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Sword Art Online: An Anime Review

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Sword Art Online is an anime series about a multiplayer game based on a manga of the same title. It originally aired in 2012 and is comprised of three seasons.

When the MMORPG that everyone is talking about is finally released gamers cannot wait to get into the game. Sword Art Online is created and released by famous game developer Akihiko Kayaba. Gamers scramble to purchase the game and the nerve gear technology that goes with it. Beta testers spent months in the game before. One such tester, named Kirito is also eager to get back in the game. After befriending a new player and gaming together Kirito finds he cannot log out. All the gamers are transported in game to receive a message from the Game Master. They cannot leave, any attempt to do so will leave them dead in the real world as well as in game due to technology in the nerve gear. The only way out is to beat the game.

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Sword Art Online is a truly beautiful anime to watch. The art really is amazing. With the setting being a game the artists really have a chance to shine as they create the world and graphics of the game. The detailing that goes into the costumes of the character’s avatars is so vital to the story. We see the characters grow and develop as they spend time in the game and their avatars level up. The work done to make everything from towns to pastures to dungeons is really fantastic. The score is also a treat for gamers and anime fans alike.

I really enjoyed Sword Art Online. I love watching characters develop and as leveling up is an integral part of plot viewers get to witness that. As a gamer I really appreciated the work done to show what it is like to be deep in a game. I enjoy the main character and there are many secondary characters who are also really fun to watch. There are also characters that do not thrive being thrown into the pressures of having to beat the game. I appreciate that Sword Art Online did that. We have all met jerks while gaming online so it makes sense that this game would be no different, only now you are stuck with them. You are also stuck with newbie gamers like me. Do you help them or leave them behind to insure your own success? These predicaments are all explored in the show.

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I would recommend Sword Art Online to many different kinds of anime fans. Gamers especially. Fantasy fans will also enjoy it since many of the games selements and settings are fantasy themed. Hopefully if you haven’t watched Sword Art Online yet you will give it a try.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

Howl’s Moving Castle: An Anime Review

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Howl’s Moving Castle is an extremely popular anime that is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones. It was written as a screenplay and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of a young woman named Sophie. Sophie is the oldest daughter in a family whose father has died. Becuase of that Sophie feels that she must stay at the family hat shop to help her beautiful mother run it. Sophie doesn’t seem to mind much as she thinks herself unattractive and more suited for working. Her country is at war and there is also a mysterious moving castle on the loose whose master maybe a heart eating demon so it is better for a maiden to stay indoors anyway.

After Sophie insults the Witch of the Waste she is put under a curse. Sophie leaves home to find a way to lift the curse. She finds herself in Howl’s castle as the new cleaning lady. There she gets to know not only the mysterious Howl but a whole cast of characters. Perhaps there she can lift her curse.

I love Howl’s Moving Castle. It was my first Miyazaki film. The artwork alone is reason to watch the movie. Like all Miyazaki films the pastoral scenes are rich and gorgeous. The design of the castle is whimsical and a basically becomes a character in and of itself. In fact all the characters are really well done. Honestly, Sophie’s snark alone is worth watching for.

I would highly recommended Howl’s moving Castle. There is just a certain feeling you get from a Miyazaki film. Well for all except one that is. It is a feeling that everything will be alright. There is plenty of peril in the movie. Airships are fighting. Demons are also trying to gain supremacy but you know that so long as the castle is moving you are safe.

So give it a try if you haven’t seen Howl’s Moving Castle give it a try. If you have you are probably due for a rewatch.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

Aggretsuko: An Anime Review

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Aggretsuko is an anime that centers around a socially awkward office worker named Retsuko. Retsuko is like many of us. She dreamt of joining the workforce but now that she has spent a few years in it she can see that her “dream job” isn’t all that she thought it would be.

Retsuko is probably one of the most relatable characters I have ever encountered. She is just trying to find happiness in her life. Retsuko isn’t enchanted, fighting a war or on some magical quest. She is just trying to get through her ordinary life and find moments of joy within it. Retsuko is also trying to find herself.

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As if dealing with the pressures of working for a big company weren’t enough Retsuko also has an interesting cast of characters surrounding her. Her boss is a chauvinist pig. She has gossips to deal with. A flighty friend whose life is the opposite of hers. Extra work is constantly being given to her. How is a girl supposed to deal with all of that stress? Secret sessions of death metal karaoke of course.

Aggretsuko is a surprisingly refreshing anime to watch. I was unsure how I would feel about such an, well for lack of a better term, ordinary anime. The character designs are adorable. As they should be since Retsuko started out as a mascot for Sanrio. I love the difference in style between every day at the office and when Retsuko is singing death metal. Different musical styles are also featured throughout the series.

The characters also have a lot of depth. Since the cast isn’t very large we are able to see some different sides of characters other then Retsuko. The show also doesn’t shy away from showing sides of characters that are not positive. It is always nice to see characters as people with different personalities which Aggretsuko does very well. Also Aggretsuko is a very bingeable series as the episodes are less than a half an hour long.

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So if you are looking for something funny and relatable I would suggest Aggretsuko. It is a must watch anime that is a great palate cleanser!

Always keep sparkling!

 

Review: Yuri on Ice (Anime)

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Yuri on Ice is a beautiful anime that centers around figure skating. It deals with many issues as well. Including mental health and relationships. Yuri on Ice is also full of humor and amazing animation.  

After suffering a disastrous defeat in the Grand Prix Final and falling into a bout of depression, Yuri Katsuski returns to his childhood home. Here, Yuri tries to decide if he is even going to continue to skate professionally. He finds comfort in food and familiar things. Searching for answers, Yuri returns to the rink he started skating in. He mimics the performance of his favorite skater, Victor Nikiforov, for a friend. When a video of the performance goes viral, Victor ends up at Yuri’s door, announcing that he will now be Yuri’s coach.

The events that follow show Yuri’s awkward and humorous return to skating. A rival appears in the form of anther Yuri, this one from Russia. Yuri also struggles with his self confidence and anxiety. Then there are also those pesky feelings for Victor that Yuri continues to try to sort through. Yuri starts on not only the road back to skating but to better understanding himself.

The animation alone is a reason to watch this anime. It is simply gorgeous. The sheer amount of emotion that is shown is amazing. Whether it be during the skating scenes or just of Yuri reacting to things around him, the range of animation really adds to the show. Also, they use adorable little chibi Yuris at different points in the story, which I think shows how talented the animators are to use different kinds of animation. 

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The soundtrack is also worth mentioning. As this is an anime about skating, music is very important. There is a point where two different versions of a song are a plot point and it was so cleverly done. Every routine has amazing music to go with it. The main theme, History Maker, is also one of my favorite songs at the moment. It is so uplifting.

Yuri on Ice is a must see anime in my book.

Always keep sparkling!

 

Inuyasha: An Anime Review

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Inuyasha is an anime that ran from 2000 to 2004. That means that it was airing perfectly in time with my tenure in High School. It was also a magical time where Cartoon Network ran anime everyday after school. Inuyasha helped cement my lifelong love of anime.

When highschool student Kagome accidentally falls down the ancient well that sits on her family’s shrine she is transported back in time to a parallel timeline in feudal Japan. Kagome stumbles upon a figure trapped to a tree by an arrow. When she frees him it seems like a terrible mistake. It is the half-demon Inuyasha who was trapped to prevent him from stealing a powerful jewel. Through a series of crazy events Inuyasha and Kagome find themselves bound and on a mission to find shards of the jewel.

This mission will lead them both on a series of dangerous adventures. During which they will encounter other demons and threats. Together they have to fight off the forces of evil. They collect allies as well as shards along the way. However both Kagome and Inuyasha have other problems though. Kagome keeps returning home to try to balance her new mission with her school life. Inuyasha has to face his own demons so that he can protect Kagome long enough to get his hands on the jewel.

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Inuyasha is a slightly older anime but the art is still lovely. I particularly love the different colors used to differentiate between scenes set in feudal and modern Japan. The soundtrack also does a wonderful job of adding to the story. Whether it be humorous or ominous the score is so well written. I love the characters and all the work that has gone into their designs. They are all so layered and complex. The relationship between Kagome and Inuyasha is one of my favorites in anime.

 

One thing about Inuyasha that I am very grateful for is how the lore of ancient Japan is mixed with rest of the story. That is to say that by splitting the settings of the story Inuyasha is able to create a world were demons exist. This was the first way that I learned about some of my dearest myths to this day.

I would most certainly recommend Inuyasha. It’s blend of humor myth and darker themes make it a wonderful anime for anyone to watch but particularly someone new to anime.

Always keep sparkling!

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: An Anime Review

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You honestly just cannot beat Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing. It is anime with a great Manga to continue the story. Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing has it all: character development, complex plotlines and characters, political intrigue, cool war machines. Best of all is that is the cool war machines are piloted by teenagers who are struggling to do what they think is right in a universe full of corruption.

The characters, particularly the five pilots, are some of my favorite anime characters. They are five teenagers from different colonies. They come from various families. Some are orphans. Some have grown up wealthy while the others haven’t. None of them know each other before the series begins. All of the pilots do have one thing in common: they have been chosen and trained to take down the corrupt organization that is oppressing the peoples of space.

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The rest of the cast of characters, of which there are many for a one season show, are also fairly amazing. The villains are complex albeit more than slightly odd at times. They further the storyline with many twists. The pilots also have allies in unexpected places. One of whom is Relena Dorlan.

I am going to take a few seconds to highlight Relena. She is the first character the audience really gets to know. Gundam Wing is seen through her eyes in turn with the pilots. Relena is also a teenager living a privileged life on Earth when the series starts. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that her journey is amazing through the show.

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She is the “everyman” character that shows us the world of Gundam Wing. Relena is yet another female character that gets a lot of flack for being young, kind and sticking to her principals. I have always liked Relena. I think some of the problem viewers have with her, particularly the English speaking ones, is that something of her gets lost in translation. People want her to be perfect but not so annoying as well as many other contradictions. In reality, she is just a kid trying to make the best of the insane situation the war has put her in, just like the Gundam pilots. 

Gundam Wing is beautiful to watch. The settings of both Earth and Space are well animated. The soundtrack is one more that was part of the soundtrack of my teen years while Gundam Wing ran on reruns. I know it is an older anime but a lot of the themes are more then prevalent for today’s audience. There is also a sequel in the form of a movie called Endless Waltz. If you like your anime full of intrigue and science fiction, then this is for you.

Always keep sparkling!

Ouran High School Host Club Review

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Ouran High School Host Club Review

199744-ouran-high-school-host-club-ouran-high-school-host-club The first time I sat down to watch Ouron Highschool Host Club, I had a lot of questions and some very strong feelings from the start. In fact, there was a lot of yelling at the screen. I am actually half convinced that part of my watching this anime was so that Crymson, and later Vanri, could watch me watching it. I didn’t turn it off, though. In fact, I marathoned Ouron till the last two episodes because, at that point, I was emotionally invested and didn’t want it to end.

Ouron Highschool Host Club is an anime based off a successful series of a manga that was written by Bisco Hatori. The anime debuted in 2006. Fans have not so patiently been waiting for a second season ever since. The characters are all parodies of shojuo manga stereotypes.

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In the pilot, we meet Haruhi Fujioka, the main character and honor student. Haruhi is attending the prestigious Ouran Academy on scholarship and looking for a quiet place to study. What Haruhi finds in an “abandoned” music room that is actually the home of the Host Club. The Host Club is run by six attractive and wealthy male students who entertain the school’s bored and equally wealthy female students.

Tamaki Suoh is the president of the club and its princely/king character. Kyoya Ootori is the vice president and the real brains behind the club while he represents the glasses/cool character. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachii are identical twins in Haruhi’s class and the mischievous characters. Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka is the sweet boy lolita character and his cousin Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka is the protector with a soft heart character of the club. Haruhi breaks an expensive vase and becomes indebted to the Host Club during this first meeting.my fav

Haruhi starts to run errands for the club to work off the debt. Soon the club finds out that Haruhi is a natural with their female customers and offer to let Haruhi become a Host to pay the debt faster. The series shows Haruhi becoming friends and learning that the Hosts are more than their roles in the club. These friendships are written beautifully. The information about the Hosts are given slowly throughout the series in different episodes. We even get more information about some of the secondary characters; such as my favorite, the head of the Dark Magic Club Umehito Nekozawa.

The Hosts also strive to understand Haruhi better as the series progresses. Since Haruhi comes from a very different socio-economic world, the group clashes at times. These clashes usually lead to some cringe worthy moments for me while I was watching. The Hosts make each other better throughout the series. It is wonderful to watch them all evolve.

I did have a hard time with some of the verbiage of the show. Some situations also made me uncomfortable. Overall, I really did enjoy the show. The characters are fun. The animation is a great mix of beautiful and silly. The music is very catchy as well.

There is even a live action version of the show which I desperately want to watch. 

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I can understand why people love this anime. Ouran High School Host Club is silly and fun. It also has a lot more depth than you expect.

I would rate this anime as: Yes watch! 

Always keep sparkling!