I Changed My Mind

Hello! Ayappi here \\\\٩( ‘ω’ )و ////

I’ll make this entry quick and painless.

Due to recent events with and without people I’d much rather not talk about for the sake of their privacy, I won’t be pushing through with the lolita stuff. Also, after a bit of soul searching, self reflection, motivation to improve upon my production (especially videography) skills and peer pressure from my friends over at university, I have decided that I will be starting “blogging” again however, it won’t be on this site.

You might be asking why I put air quotes on that blogging bit. Now if you’ve followed me since the very beginning, you’ll know that I wanted to use WordPress as my platform because I wasn’t comfortable with the whole Youtube thing. Well people change and I’m glad to announce that Ayappi’s room will now be in the form of a Youtube channel anytime, this year. As far as channel names are concerned, I’m leaning towards either keeping Ayappi’s room or using my other name, Astella’s Observatory.

The content of the Youtube channel would largely be the same as the stuff I posted here on Ayappi’s room, however I might do more focus on the yuri/yaoi side of things, as well as some vlogs.

I will be posting the channel link when the first video goes live as a separate entry over here, as well as on my Twitter and Instagram (@yasitsmeastella) accounts.

Thank you all for the ride! Ayappi’s room is NOT dying, it’ll be reborn in YouTube as either one of the two names I just said (^◇^). The six pointed star lives on ❤

Please do support the channel once it goes live! If you have YouTube channels as well please let me know any tips and anything I should know o3o

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Why I haven’t been updating the blog

Hello, it’s me Ayappi, or ASTEllA as per my rebrand on Twitter. m(_ _)m

To my blog followers, and to the amazing friends I have made in the aniblogging community you might be wondering why I haven’t updated Ayappi’s Room for a good 2+ months now. But before I start explaining myself let me first apologize if I have kept any of you waiting, or have been wondering about my sudden disappearance.

 

Okay, now on to the reason why I’m writing this article. It all boils down to three main reasons: personal life, I ran out of ideas, and a new hobby/interest of mine.

My course in university is a very reading intensive one. I wouldn’t say it’s on par with something like law school, but it is certainly near. Especially considering how we have a law subject right now in my present semester. Comparative politics, economics, culture classes, international law and IR, these are all topics where the required readings are at minimum 20-40 pages each. So reading all of these eats up a good amount of time. Add this with this trend I’ve noticed with my professors, where they dump everything at you in one go, dysfunctional group mates and night classes, I don’t have that much time, compared to when I started this, to think of (good) blog articles to post for the blog. The time I used to have typing up articles is now used to type up (or cram) papers, reports, proposals for my professors, or huge walls of texts to go “beastmode” on bad group mates.

Mind you I still have free time despite these circumstances. It’s not as much compared to before, but it’s still free time. But even when I do have free time…

Moving on to reason #2.

I simply can’t think of a good blog post to do anymore. I’ll be honest, for some reason I just can’t think of one. Yes sure, there are tons of new anime to watch out there, or new manga to read. But for some reason, even when I do find time to read the latest chapter of Insert Japanese Words here, the words don’t come into my head like they used to back when I started this blog.

Now I don’t know if this is all temporary, like the “artist’s slump,” or it has something to do with the level of stress I’m experiencing from academics and my personal life, but it doesn’t change the fact that my brain is dry. And honestly, I would much rather not post anything at all than force myself to think, risking my blog’s credibility, and eventually losing it because I forced myself too much that the thing I wrote turned out to be a piece of crap. As much as possible, I’m not someone who skimps out just to meet a certain “deadline.”

Though if anything, I think it has (partly) to do with the fact that I got into a new hobby.

Which brings us on to Reason #3.

I recently got into cosplay and lolita fashion thanks to a kohai of mine in university who happened to be a cosplayer, and I will be doing a shoot soon. I am still undecided on what to go for first (my cosplan or lolita dresses, though I’m leaning towards the latter), but you bet it will happen.

Now wait a minute, you might be thinking, why do I have the time to do this shoot but not write for the blog? As I’ve said, I’d rather not force myself to write if I don’t have any ideas and eventually churn out a piece of crap just to meet “deadlines.” This shoot will certainly take time, but it will most likely be a one day affair, unlike the multiple days it takes me to conceptualize ideas and write (most) posts in here. Mind you, I’ve been thinking about most of the stuff I posted in this blog for a good while now, that’s why they got released so fast. Add to the fact that there’s less mental work to be done (at least for me), I could just reallocate the brain power to writing papers for my classes.

Also it’s lowkey been my dream to wear lolita dresses or cosplay.

I really don’t know how to explain this, but this is the best I got as of now so here.
Again, I’m sorry I haven’t been updating the blog. Will there be future updates? Probably, if the words come into my mind, but no promises.

AGain, I’m sorry, and please have a good day!

The Beauty of Hello Happy World and Kokoro Tsurumaki

Ayappi here! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

So a friend of mine recently got me back into playing this mobile game called Bang Dream! Girl’s Band Party. As I played this game again, other than finding out I have lost some of my rhythm game ability,  and that the once failing franchise has really gotten a lot of positive traction lately, I have found some really interesting insights about one of the characters in this franchise.

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One hell of an energetic band I’d say, in a good way

You see when I used to play Bang Dream prior to this, I only focused on my favorite characters: Rimi and Kasumi from PoppinParty. I did a bit of Pastel*Palletes as well, but only because they did the cover for one of my favorite songs, which was Sekai wa Koi ni Ochiteiru. This meant I would leave out or not even bother to interact with the other characters in the game. But this time it’s different, and by going out of my way to explore  and give the other bands a chance, I have found something very interesting that has made me appreciate Hello Happy World better.

I’m talking about Kokoro Tsurumaki, the blonde haired leader of Hello Happy World!, one of the five bands that comprise the Bang Dream franchise as we know it today. As I interacted with her, “interesting” character in the game, I have come to the conclusion that Kokoro Tsurumaki’s character really does encapsulate the spirit of the band Hello Happy World. Allow me to explain why down below!

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Kokoro as we know it, for those who played the game or have her as their best girl/waifu at the least, has a very quirky personality. She’s a rich girl, but her character goes against the typical spoiled, snobbish nature of the blonde rich girl character we often see in shows and other video games, such as Sendoin Kaede from Battle Girl High School or, while not really blonde or anime, Trixie Tang from the Fairly Odd Parents. Instead, we get a more “innocent and happy rich” type of character out of her, hinting the possibility of being sheltered by her parents. If I were to compare her personality with another franchise related to Bushiroad, it would have to be Ohara Mari from LoveLive Sunshine.

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They’re both blonde, rich and energetic. Mari however has lots of mixed blood

She always goes out with a smile, and is really full of energy – enough to rival even some of the most energetic girls that fit in with the “genki girl” stereotype. Remember that happiness is contagious, and that they do often say that the best way to get people to smile is to smile yourself. This is coupled with the fact that she has made Hello Happy World for the purpose of making people happy with the band’s music. Not only that, but whenever I see her interacting with the characters in the Bang Dream game, she always acts younger and definitely quirkier than what is expected of her age, at energy levels usually not found at her age. Her energy, and personality are in my opinion, best described as childlike.

Childlike in a sense, that, I’m pretty sure at some point in most of us, we just want to make the world happy. We just want to innocently spread happiness, love and friendship to all of the people we meet in the world, while at the same time being super energetic that it might serve as an annoyance to some people. And I think this ties in really well with the whole concept that makes Hello Happy World what it is – to spread happiness through their music.

Further extending the subject of her childlike disposition and how it embodies Hello Happy World as we know it, elements in her band’s story and even the band’s title really compliment this whole childlike Kokoro. Kaoru Seta, the guitarist of Hello Happy World for example, I remember her story debut in the band’s story where she played the role of a prince in a school play. Shortly afterwards, we get a special cutscene where Kaoru, is in a position that makes her appear like she’s the prince Kokoro (the princess) was looking for this entire time, much like a typical princess fairytale. Again, it compliments being childlike as we normally associate fairy tales with youth and bedtime stories when we were 7 or 8 years old.

Another more obvious childlike element would be the bear costume of Michelle. It reminds us of these huge plush toys that give us joy when we were kids, and I think it ties in very well with the whole concept of making others happy though our music, and the childlike Kokoro.

Hello,_Happy_World!_(PICO)

Let’s also look at the title, Hello Happy World. If you ever did a bit of programming, the usual first program we create in class is a simple “Hello World” program, showing some sort of greeting to the “world” that we have arrived and are ready to mingle with you. However, the addition of “happy” changes everything. It’s now a greeting addressed to a “happy world.” What is this happy world you might ask? No idea, but judging from Kokoro’s vision of making people happy with their music, it ties in really well again with the whole childlike Kokoro thing I just discussed.

In conclusion, Kokoro’s childlike personality really compliments the whole concept of Hello Happy World. This childlike personality of her has really contributed into her making Hello Happy World, and it does really show. I would say, learning more about her has really did make me appreciate her character more, to the point that I would make her my second favorite character in the entire Bang Dream franchise. No one beats Rimi however, protect that chocolate fountain at all costs.

What do you guys think? Are you a fan of Hello Happy World or at the very least Kokoro? Please do let me know down below and have a great day ahead ❤

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.

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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.

DfbKxxKVMAAZBxI

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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