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Anime Review: Selection Project (First Ep)

Thursday, January 6, 2022 / No Comments


Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I hope we'll all have an amazing 2022 ahead. 

As a working adult, it's been hard to consistently keep up hobbies like binge-watching anime... But sometimes, a break is always needed! If you guys don't know, I have always expressed my love for idol/girl clubs anime, and majority of my posts on here have touched on the same genre. So when I first stumbled upon Selection Project, I automatically thought: Love Live School Idol Project. But okay, while the theme is largely similar, the structure of this show is very much different. So let's talk about it a little shall we?

First off, this anime was part of the fall selections, but the final episode was last released on 24th December so hey, I guess it's still a pretty good time to binge everything if you're interested. 

As the episode begins, we see an idol singing on stage, much like how most idol shows start.

Then, the scene cuts to a young girl on a hospital bed as she watches that same idol from her phone scene. She expresses her desire to be just like her, but I'm guessing it's going to take a while because of her sickness. 

We jump into time to see the same girl, now introduced as Suzune Miyama in her room, and much older. There are posters of that idol on her wall, and we all know she's a super fan. 

Honestly, I was going to think that she was going to school after this, but what surprised me was that she's actually going to attend the preliminary round of Selection Project, a singing competition that her idol used to be in. 

And of course... A competition comes with rivals.

What's interesting about this competition is that is region-based, so the preliminary rounds are held in different regions, with one out of the four contestants being chosen to proceed to the next round. Oh and just to add, Suzune is from the Kanto region. 

We are then given brief introductions to the different girls who could potentially be our main few characters in the next few episodes. And of course, it plays into the different stereotypes of a girl group. 

The shy girl, but probably one with impressive skills

The one who eats a lot but never seems to get fat

The bruh girl

The child prodigy who has an agent/vocal coach (I see this becoming a conflict in the show someday...)

The Ojou-sama.

And she has quite a unique hair style too... Time to add that into my blog post:

And that one kuudere who probably takes some time to open up...

While there are a lot more characters that were introduced here and there, these are just a few that managed to capture my attention. Ultimately, I'm sure we'll end up with this group of girls.

Before the preliminary round begins, we are then given more information about the idol that Suzune idolised. And in a surprising turn of events, it is revealed that she has actually passed away. 

I wasn't expecting such a mature topic to come out from an idol anime but I guess it's quite relevant to issues that happen in real life as well, as there have been histories of idols losing their lives because of personal reasons or reasons that are associated with cyberbullying. Hopefully this anime will be able to shed light on this topic a bit more. 

And the preliminary round kickstarts. 

For Suzune, singing seems to be her natural talent and a history of a heart disease has never deterred her from wanting to go far in this competition. However, she then faces a moment of withdrawal, leading her to collapse onto the ground. Could it be her sickness? We don't know, but it surely doesn't look good for her.

Yet, she still manages to push herself up to sing the last few lines of the song, which is commendable. Maybe it can still save her thus far. 

As the winner from each round gets announced per region, tension starts to rise. 

And then it comes down to the last region: Kanto. While Suzune has garnered a huge amount of votes in spite of her mishap, it was another hot favourite, Seira, who got it. 

While both of them share an amiable friendship, it is obvious that Suzune is disappointed in herself, as she packs her luggage and heads back home. 

The episode then ends here. 

I think it's a great way to build up to the next few episodes by showing Suzune's loss, because this will make us root for her even more and allow all of us to wonder: what's her next plan?

Overall, the first episode of Selection Project was quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to binge the rest of the episodes to get my idol fix. Also, the character designs are all so unique and I'm enjoying this new style of idol anime that also adds in a bit of the variety format. While there have been many comparisons to Idoly Pride, another idol anime that was released in early 2021, I'm sure idol fans can all rejoice in having more content to watch. 

Alright, be right back while I continue the rest of the series ^^ 

Once again, stay safe, healthy and I'll see you all again in the next blog post!

Written by kimizomi 

Action-filled Webtoons to Look Out For

Sunday, December 19, 2021 / No Comments

Do you enjoy spices of action in stories? Do you love the gritty details in fight scenes? Well, then you've come to the right place. Here are two Webtoons that I feel have the best action I've seen in awhile. 

1. Lookism 

This is a South Korean webtoon, also known as manhwa, published in 2014 and is still ongoing. The title reflects the story quite nicely, 'Lookism' meaning 'prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's appearance', according to Oxford Languages. 

The plot revolves around Daniel Park, a high school student who has been a victim of vicious bullying (for some reason, bullying seems to play a big part in manhwas), because of his heavyweight and supposedly unpleasant appearance. One day he wakes up in a new body - a body of good fit and good looks. And it turns out that whenever he sleeps, he switches bodies!

With his second body's dashing appearance, the "new" Daniel Park takes his school by storm. His stunning good looks sweep girls off their feet and have guys dripping with envy. Just who is this mysterious new kid? As Daniel struggles with the shock in contrast to people's reactions towards him, something else catches his attention - gangs. 

And that's where the fight scenes sprout from. In the midst juggling his new ability, Daniel finds himself stuck in the crossfire between four major gangs. From abduction to drugs, he has to go against some of the strongest fighters who have intentions so evil they will chill you to the bone. I find the fight scenes captivating and dynamic. That's because each of the characters have their own unique fighting style, making them suitable for different types of opponents. Infact, you may even learn about the various fighting styles such as Muay Thai!

What starts off as a simple school life webtoon, with the involvement of gangs, turns into something much more. Lookism includes themes of, well, lookism itself, among many other important ones - family, power, and courage. Daniel's new body exposes him to the ugly side of humans' superficliaity, but also shows him that some people are capable of genuine loyalty. From learning to stand up for himself to understanding others for the actions that they do, Daniel embarks on a fruitful and tough journey about self-love and growth. 

And that's just skimming the message of the Webtoon. Don't overlook the amazing art style and heart-pumping action scenes and trust me, there's a lot of them. If you're an avid reader of action and drama genres, then this is definitely something you should not miss out on. 

2. Weak Hero

Like I said, many manhwas seem to revolve around the topic of school bullies, and this one is no exception. Introducing Weak Hero, a Webtoon about yet another mysterious new student. Except this time, unlike Daniel, our protagonist Gray is actually a real mystery, even to the audience. He's also incredibly skilled at fighting, with his sly moves and deadly strikes that in time, has earned him the title of "The White Mamba". 

Our protagonist Gray himself is an incredibly quiet boy with a shroud of mystery surrounding him. On the surface, he's simply a pretty boy who keeps to himself. However, if you decide to make the decision to cross him, you'll be in for a big surprise. To be honest half of this manga is basically people underestimating Gray and they always end up regretting it. Despite that, it has never failed to entertain me. 

The fight scenes are so riveting that you wouldn't be able to tear your eyes away from the screen. Every crucial detail is captured so artfully and makes you go "ouch" for the vicitims of a powerful fist or leg. 

Other than the attractive art style, this Webtoon also delves into the different layers of relationships between people. Every character has a significant backstory that makes them special in their own way. You'd be surprised at the depth that is behind a seemingly simple villain character, and how complex their storyline can be. Infact, you may even find yourself rooting for some of the villians - which is also a thing for Lookism, too.

At the start of the story, Gray has the intention to keep to himself in the school. Unfortunately for him, it does not work out well - he's basically a trouble magnet with his small demeanour and feminine features. Thankfully, bullies aren't the only thing he attracts. Slowly but eventually, Gray starts gaining loyal allies and learns to trust and depend on others. This journey of self-discovery and enlightment is to me, one of the most heartening messages in this Webtoon. 

And there you go! These two Webtoons have, in my opinion, pretty top-notch fight scenes that will make your heart thump vicariously as you live through the characters. Just be sure not to learn from the wrong characters, though. Gangs are not approved here. 

Written by Potato.

Anime review: Tokyo Revengers

Sunday, December 12, 2021 / No Comments

If you’re an avid fan of isekai anime, you would be well familiar with the plot: main character gets hit by truck-kun and transports into another reality. For someone like me, the isekai plot has got to be one of the most repetitive genres ever (please do not attack me for this) which is why I tend to stay away from it entirely unless the anime intrigues me like the rising of the shield hero, my next life as a villainess and in this case, Tokyo Revengers.

Written by Ken Wakui, at a first glance it seems like a rather generic isekai anime. But if you look closer, it’s about a notorious gang, Toman and our main character Takemichi, known as a crybaby to some, who is set on saving everyone.

Now from this point onwards, i’ll be reviewing this anime so if you have not watched Tokyo Revengers, please skip this article entirely. That is, unless you want spoilers.

The anime starts of with takemichi, the protagonist of the anime as a 26-year-old who lives an unsatisfying life. From constantly feeling inferior to his co-worker at work and then getting picked on by kids way younger than him, life is definitely not as great as his younger self thought. But just when he thought life couldn’t get worse, he’s pushed onto the train tracks one day and instead of truck-kun, train-kun is the one to send takemichi flying back into the past. While preparing for the oncoming train to hit him, he experiences realistic flashbacks of his childhood and is instantly transported back into the year 2005. 

Waking up 12 years in the past, takemichi embarks on a journey with his childhood friends and fights with a group of older boys in hopes of beating them and becoming the top gang. At this point, I was wondering what on earth possessed a group of middle schoolers to think that they could take on a bunch of bigger and stronger guys without getting beaten up heavily. Unfortunately for them, they were sadly beaten up and definitely regretted their decision to go against a gang that’s stronger than 5 scrawny middle schoolers. 

After a series of events like communicating with Tachibana Hina, his girlfriend from the past and meeting her younger brother Naoto, Takemichi then learns that in the future, both brother and sister gets caught up in the tokyo manji conflict. Takemichi learns that in the present, Tachibana Naoto was the one who saved him from the train collision and it was revealed that Naoto is now a police officer who enlists the help of Takemichi to save his sister. In order to to that, Takemichi must travel back in time to alter the past. 

From this point onwards, the plot mainly consists of Takemichi going back to the past and trying to change the future with his actions. In order to do so, he must come into contact with Toman’s top leader, Mikey to stop the future meeting that would result in the conflict. Slowly, viewers get to see the childlike side of Mikey and his fighting skills throughout the episodes to come. 

I won’t go into much detail, But what caught my attention in the first few episodes wasn’t Mikey, who most viewers were fawning over. Instead, it was Toman’s second-in-command, Draken. A close aid to Mikey and his best friend, the two were inseparable and everyone feared them. Pretty soon Draken became my first favourite character from this series. It honestly does not help the fangirling moment after knowing that Draken is voiced by Tatsuhisa Suzuki, who is also the voice actor of some of my other favourite characters like Shinya from Owari No Seraph, Makoto from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club and Takao from Kuroko No Basket.

Toman's second-in-command, Draken

While watching Tokyo Revengers, I was honestly intrigued and found myself wanting to find out what’s next. Before I knew it, I finished all 24 episodes in one sitting. Unlike any other isekai anime which involves the main character getting magical powers, Tokyo Revengers successfully portrayed the main character going back in time without any magical powers (unless you count time travelling) and the mafia together, making it all the more interesting. 

However, there was one thing that I couldn’t place my finger on. Sure, the plot was interesting the way it was, but where were all the adults, especially the parents of the gang members? There were hardly any adults in the anime, which makes it all the more funny because there was no adult there to put those kids in their place. Some may say that having adults would be of no use since they were either oblivious to their child’s extra activities or the adults would be too scared of a bunch of middle schoolers to do anything. Additionally, it was personally a little confusing with all the time travelling at first.

But having said that, Tokyo Revengers is definitely worth watching, especially how exciting each fight scenes (again, i’m talking about Draken) are. From the interesting plot and characters to the opening and ending music, and backstories coupled with plot twists that would leave you on edge, it would leave you glued to the screen as you devour episode after episode of this spring 2021 anime. If you can’t get enough of it, read the manga (be prepared for it though) and have fun jamming to the op, “Cry Baby” which is available on Youtube and Spotify. 

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you liked this article, be sure to check out my Jujustu Kaisen review. 

Until next time, 

rika ^~^ 

MapleStory: Lara

Monday, November 29, 2021 / No Comments
 Hey hey hey my cuties!!

Maplestory celebrated their 6000th day just last week, which brings us to about 16 years of amazing fun. I grew up playing Maple, and man, it's so exciting having new content all the time. On 1st December, there'll be a new character release!

Lara~~ Isn't she just super cute?? 

From now till 1st December, you can pre-create your first Lara character to earn special rewards when she's officially released! Which is really only one day left so hurry!!! There is a pet unique to Lara for pre-creation characters so definitely don't miss out on that.

blue hair! i ended up picking the blue 

trying out the red~

Lara is an Anima, and is based off a sheep, just as Ho Young is a tiger. She had awoken the power of a mysterious bell, and now travels the lands with her elemental spirits. As a Mage, her main stat is INT, and she uses a wand as her primary weapon, with the secondary weapon being an Ornament.

credits to coppersan on youtube!

I'd watched a demo on Lara's skills and man, she's amazing. Her main interaction would be through Dragon Veins (see gif's colored eruptions), where she would summon an elemental spirit to come to her aid, attacking mobs in their range. After the Dragon Vein has been used, it will respawn after a few seconds, and it will respawn as a random element. I believe one of her later skills allow you to change the element of the Dragon Vein though.

She's a solid DPS character with good AOE skills, which makes her great for mobbing, but as she progresses through the job advancements, she gains support buffs which allows her to become quite tanky, making her versatile enough for bossing as well. 

There is also the Tera Burning event ongoing, but unfortunately it won't apply to Lara. It is, however, a great way to try the other classes while you wait for Lara's launch! For every level increase, your created Tera Burning character gains an additional bonus 2 levels, up till level 200. 

I actually created an Adele as my Tera Burning, and it's been a blast of fun so far. The levelling speed is insane, and the plot is also rather engaging. If you've never played MapleStory, now's a really good time to sign up

I'm off to continue with Adele while I excitedly wait for Lara's release. Tata for now~~

Written by: ninetylives

Anime Is an Art Piece

Friday, November 26, 2021 / No Comments

Art, as we all know, plays a huge part in making a good anime. And to be very frank, I’ve avoided some shows because the art wasn’t to my fancy. But for some shows, the visuals are absolutely breathtaking and make up a huge part of why they rank so high on my anime list. Here’s some of them: 

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle

Roses, cosy cottages, the smell of berry pies ─ these are things that remind me of this anime, Howl's Moving Castle. This 2004 Japanese fantasy film has captivated the hearts of many, including mine and I hope, yours too. 

This anime follows the story of Sophie, a diligent and warm-hearted girl, who is taken on a little peculiar trip in a moving castle. How did that happen? Well, it starts off with her encounter with a mysterious figure, Howl - who’s rumoured to be a wicked magician who’s incredibly powerful. After their brief encounter, she got turned into an old woman through unforeseen circumstances (don’t ask), and goes on a bizarre journey with the most unique creatures. 

So anime plots don’t make a lot of sense. If you’re an avid watcher of anime, you should already know that. But that’s what makes anime unique, right? To add on, what makes this show pop is its absolutely gorgeous animation. For example, just take a look at Howl’s room: 

The decorations framing this room is nothing short of stunning. Just a glimpse of it showcases the dangling bronze crystals, blooming fauna and intricate masks. 

This anime also paints sceneries that radiate a calm and soothing atmosphere as Sophie embarks on her journey. Paired with none other than Joe Hisaishi’s Merry-Go-Round of Life whimsical tune, this is one of Studio Ghibli’s most iconic anime ever created.  

  1. Your Name

If you haven’t watched Your Name, you’re seriously missing out. Released in 2016, this anime is the highest-grossing Japanese film of the year and the third highest-grossing anime of all time. It has also won various awards for best-animated feature film, with an ongoing live-action remake by Paramount Pictures. 

In a nutshell, Your Name is about two students who wake up one day to realise that they have swapped bodies. Intriguing premise? Check. Captivating animation? Check. Music with incredible depth and fits right into the equation? Check. 

This show brings forth quite a tunnel of emotions. In a span of thirty minutes, you can go from a ball of giggles to a sniffling, swivelling mess. Every element of this anime plays a part in the emotions and thoughts the audience has. 

The story itself, while containing supernatural elements, is not difficult to understand. But that doesn’t make it boring. In fact, as you continue watching, you’ll get to see its depth and meaning slowly unravel. Every word and action by the characters (even the sides) contain a certain purpose. Themes like compassion and empathy are reflected by the characters and their motivations for what they do. 

Being your typical high school students, they are quite simple-minded and relatable. The way they interact with each other does get bonus points, though. There’s no over-the-top, dramatic and unbelievable expressions - simply the natural, normal reactions you can see yourself making in their situation. 

The animation and sound are what makes this show for me. Every scene, from the traditional village to the city life, is unique and speaks volumes of the way the characters each view the world. What’s the norm to one is something completely different to another. This fascinating contrast, paired with mesmerising visuals, really make this film stand out. The clever use of light flares really makes each scene radiate with emotions and creates an immersive experience, along with its splendid sound design. The voice actors are good at their jobs, and the music flows into the scenarios oh-so-smoothly. 

So if you haven’t given Your Name a try, I would highly recommend you to. It’s an absolute delight to watch. 

  1. The Garden of Words 

Alas, we have come to the last masterpiece in this article. The Garden of Words is a drama film consisting of a student who’s an aspiring shoemaker, a mysterious older woman with her own baggage, and of course, a beautiful garden. 

There are many layers to peel off this anime. The way the story is executed is mainly through the dialogue between the two characters, under a roof in the garden, as raindrops drizzle around them. One of them is a 15-year-old boy who feels lost in life and wishes to pursue his passion of creating the most beautiful shoes. The other is a 27-year-old woman who struggles with her acceptance into society. When the two meet, they find a safe space to confide in each other and form a deep connection they have never felt with others. 

The words exchanged between them are simple, yet refreshing. There are no character traits or story plot points stuffed into your face, only genuine conversations. The characters feel like real people with real troubles, not just an element to drive the plot along. Every word and every expression exposes something about the character subtly but never shoves it down your throat. 

I don’t think I have to spend much time talking about the animation - the pictures speak for themselves. Give it a watch and you’ll find yourself unable to tear your eyes away from the scenic shots. 

And that’s it for now! If art is an important part of the anime to you, then I hope you’ll love these pieces as much as I do : ) 

Written by Potato.

Tears of Themis Cafe - A Rant?

Friday, November 19, 2021 / No Comments
Hello hello my cute nuggets!

I went to the Tears of Themis cafe today and man, it was such a disappointment. I don't actually know what I was expecting, but I certainly was not expecting a mess of information. I'll add the images I took as I go through the post, and they'll certainly look out of place, but bear with me.

a photobooth area?

So right off, the reservations. It had been postponed once, and the second time I actually started camping to enter right at noon and I was completely not expecting the overwhelming response! I joined the queue at 12:00:13pm, and I was 480+ in queue. Crikey. 

i wonder if there'll be a giveaway for the standee?

After patiently waiting 2 hours for my turn, I entered the booking page only to realize that there were completely no slots for ToT at all? In confusion, I called the listed number only to be told that they had received calls and they didn't know what was going on and to please send a DM in. I was astounded. Was I going to have to requeue? Did I have to wait another 2 hours? Was I not going to be able to get the limited First Day merch? There were limited edition merch, which was a small figure and a plush, and only purchasable on the first day.

I sent in a DM. To be fair, they responded almost immediately with a new link to the reservation site. I got in, didn't have to queue, and managed to book first day slots. Crisis currently averted. 

Fast forward to today, as far as I know, merch tickets are given out to only the first 20 people in queue everyday, and it starts at 9:30am. There is also a limited amount of merch purchasable each day. This to me was rather ridiculous, if my dine-in slot was in the evening, I had to go specially in the morning just to queue for a chance to purchase merch? Fine, for the sake of limited First Day merch, I would do just that. Considering it was a weekday, I figured reaching at 9:30 should get me within the 20 slots.

I was so naïve. I got there about 9:35am, and there were already 20 people in the cafe, and a whole bunch waiting outside. I joined the mass of people, and started chatting with a couple of them. I figured it shouldn't take too long for the 20 inside to purchase their merch, then perhaps we can also start to enter and see what else there is to purchase. I knew there was the option of pre-order because of the overwhelming response, but limited First Day merch made me stay to wait. 

After almost an hour, barely anyone had left the cafe. What was going on? Who knew? Was nothing inside actually set up for purchase yet or was everyone just taking a painfully long time to decide on what they wanted to buy? 

I had to head off to work, so I left. My new friend informed me a while later that staff had finally exited the cafe to let the masses know that no one else would be let in to purchase merch, and we would only be able to purchase during our dine-in slot. I was stunned. After all that time waiting outside in the heat, for absolutely nothing. If you were a working adult with time constraints or you didn't manage to get an early time-slot, I guess it just sucks to be you?

She also told me that the First Day merch did not exist for Singapore. The cafe in Malaysia had the figure and plush, but not SG. So there was actually no point for me to go in the morning. Amazing. 

Never mind, let's move on to the menu. Because I couldn't tell how large the portions were, I decided to get only the main and the drink. I had asked my new friend to ask the staff if we could add on to our orders if we decide to get the dessert as well. Good news! You can head back to the reservation page, as told by the staff member, and order a takeaway for the same day if you decide that you wanted to purchase more food items. Remember this. 

So, happy with all these information, I made my way back to the cafe in the evening, prepared to get more food and support my fav 2D character. We had to do the safe entry check in before entering, and you can only use the trace together app to check in. They do not support the token check in. 

Once that was done, we were given a buzzer and shown to our seats. We had a long table so we shared with another pair. Kinda weird, but the space was small. You'll have to take your buzzer to the main counter and let them know your invoice number. We did just that and were given the freebies. The coaster was randomized, and we got Marius and Luke. Damn it, I wanted Marius and Artem. Anyone has Artem and wants a Luke?

I decided to add the dessert as well since I was in a mood, but was informed that I actually could not, and they were not offering the option to add on and takeaway. I was confused. The staff this morning said otherwise. You can't, they repeated, but I could always check their socials for updates. That was kind of hilarious to me. If I wanted the add on now, what good would your social media update be if it was not today?  

Oh well, whatever. We got our food and drinks a little while after, and ooh, the food was actually good. We ordered Luke's and Marius' mains, and it was sooooo nice. I especially liked how Luke's had chunky garlic bits in it. The drink was not bad too. 

After the meal, we went to look at merch. Got up to the counter to pre-order, and asked if there were any larger sized images of the merch, especially the Halloween acrylic standee and the keychains since the catalog was so small. Please take pity on an aging grandma with bad eyesight. Nope, they didn't have any images other that what was on the catalog. That was a little annoying, but fine, we googled. Should have just done that in the first place I guess. We placed our orders, but I'd realized that one of the Marius' keychains was unavailable. ?? Wasn't this a pre-order?

Oh, there was also a limit on pre-orders. I had thought the listed Daily Supply limit was for physical in store merch, but I guess I was too dumb to realize it applied for pre-order limits as well. Or did they not say? I had also realized that a bunch of merch I had previously seen were also missing, but I was at point too tired to ask for anything else. I put in my details and left.

Oh oh I did get something good out of this whole ordeal though, tadah~~~

Hilariously, I had come for ToT, but ended up leaving with KnB merch instead. The overall experience was quite confusing, and rather disappointing, but Aomine always makes me feel better.

As much as I hope Genshin's will be better, I suppose I'll just lower my standards. Thank you for staying till the end of my rant, tata for now!

Written by: ninetylives