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Slow Start

January 8, 2018

Based on the “スロウスタート” four-panel comedy manga by Tokumi Yuiko, “Slow Start” is a slice-of-life story about a girl who enters high school a year later than her peers, although self-conscious about her age and not knowing anyone at her new school she luckily soon befriends three classmates and the four of them start a fun-filled high school life.

From its first episode it is clear that “Slow Start” will be an endearing show about cute girls living through a blissful school life full of fun and warmth, similar to other slice-of-life series like “Kiniro Mosaic”, “Wakaba*Girl” or “A Channel”. Although there is plenty of comedy, the emphasis is undoubtedly the girls’ friendship and their idyllic every day school life, all represented through rose-coloured glasses.

A staple style in the slice-of-life genre, am aware that such anime may not be to every fan’s taste as its overall style and atmosphere does cater to a slightly different taste compared to slice-of-life shows such as “Yama no Susume” or “Flying Witch” which even though they also feature school girls and friendship, look and feel rather different from “Slow Start”.

The opening episode surprised me, not so much for its classic story or charming yet typical characters but was struck by the splendid, vivid animation by studio A-1 Pictures. Whereas many slice-of-life series feature seemingly simple animation which can be more easily forgiven in this genre, most scenes in this first episode of “Slow Start” saw its characters animated full of life and motion, enhancing the show’s bubbly, cheerful atmosphere.

Sincerely hope they can keep this level up throughout the rest of the season because such terrific animation coupled with sweet characters and a pleasant, blissful atmosphere could propel “Slow Start” past similar shows like “Kiniro Mosaic” or “A Channel” to one of the best slice-o-life series in recent years.

You can watch “Slow Start” on Crunchyroll.

Kantoku C93 doujin ‘Girls Kiss′

January 5, 2018

After Kantoku and his circle ‘Afterschool of the 5th Year’ published the daring ‘Plaid & Nude’ doujin during this summer’s Comiket event, for the winter edition of Comiket it is are back to the style of the ‘Colors’ and ‘Confession of Love’ books with the new release ‘Girls Kiss’.

Most full colour images featured in ‘Girls Kiss’ are landscape format illustrations spread over two pages, befitting the detailed and oft enchanting backgrounds in these art works.

Alternating between subject close ups making the girls the centre of attention or having the characters depicted further back making the background stand out just as much, Kantoku displays terrific use of lighting as well as creating stunning landscapes.

Was surprised that ‘Girls Kiss’ did not feature any significant illustrations of Kantoku’s most used mascot characters Kurumi and Shizuku, luckily we do get illustrations of the cute twins Akemi & Himeru as well as other character like Nagisa and Kei.
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Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

January 3, 2018

Based on the “衛宮さんちの今日のごはん” manga by TAa, a cooking oriented spin-off from the original “Fate/stay night” story, “Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan” is a new short anime by studio Ufotable with a new episode set to air the first of each month this year.

Was pleasantly surprised by this new Fate comedy spin-off, whereas “Carnival Phantasm” was all-out parody full of slapstick humor and references to the original Fate tales, “Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan” feels like a leisurely slice-of-life comedy surrounding the daily meals at the Emiya household, not unlike “Koufuku Graffiti” or “Amaama to Inazuma”.

The first episode was wonderful, not only was it lighthearted, funny and featured good pacing for its brief running time, feeling neither rushed nor drawn out, the animation by studio Ufotable stood out to me, it was absolutely terrific, making this a great example of how a slice-of-life show can be elevated thanks to a fitting animation style, apt colour palette and great overall quality.

Adored the “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” series as well as the “Carnival Phatasm” parody show, hence I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Fate cast portrayed leading leisurely daily lives with heartwarming comedy moments. If the cooking scenes weren’t enough to make your mouth water, seeing characters like Saber rendered with such cute expressions as she enjoy her food will win over anyone. Makes me keen on seeing Rin, Sakura and Rider appear in future episodes.

Can hardly wait for the next episode! Although must admit that considering the quality of this first episode, it makes it worth to wait an entire month for each next episode as Ufotable is on course to deliver another epic Fate series, albeit a slice-of-life comedy about cooking this time instead of a fantasy action story.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

明けましておめでとうございます。Happy New Year!
Wish everyone an excellent 2018 filled with joy and happiness.

Starting 2018 with a gorgeous illustration of cute tsundere Misaka Mikoto from “To aru Kagaku no Railgun” by DSマイル.

You can see more of DSマイル’s art on Pixiv.

Although I do welcome a third season of the “To aru Majutsu no Index” anime, am keen on another season of “To aru Kagaku no Railgun” and seeing more of Mikoto, Saten, Uiharu and Kuruko’s adventures. Hopefully they will make a third anime adaptation someday.

Last year there were a few events events privately and professionally that got me thinking more about how short life can be, who I want to be as a person, what I like doing and what I want to do. Am intent on continuing on a path to improve myself, work to become a happier person and make both a better private life as well as professional life.

Anime winter season 2017-2018

December 29, 2017

The new year fast approaches, bringing us a new anime season. Looking at the shows scheduled to air this winter, I picked out the following new series to watch.

  • Violet Evergarden
    Adapting the light novel “ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン” into anime, this new show from renowned studio Kyoto Animation is highly anticipated after its promotional videos promised it would be a stunning visual spectacle. With an intriguing plot premise and plenty of room for interesting character development, am very much looking forward to “Violet Evergarden” although I do hope our high expectations of it will not lead to disappointment.
  • Overlord II
    After two compilation movies that recapped the first season were released earlier, this excellent isekai fantasy tale that features a fresh approach to its protagonist is back for a second season. Enjoyed the first “Overlord” anime so am thrilled it is getting a sequel, am curious to discover where its story will take us.
  • Yurucamp△
    My favourite anime genre being slice-of-life style shows, am looking forward to this anime adaptation of the “ゆるキャン△” manga which promises to be a leisurely, heartwarming story of five girls enjoying camping. Hope this new anime will be a good mix of slice-of-life elements featuring endearing characters spending time together in the breathtaking landscapes of Japan’s countryside like “Yama no Susume”, “Non Non Biyori” and “Flying Witch”.
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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2017

みんな、メリークリスマス! Wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Who better to have a sweet Christmas with that irresistibly cute and ドS Maika-chan?
She can verbally assault me anytime~ うふふふふふ~

Will miss the crazy shenanigans and comedy silliness from “Blend S” although I do regret that the anime did not live up to its full potential, especially the middle part of its season felt weaker and some characters were not well developed.

This Christmas themed illustration of Maika, Kaho and Mafuyu from “Blend S” is made by 刃天 (Pixiv).

You can see more creations by 刃天 -also known as swordsouls- on Pixiv, including several illustrations of Maika and her colleagues from cafe Stile from “Blend S”, as well as images from “Mahoutsukai no Yome”, “Sword Art Online”, “Fate/Apocrypha” and many more popular anime.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 15, 2017

Caught “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in cinema after it premiered this week, couldn’t wait to see the new and anxiously awaited chapter of this epic franchise after “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” brought the saga back with a nostalgic and thrilling movie.

Personally I loved “The Last Jedi”, it is an epic Star Wars movie full of enthralling character development, surprising plot choices and it takes the franchise in a much needed fresh, daring direction, not unlike what last year’s stand-alone story “Rogue One” did. In fact, I liked “The Last Jedi” much more than “The Force Awakens” whose atmosphere and storytelling felt akin to the original trilogy, whereas “The Last Jedi” surprises viewers throughout yet builds stronger and more compelling character development arcs.

Being the first Star Wars movie after so many years, “The Force Awakens” needed to bridge the gap between the characters and events from the original trilogy with an all-new generation of characters and their stories, something which it achieved with zeal.

“The Last Jedi” however does away with the old, sometimes quite abruptly and harshly, all in favour of embarking on something refreshingly new, making this movie a modern take on the Star Wars lore and its storytelling. Was often shocked during the movie at its unexpected developments, but quickly appreciated them even if they may not always sit well with longtime fans.

This new movie has been met with controversy as plenty of fans seem to dislike the choices it made. Some critics and fans who did enjoy “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” compared it to “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” which was a significant departure from the style and tone set in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and also caused plenty of controversy when it was originally released.

Adored “The Last Jedi”, have no doubt it will rank among my favourite Star Wars movies and am even more curious than ever to discover what journey the next movie will take us on considering the choices and revelations in “The Last Jedi”.