Aldnoah Zero: The love triangle I really couldn’t care less about

The wrong quote for the wrong show?

Finally onto the first anime review of the more recently finished anime! I know I am always a little behind on times because I always drag out finishing my anime (I watch most anime episode by episode, especially when they are the airing ones. This goes back to my point). But I did want to blog about Aldnoah Zero ever since I finished S1. I only held back because S2 is a continuation of the story and it made more sense to review the entire story and anime as a whole. *some spoilers ahead!*


This story features a war between clashing factions of humanity; those whom we know as the remaining descendants of Earth versus a fraction whose ancestors had migrated to Mars and discovering a new power, Aldnoah. This power was used to found the new autocratic empire of Vers, ruled by a monarchy. Earth remains the Earth we are mostly familiar with, a crippling democracy with corruption and incompetence steaming through its ranks, but bountiful with resources and hence the source of envy of Marsians, who are sorely lacking in such luxuries and only boast of military and technological superiority thanks to Aldnoah. Such inequality in resource distribution has always been a thorn in the side of the Marsians and a cause of the rising tensions throughout the years between Terrans and Marsians. However, the war is really only triggered when Princess Asseylum vers Allusia comes to Earth with the intention of improving diplomatic relations, and is seemingly assassinated by the Terrans.

A semblance of what normalcy could have been on planet Earth at the beginning of the first episode was shown, but it soon explodes into chaos and terror. Earth was never the same since. We see the events unravel through the eyes of a normal student, Inaho Kaizuki, who is caught up in the war together with his classmates/friends. His role in the story clears up when his ability to outwit the enemies through seeing through the technological and scientific defects in Vars military equipment and mecha (called ‘Kataphrakts’ here) is shown. On the other side, we have Slaine Troyard, a former Terran who’s now a Martian as his father was one of the main scientists involved in harnessing Aldnoah for the use of the monarchy. He is, unsurprisingly, treated as scum and as a low-classed citizen and is only comforted by his friendship with Princess Asseylum  which seems to give him all the strength he needs to move forward.

Some people may say this is essentially a story about a love triangle.

Aldnoah Zero is mostly a tale of war tactics and lots of mecha and military action. It delivers an acceptable standard of entertainment value due with its constant attempts to veer off course and set the pace for the next episode with relatively well done cliffhangers. Of course, its also laughable in that as the series progresses, it is clear that all small and large successes for Earth’s side are mostly due to Inaho’s intellect. Its just a tad unbelievable that a 16 year old which no military background whatsoever can rely on the laws of physics, quantum mechanics and science to figure out the fatal flaws of each Kataphrakt that comes to attack them, and he is the only one who can. If so, he is really the budding Einstein of his time and the ones sitting right up the military ranks are merely incompetent imbeciles and clearly display their ignorance by which show in the battle tactics they adopt. This would not have been so out of place if it wasn’t actually attempting to be a ‘serious’ tale, as opposed to, say, the crazy, illogical, bombastic but highly entertaining trainwreck that was Kakumeiki Valvrave that acknowledges its outrageousness but was audacious enough to continue on that route anyway.

It also probably doesn’t help that for most of the episodes at least, Aldnoah Zero adopts pretty much a monster-of-the-week formula. Each episode mainly went like this:

(a) One Orbital Knight comes in one Kataphrakt with a type of special power.

(b) Kataphrakt kills many phlebians, Those Who Will Never Be Named, while arrogantly hurling insults at Earthlings in general.

(c) Inaho climbs into his ‘outmoded’ orange Kataphrakt, ignoring the pleadings of his sister and his friends.

(d) Inaho calmly and dispassionately analyses the opponent Kataphrakt, pointing out its fatal weaknesses

(e) Inaho owns the crap out of enemy Kataphrakt, with said Orbital Knight being utterly defeated, in glorious Team Rocket style. Why didn’t he get promoted to Chief Commander already??

And this repeats itself for x number of episodes. Mind you, they are all in the general scheme of things, but sometimes I couldn’t help wonder whether there was a point to it all.

However, one thing I admit is that it was indeed entertaining to watch Inaho do that. After all, who doesn’t love an OP protagonist?


The most unfortunate flaw that is consistent through two cours of Aldnoah Zero is the lack of balanced characterisation and development. We know close to nothing about Inaho’s motivation for fighting the war, since it was never really quite explored. We do know he cares somewhat about the people he knows, and of course cares for the Princess to an extent as well. He – may – have developed romantic feelings for her, but even that is hinted, at the most.


This certainly doesn’t help either.

On the other hand, Slaine Troyard seems to have gotten the better end of the straw. His character arguably sees the most change and growth throughout the series, though his behaviour at the end that led into the lackluster finale had really negatived whatever positives he had achieved. Slaine is ultimately one of the most pitiful characters I have ever seen, as his initial pure intentions were increasingly clouded by the mistakes in the decisions he makes and ultimately leading to his demise. To make things worse for him, he also seems to be the only one suffering while all other characters enjoy what seems to be more or less a Happy Ending (minus the romantic resolution, of course.)

It is arguable that Princess Asseylum actually plays one of the most pivotal roles in the story despite having none of those characteristics that make her stand out as an anime character, having been merely depicted as both kind and peace-loving. Plot points revolve around her and she was also after all the trigger for the war. Her personality and persona were both manipulated to turn the war around throughout the series. It is no wonder she made a politically correct choice of marriage partner as a form of a conflict resolution strategy, though we know she harbours a torch for Inaho.

The hime can offer us a lesson on how to resolve your own love triangle: choose guy C instead!

One particular flaw in the writing stands out as we inevitably compare her to Lacus Clyne of Gundam Seed, who played a similar political and character role – the mediocre dialogue as compared to Lacus’ speeches (and her songs, as well.)


I am a fan of love triangles. I love shipping characters all over – even crack pairings where if the characters’ eyes ever meet or if there’s the slightest tint of a blush on their cheeks, I’d assume there is something between them. However, I consider this love triangle experience the first where I couldn’t be even bothered about who Asseylum chose – I was glad she didn’t choose either in the end. This actually exposes the deeper problem of lack of character development in this show for two of the main characters when they were clearly many chances to do so (they could have expounded less on Lt. Marito’s backstory, for example! Which was by the way, never actually resolved.)

Don’t get me wrong – Aldnoah Zero is by no means a bad story. Its strongest points actually lie in the plot twists and artfully created cliffhangers. Just don’t expect anything that’s spectacular or any particularly tight narrative, or characters that will make you emotionally attached to them. For me, I admit the main reason I still hung onto each episode on a weekly basis was because I could watch and be inspired by the spectacular OPs and EDs and soak myself in the battle OST, composed by the extremely talented Sawano Hiroyuki.

For those who have watched Aldnoah Zero, what do you guys think? Feel free to leave a comment below! 🙂

*All images belong to their respective owners and do not belong to me.*

Ookiku Furikabutte: Thoughts and Impressions

Hello everybody! Firstly, I apologise for staying such a long time away from the WordPress community – I was having a particularly intensive period at school what with school projects and exams, and also other stuff had happened that had taken up a huge proportion of my time and energy. Now its technically my ‘summer’ holidays but I am not going to really be less busy – I only have 2 weeks of rest before getting up and going again ^^

Secondly, I know I haven’t really been around and commenting and reading my followers’ blogposts that much, but I really hope to turn that around soon 🙂

Without further ado, I present to you — Ookiku Furikabutte (a.k.a. Big Windup!)

I don’t actually know what’s with the spate of sports anime reviews that I have been doing on my blog when in reality, most of the anime I watch aren’t sports related. But I reckon that these anime really deserve more attention by virtue of them being the essence of what makes the subject matter of Japanese animation so special – which other media genre has had so many instances of spinning touching narrations of friendship, teamwork, effort, tension and competition, replete with attention grabbing visuals, animation and a fast-paced plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat? However, we should note that not every sports anime delivers what I had just described to you in a gift box nicely wrapped, promising to bring you wonders when opened. Though they adopt largely the same structure and utilise the same elements in storytelling, each sports anime still has some unique characteristics that make it stand out from the rest.

Ookiku Furikabutte tells the story of Mihashi, a pitcher with extremely low self-confidence, who enters Nishiura high school and joins its newly formed baseball team. Being ostracised and certainly bullied in his middle school, Mihashi’s sense of self-worth is at a literal rock bottom (if you think Onoda from Yowamushi Pedal is already bad, Mihashi is at least two times that) that it makes him almost pitiable even at the very start. However, his unique way of pitching, though unappreciated and even booed at in his previous school, catches the eye of Abe, a catcher who realises the multifarious ways it could be used to the team’s advantage. Together they form a battery and the anime depicts their struggles as they overcome the vast differences between themselves to work towards a common goal – winning the matches they are thrown into.

The story is told in a slice-of-life fashion, depicting the struggles of the newly formed baseball team as they go through training. Though there are only two matches throughout the 22 episode series, Mihashi and Abe’s pasts are confronted through the two and it is actually during those long and arduous matches where we see character development. Other supporting characters also really shine in the games, and we get less of a sense that they are, for example, Teammate A and B, or simply the batter at 1st base, the outfielder etc. which was a source of confusion at the start of the anime, not helped by the fact that character designs are mainly differentiated by their hair which is entirely covered by their baseball caps during games.

This is a relatively unknown anime, even within its own niche genre. None of the characters have specific characteristics that make them stand out such that they would feature in crossovers, or are mentioned by people, or even brought up in Youtube video reviews. Of most special mention is actually Mihashi, whom you’d either really want to hit your head against the wall for such wimpiness, or you would really sympathise with him as sentient, fallible fellow human beings who’s prone to the occasional self-demeaning attitude. But other than that, his adorableness really captures the hearts of fujoshis/fudanshis as he is easily the main character that blushes the most in any anime I have seen (except maybe those with the explicit shounen-ai/yaoi tags). Having said that though, it doesn’t come across as overtly pandering to yaoi fans, because we are able to see it as something inherent in that self-defeatist attitude of his. Abe’s more assertive attitude shapes Mihashi up due to him being the first to truly recognise Mihashi’s way of pitching, and their chemistry both on the battlefield and off presents a good angle for exposition.

OF admittedly focuses a lot on baseball strategy. Up till now, I don’t claim to really know anything about baseball even after watching the anime, pausing, rewatching certain episodes to get what is going on, doing basic research, watching Youtube Baseball 101 videos. Even after all that, I am only familiar with the extremely basic rules. Though Abe, the narrating strategist here (together with their coach), explains the reasons why they are using certain strategies, there are just too many to catch and too many terms for a complete beginner such that it can get tiring too watch if, like me, you are a total noob when it comes to baseball.

In essence, though this is not probably as highly recommended as Yowamushi Pedal or Haikyuu!!, I daresay this would be an enriching experience for those more familiar with baseball because of the highly complex strategies. Nevertheless if you are a total beginner, it is still possible to enjoy it as there is some explanation given to familiarise yourself with how the game works. Do note though that this is a mainly sports centric anime and can turn out to be very technical, so its not recommended for those looking for high entertainment value.

Feel free to leave your thoughts below as to whether you’d be inclined to give this a go, or even if just to comment about whether you’ve watched it or not 🙂

*All images belong to their respective owners and do not belong to me.*

Yowamushi Pedal: An extremely enjoyable, light-hearted sports anime

It has been a really long time since my last anime review. Here’s to clearing my enormous backlog on anime reviews …

Yowamushi Pedal doesn’t seem like an exceedingly striking anime at first glance. Hidden amongst the more attention grabbing Fall 2013 lineup, it scarcely garners much attention. Even if one googles it out of curiosity, one would raise their eyebrows at the less-than-impressive art style, with hard-lined, bold strokes and little focus on character’s facial features.

In fact, I was looking for another team sport anime with ‘feels’ right after finishing Haikyuu!!, so I was more than disappointed by the lack of bishounen in this anime. Besides, I was hesitant. Isn’t cycling more of an individual sport rather than a team one? And what is the depth in cycling as a sport? Its like running. You would think there aren’t that many techniques and tactics to improve speed; and besides, there is only one goal: becoming faster. How many ways can you develop this trope? How could it ever be anything meaningful?

Those were the thoughts that ran through my head before I decided that there wasn’t much harm in trying it. I had a month-long holiday and there were people mentioning on forums that it was a team sport that was being portrayed in the story, so that assuaged my concerns a little.

Thanks to that mindset, I now have one more sport anime I can claim to know a little of, and an entire second season waiting for me to marathon during my Summer holidays. (!!!)


Onoda is an otaku who fervently believes that anime is the best thing in the whole world and that there is nothing that brings him more enjoyment than watching anime and talking about anime. (Hmm, that sounds pretty familiar …) As he attends Sohoku High, he resolves to join the anime club. However, a series of events led him to discover his innate talent in cycling and he joins the competitive cycling club instead. As Onoda starts to discover the competitive cycling world, he forges strong friendships with his teammates, all of whom are individual rivals with one another to an extent. He also discovers his love and motivation for cycling. Together they as a team aim for the Inter High cycling event.

The plot is no different from any other sports anime. We have characters that are slowly introduced as the team members in the Sohoku team, each with their different quirks (elaborated upon in the next section). Onoda starts off without knowing anything about pro-cycling, but his talent manages to surpass all expectations. Of course, like any other talented greenhorn, his current standards are not good enough to rival those that have been doing pro-cycling for a long time (like his arch rival and soon to be close friend, Imaizumi) but his immense potential and ability to adapt quickly makes him a rising star. I find myself raising my eyebrows a lot at the start when Onoda’s abilities were portrayed a tad ridiculous and overwhelming; especially when his love for cycling, and wanting to catch up to his nakama and sheer willpower manages to power him through at high speed, when we all know that there is a physical limit to muscle power and strength. This threw me off guard especially after a more realistic anime like Haikyuu!!, and even Kuroko no Basket wasn’t so unbelievable as this.

However, I came to realise that such ludicrity is actually part of this series’ charm. There is no denying that sense of euphoria when these characters win their races; even through the most ridiculous plot developments. It is enough to keep us on the edges of our seats, excitedly going through one episode after another as we pine for a conclusion to whichever ongoing race (but almost always getting disappointed, as the race drags on for some time.) I couldn’t possibly imagine watching this anime from the get-go and waiting weekly just for one episode; I would probably flip out and go crazy.


What I actually wanted to say about characters can actually be summed up in one line: LOL OMG WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE SO UNBELIEVABLY CUTE I CAN’T TAKE IT !!!!!

And therein lies the biggest charm of the series: the characters. Unlike Haikyuu!!, where I am still able to pick out favourites in characters and where each character has a distinct role which makes up the team and humorous interactions between team members that highlight the differences, here characters are not nearly so distinct for me to pick out any particular favourite, but I adore the team in general because of their unbelievably adorable undying positivity and camaraderie. While Haikyuu!! develops character friendships through realistic conflicts of interest, which upon resolving makes the nakama bond stronger, YowaPedal doesn’t develop these relationships that way. Here, the focus is mainly put on the common goal that the team has. In fact, the theme of self-sacrifice to further the team’s objective is more played upon here than in Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket, and the cheeriness of the team makes the mood more uplifting in doing so.

Onoda Sakimichi

Onoda seems to be one of the ‘wimpiest’ male protagonists that you would ever come across (aside from Mihashi in Big Windup). His talent lies in climbing (as in, climbing up slopes). Yet he is also capable of achieving all levels of crazy as he strives to meet his objective; whether it is passing the extremely challenging training test, or to play his team role well in the Inter-High. His smile comes across as creepy at times, but I personally never found much fault with it.

Imazumi Shunsuke

Imaizumi is also a prodigy in his own sense, and a rival to Onoda with his all-rounded abilities. He has a slightly colder personality at the start and is extremely focused on practicing to perfect his biking abilities. However as he encounters Onoda and the rest of team, you could see him warming up.

Naruko Shoukichi

Naruko is a talented sprinter who is small, red and loud; similar to Natsu (from Fairy Tail) or Hinata (from Haikyuu!!). I believe Onoda considers him one of his closest friends in the team, and he does often look out for Onoda as well. I personally like the friendship here a lot. However, he bickers a lot with Imaizumi, and only seems to stop when Onoda turns up on the scene.

We also have the third year seniors of the Sohoku team, who are powerful bikers in their own right and are better than the first years; each having a specialty which coincides and hence are direct rivals of the first years. They also have their own ‘special moves’ to boot.

Of worthy mention is how the characters of their direct rival team, Hakone High, are also fleshed out and developed. Each member also has an awesome and touching backstory, which is focused upon as they feature during the different stages of the Inter High. In fact, I respect this team from the bottom of my heart, and emotionally identify with this rival team so much that when Hakone and Sohoku at fighting I can’t honestly say who I would want to win more. (picture below)

Strange that this school contains more bishounen ….

All in all, absolutely adorable characters and a delight to watch. I wanted to also point out this particular scene in the Inter High when Onoda was trying to pull his senior, Tarokocchi along, by making him sing the ‘Princess’ song (an anime song), to motivate both of them. Obviously, Tarokocchi is not an anime fan, but he sings it anyway.

This probably won’t mean much to those who haven’t watched this anime; but during that scene was seriously torn between my heart melting from the adorableness of those two and this:


Art, Animation and Atmosphere

The scorching sun beats down on the gravelled roads. Puddles are water are glistening from the sun. The trees lining the path are lush and leafy. The air is still, the cicadas screeching under the shadows of the tree branches. Suddenly, something yellow arrives at the bend of the road. Within seconds, he has come within view and before you know it, he whizzes past you at such a speed , creating the first gust of wind in this unbearable heat and scattering the leaves in your face. Before you could register his presence, he is gone, leaving behind a pile of scattered leaves that slowly comes to a rest on the roadside, unmoving.

The art and animation here really creates that summer atmosphere along biking tracks. (I could literally feel that heat myself) In my book, I can ask nothing more than background atmosphere to life in complementing the story. I wish I had some screencaps to show but unfortunately I was too mesmerised with the show when I was watching it to organise any of these things.


YowaPedal is an all-time recommendation, unless you couldn’t stand anything that is remotely more unrealistic than Kuroko no basket. If you are looking for some optimism with a dose of fun and joy, with fujoshi/fudanshi material and bromance, look no further! 😀

*All images are hosted by Google Images and belong to their respective owners.*

Tokyo Ghoul: the Shingeki no Kyojin counterpart with a better main male protagonist?

Levi and Kaneki (Attack on Titan , Tokyo Ghoul) by Madara-RO

                                                           … I wish.                                                                                  

Tokyo Ghoul has been a popular manga series that has spawned a two cour anime series – the first 13 episodes debuting in Fall 2014 and the next cour airing currently in Winter 2015. The contents of this post will relate to a quasi-comparison between the first season of the Tokyo Ghoul anime, and the Shingeki no Kyojin series.

Tokyo Ghoul is set in a grim alternate reality of Tokyo where human-eating ghouls roam and terror the streets at night. The story is told from the point of view of an ordinary college student, Kaneki Ken, who gets inadvertently thrown into this darker side of Tokyo when he encounters a girl, Rize.

With such an all too familiar set-up, Tokyo Ghoul at first glance looks like any other ordinary horror story told in a linear plot line: in this modern backdrop with supernatural beings a pretty much accepted part of reality but looms on the top of the food pyramid and usurping human beings of their place, an ordinary human boy encounters a life changing event that thrusts him into the world of ‘the other side’. Sounds familiar? Shingeki no Kyojin comes to mind – in all gory and fear-inducing detail.

Aside from their immense popularity with both Japanese and international viewers, there are actually undeniable similarities between SnK and TG that may not be immediately apparent to most viewers. The most glaring one would be adrenaline pumping action scenes that are drawn with the finest details, exuding rawness and emotion which is impactful on the minds of viewers and adding a dimension of reality to what is going on in the scene (as opposed to the clean cut, swift, razor sharp graphics of ufotable’s Fate Stay Night (Unlimited Blade Works) TV series, a topic for another day).

However, the way the story line actually progresses and the way events are introduced and resolved also leaves are also more subtle similarities between the two. Both have a linear storyline in which one event happens at a time and fully consumes the attention of the viewer. Yet when this event are supposedly resolved and we come to the end of the arc, the story leaves enough questions unanswered such that these can be touched upon later in the story to become fully resolved. I realise that I am talking in very abstract terms here, but if one has read and watched enough manga and anime, this is actually quite a common plot planning tactic that mangakas use (another example that comes to mind would be Gakuen Alice). It may be apposite to point out here that the entire first cour of TG actually comrpises of many more arcs than the entire two-cour SnK, and that there are probably more differences between the two stories than I could list. (for example, SnK spent no time in character development, but rather jumped straight into the execution of the story, of which I will elaborate on later.)

This brings me to my main point here. Even when there it is merely a clear linear plot progression, its execution is so fascinating that it captures the audience’s attention fully. What I mean by this is that both anime really know how to draw out the fringe emotions in its viewers so well, its almost like going for a roller coaster ride in the dark. One is immersed fully in the shoes of the protagonist and experiences fear, despair, pain, excitement and foreboding. SnK is undoubtedly the best in this department. TG meanwhile, spends more time on making sure the audience gets to know the world of the Ghouls at the same pace as Kaneki, our protagonist, actually does. But when the action scenes come, they astound the viewers with the same impact. (this applies to all major revelations in SnK, and most action scenes in TG especially towards to the end of the cour.) I have always preferred complex plots with interweaving plotlines, but the way these two series actually executed their plot has earned all the brownie points in that department, sufficient to make up for their lack of texture.

The major diverging point of both series, then, would have to be its main male protagonist. Eren Jaegar is fuelled by mostly anger at the Titans, and that is really his main motivation for improving his combat skills and ultimately, the X-factor that pushes him beyond the abilities of the average human to surpass even his most talented peers, in the most tight-knit situations. His strong willpower and determination to kill all the Titans in the world even spills over to his behaviour in his non Titan-fighting aspects of daily life.  Honestly, the one word I would use to encapsulate Eren’s character over 25 episodes would be: angry. Moreover, he is angry from the first episode, and he is still angry at the last episode. Enough said.

Image result for kaneki kenMeanwhile, we have Kaneki Ken, who starts out as the slightly reserved, lonely bookworm, who is kind and nice, and the guy that girls would probably choose to bring home and show their parents. At first, we think, what is an absolutely boring male protagonist doing in such an exciting setting? But as we see him being introduced into the world of ghouls, we see him turn from an absolutely horrified human being into someone who is more cautiously accepting of ghouls as he realises that they do also demonstrate what humans term as attributes that make them ‘human’: love for their family, love for their friends, camaraderie, the ability to organize themselves intelligently; and not the mindless human devouring predators as they are made out to be. Though he considers himself to be merely an observer, he gradually gets involved in the affairs of various ghouls. It also comes to a point in the confrontation with the ghoul-hunting organisation (really a specialised branch of the national security force of sorts) that he realises the grave misunderstanding that has alienated both humans and ghouls and put them at eternally opposing sides of the field. He then realises that, being half of each, his identity poses as the greatest weapon and tool that could potentially bring both sides together. He suddenly realises the weight of the duty and responsibility that has come to lie on his shoulders, and his own – and that gets him to firm up his resolve to act correspondingly, with that end in mind.

I have not even gotten to the most exciting character development that Kaneki has experienced, but one can see the immense amount of thinking this character has done as we see the world through his eyes. His transitions in thinking mirror that of the audience as we follow his thought processes. Our perceptions also change together with his. That level of engagement with the audience humanises him more as we unconsciously put ourselves in his shoes. This makes it feel like Kaneki’s reactions and actions are a realistic alter ego of ours, and its precisely what we would have done if we were in his shoes. (for example, being in self-denial and rooted to the spot when we are scared. There is a difference between a character being simply wimpy and one that only reacts they way he does because that’s what a normal person would do). This is actually the first reason why we are so enthralled with Kaneki Ken as a character.

The second reason, of course, comes from his transformation. We are referring to one of those rare total transformations in character even in anime, where logic does not match up with reality. What may seem like an entirely bizarre change is actually very well accepted even though at first blush, it seems to reek of a total deus ex machina of sorts or a poorly executed plot device. Why? Simply because Kaneki has been humanised enough to us that there simply isn’t any other way that he could have developed, given the experiences he was brought through. Hence, we are ready to accept his transformation, managing to satisfy at least two types of audiences: firstly, those who, from the start, have been disappointed with Kaneki’s lack of ability to defend and fight and being always overpowered and have finally been given the action they were eager for. Secondly, those who are looking for wholeness of character and have accepted Kaneki’s ‘wimpy’ reactions as purely normal; but were thrown into a pleasant surprise. After all, this total transformation is the part which deviates from reality (because there is a higher chance of becoming mentally deranged than actually turning out to be stronger mentally AND physically). However, Kaneki Ken has made the juxtaposition of badass and kindness so possible: and honestly, who doesn’t love a badass character? Moreover, though his mannerisms and behaviour are nothing alike the first character, his innate kindness and compassion towards those he cares about is retained, though not easily shown, but in existence nonetheless.


             Who would have thought?

Don’t get me wrong; Shingeki no Kyojin is in my top 5 anime of all time, but Tokyo Ghoul ranks nowhere close to my top 20. I absolutely adore SnK in all its glory; but to me, this highlights the difficulties in rating anime; to call an anime one of your favourites is to also recognise its flaws, but accept them nonetheless. Tokyo Ghoul does a much better job at character development, and I can’t help but recognise that strength it has.

That concludes my comparison on the two arguably most talked about anime for the past two years. I believe I have managed to avoid any overt spoilers in my post, though please let me know if there are any crucial or major ones I have mentioned. Both anime are seriously worth a try if you haven’t had the chance to, and I would also recommend reading the Tokyo Ghoul manga as well to get a fuller picture of the setting 🙂

*All images used in this post were sourced from Google Images and Deviantart and do not belong to me, but to their respective owners.*

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki kun: the shoujo-esque shounen (or is it the other way round?)

Tags: Anime, Takumi (Scya), Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Sakura Chiyo, Kashima Yuu, Nozaki Umetarou, Wakamatsu Hirotaka

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki kun is a comedic series that is told from the point of view of Sakura Chiyo, who we see confessing her feelings to her schoolmate Nozaki, right at the start of the anime. Due to a misunderstanding, however, Nozaki thinks Sakura is just a fan. She then discovers Nozaki’s other identity; a shoujo manga artist. As she gets closer to Nozaki, she befriends Nozaki’s quirky acquaintances who assist him and serve as inspirations for his manga. (Source: ANN)

The beginning of the series deludes us into thinking that it was just another typical shoujo series albeit with a comedic twist to it. Such ways of thinking are immediately proven wrong. As we are introduced to the quirky characters that make up this show, we quickly realise that Gekkan Shoujo is a very well done parody of all existing shoujo character archetypes and school events. Defying conventional standards is what makes this comedy stands out amongst even its peers in the same genre. A brief character analysis would serve to prove my time.

Chiyo Sakura

Our protagonist is a really typical shoujo heroine, with unrequited feelings towards her schoolmate, Nozaki. Honestly, there probably isn’t much that stands out about her character in particular, except to serve as a backdrop to all the other unique characters that populate this series. She serves as the emblem of normalcy, making her a sharp contrast to the other characters. However, she really plays along well with the others. At the very end of the series, though, the focus revolves back to her and her relationship with Nozaki, reminding us that hey, this IS the protagonist, and it is because of her that we get introduced to all the wonderful characters.


This is a pretty normal male high school boy who is a professional shoujo manga artist. This seemingly irreconcilable set of identities already set him up as a just-for-laughs character. As his stoic nature soon shows, he is definitely talented in certain ways (in being a professional mangaka) and severly lacking in others (sometimes everyday common sense). He uses the people around him as models for his manga characters, and often goes around sniffing out ideas for his manga. One particularly ironic aspect about him is that though he specialises in shoujo manga, he is incredibly dense and oblivious with regards to Sakura’s feelings towards him, which are not exactly discreet.



Kashima and Mikoshiba. No prizes for guessing who is who.

This misleadingly designed character whom, on first glance, seems like the ‘flirty’ love interest in shoujo manga, is actually a tsundere and becomes extremely shy after flirting with girls in general. In fact, he serves as the model of the female lead in Nozaki’s manga.


This princely fellow almost always seen to be decked in a royal outfit and ready to go to the rescue of maidens around him….is actually a girl. Naturally, she becomes the model for the ‘princely’ male character for Nozaki’s shoujo manga.

Seo Yuzuki

One of the most hilarious characters ever to be created, her denseness to social situations always never fails to crack me up. Check the self-explanatory gif below for illustration.

SeoYuzuki1 SeoYuzuki2 SeoYuzuki3 SeoYuzuki4 SeoYuzuki5

And many other supporting characters which complete the hilarious anime that is Gekkan Shoujo.

What can I say? Do watch this if you just want something to laugh about, or if you find something inherently funny (or ridiculous) in overused character tropes in all shoujo anime/manga. Having said that, please don’t watch this for any romance, for you may very well be severely disappointed. (I wasn’t, because i love all their current relationships now to care xD)

*All gifs and clips used in the production of gifs belong to their respective owners. I do not own any of this and I do not claim credit for their production.*

Haikyuu!!: the overwhelming intensity of emotions


Finally, I blog about the anime that overturned my expectations about the sports anime genre, and got me finding out all the kinds of sports anime that were ever released. This is the anime that got me started on my subsequent rampage of any anime to do with the tripartite alliance of competition, working in a team (with extra emphasis), and the theme of effort vs. talent.

This is, however, hardly my first sports anime. I had started on Kuroko no Basket as my first foray into the genre. It was exciting, kept me on edge, and amazing. I still love Kuroko as one of my favourite characters. There was lots of sportsmanship and friendship too in that, and I still consider it my favourite sports anime, ever.

However, Haikyuu!! is an anime that I ventured into with an expectation that it was similar to Kuroko no Basket and hence that a guaranteed 25 episodes of enjoyment would await me. I was pleasantly surprised that it was similar in certain ways (which makes it awesome), and yet..evokes new emotions in me that I have never felt that I would have experienced while watching a sports anime.

This brings me back to the point that I feel that anime enables me to experience things vicariously, through the stories of characters that feel so real to me. I know I would never again live the life of high school, middle school while feeling that I am giving my all, living the best way I could and having the most fun with people. I guess my anime addiction can be explained by the fact that I have never lived those experiences, and my love for the characters makes me feel alive, like the fact that they experience these things makes me feel happy for them in itself.

But I digress. Haikyuu’s plot premise is nothing very new; it tells the story of a passionate boy, Hinata, who fell in love with volleyball by chance, meeting his eternal rival in a middle school match, Kageyama. Alas, they realise that they have ended up in the same high school and hence volleyball team together. This is a story depicting their volleyball journey as they put aside their differences and learn to work together to defeat other schools in the Inter-High tournament.

Haikyuu!! started off at an easy pace as we are introduced to Kageyama and Hinata. They, of course, don’t hit off well, and are seen to be always fighting. However, when they inevitably have to work together, they manage to gain a chemistry with each other that is unrivalled, resulting in a strong bond and trust that becomes one of their team’s strongest weapons against their adversaries. The fact that their skills complemented each other so well helped, too. Their other teammates are also well introduced, and their motivations are also given airtime in the series to enable the audience to identify with them. The way the series portrays their internal struggles, the complicated feelings they harbour towards each other (especially between rivals for the same position on the team) is spectacular. All these culminates in the barrage of an intense desire to win their opponents in competition. I realise that the series portrays something very well – their intense desire to win is as strong as any other team they play against – and this is also shown. Another aspect of this show I am pleased with is the way the ‘enemy”s backstories are developed as well, like any other good sports anime (Chihayafuru, Kuroko no Basket)

However, what makes Haikyuu stand out is its fiercely volleyball-loving, teammate-loving team, which just makes me melt into a puddle because their interactions are so freaking adorable. Their comedic moments are never forced nor repetitive, and I am glad each character does not have this pet phrase they utter or reaction they have that are all too common in other shounen anime. It feels refreshing whenever they talk and fight with one another, and that adds to the realism of the characters.

What makes Haikyuu outstanding for me is the fact that so many emotions were literally bursting out of me when I was watching the last match of the series. The match was not particularly long, but it was intense as you could literally feel the desire of both teams to win the match. My palms were sweating like crazy and my entire body was on fire as I was watching that match, and I am not even exaggerating any of that here (I wrote that down when I was feeling it). While I am thoroughly inclined to reveal the eventual outcome of that match, I shall not do so here. But what I felt then is something I would remember for a long time.

While I initially felt that the beginning of the series was not as exciting (as I was comparing it to Kuroko no Basket, I realised belatedly), I am glad they did not immediately jump into competition, full shounen style. The slow pace in developing characters and portraying the training that the characters go through paid off in the end, for it made the audience (me) identify with the characters a lot more, and suffer more when they lose and be infinitely more happy when they win.

Overall, I would recommend Haikyuu!! as an anime that appeals to everybody, for die-hard sports anime fans and those who have yet to touch a single one. If you want an emotional, exciting ride, this is the anime that you should go for.

I devote the end of this post to Tobio Kageyama’s numerous facial expressions, who is is the most adorable male tsundere ever xD

and my favourite:



and, of course, for my most favourite team:

and kageyama x hinata! 🙂

*Disclaimer: All images in this post are the rightful property of Google Images. I do not own any of these images*