4 of 4 chapters read
"The speed at which cherry blossoms fall.
It's 5 centimeters per second."
(This is a review of the novel that also makes comparisons to the film and manga versions. Think of it as my feelings for all 3 versions.)
I began reading the novelized version of "5 Centimeters per Second" in order to have a different experience of one of my most loved stories in anime. Having already watched the film numerous times and reading the manga once, I already had a rough expectation of what to feel while reading this story. This expectation, however, prepared me little in what I ultimately felt while I read, invoking something much sadder, and much more genuine.
All versions of "5 Centimeters per Second" follow the same basic pattern divided into 3 distinct sections, detailing the life of the protagonist, Takaki Tohno. They are: "Cherry Blossoms," "Cosmonaut," and "5 Centimeters per Second." The novel however, has an extra story, called "The Sky Outside the Window." Something interesting I learned about the creation during this reading of "5 Centimeters per Second" was that Makoto Shinkai had roughly 10 stories he had written for his fledgling work, before ultimately picking 3 stories to represent the film version (which is the original version, the manga and novel came later.)
Briefly, "The Sky Outside the Window" is a very short story of a girl named Miyuki Ogawa, who is staying at home from school due to the blowing typhoon. Like many of the characters in this work, she is unsure of what she wants to do with herself. She has a novel started but is not entirely sure what she is going to do with this novel. After being inspired by the sight of the dazzling world during the eye of the typhoon, she begins to be a little more hopeful in leaving a little trace of herself in history. Interestingly, I remember watching a video of Shinkai talking about his early career, how he spent many hours creating "Voices of a Distant Star," and how he wanted to leave a little something for people to remember him by. Whether this is a coincidence or not is entirely up to interpretation.
Watching the film and reading the story is an entirely different experience. What the film could describe using its stunning visuals, the novelized version had to rely on words and the imagination to produce a similar effect. I feel, that by both watching the film and reading the story, viewers can certainly understand the story, but in very different ways. To see the beauty firsthand and using words to imagine it are ways that enhance the appreciation of this work.
The overarching theme of this work is that distance creates conflict. Physical distances and emotional distances, whatever kind of distance that puts us at odds with others is a central focus of this work. For Tohno, he is physically separated from his first love, Akari Shinohara, and in the later stages of his life, he is emotionally separated from the many people he comes into contact to. How people deal with this distance is of profound importance in this work. For Tohno, time does not appear to have moved at all after his final night with Akari. For Kanae Sumida, she tries to hide her feelings behind surfing and her unrequited love for Tohno. And finally, for Akari, she seems to have simply moved on. When faced with this decision in life, the choice to move on or stay in the past will have great significance and lasting effects.
The novel invoked the feelings and mood of Tohno's life very interestingly, by making the prose less...beautiful as the novel progresses. His childhood is written in the perspective of him as an adult, after the events had happened, and perhaps a little after the ending of the novel. His childhood is written with many beautiful images of cherry blossoms and the pseudo-philosophical monologues about his life, his love for Akari, and the overwhelming sense of happiness and loneliness he feels when he is together with her. His high school years, written in the perspective of his classmate, Kanae, is also characterized by his seeming lack of attachment to nothing. He is certainly kind, but it is in a more distant and nonchalant way than what most people would be comfortable with.
The biggest changes, however, takes place during the final stages of the novel, the appropriately named "5 Centimeters per Second." Here is where the film, manga, and novel diverge greatly. Up until this point, all versions told basically the same story in varying degrees of detail. The manga, for example, adds extra scenes and fleshes out some of the characters, even including an extended epilogue after the original ending of the film. The novel does not include this scene, however. It ends in the same place as the film. What the novel does better than both the film and manga is detailing the final stage of the 3 stories that make up this work.
In the novel's final section, we learn a great deal of Tohno's life after high school. While this section of the story is the shortest in the film, it is the longest in the novel. Many new details surface about him, including his university days, various relationships, and job careers. The most important revelation, I believe, is that Tohno works for a mobile phone software company, ironically enough. The novel details his initial excitement with work and his droning life as a programmer. Tohno feels that programming is almost mythical, in that he can control a program that can hold all the secrets in the world. Secrets that he wishes he could tell and things that he wish he could hear again. Also in greater detail in the novel is his different relationships with women, all, surprisingly, ending in separation of the two. Risa Mizuno, who is only briefly mentioned in the film and a little more so in the manga, plays a much more important role in the novel. We can understand much more about her, her being one of the few people Tohno can say he cares about.
Finally, between all 3 versions, this is the most clear in what he wants to do with himself after he sees something he links to a miracle. I felt sad all throughout, but something about the simplicity and genuineness of his final words made me feel a little more hopeful about the story. In the film, it ends with a bittersweet collage set to "One More Time, One More Chance," and reading the final few words left an impression on me much like that song did when I first saw this movie quite a while ago.
I feel that the ending can mean a lot to different kinds of people. It all depends on what we have been though up until that point. Whether or not we choose to stay, look back, or simply move on can say a lot about our experiences and opinions of others. "5 Centimeters per Second" gives one such interpretation through the eyes of Tohno, someone who is still living 15 years in the past.
This story has become one of my most beloved stories ever told. I greatly enjoyed reading the novel thoroughly and picking up all the new details that I learned through reading a novelized version of the story. Whether reading it or watching it, I feel the magic and bittersweet feelings of the story can reach out to audiences. It will mean something different to all kinds of people, and that is why I think this story is so brilliantly crafted.
It leaves an impression, a kind of imprint on audiences, to remind them of how distance is so ever prevalent, how memories are ever so painful and joyful, and how things will change with time.
However, even after all that, "I'm sure you'll be alright!" read more
10 of 10 episodes seen
"Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku" details the struggles of the Miyakawa sisters as they battle one of history's most famous, most heart wrenching social problems: poverty. Cruel, heartless poverty. The sisters Hinata and Hikage live a life filled with unflattering things, like tofu substituted meat, skim milk, skim milk, and convenience store dinners. This show is a glimpse at sections of their life, filling the viewers with a sense of overwhelming pity.
For Hikage, the younger sister, she is an endearing elementary school student who puts up with her sister's wasteful spending, using precious dollars on unneeded things like light novels with ridiculously long titles and promotional items. Her cries of dissatisfaction are drowned out by the sounds of her growling stomach, giving her the unpleasant reminder that another day of meatless dinner awaits her. She goes to school, where she lives a relatively normal elementary school life, where her dear friends offer a respite to the battlefields of the supermarket. Her teacher, Kirito-sensei, being the sporting guy he is, attempts to help Hikage, as long as it has nothing to do with financial problems. However, the ever wise Hikage denies his advice, citing "love problems." This Kirito-sensei seems nowhere near as successful with women as his alternate world counterpart is.
Hikage's sister, Hinata, works in a book store to rake in meager allowances to sustain both herself and her sister. She is caring, but her impulsive buying habits are in direct confrontation with her family's dire financial situation. Seeing Hikage in distress upsets her however, and always tries to make it up to her, offering enticing things like sharing her limited edition goods, and sweet words to make her forget her growling stomach.
The ending song is tragically cut short for many of the episodes, given the studio's dire financial situation. The Miyakawa sisters sing their hearts out about their lone struggles, but alas, funding is little and the song cannot be complete...until near the end! The song is a cry for help to viewers, detailing their shambled lives, citing the delicious foods they want to eat and the poor substitutes they have instead. Like tofu steaks and skim milk. A given rule to people is to avoid skim milk, but in the most desperate of situations, rules are only "guidelines." Hearing the full song tugs at those heart strings alright.
"Miyakawa-ke no Kuufuku" chronicles short adventures of the Miyakawa sisters, showing their heroic inner fighting spirits and absolute refusal to give up in the face of overwhelming odds. It is a tale worthy of your viewing and sympathies. Struggle along with the sisters as they battle a foe all too familiar to people: empty wallets and empty stomachs.
Let Hikage's shining, innocent face be a reminder of the important things in life. Like bacon. And steak.
25 of 25 episodes seen
never seen the red that is the
-Poem 17 of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu
The poem now most well known to viewers of Chihayafuru was written by Ariwara no Narihira, detailing his unsuccessful relationship with Fujiwara no Takaiko. After falling madly in love with each other, the two would be lovers attempt to run away from the palace. Naturally, given the rather wispy and nostalgic tone of the poem, this attempt failed in a spectacular fashion. Despite this, Ariwara no Narihira became well respected much later on and was most likely the basis for the nameless hero of "The Tales of Ise." His name, along with other famous poets, such as Ono no Komachi and Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, were later included in the Thirty Six Immortals of Poetry.
History lesson aside, the poem invokes an impression of a deep crimson color, both literally and figuratively. The literal reflection of the water and the red of passion and emotion. The second season of the sleeper hit "Chihayafuru" certainly adds to the overall experience of the series, building on the budding character relationships and the surprisingly intense matches of karuta. Virtually unknown to most before watching "Chihayafuru," I can say with confidence that the game of karuta depicted in the series is as action packed as a card game based around classical Japanese poems can get. "Chihayafuru 2" builds largely on what made the first season successful, but seems to crank up the intensity to sweltering levels.
Of course, if you happen to be reading this review and have not yet seen the first season of "Chihayafuru," do yourself a favor and watch the first season before naturally going on to the second season.
The story continues the adventures of karuta-obsessed high school girl Chihaya Ayase and the Mizusawa High School Karuta Club, as they reach greater heights, challenging themselves and the swarms of intense competition around them. Highlights of their karuta careers involve the high school and national tournaments, events that are a central focus to the members of the karuta club. The first and second season differ in that the second season focuses much more attention on the tournaments and the individual mindsets of the characters. Character development takes place during the fierce matches everyone plays and the interactions during down time. Karuta, despite the rather simple premise of matching one half of a poem to another, takes a surprising amount of stamina, speed, and strategy. Chihaya comically seems to immediately fall asleep at the conclusion of her matches, a cute way of relating the tremendous physical and mental endurance needed to play competitively.
A popular dilemma for club based shows are the disturbingly small amount of members becoming a major problem for school administration, and of course, the club will be disbanded if they don't find new members. Chihaya and the team manage to find two freshman to fill the empty spots, managing to find two people with very different reasons for joining the club. The two new members, Sumire Hanano and Akihiro Tsukuba, are honestly overshadowed by the beloved returning members, but their presence gives interesting contrast to the veterans of the team. For Sumire, who joined only to get closer to the club president, Taichi Mashima, and for Tsukuba, who joined to learn the mainland version of karuta, their growth and development towards their love of the sport and the team is a wonderful journey.
While karuta remains the main focus of the show, another major focal point of the show is the love triangle between Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata Wataya. The first season introduced this romantic subplot and highlighted mostly Arata's struggle to come to grips with his grandfather's death and the return of his old friends and Taichi's exasperated attempted to get his dense childhood friend to notice his sincere feelings for her. As Chihaya's love for the game of karuta grows, she begins dedicating more and more of herself to becoming the best she can be, coming to terms with her current relationships and her shortcomings as both a karuta player and as a normal person. Romance is definitely in the air, with looks of longing from Taichi, Chihaya's fascination with Arata, and Arata's desire to reunite with his old friends. There are some very beautiful scenes involving bringing the poetry to life and trying to understand what the poet was trying to convey, using images of summer days long past and flowers adorning the trees. Romance amidst classical poems can only add to the flowery nature of this series' romance and the passion for both others and the game itself.
In regards to animation quality, it is still excellent and crisp. Set in everyday places like school and classrooms give little room for diversity, but the artwork for "Chihayafuru 2" is vibrant and rich with color and light. Sparkles of sunlight bask the rooms of competitors and drops of rain accent the storm outside. Some of the most beautiful scenes concern explaining the meaning of the poems, invoking rich metaphors of ancient Japan, with calligraphy, flowers, and the gradual changing of seasons. Flashes of red, mountain ridges, the ever expansive sea and falling snow are just some of the images portrayed. It adds a more literary and poetic beauty to a show set in modern times.
A familiar soundtrack accompanies the show, and adds to the mood of the show. The opening theme is "STAR" by 99RadioService, who also did the first season's opening, and the ending theme is "Akane Sora" by Asami Seto. Regarding the ending theme, it is played in different fragments at the end of the episode, and eventually the whole song can be heard if you string together the related parts. It was a fun way to get a glimpse of the wonderful full song, and the sweet, emotional music was a great way to end another intense day of karuta.
"Chihayafuru 2" is my personal winner for this season of anime, and I am sad to see it go. Remembering my thoughts all the way back to the first season, I am surprised that a show with such a niche game could engross me so much. I looked forward to this show every week, and my Fridays are going to be a little less cheery with "Chihayafuru 2's" absence. Shows like these invoke emotion and transport viewers to the heated world of sports and makes the characters so much more likable, so much so that we will be cheering for their victories and feeling down at their defeats. This sequel builds on the world of karuta so expertly built in the first season and adds another layer of intensity and beauty, sometimes even exceeding the success of the first.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Blending elements of time travel, psychic awareness and philosophy, "Nerawareta Gakuen" (Psychic School Wars) focuses on a group of students who get caught up in a time traveler's attempts to change the bleak future that seems to await humanity. Through loosely connected sequences, the film poses questions about when to express your actual feelings and the morality of whether or not to change something that inevitably will happen. Set in a vibrant world of color, the film uses two interlinked love stories to tackle these questions, linking the stories with the overarching theme of the difficulty of forming connections.
Using psychic powers and time travel as a medium, the film wants to challenge the notion of what it means to stay connected. The psychic powers here are mostly telepathy and psychic awareness, as opposed to things like psychokinesis and pyrokinesis. It is a complex plot with many things to take into consideration, and it will take creative thinking to piece together the loosely connected sequences into a single, overarching story that has many, many layers. Peel a layer back and another more complex one replaces it. It is smart and refreshing, and linking the themes to the story gives a wistful interpretation of staying in contact with one another. For the time traveler, who lives in a hopeless future, and for the psychic, who lives in relative peace, their interpretations of personal relationships and ideas of love are considerably different.
One of the most striking features of the film is the beautiful animation and diverse color palette. Shades of red, blue, and green dominate the scenery, and the characters make references to fairy tales and plays, almost giving a self appreciating kind of awareness. With the animation quality rivaling other films known for this, such as "Kotonoha no Niwa" and "Byousoku 5 Centimeter", both directed by Makoto Shinkai, "Nerawareta Gakuen" is definitely one of the best looking anime films. The sky in particular looks beautiful, with many different colors used. Watching the film almost feels like a dream, with one fantastic background moving to another fantastic background. Colors flow and blend easily, immersing the characters in a vibrant world. Lighting is also a high point of the film, mimicking the sun's rays and emphasizing the contrast between light and dark.
One of the most common staples in anime is cherry blossoms blowing in the wind, or falling from the trees. The beginning of the film in particular has cherry blossoms scattered everywhere, from train tracks to the path leading to school, almost saturating the film with the flowers. It is toned down significantly as the film progresses, but their presence is a common reminder of the passing of seasons and fading beauty.
The film's soundtrack consists of soothing instrumental pieces and piano themes. The transfer student in particular likes "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy, a fitting piece for him given the character's background. It's placement is smart and is a major point in one of the central love stories, bringing the two characters to a common love of piano playing. The opening theme is "Giniro Hikousen" by supercell, and the ending theme is "Sayonara no Hashi by Mayu Watanabe, one of the voice actresses. The soundtrack captured the mood of the film perfectly, with breathtaking, dreamy scenes accompanied by a resonating soundtrack.
The characters talk about fairy tales, dreams, and acting, and that's almost precisely what this film is, a modern interpretation of a fairy tale. Its moments of blending reality and fantasy is visually and emotionally spectacular, and something that will bring with it many questions. Common to fairy tales, there is a lesson to be learned, but I think I will leave that lesson to be learned up to you. Interpretations, after all, are the most important thing when watching a film of this complex nature. It's re-watch value is very high, and a second or third viewing will lead to new interpretations and new insight to the time traveler's and the psychic's journey. While difficult to digest, I believe "Nerawareta Gakuen" is a worthwhile experience that will leave a positive, if bittersweet impression on the viewer.
After all, even in the hustle and bustle of increasing technology, and even when fantastical elements are introduced, simply reaching out to someone else can make all the difference, affecting the present and the uncertain future.
1 of 1 episodes seen
A faint clap of thunder,
Perhaps rain will come?
If so, will you stay here with me?"
Makoto Shinkai's latest film, "Garden of Words" (Kotonoha no Niwa), tells the story of a boy captivated by the mysteriousness of a woman he meets on a rainy morning, meeting again and again during the rainy days, where they both enjoy musing about the lazy flow of time the rain seems to bring with it. Through a few short encounters, starting off as strangers and gradually opening up to friend and companion, they soon start to wish every morning was greeted by rainfall.
Primarily told through the eyes of Takao, a high school student, viewers get a glimpse of his thoughts as he admires the simplistic beauty of the rainy days, his ambitions of becoming a shoemaker, and his captivation by the woman he meets by chance, who ended their first encounter with a poem from classical verse. Interestingly enough, both Takao's name and the woman's name, Yukino, are hardly every mentioned, and Takao at least, realizes this simple fact. They both happily chat and share meals, but Takao realizes he hardly knows anything about her, not even her name. This ambiguity and lack of concrete information plays an important part in both of their developments as characters and adds to the uncertainty of their budding friendship.
Characteristic of Shinkai's work, the film itself is incredibly beautiful and a visual wonder. Like falling cherry blossoms, or an infinitely reaching tower, all of Shinkai's films are notable for their exceeding beauty, photographic elements, and rich use of color. For example, "Garden of Words" is bathed in a deep, verdurous green, accented by the lightly blue rain and the faint traces of sunlight peeking out from the rainy clouds. It was very visually appealing and the animation quality was nothing short of astounding. It is as if you could jump into the garden yourself, and immerse yourself in its world of color.
The soundtrack of the film is a simple piano motif that varies with the mood, from frantic and quick meetings to more mellow moments. Indeed, if it isn't clear, one of my favorite scenes is still when Yukino recites her short poem to Takao, leaving him dazed. The piano motif accents the mellow, slightly sad poem, beginning the first of many encounters. The ending theme is, fittingly enough, "Rain" covered by Motohiro Hata. It was a nice listen, and while probably not as memorable as say, "One More Time, One More Chance" from "5 Centimeters per Second," it gave a fitting close to the story. The voices of the main characters are Miyu Irnio and Kana Hanazawa (HanaKana), two very proficient and talented voice actors, and gave a great and emotionally charged performance.
While elements like sound, animation and visual quality for this film are undoubtedly really high, the most conflicted I feel with rating this film higher is actually in the story in itself. While I watched it, I couldn't get a clear impression of whether this was a wonderful tale of unusual love and personal hopes and fears, or if this was about a guy who gets a little too involved with a stranger he knows nothing about. Some of the plot points regarding Yukino weren't as fleshed out as much as I would have liked, and both of their growing affections for each other is somewhat misplaced and unclear, I felt. The short duration of the film works against it, leaving some things not elaborated, but in the reverse it means we can watch a sweet love story unfold in a relatively short period of time.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't greatly excited for seeing this film, given that I love Shinkai's work and close to everything he does. "5 Centimeters per Second" remains my favorite film by him, and I don't think that's ever going to change. For "Garden of Words," the trailers were amazing, the visual quality was undeniable, and the piano music was soothing to listen to. The first 5 minutes being released early on made me want even more. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I had the opportunity to see the full movie earlier than I expected. While it probably doesn't succeed as much as his other films, Shinkai's "Garden of Words" is a lovely addition to the tales of love grounded in reality and worlds of beauty that Shinkai creates and shares for everyone to immerse themselves in.
It's a story of unusual love and growing hopes and expectations, and being true to your own feelings. It's your choice whether or not you want to enter the Garden of Words for yourself and see what words of comfort and mystery it can offer you.
28 of ? chapters read
This book was recommended to me by a certain place, and I find it extremely interesting. I also got it at a very reasonable price.
The characters all felt like they were just copies from other works I've read, and that's quite alright, cause I love when an apathetic guy gets dragged into the creation of a club! Looking at you Kyon, you lovable, sarcastic, unwilling club member. Oh, and Kodaka too I suppose.
The plot development is what you'd expect from a romantic comedy, full of the standard anime shenanigans and your share of odd characters. It's a hotblooded and rebellious adventure about trying to make friends! No friends? Look no further than to this story to encourage and inspire you to stop staring at your computer screen and make some comrades! Not once was I bored reading this.
I can't say the writing was very good, b-but it's not like it was bad either! I-It's just that...ah! Go away!
The paper (?) used for the cover was nice enough. Buriki proves once again that s/he is amazing at making Sena and Yozora jaw dropping. If you see this somewhere and the cover caught your eye, give it a shot. You can also get it at a very reasonable price!
Overall score: ☆☆☆☆
(If you get the joke, good for you. If you didn't...read the book and find out! It's really enjoyable. You can also get it for a very reasonable price!) read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Although this aging problem specifically deals with the supernatural, a more realistic problem is: How do people deal with the passage of time and distance? Gin has been placed under a spell such that no human can ever touch him. Otherwise, he will disappear. Hotaru learns to deal with this as a child, but as she grows up and starts becoming more attached to Gin, she yearns to physically touch him and spend even more time with him. Gin, while ever friendly, always seems so distant in his speech, more so when Hotaru is a teenager. They are close emotionally, but the unreachable is always looming above them.
Through each stage of Hotaru's life, we see and hear her thoughts about Gin and the strange, magical world she has wandered into. Viewers see how a little girls childish affections of her savior develop into friendship and then finally love for him. The only obstacles are the magic that separates Hotaru and Gin, and time. These underlying problems are the force that develops the two characters until the long awaited Summer Festival, something the two will never forget.
On a technical level, the film has extremely crisp, clean, and detailed artwork that brings to life the lazy summers that Hotaru and Gin share, and the ordinary life Hotaru has outside of the youkai inhabited forest. It resembles a moving watercolor painting, with soft colors and colorful, blended backgrounds. Background music is minimal, but the silence adds to the nature that surrounds Hotaru and Gin.
"Hotarubi no Mori e" is a heartwarming story that shows the deepening bond between a young girl and her supernatural companion, and how there is always an unreachable desire that follows the two as Hotaru grows up, and as Gin remains ever the same. It is a fairy tale that is slow, calm, and relaxing. I enjoyed watching this short, thoughtful movie, and it was something that I have thought about since then. I think of this movie like this: Do things always go our way? No. But it doesn't mean we can't enjoy the time we spent trying to make it so.
And here, I'll end with a little something from a movie called "When Harry Met Sally..."
"...when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
What do you get when an ambitious and rather oddball girl drags an unwilling male into forming a club for whatever reason? You get the "Save the World by Overloading it with Fun (SOS) Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade!" Oh wait, wrong show. You alternatively could get the "Neighbors Club." Yes, that seems about right. This fabulous club is composed of Kodaka and Kobato Hasegawa, Yozora Mikazuki, Sena Kashiwazaki, Rika Shiguma, Maria Takayama and Yukimura Kusunoki. Watch as this rebellious group takes on one of the world's most challenging of tasks: making friends!
"Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai" follows the misadventures of our assembled group of social misfits as they chase after the ever elusive rose-colored campus life of "popular" people. And what a daunting task this seems to be. After all, when your club is made up of such interesting people as a misunderstood "Yankee", two girls who assert themselves as goddesses (though only one of them is truly worthy of the title), a gender-confused-full-of-fighting-spirit-samurai and many others, the task of making true friends would seem quite difficult. Unknown to them, however, perhaps they will make friends with the very misfits they set out on this journey with.
Let us quickly get this out of the way. The artwork in "Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai" is flat out awesome. Those familiar with "Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko" will immediately recognize the similarities, since they were done by the same artist. And how fortunate that is, because depictions of Meat are as glorious as they can be. Backgrounds and characters are very colorful and animations are fluid enough, giving the viewer delicious eye candy. Look at those sultry lips on the females for instance...Check out official arts if you are having doubts.
"Haganai" (which is what I will be calling this show now) gives us the rather touching message that it is not necessarily the number of friends one has, but its about the one friend that is worth a hundred. The de facto leader of the Neighbors Club, Yozora, once wisely proclaimed this as a child, but now has trouble even maintaining normal conversations with other people. She above all wants to make friends, along with the rest of the club. However, most of the show is focused on comedy that usually arises with clashes between Yozora and Sena, and not actually making friends. I mean they try, and by that I mean Kodaka tries, but they usually end up having their share of laughs without establishing that close connection they desire. The club is already in trouble in the beginning, seeing as we have two tsunderes with a liking to the main character, Inde--Maria and Kobato fighting for Kodaka's brotherly affections, and Yukimura and Rika, who are both plain weird. Rika more so.
The sound of "Haganai" is quite enjoyable in its own charming kind of way. The opening theme is "Zannenkei Rinjinbu" by all the female members of the cast, and is an extremely cheesy J-Pop song detailing aspects of friendship. It is upbeat and disgustingly catchy, with a good indication of what the show is about. The ending theme is "My Feelings "by Marina Inoue (voice of Yozora) and fits well enough. It is yet another disgustingly catchy theme accompanied by a very enjoyable sequence of Yozora and Sena interacting in a rock band...The voice acting is excellent, and Marina Inoue's deeper voice for Yozora is quite enjoyable, in particular when she is on one of her many rants and shenanigans concerning Sena and general social values.
"Haganai"s comedy is generally pretty funny. Most of the comedic scenes are the club's fruitless attempts at making friends, such as establishing connections through multiplayer gaming, karaoke, and keeping in touch via cell phones. Of course, these attempts go horribly wrong, such as griefing each other and keeping things too literal....It is a fun and rather cheerful series, but Yozora is usually there to give the brutally sarcastic remarks she characteristically has, giving glimpses of her underlying attitude. I did not dislike her, but I certainly wished that she had tried a bit harder in making friends with the others, rather that step all over Sena and try to get closer to Kodaka. She may even have become much closer friends with Sena if she did not act that way, giving her just one more friend. The last episode just might change your opinion of her however...
There was a slight plot interwoven throughout the episodes, but it does not really leave much of an impact, at least not on me. You will have to be the judge on that. I however, simply watched "Haganai" for my weekly servings of Meat and shenanigans of the "Neighbors Club."
"Haganai" is an entertaining show depicting the doomed attempts of the "Neighbors Club" in making friends and ultimately becoming popular. Even though most of their attempts fail, it gives a rather nice message that friendship can come from the most unexpected of places. It covers basic methods of interacting with others and the hilarity that follows. The comedy is good, and the delicious eye candy may be enough to draw you into the series. Check it out if you ever need an anime guide on how NOT to make friends!
Oh, and to those who have bothered to read this far, I am a Sena fanboy. Sorry, Yozora, move over for the REAL goddess. She, along with a certain brigade leader, will be the only Gods I'll ever worship!
11 of 11 episodes seen
It was a work of art that displayed a realistic and simplistic story filled with heartwarming moments and times of deep thought, thoughts of whether or not our current actions were correct, whether or not it truly was worth giving one's dedication to something more important than them. Life isn't a fairy tale. Things happen, and people endure. It's the simplest values, like family and presence, that stay true in the end.
The world in Usagi Drop is unremarkable. That is, the same kind of world many of us live in. We go through a routine that follows us for the rest of our lives. We eat, we sleep, we work, we weep, and we love. Each episode gave us just another taste in the life of Daikichi, who willingly chose to take care of a child she barely knew. For him, it is a strange thing, suddenly being given responsibility over something worth more than one's self. How many other people would give up their leisure and free time for something like this? He partied, and he lived his own life. Then, he learns what it means to have something to work for, a semblance of what thinks a parent should do.
The entire story is an anthology of one year that Daikichi raises Rin Kaga. He watches her grow up, perhaps too fast. They go through life just as someone else would, by doing our daily duties and then coming home.
Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone. However, interactions between Rin and Daikichi show that they aren't alone. For Rin, who was shunned by her family, and Daikichi, who has lived by himself for a long time, they take comfort in each other. Usagi Drop displayed human emotion in its simplest form, that is, simply finding happiness for taking care of one another. The people around Daikichi have all had their own struggles, whether they be marriage or raising children. For him, it is an entirely new but thoughtful experience. Family is an important part of everyone's life, and Daickichi and Rin give form to this idea. It was heartwarming, and it was lovely to see them grow up and teach each other.
Art and animation were incredible. It was like watching a water color painting come to life. It was colorful, detailed, and created Usagi Drop's ordinary life. The opening and ending themes gave the show a very upbeat and optimistic feel, something very appropriate to the story it tells.
It was a masterpiece, and an amazing experience. It was a story about growing up and looking at life in a simpler way. Not many slice-of-life's can compare to how well it told its story. It teaches us that parenthood/childhood is something to be cherished.
Sudden change can be overwhelming, but sometimes, it may not be all that bad.
11 of 11 chapters read
Already a 4-year veteran of his unemployment and shut-in lifestyle, Tatsuhiro finds little satisfaction and meaning in his shut-in lifestyle. He sleeps for a large portion of the day, and in the few hours he is awake, he eats instant noodles, watches television, and mulls over the sad fact that he is indeed, a hikikomori. All of this changes, however, when he meets a mysterious girl named Misaki Nakahara, who claims to be able to "save him." Thus, their journey to cure Tatsuhiro of his social withdrawal, and perhaps to learn more about themselves, begins.
Welcome to the NHK is one of those rare gems of a novel where emotion is clearly displayed in the cynical and somewhat pitiful monologues of Tatsuhiro, as he observes the lives of others and more importantly, himself. His distrust towards other people comes from his delusions of an evil organization, the "NHK," which is a huge conspiracy theory in his eyes. In his earlier counseling sessions with Misaki, he maintains a cautious attitude, usually thinking that this is all part of the NHK's master plan.
Before I describe the characters and plot, I would like to mention that this novel contains heavy drug and alcohol usage. There are even 2 pages dedicated to Tatsuhiro concocting a master drug that will let him escape. Some of his and Kaoru's actions would make even Harold and Kumar blush. This is a noticeable change from the manga and anime, where this is less apparent.
Novels need to have strong characters and plot in order to maintain the reader's interest. This novel easily has this trait, with the plot revolving around Tatsuhiro and the few people that he has in his current life. These people include Kaoru Yamazaki, his next door neighbor and otaku, and Hitomi Kashiwa, Tatsuhiro's high school senpai, and of course Misaki. Of these four characters, Hitomi plays a much smaller part compared to her anime counterpart, but her pessimistic attitude and conspiracy theories played a tremendous role in Tatsuhiro's life.
The plot is told in first person, in the eyes of Tatsuhiro. He frequently goes into monologues and gives comments on his situation and his life, which are usually very negative. Sometimes rambling, sometimes clear in thought, his opinions on his situation are important in understanding the overall theme of the novel. As the novel progresses, his thoughts rapidly shift from pessimism to pity to a small hope. As bonds grow stronger, so does his view on what the meaning of his life was, and the shame he feels for the time he wasted.
Settings are few but play proportionately large roles. These include Tatsuhiro's mind, his apartment complex, the park, and a certain cape...
Character interaction is very well done. Tatsuhiro maintains a very odd and drug induced relationship with Kaoru, with the two usually doing ridiculous things after attempting to escape from reality. Kaoru holds a very negative opinion of real life girls, citing their disloyalty and harsh judgements. Many times, Kaoru would rant incoherently on these issues, with Tatsuhiro listening, if out of pity. He usually keeps comments to himself, since he understands the pain that he is going through. In other words, the loneliness of not having someone there that cherishes you, someone who makes the next day worth living. In their wacky quest to understand life, they brave the harshness of reality and relay their sorrows to one another: their shabby lives, the disappointment and shame, and fears of the future.
More importantly however, is Tatsuhiro's relation to the mysterious girl that will supposedly save his life, Misaki. Readers never really understand her until the later parts of the novel, and Tatsuhiro frequently comments on the odd ways she acts. Their counseling sessions were my favorite part of the novel. The cute ways which Misaki acts, the cynical and cautious attitude Tatsuhiro holds, everything about their interaction was enjoyable. Later scenes in the novel are quite powerful, with the confused Tatsuhiro trying to understand why he can stand to go outside every evening, and why he wants to change.
"Aren't you lonely?" she asks. "No, I'm not" he responds, lying. Misaki's personality fascinated me, and I was intrigued as she reveals the very nature of her grand project, why she chose to save Tatushiro and her own mysterious past. Learning of her good and bad qualities while spending time with a supposedly "worthless" hikikiomori" strengthens her character's appeal and for the reader's ability to empathize with both her and Tatsuhiro. Sometimes, it takes someone in an even worse situation to pull ourselves from our pessimism.
Welcome to the NHK is a beautiful novel which depicts the journey that a hikikomori takes to cure himself of his fears, to become a better person overall. This novel has extremely strong character interactions and a moving plot. The frequent trips into Tatsuhiro's cynical mind are dark, humorous and informative. His unorganized thoughts and observations are the heart of the story. Welcome to the NHK is an enjoyable and intelligent experience, and is ultimately a story about finding one's self.
It teaches us that, even at rock bottom, there is still a chance to be saved. All it takes are a few hastily checked out library books, famous last words, love, and an erotic game.