Ayappi’s Room YouTube Channel and the Fate of the Blog

Ayappi here again! And I wanted to give you all an update on the YouTube channel, as well as set the deal as to what will happen to the blog.

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Asagiri Aya who shares the nickname Ayappi with me in Ayappi’s Room Reacting to a Blog Entry on Ayappi’s Room’s Youtube channel, Ayappi’s Room.

Channel preparations I could say are generally going well. Channel name has been decided, and I will retain Ayappi’s Room (thank you Umai Yomu Anime Blog). I already worked out the channel art, though I might change it out soon. I’m considering on commissioning an artist to make us an avatar for the channel actually, something like Pi-kun (trap mode of course). If you want to subscribe early you could do so by going to the channel through this link (YouTube has an algorithm that basically prevents me from being visible to their search engine if I haven’t posted more than 2 videos). Equipment wise, we are all set for recording my face and voice. Until I could manage to afford a DSLR camera for videos, I’ll be using my phone. Judging from a few test shots I made, it will do a fine job of recording me. I also ordered a cheap tripod and phone mount for it so my face won’t be shaking all the time.

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Channel At Its Current State. #WEEBUILT

When it comes to what the first video will be, as of right now I’m working on the script for the first video. I’ve decided with much deliberation that I would be doing a manga recommendation style video, much like my manga recommendation entries here on Ayappi’s Room. Probably that, recording the damn thing and piece it together, and coming up with a solid channel intro, or leave it out altogether, is all that’s left. I honestly could make a crappy intro video using Powerpoint but that isn’t how we roll here. I might commission someone to make an intro for me (not those 3D dubstep intros you see on most new channels), but we’ll see. The logo will appear more or less, I love my 6 pointed star seal ❤

With that said, I think it’s fairly obvious that the YouTube channel is set to push through and there is no stopping me, other than YouTube shutting down completely or my final exams for the semester which are drawing closer every single day. What will happen to the blog now then? Will I toast it forever and completely decommission it?

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The short answer is no. 

The blog in its current form will be repurposed as a complimentary website for the Youtube channel, especially given how YouTube’s (annoying) algorithm is coded based on my research. Like I said previously, I won’t be in the channel search results until maybe the 2nd video, and even then it takes long for the search results to refresh with new channels, videos and the like. Please expect entries containing my videos for maybe until the 10th video, but I probably won’t even get to the 10th video. I’m honestly not sure what will happen, let’s just wait and see.

After I deem that I do not need to post entries in the blog anymore about new video releases, the entries in the blog will mostly be any of the following:

  • Anything that would most likely land me a community strike on YouTube, or a copyright strike
  • Emergency announcements
  • Contests and giveaway details (I’m not even sure if I’ll reach this point but you get the idea)
  • Business details and other business related matters (Again, not even sure if I’ll reach this point but why the hell not)

Again, like I said in my previous entry on the subject matter, which you can read here. Ayappi’s Room is NOT dying. It will be reborn like a phoenix. Look at my logo. Imagine that’s a phoenix and not a six pointed star or a five pointed star that looked at some hentai. 

To the 38 subscribers (at the time of writing, and to all the new ones after), thank you for subscribing to Ayappi’s Room as a blog. It may not be in the million mark but trust me, you all make me really happy. I will still be posting content, just not here, but in a more hostile environment called YouTube. #WEEBUILT Ayappi’s Room. I hope to see you all too in YouTube! ❤

You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram for quick updates on the channel at @ayapipipiiin. Oh and if any of you have a YouTube channel, let me know down in the comments or on Twitter so I can put you in the “Ayappi’s Roommates” tab on the right of my channel. I’m open to include maybe 2 or 3 more?

Again, thank you for the journey on WordPress. Let’s see each other again, on YouTube. And what better way to end this entry than by doing the stereotypical Youtuber “back at it again with another entry, don’t forget to subscribe, like this video if you like it, like it if you dislike it, and don’t forget to subscribe to the like I mean channel.” (I’ll do my best not to be like this).

 

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The Magic of Hiragana in Titles

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

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

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Slice of Life goodness right here

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

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

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Here is the page in question

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

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

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

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

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

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

With that, please do have a great day ahead ❤

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Why Even Bother Playing Visual Novels?

Ayappi here (*´꒳`*)ノ

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

Anyway,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to buy another 4TB drive

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

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

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You can’t deny that the art is well done

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

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

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

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

You really do feel that it’s happening live

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

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

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

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

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

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

How an Adaptation Could Ruin a Good Manga

Ayappi here ☆⌒(≧▽​° )

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I have waited months for this

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

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

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

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

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

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One of my inspirations for becoming a teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For reference, here’s the article.

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The Advantages of Buying Printed Manga

UPDATE: OUR FACEBOOK PAGE IS LIVE ❤

Ayappi here (*☻-☻*)

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

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Made using MS Paint, not joking

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

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

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Losing manga + Losing money =

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finally got to upload this after the wonderful fast internet yesterday

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

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

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What Umaru’s reading might make sense for eBooks

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

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

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

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

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Is Gojikanme no Sensou Worth Reading?

Ayappi here (๑╹ω╹๑ )

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

Girls and Guns, and Alien Invaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Shishunki Bitter Change Worth a Read?

Ayappi here (°▽°)ノ

Spoiler Warning, Please Skim Through if You’re Not OK with Spoilers

Body swapping might not be a pleasant experience

Lately due to me being out of the house most of the time, I’ve been reading more manga than watching anime. Some of these series I only thought about reading just recently, while others I have read but have decided to re-read them because I simply lost track. Today I would like to talk about a certain manga series that at first glance might seem like it’s a Kimi no Na Wa rip off, but in reality it isn’t, and spoiler alert, it’s really good. I’ll get to why in a minute.

Shishunki (or Shisyunki) Bitter Change is a romance manga that deals with body swapping, much like Kimi no Na Wa. I figured that there would be a possibility that people would dismiss the manga as a rip off of the said series. However, the premise they operate, and how the body swapping works is entirely different. On Na Wa’s side, they body swap to each other on an alterate daily basis as soon as they fall asleep. On Shishunki’s body swapping, the two body swap indefinitely one day when the main male character Yuuta falls down on Yui, the main female character. They might be similar as well as to how they deal with their body swapping, such as “To Not Do Lists,” but the two are still different from each other. It should also be noted that Shishunki came out 4 years before Kimi no Na Wa stormed to success.

With that out of the way, let’s move on. The manga from what I read does a great job of using the whole body swapping thing to develop its characters and create, as the title implies, changes. The two, in the story, as they live out their lives in the bodies of each other, consciously and unconsciously fill in what was missing in their lives before the entire incident happened. Yuuta (in Yui’s body), fills in her desire to have friends and gets her out of the lonely zone, while Yui (in Yuuta’s body), gives Yuuta good grades.

Change is a common theme in this entire manga, and most if not all characters are NOT spared from the clutches of change. It’s a dynamic character festival, and we’re given front row seats to watch these characters grow up and change. There may be instances of characters that look like static ones, such as Mr. Hopeless Romantic, but in reality they had some subtle changes that could easily be overlooked, especially when binge reading.

(Super spoilers) But where does the “bitter” in bitter change come in? My guess on the matter, other than the side characters getting rejected of their romantic feelings for the two, which have lead to many changes in their lives, is how Yuuta developed romantic feelings for Yui. The two main characters had to deal with heartbreaks and rejections, as well as countless fights between each other for misunderstandings and deviations from the “To Not Do Lists.” Yuuta in particular had to deal with Yui not being able to “read” his feelings and blabbering nothing but Takuma, Yuuta’s best friend Yui has fallen for. These Although in the last chapter I have read, it may be implied that the two will end up together based on how I interpreted it.

My other guess on the whole “bitter change” bit is the entire concept of puberty. Shishunki translates to puberty, and in the story, we could see the characters dealing with puberty in bodies that aren’t even theirs. Oftentimes this has been bitter for the characters, especially because they weren’t supposed to experience puberty like that. Take for example Yuuta having to experience menstruation in Yui’s body. Couple that with the uncertainty on what could happen while the current owner is in the body, and it could make for one bitter experience.

As for the characters, they’re very relatable and believable, especially those that are still kids and/or undergoing puberty at the moment. The characters are the types of people you would commonly find in both grade school and middle/high school such as the smart lonely one, or the sociable one, or even the hopeless romantic. Family issues are also tackled in the story and I think it just helps with the whole relatability and believability factor. Not all families are the same after all, and it’s something every child eventually comes to know as they go out and explore and interact with the world. Although in this story’s case, they were unspared the trouble of finding out at a very early age, first hand. Me personally, I could relate with both Yui and Yuuta a lot, equally.

On the subject of character development, allow me to get this out of the way, but I’m personally glad that this didn’t turn out to become an ecchi manga. Ecchi can work and can even develop characters, maybe even faster than the current pace of the story. However, it feels kind of lazy in my opinion, and it could easily get lost in the fanservice should that be the case and I’m glad the author managed to develop its characters without going the ecchi route.

Art is handled well. It’s not tough to look at compared to something like Kotoura-san’s art style. I love Kotoura-san, but Kotoura’s eyes just look really weird and uncomfortable to look at. But it isn’t really groundbreaking or revolutionary for me to write an extra paragraph about it. Although, I have to give the author props because the simple art can actually help in keeping focus. This story can get confusing after all, given the whole body swap thing, and a lack of focus would make you get entirely lost in the story.

Would I recommend this manga? Yes. A definite yes. It’s a simple, yet beautiful story about body swapping that in my opinion, manages to hit the right spots. It’s not tough to read as well, light despite the presence of some drama scenes and fights. My only issue with this entire manga, really, is that it’s still not over. I personally want to see these two together (I ship them) and I couldn’t wait to see the ending already. It’s not a bad thing by any means, just that I can get impatient with these kinds of things.

So yes, if you’re looking for a lighthearted but interestingly kind of confusing romance manga, Shishunki Bitter Change should in my opinion be in your list. There are 8 volumes currently available, but I suspect a 9th volume coming soon. You could buy these on Amazon or eBookJapan at around standard manga price (around ¥4-500 before tax).

Have you read Shishunki Bitter Change? Would you consider reading it? Please do let me know and have a nice day ❤