“I’ve never liked playing tuba alone. It’s just one boring phrase after another. But when you play in an ensemble and hear all the other parts, it becomes music. It becomes harmony. You can really tell you’re carrying the piece. I’ve liked tuba ever since.” -Gotou Takuya
I’ve mentioned quite a few times in previous posts that I grew up playing the piano, having started at a very young age, but I don’t know if I ever mentioned that I also picked up percussion at the wise age of ten. The choice was a simple one: I took one look at the mallet instruments–glockenspiel, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, chimes–and saw my piano keyboard. And when I joined the concert band, it was easy to shift into the role of mallet player since all the boys wanted to smack the drums and auxiliary percussion. It wasn’t too long before I realized that to continue on would require I learn the other percussion instruments, as boring as they seemed.
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Just a banner update: I threw together a quick and simple banner with a new spring show featured: Shokugeki no Souma. Give a warm welcome to Megumi! Hopefully soon I’ll attempt her famous onigiri.
After revisiting an old favorite, Hero, and watching its recent sequel, I followed actor Abe Hiroshi to another of his past roles as the main character in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. This is likely my most favorite character of his that I’ve seen to date–he plays a successful architect named Kuwano Shinsuke with a solitary lifestyle of his own choosing. He has no qualms with eating alone in restaurants, does not allow anyone but his mother into his home, and relies heavily on his charismatic colleague to mediate all customer interactions. This is a man bent on self-satisfaction. He does not care if diets heavy on fatty meats and milks are detrimental to his high cholesterol–he will continue to eat at all-you-can-eat barbecues and drink his daily glasses of whole milk. But through his continued interactions with the people around him, particularly a few strong-willed women, he starts to appreciate human connections.
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We’re into the third and fourth weeks of the spring season, and I’ve finally decided upon my line-up. They’re not in any real order, other than viewing order, and span a variety of genres. Many of them are sequels, the majority of which retain a very similar feel to their prequels. I’m also noticing more and more CG these days, sometimes tastefully inserted during actions scenes where characters are smaller and less unnatural-looking, and at other times overwhelming (see my dropped list). Anyways, have a look-see and let me know what you think and what shows you’re watching that I’ve skipped this time around!
- Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works (TV) 2nd Season
- Shokugeki no Souma
- Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken S2
- Hibike! Euphonium
- Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid
- Daiya no Ace 2
- Baby Steps 2nd Season
- Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
- Hello! Kin-iro Mosaic
- Owari no Seraph
- Arslan Senki
- Kyoukai no Rinne
- Ore Monogatari!!
- Gunslinger Stratos
- Kekkai Sensen
- Koukaku Kidoutai: Arise – Alternative Architecture
- Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu
- Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
- Plastic Memories
- Houkago no Pleiades
- Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Sen’eki
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My third year back at Sakura-Con, I again went with KWoo for all three days. This year, I spent more time in panels and less time running around the Dealer’s Hall / Artist Alley and taking cosplay pictures. I’m not sure the reason for the shift in attention, but I found myself more interested in listening to the guests from Japan discuss their works and process than on throwing down more money on dust collectors. This years guests covered a few major franchises: Blazblue, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV), and Sword Art Online. A big surprise was the amount of time spent on WIT’s recent show, Rolling Girls, which received its own panel on top of the industry panel.
Note: I originally planned to transcribe the panels I attended, but due to the poor audio quality of my recordings, I decided to skip unless specifically requested by readers. Please let me know if there are any particular panels you would like me to transcribe.
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It was only last fall that draggle introduced me to this manga, and though I loved the concept and cooking, I was shocked at its bawdy display of eating. I quickly overcame that initial horror and came to thoroughly love Shokugeki no Souma. Imagine my delight when I found out that it would be soon adapted to anime! I was worried that the tone of the manga wouldn’t translate over to the anime, but for the past two weeks, those fears have remained unfounded. There are plenty of meat juices and peanut buttery tentacles to go around for all the diners!
The first episode of the anime, “An Endless Wasteland,” features Souma’s potato roast, a twist on a pork roast featuring mashed potatoes and mushrooms wrapped by crispy bacon and soaked through with meat juices and a red wine sauce. While the dish looks heavenly, I wasn’t too keen on an entire meal of what I would usually prefer as a side dish. I hunted around online for ideas and stumbled across Savory Style’s Mashed Potato Bacon Bombs and decided to try their snacks out, as well as add in some garlic and onions to tie in to Souma’s version. Go ahead and give the below a try and let me know what you think! And if you attempt a version truer to Souma’s, I’d love to see your results of that as well.
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Winter is over and spring is officially here! At least, that’s the case in the Northwest–sorry if you’ve still got snow ;) I am shocked at the number of shows that finished up this season, both one and two cours. My anime list was temporarily tiny before I started picking up new anime at the start of this month.
I apologize for the delay in this post; Sakura-con always seems to fall smack on the weekend between shows ending and beginning. iDOLM@S also hung around a week later than everything else and I wanted to include it in the season wrap. The 22 shows I finished up (and in the order discussed) are:
- Bonjour Koiaji Patisserie
- Akatsuki no Yona
- Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
- Dog Days”
- Koufuku Grafitti
- Death Parade
- Log Horizon 2nd Season
- Daiya no Ace
- Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
- Tokyo Ghoul √A
- Sanzoku no Musume Ronya
- Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season
- Kamisama Hajimemashita◎
- Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
- Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!
- Yoru no Yatterman
- Durarara!! x 2 Shou
- The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
- Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
- Absolute Duo
- Junketsu no Maria
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“I want to make this a better world for people to live in.” – Clarifier, Former Ruler of Pastillage
The present Flonyard of Dog Days is a land of mostly peace, where neighboring nations are more like family and “wars” are excuses for friendly battles. The Flonyard of the past, however, was a place of darkness. Demons overran the land and prevented communication between the kingdoms. It was in this time period that Couvert’s ancestor, Clarifier, summoned the Legendary Hero, Adelaide. It was “Fi’s” wish to eradicate the demons and bring peace to Flonyard. She dreamt of a world where everyone could make safe travel and trade. Fi and Adel’s journey started out rocky, but through dedication and with good friends they laid the groundwork for the Flonyard in which Cinque finds himself at the start.
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There’s a different type of joy to be had from peeling away plastic wrappers from ready-to-eat foods and savoring the blend of tastes that have been melding for who know how long. The covering falls away, and what is left is a meal that requires nothing of the eater but the act of eating itself–no cooking, little to no cleaning beforehand, no dishes to wash. The luxury is a refreshing change from daily routines as long as you don’t look too closely at the nutrition labels.
A couple weeks ago, the ever-delicious Koufuku Grafitti sent me on a trip to the local Asian grocery store in search of my preferred to-go meals. It’s not often that I step away from slow cooker dinners and sit down restaurants, but there are times when nothing else beats the convenience and unique taste of prepared foods. And while my favorites don’t evoke specific memories like Ryou’s, I look fondly upon them as treats I never indulged in until I moved to Seattle back in 2013.
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Koufuku Graffiti is this season’s scrumdiddlyumptious offering for food anime. Our main girl, Machiko Ryou, lives alone with the memories of her grandmother’s meals and their time together. Her lessons learned in the kitchen and love for the company of others compels her to continually cook favorites and experiment with new dishes to eat together with her friends.
Episode three, titled “Jinwari, Bariri,” features takenoko gohan. Requested by Ryou’s cousin, Kirin, the bamboo shoot rice dish has a comforting, yet refreshing, taste and texture reminiscent of spring. Along with their friend, they savor the freshly cooked rice along with a side of clear, hot soup. The result is healthy fullness that leaves the mouth and stomach satisfied.
There are many variations to making takenoko gohan, and I went with one of the easiest methods using my rice cooker. Follow along and let me know how yours turns out!
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