Anime

Violet Evergarden Review [Minor Spoilers]

I had heard so much about this anime when it had first come out, that it was at the top of my list to watch when I started to get back into anime.  While the show wasn’t bad by any means, it definitely didn’t resonate with me like it did with others, and it has a lot more problems in it than I think people are willing to admit.
This review is going to be a general overview of my feelings about the show, because honestly I can’t really put how I feel about it into categories.

 

My biggest problem with Violet Evergarden, is how much it tries to hit the viewer emotionally.  It’s not that it just happens to be emotional while you’re watching, but that the show just feels like it’s trying so hard to elicit a certain reaction from you.  The plot itself is more on the melodramatic side in general, but sometimes you’re just like ok, I get what you’re going for here, can we move on?  The theming of the show is so hard hitting and heavy-handed that after about the halfway point of the show you’re just done with it.  You get what they’re going for, it’s fine, but you’re already halfway through the show so no way you’re going to drop it right?  It took me twice as long to finish this show simply for the format of the thing:  When violet was dealing with writing the letter of the week, and we saw different characters through her perspective, those episodes were super interesting and captivating to me.  It was a nice episodic setup that reminded me very much of Kino’s Journey, and it was really enjoyable to see Violet evolve because of these one off episodes.  Whenever we decided to not focus on Violet being a doll, and actually focused on her inner turmoil, and the obligatory war plot, was where the show lost me.

 

The overall plot of the show deals with a war.  We don’t get enough details about this war to really care, it’s more of a backdrop for the story.  But for some reason halfway through the show, we decide to ignore Violet’s journey and just…go to this war plot.  Like I get war is a major part of Violet’s backstory, and if it was fleshed out more that it was effecting her and that eventually she would have to deal with that I think it could have worked.  But what we really get is them mentioning it here and there, her backstory in flashback, and then this rather hastily done resolution so we can get back to what the show really wants to be talking about:  Learning how to feel emotions, and dealing with grief.  And although I said those more emotional episodes were heavy-handed at times, that is truly where the show shines and is most engaging.  So why throw in a subplot that only partially effects the characters?

 

This lack of focus is what makes the anime a bust for me.  If we had a different format, instead of letter of the week, then going into a bigger plot, it would have been a more cohesive show.  As it stands   it just feels like the show can’t decide what tone it wants to take, or what story it wants to tell and that’s where it falls flat.  I would have much preferred a letter of the week format that was more finely woven into the tapestry of the story, and then perhaps Violet writing letters would somehow lead to this war plot that would somehow get fleshed out.  Perhaps through Violet writing letters for some military?  Who knows, I just really enjoyed the letter of the week format, and would have preferred the entire show to be that way.

 
The characters are fine, the music and setting are gorgeous.  As much as I can take or leave Violet as a main character, her storyline and coming of age story starts and ends satisfactorily.  The English voice cast is amazing…like everything about this show is really well executed, and to that end is where it falls apart.  It’s just trying so hard to be so polished, so perfect, so emotionally moving  that although I liked about half of the episodes, after a certain point I thought any emotional beat was just being forced and overly dramatic.

 

I know a lot of people like this show, and that every anime isn’t for everyone.  On paper, I should like Violet Evergarden, but I’ve seen far better anime in this genre executed way better that actually moved me to tears because of its plot and characters, and not just because it was trying really really hard to.

 

I’m glad people can resonate with this show, and I’m sure plenty of people resonate with Violet and what she’s going through.  It just isn’t the show for me.

 

That review got a little rambly, sorry about that!  I guess I had more thoughts about this show than I realized, but it’s super frustrating to me to really want to like a show and it just not click with you.  Has that ever happened to you with an anime?
Have you seen Violet Evergarden?  I’d love to hear how you feel about it in the comments!

Anime

Lost Song Review [Spoiler Free]

I was in the mood to watch a fantasy anime after watching a lot of the heavier shows out there (Evangelion, Angel Beats, stuff like that) and when I was scrolling on Netflix, Lost Song’s description was interesting to me.  A magic system based on song, and a girl who wants to fulfill her dream of singing at the Starsong festival?  Sounded like my type of fun, adventurous, entertainingly tropey kind of fair.  What I got instead was a show that started out that way, and ended up in an entirely different direction all together.  Did this show succeed in trope subversion?  Or did it’s plot twists just make it fall flat.
…It fell flat.  Pretty darn hard too.

 

For more, let’s get into the review!

 

STORY

 

The story in Lost song follows two main characters.  Finis, a songstress who has the power to use songs, which work like casting magic spells in this world, who is being used to make sure one kingdom wins obligatory fantasy war.  Rin, a country girl, who also has the power of song, and wants to work her way to getting to the capital so she can sing at the Starsong festival.  Eventually, these two paths converge, and that’s pretty much the plot without spoiling anything major.  I thought the first six episodes of  the show did a good job of showing us the world Finis and Rin live in, and the problems they both had to face.  The show honestly plays out like an RPG for Rin’s plot:  Find new party member, learn new spell, run from soldiers, rinse repeat.  What I found far more interesting was Finis’ story, and her love story with Henry and I wish we would have seen more of this throughout the first half of the show.

 

It turns out, that there is a reason revealed in the second half of the show, that explains why we didn’t see Rin and Finis meet sooner, and it’s honestly a pretty good plot twist that I wasn’t expecting to happen.  How the show handled this after the fact however, didn’t really land at all, because to figure out why it was a good plot twist, I had to look for final episode discussions to see people explaining what the heck was going on.

 

The second half of the series was a confused mess of the show dropping this plot point, trying to explain it to us, trying to make sure it really really made sense and that it wasn’t a convoluted  mess (spoiler, it was) and the final episode’s epilogue, while sweet to an extent, leaves more questions than answers.  Plus, it leaves a ton of plot holes that I’m still trying to figure out after watching.

 

A good plot twist can’t drive a show.  I think Lost Song was really hoping that it would work, and that making this different than the average fantasy show would make it stand out amongst its peers.  This plot twist does the opposite however, and just makes Lost Song confusing and forgettable.  It wasn’t a bad ride by any means, but the show left no lasting impression on me and as of now the biggest thing I can say about it is “It was fine’.”

 

CHARACTERS

 

The characters were your average fantasy tropes.  The valiant  knight, the sad damsel who can’t lift a finger to protect herself, the country girl with big dreams and a heart of gold…I’m fine with a story either being plot driven or character driven, and this story obviously was going for an impactful plot, but the black and white nature of the characters was a bit heavy handed at times.  The bad guys were 100% evil and got theirs, the good guys won the day, and the main characters fate is…a bit murky?  Honestly I can’t talk enough about how wonky the plot twist made the show.  The ending for a certain set of characters is really unclear, and I highly doubt that we’ll get any content telling us how their fate ended up ending up, for lack of a better term.  If the plot stuck it’s landing and was executed well this wouldn’t bother me too much, but since the second half of the series went off the rails, it just was more obvious that the characters weren’t really fleshed out.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

 

You can pretty much tell what’s going on at any given time in the show.  It’s a very what you see is what you get type of series, so other than there being sections where music is playing only and not knowing what’s happening, and one episode that has narration and visuals (but that whole episode is a confusing mess so I doubt watching it would have really helped), the show is clear to follow beginning to end.  No audio description for this one, but there is an English dub that is probably the best part of the show for me.  That and the music, the music is fantastic.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The best way I can describe this show is Ar Tonelico:  The anime.  It honestly hit a lot of the story beats as that game did, but the game spent more time fleshing out the world and characters so it worked way better.  If Lost Song was a 24 episode anime, or even 18, then maybe it could have done service to the story it was trying to tell.  As it stands at 12 episodes, the second half of the story feels jarring, rushed, and that our characters just had to go with it so the show could end.  I won’t say it was a bad show, but it wasn’t a good one and it could have been if the plot twist wasn’t just thrown in there to make the show more interesting.

 

I’d give Lost Song a solid 6 out of 10, and that extra number is for how epic the music is.  It’s really a 5 out of 10:  I don’t feel annoyed I watched it, but it didn’t leave any lasting impression on me.  If you want a nice show to pass the time with and aren’t expecting too much, then go ahead and give this one a watch.  The plot twist genuinely shocked me and was a really good concept, I just wish it was executed better than it was.

 

Have you watched Lost Song?  Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

 

Anime

Hi Score Girl Review

Netflix has a lot of anime guys.

 

Random statement to start a post off with, I know, but I didn’t realize how much anime there was on Netflix until I just decided to scroll down the page after watching something.  It’s crazy!  Like pretty much anything I’d want to watch is on here, pretty fantastic.  That’s pretty much what got me into watching anime again, if I’m being honest.  I tried getting on Funimation’s site to watch stuff, the site’s interface was too clunky for me to care, and the same goes for Crunchyroll.  I get not realizing blind people would want to watch anime (I don’t really but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) but at least have your sites comply to the web accessibility it should and have some headings on there so your site isn’t a pain to navigate, geez!
But that’s a digression for another post.  Netflix has a lot of anime, it’s accessible, and that means I’m all over it~

 

So what was the first anime I decided to watch, you say?  Why, the topic of this blog post!  After reading the premise of Hi Score Girl, it instantly made me interested.  A romance that takes place around all of my favorite things, retro gaming and the 90s?  I’m all in!  But how does this show hold up in the end?  Let’s jump into this review and see!

 

I’ve decided to split my anime reviews into sections.  Headings are my brains best friend, and the best way I can write my thoughts down.  The three things I’ll be reviewing anime on is story, characters, and accessibility of the show.  What is that last category?  Well since I can’t review visuals, instead I’ve turned that section into Accessibility.  Things like how easy is the show to follow?  Does it have audio description?  So basically visuals, but from a blind point of view.

 

Now for   real, let’s get into this!

 

STORY

 

The story of Hi Score Girl is pretty simple at it’s base.  Haruo is a gamer, one of those crazily obsessed, kinda jerky gamers and Ono is the rich girl in school that is aloof, but surprise surprise also into gaming!  She escapes her daily struggles by venturing into the arcades, and is like, top tier amazing and Haruo can have none of that so is a jerk to her until they slowly grow a bond throughout the series, that of course leads to love.

 

The story is basic, but the plot beats are not.  This story takes place over a series of years, from their elementary days to high school and seeing the slow burn of their romance is just really sweet and charming.  The pacing never feels out of place, and seeing the story be related through the lens of the gaming boom in the 90s and early 2000s is really relatable if you grew up in that era.  It’s super nostalgic  hearing the characters talking about Final Fantasy IV, VI, and Chrono Trigger being released, being so happy that amazing voice acting is getting into games, and the running joke of the oh-so-many Streetfighter 2 ports.  That basically is the backdrop for the love story, and it works really well because both blend together perfectly, simply because both characters are into gaming, and the writing for both the accurate gamer depiction and the characters themselves just give the show and it’s characters really good chemistry.

 

CHARACTERS

 

The characters are really well written.  As much as I think Haruo at times lends a little too much to the jerky gamer guy trope, it doesn’t detract from his character because we see throughout the story what lies underneath.  Ono is silent the entire show, but she is so expressive with her actions that it really doesn’t feel like it.  Koharu, although I was a tad annoyed a love triangle got into this show, is also a really well realized character and you feel for her also, and the way they do the love triangle trope subverts the trope quite nicely I think.

 

The supporting characters are really great as well.  Haruo’s Mom is the best, we need more single Mom’s in shows!  She’s just so much fun, and anytime she was on screen I enjoyed her being there.  There’s a really fun aspect of the show I don’t want to spoil if you haven’t watched it, that I’d count as supporting characters and adds a lot to the gaming aspect of the show that makes it feel like this is someone’s life we’re looking at, and it isn’t just a show.  Haruo’s school friends, Ono’s supporting cast…all just great additions to the show, and if I talked about them all individually we’d be here all day.  Characters are great, long story short lol.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

 

 

Netflix usually doesn’t have audio description for anime.  It’s one of those mysteries I’ll always wonder, “WHY?”.  But for Hi Score Girl, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had audio description for the episodes, maybe because they’re counting it as a Netflix Original?  Anyway, it helps the show so much.  Like I said earlier, Ono is silent the entire way through other than grunts and expressions, so having the audio description say what she was doing just added so much to the smaller moments in the series.  Having the narrator say what she was doing at any given point in time made her my favorite character, and I don’t think that would have happened if audio description wasn’t there.  I really hope Netflix continues to do this for anime, I think there’s a stigma on it where it would detract from the show but it definitely doesn’t and I mean…you can turn it off if you don’t like it XD


The rest of the show it was nice to have for sure.  It wasn’t intrusive on any of the scenes like it sometimes can be when there’s major action or something, they didn’t duck the audio for the show too much when they had to.  It really just added to the experience and I don’t think the show would have been as fun to watch without it.

 

CONCLUSION

 

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed watching this show.  It’s full of sweet moments, humor, and gaming, and all of it meshes together to make a very fun slice of life anime.  I can’t wait to see what happens in season 2!

 

Have you watched Hi Score Girl?  Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Anime

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Series Review: Fan Service, Fantasy, and a Lot of Fun

April was a rough month for me – a lot of things weren’t coming together, and there was a lot of stress involved.  I had read a lot of reviews about this show, and as a destresser I decided to watch it.  I was skeptical, because maid’s in anime are well, always known as fanservice moe fauter, but was it worth watching through this show, and  getting past the fanservice for some genuine entertainment and sweetness?
Yes, yes it was.  I will say that I waited until the series had completely aired – I don’t think it would have held up as well if I were watching this series over 13 weeks.  Watching it over 1 week, in blocks of 4 or 3 episodes at a time was a lot more enjoyable for me, because when I got bored or tired of the show I was able to stop and just go back to it the next day.  It definitely helped me with the destressing as well, because it’s just so darn cute!  The humor was funny, and the show genuinely has a sweet message to share, with an enjoyable cast of characters (mostly).  My main criticisms  with the show is it’s rather one note in its plots.  Like I said, if I were watching this week to week, I probably would have been tired of it.  It’s mindless, adorable slice of life fun and if you need something that will give you a chuckle and warm and fuzzy happy feelings, definitely watch this show.
Now for the things I didn’t like.  Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the show, I really couldn’t stand Toru!  The first episode almost turned me off from the show, because it just was playing up all the weird, pervy tropes I really don’t like that tend to rear their head in certain anime.  Toru’s selfish, possessive and pervy personality traits never quite go away (they do get muted a bit, but still) and it just makes an enjoyable show lose a bit of its charm.  Kana is entirely too cute, which I get people may like but I don’t care for.  But once again, I know that other people may disagree with that, I generally don’t like cute characters that are just there to be cute.

 

The supporting cast is great, minus Lucoa and Shota’s relationship.  I liked their interactions, but the boob jokes got a little old.  She was a late comer, but I think Elma was probably my favorite character.  I love myself a good comedic straight woman who also participates in the goofyness every once and a while.  The gag with her and food is also something I would do, so it was always funny to see XD

 

Criticizing this show for lack of plot is sort of unfair.  As I watched it, I kept on comparing  it’s format to Azumanga Daioh – just a lot of scenes taking place that go over a period of time that are funny, cute, and entertaining.  If you go into the show knowing this, I think it’s a lot easier of a show To get into because all in all it’s just some good fluffy fun.  If anything, just watch for the Christmas play:  hands down, my favorite story from the series.  I wish the entire episode was the whole play, because it was amazing and hilarious.

 

After I finished the show, I wasn’t exactly sure on my feelings about it.  But the day after finishing it, I genuinely missed visiting with the characters, and seeing what wacky adventures they were going to get into.  For all its flaws, it had that many more enjoyable traits, so if you need a great, humorous watch that is going to make you relax and bask in some mindless, sweet fun, then definitely give this anime a watch.  I recommend watching at least the first three episodes to see if you want to give it a chance though, because the first episode does not give a good example of how charming this show truly is.  I watched the English dub, and it does a great job capturing the characters!  That being said though, I only heard a tiny bit of the Japanese version, so some characters may be a bit more hyped up for American audiences (I have a feeling that may have been the case for Toru, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments).

 

Did you watch Miss Kobayashi when it was airing, wait to binge it like me?  Would love to hear how you liked the show in the comments!

Anime

Your Lie in April Episode 1 Thoughts

Time to start this rewatch!  I’ve never rewatched an anime before that wasn’t from my childhood, so this will be interesting.  I thought it would be fun to try and think of my initial thoughts of the episode after watching it the first time, then see how I feel about it now knowing what’s coming.

 

For episode 1, I think I mainly was interested, but also skeptical.  The pointless overdone “You pervert!” trope happened and I was like ugh not this again, but the rest of the show was interesting enough for me to stay watching.  I knew going in the anime was about music, so being a musician myself I really wanted to give it a shot no matter how wonky I thought it might become at the time.

 

Upon rewatching, I like Tsubaki a teeny bit more.  I still don’t really like her, but she’s not as annoying as I remember.  Well, not annoying, but I always found her actions pretty selfish throughout the show, but now seeing the amount of foreshadowing put into the first episode in regards to her feelings, it doesn’t bother me so much.  I wish the humor tropes were gone from here, but I  also like them at the same time so no real complaints with that.  Other than that, I enjoyed the episode!  I feel like for this particular show, knowing what’s going to happen detracts a bit from the drama, but it’s still enjoyable to watch to see what things you didn’t notice happening that were going to lead to bigger reveals later on.

 

I was going to try and watch an episode a day, but that really isn’t’ my style haha.  So what I’ll probably do, is catch up with the show on the weekend, watching the next four episodes for this week one day and the next five for the next week on Sunday.  What can I say, I’m just a binge watcher at heart 😀

 

I’m glad to see this show still is enjoyable upon second watching. Music is still fantastic, and loving the journey faster than I did before because I know what will be happening.  So instead of one episode a day posts I’ll just write my general thoughts on the five episodes I watched for the week over here~

 

Anime · Uncategorized

Blog, and Anime Update!

Hi guys!  So as you’ve noticed, this blog hasn’t been updated for the past week.  That’s mainly because I’ve been busy, and the posts I write over here take a lot of time to write. Don’t get me wrong:  I love writing them, but it does take a lot of time to do so that I’ve had to use to do other things the past week.  But in the past week, I’ve also been thinking of smaller posts, and projects I can start over here that would be more like small first impression posts, episode recaps/impressions of anime, or something like that, then in comes Weekend Otaku with his Your Lie in April viewing party, and I was like “That’s perfect!”.
I already was planning another project with anime, where I watch a lot of older anime that I haven’t seen that are really popular.  I was into anime in the late 90s, early 2000s, and due to not having the huge range of availability for shows we do now, I didn’t watch a lot of anime because DVDs were expensive!  Chibi Crystal also was really into one specific genre of anime which was magical girl and fantasy, which in the early 2000s equated to only watching Inuyasha, Sailor Moon, Card Captors and Magic Knight Rayearth.  I know Cowboy Bebop used to come on Adult Swim in that block with Inuyasha, as did Outlaw Star for a time (which I did like, but it got pulled from the block of shows I used to watch before I could finish it) but Cowboy Bebop didn’t have swords and magic and half demons falling in love with high school girls so Chibi Crystal was having none of that.

 

Now that Chibi Crystal is no longer chibi however, and is getting off of her I haven’t watched anime in six years or so and just started watching again in 2016, I want to revisit a lot of old shows.  So things like Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass, Evanjelion, Death Note etc etc. Aka, I have a lot of catching up to do!  I have yet to schedule those, and not sure if I’m going to do an episode to episode recap, or a chunk of a few episodes, but if you have any good, iconic anime to throw my way to watch I’ll add it to my list and finally start my watching anime new year’s resolution I’ve been putting off XD

 

But, before that, back to the Your Lie in April watch party!  Weekend Otaku is hosting one, and it seems like tons of fun.  If you’d like to join in, here’s the post for more details!  I’m going to be using this to post more and watch an anime I love, so it’s win-win for me haha.

 

So yeah, be prepared for blog posts to start up again next week, with my first impressions of rewatching Your Lie in April on Monday!

Anime

Does Yuri on Ice Reach Its Full Potential? My Thoughts on the Last Few Episodes

The simudub for Yuri on Ice ended last week, and is the reason why I tend to wait until a series is over to watch the entire thing.  I enjoyed watching the show as it aired with the blogosphere and Twitter, but having to wait two weeks for a dubbed episode to air and be two episodes behind everyone was torture!  That being said, I’m not sure if being pre-exposed to all of the spoilers and commentary on the show effected my viewing of the last three episodes (I waited for all three to be released before finishing the series) but there just seemed to be something…missing from the series for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the series, and think the characters are amazing.  But I do think there were a few missed opportunities  by series end that we could have seen happen instead of some things that did happen.  Spoilers for Yuri on Ice below!

 

My first nit pick is, why did they show us so many characters, when only three of them were important?  Or rather, they only cared to flesh three of them out fully.  I get that it’s a tournament style show, but we saw the main six skaters so many times and didn’t get any more motivations from them than their internal monologues while skating.  I loved the first half of the series, when Yuuri was still unsure of himself, and Victor had to help him overcome his fears and deal with his shortcomings, and when Yuuri was growing more confident in himself with minor lapses I thought it would have been a great time to focus more on the other skaters, off of the ice.  As it stands, the only characters we got a decent amount of focus on were JJ and Yurio, and I felt the Yurio spotlights near the end were a bit under-developed too.  The format of skate, monologue, next opponent skates wore on me in the last two episodes as well, mainly because of one thing:  JJ was getting some character development, and I found it way more interesting than the skating in the finals!
That’s my next point, the way they treated JJ.  First of all, why do we need an “antagonist” character?  Especially when the series was painted more as a compete against yourself to be the best you can be motif  from episode 1.  Plus, JJ was full of himself sure, but far from an antagonist, especially since he didn’t interact with the other characters more than saying he was going to win, which everyone was doing!  When they focused on JJ in the last three episodes, I found him so fascinating.  Those flashbacks were really great, and the fact that he obviously is far more sensitive and caring then he lets on, and uses that confident mask to keep himself a float during competitions, as shown with the flashback with his Mom was really touching to see.  So, why didn’t we get to see more of that development?  Why couldn’t we see him interact with his girlfriend a bit more?  The scene where everyone was still cheering for him after he choked got me all emotional and teary-eyed, more so than anything Yuuri was going through at the moment because let’s be real here:  His character arc was done by the final few episodes.  I would have much preferred to focus more on the side characters, more than just the throw away lines they were given in the end that seemed like the writers wanted to do more with them, but were restricted by the show’s title characters having to be in the spotlight, whether their stories were done or not.

 

I know I’m going to be in the minority with this, but I, uh, really don’t see Yuuri and Victor as a romantic couple.  Like, I saw everyone all over the internet gushing about “The rings!  The dancing on the ice, EEEE!” and that made me think that for once, the subtext of the will they won’t they relationship prominent in sports anime hadn’t happened. But, it pretty much did?  Like the rings lean more on the non-subtext side but still are subtext.  I don’t find saying they’re a good luck charm to be a declaration of love, and Victor saying that they’d be married if Yuuri won seemed like one of Victor’s I’m joking, but secretly serious lines. There was never a straight up conversation between the two that was like “Hey Victor, I think I’m in love with you” or not even something so blunt, but just a conversation about where they stood emotionally would have been a nice touch to throw any subtext out of the way.

 

What was I hoping for, you ask?  An actual conversation about their feelings.  They tip-toed around it the entire series, and in my opinion saying you want your skating coach to stay with you and help you train for next season isn’t really cementing a romantic relationship.  They said far more heartfelt things than that, but for me they didn’t bridge the gap from being close friends and colleagues to something more.  It was a really, really missed opportunity considering all of the build up, and honestly was disappointing for me by the end of episode 12.

 

This last one may be because I was pre-exposed to a ton of spoilers, but the pointless mellow drama in episode 12 was just…there.  Like, we know Victor and Yuuri aren’t going to break their coach-skater relationship, so why make all of this build up happen when it’s not going to?  Was anyone surprised when they didn’t split up at the end?  Instead of providing that senseless conflict, I would have much rather seen Yuuri go through something else.  Maybe instead of wrestling with that weird decision that he found a loophole for (which I really didn’t get because he made the initial decision in the first place) why not have his inner conflict be something else?  Or maybe not even have an inner conflict for Yuuri:  just show how far he’s come, how confident he was all the way instead of the halfway they did in the final episode.

 

I don’t mean to bash Yuri on Ice, by any means:  like I said, I loved the series, and these are all minor nit picks that stopped me from enjoying the show fully in its last few episodes.  My main complaint was the JJ character development that was super interesting to me that they just…dropped and resolved super quickly, and that got me thinking about everything else in the final episodes that made me go hrmmm.  I think Yuri on Ice is a show better to binge watch, because I really enjoyed it a lot more when I watched episodes in chunks.  Having to wait two weeks for an episode made me enjoy it a bit less then I think I would have if I just watched it in one sitting, but that may just be me and my preferences.

 

Now that Yuri on Ice has been over for a few weeks, do you have any different opinions on it than when you were watching?  Do you think it had any shortcomings, or did you love it all the way through.  Would love to hear in the comments!

Anime · Lists

Ten Life Lessons You Can Take Away From Yu-Gi-Oh!

Ever wonder how you could enrich your life through card games? Well, look no further than these top ten tips to get your game on and eventually become King of Games!

 

  • In order to be a productive member of society you must A.) Either go to Duel Academy and become a top duelist or B.) Sell cards to students/Champions/collectors so they can strengthen their decks.
  • Peddy theft is acceptable when you’re stealing Ancient Egyptian magical items.
  • Taking peoples souls is also acceptable when you’re trying to revive your long deceased spouse.
  • Wine is a great drink to have while reading comic books.
  • If you cheat in a game, make friends with your opponent afterwards and all is forgiven.
  • Electro shock and soul theft is common while playing card games, so get a thick skin and duel!
  • Multiple personality disorder is acceptable as long as it helps you win card games
  • You can’t start a sentence without saying “Get your game on!” or “It’s time to d-d-d-deul!”. If you don’t, the sentence makes no sense at all.
  • Instead of getting addicted to gambling, just play with Skull and Graceful Dice in your deck to get your fix. This also helps addicts kick their gambling addiction.
  • It takes 3 million dollars to fix “blindness”. And this blindness is not specified. But money fixes everything, right?

 

Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Anime

Why is Yuri on Ice so Popular? A Character Study of Victor and Yuri

Every season, there’s always an anime that eeeeeveryone is talking about.  An anime that usually isn’t my cup of tea, but that I’m like well ok I’ll give it a go.  The anime this season is a particularly interesting one to me, because not only is it a sports anime, but it’s an anime that is mainly being praised for its visuals.  After reading a series of reviews, hearing a ton of History Maker covers, and finding out that it was being simudubbed, I decided to give it a watch.

And boy did it take my breath away.

I’m always skeptical when it comes to an anime being raved about, because I think it’s just the hype train chugging along.  Plus, with its main draw being visual’s to most people, I tend to be wary about watching because visuals 100 percent are not my thing.  And, in all honesty, if a story focuses on visuals alone to tell it’s story, I don’t think it’s doing its job.  Of course there will be some visual elements in anime that just can’t be translated, but as long as the story doesn’t majorly suffer from that, or someone explains later via a monologue what happened, I’m fine with it.  But, my major question with these sorts of shows is, is can it carry itself without visuals?
Short answer:  Yes.  But let’s dive into this a bit more.  Why is Yuri on Ice so special?  Look at it on paper, and it’s a typical sports anime set up:  Protagonist loses heart, has to find it again through an external force or person or group of people.  Works toward building themselves back up again, finds themselves back where they started at the beginning of the show, but better, therefore can succeed at what they previously failed at.  A typical heroes journey, with fan service peppered throughout.  Yuri on Ice isn’t free of the fan service aspects, but those small bits of fan service that happen are short, and play to the characters strengths. When Victor says something crazy, you just go “Ha!  That’s Victor for you” and it never seems like any comment, action, or reaction is out of place.  Everything is played very realistically, and I think that’s a huge plus in Yuri on Ice’s favor.

Which leads me to my next point: the characters.  In any sports anime I’ve seen, the characters really should be known as caricatures.  Granted, I haven’t watched many sports anime, but literally I’ve turned on one episode of a few, gotten fed up and stopped watching because of how one note and cookie cutter the characters are.  In Yuri on Ice, every character seems very real.  The writing staff took the time to flesh out each character, fill them with hopes, dreams, fears, good traits, and bad traits, and it adds to the charm of the show.  Take Victor, for example:

A picture of Victor
I’m too sexy for my shirt~

On the surface, he’s the typical goofball, open to expressing himself, over confident sex symbol.  Through interactions with Yuuri, however, you see a layer that he obviously doesn’t show to the public:  He cares a lot about others, about his legacy as a skater.  As soon as he sees Yuuri, he sees the potential in his skating and wants to go help him reach his full potential.  It takes someone who’s very in tune with their emotions to be able to see that in other people, and it’s obvious Victor is exactly that:  From how other character’s say he makes them feel with his routines, to how much he’s effected Yuri’s mindset from episode 5 onward, Victor is a compassionate person who hides that compassion behind the guise of confident arrogance.  Are either sides of Victor bad?  Not at all.  They’re what make him such a multi-faceted character, and part of what makes the show great.  It takes an amazing staff of writers to add this sort of depth to one of the supporting characters, so how does the main character stack up?

A picture of Yuuri Katsuki
We were born to make history!

Yuri Katsuki is the shining star in this series, and what I think is its major draw.  The figure skating is a major plus, but the fact that we’re seeing this world through Yuri’s eyes is what I think is drawing so many people, and myself in.  Yuri’s not confident, Yuri’s not disciplined, he’s the complete opposite of the typical jock character.  Yuri, in a sense, is all of us:  Because who hasn’t doubted themselves?  Who hasn’t tried their hardest, and choked under pressure?  Who hasn’t questioned their self-worth, but continued following their dreams regardless?  Yuri is a fleshed out character all on his own, but at the same time he’s what so many of us see in ourselves.  Yuri is incredibly relatable, and his growth throughout the series thus far is a shining example of why you should never give up on yourself.  Just seeing Yuri’s progress from crying after losing in episode 1, to his speech at the end of episode 5, speaks volumes to his character development and I can’t wait to see what happens by the end of the series.  I think the best part about his growth too, is that it flows so naturally.  You can see glimmers of this fierce, confident, loyal Yuri in the beginning of the series, but all of those positive traits are clouded by the negative ones he’s focusing on.  Once Victor comes, and helps him work through his issues in his own time, we see Yuri’s true self and it doesn’t seem out of place at all.  Does yuri still have relapses into his doubts and fears?  Of course he does, but all that does is make his character seem even more real, even more relatable, and it works so well when placed next to Victor in scenes.  The dichotomy of both of their alpha personalities is so interesting to watch, and makes the series all the more enjoyable.

In a lot of ways, Yuri on Ice breaks the mold of sports anime, while at the same time sticking to a lot of things sports anime does well.  The major themes of not giving up, persevering through your pain, and always recognizing that you’re never really alone are all just such wonderful themes to have in any show, and I think that’s a major reason why Yuri on Ice is so popular.  But, those are just my thoughts on the subject.

I obviously really love this anime, if you couldn’t tell XD like I said earlier, sports anime aren’t generally my thing, but this one has me hooked.  It helps that I love ice skating, too, so as soon as I saw a sports anime about it, I wanted to see what it was all about.  I’m happy to say that this anime made me rethink my opinion on all sports anime, and give them at least a few episodes to see how the anime stands up on its own merits.

Have you been tuning into Yuri on Ice?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series.  Also, how did I do with writing this post?  It’s my first attempt at doing an analysis  like this (well, the first one I ever thought was post-worthy) so would love to know if there are any things I can improve on, any other things I can address when looking at a series, etc. etc.  I have a lot of other different types of post series I’m planning to make, but this one was really more of a spur of the moment post I really felt like I had to write.  I’m sure there will be many other Yuri on Ice themed posts on here, so look out for those if you enjoyed reading this one!