Saturday, September 24, 2016

Top 4 Sites to Keep Up With Your Hobbies!

Here's something you probably don't know about me: I love keeping everything organized. I love lists. I love managing lists... and I love doing so easily. I'm a busy woman; I see TV shows, anime, manga, foreign drama and read books in my spare time. And I don't have the ability to keep everything sorted out on my own.

There are a few sites I use in order to easily keep track of my different hobbies, making it possible to effortlessly and seamlessly switch back and forth between them, even after taking long breaks. Took a three years break from anime? Pssssh, don't worry, you can slide right back into it with minimum hassle and bustle!

So without farther ado, here are four sites I would lost my mind without!!

So, this probably comes as no surprise at all because this is a bookish blog and Goodreads is the site for keeping up with your reading, but I figure I ought to include it in here in case someone is not in the know.

Although Goodreads has some issues that I can discuss very passionately, it's still the best site that I've been able to find for book lovers to keep up with their reading. It allows you to mark what you've read (even down to the precise edition), what you want to read, what you're currently reading, what you dropped, as well as write reviews, create shelves, update where you are precisely in a book, vote on lists, take quizzes, interact with other book lovers, and more!

This is one of the largest databases for books out there, and it's constantly updating.

Without this site, I'd be absolutely lost, and it's what opened my eyes to the reading community on the internet.

More often known as just "MAL", My Anime List is a site that literally defined my life. As a young girl, I watched Inuyasha, Digimon and some other anime on TV, but I was not exposed to the large and incredible industry of anime and manga until I found this site.

This is basically Goodreads for anime and manga - you can mark anime as "watching", "completed", "on hold", "dropped" and "plan to watch". The site constantly updated with the newest anime news, allows you to interact with other reader/watchers through reviews, groups, recommendation and community posts, and it's just generally a great place to keep up with what you're reading and watching.

It literally saved my life as I just returned to anime after a couple of years of hiatus, and I'm picking up exactly where I left off instead of fumbling and trying to figure out where the heck I was.

Sidereel is not as developed as Goodreads or MAL and doesn't allow you to categorize shows into "watched", "to watch" and the likes, but instead allows you to "track" shows, thus showing you when new episodes come out and enabling you to mark episodes as "seen".

You can also start lists (thus creating a "to watch" list instead of tracking the shows), write reviews, comment on news and the likes.

Sidereel is also a great database, covering the upcoming shows and telling you when a show you're tracking has been renewed... or worse, cancelled! I'm kind of uneven when it comes to watching TV shows (I can watch 10 episodes of a show in a single night, then watch nothing for the next two months), so Sidereel is a great tool for me to keep up with what I'm watching.

Life Sidereel, MDL is also slightly less developed than MAL or Goodreads.

The site allows you to keep track of foreign shows and movies by marking them as "Currently Watching", "Completed", "On Hold", "Dropped" and "Plan to Watch" but not much else. Like Sidereel, you can create lists, read articles, find recommendations, see the top shows/movies and even participate in forums.

My main issues with this site is that it's a bit clumsy when it come to the shows; you can't mark new episodes seen from the shows page easily, and on a personal level it's just not as comfortable as Goodreads or MAL, but this is honestly very subjective.

This is a good place to keep track of your dramas and find new stuff to see!!

Did I Introduce You to a Good New Site To Keep Up With Your Hobbies? Do You Know of a Similar Site for Movies?? I've Been Looking!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to Watch 16 Anime in One Month (Or So)| Bundle Review

Despite not blogging, I have been spending the last two months doing a lot of things I love on my free time. Such as...  ANIME WATCHING. Like, non-stop, over-the-top, finish-one-start-another mentality. It's been such a long time since I allowed myself to get lost in anime, and I forgot how much I loved it and the stories it tells. 

I ended up watching 16 anime, and they were all enjoyable in one way or another. Here's a short round up with recommendations for the casual or not so casual anime fan! Click the titles to get to their "My Anime List" listing where you can find more on the plot, characters and etc :)

There have been a ton of anime I watched in this month that weren't things I planned on watching, or didn't think I'd love so much but kind of had to give a shot to because of all the hype. Turns out, I was head over heels in love with them. Who would have thought!!

These three anime have the Big Three: great/unique plot lines, fantastic individual MCs and wonderful relationships, whether they be crazy relationships, meaningful relationships or antagonistic relationships.

No Game No Life // 12 Episodes 
This was such a random pick for me. I saw it on some WatchMojo list (I think it was about cute anime girls), went on MAL and saw it had high ratings and decided "what the heck?". I swear to god I spent half the time wondering what the fuck I was watching, but in the best of ways as I was smiling and laughing so hard through it all. The rest of the time I was just so impressed by the genius and scheming of these two siblings, who never lose a game. 

Recommended to:  People looking for an anime that is a ton of fun, has laugh out loud moments, great relationships between characters (and siblings) and a unique story-line. 

Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (AKA Erased) // 13 Episodes 
Completely different from our previous entry but just as addictive, The City Where Only I Don't Exist is a psychological thriller with a supernatural twist. Our hero has the unique ability to go a few minutes back in time, but a traumatic event in the present sends him all the way to the events that started it all; three child murders that happened in his hometown eighteen years ago.. and he's the only one who can prevent them and change the future. 
Building on the butterfly effect, this anime is beautiful, touching and thought provoking, utilizing its 13 episodes ran to the max.

Recommended to: People who are looking for a deep anime with great story line, wonderful characters and animation and legendary relationships. 

Noragami / Noragami Aragoto // 12 & 13 Episodes Respectively 
These two seasons of the Norgami series are somewhat of a mix between our first and second entries; with crazy antics but not shortage of deep and feel-filled moments. 
Despite this series being very popular, it somehow missed me and I only randomly found it on MAL and started watching it, and not a day later I was finished with both seasons. 
Having messed up gods, great action and wonderful relationships (seems to be the theme of this category, doesn't it?) make this one heck of a show.

Recommended to: People who love contemporary fantasy and mythology, and appreciate good characters and building friendships. 

Like in all forms of entertainment, we have the romantic department! These four shows focus on the more romantic plot lines, and are (for the most part) feel good, fun shows to help you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside! 

Akagami Shirayuki-Hime (Snow White of the Red Hair) // 12 Episodes 
This adaptation of one of my favorite manga is a fun, feel good romantic story about a beauty named Snow White with her unique (and danger inviting) red hair and Zen, the second prince of his country who meet by coincidence one day and became entangled. These two have a sweet, innocent progression of love that is delightful to watch and partake in.
I honestly have nothing bad to say about this anime, aside that I admittedly prefer the source material. Despite being very faithful, for some reason it failed to capture my heart the way the original managed so whole heartily. 

Recommended to: people looking for an innocent, heartwarming romance set in alternate, more medieval times. 

Tonari no Kaibutsu Kun (The Monster Next Door)// 13 Episodes 
Another adaptation of a great manga, this romantic comedy is about two very straight forward teenagers who face love head on for the first time in their lives. One is a straight-A student who loves studying and the other is a (cute) delinquent who's only acting out because he literally has no idea how to interact with human beings (like, seriously).
The product is a fun, funny and refreshing anime that is just a delight, especially if you've grown tired of the regular formula.

Recommended to: people looking for a YA contemporary romance that is both cute, straight forward, and doesn't beat around the bush. 

Sukitte Ii Na yo (Say I Love You) // 13 Episodes
Say I Love You is a contemporary romance about a loner girl and the most popular boy in school, who change each other's life as they begin dating. It's a very honest and straight forward story, with lots of feels and interesting side stories that make the experience richer. The source material is another of my favorite romantic manga and I loved this adaptation of it.

Recommended to: People looking for a more mature YA contemporary that also takes a peek at more serious issues such as self image and obsession.

Paradise Kiss // 12 Episodes 
Para Kiss is one of the older shows I've seen on this binge watch. It's one of those that has been on my TBR for ages but I didn't really like the character designs and I'm shallow so I just never got it.
I ended up really enjoying the show, even though I occasionally found it over the top with the overly eccentric characters and intriguing relationships (that totally clashed with the realistic ending haha)

Recommended to: People who are looking for a more serious and mature contemporary romance that tackles growing up themes and a more realistic outlook on the romance itself.

Really self explanatory, is you ask me...

Natsume Yuujinchou 3 / Natsume Yuujinchou 4  (Natsume's Book of Friends) // 13 Episodes Each
Before we start you need to know I adore Natsume Yuujinchou;  it's such a unique and special anime. These are sequels but it's not entirely necessary (though recommended 'cause they're awesome) to watch the first ones.
I loved being back in this world watching the beautiful and atmospheric chronicles of my favorite Natusme in anime, Natsume Takashi, and his everyday life as his kind and beautiful self takes on helping demons and humans alike with disregard to his own well being because he is just a precious cinnamon roll like this and must be protected at all costs.
This is a series about selflessness, love, equality, and how a power can be both a curse and a gift, depending how you look and use it.

Recommended to: people looking for an atmospheric anime with episodic chronicles that has little angst and is all about the characters and their stories (especially the tots adorbs main one). 

These are the strange and complicated anime that I've watched in this month. Most of them are not things I planned on watching but kind of sneaked on me. Unlike the Surprise Favorites they didn't jump to the top of my list, but I actually enjoyed them all for their various themes and stories!

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei // 12 Episodes
If you're looking for a random, totally unique and laugh out loud type of anime, Zetsubou Sensei is the one you should check out. Maintaining an in-story logic and continuity despite all the nonsense that goes about, this anime manages to be funny while actually throwing out thought provoking messages at you from time to time.
Not to mention the animation style is fantastic, merging all types of animation from stop motion and the likes within the regular anime animation.

Recommended to: people who like comedies and randomness, and are looking for something that would make them laugh their socks off.

Bungou Stray Dogs // 12 Episodes 
So this one is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Lots of people love this anime to bits and pieces, but for me it just didn't manage to smoothly incorporate the comedy and action, despite trying really hard. It was either one or the other, but it never managed to be these two things at once, making the transitions a bit sudden and abrupt. The characters are unique and interesting, and both this and Zetsubou Sensei use the author Dazai and his obsession with suicide for comedic purposes, which was interesting albeit morbid (worked better in Zetsubou Sensei tbh). I will see season two if there'll be one, but it's not one I'm holding my breaths for.

Recommended to: people who like alternate worlds, the supernatural, comedy and... uneven geometric hairstyles (seriously, this anime loves them).

Gakkougurashi (School-Live) // 12 Episodes 
I can't say too much about this one, but I will say go into this blind and don't let the cutey design of this anime deter you from watching it, because it carries a strong punch. I cried while watching this. I felt despair. I felt hope and happiness. In other words; I was transfixed! It took a year of my best friend nagging me to finally watch it, and then I was kind of kicking myself for taking so long because it was fantastic! Fingers crossed for season two!

Recommended to: people who like to be messed with emotionally. 

Angel Beats! // 13 Episodes 
I heard a ton of incredible things about this anime, but I'll confess it never really caught my eyes. The poster completely fails to bring through what this anime is about, even remotely. Despite having a hard time with the animation at the beginning (it was so weird looking and uneven to me, especially their faces!), I soon started enjoying this emotional roller coaster masquerading as an action series. Just about everyone in this show are cinnamon rolls who deserve better, tbh. I wasn't weeping like so many others while watching this, but you just might and it's a good anime nonetheless.

Recommended to: people who are looking for an action anime with substance, and aren't afraid to shad a tear or two in the process! 

K-On! // 13 Episodes 
Why is it so difficult to finish a thirteen episodes series?! I've been trying to watch K-On! for a few years. I originally reached around episode 9 and stopped. Then I decided to re-watch it and finish it a while later aaaaaaaaand stopped around episode 9 again. I decided to forego watching the first eight episodes of this series and just watch from episode 9 on in order to finally, finally finish this series. Ultimately, I feel like this just wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention for long. The characters are cute and fun, the music is great but... that's it, for me. Nothing more.

Recommended to: people who like slice of life, daily-life shows and music. Very low on action and the likes.

I absolutely loved The Prince of Tennis. It was the first sports anime I'd seen and it exposed me to how awesome sports could be in anime - all the flashy borderline superpower like moves, the dramatics, the way a single match can be as tension filled as saving the world... so I was really happy when I found out that the episodes that weren't adapted from the manga in the original series got a series of mini-seasons when I wasn't looking! I was super excited to watch this and then... and then... I was bored the whole time!! And the animation seemed kind of bad (though I can't remember if it was like that originally too and I just didn't notice). It wasn't good, it wasn't interesting, and I basically yawned my way through. Super disappointing! 

Recommended to: I don't. I recommend the original series, or Kuroko no Baske if you're looking for awesome sports anime. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to Make the Most of An Unplanned Hiatus

Hello, it's me... I was wondering if after all these months you'd like to meet to go over everything....

For the past couple of months I've been pretty inactive on the blog front, doing only the occasional bargain post as, while I wasn't blogging, I was still reading. In fact, the only thing I wasn't doing for the past couple of months is blog. Aside for that, I've been surprisingly... prolific. 

As everyone who loves blogging knows, sometimes... you just don't feel like doing it. At all. You sit in front of the computer, and you think to yourself "ahhh, I really need to write a post today. I'm falling behind". And then you click on a new tab and drown yourself in another 4 hours of watching anime instead. Because, why not?

I doesn't start because of some big event. There doesn't need to be some internet troll to take the blogging fun out of things and push you into a place where you don't love blogging anymore. It's like a reading slump, or a watching slump, it something that happens.

Well, you know what? I believe in taking that slump all the way. If I already don't feel like blogging, no point in worrying and trying to force the mojo to come back. It will do so on it's own, in it's own time. In the meantime, why not spend that time you're not blogging doing other things you love? 

You love reading? Then read. Don't think about reviewing those books, don't let yourself feel guilty. Just read. That's how you find yourself two months later with 16 books read and having one of the most prolific reading month of the last year ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

You love watching anime? Then go crazy and watch all the anime your free time allows. An episode is normally around 20 minutes long, so you can jam in 3 episodes in an hour, and four hours later you have finished a 12 episode season! Banazi! And if you feel like tackling longer anime, there are some great ones out there too. Personally, in this hiatus I focused on short anime and I've had the time of my life with 13 anime that were a ton of fun to watch, and felt like they took zero time out of me! \(^_^)/

You love foreign drama? Then find one that doesn't make you crazy with just how dramatic those dramas can be and immerse yourself in 16 hours of it because dear god their episodes are soooooooo long it feels like you're watching three seasons instead of one series but they can also be soooooo good. o(^o^)o 

You like knitting? knit. You like drawing? draw! Rid yourself of the ridiculous sense of guilt and do what you love until you feel like you can return to the love of blogging! 

I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I have reached a point where I want to talk to you guys about the things and shows that occupied my time in the last two months, so this is what I'll do. That's the plan. The whole plan. Does it suck? Maybe. But am I having fun with it? Heck yes!