Seikaisuru Kado: The Sci-Fi You Should Be Watching

There was no way I could have predicted at the start of the season that Seikaisuru Kado would be impressing me the way it has in story, execution, and, yes, even visuals. The anime-original has inspired a manga adaptation, as well as a spin-off manga. If you enjoy science fiction with alien encounters, national and international politics, and theories of world peace, then Kado: The Right Answer may be just the show for you. You don’t even have to be a science fiction fan or anime fan to appreciate the series–the ideas and emotions presented are, quite literally, universal.

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[Winter 2017 Season Wrap, Cont’d] Tales of Zestiria the X

Tales of Zestiria the X is finally finished after a five-week delay on the last episode, “The Legend.” The series was split into two parts with a season break in between. You can read my thoughts on the first part here, where my overall opinion of the beginning was one of dissatisfaction; the work felt disjointed in plot and flow. I still enjoyed the world and its idea of humans, seraphim, and Malevolence, but wish certain areas were expanded upon, cut, or rearranged. The second season of Zestiria the X improved upon the weaknesses of the first and I finally felt invested in the actions of Sorey, Alisha, and Rose.

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Zero no Syo and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho, more easily referred to as Zero no Syo, takes place in a world where magic exists but is largely condemned as the bearer of misfortune. Humans blame witches for everything from plagues to natural disasters, and hold an almost equal disdain for beastfallen, humans born with an animal appearance like a wolf and tiger. Our story begins with one such beastfallen who stumbles across a witch unlike most other witches he has encountered.

When I first picked up Zero no Syo, I expected it to be much like any other generic fantasy show, familiar and forgettable. The average character designs and overall art style give no hint to the show’s immersive story. “Zero” and “Mercenary” are a surprisingly good combination of skepticism and wit, and I wish we had a longer amount of time than the slotted twelve episodes to explore their relationship.

A thread of miscommunication runs through the series–a lack of understanding between humans and witches, witches and beastfallen, beastfallen and humans. As is natural, they all prioritize their own interests before those of others, and create their own conceptions of the truth. These expectations appear fulfilled when events occur justifying their own ideas.

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Cinerama Anime Movie Festival 2017

When I first heard that Seattle’s Cinerama would be holding an Anime Movie Festival, I knew immediately that I wanted to go. Not only were there films included in the line-up that I had never seen, but I had also never visited the acclaimed theater. Cinerama is a single-screen venue boasting the “most epic movie experience.” Having first opened in 1963 after the World’s Fair’s appearance in the city it was one of the hottest locations until its decline in popularity in the mid 80s and 90s. Thanks to the purchase and renovation of philanthropist Paul Allen, the theater was reborn in 1999 with advanced screen and sound technology. The theater was again upgraded more recently in 2014.
Cinerama hosts many types of events, including 70mm festivals, Science Fiction, and more. This year’s Anime Film Festival is the first of its kind, and I hope to see more of it in the coming years. Perhaps they may even expand to include multi-episode original video animation series. The movies I viewed were:

While the last is actually my favorite Ghibli film and one I’ve seen countless times, I still could not resist the chance to see it on the big screen for the first time. Below are my brief thoughts on the movies and my viewing experience at Seattle Cinerama.

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[J-drama Review] Samurai Gourmet

“If you have a choice, why not try something you’ve never had before?”
-Takeshi Shizuko, “Anniversary Oden,” Samurai Gourmet

Having just finished another J-drama food series, Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, Netflix rightly suggested I try Samurai Gourmet, a television series with a lighter spirit and distinct sense of humor. In addition to the food and individual stories, I was drawn to the series by its main actor, Naoto Takenaka, who I loved in the live action music series, Nodame Cantabile.

Gourmet Samurai is an episodic series spanning 12, 25-minute episodes. Played by Takenaka, Takeshi Kasumi is a retired salaryman unsure of how to fill his now free days. Thanks to the suggestion of his wife, Kasumi steps out in search of a hobby and stumbles across the joy of dining out. His food discoveries are always accompanied by a hallucination (or is it?) of a wandering samurai. This samurai, played by the very handsome Tamayama Tetsuji, helps Kasumi overcome his misgivings, like drinking in the middle of the day, eating properly in a formal setting, and even dealing with grouchy chefs. The more Kasumi learns from the samurai, the more he is able to appreciate his new found hobby.

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Spring 2017 Set Menu

What have I gotten myself into? Don’t, just don’t, count the number of new shows I’ve picked up. It’s a bit ridiculous. It a lot ridiculous.

There are many wonderful sequels airing this spring, and I am also pleased with the amount of interesting new series. Below are my choices four weeks into the season. Let me know what you think of these shows, and to what you’re most looking forward!

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Sakura-Con 2017 Overall Look

This year’s Sakura-Con marked its 20th-year anniversary, a milestone I am thrilled to have been a part of. I am eternally grateful to live in a city that hosts conventions of this nature, particularly one that claims the title of the largest anime convention in Northwest United States. While the anniversary was brought up a few times during the convention, I don’t feel like it was highlighted overly much. Perhaps there were more festivities marking the occasion in the evening, but I never stay around long after the Exhibition Hall closes.

I attended with my husband as usual, as well as with draggle who was visiting the area. Experiencing conventions with friends is a large part of what makes them so enjoyable for me. While I would certainly still attend by myself, there’s a priceless feeling when sharing those same moments with the people you care about. I also bumped into several Twitter folk, many of whom seem to like coming to Seattle–that makes them cooler in my book! To those of you I saw, it was great meeting you!

As usual, I’ll break up this post into the below sections. While I attended multiple Japanese guest panels, I decided to dedicate individual blog posts for those transcriptions instead of compiling them here. Please be sure to check them out!

  • Panels
  • Cosplay
  • Dealer Hall / Artist Alley Haul
  • Final impressions
  • Random pictures

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Sakura-Con 2017 – Making of The Reflection by Hiroshi Nagahama

This second panel focused on Hiroshi Nagahama’s upcoming work with Stan Lee, The Reflection. After attending his impassioned discussion on American comics in his first panel, I was excited to see how this second one would proceed. Instead of a projector, large posters for the new series stood on panels in front of the guest table. Promotional videos for DEEN and The Reflection appeared on the large side screen. Nagahama-san returned with his excited tone of voice to discuss behind the scenes details for the series.

I’ll be honest and admit that I am not the biggest fan of American comics. While I do enjoy the occasional U.S. film, I find the flood of superhero movies a bit overwhelming. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of an anime posturing as an American comic, but Nagahama-san convinced me otherwise. After listening to him, I am now looking forward to trying The Reflection. I don’t think I would have felt this way if I had not seen and listened to him in person, so thank you, Sakura-Con, for inviting him!

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Sakura-Con 2017 – Kenichi Sonoda Live Sketch

I’m really loving these live sketches! They allow the guest to further elaborate on their discussions and show a bit of playfulness. Slightly different from the other two live sketch panels, Sonoda-san requested questions involving some type of visual he could draw while answering the question.

Similar to my reaction to Shiki Douji, Kenichi Sonoda’s appearance surprised me a bit since most of his more famous works aired in the 80s and 90s. Of his anime, I am familiar only with Bubblegum Crisis. He is also well known for Gunsmith Cats, Otaku no Video, Riding Bean, and Gall Force.

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Sakura-Con 2017 – Shiki Douji Live Sketch Q&A

I was frankly surprised to see Shiki Douji listed as a guest at this year’s Sakura-Con, given that Full Metal Panic! last aired with a sequel in 2006. However, upon further research, I see now that there is a new work coming out later this fall. I feel that the convention could have promoted this new work a bit more, or at least should have highlighted Shiki Douji’s appearance more so old fans and possible new fans could unite at her panels. Then again, I was unable to sit in on her first panel, so perhaps that drew a larger crowd than this second session.

Douji-sensei was very sweet and took her time answering each person’s question. She saved her live drawing for the end, so was rushed for time during that segment. It was nostalgic remembering my love for the anime as I listened to her, and I’m excited to see the new show later this year. And yes, Fumoffu! is the best!

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