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Failure Isn’t Bad (Zombieland Saga)

Throughout her short seventeen years of life, Sakura Minamoto dealt with everlasting failures and setbacks that mentally wrecked her. In the third grade, she landed the intense star role of Snow White after months of relentless practice to master the role; only to become sick and bedridden on the day of the performance.

 

Gifted with superior athletic skills, Sakura was selected as captain of her school’s relay team.  She trained day after day in hopes of leading her school to victory against other schools in the Saga district.  Alas, on the morning of competition, she tore up her hamstring; forcing her to retire.

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This is why you stretch before any physical activities, children.

But, those past failures wouldn’t hold her back. Determine to eradicate her bad luck, Sakura (now a sixth grader), had her sights set on academic mastery; vowing to shut everything out of her life in order to enter the best high school in her school district. Friends. Family. Entertainment.   If it wasn’t a tool that’ll help her gain scholarly success, Sakura ignored it. Nothing mattered to her sans entering the ranks of the educated elites.

Two years later, Sakura’s near psychopathic drive towards success would pay off for her. She aced the mock entrance exams days before the real deal.  Finally! Victory was near.

Or so she thought.

On her way to take the real exams, Sakura ran across a few sick elderly women who needed her help.  Instead of ignoring the women and letting them die on the streets (which she should: they had their chance at life), Sakura decided to help these poor women out. However, this drove Sakura into an intense panic; as  she feared that she’ll be late for and miss the exams.

Thankfully, she was able to make it in time. But, the stress from the fear of missing the exams gave Sakura extreme test anxiety – causing her to fail the exam – and missing out on her chance of success once more.

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Should have let the old ladies lay there and die, Sakura.

***

Now in high school, the defeated , depressed, and hopeless Sakura rejected offers to hang out with friends, join any after-school clubs, and work on her scholarly and athletic gifts. Nothing mattered to her anymore. She knew that anything she attempted to try would only make her feel worse about herself.

 

Every day after school, she headed straight home; numbed to the world. She lay up on the couch, mindlessly watching TV and rotting away as life passed her by.  One day in peculiar, Sakura caught a TV special featuring the rise of singer Ai Mizuno: the center performer of the idol group “Iron Frill”.  During the special, Ai was asked about her work ethics, as well as why and how she works so hard.

Ai replied:

“I guess it’s because I don’t think mistakes or failures are a bad thing.  Because they always end up helping with whatever happens next.  And I really believe I’ll only be the best version of me once I overcome it all.”

Mistakes aren’t bad.  Failure isn’t bad. If you study your failures and mistakes, learning from them in the process, you’ll always better yourself.

(Now, let’s not forget the fact that worse girl Ai is a stupid fucking idiot who got herself killed by sticking her arm out during a thunder/lighting storm while holding a mic at an open air concert on live TV/internet broadcast; therefore traumatizing her friends, family members, band mates, and fans for life. Plus, she made her parents cremate and bury her, so there’s that)

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You fucked up on a test.  Cool.  See what you were struggling with, study, and do better.  You got rejected by the girl or boy you liked.  That’s okay.  Be happy and reflect on the fact that you finally control your nerves, got over your fear of rejection, and you went for it. It’ll all be helpful the next time you ask different girl or boy who captured your heart out. You might get turned down from the company you’ve dream of working for since your youth.

Look, you will fail at something – it’s unavoidable.  Your return on invest for your efforts might wield negative results at the end.  Whatever you’re working on, sometimes, it won’t turn out the way you hope for.

And that’s okay.

You should embrace failure.  Appreciate it.  Respect it.  Failure means that it wasn’t the right time to execute your plan.  You selected the wrong moment for your course of action.  Something didn’t line up right. Your approach wasn’t correct. Even so, you should inspect what went wrong so that next time, you will do better and better; until the day you are successful.

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 “There’s no better than adversity.  Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”-Malcolm X

Inspired by the TV special, Sakura attended their Saga concert. There, Sakura was captivated by Ai’s high spirited performance to the point she was moved to tears.   It was there where Sakura found the willpower to pull herself out of her depression; yearning to  attack success one more time.

One more shot.
One more try.
One more chance.

Sakura set her sights to become the girl that she always dreamed of.   She applied to join Iron Frill as an idol.  She wanted to perform next to the singer that – as cheesy and white girlish as it (always) sound – saved her life.  This was it.  She’ll no longer let the set-backs and disappointments of the past drag her down.  With the finished application in hand, the high-spirited Sakura ran out of the house to mail it…

…And then she got hit by a speeding truck and died on impact.
The End.
Thanks for reading!

(Just kidding.  Sakura lived for a few more seconds in the air from the force of being hit before dying.)

 

 

***

“Failure is deceiving; it’s a good thing! You want to and should fail –it’s the learning process!” -Grant Cardone, CEO and real estate investor

Sakura’s journey to success wouldn’t end at her death. In fact, her death (and zombification) was the start of her finally capturing victory. As the center of the all zombie girl music group Franchouchou, Sakura had to lead her team and new friends through failure after failure on the path of success.

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You could say that their first concert at the death metal show was a near flop.  First, Sakura was the only member of Franchouchou (or Death Musume as they were first called) who regained her human conscious upon awakening.  The rest of the girls were still in their mindless state.  This resulted in everyone (sans Sakura) not being able sing or play instruments – let alone perform in unison.

Second, they were dress in bright, colorful idol outfits; ill-fitting for a venue hall catering to savage and cutthroat fans of death metal.  Finally, the crowd wasn’t feeling them. They believed that Death Musume was mocking death metal with their idol get-up.

Death Musume proved their doubters wrong.

Thanks to their enhanced zombie  bodies and minds, Death Musume surprised the metal heads with their brutal, (literally) broken-neck style head banging, ghastly growls, hard hitting stage dives that would had injured or killed a normal human, and caused mayhem in the pits after the show.

Even if the show was a (so-called) “flop”, Death Musume gained the respect of the metal heads (whom normally dismissed idols).  They even earned two metal heads as loyal fans after the event. Fans who once were discrediting them admired their savage spirit so much that they followed Death Musume’s journey to success everywhere they performed.

 

Their second concert was almost a complete disaster (compared to the last).  Despite regaining their senses, Death Musume (now Green Face), weren’t in tune with one another.  Their movements were awkward and stiff (due to not building up chemistry with one another yet; not because they were zombies).  The audience seemed uninterested in their performance.   Tae had yet to regain her senses; so she was still roaming around mindlessly.

Worse, she tried to steal somebody’s dried squid snack. Sakura attempted to restrain her friend; only to cause Tae’s head to fly off her body into the crowd – therefore causing panic and confusion.

In panic, Sakura played everything off as a magic trick. While Sakura struggled to regain order, Saki started to dick around. The two girls started fighting over Tae’s head (Saki took Tae’s head off her body while Sakua tried to put it back on, annoying the latter). Pissed, Sakura snapped on Saki and snitched on the fact that they were all zombies. Saki snapped back: leading to the girls auguring on stage. Understandably, the audience was shocked.

Total disaster indeed.
But, most damages caused by disasters can always be fixed.

Tatsumi saw this as a chance to switch the show’s direction. Seeing Sakura and Saki argue as if they were rival rappers, he began to beat box.  Best zombie girl Yuugiri provided a melodic instrumental on her shimisen. Lily channeled her inner Flavor Flav and played hype girl.  Worse zombie girl Ai stood around looking stupid, awkward, and useless. Second best zombie girl Junko was also standing around looking stupid and awkward.  Sakura and Saki turned their argument into a rap battle.

Together, Green Face was able to take a losing situation, turn it around into something positive, and became victorious.
Franchouchou improved each passing day.
They didn’t avoid failure – they embraced it and turn it around – into success.

They failed to get a business sponsorship from a drug company (due to Sakura being an idiot). That’s okay; they cut a deal with a local restaurant a few days later; netting a promotion deal with them.  Tae accidently wore said restaurant’s mascot t-shirt after winning a sporting event instead of the shirts featuring their band’s name and logo (for promotional reasons). It didn’t matter: Franchouchou gained more fans from the sporting event.

Lighting struck the stage and the girls during their first major stage performance.  What would have killed any normal human the lighting gave Franchouchou (thanks to being zombies) not only gave the girls the appearance of angels, but enhanced their voices; giving their fans a musical experience they never forget.

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“Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.”
“If you’re a real winner you know how to bounce back!”
-Big Sean, Bounce Back

Like Franchouchou, you must use failures as a tool to net you a positive outcome. The path you were on turned into something else. But, you need to take advantage of that.  History is littered with people whom “failed” at one thing but was able to turn it around into greatness.

Japanese Horror and visual novel author Ryukishi07  Ryukishi07 first draft of the ever beloved Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When They Cicadas Cry) murder-mystery visual novel series was a short play titled  Hinamizawa Bus Stop.  Inspired by a friend, he submitted the play to his college’s theater group for a contest.  He lost.  After college, Ryukishi07 tried to enter the video game industry with no luck.

Yet, despite the setbacks, he was determined to let the world know about the mysteries and horror of the small village of Hinamizawa. His passionate drive would pay off in August of 2006 when Ryukishi07 dropped Higurashi upon the otaku world at the massive Japanese anime convention Summer Comiket 2002. The game became a global sleeper hit; with the series branching off to light novels, mangas, two live-action movies, a TV series, remakes of the games, and of course, an incredibly successful anime adaption by Studio Deen.

Intelligent System was failing to keep the Fire Emblem series afloat.  After back-to-back failures with titles such as New Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the series was at risk of being killed off by Nintendo.  Finding themselves on death grounds with the series, nearly everyone at Intelligent System that has ever worked on a Fire Emblem game pour their heart, soul, guts, creativity, love, and focus into  Fire Emblem Awakening. They truly believe that Awakening was going to be the final Fire Emblem game in Nintendo’s (and gaming) history.

If Fire Emblem: Awakening was going to ultimately fail, at least  Intelligent System had the balls to try to revive the series everyone counted out with everything they had.  And as we all known (despite what the old-school autistic elitist assholes in the fandom may say), Fire Emblem: Awakening brought the series back to life: saving it from total death.

See how you can turn failure into victory?

We live in a world where failure is viewed as a bad thing. If you failed, you’re nothing (according to lowly people with their inflated egos who will never fix their own failures).  In Japan, failure is viewed in such a negative light that young school students have killed themselves from the shame of failure (may they failed a test, failed to get into an elite high school, etc.).

They would rather end their life than to face society (after failure).

The American school system have mentality wrecked children for decades; because teachers, parents, and the education system paint failing as the ultimate sin. Who knows how many children in America are suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety because of how aggressive we are against failure?

Social media is now on a level where people will share your failures and humiliate you for it within seconds.  We would rather mock those on Facebook or Twitter for their mistake(s) than to encourage them to recover and give them advice on how to do better.  A screw up can easily be shared and display on the world’s stage without a second thought. It’s a shield to hide our own failures.

Why display your shame to the world where you can cover it with another man’s shame?

Society is not only fearful of failure – it uses it as a weapon.

But, you can’t be scared of failure.  I’m not saying you should go out in purposely fail; that’s foolish.   I am also not saying that some failures aren’t your fault; because your own stupidity and unchecked ego/pride can cause you to screw up. If you’re doing something that is outside the realm of logic, and your friends/family are telling you so, and you can’t prove them wrong, then don’t do it. Because that’s truly is failure.

You need to go into something knowing that there’s a high possibility that you will fail and that you need to bounce back from the failure.  Beating yourself up over failure won’t  get you to success. Having a defeatist attitude because you screw up won’t fix the screw ups.  People will use your past failures to mock you; in order for you to give up.  But, you can’t allow that. Try again until success.

As Sakura said to Junko and Ai in episode 2, and this is the closing statement:

“Quit coming up with excuses on why you can’t win. If you got even a little chance, try to do that then!”

 

 

 

SELECTED RESOURCES:

[Alux.com] (Dec. 15th, 2018) How to overcome FAILURE and start from scratch? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs6PU5jQQBc

[Nino Brown] (Oct. 16th, 2019) Fail Your Way To  Success [Video File], Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO99GJwtsOk

[Alpha Male Strategies – AMS] (Oct 3rd, 2018) Why I Love Being A Failure [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58wu8k4CjnI

Grover, Tim. “#1. When You’re A Cleaner… …You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.” Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable

 

AFTERWORD:

I lied about the whole “Ai worse girl” thing she’s actually became my favorite character as I wrote this essay and re-watched ZLS due to her relentless drive to re-write her legacy after death.

Seriously, I wouldn’t spent nearly $25 on this shirt if I thought she was the worse girl:

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(Plus, I love how she G-checks Tatsumi when he’s on his bullshit)

I’m also going to work on another Zombieland Saga essay that tackles the  morality of men, how we should make the best of our limited time on Earth, and  and a touch of Stoicism to go along with it within the following months.

In addition, there will be an audio version of this essay in the near future.

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DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY (2018) HD UNCUT FULL MOVIE! (Chill Toei, it’s just a clickbait title for a review)

Recently, my friend the TV Guru and I went to see Toei Animation’s blockbuster hit movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly at the theaters and man, it was an experience as both an Dragon Ball and anime fan that I will never forget. The experience of watching such an critically acclaimed film  based on an iconic and influential anime series with many other anime and Dragon Ball fans touched us so much that we had to give our unbiased (drunken) thoughts on the movie.  Trust me, if you’re a Dragon Ball fan and did not saw this movie at the theaters, you did yourself a disservice.

Also in this podcast we chop up good game and mock CrunchyRoll’s infamously hilariously and terrible  nomination for their annual trash tier entry level anime awards.

Check us out!

http://swarthynerd.libsyn.com/swarthy-nerd-ep-04-dragonball-super-broly-uncut-full-movie-hd-2019

And if you’re a weirdo who likes to burn their battery life and data plan by keeping the YouTube app open, here’s a link to our review on YouTube

 

AFTERWORD:

I have a podcast now so if you’re a long-time follower who have been wondering where the fuck I’ve been, now you know.  Don’t worry; I’m still  gonna write blogs.  This is a side project I’m working on with a friend.

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Be Your Own Person (Mob Pyscho 100 S2)

“Be your true mind.”
-Revelations: Persona Japanese tagline.

Starring into the screen of the gaming P.C. I brought off my friend during the 2018 Holiday season, I noticed that there was something missing: A wallpaper – a good one.  I was using fanart of Yugiri from Zombieland Saga as a placeholder until I could find wallpaper that I wouldn’t mind always seeing. Don’t get me wrong: Zombieland Saga is an awesome anime and  Yugiri is best undead girl, but I needed something better. A wallpaper to serve as a reminder to do whatever the fuck I want to do throughout the year 2019

I hooked up an old external hard drive containing over ten years’ worth of anime and manga fanart, screenshots, manga panels, and memes; most of them were  perfect to use as wallpaper, but I desire one that would be my mantra for 2019.  As I browsed through the drive, there was a certain image with a manga panel snapshot that spoke to my soul.  It was of Kyoko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica with a pocky stick in her mouth offering a box full of them to somebody off-screen.  As she chew on the snack, she says the following:

“Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life – do whatever you want to do. That’s the right way to live.”

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There was no hesitation.  Instantly, that became my wallpaper; vowing to never change it until January 1st, 2020.  Throughout my life (until I got into my 20s), I was concern about what others thought about me.  Wanting to not offend my friends, family members,  and bosses (surprising, right?); I followed their suggestions, putting my own thoughts to the side.

I believed that if I put myself first, it would paint me as a hard-headed selfish asshole.
I should had been an asshole.

“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.”

-Gearless Joe, Megalo Box

Go to church because the rest of the family were going; despite the fact I’m secretly don’t follow religion. Enroll in a community college my parents wanted me to go; regardless if I wanted to go to one outside the Midwest (my home region). Hang out with friends even though I actually wanted to stay and relax at home.  Go into work on my off day when I knew I wanted to tell my boss to fuck off.

Deep within my soul, my “easy-going” public persona was clashing with my true feelings.
I truly didn’t want to do what people told me to do, but I didn’t have the balls to admit it.

This went on until I turned 23.

I dropped out of college. Smartest move of my life.  I stopped going to church. I don’t need Jesus to be a good person. I ignored my boss’s phone calls for me to come into work.  He got the point soon after.   I cut off friends who didn’t respect the fact I didn’t feel like hanging out with them when I was tired. They were fake friends – I didn’t need them around.

It was liberating.

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Soon after I selected the image of Kyoko as my wallpaper, I got a reminder from My Anime List that Mob Pyscho 100 Season 2 was starting soon.  Fitting.  Mob (the hero of the Mob Pyscho 100 series) is a kid who decided to follow his own path in life; as opposed to listen to others people’s suggestions for his life.  For example: when the supernatural club at his school tried to get him to join (because of his psychic powers), he rejected their offer. He joined the athletic club instead to build muscle.

The anime is one of the ultimate showcases of being your true self.
But, Mob may have appeared to have forgotten about this.

Wanting to impress his crush Tsubomi, Ichi (who catches Mob sneaking a peek at Tsubomi) comes up with a plan for Mob to court her attention: Have him run for the recently vacant student council president position (it was a ploy for Ichi to have Mob gain popularity so she could have him as the new leader of the recently dismantled (LOL) cult). She even went as far as writing a speech for Mob, in her own words.  Despite not caring for school politics and social structure, Mob agrees to Ichi’s self-centered plot – reluctantly.

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And by reluctantly, I mean that Mob completely froze during his speech.
On stage.
In front of the entire student body – his crush in the crowd included.

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It’s goofy that a guy like Mob, who was always dead set on doing his own thing, decided to follow the path of another person. Sure, it was to impress his crush, but the plot wasn’t from his own driven nature and ideas.  Despite the public embarrassment, Mob “won” the heart of a female classmate: Emi.  She was “impressed” by his courage to stand on stage in front of the school, which spurred her into confessing her “feelings” to him. The two started dating soon after.

Obviously, their relationship is rooted in compete bullshit.

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Emi

When Emi asks what type of work he does, Mob is about to tell her about his supernatural works and adventures but feared that she’d be creep out.  He comes up with  a bold-face lie; claiming he works for a bookstore. This excites Emi as she’s an active and avid reader and is writing her own novel.  She even offers Mob to read it, which he agrees to.

Later on, as Mob reads Emi’s novel, she confronts him. She asks why he still walks her home from school after  he rejected her. Furthermore, she reveals that she knew Mob was going back to his club after he had walked her back home; thinking that Mob was afraid that he would upset her if he stop.

She also makes the connection that Mob only ran for class president because somebody told him to do it, since it was clear that he didn’t write his own speech. Then she bluntly asks if he has trouble making up his own mind and following his own feelings, which Mob confirms.

Finally, she reveals a secret about herself: She too struggles with being her own person – like Mob himself. She only asked Mob out on a dare and was pressured by her “friends” to do so (based on Mob’s pitiful performance during the elections). She was scared of being rejected and seen as a laughing stock by her “friends”, so she followed through with their cruel prank.

They agree to end their “relationship and part ways soon after – only to meet up again.


The “friends” Emi worked hard to impress and not offend?
They weren’t truly her friends.

Emi regroups with her friends after receiving a text message from them.   She decides to show her “friends” the novel that she was working on.  One girl snatches it from her hands and started to laugh and belittle her work along with the rest.  Another girl, while trying to hold in her laughter, ask Emi if she was being serious about it.  Emi (clearly upset and defensive), gives off a weak chuckle and replies she was only doing it for fun. The girls starts to laugh cruelly as they destroy her novel.

 

Emi became the thing she feared the most: a laughing stock among her friends.
Not because she didn’t “date” Mob, but because she had a passion for writing.
If they were truly her friends, not only would they not pressured her into dating Mob (something she never wanted to do), they would have encouraged her to keep writing.

As Mob walks back home, he sees the girls destroying Emi’s novel. He confronts them, telling them how wrong they were to do that to her and her hard work.  He starts collecting the pieces off the ground. Confused, yet feeling appreciated, Emi helps Mob out and her fake friends leave the duo to be.  The two try their best to recover the novel but the reminding pieces are blown into the wind. Emi gets discourage and decides that they should call the novel a total lost.

At this point, Mob decides to be honest with Emi (as she did with him) and reveal his true self: The fact that he’s a gifted esper. He uses his powers to completely restore the torn novel; which impresses Emi (as well as Tsubomi – who was watching the events from afar). Perhaps it was because that Emi was honest with Mob about her feelings, fears, and insecurities that led Mob into helping her. Maybe Mob was happy that he knew somebody who too was scared to be their true self and wanted to help them.

Regardless, at the end of the episode, both Mob and Emi was able to embrace who they truly are without fear.

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***

I believe there’s a lesson to be learned from the first episode of season two of Mob Pyscho 100 2.

The lesson?  Put yourself first, be honest with who you are, and never fear about what others may think about you. Once you can do all that, you have truly become free.  People may call you selfish or self-centered for being you, but in reality, humans are selfish by nature. Some humans are braver with their selfish nature than others.  If somebody complains about your egocentric nature , don’t take it personal. They more than likely are projecting their anger of not having the courage to be selfish.

Right now, there are people who are completely unhappy with their lives. Why? Because they were controlled into following somebody else’s path. They never had the courage to stray off the path that wasn’t design for them. There are doctors, lawyers, and dentists in those positions who are completely miserable because they decided to listen to their parents’ wishes. They feared to bring “shame” to their family and enter a career field they hate.  If only they would have follow their heart instead, perhaps they wouldn’t be miserable.

Remember this: You have the freedom to be your own person.
It’s your life. Who cares if anyone gets upset?

“Your life is your own, ok? It’s OK to run away!
If you’re capable of it, it won’t be a mistake.”
-The Mob Choir

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Rascal Does Not Dream Of Yet Another Light Novel Anime Adaption

Editor’s Note:
These are the mere free-flowing, raw, and unedited thoughts of mines on the first three or four episodes of the Fall 2018 anime “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” and my first impressions on it.  There is no structure nor order on how I talk about this show.

A boy wakes up next to a girl around his age sleeping peacefully in his bed.  He looks at her as she awakens and treats her with a “good morning”, in which she returns the greeting back.  As they slowly wake up and indulge in playful teasing and banter of their lack of sleep, I am taken by surprise at the fact that the first episode has opened with our lead male and female characters in bed; suggesting that they are in an intimate relationship.

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Additionally,  the male lead looks and acts like an alpha; a rarity in anime today, as most male teenage leads are doormat simps (just like 90% of male anime fans globally). Finally! A young male anime hero with balls! This is great!  Too great.  Too great to be true.

No, really, it was.  I accidentally downloaded the third episode, not the first.

Because I decided to get stoned out of my mind before watching this anime, I unwitty download episode 3; thinking it was episode 1. Sure, I spoiled myself by seeing Mai and Sakuta together in bed. However, it was a spoiler that I welcomed. I assumed that they got together by the end of episode 2 at the least.

I went back to KissAnime to download episodes 1 and 2.  Episode 1 starts to play and its opening shot was the same opener from episode 3, except with different dialogue.  Mai asks Sakuta if he is going to kiss her, in which Mai disappears and Sakuta awakens from his dream.  Said dream foreshadowing future events.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this at how bold of a move that was.  After all, Rascal Does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was written by light novelist Haijime Kamoshida (notable for his works The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, and the beautifully written original coming-of-age high school drama anime Just Because! from Fall 2017).

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Hajime Kamoshida

While I’ve never read The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, I’m a huge fan of Just Because! due to Kamoshida’s approach towards clichéd high school anime archetypes. Example: Rather than to write main character Eita as a new mysterious transfer student who enters a new school during the middle of his first year (like almost every other high school anime), Eita is a senior who transfers back to his hometown’s school district during the second semester (Eita moved away from his hometown during middle school).  Eita’s “new” classmates at his “new” school district are actually a few of his friends from childhood.  Komoshida effetely kills the “mysterious transfer student” idea off and replaces it with a character that’s already established and known by his peers in his city.

Komoshida is a clever writer in that sense, and Bunny Girl Senpai is no exception.

Before discovering that Kamoshida wrote Bunny Girl Senpai,  I had no intention of watching it. Even hearing the show’s name alone made me (foolishly) believe that it was going to be, yet another, fanservicery, run-of-the-mill, below-average light novel anime adaption with a disposable trash waifu. A trash waifu wearing a skimpy bunny girl outfit that Cleverworks will produce figurines of her in said outfit for the fanboys of her to jerk off to and nut on.

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Anything to pander to lonely otakus to get that second season.

These untrue, biased, stupid assumptions were slaughtered once I ran across Mother’s Basement video analysis on the show, explain that Kamoshida wrote the original novel, and discussing the themes of the show (such as bullying, facing rejection, social norms, etc.) So I figure I would give this show a watch.

Glad I did.

The first episode truly proved my earlier assumptions wrong.  I was an idiot to think that this show was going to be garbage!  Why did I allow myself to judge a book by its cover? In my defense, this current era of light novel anime adaptions is stale and bland.  This is not the mid-2000s anymore when we had hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and creative light novel anime adaption coming out left and right.

Remember when the iconic juggernaut The Melancholy of  Haruhi Suzumiya came along and kick everyone’s asses in 2006? That was a light novel anime adaption that not only define light novels and light novel anime – but it was the start of a generation of otaku culture. The success and global cultural impact of Haruhi Suzumiya laid the groundwork for other light novels to be adaptive into TV anime.

I miss those days.

(Of course, that Haruhi laying the groundwork for light novel anime statement is up to debate)

Currently, light novel anime adaptions are a mess. The Goblin Slayer anime spat in the face of its light novel ancestor with its ugly CGI, lack of character development that was found in the original, removing important story plots from the light novel, and a controversial brutal violent scene that was not necessary for a first episode.

Every year, we’re “treated” to another boring, uninspiring isekai (another world) light novel adaption that just has a different gimmick that doesn’t change anything or do anything groundbreaking.

Sword Art Online needs to be taken to the backyard and get shot in the back of its head so it can be taken out of its misery already like the dying, useless dog it is.

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10/10 Photoshop skills. I have a Ph.D.  in Graphic Design from the highly educated university St. Louis Community College Forest Park

Oh, how the era of the great light novel anime adaption has ended
…or so I thought.
Bunny Girl Senpai’s first episode changed my mind.

Off the jump, we see the heroine parading herself around in a public library in nothing but a skimpy bunny girl outfit.  Such a daring, lewd, and perverted act performed by any woman would certainly create attention for her.

But for Mai, – a well-known and beloved actress – there’s no way anybody could ignore her. Questions and comments such as “is she doing this for clout?”, “is this for a movie?”, “is that actress secretly an exhibitionist?”, and “she has fallen so low…” are gonna be said and asked. Everyone is glued to their phones.  Everyone is addicted to social media. Indisputably, people seeking likes, views, and money for viral moments are going to document such an event on their smartphones.

Alas, she goes unnoticed.  No. For real. They don’t notice her. She even bends herself forward towards a salaryman in a way that her breasts are in his face. But since the salaryman doesn’t have the time or the love for these hos, he doesn’t give her an ounce of attention.  You know, maybe they’re just playing pretend.  Mai has done this so often at this library that everyone decided to act like she doesn’t exist because they don’t wanna give her any attention.

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Except they’re not playing pretend.
Mai doesn’t exist – both figuratively and literally.
She isn’t doing this for cheap thrills; it’s a legit cry for help.

Her existence is at risk and unless people notice her, she will die.

Moments later, Sakuta uses his main character powers to spot her walking about and confronts her. Mai, in return, copies Hitagi Senjougahara’s mannerism that she got from the Monogatari playbook and threatens him; demanding that he forgets what he saw and to never associate with her. And because the Monogatari playbook is public domain, Sakuta decides to steal moves from the Koyomi Araragi section and explains to Mai that he knows about her condition (due to personal experience) and that he can help her.

The condition? Puberty Syndrome: a rumored illness that causes sensitivity and instability among youths infected by it.

Mai believes him and accepts his help; thus starting the latest installment of the Monogatari series!
Kidding, of course. (That joke is getting old).

As mentioned (and me making fun of it) earlier, Bunny Girl Senpai (audaciously) borrows ideas from its influences (such as Monogatari) and other classic anime/light novel tropes, stereotypes, archetypes; using them to its advantage to add layers to each character personality. Therefore, the characters are more third dimensional compared to most others in anime that follow said archetypes and stereotypes.

Sakuta is your typical brash, blunt, and bold protagonist who doesn’t give a shit about following the rules, values, and order of society and freely operates outside of them (think Yusuke from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes).  Because Sakuta is an outlier, he is outcast by his peers – even to the degree that his homeboy’s girlfriend tells the man to stop being friends with him; because it would ruin his and her’s high social standing in school (granted, Sakuta tells the girlfriend to fuck off).

 

This could be seen as social commentary, as Japan is a nation of conformity and holds value in being non-confrontational. Standing out and being a person who enjoys confrontation in Japan will get you mocked, ridicule, and disowned: three things I’m sure Sakuta has experienced in his young life due to his mannerism, but I doubt he cares.

“To be quiet, and do as you’re told…that’s the cowardly choice.”
-Gearless Joe, Megalo Box

His sister, Kaede, plays the annoying imouto, or little kid sister role. Kaede affectingly hugs her big brother often, loves getting him out of bed or get in his bed (even if he’s trying to sleep), and she is almost always at his side. She’s soft-spoken when around strangers but truly shines and becomes herself when Sakuta is around.

Pretty annoying, right?

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Kyon’s Sister

Well, Kaede is a victim of (cyber) bullying at her school. She received death threats from her former friends and cruel messages from her classmates telling her that she needs to kill herself. The relentless bullying and vicious messages caused Kaede to withdraw from society to the degree that she became a shut-in. She hates social media and modern technology; as we see her freezing up out of fear when she hears Mai’s phone rings in one episode. Because of her trauma,  Kaede sees Sakuta as a protector of sorts which results in her being close to him.

She finds comfort in her brother.

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All she had to do was walk away from the computer and close her eyes.

Mai, as we saw in the first episode, is clear fanservice bait. Even in the anime promotional art, she’s wearing her bunny girl outfit in public. For this, I can’t blame anyone for thinking Mai does this for attention or thinking that she was designed to be trashy waifu bait. The fanservice and waifu material bits are turned on their heads once you understand the grave reasoning behind Mai’s acts (and character design).

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Haruhi Senjougahara

Mai must do everything and anything within her power to court attention at all costs. Initially, the actress loved the peace and quiet that came with not being in the public’s limelight: something she had been under since childhood. Like any aspiring child actress, she was in “everlasting” bliss that people knew who she was thanks to her  TV and movie roles.  But, over time, the toll and stress of childhood stardom got to Mai and she wanted out of showbiz.

Her breaking point came about at the hands her manipulative manager and agent – her own mother.

During a commercial shoot for cereal (correct me if I’m wrong I don’t remember the full details), Mai’s mother and the video producer suggested that Mai should wear a revealing bikini. Mai refused: as she was in middle school at the time and was understandably disturbed by the idea. Her mom snapped on her; calling her own daughter a disappointment.  It was at that point where Mai decided to retire from show business and stray away from the limelight.

She got her one true wish – at the cost of her existence.

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“The limelight. The actor who steps into this brilliant light attains a heightened presence. All eyes are on him.  There is room for only one actor at a time in the limelight’s narrow beam; do whatever it takes to make yourself its focus. Make your gestures so large, amusing, and scandalous that the light stays on you  while the other actors are left in the shadows.”
Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power”

(It’s ironic to think how Mai desperately worked hard to avoid any form of publicity and attention after her semi-retirement from the entertainment industry and yet, she was hunting it down once she realized that she could die if nobody acknowledges her.  Maybe I’ll do an analysis essay on that one day.)

Watching the first episode (and parts of the second), I’m reminded of the golden era of the light (and visual) novel to anime boom.  Text-based tales coming to life through animation.  Stories crafted by otaku who dare to explore deep themes and issues about society, cultural norms, and life. There weren’t just mindless cartoons that otakus would simply watch and enjoy.  They were shows with layers, messages, themes, and meaning.

It’s refreshing to see Bunny Girl Senpai bring such classic writing back into otaku marketed TV anime.

At the time of this writing, I am currently on episode 3. Sakuta is desperate to keep Mai’s existence alive. He has even gone as far as sacrificing his health by not sleeping (since anyone who’ve sleep after seeing Mai in her “invisible” state will have traces of her existence erased). Mai slips a sleeping pill in one of his caffeine drinks (probably deadly, but okay). She knows that this will erase her existence for him, but she doesn’t want him to put his health at risk – because of the fact she loves him.   In tears, she thanks him for all he has done for her, and fades out of existence.

She’ll come back of course; thanks to Sakuta’s no-fucks-given attitude, however.

Bunny Girl Senpai has been an interesting anime to watch so far.  The mystery of Puberty Syndrome keeps me wondering about how it impacts people and how it shapes society .  The cast has wonderful chemistry with each other, as Mai and Sakuta have amazing banter with one another that helps keep fans interested in their relationship.  Komoshida blending real-world issues such as bullying and blending in with sci-fi and supernatural elements is genius and I can’t wait to see how the writers of the show take his writing style to the next level.

I do hope this anime becomes a hit because I want to see more like it that is otaku driven and uses themes from anime to build layers for its characters.   With people praising it online I sure my hopes will come to life.

…even if it does borrows from Monogatari.
A lot.

-Yuki The Snowman.

 

P.S.

I’m actually caught up with the show and currently waiting for episode 8. I have a theory that the main narrative theme of Futaba’s arc is accepting yourself (as Futaba has to deal with the fact that the second Futaba is the personification of her repressed but true self and she needs to understand it’s a part of her personality). I’m lazy as hell so I didn’t feel like rewriting the bit about episode 3 or whatnot.

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Shadow Futaba

P.P.S

The most real shit I’ve seen in anime in a while love how Sakuta speaks excellent game on standing out and being your own person:

 

 

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VIDEO: STUPID JERK LET’S TALK SOME REAL DEEP $#!T!!! (Persona 4’s Marie and being real)

 

In the third episode of Persona 4 Golden The Animation Marie questions her friends on what does it means to be your true, real self. As I’m watching the cast give their answers (taking from being comfortable with your hobbies, living your life the way you want to, etc.), this made me think: What does it mean to be real? I think to be real means doing whatever you please — regardless of what others may think (as long as you’re ethical about it and not on some illegal shit).

Being real also means facing yourself and admitting you may have some weakness and issues to work on. So, what does being real means to you? (also unless you’re a hardcore Persona 4 don’t watch P4GA its typical A1 Pictures garbage. The music, fanservice, Yukiko, and Marie are the only good things about the anime)

http://www.yukithesnowman.com

anime 4

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

anime 0

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.)

 

 

anime 2

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.

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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.

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Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – Raw Thoughts Pt. 1

August 10th, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of the hit visual novel series “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”.  Higurashi no Naku Koro ni was adapted into  a successful animated series by Studio Deen in 2006 – setting the standard for horror anime which many series have tried and failed to emulate since.  In reflection and celebration of the series 15th  anniversary, I will be providing my raw, unedited thoughts of the anime throughout the month of August.  I hope you’ll enjoy! 

It was about ten years ago during my senior year of high school.  I was at my computer in business class, browsing Google for  anime wallpapers. While aimlessly browsing the images, I came across a wallpaper that stood out to me.  The wallpaper featured a young  teenager with a baseball bat, blood splatter, and film frames with the young boy  the frames  At the bottom there was layered text that  read “Please uncover the truth.  This is my only wish.”

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I didn’t think much of who was the character, what anime he was from, or the text in the image.  I just saw this wallpaper as a cool and edgy anime background for my computer.  Yet, there was something about this it that made me drawn to it.  Overtime, I became curious about the character on my screen and the meaning of his words.

“Please uncover the truth.  This is my only wish.”

“What does that mean, ‘uncover the truth’?”  I questioned.  Beyond that, I thought of nothing else.  My dumbass wasn’t smart enough to google that line at the time, so that mystery wasn’t going to be solved , at least during high school that is.

Little did I know back then that the image would mark the prelude of  one of my most beloved series of all time: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry).  So, when and how did I discovered the series?  Well, let’s fast forward to  my sophomore year of college in Fall 2009.  A friend recommended that I watch Elfen Lied so I could learn the OP “Lilium” on the violin after class. Once I was completed with classes for the day, I hurried  home, pull up the YouTube app on my Wii, looked up Elfen Lied, found the first episode and enjoy it.  Upon completion of the first episode, another anime appeared on the suggestion playlist.

 

“Higurashi no Naku Koro ni?  What is this?” I asked myself.  Curious, I clicked the thumbnail and laid back on my couch.

“This better be as good as that crazy ass Elfen Lied anime.”

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The video starts to play.  The show opens  with a young teen boy violently smashing the bodies of two lifeless, bloodied girls with a metal baseball bat.   Immediately, my eyes widen as I continued watching this dude beat these two girls to death.  The young boy dropped his bat as the camera focused on his carnage.  Finally, the focus was on the kid’s face as he panted, his eyes widened and blood on his face.

“Holy shit. ” I said to my self quietly.     “What is this show?”
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I’ve never been much of a horror media guy. I find them boring and cheesy (due to American films) and thoughtless gore fest.  Most of them are just the bad guy slicing and dicing up their stupid victims, lacking focus on true fear – psychological fear . But the first 30 seconds of Higurashi felt different.   This feeling was solidly in the OP animation and music.

The distance, distorted haunting vocals, the fast-paced arpeggio bass-line, the visual contrast of of a bloodied Rena walking on glass barefoot, Satoko alone in a flower fields crying, and Shion surrounded in red with her face twisted in rage. Each character’s expression and the color usage of their introduction told me that this anime was not like any horror media I’ve seen prior.   Just off the OP, I could understand their feeling of sadness, confusion, rage, etc. Emotion plays a huge role in the show I assumed; based off the OP.

This sold me to watching Higurashi.

So, I watched.  I watched in confusion at Keiichi waking up in the morning and chilling with Rena and Mion – the two girls he had killed earlier.  Was that a dream? A vision he had? I did not know but I stay glued to my seat, wanting answers.  Yet, the more I watched, the more questions I started asking.

“What’s with this Himizawa muders and are those girls behind it? “ and “Are they pretending to be happy and carefree to lure Keiichi into a trap?”

As I progressed the first few episodes,  I started to figure things out about Higurashi , how the time-loop work, how each arc featured a character just one misstep away from snapping and killing everyone or themselves.  And it wasn’t just for say edginess like Elfen Lied, these characters legit have psychological reasons behind their actions.

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Rena was bullied and almost raped by two male peers.  She (justifying) snapped and beat the two boys with a baseball bat.  Keep in mind this:  she was already  emotionally wrecked by her mom cheating on her dad and splitting the family up, so the bullies attacking her was her breaking point.   Shion was treated as a black sheep by her family, and was further disowned by them when she fell in love with Satoshi (a boy who is hated by her family).  Satoko (Satoshi’s sister) is a completely wreck mentality due to her the murders of her parents,  the disappearance of Satoshi, and her uncle physically abusing her.  Rika’s parents were murdered as well and suffers from hopelessness from living thorugh 100 of years of timeloops ending in the same result – death.

Hell, even the series final villain Miyo had issues that lead her into becoming the bad guy;  She was left orphaned after the death of her parents.  She was taken in by a government run orphanage which was abusing and torturing the children in it.  She was no exception to the abuse.  Thankfully, she was taken in by her dad’s mentor who treated and loved her like his own granddaughter, but the damage  done to her by her abusers at the orphanage took it toll.  Stack that with her witnessing her “grandfather” being belittled by his peers for his research, fueling her revenge against everyone that did him (and her) wrong and you got Miyo’s desires to become a God – desires that resulted in the massacred of 2,000+ innocent people a couple of  years later.

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You just feel so sorry for these characters and understood why they’re behave the way they did throughout the series, ya know?

Anyway I’m going to end this raw freewrite thoughts here but don’t fret!  To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Higurashi VN, I will be dropping more raw freewrites on my love for the series and possibly an analysis article .

Stay tune!

Also sorry for the bad grammar I have to get to my gig ASAP

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First Episode. First Impressions. One Shot: In Another World With My Smartphone

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

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Did In Another Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy World impressed me on its first episode?  Well, if I’m making fun of the title and its originality, then no.  It did not impress me at all.

In Another World With My Smartphone is disappointing.   I’m talking “shut-in, black sheep in the family who watches anime all day, cosplays at anime cons, and doesn’t play sports like your father wanted you to; thus he disowns you” disappointing (kinda like some of you weeaboos out there reading this).

I was optimistic that this’ll be a good show based on its premise: Our hero, Touya Mochizuki, is resurrected and sent to a new fantasy-like world of his choosing by God (who accidently killed him by throwing down lighting towards the Earth, striking him). In this new world, Touya can still use his smartphone as it’s powered by magic.  In addition, his phone is still linked to his former world, allowing him to receive  information and news from it.

It’s an interesting concept that I haven’t seen in any other form of media. Seeing modern day technology powered by magic as it technology itself adapts to the fantasy world.  It’s such a great idea and you think the writers of the show can do some amazing ideas with that, right?

Nah.  All they give us is yet another cookie cutter otaku fantasy anime with world harem undertones, with some decent and cool ideas to help keep it little original.  Outside of the original ideas however, this anime failed to impress me in reasons which I will go over.

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The anime opens with the recently decreased Touya chilling in heaven alongside God (who looks like a regular lookin’ grandfather; with his glasses, normal clothes, and all).  God explains to Touya that his death was accidental to His own carelessness, and begs for Touya’s forgiveness.  Touya’s rather chill about the whole mishap and forgives God, understanding that people make mistakes and you must forgive them for it.  I mean, yeah, he did died at such a young age and he didn’t fully experienced life, but at least he doesn’t have to live on Earth with all its awful people and problems.  And God’s seems like a very chill, mellow, and sincere dude.

You gotta think positive sometimes, ya know?

Impressed by Touya’s forgiving heart, God makes up for his (literally) fatal mistake by reviving him into any world of his choosing (a fantasy world as mentioned earlier), as well as  making his smartphone operate in this new world and gives him His number.

Following that, the OP animation starts to play. It starts out normally – upbeat music plays, there’s panning of forest landscape, Touya’s face’s appearing in the foreground, and annoying singing by some J-Pop idol girls, and holy hell it’s so annoying. Many red flags are going off in my head like I’m a Commie.

Things went from “this show won’t be bad at all!” to “this is going to be yet another annoying, generic otaku harem fantasy world anime ain’t it?” To start with  my disappointment towards this aniem, Touya transforms into Kirito Clone #314 with a white pallet swap of Kirito’s school shooter trench coat. That alone should had made me drop this anime as soon as saw that, but I decided to curb my anger just for this review.

(Seriously, I’m not anime racist but, what’s with these light/web novel characters looking alike?)

Alas, my anger would soon dominate my chill and zen mind as the weeaboo-like OP music increased its awfulness.  Like forreal, the music makes me want to choke out its producer. I’m willing to stack up and piss away $3500+ for a trip to Japan, just so I can personally strangle the anime’s music producer in hopes he or she will never make awful trash like this ever again.

That, or just master the song on the violin and make money off tips at anime cons from fans of this show.  Hustle off these weeb kids and adults because they pay good money to hear violin covers of their favorite weeb song but I digress.

As for the OP animation, it’s what you expect from a Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy World Anime:  The first phase of the OP is character introductions.  First, we have two girls roaming the countryside.  We can assume that they’re twin sisters due to their similar hair and eyes color, facial structure, and clothing.  Any clues of their personalities and how different they are aren’t presented as their introduction but if I can take a guess, one is an introverted shy twin and the other is more extroverted, open, and brash.

Next, we’re introduced to some samurai girl who looks like the love child of that girl with owl off Samurai Showdown and Reimu off Touhou.   She appears to be just like any other average and plain samurai girl in anime of this type so let’s move forward.

Following, is the obvious upbeat Himedere princess.  I’m basing this sterotype off the fact of her position in this shot, the color coding of her dress, facial expression, and how her arms are up and spread like she’s a decision maker in her country.

She is followed by who I can assume to be another princess, perhaps a rival princess from another country.  I can take a wild guess that she somebody close to her is either dead or missing based how she’s staring outside her window and the depressing look on her face.  That, or her weedman whom she called two hours ago is on drug dealer time and is wondering why it’s taking him so long to come through.

We move forward with a  below average gothic lolita reading in her dark and gloomy room filled with  creepy stuffed animals. Then, we have some random minor character introductions.  After that, is a quick ascending shot focusing on a floating island which is followed up by shot of a MILF and her daughter, maybe?  Her student?  Some kid she kidnapped?  I dunno the connection between the two other than they have the same weird purple and white hair clips.  Speaking of connections, is there a connection to the floating island and these two, given they had their introducing shots back-to-back with the same quick ascending panning.

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Creepy looking gothic lolita

Next, the OP focus back on that Himdere Princesss and she just look annoying with her overly happy childish Genki anime girl expression and  animal mascot sidekick.  She looks annoying and I hope her animal sidekick bites into her neck and drags her across the ground violently like Mantecore the White Tiger did Roy Horn.   Just snatch all her shit up and maul her to death.

Then, we’re introduced to a secondary male character. He’s totally gonna be Touya’s rival or something with how he is position in the middle, there’s that speed lines pointing directing at him, and there’s a close up of his smug face.  He has white hair, so he probably has a tragic past or something that will make the fangirls feel bad for him or something.  Or “he” might be a cross-dressing girl with masculine features thus making everyone question their sexuality because it’s a harem show and we need to carter to every type of niche of animu girl archtype here – even reverse traps.

The OP transition to battle showcases and boy, are they boring.  Every battle that is shown here lack any sense of direction towards urgency, excitement, or high stakes in terms of life or death. The brawler twin just curb stomps some dragon as she slams her fists into its body while her mage sister cast magic against….invisible enemies? Oh and we don’t know what kinda spell she just cast. I guess an explosion spell maybe? I dunno.

Reimu and Owl Girl’s love child fighting style example is one of the worse of this phase and here’s why: So Samurai Girl  runs up on one lizard man) and lizard man puts up his shield to protect himself, right?  But it looks like either Samurai Girl slice the shield or stomach of the lizard man but it’s hard to tell based off the camera angle and the awkwardness of the animation.   Then she charges into two other lizardmen.

We can tell she’s charging into them based off the animation speed lines, but that animation just fades as she slices the first Lizardman’s shield, runs (with the speedlines re-appearing), the camera moving awkwardly behind her as the speedlines disappear and she attacks two more lizardmen.  Just like with the first lizardman, we can’t tell if she hit them or not due to how weird the animation appears.

(Refer to the OP video link above as my GIF creation program wouldn’t work at the time of posting this review)

The scene quickly transition to the second princess firing a magic bow towards a group of some damn dirty apes who were just minding their own business.  Not much to go on here, so let’s tear apart Touya’s battle.

Touya fights against some old dude in an empty arena for no reason.  The fight choreography is lazy as there is no effort and direction with the sword fighting.  The sword swings has no force or power behind them as they side step to the right. There’s small sparks at each clash of their blades but it’s not anything grand.  In short, this is the worse battle of this phase due to the animator not caring or pressed for time and completion.

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The OP finally ends with Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy MC (I’m not calling him by his real name anymore) and the girls standing in front of an unknown mansion.  Will this be his personal penthouse for him and his harem where they all live in harmony?  Are they going to do some The Great Gatsby type partying here? Is it some random dude’s house they just rented out the front lawn for this shot alone?  Oh well, it doesn’t really matter.

At this point, my gut was telling me “Hey Benjamin, drop this now!  It’s not worth your blood pressure rising due to your anger.”  I ignored my gut’s warning.

“Nah, let’s see how laughably terrible this anime will get!” I rebuttal as I aggressively tapped my left index finger against the side of my laptop while punching the wall with my right hand in anger from witnessing such a  generic show of a OP.  I mean, this anime isn’t that utterly horrible.  I can see why some folks may like it, but its’ not my cup of tea.  And yet, I swear if I kept watching this entry level moe’ harem filth, I’d commit mass murder against all lonely otaku who love to project their harem otaku fantanties on main characters like this Touya..

I need to listen to my gut more often.

Once the awful OP ends, we see Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy MC lying in a field unconscious.  He awakens, sees that he’s okay, and heads to town. As he questions how he’ll survive  in this new world, Generic MC receives a call from God.  After confirming that Generic MC is okay he informs him that he upgraded his phone to help him get through the new town with ease such as installing a map program detailing the area.

 

Once receiving the map updates, Generic MC heads to town, but is stopped by some weird, overly excited, possibly gay tailor; He begs the MC to sell his “bizarre” school clothes to him in exchange for some gold pieces and clothing to help blend in.   The scene cuts away to an eye-catch of a recycled image of the MC checking his phone and annoying MMORPG-like music jingle.

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“They’re gonna use this often, aren’t they? I hope not this is annoying.” I asked myself.  “Eh, probably not, it’s just a one-time thing, right?”

Oh Ben, you’re so full of hope.

After receiving his new clothes (and being creped out by the tailor sniffing his old outfit), Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy World MC wanders around town, seeking the Silver Moon Inn as mentioned to him by the tailor.  He needs a place to lounge in and settle in the new world. While searching for the inn, he encounters the set of twins from the OP being harassed by some thugs in an alley. The girls sold the thugs a damaged glass antler piece and believe they should not pay full price for it. They demand the girls to lower the price, which they refuse.

Touya decides to step in and help the girls.  And once again, a red flag pops up in my head.

“Let me guess: Dude’s gonna play hero, somehow overpower the two thugs who’re  in better shape than he is, and the two girls will sworn over him and befriend him, despite being ignorant of his origins.”

My theory will be soon proven right.

The thugs try to attack the kid but he takes them out with ease. During the strife, we’re treated to a sample of his powers bestow upon him by God. As the smaller thug charges towards the MC with a knife, he dodges the blade. He notices that he is moving so fast that the world feels like it’s in slow motion.  Taking advantage of this, he smashed his elbow into the spine of the attacker, knocking him out cold. The anime doesn’t show what happens to the other thug.

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Guess he saw his homeboy getting that ass whoop and was like “Nah bruh, I’m good. I didn’t even want that glass piece anyways.” and dipped off screen.

So Touya, or Generic Otaku Harem Fantasy MC. This kid’s a Gary Sue – blessed by God who enhanced his natural abilities. He managed to whoop one thug’s ass so badly that his homeboy ran off on him like he just ripped off the plug.   In under ten minutes we’ve encounter awful OP music, a harem set up, a generic fantasy otaku dream world, and now a Gary Sue MC who’ve just impressed a set of twin girls with his powers.

Awesome.

The cynical me was yearning for the kid to act all cool and cocky against the thugs, only to have his skull caved in by them. Kinda like Subaru (Re:Zero) was put in his place for playing hero by the two thugs harassing Emila. Granted, In Another World With My Smartphone is a campy “stuck-in-a-fantasy-world”anime compared to Re:Zero,  and the kid did died at such a young age.  He earned the right to live out this fantasy life of being overly powered and have girls fall of him day one.  But still, this lazy writing and train wreck anime makes wanna drink.  I need to get drunk tolerant this trash.
Sigh.

Touya and the twins (Elze; a headstrong brawler and Linze; the quiet mage) are quickly acquainted.  After revealing some information about his background, he  tells the girls that he’s searching for the Silver Moon Inn. To the surprise of nobody who understand lazy writing and are knowledgeable in classic RPG troopes/clichés, the twins are staying in that exact inn and agree to let him join their adventure.

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There’s another cut away shot with some awful guitar music playing while the  voice actresses of the twins are humming along to the melody (off beat mind you).  They sound bored; as if they just wanna get their paycheck and forget the fact that they worked on this show.  I don’t blame them.

[Skipping several unimportant scenes ahead]

Later that night, we see Touya lying in bed checking his cell phone.  The phone is still connected to his old world, so he still receives news updates from it as we see him reading  an entertainment article on a popular band  from his world breaking up.  I personally like this, as it shows that life in his old world has move on after his death.  This makes me wish that I wasn’t dropping this anime, because I want to see the writers play with the idea of Touya checking his phone for news updates in his old world.

The next morning, Touya, Elze, and Linze scan a bulletin board searching for quests to earn money.  After the twins get Touya hip on how the guild system work, the three apply to hunt down and kill five horned wolves, collecting their horns as proof of killing the beasts.  Before heading out, Touya arms himself with a sword – furthering the point home that he’s a generic action-fantasy web/light novel hero

Toyua tears through and flawlessly kill two wolves as expected (because you know, can’t have the Gary Sue MC get torn apart  and slaughtered by wild beasts ass in mere seconds), one of the wolves being an extra kill just because. After the battle, he mentions that he wants to learn how to read and write in the language of the world he’s living in, given he lacks the knowledge of knowing how to.  Furthermore, he wants to learn magic as he was inspired by Linze’s spell casting.

Let’s break this down: he gets to live in a world that he’s happy in (fair enough due to reasons mentioned earlier), he takes down thugs flawlessly, links up with twins, kills two monsters with ease (one which was an extra kill), and now he wants to learn magic.  As a Gary Sue kid with an unprecedented natural learning rate and talent, he’ll master magic with ease of course.

Joy.

As they’re chilling back at the Inn, the twins tell Touya that in order to learn and master magic, he must have been born with strong aptitudes.  Linze (born with strong aptitude) showcases her magic spells to Touya through elemental stones.  Linze shows Touya a weak water magic spell, filling a small tea cup up with water.  She passes the stone to Touya, who on his first try almost floods the table.  The twins are shocked and even impress by this and suggest that they go outside to have him practice with the othert stones before he destories the inn.

Of course, Touya shows impressive display of skills of each stone’s magic.  He has no hassle in using their powers a few steps above the average.  It’s like he’s of the Master Knight class from the stagery RPG Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War – he can use all magic and weaponry.  Expert unlike say Lachesis of Leaf (two Master Knights) who had to work their asses off to get that class, this kid would start off as a Master Knight right from the gate.

After seeing the kid showcasing how much of a Gary Stu he is, I decided to drop the episode right there and then.  I had enough of it.

In Another World With My Smartphone isn’t too terrible, but it’s not great either.  For what it’s worth, this show works well for its target audience and demographic.  It’s a campy, fun show that doesn’t take itself or clichés seriously.   I can see it as a show for somebody who just wants to relax on an easy day with a beer (or juice for the younger folks) and chill out after a long day of work or school. As for people like me outside it’s demographic, I can’t recommend it.

I was really hopeful that this anime would have been different with using modern technology in a fantasy world that still work due ot magic.  That is an amazing concept that I wanan see more in anime, because it’s something I’ve never seen before.  While I did drop the episode, I did manage to peep at the scene where Touya is explaining how to create ice cream with magic thanks in part with his cell phone.  I thought that was cool him showing the resident of his new world how the technology of his former world works.

I must also appreciate the RPG like aesthetics of this show.  It made me felt like I was watching a campy RPG come to life and I personally wouldn’t mind playing a RPG game like this.  The music itself has that classic smartphone RPG vibe with it light orchestral soundtrack playing the scenes.  Granted, I will say it got annoying at certain points.

Sadly, the predictable overpowerness of Touya and him learning magic and weaponery with ease is a huge turn off.  I get that he was blessed by God to have his natural abiblities increased ten folds, but it comes off as cheap and lazy.  However, it seems like Touya will struggle with reading and writing overtime so I guess that’s a fair trade off.

In short,  just skip In Another World With MY Smartphone if you dislike OP’d Gary Stu characters and overly capmy RPG troopes.   It’s not worth wsting your time watching.  If you don’t mind it and just want a warm, upbeat show to watch then I  say watch it.

Score: 6/10

I would give this show a 4.5/10, but it’s that modern day technology in a fantasy world idea is great and I think if done right, it could be sometime exciting to see in future anime series.  Plus

AFTERWORD

I’m tempted to give this show a second chance just based off how relaxing of a show this is.  Also I just saw how the other thug was defeated after writing this.  Dude was knock out by the brawler twin but I’m too lazy to edit that in lol.

 

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Higurashi: The Only “Power of Friendship” Anime I Respect. (Raw and Unedited)

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Higurashi in the only power of friendship anime I respect.

In life, we experience  pain.  Betrayal.  Abuse.   Hopelessness.  Lost. Suffering.  Depression.  Anxiety.  Whatever. The point being is this: life is brutal.    However – the support of (true) family and friends can helps ebb our pain. With their help, we can push forward and grow better day-by-day.

07th Expansion and Studio Deen’s Higurashi no Naku Koro ni show us how the power of friendship  can pull  us up through our darkest Moments.  Moments that make us believe we’re hopeless. Movements  that makes feel that there’s nobody who can understand what we are going through.

This is where the beauty of Higurashi comes in.

 

The main cast (Rena, Shion, Mion, Satoko, Rika, and Keiichi) are suffering from various degrees of pain.  Rena suffered from trauma of bullying and her mother cheating on her father.  Shion is the Sonozaki family’s blacksheep, thus straining her relationship with her love ones.  Satoko…poor Satoko.  Keiichi suffers from the guilt of his past sins.  And Rika with despair and hopelessness.  They all believe that nobody understand htier pain and suffering, until they reached out to their friends at one point in the series.
Example: Keiichi reaches out to Rena whom was suffering from paranoia.  She believed that nobody understood her pain and took it out on her friends.  Keiichi opened his heart to her, allowing her to express her pain to him.   Keep in mind that in a different world of Higurashi (long story), Keiichi murdered Rena – whom he believed was trying to kill him.  Rena in reality was literally reaching out to him, knowing that he was going through the same paranoia that she experienced years prior.

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“Believe…in me.”

“The Power of Friendship” of anime  is so cheesy and Higurashi is one only anime that I’ve personally experienced the troope executed right with realistic themes such as child abuse and mental health.  Higurashi teaches us that we have a support system and that we must never allow ourselves to think that we are suffering alone and that people do not understand what wer’re going through.

 

With that said, I hope you enjoy this very raw, unedited, poor grammar freewrite.   Tell me in the ocmments if you too are a fan of Higurashi and appericate its usage of the power of friendship as a narrative.