Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review

Hourou Musuko Anime Review

Wandering Son

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Title: Hourou Musuko

Other Titles: Wandering Son

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, Drama, School

Studio: AIC Classic

Based on: The Hourou Musuko manga by Takako Shimura

Length: The show is made up of a single 12 episode season, with the story beginning partway through the plot of Takako’s source manga material. Each episode is roughly 23 minutes long. 

Release Dates: Aired January – April 2011

Where to watch: Crunchyroll has the entire season in its library, available for streaming 24/7.

Overall: 56 / 70

Geeky: 3 / 5 Gentle comedy and an entire plotline devoted to an instalment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet make for a wonderfully animated literary experience – and all in Japanese, no less. We would say this is a moderately geeky show; settling into one’s own skin is a sentiment able to be appreciated by viewers of all introvert backgrounds, and the shared personal struggles of the middle school class are infinitely relatable. All kinds of content find themselves ported from the west to the east, from online slots on Bitcasino to stage plays. In this case, it’s awesome to see Shakespeare viewed through the lens of a new and distinct culture.  

Sweetie: 4 / 5 Hourou Musuko is deeply touching, regardless of one’s background or identity relative to its characters. I wouldn’t exactly call it cutesy so to speak, but the honesty of friendship and the raw moments of emotion peppered throughout result in a powerful experience nonetheless. Heartfelt, funny, beautiful – Hourou Musuko is realistic at its core, both in terms of life’s expectations and its results. The bond between protagonists Takatsuki and Nitori is a particular highlight.   

Overview: 8 /10 Its content and delicate handling of the subject would have many label Hourou Musuko as a simple ‘Queer,’ or ‘LGBT’ anime. Identity is the topic of its main themes, after all, and its popularity is largely due to its responsible confrontation of difficult character situations. All too often Japanese culture paints queer characters in a comedic or derogatory light, and its refreshing to see that dynamic turns on its head – Hourou Musuko takes gender non-conforming characters and gives them an honest life on screen. But there’s more to this show than just representation.

Wandering Son

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There’s laughter, there’s love, and there’s a host of experience and perspective all balanced amidst a dramatic beat in every episode. Anyone with a taste for slice of life anime should enjoy this show. Anyone looking to better understand queer adolescence should find it informative. Its introspective storytelling leaves little to be desired, and its subtle direction carries great emotional weight as the story follows our cast through their early years of young adulthood. Family, school and future all lie in the balance.     

Story: 8 /10 Shuichi Nitori is a relatively normal child – a good student, a good friend, quiet and reserved. With a slight build and feminine interests, they find themselves at odds with the world around them. You see, Nitori was assigned male at birth, but identifies as female. Yoshino Takatsuki, on the other hand is tall, a tomboy, with their own similar counterpart desires. They were assigned female, but wish to live as a man. After sharing such secrets between themselves upon meeting in the fifth grade, they quickly become firm friends. Commence queer transgender drama and teenage hijinks.

Hourou Musuko follows these two as they venture into adolescence, examining their friendships, exploring their secrets and watching from afar as they begin their first tentative romantic adventures – and many a romantic adventure is to be had! Towards the end of elementary school Nitori, Takatsuki and another girl, Saori, clash in an unsatisfactory love triangle that leaves all three-broken hearted. Because of this both Nitori and Takatsuki lose their support system and space for exploration, and Saori quickly becomes embittered to them both. Set the stage for episode one (as all of the above is told in flashbacks throughout the first half of the series).  

Junior High has begun, and Nitori is more isolated than ever before. They still harbour romantic feelings for Takatsuki, their sister (who shares a room with Nitori) is unsupportive and puberty is on its way. This is a child lacking information and affirmation, a child who dresses as the girl others do not see after school and struggles with a deep fear of the future. The spaces where they can be themselves are few and far between, to say the least. So Nitori falls back on their friends, rebuilding a platonic relationship with Takatsuki and meeting plenty of new ones along the way.

The show generally follows a slow, melancholy pace thereafter, with a key plotline in the latter half of the series involving a gender-bent performance of Romeo and Juliet. Takatsuki is Romeo – Nitori, sadly, is not Juliet. As the play enters rehearsals, Nitori begins to learn more and more about themselves, being the one to rewrite the play, and their family is soon made aware of their internal feelings. Beyond that there’s Anna – a friend of Nitori’s sister, she takes an interest in them, an interest which eventually develops into a relationship. We also meet Yuki, an adult woman who once found herself in Nitori’s position, as well as her boyfriend Shiina, who counsels the two in times of crisis and offers generally impartial advice. Yuki stands as a testament to Nitori’s possible future, and as a friend to the both of them.

As the show goes on family, friends, love and school begin to pressure both Takatsuki and Nitori, tension builds, and the future remains uncertain. Want to know more? Watch the show and find out! There’s plenty of detail hidden beyond the broad strokes and conflict mentioned here.

Characters: 8 / 10 While each episode of Hourou Musuko centres around the experiences of one Shuichi Nitori, a young teen in the midst of exploring their gender identity and place in the world, a vibrant cast of supporting character maintain a constant presence. There’s Makato, the childhood friend and son of a baker with a crush on the homeroom teacher. There’s Anna, the love interest, Chizuru the impulsive clown and Momo the shy voice of reason. There’s also Takatsuki, who’s less of a supporting cast member and more of a secondary lead in many ways. They share Nitori’s challenge, wishing they had been born a boy and muddling their way through a series of intensely complex emotions. Together the two embark on a journey of self-discovery, centre stage in a production full of life.

Wandering Son

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The amazing thing about HM is that it manages to coherently develop its characters all at once in such a short space of time. Over twelve episodes each and every cast member sees visible growth, change, loss and gain, with every curve in the road masterfully handled. It’s raw, it’s realistic, and things don’t always have a happy ending.

Art: 9 /10 From Nitori to her parents, from Takatsuki to random girl number five sitting quietly at the back of the classroom, each member of Hourou Musuko’s cast has a distinctive and recognisable character design. People move smoothly, physics play out naturally, and colours are sharp as can possibly be. What really makes the show for me is how it plays out on both a macro and micro scale – the small, human details of movement contrasted against a painstakingly animated environmental background. When Nitori steps across the road crossing and is knocked by a businessman, ruffling her outfit, the chaos of movement and bodies is representative of her personal struggle. When she adjusts her clothing, the flow of the material pays close attention to detail. Really good stuff. Also, the cherry blossoms are gorgeous. 

Music: 8 /10 Sound director Jin Aketagawa peppers this anime with music at all the right moments. Simultaneously uplifting and hollow, hopeful and lost (excuse the dramatic hyperbole), scenes are lifted into excellence by single notes and symphonies alike. The intro and outro tracks are also a highlight – Rie Fu’s For You is full of innocence.

Voice acting: 8 /10 With no English dub currently available, Hourou Musuko is best enjoyed by non-Japanese speakers in its original form, albeit with subtitles scrolling by along the bottom of the screen. This is a show that maintains a wide cast of characters, but it does so wonderfully, with each voice maintaining a distinct personality and tone. The lilt and inflection of each sentence translates across all language, strengthening the emotional integrity of painful scenes and lightening the comedy of their counterparts.

There are gentle beats, there are harsh beats. There are loud, explosive moments and periods of extraordinary stillness, and in each one, the voice actors respond accordingly. Nitori and Takatsuki’s roles are perhaps the most challenging that the show has to offer, but they also happen to be the highlight of its voice acting line-up. Angst is easily overdone, yet there’s nothing in either of these characters dialogue that oversteps the line. Rather, less is more. Pain is quiet.   

Hourou Musuko Wandering Son Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films

Much like our recent list of the best and worst Disney films, here is a list of the best and worst Studio Ghibli films. Disney owned distribution rights for awhile for several Studio Ghibli films, but I think that has since changed hands to Gkids. Many people who love Disney films also love Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli Films; after all, they have a lot in common with each other. Both studios rely mostly on making films from well known children’s literature and fairytales. Both studios have a very recognizable animation style. And both studios excel at creating stories that the whole family can enjoy together, cartoons that appeal to young and old alike.

I was surprised there’s not as many Studio Ghibli films as I would think. If you’re wondering why Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is not on this list, that’s because it’s not actually made by Studio Ghibli. This actually gives me an idea for another blog post maybe something along the lines of “10 Anime Movies You Mistake for Studio Ghibli Films.” I can think of 3 or 4 right away without much effort. Nausicaa being the biggest “WTF, Really?!” moment of the bunch. There’s also Wolf Children, My Summer with Coo, Nadia The Secret of Blue Water, and a Letter to Momo which all seem to share Studio Ghibli’s art and story styles. More recently there’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower which I’ve yet to watch but am really looking forward to because of the “Ghibli Vibe”.  Although different in style, you might also mistake other recently successful anime films such as Ko no Katachi and Kimi no Nawa as Ghibli films because when most people think of successful feature length anime films, they immediately think of Studio Ghibli.  I’m also surprised there’s still quite a few legit Studio Ghibli films which I have yet to watch – I will include those at the end of this article. As there’s only a handful of them, I plan to try to watch them and come back and edit my rankings asap.

Here are my picks for best and worst Studio Ghibli films – what are some of your favorite and least favorite Ghibli films? Leave a comment below!


Best and Worst Studio Ghibli Films:

Ponyo

Ponyo is sorta Ghibli’s Take on the whole Little Mermaid thing. It’s a very original and creative take on it, with a lot of imagination and charm. Its charm and originality are what lands it at first place on my list of favorite Ghibli films. Ponyo is a fish like creature who gets caught by a young boy, Souske, who keeps her as a pet. She begins to fall in love with her new master, and as she grows, she becomes more and more human-like. Her transformation causes an inbalance in the sea which creates a Tsunami. Ponyo and Souske must work together to save their village from the Tsunami, which also tests their love for one another, If they can find unconditional love, Ponyo will be able to remain a human with Souske, or else she must return back to the sea. – If you also love Ponyo, check out Lu over the Wall which I reviewed here. It’s very similar and also very cute!

studio ghibli couple GIF


Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service is definitely high on my list of favorite Studio Ghibli movies. It features a strong female lead, Kiki, a young witch who is leaving home for the first time, as is customary for young witches when they “come of age” (which is at just 13 years old). Each town can only have 1 witch, and Kiki must strike out to find her own place in the world – quite literally. Taking only her father’s radio, Mother’s Broomstick, and Jiji, her black cat, she sets out on a grand adventure. She struggles at first, an allegory to how we all must struggle to find OUR place in the world. This makes the film so relateable, and the characters are so likeable, that who can’t help but to just love Kiki’s Delivery Service? – Did you know that Kiki’s Delivery Service is actually based on a book by the same name? You can grab the book over on Amazon. It’s out of print and expensive now sadly. https://www.amazon.com/Kikis-Delivery-Service-Eiko-Kadono/dp/1550377884

kikis delivery service majo no takkybin GIF by Maudit


Spirited Away

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best known, and most well loved, featured films. It was the first anime to ever win an Academy Award for Best animated Feature Film. I believe to date, it’s the only Japanese anime to have ever won this award. It beat out numerous other animated films that same year including Disney and Dreamworks. It’s the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, and even beat out Titanic. In 2016 it was voted as the 4th best film of the 21st century which made it the highest animated film on the list as chosen from more than 170 film critics from around the world.

Just because something wins lots of awards though does not necessarily make it a great film — but Spirited Away does indeed fall into the category of greatness. I feel that the success of Spirited Away is due largely in part to the emotional attachment the audience develops towards the young pure hearted characters, as well as the fantasy setting, which is set in a realm of spirits that’s mysterious enough to be edgy/creepy for older kids/adults, while not terrifying like Mononoke, and attention to detail through story writing, the excellent music score, animation, and voice acting.

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When Marnie Was There

When Marnie Was There is also based on a book by the same name. https://www.amazon.com/Marnie-There-Essential-Modern-Classics-ebook/dp/B00KA11ZI0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=&dpID=51FrFUXIjEL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=detail This Studio Ghibli adaptation rates higher for me than it does for most other people because I love my grandma so much, which made the bond that the main character shares with her own grandma overwhelmingly sweet and sentimental to me. Everyone loves their grandmas right? But mine is literally like my favorite person in the whole world. So this film really hit me right in the heart. I could watch it over and over and probably still cry each time. Love the song at the end of the credits too. I related a lot to the main character too who is always alone / lonely as I was similar to that growing up. She’s also interested in art like myself, and has a great imagination. Really, just on a personal level, out of all Ghibli films, this one is by far the most relatable to me, even though it’s still a fantasy movie about a ghost :).

when marnie was there GIF


Howl’s Moving Castle

Obviously, Howl’s Moving Castle is based on the very well known series of books by the same name https://www.amazon.com/Howls-Moving-Castle-Diana-Wynne/dp/1442008431 – Though only very, very, very loosely based on this source material… In the original book, Sophie is very sarcastic and independent – She literally doesn’t give a flip about anyone or anything. In both versions they are pessimistic and feel they have no control over their fate, but in the book that quickly changes, and we witness Sophie become more responsible for her own actions and feelings. Sophie in the book also discovers pretty early on that she has magic powers. Howl in the book is a total playboy. There’s no war in the book. The villains are different too. In the book the main villain is the Witch of the Waste who is scorned by Howl rejecting her romantically and is looking to create her ideal mate by piecing together several different men, including the missing prince and Howl’s pretty face. Some find the book to be very funny, while others find it to be dry, because British humor is often very dry indeed. The idealistic love between Sophie and Howl in the film is quite different in the book. The two argue and break up and make up over and over throughout the story. The biggest difference is definitely in the titular character of Howl. In the book we see much more of Howl. Early on in the book it is difficult to like or sympathize for him as he is so vain and breaks so many hearts. But as the story unfolds, we learn the truth is that he is afraid of letting others close to him because he is in fact very sensitive and fragile and a very warm and loving person as well, and instantly we learn to not judge others, Everyone is going through their own struggles in life, and both Howl and Sophie have a lot of demons inside of themselves that they must face, which sadly is a lesson that the film doesn’t care to impart to the audience. In the film Howl instead is scarcely seen as he flies off to fight wars that don’t exist in the book. In the book, he is from modern day Wales, and has found a door to Sophie’s time and world where he has chosen to stay to study magic. This time traveling is completely omitted from the film, just as is equally omitted Sophie’s magical abilities. Instead, in Miyazaki’s version, it is Sophie who we see “time traveling” as she learns about Howl’s past. Miyazaki’s goal was to create a film that shows how love makes life worth living, while the original author’s goal was to create a story about a strong willed female mage which challenged gender and societal stereotypes. Both stories are equally charming in their own unique ways. Miyazaki’s interpretation of Howl’s Moving Castle is romantic and full of charm and innocence and still quite engaging in its storytelling and plot devices. There are some who complain that too many liberties were taken which deviated from the author’s original work, but one could also argue the same is true of Ponyo which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid or any number of Ghibli or Disney works that are based on books before becoming films.

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Whisper of the Heart

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This is a lesser known Ghibli film based on manga of the same name about a young girl whose only passion is reading, and a young boy whose only passion is music. They are both outcasts and self isolated because they pour 100% of their time into their chosen hobbies. Both wish to drop out of school to pursue their passions full time. And neither one of them really get along with each other when the film first starts out. What I really enjoyed about this film is watching the characters change their thoughts and beliefs, about their passions, but also about how they perceive other people. They also discover they have a lot in common and both help to inspire one another to chase their dreams. Initially they view other people or other responsibilities as a hindrance, taking away time from their passions. But they learn that instead, other people add to your experiences and make life sweeter. Both characters yearn to grow up and become adults, but both are only grade/middle school students. They have a lot to learn. And as the film ends, we watch just how much they’ve matured over their summer. They learn to make time and space in their lives and hearts for other people while still each holding tightly to their dreams of their future. The original manga has not been licensed for US release. There is also a sequel manga that follows the characters as they prepare for their college entrance exams. https://mangarock.com/search?q=Mimi%20wo%20Sumaseba


Grave of the Fireflies

my neighbor totoro GIF

This film is sad AF!!! There are some who will not like this film because of it being so sad. And also others who will not like this film simply because it portrays the real life events of the bombing of Hiroshima. Japan is the only country to have been nuked by an atomic bomb and the US the only country to have released an atomic bomb. Never again has such a weapon been used in combat because of the devastating long term and long range consequences that spring about from such frightening weaponry. This movie depicts the suffering and harsh realities of the war and subsequent bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously, war and decisions made by a country’s government, is a very politically charged issue. And many lives were lost on both sides of the war. So much suffering occurred that it’s still a tense and delicate subject to people on both sides of the war still today even in modern times. It is hard to watch this film, and even harder to see their suffering, and know that “we” (as a nation / group of nations) caused that suffering) even if it was perhaps necessary at the time of these events. It still doesn’t make you feel good realizing what you’ve unleashed. I’ve seen documentaries with actual real life footage of the victims, I’ve seen them peeling burnt flesh from survivors’ bodies using chopsticks, I’ve seen footage of their shadows burned into the walls, shadows of children playing at playgrounds, shadows of mothers trying to protect their children in their arms. But I’ve also seen movies on the other side of the issue too – Many US lives were lost in the bombing of pearl harbor; many other lives were lost around the entire world from Hitler’s atrocities, and so on. In war there is no clear cut good / bad decisions. You do what you feel you have to do to protect your country and its people, and in bombing Hiroshima, the US was trying to do just that, although it tragically resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Japanese civilians… such as the two depicted in this Studio Ghibli film… We watch them live fearfully, and with not enough food to eat, without any parents to take care of them, and we watch them suffer, fall ill, and struggle at every turn. We watch their own family and friends turn their backs on helping them and realize they have nowhere to go or turn to – an important – although equally political – message in our own modern times with issues with refugees and so on from our modern day wars. To quote the videogame Fallout “War Never Changes” – that’s why a film about a decades old war is still compelling and relevant and relatable in modern times. One of the interesting things about this film, is gaining a new perspective on the war and circumstances around the war. Sympathizing with our “enemy” and seeing just how similar we are, despite hundreds or thousands of cultural differences, at the end of the day, we each love our families, and would do anything to see to it that our families are happy, healthy, safe, and cared for. There is no way to watch this film without crying and forming an emotional connection with the characters. The ability to evoke such deep emotion is a testament to the quality of this film. It is an artful masterpiece with fantastic writing, character development, and storytelling.


Laputa Castle in the Sky

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I just watched this movie last year as part of Studio Ghibli’s and Gkids Ghibli Fest which brought many great Ghibli films to the theater – some for the first time in theaters within the US. I loved this movie. It had great action and a great love story. A lot of things in this film reminded me of my favorite Videogame, Lunar Eternal Blue which I reviewed here and cosplayed as here. Maybe it’s the girl and her pendant, her mysterious origins/past, her dramatic entrance, or the floating city in the sky, or maybe it’s the awesome epic love story. The lengths that both male characters go to in order to protect the person they love – and to help the girl they love complete her mission, or the way in which both film and game are so rich in lore and history and create a strange mashup of fantasy and technology creating a timeless story, that feels like it could take place equally conceivably in past, present, or future. Laputa Castle in the Sky is very action packed and fast moving, but yet, since it centers on these two characters and their love for one another, it can capture audiences of any age or gender.


The Cat Returns

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This is a sequel or Spin off based on Ghibli’s earlier film, Whisper of the Heart. I enjoyed Whisper of the Heart more than the Cat Returns, despite my huge massive never ending love for cats. Unlike the author’s own sequel to her manga, this story is not related to the two main characters of Whisper of the Heart, but instead focuses on the story that was inspired by the cat-like doll, nicknamed Baron as he searches for his lost love Louise, who was taken from him by Muto. Despite the name of the film, and it actually really being a sequel, the title is still slightly confusing. A better English title would have been something along the lines of “The Cat’s Reciprocation” or “The Cat Returns the Favor” but that doesn’t really have the same “ring” to it. Perhaps the perfect title should have been “The Cat’s Reply” which could not only mean to “return the favor” but also foreshadow Haru’s ability to speak with cats. Haru saves a cat one day, who wants to return the favor by offering her the prince’s hand – err paw — in marriage. Haru is flustered both by the cat’s proposal and his ability to talk. Cats around her begin acting strangely, bringing her gifts and tokens of the prince’s affection. Haru is cat-napped and taken to the world of cats where she is pampered and treated like a queen. She is given feasts and entertainment and more lavish gifts. As she begins to enjoy her time in the cat world, she begins to turn into a cat. The Baron warns Haru that she will become a real cat, and forget her human self if she does not immediately leave the cat world. The king and prince orchestrate obstacles and distractions to lengthen Haru’s stay in the cat kingdom, knowing that once she is fully a cat, she will become the Prince’s Bride. Will Haru forget her true self and live happily among the cats? Or will she escape and reclaim her place among the humans? Many people think this film is based on the Manga by the same author of Whisper of the Heart, but actually the Ghibli film came first, and the author enjoyed it so much that she made a manga based on the film – kinda neat, right? 🙂 Usually it’s the other way around.


The Secret World of Arietty

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Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Ghibli used an unusual art style in this anime, making it quite different from any of their other films. Their intention was to create an anime that looked like ancient Japanese calligraphy paintings and wall scrolls. The tale of Princess Kaguya was unfamiliar to me, but very familiar and loved in its home country of Japan where it is known as the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. This legend has been around for over 1,000 years! It is most famously presented and passed down through ancient Japanese paintings from the Edo period which is what influenced Ghibli’s character and art direction in this film.

I’m not a huge fan of the art style in the anime, and even some of the customs/traditions of the Edo period which the film accurately depicts like women painting their teeth black – SO eww. Interestingly, little has changed as I know even now it’s generally considered to be “unlady-like” for a woman or girl to smile widely thus showing her teeth. That’s why there’s two emoji’s ^.^ and ^_^ – the first one is a feminine emoji and the second is a masculine emoji. I learned that years ago when I used to chat with people all over the world and was told about my “improper” use of the “^_^” emoji. Although I still use ^_^ all the time, and I consider “^.^” to be more of a “playful” smile, sorta cattish or impish or mischievious, or maybe a smile that seems like it has a secret, a smirk or a giggle behind it, where as I feel ^_^ is just pure joy/happiness/amusement/laughter.

Anyways enough about Emoji’s – lol. The strange art style and questionable fashions/traditions of the Edo period are really the only reason this film doesn’t rank higher for me. I do agree that the film looks just like the historical paintings… but it’s just not my tastes personally… That said though, I am extremely fascinated by the story and legend behind this film.

The legend states that an old man unable to have children of his own, found Kaguya one day while cutting bamboo. When she first appeared she was only the size of his thumb, but she rapidly grew much faster than other children. The bamboo cutter took the baby to his wife, where they raised her lovingly as their own child. Ever since Kaguya appeared in their lives, every time the Bamboo cutter would go to work, he would find gold coins in the bamboo stalks and soon the family become very rich. Although initially the family wishes to protect Kaguya’s innocence and youth, it is not long before word spreads of the beautiful young woman and many princes appear to seek her hand in marriage. Kaguya tasks each prince with impossible tasks, knowing they cannot be achieved, because she wishes to remain with her family and maintain her independence. One by one each prince fails to win the hand of Kaguya. Time passes, and eventually the Emperor comes to see the beautiful Kaguya. He falls in love instantly, but Kaguya tells him they cannot be together because she is not from his country. They instead become friends and remain in correspondence. As time went on, Kaguya began acting strangely, especially on nights with a full moon. She would cry and cause her parents to worry. She later reveals to them that she is not from Earth and must return to her home on the moon. The Emperor, as well as her family, do everything they can to try to hide and protect Kaguya who does not wish to return to the Moon. Kaguya wants to remain on Earth. In the end, however, Kaguya must go back to the kingdom of the Moon and leave her beloved family and friends.

Studio Ghibli’s version of the tale differs in some areas – The Emperor in the Ghibli version is more obsessed with Kaguya and Kaguya wants absolutely none of it because she’s in love with a simple boy from her childhood whom her father deems is not of high enough rank for her hand (who never existed in the original legend). In fact she is so repulsed by the Emperor that she cries when he touches her and discovers she has a secret ability to disappear at will. These details were made up for the Ghibli version only. Also at the end of the Ghibli version, Kaguya looks back onto the earth with a longing and sad gaze, even though her robe of feathers was to strip her of all of her memories of her time spent on Earth, the look on her face implies that her feelings and attachments were so strong that she could not forget the people of Earth. – This also is made up in the Ghibli version. In the original legend, Kaguya does in fact forget everyone when she returns to the Moon. In the original legend, the Emperor is so saddened by Kaguya’s death (or disappearance whatever you want to call it) that he orders his army to climb to the top of the mountain “closest to heaven” – There he wishes to burn a letter from Kaguya in hopes that his love and feelings for her will rise with the smoke from the letter and reach her on the moon. He also wanted to burn the elixir of immortality that Kaguya left him because he did not want to live forever without Kaguya by his side. Wikipedia states that the Japanese word for immortality “Fushi” is what Mt. Fuji’s name was derived from. And that the kanji characters for the mountain mean “Mountain abounding with warriors” which is said to denote the Emperor’s army who burnt the letter. The legend also says that the smoke from the letter still rises today (when the legend was created, Mt Fuji was an active volcano and hence produced smoke). I think the original legend makes for a very beautiful unrequited love story, where in Ghibli’s version the Emperor is the main villain whose appearance is what drives Kaguya to pray to the moon for help, after which her people come to “rescue” her from the Emperor. Quite a different take on the tale. I know Japan’s long history and traditions with their Emperor’s being near godlike status, so it’s odd to see a film from Japan depict in Emperor as a villainous character, especially given that in the original tale he was so pure and chivalrous and so in platonic unrequited love / mutual friendship with Kaguya throughout much of their lives.

I can’t remember where I read it now, (I’ve tried searching) but I read a few years ago that there are many scholars who believe that the legend of the Swan Princess / the Swan Lake Ballet is derived from the much older Legend of Kaguya. The main themes are very similar. This wikipedia article gives you a glimpse at the “Legend” of the Swan Princess The “Legend” is apparently much older than the ballet itself.

Here are a few of the similarities:

In these “Swan Maiden” tales, an unmarried man steals a robe of swan feathers from a woman in order to keep her from “flying away” – The maiden then bears children by this man. At some point the children come across the robe their father has hidden, or they ask their mother why she is always crying and go find the robe for her. As soon as she is given her robe she ascends to heaven without any hesitation or thought or attachment for her family or life as a human. Regarding those she leaves behind, wikipedia says this: “Although the children may grieve her, she does not take them with her. If the husband is able to find her again, it is an arduous quest, and often the impossibility is clear enough so that he does not even try.”

Kaguya is pursued by many unmarried men. She is given her robe of feathers when she ascends to the moon, and thus this ascending into the sky, can also be like “flying away”

Kaguya begins crying “always” uncontrollably near the end of her tale and her family always asks her what’s wrong / show concern for her.

Kaguya is given a robe of feathers which allows her to forget her time with her human family and friends so that she has no attachment or regrets leaving them (obviously Ghibli changed this part with one final glance back to Earth from their version of Princess Kaguya)

Kaguya’s family does grieve her but she cannot take them with her.

Kaguya tasks her “would-be” husbands with impossible quests – Even the Emperor himself cannot win Kaguya’s hand. After her disappearance, he sets out on his own arduous quest in the legend which would become the legend and folklore around Mount Fuji. 

The wikipedia article also states that “The swan maiden has appeared in numerous items of fiction, including the ballet Swan Lake, in which a young princess, Odette and her maidens are under the spell of an evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, transforming them into swans by day. By night, they regain their human forms and can only be rescued if a young man swears eternal love and faithfulness to the Princess. When Prince Siegfried swears his love for Odette, the spell can be broken, but Siegfried is tricked into declaring his love for Von Rothbart’s daughter, Odile, disguised by magic as Odette, and all seems lost. But the spell is finally broken when Siegfried and Odette drown themselves in a lake of tears, uniting them in death for all eternity. While the ballet’s revival of 1895 depicted the swan-maidens as mortal women cursed to turn into swans, the original libretto of 1877 depicted them as true swan-maidens: fairies who could transform into swans at will.”

Kaguya has a special relationship to the Moon (symbol of the night).

The Emperor loved Kaguya (not as apparent in the Ghibli film, but VERY apparent in the original legend where he burns the letter and the elixir of life.)

In burning the elixir of life, he gives up immortality so that he can (one day) rejoin Kaguya in death.  

The Lake of Tears could signify how the Emperor wept for Kaguya (or in Ghibli’s case how her parents wept for her). 

The ability to transform into swans at will could be inspired by Kaguya’s ability to disappear at will. 

There is another tale from Japan with themes similar to Princess Kaguya, Tsuru no Ongaeshi, or the Crane Wife, about a crane who is caught in a trap. She is set free by an elderly couple and to repay their kindness she arrives as a human child, claiming to be lost. She asks them if they would take care of her as their own daughter, and the elderly couple happily agrees. To repay them for their kindness she begins to weave beautiful fabrics which she makes by plucking her own feathers. The fabrics sell for a lot of money and make the family very wealthy. She warns them they must never look in the room as she weaves. But overtime, curiosity overcomes the couple and they steal a glimpse only to find a crane and not a human in the room. With her identity revealed, she tells the couple she had hoped to always  remain their daughter, but she must now return to being a crane. In other versions of this legend, it is not a couple, but a young man who saves the crane disguised as a human. The two soon fall in love. In some versions he is sick and so the crane plucks her own feathers to make the fabric to sell for money to get medicine to save her husband. In other versions the husband is alive and well, but the crane becomes increasingly ill as she continues to pluck her feathers. As she plucks her last feather she must return to being a crane and leave her husband behind as the husband vows he will never forget her.

(source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuru_no_Ongaeshi)

The legend of Kaguya predates the legend of Tsuru no Ongaeshi. You can already see how the folk lore was shifting but still similar to the original tale of Kaguya. From here, the similarities between Kaguya and Swan’s lake are even more apparent.

Obviously both Swan Lake and Tsuru no Ongaeshi feature a bird who has turned human.

Swan Lake’s maiden has lost a robe of feathers, while the Crane Wife has lost her feathers while making robes.

In relation to Kaguya, Once their true identities are uncovered they both must return to their former selves/worlds.

Also in relation to Kaguya, the main character is raised by or falls in love with humans – she then asks them to raise her as their own child. When she is leaving she tells them she never wanted to leave and always wanted to remain their child, but that she has no choice now. In the version with the husband, his vow of never forgetting her, could be similar to the Emperor’s love for Kaguya in the original legend and the lengths he went to even after her death or disappearance to prove his love and rejoin her in death.

As you can see, I had the most to say about Kaguya, despite it not being my favorite Ghibli film, but because of the interesting ancient legend on which it, and many other fairy tales, are based. The Legend of Kaguya predates all other tellings of similar nature which makes it even more interesting from a historical point of view.


Princess Mononoke

I dunno, Princess Mononoke honestly scares the hell out of me… Even looking at this gif scares the hell out of me… This movie is so unsettling… and it’s even “worse” dubbed – because then the lip syncing is all off and then it’s just even more eerie AF…. I think Princess Mononoke definitely has a good story… and it is no doubt beautiful…. and probably Ghibli’s most successful / well known film – I own it, I “like” it (even though it honestly gives me nightmares) – but damn son…. this movie just ain’t right lol…. Am I the only one that finds this movie just INHERENTLY creepy? It’s not even the infamously excessive amounts of blood and violence… it’s little things like this creepy-ass mother bugger right here….

studio ghibli GIF


Only Yesterday

I thought this was a little bit of a bore. I generally love slice of life and romance films. I’m not sure why this one missed the mark for me. The story is told by a middle aged woman as she looks back on her childhood / early adulthood and reminisces about summers and her first love. Even though the majority of the film felt a little slow – I really really really really REALLY loved the later parts of the film — Especially the ending — One of the most memorable endings of any Ghibli film — or any film — ever. So good. I think overall though, the story suffers from some pacing issues and the constant back and forth from memories/present day. There are cute parts, sweet parts, dramatic parts, but in some ways it just felt like it dragged and droned on and on… That ending though… so emotional!! Loved it.

studio ghibli GIF


My Neighbor Totoro

If you care to read more about My Neighbor Totoro – I did a review after attending the Gkids theatrical release last year. Read my Review of My Neighbor Totoro here.

As for how it ranks against other Ghibli films… Sorry Totoro – cute as you may be – and having owned the film as a kid, and seeing it again recently in theaters – I still love you for how cute you are, and the memorable characters – dust bunnies, cat bus, Totoro himself — but Totoro there’s just one problem, there’s just not much really happening in your film. One interesting theory suggests that the girls are actually dead, and that Totoro is a Shinigami (a spirit that only children can see which will guide them to the afeterlife. A sort of Grim Reaper that usually takes the form of animals or stuffed toys etc) – I think this theory could be plausible. And it would definitely make the movie a bit more interesting. Like Princess Mononoke, parts of Totoro are (perhaps unintentionally) Creepy AF!!… Also after seeing it in the theaters – Catbus has balls… just saying…. WTF? lol. XD Nothing like sitting in one of the front rows and seeing huge Catbus balls in my face as he leaps through the sky. – I have heard that Pompoko also features cute characters with huge balls lol. (though I haven’t seen it yet). Anyways, despite Totoro being the iconic mascot of Ghibli, basically equivalent to Mickey Mouse for Disney, the movie just isn’t that great. I love it for the heartwarming sweet characters, but yeah that’s about it. And the juxtaposition between the beginning and 2nd half of the film, is just kinda creepy. (although admittedly, that’s when things pick up rapidly and get more interesting.)

Studio Ghibli GIF


From Up on Poppy Hill

This film is absolutely beautiful to look at (Just look at the ambience in the gif below, how it perfectly captures the glow of the street lights and sunset) — But that’s about the only nice thing I can say about this film. I found it to be the most boring Ghibli film of all time. — But actually after reading Wikipedia to refresh my memory of this film (I only watched it once, and years ago) — I dunno – the plot sounds interesting to me; I may give this one another watch. The only thing I remembered from the film was the children trying to save their school and club house – which I think took up 90% of the film – and this part was boring to me, watching them clean and repair the building – etc. It just felt dull. I never felt like I cared about any of the characters, and therefore also never cared about their school or club house… But after reading Wikipedia it seems I missed the point of the film, which is a complicated love story. The two below fall in love, but find out that they may be siblings. I won’t say if they actually are – Wikipedia can give you that answer if you’re curious – Anyways the two struggle – first avoiding each other, then trying to remain “just friends” because of their situation – and then deciding that even despite their situation that they will embrace their feelings for each other. Another wiki dedicated to all things Ghibli says that the two also learn the “full story of how their parents met, loved, and lived”. This piques my interest even though after reading wikipedia I now know all of the details and don’t really need to watch the film – I still may rewatch this – and if need be, adjust my rankings of it because the drama honestly sounds like it’d be right up my alley, and that animation is just so pretty.

studio ghibli GIF


Ocean Waves

Well here is my least favorite Ghibli film… I hate it for one reason – The main girl is a total B-… She has NO redeeming qualities, NO remorse for her actions, and she does NOT change her ways or grow as a person at all. She remains this same horrible terrible crazy B– of a person…. But yet the main character falls in love with her and basically bends over backwards, throwing money and time and his emotions etc at this girl… and for what reason? But I know sometimes love and life are like this. Sometimes nice people get sucked in by people like this. Or sometimes love is just so unexplainable and inexplicable that we don’t really know WHY we love some one… Clearly she has no qualities that should make anyone love her. She is manipulative, cold, greedy, and just crazy. I can’t stand her… I want to scream and shake the main character’s shoulders like hey wake up, this girl is not good for you!!… But nope, in the end, they get their “happy ever after” – Man, way to romanticize abusive relationships. Domestic, Emotional, and Verbal abuse does not deserve to be twisted into some grand fantasy romance like this… I just can’t get on board with the characters in this film… They may be the most realistic and adult like of any Ghibli characters…. but I can’t believe how she treats him. Begging / Stealing money, Playing Victim all the Time, Dragging him and parading him like a trophy in front of your friends, Then turning your back on him, etc…. We do see that she is ostrichsized by her classmates too near the end for her behavior being called to light — and I get that the main character is Mr. Nice Guy and feels bad because suddenly she has no friends and everything… And he is also in a similar situation because of rumors that she and her friends started after their trip… but dang… I dunno he’s just TOO nice to her. She really doesn’t deserve someone as good as him. And it makes me mad. LOL. — I guess it’s still an interesting film… I definitely remember it and feel very very strongly about it… so there’s that at least… The movie and the characters are unique… and memorable… just not in a good way LOL.

ocean GIF


Studio Ghibli Films I have yet to watch – In no particular order:

  • Porco Rosso
  • Pom Poko
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Wind Rises

Every Studio Ghibli Film Ranked From Best to Worst – Top 10 Studio Ghibli Films – The Best Studio Ghibli Films – The Worst Studio Ghibli Films was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

I Want To Take an Anime and Manga Tour in Japan

OMG… I want to do this. (Maybe Next Year – I don’t have Vacation Time left this year since I will be going to Peru this summer) Their next tour is in just a few weeks, and seems to only happen once a year, in March coinciding with the International Anime Festival AnimeJapan.

https://japandeluxetours.com/japan/group/anime-japan-tours#anime3

Visiting Japan is my life long dream. (sadly, mostly just so I can go shopping for anime, game, and doll stuff lol. Although I do want to do the museums and cherry blossoms and hot springs and other cultural things too – though mostly, I’m just a big geeky nerd who loves anime and wants to go shopping – which is what this whole tour is designed for <3)

Animate - The World's Largest Anime Store

Animate – The World’s Largest Anime Store

It’s not that much money (well OK it is, but it’s cheaper than I expected honestly). Guided 6 Day Anime Tour in Japan which includes hotels and Guides through all the “anime” spots in Japan (since I can’t speak Japanese a Guide would be helpful…)

Cat Heavy Breathing GIF

Only $1,500 a person, includes hotels for each day. I’d just have to have airfare, and LOTTTTTTTTSSSSS of money for food and shopping. Like seriously I’d probably want to have another $1,000 with me just for shopping lol. If I buy a dollfie dream or custom volks doll or something that’d eat half that budget right there. Then there’s all kinds of cheap (but cute) dolls / toys / figurines, etc.

idea intensifies GIF

I wouldn’t want to go by myself either – I would hope my boyfriend would go with me but if not then I’m pretty sure that I could find a friend or family member to take… If I had to pay for both of us that’s $3,000… The tour includes several meals but I’d need money for more meals (Let’s say $100 a day food budget X 5 days $500) Airfaire is probably close to $1,000 a person too So not counting shopping expenses I’d need $5,500… I want to mainly go shopping so I’d want at least $1,000 for shopping for myself that’s $6,500…. which still… isn’t that bad because of all the things this tour includes.

Studio Ghibli Museum

Studio Ghibli Museum

This tour includes all of the Ghibli and other museums, the largest anime stores, and even admission to an anime convention for one day. OMG and an anime theme park another day… OMG it includes real life mario kart racing too…. omg…

Anime GIF

The number 1 place I want to visit actually isn’t on this tour – that place is Doll Point Akihabara – Volks store where you can buy Dollfie Dreams and Asian Balljointed Dolls and Accessories – including some items available only in the store and not sold online.  But that’s OK because the tour gives you free time in the evening and one free day where you’re on your own without a guide.

Doll Point Akihabara

Doll Point Akihabara

My dream / life goal / bucket list… lol…

Now that I have my passport I can actually do stuff like this O_O!!! Now I just need money (lots of money) (and to wait for my vacation time again lol).

https://japandeluxetours.com/group/tour/anime-japan-tour-6-days-a

Tour Includes

  • 6 DAYS
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 7 MEALS
  • 5 breakfasts
    2 lunches
  • TRANSPORT
  • All transport shown
Anime Stores

Anime Stores

Details:

  • 4 nights Western hotel
  • Daily Breakfast-Buffets and 2 Lunches included
  • All ground transportation in Japan during the tour
  • Complimentary Airport Transfers (see details)
  • Admission Fees, Tax & Gratuities at all included Destinations
  • Full time service of licensed English speaking tour guide & separate bus driver
  • Japan Deluxe Tours Handbook and Tour Goods Package
  • Free Wi-Fi in Bus & Most hotels
Doll Stores

Doll Stores

Travel Highlights

  • A day at the AnimeJapan Festival in Tokyo
  • A walk through the busy Shibuya Crossing
  • Tokyo’s lively Harajuku and Takeshita Dori
  • The electronics and anime town of Akihabara
  • 20+ Anime stores at Tokyo Character Street
  • Admission to J-World Jump Theme Park
  • The well known Ghibli Museum
  • Souvenir shopping at Harajuku Kiddy Land
  • Shopping and trading time at the Pokemon Center
  • The Gundam Base Tokyo and Lifesize Unicorn Gundam

Not Included
– Airfare
– Travel Insurance
– Optional Excursions

Animate Japan - World's Largest Anime Store

Animate Japan – World’s Largest Anime Store


Itinerary:

Day 1

Tokyo Arrival
Arrival* Narita Int’l Airport (NRT) Haneda Int’l Airport (HND)
Arrival Transfer
Welcome to Japan! We will have transportation services to take you to your hotel. Please refer to your tour handbook for more information.
Rest at the hotel and be ready to start your exciting tour tomorrow.

Mirai Store

Mirai Store

**INFORMATION**
From Narita Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo – about 90 mins(Bus)
From Haneda Airport to downtown hotel in Tokyo – about 30 mins(Bus)

Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar


Day 2
Tokyo | Sushi & Akihabara
Morning [ Tokyo ] Asakusa Sensoji Temple Pokemon Center J-World
Afternoon Tsukiji Fish Market (Lunch) ( Lunch – Sushi )
Tokyo Character Street [ Akihabara ]
Animate
Evening Return to the Hotel

Tokyo International Anime Fair Anime Japan

Tokyo International Anime Fair Anime Japan By Max TimchenkoOwn work, GFDL, Link

Before our big day at the International Anime Fair – AnimeJapan tomorrow, our Anime tour will visit some of the best anime sites Tokyo has to offer. We first start with some traditional Japanese culture and shopping at Asakusa. Enjoy shopping at the Nakamise area and the stunning red temple that is Sensoji. We then make our way to Sunshine City to check out the Pokemon Mega Center, a must-go for all Pokemon lovers. Besides all the Pokemon goods they sell, they also have a battling and trading room for customers to interact with other Pokemon fans.

pokemon center

pokemon center

After browsing through exclusive products, we will head over to J-World, the Shonen Jump theme-park in Tokyo! Play games and win prizes based on all your favorite characters, including Goku from Dragonball, Luffy and Co from One Piece, Naruto and Sasuke, Kuroko and the rest of the Generation of Miracles, and Hinata and his team of volleyball hopefuls! Win prizes and shop to your hearts content at the J-World store before our next stop. For lunch, enjoy sushi with fish provided by the Tsukiji Fish Market, the famous fish market that provides freshest ingredients for thousands of families and businesses alike.

J-world

J-world

Following our time at the market, the tour will visit the lively Tokyo Character Street in Tokyo Central Station. The area is lined with various anime-themed shops, including a Jump Store, Pokemon Center, Hello Kitty shop, Ghibli store, and more! There’s also Tokyo Ramen Street, Okashi Land, and Gachapon Street, perfect for someone who wants some lunch and to do a little more gift shopping for friends or for themselves! After our adventures at Character Street, we will head to Akihabara, the town of anime. While there, enjoy shopping ad sightseeing for the rest of the day at some of the most popular otaku destinations, including Animate. Animate carries all kinds of character goods, electronics, and games from current and popular anime/manga series.

Tokyo Character Street

Tokyo Character Street


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast Lunch
Day 3
Tokyo | AnimeJapan Festival
Morning AnimeJapan
Optional Shibuya Scrumble Crossing Gundam Base Tokyo (Optional) VR ZONE SHINJUKU (Optional) Ninja Trick House (Optional) CAPCOM BAR (Optional) Mario Kart (Optional)
Evening Return to the Hotel
*Evening Capsule Hotels (Optional)

Gundam Base Tokyo Japan Life Size Gundam Unicorn

Gundam Base Tokyo Japan Life Size Gundam Unicorn

Today’s the big day of the International Anime Fair – AnimeJapan! Join the many cosplayers, otaku, and anime lovers of all degrees in the biggest Anime event in the world. Anime, manga, doujinshi, guest speakers, figurines, rare items, video games, limited and exclusive covers are all accessible at this large event. Enjoy your day exploring the grounds and meeting people with the same passion as you! If the fair isn’t enough, you also have the option to join an optional tour at 3pm to explore the famous Shibuya Crossing and Gundam Base Tokyo to see the awesome life-size RX-0 Unicorn Gundam model (72 ft). The Gundam Base is an expansive store, museum, and features a cafe for guests to enjoy everything Gundam.

Real Life Mario Kart Experience at Maricar Japan

Real Life Mario Kart Experience at Maricar Japan

Feel free to enjoy the night at your leisure, or you have the option to enjoy the night as you wish, or sign up for a few optional excursions. We have the new VR Zone Shinjuku, an incredible VR-focused arcade, the Ninja Trick House where guests can enjoy learning how to throw ninja-stars and also learn the ways of the ninja, or a meal at the CAPCOM BAR, a themed-restaurant showcasing the best of CAPCOM, including games and themed-meals, or sign up for a MarioKart experience and drive go-karts around Tokyo dressed as some of your favorite characters!

You also have the option of staying a night in a capsule hotel for one night (additional fees may apply for capsule hotel and/or additional excursions)

(Err no thank you to the capsule hotel… Too claustrophobic for me – like sleeping in a coffin or morgue lol)

Japanese Capsule Hotels

Japanese Capsule Hotels


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast
Day 4
Tokyo | J-Pop, Ghibli, & Robots
Morning Harajuku Harajuku Crepes (JDT Recommends)
Harajuku Kiddy Land (Optional)
Omotesando (Optional)
Sailor Moon Store (Optional)
Tokyo One Piece Tower
Afternoon Ghibli Museum Robot Restaurant
Evening Return to the Hotel

Japanese Crepes

Japanese Crepes

We will start our morning heading to Harajuku for shopping and snacks along Takeshita Dori. This shopping area is the perfect place to get in touch with Japan’s pop culture trends, and to sample some of the best crepes in Japan. After our time in Harajuku, we head to Tokyo Tower, Japan’s iconic tower. Tokyo Tower has been taken over by One Piece, resulting in Tokyo One Piece Tower. Known as Tongari Island, this event is filled with attractions, wonderful restaurants, and a live-action show designed to wow fans of all ages.

Japanese Crepes

Japanese Crepes

Following our time at the tower, we head east to visit the famed Ghibli Museum. This animation and art museum exhibits works of Miyazaki Hayao, creator of world famous films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Ghibli Film fans will definitely enjoy the artistic museum, which not only exhibits the history and techniques of animation but also plays short movies in a theater room, produced exclusively for the museum.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

After the museum, it’s time for dinner at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku for those interested! Enjoy a show like none before, fusing classic Japanese elements with the dreams and fantasies of the future. The restaurant has a wild vibe and a unique experience you are sure to find entertaining.

Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast Lunch
Day 5
Tokyo | Leisure-Free
All Day Free at your leisure
Optional Excursion Fees not included.
Opt 1 Tokyo Disneyland (Optional)
Opt 2 Tokyo Disney Sea (Optional)
Opt 3 Kamakura (Optional) -or- Nikko (Optional)
Opt 4 Mario Kart (Optional)
Opt 5 Sanrio Puroland (Optional)
Opt 6 Fuji-Q Highland (Optional)
Evening Return to the Hotel
We have cleared up the day for you to explore and enjoy Japan as you wish. You can either
1) enjoy the entire day as you wish
2) visit Tokyo Disney Land, Fuji Q Amusement Park, or Tokyo DisneySea or another theme-park
3) Join a Mario Kart day tour*
4) go on a private-guided tour through Nikko or Kamakura

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort

For those who wish to visit Tokyo Disney Land, Fuji Q Amusement Park, or Sanrio Puroland, your tour guide will be happy to explain directions.
(additional fees may apply for additional tour options. Please contact us in advanced for this service)

*The Mario Kart experience requires an International Driving Permit. Please contact us for more information if you would like to participate.


Hearton Hotel Higashi Shinagawa or similar Breakfast
Day 6
Tokyo Departure
Departure Transfer
Departure* Narita Int’l Airport (NRT) or Haneda Int’l Airport (HND)
Your pleasant and memorable Japan tour ends today. The tour will disband after breakfast.
Fly home with cherished memories or enjoy your extended stay in Japan.

https://japandeluxetours.com/help/frequently-asked-questions/


Mirai Store

Mirai Store

5. Anime Japan Tour | Tokyo
Departure Date(s)
6 Days
2018 Tokyo Tokyo 03/22
5 Nights 6 Days From : USD 1,878 USD 1,784 pp

Destinations:

  • Akihabara Animate
  • Ghibli Museum
  • J-World
  • Pokemon Center
  • Asakusa – Sensoji Temple
  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Nakano Broadway
  • Tokyo Character Street
  • Tokyo One Piece Tower

Experiences

  • AnimeJapan
  • Robot Restaurant
  • Tsukiji Fish Market Lunch
  • Optional – Capsule Hotel

Take on Tokyo during our AnimeJapan Tour | Tokyo package! This fully escorted Japan tour focuses on all of the major anime & manga spots in Tokyo, and enjoy admission to the AnimeJapan festival! We’ve also included a day of leisure in the city, with plenty of suggested itineraries we can set up at your convenience (additional fees may apply).

Animate Japan - World's Largest Anime Store

Animate Japan – World’s Largest Anime Store

During this Anime Japan tour, we have selected the integral destinations that showcase Japan’s unique pop culture. Akihabara, the mecca of anime and electronics, is just one of the many destinations we will be visiting during this tour. Among the shops of Akihabara, we recommend a visit to the Animate store. One of the largest anime and manga store chains, you’re bound to find the latest anime posters, figurines, and goods.

There’s also J-World, the indoor theme park featuring Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Naruto, Tokyo Character Street, the shopping arcade in Tokyo Central Station perfect for souvineer shopping, and the Ghibli Museum where the works of Hayao Miyazaki come to life. We’ll also be swinging by the long-standing Nakano Broadway and Tokyo One Piece Tower, just in case you were worried we didn’t have enough anime spots on the menu. This anime tour will also covers the Gundam Base Tokyo, where the massive 72 foot Unicorn Gundam stands over Odaiba!

animation copic markers

animation copic markers

With so many incredible anime shopping destinations, don’t forget this tour includes admission to the AnimeJapan exhibition at Odaiba’s Big Sight Convention Center! There are over 100 exhibitors participating, capturing the spirit of anime and manga from fans all over the world. The exhibition not only features displays and performances, but also charity auctions, cosplayers events, meeting animators and manga artists, limited edition goods, and more. We’ve also arranged for an optional walking tour along Shibuya after the convention! You can also extend your vacation before / after this Anime Japan Tour in Tokyo.

Cat Heavy Breathing GIF

Come Join the LARGEST Anime Expo & See all the hottest anime and Manga spots in Tokyo!

Tokyo – AnimeJapan


OMG!!!! They have a different tour to the Tokyo Game Show and Video Games / Arcades in Japan too. A shorter one, only 3 nights.

And another one which is 8 nights and includes things like the deer park (deer just roam the streets, they’re tame you can pet and feed them, etc). And includes more museums and things too.

idea intensifies GIF

Of course the best one is 15 days long – but it’s also the most expensive.

So many awesome tours. I’m definitely doing this (probably the 6 day one) – Hopefully next year once I save up the money.

My life long dream ❤

I Want To Take an Anime and Manga Tour in Japan was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

The Best Anime Apps for Your Iphone

The Best Anime Apps for Your iPhone

Technology has made it possible to participate in your favorite activities regardless of your location. Easily stream and watch your favorite anime via your smartphone with any of these apps.

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll has both free and paid membership plans available for anime enthusiasts. No membership is required to watch many of the anime streams. Going premium simply means you can enjoy your favorite anime without ads, you’ll have faster release times, and you get the ability to stream to other locations besides your iPhone. Crunchyroll has access to the best anime shows with over 25,000 anime episodes available, including Naruto Next Generation, Dragon Ball Super, and Cowboy Bebop.

Anime Crave

Image via Flickr by Danny Choo

Anime Crave is well-known for its ability to customize your anime playlists. Give ratings to each of the anime you watch and then move preferred shows to your favorites playlist to easily locate them later. The app is simple and makes it extremely easy to quickly stream the best anime shows you crave. Additionally, the developers are constantly updating the app and regularly releasing new anime.

Viewster

Viewster is home to both classic and new anime shows. This app does not require a membership and it also allows you to stream other types of full-length shows. One of the best parts of Viewster is that it is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms, meaning you can share your favorite Anime with those friends who have not yet moved to an iPhone device. Having a mobile device with fast speeds is important in streaming the best Anime. The Apple iPhone 8 on T-Mobile’s lightning speed network will ensure that you always have a capable speed to stream your favorite Anime shows.

Anime FC

The Anime FC database might only have just over 1,000 anime episodes available, but the high-quality stream speed and fast download speeds make it a great option. You can also easily filter anime options in the app by popularity and category. It also has the ability to stream international anime while also providing you with English subtitles to easily follow along.

Anime Lib

Anime Lib already has millions of downloads and it gives you the opportunity to download from any anime genre. The free version includes over 500 different anime titles, and you can access even more for a small monthly membership fee. You can also stream anime from a variety of different languages. Easily download your favorite anime episodes and then watch them offline or during travel, when internet connection can be spotty. 

Aozora

Aozora is one of the largest apps available for discovering and sharing anime with over 1,000,000 downloads. Easily keep track of anime that you have already seen with the tracking tool. You can also discuss your favorite shows with fellow anime enthusiasts in the forum section, as well as offer and receive recommendations for new anime. Aozora combines the advantages of social media with the entertainment of anime. Create a profile within the app to connect with others and quickly grow your anime friend list. 

Anime Pulse

It can also be entertaining to follow the latest news and information surrounding the world of anime. With Anime Pulse, you can access the most up-to-date information, news, and app releases of both Japanese anime and manga. You can read news stories, listen to podcasts on Popcorn Pulse or easily switch back to the streaming anime station feature. The Anime Pulse site also hosts a VG (video game) Pulse area that lets you discuss and review your favorite anime games.

Love Live! School Idol Festival

This anime iOS app allows you to design and interact your own anime life. It is currently one of the highest-rated anime apps on the iPhone platform. It includes an interesting anime storyline complete with Japanese music, character creation, and interaction. Create a team within the characters or connect with other live players on the app. 

The popularity of anime may have started in Japan, but it has quickly made its way around the world. These are some of the best apps to view and share the best anime on the iPhone iOS platform.

 

 

The Best Anime Apps for Your Iphone was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty

I received this book for free in exchange for a review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

This large, beautiful hardcover artbook is a must have for any Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli fan. Within its pages lies a treasure trove of not only gorgeous artwork, but also a behind the scenes look at the work that went into creating The Secret World of Arietty. This book is very high quality. Its large oversize format makes it excellent for laying on your coffee table or bookshelf and its presentation is so inviting that your friends won’t be able to resist picking it up and scanning through the pages. Its an excellent conversation piece, as well as a great asset for a collector’s own private and personal collection.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

With this review I struggled if I should include pictures, and if so how many, and which ones to include. I wanted you to see the beautiful artwork and the commentary from the artists at Studio Ghibli but I also wanted to not reveal too much as to avoid spoiling the surprise and excitement of reading the book for yourself. So I selected 3 or 4 images showing concept art and notes from the team. It’s also important to know there are many beautiful full color art pieces in the book as well, including some that spread across both pages. I just felt the concept art was far more interesting as we don’t get a glimpse of that by simply watching the film.

By far, my favorite part of the book is all of the commentary and interviews with the staff of Studio Ghibli. It’s easy enough to fill a picture book full of sketches and doodles, but what I really enjoyed was reading about how the film all came together, the various changes that were made to characters and settings within the anime, and getting a sense for what the artists feel about their finished creation. It was quite fascinating, especially reading it as someone working as a full time artist myself. I can really appreciate the team’s dedication and passion and I think that passion really shows through in the final product (both the film and this gorgeous artbook).

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli’s “The Secret World of Arietty” is based on a popular children’s book, The Borrowers by Mary Norton. This book has entertained children for several generations. But it’s also a book (and film) that can be enjoyed by the whole family, young or old alike. My grandmother told me that it is her favorite book, she told me she first read it when my mother checked it out of the library. I too read the book when I was younger, and I also enjoyed many other film and tv adaptations and similar books and movies and tv series such as The Littles and The Indian in the Cupboard.

The Borrowers and The Secret World of Arietty give you a glimpse at a hidden world right under our noses. The Borrowers are a tiny race of miniature humans who live in our walls and gardens and live off of things we waste or take for granted. If you ever notice a button or a needle is missing, you can bet it’s been “Borrowed”. Of course the human world presents many dangers to Arietty, she must be careful to not be discovered by the humans who could capture her and keep her as a pet or science experiment. At the same time she must be aware of her surroundings at all times. She could get swept away by just a small trickle of water, or mistaken for a mouse and gobbled up by a cat, or crushed underfoot by a horse and carriage. Arietty is of course not afraid of the human world, and instead intrigued by it. She finds the human world fascinating and impossible to resist. Especially when she meets and falls in love with a human boy who is equally fascinated by Arietty’s world. The story teaches us that even though our lives may seem dull and mundane, that all it takes is a change of perspective to be reminded how wondrous life truly is.

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Studio Ghibli The Art of The Secret World of Arietty Artbook

Just as life is wondrous and full of adventure, so too is the official artbook, “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty”.

You can buy “The Art of The Secret World of Arietty” Artbook here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/197470033X

Buy the Borrowers complete set of books here: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Adventures-Borrowers-Mary-Norton/dp/0152049150/

Buy the DVD or Blu-Ray of the Secret World of Arietty here: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-World-Arrietty-Two-Disc-Blu-ray/dp/B005LAIGXM

Artbook Review: The Art of The Secret World of Arietty was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Gree Animal Days Mobile Game Graveyard Review

Gree Animal Days was my all time favorite mobile game.

Be warned, before reading this review; the game was shut down several years ago.

There are lots of articles available online pointing to why the game failed. But largely, from what I read, the developers over promised and under estimated how difficult it would be to maintain their production schedules for new content and features which ultimately led to them shutting down the game as they could no longer maintain it.

There were not many games like Gree Animal Days at the time available in the android or IOS app stores.

It was kinda like animal crossing, but it also had breeding, city building, dating sim, and other aspects that made it, in my opinion, more fun than even the newly released Animal Crossing Pocket Camp game (which I also reviewed here).

It also shared lots in common with Happy Street which for quite some time filled the “need” for an animal crossing like game available on mobile devices.

But the ability to breed and recruit new animals to your town really set Gree Animal Days apart from the rest. And still to this day, I’ve not found any other games quite as fun as this.

Check out the trailer below:

Here’s a look at some of the features of Gree Animal Days:

Information taken from Game Faqs

Animal Days is recommended for anyone who:- Likes animals- Wants to raise animals- Likes games where you make your own town or village- Wants to try a game where you help raise villagers- Likes simulation games- Wants to try a game with romantic side

Make the most fantastic city in the world in a hidden forest with your animal friends!

Start romances with the animals in your friends town!

Animals fall in love, get married, and have cute animal children!

Get as many animals as you can, and make a bustling animal town!

Make a town in the forest with cute animal friends! In this game you will work together with cute animals to make a fantastic town. Find all types of animals and collect buildings to make a unique town with your cute animal friends!

Romance

Your animals and your friends’ animals will have romances and make children. Start romances with different animals to get new animals that will live in your town.

Buildings

In the middle of the forest near your town lies the Mysterious Pond. You can get free, cute Decorations and Houses from the Mysterious Pond every day! Decorate your town with your favorite buildings and develop your town into the best that it can be!

Animals

Build Houses and start romances to increase the number of animals that live in your town! There are over 100 animals, all with unique personalities! Your favorite animal is waiting for you! You will find Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Penguins, Mice, and more!

Dilemmas

The animals experience all sorts of Dilemmas. If you help solve their Dilemmas, they will give you items and special buildings, so solve as many as you can and expand your town!


Score Card:

Title: Gree Animal Days

Publisher: Gree

Where to Get: No Longer Available

Platform: Formerly available on Android and IOS

Price: Free

Genre: Casual, City Building, Life Simulation, Dating Sim

Overall: 38/50 76% C – Good Game for Girls

Breakdown:

Geeky: 3/5 – with over 100 animals, and over 300 buildings available at launch, Gree Animal Days was a hugely ambitious project that offered hours of gameplay and innovative fun mechanics in a well polished package. However poor management eventually led to the downfall of this great game. The devs were not prepared to handle the success of this game.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The cute characters and interesting marriage and breeding aspects really set this game apart as a great game for girls.

Gameplay: 10/10 This app offered so much to do! with hundreds of buildings and animals to collect, as well as the ability to date and breed with your friends’ animals too. These features are severely missed as no other cute animal city building game has yet to replicate this unique gaming experience.

Story: 3/10 – There was a loose story about rebuilding a run down village, but it was not terribly interesting. Then again neither are the stories in Animal Crossing games, so it’s about on par with that series there.

Characters:  10/10 – The characters are so cute. Each one had unique personalities and appearances. With over 100 characters at launch and more added in updates, there were a lot of cute characters to collect!

Graphics: 5/5 – This game looked great for the time it was released. It looks similar to even newer apps such as Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Happy Street. Each character and building was unique, which is part of the game’s downfall as they had to create so many assets in such short time.

Music: 2/5 – Like most mobile games, it’s cute/catchy at first, but lacks variation and will tend to annoy after your first few playthroughs.

Overall: 38/50 76% C – Good Game for Girls

 

Gree Animal Days Mobile Game Graveyard Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Viz Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series by Meca Tanaka: The Young Master’s Revenge

vizmedia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THE SHOJO MANGA SERIES THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE

 

Plans For Revenge Go Awry In This Romantic Comedy From The Creator Of METEOR PRINCE

 

San Francisco, CA, February 21, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, delivers the print and digital release of THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE on March 6th.

The series, by creator Meca Tanaka, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the SHOJO BEAT imprint. Meca Tanaka is also the creator of the acclaimed shojo manga series METEOR PRINCE (also published by VIZ Media).

Volume 1 of THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series also launches digitally via viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes will be published by VIZ Media on a quarterly basis.

In THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE, when Leo was a young boy, he had his pride torn to shreds by Tenma, a girl from a wealthy background who was always getting him into trouble. Now, years after his father’s successful clothing business has made him the heir to a fortune, he searches out Tenma to enact a dastardly plan – he’ll get his revenge by making her fall in love with him!

“The creator of METEOR PRINCE returns with a new shojo manga from the perspective of the hero,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Senior Editor. “What begins as Leo’s revenge becomes a voyage of self-discovery and endearing love.”

Creator Meca Tanaka made her professional manga debut in 1998. Her previous notable works include Omukae DesuTennen Pearl Pink (Pearl Pink) and Kiss Yori mo Hayaku (Faster than a Kiss). Her series METEOR PRINCE is published by VIZ Media.

For additional information on THE YOUNG MASTER’S REVENGE and other manga series published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

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Viz Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series by Meca Tanaka: The Young Master’s Revenge was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Viz Announces Studio Ghibli Secret of Ariettety Artbook

vizmedia

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF

THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

 

New Hardcover Art Book Edition Features Vivid Illustrations, Concept Sketches, And Interviews From The Beloved

Studio Ghibli Film

 

San Francisco, CA, February 15, 2018 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing, expands its renowned Studio Ghibli library with the release of a new hardcover edition of THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY on March 6th.

 

The vividly illustrated art book will be released exclusively in print with an MSRP of $34.99 U.S. / $46.99 CAN. It features story notes, commentary, and artwork from The Secret World of Arrietty. Based on the classic novel by Mary Norton, the 2010 film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the youngest director to ever helm a film for Studio Ghibli. The studio’s founder, Hayao Miyazaki, also supervised the production of Arietty as a developing planner. Yonebayashi has gone on to direct When Marnie Was There and Studio Ponoc’s first feature film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower

 

“THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY features hundreds of character and production sketches as well as insights from director Hiromasa Yonebayashi and other key creators involved with the film,” says Masumi Washington, Editor. “We invite readers to dive deeper into The Secret World of Arrietty with this beautiful hardcover release.”

 

VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library is exclusively devoted to the work of iconic Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki and his famed animation studio. The imprint has collected a substantial catalog of full-color art books, film comics, picture books and other releases celebrating Studio Ghibli films such as Princess Mononoke, The Wind Rises, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, and Porco Rosso.

 

For additional information on Studio Ghibli titles published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com.

 

About VIZ Media, LLC

Established in 1986, VIZ Media is the premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution, and global entertainment licensing. Along with its popular digital magazine WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, DRAGON BALL, SAILOR MOON, and POKÉMON, VIZ Media offers an extensive library of titles and original content in a wide variety of book and video formats, as well as through official licensed merchandise. Owned by three of Japan’s largest publishing and entertainment companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the best titles for English-speaking audiences worldwide.

 

Learn more about VIZ Media and its properties at viz.com.

 

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Viz Announces Studio Ghibli Secret of Ariettety Artbook was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review

Title: Pop in Q
Length: (approx) 1.5 hours, feature length film.
I hear there is a 2nd film in production as well that will finish telling the story. *hint: Keep watching after the credits of the first movie*
Genre: Shoujo, Magical Girl, Fantasy, Idol, Musical, Slice of Life, Drama
Studio: Toei Annimation
Release Date: December, 2016

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Score Card:

Geeky 1/5 – There is a bit of action later in the film, also some nostalgia to anyone who grew up watching shows like Digimon. But largely, this is pure shoujo aimed at very young girls. Afterall the girls themselves are middleschool students in this film.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This anime is utterly adorable!!! The Popin look like Sanrio characters. The girls are young and have round faces and big eyes. The music is catchy. Idol culture is always kawaii AF. The backgrounds have a nice painterly style. And the story actually has some depth to it, especially towards the end and the small preview of the next film.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Story 9/10 The story is basically the same as nearly every shoujo series. Which isn’t a bad thing. A group of young girls who don’t believe in themselves (or other people), come together, find their own inner strength, and learn to trust each other and work together. The basic plot of Pop in Q surrounds 5 girls each with different regrets as they prepare to graduate from middle school. They escape to the magic world where they meet the Popins, loveable cute mascots who are responsible for the flow of time. The girls do not want to return to their own world until tragedy threatens both worlds and forces the girls to make some difficult decisions.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Characters: 10/10 – 10 out of 10 just for how cute they are. Plus I like how every girl is given ample screen time and has a rich back story. This reminded me a lot of sailor moon or magic knights rayearth, or to a lesser degree card captor sakura. It also has a hint of love live or aikatsu stars because of the idol elements. But the cutest thing of all are the Poppins!

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Artwork: 4/5 I deducted 1 point because some of the 3D scenes are not animated that well. However, the character designs are so cute. The 2D parts are adorable, and the background environments have this lovely painterly style with heavy brush strokes. This creates a beautiful storybook like feeling.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Voice Acting: 4/5 – The voice acting is cute and suits each of the girls. The poppins also have cute voices. Only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was that it wasn’t that memorable.

Music: 5/5 – There are tons of vocal tracks, obviously as music plays a central role to this story. Luckily all of the music is quite catchy. I also liked the instrumental tracks, especially highlighting some sad and touching moments.

 

Pop in Q

Pop in Q

Overall: 38/45 84% B+ “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Pop in Q Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review

With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.

This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.)  I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

Imagine Figure Skater Nintendo DS Otome Olympic Ice Skating Game

First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.

Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.

There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

Imagine: Ice Champions Nintendo DS Olympic Ice Skating Otome Dating Game

These games were perhaps too ahead of their times – with the relatively recent popularity of Yuri!! on Ice, and increased representation of Otome Games in the United States, I wonder how a sequel for Nintendo Switch would fare these days, if marketed properly. Why try to forcefully create an audience, when there already exists a large audience begging publishers for such games. Do your research and understand your target audience better.

Most of us are 20+ years old, otaku/anime fans, and would rather buy the original box art on the right, than that which was designed for the US on the left. This alienated most of your “built in audience” while trying to build a new audience with younger girls.

Thankfully the art in the actual game is fully done in an anime and kawaii style which could appeal to either audience.

Now on to the review!!

Scorecard:

Title: Imagine: Figure Skating

Developer: Spike

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: Nintendo DS

Genre: Career/Life Simulation Game with Dressup Game, Dating Sim and Otome Game aspects

Where to Buy: Gamestop has both of these for about $0.79 and $1.99. Check out the links above.

Geeky: 5/5 – Gameplay is solid, the graphics are a little bit pixelated, but that’s probably just limitations of the software of the time ten years ago. Gameplay using the stylus to perform ice skating moves is both fun and challenging. It offered high replay value too with different girls to play as and different events and dialogue options. It gave a good look at what skaters go thru when training. If you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, or enjoy anime such as Yuri!! On Ice, then you will enjoy this game!

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game has a little bit of everything, all in one very cute package! Ice Skating is beautiful and elegant and as you compete you unlock new areas to explore, new outfits to wear, and you interact with friends, lovers, and rivals. It has a good dose of comedy, slice of life, drama, and surprise.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Game Review

Gameplay: 10/10 – Gameplay is where Imagine: Figure Skating really shines! When the game starts, you select one of three girls, each with her own strengths and weaknesses both on and off the ice. From there you’re whisked away to a tutorial where you get to try skating for the very first time.

Do well and advance through various qualifying rounds improving your skill and technique. You will earn money to buy new outfits and get to travel to compete in new arenas and unlock new events.

When not on the ice, you will go to school, work part time jobs, go on dates, or spend time with your friends. Rivals will show up both on and off the ice too which add to the story.

You skate by using the Nintendo DS stylus on the lower touch screen. You perform jumps and spins and get scored for each of your routines. As you play and complete your training, you will unlock more advanced moves to add to your routine.

You have complete control over designing your own ice skating routines. You select your outfits, music, and choreograph your routines to progress through the game and ultimately guide your character to the nationals.

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Imagine: Figure Skating Nintendo DS Anime Games for Girls

Story: 7/10 This game, just like Yuri!! On Ice, does an excellent job portraying the struggles and triumphs of those training for life as a professional or Olympic figure skater. Just like Yuri!!! On Ice, Imagine: Figure skating has that tantalizing blend of romance and rivalry both on and off the ice. It also showcases themes such as platonic friendship, family, travel, adventure, and sportsmanship. Storywise though, this game comes no where close to generating the same emotions and reactions in its audience compared to the beloved Yuri!! On Ice, which has been countless praised by real figure skaters for its realistic portrayal of events and memorable characters.

Characters: 8/10 The characters are cute! I loved the dressup aspects and loved having multiple girls to choose from when starting the game. I loved how this game draws you into the life of the characters, showing you moments of their life both on and off the ice. I didn’t quite connect with them as emotionally and deeply as I had hoped to. This is also probably why the story felt a bit flat.

Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are a bit outdated, but there’s so many options for costumes and the ability to pick different girls is great. The girls are all so cute.

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Imagine: Figure Skater Dressup Game

Music: 7/10 – I feel like almost everything about this game, is about a solid 7, it’s good, but not great. The great gameplay though makes up for the rather “average” other details. I’d say the music is fine, but ultimately far from memorable.

Replay Value: 10/10 – With different girls and different outcomes along with the ability to customize just about everything, this game has very high replay value.

Overall: 59/70 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

If you enjoyed Imagine: Figure Skating and Imagine: Champions on Ice, you may also like the other Imagine Games which you can view here. You may also like Princess Debut, which I love and plan to review shortly. There’s also a game called Princess on Ice that you may enjoy – I have not played that one just yet myself.

Imagine: Figure Skater Nintendo DS Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News