VIDEO: Women Unbound 1-Year Anniversary Event – “Transformation”

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me talking about a talk I delivered last Saturday in my hometown. The video is live, for those who may be interested in checking it out.

It was an incredible opportunity to return to Toledo for this talk.  I’m incredibly grateful to Lorraine Cipriano and Kayla Williams, the organizers of Women Unbound who invited me to speak both at last year’s launch and this year’s anniversary.  Special thanks also to Randy Nissen from Toledo Early College High School, who records the Women Unbound talks and brings a boatload of TECHS kids (who, I might add, I always find to be some of the most intelligent, mature, and overall amazing high school kids I’ve ever met.)

Summer Anime 2014: Mid-Season Update

The summer anime season is partway through, and I thought I’d list some changes I’ve made to my Summer 2014 viewing list.  (You can find the original here.)

What I’ve been watching from that list: Sailor Moon Crystal, Aldnoah Zero, Sword Art Online II, and Haikyuu!.

After watching two episodes of GLASSLIP, my boyfriend and I decided it was too confusing (and too boring) to continue.  The plot was confusing and vague, and we weren’t actually sure what was supposed to be going on in the series.  As it turns out, we aren’t the only ones, because a friend mentioned the following week that she’d dropped the series as well because she thought it was just uninteresting.  In my previous post, I mentioned Ao Haru Ride (English title Blue Spring Ride), but I haven’t actually started that series yet…

The most change, though, comes in the simulcast series I’ve added since then.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Anime image from Crunchyroll.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Anime image from Crunchyroll.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.  This is definitely the best addition to my currently-watching list.  Listed in English as Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, this series is about a girl named Chiyo who confesses to her crush Nozaki-kun, telling him she’s his fan, only for him to respond by giving her an autograph.  As it turns out, he’s actually a mangaka — a shoujo mangaka who’s pretty widely reknown for having insight into the hearts of young girls.  Except Nozaki-kun is pretty dense about Chiyo’s feelings for him.

So far, I’ve loved this show SO MUCH.  Every episode has me actually laughing out loud, which is pretty rare for me.  Almost every character represents a major anime trope, but the show is very self-aware, and Nozaki-kun and Chiyo both observe different characters acting like manga characters.  The plot doesn’t seem to have a specific goal in mind — it’s based on a 4-koma — but it’s incredibly enjoyable so far, and I’ve watched a number of episodes multiple times and had an excellent time with every re-watch.

Love Stage!!.  Conversely, Love Stage!! is kind of a terrible anime.  Based on a BL manga of the same name, Love Stage!! is about an 18-year-old guy who’s the second son in a family of entertainers who is a bit traumatized by being forced to dress as a girl for a commercial during childhood.  As it turns out, the boy who was in the commercial with him remained in the entertainment world, and when their paths cross again, the guy falls for him and decides it doesn’t matter if he’s not a girl.

Almost everything about this show is not to my preference.  First off, I’m not much of a BL (Boys’ Love) manga/anime type of person, and the art style is just a little off from what I’d typically enjoy – there are some things that just look weird to my eyes.  But like Nozaki-kun, Love Stage!! is pretty self-aware — the protagonist bursts out at one point yelling “AM I THE UKE?!” — and it’s weirdly difficult to stop watching.  I’ll probably finish it out, since I’m through 6 out of 10 episodes.

Persona 4: The Golden Animation.  P4GA is pretty low on my priority list.  I’m watching with my boyfriend, who was a huge Persona 3 fan when he played the game.  This one feels casual to watch, and I’m not that emotionally invested, but the art is lovely and I’m at least interested in finding out where it’s all going in the end.

Rail Wars!.  I started Rail Wars! because I saw it on Crunchyroll while browsing for a show to watch with my brother.  While we ended up settling on Love Stage!! instead, Rail Wars! stayed in the back of my mind, because I had no idea how a show about teenagers who want to work for a rail line would be interesting.

Let me just say that it’s actually SUPER interesting.  It’s also not at all what you think it might be.  Yes, the four characters in Rail Wars! want to work on a rail line — all of them with different exact goals, like the protagonist’s goal of becoming a train engineer — but for now, they’re stuck in Railway Security, and they get into all sorts of shenanigans.  Definitely worth checking out the first couple episodes.

Akame ga Kill.  I’ll admit I binged six episodes of this last night after seeing this post from Crunchyroll.  Without context, I just looked at the picture, thought “Whoa, so badass,” and found the show about 45 minutes later.

My knowledge of the show was pretty limited — all I knew was that in involved swords and cute girls, which is pretty vague as anime descriptions go — but it’s definitely worthwhile, something like a mix between Attack on Titan, Madoka*Magica, and Fullmetal Alchemist.  It’s an anime about assassins, but telling you much more will definitely spoil some surprises.  If you’re on the squeamish side, this show may not be for you, since the cartoon violence is pretty intense (though not to Psycho-Pass/Tokyo Ghoul levels) and because IT’S A SHOW ABOUT ASSASSINATIONS.


I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season will bring.  What have you dropped or picked up mid-season?

Summer Anime 2014: The Launchboard

I’ve never much been one to watch simulcast anime, but since receiving a Crunchyroll Premium membership as a gift (and subsequent access to simulcasting Sailor Moon Crystal), I figure now may be a decent time to start.  I’ll be watching a number of anime this season, and I’ll be making my marathon-or-drop recommendations at the end of the season.

Sailor Moon Crystal.  I mean, really, did you think this wouldn’t be top of my list? It’s been my number one since the date was settled, and the first episode didn’t fail to deliver what I was looking for: an updated art style that followed the story I remember while adding enough newness to feel fresh and fun.

Sword Art Online II. Recently, I made my boyfriend and two of my friends watch SAO so we could watch Season Two.  I was pretty sorely disappointed with the second half of the first season, but my satisfaction with the recent English translation of the light novel brought me back to the franchise.

Aldnoah Zero. My boyfriend was particularly interested in checking this out based on its promotions on Crunchyroll, and the first episode made me incredibly interested in finding out what happens next.  Aldnoah may be my next Attack on Titan: the first episode yanked me into its intense and dismal sci-fi universe.  The suspense might actually kill me, but I’ll try to hold out.

Ao Haru Ride.  Eng. Blue Spring Ride.  The manga for Ao Haru Ride is adorable and feels like a bit of a spiritual successor to series such as Kimi ni Todoke and Sukitte ii Na Yo.  I’m looking forward to this series, even if it’s a bit on the over-light side.  (Besides, I’ll have to recover from Aldnoah SOMEHOW.)

GLASSLIP. A friend recommended this after watching the first episode herself, and I found the opening episode… interesting.  I’m not sure if I like it or not, so I may end up dropping this series if the second episode doesn’t give me a more clear idea of why I should care about it.

I’m also playing a little bit of catch-up with Haikyu!, a men’s volleyball anime that’s intense and also very intricately animated.  I played two years of volleyball in middle school, and while I was really — not very good at it, it’s always been something I enjoyed, so watching Haikyu! has been a lot of fun so far.

There are so many exciting series to watch on simulcast, even if you’re not totally binging on the series you missed while you were finishing your school year or running your kids between practices and classes.  What anime are you watching this summer?