Tag Archives: Romance

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.

image
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…..

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

Advertisements

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.

image
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……

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

image
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……

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

Kids on the slope, Anime tv series (2012)

One of the more fun things that I have experienced lately is doing watch-a-longs for animeseries that are featured on other blogs. It all started with the incredible Your lie in April, that I watched because of the rewatch feature over on Weekend Otaku’s blog. Not only was the series itself worth it, what made it an even better experience was sharing thoughts on each episode with Weekend Otaku and other bloggers. And so it was that I was delighted that another blog that I have always had a high respect for, started a watch-a-long as well. I’m talking about Hazelyn who has an absolutely wonderful blog called Archi Anime. If you are not yet following her, please stop reading, subscribe, and then come back here. Just kidding ofcourse, but trust me when I say that her blog is amazing, has seriously cool features on anime, and some truly unique things you don’t find on other blogs. All very good reasons to subscribe I would say. The watch-a-long she organised was for the delightful animeseries Kids on the slope.

image
That is one way of getting someone to shut up. 

Kids on the slope tells the story of Kaoru Nishimi, a student and classical pianist that has never been fully confident in his own abilities. He has moved around quite a lot in his young life and as such has never really fitted in. Having just arrived at a new highschool, he fully expects to have yet another year in which he will experience lonelyness and being bullied. But then he meets the bad boy of the school Sentaro Kawabuchi. The two of them could not be more different, but still an unlikely friendship between the two of them begins to take shape. Even though Kaoru is mainly a classical musician, Sentaro introduces him to the world of jazz music. From this point forward things begin to change in Kaoru’s life. But when he falls in love with the beautiful class president Ritsuko Mukae, who is also a good friend of Sentaro, tensions begin to mount. Will his newly found first real friendship end in disaster?

image
Stay way from me or these sticks will hurt you, I’m not kidding around. 

Kids on the slope is a beautiful and heartwarming anime, that I highly enjoyed. It is the story that really drives this series, and themes like friendship, love and music all blend together in a terrific cocktail. I’m not even a big fan of jazz music, but you can’t help but get excited when Kaoru and Sentaro play together. It has resulted in a few great scenes that for these alone make the series well worth the watch. But it are themes like friendship and lonelyness that are really handled incredibly well in this show. Even though there are some pretty dark moments in this anime, these are always alternated with some great feel good scenes. The animation style and setting for the series was quite unique. It was almost dreamlike, and at times even felt a bit like watching a very old but also highly modern animeseries. One only has to look at some of the screenshots that I have provided to see what I mean.

image
I love watermelon as well, but this seems like overkill.

The characters of this series are kind of a mixed bunch. Kaoru, the main character, is someone you will have a love/hate relationship with. There are certain actions that he takes that will have you fuming with rage, and at other times you can’t help but feel sympathy for him. The kindhearted Ritsuko is definitely not without her flaws, but she is very important to the story. Sentaro however is the one that I liked the most. Pretty much every scene he appears in was fantastic. His at times very angry attitude, hides a truly kindhearted soul, that cares deeply for his friends. All in all it was wonderful to see the relationship develop between these three characters.

image
Piano vs drums, not sure if that is such a good idea. 

This anime certainly won’t be for everyone. For one thing certain episodes did feel kind of slow, and there are a few moments in this series that were a bit confusing. But these events were definitely not enough to spoil the overall appeal of this one. The way the story is eventually wrapped up, is one of the best endings for an animeseries that I have seen to date. I really had a great time watching this rather unique anime and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a great feelgood story. Last but not least I want to thank Hazelyn for bringing Kids on the slope to everyone’s attention and organising this great watch-a-long.

I give Kids on the slope a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Yuri on Ice, Anime tv series (2016)

Don’t believe the hype is a popular saying that seems to be correct in quite a few cases. If I remember correctly this line dates back to a Public Enemy song from the 80’s. It pretty much means that sometimes a film or show gets so much attention, that it is almost impossible to ignore, much less dislike it. Last year the animeseries Yuri on Ice exploded all over the blogging community and beyond. Pretty much every animeblog that I followed featured a post about it, some even had multiple posts, saying how good it was. I usually get very cautious when I see something like that happening. For one thing, the theme for the series did not appeal to me. What could be so much fun about a series that dealt with figure skating? For another I have seen so many examples of movies or tv series that got hyped but ended up being a major disappointment, that I usually try to avoid those.

image
There is such a thing as getting over excited….

 

But in the end, my curiosity got the better of me, and I finally decided to give it a go. And I was spellbound by it….pretty much right from the moment when the opening tune of the series started playing I was hooked on this. So I guess in some cases you simply do have to believe the hype. Now when a series is loved by this many people, there is a certain pressure to do justice by it. I know a few of you have been saying they were really looking forward to this review. So to keep it in competitive iceskating terms, let’s see if I can bring in the gold medal by writing a good post for this one. This series definitely deserves it…..and really….no pressure, at all.

image
It can really be lonely on the ice, but this is taking things to a whole new level 

Yuri on Ice tells the story of the 23 year old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki. Yuri has pretty much decided to put his entire career on hold after a defeat in the Grand Prix final. He is unsure of what to do next, but decides to head back to his hometown to figure out his next move. While visiting with one of his childhood friends called Yuko, Yuri performs for her at a local ice skating rink. The routine he shows her is a perfect copy of the one from his idol the Russian figure skating champion Victor Nikiforov. To Yuri’s surprise the footage from his performance was secretly filmed, and made it’s way over to the internet. And then the impossible really happens: Victor shows up with an offer to become his coach. Will Yuri be able to revive his career with Victor’s help? With a fierce competition ahead, and rivals that lurk around every corner, the answer to that is by no means certain. Especially when there is another figure skater that ironically is also called Yuri, who is hellbent on stopping him from reaching the gold…..

image
Really….you should take a breathmint, I am not kidding here. 

Now those of you that are not familiar with this series (and I doubt that there are many amongst you that are not), I can probably already see frowning. After reading the premise for this, you might be asking the same question that I did: How on Earth can this be exciting? Let me try to explain to you what makes this series so special. At the heart of this there is the relationship that develops between Yuri and Victor. Yes, these guys are both male, and yes they develop a bond that is definitely more than a simple friendship. Even though I am straight myself, I have never had any problems watching a relationship develop between two males. Really, what would the problem be? Unfortunately we are currently living in a society that does seem at times to take offense at that. To them I say: your loss! The heartwarming scenes that occur between Victor and Yuri are the absolute highlights of this series. It is all done in a very subtle and tasteful manner, and it is completely impossible not to smile when these scenes occur.

image
I used to do this as well when I was a kid and did not want to go to sleep. 

Speaking of highlights the figure skating animation sequences for this series are absolutely amazing. The animation is fluid, the accompanying music breathtaking, and it all deserves multiple rewatches to take it all in. It is also hard not to get caught up in all the excitement, especially during the later episodes, when the real competitions start. At times I felt like I was watching the Eurovision Song Festival, as the anime manages to create an atmosphere that just urges you to cheer for Yuri when he is about to perform. This series is all about creating a feel good atmosphere, and in that it succeeds very, very well. The characters are diverse, likeable, but also have their flaws just like real life human beings. And that for me is what makes this anime so amazing. At times I forgot that I was even watching an animated show.

image
You half expect a bull to come skating up the ice, all that is missing is the matador red cape. 

Were there no negative things to this series? Well, one might argue about a few small fanservice moments that were not necessary in my opinion. Also at times we get a few pretty abrupt changes in tone, turning it into a slapstick comedy. But these scenes were also part of it’s charm, and at times reminded me of Your lie in April. These are very minor issues however for a series that has been an absolute joy to watch. If for some reason you are feeling down on a certain day, I recommend watching this show. I guarantee that it will help you lift your spirits. If after all this you are still not convinced that this show is worth the watch, just try out the first episode. If you are not hooked after watching that, you probably won’t be. But I honestly don’t see that happening. This series is definitely a gold medal winner.

I give Yuri on Ice a 9 out of 10 score.

Agent Carter season 2, American tv series (2016)

If you have been following the Marvel cinematic universe, you should know who Peggy Carter is. For those of you that do not, let me give you a small introduction. Peggy was the love interest for Captain America when he was fighting the good fight in World War II. When the Captain tried to save the day, he died leaving behind a grieving Peggy. But ofcourse as we all know Captain America did in fact not die, but was recovered many years later perfectly preserved in ice and fully alive. Carter is a courageous and very independent woman, especially during a time when men found  themselves to be better than women. The character of Peggy Carter was so popular that Marvel gave her her very own television series. I will be doing a review of the second season, which unfortunately also turned out to be the last one.

image
They are looking at a flamingo. No…really they are. 

After the events of season 1, Peggy Carter is still at work at The Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR for short in New York. Even though she saved the day in the first season her male colleagues still don’t give her the respect she deserves. One of her close friends, Daniel Sousa now works in the LA branch of the SSR, and got promoted to chief. It is not long before the two friends are reunited to take on a murdercase. But this is not a normal murder case, as the body has been found in the middle of a frozen lake, even though the weather at the time is a scorching heatwave. Peggy has to find out the truth, but that truth might be more than even she can handle. With people trying to undermine her work in every way they can, and an old enemy showing up to make matters even worse, the case might be over before it has even begun….

image
They are all still in shock because they got cancelled. 

The second season of Agent Carter was almost as much fun, as the first one. Haley Atwell, who plays Peggy, is simply put amazing. She really breathes life into the character, and she is definitely one of the main reasons why Carter is so popular. But the supporting cast is also every bit as good. James D’Arcy, who plays Edwin Jarvis the butler of Howard Stark provides all the comic relief, and his scenes with Peggy are all a delight to watch. The chemistry between those two is absolutely perfect, and it is almost impossible not to smile at some of their comedic banter. Enver Gjokaj also does a great job as the charismatic Daniel Sousa, who has a much bigger role this season. The relationship between him and Peggy is a very interesting one to say the least.

image
No….they won’t change their minds to give you a third season Peggy, please hold back. 

The story this time around, though enjoyable and featuring a few terrific and tense moments, was not as powerful as the one in the first season. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it did not have me on the edge of my seat as much as the experience I had during season 1. Sadly, even though most of the storylines are luckily completed, the final scene of the show is a cliffhanger that unfortunately won’t be resolved. The show looks absolutely amazing, and really recreates post war America. But this is also one of the reasons the show got cancelled in the first place, the very high costs of building all the sets. That, and ofcourse the ratings that were not high enough to get a third season.

image
Yep that is Tony Stark’s dad. No idea what that thing in the sky is, but it’s probably nothing. 

A real shame if you ask me, because Agent Carter is just a very fun show. Even though it does not feature any superheroes, it gives a very unique background story for the Marvel cinematic universe. To round it out it also provides one of Marvel’s favorite female heroes, even though she has no superpowers. If you have yet to experience Agent Carter, I would recommend you start by watching Captain America: the first Avenger. After this you can simply bingewatch both seasons of this great show. Even though there are only 18 episodes in total (not counting two short Marvel one-shots), this series is an absolute blast to watch. Especially if you want to watch something completely different than the usual superhero stuff and you like strong women in lead roles.

I give Agent Carter: Season 2, a 8 out of 10 score.

Goblin, Korean Drama series (2016)

Who wants to live forever? Ever since I first saw the movie Highlander, about the immortal Connor MacLeod, I have always been wondering about that question. Yes, there are certainly some cool things about never having to worry about dying. But on the other hand, it also brings with it a lot of pain. The one thing that would hurt me the most would be to see everyone I care about pass on, while I continue with living. So, to answer the first question I began with: not me. And with that out of the way, I will start with my review for the Korean drama series Goblin, that focuses a lot on immortality.

image
You really want to mess with me? 

Goblin starts in the past where we first meet up with general Kim Shin, who continues to be succesful on the battlefield for his king. After returning from another battle where he emerged as the victor, he is betrayed by the king who is jealous of his succes. Kim Shin is killed by his own sword, on orders of the king. However, instead of dying he gets reborn as an immortal Goblin, a protector of souls. The sword he was killed with, pierces his chest, and can only be removed by the woman who will be his bride. Once that happens, he will finally be able to move on to the after life and find peace. After having lived for 939 years, he might finally have found that woman in the form of the lovely highschool student Ji Eun-tak. But Ji Eun-tak also has a very troubling past, and a secret of her own: she can see ghosts. Kim Shin, meanwhile has found a kindred spirit in an amnesiac Grim Reaper, who guides souls to the afterlife. This is the beginning of a great, tragic but also very funny adventure….

image
Really, there is no need to point out something so obvious. Yes that is a sword: duh!

First off an apology is in order to the wonderful Kay from Kdramakisses. I have promised to write this review for so long that it almost seemed it would never be finished. I finally managed it, so Kay this one is for you. (And go ahead and visit Kay’s blog while you are at it, the number 1 source for Korean dramaseries). Goblin is an absolutely heartwarming series, that is almost impossible not to like. The best thing for this series are it’s characters. Ji Eun-tak, played by the wonderful Kim Go-eun, is a character that I guarantee you will fall in love with. The acting portrayed by Kim can’t even be called acting. It is so natural, that she simply convinces in every single scene. But the two male leads, Gong Yoo as Kim Shin and Lee Dong Wook as the Grim Reaper, are also one of the reasons you should watch this drama. Their comedic bickering, and warm friendship is an absolute delight to watch.

image
You don’t know the joke about the Goblin and the Grim Reaper that hang out in a bar?

Goblin is a very unique series that mixes a lot of different genres together. When the series first begins, you would think this was going to be a big, bloody historical piece. But when the series moves towards the present it turns into kind of a comedic romantic drama with fantasy elements. Later on in the series, it shifts tones again, to include a few horror elements. This might put off some viewers, but I was not disturbed by it for a single moment. The humour for this show was absolutely terrific, and for someone like me, who usually doesn’t like comedy, that is telling a lot. There were a few scenes that literally gave me tears in my eyes from laughing. Don’t be fooled though this is definitely not a comedy. It is however a feel good show, even though there are also a lot of sad things that happen throughout the series.

image
I forgot to mention this show includes a prequel to Titanic. 

The series runs for 16 episodes (18 if you include the two special episodes that focus on the making of the series), but not every episode was of the same quality. Especially during the middle of the series, I found the series to be a bit slow. Luckily the pace picked up again in the later episodes and it all ended in a pretty satisfactory way. Goblin became one of the most succesful Korean dramaseries ever made, passing even the recordbreaking Descendants Of The Sun, and it is hard not to see why. With a great and very unique storyline, fantastic characters, and a terrific atmosphere this series will leave you with a smile on your face once you finish it. And sometimes that is all you need.

I give Goblin a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Macross

When I was a young boy (and wow this makes me sound really old), my favorite cartoon and toy was Transformers. I just loved it. Robots that could transform into cars, planes, weapons: it was just a seriously awesome concept. But then I was introduced to a series called Robotech. And that series took the concept of transformable robots to a whole new level. I did not know at the time that Robotech was made up of three totally unrelated animeseries. These three shows were completely rewritten into a new storyline that tied it all together. Robotech will always be holding a special place in my heart, as it introduced me to the wonderful world of anime.

image
Yes this ship is seriously awesome.

One of the most popular segments of Robotech was the Macross saga. Macross has always been regarded as one of the anime series that laid the groundwork for the Mecha anime genre. In this special features post I intend to give a bit of an overview of the entire saga so far, although I will only be focussing on the tv series and OVA’s. There have also been a few movies, but as this post will already be pretty long, I decided not to include those. Before I start I will begin by talking about a few things that have always been common to pretty much every new series of the franchise.

Macross: common themes

image
A love triangle can be very hard indeed.

One of the coolest things in Macross are the transformable fighter planes known as the Valkyries. All of these planes can transform into a robot, but also a hybrid version of the robot/fighter, known as the Gerwalk. With every series released there were new versions of these planes that were introduced. Another common theme in every show was the love triangle. Yes, romance is definitely a factor in Macross, but luckily it is usually not romance of the sappy kind. Lastly music is also very important to the Macross franchise, and in every series to date there has been some kind of singer or band, that takes the fight to the enemy. So now that I have adressed the common themes let’s start for real with the overview.

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982)

image
Just in case you are wondering, that is planet Earth these ships are firing at.

The show that started it all, tells the story of a gigantic spaceship crashlanding on Earth. Ten years after the crash, humanity has rebuild the enormous ship, now known as the SDF-1. But then the original owners of the ship return, the gigantic beings known as the Zentradi. Their mission is to retrieve the ship at all cost, and thus begins the first intergalactic war. With a cast of great characters, truly amazing fight sequences, a terrific story, and some heroic deaths, this series is still very much worth the watch. This 36 episode series is definitely your starting point. Even though it is a very old anime, don’t let yourself be held off by that, as it is has withstood the test of time very well.

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers again (1992)

image
Sometimes you just get bored by it all and fall asleep.

Ten years after the original series, this six episode show takes place 80 years after the events of the original anime. We are introduced to a new enemy called the Mardook, who seem to be invulnerable to mankinds most powerful attacks. A young reporter is thrust right in the middle of the new war that is about to begin, and may eventually hold the key to stopping the conflict. This series was highly anticipated, but eventually was not well received by the original Macross saga fans. I quite liked it myself, but it definitely is not as good as the show that started it all. In the end this series is now not considered to be part of the Macross timeline anymore.

Macross Plus (1994)

image
Who put that helmet on my back….seriously…..

With Macross II being dismissed as a sequel, Macross Plus was henceforth recognised as the first official sequel to the original series. This 4 part anime tells the story of two testpilots that have a deep rivalry between them, and also happen to like the same girl. Meanwhile a powerful A.I. has some very bad intentions when it plans to take over the battlefortress Macross itself. This series was pretty cool. It featured some truly terrific fightsequences, and great animation. The opening tune composed by legend Yoko Kanno, I still consider to be one of the most beautiful scores for an anime series.

Macross 7 (1994)

image
I get annoyed just by looking at that guy….

To date this is the only Macross series that I have not completely finished. With 49 episodes it is also the longest. It takes place on the colonyship Macross 7, that is exploring the galaxy, when it encounters the hostile alien force called Protodeviln. I have seen the first few episodes of this series many years ago when I was attending an Animecon. All I remember from it, is that I got seriously annoyed by the rockband Firebomber, that played a major role in this series. I can’t really say much about this series, but from what I have read about it, it is regarded by most fans of Macross as not one of the best installments.

Macross Zero (2002)

image
If you only knew what this guy was looking at….

This series is a prequel to the original Macross saga. As I have recently done a review for this anime, I won’t say too much about this one, but instead I will provide a link to my review, which you can find here.

Macross Frontier (2008)

image
This picture was just to cool not to include. 

This new 25 part anime series was made for the 25th anniversary of Macross, and it is truly awesome. The best way to describe this one is as a kind of reboot for the entire series, and you can pretty much watch it, without ever having seen any of the previous shows. A Frontier fleet comes under attack by a strange new enemy, and a group of young fighter pilots get caught up in the middle. It featured some of the best characters and music from the franchise, and it has truly become one my favorite Macross anime series to date.

Macross Delta (2015)

image
Spice girls: the reboot. 

This is the final series that has been made so far. It was unfortunately not as good as Frontier, and this was mainly because the plot was at times hard to follow and it featured way too many characters. I have also done a review for this series, which you can find here.

Final thoughts.

image
Can’t we all be friends? 

Macross is still one of my favorite anime franchises to date. While not every installment is good, there is always something included that makes it worth watching. One of the best things about it will always be the music, and the incredible fightsequences. Those are pretty much the trademarks of the entire franchise. If you like science fiction space opera, than I highly recommend these shows. I hope this post will serve as a handy reference for you, whenever you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormous amount of shows that are out there. Currently work has begun on a new series to coincide with the 35th anniversary of Macross. There has so far been very little news about it, except for the fact that it will be released in 2018.

So over to you! Have you ever watched Macross? If so did you enjoy it? Do you have any favorite series or characters? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

Your lie in April, Anime tv series (2014)

Sometimes you come across something that is so special, that it is almost impossible to put it into words. Your lie in April is just that. To simply call this an anime series, is almost to do it an injustice. Because it is so much more than that. I have seen quite a lot of anime (but trust me when I say that I am still a newbie to this wonderful  medium), but this is without a doubt the best and most emotional series that I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I am so excited to share my thoughts with you on this, that I can barely contain myself. But I am getting ahead on things.

image
Yes, riding a bike like this can be very dangerous. 

Before I begin my loveletter to this anime, I have to thank someone namely Weekendotaku. Now I have been following his blog for quite a few months now (and seriously if you are not yet subscribed to it, please do so now. I promise you won’t regret it.) and he has always had very insightful reviews which have been a blast to read. On the 2nd of April he started a new feature on his blog, namely a rewatch of this series. I joined in and every day a new episode would be watched and reviewed on which we and everyone else who had joined could exchange thoughts. It was great, it was emotional, it was fun, and I would not have wanted to miss this for the world. So once again: thank you!

image
So beautiful……

In Your lie in April we meet up with the promising pianist Kousei Arima. Well, at least he was promising, but because of a traumatic event in his childhood, he can’t hear the notes anymore while playing. Just to clarify, Kousei is not deaf, in fact his hearing is perfectly fine. Kousei has two very good friends, Tsubaki and Watari, who have been with him since childhood. Even though Kousei has very little colour in his life, he has resigned himself to that. One day though, everything changes when he meets up with a girl called Kaori. Kaori plays the violin, has a sparkling personality and is almost the opposite of Kousei in every way. Still, she slowly begins to draw Kousei back into the world of music. But Kaori also has a secret, and when that secret will be revealed, it might be too much for Kousei to bear……

image
Erm…..you were going to say something?

Now I am a man, and there seems to be a general rule, that a real man does not cry. But recently I heard something else as well, a real man is not afraid to show his feelings. Well, let me tell you this, I have literally had tears in my eyes so many times while I watched this, that it took me completely by surprise. Anyone who says that anime is just shallow, and only for kids should maybe start watching this series. To tell too much about this anime would be to do you a disservice. It is something that you have to discover for yourself. But I will attempt to at least make you understand why this series is so very special.

image
I did not know that pounding on someone’s head could make them laugh. 

First off it is the characters. Never before have I had such an attachment to characters in an animated series. When you first lay eyes on Kaori, you will fall in love with her. Her personality, strength, and everything she does in this series is so incredible, that she feels completely lifelike. And no, I am not turning crazy, I still know we are talking about an anime, but once you have seen this, you will know what I am talking about. But it was not only Kaori. So many characters, both with smaller and bigger parts in the series, were absolutely amazing. I could especially relate to Tsubaki, as the role she plays came so close to my personal life, that at times  it was hard to watch.

image
Yep, even the fireflies agree that you need to watch this series.

But it is the story itself, filled with so many touching and heartbreaking moments, that really takes this anime to another level. Especially during the later episodes, this series will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that simply does not stop. I really recommend having a box of tissues standing by, because you are going to need them. The animation is breath taking. There are so many scenes that are presented so beautifully, that it is not possible to pick a favorite. And nor would I want to. Lastly there is the music. Even if you are not a fan of classical music, it fits this anime so perfectly, that you will be spellbound by it. There are numerous scenes on stage with various different performances, each one more beautiful than the other.

image
This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about this anime. 

So is there nothing negative to report about this series? Well, maybe just one small thing. There can be very abrupt changes in tone. Sometimes you are in the middle of a very emotional scene, to have that turn into slapstick comedy two seconds later. This was especially so in the beginning of the series, but trust me when I say that this will grow on you. And with so many moments in which this anime does not hold back it’s punches in emotion, it is also nice to have some comedy to relief the tension. Well if everything you have read here so far has not already made it clear, let me spell it out for you. I loved this show. It is by far the best anime that I have ever seen in my life, and it has been an experience that I will remember forever. If you have yet to watch this series, go do so right now. Be prepared to become hooked and fall in love with everything this show has to offer. And that really is not a lie…..

I give Your lie in April a 10 out of 10 score.