High School DxD Volume One Review

High School DxD Volume One

Konbanwa.^^/

 

This week, Monster Musume Volume 4 has gone straight to number one in the New York Times! I’m really chuffed and over the moon about this. I still got my copy on pre-order on Amazon.co.uk and isn’t due out until September 1st. =)

 

With that happy thought, I present to you my review on High School DxD Volume 1. =)

 

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

 

  1. MY SYNOPSIS

Issei Hyoudou is a typical young man who lives the life of a normal young man. He was one of the most unpopular lads at his school until one day; he went on his first ever date with a beauty; Yuuma. All was well until he lays on the floor in a pool of his own blood, murdered by his date, Yuuma!

On death’s door Issei wished to die in the arms of a crimson-haired beauty…

Rias Gremory, the proclaimed most beautiful lady in school, has saved the life of Issei Hyoudou. After the shocking relevation of Yuuma and being brought back to life, Issei was left with yet another bombshell… he has been reborn as a devil and has become a special piece for the devil, Rias Gremory!

Let the fun times as a reincarnated devil roll.

 

  1. STORY

2.1. Overview

This manga consisted of four chapters, all of which were quite long, so I really wanted to take my time in reading it. The plot and themes are quite deep so I found that unlike D-Frag or Monster Musume I had to read carefully in order to grasp the story. It’s a really good story by all means but it was necessary for me to take my time with it in order to enjoy it and appreciate the story more. =)

 

2.2. Chapter One

I did feel sorry for Issei when it turns out that his date, Yuuma, turned out to be a psychotic murderer… on the outside Yuuma is easy on the eye but then she sullied her own attractiveness when she murdered her ‘date’. All anime/manga girls are attractive, no question, but their appealing factor, for me, is their personalities. So, I hereby declare Yuuma as ‘ugly’. 😉

 

We then get the introduction of two of Issei’s friends who are erotically charged, apparently as much as Issei. I’m not so keen on over-the-top perverted characters but at this moment it seems realistic enough. Over-the-top perverted male characters tend to ‘peek’ on girls and so far, on this occasion, Issei and co are divulging their lust into dirty magazines. I can get that it’s probably what most young men would do. Apart from the fact that Issei is more concerned about his ‘date’ rather than thinking dirty thoughts.

 

The ravishing Rias Gremory then makes her appearance. =D She appeared in Issei’s dying thoughts and she even gazed up at him as he looked at her from the window… I wondered if there was going to be a connection between the two, and it made me wonder if she had something to do with Issei coming back to life… assuming what he experienced wasn’t a dream. A female waking up in a bed beside the lad is a typical manga cliché but I still enjoyed reading it. It was a wonderful introduction.

 

2.3. Chapter Two

Poor Issei… he tried to summon himself to the client’s place but it somehow didn’t come to fruition, so, he had to travel via bike. Begrudgingly, I found it hilarious. It went from being cool and dramatic to a mellow and uncool atmosphere. XD He eventually arrives at his client’s place. The client is Mil-Tan who turned out to be a big buffed otaku who likes to cosplay. Haha. The highlight of this chapter, I must say, is the introduction of the sweet and innocent sister, Asia. =)

 

2.4. Chapter Three

You just know that Asia is sweet just by her brief introduction and with the way that she emitted an aura of a docile and kind personality.

Issei could have easily taken advantage of her and her docile demeanour but he didn’t. However, he did the opposite. He appreciated the kind of sweet girl that she is and he actually looked out for her as if she was a little sister in distress. He was interested in her as a person and helped her to get to the church… even if it did mean causing him some pain, that’s the kind of good male character that I’d like to see. =) He even reacts to her when she shows her cross, since devils are weak against vessels and such from the church. =)

She helped a young injured boy… whilst the boy’s mother gave Asia the cold shoulder the boy thanked Asia for healing him. I’m not sure if she is nice because she’s a sister or if it’s just in her nature, however, I still like her nonetheless.

It will be interesting to see if a relationship brews between Issei and Asia. He’s a human reincarnated as a devil and she’s a nun of the church, so… we could have a forbidden romance on the cards. =D Rias, being the over-protected sister type person, will probably have contrasting views and scold Issei for interacting with someone associated with the Church. And she did just that, but that’s just because Issei met someone of the Church rather than a Romeo and Juliet situation…

And now, in this very chapter, comes the introduction of the battle system… all the devils are pieces depending on rank…. Rias Gremory, who belongs in the Gremory household, is the King and she has her very own pieces. Her queen is Akeno, who specialises in magic and is an extreme sadist… what fun. 😉 Her knight is Yuuto who is a speed type. Her rook is Koneko who uses superhuman strength. And Issei, is her pawn… in a way, Issei being a pawn is quite appropriate because pawn can have more than one meaning. 😉 Is it an innuendo? Poor Issei though… he really has a long way to go to be ‘harem king’.

These explanations were used correctly as Rias and crew battled some stray devil. Everyone showed off their abilities whilst we establish which rank each devil is… Visual aids and simple explanations do wonders for a story. =)

 

2.5. Chapter Four

Chapter Four, Issei sleeping in a bed- BOOM- Rias is naked next to him. We learn that Rias can’t sleep very well when she’s naked, how convenient. 😉 He resisted touching her through fear and self-control.

In every walk of life, and in manga, girls generally do have some kind of empowerment over guys. Ladies know that the gents love sex and to get in the sack they tend to do jobs or chores for the ladies since they promise them a ‘reward’ so to speak. They’re empowered because they call the shots. In this case, Rias has Issei completely wrapped around her fingers. XD He can grope her breasts if he manages to get someone’s contract… of course, this highly motivated Issei and he got straight onto the job without much fuss… I really liked the way how Rias used the word ‘deman’ in a seductive manner to Issei…mixing man and demon in the same mix… what fun.

Then came the unfortunate encounter between Issei and some chaotic priest, Freed. He got mad and they had a bit of a scuffle, naturally Issei struggled being a devil, but then who should come to his aid but the charming and amiable, Asia. =) This is where the potential forbidden love could start… she learns that Issei is in fact, a devil, her natural enemy… However, it didn’t matter to her that Issei was a devil, because he was her friend. It’s very touching…

Issei got enraged, naturally, when Freed started to get frisky with Asia… she clearly is a pacifist. It’s good that Asia is a pacifist and all but it can cause her problems in certain situations… like this one.

What luck!

Rias and the devil posse came by to aid Issei.

Oh no!

They have to leave because more fallen angels were on the way. And Issei had to leave poor Asia behind. She is the enemy of the devils and she can’t be transported through that summon thing since only Rias and her devils can transport through it. That slap from Rias did seem to be a bit harsh. Was there any need for that? Rias reassured Issei that everything was alright, since Asia has nothing incriminating on her that would merit fallen angels to hurt her…

That ending was simply heart-breaking to read. That was when Asia smiled through her tears to Issei that they will meet again… It was upsetting to read. If Freed tried to take advantage of her in front of Issei, just imagine what’s going to happen when he’s all alone with her… anything can happen. What is going to happen? I feel very nervous about Asia’s future. I’m hoping that nothing bad happens to her, but, I don’t like her chances of survival in Volume 2…

 

2.6. Parody Elements?

I didn’t tag this manga as a parody as it didn’t feel right. However, I did notice sporadic appearances from characters from other anime/manga.

  • The Haruhi alarm clock which is based on Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa and Noizi Ito.
  • Posing as Goku from Dragon Ball, by Akira Toriyama, when he’s about to perform the Kamehameha move
  • “I will be harem king” is a shout out to Luffy’s “I will be pirate king” from One Piece by Eiichiro Oda.
  • Motohama’s [Issei’s friend] scouter is a reference to the scouter used in Dragon Ball which is used to detected power levels.
  • Beauty Pure, the title of Matsuda’s porn parody DVD is a reference to the anime, Pretty Cure.

 

  1. THEME
  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[1]
  • Fantasy
  • Game
  • Harem[2]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • School Life

 

  1. ART AND DESIGN

Miyama-Zero has done a wonderful job with the characters and their design. The artist of this manga does a good job with the art, I find it really cute. I especially like the uniform on the girls of what looks to be a jacket of some kind… I really don’t know how to explain it but I know what I like, and I certainly like that. =D

Rias’s description was good. She has a good dynamic bloody red hair that Issei visualised within his dying moments. It was very appropriate for the situation. It makes you wonder if that is why she had red hair to begin with. With Rias having red hair Akeno having dark hair I wonder if they are supposed to represent English Rose[3] and Yamato Nadeshiko.[4] Their beautiful appearances and charismatic auras does suggest this to me.

 

  1. CHARACTERS

5.1. ISSEI HYOUDOU

(PAWN)

I like Issei.

By what I have observed he loves the ladies very much both emotionally and physically. Being a young man it’s only natural for him to be interested in the ladies, and he has an alarm clock in the form of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haha.

His imagination is at the forefront when it comes to getting down and dirty. However, when he wakes up with a naked Rias next to him, he becomes shy and awkward. His mind is all over the place. Imagination is one thing, but dealing with reality is something completely different. Issei may have a vivid imagination but this is his first experience of being intimate with a lady, especially with Rias. In a way I find this to be realistic. All young men have lustful desires, but nice young men won’t necessarily take advantage of the opportunity.

It came to light that Issei is a reincarnated devil and he has this strange weapon called the ‘Sacred Gear’. It makes sense now why Yuuma and other Fallen Angels would go after them, as they deem the Sacred Gear ‘dangerous’.

 

5.2. RIAS GREMORY

(KING)

Rias is incredibly lovely and has a cool yet humble personality.

To top it off, she is a beauty! You see… I actually do have a little thing for girls with wings. Whether it’s angel with wings, devil with wings or succubus with wings… any girls with wings basically! I like mermaids too, but let’s stop there before I get off track!

I instantly like her more than Yuuma. Her self-confidence in her looks and self-assurance is nice to see. How many ladies do you know who would sleep naked beside a young boy you just met? This tells me that she has no shame and that she has no sense of personal space. And she’s totally ok with Issei exploring her chest region should he choose to do so… oh my.

She does strike you as the big sister type who is very responsible and will look out for you if you need her to. However, whilst she is clearly very affectionate she’s also quite sexual in nature. Some of her actions and flirtatiousness can be interpreted on different levels. I would say that she treats everyone in a voluptuousness manner but I’ve only seen her treat Issei in this regard. Is he the special exception perhaps? She seems to sleep naked with him a lot, using him as a ‘pillow’. Perhaps using him as a ‘pawn’ is not a coincidence and that he fulfils her duties outside of the battlefield too. 😉

In some ways she reminds me of Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit as they’re both sensual, seductive and show their affection in a more than physical manner. Out of the two, I do actually prefer Rias. 😉

We know that she’s a devil and all but I actually think that it would be more appropriate to describe her as a succubus rather than a devil. Haha. I’m referring to her confidence in her personality rather than her actually being a succubus[5]. She would never take a man’s soul for her own gain.

 

5.3. ASIA ARGENTO

(SISTER)

I think Asia’s introduction was actually my favourite introduction of a character from High School DxD. I would talk about her character but I think I pretty much summed up my feelings and perception of her in the whole of Chapter Three. XD

I like girls like her who are caring, sweet and don’t judge. I can see she is a bit of a scatter brain and is a little naive. I deduce that she’s naïve due to her lack of experience in normal society. She also doesn’t get why Issei has a nose bleed. In manga, guys get nose bleeds when they get ‘excited’.

I’ll leave it as that. I look forward to seeing her more in Volume Two, if she survives that is.

 

5.4. AKENO HIMEJIMA

(QUEEN)

I like Akeno’s sadist side. I like anime girls to be a little bit different and unique. Normally Akeno has the appearance of a beautiful lady and acts with dignity when it comes to etiquette and polite manners. However, the bloodlust will rush when it comes to battling opponents. Being a sadist she gets off when she hurts her opponent badly… haha.

She can definitely compete with Rias in terms of being voluptuous, especially when she’s in battle. I enjoy seeing this side of her but I definitely wouldn’t want to be her opponent!

 

5.5. YUUTO KIBA

(KNIGHT)

Kiba is pretty cool and reliable. He is the traditional handsome man with blonde hair who will attract the ladies not only with his ruggedness but with his charm too. Very smooth and crisp sword skills too, it’s very appropriate for a knight.

 

5.6. KONEKO TOUJOU

(ROOK)

Koneko is cute and her looks are very misleading since she has superhuman strength and is Rias’ rook because of her unmeasurable strength. I like her.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

This is definitely one of my favourite manga, at least top five.

It pretty much has everything that I’d like to see in a manga. Good action with the cast’s rank based on chess pieces. It has a good fantasy story that mixes devils, angels and fallen angels. There are many parts of the story that made me laugh, engage me and make me extremely sad and worried, especially at the end. It involves ladies who have cool personalities, a caring nature and can kick your cherry behind. 😉

Plus, we have the main male who is strong and is interested in the ladies but is not over-the-top about it. He dreams about having a harem… I’m not necessarily a harem supporter but I don’t like to see any girls or guys become broken hearted so I route for a multiple boyfriend/girlfriend so that everyone’s happy… this looks like it could go that way but at the minute we have to see if a relationship will blossom between Asia and Issei.

I wonder if a tension is going to develop between Rias and Asia… better see how things go! Rias doesn’t mean to be mean to her but she is just looking out for her devils, especially Issei.

I’m gnashing my teeth at the thought of something bad happening to her!

I don’t like the fallen angels and stray devils; they treated Issei and Asia terribly. For that, I dislike them. A lot of villains have a reason why they turned evil, but with the likes of Yuuma and Freed, I don’t see any redeeming features.

I simply love the uniqueness and battle system in the style of chess pieces. I like it how everyone has a rank based on chess pieces, with the King being the highest and the pawn being the lowest… I actually wanted to create something similar in terms of a battle strategy based on the chess piece system… High School DxD evidential got there first but I still find it reassuring that other people come up with similar ideas. I see it in a way as fate telling me that great minds think alike. =)

 

High School DxD Volume One gets Two gets Two Thumbs-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up 

 

THANKS FOR READING

High School DxD Poster 01

Funny enough, just as I finished reviewing Volume One, High School DxD Volume Two has just arrived. =D This week has been very kind to me indeed. I don’t anticipate that I’m going to review this any time soon as I want to read it for fun and understand 100% what’s going on within the story.

 

Thanks for reading. =D

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] This manga contains risqué and sexy moments or lecherous characters.

[2] In this manga all the ladies are gunning after one man and/or lady.

[3] An English Rose is the most beautiful and attractive lady from England. Many describe Diana Princess of Wales as this.

[4] The term, Yamato Nadeshiko, in Japan means “personification of an idealized Japanese woman”, or “the epitome of pure, feminine beauty.”

[5] A Succubus comes from hell with the sole purpose of draining the soul of sleeping men through the act of sex. The male equivalent is Incubus as they have sex with sleeping ladies.

D-Frag! Volume One Review

D-Frag Volume One Cover

Konbanwa.^^/

This is the first manga that I’m going to review that isn’t Monster Musume. I’m excited as it’s licensed by the same publishers, Seven Seas, and Seven Seas are licensing a lot of good manga as of late. =D

 

Let’s roll.

 

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

 

  1. MY SYNOPSIS

Oh no! A self-proclaimed delinquent has emerged at Fuou High in the form of Kenji Kazama! Is this something to be feared and wary of? …nope.  

Kenji may have decided to live the life of a ‘delinquent’ but in all honesty he is a kind and sincere young man. The Kazama Gang were determined to live up to their reputation so they decided to cause mischief when they came across the Game Development Club…only to discover that they had bitten off more than they could chew.

This club consists of four attractive girls who are incredibly wacky but deceitfully strong. They were able to subdue the Kazama gang due to their aligned ‘elements’ such as lightning, water, earth and fire(?) Kenji is forced to join the club following the ‘pungent torture’. Can Kenji handle the Game Development Club or will he crash and burn?

 

  1. STORY

2.1. Overview

I could tell immediately that this is a gag type story. Straight from the get go it involved over-the-top panels with an eccentric but comical cast.

Whilst I feel that I established what this manga is all about I’m not certain what the overall plot entails. So far I see this manga as a battle of supremacy in terms of winning a game or ruling over the club/school. But these battles and games involve Kenji’s daily escapades of dealing with farcical scenarios from the wacky ladies. He may want to be known as the ‘badass legend’ but with the likes of Roka (club president) and Chitose (school council president) to contend with, his wish won’t come true anytime soon. Especially as his reputation, as well as his gang’s reputation, is little to non existent.

I do question Kenji’s so called status of being a ‘delinquent.’ It’s a unique role reversal since some blokes would pretend to be good but really they’re bad. Why does he want to rule over school? Why does he want to be a delinquent? Does he have hidden traumas that have yet to be exposed? Perhaps something occurred that awoke Kenji’s strive to become the ‘king of the hill.’ He may act tough and emit a cocky attitude but in all honesty he’s as soft as they come. When faced with a crisis, he will be the hero instead of the villain. 😉

 

2.2. Chapter One and Chapter Two

The Kazama gang got a sound introduction and were potentially problematic. If you judge a book by its cover, sure, but if you got to know them personally, you wouldn’t even worry by the likes of them. Through Yokoshima’s proposal they attempted to ransack all the games from the Game Development Club… they went from being heinous to heroes since they put out a brewing fire. Even Kenji was surprised by his own actions…

Kenji and his gang went from being heinous to being heroes to being weak… Kenji especially looked weak since he abandoned his friends to save his own skin. Haha! It was touching when he got caught up in the moment and joined the club willingly… it seems that he was in debt to Roka, Sakura and Chitose after they saved him…. Would a delinquent show gratitude, get caught up in the moment and JOIN a club? Most definitely not!

My highlight is when he tried to escape Roka’s ‘darkness’ and flew right out of the window. That was unexpected. XD

 

2.3. Chapter Three

Kenji was innocently eating his lunch with his gang when who should appear but their good friend since middle school days, Ataru! This chapter was all about Ataru for me.

I could not stop laughing when I read it. I like guys who are cool but I also like guys who are hilarious. I like them especially if they have some kind of odd fetish, in this case Ataru being a masochist. The way he gets off from being mistreated is most funny. It was especially funny when he called Kenji and his gang ‘country bumpkins.’ XD This is where we truly establish Kenji’s status in the school. He’s not even close to being as ‘bad’ as he wants… Chitose being the Student Council President of the school was a bit of a surprise, but it also makes a lot of sense. I wonder what the other delinquents will be like. Are they genuine troublemakers or are they good people pretending to be bad like Kenji?

Hatsudai is cute, even if she is just an extra. 😉

Ahem-

Kenji and Ataru managed to get one over Chitose… but they lost since they entered the girl’s changing room. Of course they never intented to peek but they did it to prove her wrong… I wonder if Chitose did this on purpose.

 

2.4. Chapter Four

The club president of the ‘real’ game development club, Takao, makes her appearance. She offers a challenge to the ‘fake’ club for battle of superiority and pride. Not before meeting Kenji in person though… whilst being dressed in black cloaks! That was one heck of an introduction. The strong pace of good comedy moments and new characters being introduced felt just about right…

Kenji and Takao even share a funny and unequivocal banter between each other, especially about the topic involving boobs. Rumour started to spread by this time that Kenji had a leg-fetish, but then he walked right into the start of that topic when he mentioned that he liked boobs. He wasn’t going to win this argument with girls. Not only will he never beat girls physically, since they all seem unrealistically strong, but he will never beat them through banter or arguments either… XD He was never going to hit her since he’s not the kind who would hurt girls…

Oh! The moment when the cops came and took Yamada away was probably one of my favourite moments in Volume one. Everyone betrayed him by pretending that they’d never seen him before. Then, they all watched as he got arrested and taken to the Police car. It was a glorious moment indeed… I wonder how they were able to spring Yamada free.

 

2.5. Chapter Five and Six

We got a little bit of an insight into the relationship between Takao and Roka. I can understand why Takao would be upset about Roka. It was all Chitose’s fault and Takao knows this but she still can’t help but feel upset. I suppose it’s one of those situations where Takao felt betrayed or dumped to be with someone else other than her. Takao’s challenge was all about her club and the fake club joining forces so she could be with Roka again.

It was sad to see Takao upset and crying (although admittedly it was cute at the same time) but it shows that she does care about Roka despite her claims. I was really pleased that they made up in the end, all’s well that ends well.

The fake club wanted to cheat or sabotage the real club since there was no chance that they could win. In a surprising turn of events Kenji actually solved the problem through wit instead of physical force. Good for him! Games can be just as fun to play  as well as create.

 

2.6. Chapter Seven

The games begin!

Takao was wary of when Kenji invited her to their club’s festival. I think her worries were justified. However, out of all the people, Kenji was the most trustworthy since he would never lay her into a trap. I actually wondered if a trap was awaiting her without Kenji’s knowledge. Turns out, the club’s festival happened in the yard! And it consisted of many, many games to play. Chitose abused her role of authority and the Student Council as well as the rest of the Kazama gang slaved themselves dry into helping with the set. Ataru enjoyed the mistreatment he got  from Chitose… whatever rocks your boat. Haha.

Roka really suits a mustache. I enjoyed her interaction with the Tough Guy and Tough Son act. It seems that they’re extras but they’re brilliant extras and contribute well to the funny situations.

 

  1. THEME
  • Comedy
  • Parody
  • School Life
  • Slice of Life[1]

 

  1. ART AND DESIGN

I describe the art style to be striking, dramatic but strangely cute. All the characters have lovely designs. The tough guy act father and tough guy son look hilarious with their tough and realistic looking faces.

In the clothing department, minus the school attire, we see that Roka and Chitose are trendy. Minari has to dress smart because she’s a teacher but because of her personality she will wear whatever is comfortable and cosy. She also has that lazy look about her, especially in the eye department which look quite droopy. Sakura is the sporty type. I’m anticipating that Takao will wear girly girl clothes. I look forward to seeing her in her every day wear.

 

  1. CHARACTERS

5.1. KENJI KAZAMA and the KAZAMA GANG

Haha the Kazama Gang… Nagayama and Yokoshima look tough and therefore stand out more than Kenji. I don’t know about you but I can’t take Yokoshima seriously due to his haircut and height. XD

Despite his occasional outbursts of outrage to his club members Kenji actually blends in very well with the club, even if he does vividly deny it.

He comes off as a dude who is tough and rebellious due to his status as a ‘delinquent’. However, deep down, I can’t help but suspect that he’s as soft as a kitten. It seems like for some reason he wants to be viewed as tough so he decided to choose the life of being rebellious. Although to be honest he’s not exactly convincing, especially since most of the time he plays the role of the straight man.[2]

 

5.2. TAKAO

Takao… I could talk about her for ages but I will restrain myself.

I find her to be cute, beyond cute. In the anime world she would be described as a moe.[3] I would describe her character as someone who is awkward, impeccably cute, mature-yet-innocent. She is very responsible, hard-working and is a good role model for anyone when it comes to dealing with club activities. However, when dealing with a confrontation she becomes very sensitive and flushed, to the point where she is on the brink of tears. It can be upsetting to see her cry but this is where we see her cute and innocent side.

I think she displays traces of a traditional tsundere.[4] She is very awkward when it comes to expressing how she really feels. On the surface she challenges Roka and her club and if Takao wins then Roka and her club with merge with Takao’s club. That’s a roundabout way of Takao saying that she wants to be in the same club as Roka again. She was very hostile towards Roka and a little bit towards Kenji but deep down she wants to be with Roka again as she likes her.

No doubt Takao’s boobs will be one of the main focuses in this manga. Normally boobs would be used in a cheeky perverted situation to stimulate or excite the reader. Here though, I anticipated that her boobs will be used for gag purposes as so far they’ve been shown and talked about in a funny manner rather than a perverted manner. I find it quite refreshing. This manga I don’t feel needs cheeky moments, just a lot of humour and entertainment.

Her conversation with Kenji about boobs was entertaining to read. I’m not even sure how they got into that sort of conversation. It all started off when it was proclaimed that Kenji had a fetish for legs until he corrected them and said he liked boobs… that opened a can of worms. XD

I wonder what her first name is. I find it a bit odd that the rest of the cast have a first and last name but Takao is just Takao… maybe she doesn’t have a first name? Perhaps it’s not necessary to unveil her first name yet? It’s piqued my interested, whatever it is.

I like all the characters in this manga but at this moment in time Takao is by far my favourite. =)

 

5.3. ROKA SHIBASAKI

(FIRE TYPE/DARKNESS TYPE)

In the looks department she is very cute but she is probably by far the most eccentric character in the series. Her personality and looks don’t mix, yet, the contrast brings out a really quirky character in Roka. She is very small too and we tend to see a lot her chibi appearance.[5]

Her element is amusing. I wonder if that technique has actually worked on anyone. Her ‘true element’ the darkness, appears to be a lot more effective so she should use this more often.

When Roka comes out of her eccentric shell, she can be serious and either says something cool or does something cool… only to end up looking uncool or saying something daft. … This happened when saving Kenji, when having a heart-to-heart with Takao and talking to Kenji on the rooftop… This tells me that Roka is capable of being serious but ultimately she will bring us all back to reality by being ‘uncool’. XD

 

5.4. SAKURA MIZUKAMI

(WATER TYPE)

Sakura is mightily cute. She’s a zealous athletic type person who never seems to stop smiling. I like happy-go-lucky characters like her. She’s eccentric in the sense that she can’t do anything without her bottled water. I bet she will do well in the Ice Bucket challenge… when she pours the water over Kenji’s head, that is! XD

I would say that she’s very strong but a bit of an airhead. If she could stop Nagayama within a matter of seconds then taking care of Kenji wouldn’t cause her any trouble. She actually caught up with him after prepping herself in a running position. XD

 

5.5. CHITOSE KARASUYAMA

(EARTH TYPE)

Chitose is mean, short-tempered, intimidating and protective… in a way. She is the school council president and she is not afraid to abuse her power whether it’s something big or small. She will abuse her powers but she does have a somewhat caring side, like when she embraced Takao or when she created a fake game development club with Roka. I think she has a bit of a lecherous streak in her, especially when it comes to Takao’s chest. Haha.

I wonder why she is so fixated with sand castles. Does she strive to become a Queen? She’s also the school council president, so she isn’t green when it comes to power and dominance.

She is super strong and probably the strongest out of the entire school. Even if Kenji was capable of hitting the ladies I still don’t think he would be able to beat Chitose in a one-on-one fight.

 

5.6. MINAMI OOSAWA

(LIGHTNING TYPE)

Out of all the girls in the club I actually think that she’s most sane. XD I imagine that she does have some sort of crazy streak in her. What normal teacher would allow such chaos to go on in a clubroom? Perhaps Chitose coerced her to become the adviser of the club with the opportunity for Minami to sleep and slack around?

I think the teacher is normal to some extent because she is not 100 % insane but she’s not 100% sane either. XD Her look and presentation fits her personality to a tea. I like her. She reminds me a lot of the teacher from Non Non Biyori.

It was definitely an interesting twist when it turned out that she was a teacher. The story was making out that she was a student but it turned out that she was a teacher. The revelation of her being a teacher was timed perfectly as it suddenly had Kenji back on the ropes. XD She doesn’t necessarily stand out but I think she will contribute as an underlining character as she’s a teacher and all.^^/

 

5.7. ATARU

Not much to say except that Ataru is a very good character. He’s responsible and mature when it comes to handling duties as the vice president but he’s also mad when it comes to his fetish. The fetish of him being abused and punished… it’s truly utterly hilarious. It’s also good that he still remains close friends with Kenji and his gang…he wants to outdo Chitose since she pipped him to the post of the President of the School Council, but, he always comes up short… perhaps he deliberately loses so she can punish him? Haha.

 

  1. TRAIN STATIONS

What I also like about this manga is that the names of the cast are based on real train stations in Japan. Shibasaki Station, Roka-koen Station, Chitose-Karasuyama Station, Minami-Osawa Station, Sakuragaoka Station, Nagayama Station and last but not least, Takao Station.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

I’ve really enjoyed reading this and no doubt I will re-read this again and again. Even if it does have serious moments like when Roka and Takao have a heart-to-heart it will ultimately conclude itself through something humorous and silly. XD

I feel that all the characters in this manga are genuinely likable. There’s always a manga where I don’t necessarily hate someone but whom I don’t particularly care for. In this manga though there isn’t a single character that I dislike, even the extras in this story contribute some sort of goodness and importance to the manga. Like the Tough Guy and Tough Son characters as well as Hatsudai who has a very cute and feminine design.

All the characters are great, especially Takao.

Without any doubt or question, D-Frag! Volume One gets Two Thumbs-Up from me. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

 

THANKS FOR READING

Double Takao I can’t wait for the release of D-Frag! Volume 2. =)

 Thanks for reading. =D

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] Based on everyday mundane life.

[2] The straight man is usually performed during a double act. When the partner behaves or says something daft the straight man will respond either with outrage or frustration. Usually he will say something to make his partner look daft/funny. The straight man in Japan is usually called Tsukkomi. Morecambe and Wise, an old British Comedy act, use the straight man in their comedy sketches.

[3] It has come to my attention that there are many meanings to the word ‘moe’ but in this case it means a young person who is very cute in appearance and innocent in nature.

[4] Tsundere is a person who is usually involved in romantic circumstances. The tsundere (usually a girl) would act in a hostile and blunt manner towards the other person (usually a guy) but deep inside she usually cares a lot for him. Perhaps more than she realises. Sometimes a tsundere is in denial that she loves that certain person or she is very awkward when it comes to expressing her feelings. “Tsun tsun” means along the lines of to be disgusted, whilst “Dere dere” means lovey lovey. Taiga Asakura from the anime Toradora is a classic example of a tsundere.

[5] A deformed character or a chibi character in anime or manga means small and miniature in a cute way. You will see it a lot in D-Frag!, especially with Roka. You would normally see Roka in her normal appearance but in certain comedic situations you will see a deformed version of her, or a minimised version of her. You can see the casts’ deformed versions on the front and back of D-Frag Volume One.

Journey to Tumbleweed Station

Daily the Diesel Railcar stamp

 

Peep, Peep Tidings.^^/

 

  1. Introduction

Dad has a wonderful surprise prepared for me, a trip to a train station/museum.

 

I must admit I was pretty apprehensive when he suddenly told me that we were going out. I don’t normally appreciate sudden surprises like that. I think it didn’t help because fatigue started to spread. I’ve been going out non stop to the cinema. In the past few days I went to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction and Inbetweeners 2. I wasn’t used to going out for hours on end day after day, not since my Uni days.

 

But, I wasn’t as anxious as he was very specific about certain parts of the information. He told me how long it will take, how long we will walk for, I would need my camera and how long the journey was. I felt easier after that.

 

I felt easier because I had a hunch, halfway through the journey, that we were going to some railway exhibition. Whilst I had my suspicions I didn’t give the game so it didn’t spoil dad’s surprise. … I can’t remember for now what the station was called, so for now, I’m calling it Tumbleweed Station.

 

  1. Tumbleweed Station

The station was small-ish and beside the station there was a big place with scrapped coaches and a scrapped saddletank type engine.[1] It looked a sorry sight. It was a very positive atmosphere though and there were children, grandparents and adults with additional needs visiting. A glassed train set of Thomas and Emily was on display. The models were huge. =)

 

We went onto the platform… a huge water tank stood tall beside it. That was exciting because I always wanted to see a water tank in real life, and now I have. The other thing that I wanted to see was a steam train on a turntable, but that’s another story! …on one set of tracks was a BR class Diesel Shunter.[2] It stood behind a huge line of tar/oil wagons.

 

Right in front of us was a Diesel Railbus, built in 1958 for the British Railways. In other words, it’s Daisy the Diesel Rail-car from Thomas the Tank Engine. Think of it like a singular bus that operates on the rails, which is why it’s called Railbus. XD Some of you Thomas fans may already know but Boco the Diesel Electric type diesel and Daisy actually share the same faces. All they do is add mascara, powder the cheeks and add lip-gloss to transform him into Daisy. So it’s like Boco making himself up for a pantomime performance, but instead of playing the role of the ugly sister, he’s playing the role of Daisy. 😉

 

Ahem-

 

It was the very first time that I ever rode the diesel rail-cart and it was a pleasant experience.

 

Generally speaking it was all very loud and hyper due to the excitement brewing in the room. I felt squashed and closed in when I entered the rail-car. That aspect of the journey was uncomfortable plus the sheer volume of noise. Then came the part when we journeyed along the line… it was a good experience. We passed signs, waved to people as we passed and we came to a stop, just before a set of buffers. We journeyed across a crossing way too. I was excited, like with the water tank this was the first time that I ever seen a set of train buffers before my very eyes. The driver was mighty close to the passengers; you could gauge everything from his own perspective.

 

We went backwards to venture back to Tumbleweed Station. I wanted to thank the driver for a safe journey but I wasn’t able to greet him. It was all a good experience. I must be honest though when I say that I was expecting a steam locomotive. That would have been extra special. I somehow was expecting a saddletank engine like Percy. The first time I physically went inside a steam train was Toby and Thomas when I went to a train exhibition in Keighley. It would be a nice experience to be inside a train like the Flying Scotsman or perhaps in a carriage.

 

  1. Aftermath

After the train ride we just took the time to have a gander at the museum. It was a nice little museum with interesting facts not just about the trains, but about the docks itself. They were interesting facts but by this time it was getting to be a long day and I was ready to come home.

 

The workshop is a lot smaller in comparison to the Railway Museum in York, still a nice workshop regardless.

 

I might have been tired and anxious but I was still able to think rationally and adapt to others. For example, for entering spaces and doors…instead of going first I let the rowdy children with their parents and adults with additional needs go first…I don’t know them as individuals but I would imagine that they would rather get off asap instead of waiting. So, I tried to accommodate and allowed them to go through the door first. The adult gent with additional needs smiled at me with a very loud voice. I smiled back and gestured for him to go first. I didn’t really know what he was saying but I interpreted it as to something nice. =)

 

It was a good day out. Dad stressed that he won’t surprise me like that again but he figured that I would enjoy this. He’s right on all accounts!

 

THANKS FOR READING

 

What gets me through my anxious and Autistic quirks is positive thinking, my personal remedies and not over thinking. I just need to go with the philosophy of don’t think, do. If I think then my mind is all over the place. If I don’t think, then I’m living in the moment. Knowing and accepting this is one thing, but actually abiding by this rule is no easy challenge.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

 

Ps. I just found out that the station is actually called Ribble Steam Railway. Haha.

 

[1] Think a train like Percy the Small Engine from the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

[2] Think Salty the Diesel from Thomas the Tank Engine

Inbetweeners 2 Film Review

 

Inbetweners 2 Movie

 

  1. BEFORE FILM

 

The day after I went and watched Transformers: Age of Extinction I went to watch the Inbetweeners 2 movie… it was quite random really. My Dad fancied it and I thought ‘why not?’ I wanted to see it at an earlier time since I wanted the rest of the evening to myself. However, I thought rationally at that point. There were plenty of opportunities to do what I want after the film and throughout the next day. =)

 

Dad is not really a film goer so he wasn’t familiar with how the whole cinema works. Therefore, I took the lead and initiative when it came to getting snacks, buying tickets and what have you. It was an odd role to take the initiative but I did ok. I had the time to small talk with a cute freckled girl. I got myself a Tango Ice Blast with a mixture of raspberry and cherry…delicious. It was very sticky though! We both sat right at the back, upon my recommendation, since we would have the best view in the house.

 

Two certain young ladies were very vocal and disruptive as the film started. They were going to sit on the far back row, but, they randomly moved to the centre. I saw a quartet group that were going to sit in the centre but they couldn’t since the two young ladies nabbed their seats. They went down a row without much fuss. They started to become more vocal since they were getting more attention. They laughed and started to shout at that point. Everyone turned to look at them. Someone ‘ssh’ them and one of them said ‘shut up’.

 

It was rather frustrating, I must admit. How can we enjoy the film if they kept on talking? I started to think though that if everyone else was getting annoyed with them then I wasn’t the only one. I wanted to tell them to be quiet, but I noticed, that the more attention they received, the more hyper they became. In other words, they were fishing for attention. So, I just ignored them in the end. Why feed a young person negative attention? I just thought- I was here to watch a movie, not to engage in negative attention with young people… I think I did the right thing since eventually they went quiet. =)

 

 

  1. FILM OVERVIEW

Warning: I May Give Spoilers Away

 

2.1.       Overview

Admittedly I’m not a huge follower of Inbetweeners since it’s not really my thing and I am not crude in any stretch of the imagination. But you can understand why the franchise has such a huge following. Some of the stunts and slapstick nature should not really happen, yet, the way it’s done, you could actually envisage it happening in real life!  

 

 

2.2.       All About Jay

I gathered that we got a little bit of a time-skip since the previous film. Will and Simon are at Uni, Jay went to Australia and Neil didn’t do anything. Watching Jay’s ‘imaginative’ life in Australia was cool to watch. When he mentioned Neil’s sister I was actually expecting to see Kacey Barnfield, who played Neil’s sister. I think she’s really cool and cute and was disappointed that she wasn’t part of it.

 

Jay was really cool in this film. It was really cool that he would go all the way out to Australia in order to try and win Jane back. I had my suspicions that he still had a connection with Jane since he kept on dissing her whilst he was giving his personal account on Australia. XD Turns out that he did go out to Australia in order to seek Jane. All a sad situation- I was really happy that Jane came to Jay’s and his friend’s aid.

 

I suppose Jay was the underlining important character in this film. If he wasn’t in Australia to begin with then the others wouldn’t have gone to Australia, and he wouldn’t have found Jane. I was gutted though when she turned him down after his proposal… Jay is a keeper and he will treat his girlfriends right. He might be crude when it comes to innuendoes but he’s actually pretty cool when he’s in a committed relationship.

 

It all ended well. At the end it became a boy’s holiday again. They all went out together, doing daft stuff and just enjoying themselves. No girls allowed so to speak. 😉

 

 

2.3.       All About Simon

At this moment in time I prefer the first film rather than this one. The first film felt like a proper holiday whereas this was like a tour of a country. XD

 

In this film Simon’s girlfriend is psycho/paranoid … I’m quite gutted about this. In the previous film I saw no signs of her being one of those paranoid girlfriends. For her to suddenly be psycho seemed a bit random. Then again perhaps she’s only like this when she’s in relationships. I’m still gutted never the less because she seemed a lot nicer than Carli. Carli would use Simon to get her own back on this fella that she likes whereas Simon’s girlfriend wouldn’t… Maybe it’ll turn out that Carli and Simon were destined for each other and they’ll get back together? I sincerely hope that this wouldn’t be the case. XD

 

Neil, Will and Jay are all definitely good friends. They may like the ladies but they care enough about Simon to advise him to leave her for good. Personality before looks! I suppose that it’s a blessing for Simon that they broke up in the end as he was happy… all because she ended up sleeping with his ‘best friend.’ Still, all’s well that ends well… I think? XD

 

 

2.4.       All About Neil

Since it’s the Inbetweeners I was expecting crude toilet humour… we got that alright, numerous times!

 

Inbetweeners really does rely on its crudeness. From the get go you have some dog licking Neil’s private area when he was playing snooker… it was seriously disgusting to watch. XD Hilarious that he dressed as Hermoine from Harry Potter. When we saw these cloaked people at the beginning you knew that something cringing was going to happen. Neil is the epitome of crudeness; especially with his IBS… it’s vile but utterly hilarious.

 

Oh… that moment when Neil urinated on Simon’s face… that was simply surreal and disgusting. I kept on hiding my face behind my hands many times. It was just cringing to watch whether it’s Will trying to act cool or Neil’s IBS playing up… What was just as sickening was when he pooed and the poo was following Will’s trail as he slid down that water slide…

 

I was worried when Neil was going in the water with the dolphins… my worries were right on the money. He fed the dolphin snacks, burgers and sandwiches which were of course inappropriate. Then, the dolphin died. It was really sad but it was utterly hilarious at the same time… I’m even laughing now as I’m typing this.

 

 

2.5.       All About Will

You have the classic Will trying to fit in and be popular but he ends up looking like a fool. How does he get involved with people that are uncool? If I was in that position then I would just stay away from those kinds of people. He reminds me lot of an old acquaintance many years ago. That person tried to fit in by saying things and doing things that other people would deem ‘cool’ in order to fit in. It’s always better to be yourself… even if you are crazy. 😉

 

Will makes me cringe when he tries to impress, still hilarious to watch mind. Whilst he tries to impress he’s sort of a bit pompous at the same time. So, whilst he is clever he says extra things unnecessarily to impress and to make himself feel better.

 

Then this girl who kept kissing him on the lips… Will chose her and her posse over his real friends. All because he fancied her and that he was misunderstanding and misinterpretation her kiss. Well, peck on the lips. I must admit, I would probably think deeply if a girl kissed me on the lips… then again it all depends who the girl is and what she’s like as a person.

 

Then came that moment when… he played the guitar. My word, talk about hormones being out of control. XD She was wasted it looked as though they were going to get it on. Will obviously wanted to do it but he was a little conscious of the environment, obviously preferring a more ‘private’ atmosphere. It didn’t help that there was this lad, on the next bed, pleasuring himself as he watched on… I don’t think I’ve shaken my head so many times at one film. XD

 

 

2.6.       Mr. Gilbert

It was a mystery as to who the mystery man was in Will’s Mum’s life… turns out that it was the teacher! It’s great to see him again, he is such a good character and it was completely unexpected. I didn’t think we would see him again. Then again, I didn’t think there was going to be any more Inbetweeners… I’m not sure if I like him with Will’s Mum though. It’s funny but it doesn’t feel right, somehow.

 

 

2.7.       Personal Highlight

It was when Neil saw a mirage and started to run towards it and the rest of the gang just stood there and watched on, not moving. The duration of it and them not moving I would say was what made it funnier. He showed a lot of energy to run in that fashion. Haha.

 

 

  1. CONCLUSION

I thought it was a fairly decent film. All of the characters had a dilemma of their own and they were interesting to watch. Jay had a good part in this film. He made a mistake and tried to make amends by moving to Australia… whilst living in a tent. I’m disappointed that Simon’s girlfriend turned out to be a psycho and that Jane and Simon are not together.

 

Inbetweeners relies heavily on its toilet humour and slapstick and in that regard, it delivered. It’s basically from a young man’s point of view so I suppose that’s why it’s sort of realistic but not. Perhaps this is the sort of thing that young guys would do and think whilst going through puberty and when handling situations. Especially if you’re not deemed ‘cool’ by those who are deemed ‘cool’. My Dad even said that this kind of toilet humour existed when he was at school. If it happened back then, then it will probably happen now, I.E., in Inbetweeners. You see a lot of people like Will and Neil in real life but no one has thought about it until the writers of Inbetweeners came along.

 

I thought the first Inbetweeners film would be the last, apparently not. Now, I can see a third film instalment in the works. It’s not my kind of thing but it was still worth watching at the cinema.

 

I give this film, one-thumbs up! (My Rating System)

Thumbs-Up

 

 

THANKS FOR READING

 

This was yet another valuable experience for me. Yesterday I went to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction with a friend, first time ever. And today I went on an impromptu visit to Inbetweeners 2 with Dad, who is not familiar with the cinema surroundings. I can argue and say that going to the cinema was a lot to ask of me as I felt tired and dizzy and very uncomfortable. But, once again I’m finding that I can endure a lot uncomfortable feelings inside me. So, I tried my best to get my mind off my Autistic quirks. =)

 

 

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan

Transformers: Age of Extinction Film Review

 Transformers Age of Extinction

Happy Bank Holiday everyone.^^/

This is my review on Transformers: Age of Extinction as well as everything else that led up to it. =)

  1. BEFORE FILM

I’m not a cinema goer in the conventional sense. I was asked by my friend (who also happens to be my hairdresser!)  if I  wanted to go and watch Captain America: Winter Soldier  at the cinema. At that time I had already seen it. The Transformers film was nearing its last showing, so to my surprise I suggested that we could go and watch it.  He accepted.

It was quite out of character on my part. If I go to the Cinema it would be jam-packed with other cinema watchers. Whenever I go to watch films I tend to go in the last week of their showing, like I have done with the newest Transformers film.

It did actually dawn on me before going out that I was going out with someone, outside my home, without the presence of a relative. I had or have social circles from my college and uni days but I was hanging out with someone who had no connection to college or uni and wasn’t family. I did get nervous because it was a new experience. It was like going into the unknown.

I tried to calm myself down and cool my mind by drawing, watching the Sabagebu anime and reading Thomas the Tank Engine books… I then discovered that I actually lost track of time. I started to dart around to find my newly ironed top, only to crash my knee into my desk… it’s no exaggeration when I say that it really, really hurt. XD I couldn’t walk properly, so I was thankful I was going to spend the rest of the night sitting down.

The traffic was quite bad by the time I reached the cinema so I was a little late. By this time I didn’t worry so much. I might be a little late but the film doesn’t actually start until all the adverts are shown on the screens. I got accustomed to this so I never worry as much about being late to see a film. I do want to get there on time though to buy tickets and what not.

When me and my friend got inside I got myself a ticket and that lovely combination of a large… what was it called? It was a mixture of mango and strawberry. That’s it! It was a Tango. =D …I think?

The ticket buying process was something new for me, as most times when I go to the cinema with family, one person will pay for all the tickets then everyone will reimburse that person afterwards (saves everybody queuing!).  My friend bought his ticket and I then asked him if I needed to buy a ticket, to which he replied ‘yes’.

I hope he didn’t think I was expecting him to pay for me – he obviously didn’t know my usual ‘buying tickets’ routine! =D

  1. FILM OVERVIEW

I found this film to be most engaging. The graphics were exquisite and the sound was clear. In fact, I could feel the vibrations on my seat whilst watching the film. The action was very good to. I enjoyed the fights the most that involved Optimus Prime. Bumblebee against Stinger was also a good rivalry. I sensed a battle of pride between the two. It was personal to Bumblebee and fortunately he got on top.

It was interesting how the whole Autobots/creatures like Lockdown existed since the Dinosaur and that Lockdown and crew were the cause of their extinction. Like the prequel, Dark of the Moon, the producers meddled with the timeline and added their own interpretation on to it. XD

The codeable is a really cool gadget. You can mould that in any way you want. Just imagine if something like that really existed. I could then build my own train fort in my garden. Hoho! Enough of my own fantasies, I’d better crack on with this review!

I must be honest when I say that whilst I really did enjoy the film I did get lost at times. There were moments where I didn’t think that the story and plot was necessarily clear.

I got the gist that after the introduction of the Dinosaur age that the story time-skipped a couple of years from the previous film.

It then introduced Cade Yeager… this is where I got confused. I actually thought Cade was an adult version of Sam Witwicky and that Sam was finally tied down with Rosie and that they have a daughter. I thought Rosie got tired of Sam so she bailed on him and his daughter lived with him. Then when Optimus Prime made an appearance and they interacted… that’s when I figured out that that person was not Sam. It took me a while, I know. XD

It begs the question- what happened to Sam and the lovely Rosie? I would have liked it if their absence was explained or at least know where they are now. I do think it’s understandable why the government would attack the Autobots as well as Megatron and his evil posse.

Stinger was based on Bumblebee… I actually think, or like to think, that Stinger was a lady car. It was like a glossy red with a bit of dark pink- ish. The head of Stinger looked feminine too. Of course they battled it out since it would be a battle of pride from Bumblebee’s point of view. I personally think it would have been better if Stinger was female and had a personality of her own. Then we could have seen a forbidden romance between her and Bumblebee. Bumblebee would want to kick her bum at first or Stinger wanted to beat him down but fell in love with him and switched sides. I wanted that to happen but alas it ended with her/him/it dying…

Optimus Prime is really cool and is my favourite character from the Transformers series. He has a very striking glow and a colourful presentation with a hypnotic voice from Peter Cullen. He is clearly the strongest out of all the Autobots but he does get beaten pretty easily in some of the films. In some ways I suppose this is good as it shows that all good fighters can have handicaps, even if they are someone like Optimus. I wonder if he was out of character at times, especially when he said “I’ll kill you!” I’m not the most qualified person to judge Optimus though since I just follow the films rather than the whole Transformers franchise. =)

My personal highlight of the film was the introduction of the Dinobots. I didn’t see it coming and it was great to see them form and fight initially with Optimus. It was even better when they became allies. =)

I want to make a big shout out to Brains. It’s great to see him back. =D That Megatron though… he never dies, does he? I actually think the producers enjoy keeping him alive. Haha.

I do have one constructive criticism, whilst turning a blind eye to the others… the length. I struggle watching films. If I were to watch them I would prefer watching them on Film four or Sky movies or on DVDs. I would have little breaks to walk around to stretch my legs and arms. I looked at the running time before I left and was a bit taken aback when I saw that the running time was 165 minutes… nearly three hours! It was a good film but I do think it was a bit much and it could have easily been condensed down to two. Still, I coped and survived with the duration of the film though. I just see it that it was another useful experience to my ever growing adventures.

  1. CONCLUSION

I thoroughly enjoy this. I enjoyed the graphics, the design of the Autobots and the introduction of the Dinobots. There were a couple of times where I did get lost during the film and it did give me a headache. I got confused about the characters and I didn’t always follow what was happening.

I give this film, One-Thumb’s up!

Thumbs-Up

(My Rating System)

THANKS FOR READING

This was a valuable experience for me. Going to the cinema with not only a friend, but without the accompany of a relative. My Autistic quirks came into play when I realised I was going to experience a somewhat new situation, but it was an experience that was worth fulfilling. It goes to show that I can handle my autism side, even if I have to endure my worries. XD

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan

My Yoga Journey

Meditation-Yoga-pose

Good Day.^^/

It was a sad occasion Wednesday evening. For the last year,  my sister and I have been going to a certain yoga class and we have both experienced many benefits from attending the classes. However, it was the last time that our Yoga instructor was going to teach at that specific venue. I figured I would take this opportunity to summarise my experience since attending yoga classes.

*

I had been practising Yoga before actually attending any classes. It is said that Yoga is very therapeutic. I’ve never really looked at yoga from that point of view as I saw it as another form of a work-out. Even on YouTube there’s plenty of Yoga stretches and they are far from therapeutic.

One day my sister fancied doing Yoga at this particular gym. She asked if I wanted to try yoga or perhaps Pilates. I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to go or not. It was a new place with a bunch of people that I’ve never seen before so it was venturing into the unknown. I don’t like new places or sudden changes or new environments and I didn’t know how I would handle going there. It’s difficult for me, and it’s in these situations when my Autistic quirks come to the surface. My Autism does bring out the worst of me at times. It’s nothing to be ashamed of as it’s part of who I am.

However, I decided to give it a go in the end. What was the worst that could happen? It was a good thing that my sister was there as I had support from a relative and a familiar face. Ahem- they say that yoga is relaxing. All I had ever received was the physical benefits rather than being rewarded with the emotional or mental benefits… until I went that night.

It was a fairly closed environment. The lights were dim, the candles were lit and the Buddha statue was present. The Yoga Instructor came up to me and spoke very kindly to me. She recognised that I was new so she came over to say hi. It’s no lie or exaggeration to say that I was apprehensive since it’s a new place. I really appreciate the instructor taking the time to speak to me, and my sister for that matter. I felt more accustomed and relaxed after that. We even spoke after the first practice… I felt more encouraged to attend. =)

It was that first night that I started to reap the benefits of having a relaxed mind whilst emitting positive vibes. I can never truly calm my mind though since my mind is extremely active. When I’m relaxed I tend to visualise the things that I like, in this case, I kept visualizing myself swimming with mermaids. XD It’s weird, I know, but that’s one of the t things that relaxes me. 😉

*

I have attended every Wednesday since my first night.

Through all those times I noticed a difference to when I had practiced yoga before and during the lessons. Before I attended, yoga was just a workout so I did all those exercises for physical endurance. However, when I attended yoga and I did all those exact same exercises, the feeling was different. I was happier and experienced a feeling of tranquillity… I posed in super hard positions but yet I felt very relaxed. Why was this? I deduce that it was the environment and my new found attitude to Yoga.

Years ago, if I had joined a gym, I would have seen yoga as a competition. In my school I was always under pressure to do my best and one wrong answer or tiny failure was never an option. If I got one question wrong I would get upset. The same applied to P.E. P.E. was my most disliked subject, because of the competition. Competition brought out of the worst in me and I would avoid it as much as I could, because I knew how I would feel and handle the situation. I knew how I would handle things, but controlling my emotions was no easy task.

Nowadays I realise that I have nothing to prove to anyone. Yoga was not a competition; it’s all about, to me, finding your own inner-peace. It’s about being positive and looking on the positive side of life. That’s not to say that we’re naïve and we ignore all the dangers and bad stuff in the world, but it’s about accepting vices and faults and not worrying what we can’t change. If you can’t change it, why worry?

Negative people tend to focus on the things they hate, whereas positive people focus on the things they love. I always think about happy things and I have a very good life. Being happy, as I learned from yoga, is another form of relaxation. I’m always going to worry about little things due to my Autistic quirks but it’s reassuring to know that I have battle plans in place where I can conquer the negative thoughts with my positive thoughts any time. =)

*

When it was time to visualise tranquil scenes I thought about my own tranquil scenes. When the yoga instructor told me to think about green I would always imagine myself laying on grass and breathing the leaves that fall from the trees. Like, as if I’m on a tropical island near mountains. XD For yellow I pictured the sun, and for blue I pictured water. So, I have my own unique interpretation, as daft as it sounds. Haha.

*

Me and my sister always situated ourselves near the bikes… how we ended up there, I don’t know! I think we probably kept in the corner because it was the only place available to dock. We just got used to it. It was uncomfortable sometimes as we kept on hitting the bikes but there was nowhere else I would rather have been! w Haha.

*

As a bonus I became flexible through my hips and legs whilst increasing my balancing skills. I can physically turn door knobs and open doors with my feet! If I have a cup of tea in one hand and a basket of clothes in the other then I would raise my foot, turn the door knob, and walk through the door. I can even pick stuff off my floor without bending down. So, I may be talking about the emotional benefits but I definitely have come a long way physically as well. Haha.

I’m thankful to yoga. Before I was making a physical connection but now I have a mental and emotional connection with yoga. However I feel that the Yoga Instructor helped me more. If it wasn’t for her being impeccably kind and understanding then I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed yoga as much.

*

I will definitely carry on my yoga practice with this same mind set  =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

Monster Musume Volume Three Review

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Konbanwa.^^/

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for giving your time to read my reviews on Monster Musume. I’m still learning and developing my own style when writing reviews. I do enjoy expressing my feelings, blogging thoughts about my favourite things like Monster Musume as it makes me feel happy. However, it is a massive bonus when the reader takes their time to read what I have to say. For that, I am truly grateful.^^/

MonMusu[1] Volume 2 seems to be especially popular and it has given me extra impetus to blog about Volume 3. =)

Here it is.^^/

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

1. MY SYNOPSIS

Up till now Kimihito has been a host to four liminals; a passionate Lamia, a playful Harpy, a proud Centaur and an illegal species, Slime. Life has been kind to Kimihito; he has liminal guests who adore him and continue to pursue his hand in marriage. The competition is getting tougher though since the arrival of the courteous and gentle Mermaid, Mero.

In the same breath the darker side of the liminals started to show. A group of erotically charged orcs emerged and caused a commotion at a local otaku shop, offering gratuitous demands. Due to the interspecies Cultural Exchanged Accord the police can’t legally touch the orcs… but all is not lost since Ms Smith has a plan to solve this problem, but whether it will work or not is a completely different issue!

2. STORY

The pace and flow of this story was well thought out and applied cleverly. Not only is the timing of the story good, but the comedy and the quirkiness of the characters are well placed too.

At first glance it appears that Suu is nothing more than a background character that just happens to be there for the sake of adding more humour to the story. But actually she has played many pinnacle moments. Because of her the plot unfolded in certain chapters. I will talk more about this in Suu’s character section.

There are no small parts in a story; even the smallest part in the story can create the biggest conflict. Look at that young boy from Home Alone. When the sister did a head count and mistook the neighbours boy for her brother, it led to Kevin McAllister being all by himself. Thus, home alone.

*

Mero is really growing on me- her development was completely unexpected, in a good way. From our point of view, Mero being up to no good was all just in Miia’s head, since we come to learn that Miia has a very hyperactive imagination. Then, when Mero smiled in an unnerving manner, it made us think that Miia was right to be wary. It came to light that it was all in Miia’s imagination and that Mero isn’t after Kimihito, at least not in the normal sense.

*

It’s rather fascinating how the topic; fairy tales was brought up. Mermaids are probably one of the more popular legendary creatures, look at the book and film The Little Mermaid. I for one would be excited to meet one if they existed in real life. It’s clear in Monster Musume that this manga is very self-aware so it’s quite interesting that they delve into fairy tales- more specifically mermaids.

Mero spoke about how mermaids love the story the Little Mermaid. Miia then confessed that she too likes fairy tales and yearned to have her own prince… we see a flashback of Miia reading her fairy tale books, she looked mighty cute when she was little. All of this deep conversation developed a more one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero. At the end of the chapter it was established that Mero’s ideal love is rather…unique. Turns out, the entire time, she wants to be a mistress rather than a wife. Haha! That was unexpected but in some ways it makes a lot of sense. XD

*

My favourite part of this volume is when Kimihito holds Miia in her arms, like a damsel in distress. He looks very good too. That’s probably the best image I’ve ever seen of him, he looked cool, strong and you could see his eyes. His eyes are never visible unless he’s part of a serious scene. It was a sweet moment too because Miia’s dream of being held came true, right after she dived in to the water to save him, even though he didn’t need to be saved. It was sweet and brave, considering the fact that she’s not good with cold temperatures, especially Mero’s pool.

*

Chapter 12 focused heavily on Ms. Smith and her new MON squad. You could say that it detracts from the main story but I personally think it’s a nice change of pace. So far we’ve been seeing Ms Smith’s useless side but here we are seeing that when confronted with a crisis, she is on the ball. She can be serious when the situation calls for it. I suppose we see more of her familiar side when she’s with Kimihito and co…

*

The baddies were fairly decent.

I usually prefer baddies or catalysts to be serious but due to the themes and style of this manga, they were perverted. XD You have the Orcs who ransacked a shop with silly desirable demands and a ‘TV crew’ who just wanted to get their hands on Papi’s egg so he can become rich. They were perverted and stupid but it would be inappropriate to expect anything else.

I’m sort of hoping that- if this manga gets serious- we’ll have a proper villain introduced who is not cheesy or perverted. He/she would be allowed to be funny but not cheesy. That’s just me though. XD

*

Up until now we just saw baddies who were narrow minded and purse snatchers but here the author is exploring a darker side of both humans and liminals. It looks like that may continue since the creepy director is on the run.

*

I like how Mero’s fetish side is coming to the surface. I can see her visions becoming animated, like she is daydreaming in her own imagination. Rather funny and cute. It’s also funny how Mero trusted Miia’s cooking and fainted, with a creepy grin on her face. You wouldn’t have thought that someone with a high class background would have such an improper fetish. XD

*

The extras and facts at the back are fun to read, I especially enjoyed Mero’s facts. Kimihito appeared to be very conscious about what food he buys since Papi is half bird (chicken) and Mero is a mermaid (fish). It turns out that it was all wasted worrying since Papi eats chicken and Mero likes fish…all perfectly fine with cannibalism. XD!

*

Chapter 14 was very engaging. It had good pacing with a very solid ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes you want to read Volume 4.

I knew the TV crew were dodgy straight away, so did Kimihito. They felt obliged to comply because of the uneasy tensions between humans and liminals.

Paper was certainly important in this chapter. I was as shocked as the characters in that scene when Papi announced that she was going to lay an egg…later revealed that it was unfertilised…Of course, this announcement led to hilarious consequences, poor Kimihito…

I do wonder how harpies and lamias reproduce. Birds and snakes do usually reproduce through eggs. I did see a documentary that certain snakes do mate. The female snakes’ stomach would turn pink, indicating that it’s going through a lovey-dovey season. 😉

It was a pity that the creepy director went on the run, but fortunately he got his come-uppance by a mysterious Arachne.

I feel quite excited yet nervous for Kimihito. It seems clear that she’s going to come after him…

Maybe she’ll join his ever expanding harem? But on the other hand she might become the latest villain.

From my initial impression I think that she’s cynical. I’m just basing this on her mannerisms and demeanour. Her design also suggests that she is. The art isn’t always about the style but the designs within the style. Her clothes are very bold, dark and suggestive.

3. THEME

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[2]
  • Fantasy
  • Harem[3]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • Seinen[4]
  • Slice of Life[5]

4. ART AND DESIGN

I feel that the art and story blend well together. It’s appropriate for this kind of story with plenty of cheeky situations.

All the characters have glowing presentation to their appearance. Miia is casual, Centorea is formal and Papi is…Papi. XD Mero’s gothic lolita design is pretty cool and gives off the aura of an aristocrat. Her pink hair and mermaid part of the body is very feminine and pleasing on the eye. Pink is definitely a good choice for her, I sort of pictured her fins and hair as aqua/turquoise based coloured, since she’s a mermaid. Pink is definitely the right choice, I feel. =)

I like also how Miia’s headband (representing Lamia’s eyes) varies depending on her hairstyle or what she wears on her head. It sort of reminds me of Sena Kashiwazaki from Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends. She has butterfly clips in her hair, but it changes depending how she styles her hair. Miia is very much the same in this regard.

The colourful pages were especially good. The background in one of them was designed in scales coloured red, obviously representing Miia.

It was a just a cameo but I really like that red haired mermaid that appeared in Mero’s vision. She’s like a carbon copy of Miia.^^

5. CHARACTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS

5.1. MIIA

Miia really is a gem of a character and is my favourite from this manga.

She might be a Lamia but she’s cute, sexy, caring and very hilarious. Someone so cute should not be able to show various facial expressions like she does. Before the competition ensued she was portrayed as someone who is passionate, loving, affectionate, shy, a touch naive and lovey-dovey.

Since the arrival of Papi and Centorea we started to see additional sides to her, funny sides. We’re starting to see vices in the form of jealousy, possessiveness and competitiveness. They tend not to show when she and Kimihito are alone together.

In some ways she has a bit of a vindictive and cunning streak. When she comes up with plans to stay as Kimihito’s “number one” it tends to back fire badly, especially when Kimihito had to carry Mero around.

My favourite moments do actually involve Miia, especially her comedic reactions to situations and they’re so easy to visualise. Every time she goes “waaaah?” I can just picture her shouting “naaniiii?” in Japanase. XD

It’s a shame how terrible she is at cooking. We do learn that her speciality is boiling eggs, mostly because eggs are her favourite food- as she is part snake.

5.2. MERO

On the surface Mero is pure and lady-like.

It is suggested that she could be of noble blood. If she is of noble blood then it makes sense why Ms Smith assigned her to Kimihito’s household. She knows that Kimihito treats his guests with utmost respect and affection. Someone of noble blood would probably have to receive the best treatment in the best possible way, and who more appropriate to be her host then Kimihito?

5.3. SUU

Suu is an absolute brilliant character. I was really excited when a character like Suu was introduced but I find that I like her more the more we learn about her. Her quirks in transforming, reading people’s minds, mimicking and general abilities are very unique.

In fact, it is her uniqueness that has provided many pinnacle moments in the story.

  • Her ‘attack’ on Mero led to Miia being saved by Kimihito and a heart-to-heart between Miia and Mero.
  • She was able to enter Kimihito’s room, when ill, without the worry that she will catch his ‘virus’. Of course that led to many comical situations.
  • She read Kimihito’s mind when he was ill. She ‘nursed’ him back to health.
  • She read the creepy director’s mind which confirmed that he was filming with evil intentions. It wouldn’t have unfolded had it not been for Suu.

You will note that in those situations Suu was nothing more than a background character that made a sudden appearance, i.e., a sudden impact which changed the dynamics of the story line.

It was only Chapter 13 that she played a pivotal role. Not only did she play an important part but we also got to see her personality develop.

It was very touching to see her speech and declaration of love for Kimihito. It seems as though every time we see her, there’s more to her personality. Her feelings started to grow more affectionate to, the more she starts to develop a mind of her own. She had her own personality to begin with; we’re just seeing her grow as an individual, even if she is just a Slime.

5.4. MON SQUAD

The MON (Monster Ops Neutralization) Squad are a very good addition to the series.

You have an overzealous captain, Zombina, who is the undead, or zombie. Her specialism is raiding. It’s appropriate for her to charge into dangerous situations since there’s no danger of her dying.

Then there’s Manako, who is a Cyclops. A very shy type of character who cries easily due to her oversized singular eye.

You then have Doppel who can transform into anyone that she desires. This can be very handy for when she goes under-cover. It especially helps when she pretends to be that pinup type character girl as it certainly fooled the orcs.

I especially like Tionshia. I describe her as a gentle giant. I think she’d be more suited to being on a catwalk rather than as part of the MON squad.

5.5. MS SMITH

It’s very easy to take Ms Smith at face value but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to her than meets the eye. We’ve seen her in bad light plenty of times but she showed that she can be reliable in dangerous situations.

I question her views towards Kimihito. It’s not clear if she harbours a deep affection for him but it’s clear that she sees him in a positive light. Since the young lad became an impromptu volunteer she became very familiar with him and his house. I don’t think this can be swept under the carpet.

Sure, we could say that she’s taking liberties and uses him as an excuse to get away from work and hang out for coffee and dinner. But, she could use any other hosts as an excuse to get away, so why is it Kimihito? She teases him sometimes through flirting. She assigned a noble like Mero to his household. And she turns a blind eye to any wrong doing that involves Kimihito, including the illegal species like Suu. Is she slacking off, or, is she giving him special treatment?

Whatever should happen I think it is worth keeping an eye on Ms Smith’s relationship with him to see if something happens.

6. BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / SELF-AWARE

We established that one of the many charms of this manga are the puns and its self-awareness. Miia’s “Fire for fire, slime for slime” was one of those glorious puns. And “Get your filthy fins off my darling2.” Haha

Then you have moments where I feel like the manga breaks the fourth wall. In two of the cases it was Kimihito and Miia who broke the fourth wall.[6]

One where Kimihitio said “look, I don’t care how much the fetishists get off on this…!! I still don’t wanna drown!” when Suu is suffocating him, and the one with Miia…

“Anyone who gets that excited over my skin… is the worst kind of pervert!”

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read that. I initially interpreted that as Miia insulting herself. However, when I read it again, I actually think it’s a joke between the author and the reader. I think it’s implying that we, the reader, have a ‘fetish’ over Miia’s skin which is why we are reading it.

Regardless, I think it’s hilarious. XD

7. CONCLUSION

The pace of the story was very good throughout.

One story focused on Ms Smith and her crew to give us a glimpse as to what she’s like at work. It was good. Certain characters like Suu were important in order to conclude parts of the stories. If Suu and her uniqueness didn’t exist then none of the stories could have unfolded and have a decent ending, even if they appear to be a background character. The one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero had an unexpected and funny ending and the ending finished in a dramatic way which whets my appetite to read the next volume.

Most importantly though, I laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it and I am most looking forward to Volume 4. If something makes me laugh and smile then it becomes very precious to me.

I give Monster Musume Volume 3 two thumbs-up.(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

8. OFF-TOPC RAMBLE: 12 BEAST

12 Beast Volume 1

This week I have learned that Seven Seas are going to release the manga, 12 Beast, on 14th April 2015.[7] [8]

12 Beast is another manga by Okayado and by what I’ve heard and seen, it’s somewhat similar to Monster Musume. I would say it looks more of an adventure fantasy rather than a slice of life like MonMusu. I’m very excited about this announcement and it’s something that I’m looking forward to in 2015, that and Avengers: Age of Ultron. 😉 I like Okayado’s work and style of writing and I get the impression that I’m definitely going to like 12 Beast. =D

For those who are interested, it is now available on Amazon.com.[9]

9. OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE: HIGH SCHOOL DXD

High School DxD

I’m also pleased to hear about the news of High School DxD. The TV Anime is going to have a third series and OVA within the next year. Yen Press publishers have also licensed the spin-off of High School DxD starring Asia and Koneko. It’s called High School DXD: Asia and Koneko’s Secret Contract!?[10] It’s released sometime in December so this is going to go on my Christmas list! =D

I’m twiddling my thumbs in anticipating for the novel to be licensed.^^/

I wonder what the DxD stands for in the title. Does anyone know? Judging by the theme and what I’ve read it’s probably something like “Devil x Dragons” or “Dragon x Dragons”… I’m hoping for the latter, it sounds cool. =D

THANKS FOR READING

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I learnt I can’t truly share my thoughts unless I spoil it a little…I know I’m not good at keeping secrets but the only way I can share my thoughts is if I don’t hold myself back. So, I do apologise if you didn’t want to be spoilt but it’s important to me that I annotate my feelings without restraint. =)

From now on a “WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY” will be plastered at the top of each review so that you’re aware of the spoilers ahead. =)

Thank you very much for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Risqué and sexy moment or lecherous characters

[3] All young females gunning after one man and/or lady

[4] Target audience for young man

[5] Based on everyday mundane life

[6] On a stage of a room there’s usually three walls. The fourth wall is presumed to be there, but it’s invisible. The audience is watching the TV/play on that fourth wall. The fourth wall is “broken” when the actor/performer engages with the audience through the fourth wall. British sitcoms like Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys break the fourth wall through their shows.

[7] http://sevenseasentertainment.tumblr.com/post/93331953770/license-2-from-one-of-our-new-york-times

[8] https://twitter.com/gomanga/status/499262048396910592

[9] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626921776/

[10] http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-School-DXD-Konekos-Contract/dp/0316334855/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1407950639&sr=8-7&keywords=High+School+DxD