[OWLS Blog Tour]: Owning Your Weakness

Hey hey fellow ani-bloggers! It’s Archi-Anime’s turn for the May tour stop on the OWLS blog tour. Just a friendly reminded that OWLS: Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group that hopes to spread the important message of respect and kindness to every human being. Our monthly blog tours that reflect this message of tolerance and self-acceptance, through various analysis of the anime medium; although it is not limited to anime.white-background-2

This month’s topic is Strength:

“Your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength.”

In anime, characters struggle with inner demons or physical weaknesses that make them feel insecure and prevent them from achieving goals. Yet when these characters overcome their adversity, they can finally be able to express who they are or in other words, “Free to be Me.”

For this tour, we will be exploring anime characters that have overcome adversity due to a personal insecurity or physical weakness. It is these type of characters that many anime fans may identify as role models because fans are able to feel empathetic towards these characters’ struggles and insecurities.

This prompt immediately made me think of the anime Kuroko no Basket. The keyword “strength” shows up in the anime on both the Macro-level (overarching story) and the Micro-level (individuals) of the anime. I want to look at what strength means for the main protagonist of the story: Kuroko, Tetsuya.

I AM THE SHADOW THAT HAS OVERCOME THE LIGHT

In any given sport there are several types of people. Those born with the God-given natural talent that allows them to succeed in it; and those that are not so well-equipped or coordinated for the sport. But, when you find a sport you love and can be passionate about, it’s only natural that you would have to hone and cultivate a craft that will allow you to join the ranks of those with talent because of your love of the game.  Kuroko is the latter; he’s the worst basketball player there is and on top of that he lacks presence. No amount of practice has allowed Kuroko improvement for the sport he loves so much; yet he plays it and trains his heart out. So, why would Kiseki no Sedai (The Generation of Miracles), a team of basketball prodigies, acknowledge him as their equal and as their sixth man?

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Kuroko is weak in both physical strength and in his physical presence. But instead of letting that be a hinderance he uses it to his advantage. With the guidance of the Teiko captain Akashi, Kuroko develops his own style of basketball that allows this weak presence to become a tool in helping his team win.  Kuroko’s style is known as “misdirection.” Misdirection is a technique that fools the opponent’s senses.  He pushes the opponents to focus their attention to someone else and then steps in unexpectedly. He uses his already weak presence and further suppresses his emotions on court to fool his opponents. By implementing misdirection, his opponent can’t see him, thus making it much easier to steal the ball and freely send it to teammates to make a scoring play.

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This is a perfect example of one’s greatest weakness becoming one’s greatest strength. Due to the impact of misdirection, it’s hard to find Kuroko on court and stop him from helping his teammates score. Kuroko is known to be the shadow of his team. He plays best when there’s a really strong Ace on the team; but as time goes on he starts to step out of the shadow role and into the light. As stated, misdirection comes with coordinating between teammates. Basketball is not a game that can be played alone; but not all players will believe in something like “team play”.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

The original members of the Generation of Miracles all at one point believed in team play, but as their talents grew the more they drifted into playing for themselves eventually competing with one another instead of the opponent. They started to believe that if you had to depend on your teammates then you were weak.  As prodigies they strive for one goal only: win. There’s no sense of camaraderie or trust in one another, which goes against everything Kuroko loves about basketball.

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The slogan “Strength in Numbers” is a theme for the Golden State Warriors. The idea of this slogan was to not rely on their star players, they relied on the depth of their roster which allows players to rotate in and out of the game more frequently and fluidly without breaking any rhythm in the game. It maybe be a real life NBA slogan; but it heavily applies to the principles that Seirin believes in. The warriors adapted a family-style type of environment; even incorporating dining together to create a bond within the team. It’s the atmosphere of support that really carries the phrase “Strength in Numbers”. If you can trust your teammates and believe in them the numbers will literally speak for themselves.

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Throughout the series, Seirin’s team is constantly underestimated because of their lack of a star player. They rely mostly on team play and coordination especially with Kuroko’s assistance. Even before Kuroko, Seirin was somewhat popular and successful in making it into the finals with a really good duo. Again an emphasis on a duo versus a singular player. They’re made fun of for having fighting spirit but not fully being on par with other school’s overwhelming talent. They’re looked upon as weak because they rely on one another.

Seirin may not have a lot of players on the bench; but throughout the course of the series you can really see that the team works together on improvement, on what they can do for the team not what they can do for themselves. But above all that, they never lose sight of their trust in one another, which inevitably allows them to consistently win their games.

The thought that relying on your teammates is weak slowly becomes a dwindling phrase that carries no weight. Eventually other teams acknowledge the true power of teamwork as exhibited via Seirin; and start adapting their own styles of coordination. This erases the idea of the team being weak and that there really is strength in numbers.

If we give our best in something we love, we’ll enjoy the victories from the bottom of our hearts. – Kuroko

In the end, Kuroko took both the things that were considered weak about him: his lack of physical presence and his ideals of playing as a team and turned those into strengths that people acknowledged and admired. He never gave up in trying to convince the rest of the Generation of Miracles that they were wrong to think that playing as a team and depending on others was weak. In the end his hard work and dedication really did pay off. Even though the Generation of Miracles had already acknowledged his talents before; they had a newfound respect for him after they were proven wrong.

Kagami is also known to say, “There’s no such thing as useless effort”. Even if you’re weak, even if you try your hardest you will always produce results. Kuroko never stopped believing. He accepted his weakness and instead of rejecting it or working to overcome it; he embraced it and went to greater lengths in crafting his weakness into his strength. Instead of staying the support shadow that he was originally intended to and became a light in his own right.


Well, that just about wraps up my tour! Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave any in the comments!

There are quite a few more posts coming up left from the rest of the OWLS members. Please be on the lookout for Steph (TwoHappyCat’s) post this Friday.

And check out these previous posts from other OWLS members from last week:

Crimson’s SHIROTANI’S MENTAL FORTITUDE AND HELPING HAND (IT’S OK TO NEED HELP SOMETIMES)

Kat’s Finding The Strength to Move Forward

Also, if you haven’t don’t forget to follow us on facebook as well as our twitter @OWLSbloggers and our official blog.  And if you’re interested in becoming an OWLS member, you can contact us here.

[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 7 |Now’s the Time

note: a HUGE thank you to weekendotaku has been helping me a great deal by participating and creating these banners!

Also, I’m a day behind on the series! I have to apologize a bit for that; I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted lately and just absolutely had no energy for anything blog related yesterday. 😦


Kaoru has started avoiding Sen ever since the incident at the beach and has been volunteered by his classmates to be on the executive committee of the school festival alongside Ri-chan. Sen’s joined up as a drummer for “The Olympus” for the festival, but the day of the performance ends up a disaster which Kaoru sucks it up and comes in to save the day. 

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The episode opens up with Kaoru walking up the slope again like in the first episode; signifying he’s starting back at square one struggling with his isolation. Ri-chan tries to rectify the awkward situation but Kaoru is bent on keeping his distance, but that doesn’t go as planned.

ep7_sen_yurika.pngSentaro trying to make a move on Yurika after maybe a slight hint of who she’s really into after seeing what record she picks up seems like an act of desperation or an act of frustration? He ends up hitting Jun for getting in the way as it’s pretty clear something has probably happened between them for Yurika to run off crying.  Big Brother Jun is back and in pretty bad shape.

Ah, the last half..of this episode. This scene is what drew me into watch this series to begin with. The clip showcased this medley alone with no context; and the performance was so amazing that I just HAD to watch this show. I absolutely LOVED this half, and is probably my favorite episode so far.

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After realizing his mistake Kaoru decides to save the day by playing some piano after hearing Sen say, “I’m keeping my important partner waiting.” I couldn’t help but go “aww” and that scene of Kaoru finding a letter in the mailbox upon hearing that was really heartwarming. He comes out to bring the crowd back with piano, choosing the last song they played together in hopes Sen will respond with his drumming. It’s clear that the two of them are not the best communicators verbally, but through jazz where it almost sounds like a conversation between people you can really tell they’re reconnecting with one another again.

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Kaoru says, “Can we get it all back?”, a key moment at the beginning of their duet medley as this is the first conversation with one another since the fight. They can both express their feelings, and frustrations with their music. It was the best way for these two to make-up. I also couldn’t help but notice that Ri-chan’s having flashbacks of the songs that Kaoru plays because the songs he’s choosing to play in this medley are also the songs he used to express his feelings for Ri-chan. The duo’s performance practically moves her to tears, while leaving the entire audience stunned and speechless. Ah, I can’t get over this scene!!!

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After the end of the performance, Sen goes for a high-five but ends up grabbing Kaoru’s hand and dragging him out of school and down the slope. Kaoru remarks that he feels that he’s been born again and that he feels light on his feet. Is this the feeling that Sen feels when he runs down that slope? The feeling and the sight that Kaoru wishes to see from Sen’s eyes? Their relationship is so great. Unspoken words between friends with a mutual understanding of just how the other one feels. Seriously, probably one of the best bromances I’ve come to witness! That’s coming a lot from someone that’s obsessed with the sports genre and the bromances that definitely arise from there. I’m really glad that these two made up!!

Can I just point out another observation that I’ve made about these two! I’m almost gushing about this bromance; but you can’t help but notice that these two have changed one another for the better! First we have Kaoru, the new kid that everyone thinks is a little too serious and unapproachable. But, after clearing the air for Ri-chan when they tease her about the status of their relationship, they realize their initial impression of Kaoru is wrong, that’s he actually kind and soft-spoken. Usually the amount of attention he garners makes him nauseous; but surprisingly he’s not; could this be due to the friendship’s he’s cultivated with Sen and Ri-chan. They’ve helped him adjust tremendously and have also drawn him out of his shell quite a bit.  But the same could be said about Sen; the school bully. No one really knows what he’s up to and he’s huge delinquent at school. But after Sen stands up for Seiji against third years Maruo makes a comment about how nice Sen actually is; another misconception the classmates have. These two were labeled by their classmates without really having the chance to really get to know them. They were so intent on staying isolated because of their past experiences that they just accepted that they would always be the outsiders. That final scene of them running down the slope with the world turning more colorful. I can’t help but reminisce about one of Your Lie in April‘s theme of one’s world taking on color and sparkling. I know, I know, it’s referring to falling in love. But looking back at what Tsubaki said in the opening episode, ““The moment I met [her], my life changed. Everything I saw, heard and felt. All the scenery around me started to take on color. The whole world began to sparkle.” She didn’t say it was about love, but it is implied given the story, but….can’t that be said about the special people that touch our lives that aren’t love interests? I brought this up with my “brother” (quotes because he’s really not related to me; but he’s my best guy friend that’s like my bro.) and he’s been watching a long with me as well, and we have discussions about Sen and Kaoru. Since he’s also a huge YLiA fan, he knew what I was referring to. So when I asked if the same thing could be said about Kaoru and Sen, he responded with, “A relationship that transcends the boundaries of romance and genuine admiration. It’s also a mutual partnership that’s not easily defined. It’s easy to box their relationship into a category, but that’s just surface work. Can one have genuine admiration and desire for someone else in the absence of any romantic attraction?” I would have to agree, I think anyone that could have significant impact on us can make our whole world sparkle. That’s indeed how I feel about my bestie who is my total opposite, and how I feel about my “bro”. I may be on entirely off on a tangent, but I wanted to get those thoughts out there….lol.

I can’t stop watching the Medley so, I’m including the clip that originally hooked me into this anime!

 


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

[Take Two!] April 30 – May 6


Hey guys! Welcome back to this week’s Take Two! In case you’re new around here, this post essentially recaps last week’s posts among other gems found over the week onto one page!

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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I seriously need to get more content out. LOL I’ve been sucked into the world of gaming the last few weeks! But here’s my round-up of posts:

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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I’m going to do something a bit different here. I won’t just link anime related posts. I’m opening this up to gaming, architecture, art, anything I’ve found worthwhile on the internet!

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News


OWLS POSTS:

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We are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. We emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being.

Our April tour looked at the theme of “Strength”The prompt is as follows:

“Your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength.”

In anime, characters struggle with inner demons or physical weaknesses that make them feel insecure and prevent them from achieving goals. Yet when these characters overcome their adversity, they can finally be able to express who they are or in other words, “Free to be Me.”

For this tour, we will be exploring anime characters that have overcome adversity due to a personal insecurity or physical weakness. It is these type of characters that many anime fans may identify as role models because fans are able to feel empathetic towards these characters’ struggles and insecurities.

Last week’s posts featured:

And if you’re interested in joining us OWLS don’t hesitate to reach out and talk us via Twitter, Facebook, or the OWLS blog contact form, and check out our blog tour wrap up sessions over at YouTube.

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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NENDOROID NEWS:

This section needs a bit of a facelift, but I’ll get around to it at some point. But so far! These are the releases for this week:

You can pre-order them either on goodsmile or otakumode.

These just released the last week, so I think there’s about a month left for pre-orders before they close! So if they are of any interest to you I suggest you get them while you can! 😀

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News

Top of Page


That just about covers my Take Two topics and other related news this week! Thanks for reading! Have you seen other posts, pieces of news that I’d be interested? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂 And as always, thanks for reading!

[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 6 | You Don’t Know What Love Is

note: a HUGE thank you to weekendotaku has been helping me a great deal by participating and creating these banners!

ALSO, we’re half way through the series!!


A new school year is upon our trio, and for the first time Sen is separated into another class without friends. Kaoru is still trying to keep his composure in front of Ri-chan but ends up fumbling things up between him and Sen instead; what will happen between the two?

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Ah, I can’t even begin to express how beautiful the spring season is depicted. Which also causes me to wonder, with a new spring, can a new love start to bloom? Ri-chan has been pretty observant of Kaoru who is trying his hardest to keep his feelings in check, even offering up time alone between the two childhood friends. As hard as he is trying to keep things somewhat normal I cant help but notice that Ri-chan is starting to look Kaoru’s way. Is it because she’s still worried after the rejection she gave? Or is it possible she could see him in a new light?

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Kaoru’s a bit harsh when it comes to telling Sen to not go out with Yurika in hopes to spare him some heartbreak since her heart belongs to someone else. With the topic of Jun having been brought up on that date and him having been the sole thing they talk about; he realizes the date has gone bad. I wonder if Sen realizes it went bad because HE himself talked about Jun too much, or if he’s starting to realize that because of her piqued interest in Jun that he’d see that she’s more interested in him.  Unfortunately, I think Sen would be too dense to see the latter since he doesn’t even realize his childhood bestie is in love with him.

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The beach scene trigged a memory I hadn’t thought about and some feelings that I’m currently dealing with.  But, I know exactly how Kaoru felt when he started having those fears creep up inside him as he saw Seiji and Sen become friends. He felt like he was an outsider, slowly being replaced by this new kid and that he was being isolated in such a big group. I started tearing up as Kaoru ran away and told himself that he’s scared of being separated from Sen and that he was better off alone anyways. That sense of insecurity is something that really cut me deep. I’ve cut ties with people in fear of that inevitable situation a lot over the years to spare myself pain. However, while Kaoru knows his problem is rooted from moving around and being disappointed by empty promises; I’m not sure where my fear of abandonment comes from. You would think that I wouldn’t have issues with being alone considering I’m an only child; but I’ve always tended to keep people at arm’s length and really guard myself. Trying to cope and deal with it is a struggle, but it hasn’t gotten to bad to the point I completely shut people out; to be honest I think the blog and the friends I’ve made through this have somewhat helped me with those negative feelings.

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Gah, Kaoru, you triggered me immensely in this episode, and now I’m being really melancholy and contemplative about things. I wasn’t ready for a show to such a chord within me. Okay, I appologize for going off on such a randomly personal downer  of a tangent, but I really felt the connection to this and had to share.

I don’t like this new Seiji kid, I think he’s up to no good. Like Kaoru I just get a bad feeling about him.

This week’s episode features the song “You Don’t Know What Love Is”. Listening to the lyric’s I can feel it’s ties to this episode. Despite the comedic elements there were a lot of somber moments. Ri-chan’s reaction to Sen asking her to the beach to help with the kids. Sen’s feeling of the bad date with Yurika, and Kaoru’s recurring heartbreak the more he spends time with Ri-chan.


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

Sweets are Justice: Atsushi Murasakibara

Guys, I have a confession to make. *gasp* I don’t have a list for this week’s theme of “purple hair”. I know there are probably a lot of guys with purple hair; but I’ve probably yet to see that particular show much to my dismay *sigh* I had someone else other than Murasakibara in mind, but…although he has purple hair, I acknowledge him for more than just his hair! I’m sure today’s feature comes as no surprise to you; because..sports.

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Atsushi Murasakibara is one of the 5 Generation of Miracles (Kiseki no Sedai) from the anime Kuroko no Basket. Murasakibara is an interesting character; he doesn’t rank super high on my KnB list; but he has quite a few characteristics that I can definitely relate to.

Big Kid at Heart

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Atsushi gives a whole new meaning to the term “big kid at heart”. The childlike personality he embraces is the my favorite thing about him. The childlike qualities that he possess are there for comedic effect He literally acts like a kid when he’s provoked with taunting; he retorts back as a kid!  See Exhibit A below (I’m having it start at the scene in question). On the other hand, he often relies on others to make decisions. Is it due to his lazy personality? Probably.

Don’t Poke the Bear!

I’m very much like Atsushi in terms of being really mellow; and usually let things go right away. This is another trait of Murasakibara that (kind of ) appealed to me. Much like Murasakibara, I’m bound to let things go and be non-confrontational. It really takes a lot for someone to do something to really irritate me and get me to react. However, the slight difference is that Murasakibara is shown to be uninterested in basketball, and bored with it most of the time, even if the opponent is good he hates people that get fired up.  He only got fired up about the game is when he realized he could possibly lose.

Major Sweet Tooth

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Whenever Murasakibara is seen on screen he’s got numerous snacks with him. He’s a huge snack fiend! The only time you won’t see him eating something is when he’s playing basketball. With that being said, I LOVE SWEETS! Ice Cream, Cake, Cookies, Candy galore! Muahaha!!! This is the biggest thing I have in common him because I am a sucker for sweets. Ice cream and cake are the usual favorites while Murasakibara loves his chips and Maibou.

That just about wraps up this week’s MCM and as Murasakibara’s motto goes: “Sweets are Justice”, so grab your favorite snack and eat away your Monday Blues!


Who would be your  choice for best male with purple hair? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

[ED]: “Trust Me”|Sunday Salutations

Good afternoon! I’m back with another ED for you guys! And I think I’m going to call these check-in “Sunday Salutaions” for the time being…sounds a lot cooler than “weekly check-in”…..

This week I’m going back to an anime I really enjoyed but have yet to finish follow-up seasons.  I started Durarara when season 1 was on Netflix and when Season 2 was finally released, it was only available Dubbed. I don’t really have anything against Dubbed, it’s just I had already started the season in it’s subbed form…but anyways! I love all the characters in Durarara the storyline is really interested and love the fact they’re all intertwined and overlap with one another despite the randomness of some of the characters. I also really liked the show because Ikebukero was basically my stomping grounds when I lived in Tokyo!

Title: “Trust Me” | Artist: Yuya Matsushita | Show: Durarara!!

The weeks seem to be passing faster and faster. Where has the time gone for 2017?? Last week flew by before I knew it.  I’ve been pretty productive at work (for the most part) since I started carpooling with my co-worker. She’d been driving me around off and on because I was car-less for awhile. Although I was able to use my parents car, she has constantly insisted that she drive me around since I was on the way; we even started making time to grab coffee at 85 degrees before we head off to work. Unfortunately the first day I drove solo in weeks I was almost late. Why, you ask? Because my co-worker left for her Bachelorette party in Hawaii, so I had no carpool to keep me accountable – that sounds horrible I know. The weekend was a bit busy; I made some time to spend some quality time with my Mom on Saturday and helped clean up the living room of the house – I’ve been assigned to clean the living room once a week (it’s a huge space though; it’s a daunting task) and we’re cleaning up the yard today. Our “summer” kick-off party is coming relatively fast. May marks my Aunt’s birthday month, and she’s huge on throwing parties especially big parties in our backyard. I call it our “summer” parties, even though my Mom doesn’t quite buy it, because we basically have a ton of parties from her birthday all the way till the end of summer. June marks her husbands birthday, July is my birthday month, and August is a huge birthday month for family as well! She’s semi-convinced since I said we essentially have 1 party a month till we can no longer host outdoor events.

Oops, I rambled a bit…but…I digress. How was everyone’s week? Did you have any big deadlines at work? Or exciting plans for the weekend? Read anything interesting? I seriously love these check-ins to see how all of you guys are doing! 🙂

[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 5 | Lullabies of Birdland

note: a HUGE thank you to weekendotaku has been helping me a great deal by participating and creating these banners!


Things are awkward for Kaoru and Ritsuko and Sentaro tries to help mediate the situation after accidentally eavesdropping in on their conversation. Kaoru’s Dad is back and delivers some unexpected news about his Mother. The duo head to Tokyo to see his mom and try to meet up with Jun Oni-chan; what awaits them there?

So this post’s flow of discussion is not in sequence of the scenes; but an overall look of what happens throughout the episode because there’s a lot of references to tie each other to.

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Kaoru can’t seem to concentrate with things being awkward between Ritsuko and he. He decides he can no longer go to back to the record shop after she gives him her answer due to heartbreak. Kaoru had made so much progress stepping out of his shell; but this blow has caused him to retreat along with shutting out Sentaro and Ritsuko in the process. I also thought that in a previous episode, that Kaoru had resolved to stand by his feelings despite Ri-chan’s answer since he knew her feelings resided elsewhere, so I was a little taken aback by his retreat; but my memory could be wrong. Also, even though Ri-chan had to tell Kaoru the truth of her own feelings, she feels really bad that she may have just caused a rift in everyone’s relationship to Kaoru overall and is actually really worried for Kaoru overall afterwards. I love that Sentaro really tries to get Karou to get out of his slump. Despite Kaoru’s gloominess he really does view him as a really good friend and like any friend would they try to get you out of your slump and cheer you up. Sentaro isn’t really pushing Kaoru 100% and isn’t really trying to drag him along like he usually does. I think he has the sensibility to know that sometimes there are things that need a bit more finesse. I seriously thought Sentaro was going to hear that Ri-chan was in love with him; but I also think he’s genuinely concerned that Ri-chan is really torn up by what’s going on with Kaoru.

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The trip to Tokyo was a bit emotional for me. I didn’t expect my emotions to be pulled out with the reunion of Kaoru and his Mom. I didn’t expect the mom to be so forthcoming in seeing her son again; I was under the impression that she abandoned him and never looked back. Again another similarity between Kaoru and Sentaro; Sentaro pushes Kaoru to see his mother since the opportunity has arisen. I’m sure if he had the chance he would without a doubt take it, that’s Sentaro’s type of personality.  I feel like there’s something missing in the story of Kaoru’s parents; and I really hope this somehow gets resolved in later episodes. I had hoped that he would ask her why she left but the topic never came up. I teared up when the mom was crying over their shared meal as well as the goodbye at the train track. However, I’m curious about the reaction that both Sentaro and Kaoru had when they found his Mother’s place of work. Kaoru looked highly embarassed by it. Was it a like a burlesque show type? A seedy bar?

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As for Jun being missing for over a month, and the letters from Yurika that Kaoru painfully tries to hide from Sentaro is an interesting turn of events. The dorm mate suggests that he’s in hiding after getting into some altercation or that he could just be shacking up with some girl. I think the latter half of the statement may ring some truth to it; but I have a bit of a theory so just hear me out. As we all know the attraction between Yurika and Jun was there from the moment they met; however I get the feeling I may have been wrong in my previous post when I said that the attraction between Yurika and Jun was mutual. In the basement of the jazz store, Yurika and Jun have a short conversation about his parents store and her having shopped there for awhile. He makes a comment, “The coincidences keep coming…even the names are similar.” Maybe his attraction to Yurika isn’t because of who she is but because she reminds him of someone he used to love perhaps? I don’t know, that’s the feeling I get. What do you guys think?

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This scene was indeed my favorite of this episode; because I said something similar in my previous post about the friendship between Sentaro and Kaoru to be more compelling than their love interests! And I wholeheartedly agree with the statement in the scene. To find friends you can truly be silly and goofy with are so rare to find; especially the ones that you can really let your guard down with little regard to what they make think because really they just accept you for who you are no matter what.

We found out that Kaoru’s Mom used to sing while the Dad would play piano. It seems like music was what brought the two of them together; but unfortunate that Kaoru has no recollection of such a happy memory. When he left, he said he’d promise to visit again and gave her a record to learn to sing to. I thought it was very sweet and endearing that he wants to re-live that memory his mom seemed to cherish and create a new one in which he would play and she would sing.

The jazz song featured in this episode is “Lullaby to Birdland”. It’s considered a jazz standard. I’m curious as to why Kaoru chose this particular song to share with his Mom.


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 4 | But Not for Me

note: weekendotaku has been helping me a great deal by participating and helping me out with these banners!


Jun invites Kaoru and Sen to play an actual gig for Christmas; which also happens to be Sen’s birthday. Kaoru runs into Ri-chan while shopping for a gift and end up purchasing a joint one. Due to an unexpected turn of events, Kaoru ends up lashing out at Sentaro out of jealousy; which causes Sentaro to open up about his past. 

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Picking up from where we last left off in Episode 3, Kaoru’s expressed his interest in Ri-chan with no response just yet. This appears to have a slight effect on Kaoru’s performance as he seems to not be able to play the piano as freely during their jazz sessions.

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Okay, this might be my second favorite scene in this episode. Still the new kid at school, and quite the opposite of Sen, the classmates see the duo as an oddity as they wonder what kind of person Kaoru really is if he’s able to hang out with Sen and also be the one to tease and make fun of the latter which no one would dare to do. They probably think he could be a bigger bully than Sen himself.

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Kaoru learns of Sen’s birthday and decides to buy him a pair of drumsticks. You know I’m curious what drove Kaoru to make a move on Ri-chan so suddenly, I feel like it’s still a mystery how much Kaoru is drawn to her. Is it her friendliness? The fact that she was the first person to approach him at school on his first day? I’m curious to see what it is about her that has him feel so compelled! After the incident he encounters Sen, and my insight from previous episode of jealousy comes to a head when Kaoru lashes out at Sen for having the family environment he could only dream of.

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Kaoru’s outburst forces Sen to share his past, because despite what Kaoru thinks, Sen’s life was also filled with the same loneliness and feeling of being an outsider and being cast aside. This leads to my favorite scene so far the image of them playing at the organ like two kids. Both struggled with the loss of their mother abandoning them and their Father’s trying to cope with the reality of having to raise their kid on their own; eventually leaving them in the care of others to lead their own lives. They’re two people cut from the same cloth. Them playing the organ as children is impactful as it signifies the loneliness they both experienced, and realizing they’re not alone. I think this starts to solidify their friendship a little bit more.

And lastly, the gig. Ah, what a fun little interaction although it was cut short because of a drunkard and Sen losing his cool. Kaoru and Sen again show us that the music they play is expressive of their emotions. Sen is timid because Yurika has shown up, so he’s not his usual boisterous self. Kaoru notices it right away, and decided the best course of action is to rouse Sentaro’s playfulness but taking the lead. Him taking the lead catches everyone in the room off guard except for Sen. He acknowledges the challenge and decides to up the ante.

“Sometimes life is like jazz and goes in an unexpected direction”

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That’s all that needs to be said about this final scene in a nutshell. Another twist in this story. I have to admit I am liking the parallel of jazz music to the story. I don’t remember when it occurred to me..but I had thought about the idea that because jazz doesn’t have structure and can be played however one wants to play it, that there would be a lot of unexpected things happening in the storyline. So far a lot has happened that caught me off guard. I’m so curious what happens now! Yurika had the same “love at first sight” that Sen had; but for Jun. It’s an interesting chain of who is looking at who:

Kaoru -> Ritsuko -> Sentaro -> Yurika <–> Jun

With the last two being the only ones to show a reciprocated interest so far. All the relationships are getting a bit more complicated!

But, if I were to be completely honest. The blossoming friendship between Kaoru and Sentaro is much more compelling to me than the pursuit of their romantic interests.  But who knows, this thought could change as I continue to watch; but so far the bromance that’s happening is certainly the most heartwarming and charming part of the story. As I said earlier they are both similar yet different: while Sen had expressed his loneliness outwardly by fighting also through his eccentric drumming; Kaoru internalized his loneliness and used classical piano and what seems to be more somber melancholy songs as his way to express it.

Gotta admit, I really enjoyed Jun’s rendition of “But Not for Me”. I didn’t anticipate him to be a crooner!


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

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[Kids on the Slope]: Episode 3 | Someday My Prince Will Come

note: weekendotaku has been helping me a great deal by participating and helping me out with these banners. I’m forever grateful!


Sentaro is feeling love for the first time and Kaoru sees it as a chance for him to get closer to Ritsuko. He plans a group date for the four of them but; Sentaro complicates the situation, which puts Kaoru in a bit of a bind the rest of the episode.

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The first thing that I notice is Sentaro and his family. Sentaro is not as well off as Kaoru is judging by the appearance of his house. The shoji screens are ripped and the furniture is beyond well worn if not a bit beat up. On top of that Sentaro has a lot of siblings. I can’t help but notice the look on Kaoru’s face as he watches on, with a slight reflection of Sentaro and his siblings bouncing off his glasses. My initial thought is that Kaoru feels a sense of loneliness; he doesn’t have siblings, much less family he can really depend on and be close to the way Sentaro is with his own mom and siblings. Despite not having much the family is happy. The total opposite of Kaoru’s present state; who still somewhat struggles to find a place for himself on top of being able to express his true personality. I think Sentaro may very well embody the things that Kaoru wishes to project himself, but is still unsure if it’s okay to express himself the way that Sentaro does.

So that was an unexpected turn of events. I was under the impression Sentaro was being the protective older brother that might’ve been in love with Ritsuko, but gosh I can officially say that I got that totally wrong. Ritsuko may be the doting sister type to care for the unruly childhood friend. She’s never once had to confront those feelings since Sentaro has always been closed off to others and never let anyone in; until Kaoru came along. Despite her connection to Sentaro being threatened with Yurika she stows away her feelings and pretends that absolutely nothing is wrong. Although Kaoru notices this; he can’t help but feel guilty for having to put Ritsuko through all this because he was acting selfishly, even though he may have slightly knew that she felt something for someone; there was a bit of a hint in episode 2; Jun and Sentaro ascended the stairs of the basement and she watched the both of them leave, Kaoru wondered which of the two she was looking at.

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Can I just say I really loved the make-up duet between Kaoru and Sentaro after their spat over the handkerchief? These two already are so in sync with one another’s play style; my favorite part was when Kaoru started to play and told Sentaro “Don’t just join in!” and the latter just says “I wasn’t joining in anything.” Sometimes in order to make-up, words don’t need to be exchanged to get overcome differences. These two seem to do well communicating to one another through music, and I really enjoy that aspect. I really love seeing Kaoru have so much fun playing jazz when he’s usually so straight-laced outside of that basement.

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This episode featured a beautiful rendition of Bill Evans’ “Someday My Prince Will Come” by Kaoru. I was sitting there wishing and hoping that Ritsuko’s face would light up as she listened to it, but she was so stone-faced through it that I realized she was completely missing the point of Kaoru’s performace when she assumed that she was just playing the part of a stand-in. I didn’t expect him to be so forthright with his own feelings to her, he’s built up a ton of confidence these last few “weeks” it’s kind of intense!

By the way, I really don’t know what to think or say about that scene of Yurika and Sentaro in the art room. Is she painting Senataro half naked?


What did you guys think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

[Take Two!] April 23-29


Hey guys! Welcome back to this week’s Take Two! In case you’re new around here, this post essentially recaps last week’s posts among other gems found over the week onto one page!

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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I seriously need to get more content out. LOL I’ve been sucked into the world of gaming the last few weeks! But here’s my round-up of posts:

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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I’m going to do something a bit different here. I won’t just link anime related posts. I’m opening this up to gaming, architecture, art, anything I’ve found worthwhile on the internet!

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News


OWLS POSTS:

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We are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. We emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being.

Our April tour looked at the theme of “Colors”The prompt is as follows:

“We are all part of one race, the human race. “Colors” refers to people of color in anime. For this monthly topic, we will be discussing how people of color or characters of different “races” (a literal alien race) are represented in anime. Some topics we are considering is the dangers of stereotyping, bi-racial characters, and the importance of racial inclusion.”

Last week’s posts featured:

Also, we had our Monthly youtube livestream happen on April 29th! Check it out here:

 

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News



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NENDOROID NEWS:

This section needs a bit of a facelift, but I’ll get around to it at some point. But so far! These are the releases for this week:

These just released the last week, so I think there’s about a month left for pre-orders before they close! So if they are of any interest to you I suggest you get them while you can! 😀

PAGE JUMPS:
In Case You Missed it | This Week’s Interesting Reads | OWLS Blog Tour | Nendoroid News

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That just about covers my Take Two topics and other related news this week! Thanks for reading! Have you seen other posts, pieces of news that I’d be interested? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂 And as always, thanks for reading!