Posted in Anime, Anime Review, 2017

The Irregular at Magic High School (2014) anime review

f2ccbd8ea20320fda0f49b23bb43d2d21396649462_fullAt the dawn of the 21st century magic which was originally thought to be something found only in myths and fairy tales was discovered to be real. It has become a systematized form of technology with multiple uses such as warfare. An institution for young magicians, First High school segregates its students into two groups: blooms who score well on their entrance exams, and weeds who score lower. The series follows Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba who have become enrolled at First High School. Miyuki is a bloom, while Tatsuya is a weed. Tatsuya, despite his skill in magic placed poorly on his entrance exams.

Screenshot (229)The characters of this series are all cliches of one form or another. Tatsuya as a main character is boring due to his obvious lack of emotions which is explained later in the series, but despite his lack of emotions he seems to be romantically in love with his sister. The animation is weird at times, especially when the characters all sit down and talk which happens a lot. The one upside of this series is its magic system which I found very interesting and well animated when it’s used.

Screenshot (230)If you want to watch a magic high school series, don’t watch this one. There are many better series out there to watch if you want to watch such an anime. If a series needs a song specifically for awkward sexual situations it will most likely not be a good series.

Final Rating – 28/50

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Posted in 2017, World Builiding, Writing, Writing Tips

World Building Tip: Monsters: Animals as Monsters

I would consider any creature who is not humanoid and has less than human intelligence to be an animal. Of course there are some exceptions to this. There are some mythical creatures with human intelligence (at least most of the time) which are often called beasts or animals. I will not be writing about these creatures in this post. The only creatures I’ll be writing about are creatures that rely a lot on instinct, have no culture of their own, and have no cohesive language that you can translate.

The interesting thing about writing animals as the monster in a story is the fact that they can often not be reasoned with. You can’t talk a raging bull out of chasing after people, all you can do is run. Another thing to remember is that you can make your audience feel empathy toward the creature if something was done to them to make them go crazy such as abuse. Of course you could just make your creature a natural predator of people which will make your audience feel happy when it dies instead of sad.

Posted in 2017, Anime, Anime Review

Blue Exorcist (2011) anime review

75195Rin Okumura looks like your typical teenage boy with behavioural issues until one day he is ambushed by demons and blue flames come out of him to defend him. It turns out that he is the son of Satan, the ruler of Gehenna and he wishes his son to join him in conquering Assiah, the human world. However Rin doesn’t want to do this so he goes to exorcist school to learn how to defeat demons. This way he can fight with his twin brother Yukio Okumura to defend Assiah.

Screenshot (226)This is another one of those shounen series where there is a war between humans and another type of creature, and where the protagonist is an idiot, appears weak, and has great power inside of him. Despite this I found Blue Exorcist to be a fun series to watch. The characters are interesting and well developed for the most part despite mostly being based off of shounen cliches. This series also has one of the cutest mascot characters which stays relevant for the rest of the series. If you want to watch a good shounen series, here is one for you to watch.

Screenshot (224)I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys watching shounen anime, but not to anyone who dislikes shounen anime. If you want to watch Kyoto Saga which is technically the second season remember that Kyoto Saga starts shortly after the original anime moved away from its source material which was around episode 15. I recommend watching this series before Kyoto Saga so that you can understand what’s going on.

Final Rating – 45/50

Posted in 2017, Book Review

Ru book review

7574245Ru by Kim Thúy follows the life story of a young Vietnamese girl as she escapes with her family from a dangerous land into a Malaysian refugee camp and then moves onto a new life in Quebec. As an adult she has new problems as she has two children, one of which was born with autism. The novel is written as a series of vignettes which cover different aspects of her life, jumping from the past back to the present to the more distant past. Each vignette flows into the next creating a cohesive story out of a series of fragments.

Ru was originally written in French but was translated into English by Sheila Fischman. I don’t know French that well so I don’t know how good the translation is, but from reading this book I know that the meaning behind Thúy’s words did not change much if at all between languages. As a fictionalized memoir/reflection it helped to shed some light on a period of history I did not know much about because it wasn’t covered in any of my Canadian history classes, as well as the impact cultural differences have on people when they are suddenly introduced to immigrants.

If you want to learn more about what happened in Vietnam read this book. This is an incredible novel that is heartbreaking at times but heartwarming at other times, though there is a chance that you may not like it because of the way its structured.

Final Rating – 48/50

Posted in 2017, Anime, Anime Review

Interviews with Monster Girls (2017) anime review

83417Tetsuo Takahashi is your typical high school biology teacher, except for one thing. That is his fascination with “demihumans”, people who were born as the creatures of myth and legend from human parents. He wants to interview a demihuman but that is incredibly difficult to do since they are so rare. Then he discovers that in the new school year there are now three students consisting of a vampire, a dullahan, and a snow woman, as well as a new teacher who is a succubus. Now he finally gets to interview some demihumans. This is a series that explores the lives of these demihumans and explores the ways people can be the same despite obvious differences.

Screenshot (141)I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series. The characters are well written, and how the abilities the demihumans have are all described in a scientific way that’s also easy to understand. Not that any of these abilities are actually possible of course. The themes of getting along despite differences and taking care of others with disadvantages in life are also well explored. In one of the earlier episodes one of the characters says something that I found pretty profound and describes what is going on in the series as a whole. This was a good series with both cute and profound moments that I hope will be getting a second season.

Screenshot (146)I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys anime that are set in high schools with cute characters and interesting single episode plotlines. This is a series I know that most people should be able to enjoy, just remember that this is also a slice of life series where not many serious things happen.

Final Rating – 45/50

Posted in 2017

Annoying and Useless Characters – Erin The Green-Eyed and Fastest Finger First

During this past Summer 2017 anime season there were several amazing series which were released. Many of these series I have yet to watch because of several weeks away from Crunchy Roll because of school in the summer, but I have watched Fastest Finger First, an interesting anime about a kid who gets into quiz bowl at the urging of his senpai. This wasn’t the greatest anime and its characters barely changed throughout its plot, but what I think is the greatest strike against Fastest Finger First is the fact that Akira Sonohara was an important part of the plot at all.

Akira is a mischievous character and exists just to make problems for the other more serious characters. From his second appearance in the series it is clear that he is mainly there for comedic effect because how boring is a quiz bowl meet without shenanigans. However since he wasn’t a part of the first quiz bowl meet in the series is is obvious that he is not needed to fill this role. You could also argue that he is there to help develop the other characters or to act as a foil to the serious Shiki Koshiyama, but he isn’t even good at doing this. The characters don’t go through a whole lot of character development anyways, and Koshiyama’s foil is arguably Chisato Mikuriya. I say this of course because of the reasons why these two characters gather knowledge. Koshiyama reads and learns things for fun while Mikuriya reads and learns things in order to get better at quiz bowl.

Oftentimes characters like Akira are added to a story in order to add a comedy element to the plot, but the writer does this because they aren’t sure if their story will be well received due to the themes it explores, the setting and concept, or even the seriousness of the story. Because of this they add characters who serve little to no purpose. In the end the story is better off without such characters.

A while back I was looking at random anime on Crunchyroll and I found a series called Erin. This was an anime about a young girl named Erin who lives with her mother in a village. The worldbuilding was amazing, the characters were great, and everything that happened either had a strong connection to both the past and future of the series but also explored themes such as the connections between humans and animals, and animal cruelty. I loved this series up until it became clear that two annoying characters were going nowhere.

You see, Erin is a highly serious anime. It focuses on telling the story of Erin and nothing else until these two characters are introduced. Their names are Nukku and Mokku and they are not only annoying but they also serve no purpose after their second encounter with Erin. After this they end up living with Erin and following her on her life journey. To make matters worse they get an entire episode focused on them later in the series where they go into town to run some errands and lose the money they were given to do so because Mokku had it under his hat and because physics is a thing it ended up falling off his head. They then get a job to regain the money because they don’t want to return empty handed. This episode was the last straw for me and while I didn’t end up dropping the series I did end up taking a prolonged break which will end soon because of my Crunchyroll queue cleanup.

So what makes these two characters annoying? Id say its for a similar reason to why Akira is annoying. Akira is annoying because his goals are so different from everyone else’s goals. He wants to have fun and doesn’t care at all about winning while everyone else actually wants to win at quiz bowl. Nukku and Mokku are also different from all the other characters in Erin. Except they a different to a much higher degree. Their character designs are significantly less realistic than those of the other characters. They seem to only do things in order to either make things harder for other characters or to add a comedic effect which is unneeded. They fall in love with a 10 year old girl after the second time they meet despite the fact that they have to be in their 20’s. Also Erin and all the other characters in the series treats them like children because of their distinct lack of common sense.

There is a reason why such annoying characters are added to a story, but this reason is not good enough. Do not add characters for the sole purpose acting at the comedy relief unless the genre of the story happens to be comedy. Such characters do more harm than good. They will not attract new viewers but rather they will oftentimes scare off current viewers.

Posted in 2017, World Builiding, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: World building websites

For this I’ll be focusing on two websites you can use to help you build your world. There are many more out there, and there are even more cellphone apps with the sole purpose of helping you build your worlds. Search world building in your app store to find some of these. I actually used one in the past and it worked pretty well, it was just on my phone which I didn’t like much. You can also just google world building apps.

The first website I’ll be writing about is Inkarnate. You can use this website to make maps for your world. It is really easy to use though if you want a realistic looking world you will need some practise. The maps made on Inkarnate look really good and there is now a commercial license you can get if you want to use inkarnate maps in books and games. Just a quick warning, don’t make a map and leave it without finishing it. There are occasionally changes which can make it so you can never finish your maps. These changes are related to the format of maps.

The other website is Notebook.ai. This is a website you can use to organize all your worldbuilding. It gives you a bunch of things you can add to your world such as characters, locations, items, magic, and religion. You can make a universe and connect all these things to that universe. When you click on a universe it brings you to a page with everything you have created for that universe. It’s really easy to use and you can use it’s Premium version for free all through October, but it’s online so you may not want to keep all your world building on it. Also I wish you could change the pictures used to differentiate between each category.