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Your Name – Review April 11, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku.
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Kimi no Na wa.

(Your Name.)

Remember, this review assume that you have watched the movie, which means SPOILERS will be imminent. You have been warned.

Talking about spoilers, I’m glad I stayed away from them for this movie. I already knew about the body swapping aspect, but the fate of Itomori was something I never saw or heard of prior to watching, nor expected.

So before I review the movie, I want to mention some things beforehand. First of all I watched this movie in a theater English subbed. (Just got back and immediately got to work on writing this up while listening to music from the movie, was thinking all about it during my 15 minute drive back home.)  This was my first time watching an anime movie in theaters, though the atmosphere is somewhat similar to when I’m watching anime at cons in viewing rooms. I decided to watch it at the theaters as I’ve been hearing rave reviews about it, and it was only going to be in theaters for a couple more days. I arrived fairly early for the movie, as much as half hour early for the film. There was only one other person in the room at the time, so seating was no problem. I already ate before I got to the theater so that I didn’t need to buy expensive food from there. I did bring at least some candy and a small water bottle; good thing they don’t search bags at the one I go to. When it was time for the movie to start, there was only about seven people in the room, which was a bit sad but at the same time I’ve got to remember that these films rarely go all the way to US theaters. Also maybe because I was at a 1:50pm screening as well? Probably there would be more people at the later ones.


Here’s a playlist of the music from the film.

Here is a synopsis from MAL.net:

Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl, yearns to live the life of a boy in the bustling city of Tokyo—a dream that stands in stark contrast to her present life in the countryside. Meanwhile in the city, Taki Tachibana lives a busy life as a high school student while juggling his part-time job and hopes for a future in architecture.

One day, Mitsuha awakens in a room that is not her own and suddenly finds herself living the dream life in Tokyo—but in Taki’s body! Elsewhere, Taki finds himself living Mitsuha’s life in the humble countryside. In pursuit of an answer to this strange phenomenon, they begin to search for one another.

Kimi no Na wa. revolves around Mitsuha and Taki’s actions, which begin to have a dramatic impact on each other’s lives, weaving them into a fabric held together by fate and circumstance.

This synopsis does a decent job describing the movie in a very general manner, as it should. Good thing it doesn’t really spoil much, something I hate very much. Watching a movie beyond the synopsis always feels like jumping through a painting; it’s much more deeper than what you see on the outside.

I thought this movie was fantastic; the art was breathtaking, the music was simple yet effective for the scenes they played for, and the story made my eyes widen when things started turning for the worst. The scene that got to me the most was when Taki and Mitsuha were on the mountaintop together, but at first could not see one another, they could only hear each other. It was only when passing right by one another in that space that could sense each other through their red string of fate. Twilight came and for that short moment, bridged the gap between time and space. They could see one another, talk face to face, and hold each others hands. It was that moment where they were writing their names on each other’s hands that almost made me tear up. The abruptness of Mitsuha’s disappearance with the drop of the pen, and Taki’s fading memories made me feel for them.

After the movie I began to think about the paradox theory and how it applies in the situation in the movie. It’s not so clear cut like how movies like Back to the Future shows or deals with paradoxes. For the first half with Taki and Mitsuha randomly switching bodies, there didn’t seem to be no rhyme or reason for it. Or course at the time, we assume that distance is the only thing separating them. It’s not until later that we learn that the events that destroyed Itomori happened three years ago. Because Taki now knows of the comet strike, his hope to change the past will depend on connecting back to Mitsuha. Recalling that she had a family shrine outside of Itomori on a mountaintop crater, he heads to there in hopes that going to it will help him reconnect with her one more time. By drinking the kuchikamizake that she made (and falling over and hitting his head), he wakes up in her body once more on the day of the comet pass by. Taki knows he has a chance to change things, to save these people of a beautiful town. His actions only initiate a evacuation, but due to time and fate resisting, things seem to be destined for what is known in the future. It’s only after the meeting between Taki and Mitsuha at twilight that gives them a fighting chance to truly save the people of Itomori. Once we learn that there are no casualties and that history has changed, we witness their memories of each other fade. Maybe this is how the paradox is handled, similar to how people can disappear if certain events happen in the past. While time may have degraded their memories of each other during those events, it did not destroy the connection they still share, as seen in the ending of the movie.

I stayed throughout the entire movie, even the end credits listening to the music play. Most people left during this time, except for me and one other hoping to see if there was any post credit scene. There wasn’t any but it was best that I knew that I saw all there was to see before I left the theater.


During the movie, there were a couple of times where I heard crying from a nearby movie watcher. I tend to be the kind of person who can never be sure whether or not the emotion coming from someone else is real or not. I’m not saying that this movie is not sad, nor do I think that the times she cried was fake in any kind of manner. I’m just being overly cautious of others’ reactions because I get influenced by others opinions, especially about shows I watch.

While I thought this movie was great in its own right, I don’t think of it as a masterpiece unfortunately. I would rate it a 8.5 out of 10. For me, what would add to the film is if it had more time to flesh some things out. I would have liked to learn more about the phenomenon that gave Taki and Mitsuha the opportunity they had to be together. It sort of reminds me of the movie Interstellar, where love helped the main character transcend time and space to send a message that ultimately saved the human race. I know that the topic was touched on by Mitsuha’s grandmother that it was a family thing, but was that only it? I guess the strings that invisibly trail us is our answer to all in the film. As for the ending, I think it ended well with them finally finding one another again then cutting there. As part of the audience, we can presume a regular life awaits them which doesn’t need to be shown. Leave it to the imagination.

Animation on Display 2017 March 22, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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Animation on Display (AOD) is a weekend convention celebrating anime, video games, cartoons, and other fun and geeky stuff. AOD 2017 took place on March 18 & 19 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

AOD 2017 18

This was my 6th AOD, and the second year of staffing at this small animation convention. I could tell that this year’s con was going to be smaller than the previous year’s one, based on venue size from a previous staff meeting, so my expectations were low for it. It also didn’t help that one of the main guests of honor couldn’t make it at the very last minute. Anyways here’s my experience of AODSF 2017.

For all photos taken at Animation on Display 2017, please check out my album on my Flickr here.


Day 1 – March 18th

I woke up several minutes before 7AM, which made me scramble to just get ready to go and drive the approximately 45 minute commute as my shift started at 8AM. I had set my alarms to go off at 6:30AM, but I don’t remember hearing them go off. That or maybe I snoozed them and went back to sleep. Either way I didn’t have time to give myself time to get ready at my own pace. I did at least write up a list of things I needed to bring along with me the night before, so that I wouldn’t forget anything and make it easier to account for them too.

I arrived at the hotel just as the 8AM hour approached, luckily there was no traffic on the freeways. I grabbed my staff badge among other things and headed over to Registration to set up for the day. Unlike last year, the area we had for registration this year was better as it was a dedicated registration counter, complete with a back room for all our supplies and our own personal belongings. We wern’t sitting right next to sunny windows either so I didn’t have to worry about overheating.

AOD 2017 01

From 8AM to 2PM, it was working time at the Registration department where the lines would come and go but never reached overwhelming levels. I could understand the relatively smaller turnout, as there wasn’t many big events going on, especially with the cancellation of Lotus Juice due to Visa issues at the arriving airport the day before. That’s also why I decide to work this con because it makes it more worth it, financially and work experience wise.

AOD 2017 40

Continuing from my last point, I would not staff big cons or cons that have events or things I want to see, as I go into event photographer mode. I want to see everything and capture as much as I can with my camera and skills with it, as my goal has always been to use photos as a mosaic or pieces of a puzzle to create a big picture of the event to an outside audience, to give them a similar experience as what I felt. During my first six hour Registration shift, I watched as countless photo opportunities in the form of cosplayers pass by. I knew it would be harder to take cosplayer photos later because they may leave con, get tired and go on the side, get taken by other cosplay photographers, etc. The first opportunity is usually the best one for cosplay photography in my opinion. You just don’t know if you will see that cosplay/cosplayer again.

AOD 2017 03

I had a break between 2PM and 3PM, so I made most of my time by eating lunch I picked up earlier at the hotel lobby via staff food voucher, then going around to tour the con. While browsing the Dealers Hall, I bought a Pokeball cushion to add to my growing couch collection of pillow plushies. I also swung by the Console/Arcade Gaming room to get info and sign up for the Overwatch tournament, as it was the main event I was looking forward to for this year’s AOD. However what I didn’t know, was that this tournament was being played on PS4 rather than PC. In the program it didn’t mention what platform version was being used so I assumed PC, though the room is labeled “Console/Arcade Gaming” so maybe I should of figured it from that. I even brought my own gaming mouse for this event, similar to how people bring their own controllers for other games. I play Overwatch on PC only, so I felt that trying to play the PS4 version would not bode well for me. I would still have my game sense, but not my control sense. Playing FPS games on console is not my forte. I left the game room disappointed as I headed back to Registration for my 3PM to 5PM shift.

AOD 2017 29

As expected, my last shift of the day was fairly uneventful. During the periodic drought of customers, I hopped onto Fire Emblem Heroes and 3DS. At 5PM I anti-climatically said my farewells, grabbed my stuff in the back, and headed out to what was left of the con.

AOD 2017 49

I mostly wandered around after, seeing that most cosplayers were either resting on the side or were with other cosplay photographers. I tend to not want to be a bother to people who look busy or tired, so I resigned myself to take venue photos. I also checked out the Overwatch tournament a bit, as I was just curious how people played it on the PS4. AOD’s Overwatch Tournament was 3v3 on Ecopoint: Antarctica, single-elimination. The first game was pretty close, but the moments were definitely not on the scale as PC ones are (for obvious reasons).

AOD 2017 50

I left afterwards to grab dinner at the hotel lobby again, this time of a bento box as the main meal. I don’t know if I was just hungry or if the food was just really good, but it was a satisfying dinner at the very least. I stuck around a bit longer to see if there was anything I wanted to see/do last minute, but decided to call it a day and head home at around 7PM.

Day 2- March 19th

I woke up at around 6:30AM, this time being able to have some time to get ready instead of rushing. As my shift started at 8:30AM, I left around 7:30AM to head over to Santa Clara, stopping once to get some gas at a Costco on the way. I arrived on the dot for my first 3 1/2 hour shift for reg, where it was pretty much dead besides the occasional waves of people.

AOD 2017 58

During the down time at reg, I played Fire Emblem Heroes, Pokemon GO, and managed my 3DS Streetpasses. It was a good use of time as I used it to level up / do quests in Fire Emblem, catch some new 2nd gen Pokemon as I haven’t really played it in a while, and attempted to beat one of the requirements in one of the final racetracks in Slot Car Rivals.

At noon I had an hour break so I went around con to see what was going on, picked up some lunch, and also bought another pillow plush at the Dealers Hall, this time of a 1-up mushroom from the Mario series, something I’ve been looking for to match my super mushroom I bought at AOD last year.

Between 1PM and 3PM I worked at reg for my final shift of the con. It was as slow as ever so it was back to the mobile gaming grind for me.

At 3PM con work was finally over, but at the same time the con was almost over as well. I walked around con, but at this point I was unmotivated to pursue taking photos. Most cosplayers were not in (my opinion) ideal photo taking conditions (resting on the side, bad lighting, grouped up with others, etc.). I did stop by the gaming room and played some PS4 Overwatch for the first time, but of course I was having trouble with the controls. By 3:30PM I was already in my car thinking about if there was anything else I should do at con before leaving. While I came to the conclusion that there was nothing left that interested me here, I decided to at least use the restroom before commuting back home. As I started to walk back to the hotel from the parking garage, a guy ran out one of the side doors with some staff members on his tail yelling at him to stop. A nearby armored cosplayer who saw what was happening joined the chase, dropping pieces of his armor and belongings as he ran towards the runner, towards the parking garage. As I entered the hotel, I heard that he stole from the Dealers Hall. Whether or not he was caught I’m not sure. After using the restroom I went back to my car, again thinking about if there was anything more for me at con, which there really wasn’t at this point. I felt bad that I didn’t even attempt to take any pictures/video of the earlier incident, as a photographer that is. I left AOD at 4PM, with random thoughts swimming around my mind about this whole weekend.


Overall Thoughts

Thinking about my AOD weekend as a whole, I’m not too satisfied about it to be honest. While I was at con all weekend, part of the reason why I wasn’t happy was due to things at home.

Besides me missing opportunities for photos throughout the two days due to staffing, everything else about the con went smoothly for me; Con location was relatively easy to get to, the weather was nice, I found some things to buy at the Dealers Hall, free hotel food was good, and no problems with staffing at Reg.

Right before the con weekend started, a close relative of mine had to go to the hospital, and even during the weekend she was still there. The problems stemming from it weighed on my mind even though it was being taken care of, for the most part. This was probably the first time while I’ve been at a con that this situation has happened for me, and probably what affected my ability to try and enjoy the con when I could.

As for next year, I do plan to attend AOD again, and probably staff as well. My next con will be good old FanimeCon in May. I do have some new ideas I want to toy with for that con, such as making new business cards specifically for my photography and have some sort of custom laminated badge to wear and identify myself as a photographer.

Fall Anime Season 2016 – Review January 16, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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For this season, I didn’t have a lot of time to watch as I used to, mainly due to work and other personal priorities. This actually caused me to stop watching some of the listed animes half way throughout the Fall season. By the time was free to watch, my reduced interest for a couple of them made me drop them. I probably won’t have as much to say about these animes of the season, but I’ll put my two cents in anyways. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Getsuyoubi no Tawawa

Hibike! Euphonium 2

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season

Okusama ga Seitokaichou!+!

Shuumatsu no Izetta

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Dropped at Ep. 6)

WWW.Working!! (Dropped at Ep. 5)

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Getsuyoubi no Tawawa

getsuyoubi-no-tawawa

This anime short series is such a tease. Tawawa on Monday is a series of short stories about various well endowed women during their usual weekday lives. Mostly seen from the perspective of a male companion, it combines cute and innocent with innuendo like speech and actions, whether or not the women are aware of it or not themselves. The fan service comes not in the visual form, but rather in the imaginative one. It’s one that I’ll admit I liked watching, as many would say, maybe because these kinds of situations are somewhat feasible in real life, not that I’m hoping for anyways…

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Hibike! Euphonium 2

sound-euphonium-2

This anime was one that I stopped watching around midway, mainly due to not having time to watch, but got back to it and finished before writing this post. I had stopped watching right up to when they won their place in the Nationals, so continuing from there was not confusing for me, as there wasn’t any mid story I had to remember.

All the way through, this anime is solid in its art and animation, character development, music, and story. It all culminates to a very good drama anime that very much feels real. As I mentioned in my review of the first season, when I was in high school, I was part of choir. Maybe not exactly the same as a band or orchestra, but I could still relate to the ups and downs that the characters faced when dealing with a competition, because just like them we also competed in choir competition festivals in trips that took us hundreds of miles away from home against other schools of the country. Feeling nervous or doubt as the stage grew nearer, is something I remember feeling, though in the end we did what we practiced over and over again, during actual class or lunch break. And when it came to the hearing the results, the fruits of our labor bore fruit in the form of 1st Gold place. An absolute dream come true, as I felt at the time. Let it be known that I had no intention of pursuing music in college, or for anything professional in my future. I just enjoyed singing in school choir.

I enjoyed this anime because of how relatable it was for me and my past. As for someone who did not experience something similar, I don’t know how well they would connect with the characters and story, but I think that they would still be able to grasp the feeling enough to understand and enjoy some good storytelling.

This anime series ended on a very nice note, as it cleared most if not all the drama that the band faced throughout the year. I like how in the anime, the teachers of the band mentioned that with the coming of a new year, they can start from scratch. With all the drama that happens within their school band, it comes off as a positive thing. Instead of dragging the negatives and positives around of the past, they can continue to learn from them and move forward into the future. I think that’s also good advise in general for how we should live, and how we should thrive towards our own goals in life.

——

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season

gundam-barbartos-s2

An ongoing series into the winter season, it continues from where we left off in the first season. I’ll just mention some of the differences I noticed between this season so far and the last. First off, Mikazuki is now more monotone and fiercer in battle than ever before. Of course its because he’s getting more experience with Barbatos, but it also seems to be taking a part of him every time there’s a huge battle where Mika calls upon it. At the end of the first season, he lost his sight in his right eye and use of his right arm. When connected to Barbatos however, he regains full control of his body again. More recently though, in the battle with the Mobile Armor, he ended up losing the ability to use his legs. He’s slowly becoming dependent on Barbatos, as with it allows him to use his full body at will, at the cost of not being able to disconnected from it. Besides that, Mika also seems to be losing his emotions, not that he ever was that emotional to begin with. An example of this was when back in the first season, in the scene right as Orga and Biscuit were attacked by Carta Issue, Mika calls out Orga’s name in a way that almost seems unlike his usual self. He also at least showed more facial expressions in the first season than the second. Maybe in part it has to do with what happened to him in the final battle in Edmonton, I’m not sure.

I’m looking forward to see how this all plays out: The merging of man and machine, and the stabilization of politics of the solar system. Whether or not Tekkadan will be triumphant or crash and burn, we’ll just have to wait and watch.

——

Okusama ga Seitokaichou!+!

okusama-ga-seitokaichou-s2

In this anime short series second season, we find our hero creating a larger harem by interacting with more of his classmates. Fan service ensues. Yeah not much more I can say about this one.

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Shuumatsu no Izetta

shuumatsu-no-izetta

Advertised as an anime by some people who worked on other animes such as Code Geass, Izetta the Last Witch takes place in a world war where a small country called Elystadt finds itself under attack by the large nation of Germania. Elystadt discovers and rescues the last witch Izetta from Germania, and with her power turns the tide of battle into their favor. With magic used as a deterrent in the war, how will it affect the world? What consequences will it have for victory between all the warring nations? That’s what this anime more or less illustrates and answers in its own way.

I originally was not interested in watching this series, but decided to give it a shot after seeing a bit of it through social media. It was sort of cool watching actual military based weaponry being taken down quite easily by Izetta’s magic, even if it was simple in the extreme. It’s basically the opposite of the anime GATE where modern military might dominated almost medieval level weapons. Towards the second half of the series however, with the introduction of the cloned witch Sophie, it became clear that the end would be a battle between the two; It became predictable. While the ending was positive, it didn’t feel all the satisfying as the buildup throughout the series dropped off when it became clear that this series was just going to be a classic good versus evil thing, with nothing making it interesting in the middle. Overall it was an OK anime, but the battles and story became stale in my opinion.

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Watashi ga Motete Dousunda

kiss-him-not-me

I dropped this series midway as it didn’t interest me much anymore, mainly with it’s characters. I know that this anime is catered more to females, but I was originally attracted to it by scenes I saw on social media. What annoyed me was how you could tell that some of the guys were seemingly attracted to her mainly because of her looks and not for her personality.

——

WWW.Working!!

www-working

In this spin off of the Working! series, we find ourselves at another branch of Wagnaria with a new cast of characters. These characters though I felt were random and didn’t mix very well. Because of this, I tended to fall asleep while watching this anime because everyone felt mad or gloomy or superficial. I did not feel like a workplace I’d want to work in.

I was attracted to the original Working! series before I started working at the retail store five years ago, because I wanted to see and feel what it was sort of like to work and interact with co-workers. Mind you of course this is an anime which cannot be applied to real life, but that’s how I wanted to see this anime series back then.