Review of ‘Mean Girls’ Book, Movie, and Musical Adaptations Through the Years

Introduction:
As a dedicated gamer and movie buff, the “Mean Girls” franchise holds a special place in my heart. The original film, a sharp and witty portrayal of high school life, resonated with many of us who’ve felt like outsiders.

The Book That Inspired It All:
The phenomenon began with the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman. This insightful work delves into the complex social hierarchies of high school, providing a foundational backdrop for the movies.

“Mean Girls” (2004):
Directed by Mark Waters and penned by Tina Fey, this cult classic stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, who navigates the perilous social waters of high school after moving from Africa. The film also features memorable performances by Rachel McAdams (Regina George), Tina Fey (Ms. Norbury), and Amanda Seyfried (Karen Smith). The original “Mean Girls” is available for streaming on platforms like Paramount Plus and Showtime, and for rent or purchase on Apple TV, Amazon Video, and Google Play Movies. read more

Joaquin Phoenix: Exploring the ‘Joker’ and ‘Beau is Afraid’ Connection

“Beau is Afraid,” featuring Joaquin Phoenix, shares notable similarities with his previous role in “The Joker.” Both films are dark comedies that delve deep into the realm of mental illness, leaving audiences to grapple with the enigmatic and often unexplained mental state of the protagonist. Phoenix’s portrayal of complex characters in both films demonstrates a consistent theme of psychological depth and ambiguity.

In both “Beau is Afraid” and “The Joker,” the lines between reality and delusion are blurred, making it challenging for viewers to discern what is real and what is imagined. This ambiguity plays a significant role in shaping the narrative of each film. The films invite viewers into the troubled minds of the characters, where the boundaries of mental illness and reality are constantly in flux. This approach creates a sense of unease and curiosity, as the audience is left guessing about the true nature of the characters’ experiences and perceptions. read more

Barbie Movie Review From An Adult Doll Collector

As an adult doll collector, fan of ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, and a proud owner of a pink-dressed Azone Iris Petite, the Barbie Movie has been the highlight of my year. This film isn’t for kids; it’s a pop culture extravaganza tailored for grown-up enthusiasts like me.

With adult humor galore, such as Barbie’s comments about genitalia and the over-the-top macho Kens, the movie keeps you entertained throughout. Sugar Daddy Ken, Earring Ken, Pregnant Barbie, Midge, Allen, and even the “weird” Barbie – who is now getting a doll of her own – have unforgettable roles. read more

Life Itself – Movie Review

How many times have you ever sat down to watch a movie, and had to turn it off without finishing it because it was just such a bad movie? I can guess a lot of people chose to turn off this movie… So I’m here to tell you to give it another chance. This movie is amazing… but it doesn’t seem that way at first. Much like life itself in reality. Life Itself (both the movie, and well… Life) can have some pretty horrible things happen when we least expect it… but Life Itself (again both the movie, and actual real life), can have amazing beautiful moments that teach us the power of the human spirit, the power of love, and the importance of family. read more

Cat President 2 Visual Novel Otome Game Review

I received this game for free, but that does not influence my review – thank you very much for allowing me to review this game. I also received and reviewed Cat President (1) awhile back which you can read here.

Much like the first game, the second game is all about an alternate future universe where humans are banned from holding government offices and the country is run by cats.

Also like the first game, Cat President 2, never takes itself very seriously and is full of a lot of over the top cat puns and cheesy humor. read more

Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun Anime Review

I just finished watching all 12 episodes of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun. I can’t remember who recommended that I watch this, a year or more ago, and I just now got around to it.

My overall feeling is it’s a cute and short kind of mindless fun comedy anime, with a little bit of romance that never ever really ever goes anywhere.

It is left with a little bit of an open ending. This post might have spoilers.

Here’s a quick spoiler free score card before I dive into the reasons for my score. read more

Magikarp Jump – Free Mobile Virtual Pet Pokemon Game Review for IOS and Android

Overview: 10/10 Magikarp Jump is a cute, free, seemingly innocent Pokemon Game for Mobile IOS and Android devices. The gameplay is very simplistic and reminiscent of Monster Rancher in that you take home a pet to train and raise and enter league battles. Pretty basic stuff, right? But actually it is perhaps one of the darkest Pokemon Games of all time, because for the first time ever, your Pokemon can die! There is no going back into their Pokeballs, and no amount of healing from Nurse Joy can bring a KoiKing back after he has become lunch for a wild flying Pokemon.

Assassination Classroom Anime Review

Overview: 10/10 Assassination Classroom is first and foremost a slice of life anime. Each episode focuses on a different student or faculty member and how Koro-Sensei helps them with whatever turmoil they are experiencing while at school. Assassination Classroom is also very much a comedy anime, as if you can't tell by just looking at the design for Kore-Sensei. He is a murderous demon lord with a sweet tooth, love for super hero movies, and kind heart, but that still doesn't mean he won't destroy the earth. Although Koro-Sensei may be a villain that the other students must defeat, it is hard to not fall in love with Koro and his classroom. Each episode does have action, with the students trying to defeat their teacher, but each episode also is full of tender sweet moments, and lots of very wtf moments and comedy as well.

Fuuka Anime Review

Fuuka anime review
Fuuka anime review

Fuuka is a relatively new anime that is part of Crunchyroll’s Winter Simulcast lineup. You can watch Fuuka for free on Crunchyroll here.

Fuuka is very similar to other band slice of life anime such as Beck Mongolian Chop Squad or Nana. If you like either of these anime, I think you’ll also enjoy Fuuka.

Check out my “Early Review” for episodes 1 through 4 of Fuuka below, and catch Episode 5 on Crunchyroll Friday at 11:00am EST.

Title: Fuuka

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Drama

Length: 12 Episodes (so far only 4 have aired).

Related Media: Fuuka is a sequel to another anime called Suzuka. Fuuka is actually the daughter of one of the main characters in Suzuka. Both Fuuka and Suzuka also have manga adaptations, and Fuuka’s manga is currently still running with new material.

PS: You can enjoy this series without watching Suzuka – I had never heard of Suzuka until I was researching my blog post tonight – and only just started watching Fuuka tonight too and already in love with it. It’s definitely “my kind” of anime! Suzuka is similar but instead of a love triangle in a band, it’s a love triangle in a sports anime. I may marathon it this week while waiting for the next episode of Fuuka :).

Studio: Diomedia and Funimation

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Geeky: 3/5 – The animation and music are both highlights in this series with extremely high production values; however the slow plot and short overall length of the series could alienate some fans.

Sweetie: 4/5 Awesome characters and story with love as a huge focus and slice of life about kids starting a band. Took away one heart for huge amounts of fanservice.

Concept: 9/10 – It’s not terribly original. (-1 point) It’s been done before, and probably done better before too… but Overall, I am in love with the premise of this series. Two childhood friends drift appear, reconnecting years later – One is well on their way to fulfilling their dreams and promises; while the other simply drifts aimlessly through life until a key event occurs which puts them also on the path to their destiny.

There is a huge love triangle/love rivalry at the center of this drama. There’s also huge  amounts of significant character growth and development. Already just within 4 episodes, we’ve witnessed the main character overcome his fears and shyness and learn to speak up, and we’ve seen already several relationship ups and downs.

As for the female lead whom is the namesake of this show, we’ve watched her, also like the male lead, go from wandering aimlessly, to having a purpose and a goal and a vision. We’ve also seen that although she can essentially be a tomboy, that she too gets shy and awkward at times, and has trouble expressing her feelings.

Also within just 4 episodes we’ve watched them find and recruit all of the necessary members for their band, and even put on an impromptu performance.

Story: 10/10 – If relationship drama and slice of life is not your cup of tea, you will not be too interested in this — However, for me, it’s my favorite genre; and yes, although there are similar anime dealing with “band drama” (Beck, Nana, Your Lie in April, and White Album to name only a very small few) — I still find the concept refreshing and enjoyable.

To put it simply, the story revolves around a love triangle between “music geeks” who are pursuing their dreams of becoming either solo artists or rock band musicians. I’d like to say “pretty sure we know how the triangle will end” given the name of the show… but that is not necessarily true you know~!! Similar Manga such as Nana have had a lot of failed relationships and couples that you’d think should be together, but aren’t.

It could just be that Fuuka goes on to become an idol and fulfill her dream (which is to sing). She could go on to become a strong, independent character — she already is so much stronger than the more emotionally weak (but successful already in her singing career) love rival that she’s pitted against.

Though we do witness weak, tender, and vulnerable sides of Fuuka as well. At this point it’s anyone’s guess how the story will go. Who will Yuu choose? Or perhaps none of those relationships will pan out.

Aside from the love triangle, you witness the day-to-day struggles of performing music, and see the characters at school, work, and home, typical slice of life stuff here.

Characters 10/10: The story begins by introducing the male lead, Yuu, who will become the bass player for the band. He is a very shy and awkward soft-spoken boy who finds escapism online and has difficulty connecting with others face to face.

One day he meets the namesake of the series, Fuuka, as she’s dashing across the street and bumps into him, because he is so busy looking at his phone. This creates a misunderstanding about why he was using his phone, and it won’t be the last misunderstanding between them either.

Fuuka is an extremely energetic and bright young girl who has a strong tomboy streak and acts very unlady-like at most times. Like a lot of young people, she wonders what she should be doing with her life. One day, she gets free concert tickets to a live event. As they’re walking home, she begins to sing, and finds encouragement and feedback from Yuu, which causes her to impulsively want to form a band. She pretty much forces Yuu to go along with her idea, and Yuu can’t say no at this point, because his personality is weak, and Fuuka is very dominant at this point.

They also enlist the help of a classmate who is charming and good looking but “not interested in girls” as he himself says lol. He becomes the keyboard artist for the group.

Lastly, they recruit an upper classman who has been pestering Fuuka to join the track and field team oneday when he lets it slip that his big brother used to be a drummer; thus, he too becomes a drummer like his brother.

As mentioned, there’s also a very prominent love rival in the form of a childhood friend of the main character.

The main character also lives in a house full of females (enter more copious amounts of fanservice). And a cast of side characters consisting of teachers and advisers who also happen to be former band-mates who have taken the new members under the wing.

Anyways, most of all, I can’t explain but the namesake of this show is just so darn cute sometimes (in her actions and facial expressions). And there are some truly cute moments between both “couples” in the series… It’s definitely the cute characters that make this series for me, especially Fuuka!

Artwork: 4/5 I love the artwork in this series; they way their eyes are drawn and the detail and light in their eyes is especially pretty. However — could do without the huge amounts of blatant fanservice.

Music: 5/5 – Thankfully this is really, really good; I mean it’s an anime about music, so it’d better be good right? lol. Crunchyroll for some reason doesn’t have subtitles on the opening or ending theme which is a bummer, but no fault of course of this anime and just a fail on Crunchy’s part.

The music is fast paced, and more “J-Rock” infused. Once again similar in ways to Beck and Nana with the same “vibe”. There are also a few tracks (from the love rival) which are definitely more soft and Pop inspired.

Voice Acting: 5/5 They have to be able to both sing and act, so I once again give this a 5 out of 5.

Overall: 50/55 91% A- “Excellent Anime For Girls”

Sailormoon R The Movie Theatrical Release Uncut English Dub Review

Update: I recently had an opportunity to see the film again, subtitled this time, and just completed my review for the subtitled version here. If you’re curious about the differences between the two versions, or just want to see the subtitled review, you can check it out here. Otherwise, continue reading below here for my original review of the dubbed version.

I just got back from seeing Sailor Moon R the Movie at Cedar Lee Theater in Cleveland Ohio. We saw the uncut English Dub with the new Viz voice cast (that they have been using for a few years now for their re-dubbing of the DVDs and Blu-ray TV series). The movie is prefaced by an interview with the new cast. The interview is then followed by an animated short called “Moon Power Makeup” which is mostly just a string of flashbacks of season 1 which help to introduce the scouts to perhaps those who have not watched the first season. Also they give you a fancy looking black envelope and inside you will find art of one of the 5 original sailor scouts. We got Sailor Jupiter and Mars. You’ll also find some promotional inserts trying to encourage you to buy the TV series Blu-rays and Manga.

It drew a huge crowd last night, nearly selling out a large, several hundred seat theater. Before making the 3 hour drive to go see the film, I checked to ensure there would be tickets available. It said over 200 seats were remaining. By time the film started, much of that total had sold – plus who knows how many sold before I even checked the website. The theater was near max capacity. We had a large crowd to both the immediate left and right of us. The entire balcony area behind us was completely full, and all throughout the floor level, there was scarcely more than 1 or 2 empty seats beside each other, here or there.

Watching it on the big screen was quite an awesome experience. The colors seemed so much brighter and richer compared to when I watched the original VHS – but that may very well be due to some “HD Remastering” or retouching. Either way, seeing Sailormoon on the big screen was pretty awesome, and seeing the huge turn out of Sailor Moon loving geeks and fans in their Sailormoon shirts, hats, etc all gathered in one place, was really awesome too. Of course I wore a Sailormoon Geeky Tshirt too. :).

My thoughts on the actual movie itself are below. Enjoy my review, and if you get the chance, make sure you get out there to support our Sailor Scouts!

Title: Sailor Moon R the Movie (uncut English dub version)

Release Date: January 2017

Publisher: Toei Animation, Eleven Arts, and Viz Media

Geeky: 5/5   High points for Nostalgia, and excellent animation for the date/time of the film.

Sweetie: 3/5  Although I love Sailor Moon, the movie is a bit weak in the character development and romance areas when compared to the TV series.

Overall: 45/55 82% B- Very Good Anime for Girls

Concept: 10/10 Seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen is awesome no matter how good or bad the movie itself is. It’s something I’ve literally dreamed of doing ever since I was a child. And, as the English cast points out, rarely do you see anime in a US theater, especially anime that is now, nearly 30 years old. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience… and judging by how many tickets the theater sold, perhaps Viz and Eleven Arts will treat us to re-releasing the other Sailor Moon movies in theater format in the future as well.

Story: 8/10 There is a lot of action and almost no character development in this film. Also, unless you’re a fan of the series (but then again, who isn’t a fan of Sailor Moon?), you may feel a little lost or confused even with the inclusion of the Mini-cartoon that re-introduces the scouts and explains their strengths and weaknesses and about the silver moon kingdom and their rebirth on earth. — And although Chibiusa is included in the Mini-cartoon and actual movie, her past and history and relationship to Usagi is actually not explained at all.

The story is also unbelievably cheesey. I don’t know if it’s quite so bad in the subtitled version. I would love to go again to the second and final showing this week which is subtitled to compare how much was just a cheesey plot by the Japanese staff, and how much was cheesey from poor translation choices and poor voice acting from the US staff. There were several scenes that were meant to be serious which caused 300+ people to burst out laughing instead.

Those two small complaints aside, the story is actually very cute and gives you a unique look at Mamoru’s childhood. Also, in this uncut version, they more clearly explain Mamoru’s relationship with the new villain. I remember when the movie was announced a few months ago, I got into an “argument” with someone on facebook who made a comment when I shared the news post. They argued that the relationship was more than platonic, and I counter argued, that they were just close childhood friends… but after seeing the uncut version, I have to concede, and agree, the relationship is definitely 100% romantic.

The Sailor Scouts even joke about the questionable nature of the relationship, quipping things such as “I guess Mamo is popular with the guys too” “Well I guess it’s fine if you’re born that way” “There’s even a few couples like that at my school” and Usagi is stressed/worried and says to herself “It sure seemed like more than friends”. Which comes as no surprise, because by the next few seasons, almost everyone in the Sailor Moon universe is openly exploring their sexuality, with Uranus x Neptune, Uranus x Moon, and Chibiusa X Saturn… and that’s not even mentioning Sailor Stars, which are essentially gender-neutral, or transgendered Women who were born in Men’s bodies when they re-incarnated and transforming back to female when they take their Sailor forms. So Sailor Moon is no stranger to dealing with these topics. It was actually quite revolutionary for its day and time, back in the 90s, when even live-action TV shows were still shying away from tackling such relationships.

If your favorite part of Sailor Moon is the action and fighting scenes you will probably really enjoy Sailor Moon R the Movie. It is way more action heavy compared to the TV Series. It opens right away with a lengthy and fairly violent fight sequence.

The story is also full of comedy… Shortly after that fight sequence, there’s a scene with Usagi and Chibiusa that builds and builds the same joke for what seems like forever, but it was effective. I don’t laugh out loud easily… and even that elicited a chuckle from me (and uproarious laughter from the huge audience).

Despite, at the core, the story being about Mamo and Usagi and the new Villain, it’s actually not very Romance laden. They are on a date at the opening of the film, but once again comedy comes in to foil any chance of romance for the two of them.

Characters 8/10: As mentioned, character development is really pretty much non-existent. You could easily skip watching this film and not miss anything earth-shattering in developing the scouts or Mamo as characters. You’d miss out a lil on Mamo’s backstory but it’s mostly stuff that’s been glossed over briefly by the series anyways.

The scouts are featured heavily in the film and so if you’re the type who complains that one of the weaknesses of Crystal is how it’s all about Mamo x Usagi, (this seems a common complaint), then you’ll like how prominent each of the scouts are in this film, and a decision that Usagi makes near the end of the movie, showing how much she loves and cares for the other scouts. Though this too is not surprising if you’ve seen the 90s TV series you know the focus was more on Usagi and the Scouts and less on the Reincarnation / Romance bits.

If however, one of your primary draws to Sailor Moon is the character development or romance, this movie may very well disappoint you.

But you should still go see it, because it’s Sailor Moon :). How long have we waited to see this cast of characters on the big screen? And if we want to see the other movies, a re-run of the dub, or airing of the new Viz dub, or a new season of Crystal, or perhaps a continuation of the series even beyond Stars, or more Sailor Moon merchandise and collectibles, then, you know as they say “Money Talks”.

Also, as you know, the characters in Sailor Moon as very diverse, with almost someone for EVERY girl out there to look up to. How many TV shows or Movies can claim such a wholesome cast full of role models for young women?

Sailor Moon teaches us about friendship, love, respect, and kindness. Moon is the quintessential loud/ditzy/friendly outgoing girl, Mercury is the smart/brainy/shy girl, Mars is the mysterious/quiet/serious/beautiful girl, Jupiter is the “tomboy” type girl (who also secretly has a soft side and loves to cook, and falls in love easily), Venus is the “best friend” or “girl next door” type of girl.

With so many different personalities, there’s bound to be a superhero that your kids can look up to, which I think is one of the reasons for the series continued success and popularity.

Artwork: 4/5 This is the old 90s style animation, and it shows… There’s some really bad CG effects later on in the film… and the characters have that unique 90s style to them… However, I was surprised by how bright and vivid the colors were and how crisp, clean, and clear all of the animations looked. There are also some lovely backgrounds too.

Music: 4/5 I was surprised to see they kept the Japanese music with the English dub. This worked fine 90% of the time… Except for two occasions… One in the Mini-cartoon before the featured film, in a flash back Rei is singing… in Japanese… after seconds ago speaking in English… this felt disjointed, jarring, and just out of place…. The other occasion is perhaps debatable, but you can form your own opinion… My opinion is I would have loved to hear the old English version of the Sailor Moon opening theme — Or to have at least seen subtitles of the Japanese lyrics when the song played at the start of the movie.

Other than those two points of contention, which I admit are perhaps not a commonly shared opinion, the music in the film was quite enjoyable, adding to the suspense, action, and drama of the film. The soundtracks to Sailor Moon have always been among my favorites. I owned many of the imported Japanese CDs, as well as some of the English cassette tapes and equally loved both the Original Japanese music, as well as the old 90s stuff too.

Voice Acting 3/5 – I do not normally like to watch dubs. I went to the dubbed movie, simply because it was playing on a weekend, while the subtitled version is playing on a weeknight. I do not follow the North American Voice Actors, so I have really no clue who these people are (other than I do know they are not the original cast, and are the new cast put together by Viz).

I will say it is super nice to see an Asian American playing the lead role, when so many other anime movies (such as the live action Ghost in the Shell) are being White Washed by movie producers. Of course, one Asian with a cast of almost entirely white folks, still isn’t that great, but it’s a start.

Now as to the quality of their performance… it does take some getting used to, if you’re a fan of the original 90s cast, you will notice distinguishable differences which might seem jarring at first. Overall though, I feel the cast did a wonderful job.

There are a few… either… ill acted… or poorly written lines…. The most notable of which was at the end of the movie when the new villain says “It’s all over now… Mamo has thrown a flower at me” — He is so overly dramatic… and the words chosen make it seem … so…. cheesey… The entire theater erupted in laughter for pretty much 10 minutes straight… followed by a scene shortly thereafter where he reverts to his childhood form and tumbles off silently into space.

But perhaps… that cheeseyness is part of Sailor Moon’s charms. The cheesey lines are when the theater laughed the most and had the most fun. 90s anime IS very cheesey… so I don’t know if this is necessarily a bad thing really! But it was… probably…. not intentional — because it was supposed to be a serious, dramatic, and even slightly sad scene.

I also noticed several instances where Sailor Jupiter used a cuss word. I am fairly certain that this was a liberty taken only in the dub, because in Japan the anime was intended for preschool children, also Japanese as a language I don’t think has direct swear words such as that.

It was so jarring that I began counting the number of swears… There were 3 or 4 of them that I noticed… all from Sailor Jupiter as she was fighting. It’s a minor swear word — but still… It just did not seem to fit the spirit of Sailor Moon as a franchise.

I do appreciate that the script was “uncut” — and if that swearing was in the original Japanese script, then I’m glad they left it in. To edit it would be sad because it would mean they were back to trying to make a child friendly show or care about ratings more than care about doing an accurate translation.

So I’m on the fence as to if the swearing was “good” or “bad” – if part of the original script, it’s “good” that the script wasn’t altered to be more “kid friendly”; however, if it was as I suspect, a creative liberty taken by Viz staff then “bad”. A simple clicking of the tongue, or a Tch sound could have replaced the one syllable swear word, and seemed more “at home” in such a child-friendly show.

But overall, the voice acting was good for the most part. The scouts really showed their personalities and had voices somewhat similar/close to the 90s cast (Jupiter has a deep husky voice in both the 90s version as well as the new Viz cast; Sailor Moon has a ditzy and bubbly voice, Mercury a very calming/soothing voice, etc.) Therefore, largely I feel the series is well cast and the deliverance of their lines, mostly, pretty solid (though there were some notably cringe-worthy moments as well (such as the one with the new villain which I referenced above). Thankfully though, the cringe-worthiness was the exception and not the norm throughout the film.

Overall: 45/55 82% B- Very Good Anime for Girls

Overall, the experience of seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen, the hundreds of moonies who turned out for the event, and the movie itself, made for an enjoyable and nostalgic night of entertainment.

Countdown to Black Friday with New Deals Every Day on Amazon

Amazon just launched their Black Friday Pre-sale event. You can check back every day for new items at http://amazon.com/Black-Friday/…

Already they are offering up some pretty sweet deals for geeks and gamers. I recommend bookmarking and checking back as often as possible. I’m hoping for a PS4 Bundle or Console to go on sale. I have enough already to purchase, but since it is that time of year, saving some money never hurts, and I’ve waited this long already to get myself the newest consoles, so might as well hang in there a few more weeks and see what happens!

Last year, amazon had amazing black friday and cyber monday exclusive gaming bundles for all three major game systems including Xbone, PS4, and WiiU. This year the savings should be even greater since the technology continues to age and the market gets even more competitive with new consoles such as the Xbox Scorpio, PS4 Pro, and (soon to be released) Nintendo Switch, which means the standard Xbox One, PS4 Slim, and possibly Wii U will need to discount their inventory to see a strong finish this year.

PC Gamers are not to be forgotten, RIGHT NOW amazon has awesome Black Friday deals on headsets, lightup keyboards, game controllers, gaming mice, and more. There are some great deals such as headsets for 65% off, hot new release games for both console and pc at up to 75% off and many more.

Amazon even has a page set up specifically for gaming deals here: http://amzn.to/2evLcYi

or a general one for Electronics here: http://amzn.to/2evMYZH

I’m also needing a new gaming laptop, and Amazon has a page for PC and Laptop deals here: http://amzn.to/2elLmON

Video Games not your thing? Maybe you want some boardgames, legos, cute plushies, dolls, or figures? If so amazon also has a page for you here: http://amzn.to/2fp9ssJ

And the sales will continue into cyber monday as well and Cyber Monday has it’s own page for deals which will be located at http://amzn.to/2fk9JB3 once it goes live later this month.

 

Powered by Dealspotr | Additional voucher codes for Amazon

Per Amazon’s site:

“Black Friday Deals–The Party Is Just Getting Started!

Black Friday 2016 will be here soon, but we didn’t want you to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to save on Black Friday deals, so we are counting down to Black Friday 2016 with exciting deals today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and…you get the picture. Stop by each day through November 24 for early Black Friday deals, including sales on electronics, low prices on DVDs, magazine subscription specials, toy bargains, and fashionable deals for women, men, kids & baby, and more. You’ll find our best Black Friday deals, and Deal of the Day bargains you won’t want to resist for holiday gifts.

Something else to be excited about–at Amazon, Black Friday 2016 isn’t just a day to us–it’s a whole week! We’ll kick off Black Friday Deals Week early with Black Friday deals and sales all day every day that week, including Black Friday, with those big after-Thanksgiving sales you’ve been waiting for. Trust us, if you love a good deal, you won’t want to miss it!

To continue the excitement, we have made Cyber Monday 2016 a whole week too! We’ll be kicking off Cyber Monday with a week’s worth of cyber deals, just in time for you to get back to work after Thanksgiving … and shop online. Shhh … we won’t tell your boss! You’ll find more great deals every day during Cyber Monday Deals Week.
So stop by any day, or better yet, every day. We’ll be here with great deals!”

 

New Cardcaptor Sakura Anime is “In the Works”

Crunchyroll shared news lastnight that a new Cardcaptor Sakura anime has been announced to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cardcaptor Sakura manga. Earlier this year it was reported that a new Cardcaptor Sakura manga would be released that would continue the adventures of Sakura and her friends as they enter into Junior High.

No information is available at this time as to if the new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will follow the newly announced manga, or whether it will be a series or stand-alone movie, or perhaps a reboot or remake of the original series (for example, taking the route of fellow magical girl Sailor Moon and what she did for her anniversary with the new Sailor Moon Crystal anime), or perhaps this new Cardcaptor Sakura anime will be something new entirely. Also no release date or voice actor cast or further info has been released just yet, which indicates it may be well into 2017 or even 2018 before we actually get to see this new anime.

Crunchyroll currently has all of the original anime to view on their site. I personally need to sit down and marathon them all at some point. Over the years, I’ve seen a dozen or so episodes and at least 2 of the movies, and from what I’ve seen it’s a very cute show! Just so much to watch and so little time that I never “got into it” as much as I would expect to be into a magical girl romantic comedy / fantasy adventure such as this.

Now that the new show has been announced that motivates me to want to hurry up and watch the original episodes 🙂 I know what my plans will be this weekend lol. Anyone else?

Hatsukoi Monster Anime Review: First Love Monster

geeky

Title: Hatsukoi Monster

Alternate Title: First Love Monster

Genre: Romance / Comedy / Slice of Life / Shoujo

Length: 12 Episodes + OVA

Release Date: 2016

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Based on: Hatsukoi Monster manga by Akira Hiyoshimaru (which is still ongoing at time of this review).

You can purchase the first 3 volumes (at time of this review) on Amazon in English:

Geeky:  2/5 – No action here, but a lot of comedy. It’s also pretty heavy on romance though, so if Rom-coms aren’t your thing, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Sweetie:  3/5 – Kaho’s character is perhaps the worst defined within this series and the most boring, despite being the main character, and a female lead who we witness the story through. Her relationship also never grows nor do the characters experience any significant growth or development. However, this is a cute, innocent, heart warming anime. The characters are likable, and the art style is kawaii. The blend of romance and comedy make this Slice of Life a fun one to watch, but if you’re expecting a serious and strong love story, the plot here falls short of that.

Overall: 42/55 76% C “Good Anime For Girls”

Concept: 8/10 Hatsukoi Monster focuses on a romantic relationship between the female lead, Kaho, whom is 15 years old, and Kanade, who is a fifth grader. Just like with the education system in the United States, fifth graders in Japan are between 10 and 11 years old. Kanade (and many of his friends) look much older, but their actions give way to just how young they truly are. Since both the anime and the manga are currently in production still at time of this review, who knows how it will end. I speculate that they’ll jump time forward at some point. There are some people who are “grossed out” or “weirded out” by the age gap. But it’s only a 5 year age difference. I’ve dated as much as 8 years older or younger than me, but the difference is, I’m in my 30s, not in my teens lol. But the point I’m trying to make is that, by time the couple (Kaho and Kanade) enter college, this is no longer weird or creepy. Plenty of people have relationships in this age range. AND Kaho is just a child still herself even in the current time-line. It’s not THAT creepy.  In fact, I applaud it for daring to do something different from most highschool anime romantic comedies. The characters in Hatsukoi Monster are charming, funny, innocent, and pure. And it’s rare to see an anime or manga with an older woman dating a younger guy.

Each episode features conflicts which arise as a result of the age gap between the couple. There’s a lot of tension, misunderstandings, and mistakes made by both Kaho and Kanade. For both of them it is their first love, hence the title of this anime. They both need to mature a lot if their relationship is to survive. Luckily they have help from various people in their apartment complex who try to help them smooth things over, or conversely, provoke them to be more honest about their feelings.

It’s largely a comedy anime while the romance takes a back seat to the childish antics of Kanade and his gang. If you like comedy anime with a hint of romance, and don’t mind drama, cliffhangers, and relationship tension being thrown at you each week then you will really enjoy Hatsukoi Monster. Some of the jokes and humor are pretty low-brow but what do you expect from a cast consisting mostly of 10 year olds? A lot of the jokes and humor get reused each week too, especially the pranks that Kanade and his friends like to play (which in true 10 year old fashion, they find equally hilarious no matter how many times they pull the same stunt).

Story: 7/10 Kaho has lived a sheltered life of privilege and never been exposed to the realities of the outside world. Wanting to experience life for herself, she moves into an apartment complex known as the Kasumi House. On her way to her new home, Kaho almost gets into an accident. Kanade saves her and proceeds to chew her out for not watching where she is going. No one has ever raised their voice or spoken frankly to Kaho. This, plus Kanade’s cool demeanor and good looks cause Kaho to fall in love at first sight. Only later does she discover that the two of them will be living together from now on, and that Kanade is actually the 10 year old son of her apartment manager.

This is a Slice of Life anime, each episode focusing on another day in the Kasumi House. Kanade and his friends play tag, go to school, participate in sports events, culture festivals, or study for exams. While it shows us a lot of sweet, funny, or touching moments with Kanade and his friends, it falls short of showing us much backstory about Kaho, the supposed main character in this whole mess. Everything is told from Kaho’s perspective, so it would’ve been nice to see her school life, and more of her family life. As for friends, she doesn’t have any from being sheltered, but it would’ve been nice to see her grow and mature and make friends on her own (Aside from those at the Kasumi House of course). It’s almost as if Kaho exists in a bubble and her sole purpose is to chase after Kanade.

Since there’s only 1 or 2 episodes left at time of this review, my main complaint is that the story just never really seems to go anywhere. Each week is the same, with breaking up and making up, and similar antics and mischief. The couple never grows or really gets over their misunderstandings or able to handle their emotions.

Characters: 9/10 Almost all of the characters, except for Kaho herself, have really interesting personalities and back stories, though some are way over the top and eccentric. Kanade’s friends each represent some common roles we’ve seen in other anime, but they take it to extremes at times which just highlights the comedic nature of this anime.

For example, Taga is your typical tsundere. (hard on the outside but with a soft spot for certain things). His soft spot is Kanade whom he says reminds him of himself when he was that age. He is excessively rude to Kaho (possibly because he loves her). He calls her Breadcrumb girl and Garbage Girl, he intentionally does things to make Kaho cry in front of Kanade, which provoke’s Kanade’s protective instincts and sometimes helps them repair their relationship as a result of Taga playing badguy to let Kanade come “save the princess”.

Nagasawa is an Otaku, he has an obsession with a crossplaying young idol by the name of Renren who bares a striking resemblence to one of Kanade’s friends. As a result he usually tricks them into playing dressup and fantasizing about his idol. His room is full of dolls, toys, posters, books, CDs, movies, and costumes surrounding his fandom.

Shinohara is a very shy and frail character who also has a crush on Kaho, however, he is unable to overcome his fears or be honest about his feelings.

Kaz, Gin, and Tom make up the 3 main friends of Kanade and are featured prominently in each episode. Gin and Tom are both similar to Kanade, they look much taller and older than their mental state and actual age. Kaz on the other hand looks very small and young even for his age, but despite that, he acts as the voice of reason among the group.

Kaho’s brother makes an appearance later in the series, and is obsessed to the point where he’s almost actually in love with Kaho. Another similar character, but a female version of him, lives in the Kasumi House, and she is equally obsessed with Kanade’s father.

Shugo is Kanade’s father who has been raising Kanade as a single dad since his wife (Kanade’s mother) passed away when Kanade was small.

Artwork: 5/5 – I love all the character designs, they are really super cute and colorful. Each character looks unique and distinctive.

Music: 5/5 The opening and ending themes are very memorable and catchy. The opening theme is more Pop feeling, while the ending theme is definitely more Rock inspired. The background music throughout is also really well done. Most of the music throughout is fast paced which seems to fit the energy and enthusiasm of Kanade and his friends.

Voice Acting: 3/5 – While some of the characters such as Kanade, Kaho, Kaz, Taga, and Shinohara are almost perfectly cast, I have some issues with some of the other actors. Namely Gin and Tom, who both sound much older than Kanade and much too old for 5th graders, even if their voices have already dropped, they just don’t sound even like high schoolers, but instead like much older men. Overall, all of the actors delivered emotional and exciting performances that (for the most part) fit their characters well.

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