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!

Advertisements

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 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

The Busy Anime Fan’s Guide to Studying Japanese

Nowadays everything is faster. From things such as your phone being probably faster than your old laptop (well based on the Geekbench scores at least), to the way we communicate with people from any corner of the globe, to how fast we could access that new episode of Uma Musume. But with this new fast paced and busy lifestyle comes a cost; less time. Less time means less time to study Japanese which could mean, it’ll be easier and FASTER to forget everything you’ve learned in Japanese, or really any second language, especially if you don’t live in Japan.

0030-05-25 23.47.20

That’s unfortunate

So what can we do then? I want to study Japanese but, priorities and the newest episode just came out of Gun Gale Online so now what? Do we just accept our fate as it is and let everything we learned go to waste, or have no time to study at all? Well, no. Please keep reading as I will give you some tips on how you, the anime / manga fan, could still learn and retain their Japanese despite the lack of time.

Now as an anime fan, I will be assuming that you are getting around 5-8 hours of sleep, a total of 3 hours for the appropriate mealtimes and daily routines, 8 hours of work and/or school, an hour for transportation, 2 hours for studying and 2 hours for watching anime (6 episodes). I will not be including social media time because, this can happen any time really.

img_0963

Busy life is normal for our day and age

This guide is assuming you already know Hiragana and Katakana. If you don’t, please make yourself some flashcards or a table, and memorize the two alphabets before even proceeding with anything else. Try memorizing 5 a day per alphabet, preferrably in this order:

Day 1: あ い う え お ア イ ウ エ オ

Day 2: か き く け こ カ キ ク ケ コ

Continue the sequence, starting syllables are さ、た、な、は、ま、や、ら、わ

Memorize only these first, because the rest of the sounds are only modified by adding two lines or a circle to the character, with the exception of な、や、ま 、わand ら characters. To illustrate

か becomes が

た becomes だ

Starting and continuing to study with romaji is the one of the worst things any Japanese learner could ever do to themselves. The reason why is for another article.

img_0962

Let’s not get to this point shall we?

Okay, so let’s say you only have an hour per day to learn and practice Japanese on your desk. Let’s go to grammar first, because that’s what’s most important in my opinion. What I suggest is that for every two days, learn only one grammar point and stick to mastering that one point. You could extend this to three days, but really just go with your pace. For me, two days is my self-imposed deadline for learning a grammar point. For every day after this time interval, try to recall and review the past grammar you have studied.

As for vocabulary, try not to push yourself by memorizing entire vocabulary lists. In my opinion, especially given the possibility of you being mentally tired and stressed after a busy day, this is counter-productive. Instead, what I would recommend is just learn the words when you need to know them. What do I mean by this? Until you want to say something, do not learn the word. When the time comes that you want to say, let’s say: “I want to eat vegetables,” then you only look up and learn the word for vegetables when that time comes. The same principle applies for kanji, and I actually learned kanji this way for the past two years.

img_0966

Time to put that Japanese podcast/Jpop collection to good use too!

Okay so far we have grammar and vocabulary/kanji covered, but how about listening, reading, speaking, and writing? For one thing, writing would have to be done alongside the grammar and vocabulary sections during note taking, so that’s alright. As for speaking, unless you have a partner, or are willing to speak to yourself, then you’re in trouble.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Listening and Reading could actually be done while you’re watching anime and/or reading manga. While the accents in anime are questionable, the one thing that is accurate is the speed and vocabulary. Your skills at listening and vocabulary recognition will be practiced as you watch anime. As for reading, you guessed it, manga will help. Sure, the vocabulary you might pick up might be a bit questionable (especially if all you watch is shounen or obscure and deep titles) but listening and reading will be practiced. This is actually the method I personally use if I can’t talk to my Japanese friends, friends who can speak Japanese, or relatives in Japan.

The trick here is maximizing exposure time. The mere fact that you are watching anime (preferably without subtitles), counts as exposure time. So long as you could use the Japanese that you learned, or you place yourself in situations where you have no choice to learn, then you could retain or possibly improve on your Japanese. You could also try putting your entire phone in Japanese, whatever works! Just make sure you get to see even just one hiragana each day! It sounds hard,  but trust me it isn’t.

img_0964

マイペースでやりなさい!

To be clear, you don’t have to follow this guide exactly as I say. We all learn differently and I simply wrote what I have proven, to be an effective way of learning Japanese in a busy lifestyle. You could even multitask and study Japanese while, let’s say as your driver drives you to school, or as you eat dinner. Just please, however, do not forget to do your responsibilities. Once you get in “the zone” I know it’s really really hard to stop studying, but please remember that there is no point in studying Japanese if you will just starve yourself to death, or die of lack of sleep in the end.

So I think that pretty much covers it! Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great Japanese language journey! ❤

P.S. Please don’t die. Seriously.

Why A Japanese Learner Should NEVER Use Google Translate, Ever.

Hello again!

Today I’m going to talk about a topic that, I honestly, as a learner of Japanese, really wish to get across to those considering learning or are currently learning Japanese.
I am pretty sure anyone who has spent a considerable time on the internet knows about translation websites and services. These websites operate in such a way that a user enters a string in a certain language, and the software outputs a translation based on how it is coded, regardless of its accuracy. With that said, I think we can all agree that translation technology has a long way to go before it even gets close to natural, or at least accurate translation 100% of the time. I also think we can all agree that the most (in)famous of all these online translators is Google Translate.

efqawe

At least it knows it’s an expression. But still, oh my goodness…

Note, the above’s correct translation is “nonexistent.” あらへん is Kansai for ない.

Now to be fair, it’s already been established that Google Translate Japanese, is noticeably horrific, as evidenced by the many Japanese YouTubers who made videos on the subject. The way I see it, it’s really because of how English is structured that when it is run in Google Translate’s code, it tends to jack things up a lot. Japanese’s grammar is very different from English; so much different that I personally recommend studying Japanese brute force – no comparisons to English. Also, the fact that Japanese has different levels of politeness tends to mess with the AI so much, that sentences being translated by the translator could end up being overly polite, or overly rude, or a mix of both. Either way, it’s a pain to read. This issue of being jacked up in translation is also caused by the fact that Japanese has many dialects, although this one is more evident when translating Japanese to English (see my example above).

But just in case you don’t believe me:

Original English: My name is Ayappi. I’m 18 years old and love anime. I also love technology, especially my custom PC and my iPad Pro that I recently bought. I built the computer with parts I bought with my own money that I saved. 

Japanese (My Own): あやっぴです。18歳でアニメ大好きです。テクも大好きです。特に自分の自作PCと最近買ったiPad Pro。あの自作PC、貯めたお金でパーツを買って作りました。

Japanese (Google Translate): 私の名前はAyappiです。 私は18歳で、アニメを愛しています。 私はテクノロジー、特に私が最近買った私のカスタムPCとiPad Proも好きです。 私は私が自分のお金で買った部品でコンピュータを作りました。

While the first sentence is correct on the Google Translate one, it’s probably the only correct part. Notice the unnatural language, as well as the lack of Japanization of my name in the Google Translate version. あやっぴ is how you write my name in Japanese. Also notice how there is a noticeable overuse of 私, a dead giveaway that this is Google Translate, simply because a normal Japanese person would have just omitted the word altogether due to it being obvious.

Fun Tip: If you suspect someone is using Google Translate, please use a dialect or net slang. Chances are it will confuse them.

Okay, so we established that Google Translate is bad for translating sentences, but how about individual words? Surely it must be accurate in that department yeah? Well, based on my testing at least, it’s fairly accurate. It’s probably the one thing Google Translate is good at. However, I would like to point out one important thing, and that is the fact that alternatives to Google Translate for this purpose exist. Oftentimes, these alternatives are even better, and more powerful than Google Translate.

fsafa

Don’t you agree that this is more powerful?

I’m referring especially towards online dictionaries that offer English to Japanese capability. In particular, I love Jisho for its support for English to Japanese, and even support for romaji input if you’re still learning Hiragana and Katakana. I personally don’t see the point of using translation services which have been notorious for unreliable translations, when these more powerful and easy to use alternatives exist. When I’m communicating to actual people, I would much rather go through the trouble of using these dictionaries for more accurate translations instead of the arguably more convenient Google Translate.

And if a web browser based solution isn’t up to your preference, there are many free dictionary applications on both Android and iOS (if you’re on iOS I recommend Shirabe Jisho), that are equally as powerful as Jisho. Don’t worry about space too, because based on my testing, they’re small. Oftentimes it’ll just be as big as Facebook Messenger depending on how much you use the application.

I’m sorry if I came off as too rude or arrogant here, but honestly I wanted to get this out of the way. As a learner of Japanese I, too will admit that in the first few months of me learning, I used Google Translate until I realized how flawed the system is. If you have access to any form of dictionary, please for your own sake do not use Google Translate. If you don’t, look for one. I promise you, this is better than accidentally saying something else compared to what you actually wanted to say (and trust me, I learned the hard way).

Are you a learner of Japanese or do you know anyone who likes to use Google Translate a lot? Please let me know your thoughts! If you use a dictionary, what do you use and why did you choose that?

Until the next entry, please have a nice day! ❤