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.

More Salt

Me wondering if I need more salt to purify 2020 and this current situation 😅😩🤦‍♀️🤣🤔

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.

Peaceful

“Reset” by Taichi Mukai, the beautiful sunset, and Haiji Kiyose’s dog, all contribute to this being one of the most peaceful end credits I’ve seen. A commenter on the video link below pointed out the snow scene was a metaphor for Kiyose’s injury and bouncing back. This anime has a lot of beautiful artwork. Check out Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru / Run with the Wind on VRV / Crunchyroll or on DVD (Sentai).

Ahmaud Arbery

Upon reflection of how peaceful this scene is, and how Haiji Kiyose is enjoying his run, I thought of Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud did not get to enjoy his run, or the fullness of his life, due to the ignorance, racism, and bigotry of others. He, and many other people, do not get the privilege of enjoying a peaceful run. Or a peaceful life. Simply thinking, “Well, I’m not racist” is not enough. For people with integrity and character, turning a blind eye is not okay. Have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations with your family, friends, classmates, colleagues, and communities. Challenge old ways of doing things if they’re born of ignorance and hate. If you feel your words don’t carry weight, or your words are unable to reach them, inspire others with your actions. How you treat other people. How you respect others who may be different than you. Contribute to a cause or volunteer with an organization that will uplift and unify communities. Shine your light. Share love with the world. Your inner circle, I hope, is full of loving people who truly embody and radiate positive energy and support. I pray people will open their hearts. And I’m not perfect. No one is perfect. But we can do better. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

On other platforms I’ve spoken about #blacklivesmatter, but inspired by Scott’s post on https://mechanicalanimereviews.com/ I feel it’s pertinent to share that here as well. When black lives matter, then the statement all lives matter will hopefully, finally, be true. Everyone should be free to live their lives, and enjoy all of the freedom we are supposed to have as Americans, without concern that they’ll be targeted due to the racism and bigotry of others. And running without fear should be one of those freedoms.

#irunwithmaud #runwithmaud #blacklivesmatter