Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne – Review – This Is Exactly Why I Love Anime!

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a morally grey series and gritty show that is bound to give you chills down your spine. Read the review here!

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In more conventional and traditional societies, anime is treated as cartoons and regarded with suspicion as there are also a lot of taboos surrounding it. One particular taboo that people use to confront me is how perverted anime is becoming. As an anime fan, I find myself agreeing to this statement even though my credibility as a human being will plummet down to the depths of Hell. I can’t blame people though. It’s becoming more and more common to see that occasional series where the girls are hyper-sexualized and do all sorts of perverted stuff. There is also the ‘ecchi’/’hentai’ genre which can be regarded as borderline animated pornography, some going all the way. This causes people to think there are only two kinds of anime, which is:

1. Anime for kids e.g. Avatar: The Last Airbender (P.S. Avatar is not regarded by some anime fans as non-anime) and Pokemon/Digimon.

THE LEGEND OF KORRA

2. Anime for people with weird fetishes, like cat girls, lolitas (aka girls that are petite in size or are still children) and even little sisters, or people who are lustful/perverts.

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Debunking stereotyping like that is really difficult and takes up a lot of time explaining the basis, history and stating examples from anime so I’m going to save that for some other time. Instead, I’m going to review an anime named after the Greek God of memory. I present to you:

Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne.

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If you haven’t heard of this show, no worries. I’d say, 65% of the anime fandom have not heard of this show either. But if you did, chances are, you probably know it as torture porn where there are scenes where characters get impaled, tortured, or even blown to pieces, all while naked and screaming like they’re on drugs and in some sort of high.

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In case you’re about to turn tail and run, screaming: ‘DANIEL IS A F***ING PERVERT!!! I WON’T EVER VISIT HIS SITE!!!!’, don’t worry, I’m totally fine. But don’t you run away yet.

Mnemosyne revolves around women who unwittingly absorbed a Fruit of Time from the Tree of Yggdrasil that causes them to become immortal. One such woman is Rin and alongside her trusty companion, Mimi, who is also immortal, works as a private investigator. Of course, Rin being immortal doesn’t mean that she is like Superman, she is not immune to injury, or otherwise there would basically be no plot left. But being immortal has its pros. Being a private investigator AND immortal means she can just throw herself into various dangerous situations without any hesitation just because she can respawn after dying, rendering Death incapable of keeping her dead for long.

As people say, “There are always two sides to the same coin,” and likewise, being immortal has its cons too. Rin, aside from being immortal, is a normal human being with no superhuman capabilities to speak of. From time to time though, she would find herself trying to escape pain, suffering and even permanent death from the hands of evil scientists, hunters of the immortal and the evil, mysterious being, Apos.

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If I’m going to say this, I best be saying this now:

This anime is by no means, an anime suitable for children and the adult themes of homosexuality, sex and extreme violence are very much the norm in the world that is Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

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In other words, this anime is definitely not for kids and can be likened to late night TV shows that heavily feature dark and grim themes. Except take these dark themes, multiply it by ten, add near-nude and sex scenes that would make any censorship board go into overload and in the end, put your character through so much physical and mental torture that normal people would go crazy at the sight of it.

AND THAT’S WHY I LOVE ANIME!

No, I don’t have a fetish towards sadomasochism. No to Vancouver and fifty shades of blue, black and green!!

I meant I love how anime has so much potential to be able to present us a story that normally wouldn’t sell on mainstream TV. I mean how can you possibly make a live action show about people playing basketball? Sure, you can make a documentary but can live action recreate the superhuman feats of strength displayed in sports anime? Can it give us epic fight scenes like Dragon Ball Z or Hunter X Hunter? In reference to this, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a perfect example.

During the course of the series which is 6 episodes of approximately 45 minutes each, the series stretches 65 years from the late 20th century to the near dystopian future. What live action show can do that? Not to mention the gruelling fight scenes and sexual themes, this show is definitely impossible to be remade into a live-action movie and thus potentially great shows like this one are lost.

Not wanting to spoil anymore of the plot, I shall commend the writers for confronting such dark themes without making it feel as if it was there just to be there. Unlike ‘ecchi’ series with their loads of fan service and erotic acts, the torture scenes, the sex scenes and the violence are served to us in adequate proportions. It keeps the fine balance between pleasing people with certain tendencies (you know who you are, *snicker* *wink*) and not making the rest of us feel like we’ve just watched outright, blatant torture porn.

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In short, for making lewd plays and outright violence feel like a justified, legit plot, I clap for you.

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Jokes aside, the show very cleverly slit these erotic stuff in between events, making it somewhat acceptable for people like me, who are not particular fond of lewd anime while pleasing fans who…well, you know what you like. Prior to watching these, I was having one of these cravings for dark and morally grey series like Death Note, and it is noteworthy that this show scratched this itch very wonderfully.

For the characters, they are written well enough though they aren’t exactly very distinguishable or memorable but I guess I have no qualms over it. It is after all only 6 episodes long and the story doesn’t call for elaborate development of the characters, so I’m fine with the development they give their characters.

As for the technical side of things, the animation was well, rather average. I’m not sure about you but watching this show on 720p, I find the playback somewhat grainy. It’s the same problem I faced with other shows produced by Xebec, the producer of Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne. The music is also somewhat average and serves to complement the tense and gritty scenes but no tracks are worth noting in particular.

To conclude, this show is a blatant, morally grey show that takes themes people shy away from and unashamed-ly serves it with doses of sexual and graphic scenes. Though the execution of the show are sometimes unclear and the writers may not explain enough for everyone to know everything clearly, if you, like me, have a craving for dark, gritty shows, this one is definitely going to fulfill it very nicely.

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And so, after meticulously calculating my ratings for the plot, characters, animation and technical aspects, and lastly, my personal enjoyment, I decided to give this show a rating of:

7.72 (AVERAGELY GOOD)

If you liked this show, chances are you would also like the ever popular Death Note, another morally grey series that is sure to turn your ideals on its heads. You may also find Monster, an anime based on the apocalyptic story of the Anti-Christ, to your liking.


 

There’s that. If you like this review, feel free to click on the ‘Like’ button, leave a comment below and if you haven’t already done it, like my Facebook page too. I appreciate your thoughts and views and will strive to work towards a better reviewing experiencing.

With that, I leave you. This is Daniel See, signing off. Cheerio.

Update On My Blogging Life

Updates in my busy life! Sorry for being MIA!

Hello, everybody!

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Sorry, I’ve been busy with moving and stuff. I just got accepted for Matriculation and there was a lot of stuff to do, and I couldn’t procrastinate on those kinds of stuff. Confidential and urgent and all.

Anyway, I’m back (Hopefully for much longer) and I have watched some old anime as well as caught up with the latest anime available in the Spring season, but to be honest, I don’t find this season’s anime very intriguing. With the exception of Kekkai Sensen and maybe, Arslan Senki, the rest was rather bland. (Not talking about sequels or spin-offs though.) But then again, the season is still young. But still, I no longer have any expectations for this season.

And no, people, please do not point to DanMachi. I know, Hestia is your waifu but don’t, seriously, don’t say anything about it. I won’t say it’s bad but I think I’ve had enough of Hestia. For now.

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To all you guys who followed me waiting for my next post, I sincerely apologize and I’ll try my best to make up for it. Namely, maybe I’ll review a few anime that you guys suggest or state my opinion about some stuff that is all the rage in the world of the Internet! Like…maybe more Hestia?

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Anyway, there’s a stockpile of anime that I haven’t review so be sure to check them out when I publish them. Till then, chow!

Anime Music – Focus and Concentration

Anime music can help you concentrate? Really?

According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD, Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, PA., classical music can improve your concentration and improve IQ. Not just any classical music though, it must be from the Baroque period.

Although the term ‘Baroque’ was long thought to be applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was “du barocque,” complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

In layman’s term, Baroque music has a distinct style of not having a fixed key or tone, nonparallel melodies and contrasting styles at times. Even at its time, Baroque was already considered to be unorthodox and is not fully appreciated, even to this day.

But let me tell you, even modern-day music can achieve such a result of helping in concentration. No, I’m talking about pop numbers that follow age-old pattern of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus nor the drum-heavy rock/metal music. I don’t have any scientific papers to support my argument but I’ve experienced it before and I realized some anime music, J-pop to be exact, can really help concentration during studying. I’m not to sure whether or not it can increase IQ but I realize that some of these Japanese music have some similar traits as Baroque music. So, if you’re looking for alternatives, maybe you can try it out.

Before studying

To pump up the atmosphere and get the adrenaline flowing, I recommend listening to any of these three songs quietly before doing anything. Emptying your mind and just listening to these songs can really help in increasing efficiency when you start. Think of it as warm-up. No, this has nothing to do with Baroque music, you can choose to skip these but I recommend listening to these first if you’re feeling unmotivated or bored.

During Studying

There are a few significant traits of Baroque that helps concentration. One, the repetitive and non-parallel melody. Take for example, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, you can clearly hear the melody and the song pretty much repeats it with just minor variations. Here are few songs that personifies that trait.

Jazz can also serve as a great alternative. Not just any jazz number though, so take note.

Secondly, the contrasting key and styles can be a major factor as to why Baroque music helps concentration and boost brain capabilities in terms of problem solving and challenges selective attention. Here are some.

Thirdly, somehow I can’t explain it but when you listen to some songs, you can easily enter the optimal condition to study and absorb new things. Eight radiologists participated in the above mentioned study, who listened to Baroque music while working and rated their mood, concentration, perceived diagnostic accuracy, productivity and work satisfaction on a seven point scale. “The greatest positive effects were noted with regard to mood and work satisfaction, with 63% and 50% of respondents reporting a positive impact,” said Sohaib Mohiuddin, MD, and Paras Lakhani, MD, lead authors of the study. “No participants indicated a negative effect on mood, perceived diagnostic accuracy, productivity or work satisfaction. Only one participant (12.5%) indicated a negative effect of music on concentration,” they said.

I personally call it the Zone, in which people can focus completely on what they do and not get distracted easily. Even if they do get distracted, they quickly come back to what’s important instead of lingering all over the place. Here are some songs that gets me in the Zone.

There you have it. This list of songs is directed at the public in general, and not taking into account any community out there. So, if it doesn’t work for you, then tough luck. But if it does, then congrats!

If you like more anime music, please visit my page Music Archive to look for more.

And do feel free to like my Facebook page here for updates and cool stuff. Thanks for your time.

I’ll be Bach.

Baby Steps – Review – Great Strides

Baby Steps is a really underrated down-to-earth sports anime that is really good. So good that I finished it within 5 days. Which is quite an achievement. For me.

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I love them wet…Mmm…

Sports anime has really come a long way since, you know, the beginning when we first had Slam Dunk and Captain Tsubasa. But it has also deviate a long way from its origins. Take for example, Free!, an anime about guys who love to swim and do so in various sexy ways. By doing so, they have swam, dance and stripped their way into thousands of fangirls’ wet dreams.

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We also had Kuroko no Basuke which is originally NOT about lanky guys involved in ga–, I mean, happy stuff, but about basketball. Somehow, the multitudes of fangirls take it upon themselves to wet themselves silly and create yaoi (Read “BL”) fanfics about this anime. Terrifying.

But once in a while, we have genuine, down-to-earth sports anime that focuses more than just the…um…man-service and the fan fics involving various lanky guys doing really gay (I mean, happy, haha) stuff together.But first, we’ll need to prevent it from turning into Free! V 2.0 so we must first have…

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…a goodness-ugly main character.

Welcome to Baby Steps,

Rooster head.

Baby Steps

Enter Maruo Eiichiro, your typical straight-A student who is a nerd (almost) and a perfectionist in everything he does. Affectionately known to all as Ei-chan (synonymous with A-chan), he is a kind-hearted person that tries to be nice to everyone. One particular trait of his is that he writes notes. A lot. He writes notes for every subject he studies and for almost everything he does. He even made multiple copies of the same notes so that he can revise and memorise stuff better. These extra notes are lent to students and friends from the same grade.

One day, when he was minding his business, the school’s cutest girl, Natsu Takasaki, came running into his class. Through a stroke of fate (and luck?), he was introduced to her. Loud, obnoxious and happy-go-lucky, Natsu aka Nat-chan called him weird in his face, messed up his notes that she borrowed from him and laughed it all off.

On a side note, he decided to pick up a sport as a spare time activity to get fit and decided to go check out a tennis club known as STC for a free trial. He then saw Natsu. He then packed his bags and ran the other direction.

REALLY??

Of course not, there wouldn’t be a show otherwise. Ei-chan is of course, smittened by Nat-chan after seeing her in action and proceeds to try out for the tennis trials. After fainting during warm-up, he then decided that he is extremely out of shape and decides to join the club.

The plot, from here onwards is really simple. Ei-chan attempts to succeed in tennis and practices hard. Eventually, his perseverance pays off and he becomes a good player.

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One notable thing about this anime is that, unlike some sports anime out there, there is almost no such thing as pure talent personified. No fanciful maneuvers here. No “SUPER-SAIYAN MODE!!” anywhere in sight and definitely no superpowers involved here. Just a normal game of tennis.

And practice. Lots of it.

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M-m-my heart!!!

 

Unlike many other sports anime, this anime highlights the hardships a guy must undergo and pinpoints the truth that even geniuses need to work hard for what they get. For example, Eiichiro is the kind of person you’d never thought that he’d play any form of sport but thanks to his diligence and good eyesight, he is recognized as a diamond in the rough by his coach. But that alone doesn’t make him unbeatable as he was defeated time and again by his more experienced and skilled rivals, by a great margin too.

To top it all off, Eiichiro has to learn tennis from scratch and work against time to be good enough to be a professional. Unlike other anime, the gravity of reality weighs quite heavily in this anime as Eiichiro’s future lay in the balance. Dreams and reality are very conflicting after all, which seems not to be the case in other sports anime as characters can be total delinquents yet play sports without a care in the world.

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Ah….Ah…Chooo!!!

 

The plot was awesome, with many adversaries Eiichiro facing being able to prove their mettle while not looking like total losers. Each of them lived up to their name and Eiichiro manages to win by scraping past them, only to lose somewhere down the line.

True to its name, Baby Steps takes one small step at a time and is not afraid to lose viewers by using a slow pace. However, this anime excels at using this pacing to tell the story and most of the time is used to explain the fundamentals of tennis and how our main character can overcome his shortcomings.

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There’s also the humour and the chibi-artstyle every once in a way to loosen up things which was very welcome after a few episodes of tension and rooster-heads.

 

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Changing gears is one thing the plot excels at, the transition is so smooth that you could barely feel the sports anime transform from underdog story to love story. It’s totally worth watching even if you totally do not enjoy the sports section of the anime.Worth waiting too even if it’s just for a few minutes of sweetness that cause diabetes and high blood pressure. This love story reminds me of innocence shared by a couple before the Internet and Snapchat. (Sexting, anyone?) Though I can only complain that the love portion is too little but that’s alright.

And there’s the artstyle. If there’s one thing Baby Steps doesn’t excel in, it’s the artstyle. Understandably though. The source material, the manga has been going on for like 8 years, so the artstyle 8 years ago is a huge difference from what we have these past few years. If this anime was released back then, honestly, there wouldn’t be any problem with the artstyle. In fact, it could very well be more popular than…Prince of Tennis?

Wishful thinking, sorry. You have my apologies, fangirls.

There’s also the little problem with the by-standers during a tennis game. Is it me or does the by-standers look like mannequins brought off the local boutique to just stand there. Thank goodness the tennis matches weren’t animated by CGI.

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Look at them mannequins swaggin’ around!

Anyway, this anime is a pretty good attempt at sports anime and definitely deserves your attention, regardless whether or not you played tennis before. I sure as hell didn’t and this anime taught me a lot about it. The characters were likable, the plot is relatable and enjoyable and that love story between Natsu and Eiichiro is worth watching even the rest of the anime is just crap. And guess what? It’s not crap.

I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling it’s only going to get better. I mean, after watching the second season’s OP, I have a lot to look forward to, especially better looking mannequins (hehe) and better animation and camera play during matches. This is really underrated, mainly it’s a sports anime ABOUT sports and because of its bland outlook, but trust me, this is really good for a SPORTS anime.

Well, there you have it. I hope you will give this anime a shot cause this is really, really good stuff that doesn’t feature Super Saiyans and BL. Cause as Baby Steps taught me, sports anime is about SPORTS. Not Shounen-Ai.

Seriously, put that somewhere else.

Well, till the next review, s-wet dreams.

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The Garden of Words – 言の葉の庭 – Anime Review – Makoto Shinkai’s Gone Soft!

Makoto Shinkai’s newest work, The Garden of Words, reviewed!! But, a twist–?!

It’s raining outside and I’m coil myself around my sofa cushion. There was a flash outside my window and soon after, there was a faint clap of thunder. I could taste the humidity in the air and smell the scent of wet soil from outside my house. I really hate rain when I was younger, but now, it seems like rain is a welcome friend. I stood up, and walked out the doors of my home. Standing in my yard, I looked up at the grey skies, ignoring the stinging drops of water on my bare eyes and sighed longingly.

 “A faint clap of thunder,
Clouded skies,
Perhaps rain will come.
If so, will you stay here with me?


Garden of Words

Makoto Shinkai’s latest work in 2013, a 46-minute long anime film that as per usual features a lot of spectacularly beautiful scenes and another somewhat realistic romance story. However, the question remains after I watched the movie for the first time, “Has Makoto Shinkai gone soft?”

On one end, we have the usual male protagonist, Takao Akizuki, a typical highschool student who was a delinquent in school. Nope, he’s not the stereotypical delinquent you normally see in anime that sleep on rooftops all the time. This one is one of those delinquents you see in reality, those that comes from financially challenged families that work part-time all the time. Takao has his aspirations too, that is to be a shoemaker. In fact, he’s so engrossed in shoe making, that he literally makes shoes at home. Though he claims that they are no good, he works at it day and night, sketching, sculpting, sewing non-stop. He thinks that school is not what he should be doing and rather skip school than do sit there listening to the lessons. Who doesn’t, though?

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On the other, we have the mysterious women who Akizuki meets and befriends when skips classes on rainy days. She is always clad in office clothes and later, it was revealed that she was skipping work, just like how Akizuki skips school. As the monsoon season drag on, Akizuki meets the mysterious woman almost every day and as in all romance stories, he began to fall in love with her. But, unbeknownst to him, she is actually closer than to him than he had ever imagined…


Like almost all of Makoto Shinkai’s work, at the center of the anime, there is an unconventional love story. Take 5 Centimeters Per Second, for example. There is the two childhood friends who were separated by fate and as time passes, they find the distance between the two of them increasing despite their growing fondness for each other.

In The Garden of Words, it is almost the same but unlike 5 Centimeters Per Second and his previous works, this film has a more satisfying feel to it. I’ll try not to spoil too much for you but forgive me if I let slip too much.

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This film is centered around the themes of love but unlike conventional love, it challenges the viewers’ perception of love. Since Akizuki is still a highschool student, his love towards the mysterious woman who is considerably older than him can cut both ways for many people. While one may feel that relationships like that are impure or unacceptable, he/she may find himself/herself rooting for the duo. The themes of unconventional love rings loud throughout the entire series and despite the main characters’ mutual feelings for each other, they are restricted by the age barrier and their roles in society.

This anime reminds me a lot of GTO which explores and redefines the roles of teachers and students in Japan. What people may call ‘puppy love’ and what is real can be really different in reality. This anime is really bold in exploring these themes and the relentlessness of the main characters in pursuing their happiness is really heart warming.

To date, this anime is one of the most touching and memorable anime produced by Makoto Shinkai, very possibly, even better than his most famous work, 5 Centimeters Per Second. Not only is it the most memorable, in my opinion, it is also one of the most beautifully animated films in the history of anime.

The animation is extremely fluid and each frame was extremely fine in detail. Every rain drop, every ripple, every reflection, every tree, every leaf, every ray of sunlight was so beautifully drawn out. It’s so beautiful that it may even precedes the beauty in real life. You could almost feel the humidity, the raindrops splattering on the ground, it looks so real that our eyes deceive us.

The plot on the other hand, is considerably different from Makoto’s previous work. Unlike his usual slow pacing, this anime’s pacing is quite good and not so slow that you would feel the slowness of the plot. Despite the excellent pacing, I would find the some parts not properly explained as it could have been. Well, basically that’s the only thing I could complain about in this entire anime so that should explain a lot.

One thing worth mentioning here is the fact that Hanazawa Kana voices the “mysterious” woman in this anime. Yes, the one and only Hanazawa Kana. In case you don’t know who she is, she normally voices high-pitched girl characters such as Kuroneko from OreImo, Onodera Kosaki from Nisekoi and Nadeko Sengoku from Bakemonogatari. In consideration of those roles, you would really doubt her suitability in playing a role that is more mature. However, she pulled off a shocker as her voice, though vaguely recognizable, was extremely suitable to this role as a young adult woman in her late-20s. I don’t know how she did it but her voice was deeper and mature when compared to her previous roles.

Apparently, Shinkai chose Kana Hanazawa because who had a very low natural voice, despite typically playing the roles of high-pitched younger girls. One of the things that impressed Shinkai about Hanazawa’s voice was her ability to cover such a broad range of expression and her ability to pull off one of the more complicated realistic elements of the woman’s character that was her sense of purity that her voice convey.


Now, onto the question that everyone has been wondering about: “Has Makoto Shinkai gone soft?”

Why did I suggest a question like that? That’s because in this short 46 minute short film, no one died, fell gravely ill, broke up with girlfriend/boyfriend, died (yes, I know I repeated.) or left to rot in another planet very far away from Earth. Somehow, that’s what we all began to expect from Makoto Shinkai, or rather, sad anime in general. We start thinking that sad anime will think of the most ridiculous or incredulous way to make us feel sad or crack up even if it means coughing up ridiculous settings for the characters to be in.

I mean, it’s anime but it doesn’t mean it has to be ridiculous. In this movie, Makoto has shown us that you don’t need anything fanciful to be sad. In fact, you don’t even need to try. No robots, no afterlife and no freaking balls of life or whatever. Just the smallest things in life, no matter how small or insignificant it may be, it can still touch your heart and make you feel sad inside.

Like the rain, or a simple poem can touch you more than anything fanciful you may think of. As the upcoming Key produced Charlotte nears, I just hope that the production studio will take cues from Makoto’s way of doing things and just keep it simple. Though I doubt it.

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To date, this can be considered one of the most touching stories that has ever come out of Makoto Shinkai’s bag of beautifully animated movies. It has a fantastic plot even though it may be underdeveloped at times, it has great animation as usual and the themes mentioned in this anime will make you cringe and smile at the same time. To top it all off, it has Hanazawa Kana showing us a different side of her normally high-pitched and buoyant demeanour. What’s not to love about it?

“A faint clap of thunder,
Even if rain comes or not,
I will stay here,
Together with you.”

Now, if you will excuse me as I attempt to roll and sleep my hollow feelings away.

Till the next post, then, goodnight.