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Jul 16, 2017
The camera zooms towards a slowly-expanding earth from the eyes of the outer Celestials; it glides closer and closer until finally reaching stasis on a face bidding goodbye to her present domain.

As liftoff begins, the heroine speaks her last lines as the shot fades from the heart-clenching scene to a cluttered office, where one man watches the same scene on his little desk-television. Interrupted by the call of his coworker, he rewinds the tape and the one scene changes into a montage of the actress’s life - in reverse.

These scenes and the actress in them, the man watching the actress, and the co-worker beckoning the read more
Jul 11, 2017
Wrapped within the coils of the night, two young girls dance as if in a trance, illuminated by the crystal-white moon. They continue twirling; hypnotized by each other’s company as waves of cherry blossoms encircle them, following their every move. The two girls are distinct from one another. Kanako is a beautiful, intelligent girl with ideas beyond her years, while Yoriko is a timid girl who aims to be Kanako, in body and mind. Kanako offers Yoriko this chance as she tells her that they ‘are’ each other and that this life is just one of many conduits that hold their endless cycle together – read more
Feb 16, 2017
The streets glow with a crimson hue.

Upon closer gaze, a pattern of five-pointed leaves stained with a fiery red flutter in synchronized elegance, encapsulating the essence of an enigmatic tale told in the 12-episode anime titled Saraiya Goyou or House of Five Leaves. Based on the manga by Natsume Ono, Saraiya Goyou tells a slow-burning narrative revolving around an unemployed samurai named Masa, who in simple desperation, finds himself hired by Yaichi – the leader of a small band of thieves who call themselves the Five Leaves.

The bulk of the series focuses on the dynamics between the members of the Five Leaves, specifically Masa read more
Jul 8, 2016
The wooden curtain opens with a sinister smile revealing the first scene:

A wave of vibrant, whirling umbrellas cascade down the street; the rain continues to pour in assorted shapes, accompanied by the patter of hollow conversations latching on to the sounds of its perpetual fall. On top of the path rests a towering hotel embellished by color, wood, and ruse. Slowly, an enigmatic wanderer appears at the gate of the inn, with a wooden box strapped on his back requesting to stay there. He is identified as the medicine seller. Shortly after, a young pregnant woman, dressed in desperation, finds herself at the same inn; read more
May 23, 2016
Prologue:

Lands bound by Magic, Lore, and Myth brimming with fabled creatures and tall-tales are the life force of fantasy-based works. Works of Fantasy tend to be products of pure imagination; the bridge between “what is” and “what can never be” often makes these works innately tantalizing. They have the ability to transport the audience into the fantastic, the absurd, the unreal, but, magic and trickery of the imagination displayed in effective works can invert these “fairy-tales” into something that feels far more real.

The aforesaid effectiveness depends primarily on one element when it comes to Fantasy, and that is world-building. There is nothing that single-handedly matters read more
Apr 1, 2016
Under the dimly-lit canvas of a rustic theatre, surrounded by the sounds of slowly-plucked shamisen, waits an audience for a performance of great tradition. Gradually, a man wrapped in an dignified air approaches the center of the stage, sits elegantly on his knees, takes a slight bow to welcome his gazers, and proceeds. Thus begins a performance commonly known as Rakugo or the Japanese art of oral story-telling. Rakugo involves the storyteller to orate a comical account designated between two or more characters, generally playing all roles, distinguished only by slight nuances in behavior, tone, and gestures.

Rakugo has been a classical trait of read more
Mar 30, 2016
Ambition is the elixir of creation. It is that which gives spirit to its container, and those rare gems that rise above their standardized, rehashed counterparts are almost always backed by the unadulterated ambition of their creator(s). And ambition rests on the shoulders of ideas. The notion of ideas and ambition being interlocked is an unspoken truth - a virtuous tenet of great works. However, there is something more; something that too often gets overlooked, and when untended, sets both ambition and the idea that bore it on route for inevitable disaster. That ‘something’ is focus. An idea – no matter how great or innovative read more
Mar 7, 2016
It’s not a surprise that Inio Asano (the acclaimed creator of works like "Oyasumi Punpun") cited Okazaki Kyoko as a heavy influence. For those unfamiliar with either Okazaki or Asano, both are revolutionaries within the medium. Their hard-hitting realism driven by “a need for truth” regardless of how bitter, and laced with explorative psychological power has shook and captivated the world with every frame. Both are truly masters of portraying various facets of the human condition and the world that shapes it. From that familiar cut comes Okazaki’s short but powerfully evocative piece titled ”Helter Skelter”.

The manga follows a high-fashion model named Liliko who is read more
Feb 15, 2016
It’s the eve of the 18th century and France is flailing between hubris and chaos.

The air is stale in Paris; an odious despair engulfs the streets as the common man struggles to eat. The color of the Seine slowly begins to fade. Yet, the scarlet-stained roses of Versailles continue to bloom with such fervor, such elegance, and such nobility. Surrounded by decadence in its purest form, these roses thrive; unaffected and ignorant of the tumultuous tempest that brews, seeping insidiously into the soils of the earth.

One rose, the noblest of them all, with a chivalrous conviction breaks off - known better in the read more
Feb 10, 2016
Tales of romance never fail to tug at our heartstrings and entrance our species with a commanding power. Witnessing the innocuous meeting of two unsuspecting individuals struck by an incomprehensible tempest, finding themselves in a whirlwind of chaos and feeling, just piques our imaginative fancies. Thus, Love and all its related counterparts feel universal and evident in stories unfazed by time or land. It’s the one subject that transcends language barriers into a collective realm of human dreams. Why? It’s simply the unequivocal remedy to longing, to despair, to emptiness; a cure for an incurable illness. It fills voids that can’t be explained. As read more