Friday, 4 August 2017

First Impressions: Summer 2017

As the temperature begins to climb it's time for yet another new season of anime.

So lets start this song and dance and hopefully there will be some good shows to talk about.
but first.

Ground rules


1. I will TRY to give every show on Crunchyroll and Daisuki (which actually announced it would be closing down come september so that is a little disappointing) a chance but that doesn't mean i am obligated to watch a full episode. If i stop early i will give a time stamp and reason for stopping. I will not be looking at shows on Netflix or Amazon's anime Strike because the former won't simulcast and the latter doesn't understand that 16 bucks a month for anime is ridiculous.

2. No shows that are under 20 minutes in length, i don't like waiting a whole week for a 3 min gag. there are some exceptions but it's rare.

3. No shows with Brother, Sister, Father or Mother in the title... too often it goes into incest... which i really do not like.

4. If the show is a second season of a show i didn't watch before I'm not going to talk about it here.

5. No card game shows, i may give them a chance but they really aren't my thing.

6. All opinions are my own and based solely on what i have seen. I tend to go into these shows completely blind. If i don't enjoy the show after 1 episode or even quit out of an episode early I'm not saying the show is bad... just that i didn't enjoy it.

Returning Shows.

My Hero Academia

The second season continues as we follow the fledgling heroes on their internships. I am glad the tournament arc was short and sweet since it's my least favourite aspect of Shonen anime. This show continues to be wonderful and I'm looking forward to more and hoping it doesn't get stupid down the road.

New Shows

Hina Logic - from Luck & Logic

I swear there was another show called "Luck & Logic" I honestly have no idea if the two are connected but based on the title i assume they are?
According to MAL they are... it's like a spin off or something?
Yeah it seems like your typical Moe school show with magical powers of some sort, i don't remember what luck and logic was about but i know i watched an episode... I'm not wasting my time on this cutesy fluff that seems to insist on it's establishing shots being at skirt level.


Fox Spirit Matchmaker

UH... so it's a gag anime about reincarnation with really choppy animation.... I was hoping this would be the one to get me to watch something by this company but i don't think I can stomach it.

A Centaur's Life

....
*it opens on a centaur kissing a succubus devil girl person*
Maybe I'm just too old for this shit?
Ok but seriously... we are thrown in with nothing.... just here are two humanoid monster girls kissing cause a guy demon dude tricked the centaur into doing it.
Who are these people? why am i supposed to give a shit. apparently he was the one supposed to be kissed but even then I'm supposed to find this sexual harassment funny?
In the end, it's just another moe show (though with monster people and yuri themes i guess) and I'm going to have to pass...
Please let the season get better from here....

Restaurant to Another World

Well this one starts with suwabe so.. it can't be that bad. (also once again knowing it's him right away makes me so happy... i practised a long time to be able to pick out his voice.)
You want to see food animated in stunning quality? this show is for you.
the first half was a bit... plot less but the second half was intriguing enough where i think I'll give it a few more episodes.
It'll probably continue to be an episodic show about creatures from another world enjoying this restaurant and the demon girl working part time.
but yeah you know all those anime girls eating food gifs that have been around? this will possibly add more (even though the way they are eating isn't too over the top.... well the dragon licking stew out of a big pot was a bit over the top by i digress)
Enjoyed what i saw, we'll see if it continued to be good.


SAIYUKI RELOAD BLAST

I guess this may be more accurate to put in the Returning shows section? but I'm putting it here.... cause even though i saw a lot (maybe even all?) of the original runs of Saiyuki.... i don't remember a damn thing about it
well other then the little dragon... it can turn into a jeep....
yeah the rest is a haze... though i remember enjoying it enough i guess?
I will say i really hate this trend of using camera techniques in anime... extremely shallow depth of field, focus atmospheric perspective... it's just unnatural looking when animated.
everything else is fine, it's just a very bloody time but at least they seem to me on thier way? (i think it's an ongoing joke that they will never actually make it?) but yeah i'll probably keep watching since i don't think i'll have much to watch this season at this rate.

Knight's & Magic

*twitches at the title*
Horrible grammar aside... this is yet another story of a young nerd dying and being sent to a magical fantasy world....
only so far unlike the others it doesn't seem like he was sent back as himself but instead as a young boy..... and so far no harm of loli girls so.... maybe they will actually be good.
Anyways ignoring the fact that he has essentially killed the consciousness of the soul of the child that was in that body before he vows to grow up and becom a knight runner (the closest thing the nerd could ever do to becoming a mach pilot)
I will say that this one episode has like... half a seasons worth of plot... still i think it could be an interesting sit. Ernesti, despite his new consciousness loving Robots/Knights he is simply too small to pilot one.... while advancing through the grades faster then any student he can't help his physical limitation and works hard to change how the knights are made.
I hope it continues to be entertaining.


Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBU

Another anime based off that mobile game?
well i couldn't get into the other one (hanamura) cause it was so damn cutesy and pointless but this one looks a bit darker (both actually darker and metaphorically darker) so lets see.
The plot seems the same. there is an army trying to re-write history, these personifies weapons go to stop them.
The animation is odd.... like it's mostly 3d but you'll have the occasional 2d image and they just don't mesh... that or it's all 3d and some bit are just far flatter then others.
Either way this show still seems like a glorified history lesson with very pretty character design.... but i still don't care so pass.

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun

It's a soccer anime about a clean freak... cause when i think soccer i think clean... not grass stains and slides and sweat... (actually i think about the first time i played soccer how badly i twisted my ankle... but i digress)
This reminds me of that sakamoto anime where the dude was perfect... I don't get the appeal of these kinds of shows.
And i'm sorry someone with his level of Germaphobia wouldn't leave the house... let alone play a team sport. (had the pickes something solitary like Track maybe I would have bought it but this is just insufferable)

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life

It's like Maison Ikoku but all the tenants are yokai (minus the main)
needless to say this was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it so far. I hope it continues to be a fun cute episodic show about living with yokai in harmony...
Also i watched the second episode and we learn that the ordinary human may not be so ordinary after all... I think i'm going to have a good time.

Tsuredure Children

Hmm... children isn't one of my banned words...
oh it's only 12 mins long so i think i'll be able to pass this one. It doesn't seem like a bad show, just dealing with highschool drama type things... but I don't like waiting week to week for half a show.

AHO-GIRL

oh thank god this is another 12 min show... i don't know if i could stand a show litterally called Idiot girl.
Like she's stupid... and eats bananas..... thats the joke...

Netsuzou Trap -NTR-

a show that isn't behind a paywall for a week?
well it's only 9 minutes and literally starts with a girl trying to reach up another girls skirt despite her being uncomfortable.
Japan.... seriously... get your shit together.

Fastest Finger First

It's an anime about quizzes....
like not the sit down in class type of quiz... the how much random bullshit do you just happen to know kind of quiz.
So yeah it's a sports anime about quizes... it seems fine but it's not really what i enjoy.

Convenience Store Boy Friends

Do... convenient stores in japan need advertising? Cause all the ones i went to were doing really well...
Anyways it's a story about highschool drama (mostly concerning relationships) but the convenience store is like a focal point since everyone passes it on the way to school.
The character design is realyl nice but the animation is stiff and flat... and in the first episode they didn't focus enough to try and make me care about the characters they introduced... hell half of them are montages. perhaps it could be good but right now it just seems like shoujo fluff trying to convince people that convenience stores are just the best.... and to be fair they are a life saver in japan so i don't get why they have a show focusing on that.... i was kinda hoping it would be like "WORKING!" but no... these are just students who happen to pass by this place a few times a day.

18if

apparently this is based off a game.
... the dude is wearing a speedo that talks out of the crotch.....
well.... at least i can pinpoint that this is the WTF show of the season cause... seriously wtf.
Also i can't complain about the last show having flat stiff animation cause this one is far far worse.
I would love to give a summary of what it's about but uh.... dreams? and witches i guess? witches dreaming?
Look if this show isn't trying make sense i'm not going to try and validate it.


CHRONOS RULER

CG in anime has come a long way..... it still looks pretty strange but hey... it's getting better I guess?
So it's a serious anime about humans making contracts with demons and having their time stolen... those demons are fought by two men who can control the flow of time. they can't go back into the past or into the future but they can change the current flow.
and for some reason they are the comic relif?
I think this is a really cool concept but it just kinda falls flat... it's not like sad situations can't be done well with humor... Crono Crusade did a decent job of it (at least i remember it working despite the incredibly sad undertone of the story... perhaps this is just trying to hard? I may give it another episode but something tell me i'm done.

Angel's 3Piece!

*looks at the promo art* . . . i don't wanna...
no you don't understand.... the whole Moe girl band thing leaves such a sour taste in my mouth... but lets try to not judge a book by it's cover right?
Shut in youtube musician gets called out by someone claiming to like his music... only it's 3 ten year old orphans... they want his help putting on a concert in the church they live in.
At first i was like "hey this isn't bad... it's a fairly innocent in it's concept"
but then the shit started to pile up.
1. for whatever reason the anime wanted to frame these 10 year old girls in skirt length shots and close ups of their lips. eventually they added knee camera shots as well.... not uncommon for anime but really fucking creepy when the characters are literally 10.
2. he goes to the church and these girls just happen to have/know how to play some expensive vintage musical equipment. first off lets forget that these instruments are sized for adults and not freakishly small people... where the hell did they learn how to do all that?
3. literally the last line of the show is "if you help us out I'll let you touch me a little"
JAPAN..... wtf.... like i get that next episode she'll probably clarify to say "I'll let you pat me on the head" (or at least that's what i hope cause dammit japan that is gross) but considering the sexual nature this show is framing these children in it's really fucking creepy...
this is just a new low... just so incredibly gross.
at one episode i think this is one of the worst anime i have ever seen... right up there with school days and amnesia.


In Another World With My Smartphone

Another show where i dude is killed and sent to another world... but this one is different because he has a smartphone... sure he can't call people from his original world but he can talk to god on it...
no seriously.
and unlike the other died and sent to another world anime this season... this one has a harem of moe same faced girls with only different eyes colour and hair to tell them apart... (even has twins and a walleyed girl)
Ok it's a little funny that this kind damn near literally has god-mode enabled.... still the titular smartphone has barely been used.
It's a sent to another world show with a comedy spin (and a harem) so if that sounds like a good time then you'll probably enjoy this... I've seen worse.
I wont be continuing personally.

MAGICAL CIRCLE GURU-GURU

wait this is a new show? when crunchy announced it i thought it was a catalogue title...
I'm getting a... Kadocha vibe... like there is no actually connection (as far as i can see) but the feeling is there.
I did find out that is is based off an older show (not surprising at all.)
I am loving the mix of game would and anime.... or how the characters randomly go 8 bit.
It's very cute but it's a little too goofy for me. still seems like a fun and cute spoof on the child heroes in so many JRPGS

Classroom of the Elite

A school with 100% employment and college entrance rate is truly a prized things. To attend this school of the Elite students must follow certain rules.
1. they must live in the dorm.
2. they will not have much contact with the outside world but this school provides everything on campus from food to clothing to entertainment.
3. They will have no money but instead be allotted 100 000 points at the start of each month (a point is equivalent to 1 yen)
This government run facility seems almost too good to be true.
so no surprise when that's exactly the case.
It's a neat concept... i was almost expecting a more... danganronpa approach but i think that may have been too obvious... my biggest issue is that none of the characters are like able yet
the main character's trait is that he is dull and melancholy... may give it another episode but honestly not very impressed with this first one.

My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Starting off with a censored panty shot.... classy
Look you wanna watch a good show featuring "Gals" Super Gals is pretty darn good.
This is just a bunch of busty women providing fanservice... the first episode is called "my first time begging for it" it's just... a little gross and a whole lot of objectifying.
Also.... I doubt there's that much PDA in japanese high schools.... theres not even that much in North american ones...
it's not like the main character likes anyone... he just wants to lose his virginity... and considering how 'Gals' are viewed in japan... yeah this show is just all kinds of gross. Pass pass pass. (not to mention as i was closing the viewer they were talking about forcing themselves on the character that looks like a child simply because she looked young.... )

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor

oh good it's a 3 minute show... It's a spinoff of Irresponsible Captain tylor... a show i haven't seen but have heard good things about (it's quite old)
anyways i avoid three minute shows... though i will note this seems to be getting a lot of hate in the comments and on MAL... seems like the show ended on a cliffhanger and this is not what people were hoping for.

Ikemen Sengoku: Bromances Across Time

....bromances....
bro... mances....
oh thank god it's a short show...
it's also fully CG and perma chibi... except the into... I'm guessing they are based off a game or something.

Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat

Short Gag show about a human turned into cat by princess of the underworld... but yeah pass since it's only 3 mins. (a min of that is intro song too)

GAMERS!

What do you do when the most popular pretty perfect girl in school talks to you, a normal average nerd who enjoys the company of 2d characters a bit too much, in the middle of a game store.
Why you freak out of course...
And when that same pretty perfect girl tells you she's revived the gaming club and wants you to be a member?
Freak out more!
SO this is a rom com about a gaming club.... and honestly when i saw the title i was dreading it a little. However it was incredibly sweet AND it's really refreshing seeing characters who are nerd be portrayed as fairly normal... they aren't slobs and they aren't being gross towards others... they are just gaming and trying to share that passion with each other.
I'm hoping to keep up with this one as it got a few big laughs out of me.

The Reflection

It's a story where people suddenly gained super powers. some becoming heroes... some villains... The unique thing about it is how it's animated. Because the lines are think and the colouring is fairly flat it gives the appearance of a moving comic book (not nearly as detailed as some current comic books but if you saw you would understand what i mean. The use of colour is interesting and because the animation is 'simplistic' in rendering you get some really neat angle and fluid fight scenes.
However... this first episode was really boring so no matter how cool the art style is i don't think I'll continue.... I like the almost simple rotoscoped style but not enough to continue. I'm seeing a lot of people mentioning it looks cheap, it does but i think it's an interested attempt at something new.
....... Stan lee does the narration for the next episode bit.... ok didn't expect that.....
but yeah not a bad show just not my cup of tea.

And yeah... looks like 4 weeks into the new season that's all I'm going to get my hands on.

I would love to watch the shows on amazon but.... IBM not paying that ridiculous price for a handful of shows i may or may not like.

I think this season is going to be pretty good, My hero Academia is really enjoyable and the surprise of Gamers is a pleasant one.

With Sony having purchased a large portion of funimation hopefully this gives them the power to stop amazon and netflix from scooping all the hyped up shows (especially since the latter wont even simulcast) and i just hope we continue to have access to some great anime.

Also sorry this took so long to post, i was waiting for crunchyroll to announce any stragglers but they haven't so i figured this is the best time to post.

What are the shows you are enjoying this season? or perhaps there are some backlog shows you are catching up on (mine right now is Fractale). Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Tokyo Xanadu (Vita)

Originally I wasn't going to beat this version... I only got it so i could get the Limited edition (cause no matter how much I like falcom 200 bucks (cad) is too much for a game I have little to no history with.

Still in the end i'm really glad I did play through it... even if the bulk of why i'm glad is so i can hold Aksys accountable for the things that are off in this game.

This ramble will be spoiler free (though i will mention a few things that happened in my playthrough near the end game... still no spoilers.)

Tokyo Xanadu is the latest in the Xanadu series which is a offshoot of the Dragon slayer series. To date I have only played Xanadu next (which i haven't beaten yet). We follow Kou Tokisaka, a Second year student who seems to be the only part time work available in the entire town. One day after a particularily late shift at a cafe he sees his class present Asuka Hiiragi being followed by some thugs. He follows them to make sure she is okay when suddenly they all get transported to another world.
Luckily Asuka seems more then capable of handling herself and gets them all other of this hellish labyrinth. Wanting to be helpful Kou forces his way into help Asuka on her mission to stop these Gates from appearing and keeping the Greeds inside at bay.

They are joined by some unlikely companions as they try to figure out how to stop another potential disaster.

The combat is fast and fluid, every character feels very different so no matter what you'll find a play style that works with you. Dungeons are very short (longest one I was in too about 18 minutes and it was only that long cause i suck at platforming).

The lag doesn't get too bad until late game where i swear some cut scenes run at 1 frame every few seconds.... luckily only one or two fights was it painful due to lag.

Still if you have a ps4 I would say wait for that version, it most likely will have improvements in both graphics and translation.

SO.... lets talk about the translation shall we? Normally I don't harp on about this cause as long as intent in intact i'm pretty happy.
However there are some things that I will be seriously disappointed if Aksys doesn't patch/fix in time for the next game.

Quality control issues I noticed:

Sometimes characters have random Us at the end of their name. (like in one scene you'll see them be called both their name with and without a U.... i can't say the name sorry)
When you cook for some reason it said CPreperations complete
when you are at a save stone in dungeons is says "Strengthen Greed" when it means "Strengthen Grid"
Also on the save stones there is "Change Element" but it's supposed to be "Exchange element"
Two of the cookbooks you read gives you a completely different recipe then what they say they will give you (don't remember which one)
TYPOS EVERYWHERE
SPACING ISSUES EVERYWHERE
there is an entire scene where after every apostrophe there is a space. ex. i' m going to hope that they' ve fixed these things soon.
one time the word naïve is spelled like na  ï  ve
Speech bubbles will come out of the wrong characters mouth.

The translation itself seems decent, My japanese isn't the best but there wasn't any point where I felt like they had blatantly changed a line. But seriously the quality control has me so bummed I find it hard to describe. Everything I mentioned could have possibly been fixed with another pass at the script.... like spacing issues are no big deal I know Falcom is kinda notorious for them but spelling errors and inconsistent translations (or just outright miss translations of functions) are just kind of inexcusable. 

On the other hand I think It's a testament to this game on how hard it was for me to put down... I wasn't going to play at all but i'm glad I did and I really look forward to playing on ps4 (on a higher difficulty cause why not) 

The story was good, the voice acting is really good (though all in japanese so consider that a warning) there are only 3 scenes with no translation (two songs and a bit before the final fight.... I wish companies would remember that just cause there not a space for subtitles doesn't mean we'll suddenly understand) The music (while a little closer to a persona sound then other titles) is still Falcom JDK Sound Team at their finest. 
The only thing holding the game back are a few sloppy translations. 

Well that and a few bugs. 
Maybe I just got unlucky near the end...
First I soft locked the game, I used a smash attack near a curved wall and ended up in the void.... which is solid so I had fun walking around before realizing "uh oh i can't get back in bounds" and having to reset. 

Then after beating the final boss the credits started to play with no sound... I don't know how I triggered the sound to stop working (I was just going through the dialogue normally) but yeah it just cut out and I had to watch the credits on youtube cause that final fight is probably the most challenging in the game.... and I didn't want to replay it only to have the same hiccup happen. 

I am looking forward to EX+, apparently there are more playable characters, more story and better framerate so already i'm sold (no seriously I bought my ps4 preorder at the same time as the Vita LE preorder) I just seriously hope Aksys does a quick pass, fixes some typos and makes the entire thing cohesive. 

I really want this game to do well and I hope that by some miracle we get Tokyo Xanadu 2 sometime in the future (cause there are hints)
I am also looking forward to comparing the two versions... also replaying while knowing what I know now is always a good time. 

SO in case it isn't clear I really did love this game, just maybe wait for the ps4 version (unless you only have a vita then get that as it's another excellent title for the ignored handheld) 

Friday, 30 June 2017

First Impression: Tokyo Xanadu

For whatever reason the place I ordered this from set it WAY early... So i figured i would give my impression of the first chapter spoiler free.
Also i'm going to talk about the special edition.

Tokyo Xanadu is a new entry in Falcom's Xanadu's series (which apparently is a spin off from Dragon slayer)
You play Kou, an average student who prefers to do part time work instead of club activities.
One day after work he spots his class rep being tailed by some thugs and he worries about leaving her alone. This action changes how he'll perceive the world from now on.
He gets dragged into another world full of monsters that his class rep is able to fight off.
From now on he gets dragged into helping his class rep stop these "eclipses" from growing in size or number.

The gameplay in town is so Persona-esque i'm actually surprised falcom didn't get in trouble.... even the music has a kind of atlus sound to it... it's a bit odd.
HOWEVER.... the dungeons are very unique and the combat system while a bit complex is really really fun.
It's 3rd person dungeon crawler over the shoulder (Think trails of cold steel) with action based combat with enemies that have weaknesses to certain types of attack (Think Ys Seven or Memories of Celceta) and you can change party members on the fly but only one of you can be seen at a time (this seems similar to how Ys 8 is but i can't comfortably make the comparison as i haven't played that yet)
The lock on system could use some work but i have a feeling i'll get used to it.

However... for now at least i'm not playing anymore.
See i'm Canadian... and the special edition for the PS4 version of this game (which has more content and better graphics) is 200 dollars.
So instead i bought the special edition for Vita and the vanilla version for PS4.... in the end it cost be 160....
I wanted the special edition partially cause i like artbooks and cds BUT mostly because it came with the game Blade which can be played in cold steel.
I was really excited for these cards.

Then I opened them up.
I don't know who approved the proofs of these but... maybe you should have looked a little harder.
The back and front of the cards are incredibly low res. it's like they took a tiny image and tried to make it bigger... had it been apparently that they were going for a pixelated look maybe i could forgive it... but the borders are smooth and the promo art cards look fine.
It's still a playable game but wow it's disappointing.... they also weren't punches out very well and feel extremely cheap.
The other special edition goodies are fine, the plus toy is tiny but incredibly soft. the cd didn't have nay info so having to manually input all the information sucked but a minor gripe.

I am going to have a blast with this game and if you have a vita and want to play something this is a great option.

HOWEVER
if you also have a PS4 just wait for that... it's the complete version of the game.

Also the voice acting is really good (japanese only so be warned) and the translation seems ok so far... i look forward to continuing later on this year. (or i may just cafe and play the game twice... depends on how long it is i guess?)

Monday, 26 June 2017

Eccentric Family 2

This show is hard to describe but i'll do my best... also i'll be posting more trip pictures at the end!

Eccentric family is about the balance between Tanuki, Tengu and Humans.

The second season has a slightly different focus then the first but all the pieces are there.

Yasaburo is still causing trouble because of his fool's blood.
The Friday club is still having a year end Tanuki hotpot.
The question of who will help lead Tanuki is still up in the air.
Akadama is still pining for the Half-tengu Benten.

However there are quite a few new characters that create an interesting dynamic.

The show can be goofy at times but I adore it's heart warming nature and it's ability to make me cry.

I'm sad that it's over but a small part of me is hopeful for even more of yasaburo's foolish adventures.

Both Season are on Crunchyroll and I highly recommend them.

Now for pictures!
While i was in Japan there was an eccentric family Cafe~ it was really yummy and super cute so here are some pictures.





The whole cafe (which was in a really nice mall across from Tokyo Station) was themed around the show. I had the Curry and 'frog in a well' Latte (which was just a green tea latte) and it was absolutely delicious.
My friend had the Gyuudon and Benten cocktail (which i believe was hibisucus from what she let me try)
I also ended up buying and acrylic stand of Yasaburo, a book with loose papers that apparently you are supposed to bring to different shrines to have stamped... I also got something else but I seem to be forgetting it at the moment.

After that we actually in Kyoto and because that is where the show is set i'll show some locations~





Unfortunately I didn't take many picture in town because it was pretty Rainy and miserable every time we were there but I hope you enjoy these Kiyomizu-dera and Inari Shrine pictures.

I will say considering Kiyomizudera was a location showed shortly after i got back i can't wait to rewatch the show and see what other landmarks i witnessed in person.

So yeah go enjoy this show!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

RDG: Red Data Girl

Recently Crynchyroll added a ton of stuff to their catalog and I had heard about this show so i figured why not give it a try.

What i got was an interesting premise with little to no payoff.

RDG: Red data girl Is about a young girl named Izumiko. Her entire life she hasn't been able to use any kind of technology since it will just break in her hands. Apparently she is one of the last humans to possess 'true power' and is destined to become a Hime-gami who has the power to destroy the world.
After being pared up with a mountain monk who is her age they transfer to a new school in Tokyo in order to learn more about the Hime-gami as well stop the destruction of the world.

only thats not what it's about at all

They transfer to the school and theres a power struggle between the two top students. One an omnioji (a kind of diviner though thats not completely accurate) and one who has a relationship with a divine spirit.
Somehow or for some reason one of them will be picked as the "world heritage person" by judges who are all secret and Izumiko picking a side will effect the world or something....

I think the main problem with the Anime is that when you try to cram 6 novels (or what i'm assumign is a portion of 6 novels) into 12 episodes you are going to make things feel rushed and/or unexplained.
Most of the main plot points are said as if we are just supposed to automatically know what on earth is going on.
Worst of all the ending doesn't tie off any plot threads introduced (my guess is that they planned for 2 season but only [as of June 21 2017] 1 season has been made. )

The other disappointment is that a main plot thread, her inability to use technology, is only touched on a handful of times but it's a main character trait so it was just disappointing... as well as her red glasses and braids which are apparently important until they suddenly aren't.

It's not all bad, the show is animated by PA works and they did a lovely job. It's nice seeing a PA works show that attempts to have a bit of plot. the characters are all distinct enough and again the baseline concept is interesting it just feels like this adaptation focuses on the wrong thing. The main character feels like a side character most of the time. So it's just a little disappointing.

All that said if they made another season i'd watch, I may check out the manga if possible to see if that adaptation explains things a little better.

At least i don't feel like my time was wasted i just feel like it was all cut short.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku

10 years....
6 seasons...
and that ending.

Ok Biases out of the way first.
This is my fav show.
Hands down if i had to pick only one show to watch for the rest of time it would be this one.
I recently went to Japan and i spent an obscene amount of money on merch..... about 90% of that for this show.
There was a cafe that was open for the final week of my trip.... I went with a friend EVERY DAY....
I went to the damn town that this show is loosely set in.
I love this show.
It will be my number 1 anime of the year.
If someone licenses it I will buy it no matter what the price is.
and i will hope it doesn't take 3-4 years for another season even though i know thats probably exactly whats going to happen.

So my opinion on this show is utterly worthless because i love it so damn much.

That being said.

Natsume Yuujinchou is about a young boy who can see spirit, after a chance encounter with a cat he learns of his grandmothers final possession the book of friends. This book holds the name of every Youkai his grandmother defeated and is sought out both by yokai wanting their names back and those wanting to control the names within.

The show is episodic in nature and as far as pacing goes it's pretty chill. Sure there is a surprising amount of blood for what is essentially a shoujo title and some of the questions asked in episodes are genuinely scary but overall this is a heart warming show that will make you feel good about everything.

Until this season where it'll take out your heart, show it to you and then crush it right infront of you.

I mean it's still heartwarming but I don't think i've cried so hard for a show ever before.
It's to the point where i'm convinced i need to build a time machine and slap past me up the back of the head for predicting exactly when the 3 most painful episodes of the season would air.

Now we just get to wait for Natsume Yuujinchou Nana... it'll probably be a few years (the manga needs to get ahead) but much like Go and Roku it'll be worth the wait.

My only hope now is that someone licenses it for North american distribution (i'll even pay the aniplex tax if i have to just let me own this damn show)

Expect more fanart from the show as well... if past experience is anything to go by i tend to need to do something with this show every few months cause it's just so damn good.
Also just for fun....







I have more pictures from Hitoyoshi but.... i figure this is enough for now.
Alright.... Thank you for reading!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Trails in the Sky The 3rd

I want to start this off the same way i started my Trails in the Sky Second Chapter Ramble.

To everyone who had a hand in making this game and allowing an English speaking audience to enjoy it I have one thing to say.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart... Thank you.
I know (while this may not have been as large in scope as second chapter) that this series is a bitch to translate for. I know the sheer amount of text (not even mentioning that damn near every chest says something unique) was an insane task. You persevered and worked extremely hard to get this game out and to that I say Thank you.

Thank you!

I can't say it enough.

Thank you.

I know none of you will ever read this (granted last time i said this BOY was a mistaken)

But seriously, Thank you.

True story: The day I saw the tweet. "A nun and a priest walk into a game" I audible gasped. My family who were nearby at the time wondered who had died. (then i had the joy of explaining it's for a game where i got the look.... you know the one) Still even though the evidence was pretty damning I had some to terms that we were never getting the 3rd and i refused to get my hopes up.

The next day (or shortly after? my memory is not known to be the best) I was streaming some art and in a 5 minute break I checked twitter.
"Trails in the sky the 3rd coming to the west" I heard myself reading that glorious tweet out loud before tears rolled down my face.
I honestly don't know of any other series that could make me cry by announcing a localization (well i can think of a few more now but i'm not going to get greedy)

Alright onto the Spoiler free ramble.

... Now to think of a way to describe this game without spoiling anything....
I know!
A nun and a priest walk into a game : D
...
Alright so this will be short.

We follow two Grailsritters, Kevin Graham and Reis Argent,  as they look into a mysterious artifact that was pull out of the lake.
Soon they find themselves drawn into a new mystery in which they will need to rely on old friends to help solve.

Out of the three games (hell out of the 5 if you count cold steel series) this one is the most unique. Pretty much immediately certain things are added to the combat system that make it far more deadly then ever before.
It's also got a far less powerful protagonist then any of the other games do. Not that Kevin is physically weak by any means but for me his job was making sure no one got hit and if they did that no one stayed hurt for long. Sure Reis makes up for this by easily being one of the most (if not the most) powerful characters in the game... but still it takes a little getting used to.

Outside of that I can't say much other then you get a lot of party members and i loved it.

My playtime was 42:03 which i feel is pretty close to how much time First chapter got? This game is shorted then Second chapter for sure but again Second chapter was massive.

One of the things I'll say is that near the end if you enjoy double checking things you are asked. "Was it worth the wait"
Yes.
100% it was worth the wait.
Not a shadow of doubt in my mind... it was worth the wait.
I loved this game, Every moment drew me in and when I'm getting teary eyed at chests being so supportive near the end... I know i was hooked.

Part of me wonders what it would have been like to play this in the order of the series but honestly i don't care. I'm just happy i got to experience it at all since i had given up on ever playing it.

I will say this.
Star door 15 was not nice... I don't think I've cried that hard concerning anything ever.... Falcom (and I guess those that translated it too but this one is mostly on falcom in my mind) That was not ok.... you should feel bad for that.... I know you don't cause you thrive on our suffering but no... bad Falcom, you sit in the corner and think about what you did.
No don't think about how to make it worse!

Now for the part where I get a little greedy.
I would love to have Xseed put out the crossbell games.
I know it probably wont happen.... I'm even ok with it not happening but if i had one hope.... it would be getting to play those games. I just love this series so much and i just wanna throw as much money as possible to whomever brings it over.

However for now I'll just enjoy the fact that i can look at a little more of my kiseki art books without getting spoiled. (well I'm pretty sure a lot of crossbell has been spoiled cause of Cold steel but hey.... gotta keep whatever i can under control.)

But seriously...... Thank you for this.

Alright I think it's time for some Kiseki fanart! right after I finish these project pieces! (which you will find out more about in August!)

Also just in case my Bias wasn't clear enough in all this.... I put aside Persona 5 to play this game... so yeah.... I enjoy Falcom games just a little too much.

Side note: there are a few instances where the text is still in Japanese (at least in my play through, it's probably been patched by now)... both in battles.
one at the end of Schera's door and the other in the final round of the final arena.... neither are story relevant but just thought I'd mention it.

But yeah... This will probably be my number 1 game of the year... at least... don't be surprised if it is come new years.
For now it's back to work and back to chipping away at Persona 5, Fire Emblem Echoes, Xanadu next and all the games that are coming out just around the corner.

And for those who stuck through to this point... i present my fav Chest phrase.



Yeah I'd buy that.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Japan Day 21 - Canada Day 10421

I meant to do this after getting back yesterday but nope... was just too loopy.

The day of the final day was a bit surreal. We were all making sure that two things were accomplish.

1. we were all packed and leaving the place pretty much how i came
2. we ate all the food we couldn't take with us to the airport or Canada.

After accomplishing these two things Keiko stopped by and walked us to the station and bid us a safe flight.
Our flight wasn't till 5ish but we didn't want to risk anythign so we just went to the airport early. I think for most of us 21 days is plenty of time to do what we needed and we all just wanted to get home at this point.

At least the flight home was direct.... thats just about the only kind thing i can say about the flight though.

I have learned that i can deal with my anxiety when playing... the turbulence still sucks but i'm not a mass of tears.
What i can't handle is a asshole behind me digging his knees into the back of my seat for 12 hours... but if it was just that i maybe could have gotten some rest on the plane.
BUT it wasn't just that, douche bag infront of me from the very start of the flight pushed his chair so far back i heard cracking... and every half hour or so he'd try to push it further. I wasn't too worried about the chair actually breaking but it was annoying cause i had the tray down to watch movies on my tablet and it was pretty much poking into be for 12 hours.
but thats not even all of it.
A fligth attendant knew the dumbass behind me so for portions of the trip where there chatted he used my chair as an anchor and had the bonus of being a hand talker.
so yeah no sleep.... but the food headign to japan hadn't been terrible... maybe this would be the high point.
...
ha ha ha.... no.

Sure air plane food is known for being pretty awful but this was bordering inedible.... in fact out of the 3 meals i only ate 1..... and some cookies.

However the flight itself wasn't too bad... occasional bits of toubulance but nothing like the first flight had.

Getting thrug hthe airport in Canada was easy for me because i managed to do this entire trip on one carry on rolly luggage and my purse. still i waited with my friends for their luggage since i needed to wait for my ride as it was.

Customs was also far less painless then i thought it would be, a lot of "ok now go here" but in the end a pleasant experience overall.

Now that hard part began.

We left japan around 5 pm on the 21st.
We arrived in Canada at 4 pm on the 21st.... and in order to help my sleep schedule go back to normal... i would at least need to stay up till 10. by the up already been up around 24 hours... and anyone who knows me knows i like sleep.

Luckily I had some tea waiting for me when i got in the car (which was the best welcome home present anyone could give me ever) and lots of stories to tell while fighting off the sleep.

I gave my families their souvineers... ate and then the rest gets a little fuzzy... i know i did stay up till about 9:30.... and i woke up at 4.... not the best start but i should be able to get back to normal in a day or two at least.

The best part of coming home was the reaction from my cats,  iwas expecting them to be cold nad distant but they were all over me right away and very tolerant of my constant snuggles.

The plan now that i'm back in Canada is simple.

1. Work on art for the zine, i've got my two mockups done i just need approval.
2. Play all the games.... between Persona 5, trails in the sky the 3rd and fire emblem i have a bti to catch up on.
3. Catch up on 3 weeks of anime, specifically natsume yuujinchou cause 2 of the episodes that aired i have been waiting for years (and what i saw of the fandom reaction was glorious)

So yeah the daily blogs have come to an end but still lots of stuff in the future.
(also i may do a post mortem blog in a few days with pictures to just wrap my thoughts abotu the trip up.... i just need to recover first)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Japan Day 20 - Final full day

All good things must come to an end.

Granted considering getting 7 people to get 3 weeks off is more then a bit of a task I should be thankful we got to stay as long as we did.

The last leg of our trip has been in Tokyo, and we happen to be here for the Sanja Matsuri Which is one of the great Shinto festivals.
We were led by our Air BNB host (who has been amazing this entire time so far) to the central path of the festival. We got to see many people of all ages and sizes carrying "mikoshi" (which are like portable shrines)

I took a lot of pictures so should be fun seeing how those turned out.

After tha we headed to to a store because a haikyuu ichiban kuji stared today..... problem was it sold out in an hour.... so we bought the last natsume yuujinchou ichiban kuji.

After that we decided 30 degrees with 80% humidity was too damn hot and we headed back to the place with the lovely AC.

I'm still feeling pretty sick but it seems to just be a scratchy throat for now.... i think my body will hit me once i'm at home but you know what? I appreciate it waiting.

Colin brought a hand scale so i decided to weight my carry on.
23 lb.
Shit... my max is 22lb... and i don;t want to check anything.

So after rearanging my bag and purse i think i managed to get carry on to 19-21 (cause the hand scale wavered between that) so hopefully that all works out. (I'll check if i have to but i have mugs and i rather not have air canada move those for me.) [and if i have to pay a fee then so be it]

Other then that just enjoying the final evening before a 12 hour flight.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Japan day 19 - Foreboding

Back in tokyo it's time to tie up loose ends.   Since being here last time store have changed and events have updated. Marise and I got ready and headed to Ikebukuro.
Her goal - new Yuyu hakusho items, mine -  persona 5 shop.
We headed out, figured out the subway system since that's what we are currently close to an made our way to the shops.
Only there also happened to be right in the area of the natsume cafe so we had to stop there... in unrelated news we have pulled every keychain and every towel.... impressive? Maybe but also a little sad.
Anyways we made it to the yu yu hakusho cafe and Marise got some more key chains and then we headed to the other side of the station to the persona 5 shop where i finished picking out souvineers for people (i mean blind pulls count at picking out?) as well as a new awesome shirt for myself (Morgan a telling the player to go to sleep) and after all that spending i got to do three lottery draws... and the first one was a 'gold' draw so i wont the grand prize of a big button (like.... 8 inch button?)

It was at this point that i started to worry... i could feel a tickle in my throat.
So close to the end i can get sick yet.

I ignore it, we head back home and search out lunch. There's a soba place around the corner and we went in there. Even though it was a hot as hell day we got hot Soba and you know what? Worth it.

After that amazing meal we headed back to the place to simply relax.
Only when you read more you can feel it more... the awful tickle in the back of my throat getting worse and worse. It's getting harder to think and i just want to sleep.

Hopefully i last the next 2 days, that's all i ask... i can be sick back in Canada.

Eventually the guys return but then we headed out again, this time for dinner. Marise has been hunting for sushi with no luck an tonight was no exception.. tomorrow hopefully or it'll be a sushi breakfast before the flight.

As i prep to sleep i just hope that this cold leaves me alone... just for a little longer. At least all my shopping is done (cause i am almost out of money.... i have enough to get me thought the next two days but not much more then that)

Alright... final full day in tokyo tomorrow, wish me luck!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Japan Day 18 - Back to the beggining

6 hours is a long time to spend on a train so unfortunately i don't have much to say about this day... just that we headed back from Fukuoka all the way to Tokyo, and in that time i finished one of the books i brought (luckily i still have a few because yay Kindle)

I will talk about the check in experience because it was different.

We have been using air bnb and so far everything has just been self check in.
This time the owner of the place actually came to pick us up from the station. She showed us around the area, taught us how to use everything in her house and even left us surprising amount of free treats.

Also even though the beds are close together there is plenty of breathing room on the main floor
It's sad that the trip is coming to an end but at least my health seems to have held out through the trip (though my back and heel have started to protest)

Tomorrow i hope to take a short trip to ikebukuro but overall just going to  enjoy the last few days in japan.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Japan Day 17 - Pilgramige 2.0

From day one i knew i wanted to go to Hitoyoshi because that's where Natsume Yuujinchou was loosely based on.
The other place i wanted to go was Karatsu since it's where Yuri on Ice Loosely takes place for the first few episodes. It's also a seaside town and no matter what would be pretty to go to. 

However i miscalculated. 

Yesterday was considered a free day so Marise and I took it easy and just went to the aquarium... Apparently today we were all supposed to go to Hiroshima. 
Thing is HIroshima is pretty far from where we are AND i really did want to go to Karatsu and I had kinda planned to do that today. Marise and I discussed it and said even though we did want to go to HIroshima, better to go to Karatsu because who knows when we can come back to Japan. 

So once again we broke off from the group and i'm really happy we did. 

The trip was simple but odd. As a foreigner in Japan i can have something called a JR pass, essentially i pay a lot of money but i get to ride all JR and some shinkansens for free. This doesn't apply to subway/trams/local lines/busses. 
So to get from here to Karatsu we had to take the subway.... but about halfway through the trip the subway turns into a JR train.
Essentially we had to pay 3 bucks then the remaining 7 was free. This was super easy heading there.... (heading back was an adventure but more on that later.

We arrive in Karatsu and it's sunny and stunning. Not a lot of foot traffic but still we had a few locations we knew we wanted to try to get to (the bridge and the castle mainly.) 
So we headed that way, both were right beside each other which was nice and even though it was up a lot of stairs it wasn't like Inari and the view of the water from the top was super pretty. 

We also checked out the bridge which was... well a bridge nothing too special there. 

Then we looked for a place to eat. 

"The reviews on this place are good and it says it likes yuri on ice fan" 
So we headed over and oh boy... it wasn't kidding. 
First question. "Anime ga suki?" (Do you like anime?)
"Hai" I replied and got a clap from the chef. 
"Yuri on Ice suki?"
"Hai" i replied again and then... then the merch came out. We were literally surrounded by plus toys, mugs, posters, gold rings (given to the chef by kubo but i'll get to that) given place mats of the three in hot springs or in a car shopping... it was a little nuts. 

Then we looked at the menu and the first thing i spot is a 100 dollar steak. 
'Oh no we made a mistake' I thought to myself. 'Why is such a fancy place embracing anime so much? Just cause it's set here' 
Eventually i did notice some more reasonably priced options (i mean still cost a lot but it was 100% worth it) and we ordered and waited. 
Now there was nothing english in this place, and my japanese isn't the best, i can get by but just barely.
So as we wait for him to cook our order in front of us more merch appears... we notice a yuri on ice room where the show is just constantly being marathoned. He walks by and his chef coat gets more and more Yurio merch. 
He shows us his phone and it's got a agape yurio background. 
The store's music is all yuri on Ice on loop. 

It was interesting to say the least. Eventually a japanese customer who spoke very good english came in and helped me translate some of the chefs stories. 

Apparently he is one of kubo's friends (more on this later) and he really loved the show and took full advantage of the fact that it was set in the town he worked. 

We ate our meal, it was (for lack of a more appropriate term) fucking amazing. Worth every penny. And then as we got up to get ready to pay the chef stops us. "Ochoa ii?" (Is free tea good/would you like some green tea) I reply that it's good and then he gets us to pick mugs... i picked Victor and Marise got Yurio and then he took us to the yuri on ice room and handed us a notebook. He asked us to write a note and enjoy our tea. 

So we did and then just as we were getting ready to leave once again he stops us and asks us if we are rushing to the next place. Well no this whole trip was about no more rushing and just doing our own thing. So he brought us to the side of his store and told us the story of why he embraces the anime as much as he does.

Again my japanese is not the best but the gist i got was that He always loved anime but it was considered odd to like something that was seen as being for children. 

I'm going to side step for a second because when i heard him say this my heart broke. It's hard to explain but anime is everywhere here. It just feels like another aspect of the culture, not everyone likes it but i didn't think it would be odd if someone did like it as an adult. But here was this amazing chef who had a complex about the fact he liked shows like Madoka magica. 

Anyways he continued on his story about how he became a chef and eventually gained a Michelin star. (Which having eaten at his restaurant i can understand cause the food was amazing) I'm not sure if he met kubo before or after this but she apparently came to eat at his store and noticed that he liked anime. They discussed it for a while and after hearing how he felt about his passion she cried and gave him a hug. Eventually the two became close friends. She would come and discuss themes of the show (fate, love, bonds) and even though he wasn't part of it in any way he felt a deep connection. 

He was invited to cator one of the events for the show and had a group photo on his twitter with the production team. I'm not sure when but Kubo even gave him a replica of the golden ring that the main characters had. (She apparently proposed and everything) and with her help he decided that he could embrace his passion of being a chef and an anime fan and just have fun with it. And that he's seen more people from all over the world thanks to this then he may have simply being a Michelin star chef in a tiny seaside town. He was great full to the show for helping him accomplish this and hopes to continue being a fan of all things anime for many years to come. 

After this we were able to pay but then the customer who spoke English really well came and showed us to the station were we could fill out a survey and get a map with all the show locations. 
We ended up also seeing all the aspects of the station and yuutopia thanks to this map (we could have gone to the beach but it was already starting to get late. 

ANow for the way back... we started JR but halfway through he had to rush off the train, go through the ticket booth. Pay the 3 bucks and rush back on the train. The goal was simple... get back on the same train we left or wait the 13 minute for the next one. 
Miraculously we managed it and it was quite the adrenaline rush. 
After that we just grabbed some mcdonalds (cause it was cheap and we had spent enough on food today) and i grabbed another natsume cafe item because dammit i don't have a problem i swear. 

As much as i did want to see Hiroshima... I'm really glad we did this because i had an amazing day and i felt closer to the people here then i ever had before. I can always come back and see it next time. 

Tomorrow is the massive trip back to Tokyo for the final few days. 
My family is tying to convince me to stay but between my JR pass ending soon and my lack of accommodations (not to mention missing my bed, my cats, my computer and oddly toilet paper that is more then 0 ply) I really just want to head back to canada and sleep for a day.... or two... we'll see when the time comes. 

Also fun fact.... even though. I have nearly taken 1000 pictures my camera STILL says i have 9999 shots left.... well at least i never had to swap the cards? 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Japan Day 16 - By the Sea

Today was a bit different from all the others.
Half of our group were in another town... and the rest of us had no solid plans.

So for the first time this trip i looked up tourist destinations.
There were some parks, a castle ruin and an aquarium.

All were about an hour from here and all would cost us a bit of money but they all seemed pretty fun. In the need we went to the aquarium since they may have some displays that we wouldn't get to see in canada.

It was a bit odd how out of the way it was, the station literally had no attendants and just trusted that people would pay their fare (i'll talk about this in a post mortem but this trust based society is really strange at times... and i'm canadian.)

We go down a little path and come into view of the lovely aquarium. We spent most of the day here and considering how much i end up drawing mermaids i'm glad i got some good reference material.
We say a dolphin show which was pretty cool and we even ate at the restaurant which was very tasty (another note for the post mortem... even if attractions target kids the food is always quite adult and you can pretty much always order alcohol)

After getting through the building we debated going through the park but honestly it had been 4 days of non stop action and we were looking forward relaxing back at the place (no matter how terrible this place is)

And it was a chill day, we went to a local place that is literally just meat and we waited for the other group to join us and tell us all about their Nagasaki trip.

Tomorrow is apparently Hiroshima (granted i don't get why we made that a day trip instead of a stop over since we literally have to go back that way to get back to tokyo.... perhaps i'll just ditch and go to Kumamoto or Karatsu instead... we will see.

But yeah trip is coming to an end and i am looking forward to my bed and cats.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Japan Day 15 - Hell house

Cristian's words not mind.... the the sentiment remains.
Also you get what you pay for i guess.

So for this trip we have been doing a combination of Ryokans and Airbnb. For the most prt all the places we have stayed at have been great (except fuji.... fuji ryokan was kinda lame)

But this place? It sucks
It said it's for max 9 people? No.... just cause you have 9 beds.... doesn't mean you can house 9 people.
The bed we picked much we a couch futon cause there is a rather painful line down the middle.

They didn't even have a drying rack for the dishes.

Anyways onto the day.
We took a day trip to Nagasaki, we saw the peace museum and park... it was depressing as all hell (though i've been told that Hiroshima's museum has a lot more impact)

Then we went to the shopping arcade for lunch and animate.... once again spent too much money but it would be cheaper then importing so... yay?

Desite saying we'd stay till 6 we ended up leaving at 3... it's been 4 days of go go go so i think we are all just a little tired.

Matt, Ambernay and Cristian are staying in Nagasaki for the night and hopefully they are having a good time.

Back in fukuoka we went to the natsuem cafe again cause why not... i puleld tanuma coaster and charm and marise puleld taki caoster and charm... we traded casue she ikes tanuma and Taki makes me smile (especially in that pic since she's flipping out over Nyanko.)

And then we to dinner, there was an Evangelion cafe in the station so we went there.
It was incredibly lame... the food was good but the cafe itself was easily the worst one we have been to so far... i don't even really like eva and i feel bad for how shit that cafe was.

Oh well... we are appraoching the end of the trip (and i am startign to get nervous about my moeny but i should be able to make it as long as i don't spen too much.... wish me luck.

Plans for tomorrow... uh.... play it by ear? Who knows... figure that out later!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Japan Day 14 - Who Dares, Wins

We didn't get to spend as much time in Hitoyoshi as planned.... however.
We had a decent amount of time till the train to get us to the next place so Marise and I went on a small adventure.
One of the landmarks we wanted to see was the red bridge Natsume is constantly crossing in the show.... problem was even though it was a 10 min drive it was over an hour by transit or walking from where we were.
After trying and failing to get on the bus we hailed a cab and heade to the next station.

After the taxi left we found out that this really was the middle of nowhere.
Sure there were no cars but there were also no taxis.
Oh well too late now. We headed to the bridge....

Suddenly a note from the group. "There is a landslide blocking the tracks to the station we need to get to.... we're coming up with a new plan."
Well shit. Still we are here and we are almost at the bridge when.
"New plan: take this bus and hour earlier then expected, please hurry back to the Ryokan as they will shuttle us to the bus."
........ Okay.

So we take our pics on the bridge, it's a really pretty area and I would have loved to have not rushed through it but ALAS... today is not our day.
But then we come back to the main problem... we couldn't figure out the busses.... and there were no taxis around.
Luckily we passed a Speed Racer themed gas station/mechanic and we went in and thank to google translate asked for help calling a taxi.
About 10 minutes later we had our ride and even even had time to visit a souvenir shop with some natsume merch i had never seen (so now.... I'm bringing back 3 too many mugs and a sake flask thing)
We went back to the ryokan, had a discussion with the owner of the ryokan about the show (she was very thankful for our sketches) and then we were off to our bus.

The bus was pretty fun, we got to see all these towns in the valleys of all these mountains. I'll be hones i prefer this rural setting far more then Kyoto or Tokyo.

After that we adjusted our shinkansen tickets and we were at the penultimate place in an hour.

After that we went for ramen, first time this trip for me.
It was very tasty but i didn't drink the broth... honestly i don't want to risk getting MSG toxic overseas when i only have a week left here.

Then Marise and i split to hunt down one of the many natsume cafes.
The deal is you get a drink, a coaster and an acrylic chain (both random)
I got a tanuma coaster and Takashi acrylic chain.
Marise got a Taki coaster and one of the Nyanko senses ones.
We also got hand towels, she pulled takashi and i pulled nyanko.

We will be back to try again.

The plan now? Day trip to Nagasaki, more Natsume Cafes (cause i need more merch apparently... at least it's all flat since i am pretty much out of space.) And then from there who knows.
No matter what though it'll be fun and that what matters.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Japan Day 13 - Pilgramige

Hitoyoshi, the town where Natsume Yuujinchou is somewhat based off of.
And they have embraced it. However I am getting ahead of myself.

First off we left Tensui in Amagase early in the morning and readied ourselves for a 4 hour track south to Hitoyoshi.

Now in all the trip this was the one place I requested.... I only got one day of the schedule for it but honestly more then enough.
So we get to the Inn (aptly named Hitoyoshi Ryokan) and the first thing i see when we walk in is a mini shrine to the show. Some plush nyankos, a huge paining and lots of little sketches from guests.... I knew we had to join in so we planned out day.

First hunt through the town for landmarks.
Second have dinner.
Third Rush to have a bath in the Onsen
Fourth sketch something for the shrine.
Fifth sleep and enjoy our one night here.

And that's exactly what we did. Only a few landmarks are near the Ryokan itself so hopefully we can get to at least one more tomorrow as we wait for our train to our next location. But still we got to see a bit from the second intro and there was a literal shrine turned into a Natsume Shrine and it made me so happy.
Afterwards we just wandered town till dinner. Dinner was a mixed bag.
A lot of local fish (to be expected) but also raw horse meat... so.... that's a thing i can say I've eaten now.
Actually complaired to other Ryokans this one had a lot of meet... Pork, Beef... uh horse.... but yeah it was all pretty tasty (though seriously wish that last one had at least been cooked.)
At the end of the meal i was completely full and i didn't even finish everything.
Then we rushed to the bath. This bath was way different from the other two. It had a far more sulphuric smell and you could see small particulate in the water.... plus I feel so soft getting out... i kinda wish we were staying another day cause even though it had the worst view... it was probably my favourite bath.
Then was the sketch, i did one of Natsume and Nyanko while y friend drew matoba enjoying a bath... it was fun and after we gave it to the front desk they gave us a map of the landmarks for the show.... could have used them earlier but we had them marked in google maps already.
And now we are heading to bed, prepairing for the long trek to our penultimate destination.
Only a few more days here, and while i will admit I am missing home i know it wont be long before i want to come back here...
Though probably not with 7 people.... i love them all but co-ordination has been interesting to say the least.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Japan Day 12 - First day we slept in

"Breakfast is at 8 right? It's 7:56" is not the most pleasant thing to wake up to... but still no reason to be late.
We threw our yukata's over our pjs and rushed to breakfast where only Colin waited.
And the other guys were not in the room.
And we had no signal to contact them.
They did show up eventually but it was a big worry about were we early? Were they late? We still don't know the answer but it was a decent breakfast (side note, I can state as a matter of fact that i simply do not like raw fish in any circumstance... i tried many varieties and each one was less palatable then the last... raw fish and me are no good)

After filling our bellies we decided to trek down the mountain and head into town... or at least that was the plan.
See the manager said that was no good and drove us down the mountain since there was currently a rather nasty storm overhead. Still we did want to check out the town so we hoped in the van and explored.
The funny thing about this town is it's already quiet... but with the rain it was dead.
We checked out nearby Sakura Falls which was really nice and then hunted for food... and hunted... and hunted some more.
Eventually we decided to eat at the first open thing we saw across from Amagase station.
It was this cute little frog souvineer/pizza shop/icecream stand and it smelled devine when we entered.
We ordered 2 pizzas, both were made fresh and we tried to pay but no.... not till the end, then we ordered some drinks and ice cream and stilll no paying.... only when we insisted we were done did she allow us to pay..... and then we had to take a picture for her facebook page and she bowed to us as the van picked us up. It was honestly the most wonderful experience i have ever had in a shop and the entire trip down the mountain was worth it for that.

Back at the Ryokan we still had a lot of time till dinner so despite the heavy rain we headed to the baths.... which were outside... and uncovered.
The cold rain and the boiling onsen was an interesting combo and i can say i have taken a bath in the rain now so that is neat.

Then was the wait for dinner, i did a little sketching and enjoyed the peaceful scenery and then it was time for the meal.

Which was actually pretty good. I managed to eat quite a bit of it (despite being a picky eater)

And now it's time for bed. Tomorrow is my 'pilgrimage' day.... Going to the town my favourite show is set it.
It's going to be a bit of a ride there but honestly it'll be worth every moment... i wish we were spending more then a day.

Also i will be amazed if we have wifi... i seriously doubt it cause we will be in the middle of nowhere.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Japan Day 11 - Fancy Trains and Double Baths

Today we said farewell to Kyoto which was fun but honestly a bit more of a chilly reception then Tokyo or Fuji. Perhaps it's just that the worst sorts of tourists tend flock there (or at least were there on the few days we were there) or the fact that it really is still stuck in some old ways. Either way we headed off to the first of two Onsens in a row.
The one we're currently at is in Amagase and let me just say now it is stunning. Our room (cause a group of 7 is too much to fit into one room) has a private bath which each of us used almost immediatey on arrival. It was outside which was new but the view of the falls was lovely... could have done without the bigs but hey you win some you lose some.
After that it was time for the meal. I was dreading this since I am extremely picky... and we are a good 30 min trek up a mountain away from any stores. Considering food would be hard to come by I really hoped to be abel to eat something for dinner.
And i did! Kind of...
There was this super smooth tofu at the start which was pretty good... tofu i've had before this has always had a bitterness but this didn't have that.
There was some pickled chunks of ginger which i really liked but they only give you two.
There was this deep fried whole fish which i did eat but not the head or tail... sorry i have limits.
There was raw tuna and mackrel.... i tried to tuna cause i figured out of all of them i could maybe stomach it raw.
I was wrong... i will never like raw fish this is just something i need to stop even trying.
There was this shrimp egg dumpling thing which was pretty good... there was a clam soup thing which i didn't like.
 In the end i did try almost everything that looked even remotely tasty but i did have to rely on Matt, Cristian and Bram to finish the plates.
Then after the meal a reserved bath! Couldn't stay in too long since i was already warm but it was still enjoyable (i still prefer my private bath though. )
We are here for one more night then off to Hitoyoshi where Marise and i will ditch the group and check out the the town.
But hey at least we have wifi

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaimen

Norse Mythology has always been one of my favourite topics. However it’s not the easiest mythology to decipher.

Green and Roman myth have been told and retold even do this day. You know of Athena or Zeus and their many tales but not so much when it comes to Norse.

Granted you have probably heard some. Everyone knows Loki, Thor and Odin. However Jormangund or Frey may be less well know over all.

So when, about a month before my trip, my father showed me that Neil Gaimen had done his own compilation and telling of norse mythology in a way that would be entertaining as well as accurate I knew I needed to save it for those long shinkansen rides we had between locations.

It isn’t a terribly long book, I would say the whole thing only took a few hours to read but it is extremely entertaining and just proves to be far more interesting then Greek and Roman myth. It was far more interesting then the 40 pages give or take I got crammed in the back of mythology textbook from college.

My only complaint is that it doesn’t really cover the beginning in much detail. It’s there but I wish there was a bit more detail.

Alternately this is the best telling of the end I have seen in a book. Perhaps most translators get tired by this point but Gaimen is a writer first and foremost and it was an enjoyable ready from cover to cover (or In my case from 1%-94% on kindle [the last batch of pages is a glossary])

It’s not the only book I brought on my trip luckily and hopefully I’ll be able to finish another soon. These train rides are really perfect for reading.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Japan Day 10 - Deer and Rain

Today is our final full day In Kyoto so a bunch of us decided to take a day trip to Nara which i famous for deer.
Lots.... and LOTS of deer.

We bought some crackers, were accosted by the wildlife for said crackers. We walked around and saw some temples and shrines (we couldn't go into any cause a million schools were having their field trip that day and it was packed.)
After walking around the grounds we headed back and got some curry.... where they almost got my order very very wrong.

I ordered a mild pork curry because i'm allergic to spicy food and i didn't feel like taking a bendryl in the middle of the day.

So they served me a level 4 spiced (out of 10) beef curry....
so.... even though i hate sending food back i had to because i couldn't handle a level 1.... level 4 would be a bad time for me.

So got that swapped out and we prepaired to head home.... where not only was it raining... it was pouring.
Luckily that sun umbrella i bought on day 2 or 3 works for rain! I even found out a hidden pattern appears in the rain.... when this one dies i'll probably buy another cause it really is cute.

After that when we got home Bram had returned! So now we are back to a group of 7.
Tomorrow we head to the first of two Ryokans in a row... I have no clue if we will get wifi but considering how out of the way they are i highly doubt it... guess we'll see tomorrow (or.... i guess i'll just do a bunch of these as one post? I'll figure something out since i'm going to have a lot to say about the second ryokan for sure.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Japan Day 9 - I lied, migraines are the enemy.

Today was a bit more of relaxing day but not completely y my choice.

In the morning we went to the Kyoto Toei Studio Park which is an awesome place that it set up like an old town in Edo japan and maybe used for films.
It was a bit more expensive to get into then other things but there was lots to do and tones really cool free shows inside. There was a street merchant one where a man spoke both the fastest Japanese and English i had ever heard.
Then we saw them doing. Demo on a sound stage which was pretty funny.
Lastly we caught a chunk of a ninja show and for something with no wires the acrobatics were very impressive. Also the use of practical light effects with a projector was super neat.

However after we headed home i got hit with a massive migraine... I'm actually glad i didn't go to Kobe with the guys because it would have sucked to feel this sick out and about.

But it did keep me in the house for the second part of the day... Marise got to look at some kimono's and hopefully today i can join her in finding one to buy.

But yeah short little adventure today, i did take lots of pictures so look forward to those at the end of the month.

Not too much in the way of planning on this final day in Kyoto... Nara maybe? It all depends on what everyone else wants to do.
Until then have a great day everyone!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Japan Day 8 - Stairs are the enemy

Today was the first day Marise and I didn't have anything planned so we woke up early and headed over to Inari Shrine.
We ended up leaving one of the group behind cause they were still sleeping but we knew they would catch up (and funnily enough, they did... while we only about a third up no less.)

It was very sunny and humid but that was fine, I actually had a much harder time of the stairs then i was expecting. I feel like had it all just been a dirt path it would have been so much easier (but also a lot more dangerous so i get why there are stairs.)

Still the view from the top of the mountain was lovely (although surprisingly smoggy) and the decent down was far more relaxing then i expected it to be.

We did end up getting separated from the group but we all just made it down at our own pace and made our way over to some of the food vendors.
I got some strawberry shaved ice with condensed milk syrup... it was really really good and very refreshing on this hot and humid day (27 C with 30% humidity [though that's current data... it felt ike more up the mountain])

Thanks to friends i also got to try the spiral potato and roasted chestnuts.
After waiting a while we eventually all met up and i found ice cream... i got Matcha flavour while my friends tried the Sake Icecream and the Tofumilk flavour. All in all pretty yummy

After that we went home and rested... the hike was a bit intense and some of us felt like the need to sit was greater then the need to rush off to the next thing.

However the day was young and in the afternoon we headed out once again to a Shrine called "Kiyomisudera".
Cristian had his heart set on a specific shop at the temple but unfortunately it was closed.
Still it was a lovely temple to walk around and i got (what i hope were) some nice pictures. (Fun fact, been taking more pictures then i normally would and the camera STILL says 9999 shots left.)

After walking around it was time once again to head home and bask in the glory of the AC unit. Even with my dorky umbrella I still think i got a bit of a burn (all the sunscreen in the world wouldn't fix that apparently) but as long as it isn't as bad as i got that one day in Fuji i'll consider it a win.

This was where i was going to end it but then one more thing happened.
We were planning on eating in so cristian made spaghetti but it wasn't enough for all 6. So Matt, Cristian and I left for food... the walk was nice but it was already pretty late and the only sold food i had eaten all day was some bread for breakfast.

Cristian wanted Kushikatsu (essentially fried food) so we went to a place... Reserve only.
Then we were two second from another place... but they didn't feel the reviews were good enough... so we walked to another place about 10 mins away an it was closed.
At this point we said Screw it... lets just go for curry which is nearby and open.
We were about to cross the street to go into the curry place when Cristian tells us he found another Kushikatsu place. My protest for just going with the guarenteed food fell on deaf ears and we walked for another 15 mins or so.
We do fine the place, it's unite literally a hole in the wall but it was absolutely delicious.... i just wish we had got here first.

Then we headed home and I went straight to bed because I ended up doing a lot more walking then expected today... oh well.

Still in Kyoto for a little longer so hopefully we get to go to Nara or Kobe or even just check out some Kimono's.

At least for now i think all my shopping is done... just the one cafe event left and that is all small stuff. Got my bro a fancy shirt but i have no idea if it'll fit him.... guess i'll find out in a few weeks.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Japan Day 7 - The only thing I really cared about

We had a lot of event planned for this trip.
Between Cafe's and store doing Collab events there was only one thing where i would have been genuinely upset had we not been able to work it out.

In Osaka there was a gallery for the creator of Natsume Yuujinchou and a focus on the 15 year old series.

I bought tickets for this month ago.
So when we finally got to this place which is only about an hour away from Osaka i knew we had to do it ASAP (also cause the gallery closes tomorrow but ignoring that). We woke up at a decent time and the whole group traveled to Osaka for a day trip.
We split off almost immediately and enjoyed our show.
Just as excepted it was worth every penny, so many of her originals were up on display. You could see things that had been cut off but cropping or places where she made a mistake or changed her mind and made it work.
You could see her style evolve over the course of the 15 years and it just made me wanna sit down and draw.

It wasn't a huge exhibit but we spent an inordinate amount of time looking closely at the work cause what's the chance we'll get to see something like this again.

Then came the gift store where I spent only 3 bucks more then i had expected to. When i get him I'm debating having some of these items framed since they are very nice.

After that we went to check a store for a collab event Marise was looking into but once again it was sold out... so we met up with the others and headed to "Denden town" (it's apparently a mini Akihabara)

There we managed to find a Namco store which had some of the Namjatown event items that had been sold out in actual Namjatown town (so i got the acrylic stand for yuuri and victor)

Then i saw a white Ys Vita in the wild and for 238 bucks it was almost worth it but i currently don't have space in my bag left... that being said if i see it in Tokyo on the way back.... i'll probably make room... i just don't wanna carry it all trip.

And then we headed back home to rest our tired feet.
Luckily (for my wallet) there are no more events till the 15th so we will be doing more traditionally touristy things. I know there's is talk of Imari shrine, Kiyomisudera, Nara and maybe Kobe... no idea if any of these will really happen but that is the plan.

Once thing i am sad about... i haven't been able to find anything falcom (besides the vita and a few games) anywhere.... i want some merch but the universe is saying no... oh well... i have a few weeks to keep trying.