Manga Discussion: A Silent Voice

a-silent-voiceBeing handicapped in some way is already disadvantageous and bad on its own; being picked on and bullied for it is even worse, but being betrayed by everyone around you and watching everyone turn their back to you as you rapidly become the victim can be just as damaging. A Silent Voice does a near perfect job of demonstrating and presenting these situations and the aftermath of them, showing a fantastic story of how your mindset can greatly change the way you see the world, and in turn, change the way the world sees you. This is certainly a series that has been talked about with a little bit higher frequency recently, especially with the release of the film adaptation, and while I haven’t seen the film, it is something that has me incredibly excited. I can say that this series is one I enjoyed reading to such a significant degree that I ended up finishing the entire 7 volume, 64 chapter series in 1 sitting, starting at around 10 at night, and reading it through till around 4 in the morning; if that doesn’t show you how much pull this series has, I’m not sure how else to put it. If you’ve never heard about this series, here’s a brief description of what the story is: the narrative primarily follows the life and interactions of Shouya Ishida, a former bully of Shouko Nishimiya, and young deaf girl who feels little confidence in herself. Do to certain events, Shouya’s outlook on things shifts radically, and he sets his sights on something he feels he should have done a long time ago, hating himself for being as blind as he was. This is a series I would recommend to anyone, and is one of a few series I would consider to be a must-read. The 1st volume alone is incredibly powerful and the series only gets better from there. There’s only one thing about that series that left me slightly disappointed, but hopefully the film can fix that small issue I have, and if you’ve read the series through to completion, my issue with it is most likely the one that came to you mind first, but please, no spoilers in the comments. This series is not only strong, but powerful as well and I would love to read/watch more stories similar to this one, I give it a:

10 out of 10.

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Initial Review: 5 Centimters Per Second

5-centimeters-per-secondIf you wanna feel completely crushed after watching a film, then you might wanna check out 5 Centimeters Per Second. Certainly not a happy story, but one that will leave you in awe of the breathtaking visuals throughout its run, and vacate your mind of every thought but “wow” at the end. The film is broken up into 3 parts, each dealing with a different part of our main character, Takaki’s, life. Each part is a compelling piece in it of itself, with the final part leaving you at a loss for words. A sad story it is, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone, and if your someone who’s been in a long distance relationship before, this film might strike an even bigger chord with you. While the film may be short, it has a lot of emotion in it, and is certainly worth the watch, and is a film that will almost certainly leave you feeling dead on the inside. With all that though, some moments feel a little out of place, and I feel that the ending didn’t hit me as hard as it could have. I feel like this film could certainly have been more than it was, but even so, the film is still great, and one you should definitely check out; I give it an:

8 out of 10.

 

Manga Discussion: Kotonoha no Niwa

kotonoha-no-niwa-mangaWhen you get a story as good as this one, your satisfied every time to watch/read it. The manga for Kotonoha no Niwa certainly delivers in terms of enjoyment. That said, I don’t feel like this is something you should read unless you’ve already watched the film, and should be seen as more a compliment to the film. If you liked the film, you should absolutely read this though, it adds a few more details about a few more things, and still hits where it needs to. While I don’t feel the manga is as strong as the film is, the underlying story is still absolutely fantastic. If you haven’t seen the film, I would highly, highly recommend it, and then, if you liked that, you should check this out as well, it’s short and adds on to what the film had set up, and with that, I give it a:

10 out of 10.

Initial Review: Children Who Chase Lost Voices

children-who-chase-lost-voicesIt’s been awhile since I’ve watched something about a grand adventure and so Children Who Chase Lost Voices was a nice little adventure for me to indulge in. To start off, the film was directed by Makoto Shinkai, and so the visuals are flat out phenomenal and with that in mind, you should watch the film at the very least for the feast it has for your eyes; it’s like 2 full hours of non-stop amazing backgrounds and animation. That said, the story isn’t the most well put together one I’ve seen, but it does seem to suffice for an adventure story, especially with the world feeling so alive, and looking so beautiful as it is; the world of Agartha is breathtaking to behold, and in an adventure story, the place being adventured through means a whole lot in terms of enjoyment. While the plot can seem a little odd some of the time, those parts are quickly forgotten as it takes us back to the adventure at hand. The romance in the film is largely to blame for some of the awkwardness in the film because it feels very off, out of place, and forced most of the time, causing some of the characters motivations to feel weak, and not fleshed out well. The film is very good at making you feel a certain way, and is the only film that has gotten me to feel frightened or disturbed with the introduction of the Izoku,  genuinely terrifying creatures, framed with the perfect soundtrack and visuals to make them even more frightening. The film isn’t anything spectacular as a whole, but it does have moments that stand out as being great and a  world that is just fantastic to look at and one I’d like to know more about, and so I give the film an:

8 out of 10.

First Impressions: SDF Macross

sdf-macrossI’m 8 episodes into the original SDF Macross, and I can say that it certainly is rather slow paced. I see parts of it I like, and parts of it I don’t but something I definitely notice is that slow pacing. Every episode feels long, and my motivation to watch multiple at a time is rather low, but I still am enjoying the ride. It might not be the most thrilling of series, but it at least is holding my attention and makes me want to continue watching. I’ll certainly finish up the series, but I don’t think it’ll be anything spectacular. As much of a timely classic this one is, I don’t see it as being anything more than a little fun and enjoyable; nothing amazing, but at the very least enjoyable. If you’re a fan of older series, or are a fan of mechs, I would encourage you to check this one out, seeing as it is one of those old franchises that has made its mark on the scene. If the pacing’s too slow for you, I can say that that hasn’t improved 8 episodes in, so it might not be for you if that’s your situation. I feel this one will be at least decent, but nothing more than that.

Initial Review: Black Lagoon

black-lagoonTons of action, plenty of gunpowder and smoke, and a whole lot of attitude, that’s what Black Lagoon seems to be. As I noted in my first impressions post, the actions and escapades created by the rule of cool are certainly a driving factor to ones enjoyment of the series. Those who enjoy tons of action and over the top nonsense will most likely have a fantastic time watching this series, and while it does have its deeper and more meaningful moments, those points haven’t been explored all too heavily in this first season. One moment though that really made me feel like this series will certainly have something to offer in that department was a moment between the main male protagonist, Rock, and the female protagonist, Revy; the moment being during episode 7 in which the two seem to have a semi heart-to-heart screaming match about the reasoning behind each of their actions and about their pasts. This scene really stood out to me as being a fantastic way for its characters to not only develop themselves, but also by furthering their relationship as squad mates. I’m very interested to see if the second season delves further into these territories and further emphasizes this dynamic between its characters. Where the show seems to fall short, however, is that a main focus of the series itself is the action element, and for me, action isn’t enough on its own to make me feel very highly of a series. While I certainly enjoyed it, there were a lot of moments that felt very, much like it was just showing off the coolness of the characters with little thought being put in to the believe-ability of it, and that’s why I’d say the rule of cool is a major factor. If you can just marvel at how awesome it is, the shots and actions probably won’t bother you all that much, but for me, that wasn’t the case. I was constantly bothered by several of the scenes presented, and so I had to resign myself to simply watch the spectacle, even though I couldn’t buy into it. If your someone that can overlook those things, you will most likely enjoy this show more than I did, and in that case I would highly suggest you watch it. If you’re not however, and are more like me, I would still give it a recommendation, but just an average one. While the series does have its dramatic and really interesting moments, this season seemed to mostly focus on the action as awesomeness aspects of the series, with some nice dramatic moments sprinkled in here and there. I hope the second season will deal more and more with the lives and troubles of working as a band of pirates. As such, I would give it a:

7 out of 10.

First Impressions: Black Lagoon

black-lagoonThe rule of cool definitely seems to play a large part in Black Lagoon. Starting off, this series seems like a fast paced, adrenaline filled ride complete with enough intrigue to keep me entertained at the least. While I’m not super into it as of now, I see myself at least finishing it to see how everything plays out. This doesn’t seem like my particular cup of tea: heavy, over-the-top action isn’t something that’ll pull me through a series, but it’s not something I particularly dislike (but it’s something I enjoy from time to time). This seems like a series about a bunch a mercenaries trying to find their way in the world, and I’m hoping the series starts to focus more on their lives and choices rather than the unbelievable feats of action that I’ve seen throughout the first 3 episodes. For what it’s worth, the characters seem very interesting and I’m very interested in learning their backstories, and I am very eager to see how Rock takes things going forward, the switch from a white collar job to lawless gang work is an interesting thing to have to deal with. This seems like a series I’ll enjoy, but I don’t feel it’ll be anything more than that; although with that, I still think you should check it out, and if you’re into crazy action more than I am, this might just be the series for you.

Initial Review: Spice and Wolf (Season 1)

spice-and-wolfThe first season of Spice and Wolf went by so fast, the whole season felt like one episode. I can say I really enjoyed this little series quite a lot, even with the few things that bothered me. To start off with, the delve into medieval was very fascinating to me, and it felt as if the series really knew something about economics during that period. The understanding of currency exchange and the ways in which different currencies have and change value was very interesting to listen to. The only real problems I had with the series were that on occasion Holo, while for the most part was a very interesting character, got annoying at times, and some of the character interactions and reactions felt a little bit odd to me, but other than that I think the series was very well done. As I said earlier, the series really flew by as I kept watching episode after episode, not wanting it to end, but luckily for me, there’s a second season now that I’ve finished this first one, although I do hear gripes about the non-existence of a third. Anyway, since the story is mostly unfinished as of the end of this first season and there isn’t much for me to talk about, I’d like to at least say that I would definitely recommend this series to you; I’m sure it’ll keep your interesting just as it did mine, especially if you like the medieval/Renaissance Europe aesthetic or are into how merchant life worked during that period. I can safely say that this series, while it had a few weird nuances, was very good, and kept me wanting to watch more, and as such, I give it an:

8 out of 10.