Kimi ni Todoke – Review

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The first time I watched Kimi ni TodokeFrom me to you, was actually a few years before I had even started blogging. Recently I revisited this great anime so that I could refresh myself to review it. (Well, that and I just love this anime.)

Before I go into the storyline and such, I want to mention that I love the animation style of this anime. It’s really beautifully drawn, but it also dips into the incredibly humorous chibi style that you’d expect from comedic scenes. There are also enough sparkles in this show to put a diamond-crusted tiara to shame, but they’re used quite properly.

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Kimi ni Todoke follows the story of Kuronuma Sawako, a high school girl who has been misunderstood since middle school because a classmate accidentally called her Sadako (The girl from The Ring) and it stuck due to her resemblance to the horror character. After a chance encounter with an extroverted and popular guy, Kazehaya Shouta, on their way to the entrance ceremonies their first year of high school, he gradually begins to interact with her openly at school. Because of this she starts to be noticed by her classmates, makes friends, and much more.

I will say right away that I absolutely love this anime. If I were to choose one word describe it, it would be “heartwarming. This is a story about a young woman discovering what it means to have true and caring relationships with others. It’s the gradual character growth here that really gets me. There is a great balance of touching highs and heart wrenching lows in this show, and it doesn’t entirely revolve around the romance. Sawako has to grasp what it means to be a friend, have friends, and grows from there. The title really says it all. Sawako is learning to communicate her feelings to the important people in her life. I.E.: “From me to you”. 

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If you are a person that needs instant gratification (kissing and such) from a romance anime, then you may be barking up the wrong tree. This is a story of Sawako first learning to simply be more social and then working her way toward understanding the romantic feelings that grow between her and Shouta. However, don’t let that dissuade you if you love romance. In Kimi ni Todoke the romance is incredibly sweet. There are plenty  of butterfly-inducing romantic moments between Shouta and Sawako! Trust this twenty-six year old woman when she says that some of the scenes had her giddy and sighing happily like the hopeless romantic that she is.

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Kimi ni Todoke had me in every hue of my emotional rainbow. I was hopeful, happy, sad, frustrated, disappointed, giddy, anxious, tense, amused, and entertained. This isn’t a fast-paced hyper dramatic anime by any means, but if you enjoy floating through a wide array of emotions (mostly the happier sort) then you may enjoy this one. I highly recommend it to anyone – especially if you’re wanting to take a break from many of the darker anime’s out there.

Sawako and Shouta are definitely in my top 3 favorite anime couples!

Just look at how adorable they are!

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Alan Rickman, Always.

When I sat down on the couch this morning with my cup of coffee, the last thing that I expected was to hear such saddening news.

Alan Rickman has passed away. My heart dropped. It was so unbelievable to me at first that I spent a lot of time confirming the legitimacy of the news.

Announcing his death on Thursday, a family statement said: The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.

I was stunned and heartbroken instantly. I have always appreciated Alan Rickman’s work even though he became most famous for playing villains.  There was just so much about the way he carried himself in each role that, even if you disliked his character, you developed a certain respect for that character. Then there were other gentler movies like Truly Madly Deeply and Love, Actually where he showed us all how diverse his talent was.

His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was – his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.– Emma Thompson

Alan Rickman’s spectrum of talent was most brilliant, in my opinion, when he took on the role of Professor Severus Snape in all eight of the Harry Potter movies. People familiar with the series know that Severus Snape was a highly complicated man. He was the professor that you loved to hate, until he revealed his true nature beneath the cold sneering exterior. This was a character made for Rickman, and I don’t think that anyone could have brought Professor Snape to life quite like Rickman did.

Truly, his death today has felt as though we’ve lost Professor Snape himself. That is how closely he represented Snape for me. I’m sure he had the same profound effect on a lot of Harry Potter fans.

Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman. You will be missed so very much.

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5 Reasons You Should Be a Potterhead

I’m a twenty-five year old Potterhead. You may or may not know this, but the fact remains. I’m so much of a Potterhead that I reread the series every 3-4 years when I get the itch to. A few days ago, I got that itch and last night I started the first book.

Over the years I’ve spent talking to Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike, I’ve come to realize a few things. For one, people either love it or they don’t want anything to do with it. When I run into folks of the latter variety, I prod. Most responses are, “It’s for kids”, “Too childish”, or they just scoff at it like I should know better, grow up, and move on. (Well, that’s not happening.)

I mention this because my boyfriend was one of those folks. Just the mere mention of the name “Harry Potter” had him shaking his head at me. He thought it was a childish fairy tale of magic, wizards, and unicorns, and that he wouldn’t like it all at. Boy was he wrong.

So we watched (I, rewatched) the Harry Potter movies.  Now, fellow Potterheads, don’t bite my head off. I couldn’t get him to read the books (yet) as he’s a movie buff. The first movie was just a test. When we moved into the second and third, I started to slowly accept that he might actually be enjoying them. Seven movies laters, I had him convinced. He admitted he was wrong and that he actually really liked the story!

Here was someone that dislikes most fantastical things, and he really liked Harry Potter. This made me realize that the impossible is possible, and that there are many wonderful things about this story than just magic and unicorns.

  1. Characters

While the title of this series is, “Harry Potter”, don’t let that fool you into thinking that all you read about is Harry. Harry’s story is at center stage, of course, but his is a story that involves so many characters that you simply can’t and won’t disregard them.

Not only are there many, but they are all of different ages, races, and even species. If you feel as though you won’t be able to relate to the young Harry, you won’t be at a loss. There are as many adult main characters as there are younger ones, and ones in between for that matter. You may very well find that Harry Potter isn’t your favorite character in this series at all!

  1. Story

The story starts out simple, if not magical, enough. As it progresses, however, you are gradually lowered into a story with so much depth and intricacy that your head will be spinning by the end. Harry Potter just doesn’t go off to Hogwarts to learn magic and all is done and well. Trouble is destined to follow him, and it does.

There is certainly never a dull moment, and plenty of high intensity scenes to be found in this story. At the same time, there is a lot of mystery and intrigue. Just as Harry Potter doesn’t understand this new world he’s been thrust into, you don’t either. You learn with him and his closest friends, and it’s that experience that makes you feel as though you are growing with them.

I should also mention that this isn’t the happy-go-lucky story that everyone thinks it is. That seems to be a popular misconception. It doesn’t even particularly start out that way what with a double murder being described in the first few chapters. It isn’t painted with rainbows and glitter, and you’ll find that it progressively gets darker the farther into the series you get.

  1. World

Speaking of depth and intricacy, let’s talk about the world that Harry lives in. The years are 1991-1998, in a world where ordinary non-magical folk (muggles) and magical folk (wizards and witches) live separately. The wizarding world is kept secret from muggles, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t as rich and wonderful as one might imagine it to be. If one is adept at magic, he/she is most likely sent off to a wizarding and witchcraft school. It is here that they learn all there is to know about their world, and it’s not just spells! They learn many different subjects from potions and divination to history and herbology.

After their schooling, they go on to pursue a myriad of occupations available to them. The depth that J.K. Rowling developed when she made this world is no small feat. She left no detail untouched, and it makes it all the more believable.

  1. Love and Loss

If you thought that there couldn’t be anything less sentimental and romantic than the Harry Potter series, think again! This series is full of love and romance in several forms. New love, parental love, first love, friendly love, tragic love; you name it and this series has it! You have so many characters of all different ages all experiencing love in some fashion or another. You have those who’re experiencing it for the first time, and those who’ve been feeling it for decades. There are relationships that develop and end, some that last, and some that you never saw coming!

As for loss, you need only read the first few chapters of the first book to understand that a reoccurring theme within this series is death. It’s not only the precursor to the story, but a part of it as it moves forward. I would definitely suggest that you keep a tissue or two around!

  1. Lessons

I can guarantee that if you read this series, you will end it having felt the important messages left within it. Life and death, power/abuse of power, love, prejudice, freedom, and free choice are deeply entrenched in the whole plot. J.K. Rowling states that she prefers to let themes “grow organically”, rather than sitting down and consciously attempting to impart such ideas to her readers. She doesn’t spell them out for you, but you feel them as you move through the books.

So how about it?

Are you a Potterhead that agrees/disagrees? Were you once apprehensive and now interested?

Please feel free to comment below!

Akatsuki no Yona: Yona of the Dawn – Review

Anime has and will always been on my radar. I’ll admit that I haven’t watched any in a long time, but then I’ve always had a hard time finding anything of quality. Finally, I found one!

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Akatsuki no Yona follows the story of Princess Yona, a sheltered princess raised by her pacifist father within the safe walls of the castle and protected by her bodyguard and childhood friend, Hak. Her second childhood friend, Soo-won, comes to visit for her birthday at the start of it. Yona plans to use this opportunity to reveal her romantic feelings for Soo-Won, but that never comes to pass since Soo-Won betrays her and her family. Hak intervenes, saves Yona, and they escape the castle. After visiting an oracle, Yona is advised to seek out the power of the reincarnated four dragons.

Cliché storyline aside, this anime surprised me! I am very wary of anime where characters go from ignorant to highly skilled in two episodes.  Sure, I found myself annoyed by the naïve nature of the princess at the start of things, but this is a story of self-discovery and identity. You watch this innocent young girl, through the hardships she encounters, grow into a brave woman.

Of course, she doesn’t do this alone. The princess goes on a journey to locate the reincarnations of the four dragons as expected. They each take on guardian type roles, but that doesn’t render her a helpless figure in the show. I guess you can say that’s my favorite aspect of this anime and of the character. I love that she is surrounded by those that wish to protect her, but she is so adamant about being strong herself that you can’t help but admire her.

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As the anime progresses, you are introduced to new characters and their stories.

Warning: You will become attached to many characters.

They each have unique upbringings and pasts, but they are damn endearing. Of course, they all have different personalities and abilities as well. Being the reincarnations of powerful dragons, they are strong fighters.

Yay, fight scenes!

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Fighting aside, there is a lot of relationship development that occurs between each of the guys and Princess Yona. They each have their own connection with her, but you have to know that there is a romantic interest there!  Luckily it isn’t over the top nor is it nonexistent. It’s sweet and their relationship develops slowly just as it should. There’s no magical “Omg, I’m so in love”- Goo-goo eyes after one episode.

Comedy isn’t missing either, mind you! Most of this is the banter between particular characters. The dynamic between all them is more than entertaining.

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Be prepared to want and need a Season 2 after this first one, however.  I very much appreciate the time they take to let you get to know the characters, their pasts, and their journey both physical and emotional, but it does take time; a whole season’s worth.

I hope that this anime does go over well in Japan since that’s usually the deciding factor in additional seasons. Until then, I recommend that you check this anime out and see if you like it for yourself!

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Sense8 – A Netflix Original Series: Review

There a few new shows that I watched during my unemployment period, and Sense8 was easily the most fascinating of them all.

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Sense8 is about a science fiction (woot!) drama about eight strangers from different parts of the world that suddenly become mentally and emotionally linked to each other. This is referred to them as being “reborn” as Sensates, or rather humans with more access and control over the regions of our brains that are normally dormant. This gives them the ability to sense one another emotionally and mentally; making them able to communicate telepathically, sense, and use each other’s language and overall knowledge.

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C’mon, isn’t that coolest shit ever?

I have to admit one little fact. I started and finished this series in one day. That’s right. I spent the whole day watching this show on Netflix. And it easily could’ve been because of Netflix’s nasty little habit of just starting up the next episode, but it wasn’t. I was hooked. I was so fascinated by the concept of this show.

So these eight strangers are all vastly different. It’s not just that they live on various corners of the world, but they all come from different cultures, backgrounds, and have greatly contrasting personalities. Take eight different personalities and connect them and you have one dynamic linked group.

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On top of being able to access each other’s knowledge, the characters of this story slowly but surely learn from each other and their differences.They are able to see life’s troubles and lessons from a completely different perspective through their link. Certain characters become closer than others, but in the end they all help each other in some form or fashion. Imagine having a family that was readily accessible for help mentally, emotionally, or physically no matter where they were. That’s right, people. They are able to put their consciousness into each others bodies and take control temporarily to help one another. Some of my favorite scenes are those where they “jump” bodies. Greatness.

The plot of this show dips into a lot of sensitive issues like politics, identity, religion, sexuality, gender, and religion that are either left on the back burner by most science fiction shows or not present at all. I have to give them props for that. Not only is it balls-y, but it really allows the viewer to connect with one if not more than one of the eight main characters. It makes them all incredibly relatable. They’re not perfect. They struggle with a lot of the same things that a lot us do.

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Now you may be thinking that eight main characters is too many. How could you smoothly switch from one to another especially when they live in different parts of the world? I guess that’s where this mental link comes into play. It really does feel as though they shift from point of views rather seamlessly because they’re linked. You don’t ever feel as though one is getting more attention than the others.

I should also mention that while this show is a drama, it contains a little bit of every genre. Again, I believe we have the differences in the characters to thank for this. We have drama, action, adventure, romance, suspense, and even kung fu. It really has something for everyone!

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I would definitely recommend that everyone give this show a chance. I will say that the first episode or two runs a little slow. They’re the introductory episodes, and they put more emphasis on their awakening mental capabilities. However, after that it does pick up. You get more fast paced scenes the further you get, and everything gets pretty intense toward the finale.

So go watch Sense8! Seriously. If you don’t like it, then I give you every right to come back and complain. If you do like, come back and tell me why. I’d love to hear other opinions on this show since I have yet to meet anyone who has watched it!

I realize that not everyone has an entire day to watch an entire series. Don’t be a bum like me. 😉

PS: Sense8 has some pretty graphic scenes (nudity, sex, violence, blood, hooray!) so I wouldn’t watch it with young folk around!

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Golden Age of Geekdom

What does it mean to be a geek in 2015?

The first thing that comes to mind is how differently people view geeks. When I was growing up, the terms “geek” and “nerd” still carried negative connotations. This is probably because games that were not physical were considered geeky or nerdy. (Both terms were used interchangeably when I was young.) To be accepted, you were physically active in sports. Playing table top games or even video games were still viewed in a negative light.

Being a geek in 2015 is now a common thing, and honestly, I’m ok with that.

Let me explain. I enjoy that my favorite things are a common sight in stores. I get to easily buy more of what I like. I also love that I run into more geeks in my everyday life since they are no longer ashamed for being the way they are. We don’t have to hide our geekiness in this day and age, and that’s a great thing.

Generations of geeks who were shamed are now grown and no longer afraid to show their true colors. In turn, they’ve taught younger geeks that it’s ok to be who they are. Basically we have generations of geeks that are no longer embarrassed to be geeks! Why should we be upset about that?

In no way do I mean that I’m ok with people pretending to be geeks in order to fit in.  There have always been people who lie to fit in. Even when I was young, people would do things out of their nature to be accepted. Today, that still happens. We have young people who want to fit in and being a geek is now one of those ways.

I will say, however, that a newbie may seem like a pretender. We may assume that because the person is unfamiliar with “X” subject that they’re a fake. This isn’t true, people! It may be that the person is simply new to that fandom, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll be the first to admit that while I am a fan of Ironman, I’m not super knowledgeable on the character. That doesn’t make me any less of a geek or fan.

In 2015, we can be loud and proud that we’re geeks. We are sitting smack dab in the middle of a golden age for geeks. Yes, I went there!  The geeks of the past have grown out of being timid and so younger generations feel like they can be themselves. We’re in a time where we can turn on the TV and watch shows on comic book heroes, step into any department stores and walk out with geeky clothes, and wear glasses without being called four-eyes! Instead of worrying about who is or isn’t a geek or that anyone can be a geek (What a nightmare! <insert eye-roll>), we should be celebrating!

So while other geeks may be getting all worked up, I’ll be over here enjoying the fact that I get to live in this golden age!