[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.

main_ordinal_scale
Continue reading

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.

viktor

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.

yuri.gif

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.

viktor-yuri

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.

screenshot

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.