2018 Challenges: January Recap

For January I’ve been focusing a lot on my personal goals for the year rather than too much related to the 2018 Challenges, so progress has got off to a slow start. Having said that, I am really pleased with the small amount of progress I’ve made (and a great start to my personal goals also!), so here’s what’s been going on.

Watch 30 ‘First Watch’ films

So I’ve actually equalled my total from 2017 on this front, but I’ve watched something on my First Watch list. Celebrations all round! A review is in the pipe-line (recurring theme), but I watched The Pianist. Hooray!

Watch all of Naruto

Perhaps my weakest area, I’ve only watched 2 episodes of Naruto. I was afraid I wasn’t going to like it, but I really do, so me being behind isn’t down to lack of enjoyment, it’s mostly just a lack of time and having to prioritise my free time to other areas.

Watch 30 anime series

So for January I haven’t actually managed to complete any anime series. I’ve started a lot of ongoing shows and something from my To Watch list from MAL. I’m hoping to really turn this one around come February.

Platinum 12 games

Well and truly on schedule for this one. I platinumed Telltale’s Batman after it came free on PS+. A platinum review is forthcoming!

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

I’m having a really hard time planning my cosplays this year. My next couple aren’t going to be entirely from scratch though a lot of the elements are. My main issues are that I’ve not got a lot of conventions lined up, so I’ve not really got anything to plan for which makes things a lot harder.

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

I think this challenge might potentially be the one I struggle with most this year. I’ve watched 9 films in the cinema so far but have only written reviews for two of them. I struggled enough to get those reviews out as I felt really out of practice writing a film review, it somehow feels like a totally different process to writing a game review, which I suppose it is in many ways. I do want to get them done and catch up with myself, so again, these 7 reviews are going to be hitting the site imminently.

 

As always, you can follow my progress on Twitter by following me or on #cs2018challenge.

Advertisements

Review: Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul is one of my favourite anime, so when I saw that a cinema near me was doing a screening of the release of the live action film, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.

tg

In all, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s not perfect by a long stretch, but it’s a really good adaptation of the anime and manga, and stuck faithfully to its predecessors. There weren’t really any moments I could nail down where I could comfortably say “It didn’t happen like that in the anime/manga”, and trust me, I’m always the first one to point out that sort of thing.

Tokyo Ghoul is let down by some of it’s not-so-special effects. So much of the plot is reliant on CGI, so it’s really disappointing that the CGI was so subpar. It really took me out of it seeing the ghouls fighting using their kagunes which were just laughably bad. Really, I think this is the only negative I can say about the whole experience.

The movie does showcase some really stellar acting. Masataka Kubota in particular was especially convincing as Ken Kaneki, managing to show off his inner turmoil at becoming a ghoul. There are some really great moments later on in the movie where Ken is being overtaken by his ghoul side where you can really feel how the experience is affecting him and how troubled his mind is.

7 star

2018 Challenges: The Beginning

Though I rarely complete any of the challenges I set for myself, I actually quite enjoy having them there to focus on throughout the year. I also have a few personal targets I want to meet which are more standard ‘New Years resolution’ type things; get a new job, lose weight, get fitter, save money, travel more, as well as some other hobby based things which aren’t really measurable; continue to improve with photography, get better at posing for cosplay shoots, blog more. Having these challenges as a side to all of the other things I want to achieve helps me focus on things, even if I do end up never fully meeting the goals! It’s fun to try, at least. So, with that in mind, here’s what I’m aiming for this year!

Watch 30 ‘new old’ films

And come up with a better name for this feature! Yes, that’s right, I’m actually going to watch them this year. I’ve replaced the one film I actually managed to watch (and the one that made it onto the list without me realising I’ve actually seen it), and I’ll be getting all of this stuff done!

Watch all of Naruto

My anime knowledge has a lot of gaps, mostly due to the fact that I was a really late starter. I wanted to watch all of a long-running show, and after a lot of research I decided the show for me was Naruto (I will be honest, mostly due to Sasuke and Kakashi). Originally this challenge was to watch all of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, but I’d managed to underestimate how much there was, and do some truly horrendous maths to figure out how much I’d need to watch each week, and frankly, it’s just not doable with everything else as well! So, not wanting to completely surrender my 2018 to Naruto, I’m settling for just watching Naruto.

Watch 30 anime series

Dejavu much? I know I didn’t manage to hit this last year, but as I said in my 2017 wrap-up, I was slow on the uptake and didn’t really get started until a good way through the year. I do think 30 series is probably pushing it, but hey, at least Naruto will count as one, right?

Platinum 12 games

Wow, another recycled challenge? As I mentioned in my 2017 wrap-up post, I want to get back in the platinum game. 12 platinums is only 1 a month (gr8 maths), so this is totally doable. Which is why I managed it last year. Oh, wait…

Make 3 cosplays from scratch

Last year I really enjoyed making cosplays, so this year I want to push myself more on that front. I also want to rewear a lot of stuff, which is why this isn’t a “do X cosplays” sort of target; that works out hella expensive. I think I have a vague idea of what I want to make across the course of 2018, so I’m excited to get some projects underway.

Watch 50 films in the cinema (and write a review for each film)

I hit 41 on this challenge last year, so I think 50 is pretty reachable. Sometimes cinema-going feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I do really love it still. In the spirit of trying to get myself into the habit of posting more regular blog content, I’m also going to try and post a review for each film I see.

 

Have you got any suggestions of challenges I can add in? Let me know in the comments!

2017 Challenges: October Recap

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)

MCM London at the end of October saw me hitting my 10 cosplays target as I added Knives Chau, Speed o Sound Sonic, and V to my total. What a relief to have actually met one of my targets this year!

Watch 30 anime series

After careful consideration and A LOT of research, my total number of anime series now stands at 12 series’ watched. I had actually added to this number with my completion of Convenience Store Boyfriends, but as I was pondering whether to speed through the next 3 series of Voltron, I came to the conclusion that I won’t be counting Voltron as an anime for the purpose of this challenge. There are a lot of arguments out there about whether or not it should count, and as there doesn’t really seem to be a definitive answer, the uncertainty made my decision for me. So, a step back! 

Platinum 12 games

You know what? Maybe I’m just not the trophy hunter I used to be. Maybe the thrill isn’t there for me anymore. Maybe I’m just ruminating on the fact I added no more platinum trophies to my collection. 

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films

So, this definitely isn’t happening, and I’ve made my peace with that. I’m going to shelve this challenge until next year, where I will blast my way through this list!

Watch 60 films in the cinema

Currently I’m at 33 films on this a me, so yet another challenge that’s not happening. 

Clear the gaming backlog

Sorry, did you say clear or add to constantly? Because I’m definitely doing one of those things….

Review: Tsuredure Children

Anime: Tsuredure Children
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Crunchyroll description: To those of you out there who could never say “I love you” – this story is about ordinary highschoolers and how love makes them fired up, shaken, laugh, cry and hurt. Whether things go well or not, this story of adolescence and romance will show you how they spend their precious youth. Every character is the main character here, and you’re sure to find one you can sympathize with.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
Original run: 04/07/2017 to 19/09/2017
Episodes: 12

tsuredure children

The theme of my summer anime seems to have been mostly me watching things and not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had no intention of watching Tsuredure Children, but my housemate recommended to me, and as it was only about 10 minutes per episode, I didn’t have a reason to pass it up. I’m so glad I watched it.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying Tsuredure Children was the unexpected hit of last season and I wholeheartedly agree.

The basic premise of Tsuredure Children shows you snapshots of different sets of couples. Not every couple features every week, but across the series you get to follow the different stages of their relationship. There are a lot of characters crammed into this show, and going in, I was really apprehensive about how a 10-minute show was going to build on all of these relationships and develop the characters, but that’s the beauty of Tsuredure Children.

It’s surprising how quickly you can get invested in characters that really, you’re only seeing on screen for a couple of minutes each week, but Tsuredure Children presents us with some really likeable and well written characters. There’s the danger of having a lot of bland characters, or a few with similar personality types, but this anime seems to avoid this and all characters are memorable in their own right.

Each couple’s story brings something different to the show. Some are funny, some are emotional, and some are just downright bizarre, but they all fit together and make a really endearing and heartwarming package. Yes, I liked more of the individual stories than others, but there weren’t any that I really disliked. I especially liked the way some of the stories linked into each other, making them feel part of a whole rather than standalone offerings.

By the end of the series I did feel like some stories weren’t resolved as much as they could have been, and made way to Chiaki and ­­­­­Kana’s story instead, but the show started with some relationships already begun, so I guess the idea is that it ends with them and their issues ongoing.

Conclusion:

Tsuredure Children is a delightfully unassuming anime, which evokes all sorts of feelings. It’s heartwarming, funny and just a wonderful look at young love and all the ups and downs associated with it.

7 star

2017 Challenges: September Recap

Make 10 new cosplays (including one entirely from scratch)
I love starting these posts off positively, only to watch them go rapidly downhill. As always, 10 new cosplays is the least of my problems. I’ve got 7 in the bag already, and MCM is at the end of this month where I’ll be debuting three more, reaching my target! That’s not even counting the 5 new cosplays for Hibanacon, one for MCM Birmingham and another for Hyper Japan…

Watch 30 anime series
I still feel stupidly confident about this one. I’ve now finished 12, and I know I’ve only got two and a half months to go and I’m not even half way yet, but I feel like it’s doable. I have a few series’ I’ve started already, so hopefully this number can increase soon!

Platinum 12 games
I actually managed to add another one to this total as well! Two platinum trophies in 10 months, Jade from 3 years ago would be ashamed. I still feel like I can nudge this up before the year is out – maybe get halfway? We’ll see!

Watch 30 new ‘old’ films
I am determined to break double figures on this one, even if I’m still loitering at 1 film watched. Stay tuned!

Watch 60 films in the cinema
My ‘end of September’ total was 31. Just over halfway. Is it doable? Probably not. Am I going to try? Also probably not, I’m really busy with all the other challenges which actually stand a chance of being completed.

Clear the gaming backlog
What’s a little backlog between friends? Yeah, so I just… can’t do this. It’s impossible. Even if I’m not adding to my physical backlog, I’m mentally adding games to it, “I must play that when I’ve finished some of these games.” It’s neverending!

 

Here’s hoping for a November miracle!

Review: Netsuzou TRap

Anime: Netsuzou TRap
Studio: Creators in Pack
Crunchyroll description: Yuma, a high school second-year, is enjoying every day now that she has her first boyfriend. After she asks for relationship advice from Hotaru, her beautiful long-time friend who has many boyfriends, Hotaru teases her for her inexperience and playfully does things to her that even her boyfriend doesn’t do. Yuma and Hotaru’s secret relationship continues to escalate, and Yuma finds herself unable to deny how it makes her feel. This school drama tells the story of the interwoven lies of these two girls with boyfriends.
Genres: Drama, Shoujo Ai
Original run: 05/07/2017 to 20/09/2017
Episodes: 12

ntr

I’m not sure what I expected Netsuzou TRap (NTR) to be going into it, but I know it wasn’t what I got. The Crunchyroll description makes it sound like some sort of cute drama about two girls who realise they have feelings about each other. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I honestly hated almost all of it, and had it not been for the fact that each episode not been 8 minutes long and I was desperate to boost my numbers for my anime challenge, I would have given it up after giving it three episodes.

As mentioned in the Crunchyroll description, the premise is that two friends are dating two friends, and they fool around with each other and eventually realise they have feelings for each other, not their boyfriends. What the description doesn’t mention is that a lot of the ‘playful’ things Hotaru does to Yuma are completely unsolicited and in fact downright rejected, giving a really rapey vibe to the whole show.

Let’s start by examining the characters. You have Yuma, the main character, who is possibly one of the most idiotic and oblivious characters I’ve ever come across in anything. She could have everything spelled out for her and she still wouldn’t understand. It takes Yuma the full 12 episodes of NTR to realise she has feelings for Hotaru. Quite why she does is anyone’s guess, because Hotaru is a real piece of work. Hotaru constantly ignores Yuma’s protesting and forces herself onto her on more than one occasion, all the meanwhile telling Yuma it’s for her own good because she doesn’t want to lose her boyfriend, Takeda, due to her inexperience. Hotaru is manipulative to the extreme, and doesn’t care at all about Yuma; never asking her feelings or even listening to what she’s saying.

As if these two delights aren’t enough, the worst is yet to come. Hotaru’s boyfriend, Fujiwara, is the scum of the earth. I know that’s the point of him, to make Yuma look like the obvious choice for Hotaru, but honestly I kind of feel like him and Hotaru deserve each other. For every negative attribute Hotaru displays, Fujiwara just amplifies it. Throughout the whole show you think there can’t be much left for him to do

The only bright spot on this whole stain of a show is Yuma’s boyfriend, Takeda. He’s genuinely a nice person, which is apparently rare in this universe. He cares for people, and just doesn’t deserve what Yuma puts him through.

I feel like the point of NTR is to get you behind Yuma, but it’s just not possible. She is so thoroughly unlikeable, that there’s just no lure to invest in her as a character. She doesn’t care about others, why should we care about her? In discussion with my housemate about NTR, he said the only resolution to the plot that he would accept is if all the characters got hit by a truck, “except Takeda… he’s alright”, and I have to say I agree.

Conclusion:

A vapid excuse for a show that wants to push towards a happy ending for characters who don’t deserve one. It has it’s funny moments, but nothing that stands out on reflection. It should be an easy show to forget, but it’s so bad it regrettably lingers in memory.

2 star