This is probably my favorite moment that I recorded from our first playthrough of “Gensmak! A Trivia Game For Every Generation.” At the end you see our youngest member, our older friend’s daughter, successfully answer a question from decades before she was born and impress us all. You can see the smiles and cheers and high-fives. And this was all authentic. I had no idea how the crowd would react or how much we would all truly love the game. You can see more gameplay clips on my YouTube channel @GeekySweetie
Your kid comes home from school and tells you at the last minute they need their uniform washed. Or your husband needs his suit for an important meeting, or your friends call and invite you out, but your favorite dress is dirty. You don’t have time to wait for a full load of laundry to finish. What do you do?
LG has the answer with its new LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick System.
The LG Twin Wash includes a full size front load washer and works with the LG SideKick smaller pedestal washing machine. You can now wash two loads of laundry at once. The large full size front loading washing machine is designed to tackle heavy loads, while the SideKick pedestal washer right beneath it can quickly handle those last minute “need it now” items.
The LG Sidekick is also perfect for items that require delicate washing and extra care. And when not in use, the LG Sidekick closes behind a discrete panel, and slides out when ready to be used again.
The LG SideKick raises your front load washer to a more convenient and comfortable height, and it matches perfectly with the LG Dryer.
The LG SideKick can be operated by remote control, allowing you to start and stop the SideKick easily from afar.
The SideKick is also backed by LG’s 10 year warranty.
Combined together, the LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick offer 6.6 CU of space to tackle any size loads, large or small.
The LG Twin Wash is more efficient and ergonomic. The TurboWash 2.0 feature saves up to 30 minutes on larger loads. The door is designed at an angle for ease and comfort, and the door also features all of the controls in a convenient LED panel built right into the door. On the inside, the LG Twin Wash features a recessed soap tray to avoid any messy spills.
What is your favorite feature? How would you use the LG Twin Wash System and Sidekick in your household?
From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home.
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Anyways, this post is not about Kdrama, nor is it about “Fault of Our Stars” or everything that American TV / Cinema does “wrong” when it comes to writing an emotionally moving film…
This post is about “This is Us”, the drama that would change my opinion of everything that American TV / Cinema does “wrong”. I remember for months seeing previews, and being like oh yeah, I want to watch that, but pushing it off on the back burner as my back log of things to watch, games to play, and things to do IRL grew longer and longer. Over the next several months, “This is Us” was often discussed in the office where I work. This increased my curiosity and desire to sit down and binge watch it.
And from the first episode, I was not disappointed. It grabs you in. It had twists and turns and unconventionality. It took place in Pittsburgh (being an hour north of there (and soon to move within minutes of the city, this made it even more relateable to me). It was not the typical white-wash American sitcom family. Here was a family of mixed races, tackling some serious dark and depressing issues. Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Infertility, Adoption, Weight Loss, and a very dysfunctional family. A family with real problems, problems with their marriage, problems with their careers, problems with their kids, problems with their family members.
It was raw, it was personal, it was unlike anything I had ever seen on American TV.
I binged through the first two seasons over Christmas break.
And the series returns tonight 01/09/18 with new episodes.
I won’t reveal much in this review about the story thus far in the first 2 seasons. I think that part of the success of this drama is how it throws some amazing curve balls at you and completely blindsides the heck out of you, which heightens the emotional impact so much more. In fact, the first episode might be quite confusing at first. The entire series is told through jumping here and there from past and present, including different periods in the past, and different families and perspectives and characters and it gets complicated fast. Everything is connected. It’s one of those shows you can only really appreciate and enjoy by watching from the very first episode, and never skipping a single show. The more you watch, the more everything begins to make sense, and the more invested you become in continuing to watch what happens next.
Anyways I’m obviously a fan of this series. It is with love and respect for the amazing writing (and music score, and acting, and pretty much everything) that I write this review.
Title: This is Us
Length: 43 Minutes per Episode, Currently 2 Seasons with new episodes airing tonight 01/09/18.
Where to Watch: This is Us Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Hulu
Geeky: 3/5 This drama is likely to appeal more to girls than guys, due to the fact that it is not an “easy” show to watch. It’s not the type of show you come home to, put on, and mindlessly just enjoy. It requires critical thinking and piecing together the puzzle pieces from episode to episode as complexity grows each week. There are conflicts, but they are matters of the heart, struggles of human kind, and society as a whole. You will not find action and excitement here; however, Pittsburgh locals, and Steelers fans, or anyone dealing with dysfunctional family problems will relate easily to this series.
Overall: 72/80 90% A- “Excellent Drama for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 The concept of the story, the way everything is interconnected and woven together, the excellent writing, acting, music, and execution, the loveable but flawed characters, and how relatable it all is makes the concept and overview of this series easily a 10 out of 10.
Story: 8/10 – The story can be confusing if you jump in mid-season, and it can even be confusing for long time fans. There are many questions left unanswered, and to find those answers, the story skips and hops all over in piece meal fashion. One moment, the big 3 have not even been born, you’re watching their parents in their early 20s, the next moment, the big 3 are about 10 years old, then the next moment they are days old, then the next moment, the big 3 are in their 30s. This would be the only complaint I could give as to the story.
Now for what the story does right, it tells us a story about a middle class northeastern family from Pittsburgh PA. They love the Steelers, they love going out to the bars in downtown Pittsburgh, taking their kids camping in the woods, fishing, hiking, celebrating the holidays Christmas, Halloween, Birthdays, and all, and the realities that come with life in Pittsburgh, PA such as shoveling their cars out from 6 feet of snow, the attitudes regarding racism and the roles of gender etc in the workplace back in the 70s and 80s in Pittsburgh’s prime.
But this isn’t just any other American family. This family is different. A white family raising a black kid, a black kid searching for his birth parents, a community that judges the family from all angles. A family that lost a child, but gained a child. And a family raising 2 remaining white babies along side the black baby. The saying “Love Makes a Family” has never been more true than it is in this drama.
But even parents with the best intentions and pure love for each other and for their children still make mistakes. Some of those mistakes we can never recover from. Some of those mistakes will cost some members of this family their lives. And other mistakes will cause members of this family to spend the rest of their lives searching for answers.
With each surprising plot twist and turn, we learn more about this unconventional American family. What mistakes did they make, what secrets do they hide, what went wrong? And above all, the love the family has for each other, the love that exists despite all of these devastating mistakes, the love that exists even beyond death. Love, self love, self identity, sacrifice, marriage, careers, raising a family, the struggle is real. We feel their struggle, that’s why we keep watching. We want to see how they overcome the pitfalls of life that so many of us face also in our own lives.
Characters: 9/10 Dysfunctional is the word I would use to describe this family, or in fact every single character within this drama. That’s part of what makes this series work so well. It plays on our sympathies, it makes the characters raw, real and relateable. Addiction is also a central theme. Whether it’s Jack and Kev’s alcoholism, Randall’s Obsessive Compulsion and Anxiety, or Kate’s weight problems. These characters are flawed. Sometimes those flaws can be presented a bit heavy handedly and repetitively, which is the only flaw I could give to the unique cast of characters.
It’s also interesting how the characters cannot “escape the sins of their fathers”. Just as Jack resented his father, he turns out to be the same in many ways, and Kevin realizes he too is exactly like them. And even though Beca hates her mother, thinks she expects too much and is controlling, Beca turns out to have the same expectations and behaviors towards her own daughter.
In this way we are shown, no one is perfect. Parenting is not easy. It’s easy to judge what our parents do wrong. It’s easy to blame them for messing up our own lives. But in the end, we control how our future looks.
The big 3 are at different stages in their lives. Randall is married with 2 beautiful children and a loving wife. A successful career and big house. Kate is slowly climbing out of her past problems, she finds a new man, which brings new challenges, but she also finds confidence in herself and realizes her dream to pursue her career and goals despite her age and appearance. Kevin is perhaps the most flawed of the big 3. He is unable to handle relationships, unable to feel anything, he has burred his emotions for so long concerning tragic events in his past. He has messed up his career, and now has to start over from nothing. He will try desperately to cling to the past, and still not acknowledge his problems. Those problems will grow when addiction enters the picture, and just when things seem to be going well for Kevin they will all fall apart again. Similarly, Kate in season 2 is going to have a huge upswing of luck, prosperity, and achievement, only to lose it all again.
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s this roller coaster ride that keeps us watching each episode. We begin to care more and more about the Pearsons because of how raw and real and flawed the characters are.
There’s much more to it than I have revealed here. Like I said, the best part is to watch and be shocked by each new rise and fall.
Casting: 9/10 – I think the show is well cast. My only small critique, and coming at it from the angle of my blog being for young teen/young adult women, is I would have liked Kate’s love interest to have been more handsome. I feel like in American film/TV it is really common to see a fat male character with a beautiful wife, but it’s far less common to see a fat female character with a fit husband. It’s almost taboo in American society to see this combination. And as a fat girl myself in real life, dating currently a fit guy, it’s a match I would like to see depicted more on American TV. Stop perpetuating the misconceived notion that a girl is only as good as her weight. Stop perpetuating that a fat girl can only ever be worthy of being with a fat guy. This isn’t true. Slender guys, Muscular guys, all different types of guys, like fat girls too.
Yes, being fat is unhealthy, and seeing Kate’s struggles with her weight, infertility, and struggles with her pregnancy, all hit very close to home for me as well, since I also have fertility issues due to PCOS.
Anyways, you can hate on me, and call me out and say by my criticizing Kate’s love interest simply because he’s bald and fat, that I’m a hypocrite, because I’m saying then a Man is only as good as his weight – and that’s not really true. that’s not my point or what I’m trying to say, but I think many readers may view these comments as such attacks. I think the character that Kate’s husband plays is smart, funny, and genuinely sweet and a great person. Kate is lucky to have him. Kate would STILL be lucky to have him even if Kate was a size zero and he remained overweight. The scene in the coffee shop where he gets to announce their pregnancy is maybe my favorite scene in the entire series. His love and devotion for Kate is demonstrated time and time again. They are possibly “America’s Sweethearts”.
People like him are hard to find in ANY shape size color or whatever. And the actor playing him does fantastic so this isn’t about his ability as an actor either.
But in a show that CONSTANTLY pushes the envelope on touchy sensitive issues such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, drug addiction, homosexuality, racism, discrimination, etc, It seems like a missed opportunity to push another issue, by giving Kate a partner that would be unconventionally acceptable by society’s standards for a “fat girl”.
As a fat girl myself, and now recently dating a fit and active guy, I am well aware of society’s view of what is “acceptable” for a “fat girl” when it comes to dating. 9 times out of 10 when we go out, the waitress assumes it’s separate checks, even if we go there often, even if I’m cuddling, rubbing his back, flirting, or etc, obviously we are together and out on a date. I’m well aware too of the looks and stares we get when we go out. And probably of the whispers and other comments made behind our backs. And this is in part shaped by what we see on TV. Society doesn’t hold those same misconceptions for an overweight man with an attractive female.
We laugh it off, because who are they to judge us, our happiness, our relationship, our compatibility. But still, Hollywood could be doing more to break down these stereotypes and barriers. They could pair a fat girl with a hot husband. They could cast a fat girl in a main role, and NOT make it about her eating addiction and weight loss, they could, but they don’t, and This is Us is no exception to this.
What we see in the media, also shapes our realities. Hollywood should have a responsibility to do more to stop sexism, racism, and stop hate against people on their weight, religion, sexual orientation, or any other “less desirable” (as perceived by society “norms”) traits.
Randall and Kevin would both be considered hot or attractive, and what do they get, hot wives/girlfriends (although Kevin’s relationships are a hot hot mess).
And yes, Kate does have a wonderful happy loving awesome relationship. That’s wonderful, but why pair the only fat chick in the sitcom, with an equally fat guy? Also why make Kate’s who character so obsessed with her weight. Calling attention to how it’s such a huge negative thing. Meanwhile in countless other sitcoms we see fat or ugly men with smoking hot wives. Let’s reverse that stereotype just one time. I want to see a serious tv series like this, with a very overweight actress such as Kate, with a happy, healthy relationship, with a man that society would deem to be “above her station” and a character who is confident, happy, and content with her body size/shape and just owns it. Yes, we all know that being fat is not healthy, it affects your life in numerous negative ways, from fertility issues such as what Kate has, to heart disease, diabetes, and just lack of energy/stamina. We don’t need a TV show to remind us of this (because society reminds us of this every day). Instead what we NEED is a TV show to show us some kindness, some hope, some ray of light, in a world with very few “role models for fat girls”.
I am here to tell you, that even though TV will never show you that “ray of light” it exists. It’s real. There are REAL men, fit, athletic, muscular, handsome, sexy men, who love big girls. Who love and RESPECT big girls, who love you for you, for the person you are inside. Your heart, your mind, your unique wonderful qualities that make you you. As well as loving you for your curvy body. Loving, loyal, devoted to you.
Do you know what my boyfriend told me on our very first date? He told me all of the reasons why he liked me / was interested in getting to meet me / know me better. Because I’m different from other girls, because I’m real and genuine, and loving, and kind hearted. Because I’m myself, I’m not fake, I’m not shallow, I never judge others. I accept and love and support him. But also he genuinely likes and is attracted to big girls. I’ve seen photos of his exes, and they were even bigger than me. So it’s not just him saying that to please me. As unbelievable as it may be, there are fit guys who love big girls. And not only because they are big. But for all of the reasons that make them a wonderful person. Relationships shouldn’t be superficial. (so once again you might be calling me out here with my critique of Kate’s boyfriend in This is Us because he DOES treat Kate like the queen she is no matter how big he or she are.) But so could any man, regardless of his weight. Why only show fat actresses with fat men? When will hollywood realize that a woman’s value is more than her dress size. I have a wonderful relationship with a fit muscular guy and I’m a 200 lb girl. We share some things in common, but we also show each other new and interesting things, and take interest in each other’s interests. We have never spent a weekend apart ever since we first met, almost 6 months ago now.
I still think every time I go out with my boyfriend that I have the best looking guy in the room, or even in the world. And I find it unbelievable. Why? Why am I always so surprised and thankful and feel so shocked? Because of society’s norms, society’s expectations, society’s judgements. And what forms and shapes those judgements is the media. Magazines, movies, TV shows. We grow up looking to those. It’s a subconscious thing. You can deny it all you want and say you’re not superficial, but the truth is, you don’t even realize how it is shaping your judgement and notions.
Fat women often cast as sidekicks, comic relief, never taken seriously, never in a lead role, never in a “fairytale” type romance with a “prince charming”. If anything at all, paired with a man who society would equally judge and find fault with (at least their outer appearance).
I guess my bottom line is this… They could have written the character of Kate’s husband the EXACT same way, kept ALL of the scenes exactly the same, showing his silly side, his love for Kate, his willingness to let go of any pride or the lengths he would go to to publicly display his love for Kate, Kept all of that, and just cast someone better looking in the role – he still would have had the same qualities that make us love their relationship so much. While no longer perpetuating the stereotype of a fat girl not being able to have a happy relationship like this with an average or even handsome guy. Cast her with someone like Kev or Randall and then we’d REALLY have a show that pushes the envelope.
Acting: 10/10 – The show is emotionally engaging because not only of the excellent writing but the equally believable and convincing acting.
Music: 10/10 – I love the ending theme as well as many of the other tracks used throughout this drama. Many fans have asked repeatedly for Jack’s theme to be released on itunes store. As of yet it does not appear to be available for purchase. Take a listen below to Jack’s Theme.
Visuals: 8/10 – The nostalgia of the 70s 80s, and 90s are depicted through the different time skips back through the story. Although the show is a drama with no special effects or big budget visuals, the show does an excellent job of depicting life in western Pennsylvania. I would know since it is also my home.
Overall: 72/80 90% A- “Excellent Drama for Girls”
I have to admit, I didn’t really do my research on this title (and didn’t realize it was a silent film until I began watching it), but every time I saw a preview, I just wanted to see it oh so badly. When I realized I could buy it for only $10 more than the “rental” price ($15 vs $5) I immediately purchased it.
For about the first 20 – 40 minutes of the film, I felt disappointed and disinterested; that quickly changed as the plot began to advance, and by the end I was so emotionally invested that I was crying.
Read on for the full review below.
Title: The Red Turtle
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Release Date (theatrical limited release) : January 20, 2017 (dvd / bluray) : May 2nd, 2017
Length: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Geeky: 3/5 – The beautiful artwork has a story book like quality while the musical score helps covey the feelings of the wordless cast of characters.
Sweetie: 5/5 – Without any voice, this movie still manages to tell an uplifting, wholesome, sad, touching, and romantic tale. This film reminded me of the Song of the Sea (which I also HIGHLY recommend and will eventually get around to reviewing). It also reminded me of a silent “Little Mermaid”. Or a little of the Tom Hanks “Castaway” film or Swiss Family Robinson.
Overall: 42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”
Story: 8/10 If you’ve watched any of those films, you can guess some of the themes present in the Red Turtle, a story about a man shipwrecked on an island trying first to leave the island, then coming to accept his new life and live off the land.
There’s really several stories within the story here if you’re paying attention. At first, it is just the man and the sea and land and creatures there of. But a miracle occurs one day, turning a lonely devastated man, into a protector, caregiver, lover, and eventually father.
It’s a very circle of life tale. You watch all of the characters as they age, grow up, grow old, while witnessing their triumphs and struggles as they evolve and grow.
Although there are no words, and it takes some getting used to (at least for me; the only other silent film I’ve ever liked is Wall-e.), if you keep watching, you will eventually fall in love with the characters, and by the end it will leave you in tears, as it did for me.
It does start slow. I think the first 30ish minutes of the man being alone on the island could have been cut down to about 10-15 minutes and still conveyed the same point, that he is unable to leave the island, that he is angry, cold, bitter, and vengeful, etc. — Still after the appearance of other humans, we witness how their love for him changes the man into a much different and better person.
Characters: 8/10 : The characters have no names, and no real back stories. It’s never explained exactly how or why things happened the way they did; whether that was intentional to allow you to insert yourself into their shoes, or just the nature of the silent story telling format, it doesn’t matter because the characters are still incredibly real, raw, and full of emotion and personality even without back stories and without voices. I felt an immediate connection to the characters and felt myself emotionally invested and caring about what fates and circumstances fell upon them.
Animation: 8/10 – Although it’s not done in any kind of “traditional” anime style (big eyes, fantasy hair colors, etc), it still has charm. The sea, the starlit sky, the forests, the land, and even the characters. This film had to rely 50 / 50 on music as well as animation to tell the story. The characters’ movements had to convey their emotion. This is no easy task, yet it is one that this film excels at. Whether it’s capturing the curiosity of a small child, the desperation and isolation of a lonely man, the love and tenderness of a woman, or the animals who share the island with the small family, there is no shortage to emotion and charm in the animation.
Music: 10/10 – Think of this as basically Fantasia meets the Little Mermaid. The music score, when music is present, is vital in telling the story. Many times throughout the film there will be little to no music and only ambient noises and sound effects. This makes the power of the instrumental musical pieces even more powerful when it is used to convey the emotions of the cast or even the power of nature itself.
Overall: 42/50 84% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”
Nichelle Nichols, Sonequa Martin-Green, WWE® Superstar Finn Bálor, Talented Comics Creators, Variety of Exhibitors, Cosplayers, Robust Programming At David L. Lawrence Convention Center
PITTSBURGH, October 2016 – Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) concludes its 2016 schedule with its second trip to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh, November 4-6. “Daredevil” stars Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal, Elden Henson, X-Men standout Evan Peters, Nichelle Nichols (“Star Trek”), WWE® Superstar Finn Bálor and Sonequa Martin-Green (“The Walking Dead”) headline the roster of celebrity guests scheduled to attend the pop culture extravaganza.
Cox, Bernthal and Henson are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5; Martin-Green will appear on Saturday and Sunday; Peters is set to appear Sunday only; Nichols will attend all three days.
Also scheduled to appear are
As of today, Wolf Children is my all-time favorite anime “movie” (feature length, stand-alone film). I must’ve watched it 20 times or more by now. If you love Studio Ghibli films, you’ve got to check out Wolf Children. It’s not a Ghibli film, but it feels like it should be one. It has the same things that make Ghibli films so endearing. A heart warming tale of a family and a coming of age story, which in the end has an important message or two to leave with the viewer.
In this case, Wolf Children drives home a message about loving your children, no matter who they choose to grow up to be, a very important message for any parent to embrace in this day and age. You cannot change your children. Some day they will grow up and leave home, and all you can do is try to raise them with love and kindness and hope they make the best decisions for themselves. You don’t have to agree with their decisions, but you need to realize they are their own person. And also in a family with multiple children, you will find that each child is unique and needs handled differently.
Title: Wolf Children
Genre: Family, Supernatural, Fantasy, Drama, Slice of Life
Studio: Madhouse / Studio Chizu
Release Date: 2012
Where to Buy: You can get the DVD and Blu-Ray Combo Pack on Amazon for $19.99 here http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Children…
Overall: 42/45 93% A- “Excellent Anime for Girls”
Story: 10/10 As I mentioned above, Wolf Children is a family film, about learning to let go and accept your children even when they aren’t “perfect”. Wolf Children explores these concepts without cramming them down your throat through use of anthropomorphism (giving human like qualities to animal characters). Ame and Yuki, the two wolf cubs of our story, were born out of love between a human and (what could best be described as) werewolf. Tragedy strikes when their father cannot resist his urge to hunt in order to provide for the new family, leaving their mother alone to raise the two cubs. She is unable to even go to a hospital for the birth or have any help because she is not sure what would happen if they were born as wolves instead of humans. As the cubs grow they begin to cause problems for their mother with her neighbors due to the thin walls in the apartment and their constant howling. So the mom decides to move her cubs to the country where they can be happy and be themselves and not have to worry about the neighbors. Eventually as the cubs grow they go through many changes. The girl wants to be more human and go to school. The boy is more shy and avoids humans. He prefers to learn from nature and the animals of the mountains where they live. The mother at first struggles with her children’s independence, wanting to always keep them safe and protect them, but eventually throughout the movie, the children continue to grow, and the mother ultimately realizes she must accept that they are capable of making their own decisions.
Characters: 9/10 Not gonna lie, Yuki’s exuberance as a puppy really got on my nerves – I had a tough time liking her character at first. But – when I think about it, isn’t that how puppies in real life are? They are destructive, curious, hyper, over excitable, etc. AND her exuberance was a nice contrast from her brother who was very frail and timid. Their differences were highlighted nicely and it made each of their characters stand out more. I also enjoyed the mother and her love for her cubs and dedication to doing anything it took to ensure their happiness and giving them the freedom to become who they wished to become. The character growth and development is also a key highlight of this anime. Yuki goes from that mischievous pup, to someone who wishes to be more mature and lady like, while Ame becomes strong willed, independent, and more adventurous. Watching that change and evolution is really one of the best parts of this anime; It’s like watching them grow up right before your eyes.
Artwork: 4/5 There’s nothing “wrong” with this artwork, in fact it’s “damn good” – I just would have liked them to have explored their own art style, instead of drawing so much inspiration from Studio Ghibli. That said, while it does borrow a lot of Ghibli, it is still beautiful – especially the backgrounds. The character style has a hint of realism, and lots of fantasy and charm as well. It’s also sure to be a hit with any furries out there.
Music: 5/5 Wolf children has a very emotionally moving and touching soundtrack that adds to the sentimental feeling throughout the film. This film really tugs at the heart, and the music I think played a big role in creating that immersion and highlighting many of the key scenes of the film
Voice Acting: 4/5 I didn’t really like Yuki’s voice actress. I dunno why. I just didn’t. I do think it fit the character, but it made it even more annoying and painful for me – Her voice actress captured her spirited, spunky personality – which to give her credit, is exactly what she was supposed to do, but it just grated on my nerves. Everyone else was also perfectly cast and delivered powerful and emotional performances that helped bring their characters to life.
Overall: 42/45 93% A- “Excellent Anime for Girls”
Do you love Studio Ghibli films? Summer Days with Coo is not a Ghibli film, but it reminded me a lot of one. It’s a great family-friendly feature length anime that kids and adults can enjoy together.
It has a lot of cute characters and a heartwarming story. It’s pretty obscure with only 2,300ish “watched” on myanimelist and 600 watched on anime planet. Hopefully if you haven’t heard of it yet, this review will inspire you to check it out for yourself.
Title: Summer Days With Coo
Genre: Family / Fantasy Adventure
Release Date: 2007 (Japan) as far as I know as of the time of this review, it has still not been licensed in North America
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Where to Watch: If you know Japanese you can buy the DVD from Amazon here. Otherwise, you will have to find a torrent or watch it on an anime streaming site thanks to fansubs.
Story: 10/10 My Summer with Coo is a feature-length family film about a young “baby” Kappa. Kappas are mystical creatures in Japanese folktales which are thought to lure humans into the river to kill them. You can read more about Kappa here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_(folklore) It’s really interesting, especially after having watched the movie.
It starts out about as tame/innocent as Totoro or other Ghibli films, but then it gets really dark. (Still family friendly though).
The movie begins hundreds of years before the events of the main story. Coo (the baby Kappa) is with his daddy in the river, when some drunken samurai come walking by. Kappa are curious in nature and when Coo’s father approaches the samurai, he startles them which provokes an attack. Coo is too young to survive on his own, and unable to return to his river.
He “Dries Up” and then our main story begins, when a young human boy in modern times uncovers his fossil one day on his way home from school. He takes the fossil home, and his family are surprised to discover it is a kappa. They nurse him back to health with food, water, and kindness. Kappas can speak Japanese, so Coo becomes a very close friend to everyone in the house.
Eventually, despite their efforts to hide Coo, it is discovered that the family is hosting a real Kappa. This draws much attention from the media and changes the lives of the family who begin to lose sight of what’s best for Coo.
Characters: 10/10 Coo (and Kappa in general) are what is referred to as Busukawaii or Ugly-Cute. This is a trend that’s gaining popularity the last few years in Japan. Something that’s so ugly, it’s actually kinda cute. I love all of the characters in this anime. Even the family’s pet dog has a really unique personality and big impact on the story and family and on Coo. It’s the characters and the look into their family that makes this anime so enjoyable that I’ve watched it 5 times now.
Graphics: 2/5 I’m not a fan of the character designs. I like more “anime” looking characters, big eyes, white dazzling skin, blue or pink hair, etc. lol. This is more like what I would think disney would do if it were to make a movie about Japan (very true-to-life looking characters, dark hair, dark skin, small eyes, etc). Coo is cute, but he’s also pretty ugly lol. Just kinda a hard movie to “watch” because it’s so out there and different from “mainstream” anime techniques.
Music: 5/5 I really love the music in this film. It ranges from peaceful, playful tracks reminding you of your summer vacations, to dark, depressing, or even aggressive sounding tracks when the mood of the film shifts later on in the story.
Voice Acting: 4/5 – Some of the voices didn’t seem to match the characters in my opinion, but the main characters all delivered their lines with a lot of emotion, and since it’s such an emotional rollercoaster of a film, the voice acting really aided with the immersion.
Overall: 38 / 45 84%
Ok so anyways, I digress. This exciting announcement just went viral today that thanks to the BBC network, we’re about to get to see Philip Pullman’s whole trilogy in a TV series format. The trilogy is comprised of three novels, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.
The story follows Lyra who inadvertently gets dragged into a war much bigger than herself. It features fantasy, and magic, and is often criticized for taking a very dark/negative view of religion. Pullman is a very vocal aethist. It’s even rumored that because of his “fight against religion” as the main reason New Line Cinema did not move forward to complete their trilogy of boxoffice movies.
I wonder if perhaps, if this TV series does well if we will see a reboot or perhaps the sequel we want from New Line Cinema. I thought the Golden Compass movie was every bit as good as Lord of the Rings, another New Line Cinema book to movie “triology” (or sixology I guess lol).
What I really liked about it was the strong female lead (I mean, yes, she was a child actress, but when compared to books and movies like Harry Potter who are “afraid” to put a woman in the main role or books and movies like Twilight which feature a very weak female, Lyra is a very adventurous and strong little girl with a big heart.) I also totally dig the concept of the animal companions which come from the children’s magic and abilities. Some of the different races are in fact animals with sentient minds such as the Polar Bears, etc. I also really like the underlying themes of family and what “makes” a family. Lyra’s mother is not a perfect mother, and her father is not in the picture, but appears to love Lyra very much. It’s an interesting, modern, and sometimes true interpretation of what a family unit looks like in this day and age.
I don’t see any word yet on how many episodes this new BBC TV series will be. I’m hoping it will be nice and long 🙂 At least 3 full TV seasons. But I’d be okay too with just a 3-part miniseries. I just want to know how the damn story ends without having to read the book. lol. I could skip ahead, etc, but where would the fun in that be? I already know the main gist anyways from reading online, but it’s not the same as “seeing” it myself. 🙂
The series will be produced by “Philip Pullman, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema, Bethan Jones for BBC One, and Deborah Forte for Scholastic”. (according to the Times.com article linked to at the beginning of this post)
Since New Line themselves are getting involved in this TV Series, that makes me want to hold out hope even more for them to bring it on back to the BIG SCREEN.
I hope beyond hope that this TV Series really takes off and does well!! And then I hope New Line Cinema will bring back their big screen trilogy too.