Tag Archives: 4/5 Stars

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded Review

Summery: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded is a selection of entries from John Scalzi’s blog “Whatever” from between 1998-2008 where he talked about whatever he felt like talking about on a daily basis.

Why I Picked It Up:  The awesome title, supporting a fellow blogger, supporting an Ohioan blogger, the fact that I’d met the guy, the introduction was written by Wheton, take your pick, or pick two or more, in the end all of them are the reasons I ended up deciding to read this.

Why I Finished This: To be blunt, I really liked John Scalzi. He’s a really interesting guy, as he talks from boring topics such a mowing the lawn to being a parent, to politics and world news. He draws the reader in by being emotionally involved in the subject no matter what it is, while at the same time using humor to make it entertaining, and a strong dose of common sense so that he knows what he’s talking about. On top of that, he has a quality that is often rare to see on the internet. One of not only preaching, but acting out tolerance. He has his own opinions, and defends his right to think differently, even if it opposes the norm, but should you disagree with him, long as you’re not shoving it down his throat, its fine. He doesn’t pretend he has all the answers, or that he’s 100% right, which is a nice tone to read in a casual blog. When I found myself disagreeing with him (usually on the topic of religion) I didn’t feel bothered to think differently then him. Scalzi is actually very open to controversy, and takes it in good humor, even from the rudest and meanest of commenters, a trait I end up pretty envious of.

I think I personally would have preferred his book been in chronological order rather then a random smattering of well, whatever, though. I found it a little jarring to be jumping back and forward between the last ten years, and I would have rather started early and progressed into the present day, I think.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Fellow bloggers. His blogging style has many positive attributes, and reading this would probably inspire a blogger with some new ideas.

My rating: 4/5

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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

Middleman Review

Episode Count: 12

Summery: Middleman follows the story of Wendy Watson from the point where she begins her job as The Middleman with her boss. The Middleman position is a job that deals with bizarre supernatural crimes, run by a strange force. Wendy finds herself dragged from one outrageous assignment to the next while dealing with the inner turmoil in her life.

Why I Picked It Up: My boyfriend suggested *cough forced me to cough*that I should watch it.

Why I Finished It: Middleman is a very entertaining show. It’s a semi-episodic show that takes common clichés within the urban fantasy/sci-fi/horror genre as well as other entertainment clichés and makes fun of them. The result? With the help of colorful characters, it’s weird, but hilarious. We watch Wendy tackles a variety of things, from zombie fish to a couple of vampire puppets in love. At the same time, Wendy deals with some relatable real life issues and grows as a character. The usual episode will have Wendy tackle a supernatural adventure and life crisis in the same episode.

Also, Wendy Watson is incredibly hot.

But: Middleman isn’t perfect. While there aren’t glaring errors, there are little things, something such as the acting or the honestly cheesy special effects that feel off here and there. However, there’s nothing that hurts the overall enjoyment of the show. Also, there is only one season of the show, which is a double edged sword of leaving the viewer with the sense of ‘wow this is amazing’ but at the same time, an ache of what could have been.

Who Would I Recommend This To: Anyone who enjoys watching the genres that the Middleman makes fun of, as well as a hot babe (in a geeky sense) kicking butt.

Rating: 4/5

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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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Cross Game Review

I suppose this is the review where I’m supposed to say that Cross Game is the best thing since slice bread. Except I don’t think Cross Game is the best thing since slice bread. I liked Cross Game, although I definitely enjoyed the first season the most, but I still had things I didn’t like. It’s also hard to review this in that it’s been part of my life for a year. It’s kinda like trying to explain why I like milk. I love milk, but since I drink it every day, it’s hard to know why exactly. It’s just part of the routine. That doesn’t mean I won’t try though.

Summery: In fifth grade, Kou’s best friend/girlfriend Wakaba dies in a swimming accident. However, it seems that the night before her death, she had a dream of Kou pitching in Koshien. Now in high school, Kou and the rest of the team are struggling to make that dream come true.

Why I Picked It Up: The Null Set talked about how great a show it was, and I had the flu when I read it, so I figured ‘Why not?’

Why I Finished This: Cross Game really is an example of slice of life at its best. Most of the characters are incredibly captivating, and go through some amazing character development. Despite its large cast, most of the characters still get a lot of focus.

But: While the slice of life part is great, after the first few games, the sports part becomes incredibly weak. The games are drawn out, and a tad boring, especially the final game. Also, the show repeats itself a lot.

Who I would give this to: Slice of life fans, anyone who claims that sports anime sucks as a starting point to disprove the sterotype.

Final Rating: 4/5 I loved it.

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Filed under Cross Game, Slice of life, Sports

Kobato Review

Kobato ends up on earth with no memories or common sense, with only a stuff dog called Ioroygi for help. A lot of her is shrouded in mystery, as all the viewer knows if she has to fill a bottle with candy to get to where she wants to go. How she receives the candy is by healing scarred hearts around her. Along the way on her journey, she meets up with Fugimoto and Sayaka, and ends up working at a nursery.

Why I Picked This Up: CLAMP series.

Why I Finished This: I nearly didn’t. Around episode 8 or 9, I seriously considered dropping this. However, I pushed through, and was rewarded. The episodes improve considerably in the second half. Not only to the episodic stories improve to that they’re no longer cheesy and boring but actually compelling and relatable, the characters improve too. No long is Kobato just clueless, or Fugimoto just a jerk, and so forth, but over the second half, the characters are fleshed out and turned into compelling characters. The character development even dwarfed that of Cross Game, also airing this season, in my opinion.

What truly made this show refreshing above that were two things. One, it was blunt and honest. Kobato creates a setting, and sticks to it, never transcending it to fit a cliché, for example the Valentine’s Day episode, or twists things to make sure that everything is happily ever after. Much of what happens is bittersweet, as it tends to be in the real world. Every once in a while, it’s a wee dramatic, but for the most part remains a realistic slice of life.

The second thing is the character of Kobato herself. She goes from a boring airhead to a genuine character that it’s hard not to love. Which is good, as she’s the main focus of the show. Kobato’s selflessness and caring for the world around her is part of her personality, and it’s hard to not be touched by her as she interacts with the world around her. As she develops, she only becomes more endearing.

But: While some of the episodes in the first half are pretty good, on the same hand, some of them are pretty bad. This is a series that one has to push through to get to the real joy of the series. It’s totally worth it, but still, the initial weak first half is what is causing me to give it a 4/5 rather then 5/5.

Who Would I Give This To: Who wouldn’t I give this to? Anyone how is patient enough to get through the first half, and enjoys slice of life. There are some fantasy elements, but they’re on the side to the slice of life.

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Amazing Grace Review

Amazing Grace actually has very little to do with the song, although it does appear in some scenes, and the creator of the song is a character in the movie. Actually, the movie is about William Wilberforce, an important force in getting anti-slave legislation pushed through Parliament in 19th century Britain.

Why I watched it: Sora no Woto gave me an interest in the song Amazing Grace, and initially, I didn’t realize the movie wasn’t about the song.

Why I finished it: While the movie ended up having little to do with the movie, it was still incredibly interesting and well produced. It’s a tense, and sometimes frustrating political drama marked by witty dialogue and amazing performances of by the actors. The characters that the actors provided were interesting themselves, while they were working for a good cause, they had flaws and there only personal agenda.

But: The non-linear story telling made it a little confusing at first, and the movie was a little slow at times.

Who Would I Give This To: History buffs, Fans of (non romantic) dramas.

Final Score: 4/5, I loved it!

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Penelope Review

I’m going to use this new format for my review taken from the people who do Unsheleved simply because it’s the best format for a subjective review I’ve seen. While I do use the star rating, anyone who’s look at my so-called ‘rating system’ will know it’s not based on hard numbers, but just what I feel is right.

The way the people at Unsheleved do it is simple and to the point, getting straight to the important bits. While I’m guessing it’ll take awhile for me to get use to, well, practice makes perfect. So the short and to the point will be above the cut, and other thoughts will be below.

Penelope is the story of a girl cursed with the nose of a pig trying to break her curse. The problem is, she has to find one of ‘her kind’ to accept her the way she is.

Why I picked this up: The trailers intrigued me, I like love stories.

Why I finished it: Penelope was a fabulous main character, full of sass, there were plently of amusing side characters, the character development was well done, and the movie honestly made me laugh.

Who I’d give this to: Fans of fairytales and children movies.

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Sasameki Koto: Final Impressions

            It’s Aoi Hana all over again! Sasameki Koto aired in the season right after Aoi Hana, and was surprisingly similar in a lot of ways. Two girls in love. Endings that were similarity disappointing. However, Sasameki Koto was distinctly different then Aoi Hana.

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Adventureland review

Yes, I should be watching by backlog of anime. So sue me.

Adventureland is a story of coming in age and falling in love with the backdrop of theme park rides and carnival games. It’s not a fast paced film that you watch with at a get-together to get the excitement going, but rather a low-key contemplative quiet film to watch on a day you want to relax.

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