LOVE LIVE HAUL!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! To kick off 2015, we are starting off with a lovely Love Live Haul. If you guys are looking to check out my review on the series itself, check out the link here or if you’re new to the series, check out my first impressions here.

Also, We recently hit 2000 subscribers, THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH for all your support, for subscribing, for watching my videos, sharing them. It was really the best end of the year present and Youtube has made my 2014 so memorable. You guys have made my Youtube experience so wonderful so far and I hope I will be able to bring you guys more rants, reviews, commentary and unboxings in 2015.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yusha de Aru Full Series Review

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de AruHey guys, today I wanted to share a review on a magical girl series that just finished in the fall season. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yusha de Aru is a really unique new magical girl series that tries to incorporate darker themes into the existing dynamics of the genre. It explores themes such as heroism, strength, life, death, purgatory, sacrifice and even nationalism. While the plot does not twist and turn as much as the popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica I wanted to talk about it because it is worth watching. I feel like the character designs were given a lot of thought and the artistic direction was very impressive overall.

If you’re looking for my First Impressions of this show, check out this link.

Full Series Rating: 4.1/5 happy clouds Crop_45 CuriousClouds Transparent

Below, I’ll leave the vlog for some commentary and an overall look on the series and magic girl genre. I didn’t have as much time to explore a critique on the ending of the show so if you guys are interested in that, check out the stuff below the video…

“The world’s filled with painful things and sad things, and things you can’t handle by yourself. But if there’s someone you love, you’ll never fall. You’ll never give up. There’s someone you love, so you’ll keep getting back up again! That’s why a Hero never loses!” – Yuuki Yuuna

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(Because I am commenting and critiquing the resolution of the series there are SPOILERS BELOW!!! TREAD CAREFULLY!!!)

You’re probably wondering, why the double whammy vlog and blog post for a magic girl show? Well, I really think Yuuki Yuuna is a pretty unique addition to the magical girl genre as a whole. It definitely goes a lot deeper than the usual smiles, frills and shallow sparkly battle blasts of your typical mahout shoujo show.

The twist, where the girls must sacrifice a body part or sense in order to use the Shinju-sama’s power in mankai mode definitely threw all the viewers back. Its plot set-up earned a lot of respect from fans of the magical girl genre no doubt. After finding out the consequences of fighting as a hero, Togo attempts to destroy the entire world so that this cruel and vicious cycle with end. The final battle is a result of Togo breaking a whole in the wall. Hundreds upon thousands of powerful Vertex creatures flood into the Shinju-sama’s protective realm and threaten to attack earth.

AYuuki Yuuna Karint first, Karin’s EPIC BATTLE with one of the giant vertexes (in episode eleven) ends up fully paralyzing her, taking her sight, her hearing and most of her limbs. She took down the giant Vertext by going into mankai FIVE TIMES, proudly reciting the Hero Club’s five tenets. Honestly, that moment was one of the most tragic for me in this series because next to Yuuki Yuuna herself, Karin is one of the most devoted of the heroes in the group. The five girls go from fighting each other in the penultimate episode, to Yuuna fighting Togo, both in mankai mode and after Yuuna convinces Togo to resume the fight against the Vertexes. Togo even attempts to kill Shinju-sama, GOD ITSELF. DAYUM GIRL. Yeah, she’s definitely my favourite character in this show. However, Tougo’s weak spot it Yuuna and she’s flawed in this sense because near the end, she’s WAY TOO EASILY convinced by Yuuna to start fighting the Vertexes again. I give MAJOR PROPS to Karin for going into mankai mode a SIXTH TIME to fight alongside her girls in the final struggle. I assume Yuuna is the only one paralyzed and in shock after the fighting is over because she actually TOUCHED the soul/core of the Vertex. Luckily she does return to normal though after a prolonged period of rest.

If the Shinju-sama and the organization hadn’t relieved the girls of their duties and restored their senses and body parts, Karin would have become a vegetable and the other girls would have been seriously injured. It seems like a cop-out near the end when you consider the fact that a happy ending was thrown in with the snap of the organization higher-ups’ fingers but in this system, the girls are fully dependent on the Shinju-sama’s system of sacrifice. They can’t kill the Shinju-sama itself nor can they destroy the world using borrowed power. Yuuki Yuuna Ep 11 (4)They’d fight each other to death in mankai mode for nothing if they decided to really go at it. As a result, it HAS to be the Shinju-sama that relieves them of their duties as heroes… the organization probably saw all the drama going on and said “don’t want any part of these teenage issues, bye now.” LOL Still, it feels like Karin’s epic sacrifice in her six mankai modes was for naught because it all reverts back though I am SO GLAD everyone got a happy ending. You end up getting so attached to the girls because of their tragic yet noble magic girl cycle that you want them to live happily ever after even if that means the plot cheats JUST a bit.

The entire ordeal seems almost like a dream to these girls because after the battle and the worries and the angst, they return to their daily lives like nothing happened. However, near the end, the girls muse that the world hasn’t changed “out there” and that there’s still other girls who are fighting in the Shinju-sama’s system. Yuuki Yuuna Ep 12 (9)There’s a last little bit of text floating near the end of the episode that says this is Yuuki Yuuna’s chapter which has made fans (and myself) consider the fact that there may be more seasons to come. Will they feature another group of girls or simply tell the story from another member of the group’s perspective? There is so much potential to the world because of the unique rules that have been set up. The organization at hand hasn’t been explored nor have other intricacies in this magic system been flushed out. The last animation details with the change of credits where the girls are strolling down the path, from Togo in a wheelchair, to Yuuna in a wheelchair and everyone on their feet was a great addition to give closure to the series.

I do hope to see more from this franchise because the art style is easy on the eyes and the magic girl character designs so innovative considering pre-existing aesthetics. I highly recommend everyone give this show a go.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Majimoji Rurumo Episode 1 Impressions

“In exchange for having granted your wish, I’ll be taking your life. It’s in the contract.” (…sadly he wished for panties.) Rating: 3/5 curious clouds  Wow this anime wastes no time at all and immediately throws us in the throes … Continue reading

Love Live Season 2 Review and Reflection

“Come… let our dreams be fulfilled by our own courage. With our hearts (that do not yield), let us dash towards tomorrow…”

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Hey guys today I wanted to do my full series review for Love Live Season 2. I really only watched the first season of Love Live a few months ago before season 2 came out during the slow-moving winter season. The vibrant animation, positive storytelling and the lively upbeat music drew me into the show. With all idol shows, it tells the story of a group of girls striving to be the next best idol group. In this case, the group, Muse (stylized in Greek as μ’s) initially forms as an idol group in hopes of attracting more students to their beloved school so it can avoid being shut down.

Full Series Rating: 4/5 happy clouds Crop_4 CloudsExcited Transparent

Love Live Snow HalationFor this review of Love Live I wanted to talk about the larger themes in Love Live rather than the plot itself because to be honest, there isn’t THAT much of a plot if you think about it. The premise is simple and the story, straightforward. Love Live isn’t that realistic of a story by any means. In fact, there are more happy-go-lucky moments and feelings than I can count when it comes to certain points in the plot. However, it’s in the idealistic depiction of school life and the fairy tale style of storytelling in the presentation of idol life that attracts you to the show. As a big fan of anime soundtracks and JPOP in general, I really enjoyed μ’s not only as characters in an anime, but also as an actual idol singing group with a decent collection of inspiring songs.
The second season of Love Live picks up right after the first one. Since the first Love Live left the show at a standstill of sorts with the idol project, season 2 throws μ’s right back into the idol world where a second Love Live idol competition is being held. After some quick persuading by the other girls, Honoka is once again inspired to strive for her Love Live idol dreams. The entire second season basically follows the girls’ training and progression into the Love Live finals. Some people might find the story way too easy. The conflict is almost non-existent and often very fluffy in the plot but you’re really watching the show for the girls themselves and to see how they continuously interact with one another.

Love Live S2 3Themes like teamwork, togetherness, persistence, dreams, they’re all very prevalent in idol shows and Love Live takes it all to a new level when you pair these sorts of themes with characters like Honoka Kousaka, a naive and starry-eyed but kind and hardworking character. By no means is she a very unique character but there’s something about idealistic heroes that we are often drawn to. Unlike in the real world where life is often, as Sora and Shiro (from No Game No Life) would say, “…a shitty game,” a high school idol anime presents us with the dreamy circumstances where we can contemplate our idealistic selves often locked away in the backs of our minds.

When the last episode ended I honestly did not understand why I felt so sad to see the characters go. Love Live has simple plot, simple characters, almost non-existent conflict and protagonists. So why did I feel like I empathized with the characters so much?

Love Live S2 2Love Live isn’t the kind of anime you watch for the down to earth slice of life that writers and producers aim for in realism and drama. Rather, it’s the kind of show that lets you turn off your brain, relax and unwind to. We all have childhood dreams, some of them fall in the “one in a million” category and some of them fall in the “never happening in a million years” category. Often we are forced to give up our dreams when we grow up for something more practical and attainable within our cultural, societal, familial and financial spheres. While some may argue that Love Live is utterly unrealistic, it does give us a taste of what we all want when it comes to those fantastical and far-fetched dreams. The show embodies the belief that “If I work towards my dream, I can attain my dream. No matter what.” It’s a belief we would all like to believe is inherently true but we are often held back by circumstantial restrictions. Love Live is narrow-minded in this aspect as it does not take into account any outlying factors beyond the high school realm. It’s a show that fully depicts the fantasies of anime fans who watch anime in the interests of escapism. However I believe that it is this idealistic childlike wonder in the atmosphere of Love Live that keeps us watching the show and its characters.

Love Live S2I don’t see any reason why anyone would be adverse to a series like Love Live unless they are very strict shounen or horror fans. If you usually enjoy music, slice of life, shojo, high school anime, you’ll enjoy Love Live. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light anime to de-stress and unwind from the difficulties of school, work or life in general. The idol culture in Japan is pretty popular which is why shows like Love Live would probably garner more popularity with Japanese viewers versus North American viewers. It definitely brings out the pure and innocent sentiments prevalent in the Japanese idol culture.

These are just my thoughts on Love Live in general. For all we know the producers were probably just aiming for an expansion of the franchise to cash in more money from fans. You might think I’m reading too much into the story but the reason I enjoyed Love Live so much was because it stimulated a lot of self-reflection in me as viewer. It reminded me that a lot of us who have become too jaded and too cynical should perhaps start chasing after what we truly want and where we dream of being. It sounds pretty cheesy to be honest, but I’d take persistent idealism over jaded listlessness any day. If you’re a dreamer like me, I hope you can empathize with a bit of what I’m feeling. I hope you’ll give Love Live a try and I hope you enjoy/enjoyed it. Thanks for reading =)633869 (1)

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Cloudy’s Summer Anime Season Picks 2014

Hey guys I am super super excited today to introduce a bunch of new anime and returning anime for the summer season. There are SO many great shows and so much I want to cover. There are just my highlights for … Continue reading

Out of the Box: Nendoroid Petit Love Live!

Hello everybody and welcome to another Out of the Box feature!

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Today we’re looking at the Nendoroid Petit Love Live Series. The thing with these mystery box sets is that you usually have to buy the entire set as a whole online. If you’re lucky enough to find a store that sells the figures individually you’re in lucky. I found the series in one of  my local small anime shops and  I didn’t mind doing a blind draw for this series because all three of these girls are my favourites in the Love Live series. Here is the full collection (photo below courtesy of Good Smile Company)…

Love Live Nendoroid Petit Good Smile Company

The Nendoroid Petit Love Live Series features the first three founding characters of the idol group µ’s. In the series, µ’s will expand to encompass nine members in total. This figure series showcases characters Honoka Kosaka, Umi Sonoda and Kotori Minami once in their uniforms and twice in their stage idol outfits when they perform “Start Dash!” The Nendoroid Petits are produced by Good Smile Company, giving the figures a polished matte look and a lot of attention to detailing in the painting of the eyes and clothes as well as the mobility of the body and head.

Minami_Kotori2Here’s Kotori sporting her Otonokizaka Academy uniform. To be honest when I first saw Kotori’s character design in the anime, I was really nervous on how they would potentially sculpt her hair because it’s done up in a half side ponytail with an extra piece that drapes over the top of her head into her bangs. It turned out really well in this figure in my opinion and that’s definitely because of Good Smile Company’s top notch quality. Kotori is about 65mm in height and propped up by a transparent stand (as are most Nendoroid Petit figures). I’ve really been obsessing over Nendoroid Petits lately because they’re of fantastic quality make and a good size but they don’t cost as much as regular Nendoroids because they are slightly smaller and don’t come with all the accessories and changeable faces.

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If you guys are interested in checking out more about Love Live, click here for my first impressions of the series. If you’re into J-Pop and pretty animation and music in general, you’ll really enjoy the story as a lighthearted refresher. I hope you guys enjoyed this Out of the Box and if you did, don’t forget to share it or like it or follow me here on littlecloudcuriosity for more to come!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Love Live! School Idol Project Episode 1 Impressions

Love Live (4)Love Live (9)

Oh, today we’re visiting the wonderful, sparkly, short skirted, frilly costume world of… no, not magic girls… IDOLS!! Welcome to the high school, comedy, idol, music anime Love Live! Although I’m not exactly the main targeted audience for the show, I knew I had to give it a try because I’m such a big fan of anime involving upbeat dance-worthy, karaoke-worthy anime.

Rating: 4/5 happy clouds Crop_4 Clouds Transparent

Love Live (23)My very very first impression of the anime came from the characters themselves, not only from the first scenes, but the AWESOMELY catchy opening song. The girls (or the ones who will eventually form the idol group) are superbly easily distinguishable, which is, in my opinion, really important in shows with large casts. I’m talking about different hair colour, hair accessory and colour, eye colour and eye shape (which is a big one) because the design of the eyes really showcase the detail of the animation as well as the characters’ personalities.

Love Live (10)As for the premise, let me ask you, how often is it that you find exactly eight girls who are totally in love with their school and willing to fight for it in order to keep it open. Honoka Kousaka is the protagonist of the show, who totally freaks out when she realizes her beloved school is going to close. In an effort to keep it going, she and her fellow schoolmates decide to form an idol group in order to attract new students to the school… I WISH MY UNIVERSITY DID THAT. I WOULD TOTALLY SIGN UP FOR IT.

Love Live (14)Though the demographic is strictly seinen or for fans of the original game, I think Love Live is a really fun anime for music or high school lovers who want something fun and light hearted to watch without giving it too much thought. Let’s face it, idol anime series are always entertaining right? The music is super sweet and the voices are especially cast well cause they have to sing (le duh). Kousaka scours the school for girls from all different clubs and ages. Umi Sonoda especially amuses me when she misses the archery target because she’s totally fantasizing about idol stardom. Kotori Minami, Honoka and Umi’s best friend is also all for the formation of the idol club to save the school. By the end of the first episode, Honoka’s been turned down by quite a few other prospective club members… and… her decision is to start dancing on the streets BUT THAT’S OKAY CAUSE THIS IS AN IDOL ANIME AND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. She doesn’t seem discouraged at all and of course we know she’ll succeed in forming her idol group.

Love Live (2)

I gave this episode a pretty high rating because of the production quality and it’s prominence in the genre. Its overall opening episode captivated me immediately and I think that’s what characters should do. It’s giving viewers exactly what they want in the idol mix of anime so if you’re looking for something music related, you like K-On! or you’re also watching Wake Up Girls, this is a great one to check out on the side. It’s quicker paced than K-On which focuses on mainly slice of life but fluffier than Wake Up Girls if you don’t want the realistic elements of the entertainment industry bringing you down. If anything, just download the music because it’ll really give you that bounce in your step wherever you are.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?