[My Hero Academia: Two Heroes] To the Future!

Hero Academia has laid claim to a special place in my heart. quickly becoming a beloved series in which I have invested a lot of time (and money) in. It’s also the first series in which I’ve really encountered a series’ “fandom” and the toxicity that lurks in the darkest corners of its universe.

But that’s another topic for another day, let’s talk about the movie. I’m gonna be honest, this is probably going to be straight biased because this series is so near and dear to me. You’ve been warned.


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Tuesday, September 25, was the premiere of My Hero Academia: Two Heroes movie out here in the bay area of the sweet sunny state of California (you like that homestate plug?)

I’m very fortunate to be 10-15 minutes to any theater that decides to show any of these anime films. Funimation’s outreach in the bay area is really great; I wish I could say the same about Crunchyroll’s Movie Night events (those are really hard to find, and I’m not about to trek an hour out to see it).

That being said, I almost missed the opportunity to catch Hero Academia because 1) I should’ve just bought the tickets the moment they were released and 2) I shouldn’t wait to get a response to see if anyone wants to go.

I decided to catch both the subbed and the dubbed versions. The dubbed was Tuesday night, and it was a solo night for me since the theater was so close to work. Subbed was Wednesday night with my cousins (also Hero Academia fans). It was midway through the subbed version when I realized, one time would’ve sufficed. LOL.

Set sometime after Season 2 before they go to their summer training camp, a lot of our cast heads to the moving I-Island, an island full of the brightest minds in the world, as guests to the I-Expo.

A Solid Core

Now, I’ve seen my fair share of off timeline movie spin-offs, and have always felt rather disappointed by just how far off they veer from their original content. However, Two Heroes does this incredibly well. The core of what I love about Hero Academia is not lost in this film, if anything it blends well with the main story line, and is a great supportive piece to the series. The campy humor of Uraraka’s jealousy and Bakugou’s outburts were there but didn’t overpower the scenes they were in. It was more like boom, there it happened now let’s move onto the next thing without having repetive jokes throughout the film. It just kept moving with no stalls. Of course my best boy Izuku was just splendid to watch, especially his moves and fight scenes, it’s such a progression from what we see in the series, and am glad to see such massive development in fighting style.

Memorable Characters

Another thing I found rather enjoyable about the film was the introduction of the our second lead next to Midoriya. Melissa Shield. She’s a student on I-island and her Father is a rather famous scientist, whose won something like a Novel Peace Prize. and All Might’s niece (not by blood) and she had so much to her character, that I really hope they would somehow tie her into the main storyline, but it’s unlikely because there’s already a character like her in the main cast (I’m looking at you Hatsume!) There was just a lot of depth to Melissa, that she quickly became someone I really loved in the span of the film. She was the more calm logical scientific type of person when it comes to support items, a far cry from Hatsume’s mad scientist ways.

The Future of Heroes

My takeaway theme of the film was embedded in the idea of the future. With the next generation underway in becoming the future great heroes they’re supposed to be, it was very heartening to see the bright future that could be led by Izuku and Melissa if they were to work in tandem at some point in their careers, much like All Might and David Shield. The parallel’s to the two pairs were really great; past and future, and the development of a great working relationship.

Overall the theme of “passing the torch” was prevalent to the film and was incredibly relevant to the series as a whole; especially with All Might’s impending retirement.


So, did you guys get to catch the film at the closest theater near you? What did you guys think of the film? Did you agree, or disagree with what I’ve said so far about the film?

I tried to not spoil the story for those who are anticipating a Crunchyroll release like Bungou Stray Dogs’ Dead Apple (I’m really hoping Crunchyroll does get it).

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! ūüôā

[Take Your Marks!] The Starting Line of a New Future

It’s no secret that I’m a¬†Free!¬†fanatic. So it should be no surprise that when¬†Free! Take Your Marks announced it’s North American release that I was probably one of the first in line waiting for theaters to be announced. And boy, did I luck out. The theater they decided to show it at was one exit off the freeway from where my office is (about like 5 minutes).

img_9281.jpgNow before I start to fangirl discuss/review the film, I’m just gonna keep it real with you. Not only was I counting down the days till the release (you probably saw my twitter feed) I was hyping myself up at work…

The day of the release I could hardly contain my excitement. Trying to be productive at work, I somehow managed to accomplish tasks by listening to¬†Ever Blue and¬†Clear Blue Departure¬†while smiling like a total dork,¬†and then getting really emotional/teary-eyed listening to¬†Sousuke’s character song¬†Just Wanna Know.¬†That guy is…..just…¬†so misunderstood, I can’t even begin to express my affinity for Sousuke Yamazaki.

But I digress, let’s get to the film.

Free! Take Your Marks consists of 4 “episodes” that takes place pretty much after Season 2 as the boys get ready to take on the next chapter of their lives:

  • #1: Unmei no Choice! (Destined Choice!)
  • #2: Hiyu no Cooling Down! (Secret Hot Spring Cooling Down!)
  • #3: Kessoku no Butterfly! (United Butterfly!)
  • #4: Tabitachi no Eternal Blue! (Departing Eternal Blue!)

I won’t go into the specifics of each of these episodes (avoiding spoilers, and for the life of me I can go on and on about these), but they were all inter-related to one another. There probably could’ve been a better way to transition the 4 together than a semi-abrupt ending and a blank screen that seemed to linger longer than necessary. But that’s my only gripe about the movie.

A Different Side

Surprisingly, the content was vastly different to what we’ve seen in Season 1 and Season 2. It was a long cry from the angst and melodrama we’ve grown accustomed to. While there were some tiny bits of angst, they were few and far between, and not drawn out longer than necessary. Granted some of those moments formed around Sousuke, but that’s understandable; we’re not sure what his future holds. He’s on the precipice of choosing between giving up swimming completely or considering rehabilitation in order for him to swim again. I hope Season 3 resolves what Sousuke decides to do. He deserves the world and more. There’s also a scene of Haru and Rin that was melodramatic, BUT it was done in a campy humorous way; definitely not meant to be taken seriously.

All the Characters!

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image via funimation

Ugh, seriously guys. All the boys were present in this one. Makoto and Haru’s previous relay teammates Asahi and Ikuya from Middle School and their beloved senpai’s Natsuya and Nao from¬†High Speed were all present in some shape or form. Okay, so here…at least give me this section to fangirl about all the pretty boys! Please, please, please? It’s up to you if you wanna read about it, I’m still gonna do it. It’s my blog after all. ūüėõ

Asahi Shiina

Free-TYM_1080-x-1920_AsahiAsahi shows up in the Light Novel¬†High Speed, and in the movie¬†Starting Days. He’s a rambunctious kid – the type to annoy you. He struggled with the feeling of inadequacy when he saw Haru swim in¬†Starting Days, but with the help of a certain megane he crossed paths with that encouraged him to try “mental training” he was able to get over his slump. Years, later we see him roaming his hometown calling up his friend looking much much more mature. He’s still the same old energetic, loud kid with a bright personality, but from that scrawny kid in middle school, he sure grew up to be one of the pretty boys, puberty did him justice.

 

Ikuya Kishishima

Free-TYM_1080-x-1920_Ikuya.jpgBut, what I really loved about their appearances was exactly HOW they interwove all of their stories and timelines to coincide with the present. Firmly depicting this idea of “bonds” that connect them in their brotherhood that is swimming together. Their paths have crossed one another before and will continue to cross until they reach their goal: to see and swim together again. Fate led them to swim together to begin with, and fate will re-unite them. I know, it sounds cheesy, but that’s what Free! is all about, the depiction of friendships, how deeply these characters have connected and bonded together through swimming. The movie in a nutshell nicely sets up Season 3.

 

Natsuya Kishishima & Nao Serizawa

I decided to lump these two together just because their screentime was barely there in comparison to Ikuya and Asahi. The senpai’s of high speed are shown to still be in the swimming world, and actually I believe Makoto will probably run into Nao and some point. The way they tied Nao back into the fold was a bit of a stretch, because: cosmic intervention and destiny, but hey I’ll take it! As for Natsuya, he had a bit of a melodramatic scene, who vents their frustrations to a stranger buying a drink at the vending machine? Also, how he appears was another cosmic intervention; he just happened to be there at the right time with the right people.

But I love how they were able to somehow tie these two dorks back in. Like I said earlier, I’ll buy into the whole ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ thing just because at the core of¬†Free! I find that there’s something whimsical about their outlook on the future. Yes, fate plays a huge role in this series. It was fate that Haru, Nagisa and Makoto met Rin again. It was fate that Asahi met Rei at the bookstore in middle school. It was fate that Makoto found his calling to coaching so haphazardly.

Final Thoughts

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image via funimation

Bottom line is that this movie was full of fluffy happiness and tons and tons of laughter.¬† I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen EVERYONE smile like that for long periods of time. Lots of “aww” moments, the ‘ships were there, but they didn’t dominate or overwhelm the story that was being told. Their growth of angsty middle schoolers and teens is slowly ebbing away.

But that leaves the question. Is this the new phase of the boys? Will we see them grow confident as they pursue the next stage of their lives? Will we see the trials and tribulations of them trying to reach their dreams, and the angst that brings on? That would be more relatable than the angst they felt about their bonds with one another. I’m excited to see what Season 3 holds, and guys. I hope you’re ready, because I’ll be talking about¬†Free!¬†more this coming summer and obviously when the new season begins.

[OP]: Love Sniper | Mini-Review: Kenka Banchou Otome

Good Afternoon everyone! How was everyone’s week been? Anything good happen? Go somewhere specific over the weekend? Anything out of the mundane happen?

As for me, since my boss went on vacation, it was a relatively chill week, yet still productive. The highlight of my week was that my work bestie got married on Friday. So those of you who I usually talk to on a daily basis probably noticed I was a bit MIA!¬† Continue reading “[OP]: Love Sniper | Mini-Review: Kenka Banchou Otome”

[REVIEW] SWORD ART ONLINE: ORDINAL SCALE

Alright guys, I promised I’d write about¬†Ordinal Scale,¬†also this is probably one of my last SAO posts for awhile. As I type this, I literally just came out of the theaters 20 minutes ago. The theater was PACKED FULL. Also, this review probably seems off the cuff because ¬†I wanted to capture everything I was feeling and the thoughts I had of the film as soon as possible without overthinking it too much. I wanted my thoughts to be fresh as possible.

I’m quite pleased with the film, and it was incredibly enjoyable to say the least. I was¬†surprised at how enjoyable this film was. I expected¬†it to be “just okay”, but I was very surprised.¬†Now, I’m going to try my hardest to not fangirl over the film. I don’t find myself to be a huge fangirl of the¬†SAO¬†franchise, but I couldn’t help but love the film.¬†I realize that this isn’t exactly a popular show to a lot of ani-bloggers; and while I don’t think SAO is a perfect masterpiece, I still enjoyed the show and I really enjoyed the movie despite it’s flaws. I’m also the type of person that can laugh at these flaws and not dwell on how horrible it is, because this is all for entertainment and fun!

Bottom line: If you are the slightest bit of an SAO fan, you’ll like it; but if you’ve hated SAO from the beginning then you’d probably hate it; and I’d question your motives for wanting to see the film and further anger yourself.

Also, I’m not sure if any of the below is considered SPOILERY,¬†so proceed with caution! I heavily discuss our character’s and their roles; but I don’t talk about events in exact detail. I may mention one scene but I still don’t talk in full detail about it.

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Continue reading “[REVIEW] SWORD ART ONLINE: ORDINAL SCALE”

Yuri!!! on Ice: A Review

As the Fall 2016 season comes to an end, it felt right to write about the cherry on top: Yuri!!! on Ice.

I’ve always loved watching ice skating. My family and I would tune into the winter Olympics and even attended some ice skating events that came to the Bay Area – my grandma is a huge fan of ice skating. It’s incredible to be able to translate emotions into movement through any kind of dance; but there’s a certain kind of elegance to ice skating.¬† I grew up watching Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Brian Boitano, Ilia Kulik to name a few. I also watched Disney on Ice! every time it came to town! I even tried to take ice skating lessons at the local rink!¬†So naturally, when a sports anime depicting Ice Skating showed up I was beyond ecstatic and was one that I was highly anticipating for leading up to the fall season. However, I didn’t know what to expect. It could’ve gone several ways; the shounen power-up type (i.e. Kuroko no Basket), or the fan-service type (i.e. Free! although, I don’t whole heartedly think it’s 100% fan service) or the well rounded brotherhood type (Haikyuu!!). But after the first couple of episodes, there was no doubt that this was unlike any other sports¬†anime and was completely sucked into the fandom.

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First, I need to fangirl discuss my first impression of Viktor Nikiforov. The first time they showed Viktor skating “Close to me” in episode 1 I was mesmerized. The¬†beauty and elegance¬†that was translated in Viktor’s performance in a two-dimensional medium was mind blowingly realistic. The lines and extensions that his body language created was exceptionally beautiful and¬†very¬†reminiscient of a ballerina. Viktor’s character exudes this elegant gracefulness¬†on and off the ice¬†even in his casual everyday¬†body language.¬†Props to the character designers and the animators that made these painstakingly intricate details that created such a¬†beautiful character and an impactful impression of who Viktor is.

Speaking of body language. It was the one thing I picked up the most in this series. Our protagonist and his competitors use the ice to convey stories and emotions. At first I thought that the over the top expressions they used off the ice were over bearing; but the more I thought about it the more I felt that it was actually befitting for their body language to be exaggerated off the ice as well. It helped convey their character’s personalities even more. However, I felt that the animation production was a mix of good and bad.¬† While they paid such careful attention to Viktor, Yuuri, Yurio, JJ, Christophe and sometimes Phichit, some of the other characters skating programs looked awkwardly skewed and wasn’t as fluid.

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As for the music production, Yuri’s free skate theme “Yuri On Ice” made me feel really emotional the first time they introduced the song. I actually felt tears well up because of the composition; it pulled on my heartstrings in a way that I can’t really begin to describe. I think the mix of piano and violin’s in general just gets to me. I felt this song really did encompass Yuri’s journey as he had intended it to, especially the part that expresses where Viktor showed up to be his coach. ¬†The pace gets quicker and the melody shifts a little as well as¬†a bit of crescendo to that’s leading to the peak of the song which is when he realizes something like love where it becomes more delicate. Ah, it’s just such a great piece. My favorite track of the series and my favorite performace of the series. “Close to Me”, “Agape”, “Eros”, “Serenade for Two”, and “Partizan Hope” are also a few of my favorites. Guilty pleasure song is “King JJ’s theme”. Overall I thought the music was another great component to the show.

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The story. What can I say that probably hasn’t been said already. It wasn’t a straight forward love story. Majority of the time the story was alluding to the idea of their relationship only to be somewhat confirmed around episode 10 with the ring exchange. Even the infamous “kiss” scene was an allusion to the relationship. I read some criticisms that this story wasn’t realistic enough considering that Viktor and Yuuri didn’t undergo the backlash of being a gay athlete and the type of abuse that comes a long with it. But I don’t think that was necessarily the point of this story. This story was about growth and love. The strength that love can give you to improve oneself. But what’s important to note is that the two characters come from countries where homosexuality is indeed not the norm and highly looked down upon. Also, the rings! Fun fact, in Russia, the right hand ring finger is the traditional wedding ring finger. So when Viktor said they were engaged at that one dinner with all the skaters,¬†he probably wasn’t bluffing.

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Character development wasn’t always there for all the characters and a there seemed to be a lot of character’s introduced that I had a hard time keeping up because they only showed up for one or two episodes. I thought JJ was a really douchebag of a character, but at the end I kind of felt bad for the guy. JJ was definitely at the top of his game and was on his way to the top, but at some point everyone falls and the struggle to get back to the top is part of the journey. It seemed like he needed the reality check after he was gloating so much about being the best. Yuri ¬†on the otherhand is the one character I related to and someone to take note of. Especially, in my case since I definitely suffer from being timid and low on the self-confidence area. His confidence grew exponentially throughout the series and was such a joy to watch his character grow from someone timid to someone brimming with confidence as he committed to the decisions he was making and setting his mind on goals.

Overall, I thought this was a breakout hit for the Fall Season, and probably one of the best of the year! I was captivated by Viktor, the music and the blossoming story of Viktor and Yuri.¬†It was really great watching him grow over the series. I can’t wait for a second season!! (If there is one!)

 

 

ORE MONOGATARI (My Love Story!) – OP/ED & MINI-REVIEW

I usually post this around noon on Monday’s; but I’m breaking that today because aside from this being my song of the week; but I have¬†a few quick thoughts on¬†Ore Monogatari that I wanted to get down – so count this as a mini-review as well.¬†Over¬†Thanksigiving weekend,¬†I decided it was time to FINALLY finish this show,¬†which had been on my “on-hold” list for a few months.

Ore Monogatari is a romantic comedy follows the protagonist Takeo Gouda and his blossoming relationship with Yamato Rinko and their permanent third wheel Sunakawa Makoto. Lots of laughter and silly situations ensue.

Title: Shiawase no Arika| Artist: LOCAL CONNECT. | Show: Ore Monogatari

Overall I thought the series¬†was pretty cute. It¬†had¬†plenty of humorous moments; some side-splitting laughter and sometimes just a snicker here and there. But what¬†I really liked about this show was that it wasn’t¬†like your typical shojo manga; with a pretty boy that the MC falls for. Rather our focus is on a big lug of a guy who isn’t your average first year high schooler. His BFF just happens to be the popular pretty boy. Takeo really doesn’t believe himself to be popular among girls and actually misreads Yamatos interest as a way to get to Suna and not himself. It’s actually cute how he comes to the realization. But the series does drag a little bit with very little development between the couple. I get it, it’s supposed to be a sweet and innocent anime; but the storyline does get to be repetitive. A misunderstanding here and there only to be resolved with some help of Suna or other people.

However, I’m partial to Suna. I really wish he had found someone that caught his eye at the end of the anime. I really liked his respect and admiration for his best friend. Despite his popularity and all these girls wanting to date him, if he ever heard them make fun of Takeo, he’d politely decline. ¬†He even tells Takeo there’s no way he could take interest in people that put down others. He’s only seeen laughing or snickering when Takeo does something silly; or when Suna remembers something hilarious from their childhood. OH! and if you’ve ever heard Suna laugh – I instantly knew who his voice actor was! It’s the same voice actor of Haruka Nanase from¬†Free! Shimazuki Nobunaga! If you haven’t heard Haru laugh – I suggest you youtube it if you’re a¬†Free!¬†fan!

Anyways, I’d probably give¬†Ore Monogatari¬† a 6/10. It’s got a good premise – but I would’ve enjoyed to see more character developmet and more emotions exhibited by our couple. The gags get a little old but if you’re looking for a light hearted rom-com then this might be for you.