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Legend of the Blue Sea 1-20! kdrama. the almost The Little Mermaid. A young Joseon nobleman helps out a mermaid. His reincarnation, now a guy who cons rich people out of their money, meets her again in present day Spain. She follows him (ie. swims) to Seoul. This has some really cute moments as the mermaid tries to figure out how to navigate normal human behavior. Enjoyed the part where she steals candy from a child and later tries to mug a little girl. She makes some unique friends along the way. Like Goblin, the show does itself a favor by jumping between the past and present day often enought to story interesting. The doesn't fill the story with too many side stories...though the evil step-mother plot does rear its ugly head. And it does suffer for mid-series lag (sometimes 20 episodes is just too long). ~8/10 rating~ for a fairly unique and entertaining drama. Kudos to Jeon Ji Hyeon if she did all the swimming scenes herself. Also kudos to her for all the awful fashion she had to wear.

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Junseon Gunman 1-22! kdrama. the end. An older (2014) Lee Jun-ki historical drama that promises pretty good action. Needed another Jun-ki fix after the mess of Scarlet Heart. Yoon-kang starts off a skilled swordsman, but uses his skills for entertainment and tricks. His love-interest is a sharp young woman who embraces progress in Joseon Korea. He becomes an assassin's target when his father, a king's military leader, is labeled a traitor and is killed by a gunman. Yoon-kang escapes to Japan and after a time jump forward comes back as Hanjo, a merchant with sharp shooting skills including the ability to shoot alot of rounds without reloading. He does many stupid things to get revenge and Soo In, the love interest, deteriorates from a smart, likable character to one who constantly needs saving. The last third of the show (again, another show that is drawn out too long) becomes messy as 80% of the characters flip from good to bad and politics get in the way. The king could have been an interesting character if he weren't so easily fooled by the queen and practically every guy around him. Yoon-kang has a few dozen chances to kill his father's murderer, but never goes for the kill shot even when standing directly in front of him; how many times can he shoot the guy's arm and leg? ~7/10 rating~ for another drama whose sole purpose is to make Lee Jun-ki look good. Hopefully, his choreographer and wardrobe people are paid well.
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Goblin 1-16! the end. kdrama. Sponsored by Subway..the characters love their Subway sandwiches. This is an interesting drama that thrives on the cute interaction between the male characters. A successful military general, Kim Shin, is killed by his king out of jealousy, and becomes an immortal 'goblin' (not sure why 'goblin' is used. He's not that ugly.) He can only die blah blah when he meets his bride. The romance between the goblin and high school student is not as tearful as the bromance between the goblin and grim reaper. Their conversations are amusing and more sweet than the tsundere between him and the female lead. Episode 10's New Year's humor was so cute. There are a lot of small twists and minor plots that are paced steadily through the show, but one of the largest secrets, the identity of grim reaper, is fairly obvious early on. Despite the predictability, the show was consistently enjoyable. The show doesn't have any awful tangents like love triangles or interfering evil parents, and focuses on the two main couples. ~9/10 rating~ for a totally rewatchable drama. My only gripe is that the goblin keeps meeting his bride when she is a high school girl; Gong Yoo is getting a little too old to be paired up with someone playing a character that young. Random tangent...I'm pretty sure the characters wear at least 5 different stylish winter coats each per episode.

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Nounai Poison Berry live-action jmovie! is based on the 2009 manga by Setona Mizushiro. It resembles the 2015 Disney movie Inside Out, but it's not a kid's movie. A 30 year old female author, Ichiko Sakurai, has a spontaneous fling with a younger man which leads to an up and down relationship. Inside her head is a council of five personalities; optimism, pessimism, a person who lives in the past, a person who lives in the present and a chairman who leads the group in making decisions. There's also another personality that overrides the others and makes impulsive decisions. The people in her head make an otherwise bland movie interesting. *spoilers* as implied by the title and possibly by knowing the mangaka's writing style, the end is rather bittersweet. Sakurai concludes that the relationship is bad for her and she breaks up with the guy. I don't think the manga had a very good following online, so I'm not sure if the movie follows the manga accurately or not. ~7/10 rating~ for a decent movie.

ACCA 1-2! builds an interesting world where a monarch rules 13 independent districts. Jean works for ACCA as a sort of government auditor who inspects the various districts. Madhouse still produces top-notch, visually interesting animation and this fits that bill. The episodes are a little sleepy. A day in the life of Jean in an unreal world should be more interesting that it appears. Episode 2 introduces us to his best friend who is spying on him since his bosses think Jean is planning a coup d'etat. Each district seems to have its specialized food and oddities which makes this intriguing despite the slow pacing.

Youjo Senki 1-3! The first episode shows us a seemingly psychotic little girl, Tanya, who is the most powerful mage in the seriously, if she can blow up the enemy like that, why are there so many non-magical ground troops? Anyway, it's a crazy anime, but the first episode spent a little too much time on the army leaders just standing around talking 'army stuff'. In episode 2, we see Tanya in her former life as a ruthless Japanese businessman who lays off an employee. The employee pushes him onto an oncoming train. At his moment of death, he converses with 'God' and God decides to see if he will learn faith...or something like that. He is reincarnated into a magical little girl in an alternate Europe-like world in the midst of war. She still retains his former life's memories and moves up the ranks quickly.

3-gatsu no Lion 12-14! I usually enjoy Yuki's anime pop songs, but her new song has a little too much autotune and cuts off oddly. We pick up after Rei has recovered from his flu. He starts a new competition and we get to see some new players. I continue to love the detail in the animation; they really try to make Chica Umino drawings come to life.

Tales of Zestiria the X 13-15! picks up where it left off with Sorey traveling with Rose. The episode focuses on her general likability amongst the people of hometown, and her darker side as an assassin. We learn a little about Dezel the wind seraph who is loyal to Rose. So far, the 2nd season is rather lackluster.

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Saga 1! In the first episode of this season, Yukio heads off to pursue an exorcist-turned-demon who steals the Left Eye of the Impure King while Rin plus classmates go after the Right Eye in Kyoto. Hm, this is only mildly interesting despite the nicely animated episode. Other than Rin's cat, all the characters are stuck in a rather teenage-y drama. Dropped. Will not stick it out this season.

Spirit Pact 1! I would think that a Chinese-Japanese collaboration would be a tad more interesting, but this is pretty mediocre. A young pseudo-fortune teller gets hit and killed by a truck. He wakes up as a spirit, and a exorcist tries to recruit him because of his innate spiritual powers. I think this is trying to be a comedic version of Mirage of Blaze, but most of the jokes fail. The production was quite bad. Dropped.

Doukyuusei jmovie! was something I forgot to write about last year. It apparently was the first full-length BL anime movie shown in theaters....or that's what the internet says. Anyway, it's a standard boy-meets-boy/first love/opposites-attract story. The only conflict being that both boys have differing plans after they graduate. It's pretty charming and the highlight is that the anime captures the mangaka, Nakamura Asumiko's unique drawing style. ~8/10~ for a cute and sweet time-waster.

Bye Bye LJ

Jan. 1st, 2017 09:25 am
Won't be crossposting here from DW anymore. (I've archived everything from LJ...just have to find a good importing tool.)

Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 91-120! the end of this season. Saiki's visit with his grandparents was cute. Love the show's cute cliffhangers. His brother and his summer vacation were also covered in these episodes. While the production value was pretty mediocre, I enjoyed the dry humour. ~7/10 rating~ for silly short episodes.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go 7-11! the end of this season. Episode 8 was a flashback episode focusing on Natori at a time where he tries to educate himself on youkai and exocism. He also met Matoba along the way. The flashback to Touko and Shigeru's past was sweet, too. ~8/10 rating~ for another pleasant season. The elaboration on Natori and Touko's pasts were interesting. After 5 seasons, I shouldn't expect too much conflict, but I wish Natsume did have some sort of end game. We'll see what season 6 brings.

3-gatsu no Lion 7-11! The shogi cat song was cute. Rei and Nikaido tried to teach Hina shogi in episode 7. Episode 9 started off potentially depressing but had an amusing end. The episode after 11 is a recap episode, so the next new episode won't air until next year.

Boxing Day

Dec. 26th, 2016 11:43 am
Here's a list of curious winter anime...

Youjo Senki: A story featuring a salesman who annoys God and becomes reincarnated as a young bratty-looking girl in a world of war and magic. I like the tag 'Saga of Tanya the Evil'...I'll probably watch the first episode because the premise sounds funny.

ACCA 13-ku Kansatsu-ka: based on a manga by Natsume Ono is about a government inspector who does his job. The world looks interesting for a slice-of-life manga.

Spirit Pact: a fantasy BL story based on a Chinese manhua...actually looks fairly mediocre, but we'll see.

Tales of Zestiria the X season 2: more of the high budget fantasy anime.

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou Hen: A return to the manga's plot rather than original anime fillers. Hoping for some fun shounen action.
..there's a fair amount of buzz about this show...

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Yuri!!! on Ice 1-12! the end. (yes, this should be called OMG-Binge-Watch-the-sh*t-of-out-this-Fanservice-on-Ice) This is very cheesy (from the theme songs, the characters, dialogue, episode 10! the end!!!...), so much so that it is quite funny and fairly likable if you are open to the fujoshi genre. A young Japanese man named Yuri idolizes a five-time world champion Russian ice skater, Victor, and becomes a professional ice skater himself. Victor sees Yuri in an online video and goes to Japan to coach him. In the first plot arc, a young Russian skater also named Yuri (dubbed Yurio) follows Victor to Japan. Both Yuri's get Victor to choreograph a program for them to see who gets Victor as a coach. Japanese Yuri then competes with Victor as his coach. There's plenty of skin (Yuri's family owns a spa), manly tears, and BL fanservice. ~9/10 rating~ for a fast-paced, surprisingly funny, heart-warming show. The production is pretty high quality considering the target audience and the subject matter. The skating sequences are watchable.
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Chef: Mitsuboshi no Kyushoku 4-10! the end. Chef Mitsuko decides to open her own restaurant/food stall after she learns that her former boss is preventing her from getting hired anywhere else. She also continues to work at the school's lunches, too. Her character's energy and passion are fun to watch. The conflict between Mitsuko and Araki in episode 7 was pretty interesting as Araki's food truck seems to defeat Mitsuko's food stall for much of the episode. The show was one of the most uplifting shows I've seen in a while. Mitsuko and the other school lunch workers are a fun group, and they are able to defeat all the problems that come their way. ~10/10 rating~ would watch again. I enjoyed the way she dances to her own tune while the other school workers did their morning exercises, and how she interacted with the soccer kids.
The Full Metal Alchemist live-action trailer is online. Looks nice! I hope it's entertaining like the Kenshin movies, and not like the badly-written Attack on Titan movies.

ClassicaLoid 2-6! Beethoven continues to obsess over gyoza while Mozart is convinced Kanae is in love with him. Sousuke tries to find out what triggers their 'muzik' transformation. Chopin/Cho-chan shows up in episode 3 as a painfully shy character. Liszt also shows up as a busty woman. Schubert is a character obsessed with Beethoven. We find that they were created by Kanae's eccentric father so she doesn't feel lonely...or something like that. Though unusual, the show gets repetitive as Kanae continues to worry about money and continually tries to kick the classicaloids out. Dropped.

Drifters 2-4! We learn that the ones pulling the strings are the megane blond, Murasaki, and evil-looking, black-haired girl, Easy. Episode 2-3 continues scenes of extreme violence with weird comedic breaks. 3 was pretty confusing with all the different Drifters showing up, but near the end, they reveal that they are wanted to fight the 'Enders' who are insane and evil Drifters. I don't know enough of the historical figures to care. Dropped.

Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 41-90! 45 was about how Saiki can sorta cheat on exams to stay unnoticed at school, and how it backfires on him when he places below brainless Nendo. The next story arc covers the school trip to Osaka. It's nice to see that despite his internal grumblings, Saiki somewhat cares for his classmates. Looks like this show got more episodes on order which is fine by me since each 4 minute episode is fun to watch.

Fune wo Amu 3-5! Majime's landlady's granddaughter comes to live with her and becomes Majime's love interest. The characters also overcome the threat of the dictionary becoming cancelled.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go 2-6! Small youkai children are the cutest and Natsume can't help himself from solving their problems. In episode 3-4, Matoba manipulates Natsume into doing what he wants but fails to get him to join the Matoba clan. Unfortunately, there are some large plot points like Natsume's grandmother, Matoba's grand plan, if any, and Natori's shiki tattoo that seem to be forever unanswered.

3-gatsu no Lion 2-6! We are introduced other shogi players and their outgoing personalities. Episode 4 was about how Nikaido meets the sisters and it was adorable. And Rei tells us about his past and how he was adopted into a shogi-obsessed family after his biological family passed away in a car accident in episode 5. This anime hasn't really educated the viewer on how to play shogi yet, but apparently Rei is very good. Ah ha, the live-action movie trailer is up. Looks good!
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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds 15-18! the end. The show continued being a struggle to watch until episode 17 or so when Ra-on's father was put on trial. And when the Prince's bodyguard got killed, I was pretty darn angry for the 5 minutes they led me to believe he was actually dead. Anyway, the Queen's baby switcharoo and Prime Minister's plots were unraveled fairly quickly. And the Prince now King lives happily ever after. ~6/10 rating~ for a fun premise, but predictable and rather not-so-fun kdrama.

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Scarlet Heart: Ryeo 14-20! the end. The flashbacks were cute in episode 15. With the 3rd prince back from the dead and on the throne, he decided to get rid of potential problems including some of his brothers. The 10th prince and wife brought a little levity to all the backstabbing, and their deaths were unfortunate. The 3rd prince quickly went crazy, and died leaving the 4th to take the throne. The pace rushed through different plot points during the second half of the drama, and this sorta resulted into the 4th prince now king's personality deteriorating. I wish writers took the original Chinese story-turned-drama, and filled some of the plot holes. They spent a lot of time developing the 8th's prince's love for Hae-su rather than the 4th's. (maybe she's just falls for Lee Jun-ki's charming looks and pushy personality over the 8th's stoicism) Hae-su was the weakest part of the story. She began as 21st century girl with spunk and then rapidly turned into a weak female lead whose only purpose was to stare doe-eyed into the camera. Thankfully, the supporting female characters were awesome and also beautiful (even the evil princess)...unfortunately, they all get killed off. The song they used for all the deaths was pretty lovely. ~8/10 rating~ for a drama that had so many high quality aspects to that it was lovely to watch. The costuming was really beautiful for both the men and women. None of the supporting characters were potato-looking actors, so it was a feast for the eyes to see them in the costumes. You could tell by the actors/kpop stars that they hired that this was a big budget drama. The fight choreography and outdoor scenes were also quite above your average drama. I suppose we're supposed to be satisfied that the 4th Prince did not turn out to be the blood-thirsty King Hae-su remembers in the history books, but really, they should have shown his reincarnation when they returned to the present time.

The Moon that Embraces the Sun 1-20! the end. Wanted to watch a sageuk kdrama that had super-high ratings to compare it to the other two. This had some strong lead characters and the female love interest was refreshingly intelligent. This does suffer from overly complicated evil plots and the beginning with the kids was weird when the 16-17 year olds were wanting to marry the 12 year old. And then it got weird when they all grew up and some of the cute kids turned out to be unattractive adults. Anyway, this was about two princes (the two suns) and two candidates for princess (the two moons). Both the Crown Prince and illegitimate Prince fall for a pretty girl while the Queen, evil ministers, not-so-pretty girl, the Crown Prince's sister use a shaman's black magic to kill off the pretty girl. The shaman only half-kills her and they all grow up to meet each other again. ~7/10 rating~ for a pretty standard drama. The two main leads had some good banter and character chemistry (not real romantic chemistry, but good compatibility). The side characters all got was due to them..even the illegitimate prince...who redeemed himself for being a dull character at the end, but still deserved that lame death scene.
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Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku jmovie! starts out with Chihaya and Taichi going to see Arata to find out why he quit karuta. Taichi is an awesome, nice guy. I do enjoy hopelessly rooting him on. The movie follows Chihaya as she obsesses over the queen, and the inevitable match. Shinobu appears more likable in the movie versus the anime. ~9/10 rating~ for highly engaging movie about a card game I have no desire to play. And for near-perfect casting. There will be another movie next year. The manga is still incomplete, so I look forward to more.

Ie Uru Onna 1-10! the end. This jdrama is a fun, episodic show about a female real estate agent, Machi Sangenya, who can sell any home. Her robotic and over-the-top, go-getter personality makes her appear cold to her coworkers, but she consistently helps her clients buy and sell homes. ~7/10 rating~ for a light-hearted drama with quirky characters. Yeah, I'm never going to afford a house in Tokyo.

Chef: Mitsuboshi no Kyushoku 1-3! jdrama. is about an arrogant, 3-star, female chef who is fired after the restaurant owner frames her for food poisoning. She isn't able to find a new job until a reality tv producer asks her to make school lunch more appetizing for children. It's fun to see the different challenges she faces as she deals with her pride, the school restrictions, and the children.
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Fune wo Amu 1-2! Proof that Japan will give a decent budget to create anime out of any subject matter. The story starts with a dictionary editor who is trying to find his replacement after he takes an early retirement to care for his wife. He finds a promising candidate in a bland, book-loving salesman, Mitsuya Majime. The opening made me think of Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, a BL anime, but it isn't BL. A little annoyed that it is on Amazon Prime UK but not Amazon Prime US...c'mon, what's the hold-up? This is based on a novel and was an award-winning live-action movie in 2013 in Japan. It was a little hard to find the movie online, but of course, I found and watched it...

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Fune wo Amu jmovie! stars Ryuuhei Matsuda, Aoi Miyazaki and Joe Odagiri (others too, but those three are the most recognizable actors). The movie is a little slow and lacks the visual prettiness of the anime, but there's something very innately Japanese about the care and dedication in which the characters produce the dictionary. ~6/10 rating~ for quiet, unassuming storytelling. (yes, mildly boring).
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ClassicaLoid 1! one of the most absurd anime premises I've seen since Penguin Revolution. Kanae lives in her late grandmother's mansion with two friends of her father, Beethoven and Mozart. Her 'musician' childhood friend, Sousuke, also spends an awful amount of time at her house, too. In episode 1, she has to sell the property due to financial reasons. Just as the construction crew starts, they cause Beethoven to drop the gyoza he was cooking, and he angrily does a Sailor Moon transformation into a Classicaloid. He magically convinces them to leave and Kanae et al continue to live in the house. There's even dancing mech. Cut to Bach sitting in the dark who looks like the bad guy. The production and background music are very colorful and fun.

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Drifters 1! Seemingly random Japanese military figures are plucked out of history and thrown into a new world by a mysterious guy in glasses. The elf-eared locals call them Drifters. The show starts off with some serious & violent fighting, but after the halfway point you get some silly comedy. It's a stylish and unique.

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Natsume Yuujinchou Go 1! the 5th season seamlessly continues where the they left off three years ago. Natsume continues to encounter the supernatural and helps them. In episode 1, Natsume seems to be focused on learning more about his grandmother, Reiko. Maybe we'll get her whole story this season?

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3-gatsu no Lion 1! Can't go wrong with the production by Shaft. It's visually lovely. This is about a young shogi player, Rei, who lives by himself. There's an overly genki family who tends to watch out for him. I'm fond of Bump of Chicken, so I enjoy both the opening and ending songs. I also liked the French song in the beginning. A two part live action movie is a scheduled for 2017.
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Mob Psycho 100 9-12! the end. Mob, Teru and Dimple go to rescue Mob's brother and the other kidnapped psychic kids. Mob's boss, Reigen, comes to talk to Mob about work, and gets involved. Great story arc here with good humour and cliffhangers. The beginning of the anime was a little iffy and lacked the humor that One-Punch Man and Saiki have, but it definitely built up to a more complex anime. Mob's brother and Reigen developed into interesting characters. And the fun humor came back near the end. ~9/10 rating~ short anime with an interesting animation style and feel-good message.

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91 Days 8-12! the end. Angelo/Avilio's friend, Corteo, is forced to murder Fango when his recipe for the Lawless Heaven alcohol is leaked. Things deteriorate further when Angelo kills Corteo to prove his loyalty. Things come to an end when Angelo cause the Vanettis and Galassias to start shooting each other at the opera. Angelo never gets around to killing Nero, thus the show ends with them having a heart-to-heart and mildly open-ended off-screen gunshot. ~6/10 rating~ for a revenge story that was a mild struggle to get through. Angelo plan was clumsy and all the mafia characters were unlikable.

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Tales of Zestiria the X 9-12! the end of season 1. Mikleo finds a creature/mascot character that boosts his new-found archery powers. Mikleo then joins Sorey who is fighting a dragon 'puppy'. We get educated in dragons. Princess Alisha faces her assassin in an anti-climactic fight. Then everyone heads to stop a war. The climax was rather anti-climactic, too. The big boss/Lord of Calamity decides not to fight Sorey because Sorey is too weak an opponent which is the classic bad guy mistake. Who waits until their opponent is stronger than them? Only the stupidest of bad guys do that. Plus, Alisha's almost-death scene was not very dramatic. ~8/10 rating~ for the production alone. The story has promise, but the last episode was rather on the cliched side. Gotta wait for season 2 next year to see if the journey is worth it. On the upside, the characters are super-likable and each episode flies by.

Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi 2-4! the end. consists of Melodias fighting Ban, King chasing Diane and Vivian chasing whathisname...dull fillers. ~6/10 rating~ reminding me why I shouldn't watch the next season.


Oct. 5th, 2016 07:02 pm
Bracelets, unexpected arranged royal weddings, evil queens, secret identities, treatment of girls like property...each drama is following the same checklist.

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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds 5-14! kdrama. It took me a couple episodes to figure out that the Princess is an actress in a fat costume. It was fairly predictable that she'd lose the weight, too. And because her love-interest likes the chubby princess, I think she'll regain the weight sometime before the show ends. She's a fun character to watch. Yoon-sung, the nice guy, is naturally the first to realize Ra-on's real gender. I think the Prince confesses at least a dozen times to Ra-on. Oh, the sap really drags on in these episodes. It's disappointing that the humor from the first few episodes takes a backseat to the political drama and sappy romance. There's an excessive amount of staring. The fight in episode 12 was nice. Wish it lasted a little longer. The past few episodes have been dragging. :(

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Scarlet Heart: Ryeo 4-13! kdrama. The 4th Prince's obsession with his hateful mother is far the weakest part of the story, but I suppose angsty, masked face is attractive. It's nice that he gets along with the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince and King seem like mildly reasonable characters. Su's interactions with the various princes is fun to watch. It helps that everyone looks pretty damn fine in their traditional Korean-ish outfits. There's a Beauty and the Beast vibe with this show since the characters keep saying that the 4th's scars make him ugly...right, they aren't really trying hard enough to make him ugly. You'd think that he would have thought about makeup before Su showed up. I do wish the time travel gave Su more significant plot devices instead of various damsel in distress situations. She doesn't even act like a modern girl anymore. I'm enjoying all the side characters in this show especially since they are so lovely to look at. Even the non-main female characters are even possibly prettier than Su. Have to admit that this is better than the above drama due to more sword-fighting and the fact that the side stories are fairly cute. Looking forward to what happens after the King's death.

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Sukinahito ga Iru Koto 1-10! the end. jdrama. This is about a female patissier who starts working at a restaurant owned by three brothers. One of the brothers is an old crush, one is the unlikable head chef and the youngest is the token genki character. The two older brothers go back and forth on 'liking' Misaki which might've been amusing if constant emotional constipation was comedic for ten episodes. Anyway, it was a short drama with a happy ending. ~5/10 rating~ for being a short time waster. Not enough yummy food was showcased to make the show worthwhile.
Anime list for the fall...

Natsume Yuujinchou Go: 5th season of this series. More Nyanko-sensei is always a good thing.

Drifters: action eye-candy. Historical figures are plucked out of time to save the world.

Classicaloid: Beethoven and Mozart have magical powers and fight mechs? Sounds absurdly Japan.

3-gatsu no Lion: The latest manga from Umino Chika won a bunch of awards, so might as well check out the anime. It's about shogi...Japan really loves its game anime genre.

Fune wo Amu: about a dictionary editor, but is on many a list as being highly anticipated.
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The Handmaiden kmovie! I thought this was a horror movie from the initial trailer, but it was more of a dark romance (erotic, psychological thriller says wiki, but don't read wiki because it's based on a book and wiki gives away much of the interesting plot points). Park Chan-wook is the director who is known for his movies, Snowpiercer and Oldboy. This has the same beautiful cinematography and unusual story elements as his prior works. A young woman helps a con artist woo a rich woman out of her inheritance while posing as her maid. Things don't go as planned as love and betrayal come into play. I thought the end was lovely. Warnings for mildly explicit lesbian sex scenes. ~8/10 rating~ for the lush visuals and original storytelling.

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi jmovie! (Erased) is the movie version of the manga that was also an anime series last year. So slimming down an 8 volume manga to 12 episode anime cut a little of the story's detail out, and slimming it down further to a 2 hour movie cuts even more out. The movie focuses on Satoru trying to figure out who is kidnapping and killing young girls in the past to prevent his mother's murder in the future. The anime was excellent at ending each episode at a cliffhanger. Much of that thrill is lost in the movie. The movie takes a different route at the end, and it pretty much pegs Satoru as a moron for confronting a killer on his own twice. ~5/10 rating~ not for changing the ending, but changing it so badly that you wonder why there are 18 years worth of murders unchanged by the time travel. It's terrible, so don't watch this.

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Attack on Titan (and the End of the World) jmovies! are two movies based on the manga of the same name. While the anime followed the manga fairly closely, these live-action movies had to do some creative writing to get an incomplete story into the two movies. The first movie speeds through the re-introduction of the Titans to the walled country after 100 years of peace. It concludes with Eren being eaten and re-emerging as a Titan. The movie creates unnecessary conflict between Eren and Mikasa when Eren unintentionally leaves Mikasa behind during the first attack. After training, Eren meets Mikasa again only to find out that she blames him for what happened to her. The second movie starts with the military being suspicious of Eren. Another Titan saves him from the trial. We find that Shikishima (original movie character), an elite military figure, is also a Titan and wants to use the last remaning bomb to destroy the inner walls to see what the higher class people are hiding. Eren and his comrades oppose him and want to close the hole in the outer wall to protect the people. There were many plot points left hanging, so maybe they are planning another movie? The CGI and aerial footage were better than expected, but not great. ~6/10 rating~ warnings for excessive blood splatterings and weak story. Only watch this for the novelty.

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Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku jmovie! the first of two movies based on the manga of the same name. The actors are perfectly cast in their roles, and their personalities and relationships are preserved. The production is lovely, too. This first movie covers the creation of the karuta club and the local tournament. ~9/10 rating~ The humor and tension from the original story translate well into the live-action film. Looking forward to the 2nd movie.
Summer's almost gone. Here are some live-action dramas and movies I've recently watched.

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Kiki's Delivery Service live-action jmovie! pretty much follows the same plot as the Ghibli movie. Can't say that seeing it the 2nd time around with real actors elevates the story in any particular way. The special effects were not too flashy, and adhered to what they needed to be. Unfortunately, Jiji the cat looked a little fake at times. I much prefer the magical nature of 2D animation. ~6/10 rating~ for a rather unnecessary remake.

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Ore Monogatari!! live-action jmovie! is based on the manga of the same name which was also an anime series last year. The live-action version is pretty enjoyable. The actor who plays Takeo doesn't have the extreme height advantage over the other characters, but he does play the part of the clueless, scary teddy bear quite well. The actor who plays Suna plays the aloof, pretty-boy, best friend well, but really, any pretty boy actor could play that part. The movie mainly focuses on the misunderstanding between Yamato and Takeo. And with a little push from Suna, there's a happy ending. ~7/10 rating~ This was sweet and silly. Thankfully, the actress playing Yamato did not have the irritatingly high anime voice.

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My Love from Another Star 1-21! kdrama. the end. This show made the front-ish page of reddit, so I ended up seeing what the hype was about. IMO, it was good background noise. This is about an alien who gets stuck on earth for 400 years. Right before he has a chance to go back to his home planet, he falls for an arrogant, but lonely actress who moves in next door. I really wanted this to get better that more I watched, but I never really got attached. I did get distracted by staring at Do Min-Joon's face (played by Kim Soo-hyun) and wondering if he had collagen injections (my conclusion is yes). Pretty sure Cheon Song-ji (played by Jun Ji-hyun) had some facial work done, too. HD is not kind to aging Korean actors. Anyway, the show is fairly predictable. There are evil parents, an evil sibling, evil coworkers, and the super-nice, third wheel guy who will never get the girl. I was able to make it through by skipping the dull moments and being entertained by the occasional humorous parts. ~6/10 rating~ The show never delved too deeply into the sci-fi aspects of the story. His powers were used when convenient, and didn't work when convenient for angsty dramatic situations. And how is the relationship supposed to work if he is mostly immortal and she is aging. And they can't kiss without him getting sick? While some of the romance was definitely cute, I don't think I was ever convinced of the couple's supposed chemistry.

And on-going shows...

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Scarlet Heart: Ryeo 1-3! kdrama. So Lee Jun Ki in another period piece lured me in despite my inability to completely watch most of his prior shows. The first few episodes have quite a lot of cheeseball acting, but this quite typical of a show that boasts more than 2 pretty-boy leads...supposedly 14 pretty 'princes' in this show..or is it just 7? Anyway, IU plays a damsel in distress who drowns in present day korea and travels back in time to the Goryeo dynasty. You have your token evil queen and evil son with evil plots. There are a bunch of other princes who have yet to distinguish themselves from one another. An angst-ridden, outcast prince, aka Jun-ki's character, and an overly nice prince, can't-remember-his-name-but-the-actor-always-plays-third-wheel-characters, are the two who vie for IU's attention. The action scenes are ok and the story doesn't lag, so I may be able to stick with this for the duration. The actors are fun eye-candy...

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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds 1-4! kdrama. This drama is up against Scarlet Heart. It's also a historical drama, but a comedy rather than drama. A young woman is living as a male fortune teller trying to pay off family debt. While it is not a totally original set-up, it gets stranger from there. She gets sold off to the palace eunuchs to pay off the debts. She actually gets the penis-cutter drunk enough to think he did the deed and she manages to pass inspection. She runs into the prince (whom she doesn't identify), and in typical kdrama fashion, they initially hate each other. It'll be fun to see how they fall in love while he thinks she is a eunuch. The absurdity and silliness of this show is refreshing. Hopefully, the story doesn't get caught up in the political blahs and sticks with the comedy. In all likelihood, because this is a historical drama that sort of follows old-fashioned conventions, the two leads won't really end up together, but somehow remain friends. There's no way a eunuch could end up together with the prince.
Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 16-40! in episode 16, Saiki meets a boy who can see ghosts and knows of Saiki's powers. He becomes Saiki's apprentice despite Saiki's reluctance. Saiki's deadpan reactions and actions to avoid his friends are funny. Sports day at the school was especially funny. The mini comedic insights to Saiki's life are fun to watch.

Mob Psycho 100 4-8! Mob faces another student with psycho powers but tries not to use his powers. He inadvertently humiliates him, but gains an ally. Mob's brother suddenly develops powers after some intense brooding and jealousy towards Mob. His brother seems to be going to the dark side until a more powerful psychic beats up Mob, and kidnaps the brother. There are some comedic moments, but unlike Saiki, this veers towards drama and action.

91 Days 4-7! Nero continues to search for those responsible for his family's deaths. He currently works with the one of the people who tried to kill him in the past. The pacing is somewhat lethargic in this show. There are some nice twists as Nero manipulates the people around him...though I suspect they are actually suspicious of him. Episode 7.5 was a recap episode.

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Tales of Zestiria the X 4-8! Episode 4 ended with dark hurricane heading towards Sorey and the capital. Episode 5-6 jumped off into Tales of Berseria and Velvet Crowe, a woman who is on a prison island full of demons. She is kept alive to devour the demons with her demon hand. Had to wiki this twist and apparently the new 2016 RPG game, Tales of Berseria, takes place long before Tales of Zestiria and sets up the history of the same universe. The main bad guy seems to be Artorius, the people's savior and main exorcist. The terms of both stories seem loosely lifted from the King Arthur legend. Episode 7 returns to Sorey and Mikleo with a strong bromantic episode. Episode 8 introduces new seraphs and defines dragons as seraphs who have turned to the dark side...ha. There are definitely lovely background settings in this show.

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Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu 5-8! the end of this semi-season. Arslan and gang are in a merchant-filled, wealthy, port city. They bump the corrupt mayor-type person from power, and also solve the pirate problem. It's all going very well for them. Episode 6 brings Alfreed's brother, Etoile, and Princess Erina back into the story. It's interesting how easily the author manipulates the characters. By episode 8, all groups, Hermes, Arslan and Andragoras head toward Ecabatana to claim it as their own. Unfortunately, the anime has caught up with the manga. Apparently, there are two manga adaptations of the light novel series. The anime is following the one by Hiromu Arakawa (Hagaren), so no more anime until she finishes. ~7/10 rating~ While fun to watch, the anime production is still quite inconsistent and bad at times.

Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi 1! Like Arslan, this is another mini-season before a full season. Wasn't too fond of the first season, but might as well fill my time with something silly. Episode 1 re-introduces the characters as they try to catch Hawk, the disgruntled mini-pig.
Lengthy anime post ahead...

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Apparently this studio is experimenting with an anime app and released the whole season at once a la Netflix-style. It'll be interesting if this release model pans out for them..I think the anime pirates like it.
ReLIFE 1-13! the end. Initially thought that this would be a time-travel anime, but it's more of a science experiment that turns a young, jaded adult, Kaizaki Arata, from a 27 year old adult into a 17 year old high school student. He will redo a year in high school, but in his current time period. His appearance is the only thing that changed which becomes apparent when he comedically struggles in gym class. It's a cute anime with some comedy and shoujo-esque drama. The minamalistic background piano music is pretty fun to listen to. I also thought it was a nice nostalgic touch that every episode ended with a jpop song that would have been popular 10 years ago. ~8/10 rating The show spent a bit of time on Kariu's problems which slowed the pace down, and there was a drop in production quality. As a warning, the anime just ends after everyone becomes friendly. I guess viewers can read the manga to see what happens to Arata. Anyway, it was a cute shoujo anime.

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Orange 1! a group of high school friends get letters from their future selves telling them something in regards to a new transfer student. Girl falls in love with boy within the first episode...cue the eye roll. The show already reveals that Kakeru isn't with the group of friends in the future and that his (we can predict) death is preventable. Dropped because well, I spoiled myself below...

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Orange jmovie! saw that this was made into a live-action movie last year, and decided to check it out. As the anime hinted, the main female character, Naho, is a bit of a wimp. Even with a letter from her future self with a list of regrets and telling her what to do to save Kakeru, she stumbles with the letter. As a side note, a class in time travel and parallel worlds would have been awesome in high school. ~6/10 rating~ for a fairly predictable, sweet shoujo story. The movie was about 30 minutes too slow, but well-cast. Apparently giving your past self a note with a list of regrets doesn't help when your past self is a moron most of the time. She could have made the movie last 5 minutes if she pointed out that regret #1 was the most important step. It was predictable that the group was going to save Kakeru at the very last possible moment.

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Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 1-15! is a funny 4 minute show airing during the week and then compiled on Sunday. Episodes 1-2 introduce us to Kusuo Saiki, a young high school boy with psychic, telepathy, telekinesis powers and his laid-back, kooky parents. Episodes 3 and on introduce us to his classmates and other people who are unaware of his powers.

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Mob Psycho 100 1-3! is another anime about a young high school boy with strong psychic powers. It is implied that he will explode or go 100% psycho one day. Unlike Saiki, Mob doesn't know how powerful he is. He is taken advantage of by a young adult who runs a exorcism business. His boss pretends to have powers and pretends to be teaching Mob. This anime has a fairly unique animation style that is very raw in its drawings. The mangaka is ONE who also wrote One Punch Man, so the humor is fairly fun to watch. By watching Mob and Saiki, you can see how two authors approach the same type of main character differently, but still humorously.

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Fukigen na Mononokean 1-2! also not on my list but looked cute. A young boy, Ashiya, starts high school by finding a fluffy animal on the side of the road that seems to suck out his energy to the point where he is missing days of school. He sees an ad for an exorcist, Abeno, who is hiring and calls him for an exorcism. The exorcist in a fashion similar to xxxHOLiC coerces the student into working for him. Episode 2 emphasized the fact thtat the Abeno prefers to work for money while the Ashiya has a soft heart. It's not quite that fun, so dropped.

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Servamp 1! is about a young, motherless boy (story didn't say anything about the father), who grows up to be good at everything. His classmates tend to pawn off school projects on him since he feels it's 'simpler' to do them on his own. He picks up a cat on the street who turns out to be a vampire. Another vampire attacks, the boy and cat form a 'servamp' contract. I think I would have liked this when I was 12. Dropped.

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91 Days 1-3! Ah ha, a mafia story. A young boy witnesses the murder of his parents and younger brother and years later, seeks revenge during the Prohibition era. Style and characters remniscent of Baccano, but there's no humor.

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Tales of Zestiria the X 0-3! Not on my initial list but I'm a sucker for big budget anime shows and ufotable's production. There's a sword in a stone, 'LadyLake', mysterious mist, a badass-looking dragon, a badass princess, swords and guns. The prologue episode with Princess Alisha won me over.. Episode 1 introduces the main character, Sorey, and his seraph friend, Mikeo, who explore old architecture and find the princess who wanders in after the dragon destroys her comrades and the nearby town. Not sure what's going on and not really interested in the rpg game, but it's very Final Fantasy-like, and still very well-made. The last 'Tales of' series was decent, and this looks pretty good. The original game opening has a catchy rockin' opening by Superfly. The anime has a decent opening by Flow, but the original is more badass.

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Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu 1-4! continues that tale of Arslan. Gieve and the man in the silver mask hunt down a legendary sword that belongs to the true king, but a group from the evil Church steal it away. Arslan and his army win another battle, but in episode 2, the king, Arslan's 'father', is able to escape on his own and tracks Arslan down. He orders him to raise an army of 50k which is supposedly a banishment. No worries as Arslan's friends decide to help him. This really needs a bigger budget.

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Bananya 1! is a 3-minute show. The banana cat bounces around looking cute.

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Magi: Sinbad no Bouken 9-13! the end of this season. In episode 9, Sinbad and his crew are trying to trade with a country that has precious metals. After technically defeating the king who also has a dungeon weapon, Sinbad gains another companion in the form of the king's enthusiastic son. Episode 11 starts their adventure in a country run by women. He is also able to draw up an alliance with them. Thus, the season ends with Sinbad trading with three elusive countries, and gaining a good number of new companions. ~7/10 rating for a good-natured adventure anime.


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