This is a place where I talk about anime and manga! Below you can see some of my favourites, and reviews of stuff I finished after making this page. Due to my goldfish memory I don't think I'd be able to reliably review things I watched/read ages ago, even if they were my favourites.
The reviews are full of spoilers, you've been warned.
I have a pretty long history with evangelion. I watched it when I was around 13 and it impacted (hehe) me in many ways. It's true what they say, baby's first deep anime. I spent a lot of time back then reading about the lore and the symbolism, I even wrote an essay about evangelion for my ethics class when I started high school. The teacher asked me if I really wrote it on my own, and it's true that I kind of didn't, since my interpretation of evas representing jobs and responsibilities was a pretty common interpretation online. Suffice to say, NGE had a pretty strong grip over me in my early weeb days. I rewatched nge recently, in preparation for the last rebuild and along with my bf that never watched nge before. I noticed a lot of things I didn't pay much attention to before, specifically when it comes to the adult characters. One of my favourite episodes now would be episode 13, where we find out more info about the Magi System and how it was built. The whole plot surrounding Ritsuko, her mother and Gendo was something I just ignored when I was a teen. Another thing I really love about the show were the eva designs, they look so slick compared to your standard mecha designs. Unit 01's screams? Perfect. And yeah yeah I know evas aren't mechas technically.
Now that I'm done reminiscing about the show let me start rambling about the rebuild movies. I never saw the rebuilds as a remake, but more of a continuation. This is why I kind of see characters in the rebuilds as detached from the originals. We don't really know their backstories, some of their proper motivations, a lot of things are missing. Is the rebuild universe something shinji willed into existence after EoE? Idk I'm too lazy to theorize about it. Anyway, the first movie is kind of the same as the start of the original show, with not too many differences in the story. There's one scene in it that stood out to me that was a bit changed from the show, the scene where Misato is yelling at Shinji after he disobeyed her order. In the Rebuild she gets a lot more angry and physical even. The main reason why I like it so much because it's so visible here how Shinji really is just a child still. He's damn tiny.
Now the second rebuild is where things start getting wacky and different. Rei is on her way to become a moeblob but it's not as extreme as the 4th movie. Shinji is getting his own harem, but also I'd say his rebuild self is a bit more charming compared to the the show. The emphasis on him being a good cook is much bigger here I feel. Asuka is just a random angry girl now, and she's going to stay angry for reasons that are unknown to us, as she won't get a backstory until the last 10 minutes of the last movie. Mari appears and I'm already exhausted by her presence. We had a little battle shonen moment at the end with Shinji saving Rei. Misato is telling him to go for it even though she's aware he's causing the Third Impact. Hmm Okay.
The third movie made me the most angry. It starts with Shinji being told to never pilot again and that basically he's a piece of shit but nothing is being explained to him, so he feels confused. Understandable. Why is nobody explaining anything? Also the jarring change in art style only became obvious to me now, even though I watched 3.0 back when it came out. Dorito chins. One thing I didn't mention before but it was already present in the first movie, was the larger focus on machinery, various robots and ships. 3rd and 4th movie take it to the next level. Both movies start in the same exact way, with Mari's singing and a barrage of boring looking cgi machinery. It seems to me the rebuilds have a large focus on scale as opposed to interesting 1 on 1 fights which makes it less enjoyable imo. Anyway, Shinji is confused and angry, so he rejoins daddy and most importantly Rei whom he thought he saved but Misato and co didn't want to elaborate on. Gendo refuses to elaborate on anything but this at least is consistent with his character and his motives so it's fine. Kaworu instead serves us the exposition dump and it turns out he wants to revert things back. So now finally we have the final scene, where Kaworu realizes he was tricked by Gendo. Instead of explaining it to Shinji who is now having a full on breakdown because nobody is bothering to explain him anything, he just sits there covering his head. This movie had way too many moments like this that it became frustrating. In an attempt to make things right due to feelings of severe guilt, Shinji manages to fuck everything up and he uses the two spears only to fuck things up again.
The fourth movie was uhhhhhh "alright". As a movie unrelated to nge I'd say it was pretty okay. It was 2 and a half hours long but I was able to watch it without losing attention so I'd say it did a good job at being a movie. First thing that I disliked was Rei's childification. This Rei is very uwu and child-like. She's learning words for the first time, her purpose in life is to be Shinji's waifu and she doesn't even have the drive to give herself a new name. I thought at the very least she's going to mature into her own person on her own terms as the movie suggested with the cute village life scenes, but she didn't. Shinji is suffering from ptsd big time at the start. I liked the scene where Asuka stuffed food in his face.
A little while ago, I decided I really want to clear out my backlog so I planned to start with all the mid 90's/early 00's fantasy/isekai anime that I've been meaning to watch for ages. The first one I began with was Twelve Kingdoms. I really, really loved it. The worldbuilding was so interesting, most characters were amazing, the main heroine experienced a lot of growth, her love interest was adorable and generally all of the characters had pretty understandable motivations and reactions to situations besides a couple of kooky ones. Frankly I was stunned with how comfy that anime was because I only heard about it once online and that one sincere recommendation made me save it to my backlog. Sadly as was the fate for a lot of anime at that time, its funding was cut short and the anime was never finished. Despite that it made it to my favourites list, because it was that enjoyable to watch. The last arc aside, which was the start of an arc that was basically never finished, the show ended on a decent note, and we got to see our main heroine grow into a competent queen. Pretty satisfying.
Now, I finished watching this anime around 2 months ago hence the less detailed review. But I feel like it's important for me to put this review out here because of the one that follows...
The Vision of Escaflowne
As mentioned in the Twelve Kingdoms review, my quest to watch the most popular fantasy/isekai from 20-ish years ago continues, and the next one on my list was Escaflowne. Now, I've heard about this anime time and time again and I mostly heard words of praise. It was compared to Evangelion before Evangelion, best fantasy anime ever made, best isekai etc. etc. After watching it however... I can definitely say I liked Twelve Kingdoms a lot more.
On the first glance, both of these shows share the same flaws. Both had their funding cut short, although while Twelve Kingdoms was more interrupted and didn't finish, Escaflowne was condensed but finished. Both seemed to have a lot of unfinished plot threads. Another flaw they share is an annoying main character, but Twelve Kingdoms fixes that around episode 12 (out of 45, so pretty early on all in all!) while... Escaflowne never fixed it. In fact, all of Escaflownes characters are so bizarre to me that I can't wrap my head around them. This show had the most ridiculous and forced (quite literally, plot forced!) love triangle I've ever seen. Love triangles and love misunderstandings are a big reason why I tend to skip over romance shows and shojo anime, despite me preferring female protagonists. Anyway, let me start hating the characters. First we have Hitomi, the main character. She falls in love with like 4 different dudes throughout the show and despite having a future telling ability, or more like a faith altering ability, she's never able to utilise it properly once throughout the show (on a second thought I actually find this sort of cool because she's not in the show to fight or to be an amazing protagonist, but it's still a bit frustrating). Despite being told how to do it somewhere around the middle of it. She keeps changing her mind regarding her love interest, and one of her love interests is Allan that's around 30?? years old. Allan is probably my most hated character. He's a full blown misogynist, constantly belittling Hitomi and saying how he literally wants to keep her in a cage. The dude knocked up a queen (that had a husband) and never took part in raising the child or taking responsibility, even after the king died. Then he went on to fall in love with the queen's sister. And then Hitomi. He was full on ready to be with the princess but Hitomi cucked him with her fate altering powers. That's actually the only time she consciously used her powers lol. And the most disgusting part is, he had feelings for Hitomi (even before being forcefully manipulated to kiss her) but at the end of the show he says Hitomi reminds him of his little sister. What the fuck!!! His horrible treatment of women could be explained by the fact that maybe the world he was raised in is also like that but then it makes no sense for Hitomi to accept his weird comments since she comes from the modern day world. Van is a character I actually liked, he's your typical action focused male fantasy protagonist that doesn't have time for romance. Endearing in a way, but his lack of ability to express feelings made the show ending so... limp. Despite their amazing true real love being the thing that saves the whole world, the two of them decide not to stay with each other? Insted Hitomi went back to her world. Left me feeling more on the edge than Twelve Kingdom's ending even though that show literally never had a real ending to it.
The way both shows deal with having female heroines are vastly different. However, a part of that is because of the worlds the main characters found themselves in, they're vastly different too. But I still think it's worth a mention. In Escaflowne, Hitomi is constantly baragged with "you're a woman you should stay away" comments but there's never any rebutals to them. She does stay away. She never proves anyone wrong. Yoko in Twelve Kingdoms is pretty amazing though, as she goes from this timid, boring perfect girl to an actual Queen that needs to fight her way to the top. Just the way in which her development happened was so well done, I rarely see it being done in anime with female characters. The way Hitomi and other characters have this ability to constantly fall in and out of love is impressive. It just makes for such lukewarm romance that I wasn't rooting for anyone at all, I just got super pissed.
One thing I can say I liked about Escaflowne was the music and the animation. The soundtrack was scored by none other than Yoko Kanno so of course it's going to be great, and the animation was impressive for an episodic tv anime at the time. I'm not really going to complain much about the never resolved plot points because it's whatever to me. I might watch the movie somewhere down the line because I heard it had a darker tone that the show. A lot of people seemed to complain about the art style and the noses but I really had no problems with it.
Despite me shitting on this anime so much, I had fun watching it because it was pretty nonsensical. If someone watched this anime as a kid or a teen I can totally see why they'd like it and have fond memories of it. In that sense, it's not that bad and the problems it suffers from can be seen in a lot of anime with similar themes, so it's not really outstandingly horrible. I guess I just had my standards set high by an anime seemingly more obscure from this one that follows the same premise, hence my disillusionment.
I Want To Be Killed by a Highschool Girl
I Want To Be Killed by a Highschool Girl is yet another Usamaru Furuya's manga that I've read in the past month. I think I read most of his stuff by now. I find his work really interesting because he never planned to be a mangaka until he was 26. He still has a background as an artist, he majored in oil painting but being a mangaka never interested him until he actually did it, and you can see it in his earlier works. His earlier works are what I love the most because they're so strange compared to the rest of the stuff you'd see around. I love the humor mixed with ero-guro stuff, never thought I'd have such taste before. The first manga of his that I read was 51 Ways to Save Her and I actually didn't know he was behind it when I read it. That manga had a cohesive linear plot and one set of characters, rather than just being a gag manga like his earlier works. Sometime after that I read his earlier works Short Cuts and Palepoli which became my favourites, and I still didn't know that he was behind 51 Ways to Save Her! Just shows how different the subject matter and the vibe was. Even though, looking back, the art style is pretty recogniseable.
I Want To Be Killed by a Highschool Girl is one of Furuya's newer stuff and I have to say the premise was really interesting, I read it under an hour. The manga is about a dude called Haruto, that has Autoassassinophilia which is basically a fetish for being killed by somebody. He of course, wants to be killed by a pretty high school girl. And there's one girl he set his sights on, so much so that he swapped his major in university to become that girl's high school teacher, and he also left his gf for this reason (or so we think). Oh and his gf is on her way to become a psychologist. I'm spoiling shit big time from this point on so if you're interested in reading, I recommend you don't read from here on! The girl Haruto is into is called Maho and she has dissociative identity disorder due to a traumatic childhood. Her best friend Aoi has autism, but she's also the only person that's aware of Maho's split personality who she's actually friends with. Maho helps Aoi with understanding social cues, but Aoi is also the only person she can feel safe around because she knows about her DID. They have a cute dynamic going on. Yukio is a boy that has a crush on Maho, he likes her so much he got into the same prestigious high school despite being kind of a dumbass. The story starts when Haruto's ex-gf Satsuki shows up at the high school as a counselor. She slowly starts to unravel that Maho is in love with Haruto, that Aoi doesn't feel safe around Haruto and she thinks he's trouble, that Maho has DID and that Yukio is in love with Maho and wants to help her. In the meantime Haruto is orchestrating his big plan of his murder-day that will happen on his 35th birthday, he quits his job, gets rid of all of his belongings, and plans on how to get Maho alone in order to have her split personality murder him. Anyway, it turns out Satsuki knew about all of this and she came to that high school in order to put an end to it. Basically all of them help Maho get over her DID and "merge" the personalities and they also get a tracking app on Maho's phone in case Haruto gets to her. Which he does of course, and she accepts his invitiation to go to the woods as she still has a crush on him (and doesn't know he's a degen, only Satsuki and Yukio do). Anyway in the end they manage to prevent Haruto from getting himself killed, Yukio and Maho end up together, and Satsuki ends up with Haruto while trying to undo that fetish of his. He is, however, still a degen and now he's looking into hypnotisation in order to bring back Maho's old split personality.
So what's the point of the story? That degenereates will always be degenerates? Hehe.. Well either way the main thing I wanted to talk about was Satsuki. She is such an ironic and tragic character, and I'm not sure if she was purposefully written that way or not but this hit hard. She embodies the "I can change him" mindset a lot of women tend to have and suffer for it. And the last big irony is how she is able to perceive things well and read people masterfully yet she cannot see this fatal flaw in herself. She wasn't able to help Haruto in the end, because it turns out he's just a plain old sociopath. One super weird thing I have to point out was the monologue Satsuki had when she was confronting Haruto during the climax, she tells him how Maho had a crush on him and how if he wasn't such a crazy person, they could've ended up together. It took me by surprise but also not really because I noticed before Japan (or maybe just anime/manga, idk) has this weird obsession with teacher/student relationships, not in a taboo way, but in a "this is totally normal and respectful" way. God I can't remember which anime it was that just glossed over such an event. In DeDeDe at least it was treated as someting weird and unusual, and also as a gag. Anyway, Haruto literally spent a portion of his life stalking Maho and planning his life around her in order to get killed by her at a certain age, how could you tell this man that he could've been her husband??? It should be the last thing to say in such a situation, Jesus.
All in all I enjoyed the manga, especially for the Satsuki/Maho/Aoi interactions which I thought were endearing. I don't think it's perfect and the end felt like it came all of a sudden with a large timeskip but it's worth giving it a read, it's quite suspensful at parts. Also here's a pic of Haruto playing Shadow of the Colossus, my favourite game.
Let me preface this by saying that I love coming of age and edgy teen stories. I'm kind of a sucker for them. It's the reason that initially drew me in to Asano Inio's work when I was 14, and I still have a tendency to read similar works many years later. This manga perfectly fits into this theme I like, and it was an enjoyable read. It's not too deep or anything, but it was an enjoyable vignette into a teen girl's life.
To briefly summarize the plot and character relationships; Haruna is the main character who befriends a gay guy called Yamada. She has a boyfriend called Kannonzaki that cheats on her with her best friend Rumi. Rumi whores herself out to sugardaddies and she has a fat NEET sister. Kannonzaki is jealous of Haruna and Yamada's friendship and he thinks she's cheating on him. Yamada has a girlfriend whom he doesn't like at all, called Kanna. He also has another friend, a bulimic model called Kozue. Pretty iconic and simple setup for such stories. Kozue may or may not be gay or bi, but this trope of "gay model" is something that's pretty prevalent, and I'm not sure if she was just yet another extension of that trope. Someting that made me relate hard is Haruna's feelings towards Kannonzaki, she lost her virginity to him but she doesn't care about him at all. Despite that she still says stuff like "I love you" and "we'll be together forever" when she doesn't mean it and regrets it immediately. I had a very similar experience with a relationship like that in high school. I did that because I was weak and wanted the easy way out by being in a relationship with someone that was my best friend. I definitely saw that part of myself in her during those moments, with the exact feeling of self-doubt and immediate regret. I think it's just good proof teens aren't that mentally mature and ready for serious relationships. It seems this manga is loosely based on a movie with the same name that came out in '86 that I never watched. Unlike that movie though, the characters in this manga never kill somebody except for Kanna killing herself at the end. Anyway, Yamada discovered a random dead body at the river bed and he just stares at it from time to time. He shows this body to Kozue and ultimately Haruna. The body is a pretty clear metaphor for the problems they deal with, skeletons in your closet kind of thing. There's not much of a real plot to this, it really does seem like an episode of a pretty turbulent time in their life, and when it's time to turn over a new leaf the story ends. I love that format honestly, but it might not be for everyone as people love to have closure or read longer stories. Everyone here is an asshole to some degree, some more some less. Nobody is perfect. Problems get resolved by not handling them head on, but instead it's done passively by letting time pass and things change naturally. I think that's pretty realistic, and something all of us are familiar with.
All in all this was a pretty easy read, and fits into the "junkfood for my soul" genre that I love to read. Nice.
The Shut-In Newlywed
Fuck. This manga hit way too close to home and now I'm a bit anxious. This "review" is more of a blogpost about my life than anything so brace yourself if you want to read it!
To sum up, this is a short 11 chapter autobigraphical manga about a woman who just got married. She was in a relationship for 6 years with her boyfriend, 3 of those were long distance, before they got married. She essentially had to quit her job, leave her family and friends, and abandon everything familiar to her in order to be with her future husband whom she feels she doesn't deserve. The manga talks about that whole process, as well as her depression, her hating the role of a housewife and her realizing her boyfriend accepts her for what she is. I spent the last few chapters slowly crying as I got reminded of the fact that I'll essentially be doing the same. It's not like I wasn't aware of this before, in fact I'd say my communication with my boyfriend is a lot better so we're both prepared for what awaits us once I move away, but the thought of me not integrating well enough into his world is ever present in my life. At least I spent a few months living with him. Either way, this situation is so scarily close to mine that I feel a bit of relief. I'm not the only woman doing this and feeling worried about it.
Prepare for a barrage of contradictory statements. Being a housewife is something I'd feel embarassed about in today's age. But in fact, that's a whole job of its own. And it's not easy work. There's a certain level of fear and immense trust that comes with it, as you'd be solely reliant on your husbands earnings, effectively stripping yourself of financial independence. I think in today's society (and especially modern work driven Japan where nobody wants to be a nuisance to anybody) that role carries some negative connotations to it. Easy way out, too useless to do anything else, freeloader, man's property etc. Yet despite me feeling shame about the possibility of being a housewife, it's something a lot of women, including me, secretely dream of at some point in our lives. And why is that? Well if you ever plan to have kids, or if you ever look at your friends that just got kids, you'd notice how the role of a parent is still pushed onto the mother. Fathers are hardly as present in the caretaking role. Women end up having two jobs, three jobs if the husbands don't bother with chores which is still a thing. Thinking of yourself in such a future can't help but evoke feelings of "I don't want to have kids" or "I don't want to have a job" in order to release yourself from one stress or the other. It's a sad fate many women end up with, with their husbands playing goofy useless oafs to avoid responsibility or just them being plainly patriarchal in a society that doesn't function that way anymore. Our society treats women as if we're equal, but our home life often tells another story. Anyway where was I going with this? I don't really know, but what I do know is that the main character probably had the same thoughts brewing inside her head. She's afraid of being a burden on somebody, and ironically she feels even more useless when her husband helps with the chores, stripping her off the only role she would unwillingly put herself into, the "housewife".
Another topic this manga deals with is long distance relationships. As someone who is unfortunately still in one (the long distance part is the unfotunate one) and is feeling frustrated due to the pandemic I think the experience of being in an ldr is very well portrayed. The curious questions from friends, the anxiety of being "that one crazy girl in an ldr" etc. were all things I went through and still experience. The whole dynamic of ldrs is so well explained as something that truly isn't for everyone, and something you really have to be mentally strong for to make the relationship survive. I really loved that part.
Anyway despite me thinking about this plenty already, this manga maybe soothed some feelings I had about being a housewife, or rather it just provided another perspective. I still think that being a housewife is as much of a curse as it is a privilege if you're decently safe money wise but it was a realistic portrayal of someone going bonkers after their life situation changed drastically, even if the change wasn't necessarily negative. I hope the same doesn't happen to me honestly...
To Your Eternity
I am an anime-only fag so I apologize if you were expecting a manga review. I kind of have mixed opinions on this anime even though the ending of this first season was so amazing. I'm a pretty big crybaby but not many shows had me crying so hard that my nose was all runny but the ending on this one was.. phew. The show started off pretty strong but somewhere along the middle I kind of lost interest. And then the prison island arc was just so trash. All of the characters were annoying, the group's deaths were so pointless and easily preventable that all I could do was roll my eyes. It felt like there was a lot of plot armor going around in that arc, until of course it was turned off so as to kill a few characters off for a little emotional moment.
Due to the nature of this anime it's bound to have a lot of "meaningful" deaths. It's an interesting thing for sure, but I think that this plot device brings a lot of flaws with itself. It's hard to get attached to some characters when you know they're definitely dying soon, so I think the mangaka has to think of many different ways to have the mc interact with other characters and their lives to keep it interesting. At some point it's bound to get boring. Or maybe not? But this is why Pioran's death was so good. She wasn't killed during some self sacrificing heroic moment like many characters prior were, her death was so relatable to me as a normal human being that it really hit me hard. But that's the thing, now that she died of old age, the mangaka can't use it again to make the same point without it being repetitive. There's only so many ways in which people can die which is why I think that the show is a bit gimmicky. I still enjoy it though and I will watch more once it comes out.
I'm definitely a fan of shows where the main character wanders through the world and meets different people a la Mushishi and Kino's Journey which is what my first impression of this anime was. This one has a totally different vibe though. Lastly, I love seeing fun elderly characters in anime. Especially old ladies. I love Pioran. That's it, I'm really tired and this whole review makes no sense I'll probably rewrite it.
Nothing of value can be found here
Recent horror/ero-guro obsession (nsfw text!)
When I was a small child, around 5-9 yrs old, I'd watch a lot of horror movies with my dad. Trashy and good ones. It went from the more critically acclaimed ones like The Thing and Alien to stuff like The Amityville Horror (2005), Ghost Ship (2002), The Hills have Eyes (2006), to all the remakes of Japanese horrors which was all the rage in the early 2000s. I was never extra scared of them and in fact I really enjoyed the movies, while my dad would always fall asleep in the middle of the film and I'd watch it till the end alone. After that my interest in horror waned. I'd watch the ocassional big horror movie here and there but I wouldn't call it an interest of mine or anything of the sort. I'd say I'm slightly more scared of horror movies now than when I was a child, but more often than not I find them very frustrating. It seems I can't handle the suspense. After I got into anime and manga I avoided the horror genre. Again, I watched a few things here and there but nothing major. I disliked the thought of reading through a horror manga as I thought it wouldn't be as interesting as a movie would be. Fast forward to this summer and I developed this strange almost addiction to horror manga, specifically seinen horror which tends to delve into ero-guro territory. I can't stop looking for grotesque stuff to read. I generally don't enjoy much violence, rape especially, yet the stuff I read includes both. I admit I don't like it when it's ultra serious, I prefer it to be comical or satirical in some way. I'm feeling a bit ashamed but I'm sure this weird interest I developed will diminish once I run out of stuff to read. I'm picky and there's not a lot of it. Also reading a lot of obscure stuff made me realize how manga is just not that well translated unless its shounen stuff, and also how a ton of stuff doesn't exist on myanimelist. I really love to keep track of things I read so this bothers me. Maybe I should start looking into adding stuff on my own.
Moving on, I don't think I'd be able to watch this kind of stuff in anime form now. I think it would feel more gratuitious but that might be hypocritical to say as the genre itself already has a lot of nudity. In relation to that, I love depictions of nudity and sex in manga. I feel like such a coombrain for saying it, but I always liked naked bodies as in human forms just existing, even outside of a sexual context. I don't really read hentai in my free time, I just like adults being depicted as adults without the readers sexual satisfaction being the primary goal of the story.
I'm thinking maybe this is some kind of an outlet for my stress but let's be honest, it's probably just sick curiosity that's been with me since I was a child.