Noragami and the power of words.

(From left) Kazuma, Bishamon, Hiyori Iki, Yato, Yukine, and Ebisu
(From left) Kazuma, Bishamon, Hiyori Iki, Yato, Yukine, and Ebisu

The tongue has the power of life and death,
              and those who love it will eat its fruit.
                                                                                     (Proverbs 18:21)

Noragami is without a doubt one of my most favorite series in recent years. I stumbled upon the manga by accident soon after it was launched, and it revived many years of anime draught in my life, when I was just about to give up. Yato was unbearably endearing, and his relationships with those around him amused and touched me on many occasions.

Many themes come to mind with this series, but the power of words and the things we say is something that resounds with me the most.

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Paying for anime.

The view on the way to the nature trail at Towada-Hachimantai National Park in between the mountainous borders of Akita-ken and Iwate-ken.
The view on the way to the nature trail at Towada-Hachimantai National Park in between the mountainous borders of Akita-ken and Iwate-ken.

I’m back! I had a lovely 2 weeks-ish in Iwate-ken. Temperatures ranged between 12-25degC – cold at night but hot at midday – and I got to catch up with some very lovely people that I hadn’t seen in over a year. I also survived a tsunami warning at three in the morning, watched a friend sustain a badly fractured knee cap (she had to return earlier for surgery), and became a farmer for a day picking apples and packing sacks of rice, thus returning home two shades tanner.

Adjusting back at home and at work has never been so hard. Of course, coming home to the annual haze didn’t make things any easier either.

Home sweet home....
Home sweet home….

I’ve been in a huge funk with my anime shows of late. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been able to finish practically all the series I started this year – from Your Lie in April to Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet 9, and even Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace.

What have I actually finished? I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying 2, Usagi Drop, and Oruchuban Ebichu – possibly the most perverted anime series I’ve seen yet. 
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Japanese boy bands: Seriously, what is happening?

Warning: the following is a rant. If this is not your cup of tea, or you take offense with this, walk away now. Dear talent management agencies behind this five-member boy band and all other similar groups in the market: Who exactly are you trying to target? What image are you trying to sell? Is cute / feminine / borderline BL what you’re going for? It … Continue reading Japanese boy bands: Seriously, what is happening?

Attack on Titan live-action film: unique spin-off or complete ripoff?


I did not want to see this movie. Not at first anyway.

I suppose with a franchise as successful as Attack on Titan, opinions could go either way: would it live up to its reputation? Is it going to smash records like its manga and anime predecessors did? What are Eren and Mikasa and Armin like?

The reason why I didn’t watch it before wasn’t because of all the reviews I’d heard. Rather, it was because I knew how I was going to feel after watching it: slightly jaded, and somewhat disappointed. And I have the anime to blame for setting the standards so high.

Finally curiosity got the better of me, and seeing that I had time to kill tonight, I decided to buy my ticket to watch the movie, which had been running since August 13. And I’m going to try to share as much as I can without spoiling too much.

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Nowisee : a multi-platform social media storytelling project

Who doesn’t like a good story? And who wouldn’t like a story told well?

I’m always amazed at storytellers, whether through books, plays, screens, or even audio. It’s an art that I will always appreciate.
I’ve been into social media storytelling of late. Not the kind that you read of someone else’s life in your News Feed, but using the platform to tell an actual story and painting a picture that is relevant and updated, while retaining what is classic. I remember when the Royal Shakespeare Company embarked juliet-capuleton a Twitter version of Romeo & Juliet in 2010. The actors and actresses created their own (fictional) Twitter account, and “live-tweeted” the play as the characters over several weeks, as if an actual budding tragic romance was developing in real time. Twitter users all over the world would follow these accounts, and while not all tweets get a reply, it was still engaging enough to keep me hooked until the couple “died”.

So when a new cross-content project from Japan was released earlier this month, naturally I got excited. The project is called “Nowisee” (pronounced as “noise”. It’s not literally “Now I see”. Although who knows, this could be where the content developers want to head towards).

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In honor of Edogawa Ranpo: Reviewing cases #1-3 of Game of Laplace

Ranpo Kitan Game of Laplace

There is no doubt in my mind that the creators of Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace (「乱歩奇譚 Game of Laplace」Ranpo’s Stories of Mystery: Game of Laplace) wanted to honor the works of Edogawa Ranpo, a thriller novelist and Japan’s answer to Arthur Conan Doyle and G.K. Chesterton (responsible for Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown respectively – although I believe the comparison should be more of the former). I personally am a fan of Edogawa myself: one of my prized books in my possession is a single collection of short stories translated into English, called Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imaginationwhere I also read The Human Chair. I also have another book called The Edogawa Ranpo Reader, which contains both fiction and non-fiction essays. And anyone who’s familiar with Meitantei Conan (「名探偵コナン」Detective Conan) would’ve already known who he is.

… Yeah I know you’re not here to read all that back-story. But four episodes and three cases in, I have a few thoughts and observations I’d like to share.

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Is Japan still cool?

[un]cool Japan It’s one thing to leave for Sydney when you’re still sick; coming back in a worse shape, however, is another state which I hope to never repeat. The only thing worse about preparing for a holiday is coming back feeling relieved that it’s all over.

So now with more time away from work until Wednesday, I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, and stumbled across an article by Japan Today, reporting on Gackt’s criticism towards the “Cool Japan” initiative and the lack of tangible results since the campaign started.

Quoting from his official blog, Gackt reflected on the poor audience turnout for the latest NARUTO musical, and questioned –  above all things and in comparison to South Korea’s successful global cultural push – how the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is using the ¥84 billion (US$685 million) budget for promoting Japan’s culture worldwide, and how its initiatives are being accounted for since 2013.

Meanwhile, I am sitting in front of my television, reading a note that “Hello! Japan” has ceased transmission on my cable network since July 1.

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This deal about Boys Love (BL). Or Shounen’ai. Or Yaoi.

I hardly get sick, but when I do, man do I get knocked out. I’m currently nursing a dry sore throat and the onset of a runny nose. The meds I got from the doctor’s aren’t supposed to induce drowsiness, but I’ve been sleeping literally all day today. Not that I’ll have any trouble sleeping later tonight.

But that’s not why you’re here right? That headline must’ve grabbed your attention. Hurhur.

First, I’m going to lay it out there – I will always prefer to let people live their lives their way. I don’t volunteer my opinion on their choices. But if you don’t feel comfortable about this subject that I’m about to embark on, please look away.

Okay, so here goes….

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Follow your passion. Without question.

What’s your biggest regret? I’ve tried my best to answer this question with optimism and perspective that I couldn’t regret anything, because everything I did before was meant to shape the person I am today. But tonight, I found myself reminiscing my twenties. While my head is currently swimming in sake, one thing that stays clear is the one regret that I’ll keep hitting myself for. I … Continue reading Follow your passion. Without question.

Suzumura Kenichi, you sly songster.

(Disclaimer: It’s not that I didn’t know Suzumura Kenichi sings. It’s just that I didn’t know how.)

Most of us who follow Animeverse are aware that seiyuus (voice actors) have multiple jobs to complement what they primarily do. This includes hosting, being their own radio talkshow host, attending anime show events, singing, etc. So even if they do have a talent management agency representing them, the work they do doesn’t feel any different from that of a freelancer or YouTuber.

(On a completely irrelevant note, if they’re doing so many things to make a living with their voices, I wonder if the income one gets from pure seiyuu work isn’t all that great.)

If I had it my way, seiyuus shouldn’t get into the music business, unless you are exceptionally good. I mean, I love the likes of Kaji Yuki, Daisuke Ono, Kamiya Hiroshi, and Hanazawa Kana, but I will never buy their albums – not even their character CDs.

Only a small handful have made it in my book – and by small, I mean only three: Hayashibara Megumi, Miyano Mamoru, and Sakamoto Maaya.

But now I think there’s a fourth.

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