Category Archives: Slice of life

My Roommate is a Cat First Impressions

While I personally believe I stop one step short of a crazy cat lady, I do love cats. A lot. Especially in slice of life anime. So, when I discovered there was an anime about a writer adopting a cat, and their lives together, I was pretty stoked. Called “My Roommate is a Cat” in English, and in Japan “Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue” (which translates to My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes, on My Head), this is a story of two lonely souls, a stray cat named Haru, and a human named Subaru Mikazuki, who begin to heal when they find each other.

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue - 01 - Large 36

The story opens with the death of Subaru Mikazuki’s parents who have passed away in a bus accident, while on a trip. Subaru just wants to be left alone to read his books. With his parent’s death he believes this is possible. Fast forward several years, and he feels no closer to the peace and quiet he wants, even though he has just about cut himself off from the outside world. He is alone, with the exception of his editor, and his neighbor, both of whom he considers a nuisance.  He has also become an established writer, but, when the story opens, he is at a loss to what his new book should be about. On a visit to his parent’s grave, he finds a hungry cat that gives him an idea for a story and takes her home with him.

One of the unique aspects of the story is not only do we see it from the perspective of Subaru, but we also see it from the cat’s view—who by the second episode is named Haru. We discover Haru has lived a hard life. She’s the only one from her litter to survive, and most of her life has been filled with hunger. She’s slow to trust, and initially only plans to stay with Subaru for a short time to repay him for feeding her.

They slowly begin to win each other over. Subaru is at first perplexed by behaviors that are normal to cat owners but strange to him. Haru is equally confused by Subaru. How much the one cares for the other begins to shine through despite their lack of understanding about the each other. An uneasy truce forms.

This dynamic crescendos in a fantastic third episode, where Subaru is forced to confront his feelings of loss toward his parents. The execution of that episode is flawless, and it’s one I recommend going into as blind as possible.

The series deals with some pretty heavy stuff, but it swings between that and some very amusing, light-hearted moments. One of my favorites in the first three episodes is when Subaru goes out to buy some cat food for Haru having no clue what he’s doing. The flipping between tones feels like it suits the series very well, and keeps things from getting too heavy.

The hardest part of getting into the series is the character of Subaru. He’s selfish and hostile to every human who interacts with him, even though most characters try to help out of concern for him (which begs the question of why they bother?). It’s painful to watch and makes getting through the first half of the first episode a little difficult. The idea of the show is both of them come out of their shells and learn to trust others. For that, Subaru has to start from square one.

Having not seen beyond the third episode, I’m concerned where the series will go from here. The third episode is so well done; it’s hard to see how the series will top itself, though I have some ideas. I wouldn’t be surprised if the climax of the series involves Haru escaping from the house, and Subaru realizing how much she means to him as he tries to find her.

Overall, I recommend this series, especially if you like healing stories or just like cats. It’s a solid addition to the anime world, and while it’s unlikely to stick out in my mind a few years from now, it’s perfect for what I want from an anime right now.

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Filed under Anime/Manga, First Impressions, my roommate is a cat, Slice of life

The Lonely Polygamist review

Summery: Golden Richards is a Mormon polygamist with 4 wives and twenty-eight children, yet he feels disconnected from them all. So disconnected that’s he driven to an emotional affair with another woman. But this isn’t just his story. The Lonely Polygamist follows the story of two others feeling neglected in the big family. There’s the story of Trish, wife number four, who doesn’t quite fit into the family life of the other three wives, and Rusty, the biggest troublemaker of all the children.

Pages: 624

I’m going to be blunt. There are more bad literary books at good. Too many of them are shallow pieces of drivel that pretend to be about something  deep and make the reader feel smart. Luckily, this is one of the good literary books out there.

The Lonely Polygamist starts off as a dark comedy. Our main character, Golden, is late from a construction job and has driven home as quickly as he can without a single restroom stop. He arrives, needing to pee real bad to find all of his four wives downright pissed at him, plenty of children clamoring for his attention, all the bathrooms in the house full, and while he tries to tackle all his husband duties, he is forced in desperation to pee in a bucket.

Yet the story slowly but surely shifts to an emotional and reflective story that successfully makes it point and leaves an impact. The characters are all sympathetic beyond the point I thought possible. Even when I knew can tell a character is doing the wrong thing, or they’re hurting others with their actions, I could understand why they were doing this, and feel sorry for them. The story itself is a roller coaster of a soap opera filled with unseen and amusing twist.

What struck me most of all was how sympathetic all the characters. Even when I could tell the characters were making choices that would hurt themselves and others in the long run, I could understand the mindset that caused them to make that choice.

Not everything was smooth sailing however. The Lonely Polygamist is a long book, and some scenes are just unnecessary. These parts stick out like a sore thumb. Especially bad was the side thing about the atomic bomb testing; while interesting, it didn’t fit into the story at all.

In the end, The Lonely Polygamist is a riveting book that offers a non-judgmental look into the polygamist lifestyle. It’s at times hilarious, and at times emotionally touching, but entertaining all the way through. The human psych is revealed and portrayed so well, it’s at times unnerving.

Characters A

The characters of The Lonely Polygamist feel very human, and through that, are strangely sympathic.

Overall Storyline A-

An engaging and entertaining storyline full of unexpected plot twists. However, it is bogged down with some unneeded parts, and these parts are a pain to read through.

Setting A

The Lonely Polygamist gives us a down to earth and non-judgmental look into the day to day life of the polygamist lifestyle  and the small sect surrounding it. For me, it’s hard not to find a lifestyle so different from the norm interesting.

Overall Grade: A

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Filed under A, Literary, Slice of life

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute Review

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute

Episodes: 12

Summery: Kyousuke isn’t really aware with what’s going on in his sister life, but as far as he’s concerned, she’s doing well. After all, she gets top grades in school, is a successful model, and a star athlete. But when he discovers his sister’s secret that she secretly loves eroge games, and realizes that she’s extremely lonely, he finds himself getting involved in her life and going to ridiculous means to help his little sister.

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Filed under Comedy, I Don't Get Paid Enough To Blog, Middle/High School, My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute, Slice of life

For Keeps Review

Summery: Josie has spent her entire life without knowing her father, and being raised by her mother. As far as she’s concerned, she’s completely okay with that. However, the appearance of her father’s grandparents moving back in to town completely changes things. On top of Josie’s first serious boyfriend, her mother dating again, and her best friend struggling with the possibility that she’s pregnant, she’s got a lot to handle her Junior year.

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Filed under Drama, Middle/High School, Slice of life

Durarara Review

Summery: Mikado moved to a downtown distract of Tokyo, Ikebukuro looking for excitement. He seems to have gotten his wish as he begins to get wrapped up in the city life and many of the mysteries within the city.

Episode: 24

Why I Picked It Up: Brain Base was doing it.

Why I Finished It: I love Kida. The characters are very original, very quirky with a lot of personality. They’re basically an ensemble you fall in love with, and one that you feel that if you ever see again, it’ll be as poor imitation. They’re some incredibly creative ideas as work here. Even Mikado, who starts as your typical shy loser turns out to be someone much more. Some characters remain static, while others change throughout the story.

The story is also very creative, but the execution could have been better. Don’t get me wrong. The first arch, with the unique storytelling technique of changing viewpoints every episode, was absolutely brilliant. It’s just after that, the executive turns to more standard techniques for the sake of getting the story out. Also, there’s the fact that in the end, while it works well enough, the story leaves so much unanswered. I honestly hope that there will be a second season, and if there is, my opinion of the first may increase, but as it is, I have to fault Durarara for feeling incomplete at the end of the anime.

However, Durarara does try to be something different in the world of anime, and that is always a welcome thing.

Who would I recommend this to: Oddly enough, I have ended up recommending this to a lot of people. But for anyone looking for something different in the world of anime rather then the same old same old, I’d give this a shot.

Rating: 4/5-I loved Kida it.

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Filed under Durarara, Mystery, Slice of life, Urban Fantasy

Angel Beats Review

Summery: Otonashi wakes up in a strange world without any memories and a girl next to him holding a gun. When he’s ask what’s going on, she tells him that he’s dead, and introduces him to the strange sort of purgatory that they’re stuck it. She then invites him to join her in her battle against god. With nothing to lose, he teams up with the girl to figure out what’s going on and to hopefully regain his memories.

Why I Picked It Up: Angel Beats was one of the most hyped shows of the spring season and had an absolutely stunning first episode.

Why I Finished It: I’m going to combine the positives and negatives here as Angel Beats is a very complicated show to describe. Angel Beats is a show that should have been twice the length it was, and the creators tried to stuff too much in their storyline. As a result, the pacing was off, the storyline suffered, and the series was given a disjointed and chaotic feel. Yet, the creators still tried to do something with the anime, and their enthusiasm for the series came through, and I have to give them credit for that.

Oddly enough, while I doubt the disjointed chaotic feeling was their intent, it ended up fitting the series very well, so who it harmed the series in some ways, it ended up working to the series benefit in others.

Furthermore, I really liked the characters. Even if they weren’t the best developed, they were still incredibly likable, and one could sympathize with their plight of being stuck in a confusing world while they still had this inner anger. A lot of work was put into making the minor characters stand out with small and silly but noticeable quirks. The way the relationships grew between the characters, while not perfect, was enjoyable as well. In the end, the characters are what I liked best about the series, and what kept me coming back every week.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Anyone getting tired of the same old same old in anime should give this a shot. It’s not perfect, but it tries, and in the end, I really liked this.

My rating: 4/5- I Loved This

Side Note: Why I gave this a 10 on MAL is I’m starting to give series a 10 that I want to keep in mind should I decide to compile a ‘Top Anime’ list so they stick out among my watched anime.

Goodbye Angel Beats, and thanks for not only a great series, but some great fan art!

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Filed under Angel Beats, Comedy, Drama, Middle/High School, Mystery, Romance, Slice of life

Riker’s High review

When I review a book, it’s either because it really stands out to me, it’s popular enough that I want to voice my opinion on it, or it somehow relates to an anime I’m currently watching. In this case, Riker’s High reminded me a lot of Rainbow. The two have their differences, different time periods, different countries, one’s a jail and one’s a prison. However, the sympathy for characters despite the fact they committed a crime, the brutality and the struggle to survive is similar. I feel like I came out of reading Riker’s High understanding Rainbow better.

Summery: Riker’s High follows the day to day life of Martin Stokes where he’s been kept in a jail in on Riker’s Island, New York for the past five months awaiting trial. The story covers the last 17 days Martin is in jail where he ends up transferred to another part and attending the school’s high school.

Why I Picked It Up: Interesting looking young adult novel. Need I say more?

Why I Finished It: While I never got attached to Martin himself as a character, I liked all the characters all around him. Also, the world of Riker’s Jail is a fascinating one. There’s

An author note as the beginning of the book stating that a majority of the incidents that appear in the book are events he witnessed first hand when he was working as teacher at Riker’s Island, and it is intense. Remember talking about that crazy psycho guard in Rainbow? Turns out, he’s pretty normal. Put guys in charge of a bunch of people they believe are scum, don’t make accountable for anything, and watch what happens. On top of that, there’s fierce politics among the boys of Riker’s. Still, the boys fight back against the condition they’re in and fight to make it from day to day.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Fans of the premise of Rainbow.

Rating: 3/5 stars-I liked it

If you’d like to read an excerpt, it’s available here.

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Filed under Books, Middle/High School, Slice of life, YA

Julie and Julia review

“Julie and Julia” is the story of two women. One of them is ordinary Julie, bored and frustrated with her day to day life. So she starts a blog, taking up the challenge of cooking Julia Child’s cookbook within a year. The movie also focuses on the story of Julia Child, how she got involved in cooking and got her book published.

Why I Picked it Up: I have no idea. Really. I just had a desire to see this during the summer, although I’ll be damned if I knew why. When the movie came out on dvd, and I found it at my library, it was a moment of “SCORE!”

Why I Finished This: To be blunt, this was a really good movie. This isn’t so much a movie as two mini-movies squished together into one movie, while we constantly switch between one and the other. The light-hearted tone of Julie’s story fits very well against Julia’s story as Julia struggles to overcome many challenges in the world of cooking and publishing. Julie is a quirky, hyper, and entertaining character to watch, making me laugh on several occasions. The scene where she cooks the lobster is wonderful. Mostly though, while she takes of cooking, her story is one of a blogger, covering the joy and struggles of the hobby. As a blogger myself, I could relate to this very much. Still, Julie’s story pales to that of Julia’s.

Julia’s story is an engaging and emotional tale. Meryl Strep makes a fabulous Julia Child, getting all of her mannerisms down well, as well as presenting a likable character the one finds themselves getting attached to and caring about. Julia Child’s story is more serious then Julie’s, and caused a stronger emotional reaction in me then Julie’s did. All the challenges she had to face, and her optimism and perseverance presented in this movie was just amazing. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Julia and her husband. It was adorable.

As an added bonus, all the food looks delicious.

But: All my buts lie with the Julie side of the story. The drama that appeared just didn’t work for me, and all I could think was ‘get on with it.’. Not to mention that Julie started to get on my nerves near the end. She’s cute, but there were little things that bothered me here and there, not the least of, her obsession with Julia. I’m not sure what the director was trying to do with this, but when my sister said, “Her husband does know she’d leave him in a heartbeat for Julia Child if she could?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

The ending is a little abrupt as well. I feel the director tried to prevent it, but as the movie never winds down, it still feels abrupt.

Otherwise, it’s a long movie. Worth it though.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Bloggers, for the Julie half, and anyone with an appreciation for Julia, or even just women accomplishing awesome stuff, or just a story of a person working hard for a dream, the Julia half.

Final Rating: 4/5-I loved it. Close to 5/5 but not quite there.

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Filed under Historical, Slice of life

Ookami Kakushi Review

People who picked up Ookami Kakushi and watched it all the way through, myself included, seemed to go through the following phases. Optimism: The show is going to be great! Doubt: Okay, this isn’t it a great start, but give it a chance, it’ll get good. Denial: No way it’s that bad! The story is going somewhere amazing, I’m sure. Acceptance: Okay, it really is that bad. Amusment: Hey, this is so bad, it’s funny. (Usually comes around 10, 11, or 12)

Summery: Useless Hiroshi ends up in a town where strange happening are happening, people go missing, and suddenly, people keep trying to have sex with him. He does nothing while the only characters who do anything useful are Kadame or Nemuru.

Episode Count: 12

Why I Picked It Up: Ryukishi07 made the visual novel. It must be good, right?

Why I Finished This: I actually dropped this at one point, but picked it back up. I couldn’t fight it, the theme song was so catchy. Nemuru was so cool. At the end, the real reason I was watching it was so I could understand Rabbitpoet and Shinmaru’s posts making fun of it. Their posts were truly hilarious.

But: The central point to any anime working, I think, is the main character. They don’t have to be the best character on the show, but they have to work. Hiroshi is the worst main character I’ve ever seen. While there was a decent to awesome supporting cast of characters, he takes up most of the screentime doing nothing. Not to mention the plot is completely ridiculous. The abandon the premise with potential for some half baked ‘save the town’ story that makes little sense with a terrible villain. Did I mention good villains matter as well? They do. Nothing is ever really explained, the story just ends up a ‘let’s accept everyone even if they try to kill us’ message. Ugh…

Who Would I Recommend This To: No one.

Final Rating: 1/5-It was so bad, it actually became funny.

Mal Rating: 4

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Filed under Fantasy, Horror, Ookami Kakushi, Slice of life

Kimi Ni Todoke Review

Here’s a drinking game. Marathon Kimi Ni Todoke. Everytime Sawako cries or says ‘I’m so happy’, take a shot. Get super drunk.

Summery: Sawako is shy, sweet, good natured girl. Sawako has the unfortunate curse with looking at the character Sadako from The Ring, scaring her classmates. However, her classmate Kazehaya sees right through it, and tries to pull her out of shell, prove that she’s not scary and along the way, make some friends.

Episodes: 25

Why I Picked It Up: I like shoujo stories, and I heard this was suppose to be a really good manga.

Why I Finished It: I’m not entirely sure. This series never really grabbed me. At one point, I had to marathon eight episodes. It never got bad enough for me to drop, but I never got into it either. I did like Chizu and Yano, and the arch between Chizu and Ryuu was amazing. The ending was sweet. But aside from that, it didn’t really appeal to me.

But: For me, there are a lot of buts. I didn’t like Sawako or Kazehaya, I thought the plots in the first 2/3 were boring, clichéd, and moved way too slow. It was completely unrealistic, to have a girl go from suddenly an outcast to liked by her classmate. It wish-fulfillment for any girl having to deal with the suckage that is middle school and high school, plain and simple, that a prince charming will appear out of nowhere and make everything all better. Maybe it’s my personal resentment dealing with middle and high school. It’s also, while all shoujo is wish fulfillment, there’s so many shoujo manga out there not getting an anime that I’d love to see, while Kimi Ni Todoke, one of the shallower shoujo stories out there, gets an adaptation.

Who Would I Give This To: Any girl looking to escape the hell that is high school or especially middle school.

Final Rating: 2/5-Meh

MAL rating: 6

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