Thursday, April 30, 2015

Promo: 365DaBand

[no particular order] Will, Isaac, S.T, and Jun
|Official Facebook|

Similar to my promotion post for BNR, I ran into a few dead ends finding information about this group. Originally 365daband was a quintet from Vietnam that debuted in December 2012. Each member had a very unique style to them: Isaac - cool man, Jun - Family boy, Tronie - Charming Prince, Will - Rebel, and ST - kiddo. What makes this boyband unique is that their musical style is a mixture of pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Their debut single is Awakening and they are one of Vietnam's most popular boy groups. I was first introduced to them by a friend when he shared the video for "Get On the Floor", which kinda reminded me of something MBLAQ would produce.

This is probably a slightly unusual promotional post for me as I really don't actively keep up with this group very often. I still enjoy the group and, for this post, I have watched more of their videos including their most recent one from December 2014 called "HAI CÔ TIÊN". I probably should look into updating their musical catalogue in my iTunes library, but for now I'll continue to jam to The Love Box [especially "I Let You Down"]. I'm very grateful for my friend introducing me to this group as I don't listen to Vietnamese music at all and they are quite a talented bunch. I hope that they will continue to make awesome music and keep pushing forward after their member lost.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Bakuman.

Title: Bakuman. (2008)
Author(s): Obata Takeshi (Art) & Ohba Tsugumi (Story)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen
Volumes: 20

Bakuman follows the story of high school student Moritaka Mashiro, a talented artist who does not know what he wants to do with his future. One day, Mashiro draws a picture of Miho Azuki, a girl he is secretly fond of, during class but forgets the notebook at school. He comes back to find that his classmate Akito Takagi is waiting for him with his notebook. Takagi tries to convince Mashiro to become a mangaka, a manga artist, with him, leading to Mashiro's disagreement. Mashiro goes home and thinks about his mangaka uncle, who had only one successful series before he died in obscurity. Mashiro is interrupted by a phone call from Takagi, who says that he is going to tell Azuki that Mashiro likes her. Mashiro runs down to Azuki's house to find Takagi waiting for him. Once Azuki comes out to meet them, Takagi tells her that he and Mashiro are aiming to be mangaka. Mashiro then learns that she wants to be a seiyuu, a voice actor, and has shown promise in the field. Mashiro, once again thinking about his uncle, accidentally proposes to Azuki who accepts. However, she will only marry him after they achieve their dreams. In addition, they cannot see each other until then. (Source: Wikipedia)

Similar to Tarot Café, I read this series during a time I need to conserve my money, so the library was a good source of trying new things without spending a dime. I wasn't completely sure what I was in for, whether I would find this interesting or absolutely boring as the whole concept deals with the manga industry. I also was a tiny bit cautious as well since the creator of Death Note was behind, even though I did find some enjoyment from that series. Obviously, I made it through 20 volumes without feeling any sort of disinterest. What helped keep my interest were the characters. Mashiro and Takagi are ordinary people, people you and I would know. People who are interested in anime and manga and have friends that are also interested in it may have a friend or two that have been or are interested in working in the anime and manga business. When you're young, you think it's really simple, but once you're older, you realize that being a voice actor or a mangaka is really difficult to be successful in. Bakuman. is a great series to learn how the whole journey, especially for those who aspire to be a mangaka. Even if you just simply enjoying reading manga, it's nice to learn how the system works while having an entertaining story at the same time.

The journey that Mashiro and Takagi travel through from volume to volume may sound pretty basic on paper, but once you delve into the story, it's easy to get involve in their struggle and cheering for them to reach their goals. Bakuman. reflects real life drama, so expecting Mashiro and Takagi to succeed all the time like some old 90s kids flick is not going to happen, which is good. Much like life, their failures only build our main characters up and develop them into stronger artists and writers. They form great friendships, test the limits of their love through a unique semi-long distance relationship, adjust to a new social atmosphere, and interacting with people who have other objectives that aren't exactly pure. These elements along with the unique variety of characters make the story entertaining, relatable, and engaging. Although I couldn't speed through the volumes as quickly as a shounen action manga like Naruto and Bleach as there is a lot of detail and dialogue between the characters, I gradually adjusted to it and felt it was necessary to have such things in a manga like this. I also enjoyed that we do get a glance at what the characters are working, so we're left in the dark about their competition or how creative our main characters.

Bakuman. is not a fast pace, action packed manga, but the details, story, and characters really keep you engaged from volume to volume. The artwork is great and has unique styles to it when showing off the characters' works and the character development is evenly paced and satisfying. I enjoyed that the Mashiro and Takagi didn't succeed all the time and that the outcomes were not predictable with each challenged they faced; it made it more satisfying to read and it added to their growth. The supporting characters were just as enjoyable whether you like them or not. I definitely would recommend this if you love reading manga or want to part of the industry. It's very informative while still being entertaining, comical, and engaging.

Rating: 4/5

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday Review: Spice Girl's "Spice" (1996)

Spice Girls - Spice (1996, USA)
Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Wannabe, Say You'll Be There, Naked, If U Can't Dance

For our first musical Throwback Thursday, I wanted to review the very first CD I owed and still have. Yes, back in the day I was a big Spice Girls fan. I absolutely enjoyed their music, had the dolls, and even seen and owned the movie on VHS. I knew a bit of their choreography since my friends and I thought we really were the Spice Girls and I surprisingly still remember some of it. Of course, lyrics have never left my mind, so I can still effortlessly sing a good portion of the songs in their discography. Let's shake it to the right with Spice Girls' debut album, Spice.

"Wannabe", the first track of the album, is where it all started for most fans and people who knew about the Spice Girls. It was their debut single and music video and it was the perfect track to show us who they are and the perfect way to start an album. "Wannabe" is a simple, upbeat pop tune with a catchy bridge and chorus that everyone couldn't resist but to sing along. It stuck in your head whether you wanted it there or not. I remember people always struggled and fumbled with Mel B's rap or that third verse that her and Geri split. They never knew what the heck she was saying and tended to fail singing along to that part. It was a bit of a nonsense song, but it was full of nothing but fun and energy in not only the video, but the lyrics as well.

I bet some people wondered how the girls were going to top such an addicting song like "Wannabe". Well, their second track "Say You'll Be There" kept that fun playfulness, but added a little more musical substance. While "Wannabe" had some nonsensical moments in their lyrics, "Say You'll Be There" had more comprehensive content about a relationship that's easier to point out than their first song. The video also showed off the members' individual personalities that matched their nicknames and gave each girl a chance to sing. Each member has a very distinct vocal duty and you could clearly tell who's singing which part. The music video was fairly simple and gave each member camera time as they sung their parts, while still having fun with basic choreography and visual effects.

"2 Become 1" was a more mature and sensual track that really displayed each members' vocal talents a little more than "Say You'll Be There". It was a slower track that even younger me enjoyed to some extent, even though I didn't fully grasp the content of the lyrics until I was a little older. It's a very innocent intimate piece that expands on their view of relationships compared to the previous two tracks. The video was more serious and chic, but still held onto the group's personality without being too loud with crazy costumes or a strange concepts. I strangely can imagine that one person wanting this to be their first dance song at a wedding reception or something. Listening to the track now, I can still appreciate how beautiful and emotional this track is and that it shows a different side to the group aside from their crazy, boisterous, and confident side.

"Love Thing" goes back to a more upbeat tempo with a slight funk edge. It's a confident, empowering track about overcoming a rough relationship and moving forward with life. It was a track that stuck with their group concept of girl power. The vocals are consistently strong and the arrangement knew exactly where to put the punches then unify the girls' voices into a catchy hook. "Last Time Lover" is another funk pop track with some lovely bass lines. It's a sensual track that primarily focuses on the deep vocal range of Mel B and Geri. It's a slightly playful track with tons of sass in the verses and a bit in the chorus. It has an easy beat that you could nod your head along to, but it's not a track that'll stick to your head like "Wannabe" or "Say You'll Be There". Nonetheless, it is an empowering track to take hold of a relationship you want to let go while feeling above that ex-lover or whatever.

Back in the 90s, it seemed like the popular thing to do is to make a song dedicated to the mothers. "Mama" is that track. It's a slightly uptempo song with the girls taking turns singing to their mothers. The video features footage and pictures of the members as young girls with their mothers holding pictures of them. The lyrics are pretty simple, but carry enough substance to make you smile and put a small tear in your eye. It's not a track I listened to very often as a kid as I wanted something more upbeat and fun, but back then and now, I never thought this song was a bad one. It's a little cheesy or even pandering, but there is some sincerity and lightness to the track. The girls could've done a more mature ballad piece like Boyz II Men, but decided to keep their fun to appeal to their younger fanbase, light appeal instead which isn't bad.

Similar to "Wannabe", "Who Do You Think You Are" is an extremely fun, upbeat track with a nonsensical music video full of random fun. It's a confident track with a pseudo-disco pop beat and a super catchy chorus. It's definitely a dance track or at least one that's fun to bounce around to like the first track. The video is completely random and fun with the girls playing around their wardrobe, but I honestly wouldn't expect anything else from a song like this. Much like the previous tracks as well as just the whole album, the song exudes tons of confidence, a bit a sexuality, and freshness. It's a good track to listen to pick up your spirits.

"Something Kinda Funny" is a smooth funk track that's pretty easy to listen to. It's really not that memorable compared to some of the other tracks, but the vocals are nice to hear. The melody fits with their voices and somewhat eclectic style. It's not a track I listen to often, but it's not a bad song in the least. Strangely, "Naked" is a track I listened to fairly often when I was younger and still appreciate the track to this day. It's pretty much the slowest track or at least the same tempo as "Mama". It's a pop track with some great guitar melodies and bass. The verses are more spoken word than song which is interesting and ties into the bridge which is sung by, I'm guessing, Emma and Mel B, then smoothly transitions to the chorus. The song has a slight dark, mysterious edge to it. Very vulnerable and raw. It kinda reminds me of Madonna's "Justify My Love" in the rawness. It's an amazing track with a great melody and composition. "If U Can't Dance" is a nice bookend to the album as it is just a fun and nonsensical as "Wannabe". It has a bit of hip-hop mixed with pop and funk elements. It also features that semi-rap delivery in the verses from Geri and Mel B, which I have fun singing along to although I'm sure people would stumble on that first verse. It also features Geri doing a verse completely in Spanish. It's a fun track with mindless lyrics, but it's fairly enjoyable.

Spice was a solid effort from the rising British girl group. From track to track, the sound and concepts are consistent and cohesive. There's a good balance of fun, upbeat songs, slower more intimate songs, and more experimental tracks. The album represented the group in a good light and showcased their personalities and vocal talents. Looking back on this album, I still believe this was a solid effort and deserved the praise and awards that it received. I hope you all enjoyed today's first musical Throwback Thursday and there will definitely be more to come.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Battle of the Hip-Hop Fused Rookies

It is no secret that I am a fan of Korean hip-hop. From the quick deliveries of Outsider to the soothing R&B fusion of Verbal Jint, I really love Korean hip-hop. Although the genre doesn't get as much attention or hype compared to kpop (mostly international), it is nice to see somewhat new rookie groups come out with a hip-hop concept or influence that truly matches it roots without being overwhelmed with pop elements. As of 2013, four groups debuted onto the scene with this concept or fusion of genres: BTS, AlphaBAT, ToppDogg, and GOT7. Similar to my notable rookies list, I wanted to put a special spotlight on these groups [because honestly, 2013 was a little lacking in the interesting department for rookies] and compare their execution and style to each other.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rant/Review: Show Me the Money 3 Pt. 1

It seems like everyone has turned into a khip-hop fan last year due to a popular competition show called Show Me the Money 3. I won't rant about the new "fans" the genre has gained, because I mainly want to put all my energy into breaking down my feelings toward this show. As a khip-hop fan, I'm surprised I've never heard of it before now, but on the other hand, I rarely watch any Korean shows aside from very, very few variety shows featuring bias groups, Hello Counselor, and Korean dramas. After watching this season, I am definitely searching for the previous two seasons. If anyone knows of any sites that have them, please let me know. Anyway, I'm going to treat this rant/review like Heroes of Cosplay, breaking it down into easy to digest sections and since I'm doing that, it might take a few posts to convey all my feelings (hence the pt. 1 in the title). In case you've never seen the show and you're planning on watching it **SPOILER ALERT**. If you're interested in watching the show, you can watch it KShowOnline or on Mnet America. Let's get started then!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Top 5 Recommended Music Videos

"Erase" by Hyolyn & JooYoung feat. Iron
It seems like Hyolyn/Hyorin has been doing a lot of solo stuff, but I'm not complaining. Her voice is amazing and every time she's on screen, she brightens up the atmosphere with her smile. I think songs like this are her strong suit. It has a pop, ballad, R&B mix to it in the melody and vocal arrangement. JooYoung's voice complements Hyolyn's very well and I don't feel like one or the other overshadow each other, which happens from time to time. The lyrics are well written and the visuals go along with the story of relationship disentigrating over time. Although I thought Iron's rap verse was completely unnecessary, it wasn't that bad.

"I'M DIFFERENT" by HI SUHYUN feat. Bobby (iKON)
I wasn't all that impressed with Lee Hi's solo material and I casually enjoyed AKMU's MV releases. Oh, and Bobby's decent. I was curious how this crossover duo was going to work out and I think this is exactly what Lee Hi needed for her short musical career. Their voices work very well for this almost retro, Duffy/Adele-esque melody. The video is super cute as the girls follow and oogle Bobby shyly. It really looks like they had fun and it kinda made me like Bobby a little, although I think I would've been okay if he didn't have a guest verse in it and just acted in it for visual promotion. Nonetheless, I hope YG does something with this duo again because they have really good chemistry.

"Pendulum" by FKA twigs
Every now and then I saw this name pop up on my Facebook feed, so I was curious what her music sounded like. It's very avant garde both musically and visually. She possesses a very soft and unique voice. The music tends to come and go throughout the song. There's barely a beat or melody, just some noises through the verses and then the melody comes in during the chorus. It's oddly beautiful and the visuals reflect that as well. Lots of close ups of FKA twigs singing, then some artistic shibari, visual effects, and costumes. It's definitely worth checking out at least once for the experience, but I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea as it's so out there and ambient.

"Hip Hop for the World" by #HIPHOPISHIPHOP
Visually, this video isn't anything special while it does feature some great scenery, fun little art animations, and break dancers. The video is mostly rappers in their home country rapping in their native tongue. I found this video out through San E and learned it was a video supporting musical education, which is all well and good. Despite the lack of eye catching visuals, I think hearing the different languages in a rap is mindblowing and fun to hear. With the subtitles for me was amusing to decipher all the syllables said. I'm very pleased with who was chosen to represent America too. I recommend this one for all the hip-hop fans out there.

Every now and then I feel the need to post one of these band centric videos, because they are interesting sometimes. They have fun little visual effects that are stimulating to the eye, like this PV. There's plenty of solo shots of the members playing their instruments in the ring of fire and some great shots of Subaru with cooler color tones. The music is very energetic and has a passionate vocal delivery to match. It mixes a little bit of electronics and rock without letting one overpower the other. The costumes are pretty awesome and I love the ink work on Subaru in his solo shots.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quick Movie Review

Insurgent (2015, USA) | Rating: 3/5

Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with the first movie, but the previews to the sequel seemed promising and exciting. I was very happy that it did live up to my expectations. Shailene Woodley brought more to the table with her character and that made the story more interesting compared to Divergent. Although certain elements still reminded me of other teen novel movies like The Giver and Hunger Games, it didn't ruin my enjoyment. The action was great and the effects were pretty impressive. A few little complaints though: the romance aspect was kinda meh at times and I just wanted the focus to shift back to the main motive of the characters; occasionally Kate Winslet's acting seemed unnatural, mostly when she's upset, and some of the parent relationship problems seemed a bit contrived, especially with Four and his mother. Otherwise, I was quite entertained and curious how the movie is going to move forward with such an ending.

Nightcrawler (2014, USA) | Rating: 4/5

I wasn't completely sure what this movie was about when it was in theaters, but for some reason, it interested me. I never could find the time to view it in theaters, so I was happy to receive it on DVD. The whole movie is an intense and [almost] frustrating experience in a very good way. Some people may not understand the whole concept of this film, but basically it's a satire on news media and how the society takes that in. The movie is pretty brutal in more of mental sense as Lou Bloom takes desperation and inspiration to a whole different level. Ethics and loyalty come into play with each crime he covers and sometimes you become infuriated with him and his behavior. The movie is shot very well and the characters help immerse you in the story, even if some of their choices are questionable. This movie definitely deserves the praise it has received and I think aspiring broadcasters and journalists can appreciate the content.

Let's Kill Ward's Wife (2014, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

I saw this movie in a preview of a DVD I rented and it looked hilarious, plus I really like Donald Faison since way back in the day when he was on Clueless. Even from the preview, it looked kinda cheesy, but it had potential to be actually enjoyable. Fortunately, my judgement was correct and I found it quite entertaining. The story is a little weak, but the characters make it enjoyable throughout the whole film. I will admit majority of the entertainment is when they kill Ward's wife and how they handle that situation. There are a few laughs, so it doesn't fail in comedy, but I can imagine some people finding it rather stupid. The general main complaint about this movie is the abrupt ending.

Before I Go to Sleep (2014, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

I believe I saw this film on the shelf and found the cover intriguing, then a co-worker was curious whether I watched it or not. So naturally, I had to check it out for myself. The plot is indeed intriguing and amnesia can be an interesting catalyst to a story as well, especially when it's done right. Memento comes to mind with this concept. At times the story can be a bit clunky and predictable, especially concerning the husband. Nicole Kidman's performance is good, but sometimes her character can be a bit bland and annoying. It was interesting seeing Mark Strong in another movie too and he basically kinda plays the same character as he does in Anna. There is potential in this movie, but it's not perfect the way it is.

Book of Life (2014, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

I wanted to see this movie in theaters, but I never got around to it. I was looking forward to catching it on DVD as I didn't hear much feedback about it, which is quite unfortunate. The story is fairly simple, but executes certain elements of the typical love triangle in a unique way to make it more interesting. It also doesn't appropriate Mexican culture of the Dia de la Muerte/Day of the Dead either. The animation style is very unique and I like how the characters in the story look like puppets. The colors are bright and vivid even in the darker settings and I found the movie thoroughly entertaining. I think that more people should give this animated feature more of a chance.

If there's something you want me to review (or want a more in depth review of the movies above or previous ones), check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: Tarot Café

Title: Tarot Café (2002)
Author: Sang-Sun Park
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Shoujo, Shounen Ai, Supernatural
Volumes: 7

You voted and here it is, the first manga review...well, manhwa, which is almost the same thing. Anyway, the reason I wanted to do this is because I read a lot of manga and I know manga is just as in demand as anime. I don't get to share or recommend manga that often either. I've attempted a book review, but they didn't seem too popular. So, the only book reviews I do now are book to movie comparisons from time to time. Anyway, let's move on to the first manga review on Muddy Cult!

Meet Pamela, a tarot card reader who helps supernatural beings living in the human world. She'll help anyone, whether they're a love-stricken cat, a vampire spending eternal life running from his one true love, an unattractive waitress looking for the man of her dreams, or even a magician who creates a humanoid doll to serve the woman he loves. Although she is good-natured, there is a deep dark secret that she must deal with before she can move on to the next life. (Source: Tokyopop)

Every now and then, I want to try something new at my workplace, so I pick up interesting sounding series from the shelves. I also look through the library's collection to stop myself from buying manga for a certain amount of time. So, I've read a few manhwa in the past, so I don't discriminate against them in the least. Hopefully, I will be able to share my thoughts on them. When I began reading the first volume, I wasn't completely sure if I wanted to continue forward or not, but usually when I feel uncertain after reading the first volume, I read the next one to see where my feelings lie. Once I started reading the second volume, I had a clearer picture of what I felt about the series.

The story contains a lot of fantastical, horror-ish themes throughout. It has one overarching story dealing with Pamela's mysterious past and several subplots throughout each volume that involve the mystical and supernatural clients that visit Pamela for a reading. If you're not familiar with tarot cards and how to read them, the manhwa gives plenty of details during the readings for the characters and in between each chapter. So, this could be helpful for those who are interested in tarot. Because of the multiple plots throughout the series, it took me a while to really get into it and care about Pamela, but the characters are so intriguing and unique that it was hard not to give it another chance to delve into the story more. Initially, I wanted Tarot Cafe to be a standard main plot focus like most manga series, but after about the fourth volume, I was more adjusted to reading the clients' backstories that eventually connected to Pamela's past. The characters are very interested and you gradually began to care more and more for the reoccurring cast. I also find myself attaching to some of the smaller charaingers in the subplots as some of those stories were truly heartbreaking or admirable. Lastly, I really enjoyed the gothic art style of this manhwa. I think that was another reason I wanted to give it more of a chance while reading.

This is a fairly short series and I'm glad they didn't force it to be anything longer that what it ended up being. The story may take some adjusting to as it incorporates smaller stories in the larger plot. The characters are well rounded, whether they're part of the main cast or simply a client at Pamela's cafe. It may be a tiny bit confusing toward the final two volumes, but things do end in a clearer presentation. The art is unique and fitting for the subject matter. I would recommend this to those who are not oppose to tarot cards and enjoy a little romantic flare mixed with horror and supernatural elements.

Rating: 3/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Top 5 Recommended Music Videos

"For the Night" by As One
I don't remember how I came across this video at all, but I'm glad that I did. It has a very sexy, sensual R&B beat and some very beautiful, soft vocals from the duo. It's always refreshing to hear really good sensual vocals from a female singer, since it's usually overly cutesy or sexy. It definitely has that throwback 90's sound. As for the video, it really matches the tone of the music and goes very well the lyrics. I love when Korea takes a risk with their sexuality without being too vulgar (or awkward) about it. It's very consensual, romantic, and enticing. I'm looking forward to delving further into this duo's discography and checking out more video releases. The vocals are too sweet to pass up!

"MISS ME OR DISS ME" by MC MONG feat Jinsil (Mad soul child)
I'm not that big of a fan of MC MONG, but I was curious by the thumbnail. It kinda reminds me of G-Dragon's "COUP D'ETAT" in the visuals. The song is kinda upbeat, mostly in the guitar section. It's borderline danceable, but the rap and vocal delivery contradict that feeling of good times to desperation and pain. The lyrics are really deep and worth turning on the subtitles for. The visuals are absolutely stunning and artistic. It kinda matches the tone of the lyrics by displaying that struggle, uncertainty, and frustration.

"U" by John Park
I've heard some really good things about John Park and I tried watching "Falling", but I really wasn't feeling it. It had a very airy indies sound and the visuals were interesting. In this song, it has more of a UK pop influence to it, which catches my attention a little more than "Falling". It has a great piano melody and his vocal delivery display a very confident strength and determination. He has a great range throughout the song and the chorus is memorable. The visuals have a great balance of disturbed and artistic as the actors interact with each other and John Park sings to us and partially observes the actors in his own scenes. I'm glad I gave this video a chance.

"NOnsenSe MARkeT" by MERRY
Like Dir en grey, I think MERRY's music releases are spaced out fairly well. It gives the fans some time to appreciate and reflect on their previous releases. I enjoy the gap. With this latest track, I was very happy to see them make something new and they always bring some pretty inventive and smart ideas to the table with their videos. I was pleased to see that an English caption option was available, which makes me enjoy the song even more. The song maintains the band's signature sound while still being fresh to the ears. The video concept is amusing and fits the content of the lyrics while at the same time having fun with it. Lastly, kudos to Tetsu for powering through the shooting of this PV with a neck injury. I hope he's doing better now.

"Aware and Awake" by coldrain
I know band centric videos can be kinda basic, but some can be fairly interesting. This is one of them. There's really not much to it, but the cinematography and editing are top notch. The blue hues, lighting, and water effects are just enough to elevate the band's performance and they occasionally interact with these elements which makes it all the more interesting to watch. The song is very energized! It's everything I expect from coldrain and more. They always keep their sound, but make that sound refreshing and addictive.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Quick Anime Review

Fastening Days (2014) | Rating: 5/5

This 11 minute ONA almost feels like a 25 minute episode and I say this as a good thing for once. It's a vividly colorful story with some cute and unique elements. Youji and Kei are raised by their foster parent Anna and they're very brilliant. So brilliant that they have a double life as superheros with zipper powers (hence the name). They're not your typical superheroes that fight crime; they simply solve common, everyday problems by using zippers. I thought this could easily be turned into a short series as I found the characters and their relationships among each other very intriguing and adorable. It's amazing how easily you can attach yourself to these characters. I highly recommend this one!

Psycho-Pass (2013) | Rating: 3/5

This series was recommended by a friend and I promised her that I would watch it after I completed Zankyou no Terror. Honestly, it took me some time to really get into this series. I think when things started to really pick up with Makishima Shougo my interest definitely piqued. I enjoyed the cat and mouse chase, the mind games, and the twist and turns the series offered, but I didn't buy into the hype too much. Nonetheless, it was very entertaining and the animation was very nice. I'm not sure if I'm interested in the second season just yet as I don't feel extremely invested in this series, but we'll see.

Amnesia + Special (2013) | Rating: 3.5/5

I believe this series is loosely based on a game and I heard about it through a friend. The premise sounded pretty interesting, so obviously I checked it out. I love the opening song by Nagi Yanagi. It's absolutely beautiful and hard to skip. I really liked the art style as well and I thought the character designs were very visually appealing and cleverly used the card suits as inspiration for their designs. The story may be a little frustrating at first as our protagonist (literally named Heroine) is a bit on the ditzy/naive side, but the story revolves around her memory lost and the fact the timeline repeats itself with a different companion for Heroine. Once you realize what's going on with Heroine and the storyline, I found it a little less annoying or confusing. You tend to want to figure out what the heck is going and which timeline is real or not. So, I guess it does provide a bit of fanservice in that sense, but it's not terrible. The viewer is able to explore the varying personalities of Heroine's possible suitor. The special OVA is even more fanservice-y as you get to see the boys in silly and cute costumes. The OVA isn't really necessary for viewing as it doesn't really supplement the story in any way, but it is amusing to see Sentai hosts.

Sakasama no Patema (2013) | Rating: 3.5/5

I noticed we had a new anime movie at my job and I was curious what it was all about, since I hadn't seen an anime movie in a while. I watched the English dub of this which was pretty good. The story was intriguing. It had a little bit of religious tones to it, but it wasn't overwhelmingly dependent on it. It deals with Patema and Age finding each other and learning about their inverted worlds. They build a trust between each other and try to unite the two worlds together, despite the beliefs their people have of the inverted underground and open sky world. At certain points, I thought of a couple Miyazaki films, like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, for some reason. It's a very simple story with likeable characters and beautiful animation.

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! (2015) | Rating: 5/5

All around me were fans being excited for second seasons of shows like Durarara!!, Tokyo Ghoul, and Psycho-Pass, but I was looking forward to this series with a couple friends. I have friends that have always wanted to be a magical girl and now we have a magical boy anime series! Something I didn't think I needed in my life, but so openly and proudly accepted it. Watching the previews made me really excited and I knew what it was parodying, even though I've never seen an episode of Sailor Moon. The show is ridiculous, silly, meta, and so much fun. I loved every episode of this show and the characters are just the best. I think this series would be appreciated by magical girl fans (and probably shounen ai lovers), especially all the little references it makes episode to episode.

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.