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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!

manga, Manga reviews

Review: My Dress-Up Darling vol. 1

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Story and art: Shinichi Fukuda
Genre: Ecchi, Romance, Slice of Life
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Synopsis: A high school boy with a passion for traditional dolls and a talent for sewing gets roped into making cosplay outfits for one of the prettiest, most popular girls in his class! As the odd couple grows ever closer, they find themselves in ever racier situations!

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Whilst browsing for new manga to buy, I stumbled across My Dress-Up Darling. I have a weird thing about not wanting to read too much manga that has been adapted into anime, I can’t even explain this hangup, and My Dress-Up Darling looked really cute from the front cover, and it was a story about a cosplayer! Much more relatable to me than anything else I could have picked.

I thought I was in for something cute and wholesome, and whilst not entirely wrong, I was quite surprised when the manga arrived and it was wrapped in celophane. Always a dead giveaway. I then spotted the Parental Advisory warning, and wondered what I’d got myself into. Clearly, I have a problem reading product descriptions properly.

Wakana is a boy who is interested in traditional Japanese hina dolls, and having been teased about it as a child, he is very sensitive about his interests which are generally perceived as feminine. His classmate Marin is a popular and beautiful girl, who is unashamedly open about her interests in anime. Marin catches Wakana using a sewing machine at school, making clothes for his hina dolls. It’s not long before she recruits him to making her cosplay for her current obsession; a character from Saint Slippery’s Academy for Girls – The Young Ladies of the Humiliation Club: Debauched Miracle Life 2 (what a title), which is an eroge (an erotic videogame for the uninitiated), so it’s here where the Parental Advisory warning really comes into play.

Wakana and Marin are polar opposites, and it’s so nice to see the beginnings of their relationship. Wakana is a very sweet, innocent boy, and Marin seems pretty worldly, though admittedly we don’t know much about her from the first volume. Marin helps Wakana accept that it’s okay to accept your interests and that there’s nothing wrong with liking what you like, which is really refreshing and I wish I had someone tell me that when I was growing up.

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The basis of Wakana and Marin’s relationship is really interesting, and it does seem on the face of it that Wakana is giving a lot and Marin is taking, so I’m interested to see how it develops and how things balance out.

I also really enjoyed all the cosplay references, naturally. My Dress-Up Darling is actually surprisingly in depth about cosplay, talking a lot about things like patterning outfits, fabric choices and wigs. It’s actually a relief as it would have taken me out of it a lot if it had been inaccurate.

Of all the manga I’ve accidentally bought, My Dress-Up Darling is up there as one of my favourites.

8 stars

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September Purchases

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I’m on a bit of a manga trip lately, which is evident from this post. The idea was that I wanted to read a bunch of newer stuff to practice writing manga reviews. I’ve done one so far, and I did enjoy writing it, but have hit a stumbling block with writing, but I’m hoping to have more stuff up soon. I think this month was a fairly light month as I was very aware that the PS5 comes out in November so I need to be saving some money.

IMG_8164My first lot of manga was me continuing existing collections. I bought all three copies I had left to get of That Wolf-Boy Is Mine, but only two arrived in September. Typical. I also bought volume 40 of Haikyuu!!, which is kind of bittersweet because it means that there are only 5 volumes left, boo! I also bought the next volume of My Dress Up Darling because I really enjoyed the first volume (review to come!).

 

IMG_8165As is customary, I also bought a lot of BL this month. In fact, I might have got carried away. My problem with having incomplete collections once again reared its ugly head and I felt compelled to buy all the volumes of Don’t Be Cruel that I didn’t already have, as well as The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese and The Carp On The Chopping Block Jumps Twice (collection complete), and the new volume of given. 

 

IMG_8162I bought a couple of blu-ray this month to add to the collection too. Firstly, Weathering With You, which I got to see at Scotland Loves Anime last year and I already know that I love, and secondly Bartender, that I’ve never seen before, but the concept seemed interesting and the special edition looked really cool.

 

 

IMG_8163Finally for this month, I bought some games! I was recommended Nelke and The Legendary Alchemist as I wanted something that was like a world building simulation. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m excited to! I also bought 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, which I also haven’t started, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!

 

That’s all for this month, I’m SO excited for October’s post because it’ll have Trails of Cold Steel IV in! Hooray!

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Our Dreams At Dusk

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Story and art: Yuhki Kamatani
Genre: Drama, Psychological, Slice of Life
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Synopsis: Not only is high schooler Tasuku Kaname the new kid in town, he is also terrified that he has been outed as gay. Just as he’s contemplating doing the unthinkable, Tasuku meets a mysterious woman who leads him to a group of people dealing with problems not so different from his own. In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.

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This review is of the full four volumes, despite image above being for the first volume.

The opening pages of Our Dreams at Dusk are pretty hard to read. Tasuku Kaname’s classmates discover he is gay, and as a result he considers suicide, believing that his life is over now his secret is out. Whilst Tasuku contemplates his fate, he sees a woman who appears to jump over a railing to her own death. Tasuku runs to the location to assist the woman, and finds Someone-san alive and well. Someone-san tells Tasuku to talk about his problems, but she won’t listen if he does.

Following Someone-san to a drop-in centre, Tasuku meets other members of the LGBT+ community and becomes involved in a restoration project rennovating an old house. As Tasuku develops relationships with the other characters, he is brought back from the brink and often remarks that he’s glad he didn’t end his life.

At it’s heart Our Dreams at Dusk has a really endearing story which made me feel a lot of things. For the past couple of years I’ve struggled with my own identity and labels, as have many of the characters in Our Dreams at Dusk. There’s a lot of focus in Our Dreams at Dusk on accepting yourself as who you are, and not getting caught up with labels or opinions of others, and it’s really refreshing to see in a manga, and resonated a lot with me and gave me a lot of food for thought. As Tasuku himself says “I think not knowing is okay. There’s nothing weird about that.”

Tasuku develops really well throughout the manga, and it’s really fulfilling to see how he grows and changes, becoming more confident in himself and about his own feelings. With the help of the supporting cast, Tasuku explores what it is to be a member of the LGBT+ community, and gradually accepts himself.

Sometimes it does feel like Our Dreams At Dusk has a character for every LGBT+ label, almost as if the mangaka used a checklist to make sure everyone was represented, and as a result it does sometimes feel a bit performative, but nonetheless it’s still really encouraging to see minorities represented in a respectful way.

Something to be aware of when reading this manga is that there are a lot of anti-LGBT slurs used. If you’re sensitive to that kind of language, then please go in knowing that. The language isn’t used gratuitously, and ultimately does serve a purpose within the context of the story.

8 stars

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August Purchases

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If you remember my last purchases post, you’ll recall that I had anticipated a heavy August Purchases post to get through my imposed 2 week lockdown prior to my Nan’s operation. Putting this post together, I’m surprised that there isn’t more, and I feel like I was reasonably restrained… ish.

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As usual, I bought a few manga. Adding to my Haikyuu!! and Full Metal Alchemist collections once again, and starting two new collections. I’ve not read Spy x Family yet, but I’ve heard really good things about it online, so I’m looking forward to starting that. I also bought My Dress Up Darling, which I have read and it was…. kind of a surprise. I bought it because it seemed like a cute story about cosplay, and it kind of is, but when I say it came wrapped in plastic, I think that probably tells manga readers all they need to know! Nevertheless, I did enjoy the first volume and I’ll continue to buy it to see where the story goes! I’m going to write up a proper review about it soon (someone please hold me to that).

 

IMG_9260Of course, I wouldn’t get through a month without buying some BL so I got a little haul this month. I bought all volumes of Escape Journey, which I promptly realised I actually have already read. I did really enjoy it though, and I have a feeling I couldn’t find the last couple of chapters anywhere at the time I read it so I’m glad to own it so I can finish it properly! I also bought the latest published volume of given, so I can continue to stay up to date with that collection!

 

IMG_0634I bought two games this month. The first was Fire Emblem Fates Birthright. For some reason I’ve been picking up old Fire Emblem games when I see them, and someone on Instagram was selling this one for pretty cheap, so I got it. Realistically, I know the chances of me playing it are pretty slim – my PS4, Vita and Switch backlogs are bad enough, without me adding the 3DS into the mix! I also bought Nexomon Extinction, which as a premise is very similar to Pokémon in that you catch and train Nexomon to win battles. I haven’t played that much of it, maybe 3 hours or so, but what I have played I have enjoyed and I hope to get back to it properly soon!

 

IMG_3348To round off the August Purchases, a modest blu-ray haul. I got Kiss Him Not Me, which I’ve never seen before, and also added to my Studio Ghibli collection by buying Laputa: Castle In The Sky. 

 

 

 

So, that was what I bought in August! Pretty pared back for me, I’m sure you’ll all agree!

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July Purchases

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True to my word in my last purchases post, I think I did pretty well in July! I see a lot of memes at the moment equating online shopping to the only bit of happiness available during lockdown, and whilst it is funny, it’s also true.

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My first category of purchases this month is games. I did go a little heavy on the games this month, I will say that. Catherine and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest I picked up preowned for a pretty decent price each, so I couldn’t really say no. Langrisser 1 & 2 was a really spontaneous purchase as I’ve never heard of the series before, or considered it in any way, but it was on sale and I thought, why not? I also bought AI The Somnium Files after it having been on my wishlist for many months. I’ve only heard good things about it!

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Next up, blu-rays. Or should I say, blu-ray? That’s right, this month I only bought one! That’s practically unheard of! I added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Tales from Earthsea.  

 

 

 

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And finally, what would a month be without buying some manga? I think this month I’ve actually only bought BL (no surprise there). I finished my collection of Ten Count (finally), and bought the new given volume, but I also bought Replay and Blue Flag, which I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get stuck into!

 

 

That wraps up July! I think I’m going to try and have another pared back month in August, but we’ll see! I have to go on full lockdown, not even leaving the house for supermarket shopping, as my nan is having an operation, so little deliveries might be the only thing that gets me through!

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June Purchases

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Another month in isolation down, another month of me trying to buy my own happiness. Of course, it’s not as bad as that really (most of the time), but having less to spend on travelling, commuting and socialising means there’s more money to spend on goodies. I’m determined to have a decent few months saving in the upcoming months because I just bought a car (though that won’t be appearing in the July Purchases post, nice as it is), so if my future Purchases posts are as long as this, then please feel free to give me a serious telling off!

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We’ll start this month off with manga. I have a lot of collections that I’m trying to catch up on, either to the current point of publication for ongoing series, or to completion for those that have finished. This month, I had decided to get a couple of volumes of Ouran, a couple turned into a few, and a few turned into “Ah, I might as well just finish it now.”, so that’s what I did. At least it’s done now! I also bought the latest volume of Haikyuu!! so that I don’t fall behind!

IMG_7674As has become customary, I also bought some BL; Seven Days Monday – Sunday, and Secret XXX. These two are both one-shots, so that’s something. At least I don’t have the collection problem! I’ve read both, and though they’re both very different to one another, I did really like them. Manga reviews are something I want to start doing, so I’ll write something up about them soon!

 

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As with my manga collection, I also decided I wanted to complete some of my blu-ray collections. I had started buying the steelbook versions of the Hunger Games series a few years back, and never got round to buying Mockingjay Part 2. I thought I had missed the boat on buying it, but I found a brand new copy  on eBay for not too much money, so I ordered it and now that collection is complete too!

 

 

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Completing collections must have been the theme for June, as I also bought GOT7’s latest mini-album and completed my album collection (apart from Japanese albums, I haven’t gone that deep… yet…). I got photocards for Mark, Youngjae, Jinyoung and Yugyeom, so a pretty good selection! Jinyoung is my ultimate bias, and Yugyeom is up there, so the only way it could have been better would be if my bias wrecker JB was in there too, but alas, not this time!

 

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Even though it’s not really my genre of game, and I’m a huge wimp, I couldn’t resist getting The Last of Us Part 2. I actually bough two copies by accident, but that’s a whole other thing… I have finished TLOU2 now, so I will hopefully have a review up soon!

 

 

 

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I went a little bit mad with buying anime blu-rays this month (no more so than usual, I hear you yell). I had preordered Promare ages ago, and the collectors edition finally came in. I’m really excited to watch this as I missed out on seeing it in the cinema when it came out. I also added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Grave of the Fireflies. I’m not quite mad enough to just buy all the missing movies from that collectio, so that’ll be ongoing for a while. I also bought a few series that I’ve wanted to watch for a while; Beyond the Boundary, My Love Story, and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. I could easily stream these all online, but I really like adding to my anime collection, and I always worry that the shows I want to watch will disappear from streaming sites and then I won’t get to watch them. I also think it’s really important to support the industry, so it’s a win win all round.

My last purchases for the month were this cute given pin from Pinfluential. I don’t think that they have this particular pin any longer, but they do have lots of other really cute pins! I also bought these cookie cutters of Bokuto and Akaashi from Haikyuu!! (my OTP). They’re from Tableplate. I haven’t got round to making any cookies yet, but I will, and they will be delicious and adorable. Finally, I got this Howl’s Moving Castle tin from YYKawaii! It also has little post-its with the same design inside. I did also buy something else from her, but I can’t show you because I bought someone else a matching one as a gift!

That wraps up June! Remember, permission to yell at me is granted for the next few months if Purchases posts are this long!

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May Purchases

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I know I said March was sad-time spending month, but honestly, it had nothing on May. Even sitting down to take the photos for this post, I couldn’t quite believe how much stuff there was. I guess I’m really seeing the benefit of not going out or having to pay for my commute to work in an increase in expendable income.

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I’ll start with the cutest of my purchases this month – three omanjuu of Akaashi, Bokuto and Yamaguchi from Haikyuu!!, and a small Bokuto plushie. I’ve banged on enough times about how much I love Haikyuu!!, and Bokuto and Akaashi are my two favourite characters, and I’ve mentioned previously that Yamaguchi is the character I most relate to in Haikyuu!!. I got these cuties from a shop called YYKawaii, which is where I get the majority of my anime merchandise from and I cannot recommend highly enough. They have really amazing customer service, and though they do sell through their website, their instagram is where most sales happen, so check that out if you want legitimate imported goodies from Japan.

Next up, I bought some books that aren’t manga! I really, really love The Hunger Games, so when this new novel came out, I had to get it. I’ve yet to read it, but I really like the concept of a prequel to find out about life in other districts before Katniss’ story, so hopefully it’s enjoyable. Off the back of the Percy Jackson Disney + series announcement, a lot of people were talking about how great the books are, and though they’ve always been on my radar, I’ve never got round to reading them. I found a great deal online, so I bought the full series to read (hopefully) before the series comes out!

IMG_7212As is standard, I also bought a buttload of manga. I bought myself a few volumes in series I’ve started collecting already; Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, and Don’t Be Cruel. I’ve only read Don’t Be Cruel so far, and as it says on the cover, it’s a BL. It’s actually a really good one, and I’m really glad I started reading it! I also started buying two new manga; Classmates and For The Kid I Saw In My Dreams. I have read Classmates, only to realise that I have already read it (classic), but it’s still really enjoyable so I’m glad I bought it! I bought For The Kid I Saw In My Dreams as the mangaka also created Erased, which is one of my favourite anime, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this also!

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Surprise surprise, I also bought a bunch of blu-rays for my anime collection. Pictured here are the films I bought; My Neighbours The Yamadas and Ocean Waves for my Studio Ghibli collection, and Napping Princess just because!

 

 

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Finally, to cap off the month, I also bought some series on blu-ray. I’ve come to realise it’s important to watch things on streaming services when they are available, before they get taken off. Soul Eater and Seraph of the End were both on Netflix, and have now been taken off, so this was the only way for me to watch legally. I’m happy to own both as a lot of people have told me how great Soul Eater is, and these Seraph collectors editions are the nicest collectors editions I have ever seen, so make for great additions.

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Though I’ve watched it, Terror in Resonance also falls under the same category of no longer on Netflix. I loved the anime so much, I just had to buy it.

I also sprung for Rascal Dose Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. It’s not one I’ve watched before, but I’ve heard good things and wanted to treat myself!

 

That wraps up the post for this month! I am determined to have a much more frugal June than I did May, so we’ll see how that goes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February purchases

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Considering in February I was doing my best to curb my spending for my upcoming Japan trip (more on that later…), I was surprised at how much stuff there was for this post!

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I was very kindly given the light novel of I Want To Eat Your Pancreas for Christmas, but after discussing with a few people, I’ve held off on reading it until I could watch the film. Happily, I haven’t had to wait too long as the film was released on DVD and blu-ray in February, though I’ve still not watched it. I have a feeling the cover is deceptive, as everyone I know who has seen it has told me I’m definitely going to cry, and to make sure I have tissues at the ready.

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Octopath Traveler was one of the reasons I wanted a Nintendo Switch in the first place. I was really drawn in by the art style of the game, and I heard so many great things about it so when I got my Switch for Christmas, I was frantically searching for a decently priced copy. What is up with Nintendo game prices never dropping?! I eventually saw that a mutual on Instagram was selling their copy for a reasonable price, so I snapped it right up! I’ve not got round to playing it yet – RIP backlog – but I’m really happy to own it!

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These Witches Don’t Burn has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so as a payday treat I bought it for myself. I can’t even remember what drew me to it but I’m very much a book cover person, and I liked the art style of the images on the cover, so it’s probably that. I’ve not started it yet, so I can’t tell you what it’s about!

 

 

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A month can’t go by without me buying BL, and so I bought volume 2 of Candy Color Paradox. It’s a really enjoyable story, about a journalist who has to work with a photographer he doesn’t like. It’s somewhat predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless!

 

 

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Yet more manga, this time Go For It, Nakamura! This manga is about a high school boy, Nakamura, who is in love with one of his male classmates. It’s really cute, and Nakamura is such a funny character who just can’t seem to get it together to talk to his crush. I really recommend it if you’re looking for something funny!

 

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I played and enjoyed the first Ni No Kuni game when it was out on PS3, but I got stuck at a particular bit and then never went back to it. After falling completely in love with Ni No Kuni 2, I decided to get the remastered PS4 version of the first game, so I can go back and finally finish it!

 

 

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I also bought the final volume of Our Dreams at Dusk, a really lovely LGBTQ+ manga. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I thoroughly recommed this manga, it’s really beautiful and well-done.

 

 

 

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Rounding off my March purchases with yet more manga, I bought the latest two volumes of Haikyu!! (though I’ve stupidly photographed them so you can barely see one, trust me, it’s there!). Haikyu! is my all-time favourite, so it’s nice to have an uptodate collection!

 

 

 

 

There’s not as much variety in items this month, and it seems like there’s a lot of books and games in comparison to January’s purchases, but I was holding off on buying anime merchandise because I was going to Japan. Unsurprisingly with the COVID-19 situation the way it is, we have very sadly had to cancel our trip. We’re both obviously devastated, but we will get to go another time. I had a little irrational spending spree to make myself feel better, which sort of worked, so March’s post will probably be quite lengthy!

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January purchases

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As part of my blog focus for 2020, I thought it would be fun to show y’all what I waste my money on each month! I’m talking the interesting, fun stuff I buy, not my everyday boring life necessities!

So, here’s a glance at what I bought this month!

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For Christmas, I was bought I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 1. What I hadn’t realised when I put it on my Amazon wishlist was that it was the third volume in the I Hear The Sunspot series, and I hadn’t got the second. Naturally, I then had to buy I Hear The Sunspot: Happiness, and once I had read those two, I had to buy I Hear The Sunspot: Limit 2, obviously. It’s no secret that I’m losing my hearing, and when I bought the very first copy of this manga, I’d just found that out which is probably why I Hear The Sunspot is special to me, with one of the main characters being hearing impaired, and a lot of focus on the hearing impaired and deaf community; it just came at the right time in my life, a time when it seems I myself might be in the same boat in a matter of time. The manga is so lovely, and quite bittersweet at times, and I can’t wait for the next volume to be released.

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At the same time, I also bought The Way of the Househusband vol. 1. I’d heard it was really funny, so I thought I’d give it a go, and I do really like it. It’s about a yakuza-turned-househusband, and the manga follows him as he navigates his new life with his normal wife. It is a really good manga, and it really made me laugh, so I’ll definitely continue to buy it.

Those who know me, and have the misfortune to follow me on Twitter, know one of my absolute favourite characters in anime is Shigaraki from My Hero Academia. My Shigaraki ita-bag is coming along really nicely, so I couldn’t resist buying this Shigaraki omanjuu to eventually put in there. Sticking on theme, I also got this Shigaraki figure, and the level of detail is insane. It’s easily one of the most detailed figures I own.

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I also bought these cute items from a friend who no longer had need of them. We have here a little Ponyo plushie, and a soot sprite, which has a sucker to fix to a window or mirror. There is also a strap of Phichit from Yuri On Ice! (which I can’t find at present due to moving rooms, boo!),who is one of my favourite characters in the series (and one that I’ve cosplayed previously!).

 

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I was very lucky at Christmas, and my parents bought me a Nintendo Switch, so this month I treated myself to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which was one of the games that made me want to get a Switch in the first place. To say I’m obsessed would be an understatement, any free time I have is funnelled straight into playing. I chose the Blue Lions for my first route, and I already have a few cosplay plans added!

 

Perhaps the most exciting thing I bought in January, or perhaps ever, was my dream holiday. In March, my best friend and I will be going to Japan! Excited doesn’t even begin to cover how I’m feeling, and the fact I don’t even have to wait that long is really putting the icing on the cake. At time of writing (because I’m obviously way behind with this post), it’s a little over 5 weeks until I go!

So, how did you like my first monthly purchases post? Let me know what your favourite thing in my small haul was!