Top Ten Tuesday: Binge-worthy TV Shows and Movies (get your snacks ready!)

(Title Continuation: apparently Bianca has a lot free time now living the unemployed life. Kidding. *whispers hire me*)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This is it. I’m a free woman. No more homework, no more projects, no more thesis papers, no more school. Well that’s just sad isn’t it. *cries and laughs at the same time* I’m just extremely happy to be pouring out words on the blog again. Now where were we? Right, a Top Ten Tuesday that is extremely close to my heart. It’s all about TV shows and movies! I always love it when my worlds collide on this blog. Even though this lovely blog of mine currently contains mostly bookish content, it’s a great thing to talk about my favorite shows and movies every now and then.

But first, I don’t know if this is already common knowledge but I also want to highlight some of the websites that I use to track all of the anime and movies that I have gloriously watched. Basically like Goodreads, but somehow better in some aspects.

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MyAnimeList – A true otaku loves this website. Technically the name says it all. Much like Goodreads, MyAnimeList lets you keep track of your anime. But you also got reviews, forums, latest anime news, recommendations, promotional videos, and even legal anime streaming*. It’s like hitting a solid goldmine because it also alerts you when your most anticipated anime is finally airing, or if it has an upcoming related OVA (original video animation), recap video, or movie if you turn on the notifications. I mainly use MAL to check out my anime and manga stats, plus updating my favorites every now and then. Also unlike Goodreads, I can be unapologetic and list shows that I dropped / DNF (did not finish), which is always super fun.

*streaming is for select countries only

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My current anime stats. Not even sorry about that Plan to Watch. You should see my TBR.

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Letterboxd – Although it’s a little bit weird that they display Gremlins when their site is down, Letterboxd is literally sent by the movie gods. I don’t know how I could have kept tabs on all the movies that I have seen this year because so far, I am being granted the privilege to watch the movies coming out this year on theaters. Easily enough, Letterboxd lets you rate, review, and lets you keep tabs on the movies that you have seen and want to see. Also, movie lists for recommendations! Only downside probably is that stats and recommendations based on the movies you have seen in a particular are only available for pro and patron users. But hey, it’s still pretty swell.

Now for the grand recommendations! I listed recent 10 favorite shows AND my recent 10 favorite movies because it is quite darn hard to compress 5 for both shows and movies. It’s like you’re asking me to pick 2/3 of my favorite book. There can never be an ultimate one, only those worthy enough to be saved from a fire. To make it interesting, I somewhat categorized them and will only be lowkey listing tropes because let’s face it, you saved the popcorn for the recs. 😉

TV SHOWS

If you’re in the mood for some really great sports anime and a great time to destress while laughing your head off in a high school setting, I recommend watching:

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Haikyuu!! (Number of seasons: 3; finished airing)

Start watching if you also love: Volleyball, amazing and dynamic characters, wonderfully timed comedic antics, and haha good luck choosing a team to root for

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Free! (Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club) (Number of seasons: 3; ongoing)

Start watching if you also love: Swimming, underdog team, developing friendships, and wonderful animation

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun) (Number of seasons: 1; finished airing)

Start watching if you also love: relatable and quirky cast of characters, trope-y bending comedy, a jolly good time, tall guy and short girl, slow burn romance

If you’re looking for a bit of sci-fi and fantasy your way, I suggest going for these lovely shows:

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Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.) (Number of seasons: 2; finished airing)

Go for it if you loveinteresting *cough* wild *cough* array of characters, an MC with powers, gag comedy, hilarious high antics

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Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom) (Number of seasons: 2; finished airing)

Go for it if you love – misfitsclassroom dynamics, kids training to be assassins while also trying to beat history and math, heartwarming life lessons, an octopus professor who wants to teach kids but yeah he also blew up the moon and he needs to be killed when the year ends.

Trigger warning: violence

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Bungo Stray Dogs (Number of seasons: 2; ongoing)

Go for it if you loveSherlock but with superpowers, the mafia versus a detective agency, characters named after literary figures, the best mix of comedy and intense action-packed scenes, and A+ character development

Trigger warning: blood, gore, violence

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Violet Evergarden (Number of seasons: 1; finished airing)

Go for it if you love – alternate historical fiction, war aftermaths, learning how to feel and trust me you will feel because the episodes can and will make you cry, and stunning animation

Trigger warnings: war, depression, death, blood, violence

If you’re in the mood for western TV shows, here are some of my recent favorites:

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Sherlock (Number of seasons: 4; ongoing)

Bonus points if you also loveBenedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman *duh*, mysteries, modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic, thrillers

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The Crown (Number of seasons: 2; ongoing)

Bonus points if you also lovethe Windsors (aka the royal family), British history, historical fiction, drama, Claire Foy and Matt Smith

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Number of seasons: 5; ongoing)

Bonus points if you also lovea good laugh, detective series, A++ cast, social issues being thoroughly discussed, LGBT representation (YAAAAAAAAS QUEEN)

Movies

If you’re in the mood for romance, I recommend going for these heartbreaking and delightfully beautiful in their own right movies:

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Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name) (2016)

Binge now if you also lovemagical realism, city boy and urban girl, body swap, star-crossed (ish) lovers, trying to see if you’re not a robot

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Love, Simon (2018)

Binge now if you also love – Simon VS. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, great friendships, M/M romance, Ferris wheels, the color blue, oreos

If you’re in the mood for some good animation and equally great music, or even something to make you laugh and smile, I suggest going for these films:

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Coco (2017)

Ready your streams if you also lovegreat family dynamics, knowing more about Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), finding oneself with music, Mexican culture, bawling your eyes out

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Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

Ready your streams if you also loveold Hollywood, superstar guy and aspiring actress gal, stellar choreography, a wonderful story overall, singing in the rain

 

Mamma Mia (2008) / Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)

Ready your streams if you also lovemother/daughter bond, summer love, ABBA, Greece, who’s the father, escapades, seriously tho ABBA

Last but definitely not the least, if you’re in the mood for some action, adventure, heists, not your usual superhero movies, and a grand time, these movies are the ones for you:

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Click that play button if you also lovewonderful cinematography, eye-pleasing aesthetics, a grand heist, a story within a story, Wes Anderson in general, an amazing ensemble

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Black Panther (2018)

Click that play button if you also loveWakanda, Black Panther, empowered women, when the villain actually has a point, if you want to scream Wakanda Forever

 

Deadpool (2016) /  Deapool 2 (2018)

Click that play button if you also loveDeadpool, Ryan Reynolds, puns, the antihero never shutting up, plus they also don’t sew his mouth shut this time, finding your F word

I mean, I just came back from the dark abyss of uni. I should go back to fully fledged blogging in style. This probably bypassed all my previous Top Ten Tuesday posts, but heck, *whispers worth it*. So just in case I forgot some shows or you would want to recommend me your faves, I’m all up for it.

What are your favorite anime? Favorite English shows? Favorite movies?

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P. S. If y’all want to add me on myanimelist and Letterboxd, you can find me here and here.

Let’s do this now! October and November Wrap-Up

October and November, huh? I would say both months were amazing. One month is dedicated to reading. The other dedicated to binge-ing all of the anime that I want to watch on a whim and listening to new music. October can be considered busy and fun, because I celebrated my birthday and culminated the first term of my internship. November on the other hand, felt like a month that just passed by because of all of the breaks. Let’s see how things actually went down:

Wrap-Up - Books

I read a total of 8 books in October, including the ones I read at work. It’s a good mix of manga, fantasy, and mystery. But sadly, I DNFed one of the books that I have been highly anticipating for this year.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun Vol. 1 – 4 by Izumi Tsubaki

Each volume revolves around short but delightful comics. It’s still ridiculously funny and I was able to read some of the scenes that were cut from the anime. With the manga, I can’t help but imagine how it will go in the anime’s 2nd season. It definitely felt like a palette cleanser from all of the fantasy that I have been reading lately.

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The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I have been trying to finish this one since March. But I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Don’t get me wrong though. I loved the characters, yet it gives you this vibe where you don’t know where the story is headed. I really didn’t like feeling that way. Maybe one day, I will pick it up again. Until then, it will stay at 50%.

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

I joined a blog tour organized by JM from Book Freak Revelations for this one. Overall I would say that it was cool to read about Bruce Wayne as a teenager, and the way Marie Lu described Gotham was eerily amazing.

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Let’s just say that I have a love-hate relationship with this book. Some aspects are off the charts, but the one that was supposed to carry the book left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Full review [here].

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I had high hopes for this one. But ultimately, I was let down by a lot of reasons. I mean, it is still good. The writing was easy on the eyes, and the plot more so. It’s a Breakfast Club x murder mystery, and I love mystery thrillers. Sadly, due to pacing and trigger warnings that are cosidered spoilers, I was turned off. I still finished it though. But I have read better thrillers.

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I read a total of 5 books in November, 3 of which I read at work. This one was probably caused by the amount of books that I read for October, but it was still better than the slump I was in last April – July.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

I actually started this one last September, but it was on my e-reader. The writing really moved me, so I hesitated to read more until I got myself a physical copy. Short version of the story is that I finally had the chance to get it and it blew me away. I will be posting a review of this book on Stay Bookish soon because I swear you wouldn’t want to miss reading it.

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It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne

I really missed reading Holly Bourne’s books. The way they make me feel important is the best feeling ever. I did not expect to relate much to the main lead, but she came at a good time. Full review + playlist [here].

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Wrap-Up - Series

All of the series listed here were all binged in November. Now before you gasp, I just want to clarify that November here at our place had a lot of breaks. I just maximized my free time. Teehee.

Stranger Things Season 2

I started watching in October right on time for Halloween but I finished it in November. And yet, it still gave me the goosebumps! I would have to say that the Duffer brothers and everyone leveled up for the 2nd season because it was so darn good. Trust me: if you haven’t jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon yet, you really should start thinking on hopping in because THIS SEASON IS TOO AWESOME TO MISS.

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Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2

And just when I thought that Stranger Things Season 2 will put me in a series slump, I chose to watch this one next. AND OH MY POOR HEART. This show has also stepped up from the awesomeness that is Season 1. I was sobbing for the first 4 episodes, and then I was on edge for the remaining 8. My heart. My soul. MORE PLEASE.

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Hitorijime My Hero

Pfft. Would you believe that this is my first BL anime? (Not counting Yuri!!! On Ice since it is under the sports anime bracket, but we have to acknowledge the canon lol) It was pretty fun for the first few episodes, but I wasn’t fully invested to go “gaga” over it. The opening song is super catchy though. It’s my new ringtone.

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Boku No Hero Academia

I finally finished the first season, yay! I can say that the show grows on you, and I find the dynamics unique and refreshing. And no, I don’t think it’s like One Punch Man. Both shows have their own personality. Onto Season 2!

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Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

There are tons of anime in my backlog but I opted to watch this instead. I don’t know why, maybe because after HMH I wanted to watch the one that set the standards. I liked it, but there was something off. Nonetheless, it gave me the feels. Yes, Junjou Romantica is on my to watch list. Noted.

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Free: Eternal Summer

The 1st season was great. The 2nd season was SO EMOTIONAL. There were too many tear-jerking moments and heavy topics for this season that I cannot deal with my own emotions. I wish that I watched it earlier, but then it also applies to my current situation. The Iwatobi and Samezuka boys got me. Darn it.

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Wrap-Up - Movies

Oh November, you really are full of wonders. I think two movies are impressive, with all of the anime in the mix.

Justice League

Yes, I am a DC fangirl. When the league was assembled, I was already blown away. Though yes, it is still a bit messy and all over the place sometimes, Justice League was lighter in all aspects. When Superman smiled, I may or may not have shouted, “YES! THAT’S SUPERMAN!” I was lucky enough to have not been thrown out of the cinema. Yes, more movies from DC please. They’re improving, and with all of the criticism, I know it will only go up from there.

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Saint Young Men

The premise is simple. Jesus and Buddha are sharing a room together while they spend their vacation in Japan. Hilarious and ridiculous, it’s a good movie to watch if you just to sit back and enjoy the simplicity of seeing these two religious figures.

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Wrap-Up - Music

A fancy mix of Japanese music and November releases, it has definitely been a good year for new music. But I managed to find some earlier released songs to comfort my soul. Some of it has even helped me sleep. Here are some of my favorite songs from each album / artist (but trust me, every album is so good).

Ore Shoku Sukai – RADWIMPS 2 発展途上 (Hatten Tojo) ; Developing

4645 – RADWIMPS 3 無人島に持っていき忘れた一枚 (Mujintou ni Motte Ikiwasureta Ichimai) ; The CD I Forgot To Take To The Deserted Island

Iron Bible – RADWIMPS  Xと○と罪と (X to o to Tsumi to)

O&O – RADWIMPS 人間開花 (Ningen Kaika) ; Human Bloom

No Peace – Sam Smith feat. YEBBA (The Thrill of It All)

Getaway Car – Taylor Swift (reputation)

Super Far – LANY (LANY)

Kaze Ga Fuku Machi – Luck Life (Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2 ED)

Heart Signal – Wataru Hatano (Hitorijime My Hero OP)

Beautiful Trauma – P!nk (Beautiful Trauma)

Flaws – Vancouver Sleep Clinic (Winter EP)

Surrender – Walk The Moon (What If Nothing) <- featured in the Love, Simon trailer just fyi

Wrap-Up - Other

  • I survived the first term of my internship! I still have hours to render for my second term, but all is well. Also, still in the same company.
  • I created an account on myanimelist.net to keep track of the anime that I have been watching. If you want to add me, I’m @UltmtFangirl.
  • I posted about what it feels like when I talk less about my other fandoms, and brief drama on going on a hiatus (which we all need if we’re burned out, btw)

Pfft. If I wrapped this up at the end of December, it would have been longer. Anyways, December is a time to highlight the best of the best for this year, right? So… how was your October and November? Any fun stuff we can scream about? Are you going to see Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi on opening weekend? What are your thoughts on the Love, Simon trailer? Have you made reading plans for 2018 yet?

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Anime Recaps and Japanese inspirations|| A Substitute Recap

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.

Wrap-Up - Books

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.)

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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.

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Wrap-Up - Series

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Wrap-Up - Movies

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.)

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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*

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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.

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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.

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Wrap-Up - Music

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.

ReLife SoundtrackIijuu Rider by Tamio Okuda and Pieces of A Dream by Chemistry

Haikyuu! SoundtrackFly High! by Burnout Syndromes, Tenchi Gaeshi and Mashi Mashi by NICO Touches the Wall

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)

Galileo GalileiAoi Shiori, Climb

RADWIMPS – Dream Lantern, Zen Zen Zense!, Sparkle, Nandemonaiya from the Kimi no Na Wa soundtrack

Hoshino GenKoi

One OK RockTake What You Want feat. 5 Seconds of Summer

Kotonoha no Niwa SoundtrackRain 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?

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Fandom Features #4: Haikyuu!!

So you’re probably wondering why this blog went sort off dead when I was doing really well in posting regularly. Suddenly I disappeared again, despite saying that I had more free time than ever. Well, event plannings happened, midterms, final exams for my last legitimate term before internship… You get the picture.

(Actually, I also blog at Stay Bookish now. So I am not exactly dead. Come visit me there sometimes, hahaha.)

So here it is: the big one. The big part of my disappearance. Do I regret not posting? Not really. Am I in hell? Yes. But the main reason of course, is because this bloody fandom took over my life. Greetings from Haikyuu hell, this is your fangirl speaking.

I am a big fan of sports animes, or at least I thought I was when I realized that I only watched Slam Dunk and Kuroko no Basket. KnB gave me this huge anime slump, because I was so engrossed with it that I read the manga when we were given the cliffhanger for Season 2. I was so devastated when it ended, and then I slowly drifted away from watching anime. But it’s a good thing, I guess. Because after that, I realized how much books meant to me. Anyways, back to the main point. I wanted to watch more sports animes. So during that slump, I tried watching Free! but I could not keep a straight face on because they were showing a lot of abs around, okay? Then I watched Yuri!!! On Ice, and to be honest, my Fandom Features post for that one will explain itself. After YOI, I wanted more. And the next best thing is Haikyuu.

HAIKYU!!

59955Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed “Little Giant” in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.

Thanks to his short height, Hinata struggles to find his role on the team, even with his superior jumping power. Surprisingly, Kageyama has his own problems that only Hinata can help with, and learning to work together appears to be the only way for the team to be successful. Based on Haruichi Furudate’s popular shounen manga of the same name, Haikyuu!! is an exhilarating and emotional sports comedy following two determined athletes as they attempt to patch a heated rivalry in order to make their high school volleyball team the best in Japan.

(Season 1 synopsis from MyAnimeList)

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So when we had four days off school, I decided to watch Haikyuu on a whim. It was fun at first, and then I got sucked into this black hole. Too late have I realized that I may have already sold a part of my soul to Furudate Haruichi without knowing about the transaction. The process was very quick actually. The first episode managed to hook me in a single heartbeat. I managed to watch Seasons 1 and 2 in three days, each season consisting of 24 episodes, with maximum intervals that consist of eating, semi-sleeping, slight concern over school projects, and slight hesitation to watch it immediately because every moment is precious. (And I also tend to pause the episodes a lot because I was laughing too hard, up to the point where I can’t breathe.)

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I seem to have forgotten what it was like to obsessively fangirl over an anime. The feelings that resurfaced after watching Haikyuu Season 1 were ridiculous. I read Volumes 1 – 12 of the manga. I watched 2/4 productions of the stage play, and I am updated with the current production. I could not stop myself from looking at tumblr posts, memes, artworks… HECK I EVEN WATCHED A LOT OF Multi-Editor Projects again. I started dabbling with video editing again so I can make an editor project of my own. I developed ships again. Things got even more intense because I was even reading fanfiction (*winks*) again. Language should have been a barrier, but I didn’t even care and I watched the 4 full seiyuu events without subs. I love their seiyuus so much that I planned to binge watch the other animes that they are in. In short, Haikyuu took over my life. I became a trash, and I basically spam Twitter with incoherent fangirl noises everyday because of this show. I can’t think of a day where I haven’t mentioned my love for my ships. So if my ship sinks, I’m planning on taking everybody down with me. *evil laugh*

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So how on earth did a single anime turn me into a more ridiculous fangirl? Does that kind of power even exist? Truth be told, I am just an inch closer to bursting a blood vessel from too much fangirling because of this show. I love it so much, I could probably list down a thousand reasons on why this show is just the best. But like everything else, those reasons can be simplified. Here’s a rundown:

1. Every character has their own way of expressing their love for volleyball.

Everyone has their own motivation to love the sport, and that motivation radiates to boost the entire team’s morale. It is a story about rising to the top again, with the mighty crows proving that they can fly again and will surpass anything that blocks their goal. Volleyball is all about connecting, and everyone in Karasuno’s team knows that. Which is why every member strives to become a better player than they already are. There’s passion in everyone’s eyes. Also other than improving their own strength, they remind the audience of the most important strategy of all: teamwork.

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2. It’s funny.

What I also love about Haikyuu is that it does not lack a sense of humor. It is probably one of the factors that carries the series all together. When I rewatch a certain episode, I come back for the humor. Haikyuu has a natural feel to it, and it feels so good to just laugh your heart out with the players’ antics. Everything works well together, like perfect cogs. They are all such huge volleyball dorks, and their humor supports each other. It is fun to watch a show where they put all of their heart and soul into the sport, and they still get to be funny and crazy. Yes, they take volleyball seriously, but they also want to carry out that it’s not a fun sport if you do it alone. (Also, did I mention that they are dorks?)

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3. Good luck choosing a team to support.

One thing that Haruichi Furudate emphasized in this series is the team dynamics. Yes, we have Karasuno and they are the main team that you would want to support… okay maybe not because they are not the only high school that is competing for the championship in the prefecture, let alone in Japan. There are a lot of teams in this series, and they are all amazing in their own hilarious ways. Furudate even gave some of them side stories and it will make you want to go, “OKAY. WHO DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO SUPPORT NOW? “

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My personal favorite besides Karasuno would be Aoba Johsai/Seijoh High School (because of my ship). They are such a cool team, and they analyze their opponents well. They really are one of the best teams in their prefecture.

Just imagine my agony when they are battling each other. I want Karasuno to win, but I will cry buckets if Seijoh loses. It’s just too much for my poor heart. (And because my OTP is the captain and the ace, hoho)

4. In every game they play, you cannot help but cheer for them.

Despite the eternal agony of feeling like I don’t know what team to support, my heart will always go for Karasuno. They are the underdogs rising back to the very top. And their journey to reach the orange court is heartwarming to watch. Their matches are so intense. Every play makes you want to go “NICE SERVE!”, or “NICE RECEIVE!”, and when they look like they are just building pace or they are one score behind, it will get you to scream “ONE MORE!”, and when they miss, it will make you scream “DON’T MIND!”. It brings out that feeling of support, like if you’re rooting for your favorite team IRL.

But yeah, “GO, GO, KARASUNO!”

5. Amazing character development.

Majority of the things I listed down are for Haikyuu Season 1. Basically, everything levels up in Season 2. And when I say character development, I really mean it.

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Haikyuu, in the simplest terms, is amazing. Honestly, I don’t know when was the last time that I got too passionate about a certain fandom. I don’t mind that it took over my life, because it turned into an inspiration that reawakened a certain side of me that I unconciously repressed. Haikyuu can really motivate its viewers with all of the positivity that it radiates on the screen. And I believe that people need that kind of positivity in their lives. Like its main character, Haikyuu is like a ball of sunshine. It makes you smile just thinking about it, and all is well on a rainy day.

It’s the sort of anime that just sticks to you. If you’re in an anime slump like I was, this is the perfect show to watch. If you’re also just starting out, and you don’t know what anime you should watch first, go for this one. Or rather, don’t take my word for it. Dive in yourself, and maybe see for yourself on why I cannot seem to stop talking about it. Just a reminder though: if you do decide to watch this, your body might slightly itch and it will make you want to play volleyball.

And there we go. Been a while since I have poured my soul out unto a blog post and it feels great. If you ever decide to join the Haikyuu fandom, I will welcome you with open arms. (And I will thank you eternally for keeping me company as I burn in hell.)

“Bianca, are you okay?” You’ll probably ask.

“Yes, I am perfectly fine.” I reply as my eye twitches, my blood pressure rises, and as I hold non-existent Haikyuu merch. (Which I will probably hunt down soon because no one can stop me.)

Now, question time! What fandom do you want me to feature next? Or rather, what fandom should I convince you into joining? (Based on my charts, it may or may not involve ice-skating boys.)

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My Recent Fandoms || Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Oh yay! Another top ten tuesday freebie! I love days like these. It was a fandom freebie so of course I had to participate. Now, if I have to explain the whole complexity of each fandom that I am in, we will be here all day. And I cannot proceed to picking my top ten because I love all of my fandoms dearly. (Okay, maybe Harry Potter is basically on top, but it is like you’re asking me to pick a favorite child.) So I thought, why not share the fandoms that I recently got into? Too much fangirling may be felt in one blog post. You have been warned. Let’s get to it!

Yuri! On Ice – Figure skating. Fan service. Fabulous diversity. Help me, I think my nose bled for every character. I especially love Viktor Nikiforov, because he is just a cinnamon roll! I am planning to feature this one for Fandom Features because I really loved every single thing about it. Can you hear my heartbeat tired of feeling never enough… I cannot be tamed until I get to see Season 2. Until then, I am dead from feelings. Also if you have to know, yes. I SHIP YURI AND VIKTOR SO BAD, IT HURTS.

The Crown – Some might have watched because of Matt Smith, but I am a girl obsessed with historical and political drama. This show is beyond words to describe because the speech-reducing beauty it beholds is a perfectly imperfect representation of what it was like back then when Elizabeth II became the Queen of England. Bless the actors and their interpretations of their characters.

(This is the part where I run out of words to say what I feel because I turned into a puddle, sputtering words like “aghrereogrwhoe8urgewhve”)

(We are only two fandoms in and I am already dying. Great start.)

Class – I have so many questions regarding this series. But if I try really hard, it all comes down to one: WHY ON EARTH DID I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I WAS 19 TO TAKE NOTICE OF DOCTOR WHO AND WHY DID A SPIN-OFF CONVINCE ME? Class had the premise that made me want to watch more. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but you need to watch this. In return, I promise to watch Doctor Who.

One Punch Man – Saitama is the hero that I needed. He lives in a society that has the most ridiculous heroes and monsters, but I guess that is what makes him amazing. The premise is simple enough, he defeats his enemies in one punch.

I mean sure, Genos is also good, but the dude’s a cyborg and has too many fangirls. I prefer fangirling over Saitama. He’s funny, frank, and flawlessly powerful. No, I’m not smiling right now. You are. I can’t help it. I love Saitama too much.

Six of Crows – I want to punch myself for only finishing the first book this year. But luckily, I can already read Crooked Kingdom whenever I want because it’s just there on my stack. BUT STILL, WHAT BLASPHEMY. HOW DID I SURVIVE 6 MONTHS WITHOUT READING ABOUT THIS CREW? (Oh right, thesis.) Don’t make the same mistake that I did. If you have this book, read it asap.

This gang was so unpredictable and dare I say it, I loved this more than the Grisha trilogy. And dare I say this, too. They are the real Suicide Squad. Move over, DC.

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Art by Kevin Wada

Riverdale – I have been reading the Archie comics since I was a kid, but I never found a show that truly manifested it properly on the screen. The moment I saw the previews, I know that I will be immediately hooked when this show will be amazing. Granted, this show overlooked a main point that hurt a lot of people. And yes, it is not okay. Hopefully, I could talk about more in a Fandom Feature. But the main reason I love this show is because of:

1) Betty and Veronica

2) Kevin

3) WHO KILLED JASON???

Supergirl – Despite the backlash that DC is receiving when it comes to their movies, (and I partially blame Zack Snyder for that) I believe that they are nailing their TV shows. I love Supergirl because she is empowering in her right. Sometimes I wish that this series existed while I was growing up, but I guess the next generation has something to be thankful for. Which reminds me: I should watch Season 2 soon enough.

Zara Larsson – Her songs are extremely catchy.  I think she is underrated in some places, but she deserves all of the recognition she gets. I mean just listen to Symphony, and I will welcome you with open arms and not let go.

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Boys generally Asian – OKAY. Before you come at me, I am very much aware that this group is a parody. But if they were legit, I would be all over the place wearing their merch and waving their poop glowsticks. My bias is R.O.P but the bias wrecker is Jeungri. I love Who’s It Gonna Be more but Dong Saya Dae will always have a special place in my heart.

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Haikyuu – This one is a buzzer beater because I was just about to draft this post when I decided to watch this. AND YES, cramming this post was worth it. I love the ethics involved in this series and I am only 5 episodes in. Ugh, sports animes can be my kryptonite. I will get back on this one, but I am certainly am a fan in just 5 episodes. ONWARD MARCH.

NO ONE TOUCH SUGAWARA. HE IS MY PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL.

Yay! And that’s a Tuesday for you! Quick! I need someone to fanscream with! Or better yet, what are your recent fandoms? Who knows then? By the time you read this post, I would have to make another one because of the fandoms I have added. Bit crazy, I know. But that is why I named myself The Ultimate Fangirl.

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Fandom Features #1: Romeo X Juliet

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Hello! Welcome to another feature (that I hope becomes a weekly thing) here on The Ultimate Fangirl. This has been one of my resolutions for my blog for it’s 2nd year. I wanted to feature my many other fandoms. I mean, I did not take up the name for nothing. So let me take you on a wonderful adventure and let’s explore the world’s many fandoms.

Fandom Features is a Thursday feature/weekly meme created by Bianca at The Ultimate Fangirl to creatively showcase the many fandoms in this world. Feel free to share details about the fandoms you are currently in, as the goal of this feature is to showcase the fandoms we belong in and maybe encourage people to join in your respective fandoms!

My goal is to do this feature every Thursday. The fun part is that anyone can join in doing this lovely feature! Please feel free to link your posts on the Fandom Feature back here on The Ultimate Fangirl. I hope to leave a Linky on the post that I will do on the specific day.


For this week, I decided to feature the anime/manga adaptation that got me into the otaku world. That is Romeo X Juliet, an anime adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

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I had an aunt and an uncle who is an otaku. I got tired and a bit embarassed to ask them if they could switch channels to the cartoons, because I thought anime was for the grown-up kids like them. While I was on vacation, apparently the screen was always on Animax Asia. So while trying to connect with them, I saw this cute commercial about a girl and a boy who falls in love at a ball. But apparently, they are sworn enemies. Because the title of the series was Romeo X Juliet. And I was all… SIGN ME UP.

From that moment on, I was hooked. I did not have Animax Asia at home, so I had to make do with streaming episodes on various anime sites. It’s not as easy as it sounds. This was way back in 2010. How do you think my internet speed was doing back then? Yes, it was pretty bad. I barely get to watch half an episode per day because I had to leave the computer to buffer. But I managed to get into it and I can tell you that it was worth it.

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The thing about Romeo X Juliet is that I have no anime to compare it with. I did not know then that Naruto, Doraemon, and Voltes V was an anime. I mean, no one told me about it. I had to figure it out for myself. Back to the main point, it was Romeo X Juliet that made me stick to the whole anime/manga phase that I had in high school. If it were Anthony and Cleopatra that they opted to do instead, I would have had rolled my eyes and walked away. Yet the studio opted to remake Romeo and Juliet and put an element of fantasy in it. You get this love story with an amazing female heroine and a naive boy in line for the throne. Their destinies are star-crossed because of a dark past, yet it’s so evident that they will soon be your OTP. And since it’s a Romeo and Juliet retelling, what happens? They also mixed in some elements from Zorro, and the one behind the mask is definitely #empowerment. They fit in a romance story, and then they mixed it up with some amazing sword-fighting sequences, involved with a political drama, and fantasy elements. All in 24 episodes, all of which are 24 minutes in length.

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I also want to note the impeccable art style of this anime. Amazing landscapes here and there, like it was a mix of dystopian society and the culture from the Tudor era. (Without the cutting heads part.) If you have watched it, or you will watch after my recommendation (yay me) you will have a thing for irises. I never knew that I could be moved by the beauty within a story adapted in so many forms. (Or I am probably just trash.)

I believe in the power of this adaptation. If I had to rank the ones that I have seen, this one would come out on top. I’ll be saving the Leo and Claire Dane’s adaptation for a rainy day. How I got into Romeo and Juliet’s story is going to be in another fandom feature, I promise you that.

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Be warned: Since this is a Romeo and Juliet story, you will expect that your tears may fall. I cried since the 6th episode, I think. Halfway, I was bawling my eyes and out. I will leave the ending as a mystery, and don’t you go checking it up on Wikipedia. If you love a good tear-jerker that will also make you laugh and jump in your seat, then this is for you. If you’re hesitant to check out other anime and you want to start with something small that is close to the literary world, then I suggest that you watch this lovely anime. I will be leaving links where you can start streaming: here, here, and here. You can also read the manga: here, and here.

Also have some tissues nearby. I cannot count how many times I have cried watching this show. Oh and don’t blame me if you get the Japanese version of You Raise Me Up stuck in your head. Imagine listening to that every time the show starts. Here you go:


Before book blogging, I was this otaku. I still am. And I love how this anime made me venture out to other fandoms.

Have you guys seen this anime? Did I intrigue you? Let’s fanboy/fangirl together. Or if you want to share your lovely fandom, you can link it here on this post!

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