That’s One Way to Get Rejected

https://myanimelist.net/anime/42351/Senpai_ga_Uzai_Kouhai_no_Hanashi

I just started watching My Senpai is Annoying on Funimation. Futaba Igarashi is a hard working adult, yet she’s viewed differently due to her height, and youthful appearance. She works diligently to earn the respect of her colleagues and to be taken seriously. Harumi Takeda, is her Senpai, and takes excellent care of her as a mentor. He is patient, and helps her grow in her career. There is an inkling of romance in the first episode. Takeda has appeal as the male lead; he is good humored, generous, kind, and reliable. After seeing our girl put herself out there (after having a few beers, maybe too many beers), and receiving this response…well, I hope she’ll get out of whatever zone this is! Because YIKES! That sounds like a solid rejection. Here’s hoping they find their happy ending.

Feel the Fairies

Qingqing should focus on work, and not daydream about her co-worker! If you’re curious to see how these two end up, give Feel the Fairies a watch. It’s on the IQ streaming site, but proceed with caution, as I’m not sure if it’s a legitimate site, but hopefully it is. This show was recommended to me after I watched Psychic Princess.

In addition to romance, this show has supernatural appeal, and humor. The episodes are short, around ten minutes or so. It’s ongoing, but the episodes I’ve watched so far were entertaining.

It has slice of life elements, with work scenes.

This show also has a cute cat.

Having a cat means winning at life? Good to know!

There’s Qingqing’s roommate, a Merman.

If you’re looking for an amusing show, that is a quick watch, you may like the Chinese Anime (Donghua), Feel the Fairies!

My Demon Tyrant and Sweet Baby

After watching Psychic Princess, I received a recommendation for My Demon Tyrant and Sweet Baby. It is a Chinese anime, or Donghua. This show had romance, cuteness, comedy, and all the makings of a rom-com with a splash of (unnecessary) drama. There are episodes on YouTube, and this streaming site called IQ (I don’t know anything about this site, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it, so proceed with caution – it looked like a legit site, and I hope it was).

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

There are awkward/funny moments between the female lead (who is a nanny) and the child’s uncle.

There are funny moments when the Dad sees the difference in how his daughter treats him versus her nanny (don’t worry it all works out in the end!)

Mia, the little girl, thinks the nanny is her mom.

And this moment when Mia didn’t want her Dad’s ornament near theirs, and it was relegated to the bottom of the tree.

It’s an obvious romance anime, with a happy predictable ending, but I love those! Some secondhand happiness is always appreciated.

Psychic Princess

I just started Psychic Princess on Amazon Prime. It’s also on VRV / Crunchyroll. It seems the older outcast sister, had to take the place of the younger sister, in an arranged marriage she didn’t want to be a part of. Quan Yunxi is the outcast sister, who now finds herself married to Prince Ye. Yunxi lived on a secluded mountain with her spirit friend, who closely resembles a famous ghost called Casper. Her friend’s name is Mochi. Yunxi finds herself in a dilapidated home, and asks for his assistance in fixing it.

Not even one, Mochi?!

After all the donkey work….

***SPOILER ALERT***

The first episode got me hooked. While we haven’t met the prince officially yet, we can surely guess who she is doing the tango with, when she was in search of a midnight snack with Mochi! If Prince Ye hadn’t banished her to “Serenity Pavilion” (aka the haunted and run down shack on the palace grounds), without even meeting her, maybe she wouldn’t have to sneak around for food! Although I can’t really blame her for hiding under the table, when he walked in. Hopefully this will be a romantic comedy with a happy ending!

Wow. Really Mochi.

I see what you did there.

Moooochi!!!

Edit: I just finished the first season. I loved it!I hope there will be a season two! Some moments captured below. If you’re a fan of comedy, romance, and the supernatural – check it out on VRV/Crunchyroll or Amazon Prime.

Wait a minute, what does being handsome have to do with this?!

Plan backfires in a spectacular fashion.

Wise Man’s Grandchild

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I’m watching Wise Man’s Grandchild (Kenja no Mago) on VRV / Crunchyroll. It follows the adventures of Shin Wolford, the adopted grandchild of Merlin Wolford. Shin has a natural magic ability, that has grown under his grandfather’s tutelage at their secluded home in the mountains. The relationship the two share, is full of love, support, and appreciation.

He also learned the art of sword fighting from Mr. Michel, and how to enhance his gear from the grandmother figure in his life, Melinda (it says “Melida” in the subtitles for some reason). At 15, it’s decided that he will attend a magic academy, so he can learn to socialize with his peers, integrate into society, and practice constraint with his abilities. Shin and his grandparents move, so they are closer to his school. He meets Sizilien and is immediately smitten with her.

Later, when they’re doing a joint exercise with the knight academy, you can see how frustrated Shin is seeing the other fellows fawning over her. But lucky for him, he can take his frustrations out on the demons they have to battle!

Wise Man’s Grandchild, has supernatural elements, romance, humor, family, and friendship. It highlights character traits like humility, integrity, and loyalty. Shin is a very likeable character, and his relationship with his grandparents is touching. Below are scenes from the hot springs episode, where they thank the students for becoming friends with Shin.

Yes, I wanted to hear her tips too! Apparently it’s the treadmill lol.

I’m halfway done with the season, and I’m enjoying it. If you’re looking for a fairly wholesome watch, definitely give this one a try!

Nevin’s Final Dream

My Mom loves The Ancient Magus’ Bride / Mahoutsukai no Yome. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I gave it a chance, and I’m so glad I did. It has elements of magic, mystery, and the supernatural. I’m only on episode three, but it was my favorite episode (so far!).

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

https://myanimelist.net/anime/35062/Mahoutsukai_no_Yome

Chise, through life circumstances, finds herself with Elias. He makes her his apprentice, and she learns about magic, and more about herself. What felt like a curse, is becoming a strength, as she’s now with people who support and nurture her abilities. Before living with Elias, the Magus, Chise felt isolated, depressed, and unloved. As I’m only episode three, we haven’t learned much about her, but most of what we’ve seen has been painful. While working on Mage matters with Elias, Chise meets a dragon named Nevin. We only know him a brief time, but the anime does a wonderful job of connecting us to him. As a being who has lived hundreds of years, Nevin gives us guidance to reflect upon. Chise’s vulnerability, and the inadvertent sharing of her pain, make Nevin’s words even more poignant. Because we don’t get the hundreds of years Nevin does, it makes our human lives that much more precious. His final dream, which he shares with Chise and us, is beautiful, and a reminder of how wonderful the world can be.

What makes life worthwhile? How does one build resilience and perseverance for the challenging times? Or the ability to overcome pain? I have regret, and pain I’ve inflicted upon others I wish I could take back. Hopefully those sides of ourselves can find peace and healing, as well as those we may’ve hurt (intentional or not). Why do the important parts of life get buried in the day to day affairs? How do we stay present, so we don’t miss the good stuff, the stuff that truly matters? If the ultimate goal of a happy life is to give love abundantly, and to be open to receiving it in return, why does it seem like a challenge in some ways and easy in others? And why is it sometimes difficult to show that love to ourselves? Not the materialistic status symbols many people chase after, but the authentic, and healthy, uplifting connection to oneself (and others).

I’m watching The Ancient Magus’ Bride on VRV / Crunchyroll. If you decide to watch this episode, it may be a good idea to have some tissues on hand.

Suicide is mentioned in this episode. If you, or your loved one need help, assistance is available. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Demon Slayer Movie

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

The other weekend I blasted through Demon Slayer. In the past, I tried watching it, but it was gorier than the anime I usually enjoy. What made me decide to ultimately watch the season, is seeing clips of humorous scenes online, and growing curiosity. I gave it another chance for the moments of levity. I’m glad I did! Most of the cast is multi-dimensional, we see signs of growth for each of the main characters, and we even get insight into the experiences of the villains. Tanjirou is as pure-hearted as they come, he reminds me a lot of Deku from My Hero Academia, and he works diligently to become a demon slayer so he can keep innocent people safe, and work towards a cure for his sister’s condition. Along the way he meets an inspiring mentor, learns from past students, and overcomes a lot of trials in his journey to become stronger. Zenitsu and Inosuke round the cast out nicely, along with Tanjirou’s sister Nezoku. In addition to the humor of Demon Slayer, what drew me in was the depth of relationship Tanjirou has with his family, and the way the show displayed friendship and family in a non-traditional sense. The ways that people connected to one another, and how some relationships were supportive and nurturing, while others were detrimental, manipulative, and harmful. How friends can be the family we choose for ourselves, and the ways relationships change over time.

Recently, I watched the Violet Evergarden movie, and it was the first film I’d seen in the theater since the pandemic. I felt safe in that theater, it was very clean, and the patrons were very spaced out. However, the theater I saw Demon Slayer in was not that way. Unfortunately, when I bought my ticket online, there were only three other people who had bought tickets. And the day of the showing, most of the crowd came in during the previews! So I couldn’t adequately gauge the size of the group beforehand. Thankfully I was in a corner away from the bulk of the attendees, but I do not plan on returning to that particular theater anytime soon. It was not as clean as I would like, and I suspect they over sold tickets.

That aside, I enjoyed the movie. Some thoughts I had while viewing it;

-How funny that Inosuke ended up chasing his dream invader! I’m sure she was not expecting that. And up a mountain! Why was his subconscious such rough terrain?

-Inosuke has accepted Nezoku! Well as one of his minions at least.

-Even in his slumber, Zenitsu came to Nezoku’s aid! His dream invader also was not expecting his persistent inquiries about his trespassing. Or that his biggest qualm was that it wasn’t a lady!

-Tanjirou knows how much his family loves him, and that they would only speak kind and loving words. That, among other factors, like his Father’s advice, helped him keep his focus and helped him persevere. If the dreams were what the villain intended them to see, how did his Father’s sage advice sneak in there? Or perhaps, Enmu only planted aspects of their dream, and it was up to their subconscious to create what that entailed?

-What was the benefit to Enmu fusing his body with the train? I get that it’s a movie, but I’m not sure I see the benefit. Especially because his neck is where most people would’ve guessed.

-SO. MANY. TEARS. I cried so much, that my face mask got soaked.

If you are a fan of Demon Slayer, and enjoyed the series, definitely check out the movie! But, given the crowd I saw, you may want to wait for it to be released on streaming platforms, or on home video.

Thoughts on Violet Evergarden the Movie

***SPOLERS AHEAD***

Seeing glimpses of Major Gilbert in the Violet Evergarden anime, I was a fan. He has wonderful attributes like patience, compassion, and the desire to teach Violet to read and write. He gives her a beautiful name. So I was surprised to watch the movie, and instead feel lukewarm towards him. I felt the strength of Claudia Hodgins. He is a man of integrity. He looked after Violet as a father figure, and helped her to adjust to her new life. He gave her a job and a home. Claudia enabled her to build her skillset and grow as a person. Granted, this was built on top of Major Gilbert’s foundation, but Claudia was the one who helped her wings to soar. And really the person who did the work was Violet, but they helped. I am impressed with Claudia Hodgins, and would love to meet someone like that in real life. The movie even made me feel like Dietfried, Major Gilbert’s brother, had some redeeming qualities and was trying to become a better person. That scene on the boat, when Violet grabbed a hat thinking it was Gilbert’s only to quickly drop it upon hearing it belonged to Dietfried, made me laugh. What book do you think she took from his collection? And what game? I was saddened Gilbert didn’t visit his Mother or attend her funeral. I can see how he felt guilty about Violet’a past and her injuries. Perhaps he also had PTSD. There was something about him in the movie that fell flat to me. I’m not sure what it was exactly. From online searches, it seems a lot of people recommend reading the light novel for a more accurate Gilbert portrait. I look forward to hearing other people’s thoughts. Violet was happy, so at least that.

It was fascinating seeing how technology impacted the business of letter writing and mail delivery. The idea of the postal museum was neat. I would’ve liked an update on everyone Violet worked with. We got to meet Ann’s granddaughter! She explored Violet’s past, as we followed along for the ride.

The young boy Violet helps at the hospital, really stole the show. He helped Violet have perspective and his circumstances urged her colleagues to act when she was unable to do so (you have to uphold a pinky promise!). And the first call Lucas ever made was to his friend at the hospital. That and the three letters were a beautiful testament to human connection and ways we uplift each other, even in times of sorrow. Violet is very astute in picking up the emotions of others. What used to be a challenge, is now second nature to her. She was able to help the boy at the hospital reveal his true feelings to connect with his family and dear friend. Everyone was sobbing in the theater. Like ugly crying. I knew I’d cry, so I had a box of kleenex. But certainly a worthwhile watch.

Human Interaction, Expression, and Empathy

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I heard of the anime Violet Evergarden, but I had the impression watching it would make me cry buckets of tears. I heard there would be a lost love. There would be heartbreaking moments. But, after hearing that the movie had a happy ending, I thought I could give the anime a shot. I watched on Netflix. The artwork of Kyoto Animation is breathtakingly beautiful and detailed. The scenes and music convey the feelings and tone of the story elegantly. The show addresses a wide range of human emotion, and how humans contradict themselves. And there can be inconsistencies with words and body language. Love, can be in various forms, not just romantic. Violet, who does not possess emotional intelligence, works towards understanding and empathizing with others through her work as a composer, who writes letters on the behalf of other people. Below are some of my thoughts while viewing the series;

-“One day” wishes, should be “today” realities, when possible.

-Our quick evaluations and judgements of others may be wrong.

-Authenticity and genuine relationships require honesty and vulnerability.

-Trying to translate emotions into words can be a challenge.

-It’s more than okay for women not to fit gender stereotypes. The same for men.

-It takes a lot of courage to confess one’s feelings.

-Letters are a lost art. And I want a wax seal!

-Deciding who is worthy of your social circles, based on meaningless assumptions, status, and money, will have you surrounded by people of a similar mindset. Perceived status, based on material items, may be short lived. A person of moral character and integrity will stand the test of time.

-Everyone has scars. Even the happiest person you know, or the funniest person you know, has a wound. Extend patience and compassion when you can.

-Be present. One thing the pandemic has taught me, is the importance of being fully aware and present in our interactions with others and with ourselves.

-Violet is trying to learn what “I love you” means. Without referring to a dictionary, or trying to find a scholarly definition, what IS it? What does it mean to you? Why does it seem different in various forms? Does love ever go away?

-Survivor’s Guilt is real, and affects many people.

-Suicide and the importance of mental health in healing.

-Art can be therapeutic.

-Self care is important and required.

-Addiction to hide pain, just gives you additional problems.

-When faced with our own mortality, our focus turns to who, and what, really matter. Why don’t we live with this focus normally?

-Our pain can provide support to others with similar heartache.

-The letters the mother wrote for her daughter’s future birthdays, was a beautiful and thoughtful idea. The mother knew she did not have long to live and wanted her love for her daughter, Ann, to carry on through her letters. Violet’s tears at the shop shocked her friends. She is a very reserved person, so her sudden onset of tears was unusual.

When I was camping for a week, I left auto-delivery e-cards for a friend for each day I was gone. I wonder if there are sites that do that for future years? Similar idea to the letters Violet helped the mom write for Ann.

-Although seen as cold and unfeeling initially, the comfort and warmth Violet provided Aiden as he passed provided him peace. Knowing that his feelings would reach his parents and his love Maria, were also comforting to him.

-Aiden says, if his parents were to reincarnate, and marry each other, he would want to be their son again. Would you feel the same, if given the option?

-Violet learns to connect to others and builds empathy, but how do people do this in real life? Learned as children? From birth? Through life experience? Reading?

Assisting Roland with mail delivery, and helping with Spencer’s request to write a letter for his sister Luculia, gave Violet the strength to leave her room. She was devastated upon hearing of Major Gilbert’s potential demise and had locked herself away. Her coworkers checked on her and wrote a letter which helped lift her spirits.

Violet, and the viewers, get to reflect upon the ways she’s helped others during the series. As episode 9 concludes, we get to see the Prince and Princess she helped unite, volunteering to help children. The play her client worked on was just released, and it honored his daughter that died. Violet was uplifted seeing how well everyone was doing, and how she played a role in helping them.

Episode 13 of the series, had an air show. The planes would drop letters. People wrote to sons they lost in the war, loved ones who had died, those missing, lost loves, their future selves, and people who they wanted their feelings to reach.

I think that’s a beautiful concept. To be able to make our feelings known. Energetically, I think it’s beneficial to release that emotion and hope the message is received. Cattleya convinces Violet to write a letter to Major Gilbert. The letter Claudia wrote his future daughter was loving and thoughtful.

While this show did bring a lot of tears, it also had poignant and uplifting moments. It had a slower slice of life pace, with beautiful artwork. It certainly had heartbreak and sorrow. But if you’re looking for an insightful series, give Violet Evergarden a chance.

Looking forward to the movie. I hope it’s a happy ending, because I could really use one of those.

https://myanimelist.net/anime/37987/Violet_Evergarden_Movie

I was reminded of an email I received from a friend’s mother after he passed. This was many years ago. I wrote him, knowing he wouldn’t see it, but wanting to express my regret in not meeting him. Hoping that my feelings would reach him. I was having a period of low self-esteem and unworthiness, and cancelled our date, because I felt I didn’t match the positive description he was given of me (we had exchanged numerous emails but hadn’t met in person). It was not long after graduation and I was feeling lost and unsure of my future path. Which doesn’t excuse my behavior, but just to explain my frame of mind. I wrote apologizing, and hoping somewhere, Adam would hear my words. I was shocked to find an email from his mother, writing me from his account. Her letter moved me to tears. As I read her letter, I cried. I still cry looking at it now. I decided that, while open to growth, and learning from mistakes, I wouldn’t feel the need to hide myself like that again. So I am forever grateful to Adam and to his mother. Below is the message. For privacy I edited my name and removed Adam’s last name. Perhaps her words, and Adam’s memory, will help others like they helped me.

Sweetheart,

If there is ANYTHING you may be able to take away from Adam’s death – PLEASE let it be that you are not only good enough – you most certainly measure up – you are worthy of being with the nicest, sweetest, best people who walk this earth.  Adam spent most of his life feeling “less” than he was, and it was only in the last few years that he began to find in himself the incredible man he had become.  Please don’t waste another moment of your life feeling not worthy of anyone – no matter who or what they may be.

Ema, there will ALWAYS be someone prettier, taller, thinner, richer, funnier, smarter, etc… than you or I.  That does not however, diminish who you and I are or the gifts we have to bring to others.  One thing I noticed in Adam over the last two years was the “comfort” he developed within himself.  He had quit dwelling on what he did not have (or what he THOUGHT he did not have) and instead simply began to focus on others.  It is hard to explain, but if you had known him five years ago and then knew him today – the difference was just absolutely phenomenal.  He grew into this quietly confident young man who all of the sudden (actually it took a long, long time) became a wise soul.    Adam did not become richer, taller, funnier, smarter, etc… He simply learned to like himself.

I doubt your good friends feel they have to make up things about you to “sell” you – they obviously see these things for themselves or they would not be hanging with you in the first place.   The next time someone speaks highly of you – believe it.  Say thank you – and believe it.  Accept it, believe it, and then go on with your life feeling good about who you are and all you have to give to others.

Take care of yourself, Ema.  Life is way too short to hold on to regrets.
Barbara

What to Watch This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for something to watch today, I’d suggest Tamako Market’s second episode, “The Love-in-Bloom Valentine’s.” Below is a blurb from VRV/HiDive.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Tamako Market is one of my absolute favorite animes of all time. It’s a slice-of-life, with humor, friendship, family, a touch of romance, and did I mention a talking bird named Dera?! I watched the subtitled version first, but enjoyed the dubbed version with my family later. They did a great job selecting the English cast, especially Dera, who sounds very fancy (which suits his personality). Kyoto Animation did a wonderful job. This series is heart-warming, wholesome, peaceful, amusing, and relaxing.

In this episode, Tamako and her father butt heads regarding the way their shop should celebrate Valentine’s Day. Tamako believes their mochi shop would have a sales boost if they incorporated Valentine’s Day themed menu options. Even her grandfather seems in the spirit, despite his son’s reservations.

Of course while making breakfast for her family, Tamako doesn’t want to let the heart mochi go to waste!

As Tamako discusses her idea for their mochi shop, Dera is perplexed hearing about “Valentine’s Day.” It is an unknown concept to him. But he learns from television how they celebrate in Japan.

Some of the girls at school discuss buying chocolate, or making it at home. When Tamako’s friend Kanna draws up plans to design a house of chocolate, her friends support her endeavor. Plus we get to see her finished results at the end of the episode! I want to know who was the recipient of that giant chocolate house?! Did she share with the entire class?!

This episode is great for Valentine’s, because it celebrates family, friendship, and romance. While we’re surrounded by love in various forms, it may not be a great day for everyone. There is character growth, as they learn to be open minded, and allow themselves to be vulnerable in showing their feelings to others. It shows how we can support each other as friends. And that it’s okay to like who you like.

English Lyric Translation (from French): https://lyricstranslate.com/en/un-lieu-de-rencontre-place-return.html

Tamako and Mochizou used their cup phone to discuss their plan to liven up the shopping arcade. Later, at the meeting with all the shop owners, Mochizou had the idea for a commercial. He worked really hard on the commercial with Tamako, their friends, and the shop owners, to showcase their Valentine marketing and sales.

After Mochizou flicked Dera off the phone line, he’s flying for his life!

Do cup phones really work?! I mean, if there isn’t a bird sitting on the string.

After seeing how hard Tamako worked with her friends, and the other shop owners, her Dad has a change of heart.

Because this episode discusses various aspects of love, I think this is a great show to watch if you’re looking for something for Valentine’s Day!

LOL so dramatic Dera! Especially for a bird who didn’t know what Valentine’s Day was, thirty minutes ago.