3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion)

I don’t remember how did I chose to watch this anime. Probably I liked the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I didn’t get to watch it while it was still ongoing but I picked it up three months ago. I had no idea that it will sweep me away and that I would like it that much. Be warned, this review contains some spoilers.

From the first episode, it begun pretty good. I recognized the art and I was pleasantly surprised that the mangaka is the same like the one for Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover), which is another lovely anime.

The story seems pretty simple. It’s about a boy called Kiriyama Rei, who is a professional shogi player, one of the five of them who became professional in middle school. He’s a very shy and quiet boy, who seems like all he knows how to do is play shogi. He lives alone in Tokyo, doesn’t take care of himself much and who repeated one year of school, so kids actually think he’s a one year older loser.

But that’s just the beginning. As the story goes on, you get to know him better and what happened to him. I can easily say that my heart ached every time I saw him sad, lonely and so poorly understood by others. He was a lonely boy since he was small, but his way of “speaking” with others was shogi. He loved spending time with his father, who was also a shogi player, so that’s why he started playing it.

He was unfortunate to lose his family and, unwanted by the rest of his family, he ended up living with the family of his father’s friend. You would think that that would bring him some desperately needed stability but no. He had to deal with a strong-willed daughter of that man (Kouda Kyouko), who saw him as a threat and a person who took away everything from her, with his stepbrother who wasn’t really mentally strong (but it’s normal, he was just a kid) and who broke under the pressure and his stepfather who seemed to only value people/children through shogi and that looked like that’s the most important thing for him and if you’re not good at it, you don’t deserve his attention. It was fascinating (and kinda scary) to see how much Kyouko actually hates him and how she blames Rei for everything bad that happened in her life, no matter the bad choices she made by herself.

But, Rei was lucky to meet three lovely sisters, Kawamoto Akari, Hinata and Momo, who are living with their grandfather who owns a traditional wagashi shop and some very funny cats.

They live a pretty humble life, where Akari (the oldest sister) works to support the other sisters and who is like a motherly figure. They brought light in Rei’s life. They give up such a warm and fuzzy feeling and they accepted him like no one ever did, in his whole life, and they became like a family to him…They really care for him and love him. The unfortunate events also struck their family and they went (and are still going) through a rough and sad time, yet without asking, they support each other and make life easier. They gave him everything he was craving to have and feel his whole life. He feels like home with them.

There are also some other very nice characters. I liked a lot his school teacher, Hayashida Takashi, who was doing his best to support him and who payed attention to Rei and saw what a great boy he is. He saw that Rei has a low self-esteem and feels insecure and because of that he doesn’t manage to interact with others. But Hayashida slowly pushes him to change the way he is at school and makes him question some things.

Nikaidou Harunobu (one guy called him “steam bun” 😀 ) is a sickly shogi player, to whom Rei was an inspiration and his biggest rival. You will enjoy watching that loud, funny boy, that seems like a storm who entered Rei’s life.

I also liked A-rank shogi player Shimada Kai, from whom Rei will learn a lot of things and who will show Rei what would he actually like to do in the future and how would he like to be and feel.

I do suggest you to watch it and I sure hope you’ll enjoy watching it as much as I did. Second season started in October. For now, it’s as good as a first one!

NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the NHK)

When I started watching this anime, I didn’t have any specific expectations. It has a good score on MAL, but still I don’t pay attention to the score so much, because it’s not like I will like that anime just because it has a high score, or the opposite. I was interested in the story itself, I wanted to see what they will tell about a 22 year old college dropout Tatsuhiro Satou, who has isolated himself for 4 years and who became a hikikomori (reclusive adolescents or adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement). This is an ongoing problem, not only in Japan but in other countries too (although maybe not as much as in Japan). I wanted to see if Tatsuhiro will manage to escape from “claws” of hikikomori and return to “normal” life.

What I didn’t expect is that he will believe in such a weird conspiracy theories, many of which don’t make any sense (his senpai isn’t any better, he probably got all those ideas from her). The beginning of the anime is quiet weird, in my opinion. But, Satou sure has a very vivid imagination 😀 He’s funny, he’s crazy, he’s really special, in his own way 🙂

Besides him, there is Yamazaki Kaoru, the boy who he “helped” while he was in high school, an unusual person who seems to have a lot of talent for making games, but still a bit of a shut-in who has problems with his family. He seems to provoke people to bully him. I find him as funny and interesting as Satou.

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Then, we have Misaki Nakahara, a girl that is thinking that she can help Tatsuhiro to overcome his state of hikikomori. She was very patient while she was trying to persuade Satou to let her help him and sign a contract and she seemed like she knows what she’s doing. After the first session with Satou, she seemed quiet inexperienced and kinda funny while trying to use Froid’s analysis on him and thinking that Satou doesn’t even know who Froid is 🙂 But after you get to see just how clever of the girl she is and how she deals with Satou 😀 How time passes by, you’ll get to understand the real reason why she was helping Satou and that she needed him as much as he needed her. This is how he saw her, after the initial meeting…

It’s so funny to see the fantastic lies Satou comes up just to “prove” that he isn’t a hikikomori. He started by lying to Yamazaki, Misaki, then he even lied his mother in a such spectacular way (for her not to drag him back home)… But, in time, he will accept the state he’s in. The more I watched, the more I liked Satou. You get to know him better, understand his situation and how he got where he got. You’ll see that he has a really great mother, you’ll see how he will become good friends with Yamazaki and you will laugh at many funny moments they encounter.

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On the other hand, you’ll see how they will deal with some very serious occurrences, how Satou will be kinda dragged into some very serious situation, just because he was misunderstood. And how he isn’t powerful enough to fight it and get himself out of it. This anime really makes you think, it’s way more than ranting of some lunatic about conspiracies in this world. It’s something that can happen to anyone, at any time, especially if you are a bit of a  “mentally weak” state and prone to suggestions.

If you give it a try, I’m sure you’ll also enjoy this anime. The opening song is just great and, after hearing the other song that Yamazaki likes a lot (“Puru puru pururin” song), it will for sure stick in your head 🙂

 

 

 

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (Erased)

I am sure that many of you watched this anime in winter of 2016, since there were high expectations for it. For me, it was the best anime of that season and one of the most interesting in these few years. I watched it while airing, which I do rarely. There were quiet a few people that didn’t like it, many of them compared it with Steins;Gate. As for me, I didn’t compare…They were different and unique, in their own way. Since I liked it, I decided to read the manga too. It was written by Sanbe Kei. Now, you have to be prepared to one thing…The anime is following pretty much the manga, if you don’t count the end, which was different but then again it had many touching points. Still, I didn’t find it boring at all. Some things were better depicted in the anime and some better in the manga.

As you might already know, the story is about Fujinuma Satoru, a 29 years old man, who works as a delivery man to support himself, while what he really wants to do and is giving his best is to be a mangaka and write good stories. At work, he has a really loud but energetic coworker Katagiri Airi, of who he thinks that she’s a bit bothersome and that she doesn’t know to tell a joke.But she will support him in a time and way he couldn’t have imagined.

His mother is Fujinuma Sachiko, one of my favorite characters (here and of all the “mother” characters that I’ve encountered until now). She is a very perceptive person, so much that sometimes she is scary and it looks like she’s reading your mind (reason enough for Satoru to call her youkai or a demon 🙂 ) She and Satoru had a really good relationship when he was younger, but after certain killings in his area and people not believing in him that the killer isn’t the one that they think it is, Satoru kinda “closed” himself.

Satoru possesses a unexplainable ability of “revival”, which takes him back in time right before some incident occurs. He does try to ignore it, since getting involved in other people’s business never ended up well for him. Still, he helps every time. Airi will be the one who will notice that he is somehow always at the right place, at the right time, although it may not seem like that. But one incident will make him go way back, 18 years into past, at the time when he was an elementary school student. He is back in Hokkaido, in February of 1988. Many things that he has forgotten will come back to him, one of them being the disappearance and death of his classmate, Hinazuki Kayo and some other kids.

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It will be interesting to see how he will try to approach Kayo, a girl on who he didn’t pay much attention, even though they were going to the same class. It’s interesting how Kayo saw through him and called him an imposter, just like she is, because she noticed that he played a role of the person he wants to be so he can get along with his mom and friends and that way to mingle into that community. Only after going back again, he will realize how many great friends he has, especially Kobayashi Kenya, such a smart and great boy, who will support Satoru in all of his “weird” actions he will take and couldn’t explain. In a very subtle way, he will let Satoru know and notice some things he didn’t see before.

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This manga really keeps your interest and you eagerly follow Satoru on his way to save the kids, and you really are cheering for him all the time. One more thing that I liked is also a part where we get to know the killer better… How was killer’s childhood and what made that person do what it’s been doing and why. Also, you will have the end, the real one where you see how the lives of people who survived continue.

The art certainly isn’t the best I’ve seen so far, but there are moments when it gets really nice and pretty 🙂 But, the story itself will make you want to read it.

 

My Top manga

I really like reading manga. Since reading Fruit Basket and after it Hana Yori Dango (my first two manga I’ve read) I got completely hooked up! Today, two and a half years later, give or take, I’ve completed 796 manga, I’m reading 49, 70 are “on hold” and I’ve dropped 22 of them. On my list for reading next are 544.

I wanted to share the ones that I really liked to read. They are of different genres, some are manga and some are manhwa. There are a few one-shots here but I normally enjoy longer manga (the longer it is, I enjoy it more, if it’s a good manga). I’m just sharing the ones that I gave 8, 9 or 10 points (out of 10). Even between the ones with the same points, there are some that I liked more than others. Anyway, I hope you’ll find something here that you’d like to read. I put the names both in Japanese and English, for you to find them more easily. Also, you have a link for mangaka, to really nice site called MAL (myanimelist).

Hope you’ll like it!

10:

Watashi-tachi no Shiawase na Jikan (Our Happy Hours) by Yumeka, Sumomo

9:

Fruits Basket (Furuba) by Takaya, Natsuki

Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) by Kamio, Yoko

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom) by Nakajo, Hisaya

Kodomo no Omocha (Kodocha: Sana’s Stage) by Obana, Miho

Love So Life by Kouchi, Kaede

Ore no Hanashi wo Shiyouka (Shall we speak about me?) by Kamio, Yoko

The Friendly Winter by Lee, Jun

8:

Kare First Love by Miyasaka, Kaho

360º material by Minami, Touko

Akuma de Sourou (The Devil Does Exist) by Takanashi, Mitsuba

All You Need Is Kill by Obata, Takeshi (Art), Sakurazaka, Hiroshi (Story), Takeuchi, Ryousuke (Story)

Another by Kiyohara, Hiro (Art), Ayatsuji, Yukito (Story)

Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) by Sakisaka, Io

Arisa by Ando, Natsumi

B-Eyes by Shiomi, Chika

Banken Hero (The Watchdog Hero) by Mitsui, Haruka

Bitou Lollipop by Iketani, Rikako

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (Erased; The Town Where Only I am Missing) by Sanbe, Kei

Boku Kara Kimi ga Kienai (You Can’t Disappear From Me) by Aikawa, Saki

Boku wa Konomama Kaeranai (I Shall Never Return) by Uchida, Kazuna

Boku wa Ookami. (I am the only wolf.) by Yuki, Nachi

Bokura ni Matsuwaru etc. (You and Me, Etc.) by Kyuugou

Bonnouji by Aki★Eda

Boyfriend by  Yamada, Daisy

Boys Love by Tachibana, Kaimu

Brother Auto Spot by Noici, Micuro

Cat street by Kamio, Yoko

Cherry Boy, That Girl by South Ant

Coda by Ichimura, Hitoshi

Crayon Days: Daikirai na Aitsu by Chiba, Kozue

Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha by Okamura, Tensai

End Game by Yamanaka, Hiko

Endou-kun no Kansatsu Nikki (Tsuda Note) by Hayakawa, Nojiko

Futari no Renai Shoka by Yamazaki, Kore

Doushitemo Furetakunai (No Touching at All) by Yoneda, Kou

Gohou Drug (Legal Drug) by CLAMP

Hajimari no Niina (Beginning Niina) by Minamori, Koyomi

Hana no Kishi (Knight of Flower) by Nishikata, Mai

Hana to Rakurai (Flower and Thunderbolt) by Watanabe, Kana

Hana wa Saku ka (Does the Flower Blossom?) by Hidaka, Shoko

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: After School (Hana-Kimi – Kayashima Arc) by Nakajo, Hisaya

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Special-hen (Hanazakari no Kimitachi e: Special Ending) by Nakajo, Hisaya

He Loves You by Yanai, Wakana

Heart by Takada, Rie

Hirunaka no Ryusei (Daytime Shooting Star) by Yamamori, Mika

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) by Midorikawa, Yuki

Houkago Hokenshitsu (After School Nightmare) by Mizushiro, Setona

Hybrid Child by Nakamura, Shungiku

Ichigo Channel (Strawberry Channel) by Tajima, Mimi

Ikumen☆After by Kodaka, Kazuma

Ingènuo by Ryan

Joou to Shitateya (Queen and the tailor) by Beriko, Scarlet

Junai Labyrinth (Pure Love Labyrinth) by Nakaji, Yuki

Junai Tokkou Taichou! (Pure-Love Kamikaze Captain) by Seino, Shizuru

Junjou Drop (Junjou Cider) by Nakahara, Aya

Junketsu Drop by Kisaragi, Manami (Art), Watarumi, Naho (Story)

Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku. (The Gods Lie) by Ozaki, Kaori

Kamisama no Iutoori (As the God of Death Dictates; Like God Says) by Kaneshiro, Muneyuki (Story), Fujimura, Akeji (Art)

Kare no Ondo (His Temperature) by Miyagawa, Masayo

Kare wa Tomodachi (He is a Friend) by Yoshioka, Ririko

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances) by Tsuda, Masami

Kiken Mania (Dangerous Mania) by Nanajima, Kana

Kimi wa Kirakira (You’re Sparkling) by Yoshino, Aki

Kimi wa Pet (Tramps Like Us) by Ogawa, Yayoi

Kimi-iro Eden (Eden in Your Color) by Aomoto, Sari

Kingyosou (Goldfish Sonata; Silent Love Song) by Fujitsuka, Yuki

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) by Ooima, Yoshitoki

Koe no Katachi by Ooima, Yoshitoki

Koi, Hirari (Love, Lightly) by Mitsuki, Miko

Koibitogokoro (Heart of Lover) by Kanda, Neko

Koizora: Setsunai Koimonogatari (Love Sky – Sad Love Story) by Haneda, Ibuki (Art), Mika (Story)

Konya mo Nemurenai (No Sleep Tonight) by Yamamoto, Kotetsuko

Kore ga Koi to Iu naraba by Aikawa, Saki

Koukou Debut (High School Debut) by Kawahara, Kazune

Last Game by Amano, Shinobu

Last Note by Sakurakouji, Kanoko

Life by Suenobu, Keiko

Love Calendar by Minase, Mayu (Art), DECO*27 (Story)

Love in the Mask by Han, Yu-Rang

Love Lesson by Chidori, Peko

Lover Boy by Han, Yu-Rang

Marmalade Boy by Yoshizumi, Wataru

Mars by Souryo, Fuyumi

Mashikaku Rock (Tonari no Hanako-san; Sayonara Sankaku) by Watanabe, Kana

Matsuri Special by Kamio, Yoko

Mixed Vegetable by Komura, Ayumi

My Boyfriend Is a Vampire by Han, Yu-Rang

My Girl by Yumeka, Sumomo

My Heart is Beating by Ha, Il-Kwon

My Hero by Kumaoka, Fuyu

Nakanmon! (Crybaby, Don’t Cry!) by Tsukishima, Haru

Nekota no Koto ga Kininatte Shikatanai by Oouta, Rie

Neon Sign Amber by Ogeretsu, Tanaka

Nineteen, Twenty-One (19-21) by Kim, Hye-Jin

Omoi no Kakera (Fragments of love) by Takemiya, Jin

Only You: Tobenai Tsubasa by Suetsugu, Yuki

Orange by Takano, Ichigo

Orange Marmalade by SeokWoo

Parfait Tic! (Are you Happy?) by Nanaji, Nagamu

Sad Love Song by Shin, Ji-Sang (Story & Art), Geo (Story & Art)

Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope) by Kodama, Yuki

Sakamichi no Apollon: Bonus track by Kodama, Yuki

Seishun Survival (Youth Survival) by Motomi, Kyousuke

Sekine-kun no Koi (Sekine’s love) by Kawachi, Haruka

Seven Days by Takarai, Rihito (Art), Tachibana, Venio (Story)

Shiawase Kissa 3-choume (Happy Cafe) by Matsuzuki, Kou

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (You Lie in April) by Arakawa, Naoshi

Sono Kuchibiru, Itadakimasu (Don’t Say “I Love You”) by Shiraishi, Yuki

Soredemo, Yasashii Koi wo Suru (Even So, I Will Love You Tenderly) by Yoneda, Kou

Sorekara, Kimi wo Kangaeru (Then, I think of you) by Komatsu

Steel Rose by Ryan

Strobe Edge (Colorless Dreamer) by Sakisaka, Io

Taiyou no Ie (House of the Sun) by Taamo

Tamayura by Yuki, Ringo

Taro-kun wa Kou Miete Igai to xxx desu. by Ichikawa, Shou

Teppen! (The Top) by Tsukimiya, An

Teppuu (Iron Wind) by Ohta, Moare

Tetsugaku Letra by Yumeka, Sumomo

The One by Lee, Nicky

Tokidoki by Komi, Naoshi

Tokimekigokoro by Kanda, Neko

Tomodachi no Hanashi (The Secret of Friendship) by Kawahara, Kazune (Story), Yamakawa, Aiji (Art)

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster) by Robico

Torikagosou no Kyou mo Nemutai Juunin-tachi (Hotel Williams Child Bird) by Kabei, Yukako (Story), Takarai, Rihito (Art)

Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) by Unita, Yumi

Usemono Yado by Hozumi

Yamamoto Zenjirou to Moushimasu (I Am Called Yamamoto Zenjirou) by Maki, Youko

Yappari Taro-kun wa Kou Miete Igai to xxx desu. by Ichikawa, Shou

Yatteranneeze! (I Can’t Take it Anymore) by Koide, Mieko (Story & Art), Akizuki, Koh (Story)

Youth Gone Wild by Lee, Nicky

Yurara no Tsuki (Yurara) by Shiomi, Chika

Yuru Koi (All Love) by Yoshino, Aki