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A Letter To Takamiya Naho

Sunday, January 4, 2015 / No Comments

Dear Takamiya Naho,

Ogenki desuka? I'm a little uncertain as to where this letter would eventually turn up, thus I shall try my best to express whatever that comes to my mind with much clarity. I've always been intrigued by time, in particular the exploration of time travel. While the gist of it usually involves a human character or some, your life as a high school student has actually proved otherwise. How so, you may ask? In your special case, it is a series of letters which become the traveller. The sender and receiver are none other than you. Naturally, you will be baffled. However, that is just the beginning of a captivating adventure. Orange is the name.

The adventure quickly escalates through daily tasks and events, all of which have been set by you 10 years in the future. The first part of the letter acquaints you and your close friends with a transfer student named Naruse Kakeru. Kakeru becomes part of the clique by a friendly invitation to have lunch and walk home together after school. Murasaka Azusa brings over some delicious bread from her family's bakery. Kakeru slowly warms up to the group with a laugh. You observe everything by heart while remaining in sync with what was written in the letter. Although you are still rather uncertain by the sheer existence (you even thought that it was a prank at first), the unfolding gradually pieces what lies ahead awaiting all of you. Do you remember the date? It's April 6th.

Nonetheless, the apprehension continues to manifest during situations as designated in the rest of the letters. The glaring twist presents itself in the most shocking manner possible. Tragedy becomes inevitable yet that is when the 16 year-old you finally realises the ulterior wish which has come from the future. As a 26 year-old, you are living with a regret that you would like to erase as time rewinds to where the letters were sent. It turns out that your friends have also received letters from their future selves with the same purpose. The most precious friend that was in Kakeru is now yearning to be rescued.

Orange is undoubtedly not an easy journey to walk through. However, I still find quite a comfortable contrast in the episodes. The stories are tragic yet beautiful, mysterious yet familiar. You, Kakeru, Azusa, Takako, Saku and Hiroto...the wonderful times that all of you have spent together aren't in vain despite the cruel odds. Even though the future selves are determined to attempt an alternative, just how far would the effects carry forth? Would Kakeru be able to spend his lost 10 years with all of you? The future selves could still resume their daily lives except that there would always be a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Who wouldn't wish for the haunting pain to go away for good? In any case, I'm rooting for you to take the right path once the road ahead splits up.

Nobody can say for sure how coming-of-age feels like until it really comes. While your life before then is already filled with challenges, may it also be something which provides the closure that you in the future is searching for with your friends. Naturally, I can't wait to continue this incredible journey. Thank you for sharing the adventure. Ogenki de.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Top 5 Heartbreaking Moments in Anime

Friday, May 21, 2021 / No Comments

Hi guys, it's been a while, I hope all of you are keeping well! 

Preparing for university graduation has kept me extra busy, but it also made me super nostalgic as I recollected all the fun times spent in school~ At the same time, it made me reminisce on all the anime that tided me through school. Yet, when I think of what I have watched, I always come back to those strong, poignant moments felt in the anime, and I would love to share these with you guys too. So, prepare your tissues... 

Remember, these moments I've picked are subjective to what I've felt, but I'm always open for discussion if you'd like to share your own heartbreaking moment in anime too! 

TW: spoilers, if you haven't seen the anime yet. If you see the title of the anime on a certain number and don't intend to be spoiled, quickly brush through it! 

5. That one mass crying scene at the train station in "Love Live School Idol Project: Season 2 Ep 11" 

You wouldn't expect an idol anime to give me that much feels, would you? There may be a lot of laughter and heartwarming friendship moments in a school idol anime, but there is also the idea of high school. Graduation, and stepping down from respective co-curricular activities...

Just like most high school anime, Love Live School Idol Project gets the same treatment of having their lovely seniors graduate from high school soon. It's especially hard because the third years in μ's are one of the most compelling characters in the series. We have Nozomi (totally not bias because she's my favourite), the 'mother' and spiritual member of the group. Then, there's the beautiful student council president Eli, and of course, the fan-favourite Nico. How could we let go such unforgettable members? And of course, that is what the rest of μ's are melancholic about. 

As they stand on the beach, gazing out into the sunset... Honoka, the leader of the band reveals that they will disband after their final live at Love Live. To hear such news against such a beautiful scenery is something that tugs at the heartstrings. 

However... It is only at the train station in the following scene where the moment really hits. As Hanayo starts to sob, so does the rest of the members. As they do, the soundtrack 悲しみの夜 (Kanashimi no Yoru) that is accompanied with the scene is relentless, letting even me sob along with them. I played a snippet on the piano years ago, and I thought I could share it here as well~

It's amazing how much the bond of the girls can let me feel that way, and even till today, my heart aches each time I watch this scene. 

4. Grave of the Fireflies 

Okay, I won't describe what exactly is the sad moment here in the title, even though I'm sure most of you already know as Grave of the Fireflies is quite an old Studio Ghibli movie. So, if you don't want to know what it is, scroll away! 

Alright, back to it. 


Setsuko's death is one of the saddest deaths I've seen in an anime. It's tragic because the setting of the film invites us to a war environment, and seeing Setsuko, a young girl in the midst of it all is unsettling. Setsuko and her older brother Seita's mother did not survive an air raid, and this alone is something that might leave a young child confused and afraid. Yet, Setusko is such a precious girl, as she goes through the aftermath of each day with Seita. Her love for fireflies is something that is so pure, and heartwarming. One thing she enjoys as well is her candy drops, one thing that I've come to love as well. 

What's interesting is the fact that this candy tin belonged to the popular Sakuma candy drops in Japan, which I believe can still be found at Daiso today, if I'm not wrong. There is even a print of Setsuko on it. 

candy drops

Alright, going back to the main point. With such a tumultuous journey that Setsuko and her brother share, all we want to do is to root for the siblings to survive this tragedy. However, Setsuko slowly becomes more frail as the movie progresses, as food source is scarce. Eventually, this leads to a case of malnutrition, leading to her death. What makes the scene sadder is the fact that Seita has actually returned with a large quantity of food. Watching this as a young child back then, I already felt the overwhelming sadness.

Nevertheless, Grave of the Fireflies is definitely a must-watch. It's heartbreaking, but the warming journey between the siblings is something to look out for, and the movie definitely adds in elements of fireflies in order to give metaphorical value to the tragic setting in the film. And also, candy drops.

3. Anohana - "Menma, we found you" 

Ah, Anohana... The first anime series I have ever watched. (I know right, what a way to start my first TV anime experience...) The one thing that can be sadder than death is getting over a death. The idea of wandering spirits unable to move on is something that sets up an emotional experience when they finally find a way to move on into the afterlife. Even in real life, thinking about things like these have always fascinated me. 

When the anime starts, we know right away that Menma is ghost. She has unfortunately passed on at a very early age because of an accident, and her friends have been suffering with the guilt of not being there for her. This carries on even when they enter high school. Yet, Menma remains cheerful, and constantly sticks by Jinta, who is able to see her as a ghost. The more slice-of-life feel in the early episodes give us a very light-hearted emotion as we watch Anohana. In fact, Menma doesn't even know to move on into the afterlife. However, when the rest of the gang realises that they can see Menma, emotions start to stir up among the group of friends. The group then go through means to help Menma move on again, though it doesn't come easy. 

That's where the hard part comes: that moving on is actually just as simple as getting the Super Peace Busters together again. Something so selfless is one thing that tugs at my heartstrings, and as they gather for the last time to witness Menma's last moments as a ghost, they start to read letters that Menma has written for each of them. One of it being "I love you, Jintan. It's the "I want to marry you" type of I love you". Something about the way it was written left me in tears as well, and I'm not even big on romance in this anime! 

As the group chants "Menma, we found you", Menma smiles, in tears as she whispers "you found me". 

Although it should be an uplifting moment for Menma's reincarnation, there's this empty feeling as the rest of her friends watch Menma disappear. The fun moments shared throughout the 12 episodes start to fade away, but I'm sure it's something they all (and I) can remember. 

On a brighter note, this year is Anohana's 10th year anniversary! There was a recently released poster of the Super Peace Busters all grown up, and seeing that made me so happy. 

2. Unread emails from Antarctica - Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further than Universe) 

Unread emails? How sad could it be that it could land up in my second place for heartbreaking moments in an anime? Well, if you have seen Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho, then you'll understand the tears I have shed during this scene. 

The premise of Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho is something that seems like an easy slice-of-life watch. It's simply 4 girls going on an ambitious adventure to Antarctica together. Yet, the only reason why such a far-fetched country would even come into place is because of our lovely Shirase Kobuchizawa. When the anime begins, Shirase's mother is nowhere to be seen, and what Shirase knows is that her mother is still somewhere in Antarctica. She has been constantly sending emails to her mother, to which she hasn't gotten a response from. However, she is still determined that her mother is out there somewhere and even goes through many means just to be able to fund her expedition to Antarctica. She manages to accomplish this, and with it she makes friends with 3 other girls: Mari, Hinata and Yuzuki. While friendship and exploring new adventures each day as they embark on their trip to Antarctica is something that drives the majority of the film, the underlying context of Shirase's missing mother is something that continues to brew over time. As an audience, we'd probably know: that Shirase's mother is probably dead, and Shirase is just lingering on false hope. 

As such, the realisation that Shirase's mother is dead arises towards the ending of the series, when Shirase finds her mother's old laptop that was left abandoned. As Shirase gets hold of the laptop, the soundtrack starts to fade in. It's a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, and even listening to it alone gets me sometimes. 

The lyric in the song: だから ずと わすれない~ (That's why, I'll never forget you) is so beautiful.

It takes a while for Shirase to enter the password to her mother's laptop, until she types in her birthday which is the first key in making us emotional. As the soundtrack continues, the laptop screen turns into the email display, as we see Shirase's emails to her mother start to pop up. The emails come in slowly, but the more the emails start to flood in, that's when the my own tears start to flood down my cheek. It's as if I want to yell at the screen to make it stop, because it's heartbreaking to see that Shirase's mother has never actually seen all of her emails, and I can't imagine how much sadness Shirase herself must be feeling uncovering almost 1000+ worth of unread emails. The scene cuts with her friends sitting outside, crying as well as they feel the heart-wrenching pain that Shirase must be feeling on the inside as she yells out for her mother. 

Despite the emptiness I felt, the way this scene was delivered was so special. The idea of just seeing a laptop screen fill up with unread emails is something so compelling, in the saddest way possible. I guess it's also attributed to the way the anime sets up Shirase's character, and the entire setting in the series which is brilliant. 

On the brighter side, there's an episode in this anime where the girls stop by Singapore and their shenanigans is truly something hilarious. All in all, Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho is an anime that is quite high up my favourite anime list, and thinking about it now makes me want to rewatch it all over again. Be right back as I get ready my tissues for my incoming tears--and of course, laughter at several moments in the series. 

1. Alas, the number 1 heartbreaking moment in an anime. *DRUMROLLLLLLLLLL*

Episode 10 of Violet Evergarden. 

Violet Evergarden in itself is already an anime that is a feels-trip from start to end, but episode 10 is one that takes the cake. 

Going through briefly, Violet Evergarden follows Violet herself, who works as an auto memory doll--a letter writer for the people who are illiterate or need help expressing emotions in their letter. Often, these letters show a meaningful backstory, to which Violet also grows and gathers experience from them as she figures out herself how to express her own emotions following a traumatic experience in the military. 

Episode 10 then follows Violet to a countryside where a terminally ill war widow lives with her young daughter Anne. From the very first instance, I can automatically tell the widow has limited time to live, and she's definitely writing the letter to her daughter. However, that's not something the daughter can comprehend. She often gets jealous that Violet gets time to spend with her mother because of their letter-writing sessions. But, she doesn't know that the letters are actually for her. 

Sometimes, Anne's outburst can be seen as childish, but I don't feel that way in this episode. As Anne gradually gets consoled by Violet, we see that she feels things a bit more deeply than a normal child. She is aware of her mother's sickness, and confesses that all she wants is to spend time with her mother, probably before her time is up. In the episode, we also get hints that once Anne's mother passes on, Anne will remain in the same mansion. Yet, the idea of growing up alone without a mother is one that will probably render Anne miserable for the rest of her life. Hence, these are things that will probably affect a young girl like Anne.

As Violet finishes her final letter, she leaves the mother and daughter to spend their remaining time together.

Once she reaches back, Violet actually starts to cry, confessing that it has been heartbreaking to write the letters. And the reason is because:

Rather than just writing one big letter, there are fifty letters, one for each year on Anne's birthday. Although we all know that Anne is going to be left alone, the reveal that there are fifty letters is one that makes the episode so gruelling. Just imagine: you are alone at home, but every year on your birthday, you aren't alone because you are accompanied by the presence of your mother's words in the form of a letter. Anne is reminded of that every year, and as she grows up and experience different life changes, it is as if her mother is there with her as well and that makes me look on very forlornly at the episode ending. 

I won't let my words overtake too much, so here's the actual scene that made my heart break the first time I watched it. 

Many tears were shed~

And I think I might have a knack for tragic mother-daughter stories seeing my top 2 moments... 

Well, there we have it. My list of top 5 heartbreaking anime moments. As mentioned, these moments I've picked out are subjective, but for now, when I look back at these 5 moments, I can confidently say that I still find myself choking back tears. It's wonderful how much the the storytelling, beautiful visuals and soundtrack can allows us to feel in an anime, much like in a real-life film and that's the beauty of animation. 

Till then, stay safe during this pandemic everyone~ I'll see you all in the next post. 

Written by kimizomi

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Figure Unboxing and Review: Kino no Tabi (Kotobukiya)

Monday, April 1, 2019 / No Comments
From the amazing show of Kino no Tabi (Kino's journey) where I reviewed here, Kotobukiya made a figure of Kino together with Hermes. This is the first scale figure that features both Kino and Hermes.
 Kino's box is fashioned in the style of a luggage trunk, which fits the theme of the anime a lot - where Kino travels around the world on her trusty motorbike, Hermes. 
The trunk also has printouts of luggage stickers on it, which keeps to the theme. These stickers also cover the important information of the figure, allowing the collector to enjoy the information displayed in a visually appealing fashion.
Another special aspect of this figure is that the box is slightly different from most others. The front of the box is connected via Velcro and upon opening it, you see a huge window that displays the figure in all its splendor.
There are images of the figure, along with a description of the ARTFX J line, would seem like a new marketing strategy to get people on board Kotobukiya's fanbase and the ARTFX J line. The pictures also took care to showcase both of Kino's head parts - with and without her helmet.
This is a brief look at the blister she comes in. She has Hermes, a luggage pile that would be placed behind Kino on Hermes, a base that has a field of red flowers lining a sandy dirt path, a loose flower piece and, as mentioned before, a second interchangeable head. This interchangeable head is also a first release bonus, and any future releases would not contain this extra part.
The instruction sheet for this figure is also in the theme of the the show, replicated as a letter sent from Kotobukiya's head office to the collector.

Even the little red seal that's used at the back of the letter is in place, keeping it as authentic as possible. That being said, the letter can be unfolded to get a full instruction sheet.
The base of this figure is a very good diorama that ties the figure together.

All the aspects of the diorama base - the red flowers, the green grass and the dirt sand - are carefully textured and comes with small indentations to fit the different parts of the figure to. However, as there are no pegs, the figure would simply be placed on the base loosely.
Hermes fits perfectly into these indentations and is thus able to balance on the base. In this figure Hermes is larger than Kino and it is evident that a lot more effort and thought was placed into sculpting and painting Hermes.
Even the wheels are delicately sculpted and painted in different colors and textures to make it look as realistic as possible!

This peg directly above the the back wheel and is for securing the luggage trunks that Kino is bringing along with her for the journey. Next, let's take a look at the luggage trunks that are supposed to be placed on the peg.

The trunks are sculpted with perfectly straight edges and impeccable detailing. The cloth bundles are sculpted simply, with soft edges and a carefully rolled-up look. However shading is minimal for the cloth and the two black straps holding it in place.
Kino comes with an alternate head without her helmet. This helps to create a carefree feel for the figure, however, it's easy to see that a lot less effort has been placed into sculpting and painting Kino as compared to Hermes. The tips of Kino's hair is a lot less sharper than the other figures in Kotobukiya's ARTFX J line. The color chosen for painting Kino's hair and eyes are on-point but there is minimal shading for her hair.
The paintwork for Kino's head with the helmet is a lot better as there are more elements that Kotobukiya can work details into.
The white parts of the helmet are textured with fur while the rest of the green areas are sculpted and painted with a smooth finish to resemble cloth. 
The goggles at the front of Kino's cap is also painted delicately with no paint spills.
All in all, I feel that Kino looks a lot sharper with her helmet on. The sculpt of her slim build is also accurate to the series.
The belt cuffs at her wrists and ankles are not as well painted and shaded and appears as a one-tone coloring. There seems to be a little spillover of green from her outfit as well. On the other hand, her shoes seem to be well sculpted, with all the laces carefully sculpted and layered one above another. The shoes are also painted with a rather matte shade that brings her look together.
The way her coat bunches above the belt on her waistline is realistic and the way it flares out after is also adequate for her pose. The belt on her waist however, isn't shaded sufficiently but accentuated with gold accents that helps to add enough to the accessories without overshadowing it.
All the different revolver components at her belt is more visible from the back and all of them are strapped in a way that makes it easier for her to retrieve the weapons when needed. This is also reflected well in the 3D rendition.
The stray flower can be placed anywhere on the base. The stalk uses a lively green color that reflects the succulence of the stem and leaves. However, the red petals of the flower could use a lot more detailing.

All in all, this figure is well-made due to the thought placed into sculpting and painting Hermes. If you take Hermes as the main star or the co-star of this figure, it would be appropriate and worthwhile to get this figure. However, if you wish to get a figure of Kino as the star, the difference in quality of work on Hermes and Kino would make it a figure that isn't worthwhile to get.
~ Reina-rin

A Letter To Shinobu and Alice

Thursday, May 7, 2015 / No Comments

Dear Shinobu and Alice,

The anime's second season of your creator Hara Yui's four-panel 'Kiniro Mosaic' had premiered, yet it is only of late that I have been truly acquainted with the series since the manga made its debut a little more than four years ago. Even though I did watch rather briefly the previous season, the experience was clearly not adequate to trigger the slightest affection for anything. Nonetheless, I still remember the day you girls met for the first time in England. The fateful homestay where much had been conveyed beyond the language barrier. Who could have imagined that a repetition of 'Hello' and 'Konnichiwa' between two vastly different personalities would lay down a strong foundation of a beautiful friendship several years later? I'm glad that both of you have found each other back in Japan.

It's amazing that Alice has studied Japanese and made the decision to study high school in Japan. Coincidentally, you girls are also classmates. I hope Shinobu's little circle of friends hasn't overwhelmed you much, Alice. As for Karasuma-sensei, she would probably never pose a rivalry threat or anything else that seems wavering. Shinobu simply adores her teacher as she is. Look at the cute, little things drawn on your graded test. Your presence has brought a lot of curious joy and schweet air into the class. Hmm, I suppose that it also helps to be tiny. Hold that hairpin please. Speaking of which, the hairpin looks awfully suitable as a substitute for half a pair of chopsticks. Erm, was that Alice's hairpin that just whizzed past my vision?! Jeez. Anyway, it helps to be cute in any form imaginable. I happen to second the idea of the doll's showcase. Wait, so that was meant to be a joke (as well)?

Oh, I almost forgot. I have started reading the manga recently as an effort to be more fluid in my selections, and a catalyst for more innovation in terms of artistic expression. The latter would probably seem more probable (?) since the paperback mountain in my room is still anything but fluid. Anyway, it was all thanks to the short yet memorable glimpse of the first season that sparked off the beginning of a small but glowing light of interest. The blossoming light over time has led me to where you girls have planted those seedlings. Shinobu, hopefully someday you would be able to effectively understand what Alice had said in English (even though she had written a romaji version of the letter). I believe that you can do that someday. If Alice had braved through such a challenging hurdle, you would be able to as well. Erm, Alice, it would definitely be more helpful to have carried the photo which you girls took back in England. That wooden doll is...well, a little like Shinobu I suppose, but still it's creepy!

It would be fun to share a few of my favourite moments from the first tankoubon. Sorry, I'm quite the slow reader sometimes. Hmm, does it help that I have bought all five volumes to date in the series? Yeah, I'm aware that a sixth book has been scheduled. Anyway, I was tickled by the supermarket episode where Alice had been tasked to get some ingredients for dinner. As a schweet gesture, Shinobu had made the shopping list easier to understand for Alice. However, I didn't expect that the names would be substituted with cute drawings! That carrot really looked like what Bugs Bunny would eat. Naturally (?), humans would probably do with something less cute? Anyway, I applaud you girls (not forgetting Aya and Youko) for wanting to help Alice integrate better into the country.

Hopefully, I would be able to catch up with the rest of the adventures as I sign off my letter. Thank you for enriching my reading habits. I love you.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪