こみっくがーるず | Comic Girls: 10-12 [END]

We have finished Comic Girls! Here are my notes on the last three episodes and also my final thoughts on the series as a whole. It ended up being another long one. I have a lot of notes.

Episode 10: Christmas in Japan is not a family holiday like in Christian countries. It’s a normal workday on which couples go on romantic dates. Kind of like Valentine’s Day. People throw parties, eat red-and-white cake and exchange small presents. Ruki’s problem with this holiday is that she doesn’t have a boyfriend to spend it with. Of course, she could just have a party with the girls and the matron, but as a romance manga author, she seems to not be content with that.

あこがれ (orange line) means “admiration (for couples)”

And so, her motivation to work (blue line) plummets and she hides from the world in her futon. Which is something I totally understand. Continue reading

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Yama no Susume: Omoide Present

The third season of ヤマノススメ [Yama no Susume, literally Mountain Girls, translated as Encouragement of a Climb] is airing this summer. I watched the first episode and only then realized I have not watched the preceding special! Not that there was any development in the OVA. My biggest hurdle is not remembering the second season well enough, since I had finished it 3.5 years ago. I’m serious—the second season aired in 2014.

Back to last year’s OVA, one interesting snippet of information is that the two short stories are not adapted from the manga. They are anime-originals. The script was written by the man, who wrote the script to the anime adaptation of Girls’ Last Tour, Fudeyasu Kazuyuki. And that was a job well done.

ここなの8/31 | Kokona’s 31/8

The first, roughly 11-minute story focuses on Kokona. Kokona and her mother planned to spend the last day of August together, possibly hiking. Unfortunately Mom was called into work and Kokona will be spending the day alone. Continue reading

あまんちゅ!約束の夏と新しい思い出のコト | Amanchu! OVA

This OVA is a direct sequel to the first season of Amanchu! It came out over a year ago, but I only watched it this April, when I was readying myself to watch the second season, Amanchu! Advance, which aired in the spring.

As always, beware of spoilers!

Akane (left) and Chizuru (right) arriving at Izu-kogen Highlands.

The premise is very simple. Futaba/Teko’s two closest friends from the city come to visit her. Chizuru is jealous of Hikari/Pikari and lets that spoil most of her visit. (Even though Pikari’s grandma warns her in a way. Listen to your elders.) In an apology that leaves nobody wondering what happened, she accepts that Futaba/Teko can have other friends and be happy with them. Continue reading

夏目友人帳 陸 特別編 | Natsume’s Book of Friends 6 Specials

Although I haven’t seen the sixth season yet, I watched the specials. Not like it matters much with Natsume’s Book of Friends, since the episodes are usually stand-alone stories.

As always I will spoil the anime, so be sure to watch it first! It’s only 46 minutes including OP and ED.

The Stump of the Ringing Tree

A hundreds-years-old ginkgo tree had been cut down in the neighboring town. Natsume and Nyanko-sensei meet the spirit of the tree while going to buy sweets. The spirit is soon to leave this world, but knows he’s forgetting a promise. Continue reading

すすめ, カロリーナ. | Susume, Karolina.

I enjoy art of all kinds and because of that follow quite a number of artists. One of them is Matheusz Urbanowicz, a polish artist who lives in Japan and draws amazing (mostly) watercolor scenery. While Mattō himself is an interesting topic, today I want to introduce you to his latest creation, Susume, Karolina.

Susume, Karolina. is a three-minute animation about Karolina Styczyńska, the first foreign (as in non-Japanese) female, who was able to become a professional shogi (Japanese chess) player.

It was written and directed by Mateusz Urbanowicz, who also did the backgrounds. The music was handled by Hanukkah Nakamura and the rest of the animation was done by Studio Colorido of Fumiko’s Confession. The sponsor is CalorieMate balanced food.

Please watch the video—preferably twice, the first time without captions to take in the beauty and the second time with the captions, in which Karolina explains the scenes.

Continue reading

Kino’s Journey: Life Goes On

Life Goes On (2005) is another prequel to the original Kino’s Journey series (2003). Yes, it aired after the original series, but it’s a prequel. As always this is a review meant for otaku, who have seen the anime – there will be SPOILERS!

This 30-minute OVA is about Kino, the main character of Kino’s Journey, and the genesis of the identity we encounter in the other OVAs and series of this franchise. Kino, the little helpless girl, transforms into a self-sufficient young man under the guidance of her female 師匠 [ししょう, Shishō, Master]. Continue reading

Dagashi Kashi

In order to watch the second season this winter, I finally finished the first. As always this is a review with SPOILERS, so mainly for anime enthusiasts, who have seen the anime.

Dagashi Kashi is an anime that introduces several traditional commercial candy every episode. In addition to that there is an underlying story – the main hero, a completely average Japanese teenager and an aspiring 漫画家 [まんがか, mangaka, manga artist], refuses to take over the small-time candy store and the main heroine, who’s highly knowledgeable about sweets, arrives to convince him to choose candy over manga. The anime doesn’t develop this predicament much. Candy is definitely center stage.

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お酒は夫婦になってから | Love Is like a Cocktail

お酒は夫婦になってから [おさけはふうふになってから, osake wa fūfu ni natte kara, Love Is like a Cocktail] is a series of three-minute (including a 30-second ED) shorts that aired this autumn. It’s also the only series I watched on reasonably regular basis this fall season. It tells mostly stories of homelife of a recently married couple – the Mizusawas, an assistant manager and a (now former) bartender.

The wife, Chisato, works hard as an assistant manager promoting her company’s products, often taking work home and in critical situations pulling all-nighters. Meanwhile Sora, the stay-at-home husband, keeps their apartment spotless, the fridge stocked and meals ready. He is also the only one, who knows Chisato gets drunk very easily and won’t drink in public because of it. When they’re alone though, he puts the skills from his bartender past to use and makes her wonderful cocktails. Continue reading

Kino’s Journey: Tower Country

Because the new Kino is airing this season, I’ve been inspired to (re)watch the older pieces. I started with the side story Tower Country, also called episode 00. It’s barely 14 minutes long, but that’s enough for us to see everything that’s interesting about the Tower Country. Yes, there’s not much.

For those who don’t know: Kino’s Journey is about Kino’s journeys. Kino travels on a talking motorcycle called Hermes, spending three days in every country and observing whatever brought them there.

Kino

In this country its inhabitants have built a tall tower that gets lost among the clouds. Each and every citizen works towards one single goal – to build the tower. No one knows why, though. It’s just their job to build the tower. Continue reading

君の名は。|Your Name

Makoto Shinkai’s sixth movie came out! It premiered on July 3, 2016 at Anime Expo and came out on Blu-ray on July 26, 2017. Yes, that was over three months ago.

I do realize I’m rather late to the party, but let’s get started anyway. As always, this review is meant for readers who have already seen the film.

Based on Shinkai’s novel of the same name published a month before the film’s premiere, Your Name tells the story of a high school girl in rural Japan and a high school boy in Tokyo who swap bodies.

The film achieved the second-largest gross for a domestic film in Japan, behind Spirited Away, and the fourth-largest ever, behind (Spirited Away,) Titanic and Frozen.

The light novels are available in English. (Alas, I haven’t been able to get my grubby hands on them. Reason: お金 [おかね, okane, money].) The one called simply your name. supposedly tells the exact same story as the movie. It might offer some additional insight, that didn’t fit in the film, but basically it’s the same thing. The second LN, your name. Another Side:Earthbound, is a side story.

Another by-product of the film is the soundtrack. It is amazing. I mean, I’m pretty amusical, but these tunes are so memorable, I can recognize them, which is saying a lot. (If you’ve been wondering why I usually don’t review the music in anime, this is my reason – I just don’t find them interesting at all.)

Besides the noteworthy music, I have to share another impression it left on me. I cried. As in hot, wet tears. It’s so touching! Even the second time.

One last thing before I delve into my screenshot-heavy review. If you have watched it, do watch it again. And again. This movie has a high rewatch value. You’ll see so many dots connecting from the first seconds until the finale.

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