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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Singin' Saturday: Mother - 96Neko

Title: Mother
Artist: 96Neko
Language: Japanese
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes:  I've been at school since August and just got back home last week for Winter Break and haven't seen my mom at all yet because she's been in Taiwan. However, she's coming home today and I'm so excited! I love this song so much because it's the perfect representation of my feelings for her. Our family is not very candid while expressing our affections for each others so we never say anything out loud. That's why I basically sent my mom this song earlier this school year to tell her that even though I don't say it, she is still one of the most important people to me.

Also, I love 96Neko and her voice is wonderful in this song. It has a gorgeous melody and honestly brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. But I don't know if that was just because I was really stressed out over school when I first listened to it and just missed my family so much.

Listen and Love!


Wdebo :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anime Review: Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club

"The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers in the surface and carve an opening" 

-Haru

Title: Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club
Japanese Title: Free!
Amount of Episodes: 12
Status: Completed
Air Date: July 4, 2013 - September 25, 2013
Tags: Swimming, Comedy, Slice of Life, School
For: Teens



Summary: Free! follows three teenagers, Haru, Makoto and Nagisa as they try to establish a swim club in their high school. On their path, they recruit track star and theory specialist, Rei, bubbly/fangirl, Gou Kou, and gentle (?) teacher, Miho.

Haru, Makoto and Nagisa share a deep history in that they were all in the same swimming club during elementary school with the all-mighty Rin. Rin, the shark-toothed hot head, who has just gotten back from Australia and is about to shake their simple plans to create a swimming sanctuary.

Wdebo's Review: (Warning: Review will contain a ton of gifs. You have all been warned) To be serious, I wasn't really expecting much from the anime when I first started and did not come in with very high expectations. Therefore, in the beginning, I was mainly just blinded by the beauty that is all of the half naked swimmers bodies. Honestly, Kou was literally me in anime form:



When the anime started, there was barely any storyline. I was just in it for the shapely male bodies. There was clothing getting ripped off at any possible minute and I approved (thanks mainly to Haru who strips anytime he comes in contact with water.) 


This anime was very blatantly marketed towards those who were attracted to males and it showed. Boi, did it show.


I


Was Totally 


Fine With 


That


The amount of fanservice they were able to stuff into this anime was very impressive. I do have to admit that it was refreshing to see oversexualized male bodies compared to females. 

Males: 


Females:



As stated above, the storyline was basically non-existent in the opening of the show. The main problem that was presented was the mystery surrounding Rin and his history with the boys, especially Haru. It dwelled on why Rin and Haru had such animosity between, wait, scratch that, mainly why Rin was always so competitive with Haru and Haru was so apathetic, well, until the dramatic ending that is. Damn, that ending was really something.

The story honestly seemed pretty tacked on in the beginning, like the author was like, "Hm, I really should add in some conflict instead of drawing hot anime guys swimming around with each." However, as the anime progressed and I became more and more attached to each of the characters, I became fairly invested in each of their backstories, especially what occurred between Haru and Rin. Truthfully, after finishing the program, I still have lots of unanswered questions. And some of the explanations did not make that much sense to me personally. However, I did like how it still went along the whole brotherhood and harworking theme that underlies many anime (especially shonen ones). The bond between Haru and Rin was really sweet and the change in Rin's personality in the last couple of episodes was an appreciated amazement. 

I was surprised by how much I liked all of the characters. This is a very rare occurrence especially since female characters are typically given a very submissive, whinny role which I can never stand. Though Kou and Miho are definitely not in the spotlight and are supporting characters, they still had their part to play (though it was smaller than I would have liked). They were not too annoying and were a welcome addition to the cast. The show was very humorous and the characters were a great reason why.

So, we've talked about the beauty that is the male protagonists' bodies which shows the wonders that is animation. I really liked the quality of animation except for the fact that at times I felt that the scenery details were foregone instead focusing upon the details of the characters, which is totally understandable but you aren't going to find Black Butler level details in here. Everything is just pretty but not beautiful. There definitely could have been more added to art of both the landscape and the people.

The music choice was very hit and miss for me. Sometimes I liked it other times I did not. Some of the songs (mainly the calming instrumentals) fit the mood perfectly and were a welcome addition to the scene, other times, uhhhh...one word...Dubstep. They played fucking dubstep in the "tense" scenes. Now don't get me wrong I love EDM except for the fact that it's very strange to experience it in anime, especially a swimming anime. The opening and ending songs also took some time for me to get used to, but after a while they did grow on me. They're just not something I would have on repeat all the time. 

Free! was seen as a somewhat controversial anime this summer which is understandable in the fact it is peppered with sexy half naked guys but not in that it was up against Attack on Titan which used blood like how other animes used cherry blossoms. 

Free! held a lot of homosexual undertones because you obviously cannot have so many wet and naked guys together in the same vicinity for so long without at least one of them wanting to jump the others' bones. Am I right? Coughs. The most obvious "couple" that comes to mind is water-loving Haru and the perpetually glommy Rin. Seriously, the sexual tension between the two was so palpable, I was gonna take it and smack both of them for not realizing their chemistry. (Even though I am definitely a Rei X Nagisa shipper myself). 

Finally, the specials that were bundled with the anime were really cute and adorable. 

All in all, Free! is a fun little anime to enjoy but nothing to be taken as a completely serious plotline. It is just a nice way to pass the time. Fun for all! 

Grade: B+ 

Wdebo :)

Watch it HERE
Watch 50% Off (A wonderful parody of the show) HERE

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Zom-B By: Darren Shan

"Twisting and turning, racing along corridors, tears streaming down my face, I pant and stumble, but never fall or falter. Never look back either, afraid of what I might see, zombies or Dad, one as bad as the other" (169).

Title: Zom-B
Author: Darren Shan
HARDBACK
Amount of Pages: 192
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Geared Towards: Older Middle Grade Readers +
From: Publisher (Review Copy) 
I was not paid for this review

Summary (From Front Flap): When the news starts reporting a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's father thinks it's a hoax-but even if it isn't, the two of them joke, it's only the Irish, right? 

That is, until zombies actually attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the sepentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers. But when they come face-to-face with ravenous, oozing corpses, all bets are off. There are no friends. No allies. Just whatever it takes to survive. 

Wdebo's Review: I got this book last year and have been reading it on and off and was finally able to complete it today. There was just so much going on with this book, so let's get started with this review. 

I was struggling with whether or not I wanted to post up that summary especially given that zombies were only briefly mentioned in the prologue, the beginning chapters of the book and brought back up again during the later half of the book. I probably would have completely forgotten it was supposed to be a zombie book if it wasn't for the title and the cover. 

The novel itself is very thin and simple and went by very quickly. It tried to tackle way too much with the amount of space it was given.Yes, I know that this is the first book of the series; however, the way the author tried to introduce all of the topics he wanted to talk about into this one small book just did not work very well for me.

The prologue talks about a boy who prays to a mysterious man to save him during a zombie apocalypse and it goes to to talk about the protagonist, B and their father. It is pretty crazy that I had no idea B was a girl until the very end of the story. I had been picturing a teenage boy trying to be tough all the time, so reading that B was a girl came as a bit of a shock. Then the zombies are kind of forgotten and instead the novel focuses on B's abusive and racist father. The first half of the book discusses the topic of racism and how B believes she is only going along with her father's behavior in hopes of his love and approval, that she didn't feel any true hatred towards any minorities. I'm not entirely sure what Shan was trying to create with this mental struggles because I think that he was trying to create a sympathetic character in which the readers could empathize with B's struggles with her father and then her struggles as she tries to get out of her school alive during the surprise zombie attack. However, this humanization failed to reach me. I felt no true feelings for B. Her character, instead of seeing her in a sympathetic light, I just wrote her off as whinny and annoying. She seemed like she was just trying to brainwash herself into believing a lie about herself. She just tried to make herself out to be more of a innocent player than she actually was. I do like how Shan tried to incorporate such an important topic like racism into the story but it just seemed like it was not a topic that was developed enough, strangely, much like the rest of the subject matter presented in the book.

Everything in the story felt too rushed. It wasn't the fact that it didn't have enough detail, all of the story matter and detail felt too superficial, which is why this story went by much more quickly than it should have. Shan had an interesting plot in the making, there was much potential for an exciting, deep storyline to be woven but it just fell flat. These two topics should have been woven together much more tightly than they actually were. There was effort, just not enough to truly create a on-the-edge-of-your-seat atmosphere that I seek in post-apoclyptic/zombie stories.

Cafe Cover Chat: I like it, it works well for a zombie novel. (B+)

All in all, a fairly generic take on zombie stories that tried to take on more than it actually could and so by doing so it did not really work for me at all. I don't think I will be checking out book #2 anytime soon. 

Grade: C+

Wdebo :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Singin' Saturday: Under the Mistletoe - Never Shout Never ft. Dia Frampton

Title: Under the Mistletoe
Artist: Never Shout Never ft. Dia Frampton
Language: English
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: I have had this song on repeat since the beginning of December. I absolutely adore the feel of this entire song. It's very curl up together in front of the fireplace type of music. It's so warm and comforting. Such a good song to listen to in order to get into the Christmas/Holiday spirit! Both Dia and Christofer's voices are so comforting.

Listen and Love!



Wdebo :)