Saturday, December 28, 2013

Love and Peace!

Trigun (TV): An Anime Series Review 
Number of episodes: 26
Genre: Action, space western, sci-fi, adventure
Source material: Manga written by Yasuhiro Nightow

Action, adventure, and guns? I'm in! Trigun is a classic anime that people in the anime community refer to often, and for the longest time, I had to pretend that I knew what they were talking about (oh the shame)! When I finally sat down and watched this series many years ago, I was able to understand why people enjoy this anime so much. If you've been one of those people who "shoulda, coulda, woulda" watched Trigun but didn't, keep reading to see if this anime series is for you!

**May Contain Spoilers**

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The enemy's gate is down.

Ender's Game: A Movie Review


I've never done a movie review on this blog, but I had to make an exception when my favorite book (50+ read throughs), Ender's Game (originally published in 1985, written by Orson Scott Card), finally arrived on the big screen after fans waited years and years to see some kind of Hollywood adaptation. The movie, which I saw the 3rd day that it was out in theaters, turned out to be a fairly decent one, although I wouldn't necessarily have titled it, Ender's Game. I would have probably changed the name to: A Movie Based on Select Highlighted Quotes from the Book, Ender's Game.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You're a good dog.

The Premise: After a short life as a stray mutt, reincarnated puppy Bailey (previously Toby) begins his life anew with 8-year old Ethan and his family. Bailey has it all. An adoring child. Plenty of flowers to dig up. And life, by all accounts, is good. As he stays by Ethan's side and watches him grow up, Bailey experiences the happiness and contentment unknown in his previous life. 

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey, much to his puzzlement. Reborn as a puppy yet again after a full and satisfying life with Ethan, Bailey wonders--will he ever find his purpose?  Never one to shy away from a good adventure (or good food), Bailey plunges ahead in each of his new doggy lives with vigor, always curious, but never worried. Taking each iteration of his life in stride, Bailey leads us through his days as a companion, a hero, and eventually, a wise soul, eager to learn and always searching for the reason of his existence. 
**May contain spoilers**

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dial me a 481.

The Premise: Planet Earth is in bad shape after World War Terminus, and life as we know is has changed dramatically in this future. Most of the human population has emigrated to Mars and android companions are a staple of life for those colonists. But for those left behind on Earth, the only precious things left to enjoy are animals (living if you're wealthy and lucky enough, electric if you aren't), mood dialers, and empathy boxes. Aside from the radioactive dust which is slowly but surely overtaking habitable land, rogue androids ("andys") threaten the fragile peace on Earth after returning from the colonies. Bounty hunters exist to stop these androids, and Rick Decard is called to "retire" (aka kill) 6 andys after another bounty hunter is injured while pursuing a target. What follows is Rick's hunt for these androids through a dystopian society and his slowly evolving understanding of what it means to be human in a world where the line is more blurred than he had initially thought. 
**May Contain Spoilers**

Thursday, June 13, 2013

You'll always be my best girl.

The Premise: Police officer Scott James is on the cusp of a great career promotion from lowly street cop to a cop in the esteemed LAPD Metro Division when everything goes wrong. In the span of just a few minutes, Scott and his partner Stephanie--while searching for a pop-up noodle joint--are involved in a brutal heist (by chance) that ends with Stephanie dead and Scott physically and mentally scarred. Having been shot at point blank range before he passed out, Scott's last memories are of his partner's haunting words, "Scotty, don't leave. Don't leave me, Scotty!" as he tried to crawl his way back to the patrol car to radio for help.  

Driven by guilt and the bitter need for closure, Scott refuses to take medical pension or retire and instead, trains to join the LAPD K-9 unit (despite the fact that he has never been around dogs) as a last resort. It is there that he meets Maggie, a retired 85lb German shepherd who has had her own share of tragedy and heartbreak as a working military dog in Afghanistan. Bruised but perhaps not yet broken, both Scott and Maggie will have to learn how to trust in a partner again and prove to those around them that they are capable of getting back on their feet, and paws, to bring Stephanie's murderers to justice.

**May Contain Spoilers**

Friday, June 7, 2013

I am The Paper.

Read or Die OVA: And OVA Series Review

Number of episodes: 3 OVA's
Genre: Action, fantasy
Source material: Manga written by Hideyuki Kurata 

I don't know how these people avoid papercuts. Seriously.
**May Contain Spoilers**

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The name's Kurenai, Shinkuro Kurenai.

Kure-nai: An Anime Series Review

Number of episodes: 12
Genre: Slice of life, action
Source material: Light novels written by Kentaro Katayama 

Kure-nai is not a particularly compelling or profound anime, but there's something charming, mysterious, and frustrating enough about the story and characters that allowed it to pass my 3-episode test and keep me watching until all 12 episodes were over. If you have time for a short anime series that has a decent overarching story intermixed with a good dose of slice-of-life, read on and see if Kure-nai is for you!
**May Contain Spoilers**

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I can(not) see the youkai.

Karas: An OVA Series Review

Number of episodes: 6 OVA's 
Genre: Action, sci-fi, fantasy
Source material: OVA original written by Shin Yoshida

It's been a while since I've seen Karas (it came out between 2005-07), but I will always remember it fondly as one of the most beautiful animes that I have ever seen. Even with its copious amounts of CGI, the animation blends well together, the backgrounds are breathtaking, and I highly encourage you to watch at least the first movie before you write it off based on the CGI incorporation factor alone. If you're a big fan of the action genre but are also still looking for a good storyline, Karas just might be the anime for you!
**May Contain Spoilers**

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Home is where the ♥ Is?

When asked to define the concept of "home," a wise friend once told me:

      "Home is where you feel the most comfortable going to the bathroom."

And to this day, I feel like his definition of home is the most accurate one I've heard.
Is home my apartment? My parents' house? A hotel? 
Now before you go and think I'm completely crazy, the idea behind this post came up after I read an article on CNN describing The County where No One's Gay, by John D. Sutter. In this article, Mr. Sutter goes to Franklin County, Mississippi, to see if in fact, the census is correct in stating that there are no gay people living there. What he writes in his article both intrigues and astounds me--and raises the age-old question that seems incredibly difficult to answer: Just what is a home?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Follow the paw prints to Paradise.

Wolf's Rain: An Anime Series Review

Number of Episodes: 26 + 4 OVA's
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Source Material: Anime Original written by Keiko Nobumoto

Love canines? Love adventures? Love good music? Then Wolf's Rain deserves the 3-episode test.
**May Contain Spoilers**

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Meow. Or as the Japanese say, Nyan~

She and Her Cat: An Anime (Short) Movie Review

Length: 5 minutes
Genre: Slice of life 
Source Material: Anime original by Makoto Shinkai
No Trailer, but here's the beautiful ED theme:

There's really no excuse for you not to check out this 5 minute short that is beautifully written and produced by the great Makoto Shinkai (his other works include Voices of a Distant Star, 5cm per Second). She and Her Cat tells the sweet story of how Chobi (the cat) is found by a woman (Her) on a rainy day and how they spend their first year together in Her small apartment, all of which is narrated from Chobi's point of view.
**No Spoilers...cause the whole thing is only 5 minutes long!**

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To Make You Feel My Love

Hotarubi no Mori e: An Anime Movie Review

Length: 45 minutes
Genre: Romance, supernatural
Source Material: One-shot shoujo manga by Yuki Midorikawa

One of my favorite things about watching an anime movie is that compared to an anime series, a movie is shorter, more concise, and is usually a one-shot affair that gives me something to enjoy when I don't want to invest too much time and effort into memorizing complicated character relationships or get lost in a drawn-out plot line  But don't be fooled by the 1 to 2 hour time limits on anime movies, because even given those restrictions, an anime movie can be as deeply moving and beautiful as a full length series. Hotarubi no Mori e (translation: Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light) is an example of quality over quantity, and if you're looking for 45 minutes of respite from mechas, love triangles, moe blobs, and tsunderes, read on and give this movie a try.
**May Contain Spoilers**

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Love of a Parent

Usagi Drop: An Anime Series Review


Number of Episodes: 11
Genre: Slice of life
Source Material: Josei manga by Yumi Unita

It has come to my attention that although I describe myself as an anime otaku in my profile, I have yet to write anything about anime on this blog! :O In an attempt to rectify this situation, I've decided to start with a series review of an anime I quite enjoyed titled Usagi Drop. This review will be a simple one--I'm not going to provide the names of the director, studio, voice actors, etc. All of that information is readily available on the net and honestly, I've personally never paid a lot of attention to those things anyway. Instead, I'll focus on the plot, the characters, and the overall impressions of the anime in the hopes that if you're looking for something new to watch, you might be persuaded to give this anime the 3-episode test! 
**May Contain Spoilers**

Disclaimer: Please note this is a review for the anime only. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

If Hate Could Make the World Go 'Round...

We'd be spinning pretty fast.

(Photo credits to John Tlumacki, Boton Globe/Getty Images)

Following the horrifying events which began with two bombs exploding at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and ending with the shut-down of Boston in the manhunt for two suspects related to the incident, it's been a bad week for all Americans.

But it's been an even worse week for minority ethnic groups here in America and abroad, particularly the Muslim population.

Just Live Well. Just Live.

The Premise: Louisa "Lou" Clark is an unambitious girl living in a small town who finds herself jobless after being laid off from the local coffee shop where she has worked for years. Desperate for a job and despite her limited skill set, Lou manages to snag a job as an aide and companion for a quadriplegic named Will Traynor. Will is moody, sarcastic, and tries his best to make Lou uncomfortable when she starts the job, but Lou is determined to help support her parents despite her situation. One day, Lou overhears a conversation that shocks her--Will has made a deal with his parents that gives them 6 months time to prepare and come to terms with his wish to die. Confused and terrified, Lou doesn't know what to make of this development as she slowly realizes that she's fallen in love with Will. With time short and her emotions blazing, Lou races against the clock to try to change Will's mind before his 6 months are up.  
**May Contain Spoilers**

Friday, April 12, 2013

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

A week ago, I watched a movie called Coach Carter about a basketball coach who not only teaches his players how to win a game of ball but also how to succeed in the game of life. If you like inspirational, feel-good movies based (loosely) off of real life stories, I highly recommend giving this movie a watch. Samuel L. Jackson is the boss. Seriously

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who Needs Reality TV when Real Life is Just As Ridiculous?

A few days ago, a girl by the name of Suzy Lee Weiss penned an open letter to the Ivy League schools that rejected her from admission. A copy of her letter can be found here. The gist of the letter basically goes like this: you rejected me because I'm white.

In her sassy, bitter, and sarcastic letter, Weiss writes,

"had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me any closet, and I would've happily come out of it. If it were up to me, I would've been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything."

As you can probably imagine, the responses to her letter were highly negative. Some people agreed, but mostly people just had a lot to say.

Ashes to Ashes, Stardust to Stardust

The premise: The story of Matt and Elle, told both in the present and through a series of flashbacks, is one of sweetheart love, teenage drama, and adult uncertainties. It starts off in the present, with Elle’s fall off of a ladder, leaving her in a coma with irreversible brain damage. To complicate matters, Matt (a neurosurgeon and her husband), finds out that she is pregnant. He is faced with a choice—to take Elle off life support, or to keep her on it, in an attempt to save their unborn child.   

 The story then alternates between the days after Elle’s fall and the past, where we get to know Elle and her relationship with Matt—all the young love of best friends, to the first sexual encounters, and the first breaking point of the couple. Without spoiling too much, we get to see Elle and Matt grow up together, grow apart, and then find each other again. In between, there are plenty of complications—of new loves, jealously, uncertainty, and frustration. Even when Elle and Matt find each other again, get married, and start a life together, all is not as they hope. Elle discovers she has an autoimmune disease which makes it extremely difficult to carry a pregnancy to full term. After two devastating losses, she and Matt disagree about how to proceed. Elle desperately wants to keep trying—Matt, fearing for Elle’s safety, holds back. That’s why Elle’s pregnancy now comes as a surprise to Matt. 
**May Contain Spoilers**