Tag Archives: favorite

yotsuba & me

17 Jan

i’ve been into anime for some time now, and i don’t see myself getting out anytime soon. however, this interest has not translated well to manga for several reasons: time constraints, occasionally slow internet collection, slow development, etc.

that is, until i stumbled into Yotsuba — or rather, after hearing (reading) so much about how critics loved it.

yotsuba 1during a slow day at work, i decided to check it out (as stealthily as i could manage it). it took me a few pages to actually appreciate the whole setup. after that i had a difficult time stifling my giggles — my shoulders shook and tears even leaked out, for cryin’ out loud.

finally a concerned office mate asked if i was okay. trying to convince someone you’re fine while wiping tears surreptitiously is harder than it looks, but after seeing my foolish grin she rolled her eyes and shook her head.

okay, so what is it about Yotsuba that just grabs me? oh i don’t know — maybe it’s her earnest, curious view of the world and her reactions, and the way she inadvertently affects people around her. most of all, i love the way she interacts with things and people around her. i can’t recall how many times i’ve said to myself, “wow, i used to do that too” and “oh no, she did not just do that, did she?

world accdng to yotsuba

my favorite scenes involve Yotsuba and her hapless dad and her interactions with the towering Jumbo, whose gentle and laidback demeanor is a perfect foil for 5-year-old Yotsuba’s quirky and energetic approach to life.

Yotsuba&! is a comedy manga series created by Kiyohiko Azume.

2010: the year’s highlights

12 Jan

2010 has been largely a tumultuous year for me, both personally and professionally. by any measure, these changes can be considered minor upheavals. yet, these things haven’t had that much impact on my TV viewing habits.

so, which shows have made this year special for me? i can’t really recall all the shows i’ve watched, but those that deserve special mention are Lucky Star (TV series and OVA), k-ON, Summer Wars (film), Trigun Bandlands Rumble (film), Shinryaku Ika Musume, and Kaichou wa Maid-Sama.

lucky star island

although it starts at a slow pace, Lucky Star just grows on you and never lets go. no wonder it was such a massive hit among viewers, especially among hard-core otakus and anime fans who have lolicon preferences. after having succumbed to Lucky Star‘s charms, i can’t say i blame them.

k-ON (ssn 2), on the other hand, is satisfying on many levels: storywise, visuals and its quirky characters. as for its soundtrack though, i think i prefer the one they put out in the first season. there are a couple of scenes here that really stand out for me: (1) when the girls were goofing off in a supermarket aisle and (2) when they were discussing the pros and cons of owning a pet turtle (Ton-chan!).

k-ON girls

i loved Summer Wars. it took me a while to find a copy of this film, and boy am i glad that all my frantic attempts to see it were amply rewarded. i love the superb animation, the sweeping panoramic shots, and the way both virtual reality (modern) and family dynamics (old) were interwoven tightly into the plot. i wish there are more movies like this (both live action and anime).

wolfwood & vash

Trigun Badlands Rumble was a nostalgic thrill ride to the wacky space western world of Vash the Stampede (one of my all-time favorite) and his friends. i really miss this goofy gent and it was nice seeing Nicholas Wolfwood again. this short film feels like an extended but well-rendered episode in the Trigun (TV) series, but no matter. it felt good to be back.

shinryaku ika musume cast

Shinryaku Ika Musume was a blast! i watched the first episode with no idea what it was about (this time, i preferred to be surprised), and it wasn’t long before i started giggling. the giddy premise alone — a clueless squid girl bent on global invasion — should immediately tell you where this thing is going. the only downside i can think of right now is that it’s too short (13 episodes). hopefully, there will be a second season. and please let it be soon.

maid-samaif you’re a fan of shoujo anime, Kaichou wa Maid-Sama is right up your alley. occasionally, it suffers from the bane of predictability and it stretches the viewer’s credulity to ridiculous limits, but basically i enjoyed the series and i hope they’ll start season 2 asap. nice characters and many swoon-worthy moments to drool over.

ichigo mashimaro: cuteness overload

11 Oct

if you think this post will be loaded with references to chibis and impossibly cute girls in the fairy tale mode, you can get rid of that notion right now. the kind of cuteness you will find in Ichigo Mahimaro (Strawberry Marshmallow) is the type that’s easy to appreciate but a bit tricky to explain.

ichigo mashimaro cast

the Ichigo Mashimaro girls — who can be adorably cute in varying degrees — are not placed in impossible situations so as to render them heroically fair and virtuous, nor are they denizens of some magical kingdom, endowed with superpowers and spiffy costumes. and no, they’re not from outer space either. Anna (11), Matsuri (11), Miu (12) and Chi (12) are your typical schoolgirls who more or less look up to Nobue (20), Chi’s older sister.

cute ichigo mashimarou girls

what makes these girls leap out of the screen and engage your attention right away is the manner in which they are portrayed: as real characters with their respective hang-ups and quirky personality issues.

ichigo mashimaro girls

  • nobue ito is a college coed who works part-time and who on occasion likes to pull pranks on her younger sister and her cohorts. she likes to drink and smoke and drives a scooter to work. although she can be a bit of a slacker, she does look out for the younger girls.
  • chi ito is the intelligent and studious type who is basically the long-suffering voice of reason in this series. she is conscientious and very organized. in a sense, her normality almost makes her an ‘uninteresting’ person when compared to the rest of her friends.
  • miu matsuoka is chi’s impulsive and restless classmate who has an unfortunate knack of saying and doing annoying things (in the tradition of Azumanga Daioh‘s Tomo Takino and Minami-ke‘s Kana Minami). she instigates most of their activities with predictably disastrous and hilarious results, although occasionally she can come up with good ideas, too.
  • matsuri sakuragi is a sweet, bespectacled girl who looks and acts younger than her age. she is the most timid of the group and is easily flustered by miu’s antics. she has a pet ferret that she calls John. (she’d look right at home in a Precious Moments greeting card.)
  • anna coppola is the blond, blue-eyed anglo-japanese transferee who — with her extensive knowledge of local culture and customs — ironically seems more ‘japanese’ compared to her friends. the fact that she’s very good in japanese and matsuri speaks better english is an exquisite source of gags in a couple of episodes.
  • cute anime girls

    oh. about that “cuteness” tag? you will find that quality entrenched in this series in a most unobtrusive fashion. these girls are cute alright — but in a funny, matter-of-fact, insidious, clever, and effortless way.

    miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service

    30 Sep kiki's delivery service

    Kiki’s Delivery Service ] is another winner from a stable of Miyazaki gems that i shall never tire of watching.

    this coming-of-age film centers on Kiki, a young witch-in-training who sets out for a city/town of her choice and learn to live and manage her way around ‘normal’ people (sort of like a finishing school before young trainees can actually concentrate on the serious business of practicing their craft).

    kiki & jiji

    with her familiar (a spunky black cat named jiji) in tow, Kiki finally decides to live in a seaside city because she has never seen the sea before. after a shaky start, she finds lodging and part-time work with a kindly bakeshop-owning couple. meanwhile, she has her hands full as she tries to get her fledgling business off the ground: delivering packages/parcels by air — courtesy of her broom. at first, city folks are amazed to see a young witch at their midst, and would often watch in fascination as she goes off into of her delivery trips. eventually, they grow used to her presence.

    kiki & her broom

    after a while, kiki’s business begins to thrive. she also manages to form bonds with several people: ursula, a young reclusive artist who lives in a remote village; tombo, a young boy of her age who is passionate about planes and flying; oku-sama, a rich and elderly customer.

    tombo of KDS

    soon enough, however, kiki undergoes a crisis of confidence that shakes her to the core. at some point, her self-doubts begin to affect her ability to fly and this leads her to question her choices. how she resolves this setback and finally regain her confidence is handled by Miyazaki et al. (Studio Ghibli) with delicacy and bittersweet detail — it’s the kind of stuff that inexplicably tightens your throat long after ending credits had rolled.

    kiki & her aerial ride

    with Kiki’s Delivery Service, miyazaki once again validates his deft touch in dealing with issues that confront young people who are in the brink of adulthood. nothing really earth-shaking or emotionally shattering happens in this movie, but you can easily empathize with the characters. the european setting has a comfortable, nostalgic feel to it. for some reason, there is something captivating about seeing life’s wonders and terrors from the vantage point of a young girl who is desperately trying to hold on to her broom as a source of comfort, security, and ultimately, strength.