Posted in 2018

How to Keep a Mummy (2018) anime review

Sora Kashiwagi’s father is a self-proclaimed adventurer who often sends him presents from his travels. Often these gifts are dangerous both to Sora’s health and the health of his sister, so when he finds a large package from his father in the mail he fears the worse. He opens it to find a coffin. While contemplating how to handle finding out what is inside, it opens from the inside. He is shocked to discover the last thing he expected, a tiny mummy. After learning that it wasn’t dangerous as all he decides to keep it, calling it Mii-kun.

The best part about this series is how cute it is. Everything that happens is cute in some way. The heartfelt episodes are cute. Everything is cute. The best part is that Mii-kun is not the only adorable creature in this series. There is the dog who is the single cutest dog I’ve ever seen in any anime, an oni-child who is less cute than the other creatures and seems to mainly be there for comedic effect, a tiny dragon who adorably just wants to help everyone out, and a small creature that eats dreams that is also cute despite how late in the series it was introduced. Each of the four main characters gets their own adorable creature. Each character has the best creature for who they are as a character. For instance Tazuki gets the oni-child which has similar personality traits to him. This adds to the series.

I recommend you watch this series if you love cute things, and to be fair who doesn’t. This series would have suffered if there was any more melodrama than there was. I actually wished I could see the creatures interacting with each other more because that bred a lot of really cute moments.

Final Rating – 46/50

Cute counter – 9

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Posted in 2018, personal, Update Post, Writing

Get to Know Me #1 – Celebration for reaching 200 followers

I’ve decided that for every milestone I reach on my blog I’ll answer five questions from these few cheesy conversation starter lists I’ve found on the internet. Of course I’ll still be doing other things when I reach these milestones, I’ll just be answering these questions as well. I think this will be fun and if you want to write a post where you answer these questions or if you want to answer them in the comments feel free. I won’t be making this something that you need to either be nominated for or that you need to nominate anyone else for. This is just for fun.

So without further ado, here are five questions that I’m answering because I reached 200 followers.

1. Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been?

The most interesting place I’ve ever been to is the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I know that most people might find a museum very boring, but I’m the type of person who is interested in looking at artifacts and reconstructions as well as the type of person who likes learning more about different cultures. I am currently working towards a degree in archaeology after all. Also I haven’t been to many places. I’ve never even had the chance to leave the continent yet.

2. What is your favourite colour?

I actually have two favourite colours, blue and orange. When I was really little someone asked me this question and I hadn’t thought about what my favourite colour was before then so I just said yellow. However in reality it is both blue and orange.

3. What fictional place would you most like to go?

This is a harder question. I think if I could visit any fictional place I would like to visit Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings. It’s such an interesting city built into the side of a mountain. Of course I would like to go to many other fictional places, it is really hard to choose.

4. Are you usually early or late?

I’m kind of in between. Sometimes I’m really early and sometimes I’m a few minutes late. It doesn’t help that I’m a night owl and I can’t seem to wake up most mornings after 8am so I can easily leave super early for anything I need to go to. It’s just that I’m also lazy and tend to do other things in the morning which cause me to lose track of time causing me to be late.

5. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

The furthest I’ve ever been from home is Arizona. For reference I’m from the north shore of Lake Superior.


Feel free to answer these questions yourself. I’ll see you tomorrow for an anime review.

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

March Comes in Like a Lion season 2 (2017-2018) anime review

6d28a93bd474e377db459f05021f25ff1507942227_fullRei Kiriyama is now in his second year of high school and the shell he had developed over long years of bullying and self hatred has begun to crack. He is surrounded by vibrant personalities in his school life, professional shogi life, and his personal life. These people include the three Kawamoto sisters (Akari, Hinata, and Momo) as well as the high school student with the most fabulous mustache, his former homeroom teacher, and the people he has gotten to know from the Shogi hall. This season starts off shortly after where the last season ends, at the beginning of the school year. As he continues his stressful life as a high school professional shogi player he seeks the reason he plays the game which in turn defines his career.

Screenshot (95).pngThere are three things I love about March Comes in Like a Lion; the imagery, how it handles with the personal issues of multiple characters, and how it handles mental illness as more than a simple plot device. Season two does these three things even better than the first season. It contains the most realistic look at bullying I’ve seen in any story except for maybe A Silent Voice. It also looks at the problems of a few characters that you would not expect to get their own scenes. In fact the way this series focuses on the problems of multiple characters makes multiple characters more relatable.

Screenshot (96)I recommend that you watch this season if you watched the first one. You can find it on CrunchyRoll for streaming. This is a series that looks at the problems of multiple characters in order to show how everyone has something going on no matter how old, young, smart, beautiful, or anything else they are. This is why it is such a relatable series.

Final Rating – 49/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Dark Army (2016) book review

25493815After a one on one battle against an enemy assassin costs him his life, Thomas Ward the Spook rose from the dead after the unexpected appearance from a strange creature who is a part of the light. He ends up leading an army with the witch assassin Grimalkin’s direction against the rising dark threat. Everything goes wrong and the situation seems hopeless until Thomas’ former ally Alice, a powerful witch turned to the dark appears. They manage to escape and are chased by the dark threat back to their familiar lands. Going home brings back old friends and old enemies.

This is the second book in the Starblade Chronicles by Joseph Delaney. I read his Spooks Apprentice series a while back and I enjoyed every book. Then I discovered that he was writing a new series with both old and new characters and I read those as well. This book is exactly what I hoped for. It has the near hopeless tone the later books in the Spooks Apprentice series had while also revealing a hint of hope in this world of light encroached by the dark.

I recommend this book to anyone who has read any of Joseph Delaney’s other books, however if you have read none of his other books I would recommend either reading the first book in this series which is A New Darkness or starting with The Spook’s Apprentice which is the first book in his Last Apprentice series. These books are easy to read and great for younger readers, while also being great for older readers. Though both series do get a bit dark and gory every now and then.

Final Rating – 44/50

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

Violet Evergarden (2018) anime review

90618At the end of the four year long Great War, the continent of Telesis begins to slowly flourish once again. One of the soldiers who fought in the war is Violet Evergarden, a young girl who was raised for the sole purpose of being a powerful weapon. Losing both her arms and ending up in a hospital near the wars end, all she is left with of the person she cares about the most are words that she does not understand. As she starts recovering from her wounds and learning how to live a normal life she becomes an Auto Memory Doll at CH Postal Services, a job that’ll lead her on a journey of self discovery both for herself and those around her.

Screenshot (92)This is a relatable story with beautiful visuals and interesting dynamic characters. Since this looks like a series that focuses mainly on Violet you may be annoyed to see that the majority of this series is made up of one shot stories where Violet goes to write letters for people. These stories focus heavily on her clients. The thing is without these smaller plots being placed where they are in the series, Violet Evergarden as a whole would not be as good. These stories actually relate a lot to Violet and focus mainly on loss and healing.

Screenshot (93)I recommend you watch this series if you haven’t already. The one thing that separates this series from so many others is the way it handles the themes of loss, grief, love, and healing. If you want to watch Violet Evergarden you can find it on CrunchyRoll.

Final Rating – 50/50

Posted in 2018, analysis, Anime, Fiction

Golden Kamuy and the Ainu

One of the only two new series that I am currently up to date with this season, Golden Kamuy is an interesting series that I didn’t expect. Of course when it comes to anime you always get what you least expect. Like one of the new series is about race horse girls. I definitely did not expect that. Golden Kamuy follows the adventures of Sugimoto a soldier who survived the Russo-Japanese war that ended shortly before World War 2 as he tries to make money by panning for gold in Hokkaido. Along the way he hears rumours of a hidden stash of gold that had been stolen from the Ainu and then hidden. He then partners up with Asirpa, a young Ainu woman, in order to both survive in the wilderness and find the stolen Ainu gold.

This is a series that interests me a lot because this is my first real exposure to Ainu culture. I knew they existed, I just didn’t know much about them. This is a series that takes its time to explain cultural differences between Japanese and Ainu customs, uses the quickly dying Ainu language of which there are apparently four dialects (only one is still spoken by 15 people as of 2013), and also occasionally acts as a cooking series with Ainu foods. One of the things I like about fiction is the fact that you can learn a lot from it. I will go over some of the traditions and cultural aspects of the Ainu that have been mentioned in the series so far. This post will contain spoilers up to episode 6.

But before I get into my list I think I should explain who the Ainu are. They are the indigenous people of Japan. Their ancestors came to the islands from North-Eastern Asia unlike the ancestors of modern Japanese people who immigrated from China. The Ainu are traditionally sedentary hunter-gatherers meaning that they don’t move a whole lot while living off the land. Golden Kamuy is set during the late Meiji period of Japan which was between the years of 1868 and 1912. During this time period policies were put in place by the Emperor to assimilate the Ainu with Japan. These policies included banning the Ainu language. You can see the effects of these policies in the series though the policies themselves have yet to come up.

So here’s my list of five things I looked up about the Ainu in relation to Golden Kamuy. I’m not an expert and there are a lot of things I don’t know so it’s possible that some information in this list may be slightly wrong since there is a lot of misleading and biased information on the internet. I recommend that you do some research of your own if you’re interested. Now here is my list.

  1. The Title “Golden Kamuy” and the Bears

    Screenshot (103)The Ainu people refer to anything that is of use to them as well as anything that is out of their control as “kamuy”. Kamuy were basically gods who came to help the Ainu. The word Ainu is the exact opposite of Kamuy. Ainu and Kamuy are meant to help each other and to scold the other group if they have done something wrong. They have a relationship of mutual assistance. Sometimes in English we refer to anything at the top as being golden so therefore “Golden Kamuy” refers to an Ainu god that is near the top. This could refer to the gold that the characters are all actively searching for or it could have something to do with bears.
    One of the most important kamuy is Kim-un Kamuy or the god of bears and mountains which is rather fitting considering that a lot of this series has been taking place in the mountains and there have been multiple bears. I think that this is the main reason why all the bears in the series are drawn in a different art style so that they look like they don’t entirely belong. This had to have bene a conscious choice.

  2. The Bear Cub

    Screenshot (107)After Sugimoto uses a hibernating bear to deal with his pursuers in episode 3 he takes in the small bear cub. This leads to Asirpa bringing both him and the cub to her home village so that the cub can be raised. She warns him not to get too close to the cub because of an Ainu tradition where a young bear cub is taken from a wintering den and raised as an Ainu child. It is then sacrificed to send its kamuy back to Kamuy Mosin or the land of the kamuy. Ainu Mosin is the homeland where the Ainu live. Both the sources I was looking at stated this fact and I even found pictures of a bear cub being raised by Ainu.

  3. Appearance

    Screenshot (100)Ainu women were tattooed around the lips when they were old enough to marry. Men don’t shave after they are old enough to marry which is a few years after women come of age. Everyone has hair that is about shoulder length. In the second episode when Asirpa and Sugimoto go to that town it is mentioned how she does not have tattoos because she is too young. She is also wearing traditional Ainu clothing. You can also see examples of clothing in the Ainu village.

  4. Naming of Children

    Screenshot (109)It is mentioned in an episode that Ainu children are given names of disgusting/annoying things in order to ward off the demon of ill-health. Once they reached a certain age they got their permanent names which would be related to their behaviour, events that already happened during their lives, or their parents’ wishes for their future. Another interesting detail about how children are named, the Ainu tried their hardest to name everyone something different so you don’t see too many repetitive names. This wasn’t mentioned yet in the series.

  5. Food

    Screenshot (104)I didn’t find much about what they ate, however through my research I learned that the Ainu rarely ate raw meat. Asirpa has been shown multiple times already during this series preparing raw animal organs such as deer lungs and brains and getting Sugimoto to eat it. This was mainly done during hunting trips. I didn’t find anything about eating anything but organs raw so I don’t know about chitatap, however I’m sure that like many other aspects of this series research was put into portraying this culture.

I decided to end this post at only five aspects of the Ainu culture in Golden Kamuy. I did some quick research to learn more about this culture because I knew practically nothing about it before watching this series. If you want to learn even more go to the sites that I’ll list below. This is where I did most of my research. There are so many things about Ainu culture that have yet to be mentioned in the series.

References

http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/en/study/eng01.html
https://www.tofugu.com/japan/ainu-japan/

Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

To the Moon Game Review

to_the_moon_coverThe Sigmund Corporation provides a wish fulfillment service using a technology that can create artificial memories. This can only legally be done with people on their death beds. Two Employees, Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts are sent to fulfill the lifelong dream of Johny Wyles. As they delve deeper into his memories to alter his memories to fulfill his dream of going to the moon they come to understand who he was as a person and how his relationship with his wife River Wyles affected who he was to become. Also as they do this job Eva and Neil may learn something about their own lives.

There is very little gameplay in this game since it is so storydriven. In the beginning you need to investigate your surroundings and collect information to use to progress. There are simple puzzles that you must solve which involve flipping tiles. Later on new features are introduced however the gameplay never gets more complicated then walking around finding stuff and solving puzzles. I had no problems with how the gameplay of this game worked. Because of this To the Moon is a very short and easy game which is completed on average within 4 hours.

To the Moon has a very strong plot and the reason for the simple gameplay mechanics is so that the player can continue the story and learn more about Johny Wyles faster. Everything in this game comes together successfully to make the story compelling. The music is varied and made me cry, smile, and almost have a heart attack at different points in the plot. It was beautiful and made me want to buy the official soundtrack. The sprite work and settings are well designed. The few times when the art was more than pixel art it was beautiful and I would hand these images on the wall if I happened to get a copy.

To the Moon is a game that I would give someone who couldn’t understand how video games can be art. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys melodrama and story driven games. Apparently there is an animated movie being adapted from this game which I think is pretty cool. I would see that movie. I was also happy to discover that there is a sequel which I’ll buy if its on sale during the Steam summer sale.

Final Rating – 50/50