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.

Horimiya OVAs

I am loving the anime Horimiya. It’s the epitome of what a romance anime should be! It doesn’t have that awkwardness that many in this genre have, it has a good pace, great humor, and the characters are relatable. I’m sure the manga readers and webcomic fans already know about the Horimiya OVAs, but I just found out about them. They were created before the anime. And what a delight they are! Some of the scenes we’ve seen in the anime already, and other parts we might get to see soon. There are some differences between the OVAs and the anime currently airing.

In the first OVA, we have meaningful moments like the ones below:

Hori, and Shindou (who we meet later), are confident and self-assured. They approach Miyamura with a sincerity that he isn’t used to. They don’t care what others think, and befriend whomever they feel drawn towards. And Tooru, while slower to warm up, has embraced Miyamura as a friend too. The judgements, critiques, gossip, and negative behavior of others can have detrimental effects on the recipient. Thankfully Miyamura is open to making friends and building relationships.

I appreciated Miyamura, acknowledging his inner child/past self, that was hurt and isolated. How many moments growing up, and even as an adult, do we feel stuck in a bad moment, or life circumstance, and a positive solution seems elusive. Having that feeling of “it’s going to be okay” and better days are around the corner, and that we’re not alone, can help us bridge that gap. From a feeling of hopelessness, turmoil, to hopefully arriving at a place of peace. Acknowledging that inner child is important. Doing so, in my opinion, h,elps us appreciate our growth, and the challenge we worked through. If we have any associated behaviors that may no longer be helpful to us, or self-sabotaging or harmful tendencies, we can be aware of them, acknowledge them, and address those issues. Behaviors may be good or bad for us, depending on the intention, and what it brings to our life (example: a form of self-expression versus seeking physical pain as an unhealthy coping mechanism). There are many layers to why life experiences affect our behavior, and the ways we handle life’s curveballs. But it’s good to be aware of what’s helpful to us now, and what behaviors we may want to change, or release.

AnimeRude Tuber on YouTube shared the OVAs below, if you’re interested in watching. There may be a spoiler or two, if you haven’t read the source material.

OVA 1

OVA 2 has cute scenes, like the part with the sidewalk.

And Hori’s brother, Souta, loves Miyamura so much that he wants him to move in already!

But it also had moments that were frustrating. I have not read the source material, so I’m not sure which depiction is accurate. But the scenes with the student council in the anime annoyed me, but the way it was portrayed in the OVA infuriated me. I used to participate in student council, I know it has merit. What frustrated me, is seeing how diligent, reliable, responsible, and hard-working Hori is, and how others get a free pass. I like to think I’m as hard-working as Hori, so the scene that unfolded with Remi was familiar. The application of different rules and different expectations for people in similar roles of responsibility, is an unfortunate reality. Hori is responsible in her school life, and at home caring for Souta, that taking on additional duties so Remi can slack off seems incredibly unfair.

But as frustrated as I was for the situation that unfolded, ultimately the power lies with Hori. I like to be helpful to others and I tend to be a workaholic. So I get where Hori’s coming from. I’m also learning to have balance in life. Hori could’ve established boundaries to prevent the student council from dumping their work on her. As illustrated below, Hori had a chance to reclaim her time and force them to handle their own workload and “the mascot’s” errors.

The second OVA is below. I like that Miyamura is in tune with Hori and noticed her anxiety planning for her future and was supportive. And of course the way he handled the student council and their misdeeds! Not that violence is the answer.

It seems President Sengoku had some dirt on Hori. So I’m sure she regrets her past behavior and the way she treated him.

OVA 2

Below is OVA 3. The way they translated the scene with the drinks makes more sense, than the way it was translated in the anime on Hulu. I cannot bear to watch scary movies, so I can relate to Miyamura’s feelings. We got to see a jealous Hori! I hope she appreciates that Tooru has extra supplies she can use.

We also meet Shindou and I love how he describes Hori as self-assured. What does that look like? Is it how one carries themselves? Their posture? What they wear? Eye contact? Body language? All of the above? The energy they radiate? I agree with Shindou’s description of Hori, she carries herself with confidence, and is sincere in her interactions with others.

OVA 3

OVA 4 kicks off with Hori being less than truthful about her favorite genre of movie.

In this way, Hori reminds me of Yukino Miyazawa from His and Her Circumstances/Kare Kano. When it comes to integrity and character, Hori is the same person. But she acts embarrassed over trivial things, that I wouldn’t think requires her to feel ashamed, or that she has to hide it. Not wearing makeup at home, watching horror films, and beating five guys at arm wrestling doesn’t sound embarrassing to me (although as mentioned earlier, I have no tolerance for scary horror films, my reaction would be similar to Miyamura’s!).

Perhaps someone who has read the manga or webcomic can explain, but why is Miyamura so harsh towards Shindou? He genuinely cares for Miyamura and befriended him when others wouldn’t, yet Miyamura has a short temper with him. In the middle of the street, Shindou gets punched and yelled at to stop wondering the streets year round, and to go back to online shopping! I am curious about this girl Miyamura used to like! Was she similar to Hori? It seems Shindou’s title of Best Friend may be self-declared.

We also got to meet the fellow below! Well kind of.

This episode had heart warming moments, and more of Jealous Hori. Sengoku was having flashbacks of Hori when she used to be a bully, and did not have any comforting words for Miyamura.

Hopefully as the series progresses, Hori learns to work through her anger and jealous tendencies. I am forever grateful for the person I had in my life, who helped me grow past my emotional outbursts. I used to have knee jerk reactions to everything. Perhaps it’s having Aries as my sun sign. Ultimately I learned that emotion can cloud the message you want to convey, and in relationships clear communication is paramount. Not only in romantic relationships, but all relationships. Connections with our family, friends, co-workers, and others, benefit from each of us being able to express ourselves clearly. Meditation, Reiki, and being present, has helped me tremendously. Sometimes just getting fresh air for five minutes helps. Every day is another chance for us to try again at communicating clearly, and appreciating the positive relationships in our lives.

OVA 4

I’ll continue watching the anime currently airing, but I did enjoy watching all of the OVAs! I’m thankful they were posted on YouTube otherwise I wouldn’t have run across them when I did.

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.

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

Rain Princess

 

I just finished watching Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii / The World is Still Beautiful on VRV / Hidive. I like Princess Nike. She’s authentic, funny, feisty, positive, upbeat, hopeful, and caring. When it comes to standing up for others she doesn’t hesitate. She’s fierce and determined. She saved the King from an assassination attempt and rescued a friend from kidnappers who wanted to rape her.  It’s an overly predictable shoujo anime with a happy ending.  If you’re into humor, a strong female lead, and predictable romance, I recommend giving this a watch.

Caught! Carb-Handed!

Is there a way to call on one’s womanly spirit?!

If so, please someone tell me.

Is he supposed to be Karl Lagerfeld?!

Hitting people with canes already? Scandalous.

I guess he said that nicer than Mugatu did in Zoolander, “Do me a favor and lose five pounds IMMEDIATELY!” Although, five kilograms is like eleven pounds…so Mugatu’s comment might be less absurd.

Who is all that food for?! What’s worse than being on a calorie restricted diet? Seeing food you can’t eat on a calorie restricted diet!

When you’re hungry and a man hiding behind a floral arrangement offers you something, something that you hope is carbs, you go for it! Don’t ask questions.

I’d skip over too!

Wait a minute…did she tell the Chef she loved him before telling her own fiance?! Granted, he did not hide behind shrubbery to sneak her food, so I get it. I started Weight Watchers last week and believe me, I totally get it.

She did not shove those carbs in her mouth fast enough.

I guess that’s a rhetorical question.

Uh oh! Now everyone knows you tried to sneak carbs Nike!

I’m watching Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii / The World is Still Beautiful on VRV / Hidive.

You Mean I Have to Fight My Own Battles?!

Luna! How dare you!

But Luna has a valid point. I’m watching Sailor Moon on Hulu. My little sister always loved this show, but it’s my first time watching the series (except for the occasional episode I’d watch with her, when we were kids). Wait, did Tuxedo Mask actually do anything when he came, or did he just throw a rose, some emotional support, then run off into the night? Well we can’t underestimate emotional support! I’m only on episode five, so I’m sure there’s room for growth.

“I depend on me.” Alright I’ll send Usagi the video below as motivation. However…Tuxedo Mask is still welcome, even if he just wants to watch anime and chill.

Image Found on Pinterest (User Name: FoxyDoor)