Pilots and New Cartoons Review

Ok so TheBetterCup and I are big fans of cartoons. We grew up in a time where TV was full of cartoons for kids and adults, and so I think it is pretty evident this is not some sort of kid’s phase. Anyways, today we started talking about the cartoons we enjoyed on different networks (Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon) back in the early 2000s and we came across some new cartoons and pilots that we just had to watch. As far as cartoons go, we are big fans of things like Over the Garden Wall, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Gumball, and Regular Show from Cartoon Network. We also love anime, older Disney cartoons, Gravity Falls, and most of the Nickelodeon shows from the 90s and early 2000s (anyone remember Hey Arnold?). So here we go, some pilots we found today. Disclaimer: these are only opnions. Please go watch them if you want to know whether you will like or hate them.

  • Star vs Forces of Evil-
    Basically this is my opinion of the cartoon. AT first pleasant then it burned.

    Basically this is my opinion of the cartoon. AT first pleasant then it burned.

    This is a Disney channel cartoon and the second Disney Cartoon to be created by a woman (Daron Nefcy). It is a magical girl series about a princess, named Princess Star Butterfly (*blarf*), from another dimension who needs to learn to behave better (so she is sent to Earth).  We watched it sometime in March, before it was officially released, but it was such a disappointment. It was pretty bad. I would say that it was trying way to hard, and was far from original or enjoyable. To know if you will like it, think about the current cartoon Wander Over Yander. The creator worked on this cartoon, so if you liked that you will like this too. Personally I thought it was trash, but then I learned about Riding with Burgess and the Jammers and learned that this is trash, but that is not the worst thing a cartoon could be. The characters suck, and the story sucks. I wanted to like it so much, but just could not.-Blog Barista

    I had so much hope for this one. When they first talked about it in the later part of the fall (November?) I was really excited, because this was the basic magical girl (outer space princess with powers protecting the planet), but god damn was I disappointed. The main bad guy is pathetic, the main character Star is annoying, and the plot feels like it might not go anywhere. I really wanted to like it, I even watched all the episodes that where out (3 or 4 of them) but I couldn’t do, mostly after meeting her animal buddy Princess Unicorn Head (*shudder*). -TheBetterCup

  • Back to Backspace-
    I liked her, she was amiable.

    I liked her, she was amiable.

    This one’s plot was a little confusing. It was about a world where deleted items (from computers and phones) go. The main character is a young woman named Patty who we don’t know much about from just the pilot. There are other characters who work with her (it seems to be her job to welcome and categorize the deleted items, fix misspelled words as spellcheckers, and help deleted items either be rehabilitated to enter the real world again or destroy the evil ones). The premise and main character were great, and I liked the way it was drawn. My only complaint is the color palette which just was ugly and unlikable to me and the side characters. I think that they were a little too annoying and stupid (think of annoying, modern day cartoon style). If they were more likable and better developed, maybe then this would be a good cartoon. Over all I thought it was OK, I would not complain if it was the only thing on one day and I had nothing better to do. -Blog Barista

    This cartoon wasn’t all that bad. I liked the idea behind it and even Patty was enjoyable (the way that she gave zero shits, saying horrendous things as if it were mundane). I felt the style was cute and quirky, especially SweatPants (he reminds me of the cartoons I watched in elementary or middle school). My only problem is the characterization of the two side characters and the villain (which I also hated that he was just a letter F, but I would over look that if he was a better villain). I felt SweatPants and his brother Hersh (is that how its spelled?) where imbeciles, and the bad guy is a joke (like Star’s evil chicken enemy). The bad guys have to be threatening at least in appearance, otherwise the character’s tribulations become a joke as well, and lets be honest, what makes Adventure Time, Steven Universe, or Gravity Falls so fun is the depth. With such lame bad guys the show becomes more like Wonder Over Yander (Hater is a mess), and would probably be better off without a bad guy (like Flap Jack). Even the PowerPuff Girls and Courage the Cowardly Dog had scarier villains. But this is still an ok show. – TheBetterCup

  • Riding with Burgess- hojSo this started off as a nice surprise, but quickly became an atrocity once I met the main character. The plot is as follows, in some distant future (6000’s) due to some error in the network a random guy (his name is Burgess) selling hot dogs (or burgers not sure) on the corner of a street was chosen to be the ambassador of Earth. Burgess is your typical dumbass, not taking anything he does with leaders of the other planets seriously, but somehow his dumbassery works out in the end. Now I like cartoons, even cartoons I don’t like I can watch (such as Uncle Grandpa, Chowder, Clarence, Teen Titans Go, etc), but Burgess ruined this show for me. When I first saw the premise, I immediately fell in love with it, and it reminded me (appearance wise) of Regular Show, so I was hoping the main character would be like Mordecai (early twenties, slightly awkward and lazy young adult who does stupid things, but who recognizes his mistakes and tries to fix them); however, Burgress is beyond obnoxious, and of the four characters we meet I only could stomach the girl, so sadly I could never sit through any other episodes of this show (and I realllllllyyyyyy liked the premise of this show T_T). -TheBetterCup

 I hated the main character, I guess everything else was alright. It was not my thing. Aesthetically I found it displeasing, though I liked the opening sequence. -Blog Barista

  • Jammers-
    I hate this spawn of Satan

    I hate this spawn of Satan

    I refuse to explain anything about this cartoon. I don’t ever want to watch it again. I think it was horrible and I guess if you want you can watch it, but it is really bad in our opinions (I can’t believe I sat through the entire Pilot). It was disgusting…. -Blog Barista

    It was insufferable… -TheBetterCup

  • Twelve Forever-
    Super excited to watch more of this. She is like a Magical Girl!!

    Super excited to watch more of this. She is like a Magical Girl!!

    This is a cartoon pilot by Julia Vickerman. It focuses on a young girl (who never seems to be named, except she is called by Twelve her alter ego/alias), who has a key to an island that represents her subconscious. She has a friend named Shane who is much more mature and very accepting person. There is not much known about them nor the story, other than the fact that Twelve does not want to grow up and Shane is very level headed and that the main bad guy is a woman with a man’s voice and a huge smile. I loved the characters. I thought they were extremely interesting and went well together (and the problems seemed real. Like the fact that the entire episode was focused on how she had to learn to think before acting). Anyways, I really liked the bad guy too. I am not sure her name, but she was called Madam by her lackey and Butt Witch by Twelve. I also loved the art style and sense of humor. I really hope this gets a green light!! -Blog Barista

    Now this was almost everything I wanted in a show (almost because I am not sure how in depth this cartoon can get, but it is just the pilot, so I have hope, and even if it doesn’t I can still like it and watch it). I like the premise (girl who wants to be 12 forever and escapes to her subconscious? Sounds amazing!), I like the style (it is adorable), I like the fact that its a magic girl, I like the characterization of the main character and the boy she hangs out with, and most of all I am so impressed with the bad guy, the Butt Witch! This bitch is scary. She looks like a woman, with a dude’s voice, a happy face, and to top it all the way she reacts is so emotionless and belittling that she actually is scary (she reminds me of Him in the PowerPuff Girls). All in all I like this cartoon, I see potential, and I hope it continues, because I know I enjoyed it. -TheBetterCup

I mean look at how awesome this is.

I mean look at how awesome this is.

Go check out the pilots on the Cartoon Network website if you want, and enjoy the cartoons.

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Romance Manga Review

So I still have to take classes over the entirety of my summer holiday. It seems I am not as free as I thought I was a week ago. Oh well. I read about five romance manga last night and decided to review each of them. So here we go, a review of the last 5 manga read.

  • Watashi-ga-Motete-Dousunda-tome-550Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Kiss Him, Not Me) – Junko: So, I chose this one because the art style looked really beautiful and well done. I had high expectations and I felt very disappointed with the story. This manga is about Kae Serinuma, a fat otaku girl who loves yaoi and dreams up pairings between her classmates (this was not all that bad, I thought it was original). One day, her favorite anime character dies, and she becomes so depressed she locks herself in her room for a week with little to no food. When she goes back to school everyone is astonished with how much weight she lost and how beautiful she is (this part bothered me. Lets ignore how physically impossible it was for her to lose that much weight in only a week with out any physical activity. Instead lets focus on how every one finds weight to be the only standard of beauty and how her physical characteristics changed not just weight. Her eyes got huge, she got large pretty lips, and her breasts were much bigger when she lost weight). The worst part, four boys start to want to date her and three of those four only notice her because of her looks. At first, she does not want any attention from males, since she finds pleasure in just watching them be together. Of the four guys I hope she ends up with Asuma Mutsumi. He is a third year (she was a second year) that is president of the history club she is in. At first he hardly noticed her weight loss, and was the first to tell her that it did not matter because she is still the same person on the inside. It takes him time to realize he likes her. Unlike the others he does not become infatuated with her appearance, instead he likes her personally and that leads to his feelings. He is laid back and chill, and is the cutest one too. But I feel she won’t be with him. The meanest of the boys, named Nana, (teased her when she was fat and cares most about her appearance when she gains weight back) looks like her favorite anime character and she most likely will be with him. I may be wrong, since this is only first impressions, but I won’t be reading the rest anytime soon to find out.

-Blog Barista

  • watashiWatashi no Ookami-kun (My Wolf Boy) – Nogiri Youko: This one, I feel, was the poorest in art quality (but that is an opinionated statement so do with it as you will), but the story was actually really cute. Komugi Kusonoki moves from Tokyo to the Hokkaido (country side) to live with her father when her mom has a business trip to go on. She has some trouble with girls at her old school (bullying) and hopes that the new opportunity will allow her to get along with her new classmates. But she ends up sitting next to one of the most popular boys, Ookami Yuu, who tells her she smells good. One day, she discovers his secret (which you should be able to guess by the title) and school becomes totally different from average. This story is pretty much basic, girl befriends popular boys who everyone else treat like gods. And of course she falls in love with one of them (not the bad boy tsundere though, instead it is the sweet puppy like one). The only thing that feels very original is there secret, which gains points from me. The girl is average, she falls into the category of the closed off girl trying to be normal and accepted, but the one is not overly done so its not like you can be annoyed by her. I thought is was a nice story, but I probably won’t continue it.

-Blog Barista

  • shuudanShuuden na Kankei (Relationship Population) – Oota Yoshio: This one was chosen on a whim, with little to no reasoning behind the decision, except that it looked cute and the story’s summary seemed entertaining enough. This is not a riveting story, but its definitely something nice and carefree to read when you want to pass some time. The story is about a young professional magazine columninst named Hibari, who works long hours and (due to the asshole nature of her ex/co-worker and sometimes her boss) inevitably rides the very last train home. Because of her horrible sleeping patterns doing so much overtime, she often sleeps (defenselessly) on her train ride home; however, being the only person getting off at the very last stop of the last train she always runs into a train station worker, Yokose. Yokose seems to be quite older then her (he calls her a girl and sometimes talks in an odd way), but he is kind and polite and is always looking out for Hibari. There are only 2 volumes, but already you see the feelings between them blossom, so I really hope they end up together. I find the story so easygoing, and it is also funny as Yoosuke is very clumsy (falling at every important moment).

-TheBetterCup

  • largeGozen 3-ji no Muhouchitai (3 am Lawless Zone) – Nemu Youko: I am so happy I found this one. Absouletly wonderful story. As much as I enjoy some shoujo, I realize I am getting into the age where school life does not always resonate with me. I mean, it still does in some way because I am in university, but many of their problems are no longer problems I can relate too fully. Once I enter into the work force, it will no longer relate to me. But josei can relate a little better sometimes. This one in particular focuses on a girl named Momoko Nanase who gets a job as a pachinko designer (pachinko is a arcade and gambling game in Japan) after finishing schooling to become an illustrator. The office is extremely high pace, with ‘yakuza’ like business and very eccentric coworkers. As she gets bogged down with her work, and has strains on her relationships, she realizes how much she can enjoy working there and meets new people along the way that make it special. Momoko was a cute girl with pretty regular problems, I liked her personality too (pretty simple, a little feisty at times and not too childish most of the times). All the characters are great, and most have a lot of adult problems. TheBetterCup and I read the entire thing with out stopping. I also liked how open this one was about sex and relationships (most the josei and shoujo that I like tend to be that way), it grounds it in reality and keeps the problems focused on things people actually find important (unlike the romance manga where girls freak out over a kiss as if it was the epitome of love). Anyways, it was refreshing and I would definitely suggest trying this one out. The art was also really great, the main character male is not your usual bishonen but instead described as a bear of a man.

-Blog Barista

  • 1Haru x Kiyo – Akira Ozaki: I did not expect it, but I think I just added another manga to my all time favorite romance manga (up there with Say I Love You, Blue Spring Ride, and Jelly Fish Princess). At first I thought this was going to be my least favorite, but ended up being my favorite in the group (exact opposite of the Kiss Him, Not Me). I came upon it because the cover art was beautiful and colorful and the characters looked amazing. Then I quickly felt disappointed when the main character had hair in front of her face making her less pretty (I see the hypocritical nature that I have and I am both embarrassed and ashamed). Yet I could not put it down, and the story ended up being fantastic. The art style is extremely dynamic, with the characters taking extremely exaggerated emotional depictions at times (think the older shonen anime). The story focuses on a girl named Koharu Miyamoto. She is described as boyish and extremely simple. At 5 ft 9 and only 15 years old, she is a giant that is often made fun of by others, but as always she is a gentle giant. Her personality and reactions (except for the exaggeration of course) is actually really realistic. She is an average girl, not very obsessive of anything, who gets hurt and gets happy with out it becoming the only priority in her life when it does happen. She is not super confident, but it does not come off as self-deprecating (which can be annoying). She befriends a four eyed classmate named Mineta. He is tiny (15? cm as they describe him, so anywhere from 4 ft 9 inches to 5 ft 2 inches), and he is strict (always making sure that when he does something it is the best and most efficiently done possible), and he is also very angry (of course). He is so cute, with sage advice, and when given the chance to be her boyfriend he is so manly you cannot help but like him. He stays straightforward about everything (always saying exactly what he feels he must, even if it is too rough), but he can regret it later. He is also not over confident, no matter how uppity he acts at times. Also I was wrong about the art, it is just as cute as the cover and at some points Mineta is shown as a chibi because that is how Koharu sees him. I loved the manga, and I cannot wait to read more.

-Blog Barista

Well anyways, I hope you all find something you like. These are all first impressions, so maybe my opinion will not meet up with yours. Have fun.

His face has officially been revealed!!!!

His face has officially been revealed! Look it up!!

Book Updates: 7 Book Review

Hello everyone! It is the third day into my freedom (lol from school that is), and so far TheBetterCup and I have finished some books that we would like to share with each other. So far I have only finished 4 and TheBetterCup has finished 3, so now we have a seven total. I think I will try and keep this in about some chronological order of some kind. My sister, my father, and I went to Goodwill for the first time in search for cheap book deals, and we were not disappointed. I think we bought a total of over 40 books. If all goes well, there should be many reviews this summer.

a1.   Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The description for this book may be the shortest one on this list. This was a little book, like very tiny, maybe about 130 pages at the most (115 on Goodreads though). I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so I willingly jumped into reading this with out reading the back for information or any of that. I really was not expecting the story to go the way it did. The story, it turns out, is about a man who just turned ninety years old and decided he needed to sleep with a virgin whore (about 14 I think) before he died. Majority of the time, he tells us (the readers) about the different women he slept with throughout his life (all he calls whores because he would always pay them, even the ones who did not want money because he could not understand how anyone would willingly sleep with him). Anyways, he falls in deep love with the young girl and does not have sex with her once in the year that the book follows. I think the book is less about his love story, or the women, but more about how he just started to live life at the age of 90, all because a little love changed his out look on life. I really enjoyed the book, and I really liked the main character (who I think was left nameless). At first, I thought I would hate him (for wanting to sleep with a child), but soon you could not help but find him endearing. This is like most of Garicia’s other books. It is in a Latin American environment, and more of a historical fiction book. Before I end this review though, I would just like to point out how beautiful the cover art is.

-Blog Barista

2.   Antrax by Terry Brooksaaaaa

I got this book one day from my dad. He said he picked it up because it had a flying ship in its description, and that reminded him of me. I was really excited to read it actually, because my favorite genre for books is fantasy, and best of all the main characters were teenagers and there was magic and elves. I do not want to spoil anything, but this is part of a trilogy, which is part of a trilogy (if that makes sense). This is I believe part of the third set of books based in Shanara, but I think was very unfortunate in getting this specific book first. The book was exciting, and I read it in no time, because I was so enthralled I couldn’t put it down, but damn was it messed up. The 1st book introduces all the characters and the quest for a treasure in a far away land. The magical Druid (Walker, who was a main character in the 2nd set of books) calls upon an assortment of young dwarfs, elves, sailors, shape-shifters, and fighters to join him in collecting keys to get an ancient treasure. The entire time they are being pursued by a powerful witch and her snake-man army. Well, I didn’t read this 1st book, which sounds amazing, but I thought the 2nd book would have the same adventure feel to it, but boy was I wrong. Instead the characters find themselves against a vicious and sick post apocalyptic (yup, you learn that the ancient shit they are looking for is really just our modern knowledge) computer named Antrax, which puts them in situations straight out of those horrendous never ending nightmares. Characters die, innocence is lost, robots attack, all in all this is more of a science fiction novel, not the high fantasy it appears to be. My favorite parts, however, involved the crew of the Airship and the main character Bek (not gonna spoil anything, but these parts had nothing to do with the scary ass computer). Seriously, though I enjoyed the book, but I feel like it was not entirely what I wanted and that the 1st or even 3rd book will be much more enjoyable for me.

-TheBetterCup

aa3.   Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

For my sophomore year at university, I roomed with a girl who became one of my closest friends during freshman year, lets call her Precious Rock. Anyways, Precious Rock took Spanish classes and in these classes, she had lots of assignments where she had to watch Spanish movies. She hated watching them alone, so I would always go and watch them with her. In early October (I think), we watched this one movie that was ridiculous. I want to say that every single one of us, that she invited to watch with her, laughed at that movie. There were so many parts that were to exaggerated, and the acting was one of them. I won’t say what parts felt stupid (I don’t want to ruin it for you), but watch the ending of that movie before reading the book and tell me you don’t see why we felt that way. Anyways, I pick up a book in our home library that my mother was given as a gift some 20 years ago, and I start reading. Maybe one chapter in, I realized it was the same story as the movie, but I continued to read it and I found that I adored the book. All the exaggerated parts became more magical when explained better, and unlike the movie that relies on visuals for the audience to understand a certain point, a book can give detailed explanation for their meaning. Like most Latin American stories, this one was magical realism genre and was very beautiful. It tells the story of the life of Talia, a girl born to take care of her mother for her whole life. Talia is not allowed to marry because of this tradition, but she falls in love anyways. You can imagine what problems she faces, but with her amazing ability to make food (she is a cook with some magical properties) she finds a way to get through them. My biggest problem with her and most everyone around her was their inability to say no to other people in ‘authority’ positions who treated them like crap. Even so, I really liked the book. Another interesting fact was that the book was a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies. The story really had all these things mixed and blended well, so when I first started reading I did not even notice. I am not sure if they were useful, I never tried them, but I thought it was cool.

-Blog Barista

aaaaaaa4.   Lost Heroes by Rick Riordan

So I never really cared much for the Percy Jackson novels, mostly because I didn’t care to read about Greek Mythology that was very black and white (the beauty about Greek myths are that everyone is pretty much gray, there is no definite force of good or bad). Anyways, I got this book by mistake, because it didn’t have a cover explaining the plot, and I liked the name (and if I had known 100% what the story was about, I probably would not have bought it). But I can say that in the end I REALLY liked the book. I liked the three main characters (Piper, Jason, and Leo) more than I liked Percy or Annabeth, and I liked how funny the book was. I loved the adventure, the magic, the fact that they were children riding a mechanical dragon for crying out loud. Sure some things bothered me, like how Athena had kids (she is a VIRGIN goddess like Artemis) and Hera was treated like garbage (no one had to like her, but they either had to respect her or fear her, she is still a goddess), but I liked the incorporation of Roman aspects and the idea that the two sides of the same Mythologies get to come together. Again if you like high fantasy, Harry Potter/ Edge/Peter Pan type books, you might just enjoy.

-TheBetterCup

aaaa5.   The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

Every book I have read on this list was enjoyable, and something that I would recommend to others. It is no surprise then, that I will only have good things to say about this book as well. This one was a mystery novel set in the 1845 New York, with the creation of the police force being the focal point of the plot. I really enjoyed the story a lot, as it touched on the discrimination of Irish immigrants into the United States and how badly all people seemed to fair in that time period. The book was completely historical fiction, and to me that was very wonderous. I also liked the main character a great deal, though I preferred his morally imperfect brother. Timothy was a little to modern in terms of his personal opinions and that tended to take away from the realism/authenticity for me. But it was still a great book, but maybe my least favorite of the four I read. The story follows Timothy Wilde after a fire left him somewhat disfigured and jobless. Under the instance of his morally ambiguous brother, Tim joins the newly created police force and goes searching for the murderer of 20 dead kinchin (children) all child prostitutes. The story is full of slang from the era, but after a while you get used to it. I loved all the twists and turns that the author gave to the story. And though I could guess who the main antagonist was from early on, it still was not in the way you would guess. Turns out, that this is part of a trilogy. I read the backgrounds on the others, and they don’t interest me all that much so I won’t buy them.

-Blog Barista

6.   Shadow Climbers by Mickey Zuker Reichertaaaaaaaa

So this is your basic adventure book. Its pretty short with only a little bit of magic towards the end, but honestly this book kept my attention, so I like it. It starts off with this young man Tazir whose small size and rough past forced him to be the renowned thief, Shadow Climber. His desire to take on any challenge ends up getting him caught by the man who essentially murdered Tazir’s father and mother, but he escapes with a barbarian from the North. The two grow close, battle their way North, make new friends, find old friends, and reveal hidden secrets. Even though this is your basic good vs bad, adventure/hero story, its not bad and truly entertaining. The book is the second one out of a series known as the Bifrost Guardians. I have not gotten the chance to read any other, but I looked them up instead. The Bifrost series seems to span over many different characters. I am not too sure, but the stories seem to involve a war between Norse Gods, and humans mixed in between. At some points there are soldiers from the Vietnam involved, and in other points, there are medieval knights and dragons.

-TheBetterCup

aaa7.   Good Omens by Niel Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I did not actually read this one, instead I listened to the audio version of this. Precious Stone is a big fan audio books (though I am mostly 100% against their existence, at least for me personally), but she really insisted that I would enjoy it. So late nights (like 1:00 am) when I would go running, I would listen to this book since I could not read while running (trust me I tried). I loved the book. It is very funny and since it was an audio book, the English accent really added to it. I would rather have read it as a book, but I am glad either way. The story focuses on the beginning of Armageddon, as Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel) try to stop the coming of the end of the world without angering their superiors (respectively Hell and Heaven). I do not want to give away too much, but I just want to say that the story is hilarious while still being very well researched (full of historical and biblical illusions and so on). I really like how deep the authors can get too, talking about human morality and behavior, with out once losing the funny and carefree feel of the book (one that has the Antichrist involved for pete’s sake). All in all, it is a very good book that I highly recommend you try.

-Blog Barista

Anyways, what books have you read lately?

What did they see? Their GPA of the last semester.

What did they see? His GPA of the last semester?

Honest Myth:Buddhism- Disciples

I am finally free! The second semester of sophomore year is now officially over, and I am finally free of most of the stress I was under (though not completely). Anyways, this was  supposed to be February’s post, but now I have the chance to post it. I have so many things that I plan to do soon, so hopefully it will all pan out well. For now, lets just take a look at the ten disciples of Buddha. Between you and me, this was a little more difficult then the apostles. Mostly because one man could have so many titles and names, and the number of Buddha’s disciples is not one hundred percent uniform. When Buddha first attempted to enlightenment, he went about it in the same manner as most Hindus (his original religion, much like how Jesus was Jewish). Once Buddha changed his path to the ‘Buddhist’ way of obtaining Nirvana, many of the ascetics he was with denounced him, but later they became his first disciples

  1. Morning Commute by Jon Sheer

    Morning Commute by Jon Sheer

    Sariputra (General of Dharma or Truth) – The top master of wisdom, he was born to a Brahmin scholar and a became a great scholar as well. He left his teacher, thinking that no person was capable or qualified to teaching him. After being brought to meet the Buddha, he made a Bodhisattva’s Vow and said he was willing to give all his property away including his body. One day a Deva (god like being) pretended to be a little boy, and begged Sariputra for a monk’s eye to save his ill mother. Sariputra gave the boy his left eye, but the boy requested his right instead. Sariputra gave to him his right eye, and the Deva granted him divine vision for keeping his vow. Sariputra later brought the disciple Mogallana to meet the Buddha.

  2. Mogallana (Arahant) – The top master of supernatural powers. He and Sariputra left their previous teacher together. He gained super human abilities through his enlightenment and used it to give advice to others. In his past life, he was said to have killed many people including his own family. For that reason, he refused to use his supernatural abilities from heretics, and he was killed in an extremely brutal fashion.
  3. Kasapa (First to preach Buddha’s Teachings) – The top master of ascetic training . He married a woman named Subhara and both wanted to lead religious lives. So he went out to find a teacher so that he and his wife could renounce the world together, and together (as she joined the order of the nuns for Buddha), they reached enlightenment. One day he met an old sick woman who was so poor, she drank dirty water thrown out by the rich. Kassapa visited her in hopes to help her, but she had nothing that she could give to him (since to collect good karma one must give items to monks who own nothing). He told her that she did not need to give him material goods, but that she could give alms and follow the Buddha. She felt over joyed with happiness and dies, being reborn as a beautiful Deva and sprinkled flower petals over him.
  4. Upali (Sudra) – The top master of precepts and creator of his own school of thought known as Vinya. He was a court barber of the lowest caste (in the Varna system). As he was cutting the Buddha’s hair, Upali’s mother asked the Buddha how were her son’s skills. The Buddha pointed out Upali’s crooked stance and shallow breathing. By learning to control his intake of breath, Upali was able to control his mind. He later became an Arahant, and though he was a Sudra, Upali was ranked above the seven princes who joined later.
  5. Rahula (the hindrance and son of Gautama) – Rahula was the only son of the Buddha (conceived when he was still a prince and married). He was named hindrance because he symbolized the difficulty to leave behind his family. He was the first Samanera (novice monk) to be ordained as a minor. This occurred because he asked his father for his inheritance, and the Buddha wished to give his knowledge . Rahula became a teacher of Dharma and enlightened at the age of 18 (ten years after asking for his inheritance). He was a very shrewd and strict follower. He made sure to stay in the background so as to avoid being accused of taking advantage of his position as son of Buddha.
  6. Ananda (Most beloved) – Ananda was a cousin of the Buddha and his name means great delight. He was the Buddha’s personal attendant, and he did not need to develop the qualities to meditate and study for enlightenment. He was selfless, having unchanging kindness to all people and worked to teach the Buddha’s knowledge to all including the future generations. He strived to help all people, even though he was busy constantly serving Buddha (who he served so as to free him to teach more). He was the first to request nuns to be ordained. He sympathized with the women and taught them indiscriminately. He lived to be 120 years old.
  7. Anuruddha (Seer of divine eye) – He was the half brother to Ananda and cousin to Buddha. At first he refused to give up his life of luxury, but after he learned the responsibilities of a king, he gave up his luxury in a heart beat. With his divine eye, he could see 1000 world systems (galaxy), each with only 31 planets that inhabited life. He struggled most to reach the level of Arahant because of three obstructions. One: he felt he should have been enlightened now that he had the divine eye. Two: he was too aware at how well he meditated and felt agitated. Three: Felt he should be an Arahant by this point. Later the Buddha helped him to move beyond these obstructions to become enlightened.
  8. Katyayana (Brahmin) – A chaplain to a king. he invited the Buddha because his violently tempered king desired to meet the Buddha. He became a monk to the Buddha and when he went back to the king, he inspired the king and the town’s folk to follow the teachings of Buddha. he was the foremost able to take a short verse from Buddha, decipher a great meaning and explain in simple terms. He was very analytical person and organized as well and used this to help the lay understand Buddha’s teachings.
  9. Bakkula (Two castes) – When he was born, his very rich parents lost him, and instead he was found and raised by rach merchants who found him within a beautiful fish. After some time, his parents found him once more and the two families raised him together. He had the knowledge of a physician and never became sick, living to become over 160 years old.
  10. Sivali (Fore most requisites) – His mother was a queen who struggled to give birth. So the Buddha blessed her birth, and she was able to have Sivali leave her stomach. Their struggle was caused by their past lives, where Sivali was a great King and his mother was his consort. Together they waged many wars and destroyed many lives. He had many past lives where he then did only good deeds.

So there we go, those are the ten disciples of Buddha. If you wish to know more, tihs website is fantastic: www.budsas.org/ebud/rdbud/rdbud-01.htm

Beautiful Naruto art

Beautiful Naruto art

Update

Hey guys, I know it has been almost a full semester since I got a chance to write any posts. I have many ideas and plans for the future, but my school work and job has got me so swamped that I have to push everything off for over summer vacation. Thankfully school ends some where near April 30 for me. I have a lot going on: studying for tests, writing papers, doing lab reports, tutoring, hunting for apartments, getting together my course schedule for next year (I cannot believe I will be a Junior in university) and so on. I feel like there is a lot going on but I still will keep this blog going. If not for the few people that really like it, but then for myself. This is my hobby, and this is a way that I get to share my hobby.

Also I have been writing a paper in my religion class on Guanyin and I am trying to decide whether or not I will make a post about her specifically. I am not too sure. In my research on her, I found a bunch of books in my school library that focus on goddess around the world, so I may be doing a goddess marathon soon. Who knows for sure. For next year I decided to take Calculus 2, Biochemistry, Religion of Health and Healing, Religion of Greece and Rome, and Religion Ethics of Human Goodness. I am so very excited for next year. What about you guys? Any of you in university?

Anyways I just wanted a fast update, at least to remind myself to get back in the swing of things.

BlogBarista

Honest Myth:Hindi- Purusha

So, I have been taking a Religion course that focuses on East Asian Traditions, and today was the first day where we actually talked about a specific religion. We focuses on Hinduism, and I learned so much (it has become much less confusing to be honest). I learned about Brahman, and Brahma (who is super cool), and about the deities and the caste system, and so on and so forth. Though I find my teacher very boring, I greatly look forward to this class and the future classes I plan on taking (primarily Buddhism and Christianity). Anyways, this particular story was interesting and short so I figured I would write a quick post on it. It is hard to find pictures for this, so I won’t put any. But if anyone has one you would like to share please tell me.

Purusha was a premordial being who sacrificed himself for the creation of man (his body parts became man). The concept of the caste system was said to originated from this story. When he was sacrificed, his head became the priest (Brahmin), his strong arms became the warriors (Kshatriya), his quick legs became merchants (Vaishya), and his feet became the laborers (Shudra). These are the varnas or the caste system. Good karma (action) by doing your duties. And this brings you closer to moksha (release) to escape Samsara (cycle).

He was the sacrificial victim of the Gods, whose body became all life forms in the universe (including some Gods). He was the single cosmic man. Originally the varnas were equally respected with people doing the duty (dharma) of their varna. From his mind came the moon, his eye the sun, and his mouth made Indra and Agni. He had one thousand heads, one thousand eyes, and one thousand feet.

Well, that was some of the stuff I learned. Hope you guys enjoyed this and have a good week.

Check out more here: http://www.girardianlectionary.net/res/hindu_creation.htm

-Blog Barista

So cute, I am jealous.

So cute, I am jealous.

Honest Myth:Christian- Apostles

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Andrew and Peter from Saint Young Men

So this was supposed to be last week’s post, but I seem to have gotten real behind on the stuff I was supposed to do. I have an organic chemistry test this Friday, along with a statistic test. TheBetterCup has like four tests, and I cannot remember what they are for the life of me. This week has also been hectic in other ways. We started running in October and now we run everyday for like 50 minutes, and so a friend and the two of us signed up to run our first 5K. I am so excited but the training drains a little time. After this we can aim for a 10K. I have also been swamped with volunteer opportunities (some of which did not pan out all that well). But I will try to continue posting weekly just for my sanity. So here I present the Apostles. TheBetterCup and I spent a good 5 hours researching them, which was a lot of fun, and this is what we cam up with.

  1.  Peter (Originally known as Simon) was a fisherman and one who brought people to Jesus (a fisher of men). He was the leader of the apostle. He healed a forty year old man, who was crippled from birth, by saying ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have to give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazerath: walk.’ He was one of the three pillars of the Church. His ministry was primarily to the Jews. The Denial of Peter: When Jesus was being arrested, following them as Jesus was being taken away, Peter denied being with or knowing Jesus three times. Jesus allowed the Devil to tempt Peter with fear (making him a coward that denied his lord) to allow Peter to learn of his weaknesses. When he was to be crucified, he asked to be crucified head downwards for he was not worthy to die like his Lord. That upside down cross with crossed keys became Peter’s apostolic symbols.
  2. Andrew (Brother of Peter) was the first disciple of Christ and brought Peter to Jesus. His main goal was to bring others to Jesus (also a fisher of men). His ministry was to the Greeks, and that is where he went to preach. He was tied to a cross, and lived two days preaching to others before dyeing. Not wanting to be crucified like Jesus, he asked for an x-shaped cross. His apostolic symbol is an x-shaped cross with two fish.
  3. James (The Greater) was the first apostle to become a martyr (first to die). He and his brother, John, were called ‘Brothers of Thunder’ by Jesus. He was one of the few people who witnessed the rising of the daughter of Jairus, the transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, and Jesus’s agony at the Garden of Gethsemane. His mother was Salome (the one who danced the Dance of the Seven Veils for Herod and a possible sister of Mary). he preached in Spain. James saved a drowning knight, by covering his body in sea shells which allowed him to stay afloat and come back to land. He is the saint of warriors and knights. His symbol includes three shells (because of the story) and a sword (because he is a saint to warriors and because he was beheaded with a sword).
  4. John (Brother of James) was the last Apostle to die and one of two that was not a martyr. He died of natural causes at the ripe old age of about 180 (supposedly). He was exiled to to the Cave of Apocalypse where he was given the text of the Book of Revelation. he continued to build churches to the east in Asia. His symbol is a chalice with a snake in the cup, because so many attempts were made on his life. This includes one where he drank from a poisoned chalice but was miraculously spared.  He was also one of the pillars of the church. John was rash, impetuous, and very impassioned. He mellowed out over time and lost his explosive temper by old age. Because of this he became the Apostle of Love where he symbolized a balance between love and zeal.
  5. Philip was the only one that was not brought to Jesus. Instead, Jesus came to him and said to him “Follow me” He was the practical and logical Apostle. In the feeding of 5’000, Jesus asked him where they could find bread for everyone. Philip answered that did not have enough money to feed them all (this was a test of his faith which he failed). His symbol is of a basket with loaves of bread and a cross. He was warm hearted, pessimistic, shy, naive, and sober minded. He was the one all about ‘seeing is believing’. In some text, he was hung, crucified, or stoned. He requested his body to be wrapped in papyrus not linen (like Jesus). He went to Syria to pass on the words of Jesus.
  6. Bartholomew (Also called Nathaniel) was one of the only disciples to be of royal blood/noble birth. He went to India and most of Asia Minor to spread Christianity. he was flayed alive with knives, and his symbol is three parallel knives. Philip went to Bartholomew and told him that he found the messiah. Bartholomew then asked “what good comes from Nazareth?” To which Phillip replied, “come and see.”
  7. The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1602).

    The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1602).

    Thomas (Sometimes called Didymus) was one who had faith based on touch (while Philip had to see it to believe it. So they basically represent the ways people choose not to believe/types of proof they need). He was always a little doubting , but was courageous and told other to follow no matter what. Jesus was resurrected and went to the Apostles, but Thomas, who did not see him come up, did not believe them. He would only believe if he could touch the five holy wounds. Jesus let him, but told him that he should believe with out physical proof. He died by being speared by the priests in India. His symbol has spears, arrows, and stones (since he was shot with arrows and stoned before the priests killed him).

  8. Matthew (Also known as Levi) was a tax collector (which at the time everyone hated tax collector who were considered sinful outcasts). He brought many outcasts to Jesus who showed them love no matter what. Matthew means gift of God. Jesus found him at a tax collectors post and told him ‘Follow me.’ In this case, unlike Philip, Matthew was not sought out he just so happened to pass him. Matthew got up and did just that. Because he was the only one who knew how to write, he was the first to write Jesus’s teachings. His symbol is that of bags of money to show that he was a tax collector. Before meeting Jesus, he thought money was the only important thing in the world. He never wavered and was very committed to Jesus. He died in Ethiopia after humiliating a King in front of all his followers (he was right and it was awesome how he did it too), stabbed in the back by a sword. He is said to be Collector of the Souls (like how the first four were Fisher of Men).
  9. James (The Lesser) was said to be either brother to Jude or to Matthew and had some familial connections to Jesus. He witnessed the Resurrection and is a pillar of the church. he went to Egypt and Palestine to spread the word of God. He had a strong character and was described as fiery (also called James the Just). He became Bishop of Jerusalem. James was also a hardcore worshiper (seems to be the trend with the Jameses) who never bathed, was a virgin, never ate meat, and prostrated till his forehead and knees were calloused like camel hooves. The Jews got mad, pushed him off the temple, but he rose to beg God to forgive them. he was then beaten by fullers bats and his body was sawed into pieces. his symbol is the saw.
  10. Jude (Brother of James ≤) was the only one to ask Jesus, during the Last Supper, why he did not show himself to the whole world after his resurrection. He stressed that man should persevere and thus people invoke him when they are in desperate situations, Many confused him for Judas (because of the name and that is why he is often forgotten mostly in middle ages). It was said that he was killed by an axe in Persia. His symbol is boat (because of all his missionary work). He was given the cloth with Jesus’s face (it wiped off on to it like in Saint Young Men), so as to cure leprosy of the King.
  11. Simon (The Zealot) preached in Egypt and Persia. He accompanied Jude and died with him. He was the bridegroom at a wedding where Jesus turned the water into wine. After witnessing his holiness, he became a zealous follower. He was crucified when he died and his symbol is of a fish lying on a bible.
  12. Judas (The Traitor) is said to have given Jesus up to the Roman’s for 30 pieces of silver (which in Saint Young Men, Jesus makes an allusion to that which is super funny. When they were hard for cash, he suggested sacrificing himself to be sold. He then said, “I have heard that I am worth 30 pieces of silver at the least”). Judas later hung himself out of guilt. He is the only Apostle who was not a Galallian or Galilean (I am not sure which spelling is right, I have seen both), and he was the carrier of the purse or the treasurer of the group. In some versions, Judas takes the initiative to to betray Jesus. In others, the devil takes over him and makes him betray Jesus. In others (not as common), it is said that he was asked to do this so as to allow Jesus to die for man’s sin (so Jesus would have asked). In these, it is said that Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas and only then could the Devil enter him. Jesus then old him to do what he had to do quickly. This part has been interpreted as a foreshadow to his deeds. His symbol is that of a noose (because he hung himself).

Well this was a very lost post. I really hope you guys enjoyed this and learned something new, I know we did. James the Lesser and Andrew have got to be some of my favorites. Anyways, I hope everyone has a good week, and I will try to post one more this week before the weekend comes. I also have one last anime post, but I will do that maybe Saturday. Things tend to get busy with school, volunteer work, running, and with my job, but I always try to make a small amount of time for my mythology and anime hobbies.

-Blog Barista

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I felt this way around Friday last week.

 

Three Anime Review: Day 5

This is the last day for anime reviews. Sadly tomorrow will be the last day of my winter break, so I am not sure if I will have a lot of time to do much other then pack and prepare to return to school. I actually feel real down about it, and I am not too sure why. School may suck, but it is not horrible. Anyways here we go, today has way more positive and fun anime to watch:

World Conquest Zvezda Plot by Tensai Okamura

3b05f84036bb5560005acd7d5fa392571389110928_fullI picked this anime, because I knew TheBetterCup would like it. I really did enjoy it too, but i feel like the fan service is a bit much. The females tend to be over sexualized and many look like children. Heck the main female character may be hundreds of years old, but she has the body of a seven year older (she uses a tricycle for goodness sake).

Kate Hoshimiya is a little girl and leader of an organization called Zvezda. Their goal is to conquer the world (an extreme act where they are basically trying to create a place where they all can fit in since none of them could be defined as a normal and functional part of society). Kate, or Lady Venera, have many people in her organization that plan on helping her with her dream. Soon, a normal middle school boy named Asuta Jimon (who ran away from home) mistakenly gets involved with the group and ends up joining them as well. Together they fight against the White Light and Japanese government as they attempt world conquest.

Anyways, the art is cute. Though the outfits are a bit ridiculous, it is totally acceptable since we are talking about superheros and villains. I thought it was a great idea and definitely one that I have yet to see in anime. It feels a little weird to cheer for the protagonists that you know are technically the ‘bad guys’ and soon to be ‘over lords’.

Noragami by Adachitoka

NoragamiThis anime was a very nice surprise. I did not expect to like it as much as I did (mostly after browsing and watching through so many bad anime). I was actively searching for an anime that had more religious allusions. and this one was highly recommended. I felt like it was really original, very entertaining and funny, and it did allude to some aspects of Shintoism.

The music in this anime is great. I am not sure what to call it, but there is this one weird song that plays in the background that has some rap in it. I just really liked the music which helped make the fight scenes feel more epic. The art is also really nice. It is not super different, but the characters are well drawn. I really liked how their designs were minimal and their clothing very realistic.

Yato God of War

Yato God of War

Yato is a god of calamity (sometimes called a war god, not sure if their is a defined difference in the anime) who has no home and must wander the streets doing small time jobs as a delivery god till he can buy himself a shrine. After his current Regalia (weapons that come from pure souls) quits on him, he takes on a small scale job of finding a cat. One day, he runs out into the street to catch the cat (as a bus is coming towards him), and a girl named Hiyori Iki (middle school student) pushes him out of the way and gets hit instead. The incident causes her soul to be stuck between the living and the dead and becoming a half phantom. The story focuses on Yato and his new regalia, Yukine, and their attempt to build a suitable shrine, as well as Hiyori’s attempt to become human again.

You end up really liking the characters, and none of them feel annoying or overwhelmingly two dimensional. Yato is really funny, but you can also feel some sympathy for the guy. I mean he is a god struggling to get by in this modern society where the youth does not worship as piously to small time gods like they would have 100 years ago in the country-side. So I think the story was one of a kind.

Orenchi no Furo Jijou by Itokichi

I put the manga picture instead of the anime one because this was super cute.

I put the manga picture instead of the anime one because this was super cute.

I saw this on Crunchyroll and thought ‘this looks so cute’. When I found out it was an all male cast, I worried it was yaoi. After watching a few episodes (each only being four minutes long), we quickly realized it was just a very simple, silly, and straight out weird/unique anime in general. I definitely plan on starting the manga now. The story is just so funny, but in a way that is childlike. I loved the characters, who are all so adorable. None of them are overly annoying, but each of them are cute in different ways and different levels (Agari senpai and Tatsumi are so far battling for cutest character for me).

tumblr_inline_nd1bvulE8i1qdffo3The opening sequence is pretty surprising. It is very dark and hardcore, giving off a completely different feel to what the show was going to be like. The music is rock based, and at one point, the main character seems to be drowning. Yet the actual story is far from dark. It is super charming and cute, and the contrast to the opening was very nicely done. The art is cute. All the characters are well drawn (and they look like the creatures that they are meant to be). They look really bright, not shiny, but bright so the anime seems very colorful and pleasant. They have really nice eyes. Also, the art switches to chibi characters constantly, which lends to the sweetness of the story and comedy.

Tatsumi is a busybody high school boy (whoops I swore he was like 23 or something. I think I have officially reached that age where the anime characters are always younger then me 😦 ). He finds a somewhat self-centered but goodhearted merman named Wakasa stuck on land who ends up moving into his bathtub (because the river is heavily polluted). Later on, Tatsumi meets many of Wakasa’s other sea friends including  an octopus, a jellyfish, a sea snail, and a very shy shark.

Actually, we watched a fourth anime called Shounen Hollywood. It was interesting because the art style was more masculine (akin to shounen anime), but the plot was about male idols. It was just really not that good so I did not talk about it. The story was not bad, but over all it was not that good either.

-Blog Barista

*sparkle*

*sparkle*

Earth Defense Club Love! by Takahashi Natsuko

By now, anyone who has seen our posts should be able to tell that TheBetterCup and I have an interest in magical girls and that genre in general. It is not that it is our favorite, seriously we gave a lot of negative comments to the many of the shows. But for some reason I feel drawn to it some how (probably childhood memories). Anyways, we came upon this anime that was released January 6, and by god let me tell you how wonderful it is. Just promise me that when you decide to watch it, you will go in and not take it to seriously, if you do you will feel upset in the end (many people have done that so far). The purpose of this anime is to make fun of magical girls without being overly serious, without any form of boy love, and without too much ridiculous fan service. You go in knowing the intent, you will definitely find it funny. This was also made into a smart phone game (that seems to be the fashion lately).

Plot Line:

Wombat is the magical creature that gives them their magic. He uses the teacher to be less noticeable (does not work).

Wombat is the magical creature that gives them their magic. He uses the teacher to be less noticeable (does not work).

The story is about these five ordinary and lazy high school boys that meet an alien that looks like a pink wombat. The wombat offers them magical powers to complete their destinies of protecting the earth, but they do not accept right away. Together they become the Earth’s Defense Club (against their initial wishes), and they protect the Earth with the power of Love! They fight people who have become loveless monsters.

Characters:

tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo7_400tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo4_400Yumoto Hakone- The main protagonist of the show and leader of the Earth’s Defense Club, Yumoto is your typical air headed and happy-go-lucky main character. He is a lolita type boy that loves cute things, food, and animals (no surprise there). He is the red one in the group, and his powers are light based. He transforms into the Sparkling Prince; Battle Lover Scarlet. He seemed to accept everything very easily, though he was surprised to learn that Wombat was an alien. He is very adaptable, thanks to his carefree personality. His family owns the Kurotamayu bathhouse where the boys hangout. Yumoto is a first year (freshman) and the youngest of the group.

tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo3_400tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo6_400En Yufuin- En is the lazy character between the group. He does things at his pace/leisure and tends to be the one who questions everything the most. He seems to think deeply about very weird an strange concepts (again questioning every thing). He is a third year (senior) and is best friends with Kinugawa. His go lazy and go with the flow attitude then leads to him to accepting everything, but only after trying to avoid the responsibility at all costs. En is the blue character in the group and his power is unsurprisingly water (which is blue and goes with the flow). He transforms into Flashing Prince; Battle Lover Cerulean. FYI he was our favorite character between the bunch.

tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo9_400 tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo2_400Atsushi Kinugawa- The smart one in the group, Kinugawa wears glasses, makes great grades, and tends to be the more serious one in the group. He is also best friends with En, childhood friends with Kusatsu (student council president and lead antagonist), and is also a third year (senior). He comes from a very rich family and though he notices how weird things seems, it does not bother him to much. Kinugawa is the green one in the group and his power is air (matches his soft and gentle personality). He transforms into the Piercing Prince; Battle Lover Epinard.

tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo10_400 tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo1_r1_400Io Naruko- Io’s personality seems to be very focused and tactile. He is very much into money and makes a fortune off of the stock market. He is a second year in high school and is best friends with Ryu. He seems to be the less talkative of the group. Io’s color is yellow and his powers are the earth element (for his reliable and sturdy presence). He transforms into the Roaring Prince; Battle Lover Sulfur.

tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo5_400 tumblr_nhtmltqfnD1tk6djfo8_400Ryu Zaou- Ryu is the lady’s man character. He is both obsessed with girls, and popular among them. Because of his personality, he ends up totally ok with the idea of being a magical boy because of how well he looks in is outfit. He is a second year and best friend of Io. Ryu is the pink character of the group, and his power is fire element (to match is passionate personality). He comes off a little narcissistic, but still a good guy. He transforms into the Thrilling Prince; Battle Lover Vesta.

Artwork:

I know I usually complain about ridiculousness of anime character designs and color coding, but since it is a magical boy genre it is totally fine. Except for a few hair colors, the guys are actually not that extreme in looks, and they follow all the magical girl troops to a satirical T. I really liked the way they were drawn (especially the blue one).

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TheBetterCup says ‘they sing better then the pastry people’.

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Chikuwabu-bu

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What do I love:

tumblr_nhsrsz8TDQ1u1btt3o2_400They question the whole thing from the beginning and even run away from the alien creature when it asks for their help (think of all the young magical girls who just accept right away). tumblr_nhvn52rAZx1sqbbypo1_400They are forced into silly outfits that they cannot take off, they say embarrassing things that they don’t want to say, and they don’t take anything they do seriously (random names for attacks). I loved the fact that their key catchphrase for transformation was ‘Love Making!’ and that their weapons are called ‘love sticks’. We could not stop laughing the entire time we watched.

tumblr_nhsrsz8TDQ1u1btt3o5_400 Even the monsters that they battle are funny too. The whole first episode opens up with two of the characters describing chikuwabu which is this piece of wheat food in udon that is basically nothing at all (something you never eat on its own and is just there). Then there is this boy in their class that is being all sad because he is basically as average as he can get and super unnoticeable. Finally he opens his lunch box to eat and all that is inside are two giant chikuwabu, and he just loses it. he becomes a giant, yankee/yakuza tumblr_nhvn52rAZx1sqbbypo4_400chikuwabu monster. The only things the boys worry about when they see him is that he’s chikuwabu (not that he is a dangerous monster).

I think that the protagonist is a little annoying, but I am pretty sure that was on purpose. I feel like all of this is following magical girl troops to be funny (including having an airhead, main character, leader who is super into all of this). They also sing the opening and ending (seems to be something only anime with only male characters do).

-Blog Barista

poke

poke

Three Anime Review: Day 4

These reviews have been really hard for me to write to be honest. I don’t know it may be because I feel anxious and stressed lately, or maybe because I have not been enjoying the anime we picked, I just don’t have much to say about them. Today, TheBetterCup was to busy to watch anime with me, so I picked them on my own. I like them, and you can tell that they move back toward the anime that usually is seen on this blog (sorry).

Gingitsune by Sayori Ochiai

jbkbjkThis was a very refreshing anime that could be described as a breath of fresh air. It is a supernatural slice-of-life that focuses on a simple small town, a shrine, and the inhabitants near that area. Makoto Saeki is the next heir to a Shinto Shrine in a small town. As the next shrine priest, she can see the messenger god of Inari, Gintaro. Though he seems a little rude and uncaring, he loves Saeki and uses is powers of foresight to help her aid the town’s people.

The art is very nice. The scenery is extremely well made and looks like a painting most of the time. This alone makes the world they live in feel magical. Though I did not feel very drawn into the story (mostly because the characters were just ok to me), I still very much enjoyed the how visually pleasing the art work was.

Locodol by Kotaro Kosugi

futsuu_no_joshikousei_ga_locodol_yatte_mita_pv1This anime is really cute, especially the characters. It has a little bit of fan service (which I am never a fan of), but it is still ok.

The town of Nagarekawa is slowly losing its youth population (who go to more exciting places like Tokyo). Nanako Usami and Yukari Kohinata are ordinary high school residents who are asked to become local idols (locodols) to help garner attention to the town. Later on Yui Mikoze joins as the local mascot, and Mirai Nazukari joins as Yui’s substitute. It is a simple and sweet show that will leave you feeling happy and refreshed. I suggest you try it if you have a little free time. It was my second favorite of the three on this list.

Galilei Donna by Yasuomi Umetsu

GalileiDonna_zps4d28df64I really liked this so far. It reminds m of those awesome RPG games that have some futuristic aspects and some older European themes. It looks so cool. I feel it may try to hard when it comes to the machinery in the show, but I do not mind. The female leads are strong and real cool (love Hazuki the most). I am not too sure what the plot is by just watching episode one, but there seems to be a mystery afoot and I want to continue watching. The music that plays during the show is also very good and so is the character designs (nothing that looks overly ridiculous).

The art is great, but the best part here is the architecture. It is a new level of beautiful attention to detail. I think the characters are also really cute and match well with the environment. I love the character designs where they are still different enough to be noticeable, but are not extremely different either. I really love how the people are drawn in general.

The story opens up with each of the girls almost being kidnapped for some unknown reason. Later after meeting with the police, the family goes to pick up their things from their homes. There they meet Cicinho a captain of an air pirate ship who had been the one attempting to get them (for Galileo’s treasure). The girls end up being accused of terrorism (this some how has to do with a conspiracy that is after Galileo’s inheritance) since they are his descendants. To clear their names, the Ferrari sisters embark in a journey around the world to find the treasure before the others do.

These girls are boss! The youngest is thirteen and her name is Hozuki. She is extremely gifted in science and does a lot of tinkering. She is able to fix cars and bikes. The second youngest is Kazuki and is seventeen. She may seem colder, but she is actually really just timid. She is physically talented and strong. She is a capable fighter and knows Shorinji Kempo. Lastly, the eldest is twenty years old and named Hazuki. She dreams to become a lawyer and she is skilled intelligent and strong willed.

Sorry if this seemed short. This time around I did not get to include some of TheBetterCup’s opinions. I hope you guys enjoy these animes.

-Blog Barista

Doesn't this sort of scene make you feel a little happier?

Doesn’t this sort of scene make you feel a little happier?

Three Anime Review: Day 3

For today’s anime, TheBetterCup picked one, I picked one, and we both picked one that we knew would not be very good at all. I am not very sure why we picked that last one, still right now when I think about it I would like to bang my head against the computer screen. Anyways here the anime we picked for today.

Nagi Asu: A Lull in the Sea by Project-118

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I found this one by mistake, and decided to watch it cause it sounded magical. This was a beautiful anime (visually that is). Everything about the it was gorgeous, and extraordinary. The story focuses on four 14 year old students (Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname)who come from the ocean floor. After their school closes down, they have to start going to school on land, and they must attempt to adjust to their new environment (both the land and ocean people are full of prejudice, mistrust, and judgment). By slowly creating a relationship with a son of a fisherman (Tsumugu), they are able to go past their prejudice and accept each other. While growing together and facing personal feelings (that come with this age), they also have to worry with the keeping the Sea God pleased as the Land People move away from the ancient traditions.

I really liked the art of this anime, but the characters did not win me over in the first episode (so I will not continue watching), except I really liked Tsumugu. Anyways, it was not bad. I think if this went more down a ‘Ghibli’ path like more innocence and growing and less interest in love (like adults), then this would be great. Like I loved the ideas of Manaka getting that fish on her knee type curse, or getting caught in a fishing net. It was all so cute. And I know I said this before, but the art was AMAZING!

Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie written by Ryo Aoki

horriblesubs-bonjour-sweet-love-patisserie-01-480p15-12-27Bonjururu everyone!

This was the one that was bad. I hated it (at least that is my initial reaction, I admit the parts with out the teachers as love interests are not that bad). It was only five minutes for each episode, but I felt like those were bad five minutes spent. The story is really cliche to the point that the pastry chef teacher were glittery and spinning when they ‘baked’ goods. They looked like magical girls. The opening sequence had the men flying in space riding giant desserts for goodness sake. It wasn’t even meant to be a comedy (if it was this would not be so bad). This anime was made as hype for an otome game, but it may have been a better idea to release the game first. Then it would do what Diabolik Lovers did and become successful through the fan base (cause in a game this would not feel ridiculous).

The art can be cute sometimes, but you can tell there are times were it just looks bad. Also the side profiles are not very good. The scenery is nothing special (even the pastries are nothing special). The characters seem poorly designed (look better for the games to be honest) with unrealistic colors for hair and really tacky clothing (personally).

Sayuri Haruno begins to attend an elite confectionery school that looks like a castle called Fleurir (cliche French word as name) on a scholarship. She dreams to open a pastry shop. While at school she meets several ‘charming’ young men including three teachers, one student, and two other men who are the brothers one of the teachers. One of the teachers has a fiance he is being forced to marry too. Just add that to the number of really random and unnecessary parts to this. All of these men have very basic personalities, and so do all the class mates. Sayuri is your typical Otome game heroine (anyone who plays knows what I mean), so none of the characters stand out in any way. Not a lot of time is given for these characters to form deep relationships and talk about their dark pasts, it is just so fast. Should I also mention that the head teacher is so out to get the main character girl, that every male she is seen with is accused of being in a ‘illicit sexual relationship’ with her (even when they made that dog a birthday gift). Even their voices are typically what you would expect. And oh god! How could I forget, the male characters SING the intro and ending themes. As TheBetterCup puts it, ‘they sing badly’ on top of all of it too. But you know, I can kind of see how the anime would be a fun way of killing a little time.

Kyousougiga by Miho Maruo

bAvjZFeThis one feels harder to talk about. The plot is a little confusing, and it is hard to tell just from initial impression whether it will be good or not. I feel like it has so many things I adore, but two simple things make it hard for me to jump on the train.

Myoe, a priest with the ability to give life to his drawings, was treated as an outcast by the villagers in his town. One of his drawings, a black rabbit called Koto, falls in love with him and makes a deal with Bodhisattva to take human form (Lady Koto). Together they start a family by taking in a war orphan named Yakushimaru, and drawing two others, Yase and Kurama. Because of circumstances, they chose to live in a different plane in one of the cities Myoe drew. But Lady Koto has to keep her promise and must leave. Myoe and Lady Koto leave the children in hopes of discovering a way to stay together, and the children wait for centuries in hopes that their parents keep their promise of return (I love the kids who each end up being a little messed up since their parents left, and I love the parents who always tried their best). After all that time waiting, a girl named Koto (protagonist) appears. The story of her attempt to go home, to discover her past, and of the children bringing back their parents becomes complex and interesting fast. But most of all, I have a feeling it may not end perfectly (maybe its still happy, but I have this feeling it has a bitter sweet end). It may be the fact that the dad says ‘I will come back with the beginning and the end one day’ while the mom’s presences threatens the stability of the universe.

The art is gorgeous and the idea is unique. I felt drawn to it by the story of the parents, while I think TheBetterCup was first interested in the solar system opening scene. I love the fact that this has some mythological/religious allusions. Also, it gives off a very surrealistic and tragic vibe. What makes it hard for me to love right away is that I feel like it won’t end very happily. I would not mind if was with out me knowing, but since I have this feeling in the beginning its hard to continue. The story is just Wow. I cried so much, and I love all the characters. The sound track is amazing, and it is all so well thought out. I know I have the feeling something bad will happen, but still really want to watch this, I probably will.

These were enjoyable and 2 of the 3 were definitely very beautiful. I am not sure if I would continue any of them (probably would continue Kyousougiga if it was not so sad). I feel maybe if they were more slice-of-life and simplistic in plot it would be more enjoyable, but I could be wrong in that assumption. Trust me though, I really do like sh***y baking animes. Yumeiro Patissiere was my jam in like 11 grade!

-Blog Barista

I wanna live here!

I wanna live here!

Three Anime Review: Day 2

I think I may need a break from all the love stories soon. So many of the manga I read lately have to do with love. I really need a change of pace soon. Anyways, today’s anime had love in it, but two of the three were definitely a change in pace. Was this a ‘good’ change? Probably no, but still. Today’s review is not as positive as the first day’s.

Daibolik lovers by Shinobu Tagashira

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Oh God. This piece of ‘art’ is something I have known about before. Both TheBetterCup and I like otome games, so of course we have stumbled over this before. When I saw that this was an anime, I just had to watch it. Now to get serious, and I am sorry but this is just my opinion, this is a piece of garbage. The game is something that I cannot stomach very much (you need to have specific taste to be able to enjoy it) and the anime is somehow even worse. The art is nothing special, the characters are as basic as an anime can get, and the creepiness of the entire thing just does not help it. I hate yanderes. I understand that some people love them, but I personally just find the idea scary and unappealing.

The story line goes like this: When Yui’s father moves abroad, she is sent to live in a new town. She soon discovers that the six Sakamaki brothers (yeah send your teen age daughter to live in a home alone with six men who are some what abusive, great) are vampires. They abuse her psychologically and physically, often feeding off her. Some how this girl optimistically accepts her situation. I honestly could care less ‘why’ or ‘how’ she is connected to them. This stinks of trash to me. Neither of us could sit through the first episode comfortably, and half way through (since it was obvious that this twisted reverse harem was poorly written) you won’t even care about the actual plot. I regret ever seeing the game, and I really regret the anime. I really should have known better. But, there are many who do like this. So if this seems to be interesting to you then please try it. It was not for us, but you never know if you like it with out trying, right?

DRAMAtical Murders by Nitro+chiral

drBoth TheBetterCup and I had mixed feelings about this one. We picked it cause the name was just so intising. The art was for the most part very well done (excluding a few of the characters that is), and the setting was also great. This was also a game before being an anime. It was really well drawn, mostly the scenery. The characters were over all good, except the main characters stuck out a little to much. Their entire beings were shiny (like plastic) and colorful, and they did not match well with the distopian, cyberpunk background. Even before the story began, or the characters were introduced, you could tell who was a main character only because their clothing were more noticeable to ridiculous levels. The grandmother of the main character also had stupid looking, unnatural looking hair (worse then usual). It is a rule of ours that anime with characters that have brightly colored, unrealistic hair and ridiculous clothing are usually what we ignore (think the most recent Pokemon). Crazy weird looking anime characters, with eye brows or eyes that show through hair, and characters that use cards or animals to battle each other make the hall mark  of anime in the eyes of western society. Those are usually not good anime. This one had some hints of that, but if it had kept a creepier and darker plot line it would have been fine.

Aoba Seragaki lives in the poorer portion of town called Old Residential District and works in a store called Junk Shop Mediocrity. He hopes to live a peaceful life, but is soon dragged into the popular cyber game Rhyme. Here they use Allmates (mobile devices disguised as robot animals) to battle in a virtual world. The story is full of disappearing people, gang turf wars, and a struggle between the gangs in Old Residential district against the owner of Platinum Jail (the rich resort area, why was ‘jail’ a good idea for the name?). This is actually a BL game (boys love), so the male main character falls in love with one of the other guys.

Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_43pxoi8ni680g0kcokw40gc00_1280Ao Haru Ride is one my of my all time favorite manga. It follows the typical love story with a girl meeting her childhood love and rekindling those feelings, but there is so much more to love. Yes there is a lot of drama, but all of that is not the simple love story problems. It focuses more on the hardships of disease and familial death. I found the drama to be of deeper kind, and all of the characters are actually quite complex and wise. I ended up loving all the characters, and actually cheer for both the male love interests (both are so wonderfully cute!). I am getting ahead of myself let me tell you what the anime is about first. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the manga.

140Futaba Yoshioka is a very cute and feminine girl who tries her hardest to act in an unattractive way (no longer feminine) in an attempt to keep from being ostracized like she was when she was in middle school. Some time in the second semester of freshman year in high school, she meets Kou Mabuchi (a boy from middle school who she loved and never got the chance to be with). 148Kou went from being a sweet, shy, and calm person in middle school to a much colder man in high school. the story revolves around her recreating herself, reliving the love she felt for Kou, and learning what he went through to make him so different. They make many friends along the way, and all the characters are really wonderful.

The art work is very great, though the manga is even better. The characters are long limbed and the girls have these really nice and round eyes. I also love how the artist includes the details of lips (many manga/anime just never define the lips). I love the story, I think it is cute how they progress through there relationship. It’s not just ‘oh I hate you’ and then ‘no really I love you’. In this, I felt there was a slow progress. Best part is, at one point you could actually see the two main characters not getting together in the end. It made it seem a little more natural and realistic knowing that it may not work well. Usually I am all for a main male who teases and is a little mean to the girl, but I really liked Kou the way he was before. I wanted him to stay sweet, soft spoken, and shy. And Toma is so wonderful, I love how he blushes so hard all the time (so cute…..). The story also does not focus on only the girl understanding herself and feelings, and connecting with friends. Much of the time also focuses on Kou reaching out to his friends and understanding himself more.

So I know these were not as positive, but we went out of the general genre that we do here on this blog so that is good. Anyways tell me what you think about these anime in the comments below. 🙂

-Blog Barista

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

Ikemen Manga Reviews

I decided to try out these two manga on a whim. I saw them on Goodreads and the cover art was just so nice. As you can see in the title, both manga contain ikemen. An ikemen is a term used to describe very ‘good looking’ and ‘cool’ men. I have been reading so many manga lately on love stories of young people (like high school age), and it begins to take its toll. Reading shoujo manga with only cute love interests makes me think about romance all the time. The stories are so ideal and seem almost completely unrealistic, but I like them so much. *uggggghhhhh* All the shoujo lovers out there must know what I mean. You end up being a slightly naive person into romance, or at least that is how I feel lately. But anyways, if you like most of the manga that I have recommended so far (as you can see their is a theme to my choices), you will mots likely like these as well.

cover (1)Sugar by Yamamori Mika

f033Sugars is a collection of six short stories (one shots) per volume that connect some what between them. The stories can intertwine either by having previous characters being friends with each other or by having them come into contact one once with each other. All the stories focus on love and bettering oneself. Some of the love stories end well, some rejected, and others stay unrequited. For the most part each of the stories are the basic sort, but they are so sweet and airy. It is all mostly a slice of life so nothing bizarre or unexpectedly unrealistic occurs. The title is ‘Sugar’, and from the few chapters I have read so far, it seems that there is a theme of sweets and sweet food to go with the romance. They may be lovey-dovey, but there are none of those ridiculously annoying anime characters. Most are about as natural as they can get, more realistic, and the author seems to have put great thought in each of the character’s personality. We may not know everything, or get told everything about every single one, but the characterization through actions are pretty spot on.

I really like the art style. The bodies and limbs of the characters are long, and I really love the eyes of the characters. The art reminds me a little of Say I Love You with long eyelashes and large deep set eyes. It is exactly the type of art I like.

UPDATE IN Feb.20.2016: The manga is now completed and the stories are super adorable.

cov          Kimi no Chuusin ni Sekai Wa Mawaru by Hatta Ayuko

pkimi_wo_chuushin_sekai_wa_mawaru_v001_ch002_pg002This manga was created by the same author as Wolf Girl and Black Prince, but it is also many one shot stories that focus on love. There are only two chapters out so far, but the characters do not seem to connect to each other in any way. The stories are really cute and fantastic. The ikemen so far are all kind and good-hearted, understanding the problems of the female characters. The very first one focused on a possible student-teacher relationship. I am usually against them, but this one was more acceptable. The girl was third year of high school (so about eighteen years old) and the man was a young professor. In the end, she does not confess any deep feelings, but states that she may fall in love with him, and he handles it well. He does not accept the idea nor completely say no. Instead (repeating the same thing she said to him before), he tells her that she should not feel bad or act differently for liking what she likes. The stories also feel more innocent and like they would end with happier endings then Sugar does. So far none of the stories have left off with the girl not getting the guys, but the manga is still on going.

The art is great. The girls have these large round eyes and the ikemen look really cute too. It is not as artsy as the last one, and has more of the typical girl manga art, but it is still so very adorable.

I recommend both manga. Well written and fun to read.

-Blog Barista

This is how I feel nowadays....

This is how I feel nowadays….

Three Anime Review: Day 1

So I only have one week of freedom left, and TheBetterCup has already begun her school for this second semester. We decided that we would watch three anime each day this week until my school begins. Our choices ranged from randomly picking based on name to picking based only on the cover art to hunting down those we promised to watch but forgot. Some are pretty bad, some huge disappointments, and some fantastic. Now lets get started.

Edo Nekoe Jubei Otogizoshi by Maru Nagao

jubeiThis was picked because of the art style. It looks old fashioned, with some traditional aspects mixed with anime and that goes well with the plot line. The story is about this young man and a mythical two tailed beast (basically a talking cat). Jubei, the young man, is a cat painter in Edo and each episode tells of the different encounters he has with the cats in the city, usually with some little magical elements.

What we did not know till we watched the first episode is that this is actually more of a moving manga. Everything is drawn as manga panels with only some parts actually moving (like blinking eyes or cat’s tail swishing). You hear them talk, and you hear the sound effects (like of a person walking), but there is not all the movement to go with it.I really liked the idea, and I felt the simplicity of that style suited the era of story line very well. Everything is drawn great, especially the cats, and the story just panels in and out as the episode progresses. It is very whimsical. The main character is very likable with his understanding and calm personality. The cat demon is very sarcastic and crude sense of humor. He also has a very deep voice. The first episode was very sad, but it was a wonderful way of introducing the plot and anime.

Denki Gai no Honya-san by Asato Mizu

i90SQ91uiMXNyThis is a much stranger anime that focuses on the workers in a manga store. Each of the coworkers are unique and a little strange (some very strange), all become very close friends. It is a typical slice of life but with the characters being more ‘moe’ than sometimes natural. It was a good watch though. despite the cute art style, this is more for adults with concepts of yaoi and erotic manga being commonly mentioned (whole plot of episode 1).

The art is super cute, and more a style that TheBetterCup liked verses my own taste. It is very chibi-like and moe, but it works well with the story type. It is youthful and matches with the innocent feel. It is overall very funny and sweet, but more for adults. Only one thing really stuck out to me in a way that was a little ridiculous. I just cannot understand how the female main characters are about two feet shorter then all the other people (male and female).

Wolf Girl and Black Prince by Ayuko Hatta


vkss_ookami_shoujo_to_kuro_ouji_ch_005_img001I picked this one off of a whim, I thought it would match the anime I usually liked. To be honest, I wanted more from this anime. I feel like the plot has so many possibilities that were not taken. The opening sequence had so many scenes that were never actually shown. The story is about a wolf girl (young girl that lies about most all things) who needs the most popular boy to help her by pretending to be her boyfriend. He accepts readily, but only in the condition that she becomes his dog (he is super twisted). In the anime, I hated how desperate she was and how cruel he was. At one point, it felt hard to continue. This sort of thing was a little less extreme in the manga (at least to me). I really wished that the part where they keep up the charade lasted longer. I feel like this girl fell in love very quickly, by like episode three, and it was to a guy who is not very nice to begin with. But some where in the middle of the anime, he just gives a complete turn around.

I really like the art style. It is the typical shoujo art, but the author is really great at ikemen (handsome men). So most of the best parts was how well drawn the cute guys were. I was really surprised by how much I ended up liking the manga. I say try it if you got the time.

-Blog Barista

7

Manga Review: Double Special

Happy New Years!! BlogBarista here. I hope everyone had a good day, but most of all I hope everyone goes into the new year with a positive outlook. I for one am not. I feel this horrible feeling of dread that I just cannot explain without beginning to panic. Anyways, outside of all my responsibilities that comes with the spring season, I have been catching up on all my favorite manga (all of which I have mentioned here on this blog at some point or another). They have been helping me cope with the panic of reality, but I finished all of them and have to find more. All day TheBetterCup and I have been reading a bunch of pretty bad manga, and we felt we could share our thoughts on two of them. So here you go.

Hadashi de Bara wo Fume (Stepping on Roses Barefoot) by Ueda Rinko

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-What is this manga about?

Well this manga is a historical shoujo romance, that plays out like an Otome dating sims game (I’m addicted to these, so I’d know). It starts off with a poor girl named Sumi during the year Meji 25 (around the 1890s). She has about 6 adopted siblings, all younger then her, and an older brother Eisuke. Eisuke has taken out 2,000 yen (3 million yen now-a-days) in loans (half under Sumi’s name) and gambles away all of it. They haven’t payed rent in over half a year, and to make matters worst as her brother brings more orphans for her to take care of, when one of the children, Tomi, gets a fever, and doctors refuse to help her. This causes Sumi to break down in the middle of a busy street begging for help, and a young gentleman (dressed in foreign like clothing) gives her money for medication. As Sumi immediately falls in love for this mystery man, we discover that Eisuke’s job is to date rich, married women, one of them being the wife of the man who loaned them the money. As the Ooya-san (landlady) threatens to kick them out, and Eisuke runs away abandoning Sumi and her siblings, the loan shark threatens to sell the children off in the slave market. Sumi agrees to make the money over night and runs to the red district to work as a prostitute. In the end a man named Soichiro Ashida (rich, young, gentleman type tsundere) agrees to buy her for 2,000 yen. But when she is taken to his house he reveals that he bought her life. He makes a deal for her to hadashi-de-bara-wo-fume-601321be his wife so that he may receive his inheritance, and he will buy her anything she wants (even help her family) on the condition that she never falls in love with him (this is a hint that they will fall in love). The story continues with her conflicting feelings as she falls in love with the princely man that helped her initially and her husband who has his own conflicts.


-What do I think?

This is the exact same plot as like three of the dating sims I am playing at the moment. The main character Sumi is very 2 dimensional and in my opinion a little too obedient, but she is only 15 years old. The plot is over used, and though I would never bother to continue reading this, if this floats your boat please try it. I know that playing this plot out in the Otome games pisses me off, because I cannot understand how the MC agrees to and ends up loving the guys who put them through this bizarre scenario so readily, but maybe the awkward start leads to a much more in depth plot and characterization.

-TheBetterCup

Hirunaka no Ryuusei/Day Time Shooting Star by Mika Yamamori

tumblr_n5tx1c0icF1shksruo1_500 -What is this manga about?

Suzume Yosano is a fifteen year old country bumpkin whose parents send her to Tokyo to live with her uncle for a while. Through “unexpected” circumstances she meets a mysterious, some what older man who turns out to be her homeroom teacher. Her very first friend in school is a classmate who feels uneasy around women and thus can be very rude. A love triangle forms between her, her teacher, and that new friend. Along her journey in her new home, she makes new friends, falls in love, and learns more about herself (of course). ‘Who will she end up with’ is the most important question.

dhirunaka-no-ryuusei-3227513-What do I think?

I started reading without looking at a synopsis first, and from the get go i liked it. The art was cute and unique, and the girls personality is good. She does not come off as dull but she is not unpleasant and annoying either (at least to me). Then we found out her potential love interests were her teacher and this adorable guy. At first I was not pleased with the idea of a student-teacher relationship, it just is not something that I feel comfortable with. But the teacher was so cool and cute!! He is the type of guy I like in general. then we met the classmate, and he was awesome from the start. I secretly hope she ends up with him. Anyways, I like the art and the plot. It may not be original, but is not boring and cliche feeling so far, it may be because I like the character personality a little more. Honestly this may have been better if it was just a love story with two people (no conflict with morals and no love triangles), just a story of how to people fell in love and got along. I still like it though.

-BlogBarista

5

Book Updates: Holiday Season

I have not been able to pick up a book since sometime in August (it was a Star Trek book too). So of course, I picked up many books to read during my Holiday Break. So far in the last 12 days I have only read six of the books that I picked up, but I figured I would write updates on these and then more later if I finish any other books. There is no actual theme to the books that I read, they don’t have anything to do with the holiday season either.

7081Android’s Dream by John Scalzi– This book was recommended to me by TheBetterCup. I read Oldman’s War by Scalzi as well, and overall he is a fantastic author so I had high hopes for this one too. It did not disappoint me.

Earth is on the verge of war with a militarily advance alien race after a human diplomat succeeds in killing (albeit in the funniest sort of way) his alien counterpart. Harry Creek must try to find the one object that can save the planet from alien enslavement. With many different groups moving in to find this special breed of sheep, and everyone double crossing each other, Harry also finds a way to overcome his own personal demons.

This book is fantastic. It is a sci-fi based adventure story filled with action and extremely likable characters. Scalzi is sublimely funny as he pokes fun at diplomacy, religion, legal system, and politics. The plot was full of unexpected twists, and the entire story (and title) is allusion or tip of the hat to a science fiction novel from the 1960’s.

The one negative I have to say about this book is that it is not the deepest or most thought provoking one on the list (at least for me that is). This is the type of book to read when you just want something to enjoy and don’t want to have to question everything. I recommend this book 100%.

17803

After Dark by Haruki Murakami– This one I picked up because I loved the author. He was the author of one of my very favorite books Kafka on the Shore. He is a bizarre author and this book was no different.

The story takes place entirely in one night (from like 11 pm to about 6 am). It centers around two estranged sisters: Eri, a beauty deep in sleep for the past months, and Mari, an ordinary student who regularly chooses not to sleep at night and instead reads at a local Denny’s. One such night, through strange yet very ordinary circumstances, she meets many people whose lives exist at night (a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman). These night people have terrible secrets that draw them together. And all of it is some how connected to Eri’s slumber, one where it seemed she had completely given up living but slept on like sleeping beauty, that will either restore or annihilate her.

The book’s plot feels simple, and yet it is intricate and surrealistic. It makes you think deeply about life and how each of these characters have lives that don’t match their personalities. I found the entire story very enjoyable, the one problem (which you may find in many of Murakami’s books) is that you may not recognize how everything connects. He never explains straight out what the fudge was going on with Eri and the man in the TV. Seriously though, this is a great book and is my favorite on the list.

7295501Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary R. Kowal– I found this book randomly and only decided to get it because of the name (I thought it sounded pleasant). I am glad that I did too, because I really liked it.

The story revolves around a neighborhood of families with young men and women who are looking for suitable matches. But the main character Jane, at the age of 28 and with a young sister who is considered angelic in beauty, has accepted her role as a spinster instead of a possible eligible bachelorette. She is very skilled in the feminine art of creating glamour (a magical trait added to art and music and even the body to enhance beauty). Her great skill and wonderful personality help her change in the end.

The story was fun and interesting with characters that won you over and others that made you hate them (Melody is everything disgusting that a young girl can be towards her sister). It is a magical realism book, so magic is part of everyday life here. My one problem is that the end was slightly fast paced in comparison to the rest of the story, too clean cut, and some characters just thrown away like they never mattered.

The writer attempted to write like Jane Austin and she was very similar. If you are a fan of Austin, which I am not but TheBetterCup is, you may like this. If you a worshiper of Austin, then you may be offended by her attempt to mimic the famous lady. I personally loved the book. If you want a book that is an easy read like Android’s Dream, but you are more into a romance from the Victorian Era, then pick this instead. I feel many people were too cruel on Goodreads (especially one bitter lady). I liked enough to want to read the other books in this series. I have read all of Austin’s books, and honestly I don’t think its any worse or better (again a personal opinion). This is not the best book ever, but I enjoyed reading it.

50143Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto– I wanted to read a book by Yoshimoto for some time. Honestly I heard others recommend this and her pen name was just so cool. I expected more, but ended up only kind of liking the book.

Asleep is actually three short stories (with the last one being titled Asleep). All three focus on young women who have been put into a magical slumber for different reasons. The first one was called Night and Night’s Travelers. It was my least favorite of the three. It tells the story of a 22 year old girl named Shibami whose brother died unexpectedly and her relationship to him, her cousin who loved him, and his ex-American girlfriend. Focusing on how his death and their secrets affect each other and strengthen them. The story was not bad it was just a little boring. And I did not care much for the characters. The second story was much better. Love Songs focuses on Fumi, a young woman who is becoming an alcoholic and who hears a strange song, that reminds her of an old enemy named Haru, each night before passing out. She soon realizes that that the song is Haru’s attempt to reach her from the after life. They settle their differences and finally accept that they never hated each other. The third story was the best of the three. Asleep tells the story of Terako, a young woman in a relationship with an older married man whose wife is a vegetable in a coma. After the suicide of her best friend, a woman who slept next to people each night for money, Terako finds herself giving up on her own life. She only saves herself after meeting the spirit of her boyfriend’s wife.

The book is good, and Banana does a great job in incorporating this magical element that is invisibly present. Its not great like Murakami’s After Dark (which had a similar theme), and it may be that reading it after reading After Dark was the reason for my less excited feelings for it. I still liked the book, i just recommend not reading the two together.

17799South of the Border and West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami– Again another Murakami book. This was a good book, but not one of my favorites I still recommend this book, like all the other books on this list, but not as fully as I do some of the others.

Hajime was an only child growing up in post war Japan. His only companion in a world where every family had multiple children was a lame girl named Shimamoto who was also an only child. They had a deep bond, but lost touch over the years. Now in his thirties, he is married, has children, and owns a successful business. He meets Shinamoto again and his life is thrown upside down (because of his intense obsession with her).

This was a weird story, but much less magical then Murakami usually does. Actually there was no magic in this book. The story was great and compelling, but i only had two problems. One: the main character was not someone I really fell for. I could care less about his problems and his life because he was not very likable. He made many mistakes, yet did not seem to repent that much, and man was he obsessive and overly involved in these weird fascinations with this one girl he met when he was twelve. Second: the story felt incomplete. We never know what happened to the Shimamoto, he still says he would cheat on his wife, and even his wife says she may cheat on him. And what was Shimamoto’s life like? It was just so unfinished.

378The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer– I only read this book because my roommate suggested it. It was a great book, but it is a child’s book and I think I missed out since I read it now instead of as a kid. It was great now, but I feel there was a certain kind of astonishment that only a kid could feel in reading this.

It tells the story of Milo, a young boy who seems to have given up in life, finding now enjoyment in anything. One day he is sent a package where he builds a blue tollbooth that transports him into this strange world.

The book is witty, and has all this commentary on human behavior in the modern world. All it really is doing is pointing out the importance of appreciation life, sounds, scents, people, and showing how certain behavior are form of destructive ignorance. I think all kids should read this, and adults too.

Right now I am reading Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett, which is exhilarating so far. What books have you been reading? Comment below.

-Blog Barista

Rasengan!

Rasengan!

Honest Myth:Norse- Jack Frost

collagefrost2It is after Christmas and New Years is steadily coming our way. This part of the season is always so strange, it feels almost like I am on a roller coaster and the cart is suspended in the air right before the drop. I know that after the New Years the days will pass very fast and school will begin again. I really don’t look forward to the new semester, but oh well. This was supposed to be the last post of the Holiday Marathon, but I figured i may add more.

Jack Frost is a form of Old Man Winter and a personification of snow, ice, and frosty weather, and the creator of the odd fern like patterns found on cold windows. He is said to be the one who ‘nips’ nose, toes, and other extremities in freezing weather. Usually he is depicted as holding a paint brush and paint so as to change the colors of the leaves in the autumn. Mostly he is an older kind man, but very rarely he is a young mischievous boy.

In Russia, he is equivalent to Grandfather Frost, a blacksmith who forges chains that is used to hold the Earth to water. In Germany, he is connected to Old Mother Frost, an old woman who shakes out feathered blankets to create snow.

Jack Frost is supposedly a modern twist to the name Jokul Frosti a sprite or elf connected to the Frost Giants. His father is Kari, God of the Winds.

-Blog Barista

haahahahaha

haahahahaha

Honest Myth:Christian- Santa Claus

I have been cooped up in my room for days now playing the Sims4. I had no idea what day it was, and I have completely lost track of my usual daily habits. It is weird how something like that can occur, but oh well. Anyways, Merry Christmas guys!!! I hope you all had a great day with your family. I know that today’s myth is nothing knew to all of y’all, but I figured it would not hurt to take it easy today. It was either this or a story of Jesus, but I chose the easier path. Enjoy the post of Santa Claus! If you know who the artists of the photos are, please tell me.

Santa-Gifts1Santa Claus is also known as Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, and he usually connected to Saint Nicholas. The name Kris Kringle is believed to originate from Christkind. Christkind is a spirit created by Martin Luther who was attempting to differentiate his church from Catholicism and created this spirit/angel to take the place of Saint Nicholas as patron of children.

Many songs, poems, and stories added to the depiction of Santa Claus, creating the modern idea of what Santa Claus looks and acts like.

He is depicted as a portly man with rosy cheeks , white beard and mustache, spectacles (not so much lately) and a red coat and cap. His name comes from Sinterklaas, a Dutch figure, and it is believed that Santa Claus is a mixture of Sinterklaas and the English named Father Christmas.

Santa Claus gives gifts to all the good children and is known to go around the entire globe in one night, in a sleigh pulled by 8 (9 if you include Rudolph) reindeer. He lives in the North Pole with his wife and a throng of elves who help manufacture the presents for the children each year.

I love Christmas, but sometimes it feels like the Holiday season is this really shallow and materialistic celebration of nothing. I loved it as a child because it was a warm and magical time, but now that I am older I really can see that it is nothing but this commercialized time with out the bonding and kindness that it felt like. Each year I try harder to try and recreate a much more wonderful Christmas feeling, but I am not sure how. I think it is through traditions, family gathering, and ignoring all the propaganda for buying gifts. Sorry for this long paragraph, it was not very happy go lucky. I just wanted to stress the importance of celebrating more then the gifts.

Merry Christmas!!!

-Blog Barista

On Comet!

On Comet!

Saint Young Men- by Hikaru Nakamaru

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Happy Birthday!!!

So I am more excited then possible to talk about this amazing manga/anime that I just accidentally found on the internet. It has religious allusions, funny and awesome characters, brilliant slice-of-life plot, and just awe inspiring art. I swear this just made my day yesterday, and best of all it is so very appropriate for the holiday season. I want to talk mostly about the manga (since there is no anime just a 90 minute movie and two OVAs), but most of the pictures will be from the movie. They were just to wonderful to resist.

Plot:

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Jesus Parts the Chlorine

Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha are living together as roommates while on their Earthly vacation in Tachikawa. The story follows the two as they try to incorporate themselves into society, and hide their godly identities. It is a slice-of-life, and the plot mostly just follows them as they live basic lives such as shopping, going to an amusement park, or going to the community pool. Strangely enough it is not that easy for them to stay perfectly normal, even when performing such simple tasks.

Character:

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tumblr_mu84nuz0A71qzqnxxo1_500Jesus Christ- Jesus is the air headed (but not stupid) friend and who is very carefree. He can also be very observant at times, but most of all he is silly and lives with little to no worries. Jesus keeps a blog, loves shopping, and he tends to know more about the modern era. I love it when he yells ‘Exotic Japan’ after he sees things that are associated with the East. He can be very impassioned at times and very impulsive as well. When he gets stressed, his stigmata starts to flare (he begins to bleed from his crown of thorns). And if he is too happy, his crown blossoms and water becomes wine.

tumblr_mymaz6MWZJ1qc74q3o1_500Gautama Buddha- Buddha is a neat freak who is constantly stressed by the smallest things. He is very cautious and tends to be the one who almost blows his identity most (i mean he has a very specific look to him). Buddha is super cheap and thrifty and tends to stay calm even when he becomes extremely upset. Since he is always so worried, he masks his emotion in being calm which leads to him being virtuous too often (at godly levels). When this occurs, a halo encircles his head threatening to reveal his identity.

There are so many other characters. We get to meet the four archangels (Uriel is the best!), Lucifer and Mara make an appearance, we get to see some of the apostles (Peter and Andrew), Asura, Brahma, and so many more!!

Art:

The art work is gorgeous and unique. It feels lighthearted and detailed, but best of all they are not extremely anime like. It is a seinen, so that art is more ‘adult’ which matches better with the characters who are supposed to be young adult males and godly. It is also extreme neat, and character movement was smooth with no choppy ‘swooshes’ to replace the actual actions (both in the movie and the manga). I am not sure how else to explain the art so it may be better to just take a look yourself. The movie and the manga were very true to each other in both plot and art style.

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Final Thoughts:

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Iwatobi swim club may want to take a few pointers.

I could not imagine anyone being offended by the plot, but if you are really religious and do not like to see Jesus/Buddha in an ungodly light, then this may not be the manga for you. I really just loved the idea of this in its entirety. The allusions are so fantastic, and sometimes they are made through the miracles these guys perform.

tumblr_mx931bteHc1qcsnnso1_500They act like regular goofy young men, and this is super enjoyable. They make a lot of puns (like really punny puns that lead to them laughing so hard it is ridiculous in a cute way that is). At one point they even get to be a comedy duo with stage names that stick: Long Hair and Punch. I will let you guess who is who. This manga is so very funny, full of religious detail, and extremely enjoyable.

You will not be filled with intense emotion of sadness or anger while reading, but you will surely feel light and happy. The manga is witty and well made, and the author is the same person as the creator of Arakawa Under the Bridge (I was not a huge fan of that one, but I know it was very popular at one point). The manga is still on going too, which means that there are more volumes to come thankfully! Both TheBetterCup and I recommend this 100%.

-Blog Barista

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Too virtuous for his own good…

Honest Myth:Christian- St. Nicholas

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Vintage card from Switzerland

 

It is Christmas Eve!! I hope every one is having a very fantastic holiday season right now. I love this time of year. I am not a fan of the whole commercialized celebration (all about presents and money), but I really enjoy the whole religious and familial aspects. Anyways let us get on with this.

St. Nicholas was a Greek man born in Patara of Asia Minor. He was the son of a wealthy family but both of his parents died in an epidemic while he was still young. He was instead raised by an uncle who was connected to the church. Afterwards as an adult, he became Bishop of Myra, dedicated his life to God, and gave all his inheritance to those less fortunate. He was greatly revered (called a saint while alive) and called the wonder-worker.

In one legend, he was the saint who saved the three young boys from the butcher (see: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/honest-mythfrench-pere-fouettard/). He brought them to life by praying to God.

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St Nicholas card from Ukraine

In another legend, a family with only three daughters could not afford dowries. With out money or marriage, the girls would never get married and would most likely become prostitutes. Either out of modesty, or so as not to humiliate them, he secretly threw three gold purses through the window one night. In one version, the daughters left their stockings to dry in the fireplace above the embers. He dropped the purses down the chimney, and they landed in the socks.

For this third story, the land of Myra was in a great famine. A ship delivering wheat to the Emperor stopped by the port. He asked them to leave some wheat behind. At first, the sailors disagreed (for the wheat was meant for the Emperor), but they finally agreed. They left behind two years worth of food, and when they arrived, they found that amount did not change.

Saint Nicholas is Patron of Children

To learn more go here: www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

I hope you enjoyed this!

-Blog Barista

eww....

eww….