"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Anime Year in Review (Part 3)

Almost done, guys!  I promise!  In fact, I think I'm going to attempt to mash several series into one post this time around for the sake of wrapping this up...

July brought with it one of my all-time favorite anime: Nichijou, which roughly translates to "My Ordinary Life".  This series is anything but ordinary.  I'd try to explain, but I know I'll mess it up, so here are a few video clips to explain what I mean:

And before you say it, no.  This would not make more sense in context.  This is one of those series that even with all the context, it makes just as much sense.  This is of course why I love it to pieces.  I know I was planning on writing about several series at once here, but I think I'll just leave you with this.  Just let this all sink in and I'll talk to you about more anime later ;)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Anime Year in Review (Part 2)

Moving on with my anime viewing...Summer brought up a whole host of great series, including School Rumble, Cowboy Bebop, Nichijou, Pokemon Origins, Spice and Wolf, and Steins;Gate.

School Rumble is one of my all-time favorite anime.  It's one of those series that I could watch again and again, and you get so emotionally involved and attached to the characters.  I was super disappointed to learn that there will not be a third season, not even in Japan, but all the same, I'm glad I watched as much as I did, and I'm looking forward to checking out the manga, so I can complete the story.

This series is a strange love triangle.  Tenma loves Karasuma. Harima loves Tenma.  Karasuma loves curry.  Or, to put it another way: ditsy girl falls for the dullest guy in her class.  The school delinquent falls for her.  And neither dull guy or girl has any idea that someone likes them.  Add in tons of love triangles in the background, a girl who can read the minds of guys who like her, and ridiculously improbable situations, and you have School Rumble.  This is one of those series that is hard to explain in any great detail, because I'll either spoil it for you or introduce you to waaay more information than you were looking for.  But, either way, it is incredibly fun.

Cowboy Bebop is at the other end of the spectrum.  While School Rumble is beyond silly, this series is much more serious.  The tone can get very dark at times, but all in all, this was another engaging series that I really enjoyed watching.  I've just requested a couple copies of the manga from the library, so hopefully, I can go back and revisit this classic series again.

Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein

Cowboy Bebop follows intergalactic bounty-hunter Spike Spiegel and his crew (tough-guy Jet, double-crossing Faye, computer-wiz Ed, and their super-smart dog Ein).  The group has a ton of misadventures and at various points, are forced to confront elements from their pasts.  As I said, it's not all fun and games, but while gritty, this is considered a classic anime, and if you are looking for the classics, then this is one to start with.  Plus, Steve Blum voices Spike in the English dub, and he's one of the best voice actors out there.

Spike and Cowboy Andy
Watching Bebop can be pretty emotional, and even bleak at times, but then you get to an episode like the one starring Cowboy Andy (I will say nothing more on the topic) and then you are so glad that you took the time.

So, sit back, relax, pick up a new anime, and tell me what you think!  And stay tuned, because Part 3 will be coming your way very soon :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Anime Year in Review (Part 1)

I had considered doing a year in review for all the books I read, too, but if you look at my Goodreads page, I've read 153 books this year.  Then, I considered just writing about the books that got a 5 of 5 stars.  That's still 56 books, which will take up more time than any of us really have to devote to this blog.  So, instead, I'd like to look back on my year of anime series.  At the start of this year, I talked about finishing Death Note and Space Dandy, so I'll be avoiding those two this time around.  But, I'd like to talk about the other titles that I've checked out, both with the Brother and without.  There are some real gems here :)

January brought us on an emotional thrill ride through Death Note and Space Dandy, but then the Brother went back to school.  Left to my own devices, I picked up two anime that seemed like fun at the time: Love Lab and Eccentric Family--and thus, Spring anime season began.

Love Lab is a goofy shoujo about a group of students (from an all-girls high
Riko and Maki (Love Lab)
school) learning how to get the attention of boys.  The story begins when popular, tomboyish Riko catches the student council president, Maki, in the act of making out with a body pillow.  Maki begs her not to tell anyone, since this might ruin her perfect reputation.  Riko makes an off-hand comment that suggests she is popular with boys, so Maki recruits her to teach her how to find a boyfriend.  There are two problems, though.  First, school rules forbid the girls having romantic relationships, and second, Riko doesn't know the first thing about romance!  

Soon, the student council becomes a front for the girls' "love lab" as they test out ways to get attention from boys, such as different hairstyles, conversation topics, and kissing.  The pair are joined by brash Eno, timid Suzu, and conniving Sayo as they attempt to provide answers to their romantically challenged peers, while still performing their student council duties.
Riko, Suzu, and a giant paper fan
From the description, this anime sounds like it might veer into yuri (lesbian) territory, but surprisingly, it stays pretty innocent of anything sexual.  There are a lot of jokes and awkward situations, but for the most part, it is pretty wholesome.  It's a cute series, though.  Not something I would personally watch again (since I just don't go for drippy girly shows), but still an enjoyable way to spend a couple of nights.

Yasaburo (Eccentric Family)
Eccentric family, on the other hand, was a real gem.  This one tells the story of a family of tanuki, or Japanese raccoon dogs.  Just as in the mythology, these tanuki have the power to shape-shift, so they take the form of humans and live among other members of society.  The titular family consists of four brothers: tightly-wound Yaichiro; Yajiro, who turned himself into a frog and can't turn back; irresponsible Yasaburo; and sweet, but timid Yashiro.  Add in a cross-dressing mother; their despicable cousins, the Ebisagawa twins; and a cantankerous old tengu (crow demon) and you have the recipe for a perfect cast!

The story mostly focuses on Yasaburo, and without giving too much away, the
Benten and the Friday Fellows
central theme revolves around the death of the family patriarch.  As he used to be the leader of tanuki society, the rest of the clan is caught up in trying to elect a new leader in his stead.  Meanwhile, Yasaburo finds himself caught up with a mysterious group called the Friday Fellows, who are known for cooking and eating a tanuki every year as part of the New Year's celebration.  When the group's most dangerous member, the lovely Benten sets her sights on Yasaburo, he's in love...and also in great danger.

This is a great series if you're looking for something short, but very engaging.  I found it difficult to stop watching, and was disappointed when it was over.  But, all in all, this is an excellent series, and one which I would contend is one of my all-time favorites!

Stay tuned for Part 2: School Rumble and Cowboy Bebop.  It should be coming your way very soon!


Perhaps one of the best parts of the Brother's return home is that we spend inordinate amounts of time each night watching anime.  My love of anime is quickly becoming a make-or-break relationship point.  I can see turning down a very nice guy because he's not interested in discussing the finer points of Dragon Ball Z, or cosplaying with me at the next anime convention.  I know it sounds silly, but it's a big part of my interests.  Plus, I feel like watching anime and playing video games are social activities that should be shared.  I also love reading (which I'm sure you all know), but that's solitary.  I don't mind reading alone.  But, I want someone to go to all the anime movies with me, and to cry with me during every ridiculously sad character backstory in One Piece.
So, while we're on the topic, the Brother got me the most awesome Christmas gift: a copy of the latest Dragon Ball Z movie: Resurrection "F" on DVD.  We watched it Christmas night, and I'm still feeling the high. While he prefers the 2013 Battle of Gods, there is just something about the devious and highly dangerous Frieza (the "F" in Resurrection "F") that always fascinated me.
Frieza in his "golden form" from Resurrection F
 In addition to this amazing film, the Brother and I have stocked up a list of anime we wanted to watch while he's home for the holidays.  I'm hoping to post about these a bit more as we watch them.  I know last year, I talked about completing a few series which I had been focusing on for months, and how it felt like I had a huge hole in my life after these characters, who had been my constant companions, were gone from my day-to-day.
Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss
Last year was Death Note and Space Dandy.  This year, we have several titles lined up, including Tiger and Bunny; Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple; Mushi-Shi; Samurai Champloo; and possibly some One Piece or Dragon Ball if time allows.  Also, the Brother isn't interested, but I have a shoujo lined up for me: Kamisama Kiss!
I was going to use this space to write all about Tiger and Bunny, but I think I have a better idea.  Instead, I'm going to put together an anime Year and Review, and go over all the anime that I have seen this year.  I hope you guys stop in to check things out :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

That Adult Thing

I think I finally figured out the secret to this whole adult-ing thing.  Basically, being an adult is just like being a kid, except you now have money to buy all that nerd stuff for yourself, and people expect you to act "your age", get up at a reasonable hour, pay the bills, go to work, wear pants around the house--even if no one is home--and do other "mature" things, even if you don't want to.  Basically, being an adult is all about pretending to be the most mature member of your social circle.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm putting on my jammies and crawling into my blanket fort.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Weekend

It has been an interesting weekend.  I got yelled at by three patrons and my boss...and NONE of it was my fault!  So, work was kind of a bust.  And who wants to work on a Saturday, anyway??

On the plus side, I picked up some horror films and anime to watch when I finish homework, and I found a copy of Silas Marner at a used book sale.  Just a bit of background there: when I was in high school, Silas Marner was my jam.  I'm a bit nervous to see if it will hold up to my very fond memories, but either way, it cost me 25 cents, so it was a risk worth taking.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Face

So, I might have already mentioned it, but Christmas is coming, y'all!  I still have a crap-ton of shopping to do....like almost all of it....but I'm watching YouTube videos instead, and posting them here so you can join me in blissful procrastination.  You're welcome :)

Rhett and Link are the best.  Seriously, go watch all of their stuff.  They do sketches, songs, commercials, and even have their own YouTube morning talkshow!  Simply the best.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is coming!  I had intended to do a 25 Days of Christmas series this year, but after I totally couldn't finish my 31 Days of Halloween series, I thought it would be best to just wait until school was over.  Why can't I post all the time?  Grad school.  Yup.  Gotta love it.

On the flipside, I'll be graduating in August.  So, stay tuned for that :)

Click to enlarge
You can find the comic and more by this author on her website for Junior Scientist Power Hour here.