2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: May Recap

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I am once again delayed in writing my end of month wrap up because I have no concept of time passing. I think generally I’m doing really badly at my challenges, especially since I’ve starting learning to draw which seems to be the only thing I do with my time these days as I’ve got really into it. It’s a lot of fun but it’s not getting any challenges done.

Watch 45 anime

May end total: 7

Progress is so slow on my anime watching, I only watched one show, Love & Lies, through the whole of May. I’m going to do Anime August again this year, and I had a brief thought that August was ages away, but in actual fact it’s really not.

Read 50 complete manga

May end total: 2

I actually haven’t completed any more manga for a really long time. I desperately need to rectify this but I find reading manga such a huge time sink and as I said in the intro I’ve been putting a lot of time into drawing and I just don’t have that much time (or inclination if I’m honest), to do much else.

Watch 30 films

May end total: 7

I did manage to watch a couple of films in May, it’s something I’ve been consciously trying to do more of. I watched Moxie and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire, both of which I enjoyed (Eurovision more if I’m honest).

Watch 30 anime films

May end total: 4

Like with ‘normal’ movies I’ve been making an effort to try and up the numbers on this one. I managed to watch a couple more – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (in a cinema and everything!) and Anthem of the Heart. 

Get 35 platinum trophies

May end total: 13

I had a pretty slow month for platinum trophies also, because drawing, so I only added one to my total – Call of The Sea, which I also reviewed if you check out my previous post.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

May end total: 1

*sigh*

Play 12 Switch games

May end total: 0

Oh dear, oh no. I just, don’t have time to do everything. I need to clone myself or something, I swear.

Read 12 books

May end total: 4

After a slow start to reading the Percy Jackson series, I managed to finish the first book in May (and actually the second in June, so I’ve now started the third). They’re a pretty easy read, and I’m enjoying them. I wish I’d read them when I was a teenager as I would have loved them then.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Kaze and the Wild Masks

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Kaze and the Wild Masks is a 2D platformer described by developers PixelHive as ’90s inspired’. This is definitely accurate, as there’s a majorly nostalgic vibe, from the slightly retro feeling artwork and music to the lack of dialogue. It simultaneously feels years old and brand new.

Read my full review at Push Square.

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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!

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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!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: August Recap

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Watch 40 anime

August end total: 24

Anime August was pretty successful, and I managed to get 8 shows watched. I will (probably) have reviews up for all of the shows I watched, but I added these to my ‘watched’ list:

  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
  • Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
  • Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto
  • Parasyte -the maxim-
  • Zombie Land Saga
  • King’s Game
  • Demon Slayer
  • A3! Season Spring & Summer

Now I’ve boosted this total a bit, I feel like this is a pretty acheivable goal for my challenges!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

August end total: 5

Hands up if you’re still not comfortable going to the cinema! It’s me, I’m not comfortable! I cannot see myself going back to a cinema before the year is out, so this one is sort of null and void really.

Platinum 20 games

August end total: 11

Not quite such a lucrative month for platinum trophies in August as July had been, but I did manage to get one under the belt; the Fairy Tail game. I will write a platinum review for it, eventually!

Read 15 books

August end total: 5

After finishing Howl’s Moving Castle I started the new Hunger Games book, and I haven’t finished it yet. It’s such a big and heavy book, it always feels like such a hassle to read it because I can barely hold it up properly, so I have not made any headway on this challenge.

Finish 100 best movies

August end total: 2

Finish Naruto

August end total: 4 episodes

Oh boy. Sometimes I get the urge to watch Naruto, but then I think about how futile it is to think I’m going to finish it and then I just sort of give up. Which is not the attitude to have, but it speaks volumes I think.

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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!

Games

My time with Animal Crossing

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When Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched back on March 20th 2020, the world was in the throes of a crisis. I’m sure I don’t need to relay the facts to you, but for context, here in the UK we went into government sanctioned lockdown on March 23rd – due to health implications, my own lockdown began on March 17th.

I had no intentions of buying ACNH, but a combination of getting caught up in the hype and wanting something to fill my lockdown time really appealed, so I bought it. My current play time sits at around 160 hours, and with the game having been out for 75 days (at time of writing). Whilst it sounds a lot, that actually only equates to an average of just over 2 hours per day, nothing in comparison to some players I’m sure.

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Initially, I really enjoyed playing ACNH. I loved meeting new villagers, building up my library, extending my house, all the things that are exciting and fresh once you start playing. Online there have been some people saying that ACNH doesn’t have enough to sustain it. Back over Easter, there was a lot said about the eggs that could be found throughout the game being too frequent and getting in the way of normal play. All of this is a stark reminder that the lockdown changed things. This isn’t a game that was designed to be played for 8 hours a day, we were supposed to be a lot more casual in our playing. I think now, some 75 days on, this is where I’m at with ACNH. I’m finally putting in the 1-2 hours a day playtime that the game developers probably had in mind when they made it. 

Once I’d met the goal of having KK Slider perform on my island, terraforming brought with it it’s own anxieties. Where the game had been reasonably relaxing knowing I had no control over the environment other than decoration, being given carte blanche to tear down cliffs and stick water wherever I wanted was pretty overwhelming.

There’s been a lot of discourse on Twitter about not comparing yourself to other players, but in an age where everything is easily shared, it’s hard not to. I’ll admit I got myself trapped in a cycle of seeing things online and realising I would never come up with anything that creative for my own island, and found that any joy I’d got from ACNH had left, replaced by fear. What I was scared of I couldn’t exactly say, but I think part of it was having an image in my head that I couldn’t recreate. 

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Whilst my playtime on ACNH has reduced of late, I’m still playing a bit each day. I’ve found it helps with my daily routine. The daily ACNH tasks; collect fossils and have them assessed, check for recipes on the beach and in villager houses, all of these things keep some structure in my life which as been missing since coronavirus hit. 

I have a few areas on my island I’m looking to develop, and that I have some ideas for, but after they are done I do wonder what the game will hold for me. I feel like I’ve definitely got my money out of ACNH, 160+ hours into any game is more than reasonable, but I also feel like the end of my time with ACNH is probably in sight. 

When I started writing this piece, it was centred around how playing ACNH helped me cope with depression and anxiety during lockdown, and whilst it has, I can definitely tell that the end of the cycle is in sight. I’ll still play it, but it’ll be less of a coping mechanism for me now. 

 

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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!

Games

My Top 10 Games of the Decade

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Along with the rest of the world, I’ve been deliberating what my top ten games/anime/films of the decade are.

I finally have some semblence of a list, though when I was putting it together I had a total mind blank and seemed to forget any game I’d ever played, so undoubtedly I will have forgotten something that should really be on this list.

  1. The Trails of Cold Steel series
  2. Persona 4 Golden (Western release date)
  3. The Danganronpa series
  4. The Zero Escape series (Western release date)
  5. The Last of Us
  6. The Wolf Among Us
  7. Final Fantasy XV
  8. Persona 5
  9. Mystic Messenger
  10. Ni No Kuni 2

When I think back on the decade, these are the the games that made the biggest impression on me. I appreciate some (Final Fantasy XV/Ni No Kuni 2) might not have been so well received, but for me, I had a lot of fun playing them and they opened me up to a lot of other things. Final Fantasy XV was the first Final Fantasy game I played all the way through, and made me appreciate the series a lot more than I probably had done previously.

What were your favourite games of the decade?