Call Me By Your Name REVIEW


Oh god, Call Me By Your Name is so boring.

What the hell actually happens in this movie? Where’s the drama? Where’s the conflict? What are the characters? Where are they?

This movie is so empty. It’s just two flaccid people jostling around in some Italian countryside with no reason behind their romance, it feels like one of those ads for a European Vacation.

The tame-as-hell conflicts get revolved just as quickly as they’re brought up, and everyone is perfect. No characters have any real flaws at all.

But I bet people are praising this movie just because it’s about a gay couple. And, hell, I don’t even wanna go there, but like, even straight love stories can be as vapid as this one. It just comes down to execution. And I’ve seen so many better executed gay love stories.

This just feels… and I hate to say this: Pretentious.

The way it casually throws poetic, schmaltzy dialogue and phrases around, how it mentions classical musicians so nonchalantly, how it wallows in tear-doused emotions. It’s like, “Oh, we’re just hopeless romantics, we’re so in love with each other and everything around us, isn’t life awesome?”

Great, I’m so happy for you, but why should I care? There’s nothing for me to cling onto, nothing for me to worry about. No stakes, or climaxes, or hurdles at all.

You can say films don’t have to have conflict, but in that case, they’re arthouse movies. And even then, the best arthouse movies at least have a narrative thread to follow, some sense of drama surrounding the characters. But this? It’s such a lull, so bloated and stretched out. Like a piece of chewed bubblegum pulled from both ends. 45 minutes of this film could’ve been removed and nothing would’ve changed. Sure, you miss out on some potentially touching moments, and maybe have to take out some side characters and B-plots, but the result would be a much stronger and impactful presence.

What was even the point of Marzia’s character? She was paraded around, even appeared nude, just to be dumped unceremoniously? If the film was about how a young, impressionable man falls madly in love with a dashing foreigner, why was she even in the movie? For a full frontal? Pretty pointless if you ask me.

It’s not so much concept, but more so the construction and structure that really pisses me off. This isn’t a tight, carefully crafted artistic masterpiece. It’s a long, masturbatory (literally) dredge that goes on far too long for its own good. It’s not insultingly bad, like Phantom Thread, but it’s just so incredibly underwhelming and boring.

And I guess Sufjan Stevens did a fine job with the score. Didn’t stop them from pulling songs straight out of The Age of Adz, though.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri QUICK REVIEW


This is a very conflictive movie.

On one hand, you have this balls-to-the-wall plot that devolves into beautifully meticulous chaos, as people spiral downwards into madness, paranoia and violence. The story is very followable, with characters that show both sides of the moral coin and put front and center the sheer grayness of situations like these. Every character has a good side and a bad side, just like normal humans, and that’s worthy of praise. Not many films have the gall to explore the darkest ethical depths of their protagonists and make them so bluntly apparent. Also, the plot is incredibly interconnected, with devices that are set up and then paid off satisfactorily, as it moves along quickly enough to be wholly entertaining, but also never leaving the viewer behind.

At the same time, the film feels very unfocused and scattered, with characters coming in left and right that provide no actual advancement to the plot and only feel like add-ons, placed in the middle of this maelstrom purely for some cheap jab at a real-life social issue. No, it’s not about black people, or about women (like some folks are spouting), the problems with the plot mostly stem out of the ambition of the storytellers to try to make this feel as organic as possible. To show the onion-like layers of impact that a circumstance like the one in the film can have on a small community full of differing ideas.

In the end, if the film was tightened and they trimmed the fat off the script, focused on the cathartic essentials, and put a little more thought into the rational consistency of the characters, it could’ve been great.

As it stands, though, the movie isn’t abhorrent, as the plot makes sense, and it feels like a bloody chapter in the much longer life-book of its characters. ‘

It’s just a little skewed, that’s all.


The Ritual REVIEW


The Ritual is David Bruckner’s (of V/H/S fame) take on a Blair Witch-esque concept, and I’m happy to say that this one knocks it straight out of the park. At a breakneck 94 minutes, this deep dive into the blackness of despair is 2018’s best horror experience so far.

The film immediately instills a sense of creeping dread with the first scene. After some snappy character introductions, the unapologetic brutalism displayed is enhanced by the grounded dialogue and sheer sudden impact of the tragedy in the introduction. This is a fantastic start to the feature, one that begins pumping sizzling blood that carries the viewer through the subsequent tense establishing scenes of the group hiking through the breathtaking valleys of the Swedish Wilderness six months later.

After the gang builds a small shrine to their deceased friend (a shrine which pops us briefly in the foreground as they’re scampering to pack in the rain), they end up having to take a quicker but rougher route to the lodge due to an accident.

Paranoia seeps into our main character immediately, as things begin to take a turn for the gorey and bizarre as nordic runes carved on trees, gutted, hanged beasts and a piercing, inscrutable glare hang over the troop. They lose their way into a rotting house and decide to spend the night, and what follows can only be described as the utter meltdown of logic and trust. As the world around them begins to hideously morph into a plane of nightmares, will they keep their heads firm on their shoulders, or will their minds be swept away by the breeze between the trees?

The story does evolve as it goes, but it never drops the tension, as the mysteries get cleared up and we learn more about what exactly is happening to these unfortunate souls. The first and second acts are definitely the highlight of the film, though, as the questions surrounding the grotesque occurrences are left in the air the story can revel in the delicious madness that consumes the characters. The climax and subsequent ending can be mixed, as the ultimate secret is revealed and can be underwhelming if one’s expectations are too high.

I will warn that jumpscares are placed throughout, but they never consume the screen and only annoy in the audio department with sharp, ear-slicing blasts, almost as though they were added afterwards in post as a way to streamline the film. Other than that, the film relies heavily on drawn out, ever-so-slightly crawling shots and intense yet followable shaky-cam scenes that cement the voyeuristic and deranged tone of the film. It’s no It Follows in terms of flawless unease, but it definitely rattles the bones in terms of pure visual style.

One thing that might potentially break the experience for you is if you butt heads with thick Cockney accents, as they take over the dialogue and make up the essence of the cast’s interactions. Hidden in the wording, though, is well-crafted scene progression and characters that, for the most part, act pretty standard to what you’d expect of anyone in the situations presented in the film. They’re not incredibly complex or layered characters for the most part, but they never break consistency and would act as rationally (or irrationally) as most. This makes for simple but straightforward characters that don’t obstruct the tone and can actually be pretty relatable. Snazzy quips and friendly jabs are littered here and there, but they’re never bloated or forced, it all feels like a flowing conversation.

Speaking of the characters, the performances are top-notch, across the board. Rafe Spall, Rob James-Collier, Sam Troughton, and Arsher Ali truly display raw fear in their actions, as animalistic flailings, shocked jitters, and guttural voices dominate the darkest moments of this film. Very impressive.

Without going into spoilers, the main character does go through an effective character arc, one that ties into his motivations and ultimately pays off satisfyingly in the ending. The first scene and all the problems that arise later because of it tie into his development and fuel the spark that changes the character. It’s pretty straightforward, but it makes for a compelling narrative and a character worth rooting for.

Overall, The Ritual makes no mistakes in delivering a whiplash of heart-pumping terror, and it’s a good bet that you’ll be shaking as much as the characters in it.


Albums of 2018 – January

January is over, but let’s not forget it just yet. Over the course of the month, dozens of albums have been released, but which ones are the best? Music taste is, of course, subjective, but here are five records that, in my opinion, stood out amongst the droves of generic pop rock and trap rap albums that came out in January (I’m looking at you, Culture II).

Shame – Songs of Praise [Post-Punk, Indie Rock]

After exploding in popularity in their London base, Shame have kicked open the doors to 2018 with what is quite possibly one of the most instrumentally consistent rock albums since Protomartyr’s Relatives in Descent all the way back in September of last year. This is their debut record, and even if they wear their influences on their sleeves (mainly their fellow Englishmen, The Fall), they still manage to strike hard with a diverse, creative album that does Post-Punk right.

The main selling point of the album is its constant speed and punchy lyrics, never sparing on the energy and impact of Punk, but keeping the riffs compact and accurate. From the heavy and explosive Dust on Trial, to the hilariously written bassline-thumper The Lick, to the loud and proud neck-strainer that is Lampoon, Shame managed to craft a tight, hard-hitting album that, while lyrically dull a couple of times, manages to be true to itself, the band, and the spirit of rock music. There’s some real biting commentary on this thing sometimes too, and it displays the woes of contemporary youth without pandering or blowing it out of proportion too much. The vocal performances are raw and strained, and while to some that might be blaring, the sheer energy of Charlie Steen’s voice sell the rebellious and fist-clenching tone of Songs of Praise.

Ultimately, the little details and hangups don’t make much of a dent on this heart-pumping album, filled with the spirit of youth in every sense of the word.

Favorite Tracks: Dust on Trial, Concrete, On Rizla, The Lick, Gold Hole, Friction, Lampoon, Angie.

Least Favorite: Tasteless, Donk.

JPEGMAFIA – Veteran [Glitch Hop, Industrial Hip Hop]

Peggy (JPEGMAFIA himself) is back with his sophomore LP, and it’s this year’s most colorful, layered, and downright intoxicating hip hop record so far. If you could even call most of this album ‘hip hop’ in the first place.

Listening to Veteran without any idea of who Peggy is or what his production is like will be an interesting experience for sure. Even the opening track, 1539 N. Calvert, is filled with abstract sound collages, irregular time signatures, moments of jarring silence, minimalist driving beats and an electrifying vocal performance, all of which carry consistently throughout the album. It’s a constant struggle to keep up with what the record is doing, from the textured and crackly electronic noise-scapes to the head-bobbing bangers constructed entirely out of a half-second loop of some voice recording from who-knows-where. Multiple listens are almost a requirement, as one can get lost in the lo-fi, onion-like organicity of the instrumentation.

Veteran is definitely not for casual listening, though. Not only is it glitchy and dissonant, but it has many obscure references to internet culture and hot-button topics that might be glossed over if one isn’t attentive. I won’t spoil them, though, those treats are for you to discover.

This thing isn’t skimping on excellent bars either, as irony, sarcasm, self-awareness and most importantly, clever wordplay drip out of every orifice on this album. With titles and subjects like Libtard Anthem and I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies, Peggy clearly wants to stick his fingers deep in those wounds, and he has the chops to do so as well. He’s engaging on a verbal and musical battle with everyone he encounters on this project. Baby I’m Bleeding and Rock N Roll is Dead will probably have some of the stickiest, gnarliest and most memorable lines in hip hop this year.

Overall, Veteran delivers an uppercut of stimulation in terms of energy, diversity, lyricism and musical evolution. Peggy has definitely outdone himself and gifted us a record with a fascinating identity. Do not skimp on this one, it’s a total trip.

Favorite Tracks: Thug Tears, Baby I’m Bleeding, My Thoughts on Neogaf Dying, Rock N Roll is Dead, Libtard Anthem, Macaulay Culkin, I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies, Curb Stomp.

Least Favorite: Panic Emoji.

Weedpecker – III [Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock]

Weedpecker? With a name like that, you can pretty much expect only one thing from this Polish 4-man outfit: Crazy, mind-bending Stoner Rock.

III is the third studio LP by Weedpecker, and they have a consistent quality throughout their discography that many other bands struggle to maintain. With this fresh project, it is more of the same, but even bolder, wilder and more engulfing.

There are only five songs on this 42-minute record, but don’t let that scare you. Each of these sturdy songs has a beginning, middle, and end, building up and exploding in satisfying laser-like riffs and punchy finishers, yet still feeling like parts to a greater whole, much like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s neverending Nonagon Infinity. The group have gifted us with the finisher to a consistently solid trilogy of Stoner Rock records, from their self-titled, to II, and now with III, each delivering a sonically cohesive sound that still manages to melt the ears with thick, soupy psych leads.

If you want a record that might not necessarily blow the mind, but groove the soul for a while, this one’s on the more hectic and stimulating side.

Favorite Tracks: Embrace, Liquid Sky, From Mars to Mercury.

Least Favorite: Molecule.

First Aid Kit – Ruins [Indie Folk, Folk Pop]

Swedish Folk duo Klara and Johanna Soderberg bring us their fifth studio album, and it’s a warm, enveloping and comforting escape to old school Americana.

While Ruins might not be the most adventurous or poignant album this side of the genre spectrum, there’s no denying that the musicality is powerful, uplifting, and widely anthemic. From the vivid and succoring layer of sound over tracks like Rebel Heart and Fireworks, to the more Country-esque twang prominent in cuts like Postcard, the pace throughout the record is steady, at a lock-tight 10 tracks, just 39 minutes long.

First Aid Kit is definitely taking inspiration from many female Folk acts in the past, from Joni Mitchell’s emotional singer/songwriter influence to Laura Marling’s chubbier Pop. They definitely don’t reach the level of engagement to, say, a record like Blue, but still manage to draw from their own experiences and portray them solidly in the album. You might even get some impressive musical/lyrical juxtaposition, like in the excellent It’s a Shame, where the rich, lush instrumentation is placed over pained and lonely choruses and verses perfectly.

Ruins is a rock solid Folk Pop record that comes from the heart, and what better way to write music, right? Thankfully, this group does have the talent and skill to pull it off in the end.

Favorite Tracks: Rebel Heart, It’s a Shame, Fireworks, Postcard, Ruins, Nothing Has to Be True.

Least Favorite: To Live a Life, Hem of Her Dress.

Ty Segall – Freedom’s Goblin [Glam Rock, Garage Rock, Art Rock]

Ty Segall continues with his prolific discography, but this time he’s taking some pretty big risks. I’m happy to say that they’ve paid off, and massively so.

This is surprising, coming from a guy who started making rough Garage Punk in the late 2000s. The spirit of raw ardor is still alive in Freedom’s Goblin, but it’s been glazed over with some of the most crisp and driving instrumentation in rock music this past year, and I mean including 2017.

This is Ty Segall at his most lively, splashy, and hued, playing around with a wide palette of instruments, tempos, and concepts. Freedom’s Goblin is a sonic parade, with every passing exhibition providing a different experience, yet with everything feeling connected.

There’s elements of crushing Noise Rock (When Mommy Kills You and Meaning), hazy Psychedelic Pop (Cry Cry Cry), vivid Folk Rock (You Say All the Nice Things and I’m Free) and even frenzied Jazz-Rock (Talkin 3 and The Main Pretender). This whole project is filled with catchy, stunning instrumentation that constantly evolves and warps, making for an engaging and surprising journey throughout. It’s also structured beautifully, with loud, riff-heavy beasts flowing flexibly into the calmer, easier cuts. This makes the whole album feel like a roller coaster, twisting and changing speed, never stopping until you’re shocked silly. Finally, there’s the 12-minute Prog Rock monster And, Goodnight, which is basically a guitar duel set in space. About as perfect of a closing track as you could imagine.

The actual sounds of this album could potentially be considered old fashioned, but they way Ty and crew craft a whole new experience with the same sounds as the acidic 60s is classic bliss.

In short, Freedom’s Goblin is an exhilarating, meteoric record that nudges shoulders with tons of wildly different genres, but manages to cook up something not only impressive, but potentially unforgettable.

Favorite Tracks: Fanny Dog, Rain, Every 1’s a Winner, Despoiler of Cadaver, When Mommy Kills You, My Lady’s on Fire, Alta, Meaning, Cry Cry Cry, Shoot You Up, You Say All the Nice Things, She, Prison, Talkin 3, The Main Pretender, I’m Free, 5 Ft. Tall, And Goodnight.

Least Favorite: The Last Waltz.

Monthly Trash

Sadly, as much as there is great music every month, there is also music that not only fails on an artistic level, but on the conceptual as well. Sorry, guys, but some things need to be said. Don’t worry, though, there will only be one bad album a month, as even I can’t subject myself to so much torture.

Fall Out Boy – Mania

Fall Out Boy has been the butt of many-a-joke, especially coming from the underground rock community which I explore the most. Granted, their earlier, rawer, and more energetic Pop Punk and Emo Pop albums haven’t aged particularly well, but they gained a strong enough following to last them throughout their 15 year long career. But as soon as the 2010s made their wretched appearance, FOB has been tilting slightly. Very slowly, they’ve been incorporating elements of Electropop into their music, shifting the entire tone and presentation of their outfit to fit in with the electronic craze of the 2010s. This has granted them a notable amount of consistent popularity throughout the decade, and much more than any Emo band from the early 2000s has any right to. Despite this, they’ve not made their old fans follow through with their mutation, and critics haven’t been subdued either.

It all coalesces into the overwhelming and ear-piercingly noisy Mania, which is a perfect title for this record. From the very first single and opening track, Young and Menace, to the closer, there is a hardcore emphasis on EDM influence and a deafening amount of instrumentation. Noise and walls of sound are not the problem, though, as many old and new classics embrace it. My Chemical Romance’s Loveless, with its impenetrable and glitzy shoegaze; Death Grips embracing industrial noise and happily punishing their audience with droning beats; Sonic Youth’s passion for rebellious, anxious Noise Rock in legendary records like Daydream Nation and Sister, etc.

What FOB fails to see here is that making your Pop Rock and Electropop album noisy and abrasive is like making a soup with sugar and spice dumped in carelessly. Copying some of the blandest and most repetitive tropes in EDM, adding an ugly shimmering gloss over it and then hastily strapping on guitars is going to make the music sound like garbage. They missed the mark completely and released a blunder of unfollowable cacophony.

Favorite Tracks: The Last of the Real Ones.

Least Favorite: Every other track.

Thanks for reading this quick recommendation retrospective on January of 2018. We’ll be here with February as well, so stick around!

Top 10 Anime of 2017

Happy New Year! We finally made it! My first year watching anime and I think I’m ready to group up and unpack my favorites of the year. As someone who watches seasonal anime so adamantly as myself, this year has brought a lot of fresh, fascinating surprises, as well as some truly mind-bending moments. With over 50 shows watched (that’s finished, not counting the 50+ shows I dropped), I have gathered my picks for Top 10, and here they are:

10. Little Witch Academia


Studio Trigger have gained somewhat of a blip on their otherwise spotless repertoire of shows, never quite rising to the breadth, impact and raw power that 2014’s Kill la Kill garnered. With 2015 bringing us the fantastic, but otherwise short burst Space Patrol Luluco, and also the highly controversial and breathtakingly animated Kiznaiver, Trigger have taken back the reigns of their creativity this year and delivered on a full, 25 episode, long-promised series with years of buildup to capitalize on. Their 2013 and 2015 LWA projects pulled in lots of attention to the studio, and they took the gamble and created one of 2017’s most visually striking shows, taking the talent of lots of young animators, the look of an early-90s OVA and the lightheartedness and sincereness of a family friendly, Saturday Morning Cartoon show. While the movie and OVA that inspired the series hold up quite well, feeling tighter paced, the show definitely doesn’t wane in quality, featuring a friendly, early Harry Potter-esque tone and with unyielding charisma and vivid character movement. Even if there are some moments of meandering politics and confusing narrative decisions, expect episodes consisting of blood-pumping buildup, heartwarming friendship, inventive situations and unmitigated catharsis. If Trigger strike gold on something, it’s definitely that last bit.

Final Score: 7.5/10

9. Girls’ Last Tour (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko)


Continuing with the curious trend of “potato-faced” girls in recent anime, Girls’ Last Tour strikes a pretty damn solid balance between contemplative, bleak, and relaxing. Studio White Fox can definitely craft sturdy-looking shows, from the detailed and chaotic piping and jagged architecture of the post-apocalyptic world, to the blob-y and bouncy hijinks of Fall’s SoL sweethearts, Yuu and Chi-chan. Episodes are pretty calm and tip-toed, but there’s a constant tingle in the back of the spine, cautious as to what survival-related problem these cute girls could run into at any moment. The musical score is eerie and very broad, borrowing from drone music to electronic and even orchestral. Lots of the dialogue also subtly deconstructs modern lifestyles and priorities, commenting on the fleeting importance of property, religion, animal ethics and more. An informed, calculated show that doesn’t show its colors casually. There’s no Made in Abyss-esque horror, though, so viewers don’t need a pillow in the vicinity to shield against possible cute girl gore.

Final Score: 7.8/10



What’s this? You don’t remember this hidden gem? You probably dropped it one episode in, you sucker. But I stayed the whole way. And it’s fantastic.

With rough, Masaaki Yuasa-esque background art, a blindingly sweet pastel art palette, off-kilter and difficult dialogue, and rattling themes of artistic expression and integrity, URAHARA is Amika Kubo’s directorial debut, one filled to the brim with creative ideas, clever symbolism and tons of style experimentation. It’s definitely not for everyone, as the character artwork (barring the awesome designs) is rather flabby, and the pacing can be very strenuous, but the moments of thematic realization that come with this show are very satisfying and blend masterfully with the setting and aesthetic. The way it integrates elements of fantasy and sci-fi into its contemporary setting is very interesting and done with care, as it flawlessly matches the events happening with the overarching theme of artistic purity. It even bends and melts its own tone to enhance certain emotional scenes. During the midpoint it manages to twist its tone so drastically as to be disturbing, all while retaining its bubbly and colorful look. It truly has vision and can display it confidently on screen. It’s one of those shows where every scene has purpose, and where the themes permeate the show and infect every single aspect of it. When a show can pull something like that off, you know its doing something right. If I had a complaint, it would be that sometimes it very blatantly states it’s themes and that the animation is not quite up to the quality standards of say, a Madhouse or even like Lerche or White Fox; the character can look very wonky at times as pans/tilts and shortcuts are often used, but coming from a newbie staff with a totally fresh director, this project is still very impressive. I’m highly excited to see what comes from these guys in the future.

Final Score: 8/10

7. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Descending Stories


2016’s paced and old-school Rakugo Shinjuu caused quite a bit of a stir in the anime community when it came out. A slow, patient drama about rakugo, love, death, and the people around it, it managed to tell a compelling and gripping tale of admiration, purpose, and regret. With Descending Stories, Studio Deen continues the stories of the characters we met in the first and subsequently last episode of the first season, the new, younger rakugo performers, but with much more scope. It covers possibly entire decades, and it extends its reach to the next generation. It’s a story that travels throughout the breadth of the 20th century, yet feels constantly private and familial. With dreamlike, striking sequences and some intense philosophical deconstruction, Descending Stories feels heavier, deadlier and bleaker than its predecessor, dancing with the blackness of the void like never before.

Final Score: 8/10

6. Tsuki ga Kirei (as the moon, so beautiful)


Our first surprise on the list, Tsuki ga Kirei suddenly landed one day on the Spring charts and made almost no splash. In a season dominated by fat, action-heavy shounen giants like Attack on Titan and Boku no Hero Academia, how could a quaint, original show about middle school romance by a tiny studio (Studio feel.) ever rise up the ranks and become something? It did so by displaying genuine effort and painful relatability. It painted a picture of young, nervous, uncontrollable love perfectly, bringing back memories even for people like me, who remember doing the things these character did a mere three years ago. The amateurish but detailed character animation and subtle expressions added to the hyperrealistic feel of the setting and story, and the non-melodramatic tone it adopts turns what could’ve been a painfully bloated tear-jerker into a trip filled with nostalgic and whimsical bliss. If you’re a sucker for anime romance, this 12 episode trip is like hot cocoa in a Winter morning.

Final Score: 8.1/10

5. Princess Principal


Studio 3Hz already made one hell of an impression with 2016’s arthouse journey Flip Flappers, a show dripping with visual style and torrential creativity. So when the first episode of Princess Principal dropped in Summer, it already promised a slightly different experience than with everything else on the charts. Classy, sleek designs on the backdrop of a steampunk-ed London. Mystery and action expected. Writer Ichiro Okouchi (of Code Geass, Valvrave and Planetes fame) was helming the script. The interest was rising, to say the least. And I’m happy to report that it is one of the years best crafted action experiences. Taking influence from lots of badass spy thrillers, mixed with a cast of beautiful, diverse girls, spine-tingling costume and world design, episodic plots filled with intrigue, punchy and engaging actions scenes, and a cool tone that rivals that of Lupin III. If you’re looking for pure hardcore fun, this is the show to check out.

Final Score: 8.2/10

4. Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon (Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon)


This year didn’t see many ambitious, grandiose shows by any of the big, recognizable studios. Madhouse, Sunrise, Production I.G., none of them truly packing the big guns and delivering us a beefy, complete show (unless for some reason you count the lame, unimpressive and rather sexist Welcome to the Ballroom). Kyoto Animation is one of those studios, but this year it struck it big with a show that was very subtle about its greatness. Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon sounds like a cheap, fanservice driven romp through and through, but manages to both be that style of gut-busting comedy, and also pull out some moments of legitimate sentimentality and development. Kobayashi and Tooru’s quirky, skewed relationship, the parallels between dragon culture and our own, and some truly heart-wrenching loneliness and introspection litter this poppy, bright and colorful meme-fest. It’s definitely a little racy, but do not skimp on this excellently animated, slice of life encounter.

Final Score: 8.3/10

3. Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)


Yeah, it’s actually that good. No exaggeration, no hyperbole, no bullshit. Studio Orange‘s fully 3D delve into existentialism, body horror and pathos is quite possibly this years most successful experiment in anime. Completely stealing the hearts off its fans and causing a total ruckus in the sphere, this smartly framed and beautifully written character drama defied all odds and will probably be remembered well into the future. With tons of unique personalities, a main character that feels real and human (despite being a gem), and a soaring, breathtaking musical score. There’s already a fully fledged fanbase around it. It has this timeless, contemplative nature that balances between lighthearted and terrifying with ease, not to mention its twisting, agile action scenes. The 3D techniques have turned lots of people over from 3D skeptics to apologists, as the show uses the advantages of the style and look of anime to make the 3D look striking and bold instead of wobbly and cheap. Congrats on that. But fuck you for teasing me like that at the end of the season. Can’t wait for the second one.

Final Score: 8.4/10

2. Mahoujin Guru Guru (Magical Circle Guru Guru)


The experience of watching Mahoujin Guru Guru is akin to that of boxing. The throttling, non-stop barrage of gut-busters and jaw-droppers is already too much to handle, but when the occasional inspiring, genuinely emotional moment comes in, only to be interrupted by another stupidly punchy joke timed perfectly, has got to be one of the most entertaining rides of the entire year. Genius, frantic comedy that strikes gold every single time, with constant dips into absurdism, parody, and subversion. Adorable and memorable aesthetic, godly OPs and EDs, and an unbreakable vibe of fun and adventure. Almost flawless, only rarely bent by taste-based disagreements. Reminded me a lot of watching Cardcaptor Sakura for the first time, so if you like that show, this is a total winner.

Kukuri LOTY 2017.


Final Score: 9.4/10

1. Sangatsu no Lion (March comes in like a Lion)


Man, this show is in my Top 10 favorites list. Of all time.

This first half of the first season aired in 2016, but the entire second half as well as the first half of the second season all aired in 2017, so I’m counting it here.

When its not causing my eyes to water from pure pleasantness, its crushing my soul with black sadness. It’s able to balance between tragic and endearing so perfectly that it feels like real life, that I’m watching real, fully fledged people and not cartoons on my screen. The way its stories happen around each other, how the structure is organic and free-flowing, how it can deliver all the emotional punch of a moment with a single, perfectly written line. How it can both warp and melt the world and screen to show you pain and despair, but also how it can blow all your worries and doubts away with bright splashes of comfy and warm orange; the show carries itself visually with no struggle. A show that exemplifies everything I love about storytelling, and how all of the different aspects of a show can blend together to enhance the narrative. If you want emotion done well in anime, this is the pinnacle.

Final Score: 9.6/10

Overall, 2017 was a fantastic year to be introduced into anime. I see many people complaining and discussing the prominence of isekai-style shows, or the continual bastardization of light novel adaptations, or the decades-old perpetration of bad business decisions causing ripples that extend into relevancy, but frankly, this is a rock solid list of shows. Lots of table-turning surprises, underground rises and tons of creative experimentation. 2018 is already looking like a powerhouse of a year, but this one put up a fighting chance too.

Worst Album of 2017: Eminem’s Revival


Accurate depiction of my reaction when listening to Revival

So, this new Revival album is pretty securely the worst album I’ve listened to all the way this year. There have been worse records, but this one is so shocking in its existence, that I could not stop listening. It was instead of watching a car crash in slow motion, more akin to an airplane clipping its wings on buildings and slowly but surely crashing in a glorious blaze of flames.

Eminem’s discography has been filled with different styles and influences that span nearly 20 years. The aggressive and no-bullshit Slim Shady LP and The Eminem Show propelled him to stardom almost immediately, garnering him the reputation of a no nonsense bastard of rap, capable of launching verbal attacks of nuclear capacity.

With the gargantuan level of attention he was getting, though, Eminem decided to change. He began collaborating with some of the biggest names in the music industry at the time, and not just in the rap and hip hop community. Pillars like Rihanna, Sia, and Nicki Minaj began to release songs with him, and after a while, the tone of Eminem’s music would change drastically from whence it began, affecting his style in albums like Relapse and Recovery.

And here we have the result. The 77 minute long, 4 years in the making Revival LP. The magnum opus hinted at the end of The Marshall Mathers LP2. And what do what we get?

A complete insult of a record with jarring flow, petty and childish lyrics, tone-deafness, bad genre clashing, boring structure, and thin production. This is one pasty, ear-piercing trainwreck. I expected mediocre, but certainly not this. It’s so bad that we have to go track by track and pick apart why this record is as atrocious as it is. And you’re sitting through it. Let’s fucking go.

Walk on Water (feat. Beyonce)

Let’s start with the first track, Walk on Water. Learning that Beyonce was going to be the feature was rather optimistic, as she is a respectable musician, with decades in the industry and tons of banging, sticky tracks that have resonated over the years. 2016’s Lemonade is amongst her best, for example, so having her here might have been a positive. Instead, though, we get a rehash of a lot of songs from Eminem’s past, such as The Monster or Love The Way You Lie. It has that staple flowing and holy chorus interspersed with hard-hitting spits by the man himself. Here though, the tone feels weak, flat and generic. Beyonce does nothing other than sing the chorus, which will be a constant theme throughout this album. The flair is nothing new and it carries no weight. The lyrics are Eminem rapping du jour, with no style changes or new ideas. Same old, same old. Already a wrinkly start.


Believe might actually have the singe worst chorus on the album. It takes the concept of a spacey chorus and pumps it up to 11, with an incomprehensible bass line that has no beat to it, wavy and hazy riffs that melt horrifically into the background instrumentals and with vocals that sound distorted and fat. Outside of the chorus, the song is desolate, with Eminem using a modern trap beat that moves sluggishly through his choppy delivery and rhymes. Very difficult to listen to and instantly temporary. No catchiness to it whatsoever.

Chloraseptic (feat. Phresher)

Chloraseptic is possibly the worst song on the entire record, mostly due to it’s lost potential. The beat is empty, with random drums and snares hastily forced onto the droning, tinnitus-inducing bass line. The feature in this song, though, Phresher, an up-and-coming Internet famous rapper with actual musical talent, gets backseated and constrained into the chorus and bridges, while Eminem goes nuts on the verses and even drowns him out in sections where both of them are voicing. It’s as if the features are only here to emphasize Eminem’s own flow, completely killing the point of even having features at all. A feature is meant to add something to a song, mixing both artists’ talents and styles to create a song that is unique and diverse. Instead, Eminem does nothing with him at all and dominates the song with his monotone, uninteresting staccato raps. We’ve heard that before.


Untouchable features one of the two hot-button issues presented in the album, and it does so with as much tact, care and subtlety as a cedar baseball bat to the temples. In this song, Eminem raps both from the perspective of a white man and of a black man, and discusses the racism and oppression of the black community in modern America. Not to mention the fact that artists like Kendrick Lamar have done so already, all the while doing so with banging, catchy tunes, a standalone story that feels tense, nerve-wracking and even bone-chilling at times, but also with the very important fact that they are part of that oppressed community. Eminem, though, resident whitey, does so with a glaring yell, spouting justice like brimstone, or so he thinks. He’s simply late to the party and is doing what’s already been done in a much worse way. Also the beat on this thing is a rather bland, blaring rap track that layers some screeching and annoying guitar riffs in the background, which mesh very abruptly with the rest of the song. It’s not pleasurable to listen to.


For this song, just substitute one of the many female features for Ed Sheeran but keep all the drab instrumentation and theming. Song!

Remind Me

Remind Me is a bold-faced, blatant ripoff. It simply takes I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jet and the Blackhearts, places the most basic and spread out beat in the distant background, and then lets Eminem rap over it. No extra changes, no creative uses of the sample, absolutely nothing. This is more than just ripping off a song. This is like a mixtape someone would make as a joke. As in, how did anybody think this was a finished, fully produced song? No originality whatsoever.

Like Home (feat. Alicia Keys)

Then we get into Like Home. Talk about a pointless, petty and dated song that feels like it’ll vanish as soon as 2017 ends. Just another spacey beat shitting on Trump. What riveting commentary, Eminem. Namedropping Twitter twice sure is some biting, sizzling lyricism. This type of middle-school tier confrontational attitude will get swallowed up by Never-Trump bleeders, though, regardless of the lack of musical inventiveness and purpose other than its bashing of Trump. It’s as if that’s all a song needs in order to sell well in today’s obese, retched plane called the modern pop music industry.

Oh, I guess Alicia Keys is also featured in this song. Not that it matters.


Bad Husband (feat. X Ambassadors)

Bad Husband‘s drone-y X Ambassadors feature totally doesn’t blend at all with the rap, feeling like auditory whiplash between the verses and choruses. No thought whatsoever put into the actual flow of the instrumentals of the song, all while Eminem desperately tries to keep up with a beat that chops up his words and throws them into a blender.

All throughout this first half not once did I hear Eminem change up his vocal delivery in the slightest. It’s all the same drab, aggressive yet soulless speaking/shouting voice the entire record. This makes every single song bleed into each other and turn unrecognizable. It also doesn’t help that the beats have no flair, fire or energy. Just trap-influenced and flatter than a board. Awful.

I feel like I have to mention the repetitive, boring as hell song structure that’s being constantly repeated throughout all the songs with features. They start off with a intro/chorus, then Em’s flow, then chorus, Em flow, chorus, Em flow, chorus, end of song. No experimentation here! Just repetition, that’s how music works! Gobble it up, you fatsos. Get diabetes.

Tragic Endings (feat. Skylar Grey)

Tragic Endings is yet another overly long, redundant song about some soap-opera level relationship drama that I’ve heard 20 times already. One thing is to talk about your family, which has actual weight to it, but to constantly be writing edgy and dour dramas that have no connection to you is just embarrassing. It’s about as mindless as a pop song about love. It lacks all artistic input and personality. Musically this song is as dreary and same-y as all the other “emotional” raps in the record. Completely interchangeable.


Framed is the first song so far that feels like it has a distinguishable attitude. It’s harsh, brutal, Eminem actually throws his voice around in fun ways this time, portraying a paranoid, schizophrenic man caught up in an exorbitant number of murder conspiracies. The lyrics are bloody, nasty, and disgusting, yet quirky, funny and over the top. It reminds me of the golden days of the Slim Shady LP and The Eminem Show. This track has actual creative effort injected into it, not just verbally, but musically too, featuring this creepy, horror-core riff that screams B-movie plot. This one’s a pass.

Nowhere Fast (feat. Khelani)

And immediately after the fun and snappy Framed we jump right back into another spacey, droning chorus intro with Nowhere Fast. Khelani’s feature feels the exact same as the others before it. One drop of creativity and pizazz in a sea of drowning trap nothingness. Not to mention the horrid mixing on this song. The intro/chorus feels like it belongs on a 2012 EDM fling, the violin backups are totally distracting, and the beat that continually cuts off during Eminem’s flows are super disconnected and grind the song to a halt. A total clusterfuck. Not to mention the gag-inducing chorus lyrics.


What the fuck is this? Is this some cheap chorus taken from some 4 year old summer electro/dance track? What is it even saying? It’s so generic and without substance that it hurts. Either get better ghostwriters, get better features, or learn to write relevant lyrics outside of the flows. This is honestly baffling.


Not to harp on Heat since the beat is at least listenable, but these lyrics are painfully groan-worthy. These certainly aren’t the clever and punchy insults of Slim Shady, but more like some 12 year old SnapChatting his degenerate friends and laughing in Sex Ed.

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Just pathetic. Other than that this, the song is plain old forgettable.


Offended is total self-indulgence. I guess that’s the point, but when you deliberately pause the beat to emphasize your “sick raps” it just comes across as you actually huffing your own farts. I know that’s in the song, but when you push it that far, with the actual song warping around the tone, the line has crossed from irony to reality. You’ve stepped out of parody and entered plain old bad.

Not to mention that the “Everybody hates me, gotta eat some worms” chorus is very grating and lame. It stops the flow right in its tracks for some kiddie song that feels tacked on and ridiculously on-the-nose. A total distraction.

Need Me (feat. P!nk)

What can I say about Need Me that I haven’t said about the other vapid, completely useless features on this blunder of a record? Spacey, overly grandiose and absolutely not meant for a hip hop album. Again, is this a fuckin’ Chainsmokers LP? Charlie Puth? These instrumental hooks and bridges are pulled straight out of something my party-head high school classmates would mindlessly blast in the club at 2am in the morning. Is this really the pinnacle of your musical inventiveness, Eminem? Or are you simply too lazy to work on some fresh, ear-tickling beats and prefer to just copy and paste them over and over? Whatever.

And guess what? You thought this song only failed musically? Need Me is yet another sad, depressive song about a toxic relationship that goes sour. It seems as though Eminem nowadays can’t write anything other than “woe is me” soap opera stories, teenage-level diss tracks and political anthems so drenched in fist-shaking frustration that there’s no space left for innovation.

Also P!nk is the feature on this track. Not that it matters.

In Your Head

In Your Head is meant to be a self-criticism of various aspects of Eminem’s career, including and most especially his Slim Shady persona. Oh, so you mean his most iconic, memorable, catchy, fun, personality-infused, abrasive, and entertaining persona, huh? Is that really what Marshall thinks about his best records? The ones that gave him the fame he lives off of now? It’s like he wants to resonate with the mindless pop crowd instead of rebelling against it like in his early records, like he’s lost all his fierce identity. It’s just sad at this point.

Castle and Arose

Castle is one of the better songs in the record, but only because here, Eminem actually touches on some deep, core-shaking dilemmas inside of him. You know, stuff that actually gives purpose and weight to the music, and not just empty filler for a pop hip hop tune? Sadly, this and the latter track are still both musically unimpressive, resorting to some forgettable hard-hitting trap-hop beats. Boring.

To be fair, both Castle and Arose provide interesting and introspective accounts of Marshall’s experience with death (overdosing in 2007), which was very fascinating to me personally, since this story is new to me and it felt as though his performance was genuine, gripping and intense. I wanted more of that. Getting this glimpse of what could be only made the rest of the album seem ever more hopeless and dead.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Revival is bloated, vapid, aesthetically tumultuous, dissonant, tone-deaf, dated, petty, pointless and a complete step backwards in terms of musical evolution for Eminem. A severe lack of emotion and passion save for some very specific sections. Clocking at 77 painful minutes long, this thing is atrociously hideous. I really don’t have anything else to possibly say. A complete disaster.

Instead of listening to this trite garbage, listen to BROCKHAMPTON’s Saturation III, which dropped literally the same day as Revival. It’s one of the most consistent, solid, experimental, energetic and fun hip hop albums of 2017. Now that is worth your time and attention.

The New Philosophy in Regards to Post Scheduling and Publication for 2018

As this blog has kind of devolved into sporadic posting and random shit, I’m going to be streamlining this much more for 2018.

This blog will have at the very fucking least one post per month starting in January 2018. That’s enough content to where I wont feel terrible seeing the post dates on the blog fly further away into history.

It will probably be these following things:

  • Seasonal Anime Rankings/Lists/Breakdowns

I watch nearly every new seasonal anime that comes out, so being able to write about these shows will encourage me to keep up with dates and with a weekly/monthly schedule, which fits perfectly into the timeframe of new anime releases. Expect a full seasonal retrospective at the end of every season as well.

  • Random, Length-spanning, Potentially Rambling Reviews or Analyses of Anime, Manga, Music, Games, Movies, etc. 

I consume a metric ton of media every single day, so much so that it would be impossible to write about all of it without it being passe and pointless. So whenever I do have something interesting to say about a particular piece of media I consume, I’ll post it here. They might be 100 words, or they might be 5000. They’re probably going to be mostly about anime, since it’s what I watch the most, but you might occasionally get a terrible album review or quick movie impressions, which come with all the previous warnings and health hazards included.

  • Even More Random, Potentially Aggravating Video Logs about Anything?
    • Subsection 1: Youtube Voice Over Re-Publishings
      • These will be videos summarizing or reading a previously posted blog post as a recording to upload to the Youtube account linked in this blog. I feel as though having a Youtube is useful for marketing and networking, so it’s purely there for convenience and practicality. Please never go to my Youtube.
    • Subsection 2: Late Night Vlogs about Anything and Everything
      • Recording myself and rambling is fun. No other reason.
    • Subsection 3: In Depth, Edited, Researched, “Capital-A” Analysis Videos (Expect 95% of these to be about Anime)
      • These will by by far the rarest and most out-of-the-loop videos, but they will contain at least enough editing to where I’m satisfied and there’s enough of a point to them to where I feel the video needed to exist. These will most likely come out at least once every couple of months. I don’t like editing and I only do it under infrequent spouts of GENIUS CREATIVITYStill, don’t expect anything particularly good, though that goes without saying with my writing.
  • Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
    • Twitter will be posted on more frequently than ever before. I’ve discovered the huge benefit it has as a networking tool and as a vomit-to-text transmuter. Also posts here will get retweeted there, so it’s also a way for more people to get to this blog. As if I ever fucking wanted that.
    • Tumblr is pretty certainly getting no activity from me whatsoever. It’s purely there for re-posting reasons. Sorry.
    • Google Plus, go fuck yourself.

Anyway, I hope this is a comprehensive list of my production philosophy for 2018. This will be pinned, or however WordPress does that shit.

See y’all then.

P.S.: Expect a blog post/vlog of my retrospective of Fall 2017 Anime Season and of 2017 Anime as a whole sometime soon. Fall posts will be most likely out in late December and the Year post will be in early January. 

Princess Tutu and Metafiction in Anime


One of the most widely fascinating but rarely explored themes of fiction is the idea of “Metafiction”, which is a form of fiction in which the text, through it’s narrative, visuals or characters, is “aware” that it is a form of fiction. It’s a pseudo-genre widely used in many mediums of entertainment, and certain projects along the years have become beacons of excellence in the exploration of this concept. Some examples are the subtly terrifying and bizarre House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, John Carpenter’s dizzying and world-ending film In The Mouth Of Madness, and Daniel Mullins’ underground mischievous masterpiece Pony Island, amongst others.

Specifically, though, I want to narrow down my net of reference and only focus on Japanese anime, seeing as there are a plethora of examples in other mediums while it remains relatively untouched, or at least, undiscovered, in the medium of animation. Also because this is an anime-centric blog. Deal with it.

What I mean by “Metafiction” in this case isn’t what some lowbrow, late night TV anime calls “meta”, taking place in the real world and featuring characters that watch anime (like OreImo, or Umaru-chan), or even shows that provide commentary on the medium of animation itself and it’s inner workings and dilemmas (like Shirobako or Girlish Number). Of this extremely specific section of the thematic spectrum, one show comes to mind, that utilizes the actual definition of metafiction as a concrete baseline for it’s theme and story: Princess Tutu.


Let’s begin.

Princess Tutu is a story drenched in the nature of fairy tales and legends. Episodes begin with a short and ominous piece about a tragedy on some way or another, the major aesthetic of the show is ballet dancing and appropriate music, and the main villain of the story is the very writer of the show’s plot: A mysterious and blabbering madman/genius named Drosselmeyer, the most crucial piece in the puzzle.

Drosselmeyer impersonates the concept of a tragic ending. He is the metaphysical writer that has blanketed the town where the protagonists live inside of. It’s a hazy and foggy aura, as citizens are turned into anthropomorphized animals, select teenagers are hosts to powers beyond their control, and time itself has been tampered with in order to create the most beautiful tragedy ever conceived. This is Drosselmeyer’s masterpiece, The Prince and the Raven. And the character Princess Tutu herself is the catalyst for the tale that he wants to tell. (Here is Drosselmeyer’s complete fan-recreated story for reference. Read it before continuing.)

Tutu’s role in the story is one of brief but meaningful importance. She is meant to appear momentarily, cause en event, and subsequently die. She is by far the least present character in The Prince and the Raven. Despite this, her name is the title of the show itself. This subtle detail is to emphasize the idea that even the actions taken by the least prominent characters in a story can have unparalleled ramifications, and that they are characters in their own right, with their own story to go along with the one being told. Not to mention the final confrontation, as she and the then-useless knight Fakir (the two least narratively important characters in Drosselmeyer’s story, by the way) are the ones that persevere against fate itself to turn a tragedy into a happy ending. If that’s not subversive, I don’t know what is.

The story itself is about characters stuck in, and then breaking apart the realized ballet-inspired fantastical narrative of the antagonist, whom expresses curiosity about whether or not he himself is also part of a story at the end of the show. They are not only questioning their existence inside fiction, but the writer of that world is also questioning his fictional existence. It’s a double metafiction!

Princess Tutu also utilizes these ideas to weave together a greater theme of morality in fiction, debating whether or not the authors of such stories create tragedies out of morbid curiosity, a greater artistic purpose, or mere fetishistic obsession, much like Re:Creators (2017) lightly touches on in it’s more heartfelt conversations before turning back into a Fate knockoff.

I’m sorry, I just really have a problem with Re:Creators.

Anyway, all of this evidence is proof that Princess Tutu explores most, if not all of the avenues of metafiction, integrating them into the story through it’s characters, episodic scenarios and climaxes. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time for this reason. Oh, and also because it balances all of it’s contrasting tones (whimsical and melancholic) and atmospheres (bouncy and somber) perfectly, and because the episodic storylines all hold golden nuggets of romantic wisdom, are seamlessly integrated into the overarching narrative, and have an ending that is just the right combination of bitter and sweet.

Gosick – Quick Review


Just finished Gosick, and I’m rather torn. For one, I loved the relationship between the two leads, even if it started slow and often times showed glimpses of returning to it’s annoying and repetitive master-servant state. It ended up evolving pretty subtly throughout the plot and was very engaging, mostly due to the genuine chemistry they had while tackling the different mysteries and especially when shit hit the fan, that’s when they really showed their best as people slowly falling in love with one another.


On the other hand, the “mystery” aspect of the show was hit-or-miss, and mostly on the miss side. Often times the arcs were incredibly obvious with their clues, leading to minutes (or sometimes even entire episodes) of waiting around for the plot to catch up with that I already had deciphered. Other times, the twists were properly shocking and well-timed, and on reflection were set up nicely and coherently. They clicked enough to where you could miss certain things if not paying attention. The most fascinating sections of the mysteries were the setups, as they began with explosive and properly magical displays that really piqued my interest, but as soon as the two leads began their investigations, interest quickly hit a wall. Those last 2 episodes were very frenetic and nerve-wracking, mostly because by that point their relationship was the most important aspect of the show for me, so I was hoping that they would actually get together. The ending was overall solid.


Overall, Gosick is fine. The mysteries are rather dull and easy to figure out, but nonetheless interesting to piece together casually. The romance begins rather banal and repetitive, but slowly inches its way towards genuine chemistry and satisfaction, and the whole tone of the show was dark enough to expect major twists and turns, but also peppy enough to where a chipper scene between the two leads was always a welcome addition. I’d give it a strong 6, maybe a light 7 if I’m feeling generous.

The Biggest Frustration of Being a Manga Reader in the US

Anime is very easy to come across in recent times. Whether through Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation, Netflix, Amazon or illegal torrents, anime can be found anywhere and everywhere, as long as you know where to find it. You can complain about certain companies behaving a certain way with their shows (like Netflix not simulcasting, or Amazon being extremely late with their show’s releases), but overall anime is a much bigger thing nowadays and therefore much easier to find and watch.

What has suffered a major hit in America, at least, has been manga. Sure, you can do an easy search online and find illegal sites of fan-translated manga, but that comes with it’s own risks and potential frustrations. The translations might be both great or terrible in quality, most times maintaining very little of the nuance in the original text, the chapters might be months apart, some series might be abandoned completely and most times than not, the actual act of reading an online manga is tiresome and deeply annoying. There’s nothing quite like picking up a book with your hands, flipping the slightly rough pages, sitting down with a good drink, and experiencing the entire act of reading manga.

There are, once again, some options. Dark Horse comics have excellent omnibus releases (like the stellar Cardcaptor Sakura omnibuses), you have Seven Seas releasing a constant stream of yuri and shoujo titles (the likes of Bloom into You, Citrus, Netsuzou TRap, Oshiete! Galko-chan, and Strawberry Panic) and Yen Press with their Konosuba releases and their upcoming Youjo Senki light novels and eventual manga publishing in 2018. These, and many other companies are publishing excellently edited manga here in the United States, and the fact that it is sold in stores like Barnes and Nobles makes the buying and selling of manga, and therefore it’s propagation, a much easier progress.

Sadly, though, this isn’t the case with every manga series.

Where as you can load up KissAnime or Gogoanime and watch an entire, obscure show from 1987 at any time, many, many manga series are being left in the dust completely, with no way of ever being retranslated or rereleased. I mentioned Youjo Senki, but the actual manga came out in 2013 yet the translation has yet to come here at all, left for a 2018 release from questionable purchasing options in Amazon. I recently got very into Gunslinger Girl, and while the 1st volume of the Seven Seas omnibuses is in heavy supply for a great price, after that, it becomes almost undesirable to purchase, with most online stores not having them at all, and those that do, having them for at least $64 in price. The very same Cardcaptor Sakura omnibus release by Dark Horse is also increasingly harder to find, volumes 3 and 4 having almost exclusively 3rd party sellers in websites like Amazon, for much higher prices and astoundingly less physical quality.

Manga simply isn’t the big popular punch that anime is, and while that medium is growing more and more each season, manga seems like it’s becoming more and more of a niche, inviting a supremely low and unloyal fanbase and becoming harder and harder to find good quality prints and releases in North America. It’s honestly frustrating.

This wouldn’t be a problem if I read Japanese, of course, but most manga readers don’t have the drive, time, or money to heavily learn the language, leaving hundreds of potentially excellent manga untouched for the english reader, and that’s the biggest bummer ever.