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A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 6)

All good things come to an end, as I am afraid we have reached the last installment of my collab post with the wonderful Irina. If you haven’t already, check out last week’s part over on Irina’s blog. Before I move on to the final part, on a personal note I want to apologise for not having responded to some comments left on this post. Trust me it’s not because I am ignoring you but it’s because currently I am really not feeling like my usual self. It’s hard to even write a comment sometimes or find any spark of energy to even write someting. I am sad that I have missed out on a lot of posts, and haven’t been able to keep my promise for still being around here. I am doing my best to find that energy again, so please be patient with me if you can. Now, before this becomes way too depressing, on to the fun stuff: Part 6 of the Steins;Gate review. I hope you will enjoy it, and thank you again Irina for doing this amazing project with me. It’s been a blast!

Inbox Gmail: Raistlin 0903, dated 2017/18/02

From: Irina

Contrast is key

Hello everyone, it’s Raistlin (yeah who else would it be). I’m back again to continue the review of the time travel epic anime series Steins; Gate. I hope you are all ready for this as we are entering the final arc of this series. And you know that’s where things can really go wrong. We all have probably seen countless examples of enjoying something thoroughly, and having the final ruin everything that came before. The past hours I have felt this weird pressure as if someone is overlooking my every move. It’s nothing quite as sinister as The Organisation that is looking over my shoulder, but more a guiding and helping hand that makes sure that I don’t screw this up. As I said before, this is an important review. I’m writing it to make sure that everyone ends up loving this series as much as I have. But also for that blogger that I have mentioned that you all still haven’t met. I have, she is an amazing friend, and the impact she will have on this community will be felt throughout the centuries. Irina is her name: don’t forget it, you will thank me later.

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Nothing to see here….move on please…..

Okay in the last segment I talked about the fact that the first segment while slow, is very important, a joy to watch, and probably even the best thing about this entire anime.I have also let it shine through that the second half of the show is much darker. But exactly what do I mean with that, and how does it hold up in the overall scheme of things? I’m not going to tell you what happens because I have pretty much always avoided putting spoilers in my post, so I am not going to start now. Suffice it to say though that when that shift in tone occurs, you won’t be ready for it. There were very subtle hints in the first half, another thing that’s so clever about Steins;Gate. But the true shock will hit you like a sledgehammer. It will wrench your gut, and it will make you cry. You might even feel as if you are slowly suffering a heart attack. And after it happens, the anime shifts gears. Radically. It almost seems as if you are watching an entirely different show.

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What do you mean we are watching an entirely different show??!!

I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. But looking back now that is pretty much exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. You see, what happens in this second half is that it creates an atmosphere of true desperation. A lot of things that seemed so very innocent in the beginning turned out to have very dire consequences. And you feel Okabe’s sense of urgency. You feel his heartbreak, his need to fix things in the right way. But maybe some things can’t be fixed. Or when they are fixed, they might leave a timeline that is even worse than the one created now. And I do say timeline, because the build up to the real time travelling aspects of the show, come to the fore in this second half. Think full on Back to the Future stuff and then some. As someone who really loves everything that even has a single spark of time travelling in it, I think this is where Steins;Gate really shines the most. And not for the reasons you might think. It’s not just the way that this show handles the concept of time travel itself.

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Jeezzzz…..you are really making me upset here…..

No, what makes the time travel really work is the way this series is built up. The first half lures you in with this sense of calm, the funny dialogues, the establishing of the relationships, in short it seems to set the tone for the entire anime. At least that’s what you think. There are of course hints thrown your way that you might not pick up on until much later. And then that second half hits you: the tone is dark, the characters you know suddenly are much different when what you are used to, and you might even wonder where the series you loved so much all of a sudden disappeared to. But once the initial shock dissipates, you begin to go on the same journey that Okabe is going on. You want him to succeed at fixing things. You cry when he fails another attempt. You feel the sense of dread that maybe it won’t end happily. Every time jump into the past your heart races, hoping that maybe this is the one where our favorite mad scientist succeeds.

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Okay, we are done, let’s go drink some Dr. Pepper.

Steins;Gates’ contrast in tones is a stroke of genius. And I appreciate the show even more for doing it in this way. It takes a concept that at first seems very innocent to a level that you simply would not expect when you first start with this anime. If all my writing about this hasn’t been enough yet to convince you that you should really check this one out, then I don’t know what I can do more. Well, maybe there is one last thing. Somewhere, in the future, a time traveller called Irina will appear. Her identity right now is still hidden in mystery. When she first appears, you might not even realise her greatness yet. Almost like Steins;Gate she lures you in very cleverly. But make no mistake. Her blogging skills are awe inspiring and will blow you away. One day out of the blue, she will start to talk about this anime. And she will convince you even more to go and watch it than I have done. If for some reason the first time you might not have enjoyed Steins; Gate, try it again. Because who knows? Maybe time will change things for you…….Psy El Congroo……

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A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 4)

Hello everyone! It’s time to continue with the next installment of the collab post for Steins; Gate with the totally awesome Irina. We are on to part 4 already, time (pun intended) really does fly when you are having fun. Just in case you missed the previous part from last week over on Irina’s blog, here is a link to that third part. Right, all done reading? Than let’s get one with the next part: enjoy!

Inbox Gmail: Raistlin 0903, dated 2017/18/02

From: Irina

Good things take time

Hi guys! So are you all ready to continue with my review for Steins;Gate? Of course you are. Now, you all know that this is an important review, because as I mentioned before that this is an anime that is beloved by many. So if I mess this up in some way, I’m sure the backlash on this will be gigantic. Especially by this one very special blogger you all still have to meet called Irina. It’s like her favorite show, but I guess you all don’t know that yet, and this is all starting to sound way too confusing. Now don’t deny it, I can see all those frowns appearing on your foreheads. So, let’s get back to why we are all here: the review itself.

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What exactly is this guy rambling about?

In the last segment I spoke about the fact that the cast of characters is really amazing. But if that great cast has a script that doesn’t work, it kind of puts a damper on the whole thing doesn’t it? The first half of this series is slow. And slow can be boring when it’s not done right. Luckily that is not the case with this anime. This show is very dialogue driven. And the first half of this series establishes the relationships between all these characters that you will grow to love. The way it goes about doing this though is really terrific. A great example is the comedic banter between Okabe and Kurisu. As mentioned our “mad scientis” can at times be a little off, and it’s Kurisu that keeps him grounded. But this often results in some hilarious exchanges. It’s like having a conversation with a lifelong friend. You know how that is right? When these first start it almost seems as if the two don’t like each other. But…as the series progresses you will see how these conversations were very subtle in laying the groundwork for the bond that grows between these two.

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Ah…now THAT makes sense.

Even more important is establishing the friendship between Okabe and Mayuri. Rintaro might at times seem totally nuts, but when it comes to protecting this incredibly sweet girl he always changes his tune. When you first hear that Mayuri is supposedly his prisoner, you wonder what that exactly means. But as with most things in this show that also has a completely different side to it. I’m not going to say what that side is for that would spoil things for you. Suffice it to say though that you really get the feeling that there is nothing that can come between these two. Okabe is always there for her, and she for him. Even though at times through some of their conversations you might think that they both have a couple of screws loose in their heads.

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Some friendships last a lifetime.

Steins; Gates’ first half is full of these things. Sometimes there are moments during these episodes where you start to wonder where the show is going with this. Trust me, it all has a reason. For one thing it’s providing you, the viewer, with a great background to all of these characters. You know those shows where you simply don’t care about what happens to someone? In this anime that just simply doesn’t exist. Every time a new character is introduced it takes it’s time to let him or her fit into the scheme of things. And ofcourse Rintaro keeps adding them to his lab members (Yeah I know, he is not very good at keeping secrets, even though he himself thinks he is doing a great job). But another very important reason is the fact that when the show shifts into it’s darker second half, it will shock you to the core. Without going into spoiler territory, something happens that would have had less impact, if the show didn’t spent so much time with this great cast to begin with.

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Okay, thanks for clearing all this up…even though it did still sound like a bit of a ramble.

It’s at that precise moment that you truly appreciate what the series has done in the beginning. And you realise how clever it really is. It’s something you might not even discover the first time you watch this. It might depend on your mood, or maybe hearing about the fact that it’s a show about time travelling you expect it to go into that territory right away. Trust me though: it’s better this way. Steins;Gate takes it’s time but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable in that first half. I might even go so far as saying that I liked it’s first half even more. (But heck don’t get me wrong this entire anime is amazing). But what I loved about it is the fact that you almost feel like you are becoming a part of a family, or a wonderful group of friends. Because it focuses on things we can all relate to: laughter, insecurity, love, sadness, and a whole range of other emotions. It’s part of everyday life, and even though the story for this anime of course is science fiction, it never loses sight of one of the most important things to have in life: true friendship. So, keep all this in mind when you are watching that first part of the story.

Finding Balance…..(A personal post)

Hey everyone. I’ll try to warn you all in advance, this is not going to be a happy post. It’s a post that I’m quite honestly writing with a thumping heart, as I don’t quite know what the response is going to be like. I have been blogging for two and a half years now, and next year in June my three year anniversary is coming up. When I started my blog I had really no idea what I was doing. It was just something that I created to share my thoughts on the stuff that I loved: Movies, Tv series, Anime, Books and Boardgames. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that I would reach more than 1500 followers, from all kinds of places around the world. I have made friends here, and I’m really talking about real and true friendships. That for me has always been the one thing that I have always been the most grateful for. But that said, lately I feel that things have become unbalanced for me. I will explain what I mean by that later. There really is no easy way to say this so I guess I will just spit it out: this might be my final year of blogging.

Work

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If only work was more like this…

Right now, without getting into any real details, things are really rough at work. Basically what it comes down too is that the work that I do is usually done by six people, and it’s now being done by only two. Literally. And guess who one of those two people is? That’s right: me. Some days things are fine, other days I come home pretty exhausted, and just want to crash and read a book or watch something. For those of you who have known me for a while now, you also know one of the things I really like to do is read your posts, and write comments on them. But I have also started thinking that lately the balance between work, blogging and free time is to put it mildly off balance. Of the 5-6 hours of free time that I usually have on weekdays, I spent 3-4 hours of that on reading posts and writing comments. Hence I only have 1, maybe 2 hours of time to do other things. I used to comment on my phone at work in less busy times, but those times are gone, at least for the moment. I have a lot of hobbies, and I started to realise that as much love that I have for blogging, I am maybe spending a little bit too much time on this. There are dvds, books, and boardgames that are still in boxes and that I have never even opened yet. And that isn’t even a joke.

Changes

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Not all changes are good…..

Having said this, I am going to be taking a step back for a bit, and be a little bit less active. You might have already noticed that I haven’t really been visiting your blogs lately, much less have left any kind of comments. No worries, I will gradually return and start reading again, as well as provide some of my customary comments. I will just not be doing it as actively as I have been doing the past two years. I might miss an occasional post, or maybe not leave a comment but just a like. I am doing this because I know that if I don’t, I might stop blogging alltogether sooner rather than later. It was beginning to feel too much like work, instead of a hobby. I guess it’s the old saying, too much of a good thing is, well too much. It is quite frankly hard to make a decision like this. But I hope you understand why I am making it. I just want to focus a bit on other things as well, and get some more rest instead of adding more pressure. That is usually the road to a burn out, and I am not willing to risk that, no matter how much I love all of you.

The near future

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Always in motion the future is…..

So what does this mean for my own blog? Well, I will still try and publish posts whenever I can. I currently am still in the middle of my collab with the wonderful Irina (who has already made it clear to me that she won’t allow me to leave lol), and there is another seriously cool project coming up with the awesome Ayano that I am very excited about as well. Those will definitely still go ahead. If all goes well another collab that I am not going to tell you about just yet, and is something entirely different than I have ever done, will be seeing daylight in December as well. Next to the collabs I will try and put out some other content, including the long awaited review for the Korean drama Voice, season 7 of Game of Thrones, and new installments of Bloggers in the Spotlight and The Wors/Best anime you (might not) have seen yet. One or two book reviews will be heading your way too, as well as hopefully a few new movie reviews. In other words, I will still try to bring you as much content as I can manage.

The far future

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Okay, this image was maybe a bit too dramatic…..

And that brings me to the ominous message in the beginning, of maybe ending my blogging career entirely. Well, first off nothing is set in stone yet. But next year is going to be the year of some major changes for me. My company is moving to another town, and instead of me being home in five minutes, it will now take me more than an hour of travel time back and forth. That means that the precious free time that I have, will be even less next year. I have also been living at home supporting my parents because of various reasons. In order for me to cut back on my travel time, in all likelyhood I will start searching for my own place that is nearer to my work. Which means another very big change for me. With all these things going on, it might become impossible for me to keep up blogging. The way it is now, things are already very busy, next year it will become even crazier. I don’t want to leave to be honest, and I will try to keep my blog up and running. At the same time I don’t want to keep a promise I might not be able to keep. That’s why I wrote this post as I don’t want to disappear into the night so to speak.

A heartfelt thank you

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Could not have said it better myself!

While this post might seem like doom and gloom, I will try everything I can to keep spending as much time as I can here. Even if things might end completely next year, one thing I will continue to do is keep in touch. I am incredibly thankful of all the amazing friendships that I have made here, and the wonderful support I have always had from everyone for me and my blog. I could not have kept on blogging without the support from all of you, and for that you all truly have my heartfelt thanks. Everyone who has read my posts over the years, left a like or a comment or contacted me personally, all of you, are amazing. At the same time I also want to apologise for dropping this bomb and become a less active member of the community at least for a bit. I hope you understand why I came to this decision. I have to think about myself for a change, which is quite frankly something new and quite a challenge lol. However things will turn out, especially next year, I promise that I won’t fade away. You all mean too much to me for that. Thank you all for reading and have a great weekend.

Arthifis Ultimate Guide For The Anime 2018 Fall Season

We all have posts that we are very excited about when you work on them. You poor your blood, sweat and tears into them, and then the moment comes when you are ready to publish it. You push the button, and with a pounding heart you await the response from the community. Sometimes though, that excitement turns to shock, or maybe even a bit of sadness, when it’s not getting the response you had hoped for. There can be very good reasons for it though. We are all very busy people, and the reader can be overwhelming and posts are hard to miss. Yesterday the amazing Arthifis pubished something that he worked on for three weeks. He is very proud of it, and I can’t say that I blame him. However some of you might have missed it. That’s why I just had to reblog this and shed a little light on it. With so many seasonal anime to choose from, we can all get overwhelmed and might even miss out on some shows that are really worth checking out. This ultimate guide will help you with that. Do check this out, and show some love on Arthifis’ blog. He is an amazing writer, and he worked hard on this. Give him the credit that it deserves! 😊😊

Arthifis' Place

Hello everyone and welcome to our place! 🙂

I’m so freaking happy to announce my ultimate guide for this Anime Fall Season. I know this is a little bit late, but I was finally able to complete it. This guide features First Impressions to ALL the Anime coming out this season! 😀

The objective is for you to be able to know which Anime should you be following in a fast way and anywhere you want. This way, contrary to an array of posts to all of the Anime coming out, I decided to create a PDF, like an e-book, where you can find every single First Impressions

The guide features 35 Anime shows!

And I’ll leave it there! In the guide you will find all the explanations you will need to quickly understand what Anime shows you may be missing out! 

Oh, and, of course! It’s completely free! You…

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It’s a blogging anniversary…and again it’s not mine!

You know, I just realised something. My blog turns three years old next year (If I make to that date, which isn’t so sure anymore, but more on that later this week) on june the 6th to be exact. And I have never held a blogging anniversary. No idea why really. Maybe it’s because I just like being happy for other people more? Yeah I know: I’m weird that way. Today it’s time to celebrate again, as someone’s blog has turned one year old. Now a while back I promoted Irina’s blogging anniversary in this way as well, and by a strange coincidence the blogger that celebrates today is also from Canada. You would almost think that there is a certain trend going on here. Anyways, I am of course talking about the wonderful, amazing, funny and totally awesome Nicole aka the Bookworm Drinketh. I already prepared her that I was going to do something like this (because well I want to avoid physical and mental trauma, both on her side and mine). So….let’s get to the celebration already!!

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Not that I won’t get punched in the face anyway.

Far Side Tuesday

One of the things that I really like about Nicole’s blog…or should I say about Nicole, is her sense of humor. Everything she writes pretty much always includes something that makes me laugh out loud. Her writing focusses primarily on books, but the reviews that she writes are not only very good (you hear that Nicole, they are VERY GOOD), but it’s the humor that adds that special ingredient to the cocktail. Another feature of her blog is the Far Side Friday cartoons that always announce the weekend and never fail to make me smile. So of course, I just had to include a couple of those in this post.

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Celebrating The Bookworm Drinketh’s anniversay is best done with a Nicole cocktail (Just probably not this one…..)

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Now, no post for Nicole would be complete without at least including a drink. If you aren’t following her yet (for the love of God why aren’t you yet???!!!) she always concludes a book review with a home made drink. So it goes without saying that I have to include one here right. Sorry this one is non alcoholic (But, I guess that is just what makes this one extra funny, seeing as Nicole just loves a good drink! 🍸)

Ingredients

  • One can of Cherry Coke
  • One straw
  • A few slices of Dutch Cheese
  • A pack of cheese crisps
  • A plate
  • A bowl

Directions (Like you need them for this)

  1. Open up the can (be careful not to cut into your fingers while doing this)
  2. Put the straw in the can
  3. Put the slices of cheese on a plate
  4. Open the bag of cheese crips (begin eating them) and put them in a bowl
  5. Put on your favorite tv show/movie
  6. Sit back in your favorite comfy chair, and start binging (both the show and the food/drink)

To close things of….

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Okay, I was saying to close things of, not destroy things……

All good things must come to an end, but it would not be me if I wouldn’t at least go on one final speech as to why you should follow Nicole in the first place. You see Nicole is one of those persons that doesn’t like to be put in the spotlight, because she just wants to be there for other people. She always has a kind thing to say, works hard, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to promote books for writers that she loves. And she does this all for free. Best of all it once again proves that you can really gain some great friends from blogging. And you don’t always have to be living in the same country to establish some truly wonderful friendships. So let’s try and blow up Nicole’s blogging stats today. Go ahead and leave some likes, but especially some comments (she loves those) on her posts.  If you aren’t following her yet, just go ahead and press the link, and subscribe: You won’t be disappointed! Nicole: Happy Blogging Anniversary, and hopefully your blog will continue for a lot more years! Here’s to many more years of  friendship 🍻🍻

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Yep: go and rush over to Nicole’s blog: like ASAP!

 

A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 2)

Hello everyone!

Today I’m presenting you a new collab project that I am very excited about. And my partner in time, erm crime, is none other than the wonderful Irina. We have been planning to do a project together for quite a while now, and we finally succeeded! It’s probably no secret whatsoever for everyone who knows Irina, that she is a massive Steins; Gate fan. I however had a different opinion on it when I first saw it. Seeing as that would make for a very interesting discussion our plan was to write a post about our different viewpoints. I did want to do a rewatch to refresh my memory seeing as it had been quite a while since I had last seen it. And that pretty much threw our entire original plan out of the window (yep, that blame is on me). But everything worked out fine in the end as now Irina and me now bring you a semi fictional time travel review for Steins; Gate. The fun started out on Irina’s blog last week: check it our right here! Today it’s my turn. It was so much fun writing this, and I really hope you will enjoy reading it just as much!

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You see that the original plan was all worked out already on the board.

Inbox G-mail: Raistlin 0903, dated 2017/18/02

From: Irina

It’s better with friends

Hi Guys! I have just watched an absolutely amazing anime for the first second time called Steins Gate and I just had to share my thoughts on it with you. Now this show is a fan favorite, and no one is more passionate about it than a blogger who you probably haven’t even met yet called Irina. I’m telling you all that should keep an eye on her in the future as she is destined to make an enormous impact in the wordpress blogging community. Don’t ask me how or why I even know this, I just do: and trust me she is awesome, kind and an amazing blogger, and I just can’t wait for you all to meet her!

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Don’t you go and question my wisdom for this now!

Anyways, back to the show. I think the most important thing for me to start with is mentioning the great cast of characters.When Stein’s Gate starts we meet up with the strange and pretty goofy character Rintaro Okabe. He sees himself as a “mad scientist” and pretty much can’t stop talking about that fact. Seeing conspiracies everywhere he also runs a laboratory in his appartment together with his friends the loveable Mayuri Shiina and Itaru Hashida. And I do say loveable as Mayuri is just the most innocent and sweet girl you are ever likely to meet. There is not a single evil thought in her mind, and I also love the fact that she talks about herself in third person. She is a childhood friend of Okabe and the two of them share a very deep bond. Itaru also known as Daru, is just so much fun. He is a hacker, otaku, totally in love with Faris who runs the maid cafe MayQueen Nyan Nyan (don’t ask) and also a bit of a hentai (pervert). But he definitely delivers most of the comic relief in this anime.

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Who are you calling a hentai here?

But if you think the fun stops just with these three characters think again! It would be a mortal sin for me not to mention Kurisu. She is one of the strongest characters in the show, and serves as the voice of reason to Rintaro’s madness (but IS it really madness??). I loved her growth as a character. Where she starts of as this pretty serious woman, in later episodes she becomes more vulnerable, and as such it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with her. And a certain someone does. Did I mention this show has a lot of great female characters? Because it doesn’t stop with Kurisu. Rintaro’s laboratory is situated above the CRT television store run by mister Braun (Well, that’s what Okabe calls him anyway as that isn’t really his name). Now this gruff, but still very kind hearted man one day, after the shortest job interview ever, hires a new employee: the feisty and mysterious Suzuha.

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Sorry I don’t have a clue WHAT you are talking about right now.

This young girl soon meets up with the rest of the cast, and as the story progresses you get this feeling that she knows more about what’s going on then she lets on. I loved her warrior like mentality, as well as the many great conversations that she has with Okabe. Speaking of mysterious let’s not forget Moeka. Being the paranoid guy that he is, Okabe is at first shocked when this woman seems to be taking pictures of him with her phone. It becomes even weirder as pretty much the only way she communicates is by sending him texts on his phone. This often results in hilarious moments, where Rintaro is giving one of his many speeches, and keeps getting interrupted by texts on his cell by Moeka. Last but not least there is Ruka who looks like a girl, but is in fact a man (or is he?). Pretty much the only one who seems to know that is Okabe, but of course he is ridiculed by all the other characters (and often scolded at) for even so much as implying that. Ruka is really shy, but also very sweet and kind.

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Let me see if you are feeling alright here. Isn’t this a bit too much praise?

This cast is phenomenal and one of the many reasons this anime works so well. Steins Gate is full of dialogue, some of it funny, some of it really serious, and at other times heartbreaking. But all of it feels as if you are looking at lifelike and real human beings. In fact I would go as far as saying that this show might contain some of the best characters ever seen in an anime. Period! Yep, that is a bold statement I know, but I stand by it. I could have just mentioned only three characters and be done with it, but that would not really get my point across. So that’s why I took some time to introduce this wonderful cast, and it’s importance in this anime. Because every single one of them, even Faris who I didn’t talk about much, has an important role to play in the unfolding events. And if there is one thing I like as you know, it’s characters that you grow to care about. This anime achieves that, and then some.

A busy week….

Hi everyone! This is just going to be a very short post where I’m just letting you all know that I am not going to be around much on wordpress this week. As I have four days where I have activities planned right after work, and there are some plans for the weekend as well, I won’t be home a lot. As such I unfortunately won’t be able to keep up with reading all your posts and providing my usual comments on them. My apologies for that, but I thought I would at least let you all know, hence I wrote this post. There will be one scheduled post coming out on wednesday from me, which is the second part of my collab post with Irina. Other than that the Raist isn’t going to be around again until next week. That is unless the alien invaders from the galaxy of Andromeda finally decide to attack the Earth or the horrors from Dimension X get summoned. But I guess we all have bigger problems if that happens. I hope you will all have a great week, and I will talk to you all again soon!

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Let us hope this isn’t on the agenda for next week……..

 

A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 1) — I drink and watch anime

Hi everyone! Today I’m very pleased to present part one of a very special six part colab with the wonderful Irina. The kick-off for this has started just now over on her blog, so please press the link and check out the post below. Next week I will pick up the story over on my own blog. We both had a lot of fun writing this one, so hopefully you will have just as much enjoyment in reading it!

Hello Everyone, Raistlin and I have been looking for a project to do together for some time now and after I published my recent completely biased non reviews of Steins;Gate 0, he suggested we try to find something on that theme. Don’t let the good times end… Raistlin had a somewhat different opinion of the…

via A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 1) — I drink and watch anime

The Worst/Best Anime you (might) not have seen yet: Volume 1

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted so I guess you are wondering if this blog is still breathing. The short answer is: yes, it most certainly is. The longer answer is that this is exactly the reason why I don’t have a fixed schedule as I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. Things have been very busy again since I have returned to work, and as such there are days that I am just too tired to really write something. I have also had a little bit less time on my hands than normal to watch and read stuff. Since this blog mainly concerns itself with reviews, that means it’s hard to write a post without doing that. All in all it’s been a bit tough to keep up with everything. Yeah I know, it all seems like a lame excuse right?

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It really does bro…

But enough complaining as today I am happy and excited to bring you the first post for a new feature on my blog. The title I guess is pretty self explanatory:  The Worst/Best Anime you (might) not have seen yet. What it comes down to is that I am going to be scrolling through the Crunchyroll line-up each month (for those not familiair with it, it’s basically Netflix for anime) and pick a title at random. I am going to be focussing on animes that I haven’t really seen on any other blogs and people might not be very familiar with (and that is including myself). But of course that means it could be a really good one, or a really bad one. To kick things off….I have a really good one for you all!

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

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Year of release: 2009

Number of episodes: 26

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

The gorgeous image that you see above is the one that instantly grabbed my attention while I was scrolling through the available shows. I mean, just look at it. There is just so much expression in that one picture that it really got me curious and it’s also what gave me the idea to start this feature. Because really, this show is an absolute must watch! Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom tells the story of a Japanese tourist who finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a witness to a murder committed by the invincible and mysterious assassin called Phantom who works for a very powerful crime syndicate called Inferno. He manages to escape at first, but is soon captured and subsequently brainwashed. When he wakes up he has no memories of his former life, and is now the new puppet of Inferno. Under the name Zwei, he is trained by Phantom, who turns out to be a young woman called Einz. The former tourist soon becomes a powerful assassin himself, and enters a web of crime, deceit and betrayals. Is Zwei forever doomed to remain in this life, or will he regain his freedom….

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You would not tell by looking at her, but she can kill you in a heartbeat.

I have so many things that I want to talk about for this show, that it’s almost impossible to fit them all in one post. Unless I turn this into a small novel, but I don’t think that anyone is likely to read that (and I am not that great a writer either so there is that). But I am going to do my best to convince you to put this anime at the top of your to watch list. You want a tense and gripping story, that has incredible twists and turns throughout it’s run? You got it. You want characters that grow and have actual depth to them? You got that too. This anime really has such a mature feel to it. I know that might sound strange, because of course we all know that anime is meant for a mature audience. But this series just takes it up another level. It feels like you are at times watching this great mafia saga that unfolds before your very eyes. Crime, heroic bloodshed, sexual tension, and an incredible sound track propel the story forward and you sometimes forget that you are watching an anime series. Most of the time is spent in America, which is also quite the unique setting and one that you don’t see often in animes.

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Some people take the word kinky just a little bit too far….

But it’s the characters that really make this anime such an incredible watch. One of the most striking aspects of this show is the enormous amount of girlpower it contains. There are so many great female characters in this one, that it’s hard to pick a favorite. We have the tough as nails Einz, the lead assassin aka Phantom, and a woman that you simply don’t mess with. She reminded me a lot of The Major from Ghost in the Shell. Later on in the series a young girl is introduced called Cal who forms a special bond with Zwei. I loved the fact that Zwei became this kind of surrogate father to her, and she really is adorable….well, at first anyway. But my favorite female character would have to be Claudia mcCunnen. She was a very strong woman in the Inferno syndicate that was incredibly cunning, always plotting and scheming, and having this sexual power over men. Her only weakness was her crush on Zwei, a fact that she would probably deny herself.

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My favorite character, miss Claudia mcCunnen, and no…not for the obvious reason.

But the real heart of this story is of course Zwei, and the incredibly complex relationship he has with Einz. While Einz hardly has any emotions at first, Zwei still has some aspects of his humanity intact. As the anime takes place over the course of several years, we actually see the characters undergo many changes. Including the bond between the two assassins. It’s a fascinating yourney to behold, and one that doesn’t become boring for a second. There are so many other great characters but it would take many more paragraphs to describe them, so I will leave you to discover the others for yourself. After all the praise I should mention that the finale of the series, while wrapping up most of the storylines does leave you with an open ending. It’s not terrible, but it could have been done a little better. This is a very minor issue however to what is otherwise an absolutely  amazing anime and one that I just simply can’t recommend more to you. I will leave you with the OP to this anime, a song that is so very beautiful and captures the spirit of this anime incredibly well. Let me know what you all thought of this new feature in the comments, and of course if you might have seen the show! Thanks for reading!

I give Phantom-Requiem for the Phantom a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My top 10 Solo Boardgames (part 2)

Hello everyone! As you might have noticed the past week my blog has been a little bit more quiet than the previous three weeks. In fact it’s gone deadly silent. I even did not comment as much as I normally do, for which I apologise. This pretty much means only one thing really: my vacation is over and I’m back at work. The first week has been especially bad and very busy, also considering the fact that I had to work on saturday. But enough complaining about that, it’s now sunday, and I finally have time to write again. So I thought it would be a good idea to complete the request made by Arthifis (You all still know him right? Great guy, and he started writing a book as well: that is so awesome!). Anyways in case you missed the first part, he requested I make a list of some of my favorite solo boardgames. Here in part two I’m going into my personal top five. Not only are these games great to play alone, they really are some of my alltime favorite games period.

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Just one more thing: again I would like to point out my favorite Youtube Boardgame Channel: The Vitruvian Gamer. This week he has also started a new feature on his channel as well, where in small 7-10 minute segments he talks about boardgames, the channel, and life in general. It really is a great place to visit. A few of the games listed below have been featured on his channel, and as I pointed out in part 1, he really is a great host as well. Always kind, and with very insigthful and fun to watch videos it’s a great way to spent some time on Youtube. And hey, you might even end up discovering a new game that you would like to try out as well, so how cool is that. Below is one of his videos for a game that I will talk about later on in this post. Okay, enough talking, let’s get cracking!

5: Ascension

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Ascension is a deckbuilding cardgame. Yes, that sounds like a really difficult term, but it truly isn’t. A player starts out with a relatively weak basic hand of cards. During the course of the game, you can buy new cards with the weaker ones and add them to your deck of existing cards. In this way you can make your deck more powerful. Ascension takes place in a fantasy world, and when you play the game solo you are basically fighting against an unseen opponent. By defeating monsters, and aquiring new cards you have to try and gain more points then your foe before the game ends. The fun thing about Ascension is that is a really simple game to learn (about 5 minutes), and there are now a lot of expansions as well. But, each set released stands on it’s own. In other words you can combine all the sets, or just play with one set. This offers a lot of choices, while at the same time it won’t overwhelm new players which is nice too.

4: Xenoshyft: Dreadmire

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This is another deckbuilding game, so it uses the same mechanics as above. But, this one comes with a neat twist. Set in a science fiction universe, and a quite horrible one at that, Xenoshyft Dreadmire allows you to play as the commander of a base from the Nortec Corporation. This company mines planets for a new and powerful energy source. However this energy source has a dangerous side effect as it turns the native animals into horrible monsters. During the course of nine rounds, that become ever more difficult, you have to defend the base from these creatures. This game is tough as nails, and very hard to win. But despite that fact it’s enormously fun to play. The artwork alone should be enough to sell you on buying it. If you like a good challenge this is the one to look into! More info on this game be found in my review.

3. Elder Sign

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Elder Sign is one of the best games that I have ever played. It’s a fusion between a dice and a cardgame and it’s an absolute joy to play. You take on the role of an investigator, that tries to stop an ancient evil from awakening and plunging the world into darkness. The base game takes place in an old museum, where you are desperately trying to find the so called elder signs. Depending on which Ancient One you are trying to defeat, you have to discover a set amount of these tokens, before time runs out. Using dice, you explore rooms in the museum, where you try to overcome traps, monsters, and other unspeakable horrors. By investigating rooms, you can find new weapons, spells, clues and other stuff to make you more powerful, as well as the elder signs themselves. As the game has an enormous amount of cards, and the set up is different each time, the game has tremendous replay value. With a lot of expansions having been released for it as well, you will not get bored by this game anytime soon.

2. Legendary (Encounters)

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Legendary and Legendary Encounters are all deckbuilders (yes again), but are also a blast to play. Legendary is probably best known for it’s Marvel sets. With a huge amount of available cards for these now, you put together your own superhero team in order to fight against one of the villains from the Marvel Universe. Ever wanted to have a team up between Wolverine and Iron Man? Well now you can achieve this. But Legendary has more to offer. In Legendary Encounters you can play through some of your favorite science fiction movies and television series. There are now sets for Aliens, Predator, Firefly and an upcoming one for The X-files. What differs these sets from their Legendary counterparts is that you actually play through scenarios from the movies and shows themselves, which is a lot of fun especially if you are a fan of these. Variety is the keyword here, as the normal Legendary has also games for cult movie Big Trouble in Little China as well as the television series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1. Eldritch Horror

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So why is this game my number one? Well, the simple answer would be just read my Eldritch Horror review. But that would be cheating. This game is pretty much the bigger cousin of Elder Sign. Travelling around the entire world, you have to discover enough clues to find out what kind of ancient evil is trying to take over the world. You explore cities, ancient ruins, tombs and all kinds of other places. Narrative cards explain what exactly happens to you when you enter a certain place. And this is what makes the game so much fun to play. It sometimes feels like you are starring in your own adventure/horror movie. Every game is different, and has both strategy elements to it, as well as luck in the form of dice rolls. It’s by no means an easy game to win, and it takes a bit of time to set up. But other than that it’s always been the game that I have really enjoyed the most playing solo.

So, there we have it. Now this list is by no means complete, and there are games still lurking around in my collection that I haven’t even played yet. So maybe, there are other games that are even better than these. I certainly have a number of other suggestions too, that didn’t make the cut. So if you want even more options do take a look around at the boardgame section of my blog. As always thank you for reading!