07 September 2012

Maid Cafe Adventure: Part 2 - Fatimaid

Once again, I was off to visit another maid café in Taiwan, but this time I had a willing otome friend to accompany me!  And don’t get me wrong, it is just as fun to go off on adventures with otakus, but there is just something so relaxing about drinking tea and chatting about anime with a friend who doesn’t mind gushing about bishies!
Well, after a trek through the subway (and through a few alleys~ my sense of direction is terrible!), we arrived at our destination hungry and ready to sample some anime-influenced food. ^_^

Browsing Fatimaid's menu . . .
The café – Fatimaid

Location – Actually, if you have a good sense of direction (I do not, hence, the reason I got lost) the café is very easy to find.  It is right next to exit Y13 at Taipei Main Station.  When you exit the underground mall, just walk straight ahead and Fatimaid is on the second floor. 

Atmosphere – The inside of the café is set up to feel like an elegant dining room, complete with chandelier hanging from the ceiling and gauzy curtains softening any sunlight shining in.  There are also a few bookshelves filled with manga and various anime/manga collectibles.  (I also noticed a strong bias towards One Piece in those collectibles, but I know how popular One Piece is in Taiwan right now . . . sigh . . .)  Guests are more than welcome to grab a manga (they even had some in English!!) to while away the short wait for their meal.

My delicious sandwich ^_^
Cuisine – My friend (who I affectionately think of as Mrs. Ace because she loves Portgas D. Ace from One Piece) ordered the omelette and when it was delivered our maid asked us what she’d like to have written on it.  For a minute both of us were surprised at the question, but then I quickly piped up, “One Piece” and Mrs. Ace happily nodded her consent. 
I ordered a sandwich, which came promptly to the table with my tea.  It tasted quite good (although I did feel the food was better at Good Smile Café) and I really liked the drawing they had done in ketchup on the plate.  If only I could draw so well!  The food also wasn’t too expensive.  If you’d like a peek at their menu it is up on their website.

Photo Source - China Economic Net
The service – The maid costumes at Fatimaid are adorable and all the waitresses are in character from the moment you step through the door! *^_^* Although you have to pay to take a picture with the maids, it might be worth it considering how cute they are.  It did take some getting used to being called ‘mistress’ in Mandarin, but even those simple phrases added to the elegance of the café.  The only one drawback was that the Mandarin they used was so formal I had some trouble understanding.  (Making me feel somewhat uncouth with my ‘daily conversation’ Mandarin! >.<) Still, the level of cuteness was high, and the maids were very friendly and more than happy to help us take pictures of everything (but themselves, of course).

After finishing our meals and tea, Mrs. Ace and I browsed the collectibles, commented on the manga, and bid our ‘maids’ adieu.  We both agreed it is was a very enjoyable way to pass the afternoon and headed off to our next destination – the underground mall for some anime and manga shopping. 

It is difficult to compare Fatimaid with Good Smile Café because the themes are a bit different even though they are both maid cafés.  I would say if you want more of an anime feel, Good Smile Café is the place for you, but if you want to feel like a princess, Fatimaid is the way to go.  So what do you like more: feeling like you are in an anime?  Or feeling like a princess (or prince, as the case may be)? As my usually indecisive self, I choose both!!  See you next time for a post on shopping for anime and manga in Taipei!  Ja ne!!    

30 August 2012

Special Announcement - Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Movie!!

***I have to take a minute to interrupt the regularly scheduled postings to make an annoying fangirl *squeee~~***
A whole lot of Samurai X yumminess~
Ahem, I'm better now.  While over at Topless Robot browsing through the anime posts, I discovered that Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) is being made into a live-action movie.  (Here's the link to the post --->  Topless Robot- Rurouni Kenshin Movie)  And after watching the trailer, I'm dying to see the movie (which came out in Japan on 8/25).  Kenshin is totally hot and there are is a ton of samurai and sword-fighting action- need I say more?  But don't take my word for it, have a peek at the trailer and then take a look around the official website, るろうに剣心.

So are you with me??  Does this movie not look super awesome?  Anyone else have a fangirl *squee* moment??

Okay~  Now we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.  (I promise the maid cafe post is up next.  I won't get distracted by hot guys with swords anymore, I swear!!)

24 August 2012

2012 Taoyuan International Comic Exhibition

Courtesy of TRA News

This exhibition I found quite by accident. My husband (the non-otaku) was watching the evening news and a story came on about comic exhibitions in northern Taiwan.  I gasped and told him to freeze as he reached for the remote control.  With a sigh, he shook his head and muttered, “Oh, great. There she goes.”  Then as soon as I got the location and name of the place, I jumped online and did a quick search.  Practically jumping in my chair, I quickly sent the info to my fellow otome and we made plans to go!

At the Exhibition

Although there were actually two exhibitions in town, I headed out to the Taoyuan Exhibition because that’s where my friend lives and because there were more days left of that exhibition than the one in Taipei.  Not sure exactly what to expect, we had both brought extra money in the hopes of scoring some manga or collectibles of our favorite series. 
We entered into the exhibit hall (free admission!), eyes aglow, and were a bit disappointed to see a set-up that seemed more appropriate in a museum, with mecha action figures behind glass display cases and large art pieces hanging farther back.  Where were all the otakus and collectibles?  Well, as in turns out this comic exhibition did not focus on the more popular and mainstream manga after all.  Instead it was more of a showcase for local artists as well as little known international manga artists. 
Taiwanese Artist - Akru  Photo Source link
I browsed through the many cases of mecha action figures, but as robot figurines aren’t really my thing, I eventually made my way back to the art pieces.  Most of the art was quite good and I wouldn’t have minded a few of the pictures gracing my walls at home.  (Like this one, which was my favorite picture out of the whole exhibition-->)  It was also pretty interesting to see the art of local Taiwanese comic artists, and made me feel strangely patriotic (considering I only have an alien resident card in Taiwan. But what can I say, I’m proud of my 2nd home ^_^).  
      To really get the most out of the exhibition it probably would have been better to come on a Saturday.  Most of the events, like the music concert inspired by songs from anime soundtracks and the cosplay competition, sounded very cool, but alas . . . I work on Saturday (T-T).  Still, it was an enjoyable excursion spent with my fellow otome, and I did enjoy the art.  Sigh . . and I guess I did save a lot of money since there weren’t any collectibles.  That’s another positive . . . right?  Though I’m pretty sure next year, I will be sure to attend the Taipei Comic Exhibition instead. (Collectibles, here I come!)

Like Akru's art?  Feel free to visit this artist's blog:  http://akru.blog13.fc2.com/  (Quick heads up though -  it's all in Chinese!) 

*-*And next post will be all about the maid cafe ~ Fatimaid!  Stay tuned!    

21 August 2012

Anime Review - Guilty Crown

Title: Guilty Crown  
# of episodes: 22
Genre: shounen, mecha, science fiction

Story:  It’s the year 2039 and Japan is under martial law because of a traumatic incident that happened ten years ago, known as the ‘Lost Christmas’. Although no one knows exactly why it happened, during this event many people died from an alien virus and an international governing power, GHQ, stepped in to take control of Japan.
The story follows Shu Ouma, a high school student, who encounters an injured girl, Inori.  Before being taken captive by government agents, Inori asks Shu to take the genome she’s stolen to the leader of Funeral Parlor, a military resistant group that is working to overthrow the GHQ.  When the genome vial breaks and transforms Shu’s DNA, he suddenly has the power to turn people’s hearts into weapons and tools and becomes a key player in the fight to reclaim Japan.  

Story – The first two episodes really drew me in with an amazing fight scene involving mecha and huge swords (yeah, I like big swords and I cannot lie), and it only got better from there (~Episode 11!!!)The series takes quite a few unexpected twists and turns in the second half, after episode thirteen, and while the action was a bit slow at times, there was more emotion and character development and the themes explored really made you think: absolute power corrupting absolutely, blind obedience to a higher authority, and the disturbing qualities of mob mentality.  I know it made me stop and think- what would I do if I had incredible power over others?

Characters  The series really keeps you guessing about the relationships between a lot of the main characters, and there are quite a few surprising revelations (well, I was surprised anyway).  It took me a while to warm up to Shu’s character, but I really loved him in the second half when you started to really feel the pressure he was under, how it affected him, and how much it humanized his character. 
I never truly cared too much for Inori (I just felt she was . . .blah), but I loved the side character, Hare Menjou. She was so sweet and made me cry.  That’s a win in my book.

Ayase and Tsugumi
Giant Robots and Awesome Weapons – The mecha battles were pretty awesome, as were the mecha pilots on both the good and bad sides (although I thought Daryl Yan seemed to destroy a lot of robots . . .and for such a supposedly talented pilot! The female mecha pilot, Ayase, and the hacker girl, Tsugumi, were especially cool~  And the sword that was Inori’s heart somewhat made up for her stoic character (It would have been cooler if she had wielded the sword though . . .)

Soundtrack   The music was absolutely wonderful!!  My favorite songs were:  “My Dearest” by supercell (the first opening), Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai noUta~” by EGOIST (the first ending - click the link for the youtube video), and "Release My Soul" by Aimee Blackschleger (the song in episode 22).

The epic scene in episode 11 – Just watch and you will understand why.

Possible Pitfalls:

Inori – One of the artists on Deviantart.com commented that although Guilty Crown is a good series, it would have been nice if Inori hadn’t been such a wimp at times and I must admit I have to agree.  She broke into GHQ and stole that vial, but then she was constantly needing Shu to rescue her?  Sigh . . .  And just when she started to get kind of cool at the end . . . Double sigh. . .

Mature Content – The second half of the series (after episode 12, I believe) tends to take a darker turn and does become more violent, but it isn’t too bad. So this is just more of a heads up if animated blood isn’t your thing.  Oh, and there are subtle hints of incest as well (think Game of Thrones sort of incest).  But like I said, the second half does get darker.  So ye be warned!

Overall, I thought the series was really great!  The action scenes were good, but there was enough emotion and romance to satisfy my hopeless romantic side too.  Shu became such a likeable character and I admit, I was crying at the ending. (But I’m a big sap, so there ya go)  And since the positives definitely outweigh the possible pitfalls, I’m giving this series 4 out of 5 firecrackers~  So if you have some extra time, go watch it and then youtube the very awesome soundtrack!

Next week, I’m going to post either about my second maid café adventure in Taipei with a very good otome friend or our trip to a comic exhibition.  So until then, ja ne!    

17 August 2012

Updates and a Baby Otaku!!

That is exactly what my hubby looks like too~ heh heh~
Aiyo~~  Sumimasen!!  It has been soooo long since my lost post.  I have my excuses ready though!  It turns out that my husband and I are expecting a little otaku in December!!  (Well, I know the baby's going to be an otaku, but my husband's convinced the baby will be normal like him.  To that I say, "Ha!"  He underestimates the power of anime and manga!)

Isn't that the cutest onesie ever??
And after three months of morning sickness and then two months of eating to make up for the morning sickness, I am now ready to get back to my anime/manga reviews and shopping for baby otaku clothes.  So coming up next week I will post my review of the anime Guilty Crown and its very wonderful soundtrack.  So until Wednesday . . . mata ne

11 April 2012

Updates and Bunnies!

Oh, Natsu, I feel your pain~
Hi, mina-san!!  Sorry I have been MIA for so long~~  I am so sick right now. @_@  On the upside though that has given me lots of time to catch up on my anime-watching and manga-reading.  So, as soon as I stop looking like Exhibit A over here ----------->
I will be back with lots of new posts about the anime scene in Taipei, (more maid cafe, a mall that is a geek's paradise, and some awesome shops)  And I plan to do quite a few reviews (Soul Eater, Aquarian Evol, Youku X Boku SS and Guilty Crown ~ Did I miss any good anime or manga?  Let me know if you have any recommendations!!).  Ooo~  And some updates on a couple of awesome Japanese singers I've found!  So please forgive me for being gone so long!!  Sumimasen!!!  m(_ _)m

I know I like bishie bunnies ^^
But I don't want to leave my fellow otakus and otomes with out some Japanese goodness, so here is a link to a video about a cafe that I am dying to visit . . . A bunny cafe!!!  Because after all who doesn't like bunnies??  You do like bunnies, right??  Now, to research bunny cafes in Taipei . . .

22 March 2012

Anime Review - Brave 10

        Ah!  This post is coming a bit late this time.  I’ve been soooo busy at work. #_#  And busy = limited anime viewing hours!!  NOOOO! ::minor breakdown in progress::  Okay, better now . . .  However, since there are only ten episodes out of Brave 10, I was able to catch up with the series and give you (hopefully) a decent review.  So in famous words of Nsync (yes, I’m a 90s teen), here we go!

Brave 10!!
Title: Brave 10
# of episodes (so far): 12
Genre: shounen, ninja/shinobi, historical

Story:  Based on the manga of the same name by Kairi Shimotsuki (which has 8 volumes), the story, set during the Warring States period, starts with the shinobi, Saizou Kirigakure rescuing Isanami, a shrine maiden who is on the run from assassins.  After escaping the assassins, they arrive at dwelling of Sanada Yukimura.  Sanada is planning to put together a group of ten warriors with amazing abilities in order to affect change for the future of Japan.  Both Saizou and Isanami decided to join his group, especially when it is revealed that Isanami may be more than what she seems . . .

Story – Although the story can be a bit confusing at times (as I think anything based on history can be), I love watching anime that touches on Japan’s history.  Real events figure into the story’s timeline, which adds a slightly authentic feel (minus the huge swords, sorcery and crazy shinobi battles)

Did I mention giant swords??
Characters – Another thing I liked about the anime was the vast group of characters.  Each of the ten warriors (it takes about 8 episodes to meet them all though) are really different and well-formed.  My favorite is Saizou and the insane redhead Kamanosuke Yuri, mostly because I think the strange relationship between the two is pretty funny.

Weapons – Giant swords!!  Ninja battles!!  Enough said. 

Possible Pitfalls:

Lack of historical background – I think one of the hardest parts for me is that a lot of the references that are made to major figures in Japanese history are lost on me.  Even with my (very brief) study of Japanese history, I’m still often googling or wikipedia-ing (is that word?) a lot of the battles or important people mentioned.  Of course, normal viewers could just skip over that part and focus on the interactions between the characters.  Then again, I’m a (closet) history geek and once I hear of some historical event I can’t help but research it.

She could get tougher . . .
Isanami’s character – I usually like to watch anime where the main female character is, at the very least, not a whiner.  (The whole reason I never got into Twilight = Bella . . . I think if I had to read another, “Oh, Edward, I’d die without you . . . I would pull my hair out.  But please no hatemail from Team E. ^_^)  Towards the later episodes she does seem to whine a little bit less . . . and true, evil people did burn down her shrine and kill everyone she loves . . . but it would be nice to see her develop some kick-butt powers (that have already been hinted at) and have some awesome battles like the other nine warriors seem to be able to do.  Come on, Isanami!  I’m rooting for you to be cool!!
So, at this point in time I’m still planning to continue the series (since I think season one is only 12 episodes), but I’m afraid it only gets 3 out of 5 firecrackers, unless A) the battles get even more awesome B) Isanami starts kicking butt or C) everything does actually manage to get explained before the series ends
Has anyone else see Brave 10?  What do you think of Isanami (though actually, I’d love to cosplay her!)?  Did you check out Saizou’s sword?? (>.<  Sorry . . . that just sounds wrong . . . But his weapon is very awesome!)  Which warrior is your favorite?

Well, I’ve got another maid café adventure planned for tomorrow, so next week will either be more info on Taiwan’s maid café culture, the Y mall (which I still need to take pictures of!), or info on Animate, the number one store for manga and anime collectibles!!  Until then, mata ne!

13 March 2012

A Maid Cafe Adventure - Good Smile Cafe

        I’ve always wanted to work at a cosplay café.  I know my husband gave me the same look when I told him. @_@  Then again I’m one of those people who loves Halloween and loved cosplaying back in my university days . . .sigh . . .  To have a job where you can dress up in all kinds of crazy costumes (and not have to read lines in front of a camera = scary~~), would be a dream job for me!  True, you meet the occasional weirdo, but then again I met some pretty strange people just working at a women’s clothing store (regular clothes, not costumes ^_^).
        So when I saw on the news that Taipei had its very own maid café I turned my adoring, pleading eyes towards my husband.  And when that didn’t work, I bargained and negotiated to make him go with me.  (Letting him pick the movie for our movie night for the next three weeks is a small price to pay!!)  He had to go with a buddy because he didn’t want to seem otaku (read- super geek) by himself and after dragging a somewhat suspecting (vs unsuspecting!) friend along, we were ready to go!

Otome in action!
The café – Good Smile Café

Location – This cafe is right next to Taipei Main Station Exit Z2.  It’s very easy to find if you know where Mitsukoshi (Shinguang Sanyue) is.  Facing Mistukoshi, the building to your left looks like an average office building, but on the fifth floor is none other than the maid café!

Atmosphere – This café’s current theme revolves around the anime/game Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, which I’ve never seen or played, and many of the character artworks and action figures there all come from that series.  Inside the café was much larger than I’d first thought, very spacious with anime posters (of Madoka Magica) hanging from the ceiling.  The entrance was a clear wall filled with shelves of action figures from some of the more popular anime and games in Taiwan.  I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I realized the focus of the café was on an anime I hadn’t seen before, but still everything was very cute and there were lots of fun things to see.

Isn't that the cutest curry ever?? >.<
The food – I went in expecting expensive food and not very high quality, but I was pleasantly surprised!  Although, the food was expensive (in Taiwan at least, average for the US) it all tasted very good.  There were some anime-themed meals as well as drinks, and my husband was thrilled to be able to eat curry (because I’m allergic we don’t eat it often) and even better the curry was sooo cute! *^_^*  It seemed a shame to eat it, but we were hungry and just took lots of pictures.  I had a delicious meal of soup (with a smiling face ^m^) and bread.  The drinks came in anime-inspired colors and flavors and were also pretty tasty.

The service – The maids were super cute!!  The costumes were pretty simple though and I had somewhat expected elaborate cosplay (though I’ve found another maid café in Taipei that I’m dying to try that is even more otaku-centered . . . more on that later).  But the girls were very professional and sweet, even allowing me to take a picture with them!  (Although there was no getting called ‘master’ and ‘mistress’ much to our friend’s disappointment!  Hee hee!)

Very spacious and chic, ne?
After our meal, we walked around the café, whose guests had increased from when we first walked in, and looked at the various artworks, signed the guestbook (with our sad little drawing), and looked at the small gift-shop.  All in all, we had a wonderful time (even my husband!!) and now I am planning our next maid café adventure!

Next week (I know I'm a once a week blogger~ too busy >.<) I’m planning to either talk about Y Mall at Taipei Main Station, which is a great place to buy anime, games, and manga OR a review of the anime Brave 10, which I’ve started watching recently.  Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?  Any comments on the maid café adventure?  Do you like cosplay?  And if you do, who have/ would you cosplay(ed)?  (Me~  I would totally cosplay Road from D Gray Man or Isanami from Brave 10)  See you next time!  Ja ne~

06 March 2012

Movie Review - Death Note (Live Action)

Image Source: About.com
Movie Title: Death Note
Actors: Tatsuya Fujiwara (Light), Kenichi Matsuyama (L)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko

        I just finished watching Death Note and Oh My Shinigami(aka god of death)!  Now, before I elaborate more, I should add a little disclaimer: I haven’t read the manga or watched the anime. >_< (Please, Death Note fans, I beg you not to write my name in any suspicious notebooks you may find!)  Initially, I wasn’t interested in anything Death Note at all, but my students said, “Teacher, you will like it.  And do you know Kenichi Matsuyama is in it?”  Well, once his name was uttered, how could I not watch the movie?  (He is just sooo cute @_@ . . .ahem ::wiping drool:: . . .back on track now)  So without further ado, here’s the review!

Story:  The story centers around Light Yagami, a law student who is disappointed in the lack of effectiveness the law has in administering justice.  One day he finds a mysterious notebook and is now able to see a Shinigami (god of death).  The Shinigami, Ryuk, explains that if a name is written on the pages of the notebook that person will die.  And so starts a killing spree of all the criminals who have escaped justice throughout the world.  The police begin a hunt for the vigilante known as ‘Kira’ lead by a brilliant, but odd detective, L.  The death toll begins to rise as Light tries to create a crime-free world.  L proves to be quite the opponent, however, as the chase intensifies.


Characters – I actually started the movie sort of liking Light and being creeped out by L and was surprised when those feelings did a 180 in the middle of the movie.  (That’s what I get for buying the Chinese edition of the movie and not reading the synopsis on back)  I ended up loving L’s quirky character and I’m not just saying that because Matsuyama is hot, I swear! ^_^  Both main characters, Light and L, and the police chief were well-done, although I did feel that Shiori (Light’s girlfriend) and Naomi Misora (fiancée of one of the FBI agents) characters often felt more 2-dimensional than they should have been. 

Storyline – I was constantly surprised throughout the movie!  The action was well-paced, intense and at many places had me on the edge of my seat.  The story was easy to understand without having to read the manga or watch the anime.  The movie also made a disturbing sort of sense and at the end left you thinking what a dangerous and corrupting power it is to decide who lives and dies.

Possible Pitfalls:

Which one looks like a serial killer to you?
Details – In manga and anime you have lots of chapters and episodes in which to establish characters and plots, but in movies you only get two hours at most.  Because of that I felt Light’s fall into insanity was quite abrupt.  He went from a law student craving justice to a cold-hearted serial killer in a very short span of time.  And this somewhat strained my suspension of belief.

Spoilers Ahead!!!  Please skip this section if you don’t want to know a pivotal plot point!!         

The kidnapping at the museum – I found this scene really flat.  For what should have been an intensely emotional scene, I admit, I hardly felt the emotional punch at all.  Misora’s character felt wooden and Shiori seemed way too relaxed with a gun to her head considering she’d been so upset by the bus-hijacker.  Their attitudes might make sense if when Light writes a death scene the characters turn into puppets, but still I wanted a powerful scene at the end of the movie and felt somewhat cheated!

Matsuyama-san!! ::faint::
All in all, this is the perfect movie to watch on a free Saturday afternoon!  The storyline was unique, most of the acting was well done, the suspense was great, and the message of the story was a good one: it is dangerous to have the power to decide who lives and dies.  (And the best part of the movie - it has Kenichi Matsuyama!!  Anymore need be said??)

Final score is 4 out of 5 firecrackers: 

Has anyone else seen Death Note?  Did you like Matsuyama the story?  Do you prefer the anime and/or manga?  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the movie! 

The next post will either be on the Maid Cafés in Taipei or PS3 games~  Still deciding~~  Until next time!  Ja ne!

29 February 2012

Manga Review - D Gray man

Finally!  The manga I’ve been . . .::ahem:: you’ve been waiting for!  On with the review~

Title:  D Gray Man
Mangaka: Katsura Hoshino
Genre:  Shounen, Supernatural

Story:  In a world filled with akuma (loosely translated as demons) created by the Millennium Earl to destroy the world, Allen Walker ( our hero! ::cheer::) becomes an Exorcist and joins the Black Order to fight against the Earl.  As an Exorcist he uses his left arm, which can transform into a claw, to release the human souls trapped inside and powering the akuma.  Besides hunting down akuma, the Black Order’s Exorcists are also searching for pieces of Innocence, an item that allows Exorcists to battle akuma.  The Earl and his allies, the Noah family, are in a race with the Exorcists to find a piece of Innocence called the Great Heart, which would give a powerful advantage to whichever side finds it first. 


The Exorcists
Characters:  If you haven’t guessed by now, my favorite character is Allen!  I’m a sucker for the nice guy with a sweet smile and a tragic past (and of course the awesome powers are nice too!).  But actually all the characters in the story are well-developed and even the characters I didn’t want to like, I ended up liking.  (I hate/love it when that happens >.<) 

Storyline:  To tell the truth I was a little worried about the storyline when I first started reading.  I was afraid the series would turn into a battle every X amount of chapters with bigger and more powerful enemies to defeat until things got to a ridiculous level (Naruto, I’m looking at you. ::accusing stare:: )  But thankfully, that didn’t happen.  There are battles, don’t get me wrong, but the story does keep moving ahead pretty steadily with more and more depth.  Katsura-sensei’s world-building skills are excellent and really pull you into the story.  And there are a few funny filler chapters to lighten things up right before the story turns dark.  And dark it does indeed become.

Possible Pitfalls:

Length:  Although I love this manga and its characters, storyline, etc., it is long.  The last chapter I read I believe was 212 and it is released monthly, which makes it a long wait for each chapter. (I’m seriously dying with anticipation . . .@_@)  Although MangaFox, where I’ve been reading the English scanslation, is really good about posting the most recent update.

Tearjerker:  I’m not usually one to cry when reading stories, although I do get pretty emotionally involved with the characters. (I’m just sensitive >.<)  However, that being said, there were a few times the events in the story had me grabbing for a tissue.  (As a writer I understand that we have to torture our characters sometimes to move the story along, but still!!)  So, just a heads-up to have a full tissue box nearby when reading into the wee hours of the morning.
A lovely drawing from Katsura-sensei ^^

Overall Impression:

        Like you’ve heard, uh, seen me write time and time again, I love this series!  It was way too easy to fall in love with the characters, to really start to care about their lives and feelings, and dive into the world of akuma and Exorcists created by Katsura-sensei. The art is great, and although the series is long, it is nice to slowly watch Allen and the rest of the team mature (in both art and attitude) as the stories moves along. 
At times the story becomes quite dark, but I would argue that makes the questions arising from the events that much more thought-provoking.  If there’s one type of manga I love, it’s the kind that starts with a character thinking A is evil and B is good and then halfway through the series asks: but what if what I thought was good is really evil and vice versa?  (I like those deep thoughts ^_^)

So, for my overall score, I give this one 5 (out of 5) firecrackers. It is a definitely a must-read manga!  

And for next week I'm hoping to review the live-action movie Death Note, so stay tuned!  But I'll leave you with a few questions:  Have you read D Gray Man?  What do you think?  Good?  Wonderful?  Awesome?  Bad?  And the most important question of all:  Who do you think Allen should be with:  Lenalee or Road?  (I choose me! . . .That was unmentioned Option C ^^)

22 February 2012

Taipei International Book Expo – Manga Exhibition

       Okay, I know I said next post would be the review of D Gray Man, but I just had to mention TIBE (Taipei International Book Expo), because it was so awesome.  I promise to be good and keep on track after this article.  Sumimasen, mina-san.  m(._.)m
My expression at TIBE . . .scary, I know
       Quick background: once a year Taipei has an international book expo that usually has three exhibits: international books, children’s books, and ::trumpets blare:: manga!!  (^o^)  Last year was my first time to go because I was invited by a student who worked there, and at the time I didn’t know about the manga exhibition.  When I got there and saw the building and all the manga posters . . . @_@  Well, let’s just say I was pretty happy. (total understatement of the year: me = (o))
        My poor husband, who I had dragged along with me, waited patiently while I toured every major Taiwan manga publishing company’s stall and collectibles shop.  At the start of the exhibition, mangakas from Japan had been there to sign autographs and answer questions, but I figured it was okay to miss them.  As much as I am dying to ask a ton of questions to my favorite mangakas, I would be horribly shy.  Mostly because I (thanks to my bright red hair) usually look like an eternal cosplay of Ronald McDonald’s little sister (oh, my Taiwanese friends can be so cruel).  And being the only foreigner there, I was definitely feeling shy. 
        This year same story, except I decided not to drag my husband along. (Last year’s after-manga exhibit conversation went something like, “Honey, you are XX-years old.  I say this because I love you: You need help.”  Needless to say those words did not go over well with me . . . (°□° ┻━┻)  Besides, on my own I can shop and buy my favorite collectibles without the guilt!!  So I entered in to the manga fan’s heaven and shopped.
        Now TIBE – Manga Exhibit is good for two main reasons 1) it is the best place to buy COMPLETE manga series, or to pick up a volume missing from a collection.  2) It is also the best place to get cheap manga/anime collectibles (way cheaper than in the States).  Since I was up-to-date on all my series (you don’t want to know how many that is) I went straight for all the collectible stalls and browsed around.
Precious artbookses . . .
Unfortunately, D Gray Man’s popularity is waning so it was hard to find good items, and when I asked the staff they warned me I wouldn’t find much.  While I was walking around in my dejected state, I hopped into Tong Li’s (a major manga publisher in Taiwan) stall and there!  Sitting so innocently on a shelf was the D Gray Man Art Book!!  I’d priced it on Ebay – the cheapest – 50USD . . . but at the exhibit it was about 15USD.  Well, I snatched it up just as the exhibition was closing, and ran back to the subway chuckling to myself with glee.  (Later my husband asked why I hadn’t gotten a few copies so we could sell them on ebay . . . +_+  . . . but I’m not that clever . . . sigh . . .)
Still I would qualify this TIBE as a success!!  If you are in Taiwan during the next Book Expo and you love manga, visiting TIBE is a must!  ::still hugging artbook::  You won’t be sorry!
And if anyone reads this insane post, what anime/manga items do you collect?  Are you crazy about artbooks like me?  Or something even cooler?  (I’m not really that cool . . . sigh . . . )

17 February 2012


Hajimemashite, mina-san!  Dozo yorushiku!!  Welcome!  Recently I was reading a bunch of websites giving advice on how to blog, and one of the things recommended was to blog about something you love.  I’ve been blogging about writing, poetry, novels, etc, but although I am passionate about those things, I’m obsessed with manga, anime, etc.  The only problem is . . . I’m alone in my obsession (at least in my real life). ::cue sad violin music::  So, I decided to start this blog as a way to express my love for anime, manga, etc., without having to endure the pitying looks. ^_^ 

But first, before I delve into all my wonderful series, here are a few notes about me, my anime/manga philosophy, and some disclaimers thrown in for fun:

1.  Most of the manga I read is in Chinese or English.  So sometimes I list the wrong names of the characters because I’m using the Chinese name not the Japanese one, although I try to use the original Japanese name if possible when talking about characters.  If you are interested in reading a certain manga in English, just email me and I might be able to provide you a link to a scanslation online.  ^_^ 

2.  I call myself otome instead of otaku, because I’m a girl and the Chinese characters 宅男(used in Taiwan) for otaku literally means ‘house boy’ (as in a boy who never leaves the house because he is busy reading manga, watching anime, collecting models, and who knows what else . . .>.<).  And although otome means ‘house girl’, I’d like to say I do get out every once in a while.  Though I would be more than happy to turn into a ‘house girl’ if only my husband would let me . . . sigh . . .

3.  As far as anime, I always prefer the subbed over the dubbed.  Why?  I just love hearing Japanese.  Especially those deep-voiced bishies. @_@  (Although I do have a pet peeve about my favorite male character having a female voice actress.  It’s just . . . I can tell it’s a girl!!  Where’s the deep voice I heard in my mind while reading the manga?  Ahem . . .anyway moving along . . .)

4.  Hello, everyone, my nickname is Bakuchiku and I am . . . a fangirl.  There!  I’ve said it!  I love me some hot bishies.  And no there’s nothing wrong with being in love with an anime/manga character. (At least that’s what I tell the crazy woman in the mirror)  So, if anyone is unlucky to stumble across this insane blog and thinks, “Just get over Neah (Allen Walker’s evil side from D Gray Man)!”  That person has permission to virtually slap me upside the head.  Be gentle.

5.  And as for yaoi- I have been to known to flip through the occasional yaoi manga, but it’s not really my thing.  (Though I love to read all the debates that yaoi fans get into about who’s uke and seme in the story . . .strange, I know, but then again you’ve probably guessed I’m strange by now . . .)  I actually prefer reading shoujo and some shounen of the magical girl/fantasy world variety.  There’s just something about a hero in the story who is this super nice guy with a tragic past . . .::sighs and thinks of Allen from D Gray Man::

Hmm. . . I think that’s it for now . . . unless anyone has any questions!  I love questions especially about my favorite topic, but I’m happy to talk about Mandarin, Chinese, Taiwan, etc. 
I’m planning to post at least two recommended mangas/animes every two weeks, but I will also try to introduce the manga/anime world here in Taiwan as well.  And if there are any fellow otomes/otakus in Taipei that need a shopping buddy when they go to Animate, please let me know.  Though I won’t be able to help you with self-control, I always manage to leave that darn store with five mangas in hand when I only went it to ‘look’.
Next week I will introduce D Gray Man!!  Best to get that one over with so I can stop going on and on about it . . . or at least try to stop . . . Stay tuned!