A recap posted in the middle of the month? Shameeeeeee.
Hello everyone! I missed you all. It’s quite a long story on how I managed to finish this wrap-up, but let’s leave it for another day. Bear with me for a while. This is not my typical wrap-up (but I mean, come on. My wrap-ups always change, one way or another.) because it tackles majority of the other things that I did besides reading. And if you guessed it, a lot of the things in this recap are Japanese-related media. I decided to compile it into one post instead of putting it in a proper quarterly wrap-up because it would just dominate the whole thing. Also, July – September was pretty eventful, and I mean that literally! (This one is for another time.)
I also want to consider this as a recommendation post. So if you are looking for a new show to watch, or a movie, or an artist to listen to, I am here to help. And like my normal reviews, I am sharing my ratings for these and majority of them are linked to their respective myanimelist pages. Now let’s get on with these!
And because I was too lazy to wrap this up since April.
Majority of the books that I have read for the first half of 2017 were manga. The Haikyuu! fever is strong on this one, as you can see. As if the show was not enough, I decided to read the manga and relive the action all over again. But I did manage to sneak in a few other reads as well.
Haikyū! by Haruichi Furudate, Volumes 1 to 12 – While I can say that I prefer the anime over the manga, it is still funny and awesome. They are livelier than ever, and it was fun to read the extra dialogue and banter that was unfortunately cut in the anime. But hey, seeing my crows in action again made me want to rewatch the anime all over again. (And I did, actually.)
Let’s Haikyuu!? by Retsu, illustrations by Haruichi Furudate – Sensei really has a twisted sense of humor, and he takes his comedy seriously. Let’s Haikyū is a gag spin-off, and it takes the situations from the original manga into a more ridiculous setting. It is too funny to pass up, especially since it is so hilarious.
From April to October, I finally made my way back to anime territory. I promised myself that I would catch up with what I missed during my thesis. I actually stopped watching anime for a brief time, but I decided it’s time to catch up after watching Yuri! On Ice last December. And oh boy, I ended up in the trash.
Since I deprived myself for the last two years or so, I was way too hungry for some new anime. Here are the ones that I managed to finish:
Haikyuu! – I was hooked the minute they started playing. Definitely had a bit of a culture shock when I dived into it without knowing a thing about volleyball except for the actions that the players do. The first season of Haikyū was full of hopes and dreams, appointed rivals, and walls to overcome. It was intense, especially during the last few episodes. Each match can make you pause what you’re doing and it makes you want to watch intently. It was a lovely start for a series. But then again, there is Season 2.
Haikyuu! Second Season – New characters to love, new teams to root for, on point character development, and more! Everything just leveled up. From their techniques to their intense passion to win, it only goes up from there. No spoilers since it is the 2nd season, but it is more amazing than Season 1. (Needs more Oikawa though. Okay, shutting up now before I spoil too much.)
ReLife – It only has 12 episodes under its belt but for sure, this anime made me cry! Watching this after Haikyū could have made me slip away, but the storyline and the progress of the main protagonist in the series made me stick to this show. The story is about a guy who was given a second chance to relive his high school days in exchange of a better adult life. It was funny and inspiring, and it sure made me wish that I could take a ReLife pill. (Just kidding. ) I cannot wait for the 2nd season.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – I forgot how awesome it was to watch a good romantic comedy anime. The comedy doesn’t try too hard, and it is definitely a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. The main character, Sakura, confesses to the guy she likes, who happens to be a shoujo manga artist. The cast is as colorful as it can be, and it is so cute. Recommended if you’re looking for a light and fluffy anime that will make you let out a hearty laugh.
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu – DEFINITELY, POSITIVELY, INCREDIBLY, and DOWNRIGHT weird. I meant that in a good way. What do you do when you are at the bottom of the food chain at your school, and you are to be trained to be an assassin, tasked to take down the best professor you will ever have? Did I mention that that professor also happens to be some sort of yellow octopus who just wants to teach you Mathematics? It takes time to absorb what in the actual world is happening. But once you get your footing, you will get used to it. Seriously, TRY WATCHING THIS SHOW. It’s ridiculous.
Free! – FINALLY. I finished watching it. To be honest, the only reason why I could not finish this series earlier is because I could not keep a straight face while watching it. It is basically bait because it is a sports anime where the main focus are the boys from Iwatobi and their former teammate who is now studying at Samezuka, a powerhouse school. I was able to finish it and not mind all of the abs that they are throwing on the screen. (Just being honest here.) Though the story is not perfect, rating it a 4.5 is not too shabby. I hope to enjoy Free: Eternal Summer.
Bungou Stray Dogs – This anime made me feel like I hit a goldmine. From the first episode, it had me laughing like a crazy person. I really thought that it was going to be a serious anime all throughout, with a few chibi scenes involved for comedic relief like most anime. BUT WAIT. They break the ice and it is just goes in without hesitation. I think the best way to pitch it is like this: It’s like if BBC Sherlock experiment with ways to die and Watson can turn into a *spoiler*. Trust me, you need to watch this anime.
These are the anime that I started watching. I will only be giving my initial thoughts:
Prince of Stride: Alternative – Projects itself like a fun sports anime about stride competitions, but it was probably my mistake to watch it after Haikyū. And it is probably the reason why I still haven’t finished watching this one at the moment.
Kuroko no Basuke 3rd Season – I actually already know what happens because I read the manga after finishing KnB’s 2nd season. I was so close to finishing this series but I just cannot part with Seirin and the Generation of Miracles just yet.
Diamond no Ace – Are you already sensing the pattern that these are all sports anime? Hahaha. I can see why they make a fuss over this. Baseball is amazing. The thing is… it’s over 100+ episodes. So if you can magically give me more time to watch it, maybe.
Cheer Danshi!! – I like the energy and the build-up is certainly there. But I may have to pass on this one for now. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a bad anime. I may just need to be in the proper mood to watch guys cheer.
Kyoukai no Kanata – 3 episodes in but the feeling is so-so. It’s a lovely anime, there are no questions there. Yet I don’t know why I am putting this one on hold.
Kimi to Boku. – This one was a rewatch for me so I can proceed to Season 2. It still has the same slice of life feel that I felt when I first saw it, and the attachment is real because some of my favorite seiyuus voiced the main characters.
Boku no Hero Academia – I don’t know why people keep comparing this anime to One Punch Man. I mean, sure there are similarities. But both animes can stand alone and both kick ass like crazy. I need another free Saturday to finish watching this. My heart is breaking.
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Second Season – MY FEELINGS ARE STRONG ABOUT THE OCTOPUS. IF SENSEI DIES, I AM GOING TO CRY. NO SPOILERS.
Free: Eternal Summer – The best way to watch Free! is to watch it continuously. I am 3 episodes in, and I need a Saturday where I can just watch my boys swim their way to nationals. I heard that it is more emotional than the first season, so let me ready my heart first before I give out verdicts. But ugh. I love Makoto and Momo so much.
Bungou Stray Dogs Second Half – MY BODY IS NOT READY FOR THE SECOND HALF YET. I need to mentally prepare myself.
I missed a lot of amazing movies in the past few years, specifically anime movies. For years, my friends bugged me to watch a specific title, and each time I replied that I haven’t watched it yet, it saddens me. But at the same time, I was afraid to shed tears. Let’s face it: anime movies have the tendency to make you cry. Since the runtime is only for 2 hours or less, it usually deals with slice of life. Coming back to what I missed, I took advantage of the full swing and watched… and cried a lot.
All of these movies had the potential to make me cry. But I watched it all because I need to feel the human in me. And they somewhat succeeded in that endeavor.
Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name) – I DON’T KNOW. I was wondering what all the hype was about. And I was actually so done with all romance related stuff at that point. But oh boy, words cannot fully describe how much I adored this movie. Every detail was simply breathtaking. This movie deserves every praise and the hype is real. It is tragic and romantic all at the same time. The soundtrack just hits you in the kokoro. ALL THE FEELS. ALL THE STARS. DROP EVERYTHING AND WATCH IT NOW. (Unless you don’t want to because I completely understand. But I will gladly welcome you with open arms once you realize that this movie is amazing.)
Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) – How do you top a movie that made you cry and gave you an existential crisis? Simple. Just watch this movie after. They said all of the warning signs. ALL OF IT. Don’t be like me, acted all tough like “Oh well, I’m already damaged. What’s the worst that can happen? Bring it on, Gin.”
Tragic is an understatement. A yokai-human relationship is present in a lot of tales, yet this one managed to take home the cake for making it rain tears. Who is Gin, by the way? Just watch the movie. It only runs for 40 minutes but tissues are the best thing to have. ALL THE STARS. AND THE TEARS. UGH I REMEMBERED IT AGAIN. *sobs*
Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) – My expectations were high because this came out after Kimi no Na wa so I was expecting tears. Well, they were present… in the movie. I wanted to like it, but it felt like they were cramming too many things for one movie. A know the manga is short, but it would have been better if they did not exclude parts that would have made me more attached to the movie. It’s about a boy who had to live his life in the shadow of his past wherein he bullied a mute girl. Interesting premise, right? But meh.
However, I did like the main lead, though. His character development made me feel a twinge of faith for any former bully who wants to undo their wrongs. It may not be for me, but I have to admit that the animation was spot on.
Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words) – This movie made me love the rain. Not the thunder, just the sound of the rain. Though the subject matter can be a bit controversial, it is a beautiful story of love and self-discovery. I CRIED YET AGAIN. The art style blew me away, and again, I fell in love with Japan. It’s a breath of fresh air for me because the main character is a teenage boy who plans to make a career out of shoe making. It is short but bittersweet.
I used to listen to Japanese anime openings all the time, especially when I heard the Japanese version of You Raise Me Up. Coming back, I decided to add songs to my dusty arsenal. This list contains soundtracks from various anime, seiyuu groups that sing, and Japanese pop groups. They just have a wonderful tone to them, and I have listed some of my favorites.
Songs by Trignal (Kimura Ryouhei, Yonaga Tsubasa, Eguchi Takuya) – Update A Day, Mission, Kiss Plus, Sunny Shiny Days, Original Color
Irino Miyu – Mihatenu Sekai, Tsunagaru Omoi, Furenzu (Friends)
Hoshino Gen – Koi
One OK Rock – Take What You Want feat. 5 Seconds of Summer
Kotonoha no Niwa Soundtrack – Rain by Motohiro Hata
I tried listing down what I could find, but trust me on this one: they all sound so good. My heart cannot take it. Every song just comforts my soul.
And there you have it! THAT’S A WRAP. FINALLY. WE ARE DONE. Glad I did not actually let this reach November because *sweats* there is more to come. Good grief, but I truly, deeply hope that you enjoy all of these recommendations from your favorite fangirl.
What anime should I be on the look out for?
Who are your favorite Japanese bands?
What manga should I read next?