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Manga Review: Love So Life

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

After several months, I have officially completed the Shōjo series Love So Life. As such, I am bringing you this review of the entire series rather than one for the final chapters followed by a later full series review. That seems a little inefficient overall.

When hardworking TV news reporter Seiji Matsunaga has his two-year-old twin niece and nephew dumped at his home by his recently widowed older brother, he takes it upon himself to care for the pair. When juggling his work life and the care of the toddlers becomes too much, he turns to a sixteen-year-old girl at a nearby orphanage for help. Shiharu is the oldest orphan at the institution and had to contend with the early loss of her father followed by her mother a few years later. With those fond memories of her time with her mother to guide her, she attempts to provide good memories for Aoi and Akane whilst also negotiating her growing romantic attachment for Seiji who also grapples with his own attraction to Shiharu in lieu of their age difference and the possible implications if they decided to become romantically inclined.
What will become of them when the twins move to the home of their maternal grandparents? Also, what happened to their dad? And what is with that Takeru guy?

This is a really adorable series. Most of you will have read some of my previous ten-chapter reviews of this series and likely get an inkling of why I really adore it. For those that don’t, I will attempt to elaborate.
First, I really like the characterisation. The characters are normal people with their own problems that are explained meaningfully over time. Even the least likeable character Nao had understandable motivations even if he was highly annoying a lot of the time. As mentioned in previous posts, Takeru is my favourite character in the series for some weird reason.
Second, we see the plot progressing in a steady fashion with numerous “ticking clocks” for our characters to negotiate. The drama makes sense even if it began to drag on slightly toward the end.
Third, the realistic concern over age difference and the possible implications of a relationship. The romantic elements are obviously an important focus of the series. However, we see an adult actually considering the problems of pursuing somebody that is underage. In this case, Seiji also has further concerns related to his job and the possibility of Shiharu getting kicked out of the orphanage for indecent conduct. The series does manage to portray both Seiji and Shiharu as responsible individuals and address their situation in a thoughtful manner.

In spite of all of the things that I liked about this series, there were a few things that annoyed me at times. The first thing is the artwork. As crisp as the artwork was, there were a few characters that didn’t stand out as much as they could have. The second was an issue with the time-shift that occurred in the last few chapters of the series. This felt a little unbalancing from a reader standpoint. I believe that a montage would have worked a bit better ahead of the outing in the final major sequence. Whilst these annoyances did irritate me, they are in no way made me think lesser of the series.

In conclusion, Love So Life is a sweet slice-of-life Shōjo Romance series with some really neat characters that I recommend to anyone looking for a mature relationship rather than a series that relies on sex scenes or convenient and ridiculous drama. To me, it will hold a special place in my heart for a long time to come. So, now I have to decide what my weekly read will be for now on. This could be tricky…

So, now I have to decide what my weekly read will be for now on. This could be tricky… I could go for another romance series but I’ve devoured a bit of romance of late and I would prefer to mix it up a bit. Perhaps I could read a drama or an action series. Maybe I could go for something involving talking cats that can also shoot laser beams from their mouths and do kung-fu. That’s a thing, right? 😀 Anyway, I will keep you guys posted on what I decide.

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Creative Prompts 2017-03-14

*waves* Hello again! I have some new prompts for you guys. This time around, the theme is “one”. Yes, it is mildly amusing given that I will be offering pairs of prompts in each section. Such is the odd nature of that word. “One” often has this tendency of meaning groups of something in particular. e.g. one pair, one dozen eggs, one family, one nation, one belief system, etc…

Best of luck with today’s prompts!

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World of Keiko 03/13/2017

It’s been another odd week. Whilst I was able to get most of my scheduled blog posts out in a timely manner, a large chunk of the week was made difficult by a sore neck and shoulders. I woke up on Wednesday morning and within an hour found myself in a lot of pain. It led to headaches and within a couple of days, I had to contend with nausea and digestive issues. Whilst the latter may not have been directly related to what I believe are pinched nerves, it certainly didn’t help matters. I am still in some pain but a change in pillows has helped me get sufficient sleep and reduced the discomfit upon waking. I can now play computer games, read and write without having issues with slight movements of my head. I am hoping to be back to normal in a few days.

Hubby and I did a bunch of cleaning last week, resulting in the entire house being significantly cleaner and tidier. I pulled apart numerous cardboard boxes and threw them out along with lots of other junk. I also packed books into manageable piles in the spare room ahead of an intended sorting and banishment into the ether sometime soon. The enterprise frees up a lot of room in the house and it now feels a lot more empty. We also hear a lot more echo as we move around the house which is a little weird but it is weird in a good way.
I can also be a bit more clear about my intention to create a craft room. Whilst this will likely be a thing in the future, I have other priorities now and all of the recyclables created a mess because of how they were stored. Hubby has put his foot down over them one as well, declaring that I will purchase real craft equipment and materials in the future rather than the cluster-f*ck the space had become over the past eighteen months. This will likely mean that I will get some shelves for the purpose somewhere down the line but that is something to think about later.

On the gaming front, I now have four characters with awakenings. I would have had at least one more with an awakening if I’d felt up to playing some more. As I mentioned last time, I really like playing Musa. However, as hubby pointed out they are a poor choice for a lazy gamer. As such, I need to step up my game when I play it. Maehwa is nearly identical but it feels slightly different for those slight changes in how the skills work. Whilst I am unlikely to get an awakening for a few weeks, I do find myself feeling good about playing both it and Musa on a regular basis. In any case, I will likely get the awakening for my Valkyrie over the next week or so.

On the writing front, I did manage to make some headway with Freak by writing a scene that will appear in one of the latter instalments of the series. I know that this doesn’t necessarily add directly to the first instalment in the series but it does offer me some insight into the motivations of two of the main characters. It also helped me make a decision regarding one of the other characters that will appear in all three of the series based in the same universe.
This brings me to several important decisions. The first is that I will be putting my serial A Small Town on hiatus for a bit while I work on some of the stories set in the Freak universe. I am also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo beginning in April with a word count target of at least 25k for the first of the three Drake and Mallone stories which are set in Chicago and deal with the more supernatural elements of the setting. If anyone else is participating next month and wants to share a writing cabin, be sure to hit me up with the details of where to send an invite or vice versa. I’ll try not to “talk your ears off”.

That is it for this week. A big shoutout to my new followers Yasumo from Unime, Monique from Healthy.Nappy.Nerdy.Mommy, and diabolical lurker Flavia from the Flavia the Bibliophile blog. I leave you guys with the following video clip from ProleteR.

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Creative Prompts 2017-03-13

It is the beginning of another week. I hope that you all had an enjoyable and productive weekend. And for those that didn’t, remember that you are at the beginning of a new week.
With this in mind, today’s theme is “travel”. Sometimes travel is spatial and sometimes it is temporal. What is evident is that we move from one point to another but do not always perceive the changes that occur in between those points.

  • Text prompts: “The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust quote + “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot quote, courtesy of BrainyQuote
  • Audio prompts: Manner of Travelling by Hot Fiction from Apply Within + Seven Hours by Michael Ellis from A Million Ways To Waste A Summer

I hope that these prompts will help get the cogs turning.

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Sunday Playlist 03/12/2017

I am back with this week’s playlist. This time around, the theme is “smooth love”. I have attempted to bring together songs from different genres that emulate the feel of a live performance at the jazz club, the cafe and places where you can listen to music for the pure joy of it. Whilst you might feel compelled to get up and dance, you can just as easily sit down and drink in the atmosphere as the band performs.

  1. Thinking of You by Lawrence Beamen [USA]
  2. Wanna See You by Niki J Crawford from The Genesis Block EP [USA]
  3. Mechanism by Anitek from Anitek Instrumentals Vol.2 [USA]
  4. Worst Kind of Perfect (Remastered) by Ben Hammond from [Reasonably] Honest [USA]
  5. It’s the Right Time by Büffel from First Touch [Germany]
  6. Baby Go by Eve [Kazakhstan]
  7. Say You Love Me by David Krystal from View From The Inside [Canada]
  8. Amor Y Amor from Estudiante from Regresar [Cuba]
  9. Possibilities by Jasmine Jordan from Time Travel EP [USA]
  10. Devotion by Neon Niteclub from The Dream Machine [USA]

You can find the playlist here.

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Anime Movie Review: 5 Centimeters per Second

Language: English dub of Japanese production
Online: Wikipedia, IMDB, MyAnimeList
Genre: Drama. Slice of Life, Romance

I have held off watching this film for a while now because I understood from the reviews that it would be a more bittersweet slice of life romance. Given that I am a great big sook, I tend to avoid anything with too many feels. Why? Because feels usually results in me shutting down for a few days as I ponder the fates of those poor characters. However, realistically the world doesn’t always give you that happy ending that you so desperately crave.

5 Centimeters per Second is the story of the relationship between two people told in three parts, as told from the perspective of the pair Akari and Takaki, as well as Kanae, a girl with an unrequited love for Takaki but is aware that he will never feel the same way. It is about how distance can affect relationships even when we feel deeply about somebody. It is a sad story but one that I think many of us can relate to on some level.

This film is short. Even at an hour in length it still manages to pack a huge emotional punch. It is easy to care for each of the characters but we understand that sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned. This is the main point of the story, I think. When we are young, we have all of these high hopes and often want something to last forever. The real world doesn’t always play out the way that we want it. This makes the good times much more precious.
Makoto Shinkai creates such lovely stories and it is little wonder why people get so emotionally involved in his stories. He also does a wonderful job of translating them to the big screen, resulting in numerous awards and hype whenever one of his films are released. He’s also become a bit of a role model for up and coming storytellers as well because of it.

If you are willing to watching a short film that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, then you’ll probably appreciate this story. If not, then stay away because this film is not for you. *prompts grabs tissues*

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Creative Prompts 2017-03-10

It is another Friday and I have some prompts for you to play with over the weekend. Today’s theme is “Knight”. Why “Knight”? I just felt like it. I decided to double up on the prompts today as I consider them to offer some unique views on the nature of the knight. We have the adventurous hero and we have the chivalrous lover.

  • Text prompts: “The story of Ulysses and Agamemnon and Menelaus, of Jesus, of the Good Knight of Chaucer, lives in all of us.” James Lee Burke quote + “The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time.” Frank Miller quote, courtesy of BrainyQuote
  • Audio prompts: Gate of Heaven by Silence is Sexy from Modern Antiques Vol. 1 + I Die For You by The Big East from Under Currents
  • Visual prompts: Knight (photo) by Avine (aka Ekatarina Belinskaya) at Deviantart + Sketch on gray paper by aenaluck at Deviantart

That should give folks some tasty prompts to work with over the weekend.