Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: IDOLiSH7

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Anime: IDOLiSH7
Studio: TROYCA
Crunchyroll description: A group of aspiring idols gather at Takanashi Productions and are entrusted with the company’s future. The seven men who have just met represent a variety of totally different personalities. However, they each have their own charm and possess unknown potential as idols. Forming a group, they take their first step together as “IDOLiSH7.” Their brilliantly shining dancing forms onstage eventually begin captivating the hearts of the people. In the glorious but sometimes harsh world of idols, they aim for the top with dreams in their hearts.
Genres: Music
Original run: 07/01/2018 to 19/05/2018
Episodes: 17

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If I remember 2020 for anything other than being an all round dumpster fire of a year, it’ll be for being the year I got really into anime idol music. I had a lot of IDOLiSH7 songs on various playlists way before I watched the anime, and I loved them, so I thought it was finally time to dive into the show. For context, I haven’t played the game.

In my limited experience with idol anime, they tend to be quite formulaic; band forms, band has some issues bonding which they get over, band hits success and all is well. Throw in a rival band who are mostly assholes, and you’ve got yourself a show. Whilst IDOLiSH7 does play on a lot of these tropes, it does them really well.

The anime follows the creation of the band, IDOLiSH7, and their journey to debut and beyond. IDOLiSH7 are given a new manager, Tsumugi, who is brand new to the company (that her father owns, nepotism much?), so it’s as much a new experience for their manager as it is for the boys in the band.

Anime based on music live and die by their songs, and IDOLiSH7 has some great ones. I was already pretty familiar with some of them, having listened to mostly idol music all throughout the year, so it was really cool to see them in the context of the show. In the few idol anime I’ve seen before, during performance scenes the animation style switches to CG and it’s really jarring. It’s still very strange to me to see the sudden switch in animation but fortunately, in IDOLiSH7 I didn’t find it too bad and it seemed quite natural and well done.

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What I especially loved about IDOLish7 was the characterisation. Often with a big cast like this, you run the risk of a lot of the characters being under developed and treated very much like a supporting cast. IDOLiSH7 does a great job of giving each of the main characters their own plots and time to shine. Sure, some characters do seem more ‘main’ than others, which is probably an inevitability, but it’s done in a natural way that doesn’t make it seem like these characters are overshadowing others or stealing from their screen time.

IDOLiSH7 is an example of idol anime done correctly. From great characters to catchy songs, all paired with solid animation. It’s really fun to take a journey like this with characters who are so endearing and well meaning, and I’d recommend IDOLiSH7 to anyone who likes idol music or shows!

8 stars

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: The Beginning

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2021 will be my sixth year of doing these annual challenges for the blog! That’s slightly unbelievable to me, but time flies I guess!

Once again, I’ve not really learnt anything from my failures, and I’ve set myself some perhaps ridiculous targets for 2021, but I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I’ll continue to throw myself into this cycle.

Here’s what I’m aiming for in 2020:

Watch 45 anime

I (just about) managed to hit 40 anime in 2020, so I thought I’d go the extra step for 2021. 50 seemed far too ambitious at almost one show a week, so 45 seemed like a good compromise. I’ll probably do Anime August again too, as that was pretty successful (and fun!) last year.

Read 50 complete manga

My first manga challenge! I read a lot of manga last year, and it was all for naught! This year, I’m aiming to read 50 complete manga series, whether that’s single volume or otherwise. My only stipulation is that it has to be finished!

Watch 30 films

I’ve moved on from the poster of must see movies, and my cinema trips are still on hiatus, so I’ve sort of combined them for this challenge and tried to be more realistic about things. I’m aiming to watch 30 films in 2021 that I’ve never seen before.

Watch 30 anime films

Much the same as the previous challenge, in 2021 I’m aiming to watch 30 anime films I’ve never watched before. I have a lot in my own collection that I’ve never watched, so I’m hoping to finally watch some of those!

Get 35 platinum trophies

20 platinums was easy peasy, so I’m upping the ante to 35!

Clear 30 games from my backlog

I’m certainly really good at buying games, not so hot on actually playing them, and as a result my backlog is getting way out of hand. In 2021 I want to get 30 games cleared from my backlog! This is just referring to my PS4, PS5 and small remaining Vita backlog. I’ve made a list of the games I want to clear, some of which I’m going to attempt to platinum too – two birds, one stone and all that! I won’t post the list, so you’ll just have to trust me!

Play 12 Switch games

All this platinum trophy hunting means my Switch is getting neglected! I really want to start playing it more because it’s such a great console, so I’ve pledged to play and finish one Switch game per month!

Read 12 books

With everything else, will I even have time to read? Well, I’m going to have to make time! I want to read at least a book every month!

Reading them written down, none of the challenges individually seem difficult, but all together they seem like quite tall orders, but we’ll see what 2021 throws at me!

As usual, you can follow me on Twitter to track my progress!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: Year in Recap

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Let’s not dwell too much on what a shit show 2020 was, and just… leave it in the past. Here’s to a better 2021!

Now we’re into 2021, it’s time to have a look back on how I did with my challenges. I obviously had a lot of obstacles, and as a result some challanges went better than others.

Watch 40 anime

2020 end total: 40

With some last minute additions, which were technically after midnight on New Year’s Eve (my mum assured me that if I hadn’t slept then it still counted for my 2020 challenges, and who am I to argue with my mum?), I actually achieved this goal! Hooray! I’ve watched some really great shows in 2020 (and some garbage). For 2021 I definitely want to review more shows, which was an aim for 2020 that I really failed on.

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

2020 end total: 5

2020 really wasn’t the year to try and get back into cinema for me. I managed 5 movies in the cinema before the pandemic fully hit and I had to start staying home. My repeated failure at this challenge is really making me reconsider a lot of things. I’ll always love films, but in recent years, a lot has changed with my cinema-going habits and it’s just not so much of a priority for me anymore as it might have been a few years ago.

Platinum 20 games

2020 end total: 22

Another big tick for this one! I feel like I played a lot of great games in 2020. I did boost a lot of my platinum numbers with cheap indie games from the PlayStation Store, but some of these were actually really good. Some were My Name Is Mayo, so you can’t win them all. I feel like I really got back into platinum trophy hunting in 2020, and hope to continue it forward in 2021.

Read 15 books

2020 end total: 8

I got a little over halfway on this challenge. Towards the middle of the year I got really into the swing of reading, but on the tail ends of the year I felt really unmotivated to read. I do still really love to read, and I want to get back into a more regular reading cycle.

Finish 100 best movies

2020 end total: 2

I haven’t done so well on this challenge the last few years. I think perhaps partly because as I said earlier in this post, my film-watching habits have changed a lot, but a lot of the movies on the poster for this challenge are really heavy going, and I don’t often feel like watching a super serious film. Like, how often do you have an evening spare and think, “Hmm, I really fancy watching The Godfather.“? Not often, let me tell you.

Finish Naruto

2020 end total: 4 episodes

Oh Naruto, will I ever crack you? It’s just such a large undertaking. I could watch all of Naruto, or I could watch like, 10+ other shows in the same amount of episodes. I do still really want to watch it all, but I’m just going to take it easy, so don’t expect to see this challenge on my 2021 challenges!

That’s it for 2020! Thank God, amirite? I’ve already got my 2021 challenges pencilled in, but still down to take suggestions if you have any! Let me know in the comments!

blog, Unboxing

Unboxing: Anime Limited Mystery Box

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As you’re probably aware if you’ve read my unboxing posts before, I love receiving a package where I have no idea what’s in it. It makes no sense, why would I spend often a lot of money to risk getting something I don’t know I’m going to like, or something I might already own? I don’t know, but I still like it!

This week I decided to treat myself in the Anime Limited 12 Days of Christmas sale, and get the blu-ray mystery box, because I just can’t stop buying myself things even in December when I should really refrain.

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The box was £44.99, and came with the five blu-ray shown above. I thought it was a pretty good deal, and as with mystery boxes, it’s more about the anticipation for me. Anything I didn’t want, I figured I could sell on and make some money back.

IMG_8436Let’s get it out of the way – first up in the mystery box was King’s Game. This is the only one of the five that I’ve actually seen (technically I haven’t watched Roar of Awakening, but I have watched season 2 of Attack on Titan). I actually started it when it was airing, and stopped watching because I didn’t like it much. I then got fed up of it being incomplete on my AniList, so I finished it off earlier this year for Anime August. I still didn’t like it much (I gave it a 5/10 when I rated it), but against my judgements I will keep the bluray as I might give it a second chance later down the line – perhaps the disjointed way I watched it didn’t help with my overall dislike of the show.

IMG_8438Next up, as mentioned above, was Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening. For those who don’t know, this is a recap movie retelling the ‘Clash of the Titans’ story arc in season 2. I’ve seen season 2 of Attack on Titan, albeit a long time ago when it aired, and I don’t have any of the other seasons or recap movies in my collection. If there’s anything I hate, it’s an incomplete collection, so I kind of feel obliged to fill in the rest of the collection if I end up selling Roar of Awakening on.

I was pleased to see Welcome to the Ballroom: Part 1 in the mystery box. It’s been on my list for so long, and recommended to me by so many people, so I’m glad to have a push to watch it. Not that I actually ever watch the things I own, they just look nice on my shelf… maybe I’ll make it one of my challenges for 2021 to actually watch all my physical anime. I didn’t check the retail price of everything in the box, but I did for this as I wanted to check that it was in two parts and I wasn’t being dumb, and I noticed that the first part was selling for around £41.99, so the box had basically paid for itself in this one item.

Delving in further, the next bluray in the box was Kokkoku. I’d never heard of this before, but having looked up a synopsis it seems quite interesting, and the sort of supernatural show I’d normally watch, so I’m looking forward to giving that a try!

The final bluray I received was Silver Spoon season 1. I very nearly put this on my Amazon wishlist when I was making my Christmas list, but for whatever reason I didn’t. I must have known I’d end up owning it before Christmas hit! I was obviously interested in this before I got it, so I’m glad to own it!

Overall, a pretty good haul in the mystery box I think! I’m pleased with what I got anyway, and I’m glad I took the plunge and bought it. What do you think about the mystery box contents?

 

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November Purchases

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You’ll recall that I didn’t actually buy anything of note in October, so there was no Purchases post. I paid off my PS5 in October, so there wasn’t a lot of money spare! My haul for November seems somewhat more modest than previous months, but I’ve done the bulk of my Christmas shopping so there hasn’t been a lot of cash to splash on myself! I did buy some cool things though, so here they are!

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First up, as I’ve mentioned previously, I was lucky enough to get a PS5! I bought Spider-Man: Miles Morales with it at launch, and then later bought a new Dualsense controller (I missed always having a fully charged controller!), and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. I really like the PS5 so far, it feels very different to the PS4 which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but is taking some getting used to! Also in the games genre, I bought Piofiore on Switch, which is an otome game. I bought it digitally so no photo as I couldn’t get a decent one of my Switch without glare! It’s set in Italy and features the mafia, so it was really hard for me to pass up as I knew all the boys would be totally my type. I’ve only played one route so far (and got the bad end), but I was totally right on that front!

My preorder of the Nendoroid of Hanako-kun from Toilet Bound Hanako-kun came in! I really loved this anime, it was so good and Hanako-kun was my favourite character from it (and went straight on the cosplans list!). I’m really happy to have him in Nendoroid form, he’s just so cute!

IMG_8426Speaking of preorders, my copy of Ride Your Wave also arrived. I first saw Ride Your Wave when it was showed at Scotland Loves Anime last year, and it was my favourite film of the whole festival. I’m so excited to watch it over and over again, it’s definitely up there in my favourite anime movies list.

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Finally, to round off my November purchases, some manga! Only a couple of volumes this month; the latest volume of Wokatoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku, and also My Broken Mariko, which I bought because a lot of people were hyping it up online! I’ve yet to read either, typically, but I’m hoping to do so soon and have a review of My Broken Mariko up!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: November Recap

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Watch 40 anime

November end total: 29

I only added one more show for November; season 2 of Fruits Basket. I’m a little way off this total, but I’m also watching a lot of seasonal shows most of which, by my calculations, end before the end of the year which will boost my totals. I also plan to go HARD on anime for December to achieve this one!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

November end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

November end total: 22

Challenge met! Since getting my PS5, I have played three games on it, and got the platinum in each of them, which is quite the achievement and probably not a rate that can continue much longer, let’s be honest! Anyway, at least I’ve completed one of my challenges this year, and with a month to spare too!

Read 15 books

November end total: 8

I haven’t read anything in so long, I’m falling behind! The likelihood of me reading 7 books in a month is extremely slim, but I hope to add at least 1 or 2 more to this total!

Finish 100 best movies

November end total: 2

Finish Naruto

November end total: 4 episodes

Now we’re into December, it’s time to start thinking about 2021 Challenges. I have nothing planned yet, so am open to suggestions! Leave them in the comments!

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Unboxing: Kinda Kawaii

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I haven’t bought a subscription box for a while, partly because I haven’t seen one with a theme I like, and partly because a lot of my usual companies I buy with are now charging a mandatory £10 extra shipping for tracked shipping, which seems a little unfair to me as I was pretty happy with waiting it out for the standard shipping and I never had an issue. I get why they’ve put it on there, but I think it should at least be optional.

Regardless, last month I felt like getting a box, and after a lot of searching for a UK supplier, I found Kinda Kawaii. I opted for a single box, just to test the waters and bought via Etsy, so it was really simple.

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My first impression was that the box was really cute! The box itself is pastel coloured (just my vibe!), and on opening there was a strong visual impact with the box packaged really cutely and bursting with goodies! A great start!

 

 

 

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Obviously the first thing I saw when I opened the box was this bunny plushie! I don’t think it’s a specific character (feel free to correct me!), but it’s so cute! It’s so soft, and the pastel purple is one of my favourite colours, so I’m really happy with this item!

 

 

 

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Next up was this Pokémon mug! It hasn’t photographed particularly well, and it is a lot more muted and pastel in real life, which is totally my aesthetic. It’s a really cute mug, but much like tupperware, I own far too many mugs and I’m being threatened that if I get any more they’ll be binned! Still, a cute mug for my last one!

 

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I also received these Sumikko Gurashi socks! They’re packaged really nicely, so I didn’t know what they were at first, but when I unboxed them and folded them out, they’re a really cute pair of socks! I especially love them because they’re a bit thicker, so they’re warm and stop any rubbing shoes!

 

 

 

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I’m a sucker for stationery, so luckily for me I got these two pieces in my box. Firstly, a colour changing pen which is really nice to write with (I don’t know the characters though!), and secondly, some Gudetama sticky notes. Both are coming in very handy in keeping me nice and organised.

 

 

IMG_8259 Last but not least, I got these Sumikko Gurashi chopsticks – I’m also amassing quite the chopstick collection! Luckily I’m not too bad with a pair, so now I just need to learn some Japanese recipes to put them to use!

 

 

 

 

The Kinda Kawaii box was beautifully presented, with a lot of high end items. I spent more than I usually would on a subscription box, but with the price of boxes going up it made more sense to support a local business and get quicker shipping time. I’m really glad I chose to get a Kinda Kawaii box, and would definitely do so again in the future!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: October Recap

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Watch 40 anime

October end total: 28

A very slow month again for anime – I actually added two to my list, but I counted one (Sing Yesterday For Me) as September in the last update post for some reason. The other new show I finished was Beyond the Boundary. 

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

October end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

October end total: 19

I had quite the month for platinum trophies, and just knuckled down and got stuff DONE. The seven (!!) platinums I got in October were:

  • Trails Of Cold Steel 3
  • Iron Snout
  • Donut County
  • Drowning
  • Storm Boy
  • The LEGO Movie Videogame
  • A Summer with the Shiba Inu

Some of these games were certainly better than others, but mostly they were all enjoyable to play. They’re all very different games, so I had a lot of variety at least!

Read 15 books

October end total: 8

In October, I read We Set Fire To The Dark, which was… fine. It’s the first in a series, and I don’t think I’ll be carrying it on, but it was mostly an enjoyable read and I read it pretty quickly, taking me over the halfway line for this challenge!

Finish 100 best movies

October end total: 2

Finish Naruto

October end total: 4 episodes

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: September Recap

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Watch 40 anime

September end total: 27

A slow month for September anime, but I added 3 titles to my total, Sing Yesterday For Me, Junjou Romatica 2, and The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED. I’m going to finish this challenge if it kills me, because it’s probably the only one I will do!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

September end total: 5

So, I put my Unlimited card on hold because I still don’t feel comfortable going to the cinema, and then the following week Cineworld announced that all their cinemas are closing, so this challenge is officially cancelled!

Platinum 20 games

September end total: 12

Again, not a fruitful month for platinum trophies, but I did manage to add one to the list – Trails of Cold Steel 2. I’m working on Trails of Cold Steel 3 at the moment, and then Trails of Cold Steel 4 comes out, hooray! I’m still quietly confident about this one though, I think I can get another few platinum trophies by the end of the year.

Read 15 books

September end total: 7

In September I read two books; The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which I enjoyed somewhat. Having loved The Hunger Games a lot, I thought I’d really enjoy it but it was a bit mediocre in places and took me a long time to read it. My second book was A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I really enjoyed and read in a couple of sittings!

Finish 100 best movies

September end total: 2

Finish Naruto

September end total: 4 episodes

Anime

HypMic anime time!

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Hypnosis Microphone is a Japanese multimedia project spanning drama CDs, music, mobile games, manga, stage plays, and is soon to be adapted into an anime. If you’re here for an overview of Hypnosis Microphone lore, or a breakdown of characters, then you are in the wrong place. I don’t fully have a grasp on that myself.

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I discovered Hypnosis Microphone as one of the songs popped up on my weekly Apple Music ‘For You’ playlist, and I liked it. I questioned a friend who loves idols, v-idols and the like, and they advised me not to even attempt getting into the background of it all, and to wait for the anime, saying it was a messy and complicated road that lay ahead of me. So that’s what I did. I know a vague background of the plot from quick Google searches, so I have some kind of idea what it’s about – women rule politics (as it should be), and men fight through rap battles. Brief, to the point, and probably missing a lot of important information.

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say Hypnosis Microphone has been the theme of my pandemic. I was getting into it just before my (cancelled) trip to Japan, and since the lockdown started my obsession has multiplied. I couldn’t have picked a better time to get into the franchise. I’ve done nothing but listen to Hypnosis Microphone the last 6 months or so, and it’s catapulted into my heavy rotation. It’s also launched a whole genre of music on me – my recommendations are full of similar, v-idol/j-idol music, and I’m totally embracing it.

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Down below are links to some of my favourite Hypnosis Microphone songs, to get us all in the spirit for the release of the anime. I’ve included one ensemble song and one song from each of the main units, and have tried to limit it to a few songs. Honestly, it’s one of those things I could get totally carried away with as the songs are incredible, but I didn’t want it to be a link dump. Sorry it’s just links, I couldn’t embed videos for whatever reason!

Division Rap Battle

Break the Wall (Buster Bros) (I could only find the trailer for this!)

The Champion (Matenro) (I could only find the trailer for this too, boo!)

Shibuya Marble Texture – PCCS (Fling Posse)

Yokohama Walker (Mad Trigger Crew)

The anime launches this Friday 2nd October (also Haikyuu!! return day, what a day!).