Welcome to Amagi Brilliant Park!

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Amagi Brilliant Park, a land of broken dreams that only draws an average of 200 visitors a day to its run-down rides and attractions. As it turns out, this small amusement park is actually staffed by beings from a magical realm called Maple Land, and the magical energy that is generated by the enjoyment of its visitors is necessary for their continued existence.

However, due to reduced visitor levels, they have just three months left to attract 250,000 visitors — if they fail, Amagi will be closed and the land taken by a real estate agency. To save the park from closure, Amagi’s owner, Latifah Fleuranza hires Kanie Seiya, a good-looking perfectionist with a history in the entertainment business, to become its new manager and bring in the required number of visitors…

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There is always one constant: the visuals are gorgeous…

There are two things I recalled immediately about Amagi when I sat down to think about this post. Read more of this post

Magi: I really didn’t need another reminder of just how superficial I can be…

In a medieval world where nations are still being forged, a young boy magician has grown up in a closed magical space. Eventually, he enters into the world at large to find out about himself and what role in the world he should play…

Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic…

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Katte ni Kaizou: comedy really is hit and miss…

He looks cool in the opening, but in reality…

Katsu Kaizou, a second year student at Torauma High School, is a cyborg. Attacked by mysterious people and left close to death, he was turned into a cyborg by the genius scientist, Saien Suzu, which saved his life. She brought with her her underling, Tsubouchi Chitan, along with whom Kaizou continues his fight.

Or, at least, this is what he imagines.

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Kimi to Boku: how much reality is there in fiction?

Anyone know why KB was filled with cats? It’s all to do with the little story that shares its name ^^

Following a number of hits that follow groups of girls in high school – Azumanga Daioh, K-ON and Lucky Star, to name a few – anime viewers were unusually presented with two series over the last year that dealt with their counterparts. One, The Daily Lives of (Boys) High School Boys, was apparently quite a hit with the young male demographic, but it didn’t really float my boat. The other, Kimi to Boku (aka You and Me), was much more aligned to my tastes – and not unexpectedly too, for it was originally written to appeal to the fairer sex. (I mean, look at those cats!) Therein lies the debate: are shows like K-ON and Lucky Star, which were arguably created to with a predominantly male target demographic in mind, accurate representations of high school girls? And on the flip side, is Kimi to Boku or (Boys) High School Boys an accurate representation of high school boys?

Boys, flowers, and hair…?

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Contemplating Nisemonogatari: …and the controversial…

Some of the scenes in episode two set off the critics, but it was the fourth installment of Nise that really lit the fireworks. This being the episode where Shinobu, in her 8-year-old form, is shown bathing for a good half of the episode, in Araragi’s presence.

Why is there a Degas picture here, you might ask? Well, read on…

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Contemplating Nisemonogatari: …the bad…

Warning: slight spoilers for Kizumonogatari included…

This scene says it all really...

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words…but I’m not in any way inclined to post screenshots of what I despised about Nisemonogatari. And no, unlike with a number of other fans, it wasn’t actually Shinobu in the 4th episode that offended me – explanation for this coming soon. Rather, it was certain shots of Karen spread over various episodes. If I had to put it into words, ‘the pervertization of the viewer’ might work.

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Contemplating Nisemonogatari: the good…

Back in 2008, Bakemonogatari captured the attention of many fans, probably for a number of reasons. However, the reason you hear bandied about most seems to be the crisp and refreshing dialogue, which has the characters flirting, trading jokes, sprouting their idiosyncratic verbal trademarks, and the occasional thought-provoking way of thinking. Most people who did not spoil themselves with the novels were expecting the same out of Nisemonogatari, its chronological sequel.

This is flirting? Well...yes.

Whilst that expectation wasn’t, IMHO, the smartest thing to take into this series (as I will attempt to discuss over a few more posts), I contend that Nisemonogatari actually one-upped its predecessor in one particular area. By this, of course, I’m referring to the battle of words between Kagenui and Araragi about the value of a fake.

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Working’!!: また、おかわりお願いします~!!

There should be at least one more season to come, and until then, there really are only a couple of things that one can talk about with regards to the second helping of one of my favourite animated comedies ever.

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In memory of 2011 その8: 佐藤くん、まだヘタレだけど、かっこいい...

Happy New Year! Which also brings us to the 8th post of this yearly review.

This past season has been a good one for comedies in my book, what with Kimi to Boku also giving me huge laughs week after week. But Working’!! is definitely where my loyalties lie at the moment, after an excellent final episode that more than rivals the former’s own strong offering this week.

The moment that stayed with me this season, however, is better described as being heartwarming:

Satou, smiling gently as he asks Yachiyo to talk about Kyoko as she always does...

He thus reassures her of his fondness for her normal self…

…earning a happy smile in return…although he also pays for it…

There’s no doubting it – Satou is still pretty much a wimp about this unrequited love of his, but just like Takanashi in episode 9 of the first season, he really shows his cool side here. Hence, it’s Satou’s turn to make my list for the year gone by. Just who will be on next year? ^^

Usagi Drop: the greatest change in one’s life

…is having a child…

For months, it has been apparent to many noitaminA fans that the timeslot has drifted away from the types of shows it used to broadcast. Hence, it was something of a surprise that Usagi Drop was one of the two shows we got for the summer season. Based on a josei manga that has created great waves – for expected and unexpected reasons – the story of Daikichi and Rin-chan certainly captured many hearts over the summer, including mine.

What will become of this child?

When Sawachi Daikichi’s grandfather passes away, his family discovers a surprising and unexpected secret: that he’d secretly had another child in his old age, one that he’d kept hidden until now. With all his other relatives trying to decide how to deal with the child in a way that causes the least possible loss of face to the family, Daikichi decides to take Rin-chan in and raise her himself. But as a 30-year old single man who hasn’t had to look after anyone else before, many challenges lay ahead…

OMG!! I forgot about that too!

Usagi Drop was one of those series, something comforting that you could put on at the end of a hard day’s work and be comforted by. Rin-chan was super cute week after week, and Matsuura Ayu was fantastic in bringing her to life. One of my absolute favourite scenes has Daikichi and Rin discussing all the troublesome things that Kouki, being a typical boy, does, and Rin’s でしょう? (“I know, right?”) there was just too C.U.T.E.!!!!

New challenges and self-awareness

But it was also a series that makes you think about the realities of raising a child – they’re not things the non-parents often think about. For example, getting them registered for school early, staying calm and juggling leave when they unexpectedly fall sick, dealing with children’s intuition and their insights into the world around them… Even dealing with fears of abandonment – which isn’t necessarily a fear that only adopted children might have. I am not a parent myself, but one of my aunts has told me about how she’s been asked who she would save if both her children had fallen into the sea on a stormy day, and there was only one whom she could save. Children say the darndest things, alright, but it would be wrong and even damaging to dismiss them as irrational fears.

Greater flexibility is often needed

The only thing that ruined the watching experience was the inconsideration of a number of manga readers. This is something that I’d rather not elaborate on, for the sake of those who want to watch or read Usagi Drop in the future, but I’d recommend avoiding forums in particular if you want to enjoy the experience fully.

And we come full circle…

In the end, Usagi Drop was both a gentle series that you could just allow to wash over you, as well as a though-provoking glimpse into the life of parents – especially single or working parents. Something to revisit if and when I start my own family, perhaps. I’ve probably said enough, methinks – from here on, I’ll just let the anime speak for itself, both in screenshots, and when you watch it for yourself.