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.

Only Kiss is Allowed to Rock This Late at Night

I stumbled upon Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up / Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera on VRV/Crunchyroll. I was intrigued so I watched the first episode. It is so cheesy, but it was worth a few chuckles. In the first episode, Harumi is trying to help her friends. They snuck into school for toilet paper (???) but ran across a spirit of ill intent. Harumi is frightened, and almost drowns in the school pool, but is saved by a kappa named Kappavier.

We completely understand. In 2020, toilet paper was very elusive. But that does not excuse stealing it from school!

Kappavier brings Harumi to meet his friends, after assuring her he would not steal her face. At the Helliday Inn, she meets a band of demon hunters, led by Prince Enma. They bring evil spirits to justice. Her friends need their help!

The demon hunters have a plan, sort of. But they need a decoy. Kappavier explains why he can’t volunteer.

That must be kappa lingo, because I have no idea what that means.

Prince Enma and the team save Harumi’s friends and defeat the evil demon. However the fight includes scenes reminiscent of middle school humor. I may watch an episode or two between other shows. But if you’re into slightly inappropriate humor, and supernatural beings, you may want to give it a chance.

Egg Sale

The air is heavy. It’s been a rough week, with the events in DC, the world, and the pandemic. I find it bizarre that people would sweep things under the rug, or prefer living with their heads in the sand, to be dismissive of the atrocities, that are happening, daily. If there was ever a time to be loving, to stand up for others, to have integrity, and to learn from our past mistakes, and history, it would be now. To think of others, and to have the same care and compassion you have for your loved ones, friends, and hopefully yourself. Having said all that, I hope you are healthy and well. I am very grateful to be in good health and otherwise joyful. I am very blessed, and I try to remember that.

So, wanting a pleasant escape from the current state of affairs, I watched a new anime series, Horimiya on Hulu. I LOVED IT!!! The female lead is smart, hard-working, loving, strong, direct, fiery, passionate, funny, and full of zest! She’s a great older sister to her brother, Souta. Hori is authentic and doesn’t hold any punches. It’s refreshing to have a female character that’s sure-footed and assertive. Miyamura, the male lead, is quiet and reserved. His classmates have the false impression he’s an otaku (not that anything is wrong with that lol!). In reality…he is quiet and reserved, but he also has piercings and tattoos. He has his own style, which some may find surprising. But I wonder if that isn’t due to the requirements of their school dress code. I like that his character is free in that sense, it’s good for people to be self-expressive, and to be creative in showing their true self. Miyamura helped Souta after he had an encounter with a dog. He tended to his wounds and made sure he got home safely. Hori didn’t recognize Miyamura at first, since he dressed so differently at school. A lot of the responsibility for looking after her little brother, and taking care of things at home, fall onto Hori’s shoulders since her Mother works late. I can relate to aspects of that, having experienced that growing up. But she is a better “big sister” than I was. It would’ve been nice to have someone like Miyamura to help after school, in addition to being good company.

***SPOILER ALERT***

The first episode moved faster than I expected, which was great! I liked the pace. Our main characters meet outside of school, the tone was set for their relationship and possible development, we had an unrequited love, a battle for eggs on sale at the grocery store, and an attempt at cheer that went horribly wrong. We also found out what they liked about each other, and that they speak freely because they are comfortable with one another. Too many romance anime tap dance around awkwardness for too long (anyone seen Kimi ni Todoke?), that it was exhilarating having them just be direct. There was a moment with Miyamura tried to help someone, which didn’t turn out the way he expected, but Hori addressed the matter immediately. They each have a side they keep private (in this aspect, they reminded me of Umaru from Himouto! Umaru-chan). They bond over Hori’s brother, their shared meals, and the fact they accept each other, as their true selves. The first episode made me laugh and lifted my spirits. Some of the parts that made me chuckle are below. Do check it out, if you haven’t already!

For some reason, seeing Miyamura in this state, made me think of this song from Ferris Bueller:

Silver Spoon

I am watching Silver Spoon on VRV / Crunchyroll. I just finished the first episode. It’s a funny slice-of-life anime, about a student attending an agricultural boarding school. He selected the school because he could live there, which makes me curious about his home life and why he wants to avoid it. His name is Yugo / Yuugo Hachiken. The other students view him as different than them, because he attended a prep school. Having no experience with farm life, or agriculture, he makes rookie mistakes like chasing a calf and getting lost in the woods (instead of leaving it alone, so the instructor could entice him back into his corral with food). He is disgusted seeing where eggs come from, and he’s not used to the manual labor, and level of fitness one needs to keep up with the daily life of agriculture. However, he gives his all in completing the tasks assigned, and he has great classmates that help him integrate into campus and farm life.

What I found fascinating about this show, is it does an outstanding job of showing the real work, science, intellect, and methods behind successful agriculture and working with animals. The students who attend have various goals; to be farmers, to take over their family’s business, to become vets, to run farm-to-table restaurants, and other aspirations. I’m not sure who made this distinction, or why some societies have taken this view that career paths involving manual labor is “less” or “demeaning”, but these institutions are important and have meaning. The pandemic, quarantine, COVID, and life as we know it, has made that even more apparent. The jobs people may be dismissive about, or look down upon, truly keep society running. And agriculture, without it, where would we be? Eating chemical laden preserved foods I suppose, but that’s usually not the healthier option. The scenes below show some of the culture shock Hachiken experiences, as he realizes the full scope of attending an agricultural high school. Waking up early to help with the chickens, keeping crops safe from unpredictable weather, working with animals, and learning how to properly run operations were some of Hachiken’s first experiences at his new school. And he realizes the assumptions we make about others, aren’t always accurate.

Not a Fan of E-Books

I’m watching Skull Face Bookseller Honda-san / Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san on VRV / Crunchyroll. It’s a slice-of-life anime, with some comedy sprinkled in. I love bookstores, so I find it fascinating hearing the intricacies of day-to-day affairs. If you work at a bookstore, and you’re reading this, I’d be curious to know your thoughts on the show and if it paints an accurate description (minus the obvious absurdities). Given the option, I prefer traditional books, but I know e-books are better for the environment. While I have my own preference, it seems the customer Honda-san was helping was very passionate in his disdain for e-books.

The show also talked about the life cycle of books. How much logistics go into new books, and rotating older books, and returning stock to the publisher if they aren’t selling.

It also talked about revived books. Books that may be out of print, but due to renewed interest, they may do reprints. The example below was sobering, considering the current state of the COVID pandemic.

For as much reading as people seemed to have done on the topic, you would think they’d be more aware of common sense practices, but alas, sometimes common sense isn’t that common. And on that note, I can empathize from my years of retail work, why Honda-san would feel the way he does in the scene below.

Noblesse: Saving Your Friends

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I just watched episode five, of Noblesse on VRV/Crunchyroll. It was the best episode so far! If you’ve been watching, you know it was a suspense filled episode. Tashiro, Kase, and Regis have been kidnapped. Regis is in special restraints and unable to use his power. Tashiro and Kase are shocked to see their new friends on the side of the bad guys! And M-21, in an effort to protect the students, acts like they don’t matter to him.

The spirit of M-24, who ironically died saving Tashiro, Kase, and another student, makes his presence known to M-21. Understanding the motive behind his friend’s actions, M-21 decides to sacrifice himself to save the kids. Not knowing his back story, Regis is confused by M-21’s behavior. The students are even more confused. As you may recall, Kase and Tashiro’s memories were wiped after the first incident, so they don’t have déjà vu, or recall anything, at this very similar scenario.

I mean, Regis is clearly complaining to M-21 about something in this scene, but I guess it is peaceful compared to their current circumstance. At least M-21 seems to be having a chuckle about it.

Seira knows something is up with Regis, so she’s searching for him. Rai and Frankenstein know about Regis and Seira’s true identity (or at least their abilities), but haven’t revealed their cards yet. So Rai and Frankenstein search for the kids on their own.

Eventually they all end up at the same facility, but each are engaged in their own battle. Meanwhile, M-21 and Regis are taking quite a beating from Shark and Crans.

What is it about confronting injustice that makes people hesitate? Is it because we face the unknown, or possible repercussions? Are we fearful that we’ll be the next target? As Gloria Steinem said, “Whenever one person stands up and says, ‘wait a minute, this is wrong’, it helps other people to do the same.” This is evident when Tao (who Kase calls “Boss”) and Takeo (who Seira and Tashiro met while shopping), each try to protect the kids from being hurt. Unfortunately, Crans didn’t want to leave the kids alive, and Shark was too happy to oblige.

I was on the edge of my seat this entire episode. I couldn’t wait for Regis and Seira to realize who Rai really is. I wanted shock and awe. I wanted to see Crans take on The Final Boss.

And for all the build up, and all the suspense, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to see Rai bring Crans to justice! Is this what it’s like having blue balls? Ah well, guess we’ll find out next Wednesday.

Chakras And Mudras

Out of curiosity, I watched a couple episodes of Naruto. I was intrigued because of Michael B. Jordan’s Naruto inspired line with Coach lol. In episode two, Naruto is mentoring Konohamaru. I want to learn more since they’re talking about chakras (not to be confused with chatoras)and mudras! I’m watching on VRV / Crunchyroll.

Naruto believes it really comes down to two things;

With so many great anime out now, it may be challenging adding another series into the mix, but this one does pique my interest. What have you all been watching? Irina, from https://drunkenanimeblog.com/ recommended Noblesse the other week, and I have been enjoying that series so far! The banter between Raizel and Frankenstein, when Raizel is doing chores around the house, was very funny. M-21 and Shinwoo, are both strong, and stand up for others. Raizel adjusting to modern society is amusing. Of course I’m watching Haikyu. I am watching Jujutsu Kaisen (Itadori is such strong character and has a sincere desire to help others, as his Grandpa wanted), Beelzebub, Over the Moon for You, Library War, and Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga. Below are some clips! And one end credit just because I like the song lol. Check them out. In the past, I watched one series from beginning to end, before considering my next show, but I really wanted to see all of these. Plus some are simulcast so I can’t binge on them all at once. And being at home more, due to the pandemic, gave me a desire for variety.

Quarantine Watch List II

Is this still considered quarantine? I’m limiting my exposure to others, especially considering the health concerns of myself and loved ones. So I’ll be at home continuing to watch anime in my free time. Let’s be honest, even if it wasn’t quarantine I’d be doing that. Instead of continuously updating my original post https://empathmeetsanime.com/2020/04/09/quarantine-watch-list/ I figured I’d start this new post. Overall I enjoyed the majority of the anime I watched and I wanted to track them. In case you’re wondering, the * is for the ones I loved (keeping in mind I tend to prefer comedy, romance, sports, or slice-of-life anime; so if you dislike those they may not be for you).

Kyoukai no Rinne / Rin-ne Season One*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/28423/Kyoukai_no_Rinne_TV

Senryuu Shoujo / Senryu Girl

https://myanimelist.net/anime/38787/Senryuu_Shoujo

Kyoukai no Rinne / Rin-ne Season Two

https://myanimelist.net/anime/31610/Kyoukai_no_Rinne_TV_2nd_Season

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season One*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/11771/Kuroko_no_Basket

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season Two

https://myanimelist.net/anime/16894/Kuroko_no_Basket_2nd_Season

Kuroko no Basket / Kuroko’s Basketball Season Three

https://myanimelist.net/anime/24415/Kuroko_no_Basket_3rd_Season

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii / The World is Still Beautiful*

https://myanimelist.net/anime/22101/Soredemo_Sekai_wa_Utsukushii

Akatsuki no Yona / Yona of the Dawn

https://myanimelist.net/anime/25013/Akatsuki_no_Yona

Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler Season One

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=4898

B-gata H-kei / Yamada’s First Time

https://myanimelist.net/anime/7817/B-gata_H-kei

Otome Youkai Zakuro*

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=8476

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes / Holmes of Kyoto*

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=37458

Kuroko no Basket Movie: Last Game

https://myanimelist.net/anime.php?id=31658

Senryu Girl

I’m watching Senryu Girl / Senryuu Shoujo on VRV / Hidive. It’s a light-hearted anime. The episodes are short, like 10 minutes or so, and it follows the blossoming romance between Yukishiro Nanako and Busujima Eiji.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Nanako and Eiji are in the literature club at school. They, along with their club’s president, Katagiri Amane, meet daily after class to create Senryu poetry. Amane sees the growing affection between her friends and supports them, often behind the scenes. The characters we meet along the way add to their adventures. Nanako’s family is so loving and so supportive. Her Father adores her and his overreactions are amusing. The family is used to his antics so they tend to ignore him. Eiji’s little sister, adores Nanako upon their first meeting. Eiji’s pet bunny has a disgusting habit, but good for a chuckle (exactly one chuckle). It’s an interesting contrast seeing the delinquent reputation Eiji has, versus the genuine and kind person he truly is (the bunny just adding to his wholesome appeal). Eiji’s friend, who he calls his big sister, Otsuki Koto has some questionable motives. In some ways Koto is is helpful, like when Nanako asked for her assistance in becoming fit. In other ways, her secret love for Eiji leaks out, and she can be troublesome. When she invited herself to Eiji’s room, she showed up in a bikini to tempt him. Meanwhile Eiji’s little sister doesn’t give her a second glance, which likely means she pulls these stunts often so it doesn’t faze anyone. On the opposite end of the spectrum, during the same episode, Nanako is beside herself trying to find a bathing suit. She prefers a modest approach. Neither bathing suit, or style is “better”, it’s up to an individual’s preference and comfort level. But it’s interesting to see how different these two girls are, that are both in love with Eiji. Ultimately Koto supports them and helps Amane behind the scenes in encouraging them to become a couple.

My favorite episode of Senryu Girl, is the last one. We see how Eiji and Nanako meet and become friends. Their relationship is supportive, they accept each other as they are, and they’re very sweet to each other. If you’re looking for the simplicity of young love without drama, and you like a quick watch since the episodes are so short, give this show a try. It has a peaceful and happy ending, and it’s a relaxing show to watch.

Painful

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I’m watching the scene in episode twenty-one, of season one, of Kimi ni Todoke where Chizuru Yoshida is walking with Ryu Sanada’s older brother, Toru. She’s loved Toru for years and years. He’s always viewed her as a little sister, but she hoped one day he’d view her as a woman he could love. I griped in an earlier post about the horrors of secondhand embarrassment in this anime. But the very real, very relatable feelings, of loving someone who doesn’t love you (or the closely related feeling of doesn’t love you anymore), that gut-wrenching feeling, one has watching this scene is way worse.

Toru is getting married. And it’s not to Chizuru (who he’s nicknamed Chii).

Chizuru finds solace that Toru cares for her, even if it’s not in the same way she cares for him.

Have you had that happen? Or the scenario where there’s a break-up but the other person genuinely wants to remain friends? Realizing they care for you, but they don’t love you in that way. I would find it challenging. If I loved them, I would continue to have those feelings. It would be difficult to stop. I’d just keep hoping that every day, I’d love them less and less. Perhaps space and distance would help. But what’s that pesky saying about absence makes the heart grow fonder?

But in Chizuru’s case, her actual Prince is closer than she realizes. And I think this one is a better match for her (in addition to being the cuter brother). Toru knows his younger brother, Ryu, loves Chizuru and he is rooting for them.

It was probably difficult for Ryu, seeing Chizuru love Toru, because he loves her, and has for years and years.

Ryu was there for her during her heartbreak and held her as she cried. That type of patience, perseverance, and strength, will carry him far and will strengthen his future relationship Chizuru. I hope so anyways. I’m rooting for them!