近海る (Kin Kairu)

JET, Japan, Journalism and other J words

Archive for the category “Reviews”

“Love is Difficult for Nerds” vol. 1&2 and The Question of Balance

Carla: If you like her, you can’t keep lying to her about who you are!
Janitor: Hogwash! Lie forever, it’s the natural form of communication between men and women.
-Scrubs, Season 7 Episode 6: My Number One Doctor

Cover Vol 1Cover Vol 2








How much do you disclose about yourself to a potential partner? To what extent, and how soon? Sure, it’s advisable to share a good amount of your interests, but what should or should not be held back at the beginning? There’s no real right answer to this, but living in a era where such a wide range of interests and hobbies exist, some of them are going to be lost on others. Perhaps it’s easier to find someone who already has a predisposition to your interests since they already understand the ins-and-outs of your particular like. It certainly makes for great common ground.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii, or “Love is Difficult for Nerds” as I’m personally translating it, is a massive seller among the respective audience here in Japan. Most recently the second volume outsold some major series when it came out at the end of March. With all the hype, the interesting title, and seeing the last two copies of each volume at the bookstore, I had to check it out. And it’s not hard to understand the popularity after reading: a slice-of-life rom-com with deep anime, manga, video game references and memes, posing some questions many of the readers are probably dealing with themselves.

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Star Wars Episode 7 Review: This series is old

NOTE: Please only read this review if you have seen Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. It’s spoiler-tastic.

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BoJack Horseman Season 2, Holes, and Hills

When I published my first Bojack Horseman review back in April, I really wasn’t sure what kind of reaction it was going to get. Honestly in retrospect, I think it reads more like a confessional than a series review. But I was honestly surprised by the response. Many friends reached out, commented, and appreciated the fact I wrote the piece. Even more shocking was when I noticed a high up-tick in page views here and saw that my article had been linked in another review (meta-linking?).

When the second season of BoJack came out in mid-July, I was a little hesitant to start. “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” and “This year… He’s really trying to be a better Horseman.” were the main taglines for the upcoming season, and I was a little uneasy about what direction that meant for the show. The parts that impacted me most in the first season were the “honest truths” the show presented, and I was worried the writing was going to suffer if they tried to go in a different direction. Depending on how you read that, I guess you could say a part of me still wanted BoJack to be in a “hole”. But that’s unfair to him as a character, and unfair to the message the writers tried to present this season. And I do think it was for the better.

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BoJack Horseman, My Depression, and Being A Good Person

Some people may look at two words in that headline and get a little uncomfortable. Some may see those two words and have a little light bulb flicker in their head. Others may completely ignore it, or even wonder why I’m bothering to write something that has nothing to do with Japan, my job, nerd stuff, etc.

But then I remind myself that this is my blog and the only staff on duty is myself. And when something comes up to where I feel I can only express it through my writing, I’m going to do it.

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RPM: Koe no Katachi/A Silent Voice vol. 1

Whew, it’s been way too long since I’ve done one of these. This is mainly due to, well, not really finding anything in particular to talk about. When I originally decided to do this, I wanted to pick up books that were a little more obscure. Possible to obtain, but really trying to avoid any “HEY HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS LITTLE THING CALLED ONE PIECE.” But between a high volume of manga now being translated and legally released online, combined with not really finding anything that clicked with me, the task was a bit harder than I imagined. I also didn’t want to fall into a slump of “here’s just an average book, I guess” every time I wrote.

With that, I will try to write any future “Randomly Picked Manga” when I do find something that lights a spark, rather than just any ol’ thing I find. Since I frequent my local comic shop more than I should, there’s no doubt I will find something. Not too long ago, after hearing a good amount of buzz, I decided to pick up the first volume of Koe no Katachi and, luckily enough, it was the exact thing I was looking for.

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Randomly Picked Manga: キリキリ (Kirikiri)

Note: To get some background on RPM, check out my post here

Sometimes it feels the only way kids in anime and manga can get into High School is by having some sort of mystical or supernatural power. And I’d be damned if one couldn’t make up several districts by gathering and enrolling all of them. The main characters in Kirikiri are no different in this aspect, except their hallways are going to contain a lot more blood stains.

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Review: 風立ちぬ “The Wind Rises”

I have been in a rough spot with Ghibli movies for the last couple of releases. Particularly those Hayao Miyazaki has directed and written himself, with the last major release being Ponyo, which I found a little too childish. I also had really mixed feelings about Howl’s Moving Castle, back in its initial release as well. I originally entered the Ghibli ring with Spirited Away and grew to love all the older works afterwards. With a man like Miyazaki, it’s easy to try and see how each film bounces from one to another, from the heavy social commentaries of Princess Mononoke and Nausicca of the Vally of the Wind, to the more fantastic Castle in the Sky or Kiki’s Delivery Service. Going into “The Wind Rises,” I really did not know what to expect: with a director that I’ve cherished, but increasingly became concerned of, how would this fare? By the end of the film, he could not have won me back any more.

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