Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Kakuriyo Review

Recently, I’ve watched a show that I’ve been wanting to see for just under a year now. As always, I’ll start with a summary of the story.

Aoi Tsubaki is a special girl who can see and speak to ayakashi. To protect herself, her grandfather, Shiro Tsubaki, teaches her how to cook food that appeals to the ayakashi’s tastes for mild and sweet foods. One day, not long after Shiro dies of an accident, Aoi learns that not only did she inherit her special ability from her late grandfather, but also that same grandfather got into a steep debt with one of the inns in the ayakashi world. To ensure the debt is paid, Shiro had signed a contract with the innkeeper, Master Ogre (I’ll call him Odanna since that sounds like an actual name and the show never gives him a real one) that states that in the event that Shiro is unable to repay his debt he will give Aoi up to be Odanna’s bride. She refuses, however, and makes her own deal with the ogre to work until the debt is paid in full so she can keep her autonomy and freedom to marry for love. To pay off the debt, she opens a small restaurant in the courtyard of the inn. Through her food, she makes friends, brings enemies to her side, pulls families together, and touches the hearts and souls of even the most soulless and cruel ayakashi. All the while, Odanna tries everything in his power to make her change her mind on marrying him; debt or no.

Saying this now, the relationship between Aoi and Odanna is really cute. He goes above and beyond, reading between the lines as to what she wants and what will make her happy. There are also so many times she acts like a child. Almost every time they go out into town together, her curiosity gets the best of her and she wanders away, leaving Odanna to have to hunt her down and save her from an ayakashi that she caught the eye of. Sadly, he doesn’t have much personality aside from whatever he believes will make Aoi happy and the kinda-sorta “father figure” of the inn. nearly everyone on his staff was taken in by him at a young and/or weakened state.

As for Aoi herself, she’s you typical spunky anime heroine who doesn’t take crap, and that somehow gets her friends everywhere she turns, the only thing that sets her apart from all other spunky heroines would be the fact that her main weapon of choice is food.

Another friend that Aoi made was Genji, the fox ayakashi who’s Odanna’s right-hand man so to speak. He’s a little sweetheart and acts like a protective big brother to Aoi when they go out in town together.

There are other ayakashi that befriends Aoi, but I’m actually low on time and most of them follow the same arc; “I don’t like you, you’re a human girl!”/”I won’t eat food made by a human woman!”, “This tastes good! Can I have more food?”, “WE ARE BEST BUDS NOW!” and they suddenly have the best relationship like they’ve been lifelong friends the whole time.

All in all, it’s a great show with adorable and likable characters, a compelling premise, and a sweet story. If that’s what you’re looking for, watch it yourself and come to your own conclusion. After you watch it, be sure to leave your own thoughts and opinions in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Side note, I’m getting busier and busier, so blogs may be less frequent. I know I already spaced the blogs out already, but I am out of ideas and little on time to get inspired. If you have any suggestions on ideas, please let me know in the comments. I’ll post when I can, but I don’t want to force myself to post just because of a schedule and risk lowering the quality of blogs.

Posted in Blogs, Review

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi Review

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, but just hear me out. I’m not a yaoi fangirl! With almost every yaoi I’ve seen, the writers write a story around the project being yaoi rather than write a story that complements yaoi. I was going to write this one off as something like those shows that claim to be “homosexual progressive” when really there’s no plot or conflict anywhere insight, almost like they just threw something together as if to say “look! We’re not homophobic! We have these characters!” even though the characters in question don’t have any characterization and aren’t backed by any story plot. However, one day, AnimeAngel120 dared me to watch one episode of one yaoi of her choosing, and this was what she picked. All I could say about that is props to her for knowing me well enough to show me a yaoi anime that has a compelling love story and isn’t just yaoi for the sake of yaoi.

Now, let me summarize the story to explain what I mean.

Ritsu Onodera is the son of a highly credible and successful editor and is even the owner of an editing company. However, to get out from under his father’s shadow, Ritsu leaves the company his family owns and applies instead to a different editing company. While his application was for the literature department, so he’d edit and send off literary works, the only availability is in the Shojo Manga department that’s run by Masamune Takano, who was Ritsu’s not-so-sweet-highschool-sweetheart. After clearing the misunderstandings that lead to their 10-year-old breakup, Masamune promises that he’ll make Ritsu fall in love with him all over again, so they could pick up where they left off when they were dumb teenagers. At the same time, another manga editor, Yoshiyuki Hatori, begins dating in secret with his childhood friend and editing client, Chiaki Yoshino, and another one of the manga editors, Shouta Kisa, falls in a superficial love with one of the sale clerks who’s the most successful selling his projects, Kou Yukina.

First off, let me just say, I admire how this show tackles three separate popular love story scenarios, the “previously dated back together” couple in Masamune and Ritsu, the “childhood friends” couple in Yoshiyuki and Chiaki, and the “love at first sight” couple in Shouta and Kou. However, while all three are there and are well done, each having just enough screen time to properly establish each couples insecurities and strengths, it is mostly Masamune and Ritsu who take center stage. The way that it’s set up actually reminds me of old soap-operas my mother used to watch when I was young, like Days of our Lives; with each episode, you don’t really know which love story you’re following, but they’re each interconnected. Example, there would be one episode where Yoshiyuki leaves the office early because Chiaki is falling behind on his deadline when Ritsu is freaking out about missing the deadline. The next episode, it shows that Chiaki got sick and couldn’t work. (I can’t remember if that’s actually how the episode flow is, it’s just an example.)

I guess I should give a detailed review on each of the main characters. Warning now, this may contain spoilers, though I’ll try not to spoil too much.

Ritsu definitely reminds of a type of tsundere with a hardened shell. With his past relationship with Masamune, he hasn’t allowed himself to love anyone to nearly the same degree, though, he comes across as almost mean-spirited a lot of the time. Too often, he forgets that words have consequences and he’s reminded multiple times that his actions contradict his words and other actions, sending very confused and mixed messages to Masamune and Takafumi (Masamune’s protective college friend). While the audience can see the consistencies of his words and actions (due to the show being through his eyes when it focuses on his love story), it doesn’t change the fact that outwardly, he sends mixed signals and red flags. He’s still a likable character because of his work ethic and the few times he’s allowing himself to have a relationship with Masamune.

Speaking of, Masamune isn’t near innocent either. After he hears why Ritsu ran away and never came back, he dedicates every free second to prove to him that the love they have is real. Countless times, he invades Ritsu’s personal space, even crossing the sexual harassment line multiple times. Still, his determination to get Ritsu to fall back in love with him is actually admirable. He doesn’t single him out at work, but he also very clearly cares about him and encourages Ritsu to at least meet him halfway as, either a work superior or just a friend and neighbor.

With the second couple I wanna talk about, Chiaki and Yoshiyuki, are more like sweetheart falling in love instead of one side being in love and pursuing someone who has stated that he’s not interested. Chiaki and Yoshiyuki both tell each other that they love each other constantly. However, the love triangle they’re in is a little annoying. Chiaki has a friend from his school days, Yuu, who’s also pursuing him. Yoshiyuki is jealous of all the time Chiaki wants to spend with Yuu, all the while, Chiaki doesn’t understand why his childhood friend and lover doesn’t like it when he goes on a trip with his school friend instead.

With the third couple, Shouta and Kou, honestly, I feel their relationship is phoned in and kind of boring. I mean, it’s so phoned in that Kou literally says (paraphrasing) “I’m really a straight guy, but for you, I’ll go gay.” Plain and simple, they’re cliched and boring to me, I don’t even really want to talk about them honestly.

But what did you guys think? Did you enjoy the “ex-couple back together” relationship in Ritsu and Masamune, the “childhood friends” love triangle in Chiaki, Yoshiyuki, and Yuu, or the “strangers love at first sight” couple in Shouta and Kou? I personally enjoyed the first/main couple, but I want to know your thoughts (also, I promise, I’m not going to turn this blog into a yaoi/fanservice site; this is just a one time thing because I felt the need to review this specific anime, that just happened to be a yaoi). Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Meiji Tokyo Renka Review

I just finished watching Meiji Tokyo Renka just moments ago as of writing this blog, and it left me speechless in different ways. Let me give a short summary if you hadn’t seen it yet.

Mei Ayazuki is a normal high school student, only she’s the only one in her class who can hear ghosts and spirits. This alienates her from her classmates. One night, under a full moon, she passes a street performance of an odd magician who singles her out and calls her forward as “audience participation”. He claims he can make her disappear from a box, but he ends up sending her through time and space back to the Meiji era of Tokyo. Mei meets colorful men while crashing a party, and gets invited to stay at a mansion of Ogai Mori, the man who declared her his fiance in order to save her from the party guests. As time passes, she helps others find and calm spirits that they can’t communicate with alone, and prooves herself worthy to stand at Ogai’s side to save him from embarrassment. At the same time she’s offered a one-way ticket back home during the next full moon, but she must know for certain whether she wants to stay in the Meiji era or return home to the modern era, knowing whichever she chooses, someone will be left behind.

Oh boy, there’s quite a bit to unpack here. Initially, I was kind of put off by it because the first episode was set up more like a dating simulator than an anime, even for reverse-harem standards. However, I actually really fell in love with the characters by episode 3. Unlike most harems, the main character, Mei, is kind, determined, and has a quirk I don’t see much. She has a bottomless pit of a stomach for, not sweets, or rice, or any feminine type of food you’d expect, but beef. She actually reminded me a lot of Nanami Momozono from Kamisama Kiss without the back and forth aspect. Like Nanami, Mei breaks promises and puts herself in danger for the sake of others time and time again.

While on the subject of Kamisama Kiss, Ogai reminds me of how Tomoe acts in the books. Like Tomoe, Ogai wants to put his past behind him, move on, and accept that his last love is lost and he has a new love right in front of him. Ogai is very protective of Mei, showing up at locations he has no business being at just to be sure Mei is always protected; when he can’t be there, he sends someone he trusts whole-heartedly to stay with her.

Shunso, the one Ogai trusts and typically sends in his stead, also has a lot going for him. He’s a shut-in artist who’s actually trying to find a black cat that came to life from his painting. He’s more the tsundere type, and typically prefers to keep to himself.

Since the show is only 12 episodes, the other characters hadn’t really made enough of an impact on me to analyze their personalities. Honestly, most of the time is dedicated to Mei, Ogai, and Shunso. The other guys are more of…just there to act as Ogai’s rivals, similar to the Dragon Warriors are to Hak in Yona of the Dawn; they have personalities, but not given a ton of time to develop them and they’re only there to fill the rival role (which is filled well in Meiji Tokyo Renka).

Something else I wanna talk about is the time period. So many times, when I watch a time-traveling anime, it’s always to the 1500s and earlier. This is the only time I could think of where the time-traveling is to the 1920s; that’s close enough to modern-day to contemplate the benefits and dangers of electricity (no joke, they make a rap discussing the pros and cons of electricity) instead of struggling to use a bow and arrows to survive camp-outs/bandit attacks. Clearly, I’m getting a little tired of 1500s Japan and I find this very refreshing.

There you have it, a short review for a short series. It was quite bizarre and stretching my expectation in what I can accept from an anime at first, but by the third episode, I was hooked. There is one comment I have to make that is a spoiler, so prepare yourself.

You prepared for spoilers? Good. My heart hurt when Mei went back home and left Ogai on his porch saying “I’m sure we’ll see her again”. I know they throw ending lines like that just to illude to a second season, but I can’t see how a second season could even happen. Granted, I’ve only watched the 12 episodes. I hadn’t seen anything about a manga or games, so maybe there is an ongoing manga in production that allows for that to happen, but I don’t see how it’s possible and that breaks my heart. Ogai has no access, or even knowledge, of the Modern Era, and since Mei returning home was a one-way ticket, she has no access to return to Ogai. The only things she could do is read Ogai’s novels. I find that just…bitter-sweet. I normally don’t talk about the final moments of a series when I make a review, but I couldn’t help it. This is worse than most harems, where the lead doesn’t make a decision or makes a non-decision and things continue as they are in the events of the show. Mei makes a clear decision, and leaves the man she loves 80-90-ish years in the past. I’ve only seen an ending to a harem like that once before, and that’s for Dance with Devils (I may review that after a refresher later).

All in all, Meiji Tokyo Renka is…fun. It’s an entertaining way to pass the time, but nothing ground-breaking. If you’re looking for a harem, you’ll most likely be disappointed, but if you’re looking for a romance, then you might find this enjoyable. What did you think? Did you like it, or skip it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Fritz Route Review

First off, if you’re reading this on the day of posting, it’s my parent’s wedding anniversary today! Sorry, I just can’t think of a better day to post a conclusion to a Dating Sim review (I might do more reviews like this in the future if I get into another dating sim that’s as rich in story as this one, so let me know of any suggestions in the comments).

Now, if you hadn’t seen my last post, this is kinda a continuation of that one. Cinderella Phenomenon simply has too much content to cram into one review. I mean, each of the five routes is it’s own story; no two are even remotely the same. Since Fritz’s was the fifth and the final route I chose in my quest for completion (though I wanted to play him either first or second, I couldn’t because he was a locked character), I will write a review of his route as my own grand finale to the Cinderella Phenomenon Review Series. Click here if you want to read my reviews of the other routes, but just in case you’re not interested in them, let me sum up the set-up for the game before going into the review.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

The Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Fritz is cursed with what’s called the Little Red Riding Hood Curse (the witch that cursed him wasn’t the most creative with naming it). To put simply, he’s trapped with a split personality of sorts. By day, he’s the honorable, loyal, white knight in shining armor. By night, when he falls asleep, a second person animates his body and turns him into a Big Bad Wolf. Mythros, the witch that cursed him, designed his curse to never be broken, so the only way Fritz could be free would be if his Big Bad Wolf persona, Varg, would be overpowered by Fritz himself.

Initially, I was skeptical on how a route with Fritz could even be pulled off, since right before the player chooses which route they want to play, there’s a question of “who do you choose to be your partner?” so, in my mind, the princess would verbally answer the question with a name of the character the player would choose to romance. However, that early in the story, she wouldn’t know that Fritz is cursed to begin with. I guess you could say she answers the question by being stubborn and not accepting a partner, but that sounds too convenient for me.

Moving on, Fritz is definitely the Loyal Type. He doesn’t question the princess’ decisions and only requires that he accompany her to places where it might be dangerous. Just putting this out there, as soon as he refused to return to the tavern with the princess and insisted that his home is the best place for her, I immediately got a bad feeling. While he does almost anything the princess asks for, by denying her from returning to the tavern alone, he causes her to be put in her more danger. Because the princess feels just as unsafe in the house as I did when I was playing, this route suffers similarly to Waltz’s route in that he doesn’t get much time to the romance part of his own route. Karma, Delora, and Waltz get more time with the princess and more opportunity to save her and express concern for her than Fritz does. Karma soothes the princess’ tears when she’s blaming herself for other people’s deaths, Waltz gets angry when the princess runs away and accuses him of not caring, Delora simply acts like a real mother figure, even Rumpel tries to cheer her up and reassure her that he won’t let a second person die in one night. Even when Fritz does appear, it’s when he’s already been taken over by Varg or there has to be a guessing game on whether it’s Varg talking or Fritz, so Fritz himself isn’t even there, but Varg acts like a median between the princess and Fritz while also being under the control of Mythros.

While on that subject, Mythros is…different in this route. He’s still creepy and untrustworthy, but he’s so blunt and straightforward when he shows up. He tells truths without batting an eye and stretches the truth so expertly that it makes sense why the princess would fall for it. I mean, if someone walked up to you, and admitted to what you accused them of in a matter-of-fact manner without hesitation, then told you something that confirms your suspicions, would you fall for it? It’s a bad situation, and Mythros makes it worse, but for a split second, even after playing through all the other routes, I almost believed he was on the princess’ side.

Ok, time for the spoiler warnings (sorry, everything else I want to say about Fritz is, of course, dripping in spoilers). If you hadn’t yet, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

………..

If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

This whole route made me cry my eyes out! Not like Rumpel’s or Waltz’s, where my eyes kinda watered, no. Here, I cried so hard I had to leave the computer to clean my face of the tears no less than three times! That’s not even for the bad ending! It’s just for the main story!

So, since I mentioned before already that Mythros has an early appearance, let’s start the sum-up from that point and quickly get to the endings.

Mythros shows up at the tavern after the princess ran away from Fritz’s house. Mythros, being the oddly persuasive snake that he is, confirms that he is a witch and that he remembers Princess Main Character’s true identity. While there, he also plants seeds of ideas that leads her to betray and leave the cursed group at the tavern. She leaves in a fit of rage and returns to the palace alongside Mythros. Months pass and she’s noticing that Fritz is seen around the palace less and less, and Varg is seen more and more. After an investigation, she finds that Fritz and Varg are the same person, as is stated in his curse. She demands Mythros fix Fritz’s curse and instead informs her that the curse wasn’t designed to be broken and Fritz is on his own trying to overpower his Big Bad Wolf. Soon, the princess’ birthday comes and Mythros’ birthday gift is a chance to revive her mother, which she takes. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of energy and she’s out cold for a week. Of course, who else does she find at her bedside than Varg. Apparently, ever since Fritz came to terms with being cursed, he just gave up the reins to Varg completely so he can curl in a mental ball and sulk over how he denied his curse’s existence. Therefore, Varg, knowing full well that the princess wants Fritz, is the one who stays by her side. Also, since her birthday came to pass, her curse automatically expired because…I don’t know….reasons.

With the revival of her mother, Hyldir, Princess’ Main Character’s step-family is exiled from the palace, and her father is left brain-dead. Fairly quickly, the princess figures out that her mother is as cruel and wicked as everyone claimed she is. The two knights, Jurin and Garlan (still not confident I spelled their names right) come to the palace to save her and return her to the tavern. Unfortunately, Hyldir catches them and separates the knights and gets Garlan killed and Jurin severely injured, though the princess does make it to the tavern. Garlan’s death is the first time I spill tears in this route. With Rumpel tending to Jurin’s injuries, promising to not let her die, Delora is comforting the princess and trying to convince her that it’s not her fault someone died. Finally, Parfait comes in the picture with a plan. She will send the princess back into the palace for one day to retrieve the box and key that will break Waltz’s curse, and meet them at the gates at midnight. Waltz’s curse will break, and they’ll have the upper hand with another powerful witch on their side. Unfortunately, when the plan is put into action, the princess is caught by Hyldir and Varge, and Delora’s life is lost in the escape attempt. After mourning her death, the princess moves forward to de-thrown her mother and save her father. Here’s where the two endings divide.

In the bad ending, the princess meets Varg and Hyldir in the underground tunnels. Hyldir expresses disappointment at the woman the princess has grown to be and sends a strike with the same spell that killed Dalora. Varg recognizes the lethality of the spell and acts as the princess’ human shield. In his final moments, he admits that he fell in love with her just like Fritz has. Just before dying, he allows Fritz to return to the surface so the princess can see the life in her knight’s eyes one last time.

Admittedly, I would’ve cried for Varg and Fritz, but by the time I saw their deaths, I was cleaned dry of tears from four other deaths in the route. Sadly, that’s just about all I have to say about the bad ending.

In the good ending, the princess meets Varg in the throne room. He’s ordered to keep the king in custody and to take the princess back into custody. Varg refuses and sides with the princess, claiming that he fell for her just like Fritz. To prove it, Varg steps aside and erases himself from existence to let Fritz break his curse. Mythros, angry that his curse was broken by Fritz of all people, begins to fight him in attempts to overpower and/or kill the knight. While that’s going on, the princess is just trying to wake her father up from his trance. She’s able to save him with a simple, genuine apology for being such a jerk to him and everyone else her whole life. Mythros gets even more furious. Hyldir comes in the picture not at all happy about this and shows that she knew of the break-in all along, having Parfait with her involuntarily and wounded. Hyldir says a speech about how the princess shouldn’t have such compassion for traitors and even lashes out on Mythros for making weak curses and so many mistakes, killing him. Parfait can’t take anymore and summons her Lucis Crystal, destroying it. Hyldir and the princess both try and fail to stop her as both Parfait and Hyldir faid into gold and silver dust. With their death, so does magic cease to exist in the world, and so to do all the curses break and all magical beings lose their magical power. With magic no longer an interfearance, the princess decides to turn her education to history and spend her free time with her family to see the world and the people they rule over. Still though, Fritz joins the princess in mourning the departed lives sacrificed to get this far; Garlan, Dalora, Parfait, and even Hyldir has a well maintained grave site. Fritz stays glued to the princess’ side, obviously not learning his lesson from the beginning that she needs space and may not always want to be accompanied. Fritz and the princess have a special romantic moment, with a small hint that Varg may still be there somewhere.

As always the good ending is jam-packed with a big climax of betrayal, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and leaves with something that’s both uplifting and yet has an under-laying sense of unease like there’s still a small piece of the story missing. I’m really curious if Varg is a larger part of Fritz’s personality than originally thought, since really, over half the romance interactions for Fritz are with Varg, so fritz himself doesn’t have much personality outside of Varg and a cardboard cut-out of the “Protective Honorable Knight” title.

I do like how they ended Varg and Fritz on a high note, be they alive or anything but, and still confirming what was hinted at, not only in this route, but in all of Varg’s appearances in the other routes; that whatever feelings Fritz has for the princess, Varg involuntarily has for her as well (seriously, play through any of the other routes and tell me straight-faced that Varg isn’t doing what he can to be sure the princess isn’t harmed in any way shape or form like how Fritz would).

All in all, I was very satisfied with the conclusion, and I’m happy that I played these routes in the order that I did. Karma’s route sparked my initial curiosity on Varg, introducing him at the last possible moment, Rod’s route feed my curiosity a little more by showing he’s not only working for Alcaster but Mythros aswell, Rumpel’s route claimed that Varg isn’t a fan of witches, which Waltz’s route confirms. And now, Fritz’s while route is the explanation of why Varg hates witches. If I had to pick between this route and Waltz’s route for most epic and climactic, it would be a really close call. However, I kinda would wanna give it to Waltz, since, not only does Waltz not die in his bad ending, but that bad ending is the absolute worst possible outcome, and on top of that, Waltz’s had a magic duel between the princess and Hyldir, while in Fritz’s they just kinda talked it out. On the other hand, the only real conclusive thing I can say about Fritz that feels like it tied the whole story in a pretty bow is the mystery of Varg is unmasked. While it does take center stage, that same mystery is also revealed in Waltz’s route, so…yeah. If I were to play these in a storytelling chronological order, I would’ve swapped Waltz and Fritz.

What do you think? Is Fritz the Loyal Wolf of your dreams, or you more of a cat person? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the five options did you want to pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Waltz the Sweet Big Brother type? Fritz the Protective Loyal type? Let me know. Sadly, there will not be a next time since this concludes my reviews of Cinderella Phenomenon, but feel free to either leave a suggestion of any other dating sims you’d want me to review, or go back to my first review with a peculiar beauty, but funny guy; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Waltz Route Review

If you hadn’t seen my last post, this is kinda a continuation of that one. Cinderella Phenomenon simply has too much content to cram into one review. I mean, each of the five routes is it’s own story; no two are even remotely the same. Since Waltz’s was the fourth route I chose in my quest for completion (though I wanted to play him either first or second, I couldn’t because he was a locked character), I will write a review of his route next. Click here if you want to read my reviews of the other routes I’ve talked about so far, but just in case you’re not interested in them, let me sum up the set-up for the game before going into the review.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

The Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Waltz is cursed with what’s called the Neverland Curse. Basically, he’s cursed so that, while his mind would mature over the years, his body will be stagnated until he can find three things; Tinkerbell, Neverland, and his shadow. To add insult to injury, he’s a witch, but with the loss of his shadow, so are his magical abilities are lost. Unlike the three previous routes, Waltz is an open book about his curse, and doesn’t shy away from the princess. However, similar to Karma and Rod, Waltz has already given up on breaking his curse by the time the princess crosses paths with him; having been cursed for presumably at least 10 years (he looks like he’s 12, claims he’s 22, and when the king sees him, he comments that he looks exactly the same as when he was first cursed).

What’s surprising is that we learn more about other characters than just Waltz in this route. Since Waltz’s and Princess Main Character’s curses are both broken halfway through the story, as opposed to in the grand finale or climax, there’s attention put on other characters, like Rumpel breaks part of his curse and reveals that he’s a doctor, Karma confesses that he’s the Lost Prince of the neighboring kingdom, and we finally get more info on a character I’ve been questioning since the start of it all. This is the only route other than his own where Fritz makes an appearance as himself and answers the question of Varg’s mysterious appearance. This route feels like a complete story, allowing you to learn about all the characters the princess meets instead of just the current love interest. I feel that if you could play this route first (though I know it’s not possible since this is one of the locked routes) then you’d learn just enough about each character to be curious about them and compelled to play their routes. Sadly, this does work against it since, once Waltz’s curse is broken in, like, chapter 4 or 5, he kinda fades in the background and accepts more supporting roles; filling the teacher’s role when the princess is practicing magic and even taking a Damsel in Distress role in the climax (though I’ll get to that later in the “spoilers” section). While I’m glad that they took time for the other characters to make this route feel more like a fully fleshed out story, it turned out as a double-edged sword against Waltz’s favor.

When the route is focused on the romance, Waltz kinda reminds me of a Big Brother type despite his cursed form which makes him look more like a 12-year-old child rather than the 22-year-old man he claims to be, but different from Karma. While Karma is teasing and protective of the princess’ physical state, Waltz is more playful and protective of her joy and innocence. He wants nothing more than to honor the promises he made to her when they were children playing in her room when the queen wasn’t looking. However, because their friendship was in secret, the queen eventually found out and erased the princess’ memories of ever having a friend while giving Waltz his curse.

Ok, time for the spoiler warnings to come in (sorry, everything else I want to say about Waltz is dripping in spoilers since crap hits the fan so early in his story). If you hadn’t yet, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

………..

If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

First, to catch you up real quick in case you didn’t head the warnings, as I said earlier or you simply need a refresher, Waltz and Princess Main Character break their curses halfway through the story, and the trip to breaking their curses was just as tense as the climax and finale of the other routes I’ve played so far. Princess Main Character asks how to break Waltz’s curse, and he said he needs to find Tinkerbell and Neverland, which are both a key and a box. His “shadow”, his magical power, is inside the box. After hearing a description of the box and key, the princess recognizes that those two objects are in her room at the palace. After telling Waltz this, they eagerly ask Rod for help breaking into the palace. It just so happens that the night they break in to retrieve Neverland and Tinkerbell, is the same night that Mythros and Alcaster stage their separate coups; Alcaster for the throne, and Mythros for reviving Hyldir, Princess Main Character’s mother. Long story short since this is only really the “mid-max”, not the “climax”, Waltz gets the Royal Family safely to the tavern, the princess gets her second and thrid good deeds by insisting Waltz save his own skin and not hers and by preparing to sacrifice herself to prevent Hyldir from returning. Oh, and Varg FINALLY IS UNMASKED! He is confirmed to be Fritz, or at least a version of Fritz. Still though, the princess’ efforts are in vain, her mother is revived, and her father is the first of many casualties.

That’s not even in the climax, but it set up everything for the climax. Fritz is not trusted, even though he talks like Varg is a separate person sharing his body, or a split personality, Hyldir is set loose on the kingdom spreading fear and anger, and all Princess Main Character can do from that point on is learn everything she can about magic. Waltz being her magic teacher almost does more harm than good. Similar to when Karma agreed to teach her sword fighting, he only ever taught her how to defend and escape attackers and kidnappers until her stubbornness to join an actual battle lead him to teach her real swordplay, Waltz does the same. He teaches her nothing but barriers until Hyldir’s arrival is already nearly upon them and she insists on learning at least one offensive spell. She learns only one that’s only powerful enough to stun or paralyze.

The actual endings themselves are the only ones that have no death or bloodshed that’s not unavoidable. However, the effects of the bad ending is horrifying and dooms the whole kingdom, even though the princess and her love interest are safe from harm as opposed to the other bad endings I’ve played so far, where the love interest dies at the princess’ hand, whether intentional (in Karma’s case), unintentional (in Rumpel’s case), or indirectly (in Rod’s case).

In the set-up for the endings, the princess, along with Karma, the two knights, and Waltz all attend Alcaster’s announcement to gain some knowledge of what’s happened in the palace since her father’s demise. On the way, they meet Fritz, who claims that Queen Hyldir will make a public appearance and kill his father, Alcaster. Of course, he’s not trusted by the princess and party, after they unmasked Varg and saw Fritz’s face under the mask. Fritz explains what happened, sounding like Varg is a second personality that took over his body somewhat and he claims it’s part of his own curse which he was oblivious to until recently. At Alcaster’s announcement as the new king after the princess’ father’s death, he claims that the princess is to blame (Now that her curse is broken, everyone remembers her). Hyldir crashes the gathering, kills Alcaster, and strikes fear in the citizen’s hearts to fuel the crystal she now is forced to share with the princess. Princess Main Character doesn’t allow the people to get hurt and extends the strongest barrier she can to protect the crowd from the attacks. Hyldir tries to regain the princess’ allegiance and fails. Seeing this and realizing that the crystal isn’t under her sole control, she gets a cruel idea. Hyldir takes Waltz hostage and claims she’ll return him in one piece if Princess Main Character gives up her magic and swears to be her obedient princess. The princess contemplates the decision at her feet long after the queen disappears with Waltz. She is turned on by the people, still blaming her and willing to take her for the bounty on her head Alcaster claimed just before his death. She accepts her fate at the hands of the people until she notices that the children she played with and family she was kind to earlier is there to defend her. With a lesson in how being selfless pays off, she goes against the advice and better judgment of Karma and the knights, puts up a barrier around the palace, and flees in search of Waltz and her mother.

In the bad ending, when the princess meets with her mother again, she agrees to give up her magic in exchange for Waltz’s freedom, ignoring Waltz’s pleas of denial and claims that she’ll never be the same again. The only things that matter to her at that moment in time are 1) Waltz is set free and 2) her life is spared (though she cares more about the first point than the second). Hyldir reassures her that she will live to see another day, and proceeds to drain her powers. While she does stay true to her promise and free Waltz, he refuses to leave now that the princess is a shell of her former self and a puppet who only knows the words “Yes, Mother”. With Hyldir firmly in the crown and on the throne, the kingdom is doomed and the princess’ last promise to her father is broken.

While Waltz is alive and is technically free to leave, live to see another day, this definitely earns it achievement title of Stolen Dawn. Waltz lives to see another day with the princess at his side, however, the life in the princess is stolen and the kingdom is doomed to live in fear while in Hyldir’s rule for the remainder of their lives and in the foreseeable future.

The good ending is actually the one that has more death. In this ending, when the princess faces her mother again, she’s faced with the same dilemma, only this time her barrier is broken by Delora and Parfait, who both are there to talk the princess out of it. However, Hyldir raises a barrier blocking out Delora and Parfait and blocking herself, the princess, and Waltz in. The princess gets an idea to pretend to be in Hyldir’s side so she can give the final blow when her guard’s down. The fact that no one else in the room knows her plan makes it all the more convincing, working more in her favor is when Hyldir demands that the princess kill Waltz for being a traitor in order to prove her loyalty. Thinking quickly, the princess uses the only offensive spell she knows, a lightning spell. After the spell is charged and ready to strike, she turns to Hyldir at the last second and strikes her instead of Waltz. With the queen now stunned, her barrier and binding spells are broken and Parfait finishes the job, reducing the queen to a pile of silvery grey dust. When they all return to the tavern, the princess as the new crystal bearer breaks everyone’s curses. Karma can dress as a man in public again, Rod can speak, Rumpel remembers his given name, etc. and Parfait makes her final goodbye’s and fades into a cloud of golden dust due to her body completely having given out. The princess says her goodbyes to everyone, promising that she’ll visit them all again soon before leaving for the palace with Waltz. Rather than use a portal to instantly magic to the palace, Waltz insists that they walk instead. The princess is uneasy but goes with it anyway. On the way to the palace, she’s treated as a hero, children running up to give her bouquets of lilies, families and shop owners raining lily petals from higher windows, and everyone she passes giving her a bow and thanks. The story ends on the night of her coronation, where she will be met with everyone again. With Waltz at her side, she vows to never be like her mother again.

This ending is very reminiscent of a Hero’s Journey ending. The princess saves countless lives by being clever and witty, which are traits she’s always had, but now she also has concern for the common folk and her new loved ones. While in other routes, the difference between a good and bad ending is reliant on knowing about the fairytales, making the guy fall in love a little faster, or learning a detail as small as the fact that smacking the living crap out of someone is the most effective way to pull someone from a dazed trance, this ending is completely reliant on whether or not the princess loves the love interest more than she loves her mother. Either way, she as to chose to sacrifice her mother’s life or her lover’s freedom. In the bad ending, she loves her mother too much to sacrifice her, clinging to hope that she could be saved and the two of them could be a family, while in the good ending she recognizes that it’s too late for Hyldir. While she loves her mother just as much as anyone loves their mother, she can see past her blind love and knows the only way to save her is to kill her.

Both endings of this route seem a lot more dire of stakes than the others I’ve played. While in Karma’s route, Alcaster was the big bad, talking about Queen Hyldir having the best ruling strategy, in Rod’s route, Alcaster was a fools-errand, having been arrested before it’s revealed that Mythros was pulling the strings and requests the princess’ help (though never explains what he wants help with), in Rumpel’s route, Alcaster is dead before he even poses a threat and Mythros is the only bad guy, openly asking for the princess’ help in either reviving the queen or her being just like Hyldir. In Waltz’s route, all the conflicts with Alcaster and Mythros happen so early in the story so Hyldir could swoop in and be the real threat. She’s been teased in dreams and dialogue so many times, I figured she’d somehow make an appearance as a grand finale of sorts. It’s no wonder why in the main menu art, Waltz’s stain glass window is front and center while Rumpel’s, Fritz’s, Rod’s, and Karma’s are all off to the sides. Visuals like that in the first thing you see when booting up the game typically means Waltz is the most crucial to the story. This even follows Anime Harem logic; the first boy that’s introduced is gonna be the main love interest unless there’s a childhood friend. Walt’z is, not only the first character the princess meets after getting cursed, but even before getting cursed, but on top of that, he is a childhood friend. His route is most likely meant to be the grand finale. However, I still like the idea that the relation between Fritz and Varg is the biggest mystery, so I don’t regret the order that I’ve played these even now.

What do you think? Is Waltz the Sweet Brother of your dreams, or you not interested in his childish candy? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the five options did you want to pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Waltz the Sweet Big Brother type? Fritz the Protective Loyal type? Let me know. Next time we’ll go to the last, but not least, of the bachelors. Over the river and through the woods, but it’s not to Grandmother’s house we’re going; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Rumpel Route Review

If you hadn’t seen my last few posts, this is kinda a continuation. Cinderella Phenomenon simply has too much content to cram into one review. I mean, each of the five routes is it’s own story; no two are even remotely the same. Since Rumpel’s was the third route I reluctantly chose in my quest for completion (his route also concludes the routes you can play first), I will write a review of his route next. Click here if you want to read my reviews of the other routes I’ve talked about so far, but just in case you’re not interested in them, let me sum up the set-up for the game before going into the review.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

The Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Rumpel is cursed with what’s called the Rumpelstiltskin Curse. Similar to Princess Main Character’s Cinderella curse, Rumpel’s curse forces those who’ve known him to forget his name (however they all keep the memory of what he’s done for them in the past), meanwhile Rumpel himself has no memory or recollection of who he was before he’s found in the street by Parfait. When the princess meets him, his curse is recent enough that he’s just as new to the tavern as Princess Main Character.

Now, I’m gonna be blunt…I didn’t like Rumpel in the beginning. I wouldn’t have been able to go through with it without giving my two best friends constant updates on the game just to get my thoughts off my chest of exactly how much characters with Rumpel’s type of personality gets under my skin. However, for completionist’s sake, and for the sake of the review, I endured all he shallow flattery and dumb puns that I really hate seeing in otome characters. One thing that surprised me was the fact that Karma is more open and honest about what’s on his mind and his curse while the princess is partnered with Rumpel than he was when she’s partnered with Karma himself (on top of that, Karma made several claims in his arguments with Rumpel that I’d argue, saying he doesn’t lie to his partner…wait…off topic…). Rumpel’s journey had a similar mystery as Karma, but since Rumpel himself has amnesia, it’s easy to paint him as an honest person while keeping the mystery of his past alive.

Comparing to Karma (since both in Karma’s and in Rumpel’s routes, people make a point to compare the two of them), Karma has to side-step the truth to keep his curse and background a mystery whereas Rumpel is just as much in the dark with his past as anyone else. While the way to learn about Karma is through prodding and nagging, the way to learn about Rumpel is asking everyone other than him. From the little boy who recognized him as a doctor that saved his life, to his fiancee who possesses all of Rumpel’s journals and diaries, everyone Rumpel touched before his curse automatically knows more about him than Rumpel himself.

Rumpel does break his own curse before the end, unlike Rod and Karma. While I was a little worried/intrigued on what that would mean for their relationship, whether or not Princess Main Character’s curse will start to affect Rumpel, I am a little disappointed that it didn’t take that route. However, I do understand why Rumpel wouldn’t forget about the princess the moment he remembers his name, that would be tragic and cruel to grant him with memories of his whole life in exchange for memories he shared with the princess.

Also, of course, Varg shows up once again, though unlike in Karma’s and Rod’s routes where he showed up at the end, this time he randomly shows up in the middle of the story out of nowhere and serves nothing to the plot; he’s literally just someone who literally bumps into the princess on the street.

Ok, here’s your warning. I can’t talk anymore about Rumpel’s route without spoiling anything since a large part of his route is unraveling the mystery of his past. I’m now gonna talk about Rumpel’s good and bad endings. If you want to find out the end of this story on your own, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

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If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

While Rumpel’s good ending is cute and bad ending is gruesome, both endings nearly brought me to tears.

Just for some background, there are some rumors going around that the palace has been thrown into chaos with witches taking over and the knights staging a coup against the king and royal family. However, the crown is left unclaimed. While out getting medicine with Rumpel, Princess Main Character gets captured and drugged by Varg before reawakening in her bedroom at the palace. She’s informed that Sir Alcaster is dead and Sir Mythros is the one who killed him. Let me just say really quick, it’s kinda clever that in my first route of the game, Karma’s route, Sir Alcaster was the only Big Bad that hires Varg’s sword, in my second playthrough, Rod’s route, Sir Alcaster is only a decoy while Varg’s sword shifts from Alcaster’s allegiance to Mythros after Alcaster’s arrest, and now Sir Alcaster is dead before he even makes an appearance in Rumpel’s route and Mythros is to blame for it all with Varg as a sword for hire. Sorry. Back to Rumpel’s climax; Princess Main Character tries to probe answers out of Varg. Admittedly, she does learn that he is cursed and despises witches, and he himself either doesn’t know or isn’t willing to share why he’s assisting a known powerful witch. When Mythros comes to retrieve her for dinner, she’s told her family will be waiting for her. Once they reach the dining hall, Mythros explains to the king that Princess Main Character is the true Crown Princess of the kingdom and his blood daughter. Admittedly, the player can choose to either play along and confess to being the princess or play dumb and ignorant to what Mythros is saying (just in case you’re stuck and are reading this to figure out which is the better option, it’s playing dumb). Later on, Mythros explains that he plans to groom the princess until her 18th birthday when she’ll become the bearer of the crystal and will have the power to revive her mother, the queen.

Days pass and finally Delora, Rumpel, Jurin, Garlen (no idea if I spelled those names right, but they’re the two knights that were kicked out of the palace and hired to defend the tavern and cursed individuals), Waltz and Karma come to the rescue. While Karma, Waltz, and the knights fight the witches and corrupted knights, Delora and Rumpel save the princess from her room in her tower. Rumpel and the princess flee, but are stopped by Mythros and his knights and witches. He makes the knights fight each other, and the fight entrances Rumpel into a daze.

In the bad ending, The princess tries to shake him out of the daze, but is unsuccessful. She decides to take matters in her own hands and pick up a sword to fight, forgetting that this is not Karma’s route and therefore she never learned how to fight with a sword. However, with the knights now focused on her instead of each other, she’s backed into a wall and only holds her sword out with her eyes closed. When she opens them again, Rumpel is the one pierced by her blade.

Rumpel’s bad ending deserves its achievement title; Spool of Needles. It’s sad, and I nearly cried. It’s tragic and gruesome, though not quite as tragic as Karma’s bad ending (hey, if characters in the game are gonna compare these two, then I might as well join the bandwagon).

Now, in the good ending, it’s pretty much the same up to the point where Rumpel gets entrances into a daze by the knights killing each other, only this time, the princess literally smacks him out of it, and Parfait shows up just in time to save them with a shield, along with Delora and Waltz, who somehow miraculously broke his curse and is now a hot young adult looking straight out of Hot Topic. It’s never explained how he broke his curse, but with his curse broken he now has full access to his witch magical power. However, Waltz, Rumpel, and the princess find that Mythros escaped from Parfait and Delora and has Princess Main Character’s step-sister hostage in the throne room. They try to talk him down but to no avail. The princess finally grabs a sword and comes close to killing Mythros, blade right at his throat, but she stops when she remembers Rumpel saying that all life is precious. Her showing Mythros mercy and sparing his life is her third and final good deed. Mythros doesn’t repay the kindness and goes in for the kill. To the character’s shock, Parfait, who quickly showed up to help, is the one who died at Mythros’ hands. She has just enough life left to congratulate Princess Main Character on breaking her curse before she passes in Rumpel’s arms, him still trying to convince her and himself that he could fix it, close her wounds, nurse her to health, and she’ll be better. Waltz decides to execute Mythros for his crimes, but Rumpel slits the witch’s throat before Waltz had a chance. After confirming that the royal family is alright and unharmed, the king offers Delora and the others rooms for the night as thanks for saving his family. Rumpel and the princess retreat to her room and console each other for the loss of Parfait and the burden of Mythros’ murder. The king is weary after these events, and, while he allows Princess Main Character to go into town as often as she pleases, it’s not without guards and her step-siblings. He’s also weary of Rumpel courting her, him being no prince nor knight but simply a poor doctor, but to him, it’s a problem for another day.

That’s a lot to get through. Don’t get me wrong, the other endings were long and had a lot to build up for the climax, but this….it’s a little ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable, and a roller coaster, but this barely scratched the surface. Even still, I’m not 100% confident I described everything right, even though I literally just played this route before writing this review.

While Karma was a clear tragic bad ending vs. storybook fairytale good ending and Rod is a little of a mixed bag both ways, Rumpel is just depressing. Both his endings hammer in that people are mortal. In both endings at least one person dies, and in the aftermath of both endings, the princess and/or Rumpel have to deal with PTSD that comes with killing someone.

To sum it all up, Rumpel surprisingly came close to surpassing Karma as the best guy. I like Karma a lot, and every time he showed up I literally cried for a return to my “Beastly Prince Beauty”, however, Rumpel did something I didn’t expect and had something I personally look for in a romatic partner; devotion to a smile. Between those two it’s a very close tie; a lot closer than I expected going into it. At the end of Rod’s review, I challenged Rumpel to surprise me with gold, and he did just that.

What do you think? Was Rumpel able to make you smile, or did his doctor puns not spin gold for you? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the three starter options (I know there are five guys, but two of them are locked until you complete two routes with two of the three bachelors) did you pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Let me know. This concludes the three guys you can start out with, so next, we’ll soar to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Rod Route Review

If you hadn’t seen my last post, this is kinda a continuation of that one. Cinderella Phenomenon simply has too much content to cram into one review. I mean, each of the five routes is it’s own story; no two are even remotely the same. Since Rod’s was the second route I chose in my quest for completion, I will write a review of his route next. Click here if you want to read my review of the Karma Route, but just in case you’re not interested in Karma, let me sum up the set-up for the game before going into the review.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

Now on to Rod’s route. Since the Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Rod is cursed with what’s called the Mermaid’s Curse. To put simply, he’s mute and can only communicate through a magical stuffed bunny given to him by Parfait that reads his thoughts and speaks his mind on his behalf (which he might argue is a curse in itself). Because Rod is Princess Main Character’s step-brother, he has the longest history with her and the biggest grudge against her. He doesn’t accept her as a member of his family and doesn’t hesitate to tell her that the Royal Family is much happier without her around to be the wet blanket. As for his curse, he’s given up on breaking it long before the events of the game due to just how closely his curse follows the fairytale it’s based on; the Little Mermaid.

Rod’s entire backstory on why he was cursed follows the beginning of the Little Mermaid to the letter. He discovered his childhood friend drowning in a river, so he saves her. In a panic due to the fact that she isn’t breathing, Rod runs away to get help from someone nearby. When he returns, some other Prince Charming swooped in and took all the credit for the daring rescue. Knowing that his childhood friend has always dreamed of a fairytale ending for herself, he makes a deal with a witch; his voice in exchange for royal status. That night, he was mute, the next morning, the king declared his undying love for Rod’s mother and he, his mother, and his sister were moved into the palace as members of the Royal Family.

Like Karma, Rod kept the conditions of his curse secret for similar reasons. I was intrigued by learning why he acts coldly to someone who supposedly was a childhood friend and life-long crush, and I was kept at the edge of my seat watching the tragedy of the situation uncurl. While I am familiar with the original tale of the Little Mermaid, possibly more than almost any other fairytale, I didn’t expect the curse to be such a literal repeat to the mermaid’s tragic love story.

Unlike Karma, however, Rod is much more the Little Brother type (though that might be slightly due to the fact that he is Princess Main Character’s actual younger step-brother). He’s much more irritable, brooding, angsty, and simply grumpy or complaint-heavy. Any compliment he gives to the princess is back-handed at best. One thing, though, is that he is blunt and unafraid to speak his mind; even if he was afraid to, his little stuffed rabbit, Sebby, would speak it for him regardless of the consequences.

Ok, this is where the spoiler warnings come in (sorry, I guess I just didn’t have much spoiler-free to say about Rod). If you hadn’t yet, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

………..

If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

Both of Rod’s endings, the good and the bad, are so bitter-sweet, one slightly sweeter than the other, and vice-versa.

For some context of the endings, Princess Main Character finally concludes that Rod’s curse’s conditions are a lot closer to the fairytale it’s based on than other curses, so she enlists Mythros, a witch who’s been working in the palace as Alcaster’s equal, to help her break Rod’s curse because Viroica, the woman he sold his voice to be with, is marrying another Prince Charming and Mythros confirmed that Rod will die if she marries another man. Princess Main Character gets desperate and asks what Mythros wants in exchange for his help, and he simply says “I want you to use something on the day after tomorrow” (which he’s obviously referring to the crystal that causes unhappiness since she will become the new bearer and he doesn’t hesitate to show that he’s an avid follower of Princess Main Character’s mother). She agrees blindly until she decides to pick up the Little Mermaid and read it for herself. By the time she reads that the mermaid must kill her prince to return home, it’s already too late and Em, Rod’s sister, is bringing a knife to the throne room where Rod, Mythros, and Viroica are waiting.

I could go further in depth, like talk about how Sir Alcaster still has a coup, Varg still makes a random appearance and things like that, but really, those events are inconsequential. Varg disappears as suddenly and randomly as his arrival, and Sir Alcaster is quickly disposed of and his only contribution is giving Princess Main Character the idea that Mythros is a witch.

Anyway, in Rod’s bitterly sweet bad ending, he takes the knife from Em and knows what he has to do, but can’t. He tells Princess Main Character that at the stroke of midnight, he’ll dissolve into mist. She cries, telling him she just wanted to help and that it didn’t have to end this way, but Rod just hands her Sebby from his shoulder. He embraces her, smiles, and says “I was starting to like you. If we had more time, I could’ve truly loved you”. On that note, the clock chimes 12 and Princess Main Character is left with nothing more than Sebby in her hands, and a clump of bubbly mist in front of her.

See why I say bitterly sweet? He was already on the right track to loving the princess, but she just couldn’t make him fall for her in time. Talk about so close yet so far.

Moving on to… the sweetly bitter ending. Rod still claims that he can’t kill the woman he loves, so Mythros decides to bend the rules and possess his body to do it for him. Delora rushes in and the two witches have an all-out magic duel while the princess desperately tries to stop Rod. Only when he strikes Princess Main Character when she stands in front of him to block him from Viroica does he finally snap out of it. Mythros sees that his plan failed and flees while Princess Main Character and Rod confess their feelings for one another, which breaks Rod’s curse. The princess was able to break her curse as well with her shield stunt. Now that their curses are broken, they can live happily ever after, right? ….Well, not exactly. As weeks pass, Princess Main Character learns how to control her magic with Delora teaching her, and she works with Parfait to restore balance between light and darkness as the new Tenebaram (not at all confident that I spelled that right) bearer, and plans to break everyone’s curse when she gains confidence in her abilities, even wanting to go so far as to end the Fairytale Curse once and for all. Her relationship with Rod, however, is kept 100% secret. Only Em knows anything about it, and they don’t allow anyone to know in fear that it would be considered a scandal. To get through it, they sneak out of the palace to meet in the forest, where they do nothing but dance the days away to the music of silence.

See what I meant when I said both the endings are bitter-sweet? In one, Rod is literally turned into mist wishing he had enough time to fall in love once again, and in the other, they have to keep their romance in the shadows. While Karma was a clear tragic bad ending vs. storybook fairytale good ending, Rod is a little of a mixed bag on both sides.

To sum it all up, Rod hasn’t surpassed Karma in my opinion. While Rod’s endings are more dynamic with an interesting take on how the Little Mermaid could’ve ended, I just like Karma too much. Don’t get me wrong though, Rod’s route was fun to play through. It was also a nice angle, having Princess Main Character spending most of the story interacting with people who she’s known her whole life, but don’t know her as opposed to everyone being a stranger.

What do you think? Do you like Rod’s take on his Fairytale, or should he have just let sleeping fishes lie? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the three starter options (I know there are five guys, but two of them are locked until you complete two routes with two of the three bachelors) did you pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Let me know. Next in line, I suppose we should spin some straw. Who knows? This next guy might surprise me, and I might get gold; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Posted in Blogs, Date Sim, Games, Rants, Review

Cinderella Phenomenon: Karma Route Review

Here lately, I’m not sure why, but I’ve been infatuated with Dating Sims. Cinderella Phenomenon is one that I’ve been wanting to play for a long time, and only now do I have the time, energy, and desire to play it through completion (yes, that does mean going out of my way to get the bad endings as well). Let me start by explaining the set-up for the game.

Princess Main Character (I know her default name is Lucette, but her name is customizable so I’m referring to her as that instead of her default name) is simply mean. She’s so bitter, ruthless, and cold to everyone she comes across, that she’s known through the kingdom as the Ice Princess. One day, one of her most favorite and prised dolls springs to life from the shelf and claims to be a witch named Delora while cursing the princess with what’s known as the Fairytale Curse; more specifically, Cinderella Curse, where she is forgotten by everyone from family to palace staff to townsfolk in the street. It’s as if she never existed. She’s found by the witch that cursed her and a fairy named Parfait, who both explain why she was cursed and how she can break her curse. Around her neck is a glass slipper pendant. With each good deed she does out of the kindness of her heart, a piece of a second slipper will appear on her necklace. Once she completes 3 good deeds, she’ll complete the pair of glass slippers and her curse will be broken. Until her curse is broken, she must stay in an inn that acts as a safe haven for cursed individuals and work at the tavern conjoined with the inn.

Since Karma was the first route I chose in my playthrough, I’ll review his route first. The Fairytale Curse doesn’t affect others who are cursed or mystical creatures like witches and fairies; example, everyone who’s cursed still remembers the Ice Princess. Karma is cursed with what’s called the Beauty Curse. If he’s in the presence of a woman who’s not cursed, a witch, or fairy, then they’ll be infatuated with his beauty and will claim to be in love with him. They’ll follow him and smother him in affection. The only way around this is if he tricks the women into believing he’s a woman himself under the alias “Miss Karma”. By the time the princess meets him, he’s given up all hope of breaking his curse. He refuses to talk to others about it, and, when cornered with nagging questions about the specifications of his Beauty Curse, he’s quick to give an answer that’s vague at best then somehow make the conversation about lizards or the weather; whatever will distract the questioner long enough to make them forget that he’s talking in circles. I kid you not, this is a real conversation. “Karma, can you tell me more about you? Maybe something about why you were cursed, or better yet, how to break it?” “My father used to call me his little chameleon because I was always good at hiding. Chameleons are just so cute, aren’t they?” (maybe not word for word, but you get the idea). As his route goes on, you learn more and more about him, like how his main contribution to the tavern is training the guards with swords and gathering supplies from the town.

I really enjoyed figuring out all of Karma’s secrets, like his real name, where he learned to sword fight, and reluctantly, how to break his curse (which I figured out roughly 3 chapters before Princess Main Character did). I also really like the dynamic between Karma and the princess. There’s even a running joke that neither of them respect each other’s privacy, so they both often enter one another’s rooms unannounced, they both make the same argument of “what if I was changing?” but it doesn’t hold any weight because the princess already saw Karma’s bare chest when she barged in the first time. It really shows that, though neither of them can be alone or keep secrets anymore, neither of them have to be alone or keep secrets from one another; their relationship is with 100% open doors (pun intended). There is a point where Karma gets in a really random bad mood, and it’s never explained. He goes for several days sulking in his room, blows off his responsibilities as the trainer for the guards and the errand-boy, he even shoves away the princess, who, at that point in the story, he’s in a partnership with and had signs of chemistry with. However, after a heated argument the lead to the princess snapping him back to the real world, he does return to normal somewhat.

Karma is kinda like the Big Brother type, now that I really think about it. He’s borderline overly protective of the princess, is always there to save the day (or night), and (almost) always has a wink and a tease at the ready. The princess also doesn’t hesitate to amuse herself at his expense. At one point while in town, Karma’s voice get’s drastically deeper, as if from a flick of a switch. The princess, seeing that a woman who knows “Miss Karma” was approaching, encourages Karma to speak up and have a chat, laughing the whole time. Karma does manage to convince the woman he’s caught a cold while attempting to mimic a feminine voice and the two leave. He later explains that Parfait makes him a potion to make his voice more like a woman’s since the only way he could avoid all the girls in town groveling at his feet is to make them believe he was a woman and he didn’t believe crossdressing alone would be enough to convince all the women of his facade. This moment, not only illustrates how far Karma is willing to go to avoid the consequences of his curse, since there’s no real way for the player to tell because this game is all 100% written dialogue and description with absolutely no voice acting, but it also gives a moment for the princess to actually grace her own face with a smile, since until that point, she never smiles (it’s also really hysterical for the player; even though there’s no voice acting, I imagined just how sudden the tone shift would’ve been in his voice and couldn’t stop laughing as I read, even attempting to voice act it out myself).

Ok, here’s your warning. I’m now gonna talk about Karma’s good and bad endings. If you want to find out the conditions of his curse on your own, turn back now, find the game on steam (it’s free to play) and run a playthrough yourself before coming back to hear my thoughts.

………..

If you’re still here, then you either already played the game, or you don’t care about spoilers regardless of warnings.

Karma’s good ending is really heartwarming and a perfect storybook ending while his bad ending, while believable in the circumstances, could’ve easily been avoided if 1) Karma spoke up about the conditions of his curse and 2) the princess actually bothered to read a fairytale or two.

For some context, let me shed some light. The Royal Family (excluding Princess Main Character) is put it life-threatening peril from the Captain of the Guard, Sir Alcaster, and his knights. The prince and princess, Rod and Em (I can never remember her full name; I couldn’t even read it) escape to the tavern and request reinforcements from Parfait and Delora. Their request is granted as Delora leads a small group containing the two guards, who are both ex-knights of the Royal Family, Karma, Princess Main Character, and Waltz, a man with what’s called the Neverland Curse (I’ll dedicate a blog to him later). Karma begs the princess to reconsider going, but she insists that, since it’s her father and step-mother in danger, she must go, if nothing else than to set things right with them. He then alters his plea to her staying behind him at all cost and to run away if things get too dangerous, despite having trained with a sword for months at this point. Fast forward to the rescue, Karma gets frequent pains in his chest, claiming he’s fine. His only explanation is that the princess would either hate or fear him if he told her. She backs off with the promise of an explanation when they return home. The group then gets ambushed, the princess is captured and separated from the rest of the group. She’s soon faced with Sir Alcaster and a man in a mask claiming to be named Varg (I thought it was a little late in the story to introduce new characters, since this guy is never introduced by name or appearance until this point in the story. I have a feeling he’s either Fritz, the personal Body Guard for Princess Main Character before her curse, or somehow tied to him because Varg and Fritz look similar, as well as a few other hints that I don’t really wanna go into now). After Sir Alcaster’s big Villain Monologue about how Princess Main Character’s mother was the best ruler, mastering the fear struck into her subject’s hearts, there are reports of a beast that suddenly appears from nowhere and is attacking all the knights it comes across. The beast does make its way to the princess, and here’s where the two endings split.

In one ending, Princess Main Character runs away, running into some knights that claim they’ll protect her from the beast. She argues that she doesn’t need protection, and then the beast begins attacking the two knights, narrowly missing her. She readies her sword and attacks the beast, believing it’s a more dangerous threat than the knights at Sir Alcaster’s command. She swiftly brings the beast down, finally seeing a pendant on it that she gave Karma earlier. She finally realizes the blood of her beloved Karma is on her hands as she sobs over him and his dying words are basically the most tactless “I told you so”.

First off, I wanted to scream and shout to the Princess Main Character that if there’s a beauty in a fairytale, there’s a beast. I figured out that there was some incorporation of a beast somewhere in his curse as soon as I saw the rose tattoo on his bare, naked chest. However, I guess I can give the princess a pass since she was never really allowed to read fairytales because of her mother; she only read one before her mother disposed of all traces of fairytales, all she says about the one fairytale she read is that it features a Genie.

In the other ending, Princess Main Character still is able to escape the battle between the beast and Sir Alcaster’s knights. She soon meets with the beast again, suddenly feeling the need to trust it. She puts her back to him, remembering in her training that it’s always best to fight back to back when surrounded or caught in an ambush (which they were). While fighting the knights, she looks back and sees one of the knights dangerously close to striking the beast. She quickly rushes over and blocks the attack with her own sword. After that, the two fight on until the battle is finally won. Princess Main Character finally gets a good look at the beast, figures out it’s Karma, and declares her love, breaking his curse. She also looks at her own feet, where there are glass slippers, meaning her sacrificing her life for him was her third and final good deed. Now that the two of them have broken their curses, they find the king and explain the situation; saying that she was under a curse that made him forget her existence for nearly a year, and that Karma is actually Crowned Prince Klaude Aidric Renaldi Mattheus Almonte, the lost prince of a neighboring kingdom, as well as Princess Main Character’s lover. Karma returns to his home kingdom to inform his parents and younger brother, Llama (both of them go by acronyms of their long names), that he’s not dead yet and so he could request a proper betrothal to Princess Main Character. He returns to the princess’ castle just in time for her 18th Birthday Banquet. From there, he talks about how nervous he is to share a meal with her father, how he wished she’d visit his family, and how they’re now betrothed and will live happily ever after.

See what I mean by “perfect storybook ending”? There’s not really that much to say about it. It’s pretty much just, their curses are broken, so now, they’re just a Crown Prince of one kingdom and Crown Princess of another kingdom betrothed to be married, where the biggest problem facing them is gaining approval of each other’s families. It definitely paints a Happily Ever After picture to the storybook end. Still, after all this, Karma still barges into her room without knocking and he’s still acting like the Teasing Older Brother type.

All in all, I think Karma’s my favorite (and not just because I hated Rumpel from the moment he was introduced while Karma sees Rumpel as a frienemy at best all because he looks a little too good in a dress). I simply like the Big Brother types, right next to the Secretive Mysterious types and the Fun Optimistic types. Arguably, Karma could fulfill all three of those.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Big Brother type, or is someone like Karma more thorn than rose for you? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments, and while you’re down there, let me know who of the three starter options (I know there are five guys, but two of them are locked until you complete two routes with two of the three bachelors) did you pick first? Karma with the Secretive Big Brother type? Rumpel with the Flirty type? Rod with the Tsundere Little Brother type? Let me know. Next time we’re taking a dive under the sea; ’til then, have a beautiful rest of your day~

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Yona of the Dawn Review

I’ve recently watched a show called Yona of the Dawn, and it was great, but it left a lot to be desired. First off, I should start with a summary of the show.

Princess Yona is a spoiled teenager whose biggest concern is how to tame her long, near rat’s nest of hair. On her 16th birthday, tragedy strikes and her father is assassinated and the assassin pursues her life. She’s forced to flee the castle with her bodyguard, Hak, the last servant of the late king who remained loyal. Yona is advised to see an oracle to discover her destiny to find the White Dragon Warrior with sharp Dragon’s Claws, the Blue Dragon Warrior with a Dragon’s sight that sees several miles away, the Green Dragon Warrior who can leap high enough to fly with the strength in his Dragon’s Leg, and the Yellow Dragon Warrior with a body resilient as Dragon’s Scales. Now, it’s a struggle to find the four Dragon Warriors before the new king discovers her alive and executes her himself. All the while, she discovers just how bad off her kingdom was been due to her late father’s anti-war pacifist ideals.

To start off, this show reminds me heavily of Game of Thrones’s Denaris Targarian. Not only does the main heroin start off as royalty before being kicked down to claw her way back to the top once again, but she also has a romance with her bodyguard, and learns how to fight and free slaves. Heck, Yona is implied at least three times to be the reincarnation of the Crimson Dragon King, master of the four Dragon Warriors. While Yona reminds me of Denaris, she also is a fighter in a different way. She trains with archery after being chased out of her castle and demonstrates her strength in more merciful and feminine ways. While Denaris took many lives with her dragon’s fire and her own brutality, Yona only takes one life in the whole show, that of a single human trafficking lord.

Hak, on the other hand, killed countless to protect Yona. He’s also described several times of being more dragon-like than the actual dragons, having spat in death’s face more than once. He’s also Yona’s teacher on top of being her bodyguard. He teaches her how to shoot arrows, and allows her to practice, not only on trees and wildlife but also himself. No matter how many times he nearly dies, he always wakes up with a smirk and a snarky comment. With how resilient his body is, the group jokes that he may be the fourth dragon they’ve been looking for this whole time. Even still, he would never hold back if it means either avenging the king’s death or protecting Yona, even after being distant compared to the other companions, everyone else she insists calling by her name while Yona forbids Hak to acknowledge her as anything less than the princess he swore to protect, yet there’s a running joke that everyone thinks they’re in a romantic relationship. The joke gets a little annoying until the last time they try it. From episode one all the way to near the end, everyone asks if Hak and Yona are boyfriend and girlfriend, and they both say “nope, no way” almost every time. The last attempt at the joke, however, a pirate captain tells Hak that if he focuses on the battle, he’ll see his girlfriend soon enough. Hak pauses before saying “girlfriend? that sounds kinda nice”. It definitely suggests they have a romantic future.

Yun is a studious navigator who grew up with the oracle. Yona extends a hand to Yun, asking him to join her and Hak by request of the oracle. Once he joins them, he’s unofficially the cook, navigator, and medic. Sadly though, his “pretty faced genius” gag gets in the way of anything else in his character. He is introduced as a lazy, yet busy guy who semi-reluctantly goes out of his way to help people, and near the end of the animated series, he’s also demonstrated as a clever, brave, and loyal. Outside of those two times, he doesn’t really have much going for him.

Gija, the White Dragon, seems to be the only dragon who is prepared to drop everything and lay down his life for the princess he recognizes as the Crimson Dragon. Even so, he’s actually the most annoying in my opinion, having been sheltered his whole life he’s afraid of bugs, doesn’t travel well in the forest, and can’t rest outside an indoors bed. Still, he’s devoted to his destined job and his gags grew on me a little. He fights with Hak like brothers or rivals for Yona’s attention. The biggest part of his character is his devotion to Yona, and how he simply can’t understand why the Blue and Green dragons refuse at first to join them.

Next character we meet is Sinha, the Blue Dragon Warrior. He’s shy, timid, and reluctant to even use his Dragon Eyes. Still, even with such little dialogue, he still gets so much character and becomes my favorite golden heart character. He almost never speaks, but his actions say everything. Seeing how he was raised to believe he doesn’t belong and his power is a curse, his belief in his village’s words is what makes him initially turn down Yona’s proposal to join their group. Once he does believe Yona and Gija that he’s wanted and needed by their group, he does everything he can to make his group’s troubles eased in any way, whether it’s fishing for food, or watching for a small firework to save Yona from slavery.

Jaeha is the third dragon they find. Dead set on freedom and choosing his own path and not allowing his Green Dragon blood to determine his choices. He spends the majority of his introductory arc running away from Gija and Yona. However, he couldn’t run anymore once he sees Yona in trouble dangling on a cliff-side. He starts to feel anxiety when he’s away from her, no matter how much he tries to hide it. Sadly, there’s not much to him since he only has a few episodes to establish himself, but he also is the only one that notices Hak’s reluctance to talk about growing up with Yona and the king. With the clips they show of his childhood, being chained and tethered to the ground, I don’t blame him for being reluctant to follow the Dragon Warrior Destiny.

Lastly, there’s Zeno, the Yellow Dragon Warrior. Being honest, Zeno only has less than an episode to build his character as carefree and childish, so he comes off as strange and I agree with the other dragons when they say it’s too easy that he just shows up and joins their group with nothing in exchange other than some deer meat. Going back to Hak, and comparing him to Zeno, I really would’ve believed Hak was the Yellow Dragon Warrior if that was the direction they really were going, maybe it being a mistranslation that the fourth dragon was black instead of yellow. However, the OVA’s make Zeno more believable. The second OVA shows that, due to Zeno’s dragon blood, making his body indestructible, he’s effectively immortal. He could never get sick, grow old, and wounds close and heal right before his enemies eyes. Because of this, he’s also the only one of the dragon warriors who’s power hasn’t been passed down the generations, and he’s the only Yellow Dragon that’s ever lived. He’s also been craving to either die or reunite with the Crimson Dragon King. One thing about him bothers me; if Zeno was searching for the Crimson Dragon, and he knew Yona was it and that she lived in the Crimson Palace, then why wouldn’t he wander closer to the palace and stay with her from the moment she was chased away from the castle? He would’ve gotten more character development, and it would’ve seemed more like he was a part of the plan and less like he was just shoe-horned in at the last possible moment.

Zeno’s sudden appearance is part of the reason I feel unsatisfied with the ending of the show. The whole show literally ends on a question of “Now you have the four Dragon Warriors, now what? Why gather the Dragon Warriors?” It made me realize, Yona doesn’t really have an end goal. She can’t take revenge for her father’s death, that would create more problems than it would solve. She can’t just keep running, no good could come from that. She can’t just do nothing, if she did, what would be the point? I suppose you could argue that it does its job, as exploitation to sell the manga, but for me, someone who doesn’t have much time to read and, even if I did have time, I don’t have the money for new books and can’t find it in any libraries, it leaves me totally unsatisfied, which sucks because aside from that it’s a great dramatic action anime.

Something else that’s a little distracting is the English dubbing. It’s kinda knit-picking and is nothing new with the dubbing company, but a lot of voices used in this show are recycled voice actors from other anime. I wouldn’t mind so much if I hadn’t seen other dubbed shows from Funimation, but since the first time I watched Yona of the Dawn, it was late at night and I fell asleep with it running. However, it sounded like a major crossover with Mizuki and Akura-oh from Kamisama Kiss, Russia and Canada from Hetalia, Renge from Ouran Highschool Host Club, Ukyo from Brother’s Conflict, Bard from Black Butler, Zen from Snow White with Red Hair, I think you get my point. Don’t get me wrong, these voices do go well with the characters they voice, however, it’s just a little distracting and wouldn’t be as distracting if I saw this when I was still relatively new to anime and wouldn’t recognize these voices.

What do you think though? Did you like Yona of the Dawn from beginning to end, or did the ending bother you too? Give it a watch, leave your thoughts in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Fruits Basket 2019 Episode 1 Review

Ok, this is a little different than my normal reviews. Since I’m watching Fruits Basket 2019 as it’s airing, I’ll do a review on only the first episode instead of one review to encompass the reboot as a whole. I might do a second review of the rebooted first season as a whole when it’s complete, but this is what I have for now to get my initial first thoughts on the first episode out there. This is completely under the assumption that anyone who cares about Fruits Basket already watched the reboot so if you hadn’t seen the first episode of Fruits Basket 2019, watch it now. This is not a spoiler free blog. That will be your only warning.

Rather than giving a summary, I’m just gonna jump right in and point out the similarities and differences between the reboot and the original first episode, since they both hit all the same points and end at the same point. I’m not going to talk about design differences because the biggest pet peeves I had about the differences I already mentioned in the last blog, so I’m only focusing on acting, dialogue, and story points that differ.

First, I was surprised that all the English voice actors were the same people that did the original. The only voices that sound different are Shigure and Hana, both sounding like the same person, suggesting they’re voiced by the same person as they were in 2001, but their tones sound a little different suggesting either their voices changed with nearly 2 decades of age, as I believe is the case with Shigure, or they simply wanted to try a different voice with their respective characters, which might be the case of Hana. One thing that actually took me a few viewings to catch is that, in the beginning of the episode, it shows the first banquet with the cat in God’s arms as God casts the curse. One thing that surprised me is that the voice actress for God is the same voice actress for Tohru. Typically, when two characters are voiced by the same actor, there’s some connection, like Yukiji and Nanami from Kamisama Kiss, America and Canada in Hetalia, or even the Merchant and the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. Is the reboot implying that God and Tohru are connected? That’s definitely something I can’t wait to see the outcome of.

Another point I want to make is there are a few differences. The biggest difference that’s worth mentioning is when Yuki and Shigure offer the spare room in their house, while in the 2001 show Shigure assured Tohru that she’s not in their way because the two Somas have something to gain from her living there, that being a need of a housekeeper to cook and clean because she was concerned about being a burden on them. Meanwhile, in 2019 reboot, Shigure out of nowhere asks if Tohru likes housework, and after hearing her answer leaves it at that. He doesn’t propose that he’s hiring her as a housekeeper, or even declare that she’s the new housekeeper like he did in the original. It’s not that big a deal, but it does leave Tohru feeling like a burden and unclear on why Shigure was so interested in knowing her opinion or preference on cooking and cleaning.

Aside from that, I loved the first episode and am so excited to continue on this ride until the bittersweet end. It’s still just as funny, heartwarming, tragic, and adorable as its 2001 counterpart (even if Yuki’s rats are so much more creepy in the reboot hile their animal zodiac forms are adorable!)

That’s all for now. What did you think of episode 1? Did it hit your Nostalgia when the 2001 voice actors returned, or did you want to see new voices try their hand at breathing new life into the new reboot? Did you like Shigure’s more subtly implying to Tohru what he intended, or do you prefer hi spelling it out for the sake of Tohru’s dependency complex? Let me know in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Fruits Basket Reboot

If you remember when I reviewed Fruits Basket, I made a point that “I wanna talk about how this show needs a GOD DAMN SEQUEL! And NOT the Black Butler treatment where the animators were just pulling whatever’s popular out of a “quick-n’-easy copycat generator” (I’m looking at you, Claude). I mean, I want a sequel where the staff pay just as much attention to detail as they did the first time. I want the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment here!” Finally, it’s time to eat my words. Oh my god, I really didn’t see this coming.

(I realize by the time this posts, this would be old news, but I have this habit of writing blogs at least a month or two in advance, so…when this posts, there would already be 4-5 episodes out, but when I wrote this, all that was out were trailers and the first episode hadn’t been out yet. That being said, please read on to see my first fan-girl reaction to the news or move on to another blog along the right of the page.)

I just saw the trailers for the 2019 reboot for Fruits Basket, and it makes sense that they’d redo the anime rather than pick up where they left off in 2001. With how much animation has advanced in the past 20 years, it would look odd and out of place if someone was to watch the end of the Fruits Basket 2001 then continue the story from after Kyo and Tohru’s misadventure in the woods in the new Fruits Basket 2019 style, where the color black doesn’t seem to exist (at least on Kyo’s design) and Tohru’s entire design looks so different. If they didn’t reanimate the first season and start completely fresh, it would be so weird.

Let me explain what I mean. While all the frames featured in the trailers look just like the original, the original took its frames from the panels in the manga, however, all the characters definitely got an updated design, Tohru being the most unrecognizable for me. In the 2001 show, Tohru has a wide, round head, a small, slim body, and square teal eyes. For the 2019 reboot, her eyes got more golden brown and rounded out their shape, her face and head got more narrow and oval, and her body is more curvy and proportional for her head with wider shoulders and a few more curves. There are other differences, like, how I mentioned black hues on Kyo’s design was changed to a dark crimson. Not only did the t-shirt Kyo wears in his introduction changed from black to red, but even the beads around his wrist is changed from black and white to red and ivory.

I can overlook the design changes, since all of the changes look really good with the new animation and style. I am so excited to see Fruits Basket 2019. The best part is I hadn’t read the manga since I was about 17 (it was for a summer book report for school) so all the tears for the new reboot will be fresh and real. I vaguely remember parts and little details, like Shigure being the ex of Tohru’s teacher, Yuki and Kyo arguing over either blue or orange is a better color for Tohru’s swimming suit, and Yuki having trouble communicating with the rest of the student council because he doesn’t have a cell phone. While the only frames and clips they showed in the trailers was all an updated version of the 2001 show, there was one single frame of the original banquet, which in the manga wasn’t featured until the last or second to last volume. Because of that, I think it’s safe to assume that all three arcs from the manga will be in animated form. If I am right, then oh my god, that will be a major emotional roller coaster.

I know this was kinda short, but I don’t really have much to say until Fruits Basket 2019 comes out and is available to the public, which may be literally any day now (as of April 6, 2019, when I write this). It is available on Funimation.com with a subscription, however….I cannot afford a subscription to Funimation, therefore I have to wait until it’s either complete and released on dvd or released on free platforms like youtube or justdubs.

What do you think about a reboot for Fruits Basket? You sick of all the reboots that have come out in recent years, or don’t really mind? You excited to see what the new cast and crew have in store for this tale, or think Fruits Basket should be left as is? Leave your thoughts in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Inuyasha Review

Recently, I’ve seen Inuyasha, an anime that’s been on my “to do” list for years. For those who don’t know, let me sum it up.

Kagome Higarashi is a junior high student. While searching for her family’s cat on the morning of her 15th birthday, she gets dragged down an old well by a demon youkai. At the bottom of the well, she finds herself 500 years in the past where there are demons and bloodshed around every stone and tree. While trying to find her way home, she meets Inuyasha, a dog demon born of a human mother, and discovers a magical stone called the Shikon No Tama buried in her own flesh. Now she must protect the jewel with the newly tamed Inuyasha at her side and keep it from demons and greedy humans that crave its power. This job gets much more difficult when the jewel shatters into hundreds of millions of shards and scattered all across the country. They make friends in Songo the Demon Slayer, Miroku the Monk, and Shippo the fox demon child, make rivals in the older brother of Inuyasha, Sesshonmaru, and the chief of the Wolf-Demon tribe, Koga, and enemies in Naraku and his minions and henchmen, and it becomes a race to see who can gather and collect the shards first to make the jewel whole once again, Kagome and party, or Naraku and tow. All the while, Kagome leaps back and forth between the times, collecting shards one day, and cramming for a test with her school friends at WacDonald’s the next.

First thing I gotta say is…this is the longest series I’ve ever watched, clocking in at 193 episodes and four movies. I have a tendency to stay away from the longer shows getting overwhelmed with the commitment of sitting through so many hours with a show I may or may not like. However, I watched Inuyasha in its entirety no less than 4 times in the span of 2 months. I’ve been completely infatuated with this show and love how it can allow itself to have a big, grand overarching plot while also making time for so much filler that doesn’t feel like filler.

Just as an example of what I mean, in episode 60, it starts a mini-plot with a Dark Priestess named Tsubaki that is commissioned by Naraku to curse Kagome and cause her to shoot Inuyasha before her own painful death. While this whole episode takes place in a small hut, and 90% of Kagome’s dialogue consists of “Run away. Get out of here.”, it doesn’t at all feel out of place and makes sense for these characters to act this way, even keeping me at the edge of my seat, curious as to whether Inuyasha would abandon Kagome or allow himself to be killed at her hand. While Kagome and Inuyasha have their face-off, Miroku and Songo leave in search of the priestess, unaware that Kagome’s curse has her body possessed. This may not be my favorite episode, but it is my favorite example of Naraku commissioning someone else to do his job. While he sends other people and characters out to do his dirty work, Tsubaki is the only one that deserves her villainous monologue on her soapbox, even if that right was stripped away at the end of the very next episode.

Even the filler episodes that take place in Kagome’s modern era don’t feel out of place. Every time Kagome goes to her era, Inuyasha shows up to remind her of their mission and shows the same energy to help her with whatever mundane thing she needs help with, whether it’s losing her test pass, or forgetting her school lunch, or teaching her younger brother how to confess his feelings to his first crush.

Every episode, while it definitely doesn’t always hit bulls-eye, always keeps the same energy and atmosphere in every episode. Some episodes are funnier than others, some focus more on side plots than others, some focus more on annoying characters than others, but if any episode, character, or mini-plot was missing, it would be missed. Just an example, while I thoroughly believe Jaken is the most annoying character, I can’t imagine how stale Sesshonmaru would be without him, and he was a huge part of Rin’s life, being her babysitter when Sesshonmaru is away.

One thing I need to talk about though is the main villain himself. Coming right out to say it, Naraku is a missed opportunity. He was so hyped up with how he was able to tear Inuyasha and his first love, Kikiyo apart, how he cursed Miroku’s grandfather with a family curse of the Wind Tunnel, he tricked Songo and her family into a death trap while her village was slaughtered, leaving herself and her younger brother as the sole survivors, and to make matters worse, he has her brother under his mind control, which leaves him with little control over his own actions. And yet, once he finally gets introduced, what does he do in his very first scene? Commission Sesshonmaru to kill Inuyasha alongside his Saimyosho while he sits on his butt on the sidelines. When he starts to actively hunt Inuyasha, what does he do? Commission other demons to do the job. Even when he sets the trap for Songo’s family, he shifts 90% of the work to a Jurogumo (or Tsutigumo, I can’t really tell the difference and I don’t remember if they specified) and a hoard of demons to massacre the village. He sends Kagura, a female incarnation of himself to pit Koga and Inuyasha against each other, he sends Kanna to steal Kagome’s soul, he sends Goshinki to kill Inuyasha, he sends Kagura again and again to kill Inuyasha and company, he sends the Band of Seven to kill them, I can go on and on. Even when we see Naraku, it’s either an illusion or a demon puppet. The few times we see the real Naraku, he runs away as soon as something isn’t going as he had planned. Inuyasha breaks his barrier? ESCAPE! Kagome masters her arrows to hit him through walls and barriers? ESCAPE! Miroku stops giving a damn about getting poisoned by Naraku’s poisonous Saimyosho? You got it; ESCAPE! He doesn’t do anything himself and when he does, he doesn’t take any risks. This guy was simply a let-down. Inuyasha really speaks my mind when he says “WILL YOU JUST DIE ALREADY?!”

Oh well, all things considered, as annoying and relatively boring the main villain is, I still love Inuyasha and recommend it to anyone looking for a way to kill a few weeks, and looking for something funny, but deep and serious at times with aspects of supernatural horror, I highly believe this is for you. I hadn’t even touched hardly any of the more serious stuff that happens, like Inuyasha’s childhood, Miroku’s past, or Kikiyo’s entire plot.

If you want to see for yourself, then go ahead! Give this older anime a watch if you haven’t already and come to your own conclusions. Leave your opinions of Inuyasha in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Snow White with Red Hair Review

I first saw Snow White with Red Hair recently, earlier this year in late winter/early spring actually. What first caught my attention was just seeing it everywhere. This show was on all the anime streaming sites, all over Google Images when looking up Anime Couples, I’m pretty sure this show even featured in a few Top 10 lists on YouTube. It seemed interesting enough, so I plugged in my headphones and gave it a watch. Believe it or not, I actually have my reaction to the first episode recorded, so, if you all would like, I could post that so you’d know my complete blind reaction to the first episode, but that may or may not be at a later date. (side note after the fact, while I did record my blind reaction to the first three episodes, the recordings got lost with all my stories as of April 2019, so I won’t be able to post any blind reactions here)

The story is…what you’d expect from a Romantic Fantasy. Shirayuki (which is Snow White in Japanese, yeah, I didn’t catch on to that at first either), a young woman living in the fantasy land of Tanbarun, is the town’s herbalist and doctor until word of her unusual red hair, bright as a shiny red apple, reaches the First Prince, Raj. The prince decides upon hearing of her legendary hair to bring her to his palace to be his concubine (for those who don’t know what a concubine is…look it up. I don’t know if it’s considered…age appropriate). Shirayuki is forced to leave her home, cutting her hair and leaving her ponytail behind to simply tease the prince when arriving at the empty shop. She then moves quickly to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines with nothing more than what she can carry on her back. While there, she meets a boy with bright white hair and bold blue eyes by the name of Zen, who is later discovered as the Second Prince of Clarines. As soon as he sees Shirayuki fleeing her home, he takes her under his wing and gives her a place in his kingdom under his personal protection. As time passes, she begins to grow her own connections in Clarines, all the while she and Prince Zen develop a co-dependency for one another, quickly moving from protective friends to something more and possibly forbidden.

Spoiler warning from here on out. Either skip to the last paragraph, watch both seasons of the show and come back, or read on at your own discretion.

The story, though it’s kind of generic, does bring out a lot of comedic effects. Also, it made me feel like a little kid watching a Disney show with Disney Cinema visuals. The animation is just so amazing! I could gush about it all day! Normally, anime falls victim to the Same Face Syndrom (in case you don’t know, Same Face Syndrom is when a movie, show, or any other form of visual media, design all their characters to have the same facial structure so their only distinguishing feature is their hairstyle, clothing, and/or hair and eye colors). Snow White with Red Hair, however, doesn’t fall into this trap. Mitsuhide, Zen’s attendant and Right Hand Man so to speak, has a more wide jaw, bigger ears, and rounded chin than the other boys in the main cast. Obi, Shirayuki’s bodyguard, is a lot leaner with a longer face and cat-like features. All the while, Zen has a more round face and pointed chin with a build that’s somewhere in the middle between the other boys in the main cast, not as bulky as Mitsuhide, not as lean as Obi, just in the middle. That’s just comparing the boys for a quick example.

Another thing was I saw the first few episodes just before meeting my boyfriend, then finished the rest of the show just a few hours before writing this, and through the show, I had a new-found joy as I saw everything Prince Zen did and how he treats Shirayuki as things my boyfriend would do or has done. For example, in one episode, Shirayuki has been tasked with nursing a whole army that has fallen ill back to health. However, Zen doesn’t realize that the soldiers have shifts for around the clock and that she only makes enough medicine for one shift at a time. Once Zen has this brought to his attention, he goes to her room, pulls her from her desk, and tells her to close her eyes and count to 60. By the time she reaches 5, she’s fallen asleep. This is exactly what my boyfriend does when we talk late at night and it’s obvious that I’m tired due to being awake for nearly 24 hours (but hey, what would you do if you had to nurture a long-distance relationship and hold down a day job? Spend your days working and nights with your significant other, right?).

One thing that I thought was annoying at first but later became thrilling was that Shirayuki continued being targeted for her unusual red hair. No less than three times, someone has tried to kidnap her for either human trade or selfish desire. However, the prince doesn’t always need to save her, even though he always comes to her rescue on his white horse. In episode one, she confronts her kidnapper for an antidote due to Zen eating the poisoned apple intended for her (I know right? A poisoned apple in a show with Snow White in the title. Can’t think of something more creative? But I digress). However, Zen shows up perfectly fine because, get this, he’s immune to various poisons. Because of this, Zen is perfectly able enough to threaten the kidnapper with an act of war unless they can keep the whole incident quiet and pretend it never happened. Then, in the very next episode, she’s kidnapped again, however, makes it outside before Zen even shows up, sword in hand (then again, it’s a full 24 hours before he even figures out that she’s in trouble at all).

I also wanna kinda talk about the soundtrack. Though I don’t have much to say, I still want to get it off my chest. The opening and ending songs aren’t really anything special, there’s no Lacrimosa or Core Pride there. However, the background music in each episode reminds me heavily of the Wizard of Oz soundtrack. Heck, when Shirayuki is fleeing her country, I swear the song playing is an altered version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. While it does convey the idea to me that it is a very vibrant and colorful world, it was a little distracting to me.

Final thoughts, Snow White with Red Hair is a charming, funny, and sweet fairytale. It takes the themes of Snow White and updates them, while not being a perfect retelling of the Snow White fairytale. It takes an old tale and reinvents it into something that’s only similar by name and one aspect, however iconic the apples are to the tale. If you want to, check it out for yourself and come to your own conclusion. Let me know what your thoughts were in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Review

Dreamtalia Review

If you like watching Kyokoon on youtube, you probably have already seen her Let’s Play Dreamtalia series, which was completed recently with a sequel game in the works. I have recently finished watching the last video of her let’s play, so, because the goal of this fan game is to be the “next HetaOni”, I believe I need to give a review. I’m saying this right now, the creators of Dreamtalia have successfully achieved their goal to, not only meet the standards set by HetaOni, but surpass it.

I guess I should start with a summary. Taking place in WW2, the game starts when Italy runs away from Germany to find a pasta plate hidden somewhere in the shrubs. The pasta turns out to be a trap and Italy gets captured by England and America, getting hit on the head so hard he got a concussion. Germany goes to save him and takes him home, where Italy goes to bed to ease his headache. Italy never wakes up. Germany takes Italy back to England and America, demanding them to apologize for causing his concussion and putting him in a coma-like state. However, while there, Germany learns that other people are just dropping in a dead sleep out of nowhere and entering sudden coma states. England explains that it’s the work of the Dream Reaper, and convinces Germany, Japan, America, France, Russia, and China to enter Italy’s dream (via magic) and save all those who have fallen victim. Now the allies and enemies must work together while setting aside their differences to beat the clock and save Italy, and all those who’ve fallen victim before the victims slip too far into their dreams and lose sight of reality; never to reawaken again as their body decays and their minds ascend into their literal dreams-come-true.

Quick side-note: this is your one and only spoiler warning. Watch Kyokoon’s Let’a Play before continuing or continue to read and be spoiled (and no, I’m not making a “spoiler free” version. If you’re looking for a recommendation, then just decide your own opinion from my summary). Also, I’ll be comparing this to HetaOni since this is, again, trying/succeeding in being the next HetaOni.

First, I want to look at the concept. In Dreamtalia, it is life threatening, since all injuries gained from the dream would affect the physical body. That makes it easier to raise stakes while also making it possible for everyone to live. For example, Japan freaks out and the blood vessels near his eyes pop, making him cry blood, both in the dream and in real life. Though it’s ignored by the group in the dream, he is tended to by the Taiwan and Hong Kong and he’s able to be in perfect physical condition quickly. This technique allows the emotional impact of harm or death of a character without really risking the consequence of not being able to use the character anymore. Something else that makes this work is that the real world isn’t seen that much once the characters enter the dream world, so, though the characters talk about the real world, the game doesn’t show what is going on on the outside until it reveals that Prussia abandoned the role of nursemaid and called Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Korea, and I think a few others to fill that role while he enters the dream world after them to help fight.

Next, let’s look at the story. As opposed to HetaOni, where the whole thing is just boring in the beginning, sad in the middle, and just a jumbled, confusing mess at the end, Dreamtalia has a really solid plot. All the detours are realistic, for example, one detour they take is they have to save all the victims even though they’re there for Italy, which get’s Germany more and more irritated the more people he has to save before he can even get a confirmation that Italy is alright. They spent most of the time trying to rescue Finland from his endless Christmas, Canada from his false brother, China from the illusion that he’s only loved because he’s high as a kite, Russia from a freaking stabbing, Austria from (…well, actually Austria is apparently a lucid dreamer so he didn’t need saving from anything), Romano from…you know, I think you get the point. A lot of people are in need of help, who they just so happen to come across while on their wild goose chase for Italy. While there are a lot of detours, they all are natural and force Germany to need to be tactful and patient while searching. All the while, it builds the team together and forces Germany and Japan to have more trust in the Allies, specifically England, Russia, and China.

While I’m on it, let’s go over the character interactions. In HetaOni, all the characters already treat one another like long-standing friends, and in some cases, broke character, especially Italy and Germany. In Dreamtalia, however, all the characters are very natural and don’t trust one another at first. It’s even pointed out quite a few times, in the beginning, Japan questions why they’re even at a meeting with their enemies, then again, later on, England asks Germany if he trusts him and the answer is a blunt, “No, I don’t”. However, if you go the bad ending, then when they all wake up except for Italy, England apologizes to Germany.

All of the character interactions are very believable, however…when it comes to Japan’s miniature character arc…he’s a little out of character. After seeing all the damage they are doing to this world, and watching the Arcana, servants of the Dream Reaper who take forms of their friends and family, all die, Japan breaks down making an unnecessary detour. He begs them to kill him and has to be held down by the German Brothers to calm down. However, because he turns into a zombie and just does whatever he’s told, China and Canada keep Japan away from Germany. It actually feels like a-whole-lot-of-pointless (I do admit that it is a little humorous when they meet the Arcana who masquerades as England and his head get’s literally turned around and Japan blames it on the fact that his eyes are playing tricks on him).

Another thing I want to talk about it England’s antagonistic behavior. Though most people think this is out of character, I actually believe his character is still unbroken. Let’s take a look at everything going through England’s mind throughout the game. In the beginning, England is dealing with being at a major disadvantage, trying to save Canada without knowing he isn’t the host dreamer. After calling a meeting, he’s made fun of for giving a magical answer to a supposed medical problem. Then, once they enter Italy’s dream, England has to talk sense to Finland, who is currently not in his right mind and in a dream of Christmas every day. At the same time, he has to keep Germany from destroying their chances to get answers from the Dream Reaper (which Germany does anyway). Then, when they get to China Town, England has to be partnered with Germany, someone who he doesn’t trust at all and doesn’t trust him one bit. By the time he starts being irritable, antagonistic, and short, England is simply done with doing things slowly. To him, they’ve wasted enough time with China, Japan, Germany, the Arcana, and freeing all the other victims while the host, Italy, is still in need of saving; if ignored for too long, not only would Italy be lost, but (as far as I understand) all the other victims would be more likely to fall victims again. So yeah, I understand England being a little short-tempered half way through to the end.

To sum it all up, Dreamtalia is one of the best games I’ve ever seen a Let’s Play for (since as of writing this blog, the complete game is unavailable for the public to play). I think it’s not only as good as HetaOni, but it’s better. It’s got a few tear jerkers, and unsettling ideas and themes, but it’s one of the most solid stories I’ve seen in a fan game. I wish God-Speed to the creators to finish the sequel. I’m simply excited to see what happens to the characters and how they fix the problem that snuck its way from the dream world. As of now, there are just a few hints in the epilog and a preview for the sequel. It looks like it’ll be centered around America, but I’m excited and hyped to see how they make it right.

Watch the Let’s Play (link at the top) yourself or play it on DeviantArt. Though I’m sure it isn’t the full version, the full game would show up there eventually, I’m sure! If you’ve already seen/played Dreamtalia, then what’s your opinion? Did you love it? Hate it? Do you think the creators succeeded in surpassing the HetaOni place, or is there still something to be desired? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Why Gilderoy Lockheart for Defence Class?

While re-watching the Harry Potter series, I really have to wonder…what was Dumbledore thinking when he hired Professor Gilderoy Lockheart? Had he completely lost his mind, or was there a method behind the old man’s madness?

The first option that comes to mind could be that Dumbledore, like most others, was fooled by Lockheart’s books. However, we have to remember that Dumbledore is old, possibly old enough to witness when the achievements were really brought that Gilderoy stole credit for. Even if it were the case that Dumbledore was fooled, he’d have figured it all out fairly soon after the school year started after knowing how Lockheart runs his classroom. And yet, Professor Gilderoy Lockheart remained as a Hogwarts professor all year (at least until he lost his memory while in the chamber).

Another option I can think of is possibly the fact that Lockheart is truly a master of memory charms, which can be used in self-defense, and is used a few times by Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Perhaps Dumbledore knew that a memory charm would be required for the three heroes to complete their journey and save the Wizarding and Muggle Worlds, and hoped that Lockheart would teach them the proper way to use memory charms.

Well, another thing we could do is look at his…few virtues. Gilderoy Lockheart, as stated earlier, is a master with memory charms. He can very easily wipe your memory clean of the past 24 hours, or your whole life if he so chose. Something else he has is, believe it or not, tact. During the dueling club, Lockheart called Harry and Ron to be the first duel. However, when Snape protests against Ron even participating, he calls Draco in his place. In case you hadn’t noticed, Lockheart is tense during the whole duel because he knows Harry and Draco are rivals and would not hold back. Seeing that his original plan to have Harry battle someone who doesn’t have bad blood with him didn’t work, he added the rule that they could only have dis-arming charms.

….Well….that’s about it. In both, the book and movie, Gilderoy Lockheart, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, was portrayed as a liar, peacock, coward, and a simple douche bag. I’m sorry, I thought for sure I could find the answer as to what Dumbledore was thinking when he hired Gilderoy Lockheart.

Well, did I forget something? If you guys can do what I couldn’t, then PLEASE leave it in the comments below and don’t forget to have a beautiful rest of your day.

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Kiss Him Not Me Review

I just finished watching Kiss Him Not Me, and it’s possibly one of the few reverse harem anime done right. It’s also the first time I’ve seen the lead be an overweight otaku. As always, I’ll try to be spoiler free, but no promises.

Now on to the plot. Kae Serinuma is an overweight otaku who loves shipping her classmates. Not just any classmates, but her male classmates. She’s called fat, weird, and a freak, but doesn’t care. One night, she stays up late watching her favorite anime when tragedy strikes in her show and she mourns for a week in her room, in which time she refuses to leave, even to eat. When she finally returns to school, her weight takes a dive and she rapidly loses all her extra pounds. Suddenly the boys she’s spent her time shipping on the sidelines are wanting to date her. Slowly but surely, the boys learn to love her for her beautiful personality instead of just her body.

Like most harems, the plot is short and simple, especially since this is a short 12 episode show. However, it still allows the viewer to know the characters.

Kae is a great lead heroine. Unlike other harem leads, she isn’t oblivious to the other’s feelings. She flat out says “I’m the main character of a dating sim”, so she knows all the boys are trying to earn her affections. However, in her own way, she tries to tell them that she’s not ready for a relationship, claiming that her anime characters take the first 16 spots in line for her heart before real guys even come in. To any girl who’s had an anime crush, while also juggling a real relationship, Kae is a good character to have that feeling of “I know that feeling!”.

Nozomu Nanashima is a really funny character in the same way that Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club is. He is cold at first, making fun of Kae like the rest of the school for her weight. However, after he learns more about Kae, he really tries, to win her heart (it doesn’t hurt that he looks just like her #1 anime crush). Nana is also a total goofball, not afraid to crack jokes and look ridiculous once his shell is broken.

Yusuke Igarashi is the shallow one of the group. He only likes Kae for her looks at first, even though he was one of the few in the school who never participated in bullying her for her weight. As time passes, he learns that he loves Kae for her inner beauty rather than her body. He also goes to great lengths just to impress her.

Hayato Shinomiya is the most childish of the boys. Though at first, he is mean and cold, he makes a complete 180 after Kae’s transformation and becomes the “little brother” type. Cowardice, childish, and self-conscious of his masculinity, Shi goes from the one I despised to the one I thought was just adorable and perfect for a fun time, even if the two of them do something neither of them are good at.

Asuma Mutsumi is the most mature, and why shouldn’t he be? He is the senpai of the group. Cool, kind, and collected, Mutsumi is the only one to be on friendly terms with Kae before her sudden weight loss, recognize her when she had her drastic weight loss, the only one to not see as much of a problem with her weight gain, last to admit his feelings to himself, and the first to admit them to Kae. He honestly reminds me of Soshi Mikitsukami from InuxBoku Secret Service; he’s normally the one to settle feuds calmly and approach problems logically, example, four boys want to date one girl, so split the day into four separate time slots so each boy gets their own alone time with the girl. However, if he’s angry, he gets really scary really quickly.

You thought that was all the main characters; the lead heroine and her male options? On the contrary, there is still Shima Nishina, the only female with her hat in the ring. Yes, she is a woman, however, this is actually handled very seriously. It would’ve been all too easy for Shima to just be a running joke, but no. She’s treated like a true rival and legit competition to the boys, and there’s no reason why not. Not only is Shima rich, which is enough for the boys to feel horrible about themselves and feel less of men, but she also does cosplay, attend anime conventions, avidly watch anime, and is also the author of one of Kae’s favorite book sagas. On top of all that, Shima views Kae as her guardian angel and loves her no matter what she looks like.

Final thoughts, I really like this one and recommend it to anyone looking for a short, sweet anime where you could just sit down, shut down, and enjoy. Those who are homophobic, however, be warned. There is a lot of positive encouragement for bisexual or homosexual acts through teasing dialogue and vivid fantasy animation when placed in the POV of Kae. Though I wasn’t bothered by it, in fact, I enjoyed that aspect of the characters, I can see how a homophobic person could be triggered by the dialogue and animation, even if it’s just teasing and fantasy of a high school girl.

Don’t take my word for it! Watch it yourself and make your own opinion, or, if you’ve already seen it, leave your opinion in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Kamisama Kiss: How Stupid is Tomoe?

Spoiler warning for Kamisama Kiss anime and manga up to volume 24. You have been warned.

Just finished reading volume 24 of the Kamisama Kiss manga, and after reading Tomoe’s concept of what a proper paycheck should look like, I just shake my head in shame and disappointment. It made me wonder if Tomoe would truly survive as a human. So, here are all the reasons why Tomoe would not survive as a human and all the ways he’s at risk of making Nanami’s father’s mistakes.

I’m gonna start off with the most recent stupid act Tomoe committed in volume 24. While disappointed and ashamed of not being able to find a real job in the outside world for himself and to make Nanami stop nagging him to get a real job, Tomoe begs Mikage on his knees, pleading that the former God pay him for his service as a familiar. Mikage offers $100 per hour, and Tomoe declines. He says, and I quote, I kid you not, “That’s too much. $5 per day is enough.” …I only have eight words…but they speak the full truth about this instance. You can’t live on five dollars per day!

While around other humans, Tomoe doesn’t have any self-control. With his very first interaction with a human other than Nanami, he told them that Nanami was his mistress, which he doesn’ see anything wrong with, but it all too easily gives the wrong idea. His blunt speech can, and has, gotten Tomoe in trouble with other humans, Nanami, and even confusing himself, like when he was arrested by the gods in Izumo, his blunt honesty knew he was in love with Nanami, but his pride and past told him he didn’t even like Nanami, which drives him crazy in his prison cell. This might be knit picky, but he doesn’t know, or maybe doesn’t care about what others think, which could quickly ruin a reputation or first impression. Going back to the first example, good first impressions are key for landing the job you apply for.

Tomoe is also self-centered and immature. Despite being 500+ years old, Tomoe is extremely immature and anti-social. He’ll do anything for Nanami, but that’s it. Everything else he does is for himself and his selfish desire to get what he wants despite not being prepared for it or the thing he wants isn’t what has the best intentions of everyone else involved, or even not involved. He actually reminds me of a moody hormonal teenager. For example, he downed all the Water of Evolution, far too eager for the effects to kick in and to be human like he’s wanted for centuries only to learn the hard way his evolution line doesn’t even include humans.

That’s about all the points I have, but they’re BIG points. Tomoe wouldn’t survive on his own as a human supporting a wife and future family. I guess that’s why the very last page of the books is Tomoe finally getting his wish and becoming human to live his days with Nanami, so that we, the audience, wouldn’t have to watch the former yokai possibly die of starvation, or gamble all the funds away, or stupidly sign a contract to an obvious scam. I’m not convinced that it wouldn’t happen based on how we all know Tomoe.

What do you all think? Is it even possible for Tomoe to learn how to be an honest human and husband in only the year the two have, or is it more probable that Tomoe would fall into Nanami’s father’s shoes and become a gambling addict? Leave your thoughts in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Black Butler: Book of the Titanic (With Zombies), Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

You saw right! The very first theatrical release of a Black Butler animated adaptation, and it looks like it’s (trying to be) the next Titanic with zombies! I just saw a promotional video for the new movie, which released to theaters in Japan only a few months ago (January 21st, 2017), and will release in theaters across the US later this year, and I can’t stop laughing!

Let me back up a little. After the backlash of Black Butler 2 (I’m looking at you Claude!), the company responsible for bringing the manga to life through animation decided to start off scratch and give Black Butler the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment (sorta). They started with animating Book of Circus, an arc in the books relatively close to the beginning of the story, but still in the middle somewhere.

In Book of Circus, Ciel and Sebastian join a traveling circus to investigate a chain of missing children. It has a great mystery (which I DARE not spoil if you haven’t seen it and want to), doesn’t shy away from the nitty-gritty (as if Black Butler ever did), and still brings in laughs.

With everyone’s favorite Gery Stew back in the spotlight, they animated the arc directly after Book of Circus; Book of Murder.

Directly after Sebastian and Ciel solve the case with the circus, Ciel throws a celebration with various Earls, the Queen’s butlers, and a novelist who writes mystery stories. Again, it’s a great mystery, but the mystery itself takes a lot of the screen time (aside from the tear-jerking moments). Like all good mysteries, I give it two viewings (three since my first viewing was the raw Japanese, then I couldn’t see it again until the dub was available). During the first viewing, you’re just as in-the-dark as the characters. For the second viewing, after you know the answer, you pay more attention to the background than you did before.

Now with, not only the one and only Black Butler himself, but a new footman in training, we enter Book of the Atlantic.

Because I’ve only seen a few promotional videos in Japanese and have seen a few pages from the books, I’m gonna say everything on my mind, as opposed to just short, vague reviews. This might be spoiler territory (also, I kinda start rambling, but all the points here are ones I want to say).

After the events of Book of Murder, Lizzie invites Ciel to a luxury cruise so the two can have quality alone time as future husband and wife. Ciel accepts, only because a doctor claiming to have the power to bring back the dead is having a demonstration on the same cruise ship.

…Can I hit pause for a second here? I just gotta ask, why, of all places, does the doctor chose to have his demonstration on a ship? If something goes wrong, he’d have no back-up, or, on a different note, anyone can wander in on his “secret demonstration”! I’m sure he has a perfectly good hospital building on land that can host such events, either publicly or privately.

I digress. The ship gets overrun by zombies, zombies want to nom people’s faces off, Sebastian learns how to kill a zombie the Walking Dead way, should be a great movie, right?

…I’m still laughing that this is the first theatrical release for a Black Butler animated feature film…and it’s as though the author just thought, “Hey, you remember that really long movie about a ship sinking? It would be so much cooler if it had a demon, a grim reaper, and zombies!”

I understand that the animators are now animating, what seems like, all the arcs from the books to give Black Butler the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment that it so rightfully deserves. However, all three “books” could’ve been condensed into a feature film. Though Book of Murder is a feature film that was “Direct to DVD” in a sense, Book of Circus is a short 10 episode mini-series that kinda wastes time re-introducing the characters, and re-explaining Ciel’s PTSD…again! Both of them look like either of them could make it to the big screen with how almost anyone, Black Butler fan or not, could at least get sucked into the mystery of the mini-series and film, but…zombie titanic is the one to make the cinemas?

Now that I think about it…I sort-of understand why the characters and situations in Book of Circus need to be re-introduced and explained. It seems like the animation company is trying to re-do Black Butler similar to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (…I feel like I’m repeating myself now). Similar to the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Black Butler was created far from the manga, with the addition of Pluto, the angels…and season 2 all together (STILL LOOKING AT YOU CLAUDE!). Now, these “books” are following the manga to the letter, but of course, the animators wouldn’t want to re-do episodes that were already in the manga, like the Curry Competition, so they just start with directly after with a mention of the competition and no sign of Ash, Angela, or Plu-Plu.

Also, on a technical stand, the animation and art style is much more pleasing to the eye than the original, with the softer colors and textures, almost blurred lines, and much…easier eyes. With all this, if the animators said that Black Butler is re-branding itself, I wouldn’t be surprised. These new Black Butler Books are something new and different from the original show, they’re the books brought to life (I guess that’s why they all have the word “book” in their subtitles).

Final thoughts, I don’t really know how to feel about Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic getting a spot in cinemas. If you ask me, I think either all the Black Butler Books should be feature films with cinematic releases, or none of them are; it would be like seeing Lion King 2 in theaters while Lion King 1 is on TV and DVD. However, it is what it is, it’s still gonna happen, and…there’s no way in hell my parents would take me to the theater to watch an anime movie, so I really shouldn’t have even bothered making a big deal out of this film getting theatrical treatment while the other books could’ve achieved the same thing with proper marketing and smooth talking. Though, I bet it would be great to see it on the big screen with the whole cinematic experience…I’m gonna wrap things up before I start another run-away-train.

So, what do you guys think of Black Butler getting a theatrical release? What do you think of the direction the Black Butler staff is taking? Do you like it? Hate it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

The movie is coming sooner than later, so why not catch up with the events the movie will take place afterward? Check out Book of Circus, and even Book of Murder! They’re both on Amazon they both take place directly before the events of the movie. Even if you’ve seen them before, might as well dust off old memories and recall what’s going on when the movie finally does come to a theater near you!

Posted in Blogs, Review

InuxBoku Secret Service Review

In the search of a male yandere as the main character in anime, InuxBoku served my curiosity and desire to see the yandere archetype in a male character while also giving loud laughs, heartbreaking back stories, and spine-chilling lines and moments.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Rorichiro is a high school girl cursed to be the reincarnation of an oni, gaining powers of the said oni. She moved into an apartment building to live with others like her who are cursed to be reincarnations of various yokai spirits and monsters. Upon arrival, Rorichiro meets a secret service agent, a reincarnation of a nine-tailed fox by the name Soshi Mikitsukami, who’s assigned to be her personal agent. As time passes, the two fall for one another while trying not to allow their relationship be awkward, especially due to the fact that Soshi views himself as less of a being compared to his peers. He keeps his obsession with her at a distance while she struggles and overthinks methods to show gratitude for the very man who believes he’s undeserving of any type of kindness. The two meet colorful characters and try to survive the embarrassment of their situations.

It’s interesting to see this humbled yandere and prideful tsushun develop a romantic relationship. On top of that, it’s simply funny to watch them bounce off the other characters.

For example, there’s a man who is Rorichiro’s arranged fiance and Soshi’s first master, but he’s obsessed with sadism and masochism. Watching this man just crawl under the skin of, not only the main characters but also the supporting cast, is simply funny. I do admit, after a few minutes of his ongoing joke of “The roof is a sadist! The carpet is a masochist!”, it does get old pretty fast; while funny and shocking upon the first time this twisted line of thought is explained, it does get annoying after a minute or so.

When the story gets on track and the focus is on solely Soshi and Rorichiro, the interactions are funny, but also kind of cringy and heart-breaking.

For example, there’s an episode where they’re locked in her apartment, so, while he’s doing various things to keep himself from sleeping so he could jump into action if needed, she’s stumbling on her words and babbling while trying to show her gratitude for his loyalty and dedication to his job and her safety. While this is all playing out, I was screaming “Just say ‘thank you for your help’ and be done with it!”

Another example of how cringy their interactions get is, in another episode, Rorichiro is slaving away, pulling an all-nighter to write various ways to play out how she’ll ask Soshi to drink coffee with her to strengthen their bond. She blows every opportunity to ask him by babbling and avoiding the subject. At the end of the episode, Soshi confronts her, describing every way he’s able to put together that she’s spending a large amount of brain power on how to ask this one question. While that last conversation is sweet, the events leading up to that chat are all moments that caused me to bang my head against my palm, sketchbook, and table to escape the need to cringe.

There’s so much more I didn’t mention, like a secret service agent who is a bunny with a very intimidating eye color and can see anything and everything, another secret service agent who’s stomach is a bottomless pit and is simply ADORABLE without the need for a smile or even any facial expressions, a tsundere delinquent who can’t control his tanuki powers, and much more.

As final words, InuxBoku Secret Service is a great show that’s short and sweet. I recommend it to anyone who either wanna see the rare breed of a male yandere, or anyone looking for a good supernatural romance. However, with the SnM subjects and sexual innuendoes left and right, I’d recommend this show be, like, PG13 (or something like that). Watch it yourself and let me know what you think and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

If you wanna make your own opinion yourself of this show, then I won’t stop you. In fact, I encourage you to check out the DVDs on Amazon! Just a warning, make sure there are no small children in the area.

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Fruits Basket Review

I first saw Fruits Basket in high school, right after I just finished my Black Butler phase and was ready for something new to grab my attention. Fruits Basket seemed like a good attention grabber, since I was coming from a show as depressing and, for lack of better term, black and white as Black Butler, I was looking for something funny and colorful. I’ve never been so right…and so wrong.

I should probably give a summary, huh? For those of you who don’t know, or have been living under a rock since 1999, or at least 2001, Fruits Basket is a romantic, comedic, supernatural tragedy. You see, it starts with the introduction of Tohru Honda, a teenage girl who was recently orphaned by the sudden death of her mother a month prior. Since then, she’s been living in a tent in the woods until one day she stumbles across the home of the prince of her school, Yuki Soma. A few conversations, jokes, and mysterious circumstances later, Yuki’s cousin, and the owner of the home, Shigure, brings another Soma, Kyo, to live in his home and he hires Tohru to be a housekeeper. With this, Tohru is out of the dangerous environment and in a secure home with a sturdy roof, while Shigure gets to see his floors again. However, Tohru quickly learns that the Soma family is cursed to transform into the 12 animals of the zodiac and the cat from an old folk tale where the cat was tricked by the rat from attending the party that decided the zodiac animals.

It was my friend AnimeAngel120 who first introduced me to Fruits Basket, and I remember I loved Shigure during my first viewing. However, after watching the show again, I decided that I like all the characters. The show was, and still is, colorful, thought-provoking, imaginative, and is a perfect mirror of the first arc of the manga, even if one more or less handled details better than the other. That’s right, I’m going there!

This is your last chance, from this point on, I’ll spoil both the anime and the manga, nothing held back. Fruits Basket is something that’s actually better going in blind, so come back when you’ve watched the show and/or read the books (or you can just skip down to the very last paragraph).

The first arc of the books, and the whole show, both end with Kyo being 100% accepted by Tohru. She accepts him in all three forms, his human form, his zodiac form, and his “true” form. However, I have to say this. The show does handle this better. In both, she says she’s afraid, but only in the show does she SHOW that she’s afraid. She hesitates, she freezes, she hyperventilates, she even goes to her mother’s grave for guidance. In the manga, she just runs after Kyo like nothing happened. Some argue that the books handle it better, with how she goes straight to Kyo to prove her love without hesitation, but I say not. In my opinion, it’s better how she is visually terrified and showing that she’s torn apart between her fear and love. By showing how hard it is for her to go to Kyo, by allowing him to see how hard it is for her, that she’s not giving into her fear no matter how fearful she is, that’s actually what Kyo had to see because it’s genuine. He even said so himself, “You don’t have to love everything. If you’re afraid, it just proves that you’ve really seen the real me” (Kyo’s words from episode 26).

The endings of all three arcs all revolve around Tohru and Kyo, and all test some aspect of their relationship. The first arc tests Tohru’s bravery to face her fear and accept the fact that Kyo is cursed to be something horrifying.

As for the second test, well, if I remember correctly, the second arc of the books ends with Kyo telling Tohru that it’s his fault her mother died. Now, this is where the books show that struggle that I was talking about earlier, Tohru’s love for Kyo vs. her resurfaced pain with the knowledge that her mother could still be alive if Kyo hadn’t been selfish and would’ve pulled her back to the sidewalk. However, again, Tohru’s pain is more or less brushed to the side without going to extremes, Kyo is forgiven, and it’s simply not touched on again.

Though that bothers me, it’s still a test of Tohru accepting Kyo as a very angsty human teenage boy who makes a million mistakes.

Lastly, the entire manga ends with the end of the zodiac curse. The books go over what really happened at the very first banquet. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember the cat DID go to the party, however, he wasn’t having as good a time as everyone else, and even died right there. God said that all he wanted was to see the cat happy, so he placed the curse until the day came when he saw for himself that the cat was haveing fun at the party. What brakes the curse is Akito, the head of the Soma family, seeing, and accepting that Kyo is happy with Tohru (it doesn’t explain how Kureno’s curse broke, or if the books did say, then I must’ve forgotten).

Though the last arc isn’t really a test for Tohru, it is, I believe, Tohru’s influence on Akito for him (or I should say her since he’s a she) to venture outside and enjoy life while it’s there.

Second, I wanna talk about how this show needs a GOD DAMN SEQUEL! And NOT the Black Butler treatment where the animators were just pulling whatever’s popular out of a “quick-n’-easy copycat generator” (I’m looking at you, Claude). I mean, I want a sequel where the staff pay just as much attention to detail as they did the first time. I want the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment here!

I want to see the curse broken in animation. I want to see Yuki’s struggles in the Student Council. I want to HEAR Yuki being called “Yun-Yun”. I want to see Arisa’s relationship with Kureno Soma. I want to watch Arisa, Saki, Kyo, and Yuki all shop for Tohru’s swimming suit. And I don’t care if it’s a flashback inside a flashback, I want to see Tohru’s parents falling in love.

Final thoughts, Fruits Basket, both the anime and the manga, are full of colorful characters. Every little conflict had me invested. I laughed and cried multiple times, but I recommend this to everyone, from adults to older children. I would be cautious for children under 10 years old though, there is light cursing, and HEAVY subjects like depression, mental disorders, and a misinterpretation of mothers (#MomForMomijiPlease). Watch the show, read the books, and tell me your own review in the comments. As always, have a beautiful rest of your day~!

But hey! What do I know? Grab the Fruits Basket DVDs, watch them yourself, or read the volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and make your own opinion (trust me, these links will save money in the long run if you buy the books)! Just keep that tissue box close by…

Posted in Blogs, Review

Beauty and the Beast Updates

With the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast coming to theaters soon (this coming friday to be exact), something has been nagging at the back of my mind. With the Cinderella live-action remake under the same name, Disney made a few updates. For one, the prince has a personality and brain, the king actually cares about who the prince hooks up with rather than just choosing a girl from a party, also Lady Tramane was given time to build up how her relationship with Cinderella developed to where it is in the tale we all know. Next, with the live-action remake of Sleeping Beauty under the name Maleficent, the movie focused more on Maleficent’s story, explaining what drove her to curse a baby. That movie also gave more history between her and the king. Though these movies followed closely to the story of their animated counterparts, there are still those notable differences, the most notable being that Disney seems to have a new fascination of redeeming or justifying their villains’ motives.

Even in the trailers of the live-action remake for Beauty and the Beast, I can see the introduction of various changes that may or may not occur.

The first thing I want to address is the fact that, when Belle’s father is caught by the Beast in the trailer, he’s outside in a courtyard picking a rose. In the original tale of Beauty and the Beast, Belle has two sisters. In the tale, Belle’s father is a traveler and always comes home with gifts for the three daughters. In the events of the tale, Belle’s sisters say they want exotic perfumes and extravagant gowns while Belle herself only wants a rose with two buds and a bloom (I could be wrong on the specifics, but you get the point, the sisters want vain beauty products while Belle wants something more symbolic and specific). The fact that Belle’s father is caught picking a rose in the trailer makes me think that perhaps, rather be chased there by wolves and rain, he might be so focused on getting Belle the rose she asked for that he lost track of his whereabouts, just like in the original French tale. Hell, the remake might even follow even closer to the original tale by giving Belle her sisters and giving her sisters the lesson that they learn in the end the tale.

The next point I want to make is a smaller detail, but also raises my curiosity. Belle is seen with hunting gear, even a gun, in the trailer. This makes me wonder if she might be more of a fighter than a dreamer than her animated counterpart was. Maybe, to show off his ability to hunt and maybe even a defensive personality effectively, Gaston taught her how to hunt and fend for herself. This is the “Era of Disney Villain Redemption” after all (apparently).

A third point that I want to put out there is, first off, Belle actually asks about the significance of the rose in the West Wing and asks what happens when the last petal falls. Now, Lumiere’s line of “The master remains a beast” isn’t what I want to talk about. It’s the next line I want to know more about; when Cogsworth says “We become antiques”. The word “become” implies that they’ll suffer through a second transformation to be even farther from human. Does that also mean that they’ll lose their lives and the ability to move and talk? That would make it a lot more intense and make the servants more anxious for the curse to be broken for the sake of their lives.

Jumping back to an event in the beginning of the movie, Belle is the one who shuts her own cell door. Rather than clinging to her father to say goodbye, and crying when her father is dragged away from her, it seems like the live-action Belle has time to say goodbye, as seen with their last hug and her whispering to him “I will escape, I promise”. Because of this, I think this version of the Beast might have some sympathy towards Belle’s situation. I may be reading too much into it, or going WAY off track, but, we might see what happened to Beast’s parents, or hell, even if he has a name (his name’s not Adam, the creators of the animated Beauty and the Beast didn’t realize that they never gave Beast a name until the movie was already almost over, so they just accept the name “Adam”). Why not think a scene of Beast’s past might be there? The first 10-15 minutes of the remakes mentioned earlier are just the main heroin as a child, explaining how and why they are how they are.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

Posted in Blogs, Rants, Review

Kamisama Kiss: Where to Go From Here

Spoiler warning. This blog is going to talk about the Kamisama Kiss Manga written and illustrated by Julietta Suzuki, which is far ahead and contains much more content and story than the anime.

Now that spoilers are out of the way, Kamisama Kiss is a story about love and loss. Tomoe and Nanami fall head over heels for one another, making sacrifices and saving one another more times than I could count. However, the latest arc presented a time crunch on how much longer the love birds have with each other.

Imagine, if you will, that you are Tomoe. You just got your memories back from before your 500 years of service, you remember everything. From the point where you met Nanami posing as Yukiji in the shack, to when Nanami (again posing as Yukiji) showed you kindness and healed you after a deathly wound, to when Nanami (posing as Yukiji) promised you her hand in marriage, to when you see the REAL Yukiji die at the hand of your best friend before wandering alone and depressed because you thought that Yukiji was the one you were in love with.

Now imagine the new found hope that Tomoe had when he recognized Nanami as the Yukiji stand in. He probably was thinking “Yes! I have a chance! I’ve waited 500 years for her to fulfill that promise to be my wife and now it’ll come true!” only to find that he still needs to transform into a human.

“No problem!” I can hear you say. “He just needs to drink the evolution water and he’ll revert to a human, right?” Couldn’t be more wrong. Tomoe tries this, even ignoring Nanami’s warnings that his lifespan would shrink to 60 years maximum, which would be gone in the blink of an eye to him, and her begging for him to wait just a little longer until graduation. He makes the argument that he’s waited 500 years already (kinda reminded me of Serious Black from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban. I mean, he says “You’ve kept me waiting and waiting, saying now’s not the right time” he might as well have said “I’VE DONE MY WAITING!” …getting off topic…). After he makes his argument, he does revert back and it does reverse his evolution…into a literal fox…paws and all.

You see, yokai and humans don’t even share an evolution branch. Heck, if they did, I don’t think there would even be humans because they’d all evolve to yokai. So in short, Tomoe messed up because he didn’t pay attention in Biology class.

Oh yeah, there’s also now a chip on his shoulder because Nanami decided that was the right time to ask Tomoe what happened to Akura-oh and to confess to him that, not only is Akura-oh back with a vengeance, but she kissed the said oni. So now, Tomoe is intent on, not only returning to his normal form but also destroying Akura-oh once and for all.

“…Okay…” I hear you say again. “What about that big god, Okuninushi? or any of the gods in Izumo? they’ve gotta have enough power to help Tomoe return to his natural form at least, right?” …Well…everyone at Izumo is too focused on getting Okuninushi’s soul back to his body. That’s right. Remember that conflict back in the Tengu Arc (season 2 in the anime and volumes 9 and 10 in the manga) where the Shojobo’s soul was missing? Yeah, this is just like that but with Okuninushi instead. And the soul was stolen by none other than Yatori, the same yokai who stole the soul the first time.

However, Yatori is using Okuninushi’s soul to enter a special plane of existence where only gods can travel. He runs into Nanami on the special plane and guess what else? One of Yatori’s special powers is apparently taking abstract things and ideas, like a lifespan, and giving them independent objects that accurately represent them. He proceeds to use this power to explain why Tomoe shouldn’t become human, saying that his current lifespan as a yokai is similar to a lighthouse; strong, stable, and bright. He then makes a representative of Nanami’s lifespan; a dying candle with little wax left and he predicts that she only has 6 months left to live.

But there’s more! To get Okuninushi’s soul back, Nanami, Otohiko, Mizuki, and Mikage (yeah, he just sorta becomes a main character and acts as Nanami’s father figure, even going so far as to punish her for bad grades in school) go to the Land of the Dead in pursuit of Izanami’s help with looking for Okuninushi’s soul while Tomoe guards the entrance so that when the entrance opens again, Akura-oh wouldn’t escape. For them to gain her help, all four of them have to entertain her by playing dress-up and hide-n-seek.

Once she’s in the right mood, Izanami gives Nanami a bulb that will grow when Tomoe loves humans from the bottom of his heart. Once he eats the bloom that the bulb grows into, then Tomoe would return to normal…however…when Tomoe hears this news, he’s not in the best of moods after having a conversation with Yatori and confirming from Nanami what he said (about Nanami only having 6 months left to live), so he only heard “blah blah gave me a bulb blah blah eat the flower blah blah turn back.” So…Tomoe eats the bulb and returns to his normal form long enough for him to scold her for keeping a secret that big from him, even if it was just for a day or so. He even takes everything personal and blames Nanami for smiling like nothing was wrong until she’d leave him behind like she had to do when she posed as Yukiji. Once all his rage and grief is out in the open, Tomoe reverts back into a fox.

Here’s where my predictions come in.

First, with Nanami’s lifespan. One of two things is going to happen. One, she dies after six months and everyone mourns her loss and Tomoe falls into depression and the story ends with flowers all over Nanami’s school desk. Two, Okuninushi is revived and makes Nanami a full god or maybe even a yokai instead of just a human stand in for Mikage and gives her eternal/extended life, curing whatever caused her to lose her life.

If I’m being honest, the story-telling part of me feels like it’ll be the first option, but the other half of me wishes it’s the second option and they live Happily Ever After.

Second, with Tomoe’s form. Again, I can see it as one of two ways. One, he threw away his chances of ever being his normal self again (due to his sour mood at the time and impatience) and he’ll be trapped in his fox form forever. Two, he returns to his normal form when he performs actions purely for love for the human race and he must continue to perform actions and love humans until the bulb blooms inside his stomach (sorta like how in the anime Nyan Koi, the guy has to help 100 cats to prevent becoming a cat himself, but in this case, Tomoe has to love humans to return to his original form).

Again, I sorta like both these outcomes for different reasons. I like the first one because Tomoe would learn the hard way that patience and love are important for you to get what you want in life (though he should’ve learned that when he drank the evolution water without studying his own evolution line). I also like the first option because it drives home the fact of Karma. The main reason why I like the second option though is because it allows Tomoe to get another chance, and it’ll lead to a more satisfying Happily Ever After.

Third, with Tomoe; human life vs yokai life. I can see one of three ways instead of just two for this to be concluded. The first option is the option I stated earlier, that Tomoe remains as a yokai while Okuninushi turns Nanami into a being of a longer lifespan than human and Tomoe and Nanami live happily ever after, potentially with Tomoe teaching Nanami how to use/control new powers she may or may not have. The second option is that Tomoe turns into a human somehow, whether it be through Okuninushi’s power or some other means that haven’t been introduced yet, and Nanami and Tomoe enjoy their last six months together before Nanami dies and Tomoe eventually dies and they’re together with their happily ever after in heaven. Finally, the third option that I can forsee is that Tomoe doesn’t turn into a human, Nanami dies and Tomoe falls into depression, wishing to die before he finally does. I could also see a fourth scenario that branches off the third one, but it would be a lot like Gugure Kokkuri-san; where Nanami dies and Tomoe swears to protect her reincarnations so they’d still be together forever.

…I’m being honest…thinking about all these potential options make me want to cry. With the first option, Nanami will watch her human friends die one by one…all three of them. With the second option, they both die and Tomoe is alone as a human for some time before he could join her (I wouldn’t doubt that he’d commit suicide directly after Nanami’s death just so he wouldn’t wait any longer). With the third and fourth options, Tomoe is still a yokai and in one case, he dies with the same thought process that he had after Yukiji dies; that even if he died, he’d never see her again. Meanwhile, in the other scenario, he’s always in search of which body Nanami’s soul is reincarnated into.

As for future arcs, the only aspect I feel confident in predicting (or more of what I want to see) is a return of Nanami’s birth father. I mean, think about it. Her father literally just left because of debt trouble before the story even started. If he hears that his daughter is best friends with the rich, famous pop star, Kurama and that she’s living in a shrine with servants that do her bidding, the first thing that man will do is show up on the Mikage Shrine doorstep and ask for money, maybe even hide the fact that he needs money by saying he wants to get to know her again and know if she made friends yet and who exactly those friends are.

But what do you guys think? This blog was written before volume 23 is even available (in English), so if any of these scenarios come true, then I AM AWESOME! If not, then eh. It was all in good fun. Before I end this, please tell me in the comments below, am I the only one interested in what Julietta Suzuki can come up with for a return of Mr. Mamozono? If you think Nanami’s father would make a return as well, what do you think the scenario would be? Again, leave your thoughts in the comments and replies, and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

If you would like the pleasure of reading all the books yourself, they’re all available on Amazon (but for simplicity sake, I’ll leave links to the latest three, you can find the rest from suggestion products). Come and get volume 22volume 23, or you can get the most recent volume 24 (was released after this blog posted).

Posted in Blogs, Review

HetaOni Review

It has been about 3-4 years since I first saw a gameplay of HetaOni, one of the most popular Hetalia fan games made. Warning, spoilers. If you want to play or watch gameplay of HetaOni and are sensitive to spoilers, leave now.

If you don’t know about HetaOni, then one, why are you reading this? and two, let me summarize it for you. The main ten characters in Hetalia, Italy, Germany, Japan, Prussia, France, England, America, Canada, Russia and China, all decide to have a dare-devil, spooky night of frightful fun in a mansion at the top of a mountain. However, long story short, everyone dies…over and over and over and over and over again.

First…few times I watched Let’s Play: HetaOni videos, I cried my eyes out. More recently, I don’t cry but it still makes me sad. However, I’m going to try and remember my thoughts from my very first viewing. In my first experience with this game, I didn’t know what to think about it. The game itself takes a while to pick up and start the story rolling. However, once I saw Italy acting outside his normal, carefree self, I was skeptical and had two separate thoughts. Either one, the developer didn’t know Italy and his character, or two, Italy is very important to the story and the out-of-character behavior was a hint as to how the story would end. Seeing as how the game developer knew about little Hetalia details like the Marriage Registration and Belarus’s obsession over Russia, then I doubted the first option was the real case, to which I was right.

I think I cried my hardest when the game revealed that Italy was acting odd because he’s seen all his friends die several times over and the mental image took its toll. I still remember the exact order of everyone dying and how Italy begged them all to stay alive. And because of his friends’ sacrifice and his fast feet, he escaped and found a way to turn back time by making a deal with the monster. I was crying too much to notice what was even going on and what Italy was proposing, but watching it so many times to the point that I can’t shed a tear over it anymore, I now understand what happened. To put simply, Italy had to turn back time every time the monster failed to kill him instead of his friends. He used the fact that he’s the weakest of the group, yet he still beat the monster in their little game of tag every time.

They never said exactly how many times Italy rewound time before the time loop where the game itself starts, but it was so much time, years worth of memories that eventually made Italy’s brain explode and gave him amnesia. I admit, I still kinda cry when Italy asks who Germany is.

However, the monster apparently succeeded in killing Italy and sparing the rest of the group in a time loop that Italy himself can’t remember. Pretty much, from the point where Germany, Italy, and America all see the second time loop themselves, the story does lose focus and goes all over the place. There’s a side story about America keeping England from using magic, and another side story where Romano and Spain gather pretty much the rest of the world to save them before entering themselves to help them more directly than just moral support, and yet another side story about…I don’t even remember…something about Russia keeping secrets of his own and Canada trying to talk him out of it. The story goes everywhere.

All in all, it’s a game I expected to be screaming in terror at, but got a slow beginning, major tear jerker mid-section, and crazy, all over the place end. It doesn’t even really have an end because the developer of the game quit and a fan took up the project and tried to continue the story in a sequel that just makes things more confusing. Even literary adaptations of this game follow the game line by line, but have a rushed ending just to stop the craziness.

What did you think of HetaOni? Is it your favorite? Do you think I missed, or forgot, something that deserves to be talked about? Let me know in the comments and have a beautiful rest of your day.