[Review] Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday is a 1991 film from Studio Ghibli written and directed by Isao Takahata, also known for Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko, and Princess Kaguya. Only Yesterday was only recently released in the U.S. in 2016. It’s for this reason that I finally got the chance to watch it for the first time. It didn’t take long for me to realize I should have watched it at least ten years prior while I was just starting into my 20s, even if some of the messages wouldn’t have resonated as strongly with me back then.

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Becoming Cinderella in Märchen Mädchen

“I want to forget all this right now and immerse myself in a story!” Hazuki, “Farewell, My Magic,” Märchen Mädchen

Reading has always been a treasured hobby of mine. Like Hazuki, I often used it during my childhood as a means to travel far away to another place as another person. I lived on a farm in the Ozarks, joined a new family on Prince Edward Island, and traveled with companions to defeat a dragon army. Books always represented freedom. It wasn’t until I was older when books started to represent an escape from the more unpleasant times in  life.

Anything Hazuki finds unbearable, or even slightly uncomfortable, is pushed aside the moment she delves into a work of writing. So when she discovers a magical world attached to her own where books empower their users, called Mädchen, it seems like a dream come true. She can literally become Cinderella thanks to one of the oldest and most powerful books finding its way into her hands. The problem? She can’t actually use it. Try as hard as she might, she not only struggles with beginner spells, she also has yet to transform into Cinderella. The girl who so easily slips into works of fiction fails to equip it when the need arises.

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[Game Review] Tales of Zestiria

Tales of Zestiria is the 15th title in the main Tales timeline, and my sixth in the franchise. While the 2015 Japanese role-playing game follows many of the same tropes as others in the line, it differs in key areas of gameplay. The title also garnered a two-cours anime series, Tales of Zestiria the X, that loosely followed the same events (read my review here) as the original. Avoid the anime if you are at all interested in playing Tales of Zestiria, or even its prequel, Tales of Berseria. Enough of the same events are presented in Zestiria the X to spoil some of the more dramatic scenes in either game.

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Mitsuboshi Colors, Keepers of the Peace or Out-of-control Brats?

If there’s one show making me laugh more than I would have thought possible this season, it’s Mitsuboshi Colors, a series about three kids romping around their neighborhood in a style reminiscent of The Little Rascals. There are plenty of other anime this winter full of silly moments, but Mitsuboshi Colors thrives off of our laughter and promises to do so for the coming weeks. Watching Yui, Sat-chan, and Kotoha interact with each other and other members of their community is a little bit like witnessing a tornado—everyone and everything they pass gets swept up in their energy. It’s easy to overlook the fact that these are grade school kids who are almost completely unsupervised in their play and show no hesitation in wandering the city. We see a mom, a shopkeeper, and a police officer, but none of them impose any particular restrictions on the girls’ freedom to explore. These self-proclaimed “keepers of the peace” will make you worry and cringe, but there’s also a high chance you’ll find yourself laughing uncontrollably every episode and looking forward to more.

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[Review] Mary and the Witch’s Flower

I can think of no better way to start off 2018 than with a movie review of Mary and the Witch’s Flower, a first from the newly formed Studio Ponoc. Brought together with former animators and staff from the renowned Studio Ghibli, Studio Ponoc ventures into a realm of fantasy straight from the British Isles. Mary and the Witch’s Flower takes inspiration from a 1971 novel by Mary Stewart called The Little Broomstick. In it, Mary Smith explores her new home and stumbles across a very special flower.

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Winter 2018 Set Menu

Winter season is finally here and I’m sorry to say that, contrary to my expectations a couple months ago, my watch list is once again far too big. There were the predictable few I knew would catch my interest, and then there were the unknowns, the shows that caught me from the first week and convinced me to stick it out for the long run. Hit the jump to see which shows I’ll be following in the coming months (hint: they involve a lot of warm layers)!

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I Love and Hate Devilman Crybaby

If you were paying attention at all to social media over the past couple of weeks, you’ll have noticed the hype surrounding Devilman Crybaby, a Netflix original release at the start of the winter 2018 season. Instead of forcing viewers to wait months to watch the Yuasa/Nagai love child, they did the opposite and provided all ten episodes at once. Doing so fits right in with the Netflix binge mentality, as well as suits the addictive flavors of this show. Devilman Crybaby bombards the viewers’ senses with sex and violence, and while this may repel some people, the barrage also acts like a super drug with an immediate high that carries you straight to the end.

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Fall 2017 Season Wrap: Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Love is Like a Cocktail, & Love Live! Sunshine!! S2

We’re almost there! We’re at the penultimate wrap of the fall season, and I appreciate those of you still reading, or who have just joined the discussion. The following three series are a mixed bag of the supernatural, alcohol, and idols, but they share a talent for warming you up from the inside.

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Fall 2017 Season Wrap: Girls’ Last Tour, Kino’s Journey, Children of the Whales, & Animegataris

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday was filled with warmth and cheer, and that you’re ready for more fall anime reviews. We have four more shows to discuss, so sit down, read up, and let me know which ones you saw!

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