Moments of 2015: The Day I Started Hating Sinbad

September 21, 2015.

** WARNING ** MAJOR MAGI SPOILERS AHEAD **

That’s the day that I came across spoilers for chapter Read more of this post

Location hunting: Tanuki edition!

I only had three days in Kyoto this trip, and with the Gion Matsuri also fighting for my attention, this meant that I had to choose between two other sets of sacred grounds to check out: Ōmi Jingu and the special train on the Ōtsu Line for Chihayafuru, or Kyoto itself for The Eccentric Family [Uchouten Kazoku]. But to be frank, even if I’d been able to walk properly, I’m fairly certain that the latter would have won out, for after becoming disillusioned with how tourists flock to the city all year around, this show is the one that had me falling in love with Kyoto all over again.

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And as luck would have it, these pilgrimage maps
were still available from the Kyoto City Hall!

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Chihayafuru: an update on the “teki” debate

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What do I see you as?

Since I asked one of my Japanese teachers in Tokyo about the term late last year, I’ve been meaning to follow up on this post about what Taichi meant when he referred to Arata as a “teki.” I’ve just been putting it off because I had a whole lot of other things I wanted to write about more—I’ve even fallen really far behind on my reviews of the manga. Well, hopefully, this post will galvanise me to get back into it, though I make no guarantees whatsoever…

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Chihayafuru Manga: Poem 141

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Let’s play karuta!!

Well, with this and the next chapter (which I’ve seen spoilers for online), it looks like the story is finally moving again…

** WARNING ** SPOILERS AHEAD **

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Black Butler —Book of Circus— : Into the darkness

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Well…I didn’t really like how…fake the OP looked…

After the anime-original travesty that was created four-and-a-half years ago for Black Butler [Kuroshitsuji], many viewers probably never expected to see some of the more interesting later arcs of the manga in animated form. After all, a sequel to even perennial (Western) fan favourite Fruits Basket has never gotten past the rumour stage. Fullmetal Alchemist did get a reboot, with the cooperation of its mangaka, but that was one of the most successful manga of last decade. I’m actually still quite surprised that Black Butler —Book of Circus— has somehow come our way. Read more of this post

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun: when the slightest thing throws you…

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どう見ても、御子柴がヘロインでしょう?!

Others have already written about why Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun was one of the smartest and most enjoyable comedies of last year, and there’s nothing I can really add to that. Instead, this post will be about a very specific personal reaction that, unfortunately, almost ruined this series for me… Read more of this post

Chihayafuru Manga: Poem 140

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新だ!生で!それに、袴姿!入るわけないだろう!

** WARNING ** SPOILERS AHEAD **

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Magi: the Kingdom of Magic and the balance of power

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Whose side is Aladdin on this time?

If you’ve read my brief commentary on Magi: the Labyrinth of Magic, you’ll know that the only reason I actually sat down to watch this sequel was the character of Ren Kouen. And I’d say it was worth it just for him — I always loved the scenes in the manga where he scares Aladdin with his great thirst for knowledge, and though the animation wasn’t always top-notch, hearing Nakamura Yuuichi bringing that out in Kouen was even more amusing than I imagined:

However, there were several other points where the anime increased my appreciation of certain scenes and developments in the manga. Read more of this post

Laughing Under the Clouds….or not?

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In the eleventh year of the Meiji era carrying swords was forbidden by the government and those known as samurai were slowly fading away. However, there were plenty who didn’t like those changes taking place in Japan and inevitably the crime rates increased. The country’s only solution was an inescapable lake prison. Since the prison had no other way to access it except by water, the three boys of the Kumo family were assigned to transport the criminals to their new “home.” But…is that the only thing they were doing?

(Source: Easy Going Scanlations)

Laughing Under the Clouds [Donten ni Warau] was one of those stories I was a little unsure of, but the second episode did enough to hook me when it left the teaser about ‘the Orochi’. The art of the original mangaka, Karakara-Kemuri, is also of a style that I liked from the moment I first saw it. In fact, unable to resist, I even skimmed through the manga, Read more of this post

A third look at Usagi Drop

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Rush hour!

The Usagi Drop film, with Matsuyama Ken’ichi and Ashida Mana as the mismatched pair building a life together, was released in 2011 amidst the spotlight associated with the ending of the manga series. Even though it’s taken me a couple of years to finally sit down an watch this film, I’m taking it as a blessing in disguise, for it allows me to once again reflect on the themes that Unita Yumi seems to have been concerned with. Most viewers — myself included — celebrated the anime for its heartwarming story about how Kawachi Daikichi, a young man on the rise in his company, learned how to be a father even through the sacrifices he had to make, and the film can certainly be read in exactly the same way.

However, in the time that I’ve since had to think about the controversial ending of the manga, I’ve started seeing far more complex ideas and messages in this story. And these are also reflected in the film: even though the movie gives Daikichi male peers who dote on their young children, as errinundra observed, he isn’t learning how to be a father, but rather how to be a single, working mother. In fact, Daikichi isn’t just learning how to be a single mother, he’s learning about the constrained choices that confront women in Japanese society. Read more of this post