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Timeless Classics: Old vs Modern Anime (Part 1)

Thursday, July 18, 2019 / No Comments
Plenty of anime have withstood the passage of time and aged like fine wine. How do old anime stack up against modern anime? For clarification, old anime in this article refer to anime released before or in 2000. Let us take a closer look at some old anime and compare them to their modern counterparts. This is part 1 of Timeless Classics, part 2 will be released shortly after. 

Slam Dunk vs Kuroko no Basket

Slam Dunk: Oct 1993 – Mar 1996



Slam Dunk was the first anime I watched, and I thoroughly enjoyed every episode. I can still vividly remember binge watching this anime many years back while being filled with a sense of nostalgia at the same time. Slam Dunk is a renowned sports anime that helped popularize basketball in Japan. The anime follows the legendary red-head, Sakuragi Hanamichi, as he joins his High School basketball team to get close to a girl. The girl does not return his affections as she is in love with his teammate, Rukawa Kaede. However, Rukawa is dense and oblivious because he constantly thinks of basketball only. Sakuragi is prideful, often doing silly things because of his overconfidence which makes him hilarious. Initially, Sakuragi did not have much interest in basketball but eventually became serious to the point of shaving his head as atonement for losing an important match. Sakuragi considers Rukawa to be his rival, both in basketball and love. 

Kuroko no Basket: Apr 2012 – Jun 2015 (Three Seasons)



Kuroko no Basket is also a basketball anime with the focus on two main characters, Kuroko and Kagami. Kuroko was previously from Teiko Middle School, where the school’s basketball team has an impressive record of successively winning championship titles. Teiko was at their strongest when Kuroko was still in middle school due to five members in the main team dubbed as the ‘Generation of Miracles’. The overwhelming superiority of these five players crushed all competition. Kuroko was the phantom sixth man of the Generation of Miracles, using his lack of presence to become a specialist in passing. Now in Seirin High School, Kuroko teams up with another first year member, Kagami, and challenges his former Generation of Miracles teammates for the High School title. 

Comparison: 

Slam Dunk: Sakuragi Hanamichi

Slam Dunk: Rukawa Kaede

Kuroko no Basket: Kagami and Aomine in the Zone

Both anime are similar in that they mainly focus on action, the basketball matches. Comedy is the secondary focus while romance is very subtle, to the point of being non-existent. A huge difference between the two anime is that Slam Dunk is realistic while Kuroko no Basket relies on the usage of superpowers. The Generation of Miracles have their own respective superpower such as perfectly copying an opponent’s moves and the Emperor Eye which can predict opponents’ movements. Kagami and the Generation of Miracles also have the ability to enter the Zone, a fictional state where their senses are sharpened and reflexes enhanced. Both Slam Dunk and Kuroko no Basket are entertaining and worth watching if you like sports anime. Personally, I enjoy both anime but prefer Slam Dunk over Kuroko no Basket because of Sakuragi’s hot-headed and boastful personality.

Great Teacher Onizuka vs Gokusen

Great Teacher Onizuka: Jun 1999 – Sept 2000




GTO: Onizuka's legendary suplex



GTO: Kokkuri-San

Commonly known as GTO, Great Teacher Onizuka is an anime about an ex biker gang member turned high-school teacher called Onizuka. Onizuka is not your typical sensei. He is crude, loud and obnoxious, often causing havoc with his outrageous antics. However, this personality of his makes him a very funny and likeable character. In GTO, Onizuka is the homeroom teacher of a troublemaking class who seek to get their teachers fired. Beneath the surface of the behaviour of this class lies many problems they face and Onizuka will help them resolve their problems, the hard way of course! GTO is primarily a comedy and does a jolly good job at it, I guarantee the humour in this anime is top-notch. Onizuka is one of the best main characters to ever grace anime in my opinion. 

Gokusen: Jan 2004 – Mar 2004


Gokusen is very similar to GTO, the main character in Gokusen is basically a female version of Onizuka. Gokusen is an anime following a new high-school teacher at Shirokin Gakuen, Yamaguchi Kumiko. Shirokin Gakuen has a bad reputation for being a school full of delinquents. Yamaguchi is the homeroom teacher of class 2-4, one of the most problematic classes in the school. Yamaguchi is nicknamed and fondly referred to as Yankumi by her students. Unbeknownst to them, Yankumi is the grand-daughter of the third-generation boss of a Yakuza group and also the group’s successor but she chose to be a teacher instead. Initially, the students of 2-4 did not trust her and kept picking on her but as time passes, they realised that Yankumi shows her affection for them in her own way. Yankumi does not label her students as misfits and protected them from fights and unfounded allegations. Gokusen is an excellent anime with plenty of humorous moments.

Comparison:



Both anime are similar in regard to the notion that teachers with complex backgrounds can become good teachers who understand and are willing to help students resolve their problems. GTO and Gokusen show that a good teacher is not one that merely teaches the students academics but also listens to the problems they face and imparts the correct values to them. Another similarity between GTO and Gokusen is highlighting the fact that conventional methods of teaching may not be effective for problematic students. Both anime mainly belong to the comedy genre but there are action and hints of romance as well. On a side note, both anime have television drama and live-action adaptations as well, which were decent in my opinion. The main difference between GTO and Gokusen is that Onizuka used to be from a biker gang while Yankumi is from a Yakuza background. I prefer GTO over Gokusen purely because I found GTO to be more humorous but I enjoyed Gokusen as well. GTO has been sitting on my top ten anime list for the longest time, I truly feel that it is a timeless masterpiece. 

Cooking Master Boy vs Shokugeki no Soma

Caution: I would highly advise against watching Cooking Master Boy and Shokugeki no Soma when hungry as it would only exacerbate your hunger pangs. 

Cooking Master Boy: Apr 1997 – Sep 1998


As the title suggests, Cooking Master Boy is about a 13-year-old boy from China named Liu Mao Xing on a quest to become a cooking master. Mao was exposed to the world of cooking from a young age as he came from a culinary background. Specifically, his mother, Pai, was a famous chef known as the ‘Fairy of Cuisine’ and had opened her own restaurant. After the death of his mother, Mao set out on a journey through the many provinces of China to learn more about cooking so that he would be deemed a worthy successor to his mother’s restaurant. Although already talented by nature, Mao’s ingenious ways of cooking combined with the experiences he garnered through his journey eventually made him China’s youngest Super Chef. Mao will meet allies and enemies during his journey and there are many exciting cooking battles in this epic anime.

Shokugeki no Soma: Apr 2015 – Ongoing (Three Seasons currently)



Shokugeki no Soma, also known as Food Wars, is probably the first anime that comes to mind when discussing about food or cooking related anime. This popular anime tells the story of a talented young chef named Yukihira Soma as he joins the famous culinary academy called Totsuki Academy. Totsuki is known for producing many renowned chefs and the level of competition between students in the academy is exceptionally high. The student council in Totsuki comprises of the ten best students in terms of culinary performance and they are known as the elite ten. Arguments and unresolved issues amongst students in Totsuki are settled through cooking duels, commonly referred to as Shokugeki. There are many amazing cooking battles in this anime that you do not want to miss out on. 

Comparison:





Both anime are similar in that they are Shounen of the food genre. Cooking Master Boy and Shokugeki no Soma have countless food battles that reference food from the real world. Once again, there are small hints of romance that do not develop further in both anime. Besides these similarities, there are major differences in both anime. Shokugeki no Soma contains ecchi as depicted by the clothes ripping effect due to the incredibly tasty food, whereas Cooking Master Boy does not. There are legendary cooking utensils in Cooking Master Boy which contain superpowers while Shokugeki no Soma does not. The main difference between the two anime is that there are many different types of cuisines in Shokugeki no Soma such as French and Japanese while Cooking Master Boy only contains Chinese cuisine. I personally prefer Shokugeki no Soma over Cooking Master Boy for this reason as there is a larger variety of cuisine. However, you should definitely not miss out on Cooking Master Boy if you are a fan of food anime. 



Regrettably, there are some people who do not watch old anime simply because the old animation style does not appeal to them. Old anime are usually less visually appealing than modern anime but this does not mean that they lose out to modern anime in terms of the story. There are plenty of old anime that are worth watching and exceed or are comparable to their modern counterparts in terms of entertainment. Please look forward to Timeless Classics Part 2 where more old vs new anime will be discussed.

Written by Kou






Anime Music on Piano – A Must-Add to Your Playlist

Monday, July 15, 2019 / No Comments
Hey fellow weebs!

We’re all indisputable fans of anime here, and understandably so, given how magnificent its animation and storytelling is – there’s always a little something for everyone out there. But let’s not forget that one of the greatest highlights of anime is its music. I’m just but another insignificant fan in the cosmos that is anime, but I dare say that anime soundtracks are true musical masterpieces.

If yo
u think about it, a scene is only as good as its music allows it to be. What is an action scene without music that gets your adrenaline pumping, and what is angst without sombre acoustics playing in the background?

Fortunately, anime fans have more than done justice to anime songs. As a musician myself, I’m a fervent follower of musicians out there who put out their own instrumental covers and renditions of anime music.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them (though you most probably would have if you play the piano and watch anime), but two of my all-time favourite cover pianists on YouTube are Animenz and Theishter.

Both of them do original arrangements and are disgustingly talented. That being said, they do have quite distinct styles. In my opinion, Theishter tends to reimagine the songs in his own style more and focuses greatly on emotional quality; I’ve actually gotten literal goosebumps on countless occasions just listening to his music. He also posts much more regularly, so that’s a good thing for fans out there who want to hear his arrangements of recently-broadcasted anime. 



Another thing to note is that Theishter has recently started a Patreon page where you can pay your preferred amount of money every month for various “rewards” as listed below.



Before this initiative, his fans have also transcribed his pieces into music sheets, so these very nicely remain free in his sheet music archive located on his website. YouTube is definitely becoming a marketplace for competition so it definitely would mean the world to them (and me!) if you show him some support.

On the other hand, Animenz tends to stay true to the song’s original instrumentals, a truly amazing feat as he manages to make acoustic piano music sound like a fully-instrumented band track.



What this also means is that his arrangements are notoriously difficult to master (sadly speaking from personal experience), so prepare yourself before you attempt his works. In case you’re a pianist yourself, Animenz uploads all of his sheets online for free in the description boxes of his videos (because peasants like us probably will take 23847 years to learn them anyway), so all you need is to create a free SheetHost account to access the PDFDs. Also, Animenz has also held a few concerts here in Singapore before, so it would be nice to subscribe to his social media and keep yourself updated on his future gigs!

In general, both of them arrange very challenging scores, but the sense of satisfaction you get when you nail their arpeggios and left-hand jumps is unparalleled. Personally, I’ve been learning “Unravel Acoustic” from Tokyo Ghoul and “Kataware Doki” from Kimi no na wa and I’m finally about 90% there for both pieces after months.

If you’re not yet convinced of their prowess, here is a short list of some of my favourite anime covers by them that I highly recommend:


Animenz


1. Unravel from Tokyo Ghoul

Absolutely stunning. He stays true to the crazy guitar riffs in the original song by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, and this is unsurprisingly his most viewed video. Eargasmic to listen to but as for playing it yourself, try at your own risk.



2. Brave Shine from Fate/stay night

Very emotional (you can look at his motivations for arranging this in his description box) I’ve not personally watched this show but am tempted to simply because of how compelling his playing is. 




3. Pokemon Medley

Super nostalgic, with familiar tunes ranging from the cycling theme, to gym battle music, to the Pallet Town theme. The feels are overwhelming, although there is unfortunately no sheet music because he improvised the entire medley like the legend he is.




Theishter

1. Sparkle from Kimi no na wa

If you absolutely loved this movie like I did and all its OSTs, you’re in luck because he played all the main tracks on his channel, although Sparkle is definitely one of his most timeless arrangements.



2. Again from Your Lie in April

This is slightly meta considering the anime is about playing music, but that’s what makes this piece all the more beautiful and emotional. Just a warning though, I printed this out to try but the left-hand arpeggios are crazy, so be prepared to spend a lot of time coordinating this.



3. Katharsis from Tokyo Ghoul:re

Honestly, the only redeeming factor about the final season of Tokyo Ghoul:re. The only sad thing is that he didn’t transcribe the full piece, so enjoy the two minutes of bliss while you can and/or continue spamming the repeat button.




Here are some more honourable mentions of other covers that also include other pianists:

1. Jiyuu no Tsubusa from Attack on Titan

If you thought Animenz and Theishter were legendary on their own, watch them play a duet together. This is easily the most epic thing I’ve ever heard.




2. Namae wo yobu yo from Bungou Stray Dogs

I really love the song, and the left hand arpeggios really add to its vibes. It’s a very dense and full-sounding arrangement that I’m also currently learning myself. Tip: practise your D flat and E flat major arpeggios before you attempt the chorus.



3. Craziest Zelda Piano Medley

The Legend of Zelda is my favourite Nintendo franchise besides Pokemon and this medley truly goes beyond doing it justice. Some may say it’s unnecessarily embellished, but that’s exactly what I love about it. 




4. Kyouran Hey Kids from Noragami Aragoto

The original song is iconic enough that it sounds good on every medium, the piano being one of them. The chorus truly captures the energy of the original song for me and this is, for a lack of a better word, lit. 





If you’ve read till here, I just want to thank you for tolerating my extremely self-indulgent post. On a more serious note though, I also want to make a humble appeal to you to show your support for these amazingly talented musicians who have put all their effort into playing and providing the scores for us. I can vouch for them as someone who’s done music since I was 7; it is not easy at all to arrange and put a bunch of notes on a page for FREE so it would mean all the world to them if we just expressed our support, even in the most minute of ways (like a comment or like or subscribe).

Music is never redundant so let’s play our part in keeping it alive, be it as a musician or listener!



Written by Gin

Anime Review: How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift?

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The summer anime season has just started, and we welcome it with long and intriguing titles. How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift is one of them. A weightlifting anime with an all-female cast? after all, we've had an anime centered around horse girls' racing (Uma Musume Pretty Derby), girls fighting in supermarkets over discounted bentos (Ben-To), as well as girls using their breasts and butts to knock off their opponents from the platform (Keijo!!!!!!!!). Surely nothing could be surprising with a weightlifting anime right? At first glance, some viewers might see this show as none other than an opportunity to add in fanservice but when I watched the first episode, I realised that it was more than just that--because I actually really enjoy this anime. 

How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift? / Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?
Year: Summer 2019
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi
Studio: Doga Kobo


Video Credit: dimsum.asia

With that, let's get liftin~

The first episode starts with a close-up of our protagonist, Sakura Hibiki, wolfing down various food items. A calorie count flashes across the food with each bite she takes, and from here we know where this is going: she's probably going to have to lose all that weight. 



With that, we see our high school protagonist not at the back row near the window of a classroom, but in a public gym. However, she isn't alone. There is also another fellow schoolmate, Souryuuin Akemi, waiting in the gym and with that hime-cut, she couldn't be an ojou-sama could she? 


Well, the first exclamation of a pronounced "ara" proved us right. It then makes us wonder why a girl like her would be a gym. That's where things get interesting. 

… Apart from actually exercising, Akemi is actually a girl with rather muscle fetish...

Asides from that, Akemi is actually a really lovable girl, and I already enjoy the interactions that she has with Hibiki as she doesn't use her privilege to her personality at all--she simply just loves to bond with her over the idea of exercising. 

In fact, their interactions, facial expressions and even hair colours remind me of a certain duo in Kakegurui… 

Yumeko and Mary from Kakegurui. Seriously, even the black hime-cut and blonde pigtails are the same... 

Moving on, we get into the actual exercise, led by the instructor named Machio. 

In contrary to his name, he is actually really gentle and pleasant-sounding, but man are we really in for a surprise when we see that he actually does put in the "macho" in Machio. 

*Cue Akemi's muscle-fangirl noises in the background* 

What I love about the exercising sequence is that they actually go in depth to explain the proper positioning and areas in one's body to take note of, so that's actually educational in a way. I wouldn't be surprised of anyone would pause the episode halfway just to follow along Mr Machio's exercise advice. 


At times though, the explanations can get a little too TMI, and that's probably where the ecchi portion in the anime comes from. 


However, what I do like about that is that they actually address the ecchi portions, rather than just throw in the fanservice remarks as and when they like. It maintains the comedic portion of the anime as well.


Of course, the first lessons aren't always the easiest, so I'm glad that they made it realistic by showing Hibiki struggling through it, while also throwing in encouraging comments from Machio. It makes for a very wholesome scenario as well, and it allows us to root for Hibiki in her quest to exercise well. Furthermore, they also show her continuing to enjoy food after an exercise session, rather than just avoid it because she wants to go on a diet. This is a realistic approach, because not all eating habits can go away in a day, and I liked that they kept this consistent even in the first episode of the anime. To add it on, when Akemi finds out that Hibiki eats quite a number in a day, her response isn't even derogatory. In fact, it's even positive, and she truly is the ojou-sama we didn't deserve, but the one that we definitely need. 



I can already sense the blossoming friendship between these two eccentric individuals, and I look forward to their progress in the gym.

To add it on, there are still two girls in the poster who have yet to be introduced in the gym, and that is another thing to look forward to in the next few episodes. Although, we did get a glance of Hibiki's best friend Ayaka Uehara, who is the one responsible for Hibiki's presence in the gym.


Overall, the first episode of How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift has been rather enjoyable, and I can tell it's going to be one of my favourite anime series this summer season. If you enjoy CGDCT (cute girls doing cute things) anime, I believe you can enjoy cute girls doing MACHO things as well. While the ecchi tag may be a bit of an alarming factor for some, the fanservice is kept to a light-hearted note. The comedic timing is also constantly on point, which makes for a good balance in the pacing of the anime. I'm looking forward to the next few episodes in this very fun anime!

Do watch it in dimsum here
New user can enjoy a 30 days free trial to watch the content!

Written by kimizomi

Early Bird Ticket for Animangaki 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019 / No Comments
Payment information for Early Bird Ticket to Animangaki 2019

Ticket is priced at SGD21 each (postage included)

– Includes Day 1 & Day 2 entry tickets with ticket holder.
– Free one AMG Decal & one Omatsuri Game Coupon.
– Early access into event arena & skip long queue!

Payment Methods

1. POSB/DBS PayNow or Paylah - 97371234
2. Paypal - Click here 

After payment, please email us your address for us to send your tickets at milkcananime@gmail.com

Please note that all purchased tickets are non-refundable once payment is completed.

Please refer to the official Animangaki website for event details.


My Top 5 Slice Of Life Animes

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 / No Comments
Top 5 Slice-of-Life Animes


Slice-of-life, an unpolished gem in the plethora of anime genres. While it may not have plots as deep as their counterparts and action scenes similar to most action animes, the simple and refreshing aspect of not having to invest too much thought into the series makes the genre really easy to enjoy anytime. Instead of focusing on the bigger picture, slice-of-life animes tend to focus on their characters and how they mature as they move on in the anime. As such, you can normally perceive a touch of modern-day issues that you, as an audience, can relate to. This makes the audience have a sentimental attachment to the anime.



I’ll be ranking them in my own personal view, therefore if you do not find your favourite slice-of-life anime in this list, it’s probably because I have not watched it so please don’t feel offended. Instead, you can always write your opinions in a comment below and I’ll be sure to read them. Who knows, maybe I’ll even pick your recommendation up and watch it! I’ll also focus on animes with none to minimal extra tags to keep the review centred on slice-of-life. This means no supernatural, actions and such in this review. With that, let’s get right to the rankings. The rankings are in no particular order.

5) Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo


Sorata, the main protagonist has to search for a new home after finding a stray as the high school dorm forbids any pets. With nowhere else to go, he turns to Sakurasou, a dorm for the trouble students in his school. Over there, he meets new and interesting dormmates and adopts a few strays on the way. With life as boring as it can be, everything changed when a new foreign student moves in.


The anime has its comedy sometimes, but what sets it apart from other slice-of-life animes is the well-brought drama around hard work and talent. It revolves around working hard towards your goal, regardless of talent. In the series, Sorata is shown failing multiple times, feeling disheartened and depressed. However, he stands up time and time again, while putting in more effort. Meanwhile, others around him can be seen having success as easy as waking up. As such, the audience gets to experience both views which really showcased the difference between hard work and talent. With how competitive the real world is in this day and age, everyone would be able to relate to this drama-filled anime.

Rating: 7/10


4) Seitokai Yakuindomo


On the first day of high school, Takatoshi Tsuda gets caught for his unruly appearance just outside the main gates of the formerly all-girls academy, Ousai Private Academy. To his dismay, it was the president of the student council, Shino Amakusa. Shino then offers him the position of Vice-President, seemingly due to the lack of male opinions in the newly co-ed high school. Faced with no choice, Tsuda attempts to cope with the daily life of being vice-president as well as the antics of the unconventional bunch.


Before I start, this anime has a lot of sexual innuendos, however minor it is. Hence, watch it when you’re alone or where no one is around to avoid misunderstandings. This anime is...special. In a good way. It shows the daily life of being a leader in society and the responsibilities it carries. However, the main attraction of this show, in my opinion, are the interactions Tsuada has with other members of the student council. Before meeting any of them, Tsuda had certain images of how the members of the student council would be and over time, as he interacted with them, he realises that all was not how it seemed to be. A short but smart girl, a beautiful goddess that’s really horny and a leader that’s socially inept was not close to what he expected the student council to be. The hilarious and sometimes embarrassing interactions Tsuda has with them cracks me up all the time. If you’re looking for a good comedy slice-of-life anime, look no further.

Rating: 8.5/10


3) Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru


Hachiman Hikigaya is an apathetic high school youth with a negative outlook towards life itself. When faced with a punishment handed towards him for ridiculing modern-day relationships, he finds himself in front of the doors of the Volunteer Service Club. There he meets the cold ice queen, Yukino Yukinoshita. With the odd duo as the only members of the club, they sought to help students’ problems with their wit and differing personalities. 


At first, I didn’t have many expectations for this show. After all, it’s your usual high school setting and young protagonist in the book. This cliché can be found anywhere and I reckoned it would be the same. Boy, was I wrong. Not only was it different, but they also took an unexpected route on high school drama. Instead of having a harem, massive fanservice like other animes in the same genre, they narrowed their sights down on the relationships, interactions and thought process between the protagonist and other students. The interactions, the setting and relationship were so intricately connected that you would hit yourself for not figuring it out earlier. What I really liked about this anime is the ‘Bromance’ Hachiman has between himself and Hayama Hayato, his polar opposite. The stark difference between their personalities and their interactions with others was what hooked me on even further. Be prepared to read the manga though, while there has been a Season 3 trailer, I highly doubt there would be one anytime soon as there are not enough manga material to cover at least another season.

Rating: 7/10


2) Violet Evergarden


Having been raised as a soldier since young, Violet finds herself in the hospital after The Great War with words from her dearest. Though faced with no understanding of the words given to her, she keeps them close in her heart. 
Determined to uncover the meaning, Violet ventures to be an “Auto Memory Doll” that she found by chance when taken in by her new guardian. As an “Auto Memory Doll”, an amanuensis that transcribes an individual’s thoughts and feelings into words on paper. By trying to understand the feelings of others, she hopes to discover her own.


This is a masterpiece. I was hesitant to watch it at first because of its setting in the past, but once I got past it, it was amazing. The animation, the graphics, the characters; all were superbly done in my honest opinion. The anime focuses on the main character struggling to learn human emotions as well as their thought process. I also adore the relationships Violet has with others and how they grow. If you’re in it for a tear-jerking story as well as mind-blowing graphics, be prepared to burn through some boxes of tissue.

Rating: 8.5/10

1) ReLIFE


From manga to an anime adaptation, this series blew my mind away. It somehow addresses the insecurities one might face as a student as well as a working adult while adding a spice of comedy on the way. As a student, relationships are mandatory to go through high school with excitement. They emphasise it in this series greatly through scenes where you could see the group having tons of fun together. What I love too about this series was the way they shattered the stereotype found in most time travel series. Instead of the MC retaining their knowledge such as textbook answers, the MC can be seen struggling to even pass his exam after going back to his 17-year-old self. There's also a cherry on top for this anime, the romance. 


The romance between the low EQ Arata as well as the cold ice queen Hishiro Chizuru was beautifully done. Their interactions between each other are extremely cute and sometimes comedic. Due to them having no experience at all, the situation becomes unpredictable, which is part of the fun in this series. It's amusing to see how their relationship progresses over time with some ups and downs on the way. With a simple and refreshing concept over other slice-of-life animes, it is a great way to sit back and relax.

Rating: 9/10

Honorary Mentions

While these may not have made the list, they're still some of the best slice-of-life animes out there. Do try them and let me know in the comments!

Kyoukai no Kanata
Hyouka
Fruits Basket
Kokoro Connect
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun


Written by Yeon Hee


Figure Unboxing and Review: Kousaka Honoka (Alter)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 / No Comments
Alter has finished releasing all nine of its first round of Love Live! girls, and as the release date of the White Day set is drawing close, I thought it would be apt to review a previous figure Alter made for the same series: Kousaka Honoka.


Faito dayo~

The box has the same clean design as all the other 8 girls released by Alter, featuring the girls' image color, with a huge window. The cream border holds all the usual information about the product, series name, and brand name.
It also comes with a small window at the back so you can easily see the details of Honoka's costume before putting her on the stand.
On the sides of the box, you get a printed view of this figure of Honoka thought I wish they added the illustration of the SR card of Honoka to one of the sides for a better comparison. But putting that aside, let's look at Honoka in greater detail!
First, we'll start with Honoka still in the blister. She's in an energetic jumping pose (we often see her like that in the series!) with her trademark Faito dayo! hand pose. The majority of her outfit is in bright orange (her image color) that matches with her hair, and with different shades of yellows and gold to add variation to the colors. Her outfit also comes with several navy portions to help balance the color palette.
The theme of her fruits outfit would be citrus, and her hat as well as the two buttons on her vest helps to accentuate that particular theme.
The base for the figure is the same as the other eight Love Live! figures, which is a plain white circle with stars, the series' name and the character's name in their respective image color. I love it when the figures in the same line have similar bases with minimal variation (such as colors of words) which would help the display look more organized! 
Assembly simply includes putting her onto the base. The stand is a sturdy metal rod and she appears to be a lot more stable as compared other "floating" figures as she doesn't shake as much when moved.
A simple 360 of Honoka in this view shows that there are many details in her sculpt. For instance, the flower at the top of her stocking is sculpted on and not just painted. 
All the frills and ruffles on her outfit are also individually sculpted and painted with a pearl gold color at the fringe.
There are many details that show how dynamic Honoka's jumping pose is, such as the way her ponytail splays out to the side, and the ends of the bow at the small of her back have slightly different shapes, as if Honoka was caught in the peak of this motion.
Similar to the asymmetrical position of her hands, her feet are also bent at different angles, giving the figure a cutesy feel.

The sides of Honoka's hat is painted with glossy paint while the top with the citrus cross-section is matte to help it stand out better. 
While Honoka's gloves could use a little more detail, I'm in awe with how the facial features and expression suits Honoka to a T. The little white buttons are also extremely cute and adds to the design while not overshadowing other aspects of the outfit.
The yellow lining on her vest and gold hem on her skirt are painted on impeccably. I also love how the creases on her outfit are extremely realistic looking! The only part I am not a fan of would be the mass of white polka dots on her skirt,  and I wish they used a different pattern instead.
The slightly raised band of fruit ornaments at Honoka's hip are also a very nice touch. Can you guess what are these fruits are?
The sculpt of the bloomers are very realistic: it seems so soft and poofy! The way the stockings dig into her thighs are also replicated well, with the lace frills helping to soften out the feel.
Her boots are in three different colors: orange, gold and navy. The glossy orange comes with a lighter color (highlight) and a darker color (shading) that really helps to bring this part of the figure to life!
You can also see the other details on the front of her boots! 
However, a little more detail on the soles of her boots would be nice as these parts are visible due to her pose after all... 

But at least we have the pretty hair sculpt to make up for it! The strands are mostly sculpted individually and there are many indentations to show the flow of her hair. The small hair seam joining her front hair piece to the back is present but easily ignored due to her hairstyle.
 Alter does not disappoint with the attention they pay to details and the effort they put in for their sculpts. This is a worthy figure if you are a fan of the series and would like to collect the girls. Otherwise, although the figure is great, it might be more apt to save for a better statement piece in the future.