Tag Archives: Manga

Another Episode S/O, a novel/manga by Yukito Ayatsuji (2013)

Two years ago I came across an anime series called Another and I completely fell in love with it. Which is strange considering it’s a horrorseries, and a pretty bloody one at that. But what set Another apart is the incredible storyline about a cursed schoolclass, and one amazing lead character called Mei Misaki. If you have yet to experience this terrific anime, I highly recommend watching it. It has an incredibly tense atmosphere and a storyline that is full of twists and turns. After I completed the 12 part anime I was thirsting for more and immediately went out and bought the book on which the series was based. It was another (pun intended) win for me, as it added a little bit more background to the story (although to be fair it held little suprises, as having seen the anime I already knew how the story would turn out). But apparently that wasn’t the end of the story as we now have Episode S/0 that serves as both a prequel and sequel to the original. As this book contains both a novel and a manga I’m going to handle this review a bit differently.

The looks

The first thing you will notice when you pick up this book is the amazing cover. It features Mei Masaki with a haunting look on her face, and it immediately grabs your attention. But it doesn’t stop there. When you remove the cover you find a beautiful painting on the inside as well. Flipping through the book you will later on discover an art gallery for the manga of the original anime, that contains some breathtaking images of a couple of the main characters. I have included a small gallery below to give you an idea of what I am talking about. But of course I did not just buy this book because of the way it looks. What about the story?

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Episode S

This story takes place after the events of Another and as such you could say this is a sequel of sorts. And I do say of sorts, because the story itself takes place during Another. Confused yet? Well, let me explain. In Episode S we again meet up with Mei Misaki, who is about to sit down and tell a tale to her friend Koichi Sakakibara. When Mei begins to speak, the narration switches to first person where we meet up with the main character of the story Teruya Sakaki. And he has a problem, a big one. As he is kind of, sort of dead. Yup, we have a ghost story here, and it appears a litteral one as it is actually the ghost of Teruya who is speaking to us. Teruya doesn’t remember how he ended up being dead, and eventually he meets up with Mei who can see death as we all know. Together with her help he is trying to find out what exactly happened to him, and who, if anyone, was responsible for his death.

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Episode S was a nice little mystery story, and one I quite enjoyed. I would not call this a horror story but more of a supernatural mystery. As the main storyline takes place during the events of Another that is the reason I didn’t actually call it a full sequel. Still it was nice to once again read a little bit more about Mei in this one. I do have to say that the style of writing takes a bit getting used to. We often get long pages of conversation between two characters, without really saying who is uttering a particular sentence. I often had to look back in order to find the person who started talking, and that was at times a little bit annoying. Still the story itself is pretty cool, and it contains a nice twist that I most certainly did not see coming. As this is not a horror story, there are no really gruesome or gory scenes in it. All in all this was a nice follow up to the original.

Episode 0

I am not a huge fan of prequels as I have said quite a few times, as I usually find they bring little to no surprises to the table. Episode 0 is the prequel part of this book, and it is a manga. The thing I liked about it was the amazing art. I loved the way the characters were drawn, and I could quite often just keep staring at certain pages. The story features a young Reiko Mikami during her schooldays in the year 1983. As her classmates begin to die, Reiko is trying to find out exactly what is going on and meets up with the librarian mr. Chibiki. This mysterious man seems to know more, but can he really be trusted? With a pagecount of 45 pages, this story was just way too short to leave a lasting impression. While it was nice to see a little bit more background for Reiko, I honestly could not really connect to her at all in this one. This really was more of a filler story, and certainly didn’t add anything really significant to the existing mythology of Another.

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I could not resist including an image of the Anime. It’s soooo good!

The Verdict

In the end I am left with some mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand I really enjoyed the main story of the book, despite it’s flaws. On the other the manga, while beautiful to look at feels like it was just added to give the book something to fill it up with. If you haven’t seen the anime or read the original novel, I would suggest starting there first. While both stories contained within this volume can be read on their own, you will find you will enjoy the book more if you know the background of the main characters. And not only that, Another is far superior to this, and as previously mentioned well worth it to check it out. In the end I do think this books is worth the buy, especially if you are a fan. The mainstory more than makes up for the weaker prequel story, and the art contained within if nothing else is really beautiful to look at. The writer of the book says there might be more to come in the future. I do hope that if that is true, it will go back to it’s original horror roots. But I guess, that is a story for another time….(yes I am done with the puns now).

I give Another Episode S/0 a 7 out of 10 score.

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Special Features Presents: Animecon 2018, part 2

And welcome back to the second part of my report from this year’s Animecon. If you missed the first part, you can find it again by pressing on the link right here. So, it will probably not come as a huge surprise that since the convention is called Animecon you are able to watch a lot of anime there (No really? That’s astounding! Never would have guessed that!). Okay, let’s quit with the joking and check out what I saw at this year’s con.

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Otaku no Video (1991)

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This was the opening film of Animecon and a classic that I had not yet seen myself. At the time of it’s release it spurred quite a bit of controversy as it portrayed fans (Otakus) as people who were ashamed at themselves for being fans, and included live action excerpts of a documentary. This version though, must have edited these segments out, as I saw not a single one of these. What remained though was a comedy about a young man named Ken Hubo who gets invited by a former friend to a group of anime and manga enthusiasts. Eventually Ken sets out to become the Otaking and take over the entire world making everyone a Otaku. It was a completely over the top and at times quite hilarious anime film. Part of it’s charm was the old school animation style and music, and a lot of older animes like Gunbuster and Macross were also featured in this film. It was an okay film, nothing more, nothing less.

Garo: Vanishing line Episodes 1-5 (2018)

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Ahh, now this was more like it. This was shown late at night and rightfully so, as it was quite brutal and scary, but definitely highly enjoyable. Garo: Vanishing Line takes place in the future where a conspiracy is taking place in a dark city. A man named Sword is trying to get to the bottom of it all, his only clue a word: El Dorado. What I really liked about this anime were the fight sequences. Sword drives around on a big and quite frankly spectacular motorcycle, fighting against all kinds of monsters that some of the citizens are turning into. It also featured quite a bit of fan service, but mostly this served as a kind of comic relief, and luckily did not become the focus of the series like for instance Highschool of the Dead. The first five episodes were shown, and I am definitely going to finish this series soon, as it left me thirsting for more. You can expect a full review for this series somewhere in the future.

Your Name (2017)

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This was the only movie that was shown on all three days of the convention. Most of you that watch anime will probably already have seen this film. It’s been hyped and gotten rave reviews all over…..and that usually let’s warning signs go off in my head. This was for me the first time that I watched it, and I have to honestly admit that it did not live up to the, admittedly, high expectations that I had of it. Does that mean that I did not like the movie? No certainly not. A movie this big though, deserves a proper review and synopsis, and that’s why I am not going to eloborate any further but save it for an upcoming review of this film later this month. I will also watch it a second time before I am going to write it, just to let it sink in better and maybe even change my final verdict for it.

Comic Girls Episodes 1-5 (4) (2018)

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On the last day I had to wait a bit to kill some time, so I decided to give Comic Girls a chance, the first animeseries that was shown on sunday. Well, you know how much I am a fan of comedy series (erm NOT!) and this was a full on comedy, not two ways about it. In Comic Girls we follow a bunch of cute girls as they aspire to become manga designers. Sounds interesting? Well…I have to be honest, this was just not for me. If you love magical girls/comedy series you will probably love this. I did laugh a couple of times but eventually the high pitched voices of the girls and the slapstick antics started grating on my nerves. I made it to four episodes, and with only one more to go I left the theatre not looking back. Sorry Comic Girls, my sincere apologies.

Revolutionary Girl Utena the movie (1999)

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This last movie was a surprise. Not in the sense that it was a surprisingly good film, but more that it was kept secret until the last second, something that they do every year. With this film the convention also came to an end. And wow, talk about your seriously weird animes, this one should probably rank at the top of your list. Apparently (I did some research after seeing this), this movie isn’t supposed to make much sense if you haven’t seen the animeseries it self. Strangely though this is a retelling of the original tale and stands on it’s own. I would be hardpressed to tell you what this film is about. It deals with magical girls, lesbian sexual tension, swordfights and girls that turn into cars for some strange reason. It was very hard to follow it all, and at times it felt like I had taken some kind of weird psychedelic drugs or something like that. Either way, and that’s the even stranger part, I still enjoyed it. Oh well, maybe we all were under some kind of spell when watching this.

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Well, one thing you definitely need when you go to a con is money. Unless you are a sadist and want to torture yourself with looking at all the stuff that you can’t buy. This year’s Animecon just had way too much stuff that was a serious health hazard for my wallet. Needless to say I bough way too much, that’s for sure. I made a slideshow of all the best items, and I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Yesterday I mentioned something that was for me the highlight of the convention. It wasn’t anime, it also wasn’t a movie, nor was it all the delicious food. No…it was a performance by the band Necronomidol. I discovered this band about a month ago and was both surprised and delighted to hear that they were going to be performing at Animecon. Their music is very hard to describe as it is a mix of dark wave, black metal, hardrock and even small dance influences. The show began about twenty minutes too late, but boy was it worth the wait. The energy they brought to the stage was infectious and they truly managed to urge the crowd to go completely nuts. The set lasted well over an hour, and was incredible and one of the best concerts that I ever attended. They even spoke to the crowd in a few Dutch words, which was absolutely delightful. After this show, even though I already like their music, I became an instant fan, and managed to buy a few nice merchandise items as well (see the picture below). You could even meet the girls in person later on the day, but as there were a few things more I wanted to check out, I declined. (Honestly I probably would have been to shy to say a single word anyway, lol). If you want to find out more about the band, you can find them on Spotify. (I highly recommend listening to the song Skulls in the Stars, which is absolutely amazing).

 

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And with that this year’s report from animecon draws to a close. But what is that ominous note above mean? A call to arms? Are we all going to go to war? Erm no…but I had a crazy idea. How cool would it be if we could all go to Animecon together next year? In 2019 Animecon is going to be held in the city of Rotterdam (yes they are going to change cities), and will start on the 14th of June to close it’s doors on the 16th of June. If any of you ever had plans to visit Holland in the first place and love anime how incredibly awesome would it be if we could all meet up. Hell, I will even buy the first round of bubble tea. Seriously though, it’s a crazy idea, I know, but it would be really cool  if we could somehow realise it. We all talk here every day, and it would be incredible if we could meet up on an event that is this cool and share our love for all things Asian. Well, just a thought. Interested? Let me know in the comments section.

Anyway, that’s it for this post! I had an incredible time at this con, and after all the crap of the past few weeks it was pretty much what I needed. Tomorrow Raistlin0903 is going to be back in business as usual. That means I’m finally going to be performing my normal blogging routine, which means reading your posts, placing comments and of course sharing new reviews about all things geek! Thanks all for reading, and your patience in letting me come back. Have a great day!

Special Features presents: Anime Con 2018, part 1

Hello everyone! I just came back from an exhausting, but incredibly fun, three day weekend extravaganza called Animecon 2018. This annual event took place in the city of The Hague, and is a convention centered around all things Asian. This means there is a lot of anime, manga, workshops, food, games, in short all the good stuff. In order to not make a post that is so long you will get bored by it, I decided to split it up into two different parts, where I will talk about all the things I have seen and done in this fun filled weekend. So, let’s get started!

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Just like last year I stayed at a castle  hotel. It was conveniently about a 3 minute walk from the convention itself. Which means that after buying some loot (more on that in part 2) you could drop it off at your hotelroom and get ready for buying more loot….erm, yes, moving on. As you can see from the pictures below, the hotel was pretty luxurious and a nice way to spent some time resting after running around all day at the con. Especially as my room had a very nice view. They also provided a terrificic breakfast in the morning with enough food on offer to cater to everyone’s needs.

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Now that we are on the subject of food, let’s talk about that for a bit. Oh, and you will get hungry after this, so you have been warned. What is a convention without food? No idea really, but there was certainly plenty to eat and drink here, and everything was just absolutely delicious. I ate a lot of cup ramen in all kinds of flavors, all of them very tasty. But the highlight certainly was the Japanese version of a Dutch dish called “poffertjes” (hey I never said or language was easy). Best way to describe poffertjes is a kind of mini pancakes, that are very sweet. However this variant was totally different and more of a salty snack. I also very much enjoyed the melon bubble tea which tasted soooo good, as well as the Japanese Crepes and Dango. All in all there was so much food there, that you had to be careful not to spend all your money on all these mouthwatering dishes.

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One of the floors of the convention was turned into a true video arcade. But instead of paying for these games like you normally would, you could play them all for free. With classics like Time Crisis, Monkey Ball and Tetris to name but a few, you could relive the golden age of videogames. Besides the arcade machines, you could also play games on a great variety of different consoles with both modern games as well as golden oldies, enough to satisfy your gaming addiction. If you would like to play oldschool, you could also spent time playing an amount of boardgames at the boardgamenights (which I didn’t attend myself). Many games were anime oriented, like the Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, but you could also play classic Asian boardgames like Go. I did play one round of Go, but as it was my first time playing that game (yeah I like to make up excuses) I lost miserably (but still had fun playing it anyway).

 

 

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Just like last year, besides anime there were also a great number of Asian movies to be seen. I ended up seeing two of them, back to back and both were very much worth it.

Going the Distance (Japan, 2016)

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Going the distance is a movie about friendship and how much you would give to maintain that friendship. Asahi is a boxing trainer in Tokyo who is about to get married to the girl of his dreams Kaori. When his childhood friend Hiroto shows up asking him for help, he is torn between his soon to be wife and his friend. Time is running out for Kaori as she wants to get married before her ailing grandmother who suffers from dementia, forgets who she is. Things soon spiral out of control though, and Asahi finds himself in increasingly more trouble. This drama was very unique in the way that there was absolutely no music that accompanied it. It was an immensely beautiful film, that once again proves how precious true friendship really is, as well as the hard fact that you can’t always get what you want in life.

Her love boils bathwater (Japan 2016)

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This beautiful and heartwarming drama was sent in for a contender as the best
foreign language film at the Oscars of 2017. Sadly it did not make the cut and one has to wonder why. The film tells the story of the woman Futuba who has just been diagnosed with cancer and hears she only has a few more months left to live. Instead of giving up, she is determined to finish a few things before she dies. One is finding back her missing husband and get him to resume the family bath house. Another no less important thing is getting her daughter Azumi, who is being bullied at school, to stand up for herself. With time running out, will she be able to accomplish these and other goals? A movie like this could become an enormous tearjerker. While I won’t deny that you won’t shed a few tears it is mainly a film that fills you with hope and an incredible feel good feeling. I was especially astonished by the high level of acting in this movie. In particular by lead actresses Rie Miyazawa who plays the terminally ill Futuba and Hana Sugisaki who played her daughter Azumi. Both were absolutely amazing in their admittedly very difficult roles. This was a powerful film that stayed in my head long after I finished it.

Well, that’s it for part one. Tomorrow I will bring you part 2, which will feature the anime that I watched, as well as all the stuff that I bought. And, last but not least I will also tell you what was the highlight of the convention for me, and suprisingly that wasn’t any anime or a movie. But more on that tomorrow, as I have to keep some suspense up right? Thank you all for reading, and now I am going to try and make up for some lost sleep lol!

Erased, Japanese Tv series (2017)

Last year I saw an anime that ended up being one of the best that I have ever seen to date in my life. It was called Erased and I gave it a perfect score at the time. Having not yet revisited it I don’t know if I would give it the same score today that I gave it back then. The review for it was written in the early days of my blog, but I do know that I absolutely loved it. So when I heard they were going to be producing a live action series based on the manga/anime, the first thought that went through my mind was “Oh God, please not this again”. As most anime fans will know, the reputation for these kind of shows/movies that are based on our beloved animated series isn’t one to be very proud of. In fact, it’s downright abysmal if you look at it closely. But, since I loved the anime so much I decided to at least watch the pilot for this one and give it a chance……So, I guess you are all waiting for what I eventually thought of it huh? Okay, I will get to that after I present the plot, but how about when I say that this might just be the best live action anime adaptation ever. Did that catch your attention? Right…as I was saying let’s start with the plot first.

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Hey! No pictures please!

The aspiring manga artist Satoru has a gift. Or a curse depending on which way you look at it. With the ability called Revival he is able to travel back in time to prevent bad things from happening. He always experiences it just before some kind of calamity occurs, and he usually has a short time window to stop it. But Satoru is always able to save the day just in time. But then one day he arrives home and finds his mother dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of her back. With his hands covered in blood Satoru becomes the prime suspect for this grissly deed. Just when he is about to get caught by the police his Revival ability kicks in. But this time it takes him back farther in time than ever before. To his childhood to be exact, 18 years in the past. Now with his adult mind in the driver’s seat of his 11 year old self, he has to find a way to prevent his mother’s death and that of three of his classmates. Most notably the young girl Kayo Hinazuki who he has grown very close to. But his opponent is a very cunning and brutal serial killer that will stop at nothing to achieve his goals…….

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Are you going to eat that cake?

One of the things that live action adaptations, or any adaptations as a matter of fact usually get wrong is that they stray too far from the source material. Or don’t even use it at all. And that’s where Erased really shines. This 12 part Netflix series captures the heart and soul of what made the original so great in the first place. Things like friendship, never giving up, but also it’s darker themes such as child abuse all make an appearance. In the first 6-7 episodes the people who have seen the anime will find it follows the storyline very closely. They throw a few other things and twists in the mix but other than that it resembles it’s anime counterpart almost exactly. In what can be called the second act, it diverges it’s story into other directions without going completely off the rails. In fact I liked that they also devised some original storylines as well, because else the outcome would have been very predictable.

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Did I mention there were some heartwarming moments in this series?

Another thing you will notice when you start watching this is how gorgeous everything looks. The cinematography is stunning in this series. From the bleak factories, to the snowfilled landscapes and beautiful sunsets, everything almost looks like a painting. It really helps in setting the overall tone and atmosphere for this. The acting for this is also pretty good with one noteworthy exception. The children especially are extremely well cast, particularly the girl who plays the young Hinazuki. Just as in the anime she really is going through hell in this show, and the tv series doesn’t shy away from that subject either. Even though Hinazuki appears to be a little bit older than her anime counterpart, the actress that portrays her does a great job making us care about her character. In fact the only actress I didn’t like in certain scenes was the one who plays Airi, the girl who has a crush on the older Satoru. There were a couple of moments that were a bit cringeworthy in the way she portrayed them, but they don’t cause enough trouble to really become a problem.

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Erm, I would change my shirt if I were you. It looks like you had an accident with the ketchup bottle.

If I want to be nitpicking I can also point out that there is a certain character that at one point has a fake beard that looks so stupid it is almost laughable. In fact I found myself wondering who on Earth came up with that. But that’s a relatively minor issue in what is otherwise a truly awesome show. With the episodes being only 30 minutes long, Erased has the name bingewatch written all over it. If you have not yet seen the anime I think you are going to enjoy this series even more than those who did. As the show basically tells the same story there are not many surprises in store for the fans of the anime. But as a fan I can say that I still enjoyed this one immensely. This is without a doubt the best anime live action adaptation that I have ever seen and I highly recommend this series. It is not as good as the anime, in that I can be honest, but it does come very, very close. Erased is a really terrific series that tells a heartbreaking, exciting and sometimes downright chilling story. I dare you not to finish this one in one go.

I give Erased a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: First trailer for Alita Batle Angel

After a bit of a strange week of blogging, and my recovering from a rather nasty flu (you can read all about that right here), today marks the first day that I hope to get back to normal blogging operations. Erm, yeah I don’t quite know what that means either. I’m at least going to try and make an effort to catch up on some posts that I have missed, and try and write some stuff myself again as well. They say there is such a thing as not believing in things that are a coincidence, but I sometimes beg to differ. I literally acquired the first volume of the Deluxe Edition of the Battle Angel Alita manga, this weekend. For those of you not familiair with it, Battle Angel Alita is a long running manga series. It features a young innocent looking cyborg woman called Alita, that is found and rescued at a Scrapyard by a cyber doctor where she was dumped. Floating above this Scrapyard is the floating city of Zalem. While the people at Zalem seem to enjoy a life of luxury, the people at the Scrapyard live in poverty and try to get by as best they can. It soon becomes apparent though that Alita is no ordinary cyborg, and is in reality a deadly assassin skilled in the legendary martial arts of Panzerkunst.

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The first volume of the Deluxe Edition of the manga. Expect a review for this one next year. 

Now getting back to that coincidence, friday the first trailer for the live action movie of Alita seemingly came out of nowhere. It was a movie project that has been rumored for ages now, with director James Cameron having said that he has always been interested in making a film for this. It seems that plan has now finally been put into motion. Although Cameron doesn’t direct, he is quite involved in the project. And I have to say that what is on display in this trailer is really awesome. Not only does it look rather unique, we also get a pretty good cast that bring the characters to life. I for one can’t wait to see the final product, which will make an appearance in the theatres next year. For your enjoyment I have provided the trailer for you to watch, and judge by yourself. Let me know what you think of it in the comments section below.

 

Blogwarming Party!

Hello everyone, and especially you new anibloggers! Huh, what’s this I can hear you all thinking right now. Well this is a post directed especially at new anibloggers, but it’s also meant to give a bit of shameless promotion to one blogger in particular, but more on that later. For all you veteran bloggers out there, do you remember what it was like when you started your own blog, weeks, months, or maybe even years ago? I know that I do for sure. I had literally no idea what I was doing. One sunday morning I got this crazy idea to start a blog about one of my greatest passions: movies and television series. When I published my first post, I was amazed that there were people that even read it. What was even more fun, is that eventually people even started commenting on later posts. At first I felt a bit like the character above this post: shy as hell. But eventually I got over my fears and started commenting on other people’s posts and it was a lot of fun. Blogging has since then become one of my greatest hobbies, and it has grown into a part of my life that I can’t live without anymore.

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Let’s get this party started!

But before this turns into a post about me, let me tell you what the real point of this one is. Remember that shameless promotion I was talking about for a particular blogger? Well here it comes. Ever since I started blogging my love for anime has returned, and I keep stumbling across new blogs for this wonderful medium every week. Most recently I discovered Irina’s wonderful aniblog called I drink and watch anime (the title alone is just reason enough to start following her). Seriously though, her blog has skyrocketed for the past few weeks, and deservedly so. She has awesome reviews, but is also a very kind person to talk to, and always takes the time to respond to a comment you left for her.

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Really, no need to start blushing !

Today though, she came with an absolutely wonderful idea, that I just had to promote. She is reaching out to any aniblogger that has just started out by featuring some of their new posts. In other words she is creating a platform to showcase your work if you have just started blogging. Now if that isn’t awesome and enormously kind, I really don’t know what is. You can find out more about this by checking out her own post for this right here . Now if you haven’t already of course go and follow her blog as well, and I promise you won’t regret it. So on a personal note: I think it is an awesome and seriously cool idea you had here Irina, so I wish you all the best with the execution of it. If you ever need more help for this: let me know!. Well I guess that is enough shameless promotion for one post lol, but I definitely meant every word of it. Well, all you new anibloggers out there: best of luck, and remember this: blogging is awesome, as you will discover soon enough!

A post called “D”

Helly everyone! When you come across the title for this post I can almost imagine the expressions on most of your faces. A post called “D”, what the heck is he talking about? Well….let me explain things, and hopefully it will become clear. I have been blogging for over a year now, and I almost can’t believe it’s been that long. It has been an incredible journey, that had it’s ups and downs, but there is one thing that has made it all worth it. And that is meeting a lot of cool people along the way. Some of them have become very good friends, even though we might never meet in real life. When I first started my blog I was incredibly shy, and also afraid to make a comment on someone else’s blog. (Why would someone be interested in anything that I have to say, right?). Well, I am glad I got over that initial fear, and started doing that, because that is the best thing about blogging: sharing thoughts with other people and becoming part of this community.

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And that brings me to the reason for this post: it is the 8th of October (Well, at least it is right now over here in Holland), and that means it is someone’s birthday today! Now, I know they hate me for writing this post (lol😂), but they are also worth it, so that is why I am doing it anyway. The person who’s birthday it is today should be familiair to most of you that write about anime. And that is “D” from Dtalksanime. ( So, that explains the title for this post: DUH ).And they are just simply put awesome! Not only are their reviews incredibly fun to read, but they are also very kind and always have a nice reply ready for anything you comment on. Not only that, but they also offer cool comments on posts that you write yourself, and it always amazes me that people take time from their busy lives to comment on anything that you write in the first place.

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So why this post? Well “D” has not only become a very good friend, but as some of you have read on their blog they have been going through a rough patch the past few weeks and are currently on hiatus. Life can sometimes be really tough, and make us feel like crap. So I thought it would be a nice idea to write this post, and to let the comment section serve as a happy birthday wishlist for them. In other words: use the comments section below to wish them a happy birthday, and let them know how much we miss their posts. And if you are not yet following their terrific blog, use the link above to subscribe to them! Let me kick this off with saying : “D, my friend, have a terrific day! I know you usually don’t like things like this, but I do hope that this has put a smile on your face. And if not, you can always sent Mei from Another to my house to scare the living daylights out of me! 😂😂 Happy Birthday! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 ”

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Alita Last Order Omnibus vol.1, A Japanese manga book (2011)

The Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it is known in Japan, has been praised by none other than director James Cameron. He is a huge fan of this manga, and has been wanting to direct a live action movie based on it for quite some time now. I doubt it will ever get to see the light of day though, as it has been announced so many times that is almost becoming laughable. For those of you unfamiliair with the original manga let me tell you quickly what the story is about.

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Battle Angel Alita is set in a post apocalyptic future and is centered around the character of Alita, a female cyborg. She was originally found in a junkyard, robbed of all her memories. The cybernetics doctor who finds Alita, decides to rebuild her, and when she awakens she discovers that there is actually one thing she does remember. It is the ancient legendary martial art of Panzer Kunst. With this deadly skill she eventually takes on the profession of  bounty hunter. The world she lives in is an interesting and very unique one. The floating city of Tiphares is the cause of a massive scrapheap on the surface which surrounds the aptly named city of Scrapyard. As the city of Tiphares is off limits to surface dwellers, they are forced to make a living amongst the junk, a very hard life indeed.

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Alita Last Order continues the storyline of the original manga, but does pretty much ignore the original ending, or so I have heard. While I did read a few chapters of the first Battle Angel Alita series, I have never completed it. But so far I have been able to follow the storyline along just fine without all the knowledge of the original manga. Alita Last Order starts off with the resurrection of Alita by her enemy/ally Desty Nova. Their relationship has always been a complex one, and it continues to be so in the new series. The story this time takes place on Tiphares, on which quite a number of things have changed. The city has turned into complete chaos, and numerous rebellions are underway. Amidst the chaos Alita tries to find out what happened to her old friend Lou, but at the same she also searches for more answers to her own forgotten past. Both things are incredibly hard to do, as Alita is about to find out…

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While I still prefer anime to manga, this series was just to good to resist. I fell in love with the character of Alita quite a few years ago, when I first laid eyes on her in the original manga. While visiting Animecon 2017 last month, I was amazed to find out that the series had continued in this new form, and as such I bought all five omnibus editions. The first installment certainly did not disappoint. The art for this is absolutely breathtaking, and at times I just kept staring at certain panels to admire them. Alita contains enough action to keep your attention throughout the entire 650 page count, but the story itself also is worth every minute of your time. The theme that keeps returning the most is the question of what it is like to be human. But even though that has been featured so many times in other media, Alita turns it upside down, and still manages to be original too. I simply have nothing negative to say about this series. If you love dystopian post apocalyptic science fiction stories, featuring great art, and enough action to leave you gasping at air, I highly recommend you check this manga out.

I give Alita Last Order Omnibus Volume 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017, part 2

Hello everyone, welcome to the second part of my report from Animecon 2017, which I attended this weekend. You can find the first part right Here. Without further ado let’s gets on with the second part.

The food

Ofcourse it would not be a good thing to go without food for three days, and luckily the con as well as the hotel had plenty of great things on offer. I especially enjoyed the tasty udon flavoured cup noodles. They were absolutely delicious, and I helped myself to these twice. There was a lot of variety to choose from, ranging from homemade ramen to hamburgers and vegan food. There was something tasty for everyone.

Too much stuff to buy

I knew going into this con that this would definitely not be good for my wallet. And it really wasn’t, lol. I bought way too much stuff, but it was all definitely worth it. Besides the entire manga series of Battle Angel Alita, I got a lot of Animeseries on dvd, some new, some old, but all of them pretty cool. Yes I know, as if I did not have too much stuff to watch already. I also got a great modelkit for a Mobile Suit Gundam Wing classic guntank, which will be great to put together. All in all I have really gotten soms terrific new stuff, and I could not be happier with it.

What I saw: movies

Besides anime there were also a lot of Asian movies to watch. Just as with the anime on offer I had to make a choice as to what to watch, and these three films were the ones I eventually ended up seeing.

imageTrain to Busan

This was the movie that I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. I had to stay up till three o’clock at night in order to see it, but wow was it worth it. This Korean zombie movie was a blockbuster back in it’s homeland, and it also became a huge succes worldwide. Suffice it say that for me it has been the best Korean movie that I have seen, and you can expect a review for this movie on my blog very soon.

 

 

 

imageGood Stripes!

The description for this movie said this was supposed to be a heartwarming  movie, that would leave no heart untouched. Well, I don’t know if whoever gave that description saw the same film that I did, but it was one of the most depressing movies that I have seen in quite a while. It tells the story of a couple that were about to break up, but end up staying together because the woman got pregnant. This film was really boring, and a great disappointment. Definitely wished I had avoided this one.

 

imageKen and Kazu!

The last movie I saw was Ken and Kazu! , which I highly enjoyed. This was a seriously brutal crime movie, but one that had a great storyline and some terrific acting. Ken and Kazu are lifelong friends, that make their living by drug smuggling for their boss. One day Kazu decides to start making money for himself, without their boss knowing this. This is the beginning of a violent spiral, that can only end in bloodshed. The two leadactors did a great job, and this film definitely stood out in the oversaturated Yakuza movie genre.

 

Final notes

To say that I had a great time this weekend is pretty much an understatement. I ended up seeing a lot of great films and anime, highly enjoyed all the things on offer, and the atmosphere was just terrific. My only regret was not attending any of the workshops that were organised. I decided to go for the movies and anime this year, but next year I’m probably going to turn this around and go to some of the workshops as well. My hats off to all the organisers of this con for making this such an entertaining weekend. I will leave you with a couple of pictures I took to give you an impression of this great weekend. As always thank you for reading and see you at the next post !

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Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017 Part 1

Hello everyone. As most of you that have been following my blog know, I have attended Animecon 2017 this weekend. To say that Animecon only focusses itself on anime would be selling it short. If I were to give a description for it, I would say it is more a celebration of all things Asian. Besides being able to watch a lot of anime, there are also all kinds of Asian movies to see, workshops to participate in, games to play, and a whole lot of other stuff. I have made this post to give you an impression of my weekend, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

The Hotel

Animecon took place in The Hague, which is about a two hour drive from where I live. So in order to not travel back and forth the entire weekend, I decided to stay at a hotel. Normally this would be pretty expensive, but because of the con taking place, a special discount was granted. It was one of the most luxurious hotels that I have ever stayed at, and as you can see from the pictures above, the room itself as well as the view was pretty amazing.

Busy, busy, busy….

It was a very busy weekend with a lot of people attending. Checking in at the hotel took me almost 40 minutes, and getting in to the con itself also took me just about the same time. At least everyone was in very good spirits, and I got to admire a lot of cosplayers. The weather outside was luckily very good, so I honestly did not mind the wait.

What I saw: Anime

Ofcourse with a title like Animecon one should not be surprised that there was a lot of anime on offer. With four different movie theatres playing all kinds of different shows and movies at the same time, you had to make a selection. Down below is an overview of the anime that I chose to see.

imageMagic-Kyun Renaissance Episodes 1-4

This was a pretty fun series to start off with. For some reason it reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. It tells the story of a girl called Kohana who attends The Magical Arts High School. Upon her arrival she meets a number of people there, that throughout a variety of different arts can produce sparkles, a kind of magical effect. I don’t exactly know why, but I found this series to be quite enjoyable. It was beautifully animated, the characters looked great, and the story was pretty unique.

imageChaos;Child Episodes 1-5

This series seriously creeped me out. It was too bad they only showed the first 5 episodes because I could have continued watching this the entire evening. A massive earth quake destroys the city of Shibuya. Six years later the city has been rebuilt, and the survivors continue with their lives. But then a series of mysterious deaths begin to occur that happen to coincide with a string of murders that also happened six years ago. With genuinely disturbing imagery, and a very scary atmosphere, I absolutely loved this one.

imageThe Piano Forest

The Piano Forest was a very beautiful movie, that focussed on a young boy called Shuhei who moves from Tokyo to a smaller city. Shuhei’s dream is to become the best piano player in the world, but because of that he at first doesn’t fit in with his classmates at the local school. But then he comes in contact with the young boy Kai, who lives in the Red Light District. Kai also plays the piano, but in a nearby forest on a mysterious piano that only he seems to be able to get to work. A friendship is soon formed between the unlikely pair, but one that does not come easy. Although this movie was pretty slow, the story was very engaging, and just a great watch from beginning to end.

imageBubblegum Crisis OVA 1-3

This was old school anime at it’s best. A series that was made back in the 80’s, it has influences from classic movies like Blade Runner. It tells the story of four girls who make up the Knight Sabers, who fight crime in a future city in high powered exo suits. With blasting 80’s rockmusic, a great atmosphere, and a classic animation style, this was great to see back again after all these years.

 

 

And that’s it for the first part of this report. Join me again on the second part, where I will talk about the Asian films that I have seen this weekend. Also I will be showing you some of the great food on offer as well as the new things that I bought (and trust me when I say that my wallet was pretty empty after this weekend lol). As always thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back for part 2, that will be published later today.