Ao Haru Ride: Catching the Breeze of One’s Youth

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Blue Spring Ride [Ao Haru Ride] revolves around Futaba, a girl who was in love with a boy named Tanaka Kou in middle school. However, before anything can begin, he suddenly transfers schools over summer vacation. In high school, her world is turned around once again when she meets Kou again, this time under the name of Mabuchi Kou.

One thing I find interesting about Blue Spring Ride is that, although quite a few people who read Sakisaka Io’s works like Strobe Edge better, it was her current series that got green lit for an anime and a movie (the Strobe Edge film seems to be a bonus, almost as if producers were gunning for flow on success). But if I think about the themes that are covered in both series, then I think that decision was the right one. Strobe Edge really was all about ‘falling in love’ — that’s what the entire story is centred around. On the other hand, Blue Spring Ride has as its foundation a story about relationships between friends and family. And the strength of this foundation is demonstrated by the anime, which is built almost entirely on it. Read more of this post

Chihayafuru Manga: Poem 139

Am I ready?

Poem 48 (Kaze wo itami):

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風をいたみ 岩うつ波の おのれのみ くだけて物を 思ふころかな

Kaze wo itami iwa utsu nami no onore nomi kudakete mono wo omou koro kana

Like a driven wave,
Dashed by fierce winds on a rock,
So am I: alone
And crushed upon the shore,
Remembering what has been.

** WARNING ** SPOILERS AHEAD **

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Mahouka: oh how I wish they’d actually succeeded with this one!

Mahouka Mahouka...where to begin?

Mahouka Mahouka…where to begin?

The First High School affiliated with the National Magic University. Entry into this school makes you one of the societal elites whose magical talents have been acknowledged. But at the same time, right from the start, you’re either a great student or a mediocre one. What becomes of the pair of siblings that enter this school on either sides of this division?

To be honest, I’m a little conflicted about what I should do with this post. Whilst I do not think that all the criticisms directed at the anime are valid — particularly not those that the majority of light novel readers kept going on about in the first arc — there were some serious problems with The Irregular at the Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei), aka Mahouka. Some of the problems stem from the light novel, whilst others are problematic because of the anime. However, I would also say that the anime also improved on several things that I dislike about the light novel (and to be frank, that I dislike about this type of media in general). So overall, what we got was something that I was happy to sit through once — I’ll even admit that there were episodes that I enjoyed watching for a second or even third time — but that really felt quite uninspiring at the end of it. And that’s a huge pity, because Mahouka actually has some themes that I find very interesting to think about.

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Sukitte Ii na yo: a slightly more realistic high school romance

When ‘Japanese high school’ and ‘shoujo romance’ come together, the first title that comes to mind is probably Kimi ni Todoke (Reaching You). Reactions to that manga and anime are different, though the most common one seems to be that it’s somewhat unrealistic in terms of how slow ALL of the relationships move, or, to put it another way, how pure they all are. I won’t get into that particular debate, but this was one of the reasons I decided to try Sukitte Ii na yo (Say You Love Me), as it had been promoted as a more ‘realistic’ look at high school romance in Japan. I would say that that’s a pretty good description.

Tell me that you love me...

Tell me that you love me…

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Hyouka: it’s all in the details

It’s ostensibly a ‘mystery’ series, after all!

Sitting down to write this comment was one of the most difficult tasks I’ve had to do in a few months. Normally, something about a show – whether I liked it all that much or otherwise – will pop into my mind fairly quickly, and I’ll be on my way. That’s certainly what happened with at least two of Hyouka’s stories, the latter of which produced this particular post on episode 21. However, the all-encompassing theme that I simply have to write about is eluding me: as much as I try to think about it now, I’m not sure what exactly it was that compelled me to watch this series week after week. What I intoned after the end of the first major arc remains true for me: there is something quite profound about the stories that Hyouka tries to tell, but it’s almost impossible for me to put it into words. That said, pictures aren’t going to do it either, so I’m just going to have to try!

Anyone else still doing this…?

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Hyouka 21 and the art of reading between the lines

For the last 21 weeks, there has been one series that has never failed to engross me each week…to the extent that I’ll watch it several times to fully grasp the nuances of the dialogue. Of course, it doesn’t help that I tend to watch it raw…

This week, we were presented with the most unusual Valentine’s Day anime episode I have ever seen. Like most other series, Hyouka’s Valentine’s episode involved the giving of honmei chocolate, that is, the chocolate that a girl gives to the person who holds her heart. What was different, however, was the complexity of the messages exchanged in the ritual, which were encoded in the strangeness of the incident that played out before us.

A step forward…?

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Sakamichi no Apollon: the curse of noitaminA strikes again?

Don’t you love those musical notes and symbols?

When it was announced that Watanabe Shinichirou and Kanno Youko would be teaming up again for the first time since Cowboy Bebop, and for a series centered around jazz, parts of the Western anime fandom exploded in reverent anticipation. Whilst Kanno has remained quite prominent as an anime music composer, Watanabe has only directed a handful of shows over the years, and English-speaking fans were understandably excited about the prospect of another series that could go down in history. However, when it was confirmed that Apollon would only have the standard 12 episodes of the noitaminA block, fear and disappointment replaced those formerly positive emotions. There was no way that the manga’s 9 volumes could fit into just 12 episodes, right?

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Tsuritama: Eno-shima-DON!!

‘Fishing…ball…?’
I’m not surprised they didn’t even try translating it…

Despite a youth of constant relocation, Yuki is still unused to meeting new people and all the attention that comes with it. When he comes to Enoshima and is befriended by an alien who transfers into his school at the same time, the potential for embarrassing situations increases exponentially. But all that alien really wants to do is fish – how does this translate into a situation where four vastly different people come together to save the world? (Not a spoiler, honest – Yuki, the main character, brightly reveals this to us in the first episode).

If this doesn’t tell you what kind of show this is…
I kid, I kid – it’s not some kind of ‘power rangers’ show…I think… ^^;

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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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