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,

CaptureNatsukiR2awd

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.

ayase_sayuki_hirosaki_kanade_minagawa_yuuhi_and_yua_your_diary_drawn_by_kantoku__sample-835d97dcba3e6a4bf88b47a74a3de2a0

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. ❤

Advertisements

An Open Letter Regarding Good and Bad Anime

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

d75b5cef

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.

20180412070032

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:

otokonokotsuma00

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. ❤

On Becoming “Japanese” based on Anime Delusions

Hello hello, Ayappi here! ( ´ ▽ ` )

“Japan is an island by the sea, filled with volcanoes and is beautiful” according to Bill Wurtz. It is also the birthplace of anime, the thing that we are huge fans of. If we look at it from a social constructivist standpoint (I’m sorry I’ve been learning this stuff in university), these anime give way to informal learning and implant in anime fans an image of Japan based on the anime they watch. These people however usually end up getting branded as weeaboos.

Got this from somewhere

Though, the definition of “weeaboo” has gotten so warped over the last couple of years. It has gotten so warped, that I think the Urban Dictionary entry or Filthy Frank’s WEEABOOS video account for just one of the many other definitions weeaboo has gained over time. For the purposes of this entry, we’re going to lock what a weeaboo is to the Urban Dictionary entry which you could check out HERE. But why am I making this intro with that title? Today I would like to talk about becoming “Japanese.”

Now if you have talked with me in real life, at any point in time, you would know that I actually have plans to naturalize to Japan. If you’re unfamiliar with this, it basically means I will willingly renounce my current citizenship and become legally Japanese. Through that, I could enjoy all the rights and privileges that come with being LEGALLY Japanese. I emphasize legal because that’s about as far as you could go, especially if you have zero traces of Japanese blood in you. You will be required by law to take in a Japanese name (with no bad connotations), but the law cannot change your blood and genes.

Now people usually think that my image of Japan is largely based on anime and manga. In other words, the stereotypical definition of anime and pop culture Japan being a wacky, wild, schoolgirl infested place. People always try to talk me out of it by telling me about the negatives, but in reality I am well aware of the issues and “negative aspects” that are present in Japan. I have researched, talked about with natives, and have even experienced firsthand the negative aspects of Japan.

With that said my decision to become Japanese was by no means a rash decision impulsively made from watching my favorite animes the whole day. I am well aware of the ridiculously many requirements needed to become Japanese such as the 10 years minimum for permanent residency and 5 years for naturalization if I don’t end up marrying one of my Japanese friends. I am well aware of the homogeneity, the more reserved and exclusive nature of Japan compared to my country, the discrimination faced by mixed race children and Chinese/Koreans (it doesn’t help that I’m a bit Chinese by blood), how otaku actually is, the horrible work ethic according to most, the declining birth rate and so on. I have methods to combat them such has having friends and relatives who are Japanese and are living in Japan already, knowing Japanese, being passive (yep, it actually works), having prior experiences living in a collectivist society compared to an individualistic one and so on. I have thought of all of these and reflected upon them, and in the end I still keep on choosing Japan.

So what am I trying to say from all of these? I have read many times the horror stories of weeaboos who want to try and become Japanese, blinded by their delusions of anime Japan. I want to try and impart in you, a word of warning and possibly a wake up call if you have ever considered becoming Japanese because of these tendencies. Anime gets some parts of real Japan right and hides the rest of it (I will go in depth on this on a future article). The bad things that people say about Japan, just because it wasn’t shown in anime, are probably real and you don’t know it but they actually manifest in anime in scenes you don’t expect. It doesn’t hurt to Google it first instead of becoming immediately extremely butthurt at the fact that “people are ‘badmouthing’ Japan.” Please, for your own sake, do not consider being Japanese if you cannot accept the reality of Japan not being the “otaku paradise” you dreamt it to be. I promise you, you will really regret it.

I’m not saying a weeaboo cannot become legally Japanese and live in Japan. You could, but unless you stop it with the delusions and consider every single small flaw found in Japan, you would probably have a bad time. A very bad time.

Please also do not consider it if you have absolutely zero knowledge on Japanese grammar outside of the basics. You will not survive with English in Japan, trust me my father learned the hard way until I “saved” him the trouble of talking to natives in Osaka. You cannot learn Japanese through anime alone, mind you, but it can certainly help.

Have you ever considered becoming Japanese because of anime? What do you think of people who say they know everything about Japan but in reality it’s just from anime? Please do let me know in the comments and have a great day ❤

DISCLAIMER: I love Japan and by no means is this article meant to shame or put Japan in a bad light.

My Top 10 Favorite Anime (as of now)

Ayappi here ヾ(๑╹◡╹)ノ”

Today I’m going to do something a bit different, and longer than usual. I know it isn’t much, but I wanted to do this for quite some time now. I see most other bloggers and YouTubers doing something like this, and I thought it would be nice if I shared my own list as well. These are series where I could genuinely say, I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed myself watching it, tearing it apart, relating to it, and other things. For some of these, I enjoyed them so much that no matter how much new series get thrown in my direction, I find myself rewatching clips of these series.

I do want to get this out of the way though, this list is subject to change because of my inherent human nature. In fact, before writing this, 2 series got erased from the top spots, so this is by no means an “endgame list.” I do plan to update it whenever I feel like it, so yes.

Anyway without keeping you waiting any longer, let’s get started, with an honorable mention first. By the way, there will be spoilers below so I bolded the anime names in case you want to skim through it.

Honorable Mention – Uchuu Patrol Luluco

JUSTICE

I remember binge watching this when I was in my family friend’s vacation home somewhere near a beach beside some mountains. At that time, I couldn’t get an LTE signal because of my phone not having the correct bands for the area, and because we were so high up in the mountains. Fortunately I had downloaded the entire series prior to going, and so I spent an entire night finishing the entire anime, along with fixing my anime and manga backlog.

I like this anime for one thing: madness. It’s very short, but I like the madness it offers with the short timeframe. I mean, the opening theme alone, is so crazy and all over the place. The madness was only escalated by the many (and I mean many) crossovers this anime does with other Trigger anime. No moment isn’t dull, I always find myself laughing at one point or another.

And don’t even get me started on the ending theme, Pipo Password by Bonjour Suzuki. This ending theme for some reason doesn’t fit in with the overall madness of the show, but I personally think its more chill, spacey sound is a good contrast. May I suggest going out, looking at the full moon or the stars while listening to this song?

10 – Love Live! / Love Live Second Season

It’s so popular, even elementary school boys want to be idols. Not joking

I’ll be honest, this used to be my #1 favorite anime of all time, but recently I started to lose interest. I used to be a huge Love Liver, and I had access to some insider info as well (I won’t get into specifics for their privacy). Nowadays, I pretty much dumped Love Live Sunshine and it’s second season into, somewhere in the bottom of my list (although I do think the more human side of idols it gives is refreshing), but I chose to keep the original into #10. The reason for this is that this was a very memorable anime for me.

This was actually the anime I used to learn Japanese when I first started. Although I wouldn’t recommend that you use this anime for pronunciation (I personally use talk shows), it does help a lot with vocabulary.

The songs too are an important factor. I am a huge sucker for music in anime, and it’s undeniable that Love Live has some of the catchiest, most beautiful songs I have ever heard. My personal favorite voice would be Rin and Honoka’s voice, although my first favorite idol, and I’m proud to admit it, was Nico.

9 – Mikakunin de Shinkoukei

UMA and 馬 are different

Not a lot of people know this anime honestly, based on my friend circles both offline and online. In fact, I never even heard of this anime existing until I saw a photo from the Facebook page Ho-Kago TeaTime featuring Mashiro and Kobeni. I was bored at the time, so I decided to watch the anime, and oh my goodness did that turn out to be one of the best decisions I made.

It’s nothing special, other than the fact that Hakuya and Mashiro are, not human (spoiler, but doesn’t really mean anything unless you know exactly what they are). It just shows the relationship dynamics between Kobeni, who just got engaged to Hakuya, as well as how they live their daily lives. But the amount of relatability, and the cuteness of Hakuya and Kobeni’s relationship throughout the entire 12 episode run made me place it at #9 of my list.

8, 7 – Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? , Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon

Coffee and rabbits, what could go wrong?

I placed these two together for two reasons:

1. To shorten this list

2. Because the reasons for me liking both of these are pretty much the same

I wouldn’t really call my high school experience, much more chill than high school. In fact, I think I had a rougher time in high school socially, as well as academically (my teachers kept dumping homework). Couple that with the fact that my uniform was so warm and the school doesn’t use airconditioners to “lessen the carbon footprint” and you have mentally tired high school students.I’m in university right now, and I took care of my social issues, but academically (although it’s noticeably easier) and temperature wise it’s no different. I still go home mentally tired, even if I’m not the one driving me to school.

Ravioli ravioli, don’t put your tail on my food

These two anime are so lighthearted, relatable and just butt whopping cute. Sometimes, watching the daily lives of the casts of these two slice of life anime can be just as relaxing as a cup of tea by the sunset while listening to C-418’s Minecraft songs. It offers me a gentle reminder that slowing down and living life isn’t so bad once in a while, and that the relationships I share with my family and friends, who I also consider family, are just as important as that 50 page “thesis” I’m carrying for my horribly dysfunctional group.

6 – Kotoura-san

I really want to eat that Takoyaki, RIGHT. NOW.

Now this one, I’ll be honest, I only finished a few months ago. Why it took that long? I had papers to write, a lot of them. Kotoura-san is one of those series that is very relatable (to me at least) and has got to be one of the sweetest, most heart wrenching series I ever watched. Manabe and Kotoura’s relationship in this anime is so fun to watch, and it really makes you cheer for both of them as it progresses. Not to mention, I liked the ending.

Though fun fact, this is a series that made me cry, if not the only series other than Plastic Memories to ever make me cry at the ending. I have watched Angel Beats, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, a bit of AnoHana, Nagi no Asu Kara and all of that stuff, but none of those have ever made me cry, or even get close to crying involuntarily.

If I had to nitpick something about this anime, I’d say the original manga’s artstyle was weird. And I mean, really weird, especially when colored.

5 – Girls und Panzer

Panzer Vor!

Girls and tanks. That’s basically the entire Girls und Panzer franchise. Although this show is special to me because other than the fact that there’s cool tanks, explosions and, cool tanks, it actually made me quite a bit of friends, especially over World of Tanks. Also I personally admire the cast for using mostly flawed or lower tier tanks, and winning against a KV-2 and even some of the finest in German Tank technology, without relying on some miracle that appeared out of nowhere. Miho could be a miracle, but it should be noted that Miho is the only one with prior experience in Ooarai compared to the likes of schools like Saunders.

Please do check out the abridged version too if you have time. It a really well done abridged series by Gunmetal Stug. Unfortunately I have no idea when Episode 7 will appear.

Every episode, movie, OVA, me and my newfound and existing friends would always chat about this anime. Some of them, are even my gaming buddies over in World of Tanks. We don’t play together anymore, although I still do with my Chi Ri and StuG III, but I can still remember the times when we’d imitate tactics from the anime and incorporate them in our training and matches. To be fair though, some of them actually worked well.

4 – Gakkou Gurashi

Diejobu

DIESUKI. That pretty much sums up my opinions regarding this anime. I honestly thought it would be like Kobayashi or GochiUsa, but when the dark twist happened, I honestly wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t see it coming, and even though the show took a turn in the opposite direction, it managed to still be really heartwarming and relaxing for some odd reason.

Sure, it’s tough to see them struggle with their current situation, but honestly I didn’t mind at all. If anything, it kept me watching. It made me appreciate and care for these characters, much like a mother to her daughter. It can be a bit bloody and graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not good at handling such things.

Quick Japanese lesson, 4 is unlucky in Japan because it can be read as death. Funny how this anime is about death and it’s 4th on the list.

3 – Sora Yori mo Tooi Basyo

“The girls are alright”

This was another of the series I binge watched along with Uchuu Patrol Luluco, although I finished this one when I went back home. This anime, first of all, has THE BEST ending theme I have ever heard from an anime. Possibly this is now my favorite song. If you’re curious and never heard it, or you’re the type to skip the ending themes, the title is Koko Kara, Koko Kara.

I like this anime for two things, relatability and friendship. There are many things I could relate to with the four main characters in this anime on many levels. Every episode, I get to know them better, and I could relate to their daily exploits and funny moments. Although I never eaten durian ice cream, that’s for sure. The anime also serves as a reminder, again like Maid Dragon, that the relationships we build with others are just as important as our goals. We can see this in how the girls formed very strong relationships with each other, while also getting to “the place father than the universe.”

I personally think it’s really beautiful and it’s one of the best slice of life adventure anime I have ever watched. Also, the fact that it was about Antarctica got me hooked immediately.

2 – Toradora

The love between a tiger and a dragon

If the below takes my crown for best slice of life/adventure anime, then this would take the tiara for best romance anime in my opinion. Again, one of the reasons is the relatability of the show. I could relate to these characters a lot, especially with Ryuuji and Taiga. I didn’t have a relationship when I first watched this, but I rewatched this many times and I could indeed relate a bit to those two when I got into my first relationship.

But that’s not the main reason why I love this anime so much. This is actually the first romance anime I have watched, and is one of the few romance animes in my list where the main character isn’t blatantly perverted. Most importantly, this anime is the reason why even watch romance animes nowadays in the first place. The mix of confusion and emotions I felt over the course of 25 episodes (?), I couldn’t really describe into words other than saying, this anime is just beautiful, much like the star Taiga had as Christmas decor.

It doesn’t stop there, the soundtrack is one of those things that, if I had background music for every moment in my life, Toradora would claim some of those songs. Ame Iro Rondo, Sora Iro no Houkago, Yasasisa no Asioto, and most especially Holy Night are some of my personal favorites in the soundtrack. I remember one time in Osaka where I looked out the window and I could see the bright night sky illuminated by buildings. I honestly thought it was 8AM already, but my clock read 2AM. We were beside a river at the time too, so imagine the reflection. It was a piece of Japan’s beauty which I simply couldn’t let go of, but I digress. Where did Toradora’s soundtrack play into this? Please listen to Ame Iro Rondo and imagine what I just said.

1 – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica / Mahou Shoujo Site

Meduka. As I fight, she watch me. So I pray, never to forget. That being Meguca, was suffering.

Finally we made it to the end of this list. At number one, I actually have two animes which are of the same genre, are both probably the edgiest in their respective seasons, and both feature Magical Girls. The only differences, other than the plot, are that Mahou Shoujo Site is currently airing and my judgement is based off the manga, and that there are no movies on Mahou Shoujo Site.

I personally don’t tell people in person, but I am a fan of these dark and edgy stories, which still offer hope. While I have read some hopeless stories, I would still rather have hope in mine and these two are my top contenders.

I always want to be with your side, Yatsumura-san

Both series in my opinion offer subjectively excellent writing. If you have read my defense on Mahou Shoujo Site, you would know that I actually favor the more realistic but edgy approach that the author of this has done. It gives it this more realistic side, which in my opinion strengthens the relatability and effectiveness of the cast and story. Madoka’s approach on the magical girl genre is needless to say, a classic, and I think we all know by now that the way this story approached magical girls revolutionized the entire genre of magical girl. While Madoka has noticeably more magic elements than Mahou Shoujo Site, it still keeps its realistic factor by the effects and events the wishes of the magical girls cause.

Anyway, both series have excellent soundtracks in my opinion, but I lean more towards Madoka on this one simply because the orchestral sounds are more towards my preference. Although I will give props to the opening theme of Mahou Shoujo Site, and even the ending theme with it’s いきたい at the ending part (which could mean I want to live).

Though in the case of Mahou Shoujo Site, there are two other reasons why I love it so much like Madoka other than the relatable cast, subjectively excellent writing, and just plain being adorably edgy. Much like, again, a mother to her daughter, I really love this series and I would do my best to convince people to give it another chance due to the fact that I could see its beauty despite Episode 1. We can’t please everyone, I know, but I think people should still give it a chance, that is if they’re genuinely alright with seeing a lot of blood. The second, and possibly the shallowest reason I have in this entire list, is that the original manga has a kiss scene.

Mahou Shoujo Site – 1

Madoka – 0

“But Madoka has handholding!”

Mahou Shoujo Site had it, in the anime, twice.

TsuyuAya for the win.

But at least Madoka doesn’t have an Asagiri Kaname. So I think it’s a good tradeoff. I guess…

If you made it this far, I would just like to say thank you for reading my ramble on my Top 10 animes so far. If I was stuck on a desert island and I had to watch anime until help arrives, I would most likely stick to these series. This list however doesn’t really coincide with my manga list, which I will be doing once I finish some series.

How about you? Do we have similarities in our lists? If you were to change up my list with an anime you think will beat out all of these, what would that be? What’s your Top 10 anime? Please do let me know!

I hope you have a nice day and a fun anime watching experience ❤

Let’s Talk Anime Popularity Polls

Ayappi here (*´꒳`*)

Anitrending on Facebook, NHK Top 100, the MAL Popularity/Rating Rankings. Do all of these sound familiar? These are just some of the many anime popularity ranking polls scattered all across the internet. These popularity polls bascially take votes from people through a form, and then the one with the most votes comes out as the #1 most popular anime. Simple as that. Arguably this could be easily rigged by submitting multiple entries, but trust me these sites have gotten way better at preventing that from happening.

These popularity polls are great because it gives a voice to the normal anime fan. It’s a great way to know what the people are watching and possibly what their favorite series are. It also brings people together, and should their favorite anime land on the number one spot, it gives a small but still present, sense of joy to that person. I mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to see the things that they like flourish like that?

However, and here is where the messy part comes in, some people take it seriously. Even too seriously sometimes if that’s even a word. It starts flame wars and heated debates. Mostly it’s the so-called elitists in the community that start these wars, un-ironically. It’s as if, their way of thinking is that if an anime places high in a popularity poll, it’s automatically the best anime in the world.

I remember when I was still a Love Liver when the second season of Love Live Sunshine!!, the spin off series to the original Love Live, got first place in an Anitrending popularity poll, it was the ugliest post I’ve seen from them. It was total chaos, inside and outside of the post in question. Love Livers constantly taunting everyone else. Elitists typing up HUGE walls of texts just to prove the Love Livers wrong, enough words to even be considered as an academic essay by my professors. One or two trolls, just took advantage of the situation, but mostly it was an ongoing war between Love Livers and, well, everyone else. That’s just how I remember it.

I think, and I mentioned this earlier, the argument behind all of this is that an anime’s rightful place in a popularity poll must be consistent to its “quality.” I’ve seen many people say that the Love Live anime is written horribly and should therefore be lower in a popularity poll. The same people then proceed to endorse another anime that I frankly never cared to watch, which allegedly has “stellar” writing to be #1 in a popularity poll.

First of all, please remember that this is a popularity poll. This is not a “quality level ranking system.” The metric for this entire thing is simply, how many people like the series, nothing more nothing less. If many people watch it, then many people happen to be watching it. It’s as simple as that. Let’s go back to the case of Love Live. It’s undeniable that in Japan alone, Love Live isn’t something I’d consider to be a typical “community only” anime. It has certainly taken mainstream already in Japan, and it has huge cult level followings all across the globe. I already left the scene because of personal reasons, but I can tell you, it’s unstoppable. We could argue all day long about the flaws in the writing, and there are many, but many people still watch it.

Also, an anime’s “quality,” is entirely subjective, which means it may be different for everyone. Just because you perceive quality different than the average person, does not mean your words are superior. You could always argue to someone that an anime is good because of this and that, or bad because of whatever. Trying to convince people by stating your opinion, supported by solid arguments, that’s perfectly alright! That’s called, tearing apart a series and doing a close reading on it plus an opinion. What is not alright is to claim that your words are like the end all, like you’re the only one people should listen to. If it was like that, then AniBloggers and AniTubers wouldn’t exist in the first place.

Furthermore, honestly, not a lot of people watch anime for the “exquisite” writing and simply watch it as a stress reliever or a past time. Sure, it’s fun to tear apart a series and appreciate its good bits while roasting it’s bad bits, but normally that’s done AFTER the entire thing has finished.

Lastly, I know it feels bad to see your favorite series score low in these sorts of things (imagine how I feel everytime I see the popularity of Mahou Shoujo Site), but please do not let this get in the way of your enjoyment. You’re investing yourself in a battle, that will most likely take more away from you, than it will gain you. The broken interpersonal relationships, wasted time, stress, and decreased enjoyment that were consumed in this battle are not worth a #1 spot in a popularity poll.

To be clear, this isn’t an piece against popularity polls. I personally have no problem with them, and I actually like how it gives the fans a voice in the community. What did I hope to achieve writing this post then? You see, I personally think the petty fighting going on inside and outside these popularity polls is stupid, and frankly, this is just one of the many things that give people like us a bad name in the world. There’s more to anime, and life, than just numbers on a simple popularity poll, and I’d rather enjoy another 5 minutes of my favorite anime than to use that 5 minutes to look like a rabid weirdo fighting with a person I never even met with in the comments section of an AniTrending post.

I’m sorry if this was a bit too tough to swallow, but I felt the need to say it. What do you think? Please let me know!

Alright, I think that’s all for now. Thank you for reading as always, and please have a nice day ❤

Anime and Manga Merchandise on a Budget

Hello, Ayappi here! (●っゝω・)っ~☆

0030-05-27 14.45.51.jpg

Even if I had a lot of yen to work with, I still couldn’t fill up my shelves

Let’s be real for a moment here, anime and manga is an expensive hobby. We see all of these magnificent “otaku rooms” posted everywhere on the internet. Room tours in YouTube, people getting featured in Danny Choo’s blog, it seems like heaven for some of us. One thing’s for sure though, these setups costed a lot of money. The total cost for such a setup would probably even be enough to cover for university and a Ph D program. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating on that one, but the bottom line is, it’s expensive, and not all of us have safes as large as Scrooge McDuck.

Let’s also be real here, not all of us have parents who are willing to shower us with ¥10,000 bills every single day just to cover for our expensive interests. Even if let’s say you were filthy rich, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your parents are the type to throw money away (from what I know, it tends to be the opposite). If you’re older, we all have monthly bills, necessities, dues and debt to pay off, and a monthly salary may not be enough even for just one copy of Magical Girl Apocalypse. I won’t even get into economy and all of that financial stuff.

Fortunately, over my time with my other expensive hobbies, hobbies that I spent way more on compared to anime, I’ve gotten a bit smarter when it comes to handling my hard earned money. Because of this I’ve been able to build up a small collection with the small amount of money I have for these stuff. Now some of these tips might seem like common sense, but believe me, it hasn’t even crossed my mind that these are possible until I did some reading on how to get cheap GTX 980Ti’s. So without keeping you waiting any longer, let’s get started.

Tip #1: Buy Used! Sell Used! 

0030-05-27 14.58.53.jpg

Selling or Trading is a very good idea in my honest opinion

 

Let me just say that I personally like going the used route when it comes to certain things. Sometimes you could find really good deals when you go with the used ones instead of brand new. It is for this reason that my favorite anime goods store in Japan is Mandarake, which specialized in used goods.

I’d recommend doing this for things that are not easily bootlegged such as manga, anime magazines, acrylic stands and charms of characters, official clear files, wall scrolls, CDs of anime OSTs, artbooks etc. Figures and construction kits, I’d be a bit more wary only because there is a huge number of bootlegs circulating.

This might seem like a no-brainer, and this probably the most surefire way to get the best deals out of goods. But believe me, not a lot of people are comfortable with this sort of idea. This probably is the result of numerous eBay and Craigslist scams that get publicized everywhere on the internet, and I don’t blame you for being scared to undertake such a thing. In fact, my parents require me that I update them every time on my cell phone every time I sell my books, or buy new ones from fellow students in school.

However, the secret to keeping safe in my opinion is just to be vigilant and smart to both your buyers and any sellers you come into contact with. Ask for pictures of the item or their faces to avoid scams. Do your transactions near a trustworthy person or a policeman to avoid, unwanted encounters. If a person seems creepy on the other side, you have the right to refuse the transaction.

Your life is more important than goods. Remember that. I am not responsible for anything bad that might happen to you because of reading this entry.

Tip #2: A Relative or Friend can be Helpful

20090803-ray20kinnane2037883723_familybabyblessingday

Family sticks together

This next one may sound rude, but the stuff my relatives send over from Japan has helped in my collection so, yup! If you have a relative in Japan who owes you that one birthday or Christmas present, why not take advantage of the situation and ask for anime or manga goods. This, in my opinion, is the most reliable way to get 100% legitimate goods from Japan. In this method, the only thing you need to worry about is the shipping cost and customs if they choose to send it over to you, or your relatives/parents not agreeing to this.

However do keep in mind that in Japan, a Japanese person who is a huge fan of anime and manga might be looked down upon. But based on my experiences with Japanese, there are some who are a bit more tolerant to foreigners, so I guess that could work?

Oh, quick suggestion. Should you go with this tip, just remember that your relatives probably have busy lives and are stressed as well, so be nice to them when you’re asking. Japanese society can be taxing on mental health, depending on where you are and what you do. Tokyo, as far as I know, is a really stressful and busy environment, and to go act like Logan Paul did in Tokyo is insensitive (throwing a pokeball at a policeman, really?). Try to do them favors too, in return for the favors they did for you. It’s not necessary, but considering what they’re doing for you, honestly they deserve your love and affection in my opinion.

Tip #3: Be Careful During Conventions

800px-the_cosplayers_of_comiket_69

Conventions are fun, but expensive. But they can also be a place for good deals.

Ahh yes, the anime convention. This is a good place to do Tip #1, as well as to interact with the special guests or other anime fans, assuming they’re not glued to their smartphones or Nintendo Switches/3DS’s. This is also a good place to score good deals when it comes to anime goods, particularly fan made ones such as pins. You could also score some figures and other official merchandise in these events at prices too good to be true oftentimes.

You could probably practice your “haggling” skills here if you could, but ultimately it depends on the merchant you’re dealing with. Some merchants are generally, much nicer compared to others based on experience.

A word of warning however, especially for conventions outside Japan. While the prices may seem too good to be true, oftentimes they are, especially with unestablished booths. Based on my experience, I bought 4 figures, three of which are nendoroids: Taiga Aisaka, Yukata Madoka, Nakano Azusa, Hatsune Miku, on different conventions. It wasn’t until I bought Azusa have I realized how much money I wasted on buying fake goods off of conventions.

The bootleggers are getting smarter too. I recall one time there was a Kousaka Honoka nendoroid that seemed legitimate when I ordered it online. It had the holographic stickers yes, but only when I looked at the joints did I realize that it was another fake. Please be careful with buying figures during conventions.

Manga, wall scrolls, and the other not easily bootleggable things I just mentioned should be fine.

Also, food could be expensive during the event itself, so I think this a good opportunity to segue into the last tip that I could think of:

Tip #4: Every Coin Counts

0030-05-27 14.51.39.jpg

These small 1 Yen coins can be dangerous in numbers

This is probably the hardest to do out of all the tips because it requires a lot of discipline, patience and tolerance. However, if done correctly it could save you a lot of money and support even a second expensive hobby. For every opportunity you could penny pinch legally, I highly suggest taking it. Going to an anime convention? Make your own lunch! You could even imitate those bento boxes in anime. Buying your own water bottle could account for your drink spending (which believe me, piles up easily).

Going out with friends? Suggest somewhere budget friendly. If you’re all students there’s a good chance that this will work. Although if the group doesn’t agree, I guess you’ll just have to take one for the team. Lost your pen? Borrow your parents’ ones or your friends.  If it’s free, and it’s legal, it’s a good way to save a few coins for that shiny new figure.

However, do not go too far with this. I surely have at one point and I almost fainted when I had to take the train home. You’ll know when it’s too far when you start getting sick because of this. It doesn’t hurt to spend once in a while for something, especially if it’s food. What we’re trying to do is to maximize your savings, by cutting down unnecessary costs and presenting free alternatives. Remember, the only thing more expensive than anime goods is a hospital bed, and the only thing more valuable than anime goods is your life. No laifu no hasubando/waifu, not the other way around, remember that.

I think I’ve exhausted what I could write at this point. How about you? What do you do to save money for this “black hole” of a hobby?  Do you have your own tips you would like to share to the community?

I hope you have a nice, happy day ❤

Anime Backlogs and My Experience With It

Good morning/evening/afternoon! Ayappi here (^O^☆♪

3rd time post today, I know. I don’t know what else to do right now so I just started writing teehee. Anyway…

When you’re a university student, you might be similar to me in a sense that you often go into this phase where you think to yourself, “I miss the good old days.” No professors yelling at you, no daily panic attacks from that one class you forgot existed (for good reasons). Back to a time when all I did after school was sleep in the car ride home instead of panicking and writing a 50 page minimum “thesis” while trying to contact my groupmates that suddenly disappeared on me.

With that, I suddenly remembered my early days in the anime community. Back when I started to watch anime outside of the stuff they aired on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. When I started to use Facebook to connect with fellow fans of anime rather than to exclusively play Pet Society, Farmville, Nightclub City. I could write many blog entries on my early days (and cringeworthy moments and mistakes), but today I want to tackle something that might have happened to anyone who is an anime fan and is busy.

My backlog was so bad, I basically looked like this looking at it

I’m talking about the dreaded “anime backlog.” What is this specifically? We all know the drill, every new season we head over to livechart.me or Haruhichan (though they’re not doing this anymore since 2016, and we pick what we want to watch from the many titles on our screens. Then after we select about 5 or 6 or sometimes 10, we desperately try to map out the schedule at which these series come out. Lately we’ve been able to do this better, but before I had to rely on the date stamps of the first three episodes before I could make my schedule, or I was just dumb.

Anyway, as time passes, by the fourth episode or so, we drop a few series, which lessens the number, but other factors come in to play. Peer pressure from friends to watch a certain show that isn’t in your list suddenly rushes in. A sudden change of heart to watch a series because of reasons such as, suddenly finding the characters cute. Professors suddenly giving mountains of homework that’s easier said than done. Delays in fansubs if you require subtitiles, or if you’re one of the brave souls that prefer raw: lack of signal. A lot can happen, especially since most anime air on a weekly basis. Eventually, not only do you have a mountain of responsibilities on your hands, but you also have a huge backlog of anime on your plate.

Many times this has happened to me. Believe me when I say that I have dropped really good series not because I eventually found them boring, but because I got lazy and overwhelmed by my huge backlog of unwatched, unfinished anime. Even if let’s say, I had 6 months of no school (yes I had this). How many anime was I able to finish? One, out of 20+ unfinished series, out of the sheer number and laziness. Also partly to blame is my bad habit of rewatching CLIPS of series I already watched amounting to 4 episodes of something I haven’t watched.

I blame these things. I got this one from Animo.

When I think about how did this even happen, I guess I was pressured. I knew deep inside me that I wanted to watch all of these, not only because I wanted to watch all of these from the beginning, but also so I could increase my “anime list.” I blame my innocence and those posts that say “If you are an otaku, name 50 anime,” back when I only have, 17 clocked in. I guess the idea of being a “true otaku” got the better of me and caused me to drop great series such as Charlotte, Anohana (bad timing on this one because I had to carry my group for a project) and Denpa Onna To Seisyun Otoko. I also guess, that if I didn’t watch these anime the same time everyone else is watching, I would be forgotten and be irrelevant.

I guess I was also pressured at the fact that at my first blog, the reception was horrible due to my reviews of old anime. I got so angry when I received my first and only comment, saying something along the lines of “stop reviewing old anime you weeb.” I deleted the thing and went on to add more anime to my list, mostly new ones. I ended up dropping most of them except for one (Nagi no Asu Kara). Whoever that person was, I don’t know who you are, but I could care less if you found my new blog and started commenting again.

Youth sure is a dangerous thing let me tell you haha. I’m still young though, I’m not even in my twenties yet.

Nowadays, as I matured and learned that this “true otaku” nonsense won’t make me any better, or any more prominent as I originally imagined in the end, or trying to satisfy the expectations of people whose only instance of communication was from a comment I went bonkers about, I tend to have less of a backlog than I used to have. I generally stick to one or two or three per season now, and the only time I make changes is if any of these happen:

1. I find the character cute and I have time to add in another one

2. I’m just bored in general

3. It really got me interested in it.

I’m not even going to watch anime just to fuel my blog to satisfy anonymous commenters like I used to. Honestly I also thought about it, and because of that, my review of Nagi no Asukara turned out really horrible. Though, as if the rest of the content I wrote wasn’t horribly written to begin with _| ̄|○

I did this show injustice. Got this from Deviantart

So, if you made it this far, I kind of want to leave a little message to those who are experiencing something similar, or has an anime backlog themselves. What’s the takeaway in all this Ayappi-nee? Think about why do you want to watch this series. There’s no shame in not being able to watch a series everyone else is watching. There’s no shame in not being able to watch as much anime as you want. “True otaku” is just a title given by a picture on the internet asking you to name 50 animes you watched. We’re all living busy lives, and it’s understandable.

Don’t let these things give you an anime backlog, because honestly, it ruins your experience in this community.

Have you ever had an anime backlog? How did you cope up with it? Did you have to drop series too, or you miraculously found a way to bounce back? Please let me know your thoughts!

Have a great day or evening, and happy watching ❤

If you’re curious, and this is inconsistent with my MAL account, here’s my watchlist so far. Trust me, this is less than what I had 5 years ago:

1. Mahou Shoujo Site

2. Better Sword Art Online: Gun Gale Online

3. Hinamatsuri

4. Comic Girls (binge watching this within this week to catch up)

Reading list:

1. Mahou Shoujo Site

2. Magical Girl of the End

3. Bloom into You

4. A couple of BL one-shots

5. My Wife is a Man