Music as a Tool

Note: I’m not an expert on music theory of terminology

These days, I doubt many people leave their house without their phone and a set of earbuds. This is an essential part of our routine alongside tying our shows and putting on a jacket in the winter. Walk down the street and you’d be hard-pressed to go a few blocks not seeing someone with earbuds in their ears jamming out to their favorite song. The modern convenience of taking music with us has been around since the Walkman in the 80’s and 90’s and possibly even earlier, my dad always tells me that he loved that device because the fact that you could bring your cassettes with you on the go was an innovation that would shape the world. Unlike radio’s, these portable music players let you listen to what you wanted where you wanted and not have to worry about the inevitable comment from your friend saying “bro, can you change the station I hate that song” or walk down the street blasting Super Driver and getting weird looks.

In the midst of the portable music phase, we often gravitate towards listening to music that sucks us in the intricate instrumentals, lyrical genius or a catchy pop tune that we can easily consume. However, this kind of music is quite different that what is used in cinema and anime scores since those tunes are not usually designed for the average listener to jam to on the way to the train station. These are the heavily atmospheric and background pieces found in the Original Soundtracks (OST) for their respective series.

(Please note the difference between a soundtrack and a score; a score contains tracks composed uniquely for the show or movie while a soundtrack might contain preexisting songs in pop culture or from another artist.)

Heavily atmospheric tracks and background music is the key to mapping a scene in motion picture and animation, as is silence. Sound in entertainment is one of the most important aspects of the experience and can sway the emotions of the audience if applied correctly. The common example for this point is the 1979 Ridley Scott film, Alien. In terms of sound design, it does an amazing job at heightening the tension with the harsh and repetitive sounds which makes the audience scoot to the edge of their seats. Music and sound design is the key to grabbing the audience’s attention and emphasize the emotions the director wants them to feel. What I will be focusing on in this discussion is the importance of music in anime as well as the way music can be used as a crucial tool in the experience of the show.

One of my recent favorite animated movies of all time in Koe no Katachi, the new directorial work from Naoko Yamada working at Kyoto Animation. This movie has received immense praise, and rightfully so considering the touching story, excellent direction and stunning animation. I will talk about this movie another time but for now, I want to focus on one of my favorite aspects of the production- the OST. This score has been given much praise for the wonderful use of atmosphere and sound design, but I want to discuss how it is important for the overall narrative. The tracks are simple in their own right, short and subtle and that’s what is important here. Koe no Katachi is a movie about those who communicate, and this OST communicates a lot in unconventional ways. Large stretches of animation contain no dialogue, with a heavier focus on the character’s body language and expression. These tracks are added in to amplify the emotions of the characters, often structured with a soft intro and a climax towards the end of the track that is aligned with the emotional climax of the scene. One of the ironic tracks is “lit” which is used a few times during the run time but most notably at the most emotional scene at the end of the movie. The way the steady buildup of the track is structured is then timed with the actions on-screen creating a huge rush of emotions that the audience feels as a result of that track being used. Without it, the scene would have not have had nearly as big of an impact on us as when it has the song. I’m sure all who have scene knows exactly what I’m talking about, and we all shed a manly tear.

Now I want to switch gears a bit and discuss a different approach to sound design in anime with a focus on the OST of Made in Abyss. Every anime fan that was conscious during 2017 most likely heard everyone talking about the brilliance of this show with beautiful animation, background art and music. The latter is what my primary focus will be considering how wonderful the OST is by itself, but can it add more depth to the overall production?

One of the strengths Made in Abyss has that allows it to stand above the rest in it’s genre is the amazing world building. Over the course of one episode we find out the basic premise of the Abyss and we’re filled with the same wonder the characters have, to find out the truths of the Abyss. With the introducing of the premise and seeing the map in the ED made me excited to find out the mysteries that lurked miles below the surface in the Abyss.

A major contributor to how the atmosphere was mapped in Made in Abyss is the music itself, composed by Australian composer Kevin Penkin. The beautiful melodies that meshed so well with the soft colored backgrounds and overall mysterious vibe created a sense of discovery and curiosity. The more upbeat songs played with the idea of the overall optimism of the young explorers while the downcast ones created the sense of dread they had as they proceeded further down into the Abyss. These string and percussion tracks contained within the OST creates a somewhat adventurous feeling lined with curiosity and awe at what lies ahead but still manages to maintain the darker elements that can be applied to those types of scenes that required it. One of my favorite songs from this show is Hanezeve Caradhina, one of the most iconic songs that really captures the essence of atmosphere created in this wonderful show and is a reoccurring insert song first introduced in episode 1.

After completing the series, I tracked down the OST to listen to on the high seas, but found that it was available legally on Spotify, same goes from the Koe no Katachi OST so I highly recommend to listen to those scores on the legal platform since they’re so readily available.

All in all, don’t take the music for granted when watching an anime or live action movie, the composer worked with the director to create a piece that would compliment the emotions they were trying to make the audience feel. Consider the importance of including that particular song there, and appreciate it when a scene comes together in a beautiful symphony of animation and emotions that makes you remember “damn, I love anime.”

Thanks for reading, have a great day!


Posted in anime, Discussions/Analysis, Films | 1 Comment

Little Witch Academia: Aspirations and Dreams

[Animekaizoku] -Little Witch Academia (TV) Episode 11_encoded.mkv_snapshot_18.22_[2017.10.01_19.52.31].jpg

“I want to be the very best” is a phrase that is occasionally seen in your run-of-the-mill shounen or action series that provides a very generalized and dynamic goal for the character to be working towards. While I wouldn’t attribute this to lazy writing, it does not offer much substance to get a firm understanding of who this character beside the obvious strong willpower and persistence.

Characters are fleshed out when their dreams or future goals are given more emotional weight or motivations that allow for the audience to get a greater understanding of what kind of person that character really is. Personalized motivations for wanting to reach a certain goal is something that deepens characterization.

In Hunter x Hunter, Gon wants to be the strongest hunter, not for glory or the ability to claim to be the strongest in all the land, but because his journey to the top will lead him down the path and potentially help him find his father who left many years prior. Gon encounters many obstacles along the way but was able to persist because he had a clear goal in mind. Now enter Little Witch Academia, a show about girls training to better their skills of witchcraft at a boarding school. Akko, the protagonist, aspires to be a witch with a distinct passion and style like Shiny Chariot. While in many ways different, the goals of the characters of Akko and Gon share many parallels and can be used to understand the importance of a personalized dream for a character in anime.

It is established in Little Witch Academia that Akko, our female lead, aspires to be like her idol Shiny Chariot. However, much like in Hunter x Hunter, the idol the protagonist is working to catch has left but a legacy for them to view. Akko has a firm resolve, and well, she is very stubborn in her dream that leads her to become frustrated when she isn’t progressing as quickly as she would like in her craft. Her dream to become just like her idol is something that children often strive towards. Akko, much like a young child, looks up to this person and wants to be just like them. However, her magic skills are lacking severely and leads to constant frustration with herself. This makes her feel inadequate when compared to the perceived greatness that her idol Shiny Chariot can accomplish. This is obviously a poor comparison because Akko is a novice in every sense of the word while Chariot is a veteran, but she cannot comprehend this at that time.


[Animekaizoku] -Little Witch Academia (TV) Episode 11_encoded.mkv_snapshot_18.44_[2017.10.01_19.52.53].jpg


In episode’s 11 and 12, Akko is faced with the question of what is more important: her future or past. In a cave a being asks her if she is willing to sacrifice her memories for the guarantee that she will have everything she wanted in the future. She realizes that “The tears and frustration and laughter, they’re all part of me!”


[Animekaizoku] -Little Witch Academia (TV) Episode 11_encoded.mkv_snapshot_19.49_[2017.10.01_19.53.11].jpg


She would have no dream without a past, and not past without a dream. Both equally important and she must fulfill her aspirations through her own means because her life “doesn’t belong to anyone else!” It was here when Akko grows to understand that while her dream may be important to her, she doesn’t have to strive to be her idol, rather she needs to find a purpose for greatness. Professor Ursula warns Akko: “Don’t compare yourself to others. Do what only you can do.”


[Animekaizoku] -Little Witch Academia (TV) Episode 12_encoded.mkv_snapshot_19.34_[2017.10.01_19.55.10]


So, what is important about dreams and personalizing a dream to fit a character. Little Witch Academia explains how dreams and goals should be loft, yet within one’s own abilities. You should strive to be the best that you can be, not compare yourselves to other or else you will fall into a series of dissatisfaction or superiority. The message of these two episodes was quite cliché but the presentation was what made it more impactful. Akko’s growth in these episodes leads her to find motivation to push herself and find success as seen in episode 13’s festival. What’s important is a pure passion and motivation to push forward.

Audio-Video Format

[Animekaizoku] -Little Witch Academia (TV) Episode 13_encoded.mkv_snapshot_19.36_[2017.10.01_19.48.25].jpg

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I’m Curious About Hyouka


I went into Hyouka not really expecting much else besides a slice-of-life school anime with a casual focus on mystery, and I suppose I got just that. There’s nothing particularly standout from the show, it’s a slow paced slice of life anime that follows the Classics club (Koten-bu) and their daily lives solving relatively small mysteries that they encounter along the way. I wouldn’t even call them mysteries, they are more of simple problems that arise during their lives as high school students.

Oreki Houtarou is an interesting character, he’s a poor-man’s Hachiman (Oregairu) and shares his knack at snarly comments with Kyon (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). The opening line of the show is stated by him stating something along the lines of “When you thing ‘high school life’, the word ‘rose colored’ comes to mind. It’s natural to think that way since society expects high school life to be rose colored.” He goes on the explain how he’d rather live a “gray” life rather than a rose colored one because he is not interested in the pursuit of romance, athletic skills or the typical experiences of life in an anime high school. But like Watashi taught us in The Tatami Galaxy, there is no such thing as a rose-colored campus life, all experiences are various shades of color. Seeking out a rose colored existence is futile since it doesn’t exist, so live life to the fullest the way it is now because without it there would be no color at all.

Right off the bat we have formed an opinion of him that most likely will split the audience in half. There are those who either like the cynical and unreliable narrator and those who dislike hearing the constant pessimism and general angst of Oreki. I am part of the former so Hyouka started off on a good foot for me.


Then we arrive at Oreki’s foil and the heart of this series- Chitanda Eru. Chitanda is the “good girl” with perfect grades, optimistic about her life and from a wealthy and influential family in the town. She is generally a upbeat character which balances Oreki’s downer attitude and the general presence of her character seems to uplift the group. She’s also really cute.


It was Chitanda’s character that made me realize the importance of each character in the main group of the Classics Club, because without her, there would be no progression and Oreki would not have developed. Unlike Oreki, Chitanda was more excited about life’s literal mysteries, directly expressed through her exclamations of “I’m curious!” and would want to seek out answers with the help of the rest of the gang. Oreki was the brains of the operation that allowed them to solve the actual mysteries.

Satoshi and Mayaka were a great duo when they were both together on-screen, but each possessed qualities that helped the group. For example, Satoshi was important not only for his “database” ability, which is essentially a glorified term that is used to describe his wide-range of useless knowledge. He says that “it is not the job of the database to reach conclusions”, and that is why Oreki is critical because he is the person who is able to piece together the information provided Satoshi to reach an answer. He was also shown to be a close friend to Oreki despite their somewhat strange relationship. Mayaka on the other hand, is more of a voice of reason and she has a strong sense of responsibility.


Now to the mysteries. These were more often simple and overlooked questions that had been left unanswered in the history of the school or town, which some critics claim to be lackluster, but that is more or less the point. While Hyouka does have the elements of a mystery series, it is foremost a character driven piece like many anime that Kyoto Animation has been producing. The mysteries are not supposed to be the selling point to the series, it is more about Oreki opening up and changing as character. He sought a gray life in the beginning but ended up being dragged along to discover the intricacies of life that made experiencing it much more interesting. The mysteries allowed him to grow a further understanding of what he would be missing if he would have stayed a wallflower during his time at high school. This development was aided by the rest of the group which all grew together. This was what I liked the most, the absence of static characters because everyone was able to develop just like people do in high school.

As for the superficial aspects of the series, the art and animation is absolutely stunning even by Kyoto Animation standards. I ended up with a screenshot folder with some of my favorite caps during my viewing, and they are being used in this post. The color pallet of soft-earthy colors like browns and greens were able to enhance my viewing pleasure since there was and established “comfiness” to the entire atmosphere. Even the setting of the town was important to that story, and the high school was one of the best I’ve seen in anime thus far. The background art really helped enhance the setting as well.


Over the course of the series I was able to get an understanding of the layout of the school and really make it feel familiar to me, so when the gang retreated to the club room on the 4th floor, it felt like it was such a natural place for them to be. There is also a visible passage of time which is apparent with the changing of the seasons and the change of the school uniforms that the characters wear.

For me, it wasn’t a singular thing about Hyouka that really made me like the show. Like I mentioned before, Hyouka may not be trying to do anything different or standout, but it was a brilliant character driven slice of life elements that created a great anime that found it’s way in my top ten. It was everything I was looking for at the time when I watched this, and it was satisfying viewing it.


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The Optimism Of Evangelion

Note: This will be focused on the manga for Neon Genesis Evangelion rather than the anime. Also, some lines quoted may not exactly correlate with ones that you read, this is because I’m using quotes taken for the Viz Media release as well as various scanlation groups.


Neon Genesis Evangelion is a title that is frequently thrown around in niche circles and is often regarded as one of the most important anime to grace the industry ever. While the validity of this praise could be debatable, I will be focusing on the manga for this series, which seems to be not as popular and not discussed as often which seems odd based off the popularity of the anime adaptation.

The manga for Neon Genesis Evangelion was serialized from February 1995 through June 2013 while the anime was released in the Fall of 1995. Both followed a similar storyline but had noticeable differences towards the end of the manga. I will not dwell upon the differences and will treat the manga as a separate entity in this analysis just to avoid overlap with my hazy memories of the anime, which I have not revisited in nearly two years.

One common “counter argument” I often see as a reason to dislike Neon Genesis Evangelion is largely focused towards Shinji’s character. Those critical of his actions claim that he acts weak, unmotivated and like a “little bitch.” Those are completely valid points because that’s how Shinji was written, but they are missing the point. I read “Your enjoyability of Eva is inversely proportional to how much you hate yourself when you watch it” or something like that. Here, the key to understanding Shinji is to understand yourself. If you have ever felt like life was pointless or the overwhelming feelings of sadness you most likely can understand Shinji, but those who only see him as a “whiny bitch” are those who fail to understand the difficulties of being a human.

First we must understand the significance of the Human Instrumentality Project. Seele’s goal was to fix the impurities of the human race to evolve towards a new being devoid of pain and suffering. The goal was to reunite everyone in a sea of LCL to create a single entity that would share their feelings with everyone- no more A.T fields.


A.T Fields (Absolute Terror Fields) were a way to block off the heart that everyone has. Other humans cannot share your problems so you only ended up letting the burden of your problems pile upon you. (You’re Going To Carry That Weight) However, the A.T Fields allowed humans to remain in their physical forms and live their own life individually. The importance here is that while these barriers trap your troubles in with you, they also allow you to be an individual, something Shinji learns at the end.

Before sending him off, Misato gives advice to Shinji which is the key to his understanding that maybe the suffering and pain is what makes us human. During this encounter she explains how Shinji needs to pick his own path and do things for himself, because he’s “not a kid anymore.” I interpreted this scene as Shinji’s “graduation” from childhood and his passage into adulthood. Misato encourages him to take the next step of life on his own, not to be pushed around by adults because he is now one of them- to become an individual. She seals this with an “adult kiss.” While studied in depth as a source of Misato’s sexuality, I see this signifying Shinji’s passage into adulthood. Earlier in the story he Attempts to kiss Asuka because neither of them have had their first kiss. This ends up being interrupted by Kaji and Misato making-out in the elevator. (quite possibly the same elevator that Shinji takes later on) Regardless of what happened, this was a childish act. It isn’t until Shinji kisses Misato that he is transformed into an adult, while the kiss he was going to receive from Asuka would not have been.

During the attempt to initiate the Human Instrumentality Project, in the void, Shinji conversed with Rei (or Lilith, or Yui?) about his decision of whether to move forward with instrumentally. It is here when Shinji, now as an individual, realizes the truth of being a human. Suffering and pain are gone in the sea of LCL, but so is happiness, “it’s just like being dead.” Emotions are what make us human, removing them take away what is essential to being an individual. Similarly, there there was no comfort of being with another human. Before this, Shinji did not understand the importance of interacting with others and saw them as a hollow act but he has now grown to understand that we cannot live alone, we’re imperfect creatures. Humans cannot grow alone, though we cannot grow too close to one another. Despite this, he realized that it’s better to not be alone. Even if it was impossible to fully understand another person and even if his hands caused suffering for other, his hands could also bring joy and warmth to others which is something he wants to learn for himself. With this, he holds the hand of Rei and she disintegrates returning the humans to the world, reversing the instrumentality project.


After this, we see Shinji on a train heading to take an exam in Tokyo. He recites the same lines he stated at the beginning “I don’t aspire to any future profession of career. I’ve never had any cherished dreams of ambitions. I’ve always just drifted along, and I thought it would always be that way… I’ve never really cared whether I got into an accident or something and died. But… these days I think… the reason I don’t see any hope… is because I’m not looking for it.” Over the course of the events that took place, Shinji was able to learn that life is worth living, he just never understood that he just needed to find hope to help him on his journey.

Screenshot from 2017-06-15 15-38-41.png

Neon Genesis Evangelion deals with heavy themes that are often difficult to grasp which may leave you feeling depressed or empty after finishing the series. However, it is important to understand the optimism of the ending. This was the story of a wandering soul learning what it means to be a human, becoming an adults, and individual, and finding a reason to move forward. Finding that hope in life is the key to find a life worth living, regardless of what it is. Eva never tells you what that hope is specifically, but that’s what’s so great. The ending leaves you to think on your own, as an individual, to understand what that hope may be for you instead of holding your hand like a child and steering you towards a specific answer.

Screenshot from 2017-06-15 15-39-06.png

Afterword: While Eva is analyzed to death, there is still room for everyone’s own interpretation. That’s how art works, everyone sees the same thing on the surface, but what’s important is how the artist made you feel and how that changed your understanding of the world or yourself. This is applicable for Eva since the lesson here, or at least the one I was able to get out of it, resonated deeply with me. This is why I want to express my understanding of this work to not only help others who feel the same, but to share a piece of myself to the world.



“Pick your own path”

“Do it for yourself”

“You’re not a kid anymore- being pushed around by adults”

“You graduated”

“So take the next step out of your own free will”

“Look for those answers without anyone’s help”

-Misato Katsuragi

Screenshot from 2017-06-15 15-41-16.png

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Strolling Around Anime Central


Near The Industry Booths

Anime Central (ACEN) celebrated its 20th anniversary this past weekend and I was luckily enough to be able to attend this year. I had my last day of classes on Friday so I had to miss the first day, but that only gave me more incentive to spend every moment at the convention the second and third days. This was my first convention experience, and in many ways it met my expectations, but it also surpassed them. I’m going to briefly run through my experience, talk about the panels I visited and show off some of cool stuff I got my hands on.

Initial Impressions:
I walk into the convention center on Saturday morning and am immediately greeted by the sight of dozens of cosplayers in the main lobby. It was quite impressive to see so many people dressed as their favorite characters, since prior to this I had only seen pictures of cosplay online and not in person. After moving past the lobby, I went to the registration table and there was luckily no line so I was able to pick up my lanyard and event book fairly quickly. I turned around and looked into the entrance and saw a massive room full of anime fans. I went into the vendors area and was greeted by the industry booths and large anime posters. I casually strolled around the first few rows before remembering that I had a panel to go to, and I was meeting my friend there. This is when I encountered my first problem- I had no idea where the panels were being held. My friend had texted me earlier that it was panel room 6 on the second floor, so I began looking for stairs and found some in the lobby area. I followed the flow of people up the escalators and through a hallway until I finally found a sign indicating that the panel rooms were ahead. I later found out that I had taken the longest possible route to the panel room.

Prior to even going to ACEN, I had downloaded the official app to help plan my schedule and add panels to my list of to-do. I did not hold back and added a dozen panels to my list that I wanted to attend. I later found out that I wanted to spend more time in the vendors area and artist alley than I initially expected, so I ended up only making two panels out of the dozen I had planned.

I quickly find panel room 6, locate my friend and sit down to listen to the presenters. My first panel was about the history of Type-Moon and their humble beginnings as a small game company. The presenters seemed to be very knowledgeable about their topic and had a nice Powerpoint with various video clips and relevant pictures to help. Overall, this was a informative panel and was what I had in mind- a presentation by anime fans for anime fans.

The second day I attended a panel about mythology hosted by Crispin Freeman, one of my personal favorite English voice actors. It was a intriguing insight to looking at the differences between western and eastern influences and how they directly affect their respective entertainment styles. He explained the differences between manga and comics, the influences and compared and contrasted Disney princesses and magical girls. In the later half, Crispin analyzed the Revolutionary Girl Utena film as a way to further explain his points, and delved a bit into mysticism as a means to wrap everything up. I was very surprised how knowledgeable Crispin was about mythology and mysticism, and I was able to take a lot of information about this panel.

Vendor’s Room:
I have never seen so much anime merchandise all in one place, it was almost overwhelming. Me and my friend snaked through all the vendor’s displays to try to scope out the all various figures, DVD’s, shirts and plushies before breaking out wallets. We spent a good hour just walking between booths and looking at all the wonderful anime goodies for sale. I quickly found out that there was multiple booths selling the same figures for different prices, so I was a good thing we scoped out all the booths first before making an uninformed purchase. There was also an impressive display of anime DVD’s at one booth, and I could not help but look though all of them with the hopes of finding something rare, and ended up succeeding in that aspect. At one vendor, I managed to find a copy of Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue for only $35, and that was a steal considering it’s difficult to even find a copy online for under $80. I also ended up impulsively buying The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya because I’ve been meaning to add that to my collection since I watched it two years ago.

Prior to heading to the con, I had been in “idol hell” after getting into Idolm@ster, then Love Live. Because of this I was planning on looking for idol figures and possibly other idol merchandise. Luckily, there was no shortage of that. By far my favorite stand was the idol merchandise booth. It was towards the middle of the vendor’s area, and  was immediately overwhelmed with Love Live posters. As I walked around the booth, I saw dozens of figures, Figma, art books, CD’s, imported games, posters and random collectibles that were all so tempting to buy!

Playing it smart, my friend suggested that we scope out the entire vendor’s area before making an impulsive purchase and end up paying more than another vendor was asking. This almost worked, because we ended up finding a guy selling figures that gave a discount if you bought two at a time. He bought a Ranko Kaznaki figure (which I kinda wanted too) and I got my Chihaya figure, both characters being from Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls and Idolm@ster respectively. We later found out that that purchase was fairly priced and the Ranko figure was the only one we were able to find, so it ended up not being a poor decision.

Strolling around, being completely immersed in all the anime goodness was a completely different experience from browsing the manga section at your local bookstore. I’m always awestruck when I see items for sale that I could previously only see through a computer screen. Countless of posters, hundreds of anime DVD’s for sale, countless figures, anime apparel and plushies galore. The experience was quite overwhelming in a sense, I had to really prioritize what I bought or else I would have ended up wasting all my budget before seeing everything. That being said, being overwhelmed with anime merchandise was not a bad thing, it was more of an eye-opening experience for me. I was able to finally see the sheer scale of anime fans in my area who all shared my passion for Japanese animations who were all interested in buying anime related goodness.


One of the many figure vendors

Artist Alley:
Me and my buddy spent a ton of time in this area, and it was one of the best parts about my convention experience. The atmosphere itself made me feel at ease despite the overcrowding and lack of personal space. Walking from booth to booth gave off the feeling of a bazaar with slightly less chaos. A multitude of tables, each displaying wonderful artwork and friendly artists who were happy to talk with you. We met one guy who wrote, drew and published his own graphic novel series. He was really passionate about his project and I enjoyed talking with him for that reason. We made sure to take business cards from artists we could not afford, and made sure to look at everything. I was also very impressed by a few artists who were working on commissions or just doodling at their respective booth. Personally, I’ve been working towards improving my own art, so watching these incredibly talented men and women draw with such ease on the spot was awe inspiring.

I ended up spending a larger amount of my budget than I was expecting, but I do not regret any of the purchases I made here. There were great deals, bundles and nice people so I  was happy to support the artists in their creative endeavors.

Final Thoughts:
I’m so glad I was able to have such a big anime convention in my area. Going to ACEN really opened my eyes to the more social aspects of the anime community (not online) and the sheer amount of like minded fans from the same subculture. I love the merchandise I bought and being able to see everything the community had to offer all in one place was a very special experience. You also have the opportunity to experience a sense of comradery amongst the other anime fans which is something I have never felt before in any other gathering of a particular interest.I highly recommend to go to at least one convention, bring plenty of cash and maybe a friend or two. Bringing a large group will only complicate moving through crowded areas and will likely separate you from them. Good walking shoes are also a must since I was sore from all the walking.

Merchandise Bought:


Day One


Day Two

Perfect Blue and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVD
Yazawa Nico and Chihaya figures
Rem and Umi small figures.
Rem and Ram Re:Zero shirt
“Haruka Haruharu vs The World” shirt
Idolm@ster CD


Artist Alley Haul:


Thanks for reading everyone, have a nice rest of your day.


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Spring 2017 Anime Thoughts: Part 2


Beautiful shot from “SukaSuka”

Better late then never I suppose. This is a follow-up blog to me spring anime predictions post. This is mainly going to briefly go over the shows I’m watching, some I picked up and other that I’ve dropped or decided not to watch.

First thing’s first, my dropped anime or anime I decided not to watch due to lack of interest. These shows had extremely lackluster first episodes that made me unmotivated to continue watching it the next week. There are also a few shows listed that I didn’t even bother starting due to time constrains or my lack of interest after reading discussion threads online. Many things went into the decision to drop these shows, but most often was pacing, animation, and character design.

Gin no Guardian

Clockwork Planet

Sakurada Reset

Tsuki ga Kirei

Fukumenkei Noise

Sword Oratoria

Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho



Sagiri-chan form “Eromanga-sensei”


Now to the important stuff, the anime series I will actually be keeping up with on a weekly basis, which is something I haven’t been able to so regularly. However, this season provides me with plenty of entertainment to keep me coming back every week. That being said, I want to give a shout out to Saturday’s for reigniting my childhood memories of exciting Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons. As a child, I had Speed Racer reruns, now I have new episodes of Attack On Titan, Boku no Hero Academia and Re:Creators. I also want to mention my biggest surprise of the season: SukaSuka (Condensed title of Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?”). I only became aware of this show after looking over discussion posts on an anime forum and liking the main heroine’s character design. When going over the charts in the beginning of the season, I thought this was going to be another “typical light novel adaptation” but I was wrong. There seems to be darker undertones that lead me to believe there’s going to be a big twist in the future. What hooked me on this was the opening minutes of the first episode. I had to go back and rewatch it to fully appreciate the music and foreshadowing. Possible anime of the season depending on how the latter half goes. Anyways, here’s my list of shows I’m watching, they are ranked from most enjoyable to least enjoyable, the top being the most enjoyable and the bottom being the least.

Attack On Titan Season 2


Sakura Quest

Boku no Hero Academia Season 2



As for the films and OVA’s, I’ll be looking into them as they are made available and will discuss them in depth in a blog if I find something worthwhile in them.

There will be separate blogs covering the entirety of the shows I finished at the end of the season. I’ll be going into depth discussing the overall enjoyability, nitpicks and overall feeling after watching. Those blogs will ideally be out soon after the particular series ends airing, but will realistically be out before the summer season begins. Anyways, thanks for reading and have a nice rest of your day/night!


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From the Opening of “Sakura Quest”

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Opening Episodes: Attack On Titan Season 2

Only three episodes have aired at the time of writing this. 

Attack on Titan season 2 seems to be the most talked about show this season, all thanks to the immensely popular first season which aired in 2013. These new episodes throw us right back into the action where the first season left off at, however, there seems to be something different this time around.
Episode 1
As the first episode of the new season starts off, it becomes apparent that there’s an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety in the each of the characters. Each of the soldier’s eyes seem to reflect their fear of inevitable death by the overwhelming force of the titans. Despite the heavy mood engulfing his troops, Mike tells his peers that “You only lose when you stop fighting”. Despite these words of encouragement, the motivation only results in Mike’s brutal death at the end of the episode. Sometimes, you need to know when to run away.
Episode 2
After this, the story shifts to spotlight Sasha (potato girl). Through a flashback, we learn a bit about the country life she left behind in order to join the military. Usually, a well-placed flashback like this would hint at an inevitable death for that character, but not in this case. While scouting an abandoned village, Sasha comes across a titan eating a mother right in front of her daughter’s eyes. Sasha believes that she can save both of them, but soon realizes that doing so would only result in everyone’s death. She makes a rational decision to save the child and herself and tries to get the hell out of there, but her clumsiness causes her horse to run away, frightened by the titan pursuing them. When all hope was lost, Sasha instructed the child to escape without her as she stayed back to distract the titan. She gave it everything she had to blind the monster and happened to escape through sheer luck. (the titan blood allowed her to slip out of its grasp and escape). The episode concludes with Connie discovering a titan amidst the rubble of his old home, despite the fact that it does not have the ability to walk.

Episode 3
I could really feel the unease of the characters in this episode, the feeling was overwhelming. The lighting and color palette is darkened to help establish this mood in the second half of the episode. One scene which is worthy of mention is when the squads are on horseback traveling around the perimeter of the wall. There small area lighted by the torches gave off a sense of claustrophobia while the heavy breathing enhanced the atmosphere. The soundtrack played a big part in this episode which left me on the edge of my seat while watching. The episode ends on a cliffhanger showing the squad in the castle ruins surrounded and at the mercy of the titans.
Impressions Thus Far
The second episode is what really inspired me to write my thoughts. I read/watched the anime early on in my anime career, but I don’t remember the first season leaving me feeling like this. I’m currently going back through the manga, and while the feeling of hopelessness is present, it is not the as prevalent as what I’ve seen on season 2. Because of this, I want to reflect upon what made Attack On Titan resonate with me.
Attack on Titan was appealing not for it’s fantastical take on shounen fights, rather the human elements to the story. The politics, the fear and unrest amongst the people, and the sheer overwhelming presence of the titans and the hopelessness of the human race. I feel like season 2 has taken what I found good about the first season and seems to be running with that to create a much different series than what we have seen before
I believe Attack on Titan is at its strongest when it focuses on the humans, not the titans, because at its core, it’s a war story. These types of stories shine the brightest when they focus on the lives of the people living through the trauma, not the event itself. I couldn’t care less if this season has no action at all, I would rather see how each character learns to cope with the situation they were thrust into.

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Across Time And Space: Kimi no na Wa Discussion

Proceed with caution. Spoilers are included.


Makoto Shinkai is a director I hold close to my heart and I have always enjoyed this stories of love he has displayed in his various works. Five Centimeters Per Second tells a heartbreaking story of love not being bound by distance, Garden Of Words tells a story about love not bound by age differences, and his recent work, Kimi no na Wa, telling a story of love that is not bound by time. It’s a touching story of two star-crossed lovers and their story of trying to discover who each other is, and in turn, who they are.

This is the US theatrical release that we had all been waiting for, the film that took Japan by storm setting sales record left and right while us westerner could only imagine what all the rage was about. It took nearly a year for Funimation to localize the film for an American release so us fans had to sit tight and wait for April 7th. Now, was the long wait and months of hype justified?

If there was one word I could use to describe Kimi no na Wa, it would be “beautiful.” As we have seen in previous films by director Makoto Shinkai, the production quality is always top notch and Kimi no na Wa is no exception. The background art was simply beautiful and I couldn’t help but gaze in awe imagining the countless hours spent painting them. As a way to show off the beautiful background art, Shinkai used many establishing shots and panning shots through the film, but this is common of him to do based off his previous works. There was also the use of a few time lapse sequences which were a feast for the eyes. Seeing Tokyo and a small country town go through day and night cycles may have been some of my favorite way Shinkai visually represented the passage of time.


To compliment the beautiful background art, the animation was top notch as well. I’m no real expert in animation, but I can recognize sakuga when I see it. There were so many wonderful cuts where the skill of the animators really shines. One of the cuts that stands out to me was when Mistuha, our female lead, was standing on top of a hill and the camera pans around her. The level of detail in her hair and the fluidity of the animation was stunning!

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As for the music, it cannot go without saying that RADWIMPS really put some good songs for the OST. Prior to watching Kimi no na Wa, I had stumbled upon this band while browsing /r/japanesemusic and found the “Zen Zen Zen” track there and throughly enjoyed it without even knowing its connection to the film. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to hear this song played in the “opening” of the film. Overall, the soundtrack is very good and I liked the choice of music since the tracks were used in the right places to emphasize the emotions of the scene, specifically the RADWIMPS songs. I’m currently listening to the entirety of the OST while writing this blog, and it’s slightly above average as far as soundtracks are concerned. The RADWIMPS song’s certainly seem to steal the show, but some of the other acoustic tracks are quite comfy to listen to but aren’t to the tier as other exceptional soundtracks.


Since I saw the American theatrical release, I had to watch the dubbed version which actually wasn’t terrible. I tend to gravitate towards subbed anime since I prefer the Japanese voice acting better than the American voice acting more often than not. However, the cast for this film was believable, and there was no terrible acting. Occasionally when watching a dub, there’s an actor that’s unbearable to listen to, but luckily Kimi no na Wa doesn’t suffer from that problem. One nitpick I have here is what was lost in translation. The reading of the Japanese kanji which meant “Magic Hour” probably was better understood in the context of the Japanese dub. However, the script was translated well to account for this which I found to be an adequate enough translation.

Now the meat of this film; the unique story. Prior to hearing about Kimi no na Wa, I hadn’t seen a memorable take on the “body-swapping” concept which is what I think is the most unique part of this film. The character’s react to the given situation believably, like any teenager would, which helped add immersion to the entire story. I have heard complains about this, but we have to remember that there are younger adults who are unable to understand the world and how to logically reason out solutions to some of their own dilemmas. I found Taki and Mistuha to be likeable characters, but lacking in some depth. It would’ve been nice to see more of their internal conflicts about this situation, but it most likely would’ve felt out of place in the atmosphere of the film.

There are also a few minor issues I had with the story, the first being the use of smart phones. I feel like this really cements Kimi no na Wa into the 21st century which may not necessarily be a positive thing. But my main complain comes with how the phones are utilized such as the use of the virtual diary. When the diary began to erase itself after Taki was awoken from his “dream” which seemed fine, but began to confuse me as I thought about it more. I feel that this film would’ve been a bit better if it didn’t rely very heavily on the use of phones, a notebook would’ve been much better and more grounded in reality which can help the believably of the magical aspects of the film. Aside from a few minor plot holes, the story was good, but short of great. This is actually quite impressive since I have seen other anime tackle time-travel poorly and not provide a reasonable explanation to why it happens.

Despite a few complaints about the story and characters, I genuinely loved Kimi no na Wa. I’m a romantic at heart, and I do enjoy a nice romance story more than I probably should. Because of this, I fell in love with the magical story of a connection between two young people trying to find each other across time. The animation and background art alone was worth the watch, but the cute story on top of that made the a rather enjoyable experience. Overall, Kimi no na Wa was worth the wait for me, and it’s the best standalone anime film I have seen in a long time. I recommend watching it if you haven’t already since not only was this film a massive hit in the anime community, but a worldwide phenomenon.


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Discussion Of Kiss Him, Not Me

Originally posted to Anime Amino on Dec. 24


The voice actress of Kae also voiced Sasha (potato girl) in Attack On Titan

I feel like I could offer a unique perspective on this series since I’m not a fujoshi or a female, I’m a dude. I started this series on a whim and found it to be very enjoyable, more than I expected. I’m going to briefly touch on what I thought about this series and some things I didn’t necessarily like.

I’ve always found meta-comedy to be my favorite type of comedy in anime. This style of comedy relies heavily on the viewer to understand the inside jokes of the medium and are able to be critical of their own hobby. An example of this can be seen in Daru from Steins;Gate. This also semi-relates to chuunibyou anime or anime with characters that have chuunibyou. Besides the obvious show, on of my favorite eamples of of a chuunibyou character is Yoshiteru Zaimokuza from Oregairu. One of the reasons I like this style of comedy in anime is because I can completely understand the gags and jokes because I personally can relate to the subject matter. Anyways, “Kiss Him, Not Me” relied heavily on meta-humor which is one of the reasons I loved this show so much. Hearing Kae overreact over various anime related announcements was quite enjoyable because as an anime fan watching the show, I could feel a connection between me and Kae because I could understand what she must’ve been feeling at that given moment. These moments were my favorite part about the show and what made me come back, week after week, to watch another episode.

Along with the meta-humor that filled this anime, there was also various references to other well known anime such as Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and One Piece to name a few. I always find it enjoyable to see anime reference other anime because it enhances the show by making it seem more ‘real’

Despite my high praise for the meta-humor, I believe that they started to become overused towards the conclusion of the series. It felt like the jokes were the very structure of the series and when they started to become stale, my interest in the series fell. What made the humor work at the beginning of the series were the other characters reactions to them, which made it seem like an inside joke between the viewer and Kae. This intimate connection made the series feel special. But overusing the same jokes made the connection fade and the other characters started to catch onto them. This is a common problem many comedy driven shows suffer from- overusing their own jokes. It’s difficult on the writers to be able to use the same style of humor for the entirety of a series while keeping the attention of the viewer.

I spent a lot of time on the comedy appeal of this series, but at heart “Kiss Him, Not Me” is a reverse harem with classic romantic comedy tropes and shenanigans in it. But with the use of common tropes comes common problems. I had some issues with the progression more than anything, but should have been expected before even starting the series. It is common in shoujo anime that there is little to no progression in the romance. With this show however, it takes one step forward and then two steps back. There seems like Kae might choose one guy/girl, but we end up with her avoiding the question which most likely sets up another season due to the source material not being finished. Just a warning, don’t expect much progress or a satisfying conclusion, just expect a open-ended conclusion that (ironically) allows for fan fiction of doujinshi to be made.

I’ll briefly touch on the technical side of the show. The voice acting was quite good and probably one of the better aspects of the show. The voice acting from the love interests specifically. The sound and music was forgettable but does its job and isn’t completely abysmal. Animation was average at best but nothing standout, but I’d like to give credit to the character designer for making such beautiful characters that clearly standout from the side characters.

Overall, “Kiss Him, Not Me” is not the best of 2016, not even the best of the season, but it is a unique reverse harem show that is filled to the brim with meta-humor that appeals to its target audience. As a person who did not fall into that demographic, I still found it enjoyable to a certain extent. I recommend this show to anyone who is into BL series (ironically or not), or enjoys shows that are make jokes based on things that you can relate to as an anime fan. Kiss Him Not Me isn’t really worth your time if you didn’t catch it airing, but is still a fun little series if you like this type of humor.


An attractive design by Kazuhiko Tamura

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Thoughts On Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale


These are simply my thoughts on Ordinal Scale. this is by no means a critical review of the film. I am a long-time fan so my opinions are biased

I had the pleasure of being able to watch the newest installment of the Sword Art Online franchise in a theater nearby. Previously, the only anime film I have seen on the big screen was the first part of Kizumonogatari which was a large turnout. On the other hand, I went to go see Ordinal Scale on a Sunday around midday so the theater was nearly empty save a few groups. This made for a great viewing experience because everyone there was respectful and didn’t use their phones or talk during the film which was greatly appreciated. The point of this blog was not to discuss the actual theater, rather the actual film as an experience. I will be mainly touching on how I felt about Ordinal Scale and a few thoughts about the film. I will keep this spoiler-free so no need to worry.

The film opens similarly to the first season of Sword Art Online. There is a bit of exposition making the opening scenes a bit slow when compared to the rest of the film. However, this was completely justified since Ordinal Scale was meant to cater to returning fans and new fans alike. It was a nice refresher since I first watched Sword Art Online back in 2013. The story only gets better from here. Once the exposition comes to a close the plot begins to unfold revealing a story that differs a bit from previous installments in the franchise, but still keeps the charm of the first two seasons. We finally get to see Asuna as well as other side-characters that were often overlooked finally get more screen time and a surprising amount of development. Kirito remains mostly the same so interpret that as you will. The animation was also stellar and the score by returning staff composer Yuki Kajura was a welcome part of the film. Overall, Ordinal Scale was beautifully presented from as visual and audio standpoint which made watching it a treat for the senses.

Aside from the surface presentation, what really sold me on Ordinal Scale was it’s latter half. In typical Sword Art Online fashion, the main conflict was a bit shallow but that doesn’t mean it was unbelievable. There seemed to actually be some emotional explanation towards the “villain’s” motivations. As a result of the main conflict, we got one of the best scenes in the entirety of the franchise. It pains me not to discuss the final climactic battle but I’d rather not spoil the fun and it’s impact on the viewer. When the height of the battle hit and the original battle theme began to play, tension left my body and a child-like grim spread across my face. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia, genuine tears of joy formed in my eyes and passion reignited in my heart. This was the power of anime. I left the theater with an extremely positive attitude and a longing to rewatch the film.

I first sat down to watch Sword Art Online in 2013 which was my first experience with anime, and my journey has led me here. My view of this film is heavily biased due to my personally connection to the series so my opinions previously stated are completely subjective. That being said, I’m a firm believer in the importance of taking away enjoyment from anime and Ordinal Scale is a great film for that. I’ll admit the probability of it being an average film, but in the eyes of a longtime fan it’s an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend that any fan of the previous installments in the franchise watch Ordinal Scale when it’s released on Blu-ray. That being said, I know I’ll be looking out for the collectors edition so long as it isn’t outrageously priced.

Thanks for reading, have a nice day!


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