Coincidences & Durarara

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It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I’m reminded of some news that I’ve read a couple of days ago. Dunno why. Btw, I won’t be reviewing on Durarara yet; I just feel like sharing something that I’ve stumbled upon.

Okay, so that morning after I’ve finished an exam paper, I thought of unwinding by watching some anime. Then, I saw my housemate watching Durarara season 1 on her laptop, and since Durarara’s one of my favourite series, I joined her. Unfortunately, she said that the story’s too slow (yeah, it is, but it’s intriguing) and she dropped the show after two episodes.

I was devastated, since I’d hoped that she’ll be hooked on Durarara; so I went to my room and played with my phone. As I was scrolling and scrolling through my social media, a notification from UCBrowser popped up. It was some  recent news, and the headline read “Pelajar Sekolah Antara Yang Dilapah” or “School students among the dismembered bodies”. It irked my interest and I clicked on it.

The news was about a Japanese serial killer, identified as Takahiro Shiraishi, whom had killed 9 people and dismembered their bodies. Ugh, sorry for this grisly topic. Ahem…He killed his victims after contacting them on Twitter, saying that he can help them commit suicide or offers to die together. However, he killed them on their first meeting even though his victims only wanted to talk.

Anyway, after reading the news, my blood ran cold, as I felt that the scenario seemed all too familiar. It seemed that kind crime is too close for comfort. That’s because I recalled that in the first episode of Durarara, Kanra mentioned a trend about people meeting online, then meeting offline to commit double suicide. I know that it’s inspired by real-live events there, but I’ve never heard about things like that in real-life (in my country at least). So I’m quite shocked that I’ve stumbled upon the news shortly after I’ve re-watched the episode. I got hit by the risks involved when meeting an online acquaintance all over again.

That’s all, and before I end this rambling, just a friendly reminder;

Please be especially careful in meeting people;online or offline. Love yourself.

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Juuni Taisen: Halfway through

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Since Juuni Taisen aired for 6 episodes already, 6 more episodes are left before we’ll know its conclusion. From the first until the third episode, characters die after their monologue, with their death as the ‘surprise’ factor.  So I was surprised for a different reason when Monkey didn’t die in episode 4 (the director knew we were getting used to the deaths). The next episode, I braced myself for some more character death(s). But none happened, even after Sheep’s narration, and somehow it made me a bit frustrated.

*drumrolls*

In episode 6, three warriors died! *wow~* This episode made up for those two episodes without deaths. Frankly speaking, those two previous episodes made my interest drop a bit, but I’m glad I continued watching it. However, we get to know the characters’ background as usual, and the reason the 12 Zodiacs were forced to fight. The first casualty, Monkey died as soon as she started being a little bit conceited, since she deemed Rabbit as an unskilled martial artist. This led her to let her guard down slightly with Rabbit, who unbeknownst to her, used Snake’s head and vision to see right through her move and promptly stabbed her with his two blades. Hence, our lovely pacifist Monkey died. It’s kinda sad, really; she had a boyfriend/husband who’s waiting for her to return*wipes tear in the corner of eye*.

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Monkey’s WTF face

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Whoops


Next, Sheep got killed by Tiger. I suspected that he’d die right after his flashback, but that didn’t happen of course. He really looked down on Tiger; such as commenting internally on how he thinks that Tiger’s strength lies at the bottom ranking, her lack of wisdom, her ridiculous fighting stance and that “just looking at her red face (drunken face) is unpleasant”. So Sheep bid his time talking with Tiger, and as soon as they introduced themselves, he was killed. Tragic. It’s cause he underestimated Tiger. During his ‘Tiger-roasting-moments’, I was a bit worried whether he’ll suddenly be killed by some warrior, probably Tiger, cause he was soo condescending.

If I were asked what I’d gained from this show, it’d be:

‘Never look down on other people’,

since almost every character died because they underestimated their opponent.

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Tiger’s ‘funny’ stance

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Tiger slashes through

bye sheep

Bye Sheep


Andd the last victim for this episode; Horse. He’d lost his fighting spirit and holed himself up, barricading the entrance; exit, as well as his possible emergency escape route. As he was conflicting with himself, Rat mysteriously appeared. While playing a game in his phone, he told Horse that “merely surviving, nothing more, is no different than being dead”. Rat also tipped Horse before he vanished; that Horse should get out of there, since Snake is hunting Rat. Horse hesitated for a tad too long and died of smoke inhalation (I think). He’s just unfortunate, but maybe it was Rat’s plan all along, I dunno.

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Horse being conflicted

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“Oh no!”

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Bye Horse


Oh, and the theory about the ending sequence being the death sequence is definitely legit. It’s somehow a bit of a letdown, since you can guess who’ll win anyway, and I can only look forward to their battles. In the ending sequence, Boar, Dog and Chicken were shown, and they died in the exact order. I dismissed that it’s the death order since Snake was the first to die, yet he was not shown as the first. I figured only later that Snake is technically still in the game, and the rest died according to the sequence, so…yeah. It’s legit.

Ciao~

After Three Episodes: I know I’m late, but Juuni Taisen is fucking AMAZING

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It’s been a while since I stumbled upon a gem like this. To be honest, I’ve never considered watching Juuni Taisen, because the premise seemed like a typical battle-royale. However, I got curious and started watching after seeing the positive comments and reviews by the netizens for this show.

Soo…

What’s so amazing about it??

IMO, the strong point of Juuni Taisen is the element of surprise; despite the typical premise of a battle royale which we’ve already seen countless times. For me, the fun lies in guessing which character will die next, who will kill them and how and when will they kill them. Additionally, the special abilities of the participants add the thrill as it makes you wonder how they would use it to defeat their opponents. Also, elements like “the contrast between a character’s mask and his/her real self” and “unexpected deaths” also made the show feel refreshing…somehow.

Next is the characters themselves. A cast of diverse and interesting characters were introduced in the first episode. Some of them are: the psychotic bunny, the pacifist monkey, the vicious dog and the sleepy rat. What’s more, although it is scheduled to have only 12 episodes, the background of some participants were satisfactorily discovered, like Boar and Chicken’s. This show managed to make me feel like rooting for some of them; in contrast to some shows that makes you rather indifferent to the characters’ deaths or something.

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The last one is…the animation. The action scenes were executed flawlessly; combat movements were smooth and the battle choreography was interesting as well. Even the movement of the attacking birds were smooth. The character design was gorgeous as well, with suitable designs for each character’s personality. Background art is also detailed, with suitable varying colour palettes.

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In short, Juuni Taisen is a show that developed those three aspects mentioned earlier to the optimum level. I hope that this show can maintain its brilliance until the last episode.


*By the way*

The sound department was also splendid. The opening song particularly caught my interest as it fits the vibe given off by Juuni Taisen. All the voice actors managed to portray their respective role successfully.

Made in Abyss : Darker Than It Seems

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Made in Abyss is still one of my favourite Summer 2017 anime shows.

As an adventure-fantasy lover, I was interested with the premise (see Synopsis below) it offered. So I eagerly watched the first episode and discovered that it was worth to continue watching because of:

The cute character designs

cute designs

Chibi-like appearances


Beautiful and diverse backgrounds/art

gorg lake

orth the city of pit

gorgeous

forest of tempation


The tracks used

The opening song is very fitting to this show. It gives off a mysterious and somehow epic feeling. Insert songs are also used, like in episode one. It manages to convey the mood perfectly. Tracks used are also fitting to the mood. For the ending song, it was so cute! Like a kids’ song, to lighten the mood after watching I guess.

Gripping story line

Throughout the story, you will be kept guessing what will happen, especially in the later episodes,where Riko was gravely injured and they met someone, whose orgins were mysterious. Watching them go through the Layers also intrigued me, as each layer poses different threats to Riko and Reg, but especially Riko. Watching them being able to overcome the problems was very satisfying in a way.

Synopsis 

A long time ago, on a remote island to the southern sea of Beoluska, a huge pit was discovered. It has a diameter of approximately 1000 meters with unknown depth, with six known layers and it is called the “Abyss”. Riko is a young girl who lives in the City of the Pit, Orth. The residents there who make a living by excavating mysterious artifacts and exploring the Abyss are called cave raiders.

One day, Riko and her partner Nat was excavating for Relics (something mysterious and functional)  in the First Layer, but they later got separated. Riko discovered that Nat had fallen unconscious on the edge of a cliff and a creature was about to eat him, so she distracted it from Nat by being a bait. She was about to get eaten when the creature was blasted with something laser-like by a robot boy. The robot boy was unconscious, so she brought him back to the orphanage.

She believed that the robot boy (she named him Reg) came from the depths of the Abyss. Later, documents and her mother’s whistle was brought to the surface, where it was found on the Fourth Layer. Among the documents that was sent, there was a piece of letter saying “I’ll be waiting in the depths of the netherworld”. Riko believed that it was addressed to her, by her mother who had gone down into the Sixth Layer. So, Riko along with Reg went into the Abyss to meet her mother and discover Reg’s origin.


Why is it dark?

As the story progressed, there seems to be more than meets the eye for this show. Yeah, the darker undertone. Eventhough the story line was simple and adventure-fantasy-ish like normal, somehow it’s more..aggressive, as I’d like to put it. This show is not afraid to show the blood, injuries and also deaths, unlike a light-hearted children’s fantasy show (this show is a bit like Madoka in that section). Other anime show lots of blood, injuries and deaths, so what? Well, the problem is that the one undergoing it are children. CUTE children.

In the first episode, as Riko was searching for Relics, she stumbled upon a skeleton, and her reaction was…praying for it and apologising coolly.

riko praying

When I first saw this I was like..Okay..This kid’s unusually cool. Then, when Riko and Reg encountered a corpse-eating creature (by the way, the cries for help was so creepy). Riko was a bit flustered but she was still able to explain to Reg what was happening (if it were me…)

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dead cave raider

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And then…when Riko and Reg were eating the very thing that ate the human corpse. When Reg realised the fact, he was freaked out but Riko explained to him:

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Well, this part’s not that dark, rather it shows that although the main character is a child, her mental fortitude is very admirable, a quality that just might enable her to dive deeper into the Abyss. This part is logical, yeah, cause diving into the Abyss can make one loses his/her humanity.

And…last…

These parts…

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riko injured

I’d like to include some more gory screenshots but…It might be too much of spoiler. I didn’t include screenshots from the last episode for the same reason.


Overall

This show’s main characters may look cute and innocent, but don’t underestimate them! Really, as the story progresses, it gets darker and more sinister. So, if you’ve been thinking of watching this show, go ahead and watch it, as it really is not a kiddies’ show.

 

My Personal Top 5 Ghibli Movies

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Studio Ghibli; a studio famous for its visually stunning works; elaborate backgrounds and attention to details with colourful palettes depending on the mood, and its equally captivating story line. Not to forget, the soundtracks are beautifully arranged and incites the desired mood effectively as well.

Some of Studio Ghibli’s works are :

  • Spirited Away
  • Laputa the Castle in the Sky
  • My Neighbour Totoro
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Ponyo by the Cliff by the Sea
  • The Wind Rises
  • The Secret World of Arietty
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • From up on Poppy Hill

(I have watched all on this list by the way)

 

So here’s my personal top 5 picks:


5. The Cat Returns

This movie revolves around an ordinary high school girl, Haru, who was summoned to the Cat Kingdom to be the Cat Prince’s bride after saving the Cat Prince! She tries to escape from the cat kingdom [and the wacky Cat King] with the help of Baron and “Renaldo Moon” and hilarity ensues!

Watch if you’re looking for lighthearted but heartwarming adventure with some comedy.

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4. From Up on Poppy Hill

This film tells the story of a young girl Umi Matsuzaki who lives in a house on top of the hill who loves to raise signal flags. Unbeknownst to her, a certain boy would also raise signal flags answering her. She later meets Shun Kazama, a member of the school newspaper club, whom asked for her help to copy the newspaper. As they get to know each other, they decided to commence a thorough cleaning of the school’s ‘historical’ clubhouse. After they’ve finished cleaning, the chairman of the local high school wants to demolish it for development. Umi, Shun and their friend Shirou have to give it their all to stop the building’s demolition.

By the way, it has a bit of drama and sweet, innocent, old-fashioned romance. I also love how Studio Ghibli was able to clearly portray Yokohama in the 1960’s. It’s not that I’ve been born at the time, but I was able to imagine the situation at the time.

 

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3. Whisper of the Heart

Shizuku Tsukishima is a young girl who loves to read books and write. One day, she noticed a name “Seiji Amasawa” on the library books’ checkout card. The name seemed familiar, and she confirmed that all her library books have been checked by the same person. Then, she encountered an annoying boy (Seiji Amasawa) who annoys the hell out of her. Noticing a cat riding a train, she follows it to an antique shop, run by Shiro Nishi, where she saw “The Baron”, a cat statuette. Seiji discovers Shizuku petting the train-riding-cat on the front of the shop. After befriending each other, Shizuku sang “Take me Home, Country Roads” accompanied by Seiji and Nishi, who is apparently Seiji’s grandfather. Seiji wishes to pursue his dream to become a master luthier, and later leaves for Italy for two months. Wanting to catch up to him, Shizuku resolved to hone her writing talents as well, and we’ll watch how Shizuku struggles with her resolve.

This movie is/is like a coming-of-age story. It clearly gives off the message of “pursue your dreams” and “strengthen your resolve” and “maintain a careful balance between your passion and responsibilities”. I also like how the story alternates between the real world and the fantasy world that Shizuku had written. The romance is also sweet and innocent and makes you grin like an idiot in front of the screen. Oh, and this movie gives off a very-very nostalgic feeling (for me at least).

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2. Spirited Away

Chihiro and her parents are on their way to their new home. However, her father took a wrong turn and they ended up in front of a tunnel. Ignoring Chihiro’s pleas to not go in, her parents went in, forcing Chihiro to go with them. They arrived in a town where delicious foods where prepared at the shops, but no one was seen. Tempted by the delicious smell, her parents ate like a glutton at a restaurant and Chihiro wandered off. She noticed a large bathhouse and a boy named Haku warned her to return crossing the river before sunset. However, it was too late, her parents turned into pigs and she was trapped in the spirit world. With the help of Haku, Chihiro manages to get a job at the bathhouse in exchange for her name to be taken and changed into ‘Sen’. Thus began Sen/Chihiro’s misadventures working in the bathhouse and trying to escape the spirit world.

I used to have nightmares watching this show. The impact was big on me. Looking at the ‘spirits’ portrayed, I felt a bit wary yet mystified. The scene where her parents turned into pigs was scary, as well as when “No Face” went on a rampage and swallowed people. Overall, with its unique story, this movie spooked me, but it was also very interesting to see how Sen/Chihiro tries to escape from there.

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1. Howl’s Moving Castle

(Loosely) Based on a novel with the same name, the story follows Sophie Hatter, a plain, timid girl who was unfortunately cursed into an extremely old woman by the Witch of the Waste. As Sophie left for a journey leaving her hometown, she helped an enchanted scarecrow “Turnip Head” whom in return helped Sophie to find the Moving Castle, where she later appoints herself the cleaner there. She lived there with Howl, Calcifer, Markl caring for them as she strive to find a way to break her curse and eventually find true love. This movie is a bit slow, but the action-y or intriguing parts are there in the right place to keep you wondering.

I love almost every aspect in this movie; the story line, the music (especially the theme song) and of course the art. The colour palette changes drastically, fitting the scenes it wanted to portray. When it’s the festivities, it was so colourful but during the war, it seemed so scary and horrible.

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That’s all for today folks! This is just my preference; the other movies are awesome as well 😀

 

Welcome !

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I’m Amiranda (pseudonym) and this is my first post here (obviously).

I think this is my *third* blog cause I forgot the passwords and blog name (I think).

Anyway, I started this blog to share my thoughts mostly on anime stuffs, maybe some books, software, products etc (anything actually)

So, I hope that you (yes, you my dear reader!) can find something of interest in my blog.

Ciao for now~

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