Are You a Monster? 'This Savage Song' Review

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.


I'm so honored to have an ARC of this book. Thank you, Emily for this ARC. Love you!

I wanted to like this book way more than I did. Sure, I did quite like it, but there were some things lacking.

First and foremost, August Flynn is amazing. He's so human it hurts. I adored him. He's not my favorite Schwab character, (By a landslide, that's Victor Vale) but I could really connect to August. He was caring. And he truly didn't want anyone hurt. A human in a monster's skin. Doesn't everyone feel like that sometimes?
His side of the story hurt my heart. I'd love to see more from him. Really.
(By the way, does anyone else read his name as Augustus? I'm not sure why, but I do.)

I want to touch upon Kate Harker for a quick second. She had an intersecting backstory. And if the story was just her story, I might have liked her more. But she acts so brash, so sometimes that it doesn't work. Yes, I know that's contradictory since I liked the brash Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic, but Kate pushes it too far. And while she seems monstrous, her humanity is so significant that it negates her acts and just makes her a brat.

The second half of the book (With August and Kate on the run) was way more interesting than the two of them talking and getting to know each other. I'll touch upon my thoughts on the first half of the book later, but the second half was much better. I felt more engaged in the story and less bored.
As a reader, I prefer stories with action compared to long pieces of talking. Even if I write lots of dialogue in my own pieces.

And the twist ending. Man, I never expected that. It really shocked me. I never expected that. I guess, looking back, I could have guessed it. But still.

Per usual with Schwab books, the action was amazing. It was heart pounding and descriptive. I felt immersed in the fight scenes. I definitely wanted more.

Victoria Schwab is known for her A+ storytelling and worlds. But the world for this book was a bit confusing. I was a bit lost on how these monsters were created. (Just saying, if a Sunai went dark, wouldn't a new Sunai be created?) Admittedly, it's a new and strange world. But I felt like there were some gaps. Why did the Sunai use music? How exactly are these monsters created? What are their weakness? I was lost on whether this was a book about the monsters or the people in this monstrous world.

And the thing that I disliked the most was the slow start. There is too much time spent with August and Kate at Colton. I honestly didn't care much for the boring talk between the two of them. As I said, I prefer action. If the second half with the action and running had happened earlier, I might have been more interesting. This was a main sour point for me since I really couldn't get into the story. I actually had to put the book down. It was that hard to swallow.

What did you think of the book? Who was your favorite character? And are you a monstrous human or human monster?

There's No Mystery to Why I Love 'Hyouka'

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Studio: Kyoto Animation
Genre: Mystery, School, Slice of Life
Episodes: 22 
Episode Length: 25 minutes per episode

Energy-conservative high school student Houtarou Oreki ends up with more than he bargained for when he signs up for the Classics Club at his sister's behest—especially when he realizes how deep-rooted the club's history really is. Begrudgingly, Oreki is dragged into an investigation concerning the 45-year-old mystery that surrounds the club room.

Accompanied by his fellow club members, the knowledgeable Satoshi Fukube, the stern but benign Mayaka Ibara, and the ever-curious Eru Chitanda, Oreki must combat deadlines and lack of information with resourcefulness and hidden talent, in order to not only find the truth buried beneath the dust of works created years before them, but of other small side cases as well.

Based on the award-winning Koten-bu light novel series, and directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto of Suzumiya Haruhi no ShoushitsuHyoukashows that normal life can be full of small mysteries, be it family history, a student film, or even the withered flowers that make up a ghost story.


Have you solved a mystery recently? Or create a theory? Then you're exactly like the Classics Club. 
Well...that sounds weird. But still. 
Hyouka is an anime about mysteries. It follows the four teenagers that make up the Classics Club. A club that is not about classics. At all. The four of them solve mundane mysteries about life and school and family.

The show is focused on short arcs that follow a larger mystery. It's mildly episodic, and the show doesn't follow a larger arc. (Unless you count the main point in time: the cultural festival.) The mysteries are highly dramatized. But they are interesting. Houtarou the main character of the show follows not many clues to figure it out. He uses good deduction skills and a heck of a lot of common sense. 
There are many filler episodes with one or two mini-mysteries in the episode. (For example, the doll episode at the end. Or the locked room mystery.)
My favorite mystery was got to be the mystery about Hyouka. It's the first major mystery. And this contains my favorite scene. The "I scream scene." It is the most bloodcurdling scene I've ever seen in my life. I shiver even thinking about it. But more on that later.
There is also the mystery movie arc which is okay. It's interesting, and I actually figured it out. Haha.
The other main arc is the cultural festival one. It goes across a lot of episodes. It's interesting, but without knowing "The ABC Murders", you really are left out.

The worst part of the plot is the awful ending. You're left with a cliffhanger and the hope for love. I want more. This show deserves a second season. We need more mysteries and romance! Chitanda x Houtarou! Mayaka x Satoshi!

The characters really drew me in. I liked the characters a lot. At first, they seemed bland, but you got really  invested in their lives.

Houtarou Oreki is the main character. His motto is all about 'energy conservation'. Aka he's a lazy butt. But he's smart. I know a lot about lazy smart people. You really get interested in his life and how he solves things. He felt a bit shallow too. Which isn't a great characteristic. He's not my favorite character, but he's really interesting. 
Chitanda Eru is a curious fool. If we're following stereotypes, she's the manic pixie dream girl. She's hyper and adorable. She's curious about everything and a great cook. She's smart too, but Houtarou's genius seems to hide hers. She's smart too. (Top of her class.) I like her. But not a lot. I wanted more depth to her.
Satoshi Fukube is the happy go lucky database. He seems to be the roll with the punches sort of guy. But he's really complex. He feels likes he's hiding in the shadows. He doesn't want to care because he likes not caring. This makes him interesting. I really like his character. 
Ibara Mayaka is library assistant turned Classics Club member. She's pretty brash but can be calm. She likes Satoshi. For some reason. (We've never told why. The romance seems way too forced.) But she's tsundere AF. I think tsunderes are cute, so Mayaka is awesome to me. But she doesn't have enough screen time, so we don't feel a deep connection to her.

There are four people. You know what that means...romance!
The Chitanda x Houtarou romance is adorable. But seemingly unnecessary.  As is both romances really. I do root for both of them. But Mayaka's reason for liking Satoshi is unknown. And we really get their emotions. One Valentine's Day episode isn't enough!

Wow. This OP really seems to fit the show. The song and the art. The song is all about finding light which goes with the 'rose colored' lifestyle Houtarou seems to abhor. The colors appear as if ripples in a pond. Which works with the "I'm Curious!" thing. The ghostly images of Houtarou are really gorgeous. There's imagery within that. He seems like a ghost to everyone else. He's not really there and not really living. He's just passing through. 
The ED is cute and sweet like Chitanda and Mayaka. We get the female leads falling asleep. It seems more intimate. And feels like they're just being used for sex appeal. The song is cute, though.

The second OP is a bit more upbeat than the last. Which could mean a change in Houtarou's emotions and outlook on life. He's becoming more happy and rose-colored. He's also seen through a glass. Which could mean he is still separated from the rest of the world and the Classics Club. Until Chitanda brings him through to reality.
The second ED is so cute! I love the Sherlock analogy. It's upbeat, and we get all of the Classics Club members. What I think is weird is that the girls are the detectives, but the boys are the criminals. It seems better suited for Satoshi who is all coy and sly and cocky. But Houtarou seems annoyed with the situation more than anything else.

These are good OPs and EDs.

The art is amazing. It's the best thing about this show. 
It's the style I like. It's more realistic. Reminds me of Nagi no Asukara. It seems normal on the outside. But certain scenes are gorgeous works of art. You see things in watercolors or with a certain supernatural lens.
Back to my favorite scene. The "I Scream" scene. It's Chitanda's uncle being turned into the scapegoat, the person who'll shoulder all the problems. He's the rabbit being bitten by the teachers. And the other students watch. This scene comes from the Hyouka arc where you figure out why it's called Hyouka and why the cover is so. The name thing was pretty easy for me, a native English speaker, to figure out. The rabbit scene is so heartwrenching. It's the most bloodcurdling scene ever. It sends shivers down my spine. I can't handle it. It's a gorgeous piece of work and imagery. 

It's not mystery that I love Hyouka. Hyuk hyuk hyuk.

First Episode Test: Spring 2016 Anime 'Tanaka-Kun', Re:Zero', and 'Sakamoto'

Monday, June 27, 2016
First Episode Test: Spring 2016 Anime

I'm really bad at dropping animes. REALLY bad. I've only dropped...say five? And I'm going back to those. One day. 

So I decided to make the First Episode Test for me. It's a short questionnaire for me to answer for each anime I watch. (Unless I truly want to finish it.)
I'll start posting these in bunches when I get through different anime, so you can see my thoughts.

Below is the short questionnaire. It covers the main points I like to see in an anime. And if an anime gets this across in one episode, then it's solid. If it has some but not all of the points, I'll continue it. Cautiously, though.

1) Did I enjoy the episode?
2) Did I get something out of this episode? Did I laugh or cry or smile? 
3) Does the plot seem promising? Is there good rising action and a possible conflict? Or is just mindless blah blah?
4) Do I like the characters? Do they have interesting backstories? Do they have interesting personalities and motivations?
5) Do I like the art style?

We'll be applying this First Episode Test to the following spring 2016 anime. I haven't seen any of them before, but I've heard a lot about all of them. I decided to focus on 'Kiznaiver', 'Bungou Stray Dogs', and 'Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress' this spring instead of these other animes. But let's put them to the test.

Tanaka-kun wa Kyou mo Kedaruge (Tanaka-kun is Listless Today Too)

1) Did I enjoy the episode?
Overall...not too bad. It was funny and interesting. The plot might not be something, but I'm getting the overall impression of a good comedy anime.
2) Did I get something out of this episode? Did I laugh or cry or smile? 
I laughed a lot. Tanaka tried so hard so be lazy. And his laziness is hilarious. He fell off a chair for goodness sake and put off going to the dentist because he was lazy.
3) Does the plot seem promising? Is there good rising action and a possible conflict? Or is just mindless blah blah?
The plot seems to be Tanaka going through daily life stuff with Ohta helping him. There isn't much to go on plotwise. Unless we're adding in some romance with that creepy stalker girl at the end.
4) Do I like the characters? Do they have interesting backstories? Do they have interesting personalities and motivations?
Tanaka is hilarious. He tries so hard to be lazy. Which isn't lazy at all. Ohta is great. I really like him. He's like Tanaka's mom or something. And the friends? They were pretty funny too. But I feel like they won't get a lot of screentime.
5) Do I like the art style?
Yes, it's gorgeous. It has very muted colors and a very soft palette. It really works for this anime.

Verdict: I will continue Tanaka-kun. When I have the time. I promised to watch 'Tokyo Ghoul Root A' next so...

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World) 
Re:Zero episode one is broken into two parts, so I only watched 1A the first part.

1) Did I enjoy the episode?
Sorta? Not really? 
2) Did I get something out of this episode? Did I laugh or cry or smile? 
Sure, it was funny. Puck and Subaru both had comedic lines. But I didn't feel like I got anything out of it.
3) Does the plot seem promising? Is there good rising action and a possible conflict? Or is just mindless blah blah?
The plot is okay? The episode is divided, so we didn't see the death scene or anything. But if we're repeating this over and over, I doubt I'll care.
4) Do I like the characters? Do they have interesting backstories? Do they have interesting personalities and motivations?
Subaru was funny. I really liked him. He entered this fantasy world and spouted NEET stuff. I mean, I would too. He was the typical otaku. But he is somehow fit? I'm confused. NEETs stay inside unless they need food or doujinshi. So I disagree. Puck was so funny. I loved this little cat spirit. But Satella...not so much. She spoke too fast and has almost not personality. All I know about her is that she cares. That's it. 
5) Do I like the art style? 
Sure, it's fine. Subaru looks a little strange, but I guess I'm used to the Tamaki Suohs of the world.

Verdict: I'll finish this if I have nothing else to watch. I'm not particularly interested right now.

Sakamoto desu ga? (Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto)

1) Did I enjoy the episode?
Not really? 
2) Did I get something out of this episode? Did I laugh or cry or smile? 
I laughed. A little. But I mostly was raising an eyebrow at things.
3) Does the plot seem promising? Is there good rising action and a possible conflict? Or is just mindless blah blah?
It just seems like a lot of pranks from the guys. Then, Sakamoto being all cool and one-upping them. So no real plot.
4) Do I like the characters? Do they have interesting backstories? Do they have interesting personalities and motivations?
I got to know the side characters more than Sakamoto. And I have a feeling this is how the entire anime is like. Sakamoto won't get a lot of info or backstory. I kinda hate how 'cool' he is. It's not that cool in my opinion.
5) Do I like the art style?
It's fine...Sakamoto is really bishie. That's all.

Verdict: I'm definitely not going to continue this anime. I just don't like it.

Have you seen any of these animes? What are your thoughts?

Love Your Mother: 'Your Lie in April' Episode 13 Analysis

Friday, June 24, 2016

I just finished the thirteenth episode of 'Your Lie in April'. You know, the show everyone says rips out your heart? Yeah, that one.
Out of the thirteen episodes I've seen so far, this one hit me the hardest. Not Kousei and Kaori on the stage playing together for the first time. Or Kousei realizing he loves her. Nope. This episode where Kousei faces his fears.

We used to see Saki (Kousei's mother) as a demon. She was the evil mother who forced Kousei Arima to break. She pushed him to be so perfect. But we all know that perfection is impossible. Not without losing your soul.

But in this episode, we got to see Saki as a human being. Not a monster or a demon. She was a mother. She was a loving person. It was a complete reversal of earlier episodes where she yelled at Kousei and all.
Remember the iconic scene of Kousei being slapped so hard by Saki and him telling her to die? Well, we got to see the next part. The part after Kousei exits. And gosh, it hurt my heart.

We got to see Saki as a person who just wanted the best for her son. And isn't that what all parents want?
Saki brought up a point like this. (Not an exact quote but the general idea.) She wondered if Kousei could do music full-time, as a professional pianist. Of course, people can do this, but they have to be good. So she forced him to play exactly as it said. And this really changed my view on her. She was trying so hard to be a good mom. Maybe she seemed harsh. But it was for the better.

We also saw Kousei change. He used to hate his mom.
Then this episode came around. And he understood her. And he understood himself. It changed a lot. I started to see his change. Not just the 'playing piano' change. But changing emotionally.

If this is any indication, I cried so hard during this episode. Not teary eyes. Full frontal crying. And, man, was it rough.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Did you cry too?

Why You Should Staff InterBlogCon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Why should you join the InterBlogCon staff? Let me give you some pros and cons!

You will meet new people
With all the people who will attend and help, you'll definitely meet new people. From hosts to moderators to teachers to attendees, there are so many people to meet.

You will learn new things
With the teachers teaching everything under the sun, you'll learn something new every day. From blogging to life to books, there are so many opportunities.

You are able to meet people all over the world
This convention is international (it's in the name.) So you can meet people from the four corners of the world.

You can enter some awesome giveaways and contents
Winning prizes is always cool too! The con will have a fan art and cosplay contest where you could win prizes. Not into the artsy stuff, that's fine. There will be an overarching giveaway for all attendees.

I admit, it is a time commitment 
Being a part of InterBlogCon takes time. There's time for the con itself and for the preparations. You have to dedicate time for different aspects of the con.

It is also takes energy
To be a staff member or an attendee takes energy. As a staff member, you have to be connected with the hosts and other staff members. With the preparations, there is energy to be used to create forms, schedules, and whatever else we need.

But overall, the pros outweigh the cons.

We still have spots for teachers. Sign up here

Why 'Magi: Labyrinth of Magic' Works

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Magi: The Labyrinth of MagicMagi: Labyrinth of Magic 

Studio: A-1 Pictures
Producer: AniplexDentsu,Shogakukan ProductionsMainichi BroadcastingMovic
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic, Shounen
Episodes: 25
Episode Length: 24 minutes per episode

Dispersed around the world, there are several bizarre labyrinths hiding incredible treasures within them. These mysterious places, known as "Dungeons," are said to be the work of Magi, a class of rare magicians, who also help people build their empires by guiding them to a dungeon. Djinns, supernatural beings that rule over the labyrinths, grant successful conquerors access to their immense power and choose them as potential king candidates to rule the world.

Having spent life in isolation, Aladdin, a kind and young magician, is eager to explore the world upon finally leaving his home behind. He begins his journey only accompanied by his mentor Ugo—a djinn that Aladdin can summon with his flute. However, Aladdin soon becomes friends with the courageous Alibaba Saluja after causing the destruction of a local merchant's supply cart. In order to pay for the damages, Alibaba suggests that they attempt to conquer the nearest dungeon, taking the first step in an epic adventure that will decide the fate of the world itself.


I recently finished the amazing anime that is 'Magi: Labyrinth of Magic'. This anime is really popular. (I mean...there are Aladdin and Alibaba plushies out there!) I've heard about it before (Many times over.) But I never really got into it. (I went through a 'No mainstream ANYTHING' phase. Yeah, that was not fun...)
So, basically, this summer is 'Wren catches up with popular animes'. Derp. ~(._.)~
But, gosh, this is an amazing anime. It's so amazing. I can't stop gushing about it. (Well...I'll stop as soon as I start 'Your Lie in April'. Then ALL my Tweets will be GIFs of me crying. Can't wait for that, am I right?)
Even though I wasn't a huge fan at first. (Truth.)

This anime blew me away. (Which is another way to say 'I LOVE MAGI' subtly. Subtle.) You're probably wondering why. I mean, that's what this review is for! And you're obviously reading this review. Sooo. You know.

1) I actually felt something. 
In my cold, stone heart, I felt something. This anime seems like a lighthearted shounen until it slams you in the gut and screams "NO" really loudly. And flips the table. And steals your drink. (This anime is very cruel at times.)
I had so many feels while watching this. Okay...I'll admit the first half or so with the 'Morgiana and Alibaba and Aladdin are separated. Oh no!' stuff, I got bored. Very so. But I persevered! That's when I hit the jackpot. 

This anime turns into a ball of deadly kill-your-feels scenes with a little dash of tears. Okay...more like a lot of tears. 

(I'm going to direct you to my analysis of episode 17. Ehem. Episode 17 Crying and laughing at the same time is a sign of madness...I meant an amazing anime. Hahahaha...ha.)
My emotions were constantly on a rollercoaster once this anime started to pick up. This really happened with the Balbadd episodes. And, man, was that a good arc... 
But really. The emotions behind Alibaba's decisions and his rough past were really moving. And then the whole light and dark thing in the Zagan/the Organization arc? WOW. That was gorgeous. 

There were also many scenes that made you root for the underdogs. All the fight scenes for example. You cheered for Alibaba and Aladdin and Morgiana. I might have actually shouted loudly...once...or twice...or thrice... Yeah, this anime got me really riled up. (Not to mention all the times I yelled 'Democracy!')

So, yes, this anime will make you cry. And scream. And cheer. But it's great because of it.

2) The power of light is tainted with lies and deceit but ultimately gets through it all.
Yes, this is a typical shounen with the light versus dark theme. But this anime does it better than I've seen before. The rukh symbolizes the light and dark (As does the Sindria arc's growing purple-ish bruise-ish thing.) 

The fight between light and dark is fantastic, and it starts when Judal is introduced really. (Which is really early on.) The Sindria arc focuses more on the dark and light, but the Balbadd arc touches upon it (With Kassim. You can hear my wailing now.)

I want to talk about the Organization instead. I talked about Kassim in my episode analysis. (Another shameless plug.) 
This is a group of bad guys. As typical of a shounen anime. But they infuse themselves with 'depravity'. In case you need to know the definition, I've pasted it below:

"Depravity: noun
moral corruption; wickedness."

Thanks, Google.
This is really interesting. The Organization has good intentions. (They want to avoid something...that seems unavoidable. Yup, no spoilers!) And they just chose the wrong way to do it. Then they try to bring everyone else to the dark side (Which I am a member of. I have fun here. We have cookies. And Darth Vader. And Victor Vale. WOOT WOOT.) 
But while the Organization is very stereotypical, the approach is different. This is focused on depravity and infecting people with darkness. Which is very interesting. Most 'organizations' just want to destroy everything. But this one doesn't. Hm. Interesting, no?

3) Alibaba isn't your stereotypical hero. 
He debates between light and dark. He falters. 
I would say a spoiler here...but I won't. You're welcome. But I'll SHOW a spoiler instead! -evil laughter-

Constantly, he's teased by the dark side. But he has friendship and hope. And this brings out the best in him. He doesn't succumb to darkness (Or depravity as in this anime.) He fights through it. And that's amazing. He's not this insane hero of the light. He's a hero of the gray. 
And that makes him real. Not every real life hero has the most amazing scruples. They might fall. Maybe a little smoke or a little drink. Or, in Alibaba's case, a little DESTRUCTION OF AN ENTIRE KINGDOM. You know, small stuff. But they bounce back. And so did Alibaba. 

I admire him. That's for sure.

4) Aladdin and Alibaba are FRIENDSHIP GOALS.
The two of them are so close. They barely know each other in the beginning, but, by the end, they're best friends forever and ever and ever. They go through so much together. And they grow a connection because of it.

And, the thing is, Aladdin is Alibaba's light. He saves Alibaba many times. Sure, this gets a bit awkward if Aladdin was, say, Alibaba's love interesting, but this anime pulls the friendship card. And this works really well. 
You get invested in their friendship. And you just want them to be together. Forever. 

And last, but not least, the best reason of all.

5) Cute boys.
Yes, this is petty, I know. But still! These boys were very attractive. And that's a nice touch for a viewer. And I will now rate them on their level of attractiveness. The results are surprising.

Numbah One: Ugo

He's blue and cute. And really helpful. The first glimpse of him is deceiving, but his face is extremely attractive.

Numbah Two: Hakuryuu

I mean...brooding, distant prince is attractive. Plus, that scar, though. It reminds me of Zuko from 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'.

Numbah Three: Alibaba

Alibaba is awesome. He's cool even without his childish, chubby face. But the face tops things off.

Numbah Four: Sinbad

You're probably wondering why he isn't higher on this list. It's because UGO IS LIFE. Sinbad isn't that bad. He's really ripped, though. But you know...I like Romano and all. So.

So have you seen this anime? What did you think?And how cute is Ugo? SUPER DUPER RIGHT?

How Episode 17 of 'Magi: Labyrinth of Magic' Made Me Cry So Hard

Friday, June 17, 2016
Aka a picture of me during the end of this episode
Oh my god. I just watched this episode. To get an idea of how much of a rollercoaster it was, I'll tell you this: I ended up crying and laughing at the end of the episode.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Here's a bit about the episode if you forgot or something. By the way, SPOILER ALERT.
We're in Balbadd, Alibaba's home country.  We have the Fog Troupe that attacks nobles and government officials in the fog. Aladdin and Sinbad and Morgiana go to fight the Fog Troupe, but they discover Alibaba, and his childhood pal Kassim, are in charge.
Of course, things are thrown off course by the Kou Empire's arrival and want to annex Balbadd. The king Ahbmad is a weakling who succumbs to the wants of riches and gold and accepts this annexation. Ahbmad is to marry a Kou princess and sign an agreement to hand over his people as slaves to the Kou empire.
The people, though, are thirsty for blood, and the Fog Troupe prepares to attack. Alibaba, on the other hand, sides with Sinbad and Aladdin on a mission for peace. He tries many different strategies, including trying to talk to the king, but none work.
His last solution is to announce a republic and tear down the agreement. The Kou princess agrees, but the king is reluctant to give up his power. He finally does, but Kassim comes in with his weapon of smoke/fog and turns into a monster. Alibaba has to defeat the Kassim demon...but can he?

And that's a short recap of the goings-on so far. Now, onto the episode itself.

Aladdin has returned from his comatose state and comes to help Alibaba. He's been out of commission for a good few episodes after trying to help Alibaba and that group fight the other magi Judal. His magoi was depleted, and Ugo seemed to be lost to him. He, of course, is fine and is just resting. Aladdin returns and gives Alibaba (who has little to no magoi left) some power. This power helps Alibaba go through the black demon and to its heart--where Kassim is. And this is where I get emotional. Kassim acknowledges his faults and his reasoning for this whole mess (which can be pinned on him.) And this scene crescendos to this masterpiece of light and sound.
And Kassim is saved.

And that's what happened in this episode. So why do I care so much?

The thing that hit me the most about this episode was not the magic but the emotions behind the episode. Sure, Judal and Aladdin had lots of fun destroying each other (Or trying to), but the real heart of this episode is in the connection between Alibaba and Kassim. I felt so many emotions watching their exchange in the glassy otherworld. Kassim finally opening up to Alibaba was a knife to the heart.
There were so many things he did wrong, but he did have a good heart. Really. I know that the show might try to paint him as a villain, but he had this good heart. And it showed.
We got to see his change from cocky to open in this episode, and it really resonated with me. I know not everyone is as open as they should, but Kassim really was an extreme form of closed off. If he had spoken to Alibaba more, something else would be the result.
Also, we got to see what their lives could have been if Kassim was more open. And, man, was that gorgeous. I love seeing things where the possibilities from other options are seen. (Maybe that why I love 'Steins;Gate' so much.) It really hit the nail on the head. If things HAD been different, live would have been drastically changed. (Then again...Alibaba wouldn't have met Aladdin.)

And another thing. The ending scene where Aladdin grants the dead souls a chance to be with their loved ones? I started to cry. And laugh. Because that was such a good deed. I can't even imagine.

So, overall, this episode was gorgeous. I adored it, and it really got me in love with this show. I'm not done with it yet (At least as I write this post), but I do appreciate it's awesomeness.

Four Reasons Why I Couldn't Get Into 'Fate/Stay Night'

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fate/stay nightFate/Stay Night

Studio: Studio Deen
Producer: Geneon Universal EntertainmentFrontier WorksTBS,The Klock WorxNotes
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Supernatural
Episodes: 24
Episode Length: 24 min per episode

After a mysterious inferno kills his family, Shirou is saved and adopted by Kiritsugu Emiya, who teaches him the ways of magic and justice.

One night, years after Kiritsugu's death, Shirou is cleaning at school, when he finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly encounter between two superhumans known as Servants. During his attempt to escape, the boy is caught by one of the Servants and receives a life-threatening injury. Miraculously, he survives, but the same Servant returns to finish what he started. In desperation, Shirou summons a Servant of his own, a knight named Saber. The two must now participate in the Fifth Holy Grail War, a battle royale of seven Servants and the mages who summoned them, with the grand prize being none other than the omnipotent Holy Grail itself.

Fate/stay night follows Shirou as he struggles to find the fine line between a hero and a killer, his ideals clashing with the harsh reality around him. Will the boy become a hero like his foster father, or die trying?


Many have hailed 'Fate/zero' as this amazing anime, and Saber one of the most amazing waifus to ever walk this earth. I decided to hop on the bandwagon with this series, and I started my delightful journey with 'Fate/stay night'. 
And, man, do I disagree.

This anime is, simply, mediocre. The art is meh. The characters meh. Nothing really stands out about this show. Yet people seem to like the series (the whole Fate series. Not this show specifically. People actually seem to dislike this one.) 

Normally, mediocre shows have at least one interesting thing. This typically ends up being an interesting premise or some cool action sequence. 
But some things really made me dislike this anime. And I couldn't find any redeeming qualities.

So here are the four main things that I disliked about 'Fate/stay night'.

The Otome Game-esque Animation
I put the animation first on this list because it's one of the main factors that goes into my decision to watch an anime or not. An older style of anime (For example, 'Fate/stay night') is not as appealing to me compared to a new, brightly colored style of anime (For example, 'Hyouka'.) I thought that the characters looked like they jumped out of an otome game. (And as you know, or may not know, I kinda hate otome turned anime adaptations. They just don't sit well in my stomach.) 
Seriously, they strike poses that mimic otome character poses, and it really made me want to cry.
This funny (NOT) because the show is based off a light novel, not an otome game. Oh well. 2006 animation, right?

See? Otome game!
Lack of Interesting Plot
Sure, there's some semblance of a plot. There are fights and story arcs, but they're not well-done. We have the main characters (Emiya and Saber) who fight different people. For example, they fight Rider and her Master. This is one of the main 'arcs'. It's not much, and the fight scene isn't even good. Rider barely even uses her Rider-ness to fight. (One horse scene. ONE.) 

Rider barely uses her horse, and she fights with chains. That's it. (Well...Archer doesn't fight with a bow normally. So.)
The show basically implies a large Servant v Servant battle (Reminiscent of 'Future Diary'.) But we all we get are smaller arcs which aren't very interesting. The fight scenes were boring, and I just want the story to continue on. The last 'major' battle wasn't anything special, and I kept staring at my screen in complete confusion. Just what was happening?

As I sit at my desk and write this little list, I still have no clue how to sum up the plot.
And that shows you just how awful the plot was. 

Boring, 2-D Characters
Let's go down the list of main characters. And analyze them one by one.

Shirou Emiya
Just look at his derpy face...
Emiya Shirou
He's this 'powerful' Magus (You know this because Archer helps him out with the visualization thing, and it actually works. Also, Toosaka mentions this 'special snowflake' quality of his a few times.) Honestly, he makes me mad. There was nothing special about him. If you have a character with a strong moral code, you can work with that. But Emiya was just so stubborn. I felt so annoyed listening to him talk. Even the people with the strongest morals would have backed down at times. He's supposed to be the good guy in it all, but I honestly didn't care if he won or lost a battle. I just wanted to get to the next scene, preferably without him. He was ignorant and completely childish at times. There was no character development whatsoever. 

Saber's Emiya's wonderful Servant. Who is of the Saber class. She's this strong heroine...who seems to always need Emiya. She has this really cool Noble Phantasm but passes out after using it guessed it NEEDS EMIYA. The fact that show subtly adds some lovely sexist tones with Saber's character made me want to roll under my desk and hide for a million years. No, you can't say 'But that was 2006! It's 2016 now!' I'm still going to hide. Has our culture changed that much in ten years? Nope. I don't think so, but that is a topic for another time. Back to Saber. 
Not only is she a 'strong heroine', she is also as interesting as a piece of wet cardboard. Her character barely gets any interesting lines, and she has no characterization at all. I know she might get better with 'Fate/zero', but, so far, my opinion of her isn't very good.

Toosaka Rin
Toosaka might be the only interesting character in this show. She is sassy and quick to retort. But the fact of the matter is, she is really just an ally for Emiya. I know that she isn't the main main character, but she could get some characterization too. We have a hint of backstory, but it's never explored enough for me to care. I felt like she was just the more experienced Magus for Emiya to learn from. She could have been a great mentor...if she wasn't basically another girl in the Emiya Harem. (She's the smart...but sexy one. Mysterious and pushes you away. What will happen next?) Plus, in the last few episodes, she's completely ignored for the bull romance. Thanks? And it's not like I'll watch 'Unlimited Blade Works' and see her side of things. So she's forever this empty sort of harem girl in my mind.

I can't even start talking about him without cringing. For one of the main characters, Archer gets no action. He's seen maybe...three times total in the whole show. Really. And he's supposed to be one of the main characters? And he also gives advice to Emiya (whom he hates.) I deny your argument. I can't care about him if he is given no role in this show. So bye-bye. 

The Bull Romance

Oh, look. The lovely couple. How cute... -rolls eyes-

The second Emiya whipped out the 'I care for her' card, I wanted to slam my fist against the wall. (Which I may or may not have done.) Romance can be done right, but, normally, that's not the case. And with 'Fate/stay night', the romance was unnecessary. You can build up a great romance between friends, and that would have been fine. 
What's even worse is that you can't believe the romance. There's no indication of a crush, and the things we do get can be labeled as 'Virgin Dude Unexposed to Sex Appeal'. (Namely, the scenes where Saber stands naked in front of Emiya.) 
The romance is too forced, and it lacks the spark a normal romance does. So no. Just no.