Andressa Andrade
Andressa is a freelance writer who specializes in creating quality content for young audiences. When she's not writing, she can be found reading (books, manga, and fanfic, obviously), playing games or watching anime. She started watching anime when she was 3 and never really stopped. Who would? ;P
Love! Live! School Idol Project characters in winter clothing
AnimeInterestsLifestyleSpecial Features

Staying Cozy With Anime: Winter Clothing In Japan And Anime

Andressa Andrade

For the northern part of the world, Christmas is a synonym of winter. One of the best things about this season of the year is that people get classier. I mean, winter clothes are so much more beautiful, aren’t they? And without all the sweat, even your hair will look better. Winter is awesome!

But it’s also freezing. You need warm clothes to keep your toes from falling off. And so do your favorite characters! In this post, we’re going to have a look at the best of winter fashion in anime.

Everything you need to know about staying warm in the Japanese winter

Because anime comes from Japan, most of their clothing styles are inspired by Japanese fashion. It’s a no-brainer, right? This happens even in animes where the climate is completely different from the one they have in Japan.

Have you ever noticed how the days in the Leaf Village in Naruto are always sunny with bright blue skies? It looks like a tropical weather all year long. I’ve always wondered why most characters wear coats and long sleeves. Especially when they do all that exercise. They must sweat a lot. Yikes!

Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuuga Hinata

Ok, back to the point. Since most animes happen in Japan or in Japan-like scenarios, it’s worth having a good look at Japanese winter clothing. It’s the easier way to spot trends in our favorite character’s styles.

The heating system is great — sometimes, too great

The temperatures are very low during winter in Japan. On average, they vary between 38 – 55°F (3 – 13°C). It snows in several places, so we often see snow in anime, too. Interestingly though, it doesn’t snow that much in Tokyo. The winters there are mostly sunny and dry. Especially during December. So no White Christmas for Tokyo’s residents.

But snow or no snow, it’s cold everywhere. Because of that, the Japanese have developed an incredible heating system. You will feel no cold indoors, no matter where you go.

Anime coffee shop inside

The only problem is that they sometimes overdo it. The trains and shops are often overheated. So you want to wear something that you can peel off easily. Shopping malls often have lockers where clients can store all their extra clothes instead of carrying them around.

Because of that, layers are a big trend during winter in Japan. You can wear two or three layers of clothing, as long as they’re easy to remove when you get somewhere that’s too warm. Girls like to use this excuse to combine different pieces and create kawaii outfits with everything they have in their wardrobes.

Hibike Euphonium characters in winter clothing

Accessories are a must

If you are sensitive to the cold, you’ll want to have every inch of your body covered when going out. That’s not a problem in Japan.

Gloves can be very helpful when battling the cold. You don’t want to lose your precious fingers, do you? Both boys and girls can be seen wearing gloves in anime. (Including in Naruto. Why do they use gloves under the blazing sun, Kami-sama?)

Sakura Card Captor characters in winter clothing

When it’s windy, you’ll want to add knit caps and earmuffs to the style. I’m sure you have already seen them in several of your favorite shoujo anime. They tend to make kawaii characters even cuter!

Yukine from Noragami

 

Clannad characters in winter clothing

And don’t forget the traditional scarf! Long or short, it goes well with every outfit, both for men and women. And it can save your neck. (Not if you are attacked by a ninja or a by a crazy tsundere, but you get what I mean.)

Hitagi Senjougahara from Monogatari in winter clothing

Carrying all those accessories and your extra layers of clothing can be a load, though. Because of that, you’ll often see girls carrying two bags in Japan: a purse and a tote bag, or even a shopping bag. In winter, you can use that tote bag to carry all that extra warm stuff. Great idea, right? Some magazines even give away tote bags during this time of the year.

anime girls in winter clothing

When it snows

If you are lucky — or unlucky? — enough to be in a place where it snows, mind your feet. You’ll want to have waterproof shoes with a good grip. Kami-sama knows how ice can be slippery! And you don’t want wet socks. They’re disgusting. Boots are a favorite during this season in Japan.

Yuru Yuru chracters playing in snow

Another great accessory to add to your tote bag if you’re expecting snow is an umbrella. You’ll often see people in Japan using those to protect them from the falling snow. I mean, snow is still water, right?

Sangatsu no Lion characters in winter clothing

When the cold is just too much

Sometimes, not even all those layers and accessories can save you from the freezing cold. When you are too sensitive to deal, you can always count on the awesome Japanese technology to save the day.

At the closest Uniqlo store, you can buy heat-tech shirts and unders. Even though my research showed that some people think they disappoint, most users said they’re quite effective. This year, Uniqlo has even released an HeatTech Ultra Warm line, that they say is twice as warm as the original heat-tech products. I think it is worth the try!

But the coolest tech item you can use is definitely the kairo heating pads. They are disposable and can be bought at any convenience store or drugstore. A pack of ten costs around U$6,00. Once you open the pack, the iron sand inside of the pad will begin to heat up in contact with the oxygen in the air. You can then put it in your shoes, in your coat’s pockets or even stick them to your first layer of clothing. The heat will last for about 8-12 hours.

Japanese kairo heating pads

I’ll definitely add that to my tote bag!

At home

According to my research, insulation is terrible in most houses and apartments in Japan. At least in the ones you average person can pay. Let’s say that Taiga probably doesn’t have this problem, while Ryuuji certainly does.

Because of that, their roomwear is great! If you want cozy pajamas or cute socks, Japan’s the place to go!

Lucky Star characters in pajamas

Men X Women

Men’s winter style is usually more basic. Give them a quality down coat and a scarf, and they’ll be ok.

Amakano characters in winter clothing

Girls, on the other hand, enjoy the opportunity to create cute outfits. Surprisingly, skirts and dresses remain short during this time. So you have the chance to show some skin, even if it’s freezing outside.

This blogger shares what she calls the GYARU-STYLE RULE OF WARMTH: “If you’d like to show a lot of leg or cleavage or other bare body part, double and triple layer the other parts.” As a result, you get styles like Hiyori’s in this pic:

Noragami characters in winter

Now let’s have a look at a real girl (sorry, a 3D girl, right, Keima?) wearing the best of Japanese winter fashion. Just because we can:

In anime

Well, I have only used anime pictures in this post so far, so you have probably already noticed that the winter clothing in anime imitates the Japanese style.

But since anime doesn’t always happen in real-world Japan, we have, of course, our exceptions.

When you are from another world

Sometimes, just a basic down coat is not enough. If you live in a place where it snows like crazy, you might need an ultra-mega-blaster-long coat. Ask Tsubasa Chronicle’s Fay D. Flowright!

Fay D Flowright's coat is enough to survive winter in Antarctica, probably.

Sometimes when I feel cold, I picture myself borrowing Fay’s coat. It helps! Well, a little.

Other Fantasy worlds seem to ignore cold. Or to have less snow, maybe? Anyway, they do not get long coats. They don’t even have long sleeves in Tales Of Phantasia!

Tales Of Phantasia characters in winter

Go figure.

When you are on duty

A good soldier, police officer, firefighter, alchemist or Chronos Ruler doesn’t ever take off their uniform. Not even if it’s -5°C outside. I salute you all!

Heavy Object characters in the snow

When you are immune to the cold

Occasionally, you’ll see characters who can go through snow unaffected. You can see those wearing traditional kimono or samurai vests while the world is freezing. Maybe it’s in the samurai code. The 9th bushido rule: the cold is psychologic.

anime girl wearing a kimono

 

HAPPY+SUGAR=DARLING characters in winter

When you are Ash

If you are a master Pokémon and you’ve caught’em all, you have nothing to fear! If it suddenly gets cold, you can always wear your Pokémon.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you skin them! That’d be barbaric! This is what I’m talking about:

Pokémon keeping Ash warm in a cold winter night

Aaah! The warmth of friendship! Nothing can replace that!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this post. Hopefully, you got learned some new fashion tricks? Or maybe you have just decided you’ll book your trip to Japan during springtime instead? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share them with us in the comments section.

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Tsubasa Chronicles characters celebrating Christmas
AnimeInterestsLifestyleSpecial Features

Anime Blogmas — Christmas In Japan And Anime: A Second Valentine’s Day

Andressa Andrade

When you grow up in the Western Christian world, Christmas is one of the most important days of the year. It’s such a big part of our lives that we can forget that other countries do not celebrate it in the same way. Some countries do not celebrate it at all! Can you imagine that? A year without Christmas?

If you watch anime, then you probably know that Japan does celebrate Christmas. But it’s quite different from what you’re used to at home, isn’t it?

In this post, we’re going to have a look at Japanese Christmas traditions and how they appear in some of our favorite anime.

Not a holiday at all

This might sound crazy, but Christmas Day is not actually a holiday in Japan. Luckily, most schools don’t have classes during that day. December 23rd is the Emperor’s birthday, which, of course, is a national holiday. Soon after that, schools have the New Year break. Because of that, most schools choose to start the holiday break on the 23rd and Christmas is safe.

But other businesses consider the 25th a normal working day. That means most adults have to go to work on Christmas Day. Maybe because of that, Christmas Eve is much more celebrated in Japan.

The most romantic day in the year

As we already know, Japan is not a very Christian country. With only 1% of the population believing in Jesus, it’s easy to understand why Christmas doesn’t have a religious meaning for most people there. The holiday has only been widely celebrated there for a few decades now. It got to Japan as a commercial event, not a religious one. Yay, capitalism!

Because of that, Christmas traditions in Japan are very different from what we’re used to seeing on our side of the world. Forget that about going to church, praying and singing Christmas songs. Spending time with family? Exchanging gifts? Save that for New Year’s Eve, a much more important day for the Japanese families.

In Japan, Christmas Eve is a day for couples. For them, December 24th is like a second Valentine’s Day. It’s a day forSakura Kinomoti and Syaoran Lee celebrating Christmas together you to spend with your significant other. Have a fancy dinner, and then go for a romantic stroll to see the beautiful Christmas lights around town. Don’t forget to buy them a nice present! They’re the only person you’re going to be gifting now anyways.

In fact, Christmas is much more romantic than Valentine’s Day itself. As anime fans know well, February 14th is essentially a day for love confessions to be made. It’s not necessarily a day for you to spend with the person you love. It’s a day to show love, but not to be together. Also, because only girls are expected to give chocolate on that day, it ends up being a bit too one-sided. Christmas, on the other hand, is all about the couple celebrating their time together.

Chicken and cake

When you were a child, your favorite thing about Christmas was probably opening the presents. But after you grew up, you’re likely to have changed your mind a bit. Most people’s favorite thing about Christmas is the food.

I bet you can see it in your mind right now. All that food on your grandma’s table. The turkey. The ham. The KFC fried chicken… Wait, what?

Yep. Believe it or not, fried chicken is the traditional Christmas meal in Japan. Forget about turkey and ham. Since the 1970s, KFC is one of the favorite destinations for Japanese people on Christmas Eve. The franchise is so popular during that time that it’s common for people to preorder weeks ahead to guarantee their buckets of fried chicken.

Lovely Complex characters eating fried chicken on Christmas

But that’s Western food, right? The typically Japanese Christmas food is what they call the Christmas Cake. It is a sponge cake covered with whipped cream, and decorated and filled with strawberries. People say it is much less sweet than most cakes but still delicious! You have probably already seen it in anime and wished you could eat it. I know I have.

Japanese Christmas Cake in anime

Yes, it was also on your phone’s keyboard. Remember the cake emoji?

A gift to the eyes

As I said above, only couples exchange gifts on Christmas. You’re not expected to gift your family or friends, not even the children. That would be considered weird.

But the Japanese Christmas still offers everyone a different gift — a delight to the eyes. Although they don’t give them the same meaning as we do, the Japanese take Christmas lights seriously. Their decoration is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Japanese Christmas lights in Bakugan

“Merry Christmas” in Japanese

In the past few years, we have been replacing the traditional “Merry Christmas!” saying for the more politically correct “Happy Holidays!” That’s a way of showing respect for people like the Jewish, who don’t celebrate Christmas but have their own celebration, the Hanukkah.

But in Japan, where Christmas doesn’t have a religious meaning anyway, that’s not as important. So Japanese people will say “Merry Christmas!” — or “Meri Kurisumasu!” (メリークリスマス!).

And that’s what you should tell them, too.

The true meaning of Christmas

In the eyes of an American, the Japanese Christmas may seem a bit insincere. We’ve all grown up watching Hollywood movies about the “true meaning” of Christmas. Isn’t it insensitive to celebrate a holiday without an understanding of its sacred origins?

We need to remember that even in the Christian world, many people do not think of Christmas as a religious date. It’s necessary to admit that even for us, the holiday has been taken over by capitalism. For many people, it’s an opportunity to make business. For others, it’s just an excuse to give and receive gifts.

Besides that, let’s take a moment to think of the said “true meaning” of Christmas. If you consider that the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving, then Japanese people might be far superior us.

For them, it’s not about giving each other material goods. It’s about giving company. Enjoying the company of those dearest to you is the true meaning of the Japanese Christmas. In a sense, you are gifting yourself — your love and friendship — to others.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a great way of celebrating Christmas.

Christmas traditions in anime

Let’s take a look at how a few of our favorite anime portray the Japanese Christmas traditions.

Sword Art Online Christmas episode In this episode of Sword Art Online, we get to see a glimpse of the traditional Christmas markets. They are a type of fair where you can buy everything Christmas-related, from fancy tree decorations to candy cane. They’re very popular there and are a fun destination for tourists and locals alike.

In the Christmas episode of Card Captor Sakura, she Card Captor Sakura Christmas episodegives Yukito a hand-made present. This is very common in Japan. Because the idea is to show the profundity of your feelings, many people choose to make presents, instead of buying them in shops.

Another thing to observe is that you should open your presents carefully. No tearing apart the paper wrappings! That would be considered disrespectful and inconsiderate of the giver’s feelings.

Risa in the Lovely Complex Christmas episode In one of the most heartbreaking anime episodes I’ve ever seen, we see Otani leaving Risa alone to go out with his girlfriend on Christmas Eve. This is how Lovely Complex shows us how the Japanese people consider it a holiday for couples. Being only a best friend, Risa has to spend the cold Christmas night alone amongst the lights. For us Westerners, that looks like a terribly sad scenario.

While I was watching Toradora! last month, I thought it was really weird that their school was having a dance on Christmas Eve.Taiga and Ami in the Toradora! Christmas episode It was only after Taiga revealed her plans to get Ryuuji and Kushieda together that I remembered. Christmas is less about spending time with family and more about being with your significant other or your close friends. So a ball makes perfect sense.

The world of anime is full of Christmas specials. If you are looking for one to watch, I recommend you check out this video where WatchMojo shows us their Top 10 Best Anime Christmas Episodes:

 

 

Did you know Christmas in Japan was this different? What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

メリークリスマス, みんな-さん!

Happy Holidays, everyone! ^^

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Naruto Ultimate Ninja Blazing: the official mobile game
Game ReviewsOpinionReviews

Ultimate Ninja Blazing: The Naruto Game You Didn’t Know You Needed To Play

Andressa Andrade

There’s a big number of gaming options for Naruto fans. In 17 years, the franchise has released over 50 games, including titles for consoles from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Not to mention the unofficial fan-made games that you can find on the internet.

With all these alternatives around, it’s no surprise that many fans have forgotten about this mobile game.

Available for both iOS and Android, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Blazing has celebrated its first anniversary this year. With over 270K followers on the official Facebook page, it remains very popular. But it’s much less discussed than other titles, such as the Storm ones.

The game is a classic strategy RPG where you have to pay attention to your characters’ health points and chakra and complete missions to level up. The way you position each character on the battlefield defines everything. It’s all about knowing which characters work well together and which can better balance the power of the enemy. It’s a game Shikamaru would master for sure!

Ultimate Ninja Blazing battlefield screenshot

Why you should play it

I was very late to the party because I only downloaded this game in July this year when I was bored and sick in bed. But since then, I wasn’t able to put it down. Let me list a few of the reasons.

The Story Mode is pure nostalgia

Now that the anime is over, everything about the early classic episodes feels even more nostalgic. The Story Mode in this game allows you to watch again the key scenes of the canon episodes. While you do not exactly play through the story — which would be awesome —, you still get to review the scenes in detail. It has helped me remind many things that I had already forgotten.

Ultimate Ninja Blazing Story Mode

It has an amazing variety of characters to pick from

This is probably my favorite thing about this game. It has over 600 characters that you can collect and use in missions. This list includes characters that are not available in any other Naruto game, such as Mizuki, Baki, and Rasa. Do you even remember them?

Ultimate Ninja Blazing characters list

Besides that, characters are available in many different forms. Do you want to play with Obito in his juubi jinchuuriki form? You got it! Want to be teenager Konohamaru? No problem! Ever wanted to be adult Naruto? Now you can!

You can create the most unlikely teams in the world

Ok, I know this is not an exclusive of this game. You can do this in Naruto Storm: Generations, for example. But the fact that this game has more characters available and that its teams have room for more people makes it even more fun. I mean, what even is this team?

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Blazing random team

They update the game very often

One bad thing about mobile games is that they tend to get boring over time. That doesn’t happen with this one. They have maintenance every other week and are constantly uploading new challenging missions and characters. They also have new features planned for the near future. I’m excited to see what they have in store for us!

It’s free

I couldn’t forget to mention this. Being an otaku is always tough on the wallet. So if you can get an amazing game for free to distract you while you’re saving for that expensive one… Why not?

The cons

It takes a lot of space

The game currently fills 530MB in my tablet’s storage. That can be a problem if you have a thousand of other apps, pictures, and songs fighting for space on your device. You may have to buy a new SD card or to delete a couple of selfies to be able to download it.

Because it’s so heavy, it can also slow down your phone’s system, which is never a good thing.

It may not be that easy to play on smaller screens

Like I said, I have been playing on my tablet. It has a 7” screen, so it’s not huge but it’s still bigger than a phone. I’m not sure if the game is that good to play on smaller screens because it requires a lot of control. A few millimeters in a character’s positioning can make a huge difference.

If you can, I’d recommend using a tablet to play, not your phone.

It’s not easy to engage in multiplayer

I love games with a multiplayer option. I always find it much funnier than playing alone. But every time I decided to join multiplayer mode in this game, I had to try at least a dozen times before I finally got into a team. The server seems to be too unstable and is always disconnecting before you can even join a room to play.

You will eventually get into a room but it’s not worth the time you’ll waste trying.

It’s not the best place to make new friends

Even though you can add other players to your friend list after they act as your helper, you cannot talk to them. Yep, that’s right. There’s no way to message other players.

The only communication you can exchange is during a mission in multiplayer. Even then, you can only use the awkward signing stickers that the game provides with messages like “Hi!”, “Heal plz!” and “Get the boss”. I wouldn’t call that a conversation.

Final Thoughts

In spite of all the cons I’ve mentioned, I still recommend this game to every Naruto fan. The pros greatly surpass the cons and it’s guaranteed fun. Especially if you, like me, are a fan of strategic RPGs. Same if you used to collect Naruto cards and would do anything for a rare character. Trust me, if that’s you, you’re going to love this game!

 

What’s your favorite Naruto game? Have you already tried Ultimate Ninja Blazing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Love Stage anime cover
AnimeAnime ReviewsOpinionReviews

Love Stage!! Romance In The Show Biz

Andressa Andrade

If you are a fan of Boys Love (BL) anime, get ready to fall in love with this story. Love Stage!!  shows the relationship between the cutest boy in the world and a charming young actor as they slowly become each other’s sweetest dream.

An introvert otaku

Izumi Sena from the Love Stage anime Izumi Sena was born in a family of entertainers. His father is a famous singer. His mother is an acclaimed actress. And his overprotective older brother, Shougo, is a rockstar who has conquered the world with his band, CRUSHERZ.

Having grown up surrounded by all that talent, Izumi is the introvert sheep of the family. He’s an otaku and spends most of his time in his room, surrounded by the manga and merch of his favorite anime, Magical Girl Lala-Lulu. He only leaves to go to college, where he participates in the Manga Club. There, he found an outstanding number of three friends.

His parents have been trying to convince him to get into the showbiz but without any success. The only time Izumi has been in front of the cameras was ten years ago when he was a child. And the experience left him forever traumatized.

All Izumi dreams of becoming is a successful manga artist like Saotome-sensei, the creator of Lala-Lulu. The problem? He doesn’t have any drawing talent either. His manga could easily be mistaken as a collection of modern abstract art.

A promising actor

Ryouma Ichijou has recently seen success knock at his door. He’s the biggest new sensation in the Japanese movie and TV screens. Paparazzi watch every step he takes. He’s so big that even the co-founder of Sena Productions,Ryouma Ichijou from the Love Stage anime Izumi’s mother, is dying to co-star with him.

But it hasn’t always been like that. Ryouma started out as a child actor playing small roles in commercial ads and had to build his way up from there. In the process, he has faced many difficulties, including even a failed musical career.

All those trials have given Ryouma a strong, decisive personality. He won’t rest until he gets what he wants. He’s usually very polite but knows how to be assertive and sometimes, a bit intimidating. But behind all that attitude, exists a young boy’s heart that believes in luck and true love.

It all started on a wedding day

Ten years ago, Izumi’s parents were invited to star in a commercial for a company that provided wedding services. The ad was simple enough: the gorgeous couple would get married. Then, the bride would throw the bouquet and a little girl would catch it. She would then look at a cute little boy who was standing by her side and smile. That was it.

But an incident happened and the little girl wasn’t able to get to the set. The poor director didn’t know what to do until Nagisa offered her own child to take on the role. That was no one else than little Izumi.

There was no escaping it. With the aid of a dress, a wig, and some light makeup, the kawaii Izumi became the perfect little girl.

Izumi Sena as a little girl in the Happy Wedding commercial

He was terrified but had no choice but to do the commercial.

On the first take, Izumi panicked and ended up wetting himself. It was a huge humiliation. He never forgot about that day and swore never to get in front of a camera again.

Ten years later

It was an absolute delight for Nagisa Sena when her agent, Rei, told her she would finally have the chance to do a commercial with Ryouma Ichijou. But the young actor had made a curious request. He would only do it if the commercial had the exact same cast from the first ad he had done for the company ten years ago. That’s right. He was the little boy in that Happy Wedding commercial.

Of course, Izumi, now an 18-year-old, refused vehemently. He absolutely wouldn’t get into a wedding dress ever again. He suggested that they could find a girl who looked like him, and Ryouma would never know the difference. But the star actor had mentioned remembering the unique color of Izumi’s eyes. They were an exquisite mix of gold and blue that not even Izumi’s brother had.

Izumi Sena's unique eye color in the Love Stage anime

There was no other choice. It was time for Izumi Sena to honor the blood in his veins and step into showbiz one more time.

How to break a guy’s heart

After some confusion, the commercial was finally done. Izumi felt relieved to be able to escape into his changing room to get out of that dress and remove that wig. But before he could open the door, he was stopped by Ryouma who had been looking for him.

In one of the cutest and funniest scenes I’ve ever seen, Ryouma confesses his love for Izumi. He had lived the past ten years with the memory of the sweet little girl who had filmed that wedding ad with him. He had been looking for her ever since and was overjoyed to finally meet with her again.

Izumi couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Ryouma believed he was a woman!

Izumi Sena what GIF

He had no choice but to reveal that he was actually a guy.

Ryouma was, of course, devastated. He yelled at Izumi for being a “cross-dressing pervert” and left cursing him and his “talentless” family. Izumi felt sorry for him but there was nothing he could do about it.

True love doesn’t die

After the huge heartbreak of finding out the girl he had loved all his life was actually a boy, Ryouma swore never to see him again. But his heart had different plans. The young actor found himself unable to stop thinking about Izumi.

A few incidents and a couple of sleepless nights later, he finally decided to be true to himself and admit that he was still in love with the boy. But now there was a new challenge ahead: how to approach the shy, innocent Izumi about it?

A beautiful animation with some very cringey effects

Visually speaking, Love Stage!! is all that you would expect from a shoujo anime. The characters are beautiful and the features are delicate and carefully drawn. The coloring is smooth and the movements look natural.

But the producers made some very cringey choices when it comes to effects.

Instead of just doing the background characters look boring and all the same, like we are used to seeing in most anime, they chose to leave them blank. Yep. They just made some poor outlines and didn’t color them in.

The weird blank background characters in the Love Stage anime

I don’t know about you, but to me, that looks like lazy work. And instead of helping me focus on the main characters, it seems to make the extras stand out even more. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I don’t know why the animators thought this would be a good idea.

The way they used the “glittery close-up” effect all the time also bothered me. The insistence in showing Izumi’s outstanding cuteness this way quickly became repetitive. Especially because the characters themselves won’t shut up about how kawaii the boy is, so we didn’t need to see it to believe it.

Cute Izumi Sena GIF

There’s another detail that didn’t bother me, but that could annoy other fans of the yaoi genre. In the most intimate scenes, one of the characters is always covered up to hide his body. The animators left only the outlines of their figure, making them look like a ghost or something of the like. I personally liked it because I don’t like explicit scenes. But if you’re a fan of smut, you might be let down.

An intimate scene being censored in the Love Stage anime

Finally, the soundtrack. In several scenes, the background music didn’t seem to match the action on screen. A few times, I noticed that was intentional. They meant to create a comic effect. But the scenes were already hilarious in themselves. Adding the music felt like trying to force a joke. It was unnecessary and it kind of messed up some otherwise brilliant scenes.

Where is the second season?!

Before watching Love Stage!! I had an issue with yaoi. It had nothing to do with homophobia. I had just been very unlucky with titles in the genre. The manga I had read had weak plotlines. The stories felt unrealistic and the relationship between the characters seemed to appear out of nowhere. It seemed like the authors wanted to force them together, and that was all the story was about.

Because of that, Love Stage!!  was a very pleasant surprise. It has a consistent storyline. There’s more to this anime than just the relationship between Izumi and Ryouma. The supporting characters have complex personalities and interests. And the romance between the protagonists progresses at a nice, believable pace.

But for some reason, the story ended when it felt like it had just begun. I swear I didn’t understand it. It’s true that the final episode brought some sense of closure. But there was still so much that could be explored! There were even some loose tips that remain without an explanation.

The anime has only 10 episodes. That’s enough for you to get involved with the characters. But it isn’t enough to leave you satisfied. I would like to see a second season further exploring some of the points that the first one left behind. Bonus point if a different studio does it.

Final thoughts

In spite of it being too short, I still recommend the anime. Leaving out the cringey details I mentioned above, it was one of the funniest I have ever watched. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of the ridiculous situations the characters found themselves in. More than a sweet romance, Love Stage!!  is a great comedy. If you are looking for a light-hearted anime to help you ease the stress of everyday life, look no further!

 

Have you already watched Love Stage!!? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Toradora anime review
AnimeAnime ReviewsOpinionReviews

Toradora! The Tale Of The Tiger And The Dragon

Andressa Andrade

“Since ancient times, the dragon has been the only beast to equal the tiger.”

Toradora! has everything it takes to be considered a shoujo classic. Based on the light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, the anime premiered in Fall 2008. But don’t worry! In case you haven’t seen it yet, all 25 episodes of the English dubbed version can be found on Crunchyroll!

The Tiger and the Dragon

The Dragon

Takasu Ryuuji from ToradoraRyuuji Takasu is your regular high school student. Except for one thing: his eyes. Being the son of a gangster, Ryuuji took after his father’s looks. His intimidating eyes make everyone in school assume he is a delinquent. Even the teachers are scared of him.

But in reality, Ryuuji couldn’t be kinder. He loves cooking and doing chores. Actually, he has an obsession with cleaning that’s almost creepy. He spends his time at home looking after his mom, Yasuko, who works at a night house and sleeps for most of the day. In contrast to her, who behaves more like a teenager than a mother, Ryuuji is very mature for his age.

Takasu Ryuuji from Toradora cleaning GIF

(NOTE: The kanji “ryuu” in Ryuuji’s name means “dragon”.)

The Tiger

Taiga Aisaka is known throughout the school as The Palmtop Tiger. And there is another reason for the nickname, Aisaka Taiga from Toradorabesides her uncommon name.

(NOTE: “Taiga”, written in katakana, is how Japanese people pronounce the English word “tiger”).

Taiga is very short for her age, even for a Japanese girl. But in spite of that, she has a ferocious temper. She won’t think twice before beating up anyone who tries to make fun of her. Or anyone who gets in her way, actually. Because of that, Taiga has almost no friends in school. Not even the teachers dare to talk directly to her.

 

tiger Aisaka Taiga (Palmtop Tiger) from Toradora

 

After Taiga’s parents got divorced and formed separate new families, she refused to live with either of them. So her wealthy father rented her a luxurious apartment, where she lives alone. Unlike Ryuuji, Taiga couldn’t care less about chores and good nutrition. Her house is a complete mess and she has been living on snacks all this time.

The deal

The other students watched in shock when Ryuuji Takasu walked straight into conflict with Palmtop Tiger on the first day of their junior year. Truth be told, he only bumped into her because she was so short he didn’t see her. But everyone was expecting a big fight. Taiga had a reputation for not forgiving anyone.

But the fight never happened and the two walked their separate ways. Later, we find out they are in the same class.

Ryuuji ended up staying after class that day with his best friend, Yusaku Kitamura. When he got back to class to get his bag so he could go home, Taiga was there.

Ryuuji tried to ignore her but ended up having to fight her for his bag, which she for some reason wanted to keep. After he managed to retrieve it, he ran away, deeming Taiga insane.

Only back at home, Ryuuji would understand what had actually happened. When he opened his bag, he found an envelope. It was a love letter from Palmtop Tiger to Kitamura. She had put it in the wrong bag.

The meaning of the anime Toradora

Conveniently, Ryuuji had a crush on Taiga’s best friend, Minori Kushieda. Thus, a pact was born: Ryuuji would help Taiga with Kitamura, and in exchange, she would get him closer to Kushieda.

But Ryuuji, being so kind and easily influenced, ended up over-promising. As a result, Taiga began to treat him as a “pathetic dog” (in her own words).  Ryuuji found himself cooking, cleaning and acting as a general servant for her.

The crushes

The student council member

Yusaku Kitamura from Toradora Yusaku Kitamura is Ryuuji’s best (and only) friend at school. He doesn’t care about Ryuuji’s delinquent appearance and can see beyond that. He appreciates him for his kind heart.

Kitamura is a dedicated member of the student council and is often busy with its activities. Because of that, he and Ryuuji do not get to spend that much time together anymore.

He’s also the object of attention of most girls in his class, but seem completely oblivious to it. Ryuuji can’t understand what Taiga likes about him. In spite of being a straight-A student, he sometimes shows a serious lack of common sense.

The cheerful softball player

Kushieda Minori is your typical over-excited sporty character. She’s always cheerful, always trying to make everyone Kushieda Minori from Toradorahappy. In fact, she’s tireless when it comes to it. If you need help with any kind of festive activity, count on her!

She is the only person who’s not afraid of Palmtop Tiger. Taiga adores her and acts more like a kitten when she’s around her. Kushieda can see the fragile girl that hides behind Taiga’s ferocious attitude and is very protective of her.

Ryuuji thinks Kushieda is the cutest girl in school and has had a crush on her for a while now. But he doesn’t know how to approach the energetic girl. He’s afraid he’s going to end up scaring her away, as he did with every other girl he liked in the past.

The rival

There’s at least one more character who deserves to have her place in this review.

Kawahima Ami from Toradora Ami Kawashima is a famous supermodel and Kitamura’s childhood friend. When she comes into the story, she promises to be a tough rival for Taiga, who’s immediately jealous.

But there’s more to Ami than just her fame. Behind that “super cute” face, there’s a complex personality full of equally complex needs. Ami is not your typical dumb airhead model. As the story develops, she’s the first to see behind people’s walls. She poses some important challenges to both Ryuuji and Taiga.

Enjoy the animation. But beware of the catchy songs!

The animation is very well executed for most of the anime. It has all the beauty and the delicate features that are necessary for a good shoujo. The characters are the same as they are in the manga. The animators have taken their time in studying and working hard to make it justice. The result is a gift to the fans.

I should alert you, though: the opening and ending songs are contagious!

The first time I watched this anime was seven years ago. I had to abandon it then, due to schoolwork. After all these years, I was surprised to find out that I still knew the lyrics to the songs by heart!

Toradora opening GIF

I promise you, you’re going to annoy your friends by humming those all day. I’ve warned you.

Honestly, though, the songs are pure fun. You’re not going to want to skip them. They’re amongst the best anime openings/endings I’ve ever seen. They’re going to stick with me forever.

Final thoughts

The tale of the dragon and the tiger will touch you. It could make you cry but more often it will make you smile. It will help you see the fragility of strong people and the strength hidden in those who think they are weak.

 

 

If you love a good and fun romance, you have to watch Toradora!. The characters are unforgettable, the kind that stays with you through the years. And the ending of the anime was considered one of the most memorable of all time. Definitely worth it!

 

Have you already watched Toradora!? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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An anime character helped another to get up.
Special Features

11 Real-Life Situations Where Anime Helped People

Andressa Andrade

November is here and with Thanksgiving coming, it’s only natural that we begin to think of all the things we have to be grateful for.

If there’s one thing we here in Unime.tv are thankful for, that’s anime. But why? If you’re an anime fan, the answer probably feels obvious. But for people who don’t know this incredible universe, it might not be so self-evident. What good can animation bring to people’s lives?

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Chronos Ruler is an anime about time and memory.
Anime Reviews

To Rule Time Or To Be Consumed By It?

Andressa Andrade

Do you wish you could turn back time? Think again!

In the world of CHRONOS RULER, that’s a very dangerous wish. When regret sets in and people desperately want to go back, that’s when the horologues attack. Time-consuming monsters will literally eat your lifetime. It doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal to look a couple of years younger, right? Or take another chance on things you have let slip by?

But horologues are insatiable creatures. So they’ll just keep on eating your time until you become a baby, then a fetus, then… nothing. You’ll turn back into inexistence.

So? Still want to relive those good ol’ days?

To be a Chronos Ruler

To every chaos, there’s a sort of rule and structure. CHRONOS RULER focuses on the battle between the two factions, creating a black and white world. The horologues pray on humans remorse and steal away their time, promising they will return things back to the way they were. But there’s no “devils contract” stopping the demons from eating up too much and eventually killing.

As Victor struggles to survive and the monsters hold on him is slowly taking its toll, he gets to meet people who call themselves Chronos Rulers. A secret organization that not many people know about is struggling alone to keep people safe. As their numbers are drastically declining and not many are left, they are joined by Victor and Kiri.  Understanding time and appreciating it gets a whole new meaning.

Victor and Kiri’s story

Chronos Ruler Victor PutinVictor Putin’s regrettable actions, such as gambling and neglecting his family caused him to come in contact with a strong horologue. It stole Victors time and ate it, together with his precious memories. Now Victor, who should be 39 years old, barely looks 15. Not only he didn’t get to save his wife, but now he’s on a quest to find that horologue and claim back his lost years. To do that, the blue-haired boy uses his Oath Of Time, a tool that allows him and other Chronos Rulers to control the time around certain elements. For Victor, those are gambling cards, which he uses both to attack his adversaries and to attract cute girls with party tricks.

Kiri and Victor Putin, the Chronos Rulers

Victor’s companion in this adventure is Kiri. The smart, red-eyed Chronos Ruler uses his Oath Of Time to control water. He has sworn to get Victor’s time back no matter what. He’s also the responsible adult around, making sure Victor and his reckless attitude don’t put their mission — or themselves — in danger.

To new and old acquaintances

The Chronos Ruler Mina Later, Mina joins them. This young and cute Chronos Ruler can control air and swears she’s Victor’s long-lost wife. Of course, Victor has no memory of that, but that won’t stop Mina from doing everything in her power to protect her darling.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Blaze! This hot-tempered Chronos Ruler likes to play with fire — literally. He has set off to be the world’s biggest villain and will leave no stone unturned in the way to achieve that. Blaze, the Chronos Ruler of fire

The party of four sets out together from the Chronos Ruler headquarters to find the horologue that ate Victor’s time. As each of them has a different ability and fighting style they complement each other rather well.

No time wasted in the first season

CHRONOS RULER first season has just ended — it aired between July and September this year.  It served only 13 episodes and man, we can’t wait for the next one!

Having watched one too many anime where the production seems to waste a lot of time with pointless subplots and filler scenes, watching this one was quite a relief. Every little scene and dialogue serves a purpose. You’re always learning something new about the characters and the plot continues to move forward every minute. The creators of the series clearly know the value of time, and they honored it.

The characters have proven to be very charismatic, making it one of the best traits of this anime. It is impossible not to love Victor and his childish manners. And the others don’t fall behind, with well-rounded, complex personalities that we didn’t expect to find in such a short anime.

Victor Putin is a Chronos Ruler with an eternally childish heart

CHRONOS RULER adds more depth in the later episodes, making us see the emotional bonds as it were our own everyday life. The bond between a father and son, a husband and a wife and the most painful to watch – between a mother and a son. All the regret, shame, and pain gathered in some intense moments really made us love this show.

When memories fade away

As much as this show seems light-hearted and fun, there’s a slow transition to a more complex anime by the middle of the season. Episodes that depict the raw human emotions and the decisions that follow them have been the most satisfying to watch. As stated before, these parts of the anime are never stretched out and fillers, but rather bridging elements. CHRONOS RULER ended up being more of a family anime than one of friendship. The connection and relationship between Mina and her older sister and the whole Putin family often take the spotlight but rarely disappoint. The way things are developing in the first season makes many wonder if getting the years and memories back is still a good idea.

We need more time. And better music.

Not everything is perfectly shiny in this anime, though. Looking at it objectively, there are some aspects of it that need improvement. Many viewers commented that the show is just too full of plot holes and has some major logic issues, plus lacks structured continuity. Not to say that these comments are irrelevant or untrue, some scenes really don’t need too much explanation as this anime serves up a supernatural world.

As for the graphics, some scenes were poorly executed, especially noticeable at the beginning of the season. Later on, the overall look of the anime improved and stayed like that until the end of the season.

Music is always an essential part of any anime. With this one, we get some very interesting combination that might not be to everyone’s liking. The jazzy kind of music during fight scenes felt anticlimactic, like purposefully trying to detach the viewer from the violence. We hope that potential next seasons will get more time and develop the anime even more, with a greater care for the details.

Time stands still

The story mixes up the exact amounts of action, drama, and comic relief.  Along with some great laughs, it also made us shed a few tears. This anime may appear light and trivial at moments, but it does have a lesson to teach us. Instead of making mistakes and thinking we can always just fix things later, it pushes forward the value of time and memory. It makes us want to seize the days with more passion and make the best of them.

The ending of the season was very satisfying. They managed to close every arc that had been opened, without rushing things nor leaving loose knots. But they also made clear that Victor’s tale is not over, and we can’t wait to see what awaits him in the second season. While that is not possible, we recommend that you check this first one. All 13 episodes are available for streaming on Crunchy Roll.

 

Have you watched CHRONOS RULER? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And be careful with what you wish!

 

Andressa & Polona

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Rin Okomura, Satan's Son
InterestsSpecial Features

Speaking Of The Devil: Demons In Japanese Culture And Anime

Andressa Andrade

If you, like me, come from a religious family, you probably had a hard time explaining to your relatives that there’s nothing “evil” about anime. It’s difficult to get them to believe it when many shows have demons as characters. Not to mention the likes of Mr. Satan, who are really difficult to explain.

People often fail to understand that Japanese culture has a completely different view of devils and demons. In Western culture, those creatures are always linked to evil and nefarious actions. In Japan, that’s not the case.

Religion in Japan

It’s impossible to talk about demons without mentioning religion. After all, it is often religious beliefs that create demons in the first place.

The first religious tradition to be established in Japan was Shintoism. It is the faith of the Japanese indigenous people, so it is as old as the country itself. Until this day, Shintoism remains the largest religion in Japan, alongside with Buddhism.

It’s important to notice that in Shinto, there are not absolute values of “good” and “evil”, “right” and “wrong”. That means that things are not as “extreme” as they are in the biggest monotheist religions. There are evil spirits and good spirits. But there isn’t the one worst being (like Satan) and the one best being (like God). Shinto doesn’t even have major gods — each family has their own protecting gods (the kamis), which are often their dead ancestors.

Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 6th century, and after some initial conflicts established a harmonic relationship with Shintoism that lasts until this day. Most people in Japan consider themselves either Shinto or Buddhists or both.

Buddhism is often considered a philosophy system, instead of a religious one. It is based on the teachings of The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama of India. Like in Shintoism, good and evil are not extreme values. Buddhism doesn’t speak of gods and devils. It focuses on personal development and enlightenment.

Lucky Star characters during a traditional temple visit.

Christianity arrived in Japan much later, in the early 16th century. Even though Japanese authorities were initially tolerant with the Portuguese Jesuits, that changed later. The Christian missionaries were often intolerant with Shintoism and Buddhism and were involved in slavery issues. Because of that, Christianism was ruled out during the Tokugawa Shogunate and was only accepted back after the Meiji restoration in the early 20th century. Today, only 1% of the population consider themselves Christians.

As you can imagine, the influence of the Christian faith and its extreme views of God, angels, and devils is not very significant in the Japanese culture.

Not all demons are the same: oni X bakemono X yokai

While in English we have only a couple of words to refer to demons and devils, in Japanese, things are not as simple. There are at least three different words worth mentioning here, all of which you’ll remember to have heard in anime.

The oni are more like our “demons”. They are mostly evil. At the very least, they are mischievous and like to create trouble.

The word bakemono is usually better translated as “monster”. The word has a negative conception around it, so it’s usually assumed to refer to an evil, scary being. But that’s sometimes not the case. As it is in English, creatures referred to as “monsters” can be actually good or funny or even cute.

The yokai are the hardest category to explain. The word originated from Japanese paintings known as jigoku-e, which portrayed hell and its creatures.

An youkai - a demon from the 12th century
This picture is from the 12th century and shows a youkai that resembles an insect.

In spite of being originally hellish creatures, the yokai are not always bad. The one shown above, for example, is Shinchu, the Divine Insect that eats evil onis, keeping them away. He’s actually a good guy, at least for us.

This broader view of demons ultimately creates a culture where any creature that’s not human but shows characteristics or actions that are human-like can be considered a “demon”. In other words, in the eyes of Japanese people, Mickey Mouse could be considered a “demon”. Even the adorable Pokémon are demons for them. And they love Pikachu.

Pikachu is definitely a cute demon

Demons in anime

It is not a surprise, then, that we see dubbed and subbed anime that mention “demons”, “devils” and “demonic” things all the time. It’s important to understand that those words are not nearly as “heavy” for the Japanese people as they sound to our Western ears.

So otakus are more than used to seeing demons around. Sometimes we hate them, sometimes we love them, and sometimes we even root for them.

 

A demon from anime One Punch Man
One of the demons Saitama faced in One Punch Man.

 

Evil demons

These are the demons that behave just like you’d expect a demon to behave. They kill people, destroy things, and often don’t seem to have any emotion at all. They are your typical antagonist and sometimes don’t even have names. We just know that they are bad and we want them destroyed. Quickly. Better call One Punch Man!

Good demons

Demons Elsie and Haqua from 'The World God Only Knows'
Devils Elsie and Haqua from ‘The World God Only Knows’

There are times when demons are on our side and we want to see them winning. A great example of this is the anime The World God Only Knows. In it, “Old Hell” gives way to the “New Hell”, which is full of good devils who work day and night to keep the old evil spirits away from the human hearts. Not only these new devils are good beings, but they also look like cute human girls. What’s there not to love?

 

 

 

Happy, a kawaii demon from Fairy Tail.
Happy from Fairy Tail.

Cute demons

I have already mentioned Pokémon. But animes are full of other cute “demons”. We have Digimon, Doraemon, several other “mons”… And also characters such as Happy from Fairy Tail, Kon from Bleach, Mokona from XxxHolic (and other CLAMP anime), and Kero from Sakura Card Captors. They are extremely kawaii, yet still “demons”. Even if they don’t call them that in the show.

 

Silly demons

Koro-sensei: a not so silly demon.
Koro-sensei: a not so silly demon.

Koro-sensei is one of the funniest anime characters there are. With his octopus appearance and his plans to blow up Earth, he could definitely be considered a demon by Japanese standards. And even though we know that he is not really that silly, we must admit that he acts like that a lot of the time. And he’s only one of the silly, comical demons we have in anime.

 

 

Ryuuk, one of the demons from 'Death Note'

Ambiguous demons

The Shinigami from Death Note are “death gods” but they definitely have a devilish look. And the question of whether they are good or evil is difficult to answer. Ryuuk seems to only want to have fun, while Remu might be “good”, depending on your point of view. In fact, everything depends on whether you believe what Kira does is good or not. As in the whole anime, the character of these demonic creatures is ambiguous and subject to discussion.

Another example of ambiguous demons are the bijuu in Naruto. They have killed a lot of people and destroyed whole villages. But they also give immense power to whoever controls them and often protect their jiinchuuriki. They have feelings of their own, and you can argue and come to a consensus with them. Are they really that monstrous, after all?

 

What is your favorite anime demon? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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