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This Anime is Faithful Virgin Trash

You only get one shot.  If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped. So, did My Girlfriend is a Shob**h impressed me in its first episode?

No.

It’s often said that the best way to court attention is to generate controversy.  Companies and brands understand this well. Let me use some examples real quick. During the 2000s,  Rockstar Games used the negative press of their Grand Threat Auto series as a positive in order to boost sales.  It worked in their favor. Vince  Mcmahon, CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), saved the company with the Attitude Era; a controversial period during the late 90s that used politically incorrect and sexual themes aimed at adults. Hell, there’s a certain notorious cosplayer right now gaining attention through controversial lewd cosplays.

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please don’t lewd the time loop lolis please don’t lewd the time loop lolis please don’t lewd the tie loop lolis for the love of Oyashiro-Sama don’t lewd Rika or Hanyuu

So, when I first heard the title My Girlfriend is a Faithful Virgin Bitch, my eyebrows rose a bit.  The title alone was enough to grab my attention.  “Jeez, Japan.  You guys are getting bolder.” I told myself.  For real, who goes around calling their girlfriend a “faithful bitch”?  I’m not a domestic violence expert, but I’m sure that’s a red flag for an abusive relationship.  I mean, congrats on finding a girl who ain’t fucking other dudes behind your back, but did you really have to call her a faithful bitch?

With a controversial title like that, I had to do some research on the anime.  I went to My Anime List and some anime pages on Facebook to gain some knowledge on Shobitch. Fans of the original web manga were going around telling others not to panic!

“It’s not like all other trashy, horrible romcom anime out there today!  Shobitch is different!”  One zit face ridden weeb stated   “Shobitch is not bad at all! It’s funny and cute!  Don’t take the title at face value.”

For a second, I had faith in this stranger’s words.  Maybe he’s telling the truth, and Shobitch isn’t like all the other romcom anime series out there.  The title is just something to bait people into watching it.  I should give it a chance.  Just because the cover art shows the main girls looking at a banana, commonly used as a  phallic symbol, doesn’t mean this anime is going to be ecchi trash. Have faith in these weebs, Benjamin!

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…And  then I remembered why I don’t have faith in most anime fans.

I went to my favorite source for anime, pulled up Shobitch, and played the file.  The anime starts with a boy and girl in their teens in some field lookin’ stupid.  The girl speaks.

“I, right here and now…will raise my skirt and display myself to you.”  Joy. Oh joy.  Another romcom opening up with a panty sho- hold up! Did this bitch straight say she ain’t got no panties on?  Am I 10 again sneaking into the living room at 2AM to watch that Wax-a-Million music video on  B.E.T. Uncut?

But seriously.  This anime isn’t opening up with a panty shot.  It’s a straight up vag shot.  A censored vag shot, but a vag shot regardless.  Or maybe not, as the dude was dreaming the whole thing. Doesn’t matter, really. As I’ve stated before in my Hajimete no Gal first impression review, if your anime opens up with panty shot, then you have no confidence in your work.  So, if your anime opens with a girl flashing her vagina in the opening scene, then you should never work in the anime industry.

Just quit my man.

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Goddammit, Wax-a-Million

Dude wakes up and gets an eyeful of some girl’s ass.  Great.  I see where this is going now. Next, he spots his crush (the girl in his dream) and talks about her in some inner monologue bullshit that I don’t care for. Kosaka Whatsherface is her name. The guy wants to be her boyfriend. He plans to confess to her later that day.  They meet up after school.  He confesses and Kosaka accepts.  Not only does she accepts, Kosaka tells dude that she’s gonna learn 48 different positions for him so they can have a good time.

…what?

 

“Benjamin. Abandon ship.  Why are you torturing yourself by watching trash tier anime? Go play that Fire Emblem 4 romhack with those Touhou characters.  Go watch better anime.  Don’t do this to yourself.” My gut was trying to tell me to stop but I refused.  It’s my duty, obligation, and responsibility to tear apart bad anime – no matter what ill results may come to me and my mental health.

I should have I listened to my gut.

The OP begins.  We see Youmu Konpaku, err, Yuki Nagato, wait no, Kosaka Whatsherface (look, all silver hair, blue eyes anime, and video game girls look alike to me.  I don’t care; I’m anime racist) half naked and dressing.  As she leaves her house, the camera pans up to her skirt for a panty shot. At that point, I stopped watching the OP. I went on my phone to watch some fight compilation on World Star Hip Hop (WSHH) to past the time.  As I’m scrolling through WSHH my eyes peep the TV screen to check if the OP finished   I was greeted to Kosaka, completely naked, sitting on a cake.  Oh, and she was taking a loud of white frosting on her face in a suggestive matter.

Whew boy.

The OP ends and the episode resumes.  We get some annoying brunette girl screeching, running down the hall and glomping Haru from behind. She’s followed up by another girl wearing some catgirl bullshit trying to take both of them back home with her like she’s Rena off Higurashi or something.  Later, Haru daydreams about Kosaka. He debates if he should talk to her about her about asking her hobbies and interests.

To the surprise of nobody,  Kosaka appears. Haru gets all giddy inside.  He has a chance to ask her what she enjoys face-to-face.  And hey! Kosaka has the same idea in mind.  She wants to get to know her new boyfriend better as well.  You know, it what makes a strong, solid relationship. Communication is key in these things.

You gotta ask your new boyfriend or girlfriend things. Things such as what they’re favorite color, what type of foods they love, who is their favorite music artist, and what do they like to do for fun.  Oh!  Don’t forget to ask what kinda fetishes do they have in the bedroom.  Yeah, Kosaka asks Haru what type of fetishes he’s into for some odd reason.

…at least she’s thoughtful.  I guess.

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The scene transition to a boob gag to remind us that Kosaka is well endowed (as it wasn’t obvious enough in the OP).  As she helps their teacher, she places her breasts on top of the books, and carry then them out.  She then asks Haru if he’s a masochist because…I don’t know nor do I care anymore.  In less than eight minutes, I could tell that this anime was just going to be terrible.  It was at this point I started asking myself questions:

“Do I hate fun?”
“Am I secretly a masochist and is my pain kink is watching terrible anime?”
“Is this what they mean to turn your brain off and enjoy something even though its horrible?”

Besides this anime sucking, what also sucked that I drank all my alcohol from the day before (to relieve work-related stress).  That bottle of Peach New Amsterdam vodka sure would have helped get me through this trash. Maybe being under the influence of alcohol would have made this a little bearable.  Wait, actually no.  It wouldn’t.  It would have just me even angrier that I was wasting my time on such bullshit.    Then again,  in retrospect, Drunk Ben is smart enough to turn off this anime so he wouldn’t have to suffer any longer.

(Goddammit angry Alcoholic Worker Ben! Was getting afternoon drunk worth it?)

The next scene shows Kosaka eavesdropping on two girls talking about their relationship issues.  Kosaka butts in. She tells the girls that the best way to get their boyfriend’s attention is to say “Nyan” after each sentence.  Ya know,  like one of ‘em socially awkward annoying high school weeaboos who wear cat ears all day. Her next advice to the girls was to not wear any panties around their boyfriends to make ‘em happy.  Yeah.  This is the character of Kosaka: A perverted airhead who think sex and being a catgirl will solve everything in the world.   Kosaka is a tad bit off (as her peers states) Maybe she doesn’t know how a relationship work.  Maybe she thinks sex should be a priority in it.  It’s her first time having a boyfriend, so I should be a little merciful.  But I won’t.

 

At was at this point I got bored with this anime. I simply turned off my TV, went on social media and started ranting about how terrible Shobitch is. After my rant, I dropped the anime.

I’ve concluded that I shouldn’t do these types of shows.  Maybe there are good, romcom anime that isn’t utterly perverted (or the perverted jokes are actually funny) but I haven’t discovered them yet.  My Girlfriend is a Shobitch isn’t one of them.  The jokes doesn’t make me laugh (given I’m way out of pubtery I gues).  Both main characters are utter idiots, with Kosaka being an airhead, monotone pervert.   Her voice is as boring as the show.  The only good things I can say about this show is that the animation is decent and  the girl is more sexual forward in a genre where its the male who is sexual forward. Also, I will admit it was (laughably) cute to see  Kosaka work hard to be a good girlfriend to Haru.
This show is getting dropped.  I have better shows to watch and review.

First Impression score: 2.5/10

+The animation is decent
+Kosaka is a pervert rather than the male lead unlike most romcom shows
+It feels a little different from most romcoms
-Jokes weren’t funny
– Jokes were obvious
– Too overly sexual
-Episode opened with a vag shot
-Obvious harem set-up
-Fanservice transition shots
-Alcohol did not make this show better – only worse
-Kosaka looks like a lame ass version of Yuki Nagato off Haruhi

My Girlfriend is a Faithful Shobitch (c) 2017 Diomedea, Studio Blanc

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If You Like Kakegurui Then Check Out “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Investing and stock trading is akin to gambling. Like placing all your chips into a single gamble in high hopes of winning, putting your money into an investment or stocks can mean triumph victory. You will be rewarded with massive capital gains. However, gamble and invest wrong, and you’ll end up with a crippling defeat – losing all of your hard earn money. In order to win big in both gambling and investing, you must learn how to analyze, read, and plan in around moves of your opponent and trends. Investing – and winning  – provides the ultimate thrill. Investing, gambling, and money are all powerful, addicting drugs.

Infamous stockbrocker and fraudster Jordan Belfort show us how exciting and dangerous the drug of money can be in The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Similar to how the villainous student council members of Kakegurui cheated to win, Jordan Belfort uses manipulative tactics to earn capital with his stock trading and investment schemes through penny-stocks scams and pump and dump moves.  His suckers victims do not know any better.  They’re chasing money in high hopes of getting rich fast, and Belfort takes full advantage of their stupidity.  Kinda like how Mary had high hopes of escaping debt through gambling with Yuriko’s  Life or Death game — only to end up in more debt.

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As Belfort wins and wins, we see his fruits of his victories such as his business growing, wild parties at his office, and his yacht.  Yet, his greed became his downfall.  Jordan is placed under investigating by the FBI for his fraudulent schemes.  Eventually, a federal case is built against him and he loses everything.

If you enjoy the wild gambles of Kakegurui and how horrible the cheaters of the series did their thing, then check out The Wolf on Wall Street.

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(Disclaimer: Do not attempt to emulate what Belfort did in the movie and real life. You will be sent to federal prison or possibly shot.)

I hope you enjoy this recommendation!  I’ll be doing more of these for the Facebook group Kakegurui FanClub. If you want to connect and network with fellow gambling addicts and  desire to debate against them on who’s the best girl (spoilers: it’s Ririka) is, then please join us!

 

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When Do You Drop an Anime? (Video)

 

Not all anime will have the honor being great and watchable all the way through. There are many shows that you will wind up dropping due to the low quality of the show.

At what point do you drop a show? I usually drop an anime on the first episode I can sense and predict it won’t be great beyond that point.

 

 

 

 

 

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How-To Get Your Non-Anime Watching Friends and Family Members into Anime

Your father has finally given in!  After years of belittling and disowning you for it, he wants to watch those weird, girly “Chinese cartoons” with you. Your football jock buddy has been curious about those anime cons you attend often.  He wants to bang him a hot, but depressed/mentality disturbed cosplay girl.  But he wants to watch some anime first (so he won’t appear like a total tool).   Your African-American youth pastor just heard about this Bible Black anime and wants to know if it’s about Black people going to church (spoilers: it’s not).  Your entry level weeb girlfriend has finally grown some taste. She doesn’t want to watch Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon anymore.  She wants something more deep and artsy.

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Suggesting anime to newcomers and casuals alike can be a difficult task.  The world of anime is full of diverse shows begging to be watched.  The effort to suggest a show to your normie friend might be overwhelming; as there are millions and millions of anime out there in this world. You can’t choose one over another to start them out with. You may be thinking “Well, I can show them the classics! Everyone loves the classics!”.  You’re right.  You can show them a classic anime series. Good luck with that though. Some people don’t have the time to watch 100+ episodes of a “classic” series (whatever that means).  Your friend might not like a classic anime series like Fist of the North Star.  The violence and length of the series might them him off.

You could try a short and sweet classic series. Like, let’s say High School of the Dead.  It has that 1970s grindhouse movie influence with the violence, gore, and sex appeal. Yeah!  That might work.  Then again, you don’t want to show your dad an anime full of fanservice and big tiddy animu girls (it’ll give him clues on why you’re such a kissless virgin).

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“But Benjamin! I can suggest Cowboy Bebop to my normie dad, right?!  It doesn’t have high school girls being sexualized like HSOTD! It’s a modern classic!” Sure!  You can do that.  But what if they hate space adventure sci-fi series?   They’re gonna be bored with Cowboy Bebop and drop it after five minutes.

(And you wonder why you’ll never have a great relationship with your father.  No wonder he’s more proud of your sports playing older brother than he is with your Chinese cartoon watching ass!)

Now, do you see why it’s hard to suggest anime to non-anime fans?  Many of you assume that they’ll  like an anime because it’s a classic.  No son, it doesn’t always work like that.  But don’t fret!  I, Benjamin “The Greatest of All Time” Snow, will use my oh-so-superior, borderline arrogant, and elitist anime wisdom to great use. I myself will help you suggest great anime to your non-anime watching friends.  You can trust me; you guys already know my tastes are great (and if you don’t know, now you know). So, how do you go about suggesting new anime?  Well, it’s real simple and easy.

Check this out.

The best way to suggest anime to non-anime fans is this: show them anime based genres, TV shows, movies, etc. they already like.  That’s it. Seriously.  It’s neither complex nor deep.  Your dad, he loves the sport of boxing, right?  He loves boxing movies such as Rocky and Million Dollar Baby.  Get him to watch the classic boxing series Hajimete no Ippo by Studio Madhouse.  Simple. Very simple.

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Your brother, he’s a kung-fu film fan, no? He spends hours emulating spinning kicks and karate chops in front of the mirror.  He idolizes Jackie Chan: the legendary martial arts master and actor.  The classic martial arts adventure Dragon Ball is right up his alley!  Dragon Ball was inspired by many kung-fu movies that Toriyama (a major movie fan) watched in his spare time during the development of Dragon Ball. Your brother might catch some classic kung-fu movie references in this epic series.

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Is your friend a sci-fi nerd who loves long-running, story-driven space epics like Star Trek?  Have him check out Legend of the Galactic Heroes; a series with vivid characters of various backgrounds.  He might even enjoy the military and political narrative themes of Galactic Heroes.

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Now, that wasn’t so hard, right?   You just need research anime series that will match non-anime friend’s interests.  Don’t suggest shows that you like – your friend may not like them.  Remember: one bad experience with a show could turn them off from all anime forever. You don’t want that.

Now, what if your friend or family members are already casual anime fans?  They have a few popular series under their belts such as Death Note or Naruto, right?  Yet, they want to branch out to other series but don’t know where to start.  I gotcha, it’s just as easy as suggesting anime to non-anime fans.

Since you have a  general idea of what shows they like, you can suggest new series based around their favorites.  If they like Bleach then, they may like Yu Yu Hakusho.  If they like fanservice, have them watch Monogatari. Your little sister enjoys Sailor Moon?  Have her watch  Card Captor Sakura or Madoka next.  Over time, you can show your casual friends more artistic, deeper anime such as Paranoid Agent or Ani*Kuri 15.  It will take some time for your casual friends to get into series that aren’t considered mainstream.  Be patient.

Before I go let me say this:  Do not get offended if your non-anime or casual anime fan friend or family member doesn’t like the shows you do. If they like a show you don’t, let them enjoy it.  Attacking shows that they like, or getting upset that they do not like the shows you enjoy only makes you an insecure little bitch.

Don’t be a little bitch.

(Note: The Shit Art Online image is for clickbait views only.  Never suggest such a trash series to anyone it doesn’t deserve money or more fans.)

 

 

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First Impressions: Just Because!

You only get one shot.  If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.

So, did Just Because! impressed me on its first episode?  Boy,  it was truly impressive.

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Let me ask you older folks a question: Do you remember your final dayss of high school?

Reflect on this period of your young life for a moment.   After years of dealing with bullshit from normie peers, popular kids in their cliques, preppy rich kids, obnoxious football jocks, and teachers who never taught you shit, all of that was coming to an end.  You were deciding if you should stay in your hometown for college.   Perhaps you desired to relocate to a new, unknown city to expand your education and see something different.  Maybe you didn’t want to go to college.  You were in school for twelve years of your life; adding four or six more years of school through college and university would drive you crazy.  The very thought of more schooling right after high school pissed you off, so you just went straight the workforce, military, or whatever.

During these four years, you had a few people in your circle whom you grew close with and  you formed a bond.   Throughout these four years, you and your friends hung out after class.  It’s possible that you might have skipped class to visit your friend. Hell, some of you even skipped an entire day of school to kick it with your friend all day a few times. Your crew were tight.  As graduation drew near, you dreaded if bonds you made will soon break forever; as you and your friends aimed to go your own paths in life.

That’s  Just Because!: Pine Jam’s original anime about four third year high school students entering the final period of their high school career. Eita (the main character) is one of these students. What makes him unique from the others is that he recently transferred to their high school (rather late, as it’s the end of the second semester).  Yeah, he’s yet another typical anime high school student transfer into a new school.  That’s nothing new in anime. However, what makes Eita, different from other “mysterious transfer students” in anime is the fact that this guy knows a few people at his new school – including his old friends, Haruto and Mio.  With that fact, he  isn’t that mysterious.

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From left-to-right: Hazuki, Haruto, Mio, Eita, and Ena

Ten minutes or so into Just Because!, we’re  introduced  to the cast, as well as insights to their lives and motives. We have Mio; a studious girl who spends her free-time prepping for her college entrance exams (much to the dismay of her less studious friends).  Next, there’s Haruto; the school’s  baseball captain. He’s deciding if he should stick with baseball after graduation, or enter the job force. Then there’s Eita (whom I’ve already talked about) Next, Hazuki; a third year band student who spends her time practicing with her fellow band mates.  Finally, there’s Ena; a second year student fighting to keep her Photography Club alive (which is doomed to be disband by the school).

With the characters and their goals presented this early, we are given a chance to care and know a few things about about them.  That alone hooked me in into Just Because!.  I want to see the characters grow and evolve overtime.   I must note that it’s highly possible that this anime will have a solid amount of characters.  Given that there were at least six through ten main and supporting characters introduced in episode one, I can assume that there will be more as the series progress this season. I for one cannot wait to see these characters interact with one another; especially Eita, Haruto, and Mio (as they were friends back in middle school).  Ena seems pretty interested in Haruto and Mio’s baseball game.  She spends most of the episode snapping away at their one-on-one game.

This brings me to my next point: the music and amiation.

The animation of Just Because! isn’t horrible.  It is fine for what it is.  The visuals aren’t on the levels of say Kakegurui or Made in Abyss, but it’s not bad.  Some characters’ faces did look weird in shots were they’re not moving or interacting.  I do not know if they’re off model, or if the animators purposely made them look weird.  It’s isn’t jarring but it’s noticeable (after maybe two or three rewatches like I did for this review).

The animation does however shine during Haruto and Eita’s one-on-one baseball game.  From Eita’s building power for his pitch and throwing his body weight into it, to Haruto’s attempts to hitting the ball as his body swings with his bat, the animation feels fluid and even realistic.  You can visibly see the momentum in their actions – may it from the speed of Eita’ pitching or Haruto’s foot digging into the ground as he twists his body into his bat’s swing.

I cannot forget the amazing brass and string music that carries this scene.  The song is a strong, proud brass fanfare in B-flat Major (with a key change to E-Flat Major). It starts with horns playing the melody with flare and pride as it slowly fades. As the brass backs off, snares and band drums  As Eita and Haruto’s game builds up, so does the music with  crescendo in sync. The brass section backs off, letting the percussion section  carry Eita’s and Haruto’s silent stare down.  The brass melody returns after four measures of rest as Eita pitches furious strike after furious strike. This continues on for about twelve measures

The brass sections backs off once again and the strings are introduced during Eita’s and Haruto’s final stare down.  Haruto steps and grinds his feet into the ground with confidence.  Eita winds up his pitch, matching his opponent’s confidence. As the cellos and violas plays the melody,  Haruto hits the ball with great force, sending it over the field.  The piano finishes with gentle arpeggios an the strings holding a chord in unison as the cast watch in awe of  Haruto’s out-of-the-park come-from-behind home run.

I love how the music helps tell  the story of Haruto and Eita’s game.  It enhances the scene’s emotion of two good, old friends recently reunited  as they go against one another in a friendly batter vs. pitcher one-on-one game. There is much to be praise on how well the music went in sync with the game (such how the music build up as the game grew intense to the strings playing as Haruto landed a home-run). The music played in this scene should serve as a reminder on why it’s important to use music as a story telling tool in anime.

 

The first episode of Just Because! has me execited for the series throughout the Fall 2017 season.  Its hard for me to be sold on most high school anime series in which the main character is a transfer student.  However, given this transfer student knows a few people in his school alreay, this kills the cliché “mysterious transfer student” from the get-go.  I’m also digging the premise of the main cast being seniors in the last few months of school as they plan their lives after high school.  I have yet to see an anime that does this personally.  Character motives where clear from this episodes, therefore you start to care for them a little bit.  The animation, while a little weird at some points, isn’t bad.  If they animators use more expressive, fluid animation for more scenes just like the basegame scene, then I’ll be happy.   The music is this anime’s strongest point.  It’s well produced, light-heart just like the anime itself, and it has shown its usefulness in carrying a story.

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Note the details that went into this sheet music, especially where the eighth rest are circled to indicate where the performer must rest in beat.  

While I’m on the subject of the music,  I must say that  “In Unison” is the perfect song  title for  this scene (assuming that’s the name of the track).  Haruto gets inspire to resume his baseball practice against Eita after he hears Hazuki and her band play the trumpet parts.  There are shots of the school band playing the song, which gives the illusion that they’re playing in unison.  Then we have Mio watching the two boy play the game, but more so she’s fixated on Eita (it’s theorized that she has an unrequited crush on him; a crush she held since middle school).  Finally, there’s Ena as she snaps the action on her camera.

Truly in unison, especially since this scene connects our five main characters, directly or otherwise.

Overall, the first episode of Just Because! is highly positively impressive.  It has everything I look for a first episode that makes me want to stick around for the series run.  I really wish Pine Jam dropped the entire series on Netflix or something so I can marathon the show in one sitting to gain the full experience of the story.  I can’t wait to see what they will do with their original anime.

First Impression Score: 8.5/10

+Transfer student won’t be totally mysterious
+Great musical score
+Great insight on the cast of characters and their goals
+Fuild animation in the baseball scene
+Has students as seniors, not freshmen
-Minor Animation issues
-Off model characters
Just Because ©2017 Pine Jam

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Just Because: A Warm Hearted First Impression (Freewrite)

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Gave Just Because a second watch recently and it was  just as great as my first run through.  There is something about it warm, mellow and almost melancholic tone of the first episode that males me appreciate the hard work and love that was put  into it.

Plus,  for some reason  this anime that for real makes me feel pretty nostalgic about my last year of high school nearly ten years ago (given this anime explores the final semester of 3rd year students). How the show explore students and their journey of their final months in high school is its strongest point story wise given its through many different students, not just one. Also I got a give respect to Pine Jam on making the cliche “Mysterious transfer student” gimmick new with the transfer student knowing some of his classmates since they went to the same middle school.

If Pine Jam don’t fuck up, I can see this show being one of the top dogs of the Fall 2017 anime season.

Expect a first impression review soon!

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First Impressions: Love is Like a Cocktail

You only get one shot.  If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.

So, did Love is Like a Cocktail impressed me on its first episode?  As an alcoholic anime fan, yes.  Yes it did.

(Warning: I was drunk when I wrote this)

Let me start out by saying that I feel personally attacked by this anime. I swear, this  anime was created for somebody like me: a hardworking 9-to-5 employee  with an addiction  appreciation for liquor and spirits.  I can relate to Chisato Mizusawa –the main female lead of this show.  When somebody suggests  going out to drinks or invites me over to their house for a fine cocktail or some beers, I get excited.  Like Chisato, my lips parts as if I am about to sip on some Hennessy on the rocks.  Mention alcohol and hanging out and I’m down for whatever.  I match you a bottle or a case of beer.

 

Honestly, which hard working adult doesn’t enjoy an after work drink?  May it be at a bar with a few friends, at the homeboy’s crib, or coming home to see your husband or wife treating you to a cocktail that they created themselves?  Sora (Chisato’s husband) knows what he’s doing.  This dude is a real husband.  He treats his wife to a fine cocktail and dinner each time she comes home.  Fellow men: this is the type of husband or boyfriend ya need to be, especially if your mate is a hard working woman.  Real talk, if I ever get married, I want to be like Sora, man.  Helping my wife feel better after a long day of chaos at the office or the gig.

Sora, you’re a real man.

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Anyway, remember how I say I feel attacked by this anime?  Well, like Chisato, I’m not really good with alcohol myself.  Despite my love for booze, my alcohol tolerance is shit. A single cocktail can get me drunk?  Yeah.  That’s me.  I can respect a tasty drink like Chisato. I mean, just look how happy she looks when she drank her husband’s cocktail, the Plum Splet.
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Man, I gotta give props to this sho.  They even go the extra mile by showing the  viewers how to make the drinks so you can make them at home.  That’s awesome  to me,  given  I have a hobby for mixology.  My only complaint is that they don’t tell you if you need to shake the shit in a cocktail or go into details on how to make it.

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I also like how they show Chisato’s true personality show when she drunk with her “I get weird when I drink” line.  And like Sora said, there are some people who can’t be themselves unless they’re drunk.

Kinda strange how alcohol work that way.

To conclude, I’m looking forward to this show.  Chisato’s a cute female lead character whom I can relate to and I love her interaction with her husband so far.  The mixlogy information is a nice ad that I did not expect and personally, its gonna help me out with my hobby with that.   If you love a sweet romantic comedy and alcohol, then I recommend you watch this series.

I have high hopes for this show.

Anime Analysis 0

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship FINALE: Satoko (And The Unity of Hinamizawa)

‘I won’t show pain.
Never…

I’m not crying…I don’t cry…
Hide my feelings…smile!’

“Sukizuki Nii-Nii” by Mika Kanai (Satoko’s image song)

With all the hardships she went through, I’m pretty convinced that Satoko is Higurashi’s punching bag (and it’s pin cushion). To say that her young life is rocky is an understatement.    To start, she killed her own parents (whom she believed were trying to kill her) by pushing them off a deck. The village of Hinamizawa treats her like an outcast.  Her uncle Teppei abuses and belittles her. Finally, her beloved brother (who would protect her from the abuse) is missing – leaving Satoko all alone in the world.  Well, she has Rika, her best friend. The two  are for each other greatly; as if they were sisters.  The hardships they’ve suffered in young lives drew them closer to one another, creating a everlasting bond between the girls.

Rika and Satoko are inseparable friends.

 

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Expect for that one timeline where Satoko was a bullying bitch to Rika.

One day, Satoko went off on her own without telling Rika (which alarmed her) and haven’t return since. She fears the worse – her Uncle returning to the village; therefore forcing Satoko to move back with him.  Acting on this fear, Rika decides to confirm or deny her worries, and makes her  way to the Houjou’s house. Rika arrives, with Satoko  showing up behind her (who was returning from an errand at the “request” of Teppei).  While Rika is relive to see Satoko “safe” and alive, she is shocked at her physical and mental state.  Satoko appears drained.  She’s not her normal, happy, and cheerful self.

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Alarmed, Rika hits up Oisihi’s line.  She requests  to get in contact with her friend Mamoru , hoping he can  save Satoko.  However, Mamoru was away on vacation, ending her plan before it could start.  Rika then decides to visit  Dr. Irie and Miyo  at their clinic.  Rika figures she could convince the two to mobilize their personal militia (the Yamainu) to kill Teppei (in order to save Satoko, or at the very least, rescue her without violence).  The two decline the request; stating that the Yamainu couldn’t move to attack due to the police investigating Teppei (he was the pimp of Rina, who was found murdered days prior).  At best, they would have to wait until after the Cotton Drifting Festival to attack Teppei – which by then would be too late (due to the time loop).

Rika snaps.

The next morning, Rika’s classmates are asking why Satoko hasn’t shown up to school.  Rika (who is visibly depressed)  ignores them,  but decides to inform Chie-Sensei on the situation.  Chie-Sensei figures she should contact Child Counseling Center (an even worse version of the terrible real world child protective services [CPS] ) to see if they can intervene. Rika see this as hopeless, since Satoko filed false reports of abuse on her previous step-fathers, but Chie decides to take action regardless.

Chie  visits the Houjou household in an attempt to talk  Teppei into letting her speak with Satoko and get her back to school – which fails.  Chie returns to the school, telling The Club about her lack of success.  Shion goes off, demanding answers on why Chie backed down against Teppei. In her rage, Shion decides that rather than wait for the legal system to make a move, she would kill Teppei  and rescue Satoko herself.   She doesn’t want Satoko to suffer anymore hardships.

Shion attempts to leave but is stopped by Keiichi.  He tries to talk sense into her, telling the girl that she’ll only regret killing him later. Shion ignores him and threatens to kill him first (if it means getting to kill Teppei).  Mion tries to stop her but is quickly stopped by Rena.  Rena has faith that Keiichi will calm Shion down and convince her to see the errors of her idea.   Shion picks up a chair and smashes  Keiichi’s head with, which calms her down.  As Hanyuu attempts to cheer Rika up (since they’re able to prevent their friend from killing Teppei), Rika refuses to believe that things will resolve in a happy ending.

Rika’s depression and doubts reminds.

Later, Mion, Rena, and Keiichi discuss strategies to save Satoko without bloodshed.  Rena mentions that she was scared that Keiichi was going to mimic Shion’s actions and ideas of killing Teppei.  This is funny, given Keiichi actually did kill Teppei in a timeline before (which Keiichi tells the girls he had a feeling that she once did kill the him) They come up with the conclusion that it is best for them to fight without resorting to harming Teppei.

The next morning, The Club visit the CPS office to influence them to rescue Satoko.  CPS tells everyone that they’re working on it, but Keiichi calls them out on their bullshit;  Stating they failed to act upon the first reported case of abuse.  He tells  the case worker to not believe Satoko’s words,  as she hasn’t shown up to school.

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Reflecting on the situation at hand, Rika breaks down in tears.  She starts to beg Keiichi to save Satoko and not give up. His words gave Rika courage and inspiration to fight.

Rika’s hope is restored.

‘Gift of the silver tongue.  They say it’s the mark of a good officer.’
-Revolver Ocelot, Metal Gear Solid 2 (2002 Konami video game)

The next morning.  Keiichi and The Club rally their classmates save Satoko.  Keiichi – the magician of words – utilize his talents to convince everyone to save her.  He reminds the class of Satoko’s suffering, unhappiness,and how much she needs them. Keiichi ends his speech by informing the class that CPS  weren’t taking the matter serious. It’s up to them to fight for Satoko.

With his zeal, Keiichi is able to successfully recruit his classmates into his army.

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With his unit, Keiichi marches forth to the CPS offices to negotiate against them.  The two groups go  back-and-forth, with Keiichi’s unit not backing down.  Despite their efforts and emotional appear, The Club loses.  Yet, they will not give up hope. They must regroup and try again.   They can not give up.  Keiichi’s unit needs the support of everyone, no matter what.

Keiichi gathers new allies from all over Hinamizawa.

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After a successful night of enlisting new recruits, Keiichi and the others go over their new battle plan against CPS. As they talk, they’re surprise and relive that Satoko has  returned to school.  However, Satoko looks like hell: She show signs  of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Everyone surrounds her, happy to see her again, but thigns don’t seem right.  Satoko lies about having a fever. Cleary a cover up for abuse given nobody asked if she was sick.

Keiichi questions Satoko, asking her if thing are hard for her, which she denies. Satoko then  mentions her brother; Telling Keiichi while it’s hard for her, she must stay strong for Satoshi’s sake.  Keiichi gives Satoko a friendly, yet sorrowful smile and praise her for her hard work.  As a reward, he pats her on the head.  Satoko starts to weep as Keiichi and everyone else reach out to her.  They want to help their friend; they don’t want her to think that she has to suffer alone, but she refuses the help.

Until she has a trigger.

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Satoko hears footsteeps in the distance.  This alone causes her to have a panic attack (as she thinks her uncle was coming to hurt her again).  They manage to calm her down with injections (to combat her HImiizawa Syndrome) and let her rest.  Rika and Keiichi talk  about what they should do.  Rika reveals that Satoko was forced by her uncle to stay with him; as he threatened to burn and destroy Satoshi room.  This enrages Keiichi, who now wants to kill Teppei.  Rika manages to talk sense into Keiichi by calming him down.  Keiichi regains his focus. At this point, they can’t afford anyone to lose it this far – victory draws near.

The Club regroups with new allies.  They march back to the CPS.  While talking to Hanyuu, Rika analyze the events leading up to this point.  She realize that while she has been rooting for her friend, it was just at the sidelines.  Rika was just a mere spectator, refusing to take center stage .  She takes it up to herself to fight at the front lines.  She plans to convince Satoko to admit to the abuse.

She can no longer just stand by and watch her best friend suffer any longer.

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After the meeting, Keiichi receives word from Chie that they have stir up ill will from the elders who still hold a grudge against Satoko’s family (as they opposed the village during the Dam Wars).  The villagers believe that Oyashiro will curse them for allying themselves with The Club, but Keiichi continue to fight undisturbed.

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Keiichi stands up and steps up to the elders.  He outs them for bullshiting around, preventing Satoko’s resuce, and letting the conflicts of the past impact the present and future.  He gets bold – demanding the elders to tell him if they are his foe or ally.  The rest of The Club then expose the elders’ connections with the government (as they were getting favors from them).  They know that the elders don’t wanna lose that connection.  Using this to their advantage, the Club forces the elders to play with their cards. Keiichi’s relentless spirit and logic works:  He successfully recruits the elders to his side.

With the elders and youth in his army, there’s one more person whom Keiichi must convince to fight in his war – Oryou Sonozaki – the head of the Sonozaki clan:  The elder who still harbors hatred towards the Houjo family’s past sins.

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Keiichi confronts her.  He presents his case to her in hopes that she’ll let go of her anger towards the Houjous for just a little bit to help Satoko.  When she doesn’t bulge, Keiichi threatens to kill her and  make Mion the new head of the family. This isn’t a smart move on  our talented magican of words as Oryou threatens to kill him.   Keiichi tries again, begging her to change her mind.  She still won’t buldge but it isn’t hopeless.  Shion and Mion’s parents seem supportive of helping Keiichi’s cause, which pisses Oryou off.  Keiichi goes off on her once again, which doesn’t piss off Oryou but her daughter, Akane.  Akane tells Keiichi to fuck off and return once he matured.

Keiichi’s effort (and perhaps his stupidity) pays off:  Oryou agrees to join his side and save Satoko.

The next morning, CPS is bombard with phone calls from the villagers of Hinamizawa.  The pressure and heat is on and the CPS office can feel it.   Supporters from not just Hinamizawa, but other villages and towns join forces to express their concerns of CPS delaying efforts to investigate the case.  Somebody even pulls up on the rally with a protest van equpired with speakers.    The CPS director starts to freak out.  He’s corner and knows it.

Victory is in sight…or so it seems.

Oishi pulls up on Keiichi’s protest.  He informs them that their assembly is illegal and they must stand down and break up, or risk arrest.  Keiichi refuses.  They cannot give up.  They’ve come so far and worked effortlessly.  Surrender means defeat;  not only for theme – but as Satoko well.

Inside the office, the director is planning to escape, but is thwarted.  Central office is calling.  Elder members of the Sonozaki clan have reached out physically to the central offices.  Learning this, the director surrenders to the demands of the people.  With the pressure on, he decides to take action and calls the Houjou household.

Meanwhile, Satoko is assaulted by Teppei…

After beating her, Teppei answers the phone.  The director requests him to speak to Satoko, which he agrees to.    Before handing the phone to Satoko,  Teppei violently grips her shoulder and tells her to tell the director that they’re a happy family.  He threatens to burn Satoshi’s room down if Satoko betrays him.

Satoko speaks with the director while Teppei behind her, installing fear in her.  Keiichi speaks to Satoko first.  He tells him how the village is rallying for her.   He promises her that nobody will ever bully or harass her again, even if she is a Houjou.  The same village that once outcast her  and her family is now rooting for her.  They want to see her safe and sound.  For a second, Satoko ponders if there is any hope for her to live a happy life in the village that once rejected her.

Keiichi then puts Rika on the phone to talk to her best friend.

Rika reiterates Keiichi’s statement. She promises her that nobody will mistreat her again.  Rika tells Satoko that she almost gave up, until Keiichi show her otherwise.  Rika then tells Satoko that she knows that she was doing all of this to atone for her sins.  She tells her that if she wants to make up for that the sins, t she must also ask for her friend’s help. It is the job of Satoko to reach out like her friends did for her.  Rika hands the phone over to the director.

The director asks Satoko if there have been any problems with her and Teppei since she returned to live with him.  There is a tense pause followed by stuttering from Satoko.

“He…He-help me!” At last, Satoko admits she needs help.  She stands up to Teppei, telling her abuser that this is her and her precious “Nii-Nii” (older brother) house; she will do anything to protect it – even if it means forcing him to leave.

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Teppei snaps. He slaps her, knocking the girl to the ground.  He then picks her up from her hair and slams her to the ground, threatening to kill her.  Before he can do further damage to her, the police force their way in, arresting Teppei and saving Satoko.

Satoko steps out of the house, greeted with the sight of her friends: friends whom all joined forces to save her.   Satoko spots Rika, runs over to her arms and break down crying.

Satoko is finally free.  With her courage, Satoko was able to stand up to her abusive uncle and confess she needed help.

Satoko has finally reached out to her friends.

Series concluded.

Anime Analysis 0

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship Pt. 2: Rena

‘Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends.
Oh, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.’
“With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles (1961 rock single)

Rena, despite her naive and ditsy nature,  has a rough past. She harbors hatred towards her mother (who cheated on her father and tore apart their family).  Her “friends” from middle school tried to rape her.  She fought back however, savagery beating them with a baseball bat. Following that, she went on a rampage at her school, smashing all the windows in it.  Following, Rena was admitted to a mental health clinic (due to the stress of the incidents).  After recovery, Rena and her father moved back to Hinamizawa in an attempt to continue their lives as normal.

Rena managed to move on, regaining her happiness and enjoying the company of her new friends, Rika, Satoko, Mion, and Keiichi.  Together they formed “The Club”, a clique created from their  friendship; spending many happy days with one another.

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The Club

Yet,  Rena’s happy days would come to an end thanks to her heinous acts of murder.

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‘I do you one better and slay these niggas faithfully.
Murder is a tough thing to digress
It’s a slow process
And I ain’t got nothin’ but time.’
“Dead Presidents II” by Jay-Z (1996 hip-hop single)

Discovering that Mamiya Rina and her pimp Teppei Houjou entrapped her father into a badger game (with Rina pretending to act as her father’s boyfriend and Teppei coercing him into a payment plan), Rena decides to take action. She lured Teppei and Rina into her hideout (the garbage dump).  First, she barbarously smashed Rina’s skull in with her lead pipe. Later, she cleaved Teppei’s head with her billhook – taking their lives.

The next day, The Club decides to check up on Rena, who was absent from school.  Upon arrival at her hang out spot, they see Rena dismembering the bodies of her victims.  Keiichi goes off on her; demanding Rena to explain why she committed such acts.  He also asks why she didn’t ask for help before killing the two.  Rena tells him that they couldn’t help her. She only sees friends as people to only have fun with – not as an outlet for emotional support. Because of past betrayals, Rena fears that she can’t disclose painful information to her friends.  She doesn’t trust them to help her. She believes by murdering Teppei and Rina, she made the best choice for her life.

Keiichi calls her out on her bullshit; telling her that she crying and suffering.  He presses the question of why won’t t trust her friends.  Despite her crimes, he wants to forgive and understand her.   The Clubs shares his idea, as they too want to still remind friends with her and help her (including helping her burying Teppei and Rina’s remains).  They assure her that they’ll never turn their backs on her – and that they’ll still be friends.  Rena thanks everyone for helping her out and understanding her actions.  Rena feels that she no longer has to bare the cross of her sins alone.  She can trust and rely on her friends.

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And yet, this period of trust and reliance wouldn’t last for long.

Time has pass since the Cotton Drifting Festival. Oishi visits one classroom school of Hinimizawa,  requesting to speak to Rena.  The two have a little chat in his car, with him informingthe girl that Tomitake is dead and Miyo is missing. As the two talk, a flashback plays.  Rena and Miyo are chilling at the library, speaking about  Oyashiro’s  curse  and the influence it has on the village and Rena herself.

We learn from this flashback that Rena “broke the taboo” of leaving Hinamizawa.  Rena believes that the cause of her being cursed by Oyashiro was in relation of her family leaving the village years ago. The incident at her school and her parents’ divorce was punishment brought upon by the resident god to her to suffer from.  Rena then tells Miyo that she the god spoke to her, telling her she must return back to Hinamizawa.

“Believing” her story, Miyo gives Rena her bullshit “research” scrapbook. (Granted, Miyo only gave her this to agitate Rena’s Hinamizawa). Upon learning about Miyo’s disaperance,  grows paranoid.   With Tomitake’s murder and Miyo’s disappearance, Rena believes she’ll be targeted next.  She hits Keiichi’s line up, informing him on the situation, and theorizes that the Three Great Family had Miyo (and the rest of the Cotton Drifting Festival victims) murdered  in order to revive the Oyashiro curse.

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Rena’s paranoia worsens.  The following day, members of the Yamainu unit visit the Hinamizawa School for an “inspection”.  Rena takes notice and investigates.  Going over the information left behind by them, she calls their business number, only to discover that the company doesn’t exist.  Rena thinks they’re after her , decides to leave school early, and goes into hiding. Worried about Rena’s behavior, Keiichi decides to search for her.

Learning that the both the police and Sonozaki clan are after her (given she stole money form the later), Keiichi grows concern about Rena’s wellbeing.  Assuming that she’s hiding out in the dump, Keiichi searches for her there.

Meanwhile, Rena is indeed hiding around in the dump – with the police nearby. While evading them, she overhears a dispatcher (from the radio) telling the field officers that she has been spotted at a warehouse near the Sonozaki land, thus making the police leave the dump to confirm this information. This should relive Rena, but she’s freaking out.  She thinks that she has been clone (thanks to Miyo’s bullshiting Rena in her scrapbook)!  It doesn’t help that Rena’s paranoia has gotten worse and the Hinamizawa Syndrome is screwing with her head.

Rena attempts to leave the dump (and the village) but she is caught by Keiichi.  He tries to convince her to return to the village but she refuses. She’s pretty pissed off at Keiichi. Earlier, she had went to check on the burial site of the victims and discovered that their bodies weren’t there. Keiichi tries to explain to her that Mion had her family exhume the bodies from the original burial site to their secret mass grave site  (due to government deforesting).  Rena doesn’t believe this.  She  feels betrayed by Mion (despite Mion was covering Rena’s ass for her own good) and snaps on Keiichi.

Keiichi begs Rena to trust The Club and Mion’s action but Rena is blinded by rage.  In her anger (and derange fits of laughter) she tells Keiichi a little secret – a secret  that Keiichi hidden for years.  Before Keiichi moved to Hinamizawa, he was facing legal issues. Due to stress, Keiichi hunted down young girls and shot them with a BB Gun (with one of the victims losing an eye). In her normally sweet voice, Rena taunts him with this reveal, calling him a shameless pervert (for attacking little girls) and that it must had been fun for him to install fear into young girls for his actions. She finds joy in making Keiichi cry and forcing him to beg her to stop, but Rena keeps at it. Rena finish her sadistic taunting by telling Keiichi that she’s not his friend and for not telling The Club about his past.

She leaves Keiichi alone in his pitiful state.

‘I think we all have stories we don’t want to share of misery, sadness, mistakes, or even memories we don’t want to recall.’
-Mion Sonozaki

The morning after, Keiichi reveals his past to the Club. When questioned by his friends on why he’s revealing such things, he tells them that he doens’t feel right about it from them.  To his surprise, Mion and Rika tell him that he shouldn’t feel shame from it.  Satoko follows suite, telling her friend that he’s a good person now.

His friends’ words of forgiveness and kindness trigger yet another seemly forgotten past:  his distrust towards his beloved friends – and of him killing Mion and Rena in another world.

Keiichi freaks out, weeping in front of the others.  He remembers his delusions of Rena and Mion plotting against him. In reality, they were only trying to help him get better.  Especially Rena whom, even at the final seconds of her life (of that world) literally reached out to him to tell him that it’s everything is okay – to believe in her.

Keiichi laments over this. He questions himself on  why he couldn’t see the fact that his friends wanted to help him. Rika calms Keiichi down and tells him that she forgives him. She knows that he’s a good person now.  Fully aware and understanding what Rena is going through (and awared of the multiple worlds), Keiichi is inspired to fight against fate and save his friend – and to atone for his own sins.

The following school day Rena, who hasn’t shown up to class in a while, finally shows up! To celebrate her triumphant return, she decides to take everyone hostage!  Yea, she pretty much went completely insane.  She forces Keiichi to join her side, as he was the only one who “believed” her story( along with Oishi)  As time passes, things get worse.  Rena starts to spread gasoline around the classroom.  You know, just a simple insurance policy, just in case things go south.

It’s normal in hostage situation trust me.

Rena takes her anger out on her best friend Mion.  She beats her with the blunt end of her billhook, screaming at her. “I trusted you!” She yells, slamming her billhook downwards on to her friend’s forehead and busting her open. Keiichi tries to stop Rena but she threatens to blow up the school right then and there.   Despite Keiichi telling Rena that Mion only had the bodies moved to a secured location; Rena still neither trust nor believe her friends.

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Observation: It can be theorized that Rena does not trust her friends because she experienced mistrust and betrayal from people she once trust in her past.  Remember: three of her former male friends attempted to raped her years ago, friends that she probably trusted.  Additionally, her own mother lied to her father about her having an affair with a coworker.  This coworker impregnated her.  The mother tried to convince her to leave her father, which she refused.   Perhaps in Rena’s head, Mion and Keiichi’s acts against was yet another betrayal.

Her so-called friends violated her trust – therefore, they must be punished.

The day passes.  Keiichi (through an earpiece provided by the police) is informed about a homemade bomb crafted  by Rena, which is hidden in the school.   Keiichi sneaks out of the classroom in search of it.  He encounters Satoko, who concludes that the bomb was hidden away in the school’s storage room. Satoko then gives Keiichi a weapon – her beloved brother’s baseball bat.

Observation:  This scene can be considered a full circle of sorts. During the events of the first arc Keiichi “borrowed” Satoshi’s bat.  Keiichi was planning to use the bat for self-defense Rena (during his bout with paranoia).  This made Satoko upset.  Flash forward to the Atonement Arc. Satoko trust Keiichi.  She trusts him so much that she allows him to use her brother’s bat – one  of the few items she has to remember him.  After giving him the bat, Satoko  is staring at Keiichi, quietly saying “Nii-Nii”.

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What we can take from this is two things:
1. Keiichi reminds her of Satoshi
2. Satoko sees Keiichi like an older brother.

(This is very important for the finale of this analysis series)

Keiichi finds the bomb and disarms it (with a second to spare).  As the hostages escape and the police charge in the school to capture Rena, she encounters Keiichi on the rooftop.  The two talk some shit, mostly with Rena speaking about aliens and Keiichi calling her an idiot.  She then challenges her to a fight to prove who’s right.  During their clash, Keiichi jokes about making Rena his service maid if she loses.  He brings up that their rooftop battle is like their old fun water gun fights and other past club games and ask if her she wanna go back to those days.

The two fight again but then stop when Keiichi thinks of all the fun things he would do to Rena if she was his maid.   He then asks what she would want if she wins, which are the same rewards of the battle he requests.  Rena tells Keiichi that regardless of the winner, they will still be together and happy.  Rena will still have her friends – something she truly wants.

Before they prep for their final blow, Keiichi brings up that this was fun, which Rena plies that it was fun for her too.  The two charge at each other, with Rena wining it by disarming Keiichi of his bat and knocking him to the ground.

“The fight’s over now, right?” Rena asks him.  Keiichi replies once she swings her weapon towards him for the finishing blow.  Rena – regaining her sanity – breaks down crying.  She doesn’t want to hurt her friends.  She weeps as she questions herself on why she cause her friends to suffer and shaming herself for not believing in her friends who only wanted to help her and ruining the happy, fun days they had.

Keiichi then tells Rena that she was right to be suspicious when she sensed something was wrong – anyone would have done the same.  He then follows up with that if there was something painful going on in her life she needs to talk to her friends about it.  Reazling this, Rena starts t ocry uncontrollably in Keiichi’s arms.

It is then that Rena realized her mistake – she needed her friends for support.

‘Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
Buy if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on’

-“Lean on Me” by Bill Withers (1972 soul single)

Series continued in part 3.

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Rena and Keiichi’s fight video source:
https://sakugabooru.com/post/show/18796

Kakegurui 0

FREEWRITE: Kakegurui: It Shouldn’t Inspire You to Gamble

(Lewd Midari for dem clickbait views)

Oh Kakegurui! You were an amazing and fun series!  In fact, you were maybe like, one of  four shows of the past Summer season that didn’t disappoint me (unlike say Hajimete no Gal).  In four months, you created a cult following of dedicated fans with superior quality episodes and entertainment. Expect for that atrocious episode 9 with that pointless Idol show (I give that trash a 2.5/10).  Anyways, fans from all over  the globe  illegally streamed tuned in to watch 24 minutes of deranged, spoiled rich kids gamble their money and lives away.  All in the sake for power and…money I guess.

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They also gambled for body parts as well.

The support and love towards Kakegurui was felt online. The flashy fans showcased their cosplays – dressing up as their favorite character. The artsy ones use their visual talents to produced fanart of their favorite girl. The musically included  fans  gifted the fandom with the sound of music – remixes and piano covers of the OP were poppin’ up on YouTube.   There was even an ero doujin  staring Yumeko  having sex with some guy whom she poked holes in his condom (because Yumeko loves her thrills and risks)!   Hell, some fans were even inspired to gamble or challenge others to gambling matches because of this show.

Yea, you heard me right.  There are some fans out there whom believes that they should gamble because of this show.

Earlier today while I was doing my usual shit posting on Facebook, I shared a post from the Kakegurui fanpage to my own page for this blog.  The post was simply news about the new Kakegurui cell phone game coming out in Japan soon. Within a few minutes of me posting it, someone commented.

“Care to gamble?” This fan said.  I started to laugh.  Maybe its’ an idiot fanboy who thinks they know how to gamble because they watched a few episodes of Kakegurui.    At first I ignored this nerd, but then I figured I should entertain this just for more laughs.

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“1v1 me in blackjack at Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) if you’re going! Back that internet talk up IRL.”  I replied, calling his ass out.  I went through his profile and discovered that he was going to Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I too am also attending). I assumed that he was just some weeaboo nerd talking mad shit online.  He is probably a giant pussy outside the internet.   He even had an anime profile picture; people with anime profile picture tend to  talk the most shit on the internet.  Based on my findings,  I concluded that he wasn’t about neither about gambling life, nor was he going to meet me up at the convention.

Or so I thought.

“Bet.”  He responded back, posting a  photo comment of him flashing several hundred dollar bills.

‘Well shit…He IS about that life.’ I said to myself.  I was dumb struck.  Not only did this dude back that internet talk up, he was also totally one of those rich (or well off) weeaboos who could buy the special edition of  every Summer 2017 shows on Blu-Ray and not even be hurt about it.  Me?  I can barely buy a $10 bootleg waifu figurine after paying the bills and investing into my brand (this blog, the FB page, etc.).  I mean shit, I was just trolling; trying to get a reaction out of the dude.  Well, I got my wish.

Boy I got my wish.

That aside, this made me wonder: will Kakegurui inspire fans to gamble against one another?  Perhaps this guy flashing his cash and challenging me to a gambling match at a nerd convention is simply an outlier (and an idiot for posting his money on the Book). But still, it doesn’t hurt to be a little concern. It’s possible that ignorant fans  will make a trend of gambling within the fandom.  It’s not uncommon for fans to create trends and tributes to their favorite series.

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Back in the mid-2000s, Haruhi fans were doing that Hare Hare Yukai dance at anime conventions and for YouTube videos. Recently, fans of the Dragon Ball series have gather at public landmarks, parks, and colleges to scream like Goku for the hell of it.  It wouldn’t be a shock to see Kakegurui fans gamble against one another at anime conventions. Shit, people already gamble at room parties when they play card games or money match in Street Fighter or Smash Bros..  With a popular gambling series like Kakegurui, it won’t be too long until weebs think they can gamble for cash.

And they will get utterly destroyed and lose all of their money.

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A Mary cosplayer losing her money at a room party.

In my personal opinion, Kakegurui glories gambling.   To start, Yumeko makes gambling seems like a fun time (which I confess it is).  The consequences of losing a match aren’t  too extreme (sans having your life mapped out through the Life Schedule Plan).  We do not see the harsh realities of having a gambling addiction either.   Yumeko, who calls herself a gambling addict, thinks nothing of it.  She seems well off mentally.  Gambling addicts in real life have ruined their relationship with love ones and  annihilated their bank accounts.

Gambling isn’t really that great when you break down the horrors of it.

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If this show inspires you to gamble and you never gambled before, well, good luck to you and everything.  Just know that you’re an idiot and it’s your fault if you lose.   Go watch/read Kaiji or something so you can learn that gambling ain’t really all that amazing.

Anime Analysis 0

Higurashi and the Power of Friendship Pt. 1: Keiichi, Rena, and Mion.

 

‘Friends…
How many of us have them?
Friends…
Ones we can depend on.’
-Whodini, Friends (1983 rap single)

The power of friendship is a tired concept in anime. It’s  a trope used as either a final hour plot device or a moral boast given to the  hero from their freinds  as a power-up, or a motivation toll to push forward  in the face of despair. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni isn’t exempt from this.  However, how Higurashi tackles this theme makes it stand out from other series that uses the power of friendship such as Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh.

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Oh you’re my best friend…

Using mature and controversial themes (such as child abuse, mental health, trust issues, etc.) for its overarching narrative, Higurashi makes the power of friendship, and the benefits of it feel realistic compared to other anime series.

With series main character Keiichi, we see Rena and Mion attempt  to reach out to Keiichi in his time of stress and paranoia, whom he couldn’t seem to trust.  Rena herself would wind up untrusting of her friends; accusing them of betraying her (as she believed they snitched on her for murdering Rina and Teppei).

Finally, The Club unites the village of Hinamizawa to rescue Satoko Houjou from her abusive uncle – including villagers who once outcast and hated her.

Join me in part one of my analysis of the Power of Friendship in Higurashi as we explore how Rena and Mion reached out to help their friend Keiichi, only to be murdered by him due to his paranoia.

Keiichi, Rena, and Mion

‘Give me a reason why not to adapt in this way,
or judge me to be guilty of  so many incurable sins
Tell me why, or why not, complaining way too much,
Maybe I overlooked something fatal for me’


“Why or Why Not” by Katakiri Rekka (Higurashi no Naku koro ni  ED 1)

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Ever since he moved to the small and close-knit village of Hinamizawa, Keiichi grew close with new friends Rena and Mion.  They walk together to school, play after-school games and kick it and chill with one another as good friends.  It’s clear by their interactions and the time they spend with each other that they’re bonded by friendship.

A bond of destroyed by paranoia and distrust.

Keiichi’s distrust towards his friends began when he was informed by Tomitake about the Hinamizawa Dam War (a protest conflict against a dam construction in the village). The “war” resulted in the unsolved murder and dismemberment of the project’s director.  Now mind you, this information was given to Keiichi after he was joking with Tomitake that Rena may had hid a body in the garbage dump (the land that was going to be used for the dam) where she normally hangs out at. We must also note that some of the remains of the project director have yet to be recovered at this point of the story.

This news doesn’t ease Keiichi’s paranoia. It will get worse after the Cotton Drifting Festival.

It’s the night of the Cotton Drifting Festival. After kicking it with The Club, Keiichi goes off  on his own to explore the area.  He links up with Tomitake and his girlfriend, Miyo.  The lovers get Keiichi hip on Oyashiro’s Curse: a series of unexplained “supernatural” deaths and disappearances occurring  at the festival for the past five years – with this year’s festival being the fifth anniversary. This new information in combination of the murder and dismemberment case freaks Keiichi out.

There’s more to the village than he is aware of.

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Miyo explaining the legend of Oyashiro’s curse. 

The following morning, Keiichi is visited by detective Oishi at his school. Oishi notifies the boy that Tomitake was discovered dead during the festival. In addition, Miyo is missing. He asks Keiichi if he believes these incidents are linked to the curse. Keiichi replies that he doesn’t believe in such things such as curses and gods.  Pleased, Oishi sees Keiichi as an useful person for the case . Oishi ends their meeting with him requesting that he does not repeat anything to anyone –especially to Mion – as she is a member of the notorious Sonozaki Yakuza clan.

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Oishi informing Keiichi that Miyo is missing.

Returning to class, Keiichi overhears Mion and Rena discussing the disappearance of past victims of the supposed curse.  Satoshi is mentioned, which Keiichi questions Rena about the boy later.  After school, Keiichi confronts his friends about the murders, the village, and the curse.  He suspects them of withholding information.  Rena counters this, asking him why he too is withholding information.  She brings up that she knows that he spoke with Oishi (contradicting his lie of him talking to their teacher).

The friends argue back and forth.  Rena grows hostile. In the height of their verbal fight, Rena questions the subject of Oishi and Keiichi’s discussion, which he dodges.     Rena snarls at Keiichi – accusing him of lying.  Returning to her normal sweet nature, she tells Keiichi that just like he has secrets, they too have their own.

Knowing that the Hinamizawa Syndrome causes paranoia, one can assume that Keiichi is imagining Rena becoming hostile in her actions. For all we know, Rena could have been teasing Keiichi for fun.  Maybe she was concern that Keiichi was talking to a police officer that he did not know.

Later that night, Keiichi receives a call from Oishi requesting new information.  Keiichi mentions Rena and Mion were talking about the curse, the murders, and Satoshi (with Oishi informing Keiichi that Satoshi was one of the victims of the curse the year before).  Keiichi links everything Rena and the others told him earlier – suspecting that he will be the next victim; Confirming his theory that his friends are withholding information from him.  The phone call is cut short when Keiichi’s dad comes up to his room to give both Keichi and Rena tea.   Keiichi freaks out. He never noticed Rena standing outside of his room, even though his father saw Rena going there. Keiichi believes that Rena might have overheard the phone call and starts to worry.

Keiichi decides to skip school the next morning.  Feeling sick, he heads to the doctor clinic. At the waiting room, he overhears that Miyo may had been spirited away by the demon.   Following that, he links up with Oishi for lunch (as well as to provide the kid with new information).  Oishi informs Keiichi that  Mion and her family were involved in the  Dam Wars. He also supplies Keiichi with new information on Satoshi’s disappearance. Finally, perhaps the most important pieces of information he can give Keiichi – Rena’s past as well the links the curse’s past victims and his friends.

Oishi reveals to Keiichi that a few years ago, Rena suffered a mental break down; resulting in her assaulting her friends with a baseball bat.  She was admitted to a mental health clinic following the incident.  It was documented that during therapy, she repeated the words “Oyashiro-Sama”. It was also noted that Rena believe Oyashiro was watching over her.

(Bare this part of Rena’s past in mind as it will be important later on in relation to Keiichi’s paranoia.)

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Oiishi then explains the link between Keiichi’s friends and the victims. The victims had a relationship with each friend.  The dam director got into it with Mion and her family.   The dam project’s supporters, the housewife that died in the fourth year, and Satoshi were kin of Satoko – blood or otherwise. The priest who died and his wife who disappeared were Rika’s parents.  Finally, Tomitake was friends with The Club.

With this knowledge, Oishi theorizes that Keiichi will be targeted next.

That night, Rena and Mion visits Keiichi out of concern (due to his absence from school).  They gift him with dinner and make him play a game to see who prepped it.  As they chat, the light-hearted visit turns into an interrogation of sorts.  They question Keiichi on his meeting with Oishi, which Rena brings up she noticed the two at Angel Mort. Keiichi starts to worry.  He tells Rena that they weren’t talking about them, but she doesn’t believe him.  Mion  tells  Keiichi that no matter what, she’ll find out his secrets between him and Oishi before leaving.

 

Keiichi examines the ohagai, suspecting nothing of it. As he takes a bite out of it, he starts to freak out and spits the food out into his hand. He spots a “needle” covered in “blood” sticking out and goes berserk.  He tosses the food in the garbage and screams.  Fearing that his life in his danger, Keiichi hurries back to his room, grab a piece of paper and starts writing:

‘I am Keiichi Maebara, and my life is in danger. I don’t know why or who. The only thing I know is that it has something to do Oyrashiro-Sama’s curse.’

In reality of course, the Hinamizawa Syndrome is clouding Keiichi’s thoughts.  As the disease grows, so does his paranoia – therefore, creating false perceptions of reality.  When examining the situation outside Keiichi’s perceptive of fear, you have to take in a few points:

  • The “needle” in Keiichi food (and the pain caused by it) is an illusion. The sharp, painful poke from the “needle” was actually spicy hot sauce (which also explains the “blood”).  This was a prank by from Mion used to mess with Keiichi and cheer him up.  We can assume that Rena and Mion both knew that something was bothering Keiichi and wanted to make him happy.  This can be further supportive with the fact the girls visited him to check up on him.
  • It’s possible that Mion and Rena knew Oishi and Keiichi were at Angel Mort through Shion; Mion’s twin sister and an employee at the café.  One could theorize that Shion informed Mion that Keiichi was talking to Oishi.  Keep in mind that Oishi and the Sozonakis have beef.  Oishi suspects that the Sonozaki are behind the mysterious murders.  The dam director (one of the victims) was Oiishi’s best friend and father-like mentor.  Taking this into account, you can assume that Mion thinks that Oishi is using Keiichi to get information off Mion. Mion could also just have been playfully teasing Keiichi (as well as telling him to stay away from Oishi because her family doesn’t like him due to reasons).

The following morning, Keiichi heads to school alone; planning his next course of action against his enemies.  He’s nearly run over by a van (driven by members of the Yamainu).   Thinking that they’re after him, Keiichi declares that he must not drop his guard. He must fight back.  Upon arriving to school, Keiichi search the lockers for a weapon. Coming across Satoshi’s locker he finds the perfect weapon – Satoshi’s metal baseball bat.

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At recess, Keiichi is “practicing” swinging the bat with aggression.  Rena and Mion see this, questioning why he’s playing around with the bat.  Keiichi lies, stating that he’s practicing for the national finals.  The girls looked on with confusion and concern.  They leave, letting Keiichi do his own thing. After school, Keiichi decides to drop out of The Club’s after school activities and tells them to leave him alone.

They’re worried about him.

Rena follows Keiichi to check up on him.  Keiichi sees her and snaps.  He points his bat at Rena with a threatening stance; demanding the girl to walk ahead of him.  Rena complies, but not before asking him why he’s emulating Satoshi’s actions from last year (as well as using his bat) Rena tells Keiichi how he and Satoshi are alike (such as carrying baseball bats despite not being athletic, being paranoid,  and dropping out of  the club activities). Then Rena asks Keiichi if he’ll “transfer out” of school like Satoshi did prior.  Keiichi uneasiness worsens.  He believes that he’ll disappear like Satoshi from the tone and body language of Rena’s words.

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Reality: Rena is troubled by Keiichi’s actions. She cares for him. She doesn’t want to see another friend suffering (remember: she regrets not reaching out Satoshi when he was suffering).  To take it one step further, Rena had her own bouts with paranoia, stress, and mistrust in others before receiving help.  She is by all means attempting to reach out and help Keiichi.

That night, Oishi calls up Keiichi again.  Keiichi tells the cop that he’s certain that Rena and Mion are trying to kill him (with the whole “needle” in his food ordeal and the Yamainu trying to run him over) Oishi asks Keiichi to find the needle for him for evidence.  Keiichi fails to do so (since the “needle” was hot sauce) and thinks he had accidently thrown it away.  Next, he explains how he got new information on the Satoshi situation from Rena to Oishi.  During this, he is startled by Rena ringing his door bell.  Keiichi goes answer the door.

Just like the other day, Rena brings Keiichi over food and checks up on him.  She asks him if he had anything to eat all night.  He lies to her, which Rena calls him out on.  Rena brings up that she saw him eating noodles and food  he brought from the market.  She starts playing around by yanking on the door chain of his house in an attempt to “break in”. Thinking Rena is out to kill him, Keiichi smashes her hand in the door several time, forcing Rena to leave.

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Now, if I was Keiichi and Rena came through to my crib while my parents were away for the weekend, I would totally invite her in for a few hours.  Just being real. 

Reality: Rena was reaching out and  checking up on him like last time (since he scared everyone earlier that day) Plus, Rena is close with his mom, so it is possible for her to know that Keiichi was alone without food.  And given that Rena has a playful nature, her attempting to break him was just a joke.

Returning to his room, he notices Rena standing outside in the rain, looking into his bedroom chanting “I’m sorry” repeatedly.  The following morning, Keiichi is back to practicing his swing with the bat.  Mion confronts Keiichi and orders him to stop.  Everyone is frightened of Keiichi’s unexplained erratic behavior.  He goes off on Mion, asking her why is everyone is scared. He also tells her that he knows that Satoshi never “transfer” (given his sister Satoko is still in the same school and town).  He tells her that he also knows about her fights with the dam war and asked why did she wasn’t truthful to him about that fact.

Mion breaks down in tears.   She becomes enrage soon after.  She assumes that Oishi – the “old bastard” – was the one who told Keiichi about her fights between the dam director and express regrets of not killing him earlier.  Keiichi ponders if the “old bastard” in question is Oishi.

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Reality: Mion is troubled by Keiichi’s actions.  Like Rena, Mion fears Keiichi will end up like Satoshi and run away.   Mion is also angry that Oishi made her seem like a ruthless killer to Keiichi due to her past with the dam director.  The stress of her family dealing with Oishi’s police force, as well as rumors of her family murdering people has taken its toll on Mion.  Therefore, out of rage, Mion snapped. Her wishing death on Oishi was due to anger.  Deep down, I just think Mion was blowing off steam.

Keiichi leaves school and walks alone again.  He spots Rena and  books it, hiding into the woods, but his efforts fail.  Rena catches up to him.  He notices her billhook in her hand and questions her why she has it.  She laughs at him.  She then explains about how Satoshi was doing everything that Keiichi was doing in the past, her regrets for not helping him, and if he knows about Oyashiro’s curse. She ends with telling Keiichi that only she and she alone can help him solve his problems and that she’ll save him.

Rena starts to manically laugh and Keiichi runs off in the woods.

Reality: Rena was carrying her billhook for one of two reasons:
1. To help her on her grand ‘ol treasure hunting adventures in the not-so-grand garbage dump
2. To protect Keiichi from danger, as it’s implied from Rena’s point of view of the Onikakushi-hen arc (which you can watch a video of that POV  below):

Rena is very observant.  Her watching Keiichi becoming like Satoshi and him pushing everyone away is something not out of the ordinary for her.  Like everyone else, she clearly noticed Keiichi felt and appeared troubled.  Thus, reaching out to him was a priority. She states that she felt regret for not helping Satoshi out with his problems before he left.  Perhaps she felt guilty for that and to atone for her it, she vows to save Keiichi.

Maybe, just maybe, she can save him.

A few hours later, Keiichi awakens in his room (he appeared to have been knocked out by a Yamainu solider).  In his daze, he notices Rena sitting at the foot of his futon.   He starts freaking out, asking her why is she in his house.  Rena tells him that she found him in the woods and decided to carry him back to his house to recover.  While they’re chatting, Mion comes through to the house, welcoming herself to his room.  Mion ask if Rena called the sports supervisor, given Keiichi has an “interest” in baseball. Keiichi (with his paranoia at its highest) asks who the supervisor is.  The girl simply laugh at him.

Mion suggests that they finish the Punishment Game before he comes, which Rena agrees.  Rena gets up, walks over to Keiichi, and restrains him.  Mion gets up and pulls out a syringe from her pocket with a sadistic smile.  Keiichi is terrified.  As he struggle to break free from Rena she asks what they’re about to do to him.  Keiichi remembers Oishi telling him how Tomitake died and they suspected drugs were involved.

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Keiichi overpowers Rena, grabs his baseball bat and beat the two girls to death with it in what he believes to be in self-defense.  After killing the girls, he spots Dr. Irie rolling up to  his house in the same van that attempted to run him over earlier that week.  Seeing this, he reaches into the back of his clock to recover the letter he wrote earlier.

Finishing the letter, he names Rena and Mion as suspects, list five adults in the van, and suggests that the “drug” that Rena and Mion were planning to use on him is the same as the one that killed Tomitake.   He then escapes the house, dodging Yamainu guards in the process.  Keiichi calls up Oishi from a phone booth, panicking.  In his dying breath, Keiichi tells Oishi that he thought the suspects were human, but at this point believes that Oyashiro’s curse is real and that the god is following him.  Keiichi starts to tear at his throat – effectively killing.

Reality: Keiichi murdered Rena and Mion in cold blood.  There were no drugs discovered at the crime scene.  The “drug” he spoke of was a marker. Rena and Mion never attempted to harmed or kill Keiichi – simply, they wanted to help him and be there for him as friends.  They wanted to cheer him up and wish him to get better.  Sadly, Keiichi’s perspective of reality was distorted from his paranoia and the  Hinamizawa Syndrome.   He could not see that his friends only wanted to help him, not harm him.

Because of his paranoia, three young lives were cut short.

The truth of Rena and Mion’s kindness and Keiichi sins would be later revealed in the Atoment Arc.  Rena, the airheaded, kindhearted girl, needed help herself.  Help from her own pain, mistrust, and paranoia.

And what better friend to save her than Keiichi himself?

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Continued in part 2.

(My bad about the spoilers fam  lmfao)

Kakegurui 0

Yumeko Jabami and Law 28 of the 48 Laws of Power

LAW 28: ENTER ACTION WITH BOLDNESS

JUDGEMENT:
‘If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it.  Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution.  Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness.  Any mistakes you commit thought audacity are easily corrected with more audacity.

Everyone admires the bold: No one honors the timid.’

-Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power (Green, 1998, p. 227)

Pitted against the prideful  Mary in a gambling match of Card Rock-Paper-Scissors, the seemingly naive Yumeko bets two 10,000 yen chips on her hand.  In what seems to be a stroke of beginner’s luck,  Yumeko’s bet pays off; her rock card defeating Mary’s scissors. Testing her luck further, Yumeko ups the ante; betting 50 chips (or 50,000 yen) in round two.  Unshaken by this, Mary tells Yumeko that she’s  quite the gambler, which she politely denies.

As the game progress there is a tie, followed by two wins for Mary.  She’s feeling confident, perhaps a little bit tad cocky even.  The game continues with Yumeko betting 50 chips, only to lose to Mary once more, and owing her 1,000,000 yen.  The transfer student tries her luck again, betting her remaining chips, but it’s all for naught.

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As Mary stokes her ego, Yumeko requests her for one final game.  Despite Yumeko lacking any chips, Mary honors her request with a smile (while taunting Yumeko; calling her an idiot, etc.).  The prideful girl starts to praise her own genius.  She believes that she can force Yumeko into a debt – thus lowing her social status to  that of livestock.

What Mary didn’t expect was Yumeko betting 10,000,000 yen –  real cash –  not mere poker chips.

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Offended, Mary snaps on the bold Yumeko; calling her crazy and careless.

“There’s no way you can afford to bet so much on a single RPS game! You’re crazy!” Cried Mary.  She doesn’t think that Yumeko is actually putting down real money on the line. This is a joke!  Yet,  Yumeko is not joking – she is serious.   She sees the fun in her bold action and high risks. Mary is confused and angry at Yumeko’s recklessness.  She assumes that Yumeko is just mocking her with such fearlessness and is merely baiting her.  She refuse to go on with the game the bet but Yumeko mocks her as she turns away.

“Don’t tell me you have cold feet.” mimicking Mary’s earlier taunts with smug.   Hearing this, Mary reluctantly accepts the offer.

As the girls play their final cards, Yumeko reveals to Mary that she knew that she was paying off  their classmates to manipulate the game to ensure Mary’s victory.  Mary is enraged once more but regains her composure.  Mary thinks that Yumeko is simply bluffing for a win by getting under her skin.  How could she have this knowledge of her using her classmates to win? She is just a simple stupid girl.  She can’t be that smart. Regaining faith in herself, Mary slams down the paper card on the table with the highest confidence.

Alas for Mary, Yumeko held scissor – defeating her.

The bold action of betting with cash as opposed to poker chips and using her skills to dismantle Mary’s cheating system (and a little luck), Yumeko made a name for herself on her first day of her new school by defeating Mary.at her own game.  Her daring spirit took Mary by surprise, as she didn’t expect the new student to pull such a stunt off against her and win.

Yumeko’s brilliant fearlessness humbled the once prideful Mary.

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REVERSAL:
‘Boldness should never be the strategy behind all of your actions.  It is a tactical instrument, to be used at the right moment.  Plan and think ahead, and make the final element the bold move that will bring you success.  In other words, since boldness is a learned response, it is also one that you learn to control and utilize at will. To go through life armed only with audacity would be tiring and also fatal. You would offend too many people, as is proven by those who cannot control their boldness.’ (Green, 1998, p. 235)

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“Life or Death”, or “A typical day in South Chicago and North St. Louis”.

After accepting an invite to play against Yuriko in her modify roulette game “Life or Death”, Yumeko decides to act bold against the student council member.  Bolder than her earlier match against Mary mind you.  Rather than silently wait until later to reveal the cheating system of Yuriko’s game, she goes off on her with bravado.

“Your methods are the worst.”  Yumeko berates her with a smirk.  In her bravery, she admits to her that she knew that Yuriko baited Mary into the game.  Yuriko took advantage of the broken Mary; luring her with the hope of clearing her debts and reclaim her pride – only to mislead her and sink her further into it. Yumeko compares her to a loan shark, calls her the lowest of the low, and finally – a piece of shit.

Yuriko (trying to hide her anger) simply smiles warmly, brushing off Yumeko’s offensive language and taunts.  Yuriko seems to forgive Yumeko’s brashness, but is quickly angered again when Yumeko starts playing around with her family name, “Nishinotouin” –  calling it a proper family name for a cheap airhead like Yuriko.

Yuriko snaps.

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Yuriko’s happy face.

This was a tactic to force Yuriko into rage and bet everything she has blindly.   Yumeko knew Yuriko was cheating. Her personal dealer had  magnetic metal moles implanted in her hands. This was to control the blades’ location in order to influence where each blade landed.   Later, Yumeko explains how this cheat has no absolute guarantee for victory; as you can only control one blade and leave the rest to luck.

After bragging about her successful revelation of the cheat, Yumeko lost the match. Her boldness worked against her as she lost not due to Yuriko’s skills, but simple and pure luck.

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With this lost, Yumeko’s status is reduced to the levels of housepet.  But then again, Yumeko doesn’t seem to mind.

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Screenshot without content.

 

 

anime 0

FREEWRITE: September 2009

September fascinates me as an anime fan.   September 2009 was a turning point for my love for anime, as well as the the roots for me analyzing anime, and convention trips. In September 2009, I was introduced to three anime series in college that would mold me as an full pledge otaku:  The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Elfen Lied,  and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.   While I’ve been an anime fan for years prior, I was watching anime  as just an entertainment tool alone –  not as a source for learning  and understanding how character development and theatrical themes works for story telling.

I still fondly remember back in September 2009 how anime message boards and blogs  were abuzz at Haruhi and Higurashi – praising both series for their  deep character development, storytelling, and themes.  Fans of Haruhi formed their own cult church – “The Church of Haruhi Suzumiya”; Praising their goddess Haruhi – their Lord and Savior.

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People couldn’t stop talking how fucked up Higurashi was with the show’s gore, carnage, and “killer lolis” while entry level weebs blindly celebrated Elfen Lied for its combination of violence and tragic narrative (it’s okay I was blinded by its bullshit back then as well.)

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I wanted in.  The appeal of these three shows were unlike the anime I was used to  watching on [adult swim] and Cartoon Network. Haruhi, Higurashi, and Elfen Lied weren’t shows for the mainstream entry level fans who were comfortable watching anime on television.   They were too otaku for them.  The average American fan wouldn’t expand to what I labeled anime like the three as “Internet Otaku Anime”.
And that was okay.

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Haruhi and Higurahi both had their charms that  drew me into those series.  Haruhi was weird, yet campy. Higurashi was brutal, yet mysterious. Nobody outside the hardcore otaku circles weren’t watching these shows.  Nobody who wasn’t an otaku or watched anime online were talking about Haruhi and Higurashi, which made my somewhat elitist ass happy.  I finally discovered shows that I could keep to myself and only talk about among the real otaku. No more mainstream anime for me!

Everyday after school I head straight home to  Haruhi, Higurashi, and Elfen Lied one after another. I would go online express  my love for  both shows with fellow fans and applaud how amazing they were.  They were special to us.   Yea, not everyone understood why we love Haruhi and Higurashi, but we didn’t care.  To us, Haruhi and Higurashi were love letters to the otaku community who wanted something better than was was being offered on T.V.

With all of that said I will be dedicating this month to Higurashi, Haruhi, and maybe some Elfen Lied in celebration of September 2009 and the turning point of my otaku lifestyle.