My Top 5 Favorite Moments in Code Geass R2

Code Geass R2

Hiyo, everyone! Today I’ll be offering the follow-up post to my previous one concerning my favorite moments in Code Geass R1. As before, I will assume the reader has already watched the anime. If you haven’t, please, watch it first. It’s ultra worthy of your time, and reading all the spoilers ahead of time would make for a much worse experience.

Anyway, time for the list!

5. Happiness

This is another short scene, but one that always struck me as profound. Lelouch, after coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to have to fight Nunnally, returns to Ashford academy to find that his friends have foregone their school trip so they could spend time with him and Rolo. Brought to tears, the Lelouch recalls a discussion he had in the past. Here’s the quote (English dub version):

“A long time ago, Nunnally, Suzaku, and I talked about something. We wondered what happiness would look like if we could give it a physical form. If I’m not mistaken, I think it was Suzaku that said that the shape of happiness might resemble glass. His reasoning made sense. He said that even though you don’t usually notice it, it’s still definitely there. You merely have to change your point of view slightly, and then that glass will sparkle when it reflects the light. I doubt that anything else could argue its own existence more eloquently.”

I’ve held that thought with me ever since I first saw that scene. It’s just so beautiful, and it rings true. When you reflect on the past, even on times you thought were difficult in the present, you’ll sometimes find that hint of nostalgia waiting for you in the memory. Happiness can blossom in even the hardest times. That’s something we should always keep in mind.

4. Rolo’s Death

Another emotional moment! With Lelouch exposed as Zero and revealed to have been manipulating people with Geass, the Black Knights themselves decide to finish him off. But he’s saved by Rolo, even though he’d just finished telling Rolo their relationship as brothers was a lie and that he’d been trying to kill him. Using his Geass – which greatly strains his heart – Rolo escapes with Lelouch aboard the Vincent. Various enemies give chase, and Rolo uses his Geass over and over, freezing the perception of time for others. As Lelouch tries to explain he has no reason to live, Rolo says that even if Lelouch was using him, out of all the people who used him throughout his life, only his time with Lelouch felt genuine. Therefore, he chose to save Lelouch of his own volition. As the scene progresses, the beautiful song “Like a Bird” plays throughout, charging it with extra emotion.

Once the two have escape, as Rolo lays dying of heart failure, he asks for assurance that Lelouch was lying about trying to kill him. Lelouch gives it (even though he really did try to kill Rolo) and, with a sad smile, leaves the locket once meant for Nunnally with Rolo’s corpse, a sign that he does now accept him as a brother.

I’ve always been so moved by this scene. The way Rolo remains loyal to Lelouch despite everything shows that he’s grown as a character, and has finally come to understand what he values most. And Lelouch’s response in the end, once he believes he has lost everything, brought me to tears. After the two of them had such a rocky relationship, it felt quite good to see them each put their own desires aside and, for a moment, accept the strength in even connections not tied by blood.

3. C’s World

It happens in a world outside of space. About 80% through the series, we finally learn of C.C.’s past, and of the terms of Lelouch’s contract. In return for his Geass, C.C. would have Lelouch kill her and take her place as an immortal. She views her time on earth not as living, but as accumulating experience, and claims life has no value unless it is finite. Lelouch, of course, refuses to kill C.C., so she sends him off to see her past and lets Charles do the deed.

Lelouch then sees that C.C. was born long ago, that she was an escaped slave, and that she made a Geass contract with a nun. Her Geass made others love her. But, in time, she learned that infinite love was just a meaningless farce. It prevented anyone aside from the nun from seeing many parts of her personality. One day, C.C. explained that to the nun, and the nun finally revealed her scheme – she had been using C.C. all along. She forced C.C. to kill her and inherit her immortality.

Lelouch returns to the place where Charles and C.C. are on the verge of C.C.’s death and promises her something that she never had. A smile. Impulsively, C.C. pushes Charles away, and she and Lelouch are ejected from C’s world. But, when they get out, Lelouch finds C.C. left something behind – her memories. In an instant, she transforms from an enigmatic witch to a timid servant.

C.C. has always been one of my favorite characters in the series, so it was nice to see her play a major role in an important scene. And everything about her is so relatable! Her desire to be loved having come from a background where no one loved her and her desire to die when life lost all meaning. C.C. is someone who feels both life and love lie in their limits, and there is something to be said about that opinion. Learning so much about C.C. made me like her even more. In this scene, she finally dropped the mask and showed her genuine self.

2. Nunnally’s Smile

Lelouch, along with Suzaku and C.C., faced off against his immortal father and his not-so-dead mother. They rejected the plan to hold the world in a constant state of past. The Thought Elevator is falling, broken by Lelouch’s request to the collective unconsciousness. Charles and Marianne are dissolving. But they haven’t given up. They try to appeal to C.C., to get her to switch back over to their side. She, however, now knows that they only love themselves, and says as much. Marianne says that’s false, and that they love their children. Then Lelouch delivers possibly the most powerful line in the series.

“Do you have any idea what the meaning is behind Nunnally’s beautiful smile?”

Naturally, Charles and Marianne don’t know. Lelouch explains that Nunnally is aware of the many things she can’t do without help due to being blind and crippled, and that she smiles to show her thanks. Charles rejects that idea and lunges at Lelouch – but with a few words, he dispels both of his parents forever.

That one question is all it took for Lelouch to expose his parents’ true motives. They didn’t understand Nunnally, nor did they even try to. C.C. is exactly right about them. They only look at things from an abstract angle, and, in doing so, they miss the people before their very eyes. That one question refutes all of their claims so easily. It was the perfect thing for Lelouch to ask, for it revealed a truth Charles and Marianne themselves were not aware of.

1. Zero Requiem

Was there ever any question?

Lelouch presides over a the public executions of his enemies as the evil emperor of the world. Everyone hates him, but they dare not speak out. But as his parade advances down a street toward its destination, they encounter someone unexpected.

Zero.

But Lelouch was believed to be Zero! How can there be another? Zero charges through Lelouch’s guard with comical ease and prepares to plunge his blade into Lelouch’s chest. That’s when Kallen – and we, the viewers, see the truth. Zero is Suzaku, who is not actually dead after all, and Lelouch arranged for his own assassination. He focused all the world’s hatred on himself then arranged to be eliminated, and that hatred discarded with him. His death would pave the way for the world to move forward.

Suzaku stabs Lelouch. lelouch tells Suzaku he is to sacrifice his own happiness to serve as Zero for the rest of his life, and Suzaku accepts. He pulls the blade from lelouch’s chest, and Lelouche slides down is vehicle and lands right next to Nunnally. She touches his hand – and sees it all.

To quote Lelouch: “Yes, I… destroy the world… and make it… anew.”

The result is bittersweet irony at its finest. The crowd chants “Zero!” as Nunnally wails, stating she had only ever wanted to be with Lelouch. The beautiful song Continued Story plays in the background as her cries grow louder and louder. Lelouch set out to make a better world for Nunnally, but, in the end, that lead to her grief and a bright future for the world.

In the subsequent scenes, we see how the world really is becoming a better place. Some people would argue that this ending is unrealistic, and maybe it is, but either way, it’s beautiful. It completes Lelouch’s and Suzaku’s character arcs in the strongest way possible. I sobbed like a baby! It’s the best ending of anything I’ve watched, read, or played ever. Thanks to this scene, my love for Code Geass is eternal.

Then there’s the debate about whether Lelouch actually died, but I’m not gonna get into that here! xD

Anyway, that’s my list! What were your favorite moments in Code Geass R2? What did you think of my choices? Did I miss anything you felt should have been included? Please let me know in the comments below! I command you, have a wonderful week! =p

Why I Love Anohana: The Flower we Saw that Day

Anohana

Hiyo, everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing an anime I recently rewatched that I found awesome! As you can tell from the title, it’s called Anohana: The Flower we Saw that Day. As usual, I will avoid substantial spoilers, but discuss the premise of the show. But I have an entirely different warning to issues about this eleven episode anime: Anohana is one of the most emotional stories I have ever experienced. If you watch from beginning to end, prepare to cry. If you don’t mind that, I encourage you to read ahead!

The story of Anohana began with a group of six kids who were close friends and called themselves the Super Peace Busters. For a while, they enjoyed days of fun and camaraderie. That came to a crashing halt when, after a dispute, one of the six friends, a girl named Menma (I will use their childhood nicknames instead of their real names in this review) suddenly died. Her death devastated all of those around her – her family and, of course, the surviving members of the Super Peace Busters. The group shattered, leaving the secret base they had long played in vacant.

Years later, the five surviving Super Peace Busters have, for the most part, gone their separate ways. Molded by his grief, our protagonist, Jintan, succumbed to the hole in his heart left by his mother (who died of disease) and Menma, and eventually stopped going to school. His father didn’t try to stop him. As of the beginning of the story, he lives at home and spends much of his time doing things like playing games.

Then, suddenly, Menma appears to him, and only him. He can see her and hear her whenever she’s around, but no one else can. She asks him to grant her wish, and he agrees. The problem is she forgets what her wish is. So, Jintan finds himself revisiting the places and people of his past, trying to find out what it might be. Before long, he is reunited with his old friends – and it’s abundantly clear that he and Menma are not the only ones who have struggled to move on.

I don’t want to spoil more than that. Such a beautiful anime deserves to be seen for itself. It’s on Crunchyroll for free as of the time of this writing, so I recommend you check it out… provided you can withstand a violent tearjerker. I’m not at all ashamed to admit I cried! A lot!

Anohana’s music is absolutely wonderful and pulls you right into the story’s themes, which include friendship, wistfulness for the past, grief, and the struggle to move on despite great loss. Anohana masterfully shows how intricately tied together your life is with those who care for you. If you’ve ever experienced loss, this will hit close to home in the best way possible. It will help you acknowledge your sadness even as you move forward.

Obviously, I rate Anohana 5/5. It’s phenomenal, and I just can’t praise it enough. I also rate having a box of tissues close at hand while watching Anohana 5/5. You’ll probably need them.

Do you like sad stories? If so, which are your favorites? They can be anime, movies, books, games, whatever! I’m eager to hear about them, ’cause I love that stuff. If not, feel free to share something cheerful instead! Until next time, I hope you make beautiful memories, and cherish your friends and family. Buh-bye for now!

 

My Top 5 Favorite Moments in Code Geass R1

Code Geass R1

Hiyo, everyone! It has been a while since I did a top list on this blog, and I’ve been gradually rewatching Code Geass, which I previously covered as my favorite anime, so I figured it was a perfect subject to discuss! In this post, I’ll talk about my five favorite moments from Code Geass R1 – that is, the first of the series’ existing two seasons. I’ll probably do another list for the second when I finish rewatching it, but that could be a while. Anyway, unlike my previous review, this post will be absolutely teeming with spoilers and will assume you have some knowledge of the series. If you haven’t watched it yet, I can’t recommend it enough! And, um, you probably shouldn’t read this post until you do. xD

Let’s begin!

5. The end

I guess beginning with the end is so overdone by now that it has become a cliche, but in this case, it’s still an accurate reflection of my opinion. R1 ends with Suzaku finally confronting Zero, his greatest enemy, and shooting the top of his mask, cracking it in two – only to have his worst suspicions confirmed in learning Zero is Lelouch, his long-time friend. With Kallen watching, Suzaku lays all that he knows bare – he reveals that Lelouch has been using a supernatural ability, his Geass, to control people. When Lelouch suggests a temporary alliance to save Nunnally, Suzaku will have none of it – he says Lelouch would just betray his trust, as the world betrayed Lelouch.

I love this scene because it shows just how far apart the two once-friends have grown. And Lelouch is visibly angered by Suzaku’s accusation; I believe this is the first scene in the series where it is presented to him so bluntly. It’s the culmination of the strife between the two throughout R1. At the end, Lelouch and Suzaku each aim their guns at each other – then there is a brief shot of Nunnally in some distress followed by blackness. The end of the season. I started watching Code Geass after the first two series were already released, so that didn’t really bother me, but I can’t blame anyone for hating that scene for its cliffhanger ending if they were watching while the series was ongoing. That’s just mean!

4. Euphemia orders Suzaku to love her

This scene is a short one, but I just can’t get enough of it! After thinking through the conflict that had occurred between herself and Suzaku, Euphemia finally comes to a striking realization, with a bit of help from Nina: she discovers that Suzaku suffers from self-hatred just as she does. Rash as ever, Euphemia contacts Suzaku in the middle of a battle and demands that he love her – and promises she will love him in return. Suzaku’s instinctive reaction of “Yes, your highness – huh?”just makes the scene even cuter!

This moment is particularly dear to me because I deal with self-hatred, too. Suzaku and Euphy can’t love themselves, so they each take on the responsibility of loving the other instead. It’s just so adorable, and had to ship it!

Until another event occurred…

3. Shirley follows Lelouch and discovers he’s working with the Black Knights

This entry may seem a little weird to some. The Black Knights are holding an operation to ostensibly save a submarine containing members of the Japan Liberation Front, but it’s not the battle itself that interests me, but the events leading up to it. As the beautiful “Stories” plays in the background, Shirley learns that Lelouch, the boy she’s had a long-time crush on, is working with the Black Knights, the terrorist organization responsible for killing her father. Meanwhile, Lelouch, under the guise of Zero, explains to his subordinates that they have to stay the course; that, to atone for all the blood they’ve spilled, they have to spill even more, and eventually succeed.

“Stories” played a large role in this scene’s influence over me. The feel of that song perfectly captures the tone of the unfolding events; everyone is trying to do what they feel is right, and despite those intentions, the song signals a tragedy in the making. The same sort of scenarios play out all the time in real life. Conflict is essential to who we are, and at this moment, it struck me more powerfully than ever.

2. Mao’s Death

Having kidnapped Nunnally and rubbed Lelouch’s weaknesses in, Mao agrees to confront Lelouch in his game of choice – chess. Winner takes all. The problem for Lelouch is that Mao’s Geass allows him to read minds over a large area, or, alternatively, focus his abilities on an individual and hear their every thought. Lelouch enters the situation knowing all about that, and he believes this is his last chance to save his sister’s life. But, as expected, Mao uses Lelouch’s own strategical prowess against him, then wins the game. Gleeful, he watches Lelouch melt down and presses the button designed to set off the bomb to end Nunnally’s life.

It doesn’t go off. Instead, Suzaku, who had been helping Lelouch, bursts into the room. By doing a high-precision maneuver, he disabled the bomb, and Lelouch’s chess game had been a diversion – one he himself hadn’t known about. With the help of a reflective surface, Lelouch used his Geass on himself so he would forget his own plans. Completely taken off guard and beaten by Suzaku’s comically overpowered physical abilities, Mao uses the only weapon he has – he reads Suzaku’s mind and reveals that Suzaku killed his father to end the previous war between Britannia and Japan. As a result of that action, Suzaku has been carrying a death wish with him, and that’s the reason he’s always so willing to risk his life.

But the visor Mao usually used to protect himself from Lelouch’s Geass had been removed. Furious, Lelouch gives his immensely satisfying command: “Never speak again.” Robbed of the voice he relies on to control others, Mao leaves  – only to find himself face to face with C.C., the only person he loves and the one who gave him his Geass.

But C.C. has had enough. She’s finally ready to clean up her past mistake. With a bullet, she ends Mao’s life.

I like this scene because it pushes so many characters to their limits. It makes everyone face their pasts. I also found Lelouch’s Geass trick particularly clever. The scene plays out in a wild rollercoaster of emotions that I just loved to death!

Um, speaking of death…

1. Euphemia’s death

Throughout the series, Euphemia is depicted as unfailingly benevolent. She struggles to make the world a better place so earnestly and impulsively that you can’t help but root for her. So, when Lelouch finally takes her hand and tells her she’s won – that he will assist her in running the specially administrated zone of Japan she’s creating to put a stop to the violence – it’s quite cathartic.

That doesn’t last.

Lelouch’s original scheme involved having Euphemia shoot him, something he had told her she would do. She prods him about that, and he admits that he has the ability make others obey him. Euphemia scoffs, leading Lelouch to joke that he could even order her to kill the Japanese people, and she would have to obey.

That’s the moment his Geass starts acting up. The command takes, leaving Euphemia a mess begging not to be forced to do something so horrible. Lelouch tries to stop it, but it’s too late; he can’t undo the damage. Eventually, Euphemia succumbs to the order and runs off to do her new, dark duty.

The Japanese people gathered outside have no idea what hit them. Even the Britannian soldiers are shocked. But Euphemia takes the first shot, and the slaughter begins in earnest.

Chaos erupts. Through tears, Lelouch orders that the Black Knights make the most of Euphemia’s actions and orders her death. But, when the time comes, he himself is the one to shoot her. With Suzaku watching.

Enraged, Suzaku dives into battle, grabs Euphemia with his Knightmare, and flees. Euphemia is immediately hospitalized aboard the command ship, but the doctors quickly conclude she won’t make it. So Suzaku is left to speak with her in her final moments.

The emotions reach a crescendo when the song “Innocent Days” begins playing. Suzaku – who is Japanese himself – asks why she gave that order. But Euphemia remembers nothing. For a moment, it looks like she might again fall under the command’s spell, but, faced with the thought of killing the man she loves, she closes her eyes and finally snuffs out the Geass. “Innocent Days” alteernates between a mournful melody and a triumphant one as the scene shifts back and forth between Zero, who condemns Euphemia as a murderous hypocrite as the people wish her the worst, and Euphemia’s death bed, where Suzaku tells Euphy the lie she needs to hear – that her project was a success – and she asks him to complete his education in her place.

Then she flatlines, and the music with her. It’s replaced by a chant of “Zero, Zero, Zero!” as images flash by. Of Zero standing triumphant before a crowd having just established a new nation. Of Suzaku crying and reaching out for Euphy as he’s pulled away from her body. Of Zero’s supporters brimming with joy. Of the badge Euphy gave Suzaku when she named him her knight.

Cornelia, Euphy’s sister, sums up the scene succinctly at the end with the phrase “Dear God” when she learns what happened. Just like that, Euphemia, who pushed herself to her limit to help everyone, who was willing to give up her status as royalty to make the world a better place, has her legacy sealed as “Massacre Princess.”

Those events moved me to tears. The writers so masterfully pressed conflicting emotions right up against each other with perfect juxtapositoning; it all hits like a truck. And I love when media can draw an intense emotional reaction from me, so I love this scene. My descriptions can’t do it justice. It just has to be watched.

Aaanyway, that’s the end of my list! Have you guys watched Code Geass? If so, what were your favorite scenes in R1? If not, which scenes in anime move you the most? I hope to hear from you in the comments! Until next time, I hope you have a great time! Ciao!

 

Ancient Magus’ Bride (Anime) Review

Acient Magus Bride

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’ll be talking about an anime I recently watched called Ancient Magus’ Bride! As usual, I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum, but I’m going to talk a bit about the premise, so let’s jump right in!

Our protagonist is a girl named Chise Hatori who, in the wake of her mother’s suicide, decides to just sell herself into slavery; nothing good happens around her, and she sees strange creatures few others can. She is bought for a fortune by an otherworldly-looking magus named Elias Ainsworth – who, upon taking her home, immediately frees her but asks her to be his apprentice anyway. He reveals that Chise is a Sleigh Beggy – someone who can see magical creatures and wield magic herself, but who is frail in exchange. With nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, Chise agrees to stay with Elias.

What follows is a series of escapades during which Chise learns more about the vast world and its mysteries while slowly coming to understand Elias. She meets Elias’ acquaintances and, often through them, encounters a wide array of creatures from dragons to faeries to a boy who is rumored to be the devil himself, all the while gaining a better understand of who she is of her place in the world.

I don’t want to spoil too much, so I won’t delve into further detail regarding the plot. I will, however, say that Ancient Magus’ Bride succeeds where many stories fail at making magic feel both awe-inspiring and deeply interconnected with the world. It presents magic in a way that centers it in how people relate to each other and conveys the sense that everything has a price, giving it a Fullmetal Alchemist-esque mystique, though it’s far less combat-centric.

Chise’s adventures feature overarching themes of love, loss, and how to cope with life’s trials. Each of the major characters struggles to fill some void, making them incredibly relatable. The focus is on nourishing acceptance, inner-strength, and on fully embracing those deserving to be your home, not concealing vulnerabilities. I found the whole journey incredibly touching, and, admittedly, even cried at times. I therefore rate Ancient Magus’ Bride 5/5. I recommend it to anyone seeking to view the world from a new perspective.

Have you watched Ancient Magus’ Bride, or read the manga? If so, what did you think? If not, which anime have you watched that you found most moving? I’d love to hear about them below; I’m a bit of a fan of tearjerkers. =p May your days be magical! I hope to see you again next week!

 

Review: Fate/Apocrypha

Apocrypha

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m going to review an anime I’ve been following through its two season run: Fate/Apocrypha. As usual, I will do my best to keep spoilers to a minimum, both for Apocrypha and the other Fate/ anime I’ve watched. But I’ll definitely cover the premise of the story!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Fate/ series, there’s a general structure to the conflict taking place. Seven mages, called Masters, each summon Servants – heroes from throughout time, but mostly from the past – to fight on their behalves. They battle each other until only one remains to claim the prize, the Holy Grail, which grants the winner a wish.

The catalyst for Fate/Apocrypha is a mage faction called Yggdmillenia, which breaks off from the rest of the Mage Association and claims ownership of the Grail. In their efforts to retrieve it, the Mage Association eventually manages to activate a scenario where Servants are summoned again – but, this time, there are fourteen of them. Two factions, each with a member of each of the following hero classes: Saber, Lancer, Rider, Archer, Assassin, Berserker, and Caster. The seven Servants of Black fight for Yggdmillenia, and the seven Servants of Red fight to regain the Grail for the Mage Association. Of course, this creates fourteen masters, too. However, due to special circumstances, the viewer never meets all of them.

I won’t list all the servants present in the battle, but just to give you a taste, let me name a few of the better known ones: Achilles, Frankenstein, Shakespeare, Mordred, Vlad III, and Jack the Ripper.

In addition to the fourteen Servants, the Grail summons a fifteenth spirit, Jeanne d’Arc, who is of the Ruler class and is to serve as an arbiter for the battle. There are rules to be followed; specifically, those who have nothing to do with the Grail War are not to be involved. Jeanne quickly finds herself in over her head trying to enforce that!

I won’t go deeper into the story than that except to say the primary protagonist isn’t a Servant or a Master, but a homunculus who the viewer meets in the first few episodes. If you like action, fantasy, drama, or mythological lore, I definitely recommend you check out the series, though I should mention that the Fate/ franchise isn’t afraid to interpret heroic spirits as the writers see fit.

I really enjoyed Fate/Apocrypha. The main characters undergo great development throughout the story, and there are plenty of intriguing characters to become attached to. The downside, in this case, is that there are so many characters that there’s no time for all of them to last very long. I became fond of several characters who died quite early, and that was a bummer!

One of Apocrypha’s themes is the salvation of humanity, like in many of the other Fate/ anime. The cast offers a varied selection of viewpoints regarding that topic, which makes Apocrypha fun to watch for me since I like delving into philosophical subjects. In the end, I wasn’t entirely certain which side to root for – a sign that the writers did justice to all sides of the argument.

Personally, I don’t really watch stuff just for the action scenes, but, for those of you who are into that, Fate/Apocrypha delivers spectacularly. There are many battles throughout the series – simultaneous battles of weapons, spells and ideas that kept me interested quite reliably.

Overall, I rate Fate/Apocrypha 4.7/5. It’s a super cool anime that gives you all sorts of reasons to get involved! The only caveat is I feel you’ll get the most out of Apocrypha if you watch Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works beforehand. The two are connected, and understanding how gives the viewer better insight into the characters.

Have you watched any Fate/ anime? (Or played any games?) If so, what did you think? I find the concept of writing a show involving a wide array of heroes from the past ultra intriguing. Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Ciao for now!

Series Highlight: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Light Novel)

Haruhi Cover

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’ll be talking about the series that got me into reading light novels – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, by Nagaru Tanigawa! Most people familiar with this series probably learned about it by watching the anime, but that alone wasn’t enough for me. I had to get all of Haruhi I could! So, I bought and read all the light novels, and those are what I’ll talk about.

The series follows Kyon, a self-described ‘average guy’ who, as of the beginning of the series, is starting as a student at North High. He finds himself seated in front of the notorious Haruhi Suzumiya, an incredibly eccentric girl who proudly declares during her class introduction that she wants nothing to do with anyone unless they have some link to the paranormal – ghosts, aliens, time travelers, whatever. Despite that, she and Kyon get into the habit of speaking to each other before class each morning.

Kyon learns that Haruhi is bored with the mundane and aggressively seeking something new to spice up her life. She’s known for dating anyone who asks her out, but for breaking off her relationships very quickly. She has also tried out every school club and rejected them all, despite her talent for both academics and sports. Then, Kyon makes his decisive mistake. He suggests she start a club of her own. Haruhi loves the idea, and, of course, Kyon is instantly roped into membership.

After hijacking the Literature Club and assimilating its only member, Haruhi begins the hunt for more. She ends up with a total of five members – each of whom has their own extraordinary quirk. Her club is called the SoS Brigade and is basically focused on doing whatever she feels like doing, whether that be entering a baseball tournament, creating a film, or scouting town for signs of the paranormal.

Kyon soon finds himself in over his head with all of Haruhi’s demands – and the astounding phenomena that surround her to which she is completely oblivious. The story takes many twists and turns from there, which I don’t intend to spoil, so if you haven’t at least watched the anime, I suggest you do!

That said, this highlight is about the light novels, so I should mention some of the storylines that are exclusive to them. But, first, those of you who are veterans of the anime will be happy to hear that the hated Endless Eight takes up only a single chapter in the light novels – the anime’s nonsensical take on that story is its own. Anyway, some of the other circumstances Kyon and his friends deal with in the light novels are as follows:

  • Defending the SoS Brigade against the student council president
  • Kyon finding a duplicate copy of Mikuru Asahina in the Literature Club closet
  • SoS Brigade tryouts.
  • Solving a mystery involving the strange behavior of dogs at a certain location
  • Encountering a second cast of characters that reflect the SoS Brigade members under incredibly convoluted circumstances

I don’t want to delve too deeply into any of those storylines, ’cause spoilers are bad, but the light novels feature even more quirky situations than just those, and if you liked the anime, I suggest you pick up the light novels and read them, beginning to… well, to where the author stopped.

The unfortunate thing about the Haruhi series is that it remains incomplete, and Tanigawa hasn’t published anything in years. He’s on record promising a continuation of the series, but even if that really happens, there’s no telling how long it will take, and no one seems to be quite sure what’s up. Part of me wants to believe this is some crazy gimmick Tanigawa is using to eventually garner more interest (Maybe he’ll claim to have been pulled into an alternate dimension or something! xD), but, realistically, the cause is probably completely ordinary. Haruhi wouldn’t be satisfied at all!

Speaking of Haruhi, I just have to write a little bit about why she’s one of the characters I most look up to in any series. The reason for that is in her unbridled individualism. She knows what’s supposed to be possible and impossible in life, but strives for the impossible anyway. Her free-spiritedness and openness to trying all sorts of things legitimately inspires me. I love her willingness to ignore society’s expectations for her and instead follow a path she really believes in, no matter how unlikely success seems – and her unconscious ability to find magic in the ordinary. She has character flaws, of course, but I’m totally willing to overlook them in the face of her sheer determination to be herself.

Anyway, that’s all for this highlight! Have any of you read the Haruhi light novels, or watched the anime? If so, what did you think? Have you read any light novels at all? Please let me know in the comments below, and have an outstanding week!

Why I love Gosick

Gosick

Hiyo, everyone! Sorry my blog post is a bit late; for the past few days, I’ve had no internet access! Anyway, today, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite anime, an obscure one called Gosick. As usual, I plan on discussing the premise of the story without revealing any major spoilers. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Gosick begins by introducing the audience to a boy named Kujo Kazuya, a Japanese transfer student who attends Saint Marguerite Academy in the fictional kingdom of Sauville shortly after the end of World War I. Kujo quickly finds himself burdened with the nickname ‘The Dark Reaper’ on account of his black hair; the people of Sauville are often quite superstitious, and prone to categorize mysterious things according to their fairy tales.

Kujo begins feeling quite isolated, but that changes when he makes his way to the top of the school’s library-tower and encounters an eccentric girl named Victorique de Blois, who is best known as ‘The Golden Fairy’ for her long blond her and who is notorious for almost always skipping class. While he’s there, he’s also joined by an investigator named Grevil who begins a one-sided conversation about his current case, culminating in Victorique explaining exactly what happened. Grevil’s true role is quickly revealed; he’s actually Victorique’s older brother, has no true talent for detective work, and uses Victorique to solve mysteries for him before taking the credit for himself.

When Kujo learns that truth, be becomes furious and presses Grevil to give Victorique recognition for her contribution. Instead, Grevil insists Victorique doesn’t even want to be recognized and instead invites the pair on a trip – a trip which is quickly cancelled. But not all is lost; Kujo and Victorique take an invitation Grevil received as a reward for solving his latest case and find themselves on a cruise ship, where they experience their first life-or-death adventure rife with mystery.

That adventure is the first of many, of course. Throughout the series, the duo get caught up in and solve many more mysteries, all the while growing closer to each other. As you might expect, more and more characters show up, too, but, to be honest, Victorique mostly carries the show in terms of character appeal. I found her quite relatable thanks to my affinity for towers and the like. =p

The series becomes controversial in its second half when the focus moves away from solving mysteries and toward Victorique’s dark past and the drama surrounding it. Some viewers, who had become comfortable with episodic case-solving, disliked the way the Gosick changed. Personally, I liked both halves of the story, and I think I enjoyed the second more than the first. xD I do love a bit of drama in my anime! Anything that makes me cry is a plus!

I enjoyed Gosick’s artistic style, though it doesn’t particularly stand out from many other anime I’ve seen. The music is also good, and the opening and ending songs remain favorites of mine. The endings in particular capture Victorique’s feelings especially well, in my opinion!

Unsurprisingly, I rate Gosick 5/5 despite its flaws; Victorique gets way more character development than anyone else, but I find myself rewatching the series every now and then, and I really don’t wanna deduct points from anything that has me so hooked! Even I’ll admit I’m a bit biased; I’d feel a little guilty taking points away from the stories I love.

Have any of you seen Gosick? If so, what did you think? If not, what’s your favorite anime, and which character to you like best in it? I’m eager to hear from you! Until next time, buh-bye!