Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

Sweet Blue Flowers (2009) anime review

36d06bbdde095f3bca2653eded52200d1450743786_fullFumi Manjoume is starting her first year of high school at Matsuoka Girls’ High School. She has a broken heart from a previous relationship, but is still quietly delighted when she gets a chance to reconnect with her best friend from ten years previously, Akira Okudaira. They joke about the past and how Fumi cries too easily and they become close friends after ten years of no contact. Unfortunately Akira goes to a different all girls high school near by so they can’t be in the same class. This is a series that looks at the love lives of these two characters as well as multiple supporting characters.

Screenshot (110)This is a yuri series with no fanservice or nudity. Instead it focuses more on the romance and I think it works pretty well. The character designs are realistic and I think the way the romance progresses is pretty realistic. The only unrealistic thing I found about this series is the fact that there just so happens to be two large all girls high school near each other in a rural area. Also in the beginning, if you skip the opening, it is unclear who is going to end up with who. All the ships appear to be fair game at the start and this is one of the things that makes this romance so good.

Screenshot (112)I recommend you watch this series if you want to find a good serious romance serious with no fanservice outside of the opening. I enjoyed watching this series and I admit it made me tear up a few times. Its a beautiful series that I hope everyone who likes romance can watch and enjoy.

Final Rating – 46/50

Posted in 2018, Book Review

The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Burglar (1907) book review

Arsene Lupin is an infamous gentleman thief in France during the turn of the century. His nemesis, Ganimard is trying very hard to capture the thief and bring him to justice however Lupin always seems to be ten steps ahead of him. Justice doesn’t always have to prevail. This is the first collection of stories written by Maurice Leblanc. This is also the oldest piece of fiction I have yet to review on this blog. I really enjoyed reading this book and its been put together really well as a collection.

This book sets up a few things for the sequel collection which is Arsene Lupin Vs. Sherlock Holmes. First of all Sherlock Holmes shows up though he’s not that important to the plot of the story he appears in. Lupin’s backstory is explained so that readers would be more attached to him in the sequel. Lupin’s Watson (as in the fictional writer of his stories) is introduced. In addition to this all the stories that were selected help develop Lupin’s character which isn’t that complex because of the time period he was created in.

Again I really enjoyed this collection and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Sherlock Holmes because I can tell that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work was in inspiration for Arsene Lupin. Also if you want to know where the character of Arsene Lupin originated from I would recommend reading this book.

Final Rating – 40/50

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives (2011) anime review

65d9ba376a2df8b74499550166ae1fa31310005744_fullTaito is a high school student who has been losing a lot of sleep lately. He keeps dreaming of a female vampire who says that she has given him her “poison”, or at least he thinks this is a dream until he survives an accident that should have taken his life. Then he realizes that that dream was real. Now he must use his ability to protect himself and the girl in his dreams.

This series suffers in the fact that it is clear that there were plans for a sequel that will most likely never be made. In addition to this the characters aren’t all that interesting. The main reason why I continued watching this series all the way to the end is that the world this story inhabits has so much potential. This series is set up to be interesting, cool, and a little edgy, however in the end it is it is little more than a hollow shell of a series that is mediocre at best.

I do not recommend that you watch this series, however if the plot intrigues you maybe go read the manga. I honestly wish that this was a better series than it was because I liked Taito’s ability and I felt this series had a lot of potential.

Final Rating – 23/50

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

Yu Yu Hakusho (1992-1995) anime review

e60626c56bf7437857e0caf7cbc4bf4a1510871409_fullOne day Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year old delinquent with an uncertain future , is hit by a car while saving a young child. He dies as a result. At first he is fine with being an invisible spirit who can’t interact with anyone or anything, however after witnessing his own funeral he decides to take the authorities of the spirit realm up with their offer. Since no one expected Yusuke’s sacrifice, Koenma heir to the throne of the spirit realm offers to give Yusuke his life back as long as he can complete a series of tasks. After he succeeds he is aided by the shinigami Botan to protect Earth from evil beings as a spirit realm detective.

Screenshot (82)Yu Yu Hakusho is a shonen anime based on a manga that first aired in the early 90’s. Both its animation and music haven’t aged the best, especially in scenes with a lot of background characters. There’s a tournament arc where I saw the same few audience members copied and pasted throughout the crowd. However this is what I expected. The two parts about this series that make it worth watching are its characters and its plot.

The characters all have typical shonen character backstories. There is a chosen one, a rival, and a anti hero, as well as a mentor. What makes these characters so great is the ways they interact and form relationships with each other. As an older anime enough time is given to develop each of the major characters. Without this character development some later scenes would not work the way they do. Of course there are many heartfelt scenes from early on.

The plot follows the typical shonen structure with an arc where the protagonist develops/learns about their powers, a tournament arc, and a couple of arcs where the world nearly ends. Throughout the series Yusuke is getting stronger and like a traditional shonen series he keeps coming across foes who are just a bit too strong for him to handle at his current power level. What makes this series so good is that Yusuke’s main motivations are to help and protect his friends rather than just to get stronger and occasionally protect himself and the world. This allows there to be a surprising amount of emotional scenes in Yu Yu Hakusho. Get ready to at least tear up a few times.

Screenshot (83)Yu Yu Hakusho is a classic shonen series that I feel everyone who enjoys anime should watch because it is a well written series with one of the greatest tournament arcs that I have ever watched (almost as good as the My Hero Academia one). If you want to find all the episodes you can find them on Crunchyroll. You can also read the manga since I’m sure the anime follows it quite well, however I’m not sure where you would find it.

Final Rating – 47/50

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

Children of the Whales (2017) anime review

86661In an endless sea of sand there exists a floating island known to its inhabitants as the Mud Whale. The majority of the people who live in the city here are “marked” which means that they have supernatural abilities and live shorter lives. Chakuro is a young and curious boy who lives on the Mud Whale. He is also the island archivist. He spends much of his time recording everything he witnesses, including the discovery and exploration of newfound islands that have been long abandoned by those who used to live on them. One day an island is found for the first time in six months. Chakuro is among those sent to explore the island. During this expedition they find what remains of an archaic civilization, and Chakuro is shocked to find a marked girl who will change the destiny of both Chakuro and everyone who lives on the Mud Whale.

Screenshot (90)The world in this series is very interesting to me. The plot is mostly made up of discoveries Chakuro and the other people on the Mud Whale make about the world around them. They learn about the other people who inhabit. They learn about the reasons the Mud Whale exists and why marked people don’t live as long as unmarked people. It uses the ignorance of many of the characters to successfully immerse the audience in this world.

Screenshot (91)The animation and music in this series are both really good. It is also cathartic and contains a fair bit of melodrama so I get that this series isn’t for everyone. If you look at reviews for Children of the Whales they are pretty split. If you want to watch a series with beautiful visuals, interesting and dynamic characters, and a look at utopianism then this series is for you. If you watch anime more for the action then this series is probably not for you. I do recommend you at least try watching it though.

Final Rating – 44/50

Posted in 2018, Fiction, personal

Why I Love Fiction

So since this is a blog all about fiction and writing which to be fair it may have been a mistake to make my blog topic so broad, I’ve decided to write a post all about fiction. So I have been reading a lot since I was 7 or 8, started writing stories after I moved when I was 14, and started blogging when I was 18, so I’ve had a lot of time both to come to enjoy fiction and think about why I like it. I’ll probably write a post about why I like writing, however that post probably won’t be released until after I finish my Golden Kamuy post in at least two weeks. So here is my explanation of why I love fiction.
Ever since I started reading books longer than 150 pages I have been learning things from books. From A Series of Unfortunate Events I learned about anagrams, the correct direction to read manga in, as well as many other random facts. From The Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke I learned roughly what a brownie was before I went into Girl Scouts. You can learn a lot just by reading a book, watching a movie or television show, or by playing a game. Not only random facts, but also real life lessons. This is the main reason why I don’t think limiting what a person can read or watch or play too much is a good idea.
Another good way to learn from fiction is to read older stories like those published over half a century ago. It’s interesting to see how stories like Hamlet, Sherlock Holmes, and The Call of Cthulhu have influenced modern fiction. Hamlet is the most commonly quoted Shakespearian play and helped inspire movies such as The Lion King. It has been referenced in all mediums of fiction many times. New versions of stories about Sherlock Holmes are released quite often with multiple movies and multiple television stories. The Call of Cthulhu was the beginning of the ever expanding Cthulhu mythos. I find it fun to look at how older fiction has influenced newer fiction.
Of course one of my favourite parts about fiction is enjoying it myself then seeing it being released into another medium so that more people can experience these stories. I got so excited when the new A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix Original series was announced because up until then the only adaptation we had was a movie which condensed the first three books plus the ninth book. The movie failed to include many of the things that made the books so great. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like people who never read the books really liked the Netflix series because of its absurdist qualities.
Of course most of the things I like about fiction are related to me thinking and observing rather than me interacting. I find that in any community I join I’m an observer and people tend to think that I’m either strange or they don’t actually see me. This is a problem I hope to solve and I hope I can remedy this by interacting more with people on the internet. The only thing that really gets in the way of me doing this is my mental health. Because another thing I love about fiction is the way people tend to group up in terms of what they enjoy. They discuss certain characters and events within the story and through art they show their love for it. Though fandoms can often be toxic, it is just so great how they can form in the first place.
And that’s why I love fiction.

Posted in 2018, Anime, Anime Review

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) anime review

75901Kyon is a normal high school student who has given up in all belief of the supernatural long ago. When he meets Haruhi Suzumiya he realizes that not everyone has given up on that belief. Haruhi is really interested in the supernatural and is easily bored. She is also the exact opposite of Kyon. When Haruhi complains about the lack of ‘interesting clubs’ in the school Kyon tells her that she should make her own. This inspires her to make the SOS Brigade, a club dedicated to the discovery and research of the supernatural. This series follows Kyon and the other three recruited for the club Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi as they are led by Haruhi on a multitude of bizarre adventures.

Screenshot (79)The thing that this series excels in the most is how each of the five main characters are interesting in their own right and their interactions lead to some pretty funny situations. Kyon is the perfect protagonist for the sole reason that he’s the most normal person in the club. His reactions to everything are pretty much the same as my reactions would be if I were in the same situation. In his world very little of what is going on is normal in his world and before the beginning of the series he was planning on living a normal life. Because of this he is the most relatable out of all the characters and his reactions only add to the hilarity of many situations in this series.

I found this series very interesting for the most part, except like with many series I got bored in the middle. However this time I was not one of the few, but rather one of the many people who got bored in the middle of watching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The culprit of this boredom is the Endless Eight arc which is eight episodes long and almost each of these episodes is the same with small differences. It has been explained to me why this arc had to be so long, however I know the same effect could have created if the arc was only four episodes long. It was not a good idea in terms of pacing and I feel bad for anyone who watched the series as the episodes originally aired because they had to go through two months of this single arc.

Screenshot (81)I do recommend you watch this series because it is well written and interesting for the most part. I found it really funny as well. If you are going to watch this series you may want to skip some of the Endless Eight arc. I would recommend you skip episodes three, four, five, and six of this arc because you will get the picture from what you don’t skip. Everything else about this series is excellent and if you haven’t yet watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I highly recommend you watch it.

Final Rating – 42/50