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Anime Review: Uto no Prince-Sama 1000% Love

Alternate names: UtoPrince, Uto no Prince-Sama Maji Love 1000%
Year: 2011
Episodes: 13 (Japanese-dub, English-subbed version)
Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Harem, Drama, Comedy

Reviewer’s Note: This review contains a few spoilers. Sorry about that, but I considered it necessary in order to better review this title.

This series is based on a popular Otome franchise. The story revolves around a group of musicians and composers attending the prestigious Saotome Academy. The academy is an audition for the Saotome Music Agency and is helmed by a former male idol named Shining Saotome.
When home-taught composer Haruka Nanami arrives at the academy, she has to contend with the harsh reality that simply wanting to succeed is not enough. Over time, she gains support from six idol contenders, each with their own baggage, as well as a female friend named Tomochika Shibuya and a meddling cat.

Whilst this series is a huge advertisement for King Records, it manages to be a good blend of drama and comedy. The reverse harem elements are there, but we see more of a focus on the creation of an idol group and their composer team. This makes for a compelling and sometimes humorous story. We see rivalries and the bizarre world of Saotome Academy which is heavily surveilled by the eccentric Shining Saotome. It is at-times over-the-top and silly, but it somehow works.
To the characters, there is plenty of variation in the personality and appearance of the characters. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of male love interests as in the case of that delightfully absurd series of Brothers Conflict. Brothers Conflict was made entertaining because of it. However, it was a tad silly.
To the music, which is a big part of this series, I probably enjoyed about half of the songs. It is more of a personal preference thing, and likely won’t be a big problem for most fans of J-Pop. I simply liked the tracks with more of a rock edge.
The voice acting for the Japanese dub version was reasonable. I recognized a few familiar voices in there (even if I may not be overly familiar with a lot of Japanese voice actors), which did a good job of their roles within the show.

To my rating of the guys in the series, here goes:

  1. Otoya Ittoki: Otoya is sweet and a lot more stable than the other five guys. He is cute, kind and hard-working. He is also one of the first two members of the school that Nanami meets. His character design works because it doesn’t try to be quirky for the sake of being quirky.
  2. Cecil Ajima: Whilst he only appears in human form once (Otome series periodically have shapeshifters and guardian spirits as side characters that are often tools to move the story forward), he is an ever-present guide for Nanami. His character design is attractive and his personality easily places as number two on the list.
  3. Satsuki/Natsuki Shinomiya: Satsuki is more honest than his glasses-wearing counterpart, even if prone to bouts of superhuman levels of violence. He also exudes sex appeal. Natsuki is a little over-protective and a bit of a meddler when it comes to best friend Syo. Whilst Natsuki’s attempts to help often result in trauma and/or food poisoning, both he and Satsuki are otherwise good-hearted.
  4. Ryuuya Hyuuga: Ryuuga is the teacher for Class S and a popular actor in action films and television series. Whilst not one of the wannabe idols that are the focus of the reverse harem element of this series, he is still level-headed and hard-working. His cool exterior and athletic physique give him a place on this list.
  5. Shou Kurusu: Shou is adorable, even if prone to shouting in annoyance. His lack of emotional baggage and lack of whining put him higher on the list than the likes of Ren, Masato, and Tokiya. His character design is also quite reasonable even if his hair is a bit weird.
  6. Ren Jinguuji: Whilst the hottest guy in this series, he is a bit of a whiner and tends to spend more time hitting on the ladies instead of focusing on his music. The saxophone thing is also a bit tacky.
  7. Masato Hijirikawa: Whilst good-hearted, Masato comes off as way too broody for his own good. Still, he is a lot less whiney than Ren and Tokiya. The only reason he is lower on the list than Ren is that I am not a big fan of his character design. His hair is weird. His beauty mark is also a bit distracting.
  8. Tokiya Ichinose: Whilst Hayato is the reason for Nanami wanting to become a composer in the first place, he comes off as way too whiney on account of his unwillingness to clearly and firmly convey what he is thinking. He creates most of his own problems, which places him at the bottom of this list.

So, to some points of humor, this series played around with some cliches. Whilst some of these related to character drama, we did see some amusing use of tropes to create drama. This included the following:

  • Workaholic Exhaustion: Over-work creates an immediate effect on the immune system.
  • Recharge a phone? Hell no!: After all, what better way to create drama than to have the phone go dead in the middle of a conversation?
  • Eccentric Overlord: Oh, Shining Saotome… Where would we be without this eccentric mastermind with “white devil” hair? (If you don’t get that film reference, you’ve been living under a rock.)

In conclusion, this is one of the better anime adaptations of an Otome franchise that I have also never played. Given how fun this series was, it is no wonder why it saw three more series. Whilst it may not be the most “realistic”, it was a pretty enjoyable and cute ride that I can see myself rewatching sometime again in future. I look forward to watching more in the series in the not-so-distant future.


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World of Keiko 2018-08-20

Hello! It has been quite some time since I last posted anything. Those that follow my social networking will no doubt have some idea of what I’ve been up to. For the people that don’t, I’ll post a quick overview and move from there.

I haven’t done much reading or writing of late. I stopped playing Final Fantasy XIV and started playing Elder Scrolls Online instead. I got sucked back into social networking but am trying to cut back again. The garden that I started earlier this year consists of several garden beds now. I am still horribly unfit, which has likely contributed to my recent bout of the flu kicking my butt for longer than it should have. I think that sums it up as succinctly as possible.

Whilst I haven’t done much reading and writing, I’ve found renewed vigour after starting ESO. The story-rich world of Tamriel is one that I am sad that I didn’t play months sooner. Much in all as I enjoyed FFXIV, it still lacked the level of depth and community that works for me. Recently, I also tried my hand at running a few events for one of my guilds. I would have done so again this past weekend if not for the flu. In any case, I am really enjoying the game and am also making some progress fleshing out one of my story worlds.
Which comes to the world of Lurra. Lurra is a fantasy world that is the product of one of my old freewrites. Whilst the initial story has been scrapped, it spawned a vibrant, living world with its share of political intrigue and romance. I also got to create some interesting cultures, religions, etc… It is by no means fleshed out enough to start working on, but I have the core characters for the first series now fleshed out. I just need to get the plot laid out ahead of filling in the gaps. After all, those fine details can either make or break a story. Anyway, I will try to post updates about it again soon.

In lieu of my interest in gardening and a desire to improve my health, I started working on my first real garden beginning in mid-March. I set up a compost, got a worm farm for my birthday <3, saved seeds, bought seeds, planted, grew, prepared beds and other things in order to encourage myself to get outside more. I also expanded my knowledge by watching lots of videos (some of which were college material uploaded to YT) and read lots of articles in order to make informed decisions. I have easily spent more than a hundred hours learning about this stuff. That being said, there was some redundancy in these materials.
Alas, winter came along, delaying much of my efforts. Due to the decreased rainfall and temperatures, I also noticed lots of insects and other wildlife (I’m looking at you, Joe the Bush Turkey!), scrounging for food sources. Seeds were taken and beds were dug up, leading to some frustration on my part. However, I was forced to adapt. Whilst I don’t have a perfect system, I now have ways to deal with these annoyances. Problem-solving is an important part of this little adventure and I’ve received quite a bit of help from some friends living across the road.
Whilst I don’t get as much physical activity as I would like, I have placed garbage bins in the front yard rather than the back of the house. Why is this relevant? It encourages me to check my plants whenever I put stuff in the bins. This method was a result of learning BJ Fogg’s TinyHabits method. It is a simple idea but it makes sense. Just take one action that you’d like to create into a larger habit and attach it onto another. Simple, but it works.

So, what is my plan for the blog in future? Given how little I’ve been posting of late, I’ve decided to knock down the schedule a bit and build up as feasible. I doubt I will post as regularly as I used to. However, I am hoping that it will be more manageable and provide higher quality, more entertaining posts.

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Anime Review: Norn9

Year: 2016
Episodes: 12 + recap episode  (English Sub of Japanese series)
Norn9 Online: WikipediaMyAnimeList, IMDB, Hulu
Genre: Shoujo, Science Fiction, Romance, Drama

I came across Norn9 several months ago while trawling Youtube for anime music videos. One of these AMVs featured a handful of scenes from the series, and I decided to track down the anime. I am glad that I did because it turned out to be an epic and beautiful journey.
Norn9: Norn & Nonet follows the story of the inhabitants of the high tech ship known as the Norn. The Norn transports the hope of the world, a group of young men and women with special abilities. An attack on the ship by an unknown force follows the arrival of new member Koharu. The crew now have to deal with a figure that wants them dead. As they move closer to Reset, the stakes increase.
Norn9: Norn+Nonet is an anime adaptation of an Otome game for PlayStation Vita. It appears that things were different from the game. The anime removes the reverse harem elements of the game. This makes room for more linear romantic storylines and makes more sense. So, if you are a fan of the game (I never played it) don’t expect the adaptation to be a reverse harem.
The plot of Norn9 was compelling. The writing offered enough mystery that I binge-watched the show in two days. I had several theories after the first episode. It turned out that I was way off base with these initial impressions. But there was more than enough clues for it all to make sense. Anime and manga cliches slip into the storyline, but are meaningfully woven into the plot. 
A neat cast of characters made the story even more compelling. It was easy to grow attached to the characters, even the villains. You might not like some of their choices but it was easy to relate to their situation. The special abilities were cool but are second to this focus on characterisation. The art for Norn9 is gorgeous. The characters are attractive, with their own measure of uniqueness. The visually-striking science fiction world setting has its share of strange technology. The visuals for the Norn and The World HQ were especially amazing. Yet, Norn9 is a lot more than attractive bishies and neat-looking technology.
The music was set the right mood. The Japanese voice acting was spot-on. But, the sound effects weren’t special.
In conclusion, I have to say that this is close to the best drama anime that I have seen in a long time. Sure, it has romantic elements but they were one part of an epic story. All in all, a must watch for folks looking for an epic science fantasy with romantic elements.

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World of Keiko 2017-07-10

Ahoy there! Another week has passed. No grand or dramatic changes on my end, but it has seen a lot of protests by Antifa and Anarchist groups at the G20 summit in Hamburg. It has saddened me seeing how indiscriminate they’ve been. The ongoing trend has been the “us versus them” with more and more people joining the ranks of both the radical left and right. We tend to see more people cracking down on radical right-wing groups even though radical leftists are attacking people for filming them and are going around destroying other people’s property. Both are bad and they should be treated with equal disdain.

As bad as things are in some parts of the world, we also see glimpses of greatness and positivity that gives that glimmer of hope. We still see Elon Musk’s Tesla group continually innovating. We still see people going out of their way to help others via food for the homeless programs and trying to facilitate at-risk and in need individuals turning their lives around. We see people learning about the natural world and sharing their knowledge. So, regardless of the bad things that are going on in the world, we see people innovating and creating, helping others, learning and sharing their knowledge with others. These are all good things. Call attention to the bad but exult the good.

Hubby and I are still making headway in Saint’s Row IV. We haven’t clocked in as many hours this past week compared to previous weeks due to me wanting to spend more time writing but we did manage to get through a bunch of content. I also logged into Final Fantasy XIV last night and learnt about some promotion that offers a free (awesome) mount called the Falcon if folks subscribe for 90 days during the lengthy period of the promotion. Thankfully, hubby and I are both eligible. I look forward to riding, flying and venturing under the sea with that sucker when it finally gets added to my account.

On the writing front, I have started writing scenes randomly, stuff that I know will appear in my main series and want to get out of my system as they are becoming quite distracting. I’ve done this with a previous project before and it resulted in a lot of useful material. It is unfortunate that I never pushed on with that series. Perhaps I will go back to it after I have finished the first instalment in the Freak series. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, that is it for the week. I would like to offer a big thank-you to readers that have stuck with me over the past year or so. I do appreciate your ongoing support and hope to have some shinies for you soon. I have chatted to a few of you already and all of you to drop me a line to let me know a bit about yourself. I leave you guys the following nightcore song from the Astyles Music channel on YouTube.


World of Keiko 2017-07-04

Hello again! Another week has passed and not a lot has happened overall. I missed a few scheduled posts due to hubby wanting to play computer games nearly non-stop when he gets home from work. It’s also affected chores as well. I finally dealt with a rather large amount of laundry yesterday but the house in dire need of a good sweeping and vacuum. I will need to find some way to balance my quality time with him with my chores, blogging, socialising online, language learning and writing.

To the issue of gaming, we finally finished all of the missions on Saints Row the Third on Thursday. That led to several days of annoyance where we attempted to get co-op working for Saint Row IV. Because he had the international version, it conflicted with my censored AU version. We dealt with Steam Support repeatedly until an AU version became available for him. Due to some weird settings change my version wasn’t able to load at all. Hubby finally found the culprit. Checking one setting in Windows 10 allowed me to finally load the program and paved the way for us playing the game co-op.
We also have a few new games that we will attempt to play co-op, which includes Magicka. Hubby is sceptical of whether he will enjoy the game, but it should be a lot more enjoyable playing through the campaign co-op as opposed to alone. In all of these games, we will also be working towards finishing Steam Achievements as well. It is not mandatory, but many of these achievements offer extra challenges for players. This is a good thing as it gives some extra goal markers for a player or players.

To blogging, I am still having some issue finding a schedule that works within the various things that I wish to achieve each day and week. One thing that I will attempt to do each week is posting a weekly update on either Monday or Tuesday. The creative prompts will likely move to two posts a week. Manga reviews will be trickier given that I am feeling underwhelmed by some of the offerings of late. If folks have some recommendations, then suggest away. Same with anime and TV reviews. I will attempt to post a music review and playlist every Sunday along with a Video of the Week each Thursday.

I am making mild headway with learning French on Duolingo. I admit that I missed a few days this past week but I will need to put in extra effort to do a module each day ahead of revision of an entire grouping of modules. I have reached out to some folks on social networking to see if any of them are learning French and felt embarrassed when one of them pointed that French is his native language. How on earth did I forget that? I suppose that this is what comes from knowing some French people that no longer live in France.
Europeans often don’t have to drive very far to be in another country within the European Union because of the small distances between countries. I recall a friend talking about a UN conference that she attended last year where she tried to explain to a politician from Ireland just how big our regional council was. The chap had some serious time wrapping their head around the distances involved as his entire country could fit within our region.

How has my writing gone this week? Well, not as good as it could be but I have made some choices that make sense to the overall scope and direction of the project. I just need to write these changes into the pre-story. The prequel story will likely be between 15k and 20k in length once I am done. Probably a lot more wiggle room than a prologue. I am also playing with time travel and alternative realities which will have a HUGE impact on the progression of the world itself.
I am also still figuring out how explicit I want some of the sex scenes to be when I finally get to the steamy bits. How explicit they are will also have some effect on the genre as well. If I dial it back a bit, it will fit more readily into drama with some romantic elements, whilst being more explicit may venture closer to erotica. That being said, we’ve seen our share of TV shows that have explicit sex scenes whilst still managing to fit into other genres. I suppose that it is something that I will need to address when I get closer to integrating the scenes into the series.

What music have I been listening to this past week? Here is the quick list:

  • Day One (album) by Birds of Tokyo [Indie Rock]
  • Who’s My Baby (song) by Capashen [Electronic Dance]
  • Way Out [EP] by Could Ever [Electronic Dance]
  • Like It Never Happened: Noisetrade Exclusive [EP] by Elizabeth and the Catapults [Pop]
  • None of Us Will Ever Leave a Legacy (album) by Final Round [Punk Rock and Indie Rock]
  • The Girl (album) by Charlotte Perrelli [pop and Dance]

Books? I still haven’t finished the Karen Aaron book on writing. Yes, it is embarrassing that I haven’t finished it yet. I will get around to finishing it when I get around to finishing it. I have to be realistic here.

Anyway, that is it for this week. I leave you guys with the following film clip of Hold Onto the Metal by the band Royal Canoe:

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World of Keiko 2017-06-27

It has been another week. I hope that you’ve had a good week. My week has been somewhat productive and enjoyable.

This past week has seen numerous people attending Vidcon, which I have followed with some interest on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Some YouTubers have apparently reconciliations and friendships made as a result of people talking to each other. It also saw the shutuptariq hashtag trending in response to a figure that shuts down criticism with accusations of the other party being a “white supremacist” instead of addressing those criticisms. People are fed up with this sort of intellectual dishonesty and with good reason. If a person truly wants to solve a problem, then they should address legitimate criticism of what they say and do.

Hubby and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last week. Soon after, the Steam Summer Sale started and he got me the removing parts of the Saint’s Row franchise. After that, we played some multiplayer Saint’s Row the Third. It was a lot of fun but we still haven’t quite finished that run-through of the game. As such, we’ve been playing together a few hours each night. I may suck at driving and flying vehicles but I at least suck a lot less in the weapons department. I will certainly get a lot better with practice.
What games have you been playing of late? What makes them so enjoyable for you? Have you purchased anything during the Steam Summer Sale? Are you waiting for a discount on any games in particular for the Steam Summer Sale?

In other news, I am back to doing daily lessons at Duolingo. The focus this time around is French given that some of the characters in the book that I am currently working on are French. I studied a little in high school but it is very rusty. I have also spent a lot more time of late studying Dutch and German which is quite a bit different from French. Dutch and German use some similar words, which allows one to assist in learning the other much in the way that Spanish and Portuguese assist each other. I haven’t come across a language that assists with learning French as yet. There is apparently a difference between Quebecian French and Parisian French, but I have no idea what the differences are. My best guess is that Here’s hoping that I can be consistent with my daily lessons.
Are any of you currently learning a language? Are you bilingual? Feel free to post about your experiences in the comments section and social networking.

What sort of music have I been listening to this week? Here is a quick list:

Books? I am still reading Rachel Aaron‘s 2K to 10K book on improving writing output. It is a decent read but I am also working on planning a book in the background. The planning is taking a bit longer than expected actually. Turns out that the planned prologue will also work better as a short prequel story.

That is it for this week. Before I go, I’d like to offer a shout-out to new follower theindianindiehead. Kaustav Ray has a really neat music blog that I encourage folks to check out. I leave you with a live performance of the song ¡Que Paciencia! by Sundayers from their album Cógelo!.

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World of Keiko 03/06/2017

Last week began in a strong fashion. I was writing more and playing BDO more. Unfortunately, I hit a wall. I had reached a point where I was physically exhausted from not getting near enough quality sleep. That resulted in several days away from blogging, during which I was able to start changing my sleeping cycle around. So, the idea from now on is to get up early in the morning rather than getting up after nine or ten o’clock. My body is still adjusting to the new sleeping schedule but I think that it will do me a lot of good in the long-term.
I don’t have much to say on the writing front but I will try to return to the semblance of a writing and blogging schedule. To my older followers, thank-you for your patience. I do appreciate it. And to my newer readers, I’d like to offer a rather flamboyant greeting probably involving balloons and streamers and perhaps even dancing Pokemon because that is the way that I roll. Admit it, you like the Pikachus too. 😀

Well, that is it for this week. A big shoutout to new followers LitaKino (youtube) and George Pheby, a music blogger. I hope that you all have a kick-ass week and I look forward to chatting with you in the near future. I leave you guys with this video clip by Strange Talk.