Angel Beats – First Impressions

Angel Beats – First Impressions

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Well it didn’t take me long to get sucked into this story and I can’t thank the lovely thelimitlessimagination and the talented Jaykblu for their recommendations on Instagram. I have made no secret of my passion for things that make me cry and when I am looking for an anime, a film, manga or book, I am looking to be overwhelmed with emotions and for characters that make me feel. When I was recommended ‘Angel Beats’ I was promised tears and so far I have not been disappointed.

I’m only a few episodes in because things have been a little hectic over here but I am already hooked on the characters and the concept. I’m always very drawn to character-based anime and I love the fact that each episode so far has covered the tragic story of one or more of the members of the ‘Afterlife Battlefront’, this gives you time to fall in love with each character on a personal level and to build relationships which make you root for their success whilst still telling a story which would break even the most stoic of hearts.

For anyone who hasn’t already been absorbed into this very popular and incredibly well written anime, here’s a quick breakdown of the concept.’ Angel Beats’ centres around the afterlife awakening of the main protagonist, Otonashi; when he finds himself waking up with no memories of his past, to be told that he is dead and the strange high school that he has found himself in, is the afterlife itself, it is only natural that he is somewhat sceptical and suspicious of the gun-wielding strangers who claim to want his help. It isn’t long, however, until he is forced to admit that perhaps everything isn’t quite what it seems and agrees to join the underground organisation ‘Afterlife Battlefront’ headed by Yuri, a strong-willed girl who is leading the fight against the ‘Evil’ student council president, Angel.

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With a hint of magic, some great music courtesy of the ‘Girls Dead Monster’ band and a whole lot of character development and heartache, this series is borderline addictive and I am thoroughly looking forward to spending some more time with the spectacular artwork and story-writing.

The first thing that I noticed about this series which has really gotten me thinking is the element of morality. Only having watched a few episodes I can’t be 100% sure yet but I have noticed that each of the members of the rebel squad appear to have had really quite tragic pasts. These characters suffered heavily and now find themselves in an almost-purgatory style place, disguised as a high school, at the mercy of a powerful enforcer who is looking to maintain order.

Above and beyond Angel and her crazy suped up weaponry there is something else that all of the members of the ‘Afterlife Battlefront’ seem to fear and avoid at all costs; when one of them reaches a conclusion or some kind of acceptance, when they have a moment of clarity and seem to be at peace, then they disappear leaving nothing behind. Having watched some of their most beloved comrades disappear; the ‘Afterlife Battlefront’ members all work hard to avoid that same fate, but is that fate really bad?

If we are to assume that the afterlife is indeed some kind of waiting room before something bigger and if we are to assume that everyone there has some kind of unfinished business then is ‘disappearing’ something to be feared and avoided? Or something to be welcomed and celebrated? I might be reading too deeply, I might be completely off the mark, but I can’t wait to dig back in and find out. I have my tissues in hand and will publish a full review as soon as I am able to breathe again ^.^

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Kimi Ni Todoke – A slow-building masterpiece of romance and friendship.

Kimi Ni Todoke – A slow-building masterpiece of romance and friendship. kimi ni todoke

Oftentimes, when asked to choose my favourite romance story I am automatically drawn to stories with grand gestures that overcome obstacles which should by all rights scupper any chances of reconciliation in order to profess their feelings surrounded by their peers, I have recently realised however, that in choosing these high-stakes stories I am neglecting some of the most wonderful and miraculous romances which are very much hiding in plain sight. One such story is the story of Sawako and Shota.

‘Kimi Ni Todoke’ started its life as a shoujo manga series which also goes by the names ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Reaching You’ by Karuho Shiina, which has spanned 22 volumes in total since its initial publication in 2005. Having now also coined two anime seasons and a live action film it would be fair to say that Sawako’s love story is possibly one of Japan’s most popular and it easy to see why.

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My personal relationship with this story began with the first season of the anime which I stumbled upon one morning completely by accident and fell in love with almost instantly. One of the most notably beautiful things about this anime is its innocence; with a heroine as inexperienced and naive as Sawako, every step on the road to romance is both terrifying and exciting in equal parts and the fact that her experiences are in no way rushed really cemented my respect for the fantastic story telling in this piece.
So who is Sawako Kuronuma? Our heroine is the perfect example of an unfairly outcast teenager who is her own worst enemy; beyond that, she is a clever, friendly young girl who is just waiting for her life to begin, full of energy and determination and loyal to a fault. Sawako is quite a traditional person and has a very old fashioned look, her long straight glossy hair is worn down at all times and she had a heavy fringe which shades her eyes, she is beautiful but a lifetime of struggling to make friends mean her facial muscles aren’t used to smiling and the more nervous she gets the worse the expression she shows. Continue reading

‘Clannad’ and ‘Clannad After Story’ – From Funny Shoujo to Tear-wrenching Slice of Life in two seasons flat!

‘Clannad’ and ‘Clannad After Story’ – From Funny Shoujo to Tear-wrenching Slice of Life in two seasons flat!

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Such is the appeal of Tomoya and Nagisa that, when I sat down to re-watch some of my favourite ‘Clannad’ moments in preparation for this review I found myself only coming up for air two hours later with very little recollection of what I was supposed to be doing. Massively popular and with good reason too, this anime has a multi-faceted story full of interesting characters which grows with its audience taking the characters from teenagers to adults with interesting consequences and a whole range of lessons to be learned.

Wiki-backgroundThe two seasons of ‘Clannad’ could not be more different from one another and the story simultaneously touched my soul, broke my heart and reminded me that there is always still hope. I so desperately want to write about this anime, because I love it so much, however, it is exactly this love that has made reviewing exceedingly difficult for me as I appear to have lost almost all objectivity in favour of pure unadulterated adoration. With this in mind you may need to bear with me and my fangirl-y nonsense as I tell you just why this anime has come to mean so much to me.

When you look at it closely, the first season of ‘Clannad’ follows a similar formula to that of a standard, harem style, shoujo anime; Tomoya Okazaki, a somewhat delinquent teenager who has become disillusioned with the world, finds himself, through an interesting series of events, heading the cavalry in the fight to solve the problems of some very beautiful girls who have come to trust him despite his questionable approach to his school life. Ignoring the similarities I don’t really consider ‘Clannad’ a harem since, in my eyes, there has only ever been one girl for Tomoya and she turned his life inside-out and upside-down before either of them even knew what was happening.

Tomoya is one of my absolute favourite male leads to date. Despite the ‘I don’t care’ aura he attempts to project, Tomoya is really a good guy, he has a softness to him which leads him to talk to people who are alone and to worry about people who seem to be hurting. His disillusionment with the world stems from neglect at his father’s hands, rather than a conscious decision on his part and most of all I feel like Tomoya wants someone to need him, to convince him that he can and should try. Continue reading

A little update and an apology for my absence!

A little update and an apology for my absence!photo 2

Hello Lovelies!

Some people may have noticed, though a few might not have noticed at all, that I have been a little absent over the last couple of weeks. Things have been a somewhat hectic over here and I have been doing my best impression of a headless chicken for a sometime so I hope you’ll forgive me for neglecting my little blog in the wake of such circumstances.

I haven’t really posted a personal ‘Here’s what’s going on with me’ post on this site before now but I fancied doing one today just to let you all know what I’ve been up to, let you know that I haven’t forgotten you and promise that the neglect will stop soon.

February was exceedingly busy. I made a few decisions about my future including a potential change of career and some additional study which I am thoroughly looking forward to, I overcame a HR nightmare at work to recruit a new lady who is absolutely lovely is reacting very well to being trained by someone younger and will hopefully stick it out for the longhaul and I had a much deserved week off which I spent curled up a corner of my home with a cat on one side, a bunny on the other and all thoughts of responsibility erased from my mind, now I’m back at work, fighting fit (sort of) and feeling as tired as I would have been had I never had any time off. Such is life on the treadmill.

Last weekend Another Earth Collectables hosted a stall at Geek Central’s Spring Thingy at Brighton’s Komedia, peddling our wares for all to see. Our stock of Funko POP’s is ever growing and now our display is taller than I am! I had a wonderful time in Brighton, spoke to some really interesting people and got to spend a whole day surrounded by the things I love. Next convention is at the end of March in Southampton and I can barely contain my excitement, maybe I’ll see some of you there 🙂

In other news, the lovely ‘thelimitlessimagination’ has just gotten me addicted to an incredibly interesting and entertaining young adult, reverse harem fiction series which has given me sleepless nights because I have been glued to my kindle every spare moment of the day, I’m not sure I can confidently tell you what is reality or what is fiction anymore, all I know is that I have fallen in love with 9 fictional characters and am not expecting to come up for air for a while. 😀 I really can’t thank her enough for the recommendation!

I have also recently rediscovered my love of felt and have been making a few bits (pics to follow) and have started to write letters to people again which is so much fun! (Incidentally, if anyone fancies a penpal let me know, I’d love to write to you :D)

So what is coming over the next few weeks:

I have been on a bit of a review rampage so expect:

  • Kimi ni Todoke Review
  • Clannad and Clannad After Story review
  • Angel Beats – First impression
  • 4 new voltage reviews and
  • 3 new toy reviews including a particularly awful set of TMNT bootlegs which actually showed up with their legs detached and half-finished paint jobs!

I’ll try to be much more active over the coming weeks and hope you’ll all stick around and let me know what you think 😀

❤ ~ Kristy a.k.a Otaku Rui