Monday, April 27, 2015

My Favorite Anime!

Hi raspberries! You might not know, but I'm pretty into anime. I wouldn't say I'm an expert by any means, but I've seen a fair amount of anime in my day. I plan to make another post talking about my favorite manga, as I've read a lot as well. With that, let's go! (P.S. these are in no particular order.)

1. PriPara (or Puri Para)

This anime is freaking adorable. Okay, it was made for elementary aged children, but that never stopped me from enjoying something! A spin-off of the figure skating idol series Pretty Rhythm, it's about elementary student Laala Manaka, a girl who dreams of being an idol. Her town has a center called PriPara where girls are selected and train as idols. All girls get a ticket as access to PriPara at a random time throughout their school years. Unfortunately, Laala goes to a school where being in PriPara is forbidden. The headmistress runs around with a vacuum sucking up tickets!
  • Genre: Kids, Idol
  • Good if you like: Saccharine cuteness, bright colors, and a feel good plot
  • Ages: Any
You can watch it here!

2. AKB0048

AKB0048 is another idol-based show, but this one has more of a sci-fi twist and was made for an older audience. This anime is interesting because it involves actual Japanese idol group, AKB48. The anime characters share names with and voiced by some members of AKB48. In the anime, which takes place in an alternate reality, an interplanetary war breaks out at the beginning of the 21st century. Many planets end up making laws that ban entertainment. The legendary AKB48 is resurrected as AKB0048, you guessed it, 48 years later. Some people see them as terrorists, and others as heroines, but they're determined to bring music to everyone!
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Idol
  • Good if you like: Cute animation, music (especially pop groups), a bit of sci-fi action
  • Ages: I'd say probably pre-teens and up. It could be a bit scary for younger kids, but it's nothing too intense
You can watch it here!

3. HaNaYaMaTa

This is one of my favorite series that came out in recent years. I watched it on a whim and was not expecting to fall in love. I also think it's underrated and deserves more attention. The animation is in my opinion, beautiful. The story is about a group of high school girls forming a Yosakoi club. Yosakoi is a type of Japanese dance that exchange student Hannah teaches the other girls about. I think it's a wonderful slice of life story about friendship, perseverance and bravery. 
  • Genre: Slice-of-Life
  • Good if you like: School stories, dance, traditional Japanese culture, female friendships
  • Ages: I think it's fine for any age, but younger kids might not understand the finer points
You can watch it here!

4. Hanamaru Kindergarten

This show is so cute. It follows the life of Naozumi Tsuchida, a man who has just become a kindergarten teacher. One of his students, the bright and bubbly Anzu, falls in love with him and tries and fails to win his affections. It's a really silly but cute story. The kindergarten students also make little bouncing noises when they walk. Adorable.
  • Genre: Slice-of-Life, comedy
  • Good if you like: Silly comedies, over-the-top cute characters, children and teaching
  • Ages: Most of the story is just cute and silly, but there are some slightly adult jokes told by the kindergarterners. It might go over a young child's head.
You can watch it here!

5. Oreimo

Oreimo (short for Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai) is about Kyosuke and Kirino Kosaka, a brother and sister. Kirino is Kyosuke's little sister, a middle school student. One day, Kyosuke accidentally discovers that Kirino collects and is somewhat obsessed with "Little Sister Complex" erotic games and shows. The name of the show translates to "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute", which gives you an idea of what ensues! Kirino insists she has no real interest in her older brother, she just likes the concept. All kinds of mayhem and odd sexual tension follow.
  • Genre: Comedy, romance
  • Good if you like: Verging on Ecchi storylines, otaku culture in Japan
  • Ages: This obviously has a very adult storyline that you probably don't want young kids watching

You can watch it here!

6. Space Dandy

Space Dandy is a comedy about Dandy, an alien hunter, and his riotous adventures with his sidekick robot, QT, and an alien named Meow. Dandy is a bit of an inept alien hunter, constantly messing things up and getting into messes. He is obsessed with a space restaurant called Boobies, which is esentially Hooters in space. He is constantly hanging out at or trying to get to Boobies. Space Dandy is directed by the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, so you know it's good. This is one of the funniest anime I've watched in a while. (The English dub actually doesn't suck either.)
  • Genre: Comedy, sci-fi, seinen
  • Good if you like: Space settings, laugh-out-loud comedy, cool soundtracks
  • Ages: There are obviously some adult themes here, but I don't think the show is terribly crude or adult
You can watch it here!

7. Denki-Gai no Honya-San

Denki-Gai is one I stumbled across while cruising Crunchyroll, and ended up loving. The story is about the loveable staff of the Umanohone Bookstore, a manga shop. Each character really has a different personality and their own interesting subplots. Sensei, one of the clerks, is an aspring manga artist who sells her doujinshi at the shop. Hiotan is bubbly and innocent, but secretly love yaoi. Fu-Girl is tiny and quiet, but obsessed with zombies. There are also several romances going on throughout the series. This is a really engaging and hilarious anime for anyone who appreciates otaku-centric comedy.

  • Genre: Comedy, romance, seinen
  • Good if you like: Otaku "in jokes", laughing at yourself, romantic subplots
  • Ages: Given the fact that a lot of the jokes in this are centered around ero-manga or hentai, I wouldn't recommend this for young teens or younger

You can watch it here!

8. K-On!

K-On! is one of my all-time favorite series. This was released by Kyoani, or Kyoto Animation, a studio whose art style I really love. They also created Tamako Market, Free!, and Beyond the Boundary. K-On! follows a group of high school girls who end up forming a club called "The Light Music Club", and creating a bubblegum pop-punk band. The story is incredibly endearing, watching a group of young girls create friendships and reach for their goals.

  • Genre: Slice-of-life, comedy, music
  • Good if you like: Cute rock music, stories abut friendship, school-centered stories
  • Ages: This show is totally appropriate for all ages!
You can watch it here!

That about does it for this post, raspberries! What are your favorite anime? Have you watch any of these series?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lolita 52 Challenge: #11!

Hi raspberries! This post is going to be #11 from the Lolita 52 Challenge. You know the drill at this point, so let's go!

3 Trends I Wish Would Come Back

  1. Rocking Horse Shoes
Rocking horse shoes on the street in Japan
I've seen these a lot recently more in casual Japanese street fashion. But I've noticed they went out of vogue in lolita a while ago. Rocking horse shoes were one of the first things I loved about lolita. I think they look odd with certain coordinates, but with others, they are amazing!

Here's an adorable Ouji coordinate from Lovely Blasphemy on Lookbook

2. Bonnets

A half-bonnet worn in a classic style by Dody Depsi Kinahe on Lookbook

I really think bonnets can look great in any lolita style, but I especially love them with classic and gothic. I've noticed bonnets are making a bit of a comeback since they went out of style a while back when everyone was buying headbows to match their prints. I really think the bonnet is a beautiful look.

Some Japanese models wearing half bonnets with Sweet Lolita (not sure who they are!)

Marie Dauphine wearing a bonnet with a gothic coordinate

3. Old School Sweet

Momoko from Kamikaze Girls
I'm not going to lie. I don't miss the days of black and white color schemes with gaudy satin ribbons and too much cluny lace. I'm glad some of the worse aspects of early lolita fashion are behind us. Don't get me wrong, I love OTT as much as the next person, but there's part of me that craves for the simpler, purer sweet lolita I fell in love with as a kid. I miss parasols, one-color dresses, simple a-line shapes. It all just seemed so much easier then.

Here's Josephina aka FrillyPinkDreams wearing old school sweet

Well, that's it for this installment of the Lolita 52 Challenge. What trends do you wish would come back?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lolita 52 Challenge: #10!

Hi raspberries! I'm going to do number 10 of the Lolita 52 Challenge today.

#10: How I First Found Out About Lolita

I'll never forget when I first discovered lolita fashion. It was when I was about 12, and in the 6th grade. I had been heavily interested in Japanese culture since I was about 8 and started researching Japan through books at my school library, and eventually discovering manga and anime. Thankfully, I never really went through a "weeaboo" phase, or even an ita phase of lolita. I'd been into lolita since 6th grade but didn't start wearing it until the 9th or 10th, so I had years of learning about the style before jumping into it.
My first real exposure to lolita was through the English-Language Gothic & Lolita Bibles. I bought two copies of the magazine at Borders (remember Borders?) in the manga section, where I'd been perusing for magical girl manga. Below are the two copies I owned.

I loved these magazines and they really introduced me to the fashion. I used to look at the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright website all the time and dream about the dresses. These are the first two pictures of brand lolita I ever saw:

I love hearing people's stories of getting into lolita.  What's yours?