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.

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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.

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The Magic of Hiragana in Titles

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

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

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Slice of Life goodness right here

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

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

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Here is the page in question

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

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

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

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

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

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

With that, please do have a great day ahead ❤

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Why Even Bother Playing Visual Novels?

Ayappi here (*´꒳`*)ノ

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

Anyway,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to buy another 4TB drive

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

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

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You can’t deny that the art is well done

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

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

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

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

You really do feel that it’s happening live

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

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

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

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

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

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

How an Adaptation Could Ruin a Good Manga

Ayappi here ☆⌒(≧▽​° )

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I have waited months for this

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

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

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

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

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

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One of my inspirations for becoming a teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For reference, here’s the article.

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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 ❤

Anime and Manga Merchandise on a Budget

Hello, Ayappi here! (●っゝω・)っ~☆

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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! 

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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

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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

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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

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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

In Defense of Mahou Shoujo Site

If you are uncomfortable with sensitive topics, or spoilers, please do not read this article.

First of all, I would like to say, thank you to the first 5 followers I got. It really made me happy that you followed my blog 

I’ll work hard and do my best to bring more content slowly!

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When people don’t like mahou shoujo site

Back on topic. A recent anime adapted from the manga of similar name, Mahou Shoujo Site has been making rounds in the anime community lately. Personally, like it, if not love it. But for the rest of the anime community, reception seems to be mixed judging from the ratings in BakaUpdates, MyAnimeList and YouTube, and I couldn’t blame them for it. For one thing, it is undeniable that the first episode of the anime does, bring a lot of so-called shock factor into the table. This is especially amplified by the transitions the directors used when switching scenes. This eventually leads majority of the opposition to say that the anime is merely shock value, and offers no substance whatsoever.

Another thing is that some people in the community accuse the show of being a blatant shot at a “Madoka ripoff,” and I couldn’t blame them for it because there are some things that are similar to Madoka in many ways. The most obvious being the fact that the show is dark and has magical girls in it, as well as death and despair.

But probably, the one thing that stood out among all of the other factors that contributed to this anime’s rise to its currently (in)famous  status is how the anime tackles very sensitive topics such as child abuse and rape. In the first episode alone, I could see why the anime gained the title “the edgiest anime of the season.” We have bullies making poor Aya’s life miserable in school (even attempted to rape her towards the end). We have a brother whose pressure from his father forces him to turn his sister Aya into a punching bag. It’s really, as the anime’s tagline says, unfortunate (不幸だね).

However, I personally will admit that I could handle such edge and I continued on to watch the anime. I even started to read the manga, and I am planning to buy Volume 10 of it soon. Since the anime isn’t finished yet, I decided to go and read the manga so I know what will happen next. By doing that, I realized two things:

  1. I love this manga
  2. The edginess in Episode 1 is important and necessary

What do I mean by Number 2? I personally think the Mahou Shoujo Site’s appearance to Aya wouldn’t have made much of an effect had the “edginess” been toned down. If we take a look at the mechanics behind when does the site appear to a girl, it’s obvious that the site is approaching unfortunate young girls. For the site, the meaning of unfortunate seems to be that a person really has to have a sort-of living hell in their lives. And this lines up with the fact that the purpose of the sticks is apparently to collect negative energy from daily interactions with the world. Obviously, living a living hell, which causes despair, is chock full of negative energy.

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I love these two to bits

Let’s take a look at the backstories behind some of our main characters before they became magical girls:

Asagiri Aya: Abusive brother who uses her as a punching bag, bullies that almost got her raped, but cause her physical harm everyday. “Everyday, all [she] thinks about is dying.”

Yatsumura Tsuyuno: Her entire family was murdered by a burglar, and has since lived alone in a state of panic and fear for her life

Nijimin: Her father committed suicide due to debt from loan sharks. Her mother, and she was (from what I understood) almost was forced by these loan sharks to become a prostitute.

There is another Mahou Shoujo who I forgot the name of had her family killed off by a murderer in a stabbing spree.

We can see obviously that these are very, very unfortunate situations unimaginable to happen in our daily lives, living hells if you will. Had these been toned down to just being lonely, then I think it defeats the purpose of the site catering to “unfortunate” young girls. If it was toned down, the Mahou Shoujo Site wouldn’t even approach Aya in the first place. These things do happen in real life, and possibly this was the best way the author could have made the girl’s lives really unfortunate while still being realistic and unfortunate. I know the themes being tackled by this series are very sensitive and serious issues in society, but honestly, I would rather the author use these instead of some unrealistic way to make the character’s lives utterly miserable.

Had Aya’s situation been just relegated to bullying without the physical harm and attempted rape, or domestic abuse from her brother, or really anyone in the story, then the story would deviate from the dark nature the Mahou Shoujo Site possesses.  Again, going back to the sticks and harvesting negative energy, it only makes sense that the most surefire way of harvesting negative energy is to get it from girls who are living a living hell.

Furthermore, I personally think that the accusation that the anime is all shock value is unfair. While it is true that the anime does bring a lot of shock value to the table, advancing a few episodes or reading the manga would reveal that the series isn’t really all shock value. There were plenty of opportunities for character development down the road, and honestly, one episode of an anime isn’t enough to label the entire series most of the time. We could argue every day about the flaws of the writing, and I’ll admit it isn’t the best, but to say that the series brings nothing but shock is unfair and is a weak argument in my opinion.

On the subject of the anime/manga being a Madoka rip off, I beg to disagree. Sure, the series is similar to Madoka in many fronts, other than the fact that both are about magical girls in despair, with magical tools from “magical beings” with ulterior motives. However, the one big difference in Madoka and this series is the way the “magical beings” represented by Kyubey in Madoka and the site administrators in Mahou Shoujo Site approach their targets.

kyubey_with_airi

In Madoka, Kyubey esssentially approaches young girls, and doesn’t seem to have a criteria for them. Kyubey judges based on the potential magic ability, and grants young girls a wish in exchange for being a magical girl, which may or may not cause despair when the wish takes a turn for the worse. In Mahou Shoujo Site, despair is a pre-requisite for one to become qualified to be a mahou shoujo. The site administrators do not grant wishes, they simply give a stick with a random power to the girl in despair.

The mechanics of the mahou shoujo also differ a lot from Madoka Magica. Unlike Mahou Shoujo Site’s girls, in Madoka, the use of magic ability does not adversely affect biological lifespan. Madoka’s system is that with every use, the girl’s soul gem gets darker and needs to be purified by a grief seed to become clean again. In Mahou Shoujo Site, every minute equates to loss of life and physically affects the health of the user. It should be noted as well that the nature of the soul gem is different than that of the sticks, in a sense that if the stick is lost, you simply lose the thing as evidenced in the events after the  incident with Sarina and Yatsumura’s apartment, rather than being a lifeless corpse after a certain distance has been travelled as demonstrated by Sayaka’s gem being thrown by Madoka into a truck.

With all that said, in the end, whether or not the anime is to your liking is up to you. However, I highly suggest following the three episode rule and give it another chance. That is assuming, you’re alright with seeing a lot of blood because if there’s one thing that the anime doesn’t hold back about, it’s blood. I love the anime and manga and obviously I’d love it if people loved it too, but what you prefer is out of my control. I could sit here all day, and try to counter the arguments posed by those who do not like the show, but really, only you have the power to decide what is good for you. Please remember that. I simply wrote this article just to bring my opinions to the table, and to possibly give you a different perspective when it comes to this really edgy anime that I, personally, came to love.

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How about you? Please let me know with a comment how you feel about this series? If you dropped it, would you consider rewatching it? Or at least read the manga?

I think that’s all for now, please have a great day and a happy mahou shoujo life. 

If you want to watch the anime legally, it’s available on Prime Video. If you want to buy the manga, I recommend heading over to eBookJapan for the cheapest digital copy (based on what I could find). Just a quick note however, based on what I noticed, the anime differs a bit from the events in the manga, especially with Sarina.