Tag Archives: Anime

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.

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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.

Angels of Death, anime tv series (2018)

Let me just start off this post by saying that I really suck at dropping shows. When I start with something, whether it’s anime or a regular tv show, I have a really hard time just not finishing it. No matter how bad it gets. I always have that nagging voice in my head whenever something is starting to turn ugly that keeps saying “ But what if it turns really good later on?”. It’s crazy isn’t it? I’m sure I’m not the only one that does this either. So why do we put ourselves through this kind of torture? (Aside from maybe having some very masochistic tendencies?) I have had plenty of times where I finished a show and found myself wondering why I wasted so many hours of my life on a piece of crap. And I honestly still don’t have a real answer either. If you have a cure in some way for this sickness let me know alright? Well, of course there is a reason for me bringing this up right now, as the anime I am about to review is one of those type of shows. Angels of Death was dropped by a lot of people after the first few episodes. I stuck with it though and I was not alone as a few others did as well, most notably the wonderful Irina.

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Yes Rachel: Everybody hates you.

Irina wrote some terrific weekly posts on it (but then again everything she writes is terrific so if you are not yet following her yet, a fact I doubt very much, please do so now), and we had fun in exchanging thoughts on a weekly basis. Moreover we also were pretty much on the same page for most of the time. Now, I am writing this post on saturday, and her post for the final episode will come out tomorrow. As such I have yet to discover what her thoughts on the show’s finale will be. But I digress. Is Angels of Death really such a bad anime? Let’s first talk about what this show is about, before I will be answering that one question. In Angels of Death a young girl called Rachel wakes up in an unfamiliar building having no memories of who she really is. While exploring the building she runs into the scythe wielding psychopath known as Zack. He is covered from head to toe in bandages and he immediately tries to kill her. Eventually though a really strange bond begins to form between the two of them. And it becomes even stranger because of a promise that is made between the killer and the girl. But the building holds many secrets, and many strange and terrifying occupants. Will the two of them be able to escape this nightmare…..

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He seems like such a nice guy doesn’t he? Newsflash: he really isn’t.

The first episode of Angels of Death was good. I would not say great, but it really set up an anime that had some great potential. A creepy atmosphere, a few fun and over the top characters, and some nice tension. Though there were a few cringeworthy bits like some cheesy voice-acting overall it promised us an entertaining B-type horror anime. Now understand that I sometimes love watching “So bad it’s good horror movies/animes”. I enjoyed King’s Game for instance, and well most of you know how awful that one sometimes was. Angels of Death though, sadly did not fall into that category. After the first episode, the second one turned the show into something totally different. It went into a real weird comedy act, that just felt completely out of place, especially when compared to the way the show started. But it did not stay that way (luckily: else I really might have dropped it), but it also didn’t become much better. There were some episodes that showed a hint of what might have been. At the halfway point I genuinely thought that the show was about to redeem itself. There were even some real attempts at character development (gasp) and the story became more interesting too.

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Stuck in an elevator….

Now that we are talking about the characters let’s just take a little sidestep and explore the two leads. First up it’s Rachel. Young girl, blonde, doesn’t smile a lot and talks in a really monotone voice. (If you are beginning to feel like my writing is turning a bit into the sarcastic territory, you would be right). She was just a very uninteresting lead, and over the course of the show I just could not find any symphathy for her, like at all. Even when we got to learn a little bit more about her background and what exactly made her tick, I found that I could not care less about her. Strangely enough it was Zack that eventually kept me returning each week to watch this. At first I really thought he was quite the annoying guy, with a grating voice that would give Asta from Black Clover a run for his money. (Yeah, you are right…no one can beat Asta in the annoying voice department). But he grew on me, and eventually I really liked him, a lot. There was just something cool about him. He provided the best moments in the show in my opinion, and without him this anime would really have been a total loss.

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Sorry Rachel, I’m immune to your innocent girl act. I still don’t like you.

Which is not to say that it wasn’t. Angels of Death is based on a videogame, and at times it felt like we were watching that. Progress from Room A to Room B, find a key, move on…repeat. While this is sounding a bit harsh, and the show certainly did have some good episodes later on, overall it’s an anime that was just too uneven to recommend it to you. I kept hoping for a final episode that might have, in some way, at least redeemed the show but even that was simply not to be. The ending was as lackluster as most of this anime was, and after spending 16 weeks with this, I’m honestly feeling a bit relieved that it’s over now. There are two things that I will miss: Zack, and Irina’s posts for this one. Other than that though, this is an anime that will slowly fade from my memory and I won’t regret that in any way. So have I now learned my lesson and will I start dropping shows like flies? Erm…probably not. I’m even considering returning to Black Clover. Okay…maybe not…

I give Angels of Death a 5 out of 10 score.

Seasonal Anime: A first impression post!

Has the Raist finally gone mad? Is this really a first impression post on seasonal anime that is appearing on this blog? Does this mean that Raistlin0903 is turning in an anime blog? Let me put your minds at ease by saying that the answer to two of these questions is no. So which of these questions has another answer? Well, I have not gone mad, as I was already quite mad to start with. Right, so with all that out of the way why do a post like this? My blog has been and always shall be a multitopic blog. I have way too many hobbies, and I like talking about all of them here, so that’s not going to change. The reason I started watching seasonal anime at the beginning of this year is that I have really enjoyed the interaction with everyone talking about what happened in a new episode on a weekly basis. It was like we all sat down together in a big room, with our favorite snacks and drinks and watched an episode at the same time. Now I am sorry to say that I am not going to be writing weekly episode reviews on the new shows.

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Imagine that this is showing up in your local neighbourhood.

For one thing it would take up too much time that I don’t have. For another it would mean this blog really would be focussing too much on anime, and I have a lot of readers that also like to read about other things such as movies, Korean dramas and boardgames. But I thought it would be nice to write a post about the new shows that I have started watching since this weekend and let you know my thoughts on them. So this really is a first for my blog, but I hope you will like it nonetheless. Usually I try to keep up with about 4-5 shows. I already struggle with that amount, let alone any more. So that’s why I am now watching a total of six new shows. Erm…right. I’m as surprised as you are. No idea if I can stick with all of these, but I am going to try as so far all of them have been a blast. Well, let’s get cracking and reveal them!

Zombieland Saga

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Genre: Comedy, Horror   

Most of you know that I am not a huge fan of comedy. But sometimes there are exceptions and this anime is one of them. This show is completely insane, and that’s probably why I am enjoying it so much. Highschool girl Sakura Minamoto is tragically killed when she gets run over by a car. But her story doesn’t end there. Ten years later she finds herself resurrected as a zombie and together with a bunch of other girls that have also turned into the living dead, they have to save the so called Saga Prefecture…..as an idol group! Now if this plot doesn’t sound totally crazy wait till you see the show itself. I had tears in my eyes from laughing when these girls went up on stage, headbanging to death metal and it’s probably one of the craziest scenes I have ever seen in an anime. I have no idea where this show will go or if it will continue to be this much fun, but so far I am really enjoying it.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Goblin Slayer

 

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Genre: Fantasy

As much as I love the fantasy genre, weirdly enough I have hardly seen any fantasy anime shows. Yeah, I know right, that is strange. So, with Goblin Slayer I hope to change that. A young and very inexperienced priestess, joins an adventuring party on a quest to fight a bunch of nasty goblins. But soon all hell breaks loose, and she finds herself in big trouble. Just when all hope seems lost a mysterious stranger who introduces himself as Goblin Slayer enters the field. This show felt like I was playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I was pretty surprised by the brutality on display here though. Blood flew everywhere, but it was especially the violence against some of the women here (there was even a rape scene) that kind of threw me off. That said though, I still thought this was a solid first episode and I especially like the look of what I assume to be the hero of this anime, Goblin Slayer. So, I’m going to see where this will go.

First Impression Score: 7 out of 10

SSSS. Gridman

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Genre: Science Fiction, Mecha

I already described this one on twitter as the anime version of Pacific Rim and I think that description is fairly accurate. Yūta Hibiki is a highschool boy who has lost his memory. On an old computersystem someone that introduces himself as Hyper Agent Gridman appears and tells the boy he has a mission to fullfill. Apperently he is the only one who can see Gridman too. When a huge monster appears in his city, Yūta has to step up to the call. This first episode was very enjoyable. I loved the fight sequence between the monster and the huge robot, and it kind of gave me this old school anime vibe. Can’t say much more about this one yet though. I do hope it won’t turn into one of those “monster of the week” type of shows which would be kind of a shame. Other than that I kind of enjoyed this for what it was, and look forward to next week’s episode.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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Genre: Romance, Highschool, Supernatural

This is a show I would probably have passed over had I not read about it over on Karandi’s blog. Because really, that title is just crazy. Surprisingly enough, this is the show that has left the biggest impression on me. Highschool boy Sakuta Azusagawa sees a mysterious girl in the school library wearing a bunny suit. If that wasn’t strange enough already he is the only one who can see her. The girl called Mai Sakurajima is a teenage actress who is on hiatus, and is now suffering from what they call “ Adolescence Syndrome”. More and more people are unable to see the girl, and this of course leads to all kinds of problems. How do you order food for instance when no one is able to see you? To say I loved this first episode is an understatement. The entire show just had a certain vibe to it, and I loved the dialogue between the two leads. Add to this the mystery element, as well as some pretty relatable themes and this for me has turned into my favorite show so far.

First Impression Score: 9 out of 10

Sword Art Online: Alicization

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Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Yes people Sword Art Online is back for it’s third season which of course will probably start up all the discussions again on how many people are going to hate on this. I don’t care and I’m proud to say it too: I freaking LOVE this show. The first episode of this new season was 47 minutes long and it was a very strong start of this new arc in my opinion. Kirito and Asuna, as well as a bunch of other fan favorite characters all make a welcome return, with an episode that felt a lot like we were back in the first season of this wonderful anime. Some great action sequences (Yay, we had dragons), a new and mysterious world, and a lot of questions is pretty much what I experienced while watching this opening episode. I do have to say that in all honesty there was a lot of information thrown at us, and some of it still hasn’t really registered with me. But I’m pretty sure with a whopping 50 episode count, there will be enough time to explain all this. Either way, I really had a good time watching it and can’t wait to see how the new season will progress.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Last Impression

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I’m mad!!! Where is show number six!!!!!!

So, observant readers will probably notice that I mentioned I would be watching six shows. But I have only written about five of them. Where is number six? Well, it’s not a new show and it is only a continuation of last season. I’m of course talking about an anime that needs no introduction (and if it does, where have you been all this time): Attack on Titan. The third season so far, while having a totally different vibe than the previous two, has been a total joy to watch. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will stay that way, because right now, it’s slowly turning into my favorite season so far.Well this post is long enough now, so it’s time to put an end to this. I hope you like the choices that I have made (and feel free to let me know in the comments), and I look forward to discussing all these new shows in the upcoming weeks with you. I hope everyone will have a lot of fun watching this season. Thanks for reading and see you on the next post!

Cells At Work, Anime tv series (2018)

I seriously hate being sick. My vacation this year started off with a very annoying flu bug which resulted in me wasting a lot of precious time feeling miserable in bed and trying to get rid of it. Well, not just me, I guess the real job is being done by that little army that’s inside me that tries to fight off those pesky germs. I have to admit though that it has been doing a bit of a lousy job this year, as I have been sick quite a lot. But then again I have always been pretty susceptible to flu. If someone so much as sneezes near me, I might already catch it. The thing is though, that it seems the older we get, the more terrible we can feel from something as simple as a flu. Or maybe that is just me, I don’t know. You are probably wondering where I am going with all of this, if you haven’t already zoned out in the first place. (Which I won’t hold against you I promise). Well, the thing is, in case you don’t know this already, but anime has a knack for coming up with some pretty unique stories at times. Usually these translate into high concept science fiction or fantasy series, but this season’s Cells At Work takes a completely different approach.

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I bet you never knew that this is what your body looks from the inside huh?

I usually go into a lengthy segment where I begin describing the plot of whatever it is I am about to review at this point, but in this case I won’t be doing that. Or I think a better phrase is: I can’t do that. Simply because I can sum up the plot of this anime series in pretty much one sentence. Cells at work takes a look inside the human body, at the cells that erm work there, whilst they are trying to fight off all kinds of things that get’s thrown at them. Yep, there really is nothing more to it than that. The first time I heard of this I think I had the same reaction that you might have right now in case you are not familiar with this anime: this sounds soooo boring. Well, that’s where you are wrong. Cells at work is a unique animeseries, that is guaranteed to make you smile. Having just finished the final episode for it this morning I immediately went to work on writing my review for this. While it’s not a series without flaws, it’s certainly one that has so many good things going for it, that only a very cynical or heartless person can’t find enjoyment in this.

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Red Bloodcell delivering the goods!

Let’s start with the world building this series does first. As mentioned it takes a look inside the human body, but not in the way you would think. Veins, organs, and all the other stuff that makes you tick are represented as a living, breathing cityscape. And it all looks so incredibly clever. Many times I found myself wondering at the ingenuity of all the ideas that were put into this little gem. It became even more fun when certain diseases or injuries occured. Yeah I know how that sounds, but bare with me. There was an episode for instance where the body found itself suffering from a heatstroke. The landscape changed to a scorching desert, with the sweat glands looking like water reservoirs that were drained. Things like these and many more like them, are just some of the many events that made me smile every time when I watched an episode. The series doesn’t shy away from going into dark places either, showing not only small diseases and minor injuries, but at one point it even adressed cancer. I really had not expected the series to go there, but it did, and it was done in a very tasteful way as well. It truly showed the horrible effects of that terrible disease without getting too dark.

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Yep, White Bloodcell does like to get messy sometimes!

But world building aside, it’s the characters that are the real shining stars in this anime. The main focus lies on a white and red blood cell, two characters that couldn’t be more different from each other. Red Blood Cell is a young girl that at the beginning of the series is always getting lost in trying to deliver oxygen to different places. She is insecure,  but at the same time still courageous as well and just someone who you can’t help but fall in love with right from the start. It’s nice to see her grow during the course of the series, and especially in the final two episodes she really steps up to the blood, erm plate. White Blood Cell however, is the completely opposite. Represented as a young male, he is the courageous hero that fights off all the germs and other horrible things that attack the body. And he often gets very bloody while doing that. But, at the same time he really has a heart and a soft spot for Red Blood Cell, which he always ends up having to rescue. There are many other characters who we meet during the course of the series, but it would go too far to mention them all.

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You do know that I had to at least add one picture of a platelet right?

However, it would be a horrible omission on my part if I were not to at least adress the platelets. If there is ever going to be an awards ceremony for cutest characters in a anime series, they would win it no question about it. They were absolutely loveable (and did I mention they were cute?) and maybe the best thing the series had to offer. You really wanted pretty much every episode to have at least one moment that we could spent with them. Well, now that we had all the positives there is something that this show does that if this had been any other series, might have let you drop the show before it ended. And that’s become repetitive. Basically nearly every episode dealt with the cells fighting off a new threat to the body. It’s the strength of this anime, that it didn’t become boring, but it was one of the things that I wished could have been handled in a different way. However, it has to be said, I just can’t find myself writing negatively about this series. It really was an incredibly fun anime, with a unique premise executed in a wonderful way. The next time I’m sick or injured I hope the cells will do their work again. So I guess the message is: treat your body well, and live healthy. Your cells will thank you for it!

I give Cells At Work a 8 out of 10 score.

 

A Silent Voice, Japanese (animated) Movie (2016)

Those of you that have been following me for a while now, and know me a little, probably recall the fact that I mentioned at times that I have been bullied for quite a while at school when I was young. Obviously it’s a past that I don’t like to recall often, as it was a very dark time in my life. But I never really talked about the after effects, and what it meant for the present. A couple of days ago I heard on national television that this year the stats for children being bullied at school were at an alltime low. I scoffed at that. Stats? Really? I think every child that has to go through that every day is one too many. Statistics be damned. Because bullying can have long time effects. For me it has meant a low self esteem and second guessing myself. Always having doubts. Like when someone doesn’t answer a text I sent. (Maybe I said something wrong and the person doesn’t like me anymore? Which obviously usually isn’t the case). But even worse is probably the fact that I have trouble connecting with people at times in real life. Especially when it comes to maybe falling in love. (Because really can someone fall in love with me?) All these dark thoughts aside….I have made progress over the years. Which is a good thing.

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How anyone can even remotely consider bullying this sweet girl is beyond me…..

At one point I was just done with it all. The self pity, or the fact that people might not like me. I began to think more along the lines of when people don’t like me, it’s their loss. And that certainly helped. While I will never fully lose those feelings, I do think it get’s better over time. But this all goes to show what bullying can really do to someone, and that the bullies themselves probably don’t even realise this (or couldn’t care less). The movie A Silent Voice deals with bullying, but it does this in a different way then one might expect. Shōya Ishida is a young and popular boy in his class which also means that a lot of the other children listen to what he has to say. One day a new girl called Shōko Nishimiya is introduced to the class. Well, she has to introduce herself but does this in a very unusual way. She pulls out a notepad, begins to write in it and then shows it to the classroom. It says that in order to get to know her, people can use the notepad. You see, Shōko is deaf. The class at first doesn’t really know how to deal with it. After a few days though, Shōya begins to set the tone, and starts to terrorise the poor girl. Even going so far as pulling out her hearing aids. Yeah…he is a real tough guy.

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I nearly went berserk during this scene. 

But when the principal eventually gets word of this and begins to ask questions about who is responsible, the rest of the class pulls away from Shōya. In fact the tables are turned and his classmates begin to bully him. Shōko eventually leaves the school, getting a transfer, and life moves on. Years later though Shōya begins to feel remorse. His own life is not really going well, and he decides to try and find out what has become of the the girl whose life he made miserable. But is she really willing to forgive him? Or an even better question would be should she even forgive him? I’m not going to lie here, A Silent Voice is not a happy go lucky film. It deals with a lot of things that might trigger unwanted feelings in quite a number of people. Heavy themes such as bullying and suicide all feature prominently in this movie. But it’s also a film that gives hope. There is a line in this anime that says even monsters have a heart. While I’m not so sure if that’s true for every monster, I’m definitely convinced that it’s true in a lot of cases. While there might certainly be children that bully simply because they enjoy it, there is usually more going on.

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X in this case doesn’t mark the spot. 

What I loved about this film is the fact that it shows that people can really change. When you first meet Shōya you begin to develop intense feelings of hate towards him. Especially because of the fact that the object of his reign of terror is one of the most innocent and sweet girls one is likely to meet. But as the movie progresses this changes. You really begin to believe the fact that the boy, now a young man, has changed, and really attempts to make the best of his earlier mistakes. It also helps when you see what has become of Shōya‘s own life. He has trouble talking to people (Which is represented by people having large X’s on their faces. Something I thought was really unique and clever). And his life really isn’t all that great either. Yes one could argue he had it coming. But without giving too much away, you will also see that friendship can sometimes come from the most unlikeliest places. And that’s where the hope lies within this film. It really emphasises how important friendship truly is. Certain people in your life can give you confidence, and I’m glad to say I have those in mine.

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Now, is it me or does the hairstyle of the second guy on the left remind you of a certain someone in a certain anime?

A Silent Voice also has a great animation style. It might not appeal to everyone, and it’s certainly not the best I’ve seen, but I really liked the way the characters were designed, and the way all the backgrounds blended together with these. This movie clocks in at a little over two hours, and I think my only gripe with it is that it might have been slightly too long. There were a few points in the film, where my attention started to waver. But, these moments were never very long, and certainly didn’t spoil the film in any way. This is simply one of those films that I think is very powerful, and deals with a pretty heavy subject matter in a beautiful way. It contains some very likeable characters, an amazing storyline, and ultimately ends up giving hope to people that have been on the receiving end of these kinds of experiences. At times it might make you a little melancholy, but when the credits start to role you will have a film to look back upon that you will be glad to have seen.

I give A Silent Voice a 9 out of 10 score.

Bleach, Japanese movie (2018)

There are times when I feel like I am a total noob when it comes to anime. Yes, I know that I need to give myself some credit and say that I still seem to watch it enough, and am maybe not a complete and utterly ignorant person when it comes to this medium. But, nonetheless there are still a lot of fan favorite shows that I have only heard of by name, but have never seen. I do like a challenge and still try to catch up with some shows. I have to say though, that nothing is more daunting than having some animes now have over 300 episodes (and some even reaching more staggering amounts). As much as I would love to watch some of those, I know that realistically I simply don’t have the time to see those kind of numbers. Bleach is one of those animes. Having done some research this series has now 366 episodes. I could finish this one maybe if I would watch one episode a day. But I know that I am deluding myself, and will simply admit defeat. Recently Netflix has released a live action movie for it that came recommended to me by Karandi.

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Why….so….serious!

Well, I assume a lot of you are probably already thinking that you will move on, and pass  on this one. I would not even blame you. When it comes to live action adaptations I often find myself wondering what the point of these are. The people that love anime, love exactly that: anime! So why turn an animation into a live action version? Probably to hopefully reach a bigger audience, and maybe get people interested in it more. But often they are just cash grabs, and are dowright mediocre, or even worse: total crap. However there are always exceptions to the rule, and Bleach seems to be one of them at least. Now, as I knew literally next to nothing about the anime (only the name and that a lot of people seem to think very highly of it), I also had the unique position that I had nothing to compare it too. Which also meant that I had no expectations for it. So if you are looking for a review that describes how well (or how badly) it holds up to the original anime, you are better off reading Karandi’s excellent post for it. I really enjoyed reading that one, and it also gave me a little insight in the anime. So what will I be doing here than in this post? Well, I’m just going to give you a review as if this were any other movie. I know, boring right? Hey, I never said that I wasn’t predictable.

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Pointing your sword that way is just asking for trouble these days….

Remember the phrase “ I see dead people” from the amazing film The Sixth Sense? No? Ugh, shame on you. Well anyways, Ichigo Kurosaki can see them too. Who is this guy you ask? Erm, okay I guess I am kind of jumping into this a little bit too fast. Ichigo Kurosaki is  a teenager and the hero of this movie. Now with that explanation given, lets move on. One day his ability to see ghosts, lets him meet up with Rukia Kuchiki. And she is not just a simple ghost, but has the badass job description of being a Soul Reaper. Now this means she has a mission to guide the souls of dead people to a place called the Soul Society. While this might not sound too bad, there is also a darker side to her mission. And that comes in the form of Hollows, absolutely horrific looking lost souls, that can both harm ghosts and the living. While in the middle of a fight with one of them, trying to defend Ichigo and his young sister, Rukia gets hurt pretty badly. She makes a decision to transfer her powers to Ichigo. But these new powers might just be more than the young man can handle. Not only does he have a fight on his hands with a monstrous Hollow called the Grand Fisher, but there also two Soul Reapers that have it in for him. And they don’t seem all that pleased that he now has Rukia’s powers…..

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Some people just have a big mouth!

Bleach is an action packed, sometimes funny, sometimes scary movie, that certainly was worth the watch. Not everything in this movie worked, but overall this movie definitely entertained. Let’s start with the cast first. The main hero is played by actor Sota Fukushi. He does a pretty adequate job in portraying a bit of a cynical teenager who while at times seems to be in way over his head, still manages to hold his own in the new situation he finds himself in. I do say adequate because quite honestly I didn’t think his acting abilities were too good. In the many action sequences the film contains however, he does come across as very convincing. I liked the character of Rukia more though. Played by actress Hana Sugisaki, she played a role that was quite endearing. The young Soul Reaper was one of those characters that tries to be tough, but really has a heart of gold. It was nice to see her try to avoid becoming a friend to Ichigo, but of course in the end failing to do so. The rest of the cast had far less screentime and as such was harder to form an attachment too. The two other Soul Reapers that had a score to settle with Ichigo I found to be overacting at times, but maybe that was the way their characters were supposed to be like.

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Seriously dude, you need to do something with that hair of yours. 

So how about the special effects then? I have to say that they were very convincing and quite good. I really loved the designs of the Hollows, and as far as monster designs go they were pretty horrific. Action wise, the film has some seriously cool swordfights, and ofcourse Ichigo trying to defeat the monstrous lost souls. All of these scenes looked top notch, and were quite enjoyable. The end fight sequence though was a little bit disappointing. It went pretty overboard and it even became laughable which is something I don’t think was what they intended it to be. Overall though, Bleach is quite the entertaining film. It contains some quirky but fun characters, a nice storyline and great action. Not knowing anything about the anime, I do find myself beginning to realise why this one has become such a fan favorite. Maybe I should set aside some time to go ahead and watch it anyway. It is after all only 366 episodes long. Yeah…right….like that will ever happen. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

I give Bleach a 7 out of 10 score.

Violet Evergarden, Anime tv Series (2018)

Love is beautiful. It can give you wings, and make you feel like you can take on the entire world by yourself. It’s one of the most powerful emotions we have access too, and when that sting of cupid’s arrow has found you, you might just be the luckiest man or woman alive. But love can also be a cruel mistress. It can hurt….an awful lot. You might at times feel as if your heart is literally ripped out from your chest whenever the one you loved leaves you. Because either the love has died, or even worse when that person has left the world of the living behind, never to return. It is at times like that you probably wish you would have a switch that can turn off your emotions just like that. But if only life were that easy. There are days when I can feel very melancholy. Because love has not yet entered my life, and because there are days that I feel it never will. Even though those days are hard, I try to not give up hope. And sometimes, just sometimes there is something that can give you a new boost of hope. I have always said that one of the highest achievements any kind of medium can achieve, is fill you with emotions. Violet Evergarden is an anime series that does just that, and than some….

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No this is not a remake of Mary Poppins.

Violet Evergarden is a breathtaking anime series that tells the tale of the “ Auto Memory Doll” with the same name. Violet used to be a soldier and was left behind on the battlefield badly injured whilst protecting her commanding officer Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. This resulted in the loss of both her arms. She did surive the ordeal, and her arms got replaced by metal prosthesis. After the war, Violet has a hard time trying to adjust to life. One day an old friend of Major Gilbert visits her and decides to show her the business he owns, the CH postal office. In that place Auto Memory Dolls write letters for people who have a hard time finding the correct words to say, and putting them to paper. Violet gets hired to work there, but at first it’s very hard to find her place. Especially since she has been trying to make sense of the very last words Major Gilbert told her: “ I love you” . As Violet has no real way of understanding emotions, it becomes increasingly more difficult for her to cope with all the feelings that are inside her. But as time progresses, and she encounters more and more people with feelings that rival her own, Violet begins to live again. But dark clouds of war seem to loom on the horizon, and the safe world that she has created around her, might just burst into flames again…..

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I did say that this anime looks breathtaking did I not?

Where do I start reviewing an anime that has left me literally in tears for quite a number of times during it’s run. I’m not even joking here. I cried, because the emotions in this series were so very, very real. An anime like this doesn’t come around very often. I have seen and read numerous reviews for this one, and those have been very mixed indeed. Some people loved it, some people hated it. As for me? I thought this was a masterpiece. Right from the very first opening scene this anime captured my heart, and did not let go of it until the very last episode. I must first mention the absolutely astounding level of detail that went into this anime. The wordbuilding, the characters, the amazing music, everything just looks and sounds top notch. It is a world that is utterly believable and that just makes you invested in this even more. The high quality level of animation that is presented here at numerous times takes your breath away. Beautifully drawn landscapes, cities, sunsets, it all looks absolutely amazing.

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Sometimes you just want to hit someone on the head.

But it’s the story that makes this anime so very worthwhile. I have heard people mention them really disliking the character of Violet. Because of her at times static responses and the way she repeats things like saying she wants to understand love. But one must not forget that she is not really human. She is a doll. And because of that her responses initially are static. But the farther the series progresses, the more I fell in love with this character. Her struggle with trying to become human, and trying to grasp the feeling of love that was in her all along but which she just didn’t know, was simply fascinating to watch. In one of the later episodes she has to write letters for a dying mother, who has a a very young daughter. It was during that episode that I really broke down at the end. I had to pause because the emotions on display during those 24 minutes were almost too much. And it was in that episode that I think Violet grew into an even more humane character than she already was.

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You always need to keep smiling, even if that means pulling your face off.

Violet Evergarden starts off quite slow. It takes a while for it to really get going, which is why it requires a little bit of patience as well. But the payoff is incredible, and I for one had no problem with the initial slower episodes. Despite the fact that this is a series that is at it’s heart a romance story, there are also episodes that focus on the war. Both the impending one, and the one in the past. Actionwise, this sometimes results in some cool fight sequences, but beware as this certainly is not an action series. While the main story is of course about Violet herself, there were also quite a number of very interesting supporting characters. It would go to far to name all of them, but suffice it to say that at her place of work there certainly are a number of coworkers who you will grow very fond of too. After 13 episodes I felt sad to be leaving this world behind. I was delighted to see however that a new project is in the works, and one can only hope that it will arrive very soon.

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And some of the other dolls…erm..litterally, not trying to offend here.

So in case it wasn’t clear yet, I absolutely loved this anime. It was a beautiful and very fascinating journey to behold, although I certainly would recommend to keep a few boxes of tissues close by. It gives us a good and often important lesson about emotions, especially one of the most powerful ones: Love. Where Violet struggles to grasp the meaning of the word altogether we often struggle to keep a hold of it. For we often fear the pain of loss, or heartbreak. But I would say after having seen this, never fear that feeling. For our lives are fleeting and might be over before you know it. If love does cross your path grasp it with both hands, and try to keep a hold of this as best you can, never letting go. And even if you might not always be able to exactly say what you might feel, this anime has a solution for that as well. Put your words in a letter, as that can be just as powerful as saying the words out loud. And I am sure that Violet would be willing to give you a helping hand with that…

I give Violet Evergarden a 10 out of 10 score.

Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows, A boardgame for 1-4 players by Kadokawa

Have you noticed that small text in the left hand corner of my blog? (Made you look didn’t I?) It actually says Michel’s Book/Boardgame/Movie review blog. One would almost forget that I love boardgames too, as my last post on a boardgame dates back to the beginning of this year. So, it’s time to change that and do a new review for a small but fun little dice game based on the popular anime Sword Art Online. And this one is for Rose (go check out her awesome blog if you haven’t already!) as I promised her this post quite a while back. Sorry it took me some time to finally get this one done, but hey I usually always try to keep my promises. On the box it says this is a boardgame, but quite honestly I think this is much more a dice game than a boardgame. But whatever label you put on this, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a fun game and one that you will like especially if you enjoyed the first season of the anime. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, Sword Art Online takes place in 2022 where a popular virtual reality game is introduced to the world. However something goes horribly wrong and all the players become trapped in the game. And dying in the videogame, means dying in the real world as well. With that cheery note done, let’s go check out what we have here!

Components

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One has to love that box art!

Even though this is a pretty small box, I have to say that it contains a lot of pretty cool stuff. The first thing to notice are the awesome (and very cute) special dice that are included. I have made an enlarged picture for you guys down below, so you can see them better. Yes those totally are the faces of a couple of the main characters of the anime. We have six of them in this game, and of course Kirito and Asuna are amongst them. The characters themselves are depicted on six oversized cards that provide information you will need during the game. We then have nine item cards that showcase some things that will help you as the game progresses. Also included are some tokens, cards that represent the dangers you will face during the game, and of course the set would not be complete without a rules booklet. I honestly have to say that it isn’t the best rules guide ever written, but it does pretty much get the job done for the most part. All in all the components are very decent, and bring the anime to life in a good way.

Game Overview

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These dice are just Kawaii!!

So, how does this game work? Basically it has you take on the role of one of the characters from the anime and fight your way through, all the way to the top level of Aincrad. The weapons at your disposal are dice. Yes, they won’t really do much damage in real life (unless you throw them at someone that you don’t like really hard and really fast), but in this game they are your offensive weapons. Depending on which character you choose, you have special attack paterns which you use to defeat the enemies of the floor you are currently on. You have three floors to get through in total until you reach the final boss. Whenever you clear a floor, the characters level up and get more powerful skills at their disposal. But that of course also means that on the next floor the enemies become more powerful, so you will need those newly acquired skills. This is pretty much what they call a “push your luck” dicegame, though it also requires a bit of strategy.

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The way to the top is always difficult…..

To defeat the enemies on a floor you roll the dice and compare them to your character card. Different combinations cause different levels of damage. So it is up to you to decide which attacks to use agains the current enemy. You are allowed to re-roll your dice two times and that’s where the challenge lies. Are you happy with the current results, or will you try to re-roll hoping for a better and higher level of damage? Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget the enemies fight back too. And when they cause enough damage to you, you die and the game is over. The fun thing is you can chain your attacks with other characters (in a solo game you play two characters at the same time) to cause even more damage…..if you are lucky. The game continues until either one of the player characters die, or the final floor is reached and the ultimate boss is destroyed.

Difficulty

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Ahhhh…so many good memories. How I love this series!

This game is not the most difficult one to learn, but it will take a bit of time to figure out exactly how everything works. The hardest thing really is to determine when to use which attack. Sometimes it can be a good thing to use a relatively easy dice roll in order to cause a low level damage attack. But then again, that won’t win you the game, so there are also times when you just have to take some risks. Winning the game is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Of course with dice a lot of luck is involved, but I also liked the fact that the game encourages you to use some strategy. I found myself thinking a lot in this game calculating what to do, how much damage I could still take and maybe use a stronger attack in a later turn. With some trial and error pretty much everyone will be able to conquer this game, and learn it’s many secrets.

The Verdict

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Small box, big on content!

This is just one of those quick games that you can pick up and play whenever you have some time to waste. I loved the fact that this game really managed to capture the heart and soul of the anime. As you play through the scenarios and encounter some of the enemies and situations that Kirito and his friends found themselves in, I really felt myself thinking back to how much I loved the anime. It’s not for the first time that I really have this huge urge in me to rewatch the anime, seeing as I am a huge fan and haven’t even written a review for any of it’s seasons on my blog. But…that is a story for another time. Sword of Fellows is a fun little game that can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who haven’t seen the anime. The dicerolling mechanics work well, and it has quite a bit of replayability too as the floors are randomised each time you play the game.Each game takes about 30 minutes to play, and set up time is minimal. It will probably not be a game that you will pick up each day, but it is one that will return to the table quite a few times whenever you have some time to spare. So…..LINK START!!

I give Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Blog update: Upcoming events…..

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I have done a real update since my hiatus and ever since then my blog has been kind of going all over the place. But things are about to change. With Jon’s Creator Showcase nearing it’s end, and the final post for it showing the results to be posted on the 1st of September, I thought it would be a nice idea to share with you my plans for the upcoming months. Then again, we all know how plans are subject to change, with real life interfering, but that said I am still excited to share some of my ideas with you.

The return of the themes…

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For those of you that have been following me for a while, you might recall that I started this year with the introduction of themes. What it came down to was that I picked a theme for each month and I would let my readers decide what I would watch and review. It was a lot of fun, bad sadly the last theme: Anime was never really completed in the way that I wanted to. That said, there has been a lack of anime content on my blog these past few weeks in the first place so I want to finish it properly in September. That means I will finally start to watch Baccano! and give it the review it deserves, and one that I promised a long while ago. I also have plans to fully rewatch a series but I am going to keep it under wraps which one that is, because if all goes well I hope to have a special collab post for that one. And then there are two shows that I am in the middle of but have never completed, Violet Evergarden and Space Battleship Yamato 2199. All of these I hope to feature somewhere in the upcoming month

A special project

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The wonderful Karandi and I have been working on a secret project which will be revealed to you if all goes well that is, on the 4th of September. As it’s a secret, and Karandi and I have made a sacred pact to not disclose any information at this time, I will not yet tell you anything about it. But…be on the lookout for the countdown over on twitter at some point in the upcoming week.

Other Stuff

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Don’t worry, besides anime there will be other things going on as well in September. I am currently reading a very exciting book by our very own Didi Oviatt called Aggravated Momentum. I would have finished it already, but things have been a bit busy on my end. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome: It is…quite a lot actually. Expect a review for that in the upcoming month as well. Another thing that has been lacking on my blog is a review for Boardgames. I have promised Rose a review for the Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows dicegame, and that one will be coming up soon. It’s one of those small, but truly fun games to play. And ofcourse as I am an enormous Sword Art Online fan, this one was pretty much a no brainer. You would think that would be enough now right?

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Wel…almost. I’m also going to continue writing movie reviews, and you can expect an assorment of different ones heading your way. Arrival, The Predator and The Great Wall are some of the titles that I plan to review. My love for Korean dramas wil ofcourse not go away any time soon either. The one I am currently watching, Voice, has got to be one of the darkest that I have ever seen. As I am quite comfortable with those kind of shows, I can’t wait to see how this series will progress and of course I really hope I can write a fun review for that one too.

In closing…

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Well, that’s about it. As the third week of September will be the start of my three week vacation from work, I hope to have a lot more time on my hands to catch up with stuff. For now though I am almost done with putting the finishing touches to the Jon Creator Showcase post. It’s been really difficult picking what to feature as there were so many good posts to choose from. I can’t wait to share the results with you on Saturday, and I hope the post will have been worth the wait for everyone. I’m excited to bring you all this stuff in September, and I hope there will be things that you look forward to as well. Thanks as always for reading, and see you all around!