Friday, November 29, 2013

Looking back.

December is right around the corner, and personally I am siked. It will be great, and I will tell you all about why in my blog series, but all in its time. The past few months have been quite rough on me, but in an attempt at getting some Christmas spirit, I looked back at some of the good memories. I haven't been great at taking photos, but I also haven't been great at doing things worth taking photos of. Anyway, here are some simple, everyday things that made me smile this fall/winter.

I've shown this off before, but I decorated my fall, which makes my room feel a little more homey.

Tried some traditional French fromage (cheese).
It was, well, delicious.

I got my smoothie machine for Christmas years ago,
and I swore I would one day make use of it.

This is called a Jager train. However, more than the alcoholic drink, it makes me think of Eren Jaeger from SnK.

Although I wasn't able to sing karaoke that night, I will never give up the hope that one day I will do it.
My dear aunt sent me a lovely package of some Norwegian things, which was much appreciated. Especially the chocolate. I also got some Christmas decorations, so that was nice.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Winter season 2014

I'm not a big fan of watching currently airing shows. However, SnK and Free! introduced me to a community of people online, and when these shows finally ended and fall season began I felt kind of left behind as people started watching new shows.

I love to watch anime, and there is plenty to choose from, so I always have a hard time picking some shows. I usually go for the ones ranked the highest by popularity polls and recommended by fellow otakus. However, I do want to broaden my insight in the anime world, and I think keeping up with the times is important in order to keep up with the community.

So I have decided to follow a few shows when the winter season begins. The problem is, I'm terrible at making decisions, and I'll easily judge an anime by the "cover". Which is why I have instead made a poll on the sidebar of my blog, asking you guys which anime you think I should be watching. I want to know what shows have the most hype, what you are looking forward to seeing and why. 

Here is a list of the animes I have picked as potential watches. Clicking on them will lead you to the MAL page of each anime. The ones with stars are the ones I'm particularly interested in, but that doesn't mean they're the ones I'll be watching! (I've decided on perhaps one by myself :P).

Hoozuki no Reitetsu
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha.
Mahou Sensou
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Neppuu Kairiku Bushi Road*

Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga.
Sakura Trick*
Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta*
Wake Up, Girls
Z/X: Ignition

The poll will be up until the end of December, when I will pick 3-5 shows based on the top votes in the poll, and maybe write about some expectations. Maybe. You can vote for as many shows you'd like, but don't vote for them all! My future is in your hands. 

So vote for an anime, and tell me in the comments what you are most excited to see this winter, even if I didn't include it in my list! 

Somewhat excited for Nourin. It sounds interesting.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Anime review: Welcome to the N.H.K.

I expected so much of this show. I think maybe too much. I'm sorry to all the fans out there; I didn't really like it. Still, it portrays anxiety in an interesting way, and although I'm not particularly fond of this anime, I did have some sort of revelation while watching, and dare I say I learned something from it.

Satou Tatsuhiro is a 22 year old university drop-out, and a hikkikomori: he shut himself in his room and dares not go outside. He seems to have extremely high social anxiety, and he believes the "N.H.K." is conspiring to make him miserable. But then one day he meets Misaki-chan and his old friend Yamazaki, and he slowly begins to grow out of his hikkikomori ways.

Given that this anime is 24 episodes, the story is slow paced. But the slow pace is also very necessary. While watching it may seem like nothing is happening and the story isn't going anywhere, but when you're at the end you realise how far each character has gotten. Satou-kun struggles with his issues, trying to fix them but not really, and slowly but surely they are getting somewhere.
There is also some good use of foreshadowing here.
The ending proves to be paramount, it is vital for the overall impression of the show. It presents a perfectly understandable solution for the entire problem that the show has been carrying for the first 22 episodes, and in my opinion they could just have cut to the chase and put it at the beginning instead. But alas, then we would have no NHK to discuss. To be fair, the inner journey that Satou-kun adventures is important, and perhaps even helpful to him, but I'll get back to that.

Characters are, what can I say, well done. They have personality and not that stereotypical which proves to be a good thing here. There is of course our king nerd Satou-kun who is the most paranoid otaku I have seen. His indecisiveness and lack of spine is quite annoying at times, and sometimes I swear he shows some severe signs of schizophrenia. However he goes through an amazing amount of development, and this is what brings the story forward.
Misaki-chan is tolerable, but I do not know who she is or what she wants. The information we get about her is fairly little, and only in the last couple of episodes do we learn something, which make it seem as if the whole point of the plot was to reveal her backstory. I don't dislike her, she's alright, I guess. I just wish I knew her a little better.
The side-kick otaku and eroge-lover Yamazaki is my favourite character in the show. He's funny. He's cute. He's a good friend. He struggles with his own issues at school and I couldn't help but relate a little to him. Other than that he's pretty nuts tho.

My dear Yamazaki. Let's built a 2D universe together.
The soundtrack I found is quite enjoyable. The animation was, well, not a masterpiece of any sorts, but I also don't think that was the point here. For a 2006 show, it's quite ordinary, but I believe that's suppose to highlight other parts like the character personalities and music instead (as opposed to e.g. Haruhi). At least it's not bad. Not at all, just, ordinary.

However, I did have a hard time investing my own feelings into this show. Although I could highly sympathise with many of the characters, I was put off by the huge mess Satou-kun always got himself into. A lot of this did not make any sense to me, and therefore I couldn't enjoy it. There were a few funny moments in there though (thank you Yamazaki) and I did not hate it.

- Relatable themes for young otakus to relate to.
- Well made characters and character development.
- Good soundtrack.
- Slow pace.
- Information about the characters not distributed in an appropriate pace.
- Lack of story development.

Overall 6/10. It was fine, and on that note I will recommend it to huge nerds who like romance//drama/comedy, seeing as it is so massively popular among fans across the world.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New vlog

I made a vlog because I was very bored.

under the weather

Moving out is hard. Moving to another country is hard. Moving to a country where you don’t speak the language or know anyone is hard. Do you guys see where I’m going with this? 

No one really chooses depression. It chooses you. Sometimes it’s caused by a deficiency of nutrients, other times it’s due to our own thinking patterns. But whatever the reason might be; depression sucks. 
It leads us to believe things that are not true, like we aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, good enough. We ignore facts that are staring us right in the face, like that exam we aced or the stranger at the shop who asked us out last week. We only see the times we’ve been dumped, rejected, hurt, and scarred for reasons we cannot control. 

I’ll easily admit that I am depressed. It’s not a secret, at least not here. It is my blog, after all. However, I am writing this for the purpose of declaring that I will not submit to my illness

There comes a time in our lives, where we have to take a stand. I’ve taken mine, I have decided that I will fight with what I’ve got. I will not quit this life I’ve been given, because it is short and I intend on enjoying it. 

This is not my first time battling depression. I suffered from it during my school days, along with social anxiety. There were days I could barely move my limbs, and if I was able to get myself to class, I would cry in the bathrooms because I was scared of my own classmates. Eventually, however, I moved on with my life. 

And now I am in Paris. It’s an amazing city, it truly is. But I am alone. I am friendless and scared, I’m having trouble with the language, I miss my family and friends from Norway, I am forced to face demons I have long disregarded from my life. I do not find joy in the things I used to, I prefer simply doing nothing at all. More than anything, I prefer to sleep. 

But I am on my way to recovery. I am on my way out of this for sure, because I will not let this set root in me again.

Now, let’s talk about this blog, shall we? The truth is, I never actually intended for it to become an aniblog. That was never the plan. The plan was to blog about whatever came to my mind, and for a long time I did nothing but watch anime or do anime related stuff, which resulted in this thing I have created. But what I really wanted, was to share my life experience in a way that could help others. I wanted to share my journey. I wanted to make friends and become part of a community, which I lacked the opportunity of doing in real life back in Norway.

And I want to be honest. I’m tired of hiding myself, trying to please everyone around me. I want a place where I can be myself and talk about whatever I want, and if people are interested they can share their thoughts and own experiences. Which is why, I will try to from now on, to include more personal posts and updates on my personal growth, if I do indeed find the energy to. I’ve done some controversial things since I came here, exploring options I’ve never had before, and I plan on discussing these on a later point.

I am not out of ideas. I am not uninspired in any way, I’m not bored by writing. I take much pleasure in it, even if not a single person reads what I wrote. I’d go as far as saying writing is my passion, but I’ll get back to that some other time. 
I just hope you guys can bare with me in these difficult times. If not, then that is fine and I do not mind, but do refrain from leaving negative comments, please. I will continue to upload anime-related posts as well, seeing as I do still watch them, although I’m stuck in a rut right now. I’m working very hard on all my issues and may I say my methods are working? I’ll even share them when the time is right. 

But in all honesty, I didn’t really write this post for you guys. I wrote it for me. It is my blog, after all. Until next time. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

To marathon or not to marathon; that is the question.

After following both Shingeki no Kyojin and Free! for a number of weeks, I have finally learned the ups of watching a show over a longer period of time. I spent most of my summer watching one anime after another, sometimes reaching as much as 16 episodes a day. Although it could become too much at times, I can’t really say I had a bad time; it was actually pretty great. 

So which of the two ways of watching is better? Is our perception of the show really affected by the way we watch it? To the latter question, I will have to say yes a thousand times. And I will try my best to explain how so. (This is all given that the show watched are generally enjoyed, shows that were disliked are not considered at all.)

Wouldn't actually mind watching this on a weekly basis. It's funny and cute, and mostly with independent stories for each episode.

It happens that we come across a show we really really like, and don’t have the patience or self control to wait with watching more, given that more episodes are already out, of course. So we marathon it. Episode upon episode is watched, until we are left with nothing but an empty feeling of something missing in our lives; we have reached the end of the show. The feeling will last approximately from a day till a couple of weeks at most, depending on our emotional investment in the show, the number of episodes, the length of the period the show was watched, etc. We will not want to watch anything new during this period. We will only look at fan art, read fan fiction, listen to the soundtrack, ship our newest OTP, and whine about the show on Tumblr. We will call up our friends and talk frantically about this show, hell, we’ll even tell our parents about it. However, soon enough the feeling of attachment to this particular show will lift a little, and we find ourselves bored, what to do now. So we move on to a new show or whatever else we tend to enjoy doing.

Airing shows however, they’re a bitch. I’ve never watched them until the phenomenon SnK reached my Tumblr dashboard in massive amounts (and made it to the top 10 list on MAL after only 6 episodes), and I had to give in to the temptation. I very literally marathoned the first 15 episodes or so, then was unwillingly forced to wait one week between each new episode. And I’m telling you, waiting is painful. But what happened then, that is so much different from the other way of watching? On a macroscopic level, it’s pretty much the same. Look at fan art, read fan fiction, whine on Tumblr, etc. 
But I think, the emotions are invested on a much bigger scale. When watching a show over a long period of time, our attachment has lots of time to grow stronger. 

The wisest decision I ever made was to put this on hold after 3 eps. I would never have lasted over a year with this shit.
Usually, when marathoning a show, I’ll spend maybe a day, two tops, to look at fan art and fan fiction, before moving on to something new. But when forced to wait for new episodes, it becomes something completely different. I don’t want to watch other shows in the meantime, but I’ll do it anyway because I don’t have anything better to do. I won’t enjoy these shows as much as I possibly could have, since my obsessiveness is already occupied by something else. I’ll read fan fiction, not just a couple to see if I’m still into them (like I would after a marathon), no, I’ll read them all the fucking time. Because I can’t stop thinking about the show. I need it in my life. I’ll stop going to my Tumblr dashboard, in favour of looking up my OTPs and anything related to the show. I’ll listen to the OST of the show non-stop until my ears are bleeding. I’ll spend as much time as I possibly can on things related to the show, and everything else in my life becomes a blur. And quite naturally, this lasts for weeks, even months, since the show is still airing. I won’t grow tired of it, I won’t move on.

In one way, you could say the only difference between the two ways of watching is the level of attachment we grow to a show. But personally, I’ve found out it’s a lot easier to decide whether or not I like a show by having to wait for the new episodes. When marathoning, I’ll simply watch all the episodes as an act of habit, rather than consider what I actually think of them. But if I have to wait, it’s easy to distinguish which animes keep me at the edge of my seat. It’s when I religiously wait for the episodes, set aside the time to watch them, even make a ritual or tradition out of it, and stay up till 4 in the morning just to wait for the subs, that I can be sure I enjoy a show, even if all I do is complain about its faults. 

SnK keyword: cliffhangers. Marathon to avoid unnecessary pain.
Now, which way is the better way to watch anime? I can’t tell, because I think they’re both great. If I watch an airing show I risk getting obsessed at a deeper level that can affect my life in general a great deal, while if I marathon it, I can at least limit my obsession down to a few days. However, with watching the show over a longer period of time, I can also extend the time that I enjoy it, and I can easily avoid spoilers. Let’s just say both have their ups and downs. 

Well, that’s it for now I guess. Not sure if any of this made any sense. Perhaps you guys feel different about it, I would love to hear what you think! 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Anime talk: Death note [spoilers]

Death Note is such a good anime. But also highly overrated. 

Should I even bother to make this spoiler free? I don’t think there’s an anime fan out there who hasn’t watched this show, and if you haven’t, shame on you. Go watch it now.

In the end I decided to just share my thoughts instead of making a traditional review. So yes, this contains spoilers, lots of them, please proceed with caution.

I think the story in Death Note is incredible. It’s original, and has a way of catching the viewers’ attention with it’s little tricks mind-games. 
It’s very interesting to see how Light is able to work his way around the police in the early episodes, and I loved his stunt with Raye Penber. However, when L is introduced and they start investigating each other... it kind of becomes boring after a while. L refuses for the entire remaining part of his life to let go of the idea that Light is Kira, and I’m still not sure if I find that annoying or that it shows how truly magnificent a detective he is. Either way I’m getting sick of hearing the same discussion every single episode. It’s like the story doesn’t progress, L and Light keep going in circles around each other. 
Until, of course, L dies, and that is probably one of the saddest moments in anime history. Because L is such a fantastic character. And he truly deserved to live. 

I love this scene.

Enter the second arc of the anime, where L’s successors are trying to do what L couldn’t (or could? I’m still not sure...): prove Kira’s true identity. Although there’s more action here as opposed to the first part of the anime, where there was just talk talk talk, this part isn’t really better. It’s not the same without L, and Near and Mello are cheap characters. Mello is tolerable, just because he’s a mafia badass, but Near’s a plain copy of L (and it irritates me to death how he immediately concludes that Light is Kira). Both of them are results of creators trying too hard to make original characters, and that’s not a good thing. 

At the same time, I have to admit, the second part of Death Note isn’t all that bad. There are some interesting plot twist and some of the new characters introduced are pretty cool. I think we all agree that Matt is a gem. (In all seriousness) I really like Mikami Teru though. He is a truly well-made character, I think. 

Probably my favourite character in this show.

The award for most dramatic soundtrack ever goes to Death Note. It helps increase the tension a lot, and as I was watching, I was sure had it not been for the background music, my heart rate would have been much slower for sure. And let’s not forget about the potato chip scene. That still cracks me up.
That brings me on to the topic of sub vs dub. I’d say either. The Japanese version includes some very talented voice actors, including my personal favourite, Miyano Mamoru, who did such an incredible job I can hardly recognise his voice. Still, the English dub is pretty good, at least up until the introduction of Near and Mello. I hate their voices. One major problem I had with the dub though, was understanding the plot and what was happening, especially at the end. But maybe it was just my hearing that sucked? “English is not my first language!” I shout in defence.

I don’t have much to say about the animation. It’s perfectly fine. Not astonishingly beautiful like Hyouka but not at all ugly either. It’s good. It fits.

I'll admit that Light can be kinda hot tho.

The ending? Hm. Well, the last two episodes are painfully awkward to watch. I kept hiding my face in my hands out of embarrassment. But except for that part, it’s quite satisfactory. And I’m glad the “good guys” win after all. Even though Kira’s ideas are interesting to think about, I don’t really like Light. I mean, he’s a pretty good main character, but he’s such a jerk. Still, it would have been so cool to see and alternative ending were Kira won and he created his “ideal world”. I think I would’ve liked to see that. 

I like Death Note a lot, I really do. But it’s been so disgustingly glorified I have put some distant between myself and this anime. Because people all over the world seem to put this anime on a pedestal. Or maybe I just completely overdosed on it it when I went to that convention at 15, and every other person was cosplaying either L, Light, or Misa. C'est pas grave. (It doesn’t really matter.)

This guy was in two episodes and yet he is insanely popular. This logic I do not understand.

It’s kind of sad that I don’t have a stronger attachment to it than I do though, because Death Note was actually the first anime I watched. Ever. And I’m happy about that. I’ll always remember discovering this back when I was 13 or 14, and had to google the word anime without even realising this was something that was going to change my life forever. Death Note still holds a place in my heart, at least the fan art does, since that was what first led me to watching it, and I will forever continue to consider this anime a classic. And I will always come back to see it just one more time (this was my third watch!). A must-see for any person with even the slightest bit of interest in anime. 8/10