First Impression – Ghost Hunt

Ghost Hunt 

ゴーストハント

Genres: Comedy, Mystery, Horror, Supernatural

Air Dates: October 4, 2006March 28, 2007

Total Episodes: 25

Episodes I Watched: 3

Plot: Telling ghost stories is a favorite past time of Mai Taniyama and her friends—that is, until she meets 17-year-old Kazuya Shibuya, the man sent by Shibuya Psychic Research Center to investigate paranormal activity at a supposedly haunted school. When Mai gets caught in a dangerous situation, she is rescued by Kazuya’s assistant. Saving her lands the assistant incapacitated, and Kazuya demands that Mai become his assistant, instead… (Source: ANN)

Characters

The protagonist of Ghost Hunt is sixteen-year-old, first year, Mai Taniyama. 

The other main characters include: Kazuya Shibuya, “Naru”, a seventeen-year-old narcissist and paranormal researcher and manager of Shibuya Psychic Research Center. Lin Koujo, Naru’s assistant. Hosho Takigawa, a buddhist monk. Ayako Matsuzaki, a 23-year-old shrine maiden. John Brown, an exorcist from Australia. Masako Haru, a popular spirit medium from television.

All together they make for an interesting bunch the first three episodes when the principal of Mai’s school hires them all to exorcise the spirits from the cursed, old, school building.

Art

The art is pretty standard for 2006-07. It’s not super high quality but it looks nice. Personally I like it. The art style doesn’t distract me from the plot so I can just delve right into it.

The OP is very simplistic but I feel like it fits the show well. It’s not the best OP I’ve seen, but it definitely gets you in the mood for the show.

Conclusion

I’ll definitely continue watching this. I really love horror and the paranormal so it’s nice to see a shoujo with this darker focus to it. During the first episode I felt like it was kind of dragging a bit, but the second and third episodes really redeemed the show for me. I was super interested in how they were going to solve the case, and I was even trying to think of my own paranormal theories. I can’t wait to continue watching.

First Impression – Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!

Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu Love! 

美男高校地球防衛部LOVE!

Genres: Comedy, Magic, Slice of Life

Animation Producer: Diomedea

Music Producer: Pony Canyon

Plot: This is the tale of five unlikely heroes who unite under the name of the “Earth Defense Club” alongside a pink wombat-like alien to defend their world and restore love to all; however, does a sinister organization lurk behind the scenes of Binan High school? (Source: MyAnimeList)

Going into this I was a bit hesitant. The premise seemed interesting, but I wasn’t sure how well it would be conveyed. Well, I’m glad I decided to watch this because I laughed so hard that I’m surprised I didn’t wake the whole house up. There’s only one episode out and I already can’t wait for the next.

First Episode Summary

“In the Name of Love”

Atsushi Kinugawa and En Yufuin are the first characters we are introduced to. They are sitting in a public bath and En is talking about chikuwabu. Suddenly a pink Wombat with a heart on its left side crashes through the ceiling asking questions. When the boys see the cute creature they struggle to get out of the bath but Wombat won’t have it. Yumoto Hakone opens the doors to the bath and once he sees the wombat he screams and tackles it, trying to cuddle. Atsushi and En take the oppurtunity to escape. Outside we are briefly shown the student council members.

At school the next day the homeroom teacher walks into class with Wombat under his arm. Later, Wombat tries to talk to Atsushi and En again but Yumoto sees and chases after Wombat again. Atsushi and En go to their club and we meet Io Naruko, a guy obsessed with money, and Ryuu Zaou, a guy obsessed with girls. Wombat comes into the club along with Yumoto. Wombat gives the five bishounens “Lovracelets” which allows them to transform into magical boys. Outside the boys see a monster chikuwabu and use their love powers to defeat it.

Art

The art was really your classic anime style, which I liked. It wasn’t too artistic or too dull, it was the perfect balance. I also appreciate the fact that there wasn’t CGI used for the transformation sequences, which personally I don’t like (for example in Sailor Moon Crystal). I really think the transformation scenes are well done in this anime.

In the first episode, they put the OP for the series at the end of the episode. It was really cute and one of my favorite things happened, which is that it’s sung by the characters! This is something I really look forward to for OPs and EDs so I’m psyched about it. Since the OP was at the end, we didn’t get to see an ED, so I’ll look forward to seeing that in the second episode.

Characters

The first episode did a great job in introducing the characters. We can already get a feel for their quirks and personalities. Of course they use a lot of tropes, like Yumoto being the typical shota-esque character, but the characters are all likable. Wombat is hilarious and the boy’s reactions to him are golden. We also get tension rising with the student council and their mysterious (not really) appearance at the end along with their green hedgehog.

Conclusion

I’ll definitely keep watching this anime, and I’d recommend it to people who want to have a good laugh. It’s almost like a boy parody of Sailor Moon, without the love interests. This is very much a comedy and it’s done in an excellent way that doesn’t seemed forced.

I can’t wait until next week!

Abby’s Top Ten Favorite Shoujo Anime OP/EDs

Hi guys! Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite shoujo anime OP/EDs! If you didn’t know, those little theme songs at the beginning of the episodes are called opening sequences (or OP for short). When the episode is over there is also another song with more credits which is called the ending sequence (ED).

Well let’s get on with it, shall we?

10. Free!: Eternal Summer ED

One word: Fanservice. From Rin dressing up as a cop and dancing, to the voice actors singing, this ED is every Free! fan’s dream.

9. Princess Tutu OP

This soft, beautiful, peaceful song, really fits this anime’s ballet theme well. It’s a great intro for the show. It gets you into the perfect mood.

8. Full Moon wo Sagashite OP

For an anime that focuses around a young girl’s dream to be a singer, the OP does a great job in getting people into an upbeat mood with its catchy tune.

7. Vampire Knight ED

The perfect ending to a good anime. This ominous composition and eerie Yuki is a great fit for the anime.

6. Kamisama Hajimemashita OP

This uplifiting theme will be stuck in your head all day.

5. NANA OP

NANA’s my favorite shoujo anime and their OP didn’t disappoint. They used a song directly from the anime and it fits perfectly.

4. Say, “I Love You” OP

This soothing melody is something you can listen to even if you’re not a fan.

3. Kimi ni Todoke OP

This super cute OP matches the cute show perfectly.

2. Natsume Yuujinchou ED

Natsume Yuujinchou’s tranquil tune is the perfect way to end the episode.

And last but not least…

1. RDG: Red Data Girl ED

I had this song on loop for weeks and never got sick of it. This is really the best shoujo ED I’ve ever heard.

Christmas in Japan

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day has been well. In honor of this special holiday, I thought I’d tell you what Christmas is like in Japan.

Is Christmas a religious holiday in Japan?

Only around 1% of Japan’s population are Christians, so they don’t celebrate Christmas like most Western countries do where Christianity is the primary religion. Around 40% of Japanese citizens do not practice a set religion, though the largest organized religion in Japan would be Buddhism, which 34% of the population practice.

Christmas is not considered a national holiday in Japan. It’s more of a commercialized holiday. Schools and businesses are usually  open on December 25.

How do the Japanese celebrate Christmas?

Well Christmas (especially Christmas Eve) is seen as a romantic day. Often times couples will go out on romantic dates, viewing the pretty decorations, or eating a meal at a nice restaurant.

Some families put up Christmas trees in their homes, but most of the decorations outside are put out by major corporations. Families enjoy Christmas cake and children await Santa-san to bring them presents.

Kentucky for Christmas?

A tradition in Japan includes eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas. (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/markls/342585244/in/photolist-vuZCq-voraK-bvPrdD-uSU7N-7iCRG2-JEwJd-dBAuj4-7pSrSD-qvFv9-7nrhrk-5BT8XU-aZ1SbM-wgQE9-wgQEi-96veJZ-7pYN3F-5M9Y2L-6AJKgV-tSspS-aFGwCt-7pSpSD-7vjpcK-5M5q9u-5NHYqJ">Mark Stilwell/Flickr</a>)This all started in the ’70s when Japan first started looking at adopting some Western holidays. They found it hard to find turkey, so they though, “Well, why not KFC?”. In 1974, KFC started their Kentucky for Christmas promotion and reeled in the customers like crazy.

KFC is so popular for Christmas in Japan that sometimes people pre-order their chicken party buckets two months in advance.

Fried chicken is the true staple of a Japanese Christmas.

 

Intro to Otome Games

What are otome games?

Otome games are video games (mostly from Japan) that are directed towards a female audience. “Otome gemu” translates to “girl game”. Otome is pretty much the shoujo of video games.

What kind of games are usually otome?

The most popular kind of otome game genre would have to be the dating sim. The player plays as a girl and goes through the game vying for the love of her favorite guy, since there’s usually several.

The style and art are similar to shoujo manga/anime, but the plot is different. It has less substance and is more like a harem.

Throughout the game you can go through different “routes” for different characters or different story lines. There are even different endings too. You can get a “good end” or “bad end”.

Some otome games are plot based though, like visual novels. Starry Sky ~in Spring~.jpgYou can still take different routes on these games but they are focused on telling a story, instead of the focus being on getting the hottie patottie anime guy.

What are some popular otome games?

Some popular otome games include:

Alice in the Country of Hearts, Amnesia, Angelique, Brothers Conflict, Diabolik Lovers, Fatal Hearts, Hakuoki, Hiiro no Kakera, Kiniro no Corda, Princess Debut, Shall We Date?, Starry Sky, and Uta no Prince-sama.

Hey, I recognize some of those titles from anime/manga! What’s up with that?

Nana-gameWell you’re a sharp one. Yes, when otome games are popular it’s not uncommon for them to be made into manga/anime! It works vice-versa as well. When an anime/manga is popular sometimes they’ll make a game out of it.

For example, they made a video game for NANA. In the game you live next to the two Nana’s apartment. You get to meet some of the characters and date some of they guys. You can also get a job, shop, decorate, etc.

On the flip side, Amnesia, started out as a PSP game. Amnesia visual novel cover.jpgIt was popular and they came out with two games before they aired the anime in 2013.

In Amnesia, you play as a girl who has lost her memories. You go through different routes based on which character you want to end up with. The boys in this are represented by suit symbols from card decks and it’s really cool.

What platforms are otome games on?

You can pretty much get otome games on any device. The easiest ones that are most readily available though would be through PC and PlayStation products.

Abby’s Top Ten Favorite Shoujo Anime

I figured it’s time. It is time to reveal to you guys my top ten shoujo anime.

I’ve been watching anime for a long time, so some of these I have watched recently, while others I watched six or seven years ago. All of these hold a special place in my heart, for many different reasons. Most of these I have rewatched more than twice.

Well, let’s get started.

10. AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Episodes: 11

Aired: April 15, 2011 – June 24, 2011

Plot:

A group of six childhood friends drift apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Ten years after the incident, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has withdrawn from society and lives as a recluse. One summer day, the ghost of an older looking Menma appears before him and asks to have a wish granted, reasoning that she cannot pass on into the afterlife until it is fulfilled. At first, he only tries to help her minimally because he thinks he is hallucinating. But since Menma does not remember what her wish is, Jinta gathers his estranged friends together once again, believing that they are the key to resolving this problem. All of the group join him, though most of them do so reluctantly. However, things grow increasingly complicated when his friends accuse him of not being able to get over the death of Menma, for Jinta is the only one who can see Menma’s ghost and his friends think he is seeing things. But as matters progress, it is realized that Jinta is not the only person in the group who is having trouble letting go of the past. It is revealed that a majority of the group members blame themselves for Menma’s death and long hidden feelings are rekindled. The group struggles as they grow from trying to help Menma move on and help each other move on as well. (source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

This anime’s a tear-jerker, and it’s presented in the best way possible. You really connect to all the characters, especially Menma. I’d recommend it to anyone that like’s a good quality anime that makes you cry at the end.
9. Laughing Under the Clouds (Donten ni Warau) 

Genres: Action, Historical

Episodes: Currently Airing

Aired: October 4, 2014 – ?

Plot:

When swords were outlawed in the eleventh year of the Meiji Era, the mighty samurai population began to dwindle. Those who rejected the ban on blades rebelled, causing violent unrest to erupt throughout the countryside. To combat the rise in criminal activity, an inescapable lake prison was constructed. Three young men, born of the Kumoh line, were given the duty of delivering criminals to their place of confinement—but could there be more to their mission than meets the eye? (Source: FUNimation)

My Thoughts:

Well, since it’s currently airing I don’t want to say too much, but so far I’m really impressed with this anime. This is one of the special cases in shoujo where it’s action and has a male protagonist, but is still directed towards a female audience.
8. Full Moon wo Sagashite 

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance, Supernatural

Episodes: 52

Aired: April 6, 2002 – March 29, 2003

Plot:

Twelve-year-old Kouyama Mitsuki was devastated when she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the throat. She had made a promise to the boy she loves that she would one day become a singer, but her illness made singing impossible. To make matters even worse, two angels of death, Takuto and Meroko, appeared to Mitsuki and informed her that she only had one year left to live. This news provides an even greater motivation for Mitsuki to fulfill her dreams, and with a little bit of divine intervention, she begins her quest to become a professional singer so she can be reunited with Eichi before time runs out. (Source: ANN)

My Thoughts:

I watched Full Moon when I was in sixth grade and I was instantly obsessed. Being the same age as the protagonist really made her relatable, but this anime can be relatable to any age. It’s genuinely a good story, and it’s cute.
7. Kimi ni Todoke 

Genres: Romance, School

Episodes: 25

Aired: October 7, 2009 – March 31, 2010

Plot:

Sawako Kuronuma’s one wish in life is to make friends. That’s a difficult proposition when everyone who meets her cowers in terror, due to her resemblance to Sadako (after whom they nickname her) from the Japanese horror movie series The Ring. Shunned by her classmates, her life starts to change after she befriends her classmate, Shōta Kazehaya, a popular, easygoing and 100% refreshing guy who is nice with everyone, even with her. (Source: ANN)

My Thoughts:

Kimi ni Todoke was really wonderful. It is definitely a more realistic anime, about as real as you can get while still keeping a light tone. It’s great seeing Sawako’s character development throughout the show. The plot is great and I’d recommend it to most people.
6. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! 

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School

Episodes: 26

Aired: April 2, 2010 – September 24, 2010

Plot:

Misaki Ayuzawa is the first female student council president at a once all-boys school turned co-ed. She rules the school with strict discipline demeanor. But she has a secret—she works at a maid cafe due to her families circumstances. One day the popular A-student and notorious heart breaker Takumi Usui finds out her secret and makes a deal with her to keep it hush from the school in exchange for spending some time with him. (Source: ANN)

My Thoughts:

Maid-sama is really hilarious. The situations are funny, the characters are funny. It’s a great rom-com. The romance in it is really cute too.
5. Yona of the Dawn (Akatsuki no Yona) 

Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural

Episodes: Currently Airing

Aired: October 7, 2014 – ?

Plot:

Upon her sixteenth birthday, the cheerful Princess Yona intended to tell her doting father of her love for Su-Won, but her life was turned upside down after witnessing the man she loves cruelly assassinating her father. Heartbroken by this painful betrayal, Princess Yona fled the palace with her loyal servant Hak. Now, she will take up the sword and the bow on a quest to gain new allies and protect her beloved people. (Source: FUNimation)

My Thoughts:

This anime is also currently airing so I won’t say much. This anime has great potential. I adore the historic feel to this, even if technically it takes place in a non-existent fantasy land. Yona really has shown great growth as a character and I’m always dying for the next episode.

4. Skip Beat! 

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Episodes: 25

Aired: October 6, 2008 – March 30, 2009

Plot:

Kyoko followed her true love and childhood friend Sho to Tokyo so she could help him reach his dream of becoming an idol. She cleans, cooks, works three jobs and does nothing for herself because she loves him so much, but gets nothing in return. Still, she remains by his side. But then one day she goes unannounced to his agency with a delivery, and overhears him talking about her; he reveals to his manager that he only took her with him as a maid, and that he doesn’t care for her at all. Upon hearing this, Kyoko doesn’t just sit around and cry. She cuts and dyes her hair, changes her clothes and attitude and thus begins her journey to join showbiz and have her revenge against Sho. (Source: ANN)

My Thoughts:

If you have any interest in the entertainment industry (acting, singing, etc.) and like anime then I’d highly recommend this. It’s really great. I’ve watched this anime three of four times. You can always come back to it for a laugh and for a cry.
3. Natsume Yuujinchou (All four seasons) 

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Episodes: 52 (In all four seasons)

Aired: July 7, 2008 – March 26, 2012

Plot:

For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has had the ability to see spirits, inheriting the power from his grandmother Reiko. Upon her death, Reiko bequeaths to her grandson her Book of Friends, a book containing the names of spirits Reiko had bullied into servitude. The Book of Friends is a highly prized item in the spirit world, and spirits haunt Takashi constantly. Whereas Reiko formed the contracts, however, Takashi spends his time dissolving the contracts and releasing the various spirits that come to him for help. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t malicious spirits trying to kill him. Which is where Madara (called Nyanko-sensei by Natsume) comes in; Madara serves as Natsume’s bodyguard and spiritual advisor of sorts, even though he is motivated by his own desire to possess the Book of Friends. He later on begins to become more attached to Takashi. (Source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

Here’s another of those cases where a male is the protagonist of a shoujo. Natsume’s  a wonderful protagonist, but if you’re looking for something relatable, this probably wouldn’t be your best bet. I love this anime for it’s supernatural aspect. It’s really well done and you get to see a lot of Japanese mythology come to life.
2. Say, “I Love You” 

Genres: Drama, Romance, School

Episodes: 13

Aired: October 7, 2012 – December 30, 2012

Plot:

Mei Tachibana is a 16-year-old girl at Toumei High. She’s gone through her entire life having no friends. She would open herself up when she was a child, but when an accident involving a classroom pet happened in her elementary years, she vowed to never let anyone in again.

Yamato Kurosawa is Mr. Hot and Popular at Toumei. He’s everyone’s dream guy. He’s nice, sweet, and has never been interested in a girl before… now.

After an interesting introduction to each other, Yamato can’t get the quiet, anti-social, Mei Tachibana out of his head. He wants to befriend her. Find out what makes her tick, What happened to make Mei this way?

This dramatic love story is a roller coaster of feels. So hold onto your seats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

(Source: My Own Article)

My Thoughts:

Say, I Love You, is probably the most relatable anime on here for a teenage girl. It has familiar situations for high school students. Mei’s character development is wonderful and you really get to see her blossom into herself.
1. NANA 

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance, Slice of Life

Episodes: 47

Aired: April 5, 2006 to March 28, 2007

Plot:

Nana Osaki is a guarded and ambitious young woman with a strong will and a rough past. She is the vocalist for a punk band called Black Stones and she desires fame and recognition more than anything else. Nana Komatsu is an outgoing and flighty young woman with a weak will and a stable past. Her life revolves around her desire to find love and marriage. The two meet for the first time while traveling to Tokyo – in pursuit of their respective dreams – and they later decide to be roommates. Although drastically different people, the two become very close and together they find out if their biggest dreams have room for their best friend. (Source: ANN)

My Thoughts:

NANA is definitely my favorite shoujo anime ever. This anime is very real and kind of dark. It doesn’t deal with school issues. It deals with issues that actually happen. I enjoyed every single episode of this. I laughed. I sobbed ugly tears. This anime is just so wonderful. I recommend it to everyone.

Well that’s it! Feel free to comment your favorite shoujo (or other anime)!

Intro to Anime Food

Happy Thanksgiving to people from the US! I hope your day was wonderful! In honor of this food-filled holiday, I thought I would do a special on food in anime (so basically Japanese foods).

What are some staple foods of Japan?

Rice

Well one staple of Japan would have to be rice. Rice production in Japan is a vital part of their economy and it’s not uncommon to have rice at every meal (this includes breakfast). Sometimes they will add soy sauce, katsuobushi (dried fish flakes), raw egg, natto, or other various things to their rice, but often times they will eat it plain.

Cute panda onigiri!

They also make onigiri (rice balls) that are really cute and seen in a plethora of anime. The onigiri may also have fillings. Some popular ones include: salmon, salted/seasoned cod roe, tuna, dried kelp, dried plum, and katsuobushi. Often times the onigiri will have nori (dried seaweed) wrapped around it.

Seafood

Being an island nation, Japan has an abundance of seafood in their exquisite cuisine.

Grilled Mackerel Pike

One type of seafood is sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish, which has to be carefully prepared, but is decadent. A lot of fish are great as sashimi, but some of the popular ones include: maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), tai (sea bream), saba (mackerel), katsuo (bonito or skipjack tuna), and kanpachi (yellowtail/amberjack). Sashimi is often served with wasabi, pickled ginger, and/or soy sauce.

Another way of serving fish in Japan is known as yakizakana. Yakizakana is grilled fish. Fish often used for grilling are saba, sake, tai, and ayu.

Noodles

There are three popular noodle types in Japan.

Udon Noodles

First we’ll talk about soba. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are thin. Soba can be prepared hot or cold, depending on the season (or your personal preference). Buckwheat is largely produced in Hokkaido, so there will be many places to buy specialty soba noodles.

Another type of noodle is udon. Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat. It is usually served hot as kake udon. Udon is usually served with toppings. Common toppings include: scallions, tempura, aburaage, and kamaboko. Regions of Japan have different specialties, so if you plan to take a visit, maybe try some different types!

Traditional Ramen House

Lastly, there’s a noodle with a bad rep in the US, but don’t get your panties in a twist it’s not all that you think… ramen! Ramen noodles are a type of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in broth. In western society we often see ramen noodles in packages, boil some water, add the seasoning packet, and go! That’s instant ramen though. Not all ramen is pre-packaged like that. Of course even in Japan they have instant ramen, but they also have a variety of ramen houses, specializing in appetizing ramen dishes, that aren’t nearly as bad for your health as its instant cousin.

 

What’s with those vending machines?

Long line of vending machines in Japan

In the US we generally see vending machines for two items, snacks like chips and candy, and drinks like soda, water, iced tea, and lemonade.

In Japan, their vending machines aren’t as limited. They seem futuristic almost. You name it, they probably have it available in a vending machine. These things can range from cold and hot drinks to ready made meals to fortunes. If you are out for a walk in winter and shivering from the cold, do not fret! There’s most likely a vending machine nearby with hot tea and coffee calling your name.

Vending machines are very popular in Japan and some of them can be pretty strange (here’s a list of vending machines).

What’s omurice?

Omurice is a cute staple of Japanese pop culture. Omurice is an omelette filled with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup. 

Omurice is typically seen in maid cafes. Maid cafes are a type of cosplay restaurant. Typically seen in Akihabara, Tokyo, these cafes cater to the tastes of otakus. Inside a maid cafe you will see young women dressed as maids. No, not real maids, these are costumes. Typically they will act on different personas that the customer will pick.

In maid cafes when you order omurice, they will ask you what you would like drawn/written on your omurice in ketchup. Typically they’ll draw cute designs.

I hope you liked this little Thanksgiving inspired post! 🙂