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My 2010 January 30, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga, Music, Personal.
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I’m way late with this, but I can just about get this in before January is out.

Last year was pretty mad for me. But I continued to consume a healthy (some would say unhealthy) – though markedly toned down – amount of Japanese media.So here’s a quick overview of what I enjoyed in 2010.

(There probably are some mild spoilers in here, so beware!)

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Japan trip 2009: The otaku experience August 9, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film, Friends, Gunpla, Japan, Personal, Travel.
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Gundam and I, Odaiba, July 2009

Gundam and I, Odaiba, July 2009

So, I’ve written all about my Japan trip. But given the nature of this blog, it’s the geeky things you want to hear about right? ^^

Otaku highlights include the 1/1 scale Gundam in Odaiba, seeing Evangelion 2.0 in a Shibuya cinema (review to come in a later post) and discovering the ‘Akihabara of Osaka’ Den Den Town. (more…)

K-ON! Gekichuka Shu Album: Ho-Kago Tea Time August 6, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Music, Video.
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As previously noted on this blog, I liked, but wasn’t blown away by K-ON! as a series and was somewhat disappointed by the music scenes. That’s not to say I didn’t like some of the songs though.

A few weeks ago a K-ON! mini album was released. K-ON! Gekichuka Shu Album: Ho-Kago Tea Time is a really short compilation of the four insert songs from the series: Curry Nochi Rice, Watashi no Hochi Kisu, Fude Pen ~Ball Pen~ and Fuwa Fuwa Time (the latter having been released as a single already. And yes, the song titles are slightly embarrassing ^^;)

I have to say, since I got this I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. I still find Fuwa Fuwa Time catchy, but not incredible, and Curry Nochi Rice isn’t really that good a song. But Watashi no Hochi Kisu and Fude Pen are out of this world.

Hochi Kisu in particular gives me goosebumps every time I hear the opening riff, particularly on the live version. I guess it reminds me of that dreamy moment in the series when Azusa walks in to the hall and hears the band playing for the first time (see video below). It’s just got a wonderful high-school nostalgia feel about it and is incredibly mushy, particularly with Yui’s (Toyosaki Aki)  moe vocals.

Fude Pen ~Ball Pen~

So while I am still taken aback at K-ON!’s popularity amongst the otaku community (the amount of merchandise I saw in Japan was eye-popping) I’m not completely immune to K-ON!’s charms ^^

K-ON! Eps 1-12 (complete) June 24, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime.
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After School Teatime: Mio, Ritsu, Yui, Mugi

After School Teatime: Mio, Ritsu, Yui, Mugi

A fun and enjoyable, if slightly disappointing, entry to the KyoAni canon. K-ON! had a concept oozing potential: four high-school girls join the ‘light music club’, forming a band that makes music, friendship, and good clean fun.

This sort of moe slice-of-life show normally screams off-beat hit for me (I am, after all a sucker for stuff like Azumanga Daioh, Manabi Straight and Ichigo Mashimaro), and with the hallowed KyoAni at the helm I was totally expecting another Lucky Star level of greatness with awesome music scenes on a par with Suzumiya Haruhi‘s infamous Live Alive episode.

But I just didn’t feel that spark. I know this is controversial, given that a lot of other anime fans have gone nuts over K-ON! (I can feel the flames already), but does it really compare with the likes of Lucky Star and Haruhi on the KyoAni classics scale? (more…)

Spring 2009 anime choices April 28, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, TV, Video.
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The new Japanese TV season kicked off a few weeks ago, and there’s plenty to choose from. Other life commitments (shock, horror!) have restricted how much TV I’m able to keep up with these days, so of this season’s anime, I’m prioritising the following:

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. As if I wasn’t going to watch this. Not only a retelling of one of my favourite anime series (and a supposedly more faithful to the manga apparently) but featuring a (fantastic) new Yui single as the OP. Four episodes in it looks gorgeous, though with plenty of deja vu and that stupid American voice over the eyecatches (which sticks in my head >_<). Expecting the plot to start hotting up soon.

K-ON! A Kyoto Animation slice-of-life tale of four high school girls? I feel obliged to watch this. Three episodes in thus far and it’s charmed me enough. Plus I can’t get the ED out of my head.

Eden of the East: First ep blew me away. Lovely comforting character designs by Chica Umino and a really intriguing storyline. Can’t wait to see how this pans out. Great OP and ED sequences too, and, bizarrely, an OP by Oasis. Never thought I’d see the day.

Those are the three I’ll be making the effort to keep up with. I kind of also want to watch Cross Game — mainly ’cause of the Mitsuru Adachi factor — but while the first ep was entertaining, I’m not sure it grabbed me enough. On the other hand, Touch (which I’m still in the middle of watching :P) was a slow-burner, so maybe this is something best marathoned later.

Hatsukoi Limited also intrigues me, but I haven’t gotten around to watching any of it yet, and chances are I won’t get a chance to now. I still have to finish Toradora and Ef ~A Tale of Melodies from last season after all.

Drama-wise, I’ve two episodes into the live-action adaptation of Mei-chan no Shitsuji from last season. Not quite sure what’s just started airing. Any recommendations?