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Comic Girls

April 6, 2018

Adapting the “こみっくがーるず” four-panel manga by Hanzawa Kaori into anime, “Comic Girls” is a slice-of-life comedy about four high school girls who each struggle in different ways with their aspirations as manga artists. Living together in a dorm exclusively for young female manga artists, will the girls mature from interacting with their peers and be able to improve their careers?

Was looking forward to “Comic Girls” as the plot premise and promotional video indicated this could be a silly comedy all about cute girls doing cute things, the type slice-of-life series that I adore. Even though there are plenty of such shows in the slice-of-life genre, not all of them truly stand out or are memorable anime like “Yuru Camp△”, “Yuyushiki”, “Aria” or “Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?”.

The first episode of “Comic Girls” was lovely and suggests it will be a funny, entertaining weekly rendezvous watching these four girls their silly shenanigans as they struggle to improve themselves and solidify their careers as manga artists. Also appreciated the verbal banter between the girls, a key element that could make this anime stand out among its peers if they are able to create a unique chemistry between the characters that feels genuine and natural, something “Yuru Camp△” positively stood out for.

Regardless of its decent animation, cute characters and comedy potential considering its subject matter, am unsure if “Comic Girls” will actually live up to its potential and truly excel as a slice-of-life comedy. There are plenty of excellent anime about cute girls doing cute things which although they boast solid production values, ultimately end up being rather forgettable, for instance “Slow Start”, “Hinako Note” or “Anne Happy♪” were good but not that memorable and simply don’t seem to resonate or stick with you like other such series do.

While their interaction was oft hilarious and sometimes endearing, nothing in this opening episode suggested that the four girls who make up the main cast will turn out to be compelling or interesting characters, in fact they felt like the typical character templates we see in so many other stories. While most anime all about girls doing cute things have staple characters like the happy-go-lucky girl, the serious girl, the older sister type, the boyish type,… not that many successfully expand these templates into multi-layered, appealing characters.

If you enjoy slice-of-life anime, then I do recommend you check out “Comic Girls” although it might be eclipsed by other slice-of-life shows also airing this season like “Amanchu! Advance”.
You can watch “Comic Girls” on Crunchyroll.

Dollfie Dream hobby changes

April 2, 2018

Just a quick message -which also serves as a personal record for my own sake- to share that these past months I sold nearly all of my Dollfie Dream dolls and accessories. No, this is not some belated April Fool’s gag but rather a change of pace for me in this particular hobby.

For many years I have enjoyed Dollfie Dream and photographing these dolls from Volks, and still do so today! But regrettably noticed that as the amount of DD I owned increased, the amount of time I actually spent on them and really got to enjoy this hobby likewise decreased. (Must admit not being thrilled with the direction Volks has been taking pertaining to the default dolls and accessories.)


After mulling it over for a long time, decided to part with most of my DD so I could focus on but a few, which was a tough decision because I do adore each and everyone one of them.

With regret, parted with Sachiko (Sasara Kusugawa), Tsukiko (Saber Alter v2), Akiko (Sakura Shinguji), Ayuko (Neris custom), Kyouko (DDH02 custom) and even Yoko (Yoko Littner) my first Dollfie Dream.
Opted to keep Atsuko (DDH06 custom) and Shizuko (DDH03 custom) so do hope to find renewed joy in photographing these two girls.

You can still see the photos of the Dollfie Dream I parted with on Flickr.

Anime spring season 2018

March 30, 2018

This past anime season was a real powerhouse, featuring more outstanding series than the average season usually does, from epic shows like “Uchuu yori mo Tooi Basho”, “Violet Evergarden” to charming surprise hits like “Yurucamp△” or little gems like “Hakumei to Mikochi”. Looking at the spring schedule, there’s notably less anime I picked out to watch.

  • Amanchu! Advance
    Loved the first anime adaptation of Kozue Amano’s enchanting “あまんちゅ!” manga, it offered everything that fans of slice-of-life series adore: from endearing characters, heartwarming moments to soothing music and rustic backgrounds. Was overjoyed when they announced a sequel had been green lit, am very much looking forward to another season of this excellent slice-of-life story and seeing more of Futaba and Hikari’s antics.
    Like its predecessor “Aria”, “Amanchu!” is really a staple of the slice-of-life genre.
  • Steins;Gate 0
    For those viewers who were able to get into its pace and enjoy its more unique style, the first “Steins;Gate” anime was nothing short of a masterpiece full of thrilling moments, a real emotional roller-coaster with an intriguing approach to time-travelling. Am keen on watching this sequel although I am a bit anxious it could be a rather taxing viewing experience if the anime’s tone is overly dark and brooding.
  • Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
    It has been more than 10 years since we got a “Full Metal Panic” show, still find it hard to believe that a new season will begin to air a few weeks from now! While I never got into the original light novels, did enjoy its anime adaptations, including the slapstick comedy spin-off “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” so am looking forward to see more of Chidori, Sousuke & Tessa’s adventures. Do expect this new anime may be action oriented and have little to no comedy in it, but we shall see.
  • Read more…

Yuru Camp△

January 12, 2018

Adapting the “ゆるキャン△” manga by Afro into anime, “Yuru Camp△” is a slice-of-life tale of five school friends who enjoy camping in the rustic Japanese countryside surrounding Mt. Fuji.

Was confident that I would adore “Yuru Camp△” as it promised to be the type of slice-of-life anime I enjoy the most, a leisurely show about cute girls doing cute things with Japan’s enchanting countryside being the backdrop and an essential element to create a soothing atmosphere similar to anime like “Yama no Susume” or “Non Non Biyori”.

The first few episodes delivered everything I hoped they would, showcasing the idyllic landscape in rural Japan with charming painted backgrounds boasting a lovely colour palette that enhances the atmosphere. Although there does not seem to be a major overarching plot, the main characters introduced are elaborated on in a natural, believable way and the first episode spends most of its time showing one of the girls spend her day camping.

“Yuru Camp△” started off great and has every indication it could be one of the better slice-of-life anime around, especially its endearing characters promise to delight us with their natural, unassuming charm and marvelous chemistry.
A good example of terrific character building and interaction depicted in a simple, yet believable and contemporary way was the messenger conversation between Rin and Ena in the second episode. Am curious to see if the relationship between stoic Rin and bubbly Nadeshiko will also be more cleverly developed and feel natural or if it will be comparatively predictable.

The character design style and overall animation feel rather simple and plain. Luckily this is not detrimental by itself for such a slice-of-life series as this genre can still provide viewers with a wonderful experience if its other elements such as backgrounds, music, characters and atmosphere are spot on, which they seem to be for “Yuru Camp△”.

If you enjoy slice-of-life anime, then you definitely should check out this new series. Alternatively, if you’re just looking to relax for a bit, this show will undoubtedly be a soothing experience.
You can watch “Yuru Camp△” as “Laid-Back Camp” on Crunchyroll.

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.