[Zel’s Anime Breakdown] Summer 2018: Volume 1

Hi guys! Welcome to the re-vamped [This Week in Anime] series. I felt that my original title was too rigid, too newslike of a title for my intent for this series. I’ve become more casual in my anime viewing, since I’ve come to realize and accept that I sometimes fall off the wagon of watching shows consistently, I wanted a more fitting title, hence Zel’s Anime Breakdown, ‘cuz I at least watch a few things a week.

I tend to pick-up on certain things in scenes and that also varies in how invested I am in the series. So…yeah…, that being said this will definitely won’t be your typical “weekly” anime review.

Scene-Stealer*:
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image via crunchyroll

Platelets! HOW FREAKING CUTE ARE THESE MUNCHKINS. This entire scene was just pure cuteness, little platelets doing construction work. HAHA.

*something different that I want to do is highlight a scene that stood out to me each week. 

Character Spotlight**:
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image via crunchyroll

DEKU!!!!!

Okay, this segment might not be the best idea for a “weekly” re-cap. I mean, I’m completely obsessed with this precious little hero so it might be a bit hard to be unbiased.

Deku’s constantly evolving his quirk with All Might trying to teach him without giving him direct answers. Deku finally reaches his answer and my gosh, I felt so much pride for Deku, a moment for him to stun Aizawa & Bakugou with his new style. The fond knowing smile that shows up on All Might’s face just shows how much he has believed in Deku finding his answer with the right push. He knows Deku goes above and beyond All Might’s expectations every single time. It’s a knowing smile of how far Deku has come.

**on top of scene, I want to pick a character that stood out to me that week. Both are a way to break out of the whole “review” thing and look at things on another level. And this will probably help me in the long run for my end of year Anime Awards!

Episode Breakdown***

Boku no Hero Academia

Season 3, Episode 52

The gang is back in school, and they’re gearing up for their provisional license exams. Can I tell you, how PSYCHED I am for this arc. Some major character development is on the horizon; feelings are exposed, and self-doubt and self-reflection occur for a few of our favorite hero’s.

Now, I’m up to date with the manga for BnHA, and I may point out some of the slight differences in this section in the future. I’m doing it because I’m starting to feel that the anime is glossing over some of the more important interactions in the manga that are specifically THERE for development albeit it’s really subtle.

***Episode breakdown will pretty much be analyzing or pointing out some nuances I picked up on while watching said episode. But next week will be more in-depth.

General Thoughts

Banana Fish

Episode 1 & 2

What a great kick-off to the series!  I went into this series completely blind. Well, that’s not entirely true, since I’ve read Naja’s OWLS post on this awhile ago. I knew it had dark themes, but I was pleasantly surprised to see just how dark we were going, the depths of gangs and drugs.

The animation and it’s content is a breath of fresh air, especially since I’ve been bogged down in shounen shows like BNHA and Attack on Titan.

Ash, is likely to be another blonde to add to my ever-growing list of favorites. He’s smart, spunky and overall an intriguing main character. When I told Naja this, she figuratively and literally rolled her eyes for all the ladies jumping on the Ash bandwagon.  Apparently that sparked a special project for Naja, I’m patiently awaiting said project and am going to definitely link it when it comes out!

Also, for the record, as I have been properly educated by Naja, that it would be a disservice to this manga adaptation to label this as a BL/Yaoi, because it’s definitely much more than that. Granted, it’s easy to be quick to assume and label this as something akin to Yuri!! on Ice but we really shouldn’t be so quick to assume things because of this story. I was definitely in that group, but I’m going to keep an open mind and not just mindlessly group it into something it’s not.

Cell’s at Work (Hataraka Saibo)

Episode 1

I think this is the cute comedy of the summer. The anthropomorphism of cells working inside the human body like everyday professionals is kind of weird in concept, but it works so well! The characterization of each of the cells and their job types just fit them so perfectly. It’s such a creative twist for a series. But how much can you do without appearing to be gimmicky?

It kind of reminds me of The Magic School Bus, but instead of shrinking people and going in to explore the body, we’re literally seeing how the cells move and work inside the body. It’s actually pretty educational, but I’m curious as to just how accurate it is.

Hanebado

Episode 1 & 2

I’m a self-proclaimed sports anime fanatic. Granted, I haven’t ventured to watch many of the more classical sports ones. I’ll get there eventually.

I’ve realized I haven’t watched a lot of female-centric shows, as I feel there’s been a lot of “cute girls doing cute things”and that’s not really my jam, and there’s nothing wrong with those that do! Once in awhile I venture into the genre though. However, getting back to the topic. Hanebado, is wonderfully animated, very sharp and precise and it’s really one of the biggest draw-in’s for me. The melodrama is as expected, but the vague history of Hanesaki is rather intriguing.


Also, I know you guys are probably like, wait a second, she’s missing her most important review! I’m doing a Free! collab with my dear friend Lita over a Lita Kino’s Anime Corner, and we’ll be alternating the posts between her blog and mine so be on the look out for those!

[OWLS Blog Tour] Learning Through Understanding: Eijun Sawamura & Chris Takigawa

Hey friends and fellow ani-bloggers! Welcome to Archi-Anime’s stop on July’s blog tour.

July’s theme is: Mentor

“Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.”

When I thought about the topic, sports is what came first to my mind, and there were several mentor mentee relationships that I thought about and considered writing about. More often than not we see mentee’s choose their mentor’s because they were inspired by them; they wanted to be like them.

However, the more I thought about it, the more one stood out a bit more.

Today I want to talk about Eijun Sawamura and Chris Yu Takigawa of Ace of Diamond. This mentor, mentee relationship was more than just a mentee acknowledging the skills of their senpai. This relationship was actually akin to a two-way street. However, the road to get there was full of obstacles, of pride and stubbornness.

Eijun starts out as our typical shounen sports protagonist. He’s naturally talented, but has zero skill and finesse to make him a force to be reckoned with. He’s bold, brash and in your face. He’s also overwhelmingly positive in the face of adversity. He once had the opportunity to pitch to the team’s best catcher, a second year, Kazuya Mikyuki, which was a main factor for him to join this particular highschool as he wanted to form a battery with the former.

When Eijun makes the team and is finally allowed to practice, he’s not paired with Kazuya, as the coaches see it fit that he be paired with third year Chris, who is just a back-up pitcher. Eijun makes a big fuss about being paired up with Chris as there are rumors circling the latter about how he ruins peoples careers in baseball.

Communication is Key
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image via source

Eijun is quick to assume that Chris isn’t serious about basketball and is content with just being on the second string. He even has the audacity to tell Chris that he’d never be like him; someone that’s given up and has settled for second best. Chris’ demeanor changes here, before he decides to agree with Eijun and says “Yeah, don’t be like me,” and walks away.

Eijun also believes that Chris is antagonizing him by giving him tons of regimented work-outs just to spite him, while Chris gets to leave practice early. Yet, he completes them despite his negative feelings towards it. Chris has yet to acknowledge Eijun because of his poor attitude to being paired with him.

During one of Eijun’s rant sessions about Chris’ ice-cold personality and his lack of passion, Kazuya gets really angry and tells him he doesn’t know anything. With that, Eijun suffers a rude awakening and is sent off to find out why Chris leaves so early from practice.

The Big Picture
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image via crunchyroll

Turns out, Chris’ life had revolved around baseball. He’s smart in creating plays, good in both defensive and offensive tactics. However, due to over-exertion Chris has a severely injured shoulder that has taken him out of the game for over a year. He’s undergoing rehabilitation for his shoulder, which is why he leaves practice so early. Chris was also the team’s best catcher prior to Kazuya taking his spot. How the entire team doesn’t realize this yet assumes and throws rumors around about him being cursed is beyond me.

Eijun feels rather foolish for assuming to have thought Chris was uninspired, as someone who was just passing time on the team. He gets pissed off at himself for being so callous. He apologizes to his senpai, and decides from there that he should just shut up and listen to his elder because his baseball foundation is non-existent.

He also later finds out that the regimented workouts were not just created to piss him out; but rather to strengthen his body and to prepare him to be the best version of himself, but more importantly were designed to help Eijun train in a way that would help him prevent injuries like Chris’.

Turning a New Leaf – Inspiration goes both ways

After those turn of events, Eijun does whatever he can to re-gain favor with Chris. Chris had done nothing but deserve respect from him. Even when Eijun was mouthing off and saying stupid things, Chris never corrected him, and just let him run his mouth. If the kid couldn’t work with him, then he wasn’t worthy of a mutual respect.

He follows Chris around and follows his training schedule religiously, even asking for more workouts for Chris to acknowledge him. Eventually his positivity and assertiveness break down Chris’ resolve, and this is when the duo’s relationships evolves into a mutual inspiration, gaining and learning from one another.  Under his tutelage, Eijun’s pitching starts to grow and blossom into something that could be a formidable weapon.

 

image via crunchyroll

It’s important to note that throughout the beginning of the series and the development of their mentor mentee relationship that Chris was rather cold and is depicted to have a blank lifeless look in his eyes. It’s easy to see where Eijun’s misunderstanding of Chris’ passion lies – he had been off the first string for over a year under a managing capacity. while he recovered. But by helping train Eijun, the spark and desire to return to the field have sprouted again due to Eijun declaring that he wants to form a battery (a pitcher and cathcher combo) with Chris before he graduates, as proof to show that his teaching had not been in vain. It has be to be Chris because that’s his mentor, his inspiration, the one person that really has his best interests at heart. The desire to get back on field to play a game had never been extinguished, and it’s because of Eijun’s persistence and respect for him that he decides to get back on the field post-injury, even if it’s just for one game. His passion is re-ignited and you can literally find life being brought back to his eyes.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing to be learned is that sometimes mentors can be found in the least likely of people. That it’s important to be open to those that are willing to teach and advise you to get you where you want to be. That the mentee has just as much influence as a mentor does. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a one-way street, but is much more dynamic when one can learn more from the other.


That just about wraps up my July blog-tour! Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Let me know in the section below!

And don’t forget to check out Taku’s (Takuto’s Anime Cafe) OWLS post on The Royal Tutor here.

And look out for Carla’s post on her site: Pop Culture Literary

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

[Watch List] Summer 2018

Hey guys! I’ll try to make this short and sweet.  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about seasonal anime. I haven’t done a [Watch List] post or a [This Week in Anime] (name pending) post since Summer 2017.

Since I’ve also temporarily been away trying to get myself motivated again, I figured it might be a good opportunity to jump back into the seasonal writing bit. Why? Because…I miss writing. Period. And also, this summer, there’s just a handful of favorites I’ve been waiting on, anticipating and have been following.

So I’ll try to keep this list relatively short. Last year I really tried to follow as many interesting shows as I could, but a lot of those fell by the wayside because I didn’t keep up with them weekly, and have since have fallen in the “on-hold” realm. So I’ve narrowed it down into two subcategories: my “MUST Watch” and the “Attempting to Watch”.

Must Watch:

There are three “Must Watch” shows for me this summer.

image via MAL & Comicbook.com

Boku no Hero Academia, Season 3 (continuing)
I’ve been completely obsessed with the series as a whole. Deku is becoming one of my all-time favorite characters both on-screen and in manga form. So naturally, I’ll be continuing this series from Spring. This upcoming arc is something to look forward to in terms of character development and setting up for an even larger arc – one that I’m dying to see animated.

Attack on Titan, Season 3
AoT is another series that I was following in manga form. This is also one of my favorite arcs from the series, and honestly, I stopped reading the manga shortly after this arc ended, which reminds me I need to get back on that sooner than later.

Based on the trailer we’ve seen, I’m looking forward to seeing Levi in action again and also one of my all time favorite scenes of Eren. If you thought Eren despaired at the end season 2, by laughing manically at how powerless you felt. Boy, are you in for a real treat.

Free! Dive to the Future, Season 3
Are you surprised? You really shouldn’t be. Everyone should know by now that I associate myself with Makoto a heck of a lot, and I have an incredible love for this series. I’ve read some of the light novel, I’ve read the newest novelization, I’ve watched and own season 1 & 2. I’ve watched, High Speed, Free! Timeless Medley: Kizuna, Free! Timeless Medley: Yakusou, and Free! Take Your Marks.

I’ve immersed myself in the world of Free! which brings me to a special announcement of sorts..kind of but not really? I’m putting a lot of thought into it, but I’ll be coming out with a series of Free! posts this month on top of my weekly watch because there’s more to this show than meets the eye, and I want to talk about those things that I love so much. I want to show those that have easily labeled this show as “fanservice” to at least understand my point of view in why this show is so damn enjoyable. On top of that, I also have a very special post in mind!

 

Attempting to Watch:

images via MAL

Banana Fish
This one has caught my eye because the eversodearest Naja, has spoken volumes about this series. It is one of her ultimate favorites and she is excited to say the least. So yes I’ll be checking this out since it was so highly recommended.

You should check out Naja’s weekly reviews on the series here.

Hanebado
Sports anime’s are my thing, so…yes I’ll be watching this series. Also, it’s about Badminton! Of all sports to have a series around, Badminton! It’s not one of the major sports people follow generally out here in the West, so yes, color me curious on this one.

Hataraku Saibo (Cells at Work)
I’m checking this one out of curiosity as many of my ani-blogger friends (Mel and Scott) have really enjoyed the first episode. It’s worth checking out if it’s caught the attention of those two!


I think 6 shows might be doable. I’ll do my best to keep up with this! I’m already a bit behind on some of the beginning’s but I’ll do my best to catch up! 🙂

What shows is everyone else looking forward to? What shows would you recommend I check out?

 

[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. 😛

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.

Where in the World is Zel?

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering. It almost feels like I dropped off the face of the planet with the blog. Especially when I was hyped up about my trip to Japan and was prepping to write about it and share all the fun things I got to experience. But alas, I disappeared. So again, I’m sure it’s been a question that’s been on your mind (haha I hope so anyways). So, what the heck happened to Zel?

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, obviously. After the trip, I got overloaded with work. Like 50-60 hour weeks + coming in on weekends. So yeah, having to deal with that right after coming back from my vacation was just draining. It was like I couldn’t breathe let alone relax and recuperate. I’ve also started to notice this gnawing feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach about stuff – but I won’t get into that too much. But for some reason it’s left we feeling weirdly insecure about my writing for no good reason.

April was maelstrom of events, and feelings. It was just completely overwhelming, and now I’m dealing with the aftermath with a bit of self-care.

I couldn’t find it in myself to write anything for the last few weeks. Was it writer’s block? Maybe. Maybe it was because I’m surrounded by so many talented writers via the Podcast and the OWLS group, that me stepping away meant that I could no longer keep up with those that I consider my friends. I’m not one for competition, but the more amazing content people came up with the more I started to doubt my own self-worth and resentment started to build. Like I said, I got wildly insecure for absolutely no reason, it’s like all confidence went out the window.  How does that happen in a span of two weeks? Hell if I know. Next thing I know, that pressure kept building and building and that led to some anxiety, and the more I dreaded to look at my blog. Honestly, I’m still feeling some type of way, but it’s getting better.

I decided that I should just let it be. Forget the pressure of those weekly posts I was doing and just really relax. Just take my time and do whatever the heck I wanted. The blog will be there, it will always be there. I just needed some time and space to clear my head. And when I was ready to come back, I’d come back. Simple as that.

It’s so easy to forget I started this for fun. The pressure I was putting on myself to produce consistently, and the pressure to compare myself was really no one’s fault but my own. So, I’ll be abandoning the “schedule” thing for the time being and just go with the flow, until I feel better about myself and writing.

But, fear not. The comeback is on the rise. Lately, I’ve been inspired to start writing again. While I was on hiatus, I found renewed inspiration for writing because I got hooked into a few things that just gave me the itch to write.

Boku no Hero Academia

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image source

I’ve already been a huge fan of the series. But ever since I came back from Japan and decided to step away from the blog, I’ve been 100% engrossed and immersed in every aspect that is Boku no Hero Academia. I’ve watched Seasons 1 & 2 repeatedly the last month, with the weekly updates of Season 3 sprinkled in (honestly, I don’t think I’ve watched anything outside of BnHA the last few weeks).  I’ve read every single chapter of the manga, and have gone over a few arcs several times. I’ve listened to the OST tons over the course of the day sporadically.  Now, I’ve gone over to the dark side and have been completely submerged in fan fiction territory and have been stuck here ever since. I also may have started my own fanfic in this time frame.

It’s literally an obsession as of right now. I think it might be a sickness. How can someone be completely submerged in everything that a series has to offer? All day, everyday no less? For an entire month? The only time I’ve ever felt like this was with Free! but even then it wasn’t to this level of involvement; not to this drastic extent. My obsession cycles in phases that only lasts a few days or a few weeks (okay, that might change once season three of Free! starts, but we’ll see).  Do I have a problem? Maybe…? It’s not necessarily a bad thing (I hope). I don’t know what kind of funk has left me stuck in the world of Heroes, but I don’t see myself snapping out of this anytime soon. I can’t turn away.

There’s something great here in BnHA, and I’ll try my damnedest to hopefully express the amount of joy this series has given me; whether that be in character studies, or writing reviews. Heck, I don’t know, but I’ll start somewhere, and by somewhere, I mean this quick little blurb of just talking about it.

This series has given me everything I needed on hiatus: laughter, drama, and angst. It’s given me hope, and given me despair but most importantly it’s given me inspiration. There are quite a few episodes I can’t make it through without shedding a damn tear, or being overwhelmed with raw emotion. Am I over-hyping the series? Possibly.  But I’m speaking from the heart and how Hero Academia has personally affected me during this anxiety filled phase.

(I actually wrote a lot more about BnHA, but have since redacted this post in favor of a spin-off post to talk about my obsession before I get too carried away and go off tangent on this update.)

 

Hakuoki

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image source

For those of you that don’t know, I do tend to dabble in writing fan fiction. I have one piece up on Archive of Our Own under another name, which surprisingly has done fairly well since it went up. But I digress.

What about Hakuouki has helped me during this time?

I love otome. I love romance. I love a good story. I love angst. I love history. I love fantasy. I love crying over mopey shit. I guess I am a masochist for loving a good cry over anything that could be so emotionally touching. Otome in general gets my maiden heart going, it gives me that release I need emotionally.

I’ve played Hakuouki before, on my iPad. It was the second otome I played from IdeaFactory/Otomate (first being Amnesia). But having it on my PSVita, it became a whole new ballgame. With all the new routes, I was excited to dive in again.

yamazaki_susumu
image source

I started with Kyoto Winds, the first half of the Hakuoki PSVita game. I chose Susumu Yamazaki because he was a new character, and he had definitely caught my eye, but wasn’t completely invested in his character in terms of anticipation. I wanted to go with Shinpachi Nagakura at first, but because he was one of the first guys I thought deserved a route from the original Hakuoki; I had to contain my hype. I didn’t want to blow through his route out of sheer excitement. So I opted for Yamazaki first, I thought his route would be harmless, and boy was I ever wrong.

Yamazaki’s route was such a great route for me to break into Kyoto Winds with. I got so attached to him, and was fully immersed in his story. I ended his game feeling a bit melancholic. Those feelings I had for this route were so utterly strong, I had to write. I needed to write.  The urge to write about a route had never been like this. Of all the otome games I’ve played, and been immersed with, Yamazaki for some reason struck me to my core.

I didn’t want to just write. I wanted to write with the same feeling, the same sentiment that I felt when playing this route. The original intent had been to write a review of his route, but thankfully it evolved into something more. I ended up writing a short fan fiction based on the events of Kyoto Winds. I wanted to experiment with my writing style. I wanted to try my hand at flowery language. I wanted to express my attachment to his route the way that Chizuru (the heroine) felt. Yamazaki’s route had inspired me to be a different writer, to be more creative. So I did.

I wrote brief snippets about Yamazaki, and in the end I’ve created a story based on those snippets. I now have a running document called Hakuouki Vignettes, which are a collection of short stories, in the heroines Point of View (or Chizuru) and her leading man. It started with Yamazaki, but it grows as I complete each route of Kyoto Winds. 

Which leads me to my latest project.  In the midst of my writing crisis, anxiety and self-doubt, I went out on a limb and decided to sign-up for this project called otogehanami. A website that hosts a collaborative project for fans of otoge to come together and express their love in either art or written form. And with some encouragement from eversodearest shoujothoughts, I decided to put myself out there and submit a piece, and who better to submit than Yamazaki, the man who started this all.

Granted though,  the piece I had started in my vignettes cannot be submitted to otogehanami, so I’m in the process of crafting something else, and hopefully it’ll be strong since I’ve completed his route 100% in both Kyoto Winds and the second half in Edo Blossoms. 

Recovery?

Am I making a full recovery back to the blog? Yes and No. As stated earlier, I think I’m going to lay off the whole weekly bit thing for a while. I want to craft my posts and writing a bit more. I’ve said it before, in my OWLS post about Barakamon and in my Milestone post: “Through trial and error, we find ourselves and our passions. Through trial and error we find what works and what doesn’t work.”

Am I going through another Renaissance of sorts? Nah, not that extreme. But I am experimenting with my writing right now. I want to write more reviews, but with my own spin on it. I want to write about the things I love without feeling the backlash of the ‘unpopular opinion’.

The blog is supposed to be my outlet from my stressful work life, but I often felt like running the blog was just as stressful as my job. Coming up with content consistently, and keeping up with weekly themes pretty much overran the purpose of the blog. Honestly, I just want to go back to having fun.

Anyways, thanks for reading. The tone of the post seems daunting if not depressive, but I assure you it’s just a slight bump in the road. Yes, I’m struggling, but I’m working through it.

I’ve been feeling more like myself lately. So thank you everyone for your continued patience and your support. Especially you Mel, for having stuck by my side and consistently talking to me daily, it really helped my mood, more than you know.

But if any of you need to find me, you can find me stuck in Boku no Hero Academia Abyss, and Hakuoki Hell, for the time being. lol. ❤

~Zel

makoto_smile

[OP] Odd Future | Sunday Salutations

OMG, a post from Zel! Yay! I’m sure that’s what you’re all thinking! (At least, I hope that’s what’s happening)

I’d like to say I’m back from my hiatus for the time being. Vacation is over, and I’m slowly adjusting back to real life. I miss Japan, and I can’t wait to plan my next trip over! But for the time being, I do have some posts planned that I’d love to get out to you about my adventures. As much as I was there for the Cherry Blossom season, it was also very much an anime trip. I’m lucky my parents were pretty supportive of the blatant spending I did in their presence; but hey I saved up the last few years for this! I deserved it! XD

Kicking off my return, I’m featuring My Hero Academia’s Season 3 OP for this week’s song. MHA is one of my most anticipated ones for the Spring Season, I even got to catch the premiere and the second episode while abroad (not that I fully understood it or anything).  I’m excited to see what the new season is going to bring us.  I haven’t really had a chance to look at the rest of the Spring line-up; and I may or may not post anything regarding spring season because I’m still playing catch up with winter season.

Title: Odd Future | Artist: UVERworld | Anime: Boku no Hero Academia S3

Aside from the training camp, and the development of the story, what are you looking forward to the most from this coming season? Personally, I’m invested in Todoroki so I’d like to see what kind of development he has, especially when they’re working with their quirks at camp. On another note, due to some of the spoilers from the manga I’ve seen, I’m looking forward to see more of the supporting cast’s story develop (Kacchan & Kirishima just to name a few).

Also, have you guys seen the MHA x Marvel Crossover stuff? Pretty fun. Deku, Uraraka, Iida, Todoroki, Bakugo, Iida & All Might introduce some of the characters; if anything I think they pick ones they loosely relate to.

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image source

You can find the videos here: Hypebeast: ‘My Hero Academia’ & The Avengers Team up for ‘Infinity War’ Crossover Videos

That just about wraps up this Sunday’s post. 🙂 Thoughts, comments? Let me know in the section below. Have a great week everyone!

Prince Noctis Lucius Caelum

Last but not least of the FFXV boyband  crew features is the crown prince Noctis Lucius Caelum.

Noctis
image via ebay (weird i know)

Noctis is the main protagonist and the playable character in Final Fantasy XV. Noctis seemed broody to me at first, an emo-kid, but you know what. He has his reasons, and I was a bit brash in thinking it was some brat. Again, you can find out more about the prince in the Brotherhood FFXV OVA series available on Crunchyroll.

Emotional Baggage

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image via source

Yes, I said he was broody, emotional and kind of a brat. But given his circumstances it makes sense. Noctis lost his Mother at a young age, and his Father had to rule the kingdom, he was left alone for long periods of time. So naturally, he’s bottled up a lot of these emotions, struggling to express and articulate how he feels about his situation or situations in general. You can find out more about what happens specifically in the last episode of the OVA series titled: The Warmth of Light

But aside from his emotional struggles, the prince is a witty character full of sarcastic comebacks should the need for one arise. He’s actually quite kind to those around him (see below). And although he can be hot headed. However, he is stuck in the rut of internalizing things and learning to deal with things himself versus reaching for help even through his friends.

Family over Duty

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image via source

Despite his royal lineage, Noctis treats his traveling companions as equals. He values them for more than their duties to him as the crown prince. He grew up with these guys, and has treated them more like family than subjects or as mere guardsmen meant to serve him.

Royal Arms

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image via source

Noctis wasn’t the strongest when growing up and is physically weak, which is when Gladio steps in and helps him train to become stronger. Since he is the heir to the throne, he naturally possesses incredible abilities. I’m referring to his ability to use the Armiger, in which he can materialize one of 13 special weapons. It’s a side-quest to find all the weapons, and I’m half-way there! It can take a toll on him to use such weapons, so use it wisely.

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image via source

What do you guys think of Prince Noctis? Did you have bad first impressions of the crown prince too? Let me know in the comments below.

[ED] Datte Atashi no Hero | Sunday Salutations

Good evening everyone. It’s been awhile since I had a Sunday Salutation/ED of the week.

Posts have been scarce, and unfortunately it may continue this way for a little bit longer. But more on that in a little bit. First, let’s talk about my ED of the week.

With the spring season around the corner, and the highly anticipated Season 3 of My Hero Academia (and with the help of Mel) it was fitting to feature an ED from one of shows I’m looking most forward to this coming Spring. I haven’t done one of those “What I’ll be watching this season” type posts in awhile, and I think I’m okay with that.

This week’s ED comes from the second season of My Hero Academia, and is the second ending featured in episodes 14-24. The literal translation of Datte Atashi no Hero is “After all, You’re my Hero.” It seems to be set in a fantasy AU, with Deku posing as the protagonist traveler running into a few people on the way that help him in his quest.

Okay, let me just say, I literally picked this because, how can you NOT love everyone in these AU costumes? Especially wheny ou have a princely Todoroki who is riding on a white horse. I mean, how much more fantasy fairy tale can you get? Also his cute smirk, and the deadpan look on his face when his horse runs away from him.  Also, most of you know I’m just a die hard Todoroki fangirl, but there’s someone surprisingly slowly climbing up that list, and has ALREADY surpassed Bakugo. But I’ll save that for another day. Speaking of Kacchan, he’s looking pretty fierce as a dragon rider with a tattoo sprawling on his left arm. Forgive me for fangirling over his manliness. But yes, I’m leaving you with this ED.

Title: Datte Atashi no Hero | Artist: LiSA | Anime: Boku no Hero Academia S2

So, okay, there’s another reason as to why I’ve chosen this song. After listening to the lyrics, I just.. *sigh*. I’ll cut to the chase. This song makes me think of you guys, after having looked at the translation of the lyrics.

“I can’t imagine you ever giving up,
Though I’m sure even you have empty, miserable days.
If you think you might be facing any number of monumental efforts—
The kind that come only once in a lifetime—I wanna be there to see it!”

So many of you guys have been really great friends to me, whether it being regular visitors that engage with me in the comment section, fangirling with me on twitter/line/discord, or collaborating with me on posts, OWLS and the iNAP podcast. I’ve been so thankful for everyone’s kindness as I try to struggle on my path to architectural licensure and the never ending support from all of you has been nothing short of phenomenal. That being said, many of you guys have said similar things to me to the quote to the right (I’m looking at you Mel, and my iNAP podcasters), you’re all cheering for me and rooting for me to get through my exams. And I hope that when I do,  you’re all around to celebrate. 🙂

“Our many tales of failure… versions of ourselves we couldn’t love… if we can just embrace them, we’ll be unstoppable!”

It’s with a heavy heart I have to tell you, that I did not pass my exam a few weeks ago. I’m not gonna lie, I could’ve studied harder, but with work projects ramping up and tons of overtime, I struggled to find time to study. It’s hard to sit at a desk again when I get home after a long day of work, much less sit a desk on the weekend to study. I’m just mentally drained. I’m trying not to make any excuses for my failure, but this fail won’t deter me from continuing to pursue my goal. I’ve found some helpful study guides and post-vacation I’ll be back in studying mode pursuing the next exam date.

Hurray! Hurray! You have a talent for making me say it again and again!
So keep standing your ground. I’m getting my courage from you.”

So yeah, these are snippets of the translated lyrics of the songs. I just want to reiterate how thankful I am for all of you guys that continue to support me as I balance my career/studying and the blog. I won’t be giving up this blog any time soon it’s a great hobby. Because of everyone’s support I can keep a brave face and keep moving. So yes, I get all my courage from every single one of you that have impacted me in terms of friendships. I never thought I’d find such a great support system via an anime blog, yet here we are. I love all of you guys.

I’ll be going on vacation at the end of this week and I’ll be away for about two weeks. I may or may not update the blog outside of a few scheduled posts. I’ll be on twitter updating, and IG posting. I’ll still have the interwebz so I’m sure a lot of you will still be hearing from me.

When I come back, I’ll be making a few adjustments to the blog. My posting schedule is still TBD as I try to get some reviews out that have been sitting for awhile. May will also be an exciting month as I’m planning something with a couple of other bloggers. And well, I’m prepping to do something special as well in July for….obvious reasons to you, maybe they’re obvious maybe they’re not. You’ll have to wait and see.

If I’m not writing on the blog, I’ve actually been writing a lot of short story fanfictions based on a few of the otome’s I’ve been playing. I also have been writing fanfiction. But only so very few people have been reading it. I’m shy about it.


Also, I’ve gone and created a Ko-Fi account to help me out with the site. Hopefully you guys will buy me a few coffee’s when I make a full return to the blogging realm post-vacation and get quality content out.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hope all of you have a wonderful week ahead of you. Speaking of vacations, is anyone planning on going anywhere anytime soon? Have any fun anecdotes you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

[PODCAST] Episode 3 | Winter 2018 Impressions

Hey everyone! Our long-awaited third episode is up. Sorry for the delay, I was assigned with editing episode three, and yes, it’s late because I got really busy, and THEN I became a real perfectionist about it. *sigh*

This episode features Scott, Remy and myself talking about or impressions of Winter 2018. We talk about our favorites so far as a group, then we talk about our individual favorites and then our least favorites for the season.

Also, this was recorded 3 weeks into the season. However, I realize we’re more than  halfway through winter..better late than never..?

Please still listen to us, I have candy!*laughs nervously*


What are your favorite animes this winter season? Any of the one’s we talked about align with any of your favorites? Let me know know in the comments below, or better yet leave some comments on our youtube channel.

Thanks for listening 🙂

[OP] Ash Like Snow | Sunday Salutations

Good evening guys! This post is late – I’m going to have to apologize for the lack of activity. I just have a lot going on, between work and studying  (well at least trying to) and getting ready for my trip,  my mind’s been really cluttered and not really sure how to go about writing anything at the moment. That being said, I may be off and on the blog, but you can still find me on twitter, line, discord and of course e-mail. I’m on a bit of a hiatus I suppose, sorry about that. So you may only be seeing my Sunday posts for the time being as they’re the easiest. I’ll get back into the swing of things eventually!

This week’s OP comes as a follow up to last week’s Daybreak’s Bell. I’ve been on a real Gundam 00 kick since I restarted the series a few weeks ago. Carrying over into the mecha world, I also binge-watched Season 4 of Voltron: Legendary Defender over the weekend.  I couldn’t find a youtube version, so please enjoy the Soundcloud version (and hopefully you can listen to it! :D)

 

Title: Ash Like Snow
Artist: The Brilliant Green
Anime: Gundam 00 Season 1

It’s a really great song, that I think really captures what’s really going on in the second arc of the story. All the character’s are forcing to face some part of themselves amidst the reality of the war they’re living. Here’s the last bit of the lyrics in English that I found.

Every scar that I have and every time the shattered pieces sting
Closing up my heart and who can doubt what I chose
I only wanted to be stronger in my regret
And I’ve come this far now


Anyways, I hope you all had a great weekend. (At least better than mine!) What did you guys get up to? Any future plans coming up? 😀 Let me know in the comments below 🙂