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!