Alice in the explosion part of the story. Remember that Sarina was working for Nana at the time, so she knows what Nana planned to do from the very beginning. With Sarina alive, she was able to team up with Asagiri Aya and give information to transport themselves to safety.

My take on this is probably because the anime was limited to a 12 episode run. The writers had to cut some parts of the original manga (which still isn’t finished by the way), to make room for an anime that will fit within 12 episodes, and one of them was to cut off Maganuma Alice. So far, the effects of erasing “shark teeth” Alice hasn’t been felt because the writers did a good job at patching up Sarina’s side of the story. Yatsumura however is where things begin to manifest, please read on.

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Top 10 Anime Confessions

Another major difference is how Yatsumura Tsuyuno died. In the manga, Yatsumura died from using her stick to stop time and save Aya because Maganuma Alice betrayed them in their battle with a really fat site administrator (the one that likes to rap). In the anime, Yatsumura also died from overuse of her stick, but it was with a battle with Nana, who doesn’t appear near the girls at all at this part, in the manga. Again, we can see without Maganuma Alice, things have been taking a very different direction from the source material.

 

While okay, I will admit it was a somewhat good way in my opinion to add some “TsuyuAya” drama and trigger a major character change in Aya without Alice in the story, but at what cost? Two things come into my mind: Pacing and Character Development. For the purposes of this section, I will tackle the pacing first.

If I were to graph the pacing of the story of this anime, here it is:

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This is one of those anime’s that have so much potential but are ultimately bogged down by the pacing. I’m not blaming the writers on this one, I’m blaming the constraint they had to work with. Episodes 1-10 in my opinion were crucial in developing the characters, world and the story so taking a hit there would actually worsen the effects. Many of the major events: Yatsumura and Asagiri’s final happy moments, the assembly of the “anti site admin squad” as I like to call it, introduction of magical girls from other sites, unearthing mysteries surrounding the site and Asagiri Kaname’s antics, were all covered in these 10 episodes and rushing them would not have been a wise decision. Had this been done, it would end up like SAO.

Episodes 11 and 12 felt really rushed to me, despite not really affecting my overall enjoyment and opinion on this anime. One thing that indicated the horrible pacing of the last two episodes was how Aya gained the ability of passing over lifespan and memories to another mahou shoujo out of nowhere. In the manga, she gained this after Yatsumura’s death, okay. It sort of makes more sense now, until you realize that Shioi Rina was the one who pointed that out to Komura Kayo, who were both nowhere to be found at that time (Shioi Rina was sent with Kosame Amagai to heal Sarina). To people who haven’t read the manga, this would cause lots of confusion and give the impression that this is a last minute plot armor device. 

However, despite the pacing problems, it was a good ending to a series that carried themes of “misfortune,” mind you. This sounds contradicting, but the best way I could describe this sort of scenario is “kinda well written, but horribly paced.”

Speaking of the ending, the final message of the anime, “we are not misfortunate,” was in my opinion a nice touch. It’s consistent with Asagiri Aya’s character of being the light in a world full of death and despair, and is just overall satisfying in my honest opinion.

Characters

Let’s go to characters, probably my biggest gripe, which I will divide into two parts: TsuyuAya and Others. Let’s start with Others.

Again, 12 episodes could really bog down a very good anime with potential. Another manifestation of this could be seen in the development of the characters and their overall screentime. One scenario I could think of of me wanting to see more of a character is Kosame Amagai. She’s arguably my favorite character and honestly, I felt like her character started to fade away slowly, only to come back into the limelight at the last part (healing Sarina). This can be seen with Kosame having almost zero lines, but then again she is the shy type of the bunch. I can assure you though, she has more lines in the manga compared to the anime.

However, the big hits in terms of character development were taken by Mikari and Sayuki, with the former taking more hits. Sayuki as we know is part of a yakuza family, but the only instance of that fully showing is her house being a location for Asagiri Kaname’s attack. We don’t get to see their backgrounds unlike the manga, which leads us to dismiss their characters as merely “the rich bitches.” Mikari and Sayuki have really interesting backstories in my opinion, and it really does show that they have lived unfortunate lives similar to the rest of the girls. However, with those completely gone from the anime, there is a possibility that people will think their misfortune comes from the cookie cutter “lonely rich girl” stereotype.

I’ve seen this trend too with many of the negative reviews I have read. While I don’t think the series warrants a 1/10 for “bland, bipolar” characters with no textual evidence support whatsoever, the 12 episode limit might have caused this perception among those who hated it.

Another instance of this would be detective Misumi, but I wouldn’t really complain on this one because his character only gets developed at the later chapters. Meaning the scope of the anime really was going to leave him out. If I can point out one negative effect of this, is that we dismiss him as the horny plot device cop. Yes, horny cop. Watch the last 3 minutes of the anime.

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Please tell me I’m not the only who thought this was the funniest scene in the entire anime

What they did well though in the others department is Asagiri Kaname. Again, the 12 episodes cut off some of his moments (punching Aya) that however, not really detrimental to the story, help develop his character. But the writers make up for this during the beach episode with their choice to remain faithful to the source material. Kaname’s monologue before killing the Nijimin-wota with Nijimi’s panty stick captures his character really well – a narcissistic high school boy who has a “god complex,” thinking everyone below him is trash and should be destroyed. In my opinion, their choice to tone down the abuse to Aya, but go full force with the Nijimi-wota was a good compromise to Kaname’s character.

 

Let’s now move on to TsuyuAya, which honestly is one of the biggest parts of Mahou Shoujo Site. It’s so big, that fans even call the manga as Yuri Shoujo Site and for good reason too.

BEST

Bask in its glory. This is canon.

Asagiri and Tsuyuno’s relationship plays a huge role in both their characters. In a way, they were each other’s catalysts for character development. Asagiri Aya as we know “only thought about dying everyday,” until she met Tsuyuno. Tsuyuno, after her source of revenge (and reason to live) was killed off by Sarina in the apartment duel, found new meaning in life thanks to Aya. Their relationship, much like a normal relationship between humans, has caused them to grow up together and develop each other.

I’ll dive more into their relationship in the next section, but let me start off with what they did right and wrong in highlighting this important symbol. The anime got some parts right with the bath scenes, bed scenes and beach scene. It’s mostly consistent with the manga, and highlights their relationship status well.

What they didn’t do right however, was to, again with the pacing, skip over it and deprive us of the kiss I just showed above. This was a powerful event that helps in the symbol of hope and love in my opinion, and they just had to exclude it. At least we got a confession from both of them.

 

On the subject of TsuyuAya, let’s talk about Asagiri Aya. She is far from being a static character as most negative reviews claim her to be. Yes, she still is “borderline too kind for the world, even bordering into stupidity,” according to Tsuyuno herself, but she has certainly gotten stronger. We can see this in how she chooses to stay with Yatsumura despite her dead body being in front of Nana who could kill her, and especially in how she teamed up with Sarina. The super passive Aya we saw in the first episode, has become this more aggressive, but still passive, stronger Aya. Indeed, in the words of Tsuyuno, “[she] really [has] gotten stronger.”

Theme Discussion

This anime may have taken a turn for the “worse,” but one of the things it kind of gets right is conveying the message I think it harbors. It’s already been established, this world of Mahou Shoujo Site is a world filled with pain, anguish, malice, despair, sadness, suffering and hopelessness. Despite all that, we get Aya.

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Not edited, I promise

Aya is one of these characters that look like a static character at first, but in reality she’s a dynamic character as I just mentioned. This however actually helps in the message of the entire series, that even in the darkest of the darkest worlds, there’s still room for infallible hope. Aya is the embodiment of this infallible hope, because despite of all of the shit thrown at her, she’s still that overly kind human being deep down. Stronger yes, but still kind.

This message of hope extends down to Tsuyuno as well, in her “site admin phase.” She’s dead yes, but she was technically reincarnated as a site admin, meaning she’s alive again. This time however, she’s filled with despair and nothingness, a slave to the will of the “King.” But with Aya’s little speech and her stick’s new ability, Tsuyuno was saved and went back to her normal self. It shows that really, even just a tiny bit of hope could make a huge difference in the world.

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King isn’t amused however

Conclusion and Recommendations

With all that said, I’m sorry if you found my review to be a ramble. But on to topic, would I recommend you watch this anime? This anime suffers from the 12 episode limit imposed by things such as airtime and budget, but overall manages to pull it off with a rushed but very satisfying ending. It cuts some corners, but makes up for it with its writing, themes, and Aya and Tsuyuno. Other characters not so much.

Despite all that I’m proud to declare that this is now my new favorite #1 anime locked on. It was the one reason why I woke up early on Saturdays, so my biased answer is a definite yes. However my unbiased answer is also a yes, but with a few conditions attached.

Are you the type to get triggered with any of the following themes and elements? Bullying, attempted and actual (gay) rape, domestic abuse, flying sperm cells, animal abuse, sadism, blood, despair, suicide, self harm, crime, murder, psychotic tendencies, overall political incorrectness? If yes for at least 5 of those, then I highly advise you to stay away from this anime. This isn’t for the faint of heart and overly sensitive, especially considering that this a PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR anime. (I swear, I see people complaining that the show is edgy when the genre is inherently supposed to be edgy).

Are you the type who likes to deconstruct series and do close readings of them? I highly recommend you read the manga first before even diving into the anime. It’s very different I can assure you that, and I even found myself rereading the manga here and then to highlight some of the major differences between the two.

Are you the type who wants a lighthearted series to watch after a long tiring day at work? If you’re me, then I’d recommend it. But this series is only purely heartwarming during TsuyuAya scenes. Everything else we go back to this world of death and despair, which I’m pretty sure some of us want to forget about with a good fix of anime. This anime is relentlessly realistic, so don’t watch it if you want your escapism fix.

Have you watched the anime? What do you think? Please do let me know down below!

With that, please have a wonderful mahou shoujo life  and  day ❤

Biased Review: 
NO TSUYUAYA KISS >:(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
JUST A CONFESSION. BOOOOOO
0/10. NOT RECOMENNDEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Joking, I love you Mahou Shoujo Site. I always will. You’re the best. Fite me. Everyone watch it, if you can handle it.

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The Magic of Hiragana in Titles

Ayappi here (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ
Let’s start off with some facts. Japanese has 3 main writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Katakana and Kanji should be the most familiar to most the way I see it, as these two are arguably the most prevalent in media overseas. For example, the characters シ、ツ、ン、and ソ are often joked about as the characters for happy, reflecting its popularity. Kanji, well this is the bane of existence for most Japanese learners. However, we often leave hiragana out as this sort of, normal Japanese characters or the curvy characters we often see at that one Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood. As if the purpose of hiragana, mostly, is for when you don’t know the kanji for this and that.

However today I would like to talk about a certain side of hiragana that may seem unimportant for the normal anime or manga viewer, or even a Japanese learner/person who knows Japanese but could actually make for a good way to appreciate the story even further. Specifically, I’m going to discuss the titles of certain works almost exclusively written in Hiragana. With this, I would like to use a certain manga’s title (which I will be posting a review of soon), called “Onii-chan is done for.” In Japanese, the title is written as お兄ちゃんはおしまい, onii-chan wa osimai.

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Slice of Life goodness right here

To be honest, I didn’t read even realize this until the translator of the series pointed it out. Honestly I wouldn’t have thought of this had I read the raws instead. Osimai (or oshimai) is a Japanese word pertaining to something being over. You might have encountered this word being uttered at Himouto Umaru-chan’s opening, with the hai! Osimai! 「はい!おしまい」in the ending. True enough, the “official” translation、at least according to the translator, is “Oniichan is done for,” literally over. However, the translator noted at one of the chapters that osimai could also be referring to an extra polite form of using the word sisters, or shimai (姉妹).

Note that in Japanese, one way to convert nouns and some words into super polite or humble form, is to add お (o) to the start of the noun. If we do this to the word shimai, then we can get お姉妹 osimai. Neat huh? Good job translator!

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Here is the page in question

What can we get from this aside from a free Japanese lesson then? We can see that in even something as boring as a series title, there could be hidden meanings scattered all around. This flexible ambiguity that a Japanese word written in hiragana offers the reader gives us many opportunities for many possible interpretations of the story. To illustrate its ambiguity’s beauty and flexibility, allow me to give an example.

I mentioned earlier that hiragana is one way for people who do not know the kanji, or forgot the kanji, to write out their thoughts in Japanese. Now, even in Japanese schools, kanji is formally taught by grade or year level, and there are some kanji that a 30 year old salaryman would know, that a grade schooler wouldn’t know. I never attended primary and secondary education in Japan, but I can assure you I know this much. Moving on, the main character of this manga (and I’m not even spoiling major bits of it, trust me) is already a grown man, but has been turned into someone younger other than to the opposite sex. Now at the body he’s been given, he has certainly turned younger.

Yes we could argue that the body he has been given could be the body of someone who already knows how to write osimai in kanji, both forms of it. Yes we could also argue that this is one of those words that are usually written in hiragana. But, this choice of the author to use hiragana instead of the kanji versions gives it a more young feel. It helps reflect and enhance the notion that the main character has been given a younger body. Please note that Japanese children do not dive in to kanji right away but rather start with hiragana and katakana like the rest of us who studied Japanese.

With that said, please remember that manga is a form of literature, just like a novel, drama or even a poem. Much like poems, I remember how even looking at the title could lead to more valid interpretations of a piece of literature, we could do the same process of close reading and looking at the title to manga. It’s not necessarily something that you’re required to do to enjoy yourself, and really you could still enjoy a manga without going through the mentally taxing process of close reading, but honestly it could help you appreciate the work even more.

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Sometimes people take the titles of manga, or really any other form of literature and dismiss them as something merely there to sound cool or catchy. But this manga, Oniichan wa Osimai, could easily show us that there’s more to a title than just being there to sound and look cool. Well you have to admit, that might have been clever on the author’s part, but still.

How about you? What do you think of this entire hiragana title magic? Did you ever tear apart a series and looked at the title? Please do let me know your opinions down below!

With that, please do have a great day ahead ❤

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Why Even Bother Playing Visual Novels?

Ayappi here (*´꒳`*)ノ

Who would have thought I wouldn’t have classes (except for one day) for the entire week (*´-`)

Anyway,

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Manga is definitely literature, trust me. My professor approved my essay on Prunus Girl

For the “uninitiated,” you might be asking yourself, what is a visual novel? Is this a fancy term to refer to lengthier manga, the same way graphic novels in the West work? You could be forgiven for thinking that, but if you have ever at any point in time heard about Katawa Shoujo, Doki Doki Literature Club, or have watched Oreimo, then you probably already have encountered visual novels.

It doesn’t take much to run a visual novel, because there aren’t any fancy polygons found in 3D games, or multiple AI’s to stress out the CPU. Literally anyone with a computer capable of running Windows can run visual novels at max settings.

After downloading anywhere from a few megabytes to lots of gigabytes worth of game files from Steam, DLSite or the discs these visual novels come in, we’re ready to play. The way they work is simple, players simply click on the screen to progress with the story. Along the way there might be some choices, where each choice affects what kind of ending the player will get. Games in this genre are usually dating simulators, or bishoujo/otome games featuring cute and/or sexy characters of either sex. Most often than not, these visual novels contain erotic material or hentai as we call it outside of Japan, and are classified as eroge or erotic game (エロゲ).

It’s basically something you’d find in between a manga and an anime. It’s not entirely animated like a normal anime, but it contains voices (sometimes) and contains more room for movement compared to a manga. Most often we read the text too, much like a manga. The way it differs from anime and manga however, is that you’ll need a computer of some sort to run them and keep their game files.

Given that, visual novels seem to be more of a hassle and a waste of time more than anything. I’ve already mentioned its requirements of a computer and the waiting time needed to install and/or download the game files for starters, which in my opinion is one of the biggest supports to this notion. Especially with the latter, I’ve downloaded visual novels that reached up to 4GB in game files alone (I think it was your diary+H). Whiles yes, hard drives are getting cheaper and cheaper, if you compare file sizes to something such as Cities Skylines, a much more intensive game, you begin to question why a visual novel needs 4GB of system storage. You begin to contemplate on how that storage space could have been used up by other games.

Time to buy another 4TB drive

On the subject of storage space, let’s talk about eroge. Eroge visual novels, like their non erotic counterparts still need to be installed in whatever device you own. If you’re one of those people who play these games for the sex scenes, and nothing but the sex scenes, then it might not make sense to even install the game in the first place. I’ve seen countless of times on Booru sites (anime picture compilation sites) such as Danbooru and Gelbooru, the sex scenes found in most eroge. One could easily just type in “game_cg” and the title of the eroge, and you get the full package and more. With this way, not only do you save yourself the time of playing through it, but also storage space on your devices.

But probably a bigger reason, and this is especially because this is a factor in the former two I just mentioned, is that it simply takes up time. For one thing, you’re limited by the devices running these, so that’s effectively downtime if you happen to lose access to your devices at a certain place or time. Installation and downloading is another thing, and this is directly affected by things such as internet speed and compute power. After that, unless you want to just hit “Skip” and not understand anything at all, you’re essentially forced to click or tap your way through the story. That takes up lots of time, even with the text speed set to the maximum. Once you’re done, you either uninstall it, or keep it probably only to uninstall it later on to make way for another game. The time spent getting, playing this game, and uninstalling it could have gone to more productive tasks, or binge read 3 mangas with an anime off to the side.

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You can’t deny that the art is well done

So article over? Visual novels are horrible in concept and you should never play them? The answer really, is a huge it depends.

The reasons I outlined above are coming from my perspective: a university student pressed for time every single day. If you’re also in a time constricted environment, who doesn’t have access 24/7 to the devices where you keep your visual novels, then I really do think visual novels are probably not worth your time. You’ll probably enjoy yourself more reading a manga on the commute, rather than lugging your laptop, playing in public at risk of getting robbed.

However, if you have the time, the storage space, and to a lesser extent the strong enough internet connection, then I don’t see any reason for you to not play visual novels. I mentioned earlier that visual novels are sort of the middleground between anime and manga. There are many things that an anime and manga couldn’t do that a visual novel can do.

One of these things is that, a visual novel could include minigames to better interact with the consumer. Majority of the visual novels in the market do not have these, but there are some who have an extra layer of spice, and I think it helps in the overall immersion in the world of the story. Some examples of these include the famous poem minigame in Doki Doki Literature Club, or this battle mechanic found in Twinkle Crusaders that I personally find interesting (I only seem gameplay of it though, never played this).

You really do feel that it’s happening live

On the subject of immersion, yes it could offer good immersion at levels anime and manga simply cannot offer. Majority of the visual novels are dating simulators, putting you, the player in a self insert character to participate in the story. You, yourself through Mr or Ms. Self Insert interact with the cast of the story firsthand. Oftentimes, you call the shots and not the writer of the story, through the choices you made.

I know there are anime that have done this sort of self insert main character type of thing, where the characters interact with the viewer. However, in my opinion it’s very awkward to watch, and you’re still purely bound by whatever the writer intended to put inside. Manga might have a better chance at beating visual novels, but I personally have never encountered a “Choose your own Adventure” manga. Please do let me know down below if you know any that exist.

Also, and I think this is one of the strongest points of visual novels over any anime and manga, is that the art is simply noticeably well drawn. I will admit that many times have I gone out of my way to look for particular CG scenes, just to make them my desktop wallpaper. The art in my opinion is just way better compared to standard manga or, heck even anime screenshots from shows made by PA Works. I know this is subjective, but honestly I think visual novels easily destroy anime or manga when it comes to art. It’s on a whole different league in my opinion. To prove it, look at scenes from Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko, and the picture somewhere above captioned “you can’t deny the art is well done.” Both are drawn by the illustrator Kantoku.

So yes, personally I’d not play a visual novel simply because I have no time for them. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t play them completely. If given enough pressure from friends, or if I’m genuinely curious about the game, then I will definitely play . But yes, if I could just have a manga version of whatever visual novel is presented to me that would be much appreciated.

However, that’s me, and you’re you. It’s still up to you to decide. Please don’t cut off visual novels completely especially if you have the time. Who knows, you might eventually become obsessed with them in the future. I want to hear your opinions on the matter, so please do comment down below if you want!

Have a nice day and remember to enjoy life and anime/manga that there’s no one else other than Just Monika. ❤

How an Adaptation Could Ruin a Good Manga

Ayappi here ☆⌒(≧▽​° )

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I have waited months for this

So a few months ago, around 2 months or so, one of my favorite manga that I am subscribed to, “Yagate Kimi ni Naru” got a green light on its anime. The anime is set to air sometime later this year, AnimeNewsNetwork says somewhere around the month of October. The staff that we already know, working on the anime adaptation looks promising too, quoting from AnimeNewsNetwork:

Makoto Katō (Beautiful Bones -Sakurako’s Investigation-) is directing the anime at TROYCA(Aldnoah.ZeroRe:CREATORS). Jukki Hanada(Sound! EuphoniumLove Live!A Place Further Than the Universe) is supervising and writing the scripts. Hiroaki Gohda (Amagami SSLove, Election and Chocolate) is designing the characters.

Jukki Hanada in particular, I have the most faith in because of Jukki’s history working on Love Live and Sora Yori mo Tooi Basyo. If you would recall in my My Top 10 Favorite Anime post, Love Live placed 10th and Sora Yori placed 2nd out of the many series I have watched over the years, so I’m confident the writing will be alright. I personally never have watched Makoto Kato’s works so I couldn’t vouch for him, but Hiroaki Gohda’s work at Amagami SS’ art seems promising, so we’re kind of good in that front. All my worries then, are reserved for who exactly will voice Yuu and Nanami in the series.

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I honestly think if the anime uses Amagami’s art style it will go well

But why am I rambling over such things, and why the title Ayappi? Are you fearing something bad might happen, as if the things you’re writing about reflect some sort of event in the past? If you’re asking these questions then you’re on the right track.

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One of my inspirations for becoming a teacher

You see, around 3 years ago, 2015 to be exact, a manga series I used to like got adapted into an anime. This manga is titled “Denpa Kyoushi” or as the tagline reads: “He is ultimate teacher.” I liked this manga for a few reasons, but for the most part it was because Kagami indeed was a really cool teacher. He was so cool that I found myself binge reading the series more for his and his students’ exploits than to look for all the scenes with Araki Kotaro in it (although I ship Kotaro and Kagami). When I learned an anime adaptation was green lit, I was beyond happy.

That happiness ended with the first episode however. Let’s start with Suzune’s voice because that’s probably one of the biggest shocks for me in my entire life as an anime and manga fan. Maybe the directors were going for a more “natural feel,” maybe they had a deal with AKB48 that led Matsui Rena to voice Suzune in the first place. Either way, it didn’t end well, and I found myself lowering down the volume whenever Suzune spoke more often than I laughed at Kagami’s antics. It sounded so lifeless, robot like even. Actually, even calling it robot-like would be an insult to Hatsune Miku, Kizuna Ai or other virtual computers talking. Needless to say, the lifeless voice of Kagami Suzune is forever ingrained in my head, even when reading the manga.

The art too, oh my goodness the art. It was really tough to look at in some cases. You have distorted body proportions on the director on some scenes. Mouths that are too long for their faces. Don’t even get me started with Kotaro’s face. It was too long and it looked like somebody shoved the hand of the guy drawing Kotaro when it was animated. The hair too looked too messy (the manga’s art was 10x better). They did get some scenes right, but the damage is done. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but I remember one scene with the KFC parody, where the letters actually changed in the span of a few minutes. I honestly had faith in A1 Pictures because the original Sword Art Online had really great art, but instead I got something that looked like an unfinished draft aired to meet deadlines.

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This was from an old blog of mine. I promise you, these aren’t doctored.

The story was at the very least mostly faithful to the original source material, (update: or so I’ve thought. I’ve been reminded of the horrible butchering of the anime that removed some very crucial scenes showcasing Kagami’s “ultimate teacher” character) and the OP and ED things were one of the more memorable ones that I have heard. Unfortunately, these weren’t enough to prevent me from dropping the anime for the simple reason of, “it’s tough to watch.” It’s a comedy shonen series, and the manga did make me laugh with its story. The anime however, made me laugh for all the wrong reasons.

Whenever I try to read the manga, I keep on having “war flashbacks” of Suzune and Kotaro in particular. Especially Kotaro, who was one of my favorite characters and I’m one of those people who go out of their way to bookmark the “best” parts. I eventually dropped the manga too, although I’m keeping my copies of it because of its sentimentality.

So what am I trying to say from all of this? I’m scared that this adaptation, and really any manga I read, would be another Denpa Kyoushi moment. This anime, this laughably horrible adaptation of a series that I have loved, has ruined the entire series for me and possibly others too.

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An anime, live action film, or any performance art adaptation of a light novel or manga should give life to the source’s characters. This is where we get to see and hear what their voices are actually like, how they move around in the world (let’s face it, we’re far from having printed GIFs of manga), and other things.

So yes, like I said earlier, Yagate Kimi ni Naru has a promising staff. I’m confident that this won’t be another Denpa Kyoushi moment, if the production team gets the right voice actors for the job. I personally have no idea how the voice actor selection works inside the anime industry, so I could only hope that the person voicing Koito Yuu in Yagakimi, isn’t “Matsui Rena” or a variant thereof.

How about you? Did you have a favorite manga that got absolutely destroyed by its adaptation? Please do leave your thoughts down below and don’t forget to like our new Facebook Page for updates on the blog if you don’t like eMail notifications. 

Have a nice day everyone, and keep on reading manga ❤

For reference, here’s the article.

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The Advantages of Buying Printed Manga

UPDATE: OUR FACEBOOK PAGE IS LIVE ❤

Ayappi here (*☻-☻*)

I love manga. The stories are much more in depth, come out earlier than their animes (most of the time) and I could easily binge read a series to the end in under 2 hours compared to a standard 12 episode anime. It’s also cheaper compared to buying the BD and Blu Rays of our favorite series, if you’re not a fan of Crunchyroll or other websites.

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Made using MS Paint, not joking

“Other websites” (you know what I’m talking about) aside, some of us genuinely want to support the artists. Some of us want to buy the manga and read without facing moral dilemmas or legal debates with people online. Some of us, just really like the idea of buying manga. In this day and age, there are two primary options the average manga fan could buy his or her favorite manga series, eBook (through Amazon or eBookJapan, etc.) and physical printed copies. Personally, despite the convenience of an all eBook library, I still prefer buying physical copies of my favorite manga series. Please do allow me to explain why:

We all know the benefits of eBooks. They’re lightweight, are probably cheaper than their physical counterparts, are not susceptible to the elements, and are just plain cooler in person compared to a traditional paperback. The main problem I have with eBooks however, is that while I could easily read them on my iPad (which is a bonus considering how I use an iPad as my main school computer) on the car ride to school, without bringing a bigger bag to accomodate the manga, too many variables come into play that keep bothering me (and by extension my wallet).

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Losing manga + Losing money =

One of my concerns is how selecting a certain service will lock you to their proprietary software and file formats, as well as lock you in their manga collection. In other words, this means I can’t read my eBookJapan purchases in my Kobo reader, or I can’t read the ones I purchased from Rakuten Kobo in the ebIReader app on my iPad. This limits what you could read, and it certainly in some cases defeats the “convenience” part of the eBooks. So this means, if you wanted to read Blend S, but it isn’t available in Kindle, you’re pretty much toast. While you could argue that it’s as simple as installing the apps for the individual services and making accounts for all of them, I would much rather save myself the frustration of remembering where I put this and that. This is especially when I get to a point when I have over 90 titles already on hand.

However, probably the biggest worry I have is really the possibility of how eBooks will not end up well in Japan. The country has a history of preferring physical over digital media, and I remember reading an article as to why Spotify will fail in Japan due to this exact reason. While yes, it hasn’t happened yet, and there is an increasing number of articles on eBooks in Hatena Blog (Japanese blogging platform), I would save myself the uncertainty. The eBook manga may be cheap sometimes (which I’ll get to in a minute), but losing all my purchases because of the shutdown of the servers hosting them, is not a good tradeoff. I’m pretty sure anyone would go bonkers if they lost even just JPY10000 worth of manga, which isn’t much in my opinion but still big. And even if eBooks become successful in Japan, that doesn’t mean the companies that host eBooks would eventually shut down soon. We’re talking huge money here after all.

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The smile on my face when these arrived. JPY1000 well spent

Now let me get into why I prefer buying the physical copies of my favorite manga versus the digital ones. First and foremost, there are just some things you couldn’t get from a digital copy compared to when buying a physical copy. I’m talking about character cards, clear files, alternative covers, even something as mundane as those small strips of paper that advertise the manga or its anime after each volume. They’re very small things, but honestly, they make me happy knowing that I have something probably not a lot of people have or take for granted. Also, sometimes, at least in my experience, these art cards are things not easily found online, or sold in conventions and anime goods stores, so I treasure them personally.

Another thing is the long term effects of buying a physical copy. For one thing, physical copies could be a form of investment because you could resell the manga after you’ve read it if you want extra money in your pocket. You probably won’t be able to get all your money back (unless you’re lucky), but you at least get a fraction of it back. In some cases, the cost after reselling could be significantly less than discounts on eBook services. This is something eBooks can’t do, and is probably one of the big advantages of physical copies over eBooks, at least that’s how I know it to be. If you know of a service that allows you to sell eBooks, please do let me know.

Another long term effect, given you take really good care of your books, is that their existence is not bound by some company. Like I mentioned earlier, your eBooks are bound by the existence and operation of the company’s servers. With physical books, it’s all on you. Sure, it’s more susceptible to weather damage, or the occasional pest eating the paper, but I personally handle my books carefully so I have no problems so far. Well save for one Dengeki magazine, but really it’s just a chip on the end. Still perfectly readable.

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Finally got to upload this after the wonderful fast internet yesterday

Also, and let’s face it, it just looks cooler to have an entire library of your favorite manga. While yes, swiping on a screen or tapping on a keyboard to turn the page is cool and the future, personally I find the look and feel of a library more relaxing while still being really cool. Imagine it, a wall of manga, a recliner beside a window in a room lit by warm lighting. Probably a fireplace too, because I’m weak to the cold.

Now to be fair, this isn’t to say eBooks should be entirely avoided. There are some cases where eBooks could actually make lots more sense compared to importing manga or buying the physical translated copies of our favorite manga. One such scenario I could think of is if the customs office in your country is horrible, and you’d much rather jump off a cliff than deal with their corrupt ways, or if importing goods from Japan is illegal (never heard of it but who knows). With an eBook, all you need is a credit card and you’re good to go. No customs duties, headaches or missing packages and money.

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What Umaru’s reading might make sense for eBooks

Another scenario where the limited nature of eBooks might make sense is if we’re buying one of those “Monthly” or “Weekly” manga magazines such as everyone’s favorite Shonen Jump or Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh, or Weekly Sunday Champion. I’m actually considering doing this once I get more allowance (teehee). These are those really thick manga magazines you see in anime that could easily take up space at home. I’m pretty sure most of us throw out read, old magazines at some point in our lives, so this actually makes sense, especially if you’re lacking living space. You bought your monthly or weekly manga, got to read it, and you don’t have to worry about where to stash it until the trash collector comes.

It also makes sense given how these weekly/monthly manga are better read within a week of their release dates. I swear, importing a weekly or monthly manga is stupid in practice. By the time it arrives in your doorstep, next month’s or week’s issue is already out. You’re much better off importing or buying physical copies of volumes of manga.

So yes, that’s pretty much what I have to say on the matter for now! Personally I still prefer buying the physical copies due to the reasons I said above (and yes, I will be building my library once I move soon!). How about you? Do you prefer eBooks or physical books? Please do let me know your thoughts and opinions on the matter!

Until next time! Please remember to enjoy life and manga ❤

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An Open Letter Regarding Good and Bad Anime

Ayappi here (=´∀`), and I’m officially getting old and a third year in university!

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Oh goodness, here we go

Last night I couldn’t sleep because of my allergies, so I decided to check if I missed an episode of my favorite anime, Mahou Shoujo Site. Out of curiosity, I decided to check the comments section of KissAnime, to see whether or not the divide between the community on this anime is still present. Turns out, the divide is still present, but more people are noticeably leaning towards the positive. However, what ticked me off were some very special people in the comments section. This blog post is inspired and addressed to the wonderful people at KissAnime.com, so here we go.

Dear “wonderful people,”

Liking an anime, and hating an anime are both opposites of each other, but are still two completely acceptable things. Art and Literature, including anime, are inherently subjective, and as my professor in university would always say: “There are no wrong answers.” Our definition of good and bad will only be determined by you, and only you.

Remember that no two people will have the exact same definition of what is good. For some, a good story is a relatable story with heartwarming characters, a laid back setting and cute characters. For others, a good story is simply something that imitates nature, or has a moral lesson to teach, or something that serves as a good outlet for the author’s emotions. For some, edgy shows such as Mahou Shoujo Site are good stories.

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For some, the original is way better than GGO. Although I prefer LLENN over Kirito

Now we all have our own sentiments when it comes to things like literature. You see, the entire anime community could be comparable to a university classroom. It’s like a book club (or in this case an entire anime club), where we express our opinions about a show, what WE THINK is good and bad about the series, and try to convince those who haven’t watched the show to either watch or not watch it. It’s a great thing on paper as it offers platforms for discourse on these animes that we love to watch. It’s good that things such as comments sections give a chance for the audience to give feedback.

That’s probably where it ends however. In practice, it’s extremely problematic. For one thing, I constantly see lots of people who don’t realize that there’s a huge difference between expressing your opinion, and shoving your opinion down people’s throats. I saw this from the same person who replied to some people who think Mahou Shoujo Site was good, and replied to them with the same identical string of words that person used to fight someone else. First of all, you certainly have lots of time on your hands, don’t you? Second, if you think it’s a bad series, then go ahead and let the world know. What isn’t right, is if you constantly try to change people’s minds into thinking your word is the law. If your point is that an anime is objectively bad, then you’re using the wrong viewpoint from the get go unless we’re talking about things like lackluster editing (and even then, a horribly edited video could be good in itself).

Please remember that no one’s opinion in the anime community is the law. The only difference between reviewers such as me, and you, is how we express our opinions on the anime we’re tearing apart. My reviews aren’t the law. Your reviews aren’t the law. Even someone as prominent as the Anime Man’s words are not the law. You’re free to agree or disagree, but never to declare that something is law. No opinion transcends space and time and is absolute. Get off your high horse. We’re dealing with subjective matters here, not objective matters. If you’re a PC gamer, remember that an anime review is an entirely different species compared to a review of a Radeon HD7990 and a Core i9-7980XE prebuilt, if that even exists.

Segueing into my next point, if you are completely insistent on claiming a certain series is the worst series ever, please please PLEASE, make sure you have textual evidence to back it up. A simple summary of the entire series based on what you think will not help. If anything, it will help me in tearing apart your arguments. As I’ve said, there are no wrong answers in literature, provided they are well defended. You can’t say, a series is bad because “it’s edgy for the sake of being edgy,” without giving me examples from the text itself as to how and why it’s edgy. If I was your literature teacher I’d write a huge “so what” in your paper.

Let me illustrate with an example:

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Example A: Otokonoko Tsuma is a sad attempt at appealing to trap lovers.

Example B: Otokonoko Tsuma is a sad attempt at appealing to trap lovers, because the series echoes many similarities with existing works in the genre. A similar story can be seen in (trap story) where, just like Otokonoko Tsuma (this and that).

Which do you think I’d see as more credible? It’s so simple to add some textual evidence to an argument. It won’t make your argument bulletproof by any means (forget about it, we’re dealing with subjective things here), and in most cases people won’t change their minds regardless, but it does make your arguments stronger. It gives the people you’re trying to convince, the impression that you actually watched it and know what you’re talking about. No amount of “it’s bad because this and that” will convince me. If you can’t show me proof in the form of textual evidence, then your argument, not the anime, is trash.

One example for the above is the overwhelmingly abundant amount of comments dismissing the anime for being a mere Madoka clone, period. No textual evidence whatsoever highlighting the things Mahou Shoujo Site allegedly ripped off. I’m not even going to lie, I wanted to spam my “Defense of Mahou Shoujo Site” article in there, to show how weak their arguments were. I have no problems if you hate the anime, provided you give me concrete examples. To be frank, these people just spouted shit that would easily grant them F’s in an analysis paper.

Finally, for those who start fights on the matter of good and bad anime. My goodness. If you’re still a teenager, that’s understanable. You’re young and learning about the world still, so it’s completely understandable. For the grown ups however, seriously? I’m pretty sure you already know if you lived this long that these things are subjective. Please do be a little more mature in both dealing with people who say an anime is bad, or when trying to express your opinions on certain animes.

Again, I would like to say, an anime’s goodness or badness is determined by you. Only you have the power to decide if an anime is good for you. Express your opinions if you want to, but don’t act like some lawmaker declaring that a certain anime is trash and shouldn’t be watched, or proceed to start fights on it. Believe it or not, these things are some of what makes us have a bad name in society.

I would also just like to add a little thought. Who cares if people think an anime is bad? Just watch it if you really want to watch it, not because people think it’s a good anime. Don’t let the opinions of others affect how you enjoy the hobby.

With all of that said, I think I exhausted what I have to say for now. I wish you have a fun and happy day ahead. ❤

Is Gojikanme no Sensou Worth Reading?

Ayappi here (๑╹ω╹๑ )

When aliens invade the world, what’s the first thing you plan to do? In this manga’s Japan, the plan is to deploy teenagers to fight the alien invaders. It’s every man for Japan in this manga, in an attempt to repel the unknown threat, which only (spoiler) gets revealed at the end who they exactly are. In this review I’ll go over my thoughts I had with Gojikanme no Sensou.

Girls and Guns, and Alien Invaders

The story is set in a world where the Japanese mainland is invaded by an unknown force of aliens. In an attempt to get as much forces needed to repel the threat, the Japanese government issues an order where select high school students will get deployed in the mainland to assist the SDF in fighting. This in my opinion, while some could argue that this is just an attempt at including girls with guns, this would actually make sense given the issues Japan is facing right now such as the rapidly aging population. While old people could fight, there’s only so much an aging body could do. Therefore the decision to use young people to fight may have been the only option at the time.

One common theme in this story, is loss. As the manga progresses, we get to witness ourselves the deaths of the class. These losses however, are not limited to physical losses or deaths of the characters and Japan but extend over to strained relationships and misunderstandings between the characters.  Despite these losses and deaths (towards the end the classroom was near empty), sufficient pages were given to developing the characters and their backstories, so it wasn’t at the cost of character development. One such example of this is the entire chapter dedicated to Miyoshi, the painter boy. If anything, should the characters end up being relatable to the reader, it only boosts the drama and the immersion factor of the manga for the reader. With this whole loss thing however, there’s one thing that boggles my mind: “Why and how did Saku suddenly disappear in the end, without a trace?”

UPDATE: Saku ran off to the mainland to meet with his current girlfriend, which isn’t Miyako. However, it’s safe to assume Saku died as this is the last we’ll ever see from him.

However towards the end, we get to see Miyako bearing 2 children, a boy and a girl, in a new world without the aliens. We get to see life blooming both from her, as well as the formerly resource scarce, now crop filled island. It should be noted that prior to the last chapter, Miyako had to buy food from a merchant boat that brought supplies from the mainland. That, and vegetables were handled by a small farm near the school grounds tended by Saku. The last chapter in particular (which is really long), gave many emphasis on nature, as well as the children of Miyako. The aliens are gone, and a new life starts for Miyako, her children and Japan. This is a nice contrast in my opinion to the first theme which is loss. As old life is lost, new lives begin to grow. It reflects the natural cycle of life and death, and is a smart and beautiful way of conveying that message in my opinion. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

What’s interesting to note of is the names of the two main characters. It’s foreshadowed from the beginning by the act of declaring Miyako and Saku to be unfit for combat, that one or both of them will be the only ones to survive. Now the kanji for Miyako’s name, 都, means “metropolis” or “city.” Being a mother of two children in a newly deserted island in Japan, it’s obvious that her children will be responsible for repopulating the entire island. In other words, make lots and lots of babies, people. Saku’s name, means north or first day of the month. However if we change the characters to a verb, 咲く which means to “bloom (as in life),” then we could possibly see a connection between their “plot armor” foreshadowed survival and the cycle of life and death I just discussed. Although Saku disappears in the end, you could say Saku and Miyako’s fruits “bloomed” in the form of their children.

This cycle of life and death also extends over to the strained interpersonal relationships of the characters. In particular, this one scene with Miyako and Saku towards the end of the manga. The two have sex in order to have babies, possibly because they think they’re the only humans left, but really prior to this scene Saku just answered Miyako’s confession. Now, sex is one of those things that may possibly reflect the closeness of two individuals. This could have indicated a revival of their past relationship as in the story their relationship has been kind of rocky, mostly due to the unrequited love. Again, it reflects the theme of life and death possessed by the manga.

The art for this manga, is really nothing special. However it does set the moods really well in certain scenes. Probably one of the best instances of the art setting the mood is with the drawing of the stuffed rabbit. It is heavily implied that the talking rabbit is the alien threat, and spoiler, it is. However, we don’t know its true nature just yet, but I personally leaned towards the “messenger/traitor from the enemy out to help the main characters.” It was only until the depiction of a rabbit in an eerie devil costume (drawn well enough to give anyone nightmares) was the true loyalties of the “rabbit” foreshadowed.

The pacing of the story is okay. Scenes didn’t feel rushed at all, and I personally think skipping some months to kill off some side characters helped a lot in the pacing. Besides, the majority of the manga are scenes set in the island, so adding more chapters just for the sake of showing how the rest died probably wouldn’t have helped at all. It just would hurt the pacing and would look out of place in my opinion.

Overall I’m pretty happy I read this manga. I only have a few gripes with the story, but regardless I enjoyed the ride. Now, would I recommend, the, that you read this manga? Are you a fan of alien invasions, high school students going to war, and apocalyptic stories? If you cannot read Japanese and are alright with waiting for the translations, then I might be able to recommend this manga to you, because that’s the one thing keeping it out of reach for English only readers. But if you’re a brave soul, I would strongly suggest that you have a dictionary nearby if you choose to read the Japanese because majority of the dialogue is in a dialect. However it is by no means a poorly written story and I think it deserves a chance to be read.

Have you read Gojikanme no Sensou? Please do let me know down below! Thank you for reading, and have a great day ❤

Also, I would like to give a little heads up regarding my current situation. I will be starting my third year at university tomorrow, and I wouldn’t have time to post as much as before. Given that, I will only be posting at minimum, one post per week. Maybe even more if I have the time for it, but certainly there will be one post per week unless something like a blackout happens.

Also, thank you for taking the time to subscribe and read my articles! It really means a lot to me!