Tag Archives: Romance

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!

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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-Ordinal Scale, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The world of computergames is vast. Some say it is currently one of the biggest entertainment mediums, bigger even than Hollywood movies. Many of you already know this but I used to be a very fanatical gamer. One could argue that I was so fanatical that it wasn’t even healthy anymore. But that’s a thing of the past now, as I have stopped playing computergames altogether, well on consoles that is. I do play the occasional game on my Ipad, but that’s nowhere near the level of games that I was used to playing. Games these days are becoming ever more immersive, with virtual reality being one of the latest trends. Putting on special goggles, gamers can experience the gaming world in a way that is almost lifelike. I do say almost, as of course the technology isn’t anywhere close to the things you sometimes see in science fiction movies. Two years ago, around the time when my blog was up and running for a few months, I discovered the anime Sword Art Online, which focusses heavily on virtual reality gaming. It fast became one of my alltime favorite animeseries and now I have a huge collection of merchandise from that series (proving once again my point that I can truly become obsessed when I like something).

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Don’t look now, but I think you might have something stuck in your ear.

Last year a movie that was a follow-up to the series saw the light of day, and now I finally had the chance to see this one for myself as it was released on dvd two weeks ago. (Well here in Europe anyway). Was it worth the wait? Hell yeah it was! It is the year 2026, and the world is under the spell of the Augma device, a new system that allows players all over the world to simulate reality while still being conscious. As a few years prior players became trapped in a virtual reality game called Sword Art online, that used a full dive system, this new device is deemed much safer. We once again meet up with Kirito and Asuna, both survivors of the horrible SOA event, and not surprisingly both are also using the Augma to play the newest and most popular game Ordinal Scale. Although Kirito doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself as much. But then a new event is introduced to the game: old boss monsters from the Sword Art Online world begin appearing accompanied by the mysterious AI idol singer Yuna. What at first seems like a fun and welcome addition to the game, soon begins to take on a much more sinister shape. With Asuna’s life on the line, Kirito has to find out what is going on, before it’s too late. But it might already be too late, for Kirito seems to have met his match in the form of a player that is able to counter his every move….

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Gotta love Asuna’s new look in this film.

Sword Art Online is a series that is hated upon by a lot of animefans. I’m not going to start up that old discussion as I am here to talk about this movie. Suffice it to say though that I am a huge fan of this anime, in fact so much so that it has taken up a spot on my personal top 3 of favorite animeseries. When I first heard about the fact that there would finally be something coming out that would continue the storyline I was delighted. At the same time though I also felt anxious. What if it would suck? Well, having finally been able to see this film now, I am very glad to let you all know that my fears were unfounded. If you are a fan of the animeseries you will love this. Let’s talk about the storyline first. One of the things I really liked about it, is the way it treated the main characters of Asuna and especially Kirito. It was very refreshing to see the latter being out of his element and not the powerhouse player we are used to seeing in the series. Kirito really struggles within this new life and death game, and it takes him a long while to adapt. Asuna also at a certain point becomes very vulnerable, and it’s a side we are not always used to seeing from the starstruck couple. It’s their relationship and love for each other that continues to be heartwarming, and very touching though.

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GET READYYYYYYY: FIGHT!!!!

Another thing I liked about the film’s story is some of the questions it asked that really made you think.What if you were able to forget about things from your past that were not very happy thoughts or events?  Would you do that if you were able to? Or are they a part of your life no matter how unhappy these memories might be? I think that is an intriguing question and one that could almost be the topic for an entire post or at the very least a lively discussion. The movie runs for two hours, and it is in my opinion just a tad bit too long. Some of the story elements felt a bit forced, and a few of the side characters had way too little screentime, but were probably just added to the mix for the fans. Nevertheless there are also quite a few things in it for fans of the original series that will in all likelyhood give you a few goosebumps. On the action front the film doesn’t disappoint. Even though it’s not a full on fight fest, there are enough action scenes in the film that make it very satisfying. The fights also feel much more threatening and dangerous.

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I just love my special edition boxed set version of this movie 😀

 

While the animation might not be as beautiful as some of the higher level animefilms out there, I still found it to be very decent, with some spectacular setpieces. The new outfits for most of the characters also worked quite well and had a really nice look to it. Another thing that plays a big role in this film is the music. With the introduction of the new character of Yuna, an AI idol singer, there were quite a number of scenes that featured her singing. At times it almost felt as if I was watching a new installment of the  Macross saga. But I have to admit that this element did work quite well and wasn’t distracting in the least. The music featured in the film fits the tone of Sword Art Online and as such is very pleasing to the ear. Even though the film can be watched on it’s own without any prior knowledge of the world of Sword Art Online, you will find it more enjoyable if you first watch the original anime. If you hated SOA in the first place, this movie won’t make you love the series all of a sudden. For the fans though this is a more than decent follow up to the original anime and with the words Sword Art Online will return at the end of the credits, we can rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of Kirito and Asuna. And I would not have it any other way. Link start !

I give Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale a 8 out of 10 score.

Deadpool, American movie (2016) : A special Valentine’s Day movie review (sort of…)

Today it’s Valentine’s Day. You know that special day where you are doing extra sweet things for the one you love, making him or her feel extra warm and fuzzy inside. Where you go out for that romantic boatride, that lovely candle light dinner or that extra cuddle. In short it’s the day that is filled with romance. Yes people I am a romantic guy at heart. But for us singles it’s that one day that comes back every year and makes that feeling of still being alone extra tough. (Yes, let’s hear those sad violins now). Seriously people, don’t feel bad for me or show any kind of pity. It’s all right. I’m happy for everyone that is lucky enough to spent this day with their soulmate. So what better way for me to bring that feeling of romance right to you, by giving you this special Valentine’s Day review. And it just can’t get any more romantic than this. What we have here is a movie that is about a man who will do anything for the woman he loves. Including slicing and dicing up people that stand in his way when he wants to achieve that goal. Erm….yes this is a romance movie, I guarantee it.

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Awww….reading a love letter. See, I told you this was a romantic movie.

Meet Wade Wilson. He is a dishonarably discharged ex-special forces operative that now works in New York as a mercenary. But then it happens. He meets the escort Vanessa, and sparks begin to fly. Romance blossoms, clothes come off and go flying in all kinds of different directions, and generally it seems like they are a match made in heaven. But just when they are about to tie the knot, tragedy strikes. Wade gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and their lives are turned upside down. Eventually Wilson decides he doesn’t want to expose Vanessa to see him slowly dying, and leaves. When a mysterious recruiter approaches him and tells him there might be a way to cure his disease, Wade is at first very skeptical. But in the end he relents, especially as this might be a chance for him to be with his true love again. He meets up with a man named Ajax, who has an experimental serum that can awaken latent mutant genes. But there is a catch to this. In order to make it work, Wade has to undergo truly horrible and very sadistic forms of torture.

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Oh yeah. There are X-men in this film too. Here’s one that’s out walking his poo(d)l(e).

Every day it becomes worse, but eventually while nearly getting asphyxiated, an incredible healing power is activated. Now he is able to cure any kind of wound, even loss of limbs. It leaves him horribly disfigured however and almost completely unrecognisable. Now, Wade is out for revenge, and wants to get back at the man who did all this to him. And thus Deadpool is born, the “Merc with a mouth”. Wade’s only mission is to find a way to reverse the process, and get back to Vanessa. But this is easier said than done, especially as the man known as Ajax is not only hard to catch, but also has his own plans for Deadpool. And those plans are to completely destroy him, no questions asked…..Yes people, this may sound like it’s just another superhero movie. But I can assure you that it’s not. It’s so much more. Deadpool is absolutely freaking hilarious. It is a brutal R-rated movie that has more F-bombs in it than one might hear in a single week. But oh my god is this movie a lot of fun.

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This is one of those staring contests. The one who laughs first gets to punch the other.

One only has to take a look at the marketing campaign for this movie before it came out to see how different this one is. The movie banner that is above this post, made it look like a Valentine’s movie, and just the perfect love story to enjoy with your loved one on that special day. And I imagine that a lot of people even fell for it. To tell you the truth though, it really is a romance story at it’s core. Deadpool even says so in the beginning of the film. (But then later he changes his mind by saying it’s a horror). Wade’s love for Vanessa is real, and their relationship is definitely at the heart of this film. But that’s where it pretty much stops. This movie really deserves it’s R-rating. Body parts that go flying all over the place, blood, gore, nudity, foul language, it’s all included in here for your viewing pleasure. And I do say pleasure, because everything is just so completely over the top, that it’s pretty much impossible not to laugh at this. It completely rewrites the superhero genre, and gives us an anti-superhero by making Deadpool one of the most hilarious comic book characters ever created.

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This guy has terrible bed side manners.

All credits for this have to go to actor Ryan Reynolds. He already played the character once before in the first X-men origins movie: Wolverine. That however was a completely different take on the character, and could not be more dissimilar from what we see in this film. Ryan lives and breathes this character. His often completely crazy one liners, lewd comments and even moments when he talks to us as a movie audience are worth it alone to see this film for. But on the action front it’s a joy to watch as well. Gory fight sequences, gunbattles and chase scenes are all executed to perfection. The film did not even have a very huge budget, but they made it look as if it did. So was there anything negative to report about this film? Well honestly, I don’t know. Not every joke works I guess, but that is something that is very common to comedy. That’s always personal. But other than that, I would have to go do some nitpicking which I am not going to do.

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Pop goes the Deadpool.

Deadpool is a film that is so unique in the superhero genre, that it just simply doesn’t feel like a superhero movie. If you are easily offended by cursing or gore, than I guess you had best not watch this. But if you don’t mind that, this is a film that is just a hilarious rollercoaster ride from start to finish. And of course a perfect film to watch on Valentine’s Day. And I say: why not? It always seems that it is automatically assumed that every girl loves chickflicks or cheesy romance films. And before you start accusing me,  of course there is nothing wrong with that (remember you are talking to the guy who watched Titanic nine times in the cinema). But if you like to see a different and quite hilarious take on a romantic film, this is the one you want to check out. For all of you that are in love, I wish you a heartfelt beautiful Valentine’s Day. And for all of you that are single, hey…don’t give up. True love can be found everywhere….just ask Deadpool.

I give Deadpool a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Black, Korean Dramaseries (2017)

There is a question that many people wonder about. What happens when we die? Will we simply cease to exist? Will we somehow be reborn, enter Heaven or maybe even Hell? No matter what you believe in, I don’t think it’s a question that we will ever get an answer to until the moment arrives. Now, I don’t know about you, but I for one am pretty happy to postpone that moment for as long as I can. It’s not that I fear death, but I am pretty happy with living right now thank you very much. But we all check out at some point, that’s pretty much the only certainty we have in life. (Oh yeah, and taxes but I always tend to forget that one for some reason). Well, I can hear you thinking right now: “This is a very cheerful subject:NOT! I’m going to move on and check out something else”. Well, if you do you are going to miss out on a review for the best Korean drama series that I have seen so far in my life. So please bare with me just a little bit longer okay?

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My name is Black…..erm, no that’s it, just Black. 

 

In Black we meet up with Kang Ha-ram a young woman who has always had a very special ability ever since she was a child. When she looks at people she sometimes sees dark shadows forming behind them. These shadows are always the signs that the death of that person is very near. Ha-ram hasn’t been happy with this power at all, and the only way she can avoid it, is by wearing sunglasses. One day she crosses paths with police officer Han Moo-gang who she is stunned to recognise as a boy from her childhood, one was always very kind to her. She has not seen him in almost 20 years, but it appears that he has really changed. He doesn’t seem at all like the kindhearted young boy who she remembers, but instead has turned into a very coldhearted insensitive man. And she would be right, as Moo-gang has not only changed but is now possessed by a Grim Reaper. But this is not the only problem that Ha-rang is going to face. When a body is found, certain events are set in motion that will uncover a very dark secret and conspiracy that has been buried for a very long time. And certain people will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from rising to the surface…..even it means killing everyone in their path.

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Some people just hate missing the bus. 

Okay, let me make one thing clear, and this is very, very important. Do not, I repeat not drop this show after watching the first two episodes. I almost did this, and am eternally grateful that I did not. When this series starts you will be very confused. What exactly is this series trying to be? Is it a police drama, a supernatural mystery, or, and this is what I feared the most, a slapstick comedy? The first two episodes were a mess and the “comedy” was so cringeworthy that I very nearly gave up. But man, am I glad that I did not. Black is a show that by the time you start with episode 3 is almost impossible to turn off. The story it tells is tense, gripping, emotional and will have you in tears, on the edge of your seat, as well as laughing all at the same time. It’s a rollercoaster ride that will never let up. The best element in this series is how it draws you the viewer into the storyline trying to figure out how all the puzzlepieces fit together. And just when you think you have figured it all out, it throws another twist at you, and you have to start from scratch again.

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Sometimes you just want to sit down on the sidewalk. I always do that every day. 

There is a huge cast of actors, and as such it’s impossible to cover them all. I will instead focus on the two leads, but suffice it to say that every single actor involved in this series is great. No matter how small their parts were. And no, that is not me just saying so, just to get this over and done with in a quick way. Actor Song Seung-heon plays the part of the Grim Reaper possessed cop Moo-gang. His acting is superb and I love the way how his character evolved throughout the series. He can tackle basically everything, from actionscenes, to anger, to comedy to drama, everything he does is believable. His precense just lights up the screen everywhere he appears. But his chemistry with lead actress Go Ara, who plays the role of Ha-ram is also a huge part of what makes this series work so well. And speaking of her, you will completely fall in love with the character she portrays. Ha-ram is a feisty woman, who always has some very snappy comebacks, but is also very caring and emotional at the same time. This series is really her story, and that’s why it is important to have an actress who can carry that part. Go Ara really gets the job done, and then some.

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The new generation of Pokemon balls had also found it’s way into the afterlife. 

Black is a series that blends many elements together and that’s why it can be enjoyed by a pretty large number of people. Even though the show has supernatural elements, it never let’s these elements take the upper hand. Above all this is a solid and very cleverly written murder mystery, with a touch of action and suspense and the occasional humor thrown into the mix. And of course there is also some romance, but this only adds to the strength of the series instead of diminishing it. So in case you haven’t yet noticed, I absolutely loved this show. The only reason I haven’t given it the perfect 10/10 score is that the first two episodes just felt out of place. And seriously, I was very close to dropping it, something I almost never do. But the rest of this Korean drama series is so fantastic, that I have all but forgotten about that. If you have yet to watch your first K-drama series, this might be the one to start with. I guarantee that you will not regret this. So, this concludes my review for the second series for the Korean Drama theme month. What’s up next you ask? I haven’t yet quite decided, but rest assured there is one more series review to come. Thank you for reading!

I give Black a 9 out of 10 score.

January’s Theme: Korean Dramas

Hello everyone. This is going to be a short post to announce the first theme of this year. As I mentioned in my plans for the upcoming year, each month will have a certain theme that will get a little bit more coverage than all the other things. That’s not to say, I won’t be writing reviews for movies, anime etc, but the theme of the month will just get a few more posts than the others. And as you can see in the big bold letters above this text, January’s theme is going to be Korean Dramas.

What exactly is a Korean drama?

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Well don’t keep us in suspense tell us already!

As not everyone might be familiar with these let me explain just a little bit about them. Korean drama shows are pretty much the same as a regular tv series, except for the fact that they usually run for a single season (with a few exceptions). That means they are selfcontained stories that unfold in one season and then end. The great thing about that is the fact that you don’t run a risk that a show might get cancelled in the middle of a cliffhanger. Korean dramas have quite a large number of topics, such as crime, romance, period pieces, and these days they even have a few series that have sci-fi elements in them. If this has gotten your interest you might want to check out the website Viki that will let you watch these legally for free (with of course a few commercials thrown into the mix). Another great source for news and recommendations is the truly awesome blog Kdramakisses run by the amazingly kind Kay.

What will I be reviewing?

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What do you mean you are not going to tell us?

No, that’s exactly right, I am not going to tell you yet which shows I will be watching. Yes I know, I am evil like that. But I have to keep up a little bit of suspense right? I plan on watching three shows however, so keep your eyes out for the reviews that will start to make an appearance later on in this month. Thank you for reading, and see you all at the next post!

 

The girl who leapt through time, Japanese (animated) movie (2006)

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me: I never sleep in. Not even in the weekends. I’m always up early, usually at around six in the morning, and I do this because time is precious and I don’t want to lose too much of it by sleeping. (It also helps that I don’t need much sleep, so there is that). As a result that means I am never late for things either. I always arrive way too early at my work, or at appointments. I’m always amazed at people that arrive 2 minutes before they have to be somewhere. I would go completely nuts if that were me. It all would be so much easier though if there was some way we could travel through time. We would literally have all the time in the world, and things would be so much easier. Or would they? Even though it might sound like a very nice thing to be able to travel through time, and maybe even correct mistakes you might have made, it always comes with a consequence. Something that the movie I am about to review is trying to make painfully clear.

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I would not recommend stepping of your bike like that. You might get hurt.

In The girl who leapt through time we meet the happy go lucky highschoolgirl Makoto Konno. She lives at home with her parents and her younger sister, and enjoys playing baseball. She is always in a rush though, racing on her bike to get to places in time, and nearly always arriving late at school. One day after class ends, while riding downhill on her bike, her brakes fail. She desperately tries to find a way to stop before hitting a railroad crossing, but fails and gets hit by an oncoming train. But then strange things start to happen. She all of a sudden finds herself back on her bike, just before the accident happens. This time events happen differently. She soon finds out she has the power to time-leap, essentially travelling back in time for short or longer distances. Makoto begins to enjoy her new found power and uses it for relatively small things such as getting perfect grades or arriving in time. Her two closest friends Chiaki and Kousuke are beginning to notice changes in her behaviour. Eventually time catches up with her, and she begins to realise that everything comes at a price. Especially since one of her friends might be in mortal danger…..

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It’s scenes like this that are simply breathtaking.

I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time. To my delight I was finally able to obtain it on this year’s animecon and I have finally found some time (pun intended) to watch it. And I can tell you this movie did not disappoint. This was a really wonderful piece of animation both in terms of story as in art. At the heart of this one is the underlying message that every action we take or might not take, has a consequence. If for instance you might fear to admit you love someone, because you might lose his or her friendship, you might rob yourself from something even more beautiful. This last theme is something that is dealt with quite heavily in this movie, but before you start to think this is a mushy romantic film: it’s not. Though there is definitely some melancholy in this movie, it’s mostly a very uplifting and upbeat story. There were quite a number of times this film presented some heartwarming moments, that managed to put a smile on my face.

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Sometimes you just enter that fork in the road. 

From an animation point of view this film is really something. We are talking about a movie that is more than ten years old, but the animation presented in this one is breathtaking. There are numerous shots of a beautiful landscape, that coupled with the music, just gives you the feeling you want to stay in those scene forever. The main characters are great as well. Makoto is a great and fun character, which is important as you spent almost the entire movie at her side. You really sympathise with her, and the things she is going through. Her two friends Chiaki and Kousuke are for a change not your typical macho type boys, but two men that have their hearts in the right place. As the inevitable love triangle begins, it is luckily not one of those that will make you cringe (thank God for that). There are some other minor characters that also have some influence in the story, but the movie mainly revolves around the three characters I just mentioned.

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Take off your earphones when I am talking to you: that’s plain rude! 

The voice acting in the film (I watched the movie in the original Japanese language in case you were wondering) is very good, except for some of the scenes where Makoto has to cry or laugh. Those are always difficult emotions to pull off, but at a brief scene near the end it spoiled the emotional moment a little bit. But this is a minor thing in what is otherwise a truly terrific and beautiful movie. The girl who leapt through time is a film that I can definitely recommend. Especially if you like movies that feature time travelling elements. Sometimes films such as those can get very complicated, but in this one it’s handled very well, without it ever becoming hard to follow. So, they say time waits for no one. In other words, what are you waiting for? Go and see this movie.

I give The girl who leapt through time a 9 out of 10 score.

Plastic Memories, Anime tv series (2015)

For those of you that have been wondering if my love for anime has maybe disappeared, let me put your minds at ease: it has not. I admit it has been quite a while since I have last published a post for an animeseries, which is exactly the reason why I am doing one now. And don’t you just love it that it’s for a series that I just picked by pure chance and turned out to be something really quite special? I’m still in the middle of Ergo Proxy, and while I am so far truly enjoying it, it paints a picture of a very bleak future. The entire atmosphere it breathes is quite depressive and that is why I was looking for something to counter that and put me in a bit of a brighter mood. Looking through the Crunchyroll line up, I stumbled upon Plastic Memories. I found the premise for it quite promising, and I thought it would be a pretty bright and upbeat show. In parts it truly was just that, but I certainly did not expect that the final episode would bring me close to tears.

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This is a bit how I feel when I haven’t yet had my coffee in the morning.

Plastic Memories takes place in the future where humans live alongside androids that are all but indistinquishable from humans. The most advanced models, the so-called Giftias, have the most humanlike abilities, and have emotions and memory. Unfortunately all this comes at a price. A Giftia has a maximum lifespan. If it exceeds that limit, it results in a change in personality and memoryloss. In fact the best way to describe is that they turn into a very agressieve zombielike being. But there is an organisation that helps to retrieve the Giftias that are getting close to their expiration dates from their owners. The so called Terminal Service carries out that work in teams of two, a human called a Spotter and a Giftia that acts as the Marksman. A young man called Tsukasa has just started working at one of the offices of the Terminal Service. He is introduced to his beautiful partner Isla and together the pair start their job. Tsukasa is quickly developing feelings for Isla though and soon their relationship begins to become very complicated. Even more so as it seems Isla’s time is starting to run out……

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Don’t you just hate it that you have to prove to everyone who you are?

This is one of those animeseries that seems to have nearly every range of emotions contained within it. You will laugh, you will feel excitement, and you will cry. When the series first starts, it looks like the show will develop into a light hearted romantic comedy. There is nothing wrong with that, but a series like that is usually not really my cup of tea. For some reason I decided to stick with it though, and I am very glad that I did. This is an incredibly heartwarming series. As the series progresses there are an increasing amount of very beautiful moments between owners of Giftias that have a hard time letting go of their almost humanlike androids. A young boy for instance, has developed a very strong relationship with a Giftia that has been acting as a kind of mother figure, as his real mum died. There are several moments like these throughout the show, but at the heart of it all is the relationship between Tsukasa and Isla.

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I guess they both don’t like the food and drink on offer. I wonder why?

Tsukasa is a character that has his heart in the right place. At the start of the series he is very inexperienced and tries to do his job as best he can. Even though he certainly makes mistakes, his natural charisma helps him to get through these mistakes and get better. Isla has a lot of experience, but when it comes to human emotions she has a hard time coping with those. At first she feels awkward when Tsukasa seems to be developing feelings for her, even calling it an error. But as is usually the case, true love can’t really be denied, and the bond between the two turns into something truly beautiful. The rest of the characters are made up of their coworkers, and even though some of their roles are minor, they really become an integral part of the story as well. Both in providing comic relief, but also in adding to the many layers this series has. I especially liked the redhead Michiru that even though she denies this has fallen for Tsukasa. She really is a great character that provides some of the best comedy the series has on offer.

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Well, I told you the backgrounds were very beautiful.

The animation style of this anime is rather good, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. The future city this is taking place in, looks amazing and utterly believable. Another strong point and something of a rarity these days, is that the final episode brings the series to a close in a highly emotional and breathtaking way. I do advise you to keep a box of tissues nearby though. Are there any negatives to this one? Well I am hardpressed to find them. There is a very small moment of fanservice in a later episode that I found to be a little out of place. But that scene goes by so fast that you hardly even know it’s there. I highly recommend this series. It’s message throughout is very clear and so true: live live to the fullest and spend as much time as you can with the people you love. Before you know it, time is up. This series plays with that message in an incredible way. This anime shows how precious memories really are, and that you should cherish them as much as you can. Especially the good ones.

I give Plastic Memories a 9 out 10 score.

The Karate Kid part II, American movie (1986)

When I grew up as a kid there was a movie that always made me feel good. It is one of my favorite childhood movies and it’s called the Karate Kid. I watched this film at a time where attending school was a very dark place for me. I was bullied nearly every day, and here was a film where the same thing was happening to this young boy called Daniel. But guess what? He not only managed to gain respect and grow as a person, but he also beat his bullies in a brilliant way. It gave me hope that eventually everything can be beaten if you just put your mind to it. I will always be grateful to the movie for providing me a sense of relief and escapism in what was quite frankly a time in my life that I don’t like to look back on very often. Three years later the sequel came out. And it blew my young mind away again, but this time also for a few other reasons.

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FINISH HIM!!!!!!

The second part of the Karate Kid literally starts where the first part ended. Daniel has just won the All-Valley Karate Tournament and prepares to go home with his teacher mr. Miyagi. Once outside the pair see Daniel’s rival from the first movie being accosted by his own sensei John Kreese. Luckily Miyagi intervenes just in time, proving that you should never hold a grudge for too long. Six months later mr. Miyagi receives a letter from his lost love in Okinawa, Yukei, telling him his father is very ill. Daniel is eager to find out who Yukei is, and he soon hears the story behind the reason for his old master’s departure from Japan all those years ago. Yukei was apparently arranged to marry a man named Sato, who was mr. Miyagi’s best friend. But when he fell in love with her, Sato challenged him to a fight to the death. Unwilling to enter into such a duel, Miyagi left Japan, leaving behind a heartbroken Yukei. Having no choice now but to go to Okinawa and his dying father, he departs in all haste, with Daniel travelling with him. Upon their arrival though, both master and student are about to find out that some people can hold a grudge for a very long time……

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Honestly I would have included only pictures of Kumiko, but I guess I did not want to be too obvious.

This movie is very dear to me. It’s my number one go to movie whenever I feel down or depressed. Somehow it never fails to lift my spirits. There are two things this film did besides the general feel good atmosphere it manages to create. The first is that it introduced me to Asian culture, more specifically the culture of Japan. I loved the many customs we as an audience get to experience through this film. One of the scenes that really still brings a smile to my face is the tea ceremony between Daniel and his love interest in this movie: Kumiko. It is a wonderful custom to observe, and it is also incredibly romantic. With this movie my interest for Asian culture in general started to take shape, a fact that continues to this day. The second thing it did was give me my first movie crush. I was absolutely mesmerised by the beauty of Kumiko, played by a young Tamlyn Tomita. In my young mind she was the perfect woman, and I completely fell in love with her. Ah teenage love can be so strange at times.

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Ice, Ice, baby…..

From an acting point of view there are some great roles that I think are worth mentioning. First up is Pat Morita, as mr. Miyagi. I think his role in this second part was even better than in the first movie, as in this film the spotlight is somewhat more on his story instead of focussing all the attention on Daniel. It gives us a few wonderful scenes, most notably the ones between him and Sato and his love Yukei. Sato played by Danny Kamekona is the perfect adversary for Miyagi. His gravelly voice is terrific, and he also manages to create a humanity to his character in a great way. Lastly we have Sato’s nephew Chozen Toguchi, played by Yuji Okumoto, who eventually becomes Daniel’s opponent. He is a particular breed of nasty, and you will come to hate him over the course of this film. Some of the things he does still gets my blood boiling after all these years, and it is only a big compliment to Okumoto’s acting, that he manages to invoke such a feeling.

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Okay, sorry, just one more…..

Now some might argue how mediocre the fight scenes in this movie look. Certainly we are not watching a Jet Li or Jackie Chan movie here. The fights only serve to create some extra tension, in what is otherwise a really great and heartwarming film. I can’t express through words alone how much I still enjoy seeing this movie, even though it is now 31 years old. Both parts 1 and 2 are the ultimate feel good experience and are a perfect watch for whenever you just want to feel like you can take on the world again. It probably won’t please everyone, cynics might certainly point out the many flaws this film probably has, but I just love this movie to death. If you have never seen this one, I do recommend watching part 1 first. That movie establishes the relationship between mr. Miyagi and young Daniel, and to skip that would be to miss out on a lot of things. And remember to relax: wax on, wax off.

I give the Karate Kid part II a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Party of Five season 1, American tv series (1994/1995)

Teenage highschool dramaseries have been gracing television screens for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up I loved watching shows like Beverly Hills 90210, and yes I know how sappy those series at times can be. But I don’t know, they were just easy to watch, and had subjects in them that pretty much everyone who went to school can relate to in one way or another. Now that I am older it’s sometimes nice to revisit those old series. Call it a trip down memorylane or, god forbid, a midlife crisis, but some of those shows are still a lot of fun. There was a series that has always stood out amongst all of them though. And to simply call it yet another teenage drama is really selling it short. Because Party of Five, the show that I am talking about, is really so much more than that.

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Yeah, now you can still laugh, it won’t be long before someone will chase you with a knife.

Party of Five deals with five siblings living together in a house, after the tragic death of their parents in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Charlie Salinger is the older brother, and pretty much in charge of everything, but that certainly isn’t an easy task. Charlie is not one of the most responsible people of the world, but he tries to do his best in a very difficult situation. Than there is Bailey, the younger brother who always tries to do the right thing, even at the cost of himself sometimes. Julia Salinger is the older sister, who can be a bit rebellious at times, but also has a heart of gold. And then there is Claudia, the youngest sister, who is trying to become one of the best violin players of the world. And to complete the party of five we have baby brother Owen, who everyone adores, but ofcourse is a handful. The first season deals with all of them coming to grips with the hard life after the death of their parents, and getting along with each other.

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Is it really that hard to believe that I was in Lost and she was in Scream? 

Now, I can already see the frowns starting to pop up all over on your heads. Yes, I know this sounds like a very sad story, and how this is probably one of those seriously tearjerking series. But you could not be more wrong. Party of Five was once described as “The best show you are not watching”. Throughout it’s runtime the series always struggled to stay on the air because of failing ratings. And that was mainly because this was not your typical teenage show. For one thing the acting was absolutely amazing. Matthew Fox, who most of you might know from the succesful television series Lost, plays the role of Charlie. And he does that in an incredible way. Charlie is a character that has really got some serious flaws. You may even hate him at times, but it makes him all the more human, and you really can feel for him at so many points throughout the show.

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You don’t have to argue about it: I really WAS in Scream. 

But the rest of the cast is amazing as well. Bailey, played by Scott Wolf is a character that has a natural charisma, and one that I myself could understand and relate to the most. He always tries to see the best in people, and goes out of his way to help them, but usually ends up being disappointed because of that. Scott has a very natural and believable way of acting, which helps you like the character even more. Julia is played by a young Neve Campbell, and she was always an incredible actress right from the start. It’s honestly pretty sad that her career never took off as much, as was believed at the time. Finally Claudia, played by Lacey Chabert, is just one of those characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. She has an innocence to her, and not a bad bone in her body, even though she can sometimes really be a brat. But you pretty much forgive her for acting up like that at times.

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That boat behind us really looks out of place. 

Throughout it’s first season run, the Salingers have to deal with a lot of issues and emotions. There are laughs, tears, and scary moments as well, all blended together in a fantastic mix. The stories in pretty much all of the episodes are written very well, and deal with many more things than only teenage romances. And that was one of the show’s greatest strengths. There are some very mature themes in the show, that were there right from the start of this series. Yes, there are some very heavy moments in Party of Five as well, not going to lie to you there, but it never becomes to oppressive. Certainly not in this first season, which also had some very good humor in it too. I can’t recommend Party of Five enough. If you have never seen this show, try it out, and I dare you not to bingewatch it after seeing five minutes of it. And for those of you that have seen it, it’s great to revisit it for a bit of nostalgia, or a midlife crisis. Whatever takes your fancy.

I give Party of Five season 1 a 9 out of 10 score.