Anime, Shows

Sasaki and Miyano: A Cute New BL Anime

Anime Review:

Sasaki and Miyano Season 1

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Positive LGBTQ+ representation
  • Beautiful art style
  • Great animation
  • Cute romance

Cons

  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Clichés–the typical anime umbrella scene, for example
  • The shapes that floated around randomly were overused

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Review and Reflection

Before Yuri on Ice, I had never watched a single BL anime. What is BL anime? BL anime stands for Boy’s Love, an anime genre that depicts homosexual relationships between men. I enjoyed Yuri on Ice so much that I decided to try another BL, Sasaki and Miyano. Coming from a sheltered, conservative Christian background that I only abandoned last year, I was exposed to this category of anime in the past few months.

Yeah, I’m a newb to BL, and pretty much anything gay. But I still have something to say.

While Sasaki and Miyano is not as cute as Yuri on Ice, I still really enjoyed this romance. Miyano meets Sasaki when Sasaki defends another student from some bullies. They slowly get to know each other better, and Miyano begins to lend Sasaki BL manga. Sasaki loves it and asks for more.

Miyano is a fudanshi, which is a word meaning a fan of BL manga. He does not recognize that he is into guys, however, because the only crush he has had in the past was to a girl. He seems to be unfamiliar with the term bisexual. When Sasaki confesses his love to Miyano, Miyano asks for time to figure his own feelings out.

Miyano had thought Sasaki was just joking about liking him and teasing at first, until the serious confession. Sasaki had asked if Miyano had wanted to go out and bought him chocolates, but Miyano hadn’t realized the depth of his feelings until the confession.

Seeing Miyano struggle to understand himself is painful at times, but seems realistic.

When Miyano asks what Sasaki likes about him, Sasaki gets nervous and says he likes Miyano’s face. Wrong move, Sasaki. Miyano is extremely self-conscious about his face because he believes he looks feminine. On one hand, I couldn’t believe Sasaki could screw up that bad. On the other hand, that is totally the kind of awkward thing I would say. I’ve never been the most articulate while speaking. The written word is my friend, but sadly, the spoken word is not.

Another note: I learned a bunch of random words from this such as fudanshi and what it means that someone is cat-tongued. Apparently cat-tongued means when a person can’t drink or eat foods that are hot, or at least really don’t like to. I’m the opposite–I can barely stand drinking or eating cold things. What does that make me?

Two more things.

First, I watched this halfway dubbed, and then watched the second half subbed. I know, I’m a monster. No doubt I have grievously offended both sides of the subs vs. dubs debate as well as the anime gods.

Honestly, I prefer dubs because it is easier to take notes when my eyes don’t have to be glued to the TV screen. Reading subtitles means I can’t look down for even half a second most of the time without missing a piece of dialogue. I try to get around that by using my laptop and taking notes right beside the show. That’s how I am watching the subbed Squid Girl. But that’s kind of annoying so I still prefer dubs.

So why did I finish the season off subbed? Well, I was impatient. With one dubbed episode of Sasaki and Miyano coming out every week, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to see the rest, even if it was subbed. If this one ended anything like Adachi and Shimamura, I would have probably screamed into a pillow in frustration.

But no, it was finally a LGBTQ+ romance anime with heart and a conclusive ending that wasn’t a half-assed attempt at good representation.

Anyway, back to the subbed and dubbed discussion. Because I watched both, I got to hear all of the voice actors. The voice actor for Sasaki in the dubbed version was the greatest thing I have ever heard. He had the most distinctive voice and it was kind of hilarious. It cracked and wavered unsteadily between high and low pitches. But the subbed version of Sasaki was easier to take seriously. So honestly, I liked both, but it was way more fun to mimic the English Sasaki. Perhaps a little mean, but it was done out of good humor and a love of his voice.

Second, the random pastel shapes that floated around half the time got kind of annoying. I get it, they have mushy-gushy feelings for each other. I could figure that out without the love kaleidoscope. So while the art style and animation were impressive, the details kind of ruined the moment sometimes for me.

That being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend this anime. Sure, it’s a 7 out of 10 due to its clear flaws, but it was entertaining and wholesome, so give it a try! I would recommend it for people who would enjoy an anime with a large helping of romance and a sprinkle of humor.

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Anime, Shows

RWBY Volume 6 Gives the Real Story of Salem

Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 6

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Memorable heroes
  • Effective villains
  • Focus on pivotal character backstories
  • Unique weapons and apparel
  • Phenomenal fight scenes
  • Interesting setting
  • Original music
  • Attractive intro
  • Balance of comedic and dark moments
  • Groundbreaking American anime
  • Beautiful art style and animation

Cons

  • No specific cons

Warning: Spoilers below!

Review

Trigger Warning: Suicide

There are so many things I love about this season. The new characters and Grimm, the epic fight scenes, the beautiful intro, the depth of the character backstories….

Let’s start with my two favorite new characters…

Maria Calavera is a wonderful addition to Team RWBY. Her eyes, once grey like Ruby’s, were destroyed by the villain Tock. She has mechanical goggles that allow her to see, even though they need tuning from time to time and they cause her to be colorblind. As the Grimm Reaper, she was highly skilled and even inspired Qrow to make a weapon modeled off of hers. I love the part where she tries to get away with using a military airship by using jargon. She pulls off the jargon, but is given away because the military does not employ the elderly.

Tock

Even though Tock is a side character shown only briefly in a flashback, I found her character design to be fascinating, and her semblance and focus on the passage of time interesting. She was inspired by the crocodile from Peter Pan and carries a watch with her. Tock’s semblance allows her to be invulnerable for 60 seconds, although it does sap almost all of her aura. She tends to play with those she intends to kill. Formidable, snarky, and sadistic, she is a character to be appreciated. Before her death, she was trusted enough by Salem to be a part of her inner circle.

The Sphinx is one new type of Grimm the heroes face pretty early on in the volume. The train fight is phenomenal. You can see how the characters have grown as fighters.

The Apathy are by far the creepiest Grimm I have ever seen. They slowly sap one’s will and volition to live. They killed a whole town because the people slowly lost the will to move and died in their beds one morning. Their cry is frightening, and they don’t even have to be fast because their prey will move slower and slower as its energy is sapped.

The battle of the team vs. the Colossus, which is manned by Caroline Cordovin, is utterly fabulous. I love that when the good guys finally get the upper hand, the city is threatened by a Leviathan. And they just took down the only thing capable of stopping the Leviathan. The guilt and determination are superb as enemies turn to reluctant allies. Ruby using Jinn to stop time was super smart and gave her what was necessary to succeed. Then Cordovin drilling into that Leviathan Gurren Lagann style…nice!

The intro is great, creating so much foreshadowing and tension. You can tell that it is shaping up to be a great volume just from watching the intro. I know some people ship Ruby and Weiss so I bet that final scene with Weiss helping Ruby up will make them happy–it looks very sweet.

Also, can I just say, the animation of this volume was much better? It really was. People were even freaking out about the detail on the trees near the beginning of the volume. A big improvement.

The backstory for Salem and Ozpin is phenomenal. Their love story seemed so sincere…until love turned to hatred. Salem went to terrible lengths to try to bring Ozpin back to life. She even turned the humans of the world against their gods, and every human was obliterated except for her. She became immortal until she could appreciate the value of life and death…a terrible sentence for the crime of turning against the gods and trying to bring back the dead. Salem tried to commit suicide at least twice, once by the sword and again by casting herself into a pool of darkness.

I found it interesting that the brother gods got along decently well despite their vastly different outlooks, one being creation and one destruction. They respected each other, and were not enemies even though their goals did not altogether match.

Qrow’s struggle with alcoholism and his loss of authority over the younger characters were pivotal in this volume. The younger characters decide to do things their way and Qrow’s permission is no longer sought or needed. This changes the power dynamics in the group. Luckily, things turn out pretty well after the the young’uns take charge.

I loved this volume and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys action and anime. Did you watch this volume? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Shows

SRPOP Season 3 Reveals the History of Etheria, She-Ra, and Hordak

Show Review:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 3

Rating: 8.7 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Great for children and adults
  • Fun plot with high stakes
  • Well-made characters
  • Representation of different body types and skin colors
  • LGBTQ+ representation
  • Some Catra and Scorpia bonding moments
  • Backstory for Hordak

Cons

  • Overly childish intro
  • Poor art style choices

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Review

This season was only six episodes long, so this will be a short review. Nonetheless, it was a really good season and a wonderful experience.

This season begins exactly where we left off with the previous season. Shadowweaver is standing over Adora’s bed, but collapses after Adora draws her sword. Since Bright Moon has no dungeons, Shadowweaver is imprisoned in a spare room that had the cushions removed but otherwise is super comfortable.

I am not sure how I feel about Shadowweaver switching sides. Sure, it’s good for the heroes. But Shadowweaver is abusive toward Adora and Catra and makes a problematic hero. I do think they dealt with it pretty well though, establishing that she has selfish motives even when on the side of good.

It is just like Adora to be concerned about Shadowweaver, and for Adora to heal her. Adora obviously has an unhealthy attachment to Shadowweaver, but remains compassionate despite Shadowweaver’s transgressions.

Catra’s punishment is harsh considering she has increased the productivity of the Horde by 400% and has retrieved plenty of First One’s relics. Entrapta tries to stand up for her, which says a lot about her character. This season certainly strengthens Catra’s character arc as she becomes more and more unhinged.

I love that Catra and Scorpia become closer as friends, at least for the first part of the season when Catra is sent on an apparent suicide mission to the Crimson Waste. Also, when Catra is introduced to a party for the first time, it hearkens back to when this happened for Adora as well. It’s a sweet moment. For Catra’s sake I wish she had left the Horde and stayed in the Crimson Waste, at least for a time. The experience was really good for her and Scorpia.

The Hordak and Entrapta bonding moments were touching. Entrapta emphasizes that she enjoys being Hordak’s friend and Hordak points out that no one should underestimate Entrapta. As they build the portal together, Entrapta cools Hordak’s temper and accepts him as he is, flaws and all. She is a person who appreciates imperfections. It honestly made me like Entrapta more, even if she does frustrate me at times.

Getting to learn more about the history of Hordak and how he is a defective clone of Horde Prime was interesting and made him seem a little more personable, and less like a one-dimensional big bad.

Knowing that Etheria was separated from the rest of the universe and that a portal could compromise the safety of the planet really helped build the narrative. Revealing Adora is a First One and that she came through the portal as a baby is a nice touch.

Angella’s sacrifice and loss was a poignant part of the season, and showed how high the stakes had been. I never loved her as a character, but her being brave and spontaneous for once was a sight to see. Glimmer is young to be the next queen of Bright Moon, but her inheritance of the throne will no doubt change the dynamic of the three best friends: Adora, Glimmer, and Bow.

Catra snapping and sending Entrapta to Beast Island was incredibly sad, especially when she told Hordak that Entrapta had betrayed him. It was painful and yet fitting.

Like in the previous seasons, there is a lot of representation of different body types and skin colors. That is refreshing honestly, especially when you compare it to the original She-Ra franchise.

The intro is the same as the previous seasons. I know a lot of people really like the intro, but I don’t. It’s too childish compared to the rest of the show, and I don’t care what people say, it is not catchy. Not to say it’s horrible, but it’s not that great.

Also, the art style makes them all look young even though Adora, for example, is 17. They look like a group of 12-year-olds. It could have been better.

In conclusion, this season was even better than the first two and I would recommend it for all ages except the very youngest children.

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Books

A 1934 Murder Mystery With an Unlikely Culprit

Spoiler-Free Book Review:

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Shows strong research
  • Unexpected twist ending
  • Interesting, complex protagonist
  • Complicated mystery
  • Chapter titles inspired by campanology

Cons

  • Some of the figurative language is poorly done
  • Ending is improbable

Review

I read The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers for my Modern Christian Writers class. Honestly, other than a major setting being a church, I did not find the book especially religious in nature. I would say at least that it does not appeal just to a Christian audience–it will have much wider appeal.

My favorite aspect of this novel is the focus on change-ringing or campanology. I had never realized the ringing of bells such as those in a church was such a complicated, mathematical, graceful, and artful process. There is a whole set of terminology in change-ringing that Dorothy L. Sayers uses masterfully. The chapter titles are inspired by phrases and terms from campanology–for example “Tailor Paul is Called Before With a Single,” “Plain Hunting,” and “Mr. Gotobed is Called Wrong with a Double”.

Lord Peter Wimsey and his manservant Bunter are charming characters. Wimsey both confirms and denies stereotypes of the monocled aristocrat-detective. He is more empathetic than the typical Sherlockian detective, yet maintains that most people are idiots. Bunter is not a simple Watson either. He is knowledgeable about a variety of important and many obscure topics.

That being said, some of Dorothy L. Sayers’ language and diction was poorly constructed. For instance, she uses the simile “blind as an eyeless beggar”…which frankly, sucks. So she’s saying it’s as blind as…someone with no eyes? As blind as a blind person? Not only is that not creative, it’s also completely redundant.

The ending is far-fetched, but it is also hard to predict. I can see how some people would appreciate its originality while others may criticize its improbable nature.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to mystery and music lovers in particular, but believe that many readers would appreciate the book’s creative aspects and strong research.

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