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Dollfie Dream snapshots: Tsukiko -3-

January 27, 2017

Posted some photos on Flickr of Tsukiko clad in a black bikini and white off-shoulder sweater. Shot these shortly before the sunset, a time of the day that can create unique and lovely lighting, especially when there is not a single cloud in the sky.

Being a Saber Alter Dollfie Dream, always liked how black and white garments look on Tsukiko, especially dark clothing on Volks’ white skinned body creates a nice effect and contrast.


Even white clothing creates a unique look on a white skin tone Dollfie body compared to a normal skin tone body types. Have since switched this off-shoulder sweater to Shizuko though and hope to make some photos of her clad in it soon.

You can see more of my Dollfie Dream photography on Flickr.

Demi-chan wa Kataritai

January 23, 2017

After looking at the winter season line-up, originally did not select “Demi-chan wa Kataritai” (or “Interviews with Monster Girls”) the new anime based on the “亜人ちゃんは語りたい” comedy manga by Petos about a teacher fascinated by demi-humans who hopes to learn more about them now that three such demi-humans have enrolled at his school.

Even though the promotional video looked promising enough, felt apprehensive that the show would exhibit harem undertones which if not presented innocent enough or kept to the minimum required for character development and light-hearted comedy, might clash with the overall aesthetic of the show. For some reason, the possible teacher & student romance innuendo would feel out of place here.

Sure, there are plenty manga and anime out there with exactly such romance plots, but if pushed too far, it could make “Demi-chan wa Kataritai” as sleazy as “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou”, albeit without the ecchi fanservice. After watching the three first episodes and being unfamiliar with the manga, must admit am still apprehensive the story might head in that direction.


Was nonetheless pleasantly surprised by the heartwarming, slice-of-life styled ‘teens growing up’ genre elements of “Interviews with Monster Girls” as well as the plethora of hilarious facial expressions and silly comedy by its main characters. Especially energetic Hikari and shy Sakie are a real hoot thanks to their goofy reactions.

Do hope that “Demi-chan wa Kataritai” continues on a moderate and benign course, focusing any romance subplots on the more innocent aspect of the girls growing up, instead of shifting to a more questionable ecchi approach of suggesting a possible harem.

With another core pillar of the story that of the girls facing challenges and misunderstandings due to them being supernatural creatures like a vampire, succubus, dullahan or snow woman, there’s plenty of room for good comedy as well as poignant character development. Most of the humour shown so far has been fairly run-of-the-mill and rather predictable though.

If the series continues on its path of providing laughter and heartwarming moments with silly shenanigans by its quirky character, then it may just become one of this winter season’s better comedies.
You can watch “Interviews with Monster Girls” on Crunchyroll.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

January 20, 2017

Next to the second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”, one of the comedies I was looking forward to the most this winter is “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon”, the anime adaptation of the “小林さんちのメイドラゴン” manga by Cool-kyou Shinja.

Knew this show would likely be an epic comedy considering that the author also created the hilarious “Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!” and “Danna ga Nani wo Itteru ka Wakaranai Ken” manga, and studio Kyoto Animation have proven with “Nichijou” that they excel at animating eccentric comedies.

Loved the first few episodes and am confident “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon” will easily become one my favourite anime this winter season. This show is absolutely hilarious and its oddball characters feel positively familiar, their quirky antics and typical retorts not unlike those from the cast of the author’s other works “Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!” and “Danna ga Nani wo Itteru ka Wakaranai Ken”.


Must emphasise though that “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon” also pleasantly surprised me with several heartwarming scenes, had not expected this quirky comedy to offer such moments.
Thanks to good pacing and solid directing these quiet, heartwarming scenes do not clash with the humour and silly shenanigans of its characters, but the show seamlessly flows from comedy scenes into heartwarming moments and back.

Even though it is primarily a silly comedy, with such heartwarming gentle scenes “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon” fits nicely alongside excellent slice-of-life shows like “Flying Witch!”, “Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge” or “Barakamon”.

Although many of the actual jokes used are anime classics and hence rather predictable, the comedy in “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon” nonetheless works well, thanks to the excellent animation by studio Kyoto Animation and solid character writing. Also appreciated how they handle the yuri subtext between Tohru and Kobayashi, instead of going for superfluous fanservice or cheap innuendo, after the first few jokes their bond is soon portrayed as one of closeness, familiarity and warmth.

Highly recommend this show to any fan who enjoys silly comedies with a cast of quirky characters, as well as to those among you who like slice-of-life anime.
You can watch “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid” on Crunchyroll.

Youjo Senki

January 16, 2017

Also known as “Saga of Tanya the Evil”, was intrigued by this anime based on the “幼女戦記” light novels by Carlo Zen. Set in an alternate earth where magic still exists and countries violently clash in a bloody conflict reminiscent of the first World War, similar to last season’s “Shuumatsu no Izetta” that was inspired by the second World War, “Youjo Senki” adds another twist to its core premise.

Besides being a feisty young girl whose innocent look and great magical powers are offset by her disturbing behaviour and ruthlessness, Tanya is in fact the reincarnation of a cold, calculating businessman who is being punished for his demeanour throughout life by being reborn as helpless orphan girl into a world filled with strife.

Although Tanya might have just as interesting a character without this added plot gimmick and background, it does give an extra dimension to her character when it becomes clear that even after being reincarnated, she still is every bit the merciless, scheming sociopath who is unemphatic to those around her and will stop at nothing to achieve her skewed goals of maximised efficiency and prioritising one’s career above all else.


Did appreciate how the first episode of “Saga of Tanya the Evil” throws you right into the action of war raging throughout the world, all while showing us what a twisted character Tanya is, much to the shock of the other soldiers who are unable to reconcile her behaviour with her appearance.
The second episode is a prologue that highlights who Tanya was in her previous life as a salaryman in modern day Japan and then elaborates on the struggle that followed once reborn as a helpless orphan girl.

It’s apparent that Tanya is still very much the despicable person she was in her previous life, making her an interesting character. Am very curious to discover more about Tanya’s mental machinations, sincerely hope the anime will peel away more layers of her character or show how she may evolve throughout this atrocious war.

Instead of some sort of positive reversal and feel-good plot, actually wish they keep Tanya as the despicable, cold-hearted person she seems to be and give us an anime series focused not on the typical unrealistic hero, but on a flawed, villainous anti-hero. Will keep my fingers crossed that they keep on portraying her so well.

You can watch “Youjo Senki” as “Saga of Tanya the Evil” on Crunchyroll.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2

January 13, 2017

Guess who’s back? The very best worst fantasy world adventurer party ever! Seriously, this lot of oddballs is the best at being the worst.

Was looking forward to the second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”, the anime based on the “この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!” light novel series by Akatsuki Natsume. An excellent parody of the popular isekai genre where a typical otaku finds himself transported to a mysterious fantasy world and embarks on exciting adventures flanked by cute girls, KonoSuba offers a cynical look at anime and its overused tropes.

The main cast of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!” is a breath of fresh air thanks to being the polar opposite of the typical hero cast seen in most other anime. Far from being built solely on these deviant character traits, Satou, Aqua, Megumin and Darkness each showcase fallible, foul but very human traits that make them clash wonderfully against the usual unrealistic heroes and heroines, turning KonoSuba into comedy bliss.


Am somewhat concerned though that the studio might overdo it in this sequel, exaggerating with elements that helped make the first season such a success, like the occasional haphazard looking animation, and the purposely skewed facial animation styling or character expressions.

In this first episode such distorted and purposely distorted faces were prevalent, even though it fit the tone of the episode, I hope “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!”will not succumb to the trap of relying too much on such trickery that they cross the fine line between clever parody and simply sloppy animation.

If you like good comedy anime, then give in to the madness and watch KonoSuba.
You can watch the first season and this new second season of “Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!” on Crunchyroll. エクスプロージョン!

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu

January 9, 2017

Last season, was enthusiastic about “Long Riders!”, the anime about a young girl who discovers the joy of cycling and forms a team with her college friends, it had the potential of being a lovely, heart-warming slice-of-life series. Unfortunately, it was plagued with severe production issues, its animation quality visibly deteriorated, some episodes were delayed and the show ultimately could not become a memorable, truly enjoyable slice-of-life anime.

Hence, am wholeheartedly hoping that this season’s “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” will manage to achieve what “Long Riders!” could not. Based on the “南鎌倉高校女子自転車部” manga by Matsumoto Noriyuki, the story revolves around new high school student Hiromi who after moving to Kamakura, decides to bicycle to school even though she has not ridden for years.
She soon befriends another girl on that fateful first commute to school and everything begins to move for the girls.

Loved the first episode of “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu”, this series might very well turn out to be the type of slice-of-life show that I adore, like “Non Non Biyori”, “Flying Witch” or “Barakamon”. If its opening episode is a trendsetter, this anime might become one of my favourites this season.


What surprised me the most was how this opening episode reminded me of “Amanchu!”. Although Hiromi and Tomoe do not seem that alike to Futaba and Hikari, the classroom scene and inspiring speech by the girls’ teacher, as well as the foreshadowing of Hiromi discovering a new passion all felt quite familiar to scenes in the opening episode of “Amanchu!”.

The fact that this first episode featured elaborate and truly enchanting backgrounds, making the town where the story takes place a key element in the story, reinforced that impression of likeness to “Amanchu!” and other leisurely slice-of-life shows like “Tamayura” or “Flying Witch” that focus on the Japanese sea- or countryside. With such a first episode “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” firmly set itself apart from “Long Riders!”.

Compared to the typical character design styles used in similar slice-of-life anime and the soft backgrounds seen throughout the episode, the character designs felt a bit angular and harsh, even though they seem quite faithful to the designs by Matsumoto Noriyuki from the original manga. The use of 3D CGI by studio JC Staff and ACGT here is much better compared to what we saw in “Long Riders!” and near seamlessly integrated with the classic animation.

If you are looking for a lovely slice-of-life series of cute girls doing cute things, with idyllic views of a Japanese coastal town, then definitely give “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” a try!
You can watch “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu” on Crunchyroll.

Kantoku C91 doujin ‘Confession of Love Picture Book′

January 3, 2017

During last weekend’s Comiket 91 event, one my favourite artists, Kantoku released the ‘Confession of Love Picture Book’ doujin.

A departure from the more typical doujin publications of Kantoku’s circle ‘Afterschool of the 5th Year’, this publication is not a ‘Check’ styled book or a ‘Tachiyoumi’ type volume but an illustration book similar to the C87 release ‘Colors‘.


Even though it has the usual 24 page count and contains a few pages of black & white line art at the end, the large illustrations composed in landscape orientation focusing on the image’s subject accompanied by a rich, detailed background and exquisite lighting do set it apart from Kantoku’s usual doujin books.
Read more…