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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Starting at a New Class and Finishing leftover Studies ~ Random Talk

So I finally finished the math test and miraculously got a 100. Shocked, cause when it comes to math I'm wonderful at getting lost and confused.

But luckily it's done and over and I don't have to deal with Math again for a while. Thanks, Will, your supportive talk motivated me to actually give it another try ^^

Moving on, I've been reading up on my Kanji and other Japanese studies. Hopefully, by July I'll be able to clear the JLPT N5 and N4 and probably get a decent job in Japan *-*

I'll be going for the Vocal Training class in a little bit, I want to try and see how much I can learn by the end of that course. That being said, I just realised, I've been skipping and hopping around way too many professions and things... I hope eventually one of them leads me to be able to work in Japan @_@...

debating if I should take an hour nap before the class... but what if I can't wake up >w<...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kimi no Na Wa~君の名は。- Movie Review ~ Thoughts and Reflections

Even though I watched it the same week it was released, in a really crappy 480p format which was a plain insult to the movie but I felt I'd miss out heavily if I don't watch it at least once. Boy I dead wrong/spot on right... I thought I'd watch it once just to be able to watch it, but I ended up watching it over and over like some possessed person, the first time watch was followed by several rewatch of several scenes, and replaying of the songs. But, I am truly happy that I decided to watch it after all despite it being in shit format. I would have, truly, missed out. Now that my own personal rant is over, I'll be able to write a proper review :P

SORRY IN ADVANCE ABOUT THE CRAP QUALITY PICTURES! m(_ _;)m That's the ONLY file I could find...

The story is about two high schoolers, Miyamizu Mitsuha (宮水 三葉) and Tachibana Taki (立花 瀧) who are living completely different lives in separate places, Mitsuha in a town called Itomori (guarding thread?) and Taki in Tokyo.

One day, a comet falls, and that day onward, Taki and Mitsuha's lives change completely.

Taki is a carefree, short tempered but kind boy who lives in Tokyo,

spends time with his friends and...

works in an Italian restaurant.
He has a crush on the senpai from work (Okudera Miki otherwise called throughout the series as Okudera senpai), and she seems to like him as well.

Mitsuha lives in a small rural town with her Grandmother and little sister Yotsuha

and is a miko of the Miyamizu shrine that does kumihimo (from wiki: "Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for "gathered threads").

 Her mother has passed away and her father is the mayor of the city and a control freak who doesn't shy away from showing it in public and embarrassing her.

Although, her best friends Sayaka and Tessie are supportive of her,

 she gets picked on by the other kids at school for being the Miko that's doing the kuchikamizake (sake that's made of chewing rice and then spitting it and letting it ferment) ritual at the Miyamizu shrine.

Mitsuha is sick and tired of her rural town life and wants to graduate and leave the town and live in Tokyo
Her one wish is to be reborn as a handsome boy in Tokyo in her next life.

Little does she know, the wish had already been granted in a weird way. Taki and Mitsuha one day wake up in the other's body. At first they think it's a dream, but the reaction of people around them and the changes happening in their lives, make them realize that they have indeed started swapping place with the other.

The whole reasoning behind the switch, the plot and story line, and the insert music is perfectly timed and compliments the movie overall. We also get to see Yukari Yukino sensei once again from The Garden of Words ( 言の葉の庭 - Kotonoha no Niwa), another marvelous movie (I'll review later) by Makoto Shinkai san, we find out that the town she supposedly went to in the last movie, was actually Mitsuha's town and she's now teaching as a classic Japanese literature teacher at Mitshua's school.

The Music :

I heard the main track of this movie, Zen Zen Zensei ( Past Past Past Life) by Radwimps, when I was obsessed with the Servamp opening track (Sunlight Avenue by Terashima Takuma) and the only video I found on YouTube that had the full song, had a little bit part of this song stuck at the end and no name or information about the track. Imagine my surprise when I found the song in the movie.

The next that totally struck me was Sparkle by the same band. I took the time to find the original video by the band, this includes clips from the movie in crystal clear quality and makes me want to cry at how beautifully put together it is. 

The movie ending song however, was the one that made me want to cover it even if I'm not great at covering songs yet. Mind you, this isn't the movie version, there isn't a movie version on YouTube for me to link that has subtitles in English, I could only find this one which is an Acoustic version.

I did find the original song in an AMV version that has a beautiful combination of all Makoto Shinkai movies, which obviously means spoilers, so watch at your own risk.

And finally~ The Opening/Title Song! (yeah I totally went in the reverse order here huhu) And yet again, we get to see the beautiful brilliance that is Makoto Shinaki...

I LOVE the opening song concept. It's amazing how the Japanese people have the red thread of fate belief, which we can plainly see during the opening song. Mitsuha's hair tie that stays with Taki that in the end... oops no spoilers o.o... But it's definitely a very strong reference ^^

Makoto Shinkai: I have watched, a lot of movies, and anime, but up till now, I haven't been moved this much by anyone else's work. Makoto Shinkai san for sure has a unique style, a certain beauty that is not found in anyone else's work. If I was ever given a chance to learn from and work under anyone in my life, I'd want to work with Makoto Shinkai for sure. I honestly, truly, and with all my heart believe that this sort of a movie that can move people's heart, is a treasure in itself and should be spread more and more across all people that don't know the beauty of Japanese animation.

You have all my respect.

Thoughts and Reflections:

Even though I was really taken by Garden of Words, this movie quite easily became my number one anime movie of all time. Be it the unrealistic reality factor, the heartfelt romance, the rush of feelings I got from watching Taki try his very best and pushing himself to the limit for Mitsuha, or simply, the overall heartwarming feeling you get from the entire movie, I can't really see any other movie till date being able to move me to this point. Even if I go completely critical with this, I can't seem to find anything at all wrong with this movie. The placement of the soundtracks, the character development, the subtle light humor, the abrupt story change when Taki realizes what is happening, every single thing was so well placed.

The empty feeling of not being able to get the one thing you desire the most, even if you don't know what exactly that thing is, all the emotions in the whole movie really do move you. I felt the despair, I felt the rush, I cried and I laughed. I got reminded of when I used to believe in a lot of things that now I even though believe in, don't think exist in this world anymore.

I really wonder if someone could get that desperate for another person to be able to push everything in their lives aside and focus on that one person? The only sort of love I see in the world now is, calculative, judgmental and something that one is able to move on from and forget eventually. I felt happy seeing something that matches my teenage time ideals, and the fact that this movie was so well received, makes me hope that there is still some hope left for people, maybe some people, even if a handful of them, can still love this selflessly.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sakurako San no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru - Anime Review EP 1 -

 My first Impression upon seeing the name of the series ( A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako's Feet) was "Ah! finally an anime that looks like it can be a thriller/mystery like Tasogare Otome x Amnesia" and I wasn't disappointed, although, it was for sure a bit different than what I expected. The colours and background art really took me by surprise. I wouldn't call it Makoto Shinkai level, but it's close, very detailed and very beautiful.

We start with Tatewaki Shoutarou, a high school student who is seemingly unaffected by dead animals/bodies, when he finds a body of a dead cat in front of his school, he calmly tries to move it away while the other students are getting creeped out. The reason for him being like this, he states, is because he met
a certain someone. The cat is buried under a Sakura Tree and Shotarou, his friend Imai Haruto, the girl who helped him bury the cat, Kougami Yuriko and his life science teacher, Itsuki Isozaki gather under the tree and talk about the story that "beneath the sakura tree, dead bodies are buried"

Next part, he goes into a beautiful garden to a large house and sees a girl holding a human skull under a Sakura tree

Who he introduces as "The Princess who loves Bones" thus the title of the Episode.

The girl is called Sakurako Kujou, a beautiful and smart woman from a rich family who loves bones of all living creatures to the point that she made it her profession. the girl is an Osteologist.

Shoutarou and Sakurako go to a beach to dig bones up and they come along the skull of a human

Shoutarou comments that human remains are found wherever Sakurako goes.

Sakurako refuses to give up the skull and Shoutarou calls the police *could she get anymore cuter?*

In the end they get in the police car to go to the station to give in the skull to the police, on the way the policeman reveals that this is the third human remain to be found in the area and that apparently there was a double suicide not long ago. Sakurako forces him to stop the car as they pass by the scene and puts out a different theory about the dead bodies that are found there.

I left a lot of things out for the sake of not giving too many spoilers, especially since it's a mystery series. 

My own thoughts on this series are...

1. The beautiful art style. Simply gorgeous, this deserves to be watched in 720p or higher. I simply love how pleasant it to watch this series because of the details and colours used.

Such gorgeous detailing!

2. This reminded me immensely of xxxHolic, the wonderful CLAMP series I'm in love with. What with the butterfly references, to the catch phrases, "saa, nazou wo tokou jyanaika" to Yuuko's "anata no negai, kanaimashou" 

to how much she looks like Yuuko, even the relationship between her and Shoutarou so far, to how she calls Shoutarou 'shounen' exactly in the way Yuuko called Kimihiro Watanuki, "Watanuki". Everything reminds me so much of the series. When I looked up the seiyuu's apparently Sakurako's seiyuu is same as XxxHolic's Himawari.

Closely looking at it, even her hairstyle is very similar to Yuuko's

It's like looking at a more nowadays look of Yuuko lol.
I am really looking forward to watching more of this series. It looks really promising.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

This Month's Selected Anime ~ Natsume Yuujinchou + First EP Review.

After almost 8 years of following this series, and after finally getting the long awaited fifth season, I'm going to be dedicating the rest of this month to all things Natsume Yuujincou, otherwise known as Natsume's Book of Friends.

Even though, it seems like your typical orphan boy who got some special power/powerful friends who help him, type of story, when you actually start watching, you end up realizing just how beautiful the series really is.

The story revolves around Takashi Natsume, an orphan boy who has the ability to see that which others cannot, namely, Ayakashi, otherwise known as Spirits or monsters. As a child he was passed around between his relatives and treated quite horribly because the people who couldn't see anything always thought he was making things up for attention
. Natsume now lives at the house of Shigeru and Touko Fujiwara, the kind. distant relative couple that have finally adopted him. He lives in the same town where his grandmother once used to live. Natsume Reiko, who was also able to see Ayakashi and was isolated because of that.

In the first episode, Natsume finds, when being chased by an Ayakashi,
a cat youkai who had been sealed.
 He accidentally breaks the seal and finds out the cat ayakashi once knew his grandmother. He tells Natsume about Reiko and asks him about the Yuujincou (Book of Friends).
Natsume goes home and finds it in Reiko's old stuff that had been passed down to him. The cat youkai chases him home and demands he hand over the book. More Youkai come chasing after him for the book
but the cat youkai, who asks Natsume to call him Nyanko Sensei,
helps him and teaches him how to return the yokai's name to them. In the end Natsume returns the name of the youkai
and in doing so, sees a vision of Reiko with the youkai.
In the end Nyanko Sensei and Natsume come to the conclusion that Natsume will return the names of the youkai that are written in the book and if he dies while doing so, Nyanko sensei will inherit the remaining book.

The story itself might feel quite plain in the beginning, but, once you start watching, the background music, the simple art style, the soft more on the pastel side colours and most of all, the heartwarming depth of the story really gets to you. I love how they selected the voice cast, none of them are loud or annoying sounding. The opening and ending songs
match beautifully with the theme of the series. You get to see the main close people to Natsume, and the youkai that will be appearing all through the season
. The subtle light hearted humor, the just right slice of life feel and the perfectly paced episodes leave you wanting more. You don't feel rushed and you don't feel like the episode is dragging on, everything perfectly connects. Be prepared with a box of tissues, this series have a tendency of tugging at your heartstrings when you least expect it. I've had people walk in on me when I'm watching and sobbing non stop, and then giving me weird looks for it ._.

Coming from the creator of Hotarobi no Mori e/Into the Forest of the Fireflies, if you guys have watched that, you'd understand what I mean when I say Natsume Yuujinchou is a lot more deeper and full of feels than that.

On a scale of 1-10 this is one series I'd give a 10/10 every single time. To me, this anime is something everyone should watch at least once in your life. It shows what true strength, true kindness is like.

Bonus : Here's the Opening video~

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