Tag: Romance

Casino, Travel

Most Romantic Hotel Resorts In Las Vegas

Before booking my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, for our honeymoon, we considered traveling to Las Vegas. I spent some time researching the most romantic Vegas hotels. Some of the most romantic hotels are attached to big win casinos. Here’s what I learned while planning our honeymoon.

1. The Venetian

  • Every Room Is A Suite – claiming to be double the size of most Vegas hotel rooms
  • Gondola Rides
  • Beautiful Pools With Palm Trees
  • Styled To Look Like Rennasiance Italy With Roman Pillars, Columns and An Outdoor Centre
  • Lots Of Shopping
  • Great Food

2. Mandalay Bay read more

Anime, Anime Review, Retro Anime, Review, Shoujo, Shoujo

Which 80s-90s Retro Anime Needs To Be Rereleased, Remastered, or Rebooted in 2020?

Anime got started back in the 1980s. 40 years ago! All that time ago many anime never left its home country of Japan. Or when it did get released in North America it was heavily edited – removing entire episodes and altering characters and stories – such as with the localization of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon was recently remade with Crystal, and an all new dub of the 90s version that was more faithful to the source material. This got me thinking… what long – almost forgotten – anime needs either a reboot – or just a release to DVD because it was never released or released and now impossible to find unless you’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars. read more

Breeding Simulation, Casual Game, Drama, Dressup Games, Farming Simulation, Free Game, Game Review, Kawaii Cute, Mobile Game, Otome Game, Review, Simulation, Virtual Pet, Visual Novel

My Horse Stories – Horse Sim Game Review

So yesterday I reviewed 2 horse racing games, Horse Haven, and Rival Stars Racing.

Today I am sharing yet another Horse Simulation game – this time it is a mobile game called My Horse Stories. I am not very far yet into this one. I just started playing it late last night. I haven’t even bred my own horse yet, just still using the first horse I purchased at the market.

I might not have all the right information to give a super accurate review, but I just want to give like an early impression review. read more

Anime, Anime News, Books and Manga, Manga, Manga News, News, Shoujo, Shoujo, Slice of Life

Viz Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series by Meca Tanaka: The Young Master’s Revenge

vizmedia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE SHOJO MANGA SERIES THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE

 

Plans For Revenge Go Awry In This Romantic Comedy From The Creator Of METEOR PRINCE

 

San Francisco, CA, February 21, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers the print and digital release of THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE on March 6th.

The series, by creator Meca Tanaka, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Meca Tanaka is also the creator of the acclaimed shojo manga series METEOR PRINCE (also published by VIZ Media). read more

Featured, Kawaii Cute, Manga, Manga Review, Review, Shoujo, Slice of Life

Takane & Hana Yuki Shiwasu Manga Review

I received volume 1 of Takane & Hana from Viz for free to review here on my blog.

Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Note: This review may contain spoilers for volume 1 of the manga.

Title: Takane & Hana

Mangaka: Yuki Shiwasu

Licensed: Viz

Release Date:  Dec 20, 2014 – Ongoing (Japan), February 6th, 2018 – Ongoing (USA)

Length: 9 volumes (and ongoing) (in Japan) Viz will be releasing volumes bimonthly.

Genre: Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy

Geeky: 2/5 – No action, but a good dose of comedy could make this one appeal to geeks of any gender.

Sweetie: 5/5 – Here we have a love story / slice of life manga with some rather unconventional characters. I enjoy the humor and unique characters. This is not a cookie cutter shoujo manga.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Story: 9/10 – Takane and Hana meet via an arranged marriage; however, it is not Hana who is supposed to go to the meeting. Hana has an older sister, Yukari, who was selected by the chairman to meet his grandson, Takane. Takane is heir to a successful wealthy conglomerate, where Hana and Yukari’s father happens to work. Yukari refuses to go to the arranged marriage, forcing Hana to have to pretend to be her older sister.

Takane can see through their deception right away, which causes him to be more frank and open around Hana. Takane is used to getting anything he wants, so when Hana storms out of their arranged marriage meeting, he takes an interest in her. He begins to show up at her school with luxurious gifts, wearing expensive clothes, and driving a fancy foreign car.

Eventually Yukari tells Hana that she has changed her mind and wants to meet with Takane. The three agree to meet to explain the situation, but Hana runs away during their meeting. Takane pursues Hana and calls her by her real name for the first time, showing that he knew all along who she really was. Hana steals a kiss from Takane which again shakes up his usual routine.

The two continue to meet, usually going to expensive fancy restaurants. But one of my favorite parts of the manga is when Hana plans their date; she wants to do all commoner activities. Hana plans a day full of karaoke, bowling, fast food, and a scary movie. However, at the first stop of their date, Takane gets called into work. Hana continues to do their date alone by herself, until finally Takane meets back up by sneaking into the movie. He falls asleep exhausted from work. He also worked all night the night before so he could take the day off. Hana learns and sees many different sides of Takane that day, and begins to understand that he really isn’t such a bad guy.

There is a 10 year age gap between the characters though, so their relationship must still remain a secret, because Takane is expected to marry a suitable woman to help him with his career. Takane continues to go to arranged marriage meetings, but rejects his suitors and continues to see Hana. Hana worries that she is not good enough for Takane, but he tells her he will be the one to decide if she is good enough or not.

My only complaint with the story is it has some pacing issues. There were parts of the story where I would stop and see if I missed a page. It seemed to jump around a lot in the first 2 or 3 chapters, and then became more well fleshed out and evens out in the next chapters.

Characters: 8/10 Hana is a typical high school girl, carefree, spunky, athletic, happy go lucky, friendly, and outgoing. Takane is a well groomed businessman and heir to a large fortune. Takane is used to always getting his way and is used to enjoying the finer things in life. However, both of our characters are bored of their routine lives. When they meet, their routine is shaken up.

Takane is very rude, and he loves to be the center of attention. He loves to “look down” on the world / other people. However, he is not without his good points either. He is sincere/honest about his feelings (at least when he is around Hana – around other people Takane is forced to behave politely due to the responsibilities of his family and business.) Takane is a very hard worker, but he also tries to make time for Hana. Takane is not good at expressing thanks/gratitude, or admitting that he is enjoying his time with Hana.

However, Hana learns certain things about Takane. Like when he is truly happy, his smile is different, more like a smirk. His full / peaceful / contented smile is only a fake smile put on out of politeness. Hana realizes Takane only really smiles honestly around her.

Hana is also not honest about her feelings for Takane. She decides to treat their relationship like a game. Both of our characters are competitive and love to tease each other, and neither of them want to lose this “Game”.

I really love these characters, but I did deduct a few points because all of the minor characters are far less developed. This is only the first volume though, so I expect this to improve.

It’s also worth pointing out that many readers may be uncomfortable with the age gap in this manga. In Japan though this age gap is very common. Even in other shoujo manga, such as Sailor Moon, Mamoru was a college student and Usagi was only 14. While age gaps like this may seem odd to American readers, it is important to understand these cultural differences.

Artwork: 10/10 The artwork is cute, and it makes me smile/laugh. I love Takane’s smirk. Hana is cute. Takane would maybe be handsome, but his facial expressions are usually very smug/conceited. The background and coloring techniques are also cute. The art and character designs are also very consistent throughout the first volume.

Overall: 34/40 85% B “Very Good Manga For Girls”

Anime, Anime Review, Drama, Fantasy, Featured, Film and Television, Review, Slice of Life, TV and Film

Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Anime, Kawaii Cute, Manga, Preview, Shoujo, Slice of Life

VIZ Media Announces Takane & Hana Manga by Yuki Shiwasu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

OPPOSITES ATTRACT IN THE NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES TAKANE & HANA

 

New Romantic Comedy Series TAKANE & HANA Debuts in Print And Digital Editions This February

 

San Francisco, CA, January 24, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers a fun new romantic comedy with the release of TAKANE & HANA on February 6th.

The series, by creator Yuki Shiwasu, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Volume 1 carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. TAKANE & HANA also launches digitallyvia viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes of the series will be published in English by VIZ Media on a bi-monthly basis. read more

Drama, Drama Review, Featured, Film and Television, Review, TV and Film

This Is US – Season 1 and 2 Review

It’s not often that I choose to write about (or really even choose to watch) American television. That’s because in my opinion, the writing in American drama is often inferior and the characters not as emotionally engaging as Asian dramas. Season 2 had already started when I finally got around to watching Season 1 of This Is Us, the show that would change my opinion of American Dramas. – Don’t get me wrong. I love me some drama regardless of what country it originates from.. but I distinctively recall for example, when “Fault of Our Stars” came out, how much praise it was being given, as being the saddest movie of all time, ever, by radio and TV critics and movie-goers across our nation. I watched the film and was left feeling, mostly, nothing at all. That’s IT?! I thought to myself as I contemplated the movie for the next few hours. Sure it was “sad” – but these people (who praised the film so heavily) have clearly no idea what a “sad” movie even is. Go watch a Kdrama, and then come back and tell me “Fault of Our Stars” is still the saddest thing you’ve ever watched. When it came to American dramas, they seemed to fall into one of 2 categories, smut filled soap operas that never end (versus the concise, beginning, middle, end, 24 episode formula of most Kdrama), or into a predictable, but enjoyable, feel good romantic comedy chick flick (where a happy ending was almost guaranteed). It’s rare to find a “serious” American drama that can evoke the same empathy and sympathy and devastation and heart ache that most Kdramas can cause the audience to feel. “Fault of Our Stars” (as well as “The Notebook” and other similar films) attempt to create a sad love story, but still I’m often left feeling less emotion than I expected (although admittedly, “The Notebook” did have both myself and my best friend running to the restroom to grab tissues as we started sobbing at the ending).

Anyways, this post is not about Kdrama, nor is it about “Fault of Our Stars” or everything that American TV / Cinema does “wrong” when it comes to writing an emotionally moving film…

This post is about “This is Us”, the drama that would change my opinion of everything that American TV / Cinema does “wrong”. I remember for months seeing previews, and being like oh yeah, I want to watch that, but pushing it off on the back burner as my back log of things to watch, games to play, and things to do IRL grew longer and longer. Over the next several months, “This is Us” was often discussed in the office where I work. This increased my curiosity and desire to sit down and binge watch it.

And from the first episode, I was not disappointed. It grabs you in. It had twists and turns and unconventionality. It took place in Pittsburgh (being an hour north of there (and soon to move within minutes of the city, this made it even more relateable to me). It was not the typical white-wash American sitcom family. Here was a family of mixed races, tackling some serious dark and depressing issues. Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Infertility, Adoption, Weight Loss, and a very dysfunctional family. A family with real problems, problems with their marriage, problems with their careers, problems with their kids, problems with their family members.

It was raw, it was personal, it was unlike anything I had ever seen on American TV.

I binged through the first two seasons over Christmas break.

And the series returns tonight 01/09/18 with new episodes.

I won’t reveal much in this review about the story thus far in the first 2 seasons. I think that part of the success of this drama is how it throws some amazing curve balls at you and completely blindsides the heck out of you, which heightens the emotional impact so much more. In fact, the first episode might be quite confusing at first. The entire series is told through jumping here and there from past and present, including different periods in the past, and different families and perspectives and characters and it gets complicated fast. Everything is connected. It’s one of those shows you can only really appreciate and enjoy by watching from the very first episode, and never skipping a single show. The more you watch, the more everything begins to make sense, and the more invested you become in continuing to watch what happens next.

Anyways I’m obviously a fan of this series. It is with love and respect for the amazing writing (and music score, and acting, and pretty much everything) that I write this review.

Title: This is Us

Network: NBC

Length: 43 Minutes per Episode, Currently 2 Seasons with new episodes airing tonight 01/09/18.

Genre: Drama

Where to Watch: This is Us Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Hulu

Geeky: 3/5 This drama is likely to appeal more to girls than guys, due to the fact that it is not an “easy” show to watch. It’s not the type of show you come home to, put on, and mindlessly just enjoy. It requires critical thinking and piecing together the puzzle pieces from episode to episode as complexity grows each week. There are conflicts, but they are matters of the heart, struggles of human kind, and society as a whole. You will not find action and excitement here; however, Pittsburgh locals, and Steelers fans, or anyone dealing with dysfunctional family problems will relate easily to this series.

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall: 72/80 90% A- “Excellent Drama for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 The concept of the story, the way everything is interconnected and woven together, the excellent writing, acting, music, and execution, the loveable but flawed characters, and how relatable it all is makes the concept and overview of this series easily a 10 out of 10.

Story: 8/10 – The story can be confusing if you jump in mid-season, and it can even be confusing for long time fans. There are many questions left unanswered, and to find those answers, the story skips and hops all over in piece meal fashion. One moment, the big 3 have not even been born, you’re watching their parents in their early 20s, the next moment, the big 3 are about 10 years old, then the next moment they are days old, then the next moment, the big 3 are in their 30s. This would be the only complaint I could give as to the story.

Now for what the story does right, it tells us a story about a middle class northeastern family from Pittsburgh PA. They love the Steelers, they love going out to the bars in downtown Pittsburgh, taking their kids camping in the woods, fishing, hiking, celebrating the holidays Christmas, Halloween, Birthdays, and all, and the realities that come with life in Pittsburgh, PA such as shoveling their cars out from 6 feet of snow, the attitudes regarding racism and the roles of gender etc in the workplace back in the 70s and 80s in Pittsburgh’s prime.

But this isn’t just any other American family. This family is different.  A white family raising a black kid, a black kid searching for his birth parents, a community that judges the family from all angles. A family that lost a child, but gained a child. And a family raising 2 remaining white babies along side the black baby. The saying “Love Makes a Family” has never been more true than it is in this drama.

But even parents with the best intentions and pure love for each other and for their children still make mistakes. Some of those mistakes we can never recover from. Some of those mistakes will cost some members of this family their lives. And other mistakes will cause members of this family to spend the rest of their lives searching for answers.

With each surprising plot twist and turn, we learn more about this unconventional American family. What mistakes did they make, what secrets do they hide, what went wrong? And above all, the love the family has for each other, the love that exists despite all of these devastating mistakes, the love that exists even beyond death. Love, self love, self identity, sacrifice, marriage, careers, raising a family, the struggle is real. We feel their struggle, that’s why we keep watching. We want to see how they overcome the pitfalls of life that so many of us face also in our own lives.

Characters: 9/10 Dysfunctional is the word I would use to describe this family, or in fact every single character within this drama. That’s part of what makes this series work so well. It plays on our sympathies, it makes the characters raw, real and relateable.  Addiction is also a central theme. Whether it’s Jack and Kev’s alcoholism, Randall’s Obsessive Compulsion and Anxiety, or Kate’s weight problems. These characters are flawed. Sometimes those flaws can be presented a bit heavy handedly and repetitively, which is the only flaw I could give to the unique cast of characters.

It’s also interesting how the characters cannot “escape the sins of their fathers”. Just as Jack resented his father, he turns out to be the same in many ways, and Kevin realizes he too is exactly like them. And even though Beca hates her mother, thinks she expects too much and is controlling, Beca turns out to have the same expectations and behaviors towards her own daughter.

In this way we are shown, no one is perfect. Parenting is not easy. It’s easy to judge what our parents do wrong. It’s easy to blame them for messing up our own lives. But in the end, we control how our future looks.

The big 3 are at different stages in their lives. Randall is married with 2 beautiful children and a loving wife. A successful career and big house. Kate is slowly climbing out of her past problems, she finds a new man, which brings new challenges, but she also finds confidence in herself and realizes her dream to pursue her career and goals despite her age and appearance. Kevin is perhaps the most flawed of the big 3. He is unable to handle relationships, unable to feel anything, he has burred his emotions for so long concerning tragic events in his past. He has messed up his career, and now has to start over from nothing. He will try desperately to cling to the past, and still not acknowledge his problems. Those problems will grow when addiction enters the picture, and just when things seem to be going well for Kevin they will all fall apart again. Similarly, Kate in season 2 is going to have a huge upswing of luck, prosperity, and achievement, only to lose it all again.

Life is full of ups and downs. It’s this roller coaster ride that keeps us watching each episode. We begin to care more and more about the Pearsons because of how raw and real and flawed the characters are.

There’s much more to it than I have revealed here. Like I said, the best part is to watch and be shocked by each new rise and fall.

Casting: 9/10 – I think the show is well cast. My only small critique, and coming at it from the angle of my blog being for young teen/young adult women, is I would have liked Kate’s love interest to have been more handsome. I feel like in American film/TV it is really common to see a fat male character with a beautiful wife, but it’s far less common to see a fat female character with a fit husband. It’s almost taboo in American society to see this combination. And as a fat girl myself in real life, dating currently a fit guy, it’s a match I would like to see depicted more on American TV. Stop perpetuating the misconceived notion that a girl is only as good as her weight. Stop perpetuating that a fat girl can only ever be worthy of being with a fat guy. This isn’t true. Slender guys, Muscular guys, all different types of guys, like fat girls too.

Yes, being fat is unhealthy, and seeing Kate’s struggles with her weight, infertility, and struggles with her pregnancy, all hit very close to home for me as well, since I also have fertility issues due to PCOS.

Anyways, you can hate on me, and call me out and say by my criticizing Kate’s love interest simply because he’s bald and fat, that I’m a hypocrite, because I’m saying then a Man is only as good as his weight – and that’s not really true. that’s not my point or what I’m trying to say, but I think many readers may view these comments as such attacks. I think the character that Kate’s husband plays is smart, funny, and genuinely sweet and a great person. Kate is lucky to have him. Kate would STILL be lucky to have him even if Kate was a size zero and he remained overweight. The scene in the coffee shop where he gets to announce their pregnancy is maybe my favorite scene in the entire series. His love and devotion for Kate is demonstrated time and time again. They are possibly “America’s Sweethearts”.

People like him are hard to find in ANY shape size color or whatever. And the actor playing him does fantastic so this isn’t about his ability as an actor either.

But in a show that CONSTANTLY pushes the envelope on touchy sensitive issues such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, drug addiction, homosexuality, racism, discrimination, etc, It seems like a missed opportunity to push another issue, by giving Kate a partner that would be unconventionally acceptable by society’s standards for a “fat girl”.

As a fat girl myself, and now recently dating a fit and active guy, I am well aware of society’s view of what is “acceptable” for a “fat girl” when it comes to dating. 9 times out of 10 when we go out, the waitress assumes it’s separate checks, even if we go there often, even if I’m cuddling, rubbing his back, flirting, or etc, obviously we are together and out on a date. I’m well aware too of the looks and stares we get when we go out. And probably of the whispers and other comments made behind our backs. And this is in part shaped by what we see on TV. Society doesn’t hold those same misconceptions for an overweight man with an attractive female.

We laugh it off, because who are they to judge us, our happiness, our relationship, our compatibility. But still, Hollywood could be doing more to break down these stereotypes and barriers. They could pair a fat girl with a hot husband. They could cast a fat girl in a main role, and NOT make it about her eating addiction and weight loss, they could, but they don’t, and This is Us is no exception to this.

What we see in the media, also shapes our realities. Hollywood should have a responsibility to do more to stop sexism, racism, and stop hate against people on their weight, religion, sexual orientation, or any other “less desirable” (as perceived by society “norms”) traits.

Randall and Kevin would both be considered hot or attractive, and what do they get, hot wives/girlfriends (although Kevin’s relationships are a hot hot mess).

And yes, Kate does have a wonderful happy loving awesome relationship. That’s wonderful, but why pair the only fat chick in the sitcom, with an equally fat guy? Also why make Kate’s who character so obsessed with her weight. Calling attention to how it’s such a huge negative thing. Meanwhile in countless other sitcoms we see fat or ugly men with smoking hot wives. Let’s reverse that stereotype just one time. I want to see a serious tv series like this, with a very overweight actress such as Kate, with a happy, healthy relationship, with a man that society would deem to be “above her station” and a character who is confident, happy, and content with her body size/shape and just owns it. Yes, we all know that being fat is not healthy, it affects your life in numerous negative ways, from fertility issues such as what Kate has, to heart disease, diabetes, and just lack of energy/stamina. We don’t need a TV show to remind us of this (because society reminds us of this every day). Instead what we NEED is a TV show to show us some kindness, some hope, some ray of light, in a world with very few “role models for fat girls”.

I am here to tell you, that even though TV will never show you that “ray of light” it exists. It’s real. There are REAL men, fit, athletic, muscular, handsome, sexy men, who love big girls. Who love and RESPECT big girls, who love you for you, for the person you are inside. Your heart, your mind, your unique wonderful qualities that make you you. As well as loving you for your curvy body. Loving, loyal, devoted to you.

Do you know what my boyfriend told me on our very first date? He told me all of the reasons why he liked me / was interested in getting to meet me / know me better. Because I’m different from other girls, because I’m real and genuine, and loving, and kind hearted. Because I’m myself, I’m not fake, I’m not shallow, I never judge others. I accept and love and support him. But also he genuinely likes and is attracted to big girls. I’ve seen photos of his exes, and they were even bigger than me. So it’s not just him saying that to please me. As unbelievable as it may be, there are fit guys who love big girls. And not only because they are big. But for all of the reasons that make them a wonderful person. Relationships shouldn’t be superficial. (so once again you might be calling me out here with my critique of Kate’s boyfriend in This is Us because he DOES treat Kate like the queen she is no matter how big he or she are.) But so could any man, regardless of his weight. Why only show fat actresses with fat men? When will hollywood realize that a woman’s value is more than her dress size. I have a wonderful relationship with a fit muscular guy and I’m a 200 lb girl. We share some things in common, but we also show each other new and interesting things, and take interest in each other’s interests. We have never spent a weekend apart ever since we first met, almost 6 months ago now.

I still think every time I go out with my boyfriend that I have the best looking guy in the room, or even in the world. And I find it unbelievable. Why? Why am I always so surprised and thankful and feel so shocked? Because of society’s norms, society’s expectations, society’s judgements. And what forms and shapes those judgements is the media. Magazines, movies, TV shows. We grow up looking to those. It’s a subconscious thing. You can deny it all you want and say you’re not superficial, but the truth is, you don’t even realize how it is shaping your judgement and notions.

Fat women often cast as sidekicks, comic relief, never taken seriously, never in a lead role, never in a “fairytale” type romance with a “prince charming”. If anything at all, paired with a man who society would equally judge and find fault with (at least their outer appearance).

I guess my bottom line is this… They could have written the character of Kate’s husband the EXACT same way, kept ALL of the scenes exactly the same, showing his silly side, his love for Kate, his willingness to let go of any pride or the lengths he would go to to publicly display his love for Kate, Kept all of that, and just cast someone better looking in the role – he still would have had the same qualities that make us love their relationship so much. While no longer perpetuating the stereotype of a fat girl not being able to have a happy relationship like this with an average or even handsome guy. Cast her with someone like Kev or Randall and then we’d REALLY have a show that pushes the envelope.

Acting: 10/10 – The show is emotionally engaging because not only of the excellent writing but the equally believable and convincing acting.

Music: 10/10 – I love the ending theme as well as many of the other tracks used throughout this drama. Many fans have asked repeatedly for Jack’s theme to be released on itunes store. As of yet it does not appear to be available for purchase. Take a listen below to Jack’s Theme.

Visuals: 8/10 – The nostalgia of the 70s 80s, and 90s are depicted through the different time skips back through the story. Although the show is a drama with no special effects or big budget visuals, the show does an excellent job of depicting life in western Pennsylvania. I would know since it is also my home.

Overall: 72/80 90% A- “Excellent Drama for Girls”

Anime, Anime Review, Fantasy, Featured, Film and Television, Manga, Review, Slice of Life

Ancient Magus Bride Anime Review

Title: Ancient Magus Bride
Based On the Manga by Kore Yamazaki
Episodes: 24 Episodes
Genre: Fantasy, Super Natural, Mystery, Romance, Slice of Life
Studio: Wit Studio
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Overall: 38/45 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 – A great story with high production values, a good blend of action, comedy, mystery and romance make this show a hit with geeks of either gender. I took away 1 point for the somewhat slow pacing of the early episodes, and 1 point away for the character designs – they don’t feel as clean or modern as most other contemporary anime characters, even though I understand that’s the style also of the original manga.

Sweetie: 4/5 – Chise is a unique female lead. In the begining she is broken inside, however we watch her become stronger and transform due to her magic training and new found feelings and emotions.

Story: 10/10 – (Note there may be spoilers in this paragraph up to episode 12). The story is quite interesting, Chise has seen strange monsters and creatures since she was very young. Paralyzed by fear, Chise withdraws from the world around her. Her parents are unsure how to handle her, so her dad runs off and her mother kills herself. Chise is passed off to other family members but they also don’t know how to handle Chise’s unique condition. At one point, Chise discovers someone very similar to herself, able to see the same creatures as well. He grants Chise a special book. In the end, he entrusts Chise with a special request which leads her on her path. Chise wants to escape her world, to the point she tries to kill herself, and doesn’t care what happens to her or anyone else. Sensing Chise’s magical abilities, men approach her and get her to sign a contract, placing her in a strange auction for magical goods. Elias meets Chise at this auction and purchases her to be his apprentice, and future bride. Thus Chise’s magical training begins. Chise is later discovered to be a Sleigh Beggy. A person who can see spirits and fairies. These people usually live short lives because their magic powers are so strong and so draining. Elias is working on a spell that can break the “curse” upon Chise, while also showing her love and affection and giving her a home for the first time. Chise’s heart begins to open and she too begins to show Elias what it is like to be loved for the first time. As part of their “honey moon” they travel around the world helping people with magic quests, which further help Chise develop her skills and talents.

At time of this blog post, the series is halfway complete, with many more mysteries and questions to be answered:

What/Who is Elias? (I haven’t read the manga, and I’m probably way off base, but I wonder if he’s at all related to the person who gave her the book at the beginning of the anime)

WTF happened to Chise’s little sister/brother? Maybe it’s as simple as a miscarriage? Maybe it’s related to why Chise’s mom killed herself?

Why did Chise’s mom kill herself? (It’s later revealed that she at one point really loved Chise, and that both of her parents saw the same spirits and creatures that Chise sees)

What happened to Chise’s father? Will he ever be back in the picture?

Will Chise die from her magical abilities, or will Elias find a way to save her?

Will Elias ever become human?

Can Chise and Elias’ love survive all of the odds against them?

All of these questions keep you intrigued and watching each week.

Characters: 8/10 – The characters are interesting and unique. Chise starts out very weak and hard to like, but as the series progresses she matures and finds her own confidence and independence. We also witness the relationship and Elias’ changes as well. All of the minor characters are also awesome. Silky is so funny even though she is silent. And the back story of how Chise gets her familiar, Ruth, is very touching. Ruth is one of my favorite characters in the anime.

Artwork: 3/5 – I’m not a fan of the character designs as mentioned above; they just don’t seem very clean and kinda have a retro vibe. The backgrounds and effects on the other hand are lovely.

Music: 5/5 – This anime has some of the best music I have ever heard. I love both the opening and ending, but my favorite song is Iruna Etelero, the flower song that Lindel sings in episodes 11 and 12. It’s maybe my favorite song, ever, of all time, from anything, tv, anime, video game, radio, etc. It’s so beautiful and soothing.

Voice Acting: 5/5 – The voice acting is also another highlight of this anime. They really make the characters more unique and bring their emotions to life. From the deep booming voice of Elias, to the sweet soft voice of Lindel, or the sarcastic and sadistic voice of one of the series’ first villains, each character is well cast.

Overall: 38/45 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Anime, Anime Review, Fantasy, Manga, Manga Review, Review, Scifi, Shoujo

Please Save My Earth Anime and Manga Review

Today I’m reviewing a very old manga / anime which is often credited as being (one of) the first (widely successful) Shoujo manga. Its art and story influenced other mangaka like Naoko Takeuchi – In fact there are many similarities between Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon.

For example, both Please Save My Earth and Sailor Moon deal with lovers who were reincarnated on another planet having lost memories of their past lives and fated to meet again and remember sometimes happy, sometimes painful and sad memories. Both manga also focus heavily especially on the Earth and the Moon. There’s super powers in each one, and tales of friendship, betrayal, trust, love, jealousy, greed, and bullying.

Please Save My Earth is quite a bit darker than Sailor Moon. It’s more violent, it deals with more adult themes, and pushes some boundaries in what is common for a young girl to be reading.

Both manga also have same sex relationships and other issues that most other comics – or any form of entertainment media – typically shy away from.

Please Save My Earth features a love triangle and a lot more drama and suspense around this relationship dynamic, in fact, the relationship becomes catalyst for some of the series’ action and fighting scenes later.

But at the heart of both manga, you find a love story that has survived even after the main characters’ deaths. The timeless love story with its themes of reincarnation and the endearing characters as well as action and drama make it easy to see why Please Save My Earth is one of the best selling and most influential comics for girls of all time. It sold over 15 million units in Japan alone. Not counting reprints and other editions in other languages.

The English manga is hard to find now as it is out of print. Copies pop up from time to time, but typically sell for over $50 per issue. With 21 issues, things can get expensive quickly. Luckily, thanks to the wonders of technology, there is a cheaper solution. You can get the kindle editions of each volume for around $6 a piece. Click here to see all of the kindle editions of Please Save My Earth Manga.

If you do want the physical editions of the paper back manga, Barnes and Nobles as of this writing currently has most of the volumes in stock for $9.99 each. Much cheaper than amazon. There are a few volumes which are out of stock; and there’s the fact that this manga has been out of print for 10+ years now. So if you’re interested in those out of stock issues you will have to turn to sites like Amazon or Ebay. Here is a link to purchase the paperback Please Save My Earth manga on Barnes and Nobles Website.

The only version of the anime I have ever seen has been horribly butchered and edited – at least I’m assuming it has been significantly altered – I haven’t seen the original source material. If you look closely at the credits of both the dub and the sub English anime versions, you will see it says “Based on the screenplay by so-and-so” Based on? That’s odd. Why wouldn’t it just say “Screenplay written by so and so” – This tells me a lot of liberties were taken with this release.

Even though I’m sure the original screenplay far exceeds any of the English versions, I have never seen it available anywhere online (such as fansubbed, or etc with a more faithful translation.) So all I can do is merely speculate at the existence of some far superior anime than that which I grew up watching as a kid. Despite all of that — It’s still one of my favorite anime of all time.

Sadly, the anime is only about half of the story. It covers the first few volumes of the manga, but there’s still much much more left to be discovered. The anime is good, but really, if you want to understand the whole story, and see it as it was meant to be told without all the editing, then just go read the manga.

This anime is SCREAMING to be remade – from the facts that:

  • It was horribly edited for an English Release (not that anime studios in Japan probably care about this)
  • It is old and no longer licensed nor easily available
  • It never told the whole story of the manga
  • It is one of the best selling shoujo manga of all time and a critical influence to many other famous shoujo series including Sailor Moon
  • It’s a tale as old as time – Star Crossed Reincarnated Lovers and the tragedy and highs and lows that this all entails
  • It has mass market appeal – there’s a ton of fighting and action – there’s also a ton of romance and drama
  • The original one had ugly artwork and I would like to see it with a cleaner animation style and more attractive character designs.
  • But those screams seem to fall onto deaf ears! Will we ever see a proper 26 episode full season anime adaption of one of the best shoujo manga of all time? (based on sales figures) – It seems that since it SOLD VERY WELL – there would be an AUDIENCE (of at LEAST 15 million fans) wanting to see a GOOD FAITHFUL anime adaptation – and something longer than 6 episodes and a pasted together OVA or 2.
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    Anime, Anime News, Books and Manga, Deals and Discounts, Featured, Film and Television, Manga, Manga News, News, Price Drop, Shoujo, Slice of Life, TV and Film

    Today (6/30/17) Only – 30 Romance Manga and Anime 30% Off at RightStuf International

    Romance Anime on Sale at RightStuf International today (6/30/17) only.

    Click here to browse the sale: https://www.rightstufanime.com/sales-and-promos/One-Day-Sale

    Titles Include (but not limited to) 5 Centimeters per Second, Your Lie in April, Hiiro no Kakera, Emma, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, Nisekoi, Wolf Girl and Black Prince, Playful Kiss, Boys over Flowers, and many other great romance titles.

     

    Anime, Anime Review, Drama, Featured, Film and Television, Kawaii Cute, Kawaii Review, Review, Shoujo, Slice of Life, TV and Film

    Koe no Katachi Anime Review

    Koe no Katachi is not just a story of a deaf girl, but also a coming of age story wherein we witness the growth and life changes of everyone surrounding her. Shoko is a deaf student who transfers in to the class. Shoko is the only student with a disability, and none of the staff, students, or teachers are prepared or equipped to deal with her. As a result, Shoko becomes the victim of bullying, with Shoya largely being the ring leader behind her tormenting. Once Shoya's bullying is ousted by his teacher and classmates, Shoya himself becomes the victim of bullying and learns first hand the pain and isolation that he inflicted upon Shoko. Shoya and Shoko both struggle with feelings of depression and suicide as a result of being bullied by their classmates. Will their new unusual friendship be enough to save both of them?

    Animals, Anime, Anime Review, Drama, Fantasy, Featured, Film and Television, Kawaii Cute, Mystery, Review, Slice of Life, TV and Film

    The Red Turtle Anime Review

    I just purchased and watched “The Red Turtle” last night. The silent animated feature length film was done, in part, by Studio Ghibli, famous animators of feature length family favorite anime films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo, and The Cat’s Return, just to name a few.

    I have to admit, I didn’t really do my research on this title (and didn’t realize it was a silent film until I began watching it), but every time I saw a preview, I just wanted to see it oh so badly. When I realized I could buy it for only $10 more than the “rental” price ($15 vs $5) I immediately purchased it.

    For about the first 20 – 40 minutes of the film, I felt disappointed and disinterested; that quickly changed as the plot began to advance, and by the end I was so emotionally invested that I was crying.

    Read on for the full review below.

    Title: The Red Turtle

    Studio: Studio Ghibli

    Release Date (theatrical limited release) : January 20, 2017 (dvd / bluray) : May 2nd, 2017

    Length: 1 hour and 20 minutes

    Geeky: 3/5 – The beautiful artwork has a story book like quality while the musical score helps covey the feelings of the wordless cast of characters.

    Sweetie: 5/5 – Without any voice, this movie still manages to tell an uplifting, wholesome, sad, touching, and romantic tale. This film reminded me of the Song of the Sea (which I also HIGHLY recommend and will eventually get around to reviewing). It also reminded me of a silent “Little Mermaid”. Or a little of the Tom Hanks “Castaway” film or Swiss Family Robinson.

    Overall:  42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

    Story: 8/10 If you’ve watched any of those films, you can guess some of the themes present in the Red Turtle, a story about a man shipwrecked on an island trying first to leave the island, then coming to accept his new life and live off the land.

    There’s really several stories within the story here if you’re paying attention. At first, it is just the man and the sea and land and creatures there of. But a miracle occurs one day, turning a lonely devastated man, into a protector, caregiver, lover, and eventually father.

    It’s a very circle of life tale. You watch all of the characters as they age, grow up, grow old, while witnessing their triumphs and struggles as they evolve and grow.

    Although there are no words, and it takes some getting used to (at least for me; the only other silent film I’ve ever liked is Wall-e.), if you keep watching, you will eventually fall in love with the characters, and by the end it will leave you in tears, as it did for me.

    It does start slow. I think the first 30ish minutes of the man being alone on the island could have been cut down to about 10-15 minutes and still conveyed the same point, that he is unable to leave the island, that he is angry, cold, bitter, and vengeful, etc. — Still after the appearance of other humans, we witness how their love for him changes the man into a much different and better person.

    Characters: 8/10 : The characters have no names, and no real back stories. It’s never explained exactly how or why things happened the way they did; whether that was intentional to allow you to insert yourself into their shoes, or just the nature of the silent story telling format, it doesn’t matter because the characters are still incredibly real, raw, and full of emotion and personality even without back stories and without voices. I felt an immediate connection to the characters and felt myself emotionally invested and caring about what fates and circumstances fell upon them.

    Animation: 8/10 – Although it’s not done in any kind of “traditional” anime style (big eyes, fantasy hair colors, etc), it still has charm. The sea, the starlit sky, the forests, the land, and even the characters. This film had to rely 50 / 50 on music as well as animation to tell the story. The characters’ movements had to convey their emotion. This is no easy task, yet it is one that this film excels at. Whether it’s capturing the curiosity of a small child, the desperation and isolation of a lonely man, the love and tenderness of a woman, or the animals who share the island with the small family, there is no shortage to emotion and charm in the animation.

    Music: 10/10 – Think of this as basically Fantasia meets the Little Mermaid. The music score, when music is present, is vital in telling the story. Many times throughout the film there will be little to no music and only ambient noises and sound effects. This makes the power of the instrumental musical pieces even more powerful when it is used to convey the emotions of the cast or even the power of nature itself.

    Overall:  42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

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