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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 71-80

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

It is our newest ten chapters of Love So Life, drawing us closer to the completion of the series. If you’ve been reading along with me, perhaps you feel the same level of attachment as I do. Then again, perhaps not.

In this week’s instalments, Seiji and Shiharu prepare the twins for when the Aoi and Akane go to live with their maternal grandparents. We also see the two spending their second Valentine’s Day together ahead of Seiji’s birthday. Finally, Seiji and Shiharu prepare the kids for a family gathering with their grandparents and other members of that side of the family.

Though not much happened in terms of conflict during these ten chapters, we see Rio and Takeru encouraging our hesitant couple to finally acknowledge the elephant in the room. At least Seiji and Shiharu didn’t have to content with Nao again this time around. Though, I suppose that some of that issue was dealt with during the ten chapters that I read last week. However, the lead-up is still dragging on a little bit longer than one would like.
Here I am, wondering if I was ever hung up over a boy for as long as Shiharu has been since she figured out that she liked Seiji. That being said, I am not in my late-thirties now with my teen years somewhat blurred by several decades. What I do know is that my relationship with my husband need had the same complications as that of our fictional couple.

Anyhoo, that is it for this week. I will be reading this series until the end, leaving us with two weeks left to go. I suspect that the payoff will be worth it.
If you have any manga suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section. (Try to avoid hentai, please. I don’t have an issue with it but that is more for my personal time rather than something that I’d like to review for this blog.) I look forward to checking out some of your recommendations. I will need something to read after I am finished reading Love So Life and I will go over the priority list and your recommendations as I get closer to the end of the current manga and might even move to multiple manga each week if need be.


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TV Review: Please Love the Useless Me Episode 03

Year: 2016
Episode: Episode 3/10 of completed JDrama series adapted from a Josei manga series (English sub version)
Other Names: Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai
Online: Wikipedia (Re: Manga), MyDramaList, AsianWikiIMDB, KissAsian, DramaCool
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Drama

We are now up to the third episode of the rather adorable Please Love the Useless Me. I know that it has been a few weeks since I watched the second episode but I figured that it was time to get stuck into the show again. Yes, I will attempt to watch some more Asian drama series in upcoming weeks. This will likely cut into time that I would have spent watching anime. However, I think that it will be worth the effort, especially given that anime and live-action tend to make use of different storytelling techniques. Yes, this will likely include both Love O2O and Goblin.

In the third episode, Michiko Shibata (Kyoko Fukada) goes out on a date with Daichi Mogami (Shohei Muira). She also purchases her first bit of lingerie at a shop where Kurosawa’s ex Akira Ikushima (Maho Nonami) is manager after Ayumu Kurosawa (Dean Fujioka) comments on the granny panties that he saw hanging up to dry in her room. Michiko’s coworker Yuki Kadoma (Hinako Sano) gets stuck into her about not chastising Misaki Nakajima (Risa Naito) for slacking off and shifting her work onto other people. Michiko finally puts her foot down after a pep-talk from Kurosawa the night before. During their second date, Mogami asks Shibata to go out with him from now on with the intent to marry.

This series continues to hit all of the right notes for me and I have to admit that I like it a lot more than Something About One Percent. We see the odd friendship between Ikushima and Shibata, with Akira willingly taking on the role of “big sis”. I really like the rapport between these two characters as I did in the manga, along with how the live-action adaptation continues to deal with some of the other relationships from the manga.

There is not much to add beyond what I have said already. Seriously, if you are looking to watch a cute comedic drama then you really should consider giving this series a watch. It is freaking adorable. While you are at it, feel free to check out the manga.


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Music Review: Falling Apart by LukHash

Year: 2012
Genre: Electronic, 8Bit, Chiptune, Darkstep, Electronic Dance
Similar Artists: Trancendam,
Online: Official Website, JamendoBandcamp, Soundcloud, Youtube, Facebook
Tracks:

  1. Alpha
  2. Pixelove
  3. Detached Reality
  4. Falling Apart
  5. China
  6. Computer Date
  7. Room 12
  8. Broken Star
  9. 65536
  10. Gravity
  11. H8 U 2
  12. R3born
  13. Bonus Track – Woken Up @3AM V2

LukHash is an electronic artist from Poland that I discovered on Jamendo last year. They’ve been around for a while now, developing a bit of a following online in the process. It is certainly understandable why they are so popular as well.

Falling Apart is a thirteen-track compilation that does a great job of offering a glimpse into what makes LukHash so unique and entertaining to listen to. Whilst no two albums in their catalogue are alike, you know from the start that you are about to listen to will give soundtracks for the likes of Gianna Sisters a run for their money. I could waffle on about this and that but I doubt that I would do the album near as much justice as simply listening to it yourself.
Do I have any favourite tracks on this album? I would say that H8 U 2 is my personal favourite even though it is a mild rehash of a song from an earlier release. It has the deep bass and percussion that I find myself repeatedly going out of the way to listen to. Perhaps it is because it is one of the darker tracks on the album.

All in all, I really like this album. If you enjoy old-school side scrolling RPGs you will likely appreciate this album a bit more as well. In any case, be sure to check it out along with the other releases in LukHash’s catalogue.


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TV Review: Something About One Percent Episode 11

Episodes: episode 10/16 of English subbed KDrama series
Something About 1 Percent Online: MyDramaList, DramaFeverIMDBAsianWiki
Genre: Romantic Comedy

It is that time of the week again, where I go over the next episode of the weekly Asian Drama. I know that it is a day late. Oh, well. I’ll blame it on the numerous adorable animal videos that I watched yesterday.

In this week’s episode, Kim Da-Hyun (Jeon So-Min) tortures the idiotic Lee Jae-In (Ha Seok-Jin) over the lie that was revealed at the end of the last episode. Whilst short-lived, it at least dealt with that. Min Tae-Ha (Kim Hyung Min) discusses it with his dad Min Hyuk-Ju (Kim Min-Sang) who is none too pleased that his plan hit a roadblock. However, Tae-Ha has his own reasons for not wanting Jae-In together with Da-Hyun. Da-Hyun finally gets Jae-In to set up a meeting with his grandfather Lee Kyoo Cheol’s (Joo Jin Mo), who agrees so long as it is at an annual meeting that Tae-Ha hasn’t attended in years. And in the midst of this, Jae-In’s ex-fiancee Han Joo-Hee (Seo Eun-Chae) is still trying to mess with the blossoming relationship between our main characters.

Not a lot happened in terms of intrigue compared to last week, but the story seems to be moving noticeably forward nonetheless. We see Da-Hyun now more aware of what the will contains and Jae-In having to step up a bit more into the role of heir-apparent. We also see the perplexing character of Tae-Ha, who it appears has a separate agenda from that of his father. The story seems to be lining things up nicely. On a good note, the annoying song stings from episode ten were nowhere to be heard this week. Thank goodness for that.

Things that we learnt this week:

  • Deputy Han’s father owns a butcher shop
  • Balloons fix everything
  • Whenever a ladder is involved, somebody is destined to fall off
  • Dress-ups are fun
  • It seems that all of the wildlife has long since evacuated the city. I’ll blame it on that dog that Da-Hyun tried to save a few episodes ago. It was clearly evil

With only a few episodes left, one wonders how the last few threads of existing conflict will play out. I am kind of looking forward to it, and don’t have the same level of separation anxiety as I do with the manga Love So Life. I have my theories but I will keep them to myself for now.


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Manga Review: Love So Life Chapters 61-70

Year: 2008 – 2015
Author + Artist: Kaede Kochi
Version: XscansX (English scanlation)
Love So Life Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, MangaFox, Kissmanga
Genre: Shōjo, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

Hello again! It is that time of the week again where I take a look at the weekly manga instalments. We are in the final adorable weeks of the series Love So Life. Time to blubber like a child. WAAAAHHHHHH! Okay, maybe that is an overreaction, but even this close to the conclusion of the series, I am feeling a little sad. It is time to buck up, though, and get on with the job! (Yes, I totally needed to give myself that pep-talk.)

Shiharu receives some excellent relationship advice from an old lady living down the road from Seiji that she and the twins befriend. Spurred on by his reflections of the time before the twins came into his life, Seiji has dinner with his rather sweet and weird ex-girlfriend, Ayumi Fujita, helping them both move forward in their lives. Little Akane also discusses divorcing her reluctant boyfriend Kenta during dress-ups.
We move to Nao being grilled for mathematics notes before being pestered by that stalker girl. He finally does something to make his feelings to Shiharu plain, leading to some awkward moments for the two of them. She confides in Rio and considers the evidence that would have made his feelings obvious to anyone else but her. Finally, Shiharu talks to Nao and apologises for not being able to reciprocate as she already likes somebody else. (He knew that already, but whatever…)
Finally, Rio gets relationship advice from two girls at school. She explains the lack of something as simple as a schmooch for the five months that she’s been dating Takeru in spite of her numerous attempts to facilitate such moments. >queue hilarious flashbacks< We are once again shown just how much of an odd (and dense) guy that Takeru is. Rio finally plucks up enough courage to explicitly tell Takeru, clearing up his confusion as to what constitutes an appropriate moment for such things, resulting in an adorable kissy-moment.

Oh, my. This was a really eventful ten chapters. It is nice to finally deal with that elephant in the room that was Nao. I am grateful that it didn’t drag on for a longer period of time because that would have resulted in me wanting to throw my computer monitor out of the window in irritation. (Okay, maybe my second monitor.) We also have a revised deadline for the twins leaving for their maternal grandparents now as well. All of these things add up to some significant story developments.
As I have mentioned before and you have no doubt noticed in a lot of drama, some writers often drag things out too long. Thankfully, Kaede Kochi has not made this mistake with Love So Life. We also see the “dreaded ex” as a discarded notion, much on par with how former lovers are dealt with in series such as Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai (aka Please Love the Useless Me). I find this way of dealing with previous relationships somewhat refreshing as it refuses to demonise former relationships unnecessarily. Sometimes the ex isn’t a villain. Of course, sometimes they are but that is not the point that I am trying to make here. Unnecessary drama is unnecessary, period, and reeks of cliche.

So, now I have to deal with the last few weeks of reading the remaining chapters of this series. I think that I have made it obvious time and time again that I am suffering a little bit of grief over the upcoming conclusion of the series. However, that is all a part of reading a good story. You get attached to the characters. Much in all as you want them to achieve happiness, you will also miss them when they are gone.


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Music Review: Last Impulse of the Dying Sun by From Sky to Abyss

Year: 2016
Genre: Hard Rock, Metal, Metalcore
Similar Artists: Killswitch Engage (USA), Flayst (Switzerland), Sons of Northern Mist (Russia), Factor 150 (Ukraine), Lost Ape of Killa (Italy), Perishing Mankind (Austria), Echovolt (Ukraine)
Online: Jamendo, VK, iTunes, Amazon
Tracks:

  1. Intro
  2. Beast
  3. Sunburst
  4. Buried in Your Dream
  5. Violent Reflection
  6. Quantum Ocean
  7. This Tragedy is Only for the Hopeless
  8. Dead By Leaves
  9. Maora
  10. Us
  11. Last Impulse of the Dying Sun

I will begin by saying that I do not listen to a lot of hard rock or metal music. However, this week I will be discussing a recent album release by Russian hard rock and metal band From Sky to Abyss. When I saw their newest release featured on the Jamendo website in early January, I had no clue who they were but I figured that I would quickly find out if their music was worth a damn. Let’s just say that I liked what I heard.

Last Impulse of the Dying Sun is an eleven-track compilation of well-engineered compositions. The vocals are crisp, and other instrumental performances are solid. Every now and then, you hear a slight synth vibe in the background as well, which made me smile a bit because it worked well with the growling vocals, intimidating guitar work and percussion.
Do I have any favourite tracks on the album? I have two. For some reason, I really dig the mood and guitar work in the seventh track This Tragedy is Only for the Hopeless. That being said, I also find myself repeating the first track a lot as well. Both have distinctly different vibes.
One thing that could potentially be questioned about this album is whether or not it adds anything new to the genre. Whilst I don’t necessary think that it does, I don’t feel that it has to. In this day and age, there is often this feeling that people need to innovate or do something new. I would argue that innovation is pointless if the result sucks and holds no real purpose beyond some compulsion to be different. Of course, that is just my two cents on the matter.

This album may not be everyone, but I highly recommend that folks that enjoy rock, hard rock and metal take the time to listen to the album all of the way through. For the creatives out there, I suspect that this album might work well for getting into the mood to work on high-level destruction and action scenes with a darker edge. If you guys do check out the album, I’d love to read what you thought of it in the comments section.


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Anime Review: Working!!

Year: 2010
Other Name: Waginaria!!
Episodes: 13 (English sub of Japanese version)
Online: Wikipedia, MyAnimeList, Crunchyroll, KissAnime
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Gender Bender

Back in December, a reader and blogger named Kwenzqoatl recommended that I watch the anime series Working!!. After a bit of a delay, I finally completed this rather peculiar series. And boy, was it a hoot!

Souta Takanashi, a sixteen-year-old student has a fetish for small, cute and young things. When he is approached randomly by seventeen-year-old loli Popura Taneshima, he is roped into working at a family restaurant named Waginaria. There, he finds a bunch of workmates with their own oddities, which includes the androphobic Miharu Inami. So begins his rather odd and potentially fatal experience working part-time in this bizarre workplace.

I really didn’t know anything about this series going into it besides some articles pertaining to the webcomic from which it was derived and Kwenz telling me that it was funny. When people talk about slice-of-life anime, a series such as Working isn’t the first series that springs to mind. Let’s face it, a lot of series that fit into this category tend to fit under drama rather than comedy. Perhaps this is because many of these series are coming-of-age stories that anime and manga fans devour with great fervour. I am not saying that they don’t have their place, not at all, but it does seem to a notable trend.
To the characters, the series does well to manage a somewhat large and slowly growing cast of characters that often fit into slight twists on your typical anime and manga archetypes. A reviewer on MAL described many of their connections in terms of “triplets”. This is an apt description, as most of the characters will have two special relationships. Case in point is the katana-carrying Yachiyo Todoroki who suffers from idol worship of apathetic slacker and occasionally violent former delinquent manager Kyouko Shirafuji, oblivious to the affections of the broody former delinquent Jun Satou. Whilst some of these relationships have a romantic dimension, each offers a share of funny moments.
Do I have a favourite character in this series? Yes. Without a doubt, my favourite character in the series is Aoi “Yamada”. Aoi appears halfway through the series and kicks things up a notch with her often blatant lies and occasional bluntness. She is also one of the few characters able to deal with the machinations of workplace blackmailer Hiroomi Souma. Though the series could have worked without her, Aoi offered some legitimately funny moments.
Over the span of this series, the majority of the conflict occurs within the boundaries of a workplace. This is a weird dynamic and one that I was unsure would work. However, the folks that adapted this series did a good job of offering the cast plenty of chances to grow as individuals. The more notable are seen with the changes in Souta and Miharu. Yes, Souta has a weird fetish and Miharu has a mental illness created by her asshole father, but we see them significantly grow over the span of thirteen episodes. It doesn’t feel contrived or out of place either.
To the humour, this is something that is a point of contention for some reviewers. The fact is that people either love or hate the humour in this series. I obviously enjoyed the silliness but it is certainly not for everyone.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this series. As such, I will be moving through other instalments in this series in the following months. I highly recommend that folks watch the first episode to see if the jokes and situational comedy make you laugh. If you do end up giving this series a run, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section.

The next series that I will be reviewing in the first season of Show By Rock!, a show inspired by a mobile game. I will try to have it finished and the review released on time next week.