Anime Review: “Skip Beat!”

skip-beat-muzic-world-free_136926When I first heard about this anime, I thought “Wow this is probably going to be awful and boring.” But rather quickly, I began to think completely different. I’d have to say that this anime quickly became one of my favorites, and I’m sad to say there’s not a continuation series.

The story starts out with a girl named Kyoko living in an apartment with her childhood friend who just happened to become a famous musician and TV personality. While they were children, they spent almost every moment together, but now that he is famous, Shotaro, or “Sho” as he is called in the business, has begun to change. Kyoko quickly finds out that Shotaro has been using her as a housemaid while she thought he really cared for her and she vows revenge on him. He laughs it off, saying she would never be able to get revenge unless she got into the acting business, so that’s what she plans to do.

Upon making the vow, she seeks to join the competing talent agency LME and runs into Shotaro’s biggest rival, Ren. At first, he dislikes her because of her motives, but she soon proves that she has more than just guts. She has talent and creativity, willing to go the extra mile. She is assigned to a special department as a sort of “intern” and manages to secure a few positions. But, even after becoming friends with Ren, the two have to face their biggest role and all the challenges that come with it. They’ll have to work together and learn more about each other as well as themselves to get it right.

The story is heartwarming, showing how Kyoko grows from a revenge-seeking amatuer to a real professional. I didn’t want it to end, and I felt my heart swelling when Ren realizes how much he cares for her. The friendship between Kyoko and her department-mate “Moko” is perfect, too! I wish they made more than one season of this made. But apparently the manga is still going. I might have to resort to that! I give this wonderful anime a 10 out of 10 on my rating scale!

Picture Source: http://www.pageresource.com/wallpapers/30728/skip-beat-muzic-world-free-hd-wallpaper.html

Anime Review: “Noucome”

11452494664_5870f7c676_zI heard about this anime a while back when I used to frequent Bubblews. Apparently, the full name is actually “Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru” or, translated, “My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy.” I decided to take a look, since it’s only 10 episodes. I’m not sure if there will be more, but it did kind of leave things open for more episodes after the finale episode.

Anyway, the story is a bit strange. There is a boy named Kanade who suffers from a curse he has dubbed “Absolute Choice.” At random times in the day, he will be presented by at least two choices and must pick one, no matter how strange or embarrassing they are. Needless to say, this has caused him to be considered somewhat of a pervert and weirdo, because the choices often involve things like “Lay on your back and squeal like a dying pig” or “Say ‘Boobs, boobs, let me touch your boobs.’” If he doesn’t choose one, intense pain shoots through his head.

However, one day, a strange girl falls from the sky, and explains that she is here to help him remove the curse. He must complete a series of missions to remove the curse. Each mission involves something embarassing like “Take a picture of your friend while she is crying” or “See your friend’s underpants.” Fortunately, his teacher used to have the same curse, so at least he has someone to speak to it about.

Overall, the anime is creative and entertaining, but it didn’t really have a plot besides the curse. It felt bland and lacking, basically consisting of nothing but stupid jokes. There is a bit of a romance plot but it’s so hidden, it’s almost not even worth it. The characters are a bit flat, but they are interesting enough. I’d give this anime a 6.5 out of 10 on my rating scale.

Picture source: http://geekorner.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/12-days-of-anime-7-the-longest-three-minutes-of-my-life-in-anime/

Anime Review: “Day Break Illusion”

genei-1-38-seira-ginka-lunaI know I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been going through quite a few personal issues for a while, plus writer’s block. In the meantime, I have still been watching anime, and though the last one won’t get a review, this one definitly will. Though it wasn’t as creative and original as some others I’ve seen, it was still very good.

It starts out with a young girl named Akari living at her aunt’s house. Her mother passed away when she was just two years younger, and there is no mention of her father. One evening, something strange happens with her cousin Fuyuna, who is normally her best friend. Fuyuna has turned into a strange beast and sneaks into her room to attack her. Just as Akari thinks she will die, three strange girls appear in the window and kill the beast. At first, Akari hadn’t realized it was Fuyuna, but finding out later leads to even more discoveries.

These three girls soon show up later when Akari discovered she is what is known as an “Elemental Tarots.” Being a fortune teller by trade, Akari knows all about Tarot cards, but she had no idea they were also special warriors taking down evil demon-like creatures. But Akari learns that she, and she alone, can hear their words before they die. Soon, the girls begin to depend on Akari to hear the demon’s dying words. But a special kind of demon appears and begins causing more trouble for them all, including kidnapping Akari. It will take all of the Elemental Tarot girls to save Akari, including one they thought had dissappeared for good.

It’s a pretty good anime with good characters, and despite being similar to a few others I have seen, it’s still worth a watch. I got attached to the characters pretty fast and discovered how well-rounded they were as well. Excellent character design and depth earns this anime a 7.8 out of 10 on my rating scale.

Picture Source: http://www.entravity.com/genei-wo-kakeru-taiyou-episode-1-first-impressions-mahou-shoujo-tarot-cards/

“Sweetie” Helps to Catch Online Predators

l-image-virtuelle-de-la-fillette-baptisee-sweetie-par-l-ong_359674_516x343Almost since the day the internet was invented, there has been many cases of child pornography and the recently “discovered” child sex tourism. These two things both fall into the “absolutely despicable” category for most people, so in order to stop these awful things from continuing to happen, a group called Terre Des Hommes, based in the Netherlands, has invented the perfect tool to root out those that carry out these acts.

As she has been aptly named, “Sweetie” (seen on the left) is not a real girl. She is a computer generated image that is controlled by a team of developers. She can speak as clearly as any child, move her head, and express emotions as if she was real. Not only is this an amazing feat of computer programming and animation, but it’s a great way to finally find and rid the world of this atrocious means of human and child trafficking.

The company is trying to work with international governments and put pressure on them to deal with these kinds of problems. It seems this issue is ignored mostly because of ignorance. You can’t really fix anything that you don’t know is happening, right? This is the purpose of Sweetie’s work – to find where and when these acts are going on, and put a stop to them.

Want to know more? Check out their video and youtube channel. Interested in getting involved? There’s plenty of resources on their website to look at. With a combination of cooperation and petitions, they plan to explore options with governments to take these people down and stop child trafficking for good.

Picture is (c) Terre Des Hommes, and can be found at their website.

Anime Review: “Hero Tales”

Juushin.Enbu-hero.Tales.600.737693This anime has been sitting on my Netflix list for a few months, and recently taking up making hand-sewn plushies has given me more opportunities to watch new things on Netflix. This is certainly a different style of story from what I’ve seen, even if I’m not the biggest fan of dubbed anime.

The story starts out with a strange man attacking Taitou’s village. Taitou, an impulsive, but righteous young man (think chaotic good) and immediately seeks to destroy the man. However, the strange man demolishes his village and disappears. Soon, Taitou learns that this man is part of the Imperial forces, so he sets out on a journey of revenge with his sister and guardian. But things are a little more complicated than Taitou expected.

He soon learns that he, and the mustached man, are “star bearers,” or carriers of the gods. Taitou bears the crest of Alkaid, a god of war, and his guardian bears the crest of Bukyoko. In order to fight the mustached man, Taitou must learn an art known as “channeling” to strengthen his power. Finally meeting the strange man, he announces his name is Kiero. But he is still much too strong for Taitou and his friends. Ryuko manages to hold him off while they escape and is assumed dead when they reach safety. But the world has more in store for Taitou, including some unexpected allies, and a surprise that the young man didn’t even being to anticipate. It will take all of Taitou’s strength and courage, as well as some of his friends’ to overcome everything in order to save the kingdom.

This is a decent anime, perfect for those that like a good, classic story. However, I felt it was much to masculine-driven. It does pass the Bechdel test, but just barely. Most of the women (and there were many) were extremely subservient, to the main villain. And while this is fine and dandy, it’s very tiring. However, I do give this anime a 7 out of 10 on my rating scale.

Picture source: http://www.zerochan.net/Juushin+Enbu-hero+Tales

Anime Review: “Kill la Kill”

satsuki_ryuko_clashI first started this anime just when it had come out, but it drove me crazy only having one new episode a week. So I waited for all the episodes to become available and binge-watched it on Crunchyroll. It actually ended a lot better than I expected.

The story premise is of an alternate Japan in which the Kiryuin family has purchases basically the entire town. Using both her own strength and her family’s influence, the young Satsuki, heir to the Kiryuin company, takes control of the local high school. She employs a system of reward and punishment based around a special clothing made with something called Life Fibers. When put into clothes, these fibers give people super-human abilities.

One day, Ryuko Matoi makes her way to this city in search of the person that killed her father. She carries half of a giant scissor, seeking the one that carries the other half – the one her killed her father. Satsuki claims that she knows who carries it, but refuses to tell Ryuko. When Ryuko races to attack Satsuki in her anger, Satsuki’s guards kick her out of the school, quite literally.

Wandering the streets that evening, Ryuko comes across a strange living outfit called a Kamui. Unlike the Goku uniforms (the special Life Fiber outfits) at the academy, this Kamui contains 100% Life Fiber, while the Gokus only contain up to 30%. This means that the Kamui can increase her strength greatly. Ryuko plans to use him to defeat Satsuki and demand the information she desires. But Satsuki has much more up her sleeves that Ryuko can even imagine, and a dark secret the two girls don’t even know about themselves hidden behind a Kiryuin mastermind. In order to find the truth, Ryuko must face her own inner demons as well as those in others to find the truth and learn who is friend and who is foe.

As an anime, it’s actually very well made. It’s a good plot and exciting – it certainly kept me watching. However, there is so much fan-service in it, it almost starts to take away from the plot. Ryuko, as you can see in the picture, is almost completely naked while wearing her powered-up Kamui. And apparently, even though she has so much skin exposed, the Kamui can still protect her. How? I have no idea. She could use a shirt I think. A poorly made explanation comes toward the end of the series, basically saying that in order to give the wearer power, but keep them from being enslaved, as little amount of the Kamui must be touching the skin when it is powered up. If you ask me, that’s a little dumb.

There’s also a lot of nakedness, especially at the end, but the one redeeming factor is that there’s male and female nudity, so at least its equal. There’s no private parts actually showing (everyone is “ken-dolled”), but man, if I didn’t know any better, the last scene in the series would look like a giant orgy. But don’t let that keep you from watching it. It’s a good anime, just don’t let anyone try to convince you it’s a feminist anime. I give this anime an 8.75 out of 10 on my rating scale.

Picture source: http://otakujournalist.com/fashion-femininity-and-fascism-but-family-foremost-the-themes-of-kill-la-kill/

Real Life Eye-dropper Tool Could help you Pick just the right color.

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“I could be so many colors, and you chose RED?”

Have you ever wished you could have a pen or marker in a color that just isn’t made? You’re working on a drawing, and you just can’t get the correct color from blending your paints or markers or colored pencils. Or perhaps, you just want a pen that writes in more than just red, blue, black, or the occasional green. I’m not sure if that was what Ms. Jinsu Park was thinking when she conceptualized this idea, but, this pen could change the way we look at something as simple as ink.

Unfortunately, this design is still a concept. It has been since 2009, and production doesn’t seem any closer than the day Park thought up the idea. Some people even question whether or not it’s even possible to make. The concept pen works similarly to a scanner with a simple color-detection at the end of the pen. The button at the end activates the scanner to pick up the color that you desire. After the color is chosen, the line along the side changes to match that color.

While the idea seems great, putting it together seems to have proven a bit more tricky than first thought. There is a way to install a color scanner that is small enough to fit where it is placed on the pen available from mazet.de, but the rest of the pen might prove a challenge. There’s no obvious place to put the batteries, and how the side changes color is a bit of a mystery. There has been a concept of the ink placement, though, but how exactly everything fits into the device is still unknown.

There’s no indication that this cool little pen will be ready to release any time soon. After nearly five years after the concept was released, it’s still just that – a concept. Perhaps the world is not ready for such a cool pen. But here’s hoping some day I get to see it and try it out. Just imagine – a whole box of markers or paints made obsolete. Crayola would be furious!

Picture Source: http://www.tuvie.com/color-picker-by-jinsun-park/

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