Pokemon 20th Anniversary!

Happy 20th anniversary, Pokemon!

I remember like it was yesterday where I was when I first learned about Pokemon. I was 3 years old when it first came to the US. My neighbor was showing me his new game he got for his GameBoy called Pokemon Blue. He was showing me how to look for Pokemon by walking through grass and surfing in water. It just blew my mind. I honestly don’t know why because I didn’t understand how to play really, but I knew I NEEDED that game.

Shortly after, my mom bought me Red version. I couldn’t read, so I didn’t really know what to do. I knew you could catch pokemon and battle (I knew numbers, so I knew about leveling up), but I didn’t know what the names of the pokemon were or how to save. I would play for hours on end, just so I could make it past Veridian City. The farthest I ever got was to Rock Tunnel in one sitting. I had the game guide – which is now a torn-up mess than not even tape can save, but it didn’t help since I COULDN’T READ. But I liked the pictures and it came with stickers, which I made a pretty picture with. It wasn’t until one of my 4 yr old friends (who could read) taught me how to save that my love for pokemon exploded into something uncontrollable and amazing.

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Soon, everyone I knew was obsessed with Pokemon. It seemed like the entire world had fallen in love with its charm. I had a plush Pikachu that I carried around with me. I even shared my Happy Meals with him. I watched the TV show all the time, and when my mom gave me and my sister the first tape, we watched it every day until she got us more. I continued to get more games, cards, toys, clothing, comics, even bed sheets – I was a walking embodiment of Pokemania. From cereal to underwear, Pokemon was everywhere, and I had to own it all.

I never stopped loving Pokemon. I still play the games religiously. I don’t watch the new episodes, but I still rewatch my tapes. I hardcore fangirled when I met Veronica Taylor, the voice of Ash Ketchum, last year at Emerald City Comicon. I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever stop loving Pokemon. With Pokemon Sun and Moon soon to be released, I look forward to many more years filled with my favorite series of all time.

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Also, for old-time’s sake. . .who remembers this classic ad?

How long have you been playing Pokemon? Do you have any Pokemon memories you’d like to share? Are you doing anything special to celebrate the 20th anniversary? Comment below! Thanks for reading! ūüôā

 

 

Anime Review: Himouto! Omaru-chan episode 1

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I did an anime review, so I’m going to do one today! Today’s anime: Himouto! Omaru-chan!

**Please note: this review is only on episode 1. I have not watched past this episode, so my opinions are purely based on episode 1.

So anyways, a few of my friends were really excited about this show when it first came out a few months back and kept recommending it to me. They were all excited about the little chibi girl or something, and I finally got around to watching the first episode last night.

The plot

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Omaru is a wildly popular, beautiful high school girl. She’s excellent in school, sports, music, and pretty much perfect.

But when she gets home, she transforms into a totally different person: a lazy, junk food loving, video game and manga addict. Who happens to be a chibi. And God forbid anyone from school knows her true personality.

She lives in an apartment with her older brother Taihei, who works hard to support the two of them and her obsessive lifestyle.

My review

From what I can tell, this show is one of those slice-of-life comedies. Omaru has some friends and classmates that I am assuming will become bigger parts of the series as the show progresses.

But honestly, at this point I’m not sure if I plan on continuing with the series.

1.) While I did catch myself smiling at some points, the show didn’t offer me anything new that really caught my attention. I felt like I already saw everything I needed to see.

2.) With character-driven stories (as slice-of-life stories usually are), it’s really important to have lovable – or at least interesting – characters to make up for the lack of a solid plot line.

And, to be frank, I couldn’t stand the few characters in this show.

Maybe it’s because I only stuck around for one episode, but I’m not really sure what the creators are trying to get at with this series. I think Umaru is supposed to be funny and cute, since everyone I know who watches this show seems to really like her, but I found her to be a lazy, manipulative, two-faced crybaby.

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I get that she might be a relatable character to many anime fans. I, too, enjoy lounging around my apartment playing video games and eating chocolates. Heck, Konata from Lucky*Star was an awesome¬†character¬†who happened to be a lazy otaku, but at least she wasn’t loud or annoying about it like Umaru, and she was proud of her fandoms. Umaru cares too much about being liked to be herself around her classmates.

I think what really bugged me was how manipulative and ungrateful Umaru was toward her brother. She throws a tantrum to get him to buy her a copy of Jump magazine, and when he finally caves and does it, she doesn’t even thank him. She bugs him to make her steak for dinner, and then she pigs out on potato chips and is too full to even eat it. I feel bad for Taihei, but at the same time he doesn’t do much to stand up for himself because he claims his sister is. . .hot? And can therefore get whatever she wants? (Let’s not even get into how weird or wrong that is. . .)

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While I was watching it, I thought,¬†Maybe I’m supposed to hate this girl. Maybe the creators are trying to make a point about how selfish some people can be, and will take the opportunity to make a show about a girl who because a better person.¬†But I’m not sure if that’s true. Toward the end of the episode, Umaru and Taihei are playing video games one weekend when they have to take a break to go grocery shopping. For whatever reason, Umaru is extremely pissed about this and won’t talk to Taihei about why she’s upset, leaving him to figure out why on his own. Eventually, he remembers that he promised her earlier in the week that he would spend the weekend playing with her, and then apologizes to her for taking time out of their day to make an essential grocery run. The show basically makes him look like an asshole for doing a necessary chore, because I guess it’s more important to play video games than to have food for the week.

It’s possible I’m reading too much into this. Maybe there’s some aspect of cultural humor I’m missing. But I honestly can’t find humor in a lazy girl crying to her hardworking brother to buy her a stinkin’ manga magazine.

That being said, my opinions on popular anime are usually in the minority. I’m curious on what you all thought of this show! Did you find it funny? Do you like the characters? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Thanks for reading~

 

ATTACK ON TITAN MOVIE: Why I actually kind of really liked it!

Hello, everyone! Long time, no post! Hope you all have been well ūüôā A couple weeks ago, I saw the Attack on Titan live-action movie, and I’d like to share my thoughts on it today!

For starters, I am not a fan of the AoT anime (I did watch through all of season 1) and I’ve never read the manga. I heard from other reviews that the live-action movie is much different from the anime, thus disappointing many AoT fans.

Well. I’m not an AoT fan. Not even close. So I figured I’d give the movie a shot.

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The basic premise was the same: quiet village¬†enclosed by walls, titans attack and everything goes to shit, the main characters join the military to fight the titans. But that’s pretty much the only thing that’s similar. Yeah, Eren is still the main character. Eren’s mother isn’t in the movie, and he briefly mentions his parents both died when he was young. Mikasa is not his adopted sister who’s weirdly horny for him, but his girlfriend. . .which is probably for the best. Armin isn’t as main of a character, and is more or less there by the anime’s¬†necessity and to be a love interest for Sasha, who possibly likes potatoes even more in the movie than she does in the anime. Hange is even crazier about titans and is a more prominent character, which is awesome. Levi’s character is changed to Shikishima – which, as I read in one of the reviews, was to make him more “believably Japanese” – and is kind of a condescending creeper with the hots for Mikasa. . .but I actually found his character more interesting that way.

I can guarantee you that zero AoT fans actually agree with me on that.

Also, some new side characters were added, which was kind of cool since I felt a lot of the side characters in the anime were glossed over, but it also makes me wonder why they didn’t just use the anime characters and add more depth to them.

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The characters all look Japanese, which makes sense since it is a Japanese movie, but it did take away some of the character’s defining features, like Armin’s blonde hair. But it also makes sense since, while not explicitly stated, the movie takes place in a place parallel to 1940s¬†Japan rather than the anime’s more European setting. With mentions of war, weapons of mass destruction, big red flags, the movie definitely has a WWII vibe. Though¬†this disappointed many fans since it took away from the authenticity, I really liked the change since I like WWII stuff.

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Also, the colossal titan is basically an atomic bomb. Explosions, destruction, fire raining down on the villagers as they scream and run in terror, the titan disappearing into a cloud of black smoke. . .

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The standard titans are pretty much what you’d expect – creepy, yet goofy looking. Maybe it just felt this way since it’s a live-action movie, but the movie seemed a lot bloodier than the anime, with blood raining down as titans bite into people, ripping them apart.

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Also, showing children crying for their parents, people stampeding and cramming into temples for safety, committing suicide, crying as they leave their families to fight in the military – it felt a lot darker than the anime.

Yet it also felt more carefree than the anime. One of my biggest complaints about the anime is that it takes itself too seriously. I’m sorry, but giant naked people with goofy faces is too silly for me to take seriously. With the darker atmosphere,¬†quirkier characters, and soundtrack of heavy metal and hip hop music, the film felt more like a corny Japanese B horror movie, and it was actually really fun to watch.

On a side note, this movie is just part 1 and only covers the beginning of the anime. I have yet to see part 2.

Bottom line: if you like B horror movies, you might like this movie. If you’re a die-hard AoT fan, you might be disappointed by the changes, but it might be worth watching just to see what it’s like.

Have you seen the Attack on Titan movie? What did you think? Any thoughts you’d like to share? Please comment below! Thanks for reading ūüėÄ

Anime Review: Haunted Junction

It’s been a while since I’ve done an anime review! So far, I have only reviewed current anime. This time, I’m going to write about a classic throwback that many of you might not have heard of, but it’s definitely one I strongly recommend. And so, I present to you….Haunted Junction!! h4

Haunted Junction is a supernatural comedy from 1997, only 12 episodes long. The main character, Haruto Houjou, is the president of Saito High School’s¬†Holy Student Council. Unlike an ordinary school council, this one is dedicated to protecting¬†the school from evil spirits and using the seven school spirits to fight against said evil.

The Plot and People (and spirits!)

Along with Haruto are Mutsuki Asahina, a shrine maiden with a scarily aggressive shotacon (basically, she likes little boys), and Kazumi Ryudo, a Buddhist monk who’s constantly possessed by the spirits of pretty much anything that happens to pass by. They are led by the Chairman, a tiny old man who happens to be one of the school spirits and has a knack for collecting haunted artifacts.

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The other school spirits include:

-Nino: an intelligent little boy who is frequently targeted by Mutsuki’s little boy complex.

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-Bones and Haruo: These two always appear together, since they are the bones and internal organs of an anatomical model of the human body. h6

-Red Mantle: a male spirit clad in a red cape and white eye mask, whose charms are irresistible to women.

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-Giant: A giant foot. You only see him from the knee down.

-Mirror Girl: a sweet little girl who lives in a mirror. h7

-Toilet Hanako: a beautiful girl who lives in a toilet and is Kazumi’s obsession. h8

While Kazumi and Mutsuki find their job cool, exciting, and a good excuse to cut class, Haruto desperately desires a normal school life, to have a normal girlfriend and normal career. Though he is the son of a Christian priest, Haruto doesn’t possess any supernatural powers other than the ability to see spirits and summon the school spirits from the badges they are sealed within, and is therefore needed by the student council.

The Review

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The series is fairly short, so if you watch it all the way through and hate it, you’ve only wasted 6 hours of your life. While I personally loved Haunted Junction, it’s¬†one of those shows that you’ll either love or hate. The show is bat shit crazy, filled with plenty of gags and “WTF?” moments….which you will either love or hate.

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The gags are all totally unexpected. I find that a lot of anime have very predictable and similar jokes. My favorite thing about watching the show was having absolutely no idea what to expect at any given moment. Whether it’s a silly looking monster, an unexpected plot twist, or a ridiculous quote, there’s never a dry moment. If the humor isn’t your thing, there’s still the battles between the council members and evil spirits to hold your attention. h3

Each episode follows a different story line (with the exception of the last couple), so I recommend watching at least 3-4 episodes. It took me a few episodes to actually get what the show was about, since I wasn’t sure if it was going to follow one plot or do something new for each episode. If you don’t like the first episode, there’s a chance one of the other¬†plots will be more appealing to you. I really dislike long plots that last for several episodes, so the pacing of Haunted Junction was perfect for me. But if you really, really, really don’t like the show, at least the cool theme songs will make it feel worthwhile.

Have you ever seen Haunted Junction? Did you love it or hate it? Or are you really eager to check it out! Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section! Thanks for reading~

Anime Review: Parasyte

I’ve been a huge Parasyte fan well before the anime was released. I was a fan before Del Rey rereleased its publication. I used to read Parasyte¬†in MixxZine, Tokyopop’s now-ancient manga magazine, when it was serialized alongside Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Ice Blade. Back when manga was translated to read left-to-right, when Migi’s name was changed to Lefty due to the flipped images.

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That was a really long time ago.

When I heard there was going to be a Parasyte anime in late 2014, I was both excited and¬†worried. Parasyte was among my first manga and I was thrilled to see it come to life, but….20 years after¬†the manga finished?

For those who haven’t read or watched Parasyte, it’s basically a sci-fi/horror about alien parasites that take over human bodies, turning them into monsters that devour humans in some sort of graphic manner. Like chomping their heads off. The parasites look human until they strike – then they look something like this:

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Basically, their heads split open in some terrifying way, and there’s lots of blades and teeth involved.

Anyway, the story revolves around a high school boy named Shinichi, whose body gets abducted by a parasite. However, since the parasite fails to reach his brain, it can only survive in his right hand (hence naming it the Japanese word for right – “Migi”). Since Migi¬†is dependent on Shinichi’s survival, it helps Shinichi battle the other parasites to defend themselves and Shinichi’s friends – and really everyone else from being eaten.

The manga was notorious for its horrifying parasites, gore, and dark atmosphere. The (human) characters were drawn realistically, no “kawaii” elements, overall a pretty serious story. Despite being published alongside magical girl manga, Parasyte was intended for an audience of adult males. Neither the art nor plot was made to appeal to the stereotypical mainstream anime fans who preferred magical girls, happy-go-lucky protagonists, and/or epic adventures often filled with¬†action and laughter.

The anime, as I feared, took a different turn from the manga.

The plot is generally the same. Compared to most anime, it follows pretty well. In fact, if I didn’t read the manga, I’d probably really like the anime. The gore and crazy aliens have not been cheated.

But pretty much everything else I liked has.

It’s almost painful how much the animators are trying to appeal to the modern, mainstream audience. The character designs are almost completely different. When I first saw the promo art, I was confused. For a moment, I thought they completely changed the cast.

Shinichi is awkwardly nerdy at the start of the series.¬†He eventually looks a bit more badass later on in the anime,¬†but he was never that awkward or nerdy in the manga. Yes, he doesn’t spike his hair at the very beginning, but he was pretty much just an average guy.

Shinichi in the anime, before and after:

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v.s. in the manga, before and after changing:

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As for Shinichi’s female friends, they’ve become much cuter for the anime.

Murano, his best friend, anime vs manga:

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Colored hair, cuter style.

“Bad girl” Kana, anime vs manga:

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She’s still sassier than Murano, but far less rebellious¬†than she was in the manga. Girlier clothes, tidier hair.

I could rant on about character difference, but I think you get the idea.

What frustrates me is the anime creators felt Parasyte would not be appealing to today’s audience without the archetypal geeky boy surrounded by a sea of cute girls as potential love interests. The female presence is stronger in the anime – there are five chicks on the promo art for the anime. Nothing against girls – hell, I AM a girl. It’s just that this isn’t an accurate representation of the original Parasyte story. The art on the manga covers¬†were¬†of disfigured parasite humans with¬†multiple eyeballs and twisted faces.

The dark vibe is almost completely gone from the anime. It’s not necessarily a bright atmosphere, but the darkness has definitely been lifted. It’s more of a Black Butler or D.Gray-man sort of dark, minus the fantasy elements. Dark, creepy, but you know it’ll be okay.

The creators also tried to modernize the show to an almost awkward level. The characters use iPads¬†to read the news while eating breakfast. iPads. I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve seen an iPad in anime. It’s¬†like the creators are screaming, “Look at how modern we are! Don’t be turned off by how old the manga is because this is a totally hip show!” Dubstep music plays during the battles between parasites – which is actually kind of cool, especially since it makes for a good sci-fi battle vibe – but also a little tacky. It further emphasizes how had they’re trying to be modern and as not-90s as possible.

Maybe I’m just over analyzing the anime. Maybe it really was necessary to modernize the characters and overall vibe of the show. But if that’s the case, isn’t it at least a little sad that we, as anime fans, come off to the creators as so narrow-minded that they have to completely revamp a series to make it marketable? Or that they feel it’s more important to have a show be marketable than to please the already-existing fans?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch the Parasyte anime. The action is still awesome, the music kind of cool, and Aya Hirano (voice of Misa Amane, Haruhi Suzumiya, Konata Izumi, Lucy Heartfilia) plays Migi…which is actually really¬†amazing. If you like sci-fi horror, you will probably love Parasyte, but if you read the manga first, you – like me – might be disappointed by the changes. (And if you haven’t read the manga, you should totally read it.)

Have you read and/or watched Parasyte? What did you think? Did the changes bother you? Comment below! I’d love to hear your opinion!

Anime Review: Fairy Tail

For my first anime review, I want to start off with a current show that many people are familiar with: Fairy Tail!

I was extremely hesitant to start watching Fairy Tail. I had seen the squealing fans at anime cons, the massive amounts of merchandise flooding anime stores, and was immediately turned off. Popular anime generally equals generic action-adventure plot with stereotypical characters, cliches, incredibly long fight scenes, and humor deserving no more than a small smile. Anime I loved as a 13 year old, but now? Not so much.

Fairy Tail, however, was worth giving a chance.

The story: Set in a vaguely medieval world, Fairy Tail is a world full of wizards, dragons, celestial spirits, and other magical creatures. The plot revolves around the members of the wizard guild Fairy Tail Рspecifically Lucy, Natsu, Grey, Erza and (later in the series) Wendy. Together they take on various tasks, often involving battles between rival guilds and evil wizards.

On the surface, Fairy Tail can be very generic. Yes, some of the story arcs were longer than I would have liked (but definitely shorter than those of most popular anime), but something kept me watching: the humor. Fairy Tail is actually funny. The main reason why I watch it is because it’s funny. The¬†characters all have their own quirks: Natsu, while being as cocky as any other male main character in popular anime, suffers from severe motion sickness. The strict and intimidating Erza never fails to surprise with her range of outfits, from battle armor to cute, girly clothes to skimpy costumes. Grey, on the other hand, can’t keep his clothes on period. Wendy is shy and, as demonstrated in her first scene, quite ditzy. Lucy is always panicking over said quirks. Happy is a flying, talking, blue cat (enough said). Happy’s cheeky side comments are enough to keep me watching the show. The guild members are ridiculously destructive and the gags outrageously silly.

I’m not a huge fan of battle scenes, but the characters all have¬†unique¬†powers that entertain me for at least an episode or two. Though the characters don’t show too much physical growth between battles, their personalities are shaped by their experiences. Be it gaining confidence in themselves or resolving problems of their pasts, the real focus of the battles in Fairy Tail¬†are to show character growth, making the characters more human and¬†relatable. The battles aren’t entertaining only due to¬†flashy combat, but because the characters are easy to love and root for. But if character development isn’t enough to motivate you, there is always a bonus one-episode funny story following each battle arc that are actually better than the major plots of the series.

I will admit, I have yet to finish Fairy Tail. My attention span for any series peeks at about 25 episodes. Fairy Tail has over 200. As of today, I am about a quarter through. Though Fairy Tail is enough to entertain me through a lunch break, it is not something I can comfortably binge watch over a weekend. Yes, it is funny and the characters are lovable, I can only handle it in small doses before I temporarily lose interest.

If action-adventure anime suit your fancy, you’re going¬†to adore Fairy Tail. If you’re like me, it will provide enough laughs to keep you occasionally coming back.