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  • Beyond the Boundary (Anime) Review

    Beyond the Boundary (Anime) Review

    Anime fans often pose this question to the general public of its industry: “What makes an anime so great?” Or, “Which characteristics are essential to you within a series?”

    (…Okay, maybe not in those words exactly… but thanks for asking!)

    Well, while this might be a tad unfair of me to say, artwork and animation take top priority over everything else by a landslide. If any amount of visual style is presented so poorly that it distracts and/or confuses the audience at first glance, we have a major problem. And friend, you’re reading the blog from someone who takes pride in being a very, very picky audience member. Art, story line and character development are what I tend to to put in the spotlight upon reviewing an anime (or any sort of film, to be honest).

    Fortunately for this series, it seems to pull through enough for each of these categories. I present to you 境界の彼方,  Kyōkai no Kanata, or more commonly known in English as Beyond the Boundary.

     

    Story Line and Pacing of Beyond the Boundary

    Score: 8/10

    The first episode opens up with one evening at sunset, when a high school boy by the name of Akihito Kanbara witnesses one of his fellow classmates standing precariously atop the ledge of their school building. Assuming she plans to commit suicide, Akihito hurriedly rushes to her aid, approaches the girl from a distance, and shouts, “At any rate, someone who looks as good in glasses as you do simply should not die!” The young freshman, later known in the series as Mirai Kuriyama, then proceeds to take on the rational solution of stabbing him in the chest with a sword made entirely of her own blood. Strangely enough, Akihito kneels over in extreme pain… but does not die. Mirai learns that the boy is actually a half-youmu – the offspring of both human and youmu DNA – and utilizes this ability to her advantage by using Akihito for batting practice. Because as a Spirit World Warrior like herself, she is still unequipped with enough courage to kill another youmu for the good of humanity.

    Confused yet?

    In the interesting world of Beyond the Boundary, these odd creatures called youmu are actually raw manifestations of all mankind’s negative emotions, such as hatred, sadness, jealousy and the like. Therefore, it is said that so long as humans exist, youmu will continue to thrive as well. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can even take the form of a common person. Their abilities may also vary, though the basis on which they exist remains the same. And while most youmu can co-exist peacefully and unknowingly among humans, every so often a few of them will upset the balance of nature and need destroying, thus is the job of a Spirit World Warrior like Mirai. When one of these rotten creatures is finally terminated, their remains take the form of a small stone which is then traded as currency among other Spirit World Warriors.

    This is a very unique, and rather symbolic idea. You could go as far as to say that these youmu represent how human kind’s imperfections, if not dealt with properly, can cause the downfall of society, and even the world. Much later in the anime, this notion is visualized quite literally and I personally like it. A lot.

    The only thing I don’t particularly understand about the world itself is that most of mankind isn’t even present for the majority of the series… Hello? Where are all the people whose negativity supposedly created all these hideous monstrosities!? And why is no one alarmed that a handful of attractive teenagers are wielding weapons, playing with magic and essentially bleeding to death? Oh, Japan…

     

    Art and Animation of Beyond the Boundary

    Score: 8/10

    While I’ve seen better eye candy prior to viewing Beyond the Boundary, Kyoto never seems to disappoint regardless. The characters were built to move with exceptional fluidity; my inner artist still cried tears of joy every time someone did so much as lift a finger. From motion, to lighting, to color, to scenery… this anime had everything relatively down-pat and polished. It’s no wonder you see so many Mirai fan drawings – they’re all quite beautiful. And while its physical aesthetic was often skewed due to lack of action sequences where an art style like this one truly reaches its full potential, you can’t say even its still composition wasn’t absolutely stellar.

     

    Characters of Beyond the Boundary

    Score: 7.25/10

    Our main character, Mirai is a first-year high school student with the unique ability to use her own blood as a weapon. Despite its great power, however, Mirai is constantly shamed by other Spirit World Warriors due to the dangerous consequences of this rare talent when she was only a child. After accidentally murdering her best friend as an adolescent, Mirai’s had an intense fear of killing and often complains about her life via Internet. (Don’t we all?) “How unpleasant,” is her appropriate catchphrase. On the side, Kuriyama’s hobbies are raising small plants, blogging and mooching off her friends. She bears a fearsome appetite due to her deadbeat lifestyle, and timidly asks people to treat her from time to time.

    So she has a history, a dark past… and it’s adorable. Classic, even. As one of my favorite female roles thus far, Mirai has the look, the personality and the skills which make her an excellent main character. She has a problem, a fear, and must overcome it to save a loved one. She has a goal, a longing, and must achieve it in the end, otherwise face an ultimate peril. Mirai the protagonist changes throughout the embodiment of the series. Perfect. 10/10. I love her.

    Her possy, on the other hand…? Ehh.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I adored Akihito’s no-nonsense personality from the get-go and knew his voice of reason meant well to the story as a whole. The banter between him and Hiroomi (far left) is priceless and without both of them, the plot would not have thickened the way it did in the first place. However, what do we truly understand about any of the supporting main characters other than their own strengths and weaknesses? Nothing. There were so many necessary questions left unanswered. And with a seemingly great cast like this, that is a huge issue. Their sorry excuses for back stories were unbalanced, whereas one character got a few lines of exposition, and others were never mentioned once. And for what? They seemed to be of pretty equal importance to me. Why one over the other? Of course within a certain time frame, not everyone can be fully described to a ‘T’, but some helpful information about each character in order of said importance would still be appreciated.

     

    Soundtrack of Beyond the Boundary

    Score: 7.75/10

    The very eerie original soundtrack for Beyond the Boundary was written and brought to us by Hiarku Nanase, a Japanese vocalist and composer from Ibaraki prefecture. She’s developed soundtracks for several other television shows in Japan and is part of a few different bands. The sound of this series consists of both the traditional positive slice of life bounciness we all know and love, with its own blend of strings and choir hymns that will leave you chilling with excitement, knowing something equally breathtaking is just around the corner.

    The moment I heard the very first hum voice the entrance of Mirai perched atop the school, wind blowing through her hair, it immediately felt like pure fantasy. The tracks grow more and more suspenseful as time passes, and while it does emulate what an anime soundtrack typically has to offer, some parts of it were so charming and mysterious, they reflected the intentions of each individual quite nicely and almost forced the plot to slow, focusing intently on a single moment in time between two characters. Definitely a work of musical art worth listening to, twice!

     

    Personal Enjoyment of Beyond the Boundary

    Score: 7.75

    I have to say, my motivation to watch this traveled in waves rather than an actual build-up. Usually I don’t take pure interest in an anime until about episode four or five, and after that I’m hooked ’till the very end. In the case of Beyond the Boundary, however, I’d been hooked, dropped, hooked again, and then left limping to the finish… then hooked a third time. There were moments of tension, frustration and bad-ass fight sequences, however few (not to mention one of the most amusing filler episodes I’ve ever seen)… and then there were episodes so stagnant and still I didn’t know whether to call them boring or just downright puzzling altogether. I’m not so sure if writers were scrambling to provide proper information while still making this anime fun and original, but again, it was a bit unbalanced.

    All in all though, I completed the series and was satisfied with its ending, which I can’t say for most. A nice little thumbs-up to those who may want to watch it in the future. It was solid. Not perfect, but solid.

     

    Overall Score: 7.75/10

     

    Your Friendly Enthusiast,

    -Lew


  • Magi (Anime) Review

    Magi Series Anime Review 

    Summary of Magi: 

    In a mystical world based on the setting of the ‘1001 Nights’ story, Aliabab yearns to conquer a dungeon, a mysterious tower that, if beaten, can grant power and wealth. However, it isn’t until a young boy named Aladdin, who appears to posses his very own magical abilities, comes along that Alibaba gains the courage to venture inside. Soon, what appears to be an exciting adventure unravels into an evil plot much bigger than they anticipated.

     

    The Plot: 


    One of the few problems I had with this series is the rushed first few episodes and the lack of an overarching storyline at the beginning (this is apparent later on).

    Once you get past the first three episodes, though, you’ll start liking the little arcs and the speed dies down to fit in the development needed, especially in the second season.

    What I specifically found admirable about the plot and the world in general, however, were the issues discussed throughout the whole series such as slavery, poverty, war, identity, fate, and politics. There are some dark aspects in Magi, and I applaud the staff for it.

    Score: 8.1/10 

     

    The Characters of Magi: 


    Where the story lacks, the characters soar. I can honestly say that the cast was unique, fun to watch, and many of them were developed excellently. Despite all of that, the main three (Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgiana) were still the stars.

    But before I ramble on too much, there is one key factor that I would like to point out: the amazing female characters. There are very few anime where the girls add as much to the story as the guys, and I’m proud to say that Magi is one of said anime. Morgiana, Kougyoku, Hakuei. The list goes on and on.

    I mean, even the fanservice providers (Yamuraiha and Meirs) have actual motivations and personalities. Thumbs up, Magi!

    Score: 9.3/10

     

    The Animation of Magi: 


    Although the animation was sort of choppy during the first season, the second season made up for it and absolutely blew me away. Just by looking at the opening, major improvements can be seen. I also enjoyed the vibrant colors and the fact that the censorship was kept to a minimum, which leads to some amazing imagery, even if it is a bit gory. Nothing too over the top, thought, so don’t get scared off.

    Score: 8.4/10 

     

    The Soundtrack of Magi: 

    As for the sound, it did its job well. The openings and endings were catchy (some more than others), and the music set the tone very nicely. I think the music definitely took flight in the second season, but the first season pulled the score back down. Still a good soundtrack overall.

    Score: 7.9/10 

     

    Overall Enjoyment of Magi: 


    I, personally, loved this anime. It has successfully landed a spot as one of my all time favorite anime, definitely in the top five. Plot was executed nicely for the most part, the characters were nothing short of legendary, and the entire series just put together everything perfectly. I was definitely impressed.

    Score: 9.0/10

    And so…

    Plot: 8.1/10
    Characters: 9.3/10
    Animation: 8.4/10
    Soundtrack: 7.9/10
    Overall Enjoyment: 9.0/10

    FINAL SCORE: 8.54/10

    I definitely recommend this anime.

    Thanks for reading!

    -Otaku_Cookies


  • Welcome to the NHK! (Anime) Review

    Welcome to the NHK! Anime Review

    Some spoilers ahead!

    Welcome to the NHK!

    24 Episodes

    Aired from Jul 10, 2006 to Dec 18, 2006

    Gonzo

    Rated R (According to MyAnimeList)

     

    Welcome to the NHK! has gotten quite a lot of attention since its airing date: 2006. This anime well deserves that attention too. I came into the anime not really knowing what to expect. From the synopsis I read, it sounded like a unique and sort of twisted anime. Would it be presented well? Or would it just be some sort of train wreck? A character that thinks everything is an conspiracy? What’s that going to be like? I have heard positive things about this anime before, so I wasn’t totally shooting in the dark. Let me tell you, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Great characters, a pretty well-crafted plot, and a pleasing soundtrack to go along with it all. Throughout the anime, you also get to see some dark humor, which is pretty rare for an anime. A fairly unique anime that was done well. The issues and lives of NEETs (Not in education, employment, or in any sort of training) is presented well, along with the lives of a Hikikomori  (Japanese for a person who cuts themselves off from society and people. A social phobia of sorts.) The characters and their troubles felt heartfelt and realistic. On a side note, I have heard that there are differences between the anime and manga. For example, in the anime, Satou (the male lead) goes a little crazy simply by being cooped up in his apartment for a long time. In the manga, he is shown doing drugs and that is the reason for his craziness. I don’t really get bothered by this too much, as I never read the manga, but I could see a loyal manga reader getting annoyed. I love this anime a lot, but I do realize it has a few flaws. Let’s get started on the craziness that is Welcome to the NHK!

    Story of Welcome to the NHK!

    (7/10)

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Welcome to the NHK! is quite an enjoyable one, but looking at it critically, it does have some flaws. At times, the story can feel a bit mashed together and can take a few unrealistic turns. Other then that, I really loved the story. The interesting topics that were covered like depression, Otaku, NEETs, and Hikikomori really made this anime unique. I felt like this anime showed the audience the darker side of life. Perhaps in a way, a more realistic one too. I really wish that more anime would attempt this type of story, as it was quite an interesting one. I loved seeing how everything would resolve and what the characters would do to face their problems, if they even did at all. For the review, I’m not going to go into major spoiler territory, but there might be some minor ones along the way. Now, let’s look at the story more in depth.

    The story starts off with introducing Satou, the Hikikomori and NEET. He is lying on his bed in his small apartment. Right off the bat, you can tell that he is a depressed and somber guy. There is an annoying anime theme song playing next door and he wants the noise to stop. The problem is he hasn’t gone out of his house and talked to somebody in years; other than going to the convenience store to get some food or cigarettes. He lays there pathetically and starts to hallucinate these weird pastry things with eyes. After they disappear, he begins to think that he is part of a giant conspiracy by the NHK. Their plan is to create addicting anime, and the addicting anime will create more and more Otaku, which will earn them lots of money. Satou confirms this conspiracy by talking with his fridge… so you can see it’s all in his head. Still, all this conspiracy stuff lingers and infects his mind. The reason he would even being to think this in the first place was because of this girl in college. She was his “Senpai” and they always hung our after school together. She constantly talked about conspiracies, which planted  some paranoid ideas deep in the dark corners of his mind.

    Also, sometime in the first episode, the anime shows how he got to be a Hikikomori and a NEET. It began when he was walking down the street to another day of college. He felt relaxed and at ease at first, but then he slowly felt like everybody was watching him; judging him with an evil grin. Satou thought everybody was whispering about him and how disgraceful he was. He trembled and simply couldn’t take it anymore. Satou dashed back home, wanting to get away from it all. Since that day, he has barely has come out of his house.

    Now, a young girl and her grandmother come to the house and knock on the door. He is sent into a little bit of a panic, wondering how he’ll possibly be able to communicate with another human being. After all, he hasn’t done so in a long, long, time. He rushes to the door and attempts to communicate with them normally. Needless to say, that doesn’t go that well. The girl who takes to him is very beautiful in Satou’s eyes, so that doesn’t help either. They talk about the rising population NEETs, which makes Satou even more nervous. He shakily takes their documents, but of course denies that he would possibly be a NEET, even when they never accused him. He closes the door without saying goodbye. After a few seconds, he peeks through the door and sees the girl again. She’s stunning. They lock eyes for a second, but then she is called by her grandmother to get going. Satou closes the door again, and looks over the papers, eventually deciding to try to get a job at the manga cafe. He wants to turn his life around.

    Satou shaves himself, gets dressed up, and has his resumé in hand. As he walks to the manga place, he repeats over and over under his breath, “I’ve heard you guys are hiring” When he actually makes it to the café, he fails horribly, as the same girl he saw yesterday was there. As soon as he sees her, his plans fall into tiny pieces. He mumbles something to her and then quickly runs out of the door. He hadn’t noticed that he had dropped his résumé on the ground. Later, the girl drops his resumé through an opening on his door. There is also a note on the back of it. The note talks about how he should meet up with her and she will try to help him out of his Hikikomori condition. He would have to sign a contract. She wants him to meet her at the park in the evening and discuss the contract and his therapy.

    Satou, at first, is convinced he won’t come to the meeting. He eventually decides to do come anyhow, as he would have probably went to the park around this time, even without Misaki (the girl), asking him to. They meet up and she tells Satou he need help. He starts to deny everything, wanting to impress this lady. He tells her that he does have a job as a video game developer. She wants proof of this, thus beginning the crazy ride with Misaki and Satou.

    When he gets back to his apartment, he decides to man up and talk to his neighbor next door, whom is playing an annoying anime theme song everyday. He busts down the door and discovers that the person who is playing the annoying music is his high school friend; Yamazaki. Coincidentally, he has been going to a video game school for a while now and is learning how to make games. Since Satou has no experience whatsoever in the video game making department, they eventually pair up and begin to make a hentai game. Yes, a hentai game. They decided it would be an easy game to make without that much experience. I think this is a good time to let you know that this anime can be quite perverted at times, but only to really add effect to the story. I didn’t feel as if it was fanservice at all. After all, what is a 22 year old man going to do alone in his apartment this whole time?

    Anyhow, more chaos, dark humor, and difficulty arises. After a while, Satou finally gives into Misaki and admits he is a Hikikomori. He signs the contract; agreeing to meet up with her in the evening every once in a while for their therapy session. Many interesting things happen to the characters. From suicide pacts to MMORPG addictions, this anime always keeps you entertained. Now, you may ask, if the story is so great and amusing, why only a 7 out of 10? Well, I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but there are a few unrealistic twist and everything seems to piece together a little too nicely. At times, the way Satou acts in certain situations makes me a tad bit frustrated. But, other than those things, the story was a great story.

    Finally, the ending sort of annoyed me. Sure, it was a nice ending, but the way it all unfolded just seemed ridiculous. At least the ending was sort of satisfying. I only wish it had something more to it and unfolded a bit better. Oh well, a 7 out of 10 gives this anime justice.

    Characters of Welcome to the NHK!

    (9.5/10)

    This was one of the show’s major strong points. I think that this anime was meant to be a more character driven than a plot driven anime. The characters all acted very life-like and never ceased to amaze me. I feel connected to Satou in a way (don’t get the wrong idea), as that was how realistic he felt to me. You could always find a way to relate to a few of the characters in Welcome to the NHK. Even the side characters were magnificently crafted. You would see how each individual character would deal or not deal with their struggles. Character development happened a lot in the story; you would Satou progress and digress throughout the plot. The other characters progress right along with Satou. Satou is definitely not the only person with problems. It shows the darker side of humanity nature and the harsh reality people have to deal with. Some people want to simply find somebody lower than them to make themselves feel better. I think every human always wants somebody below them; even if that lower person is somebody they know hardly anything about or even if they have some feelings for them. The anime also shows that people may have problems you may never even know about. Many themes about human nature are introduced in Welcome to the NHK. These characters are so realistic and I simply love every one of them for their each flaws and personality. Great presentation of the characters. Definitely amazing and well-crafted characters.

    Satou, Tasuhiro

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Satou is one of my favorite main characters of all time. In anime you don’t usually see depressed and hopeless people, but Satou is an exception. He’s a pretty sad sack. Misaki is the girl who decides to help Satou out of his Hikikomori state, even if she isn’t the best person ever. In the anime, Satou goes through many phases. From extreme video game addiction to actually walking around a town, Satou’s Hikikomori state varies a lot. It’s quite interesting to see how he develops through the show. Will Satou ever get a life? I also enjoyed his broody and melancholy demeanor. He is also paranoid and on the conspiracy train. Satou thinks everything is to be blamed on the NHK. Pretty interesting ideas, huh? How often do you see a character like that? Satou’s quirks and fears from his Hikikomori state was unique and fun to see how it would play out. His personality brought a lot to this show. I felt like Satou definitely stood out from most main characters, as they are usually the major hero of the story, while Satou is basically a sad loser. Even depressed as he his, he has happy moments and joyful moments in the show. I felt like his personality had depth to it and wasn’t just your usual male main character personality. Satou’s life brings a bunch of dark humor to the show and shines life on the people who are not heroes.

    Nakahara, Misaki

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Misaki is an absorbing character. The way she acts, talks, and does things is all sort of intriguing. At the beginning of the anime, you might think her of as a well-put together individual, but throughout the story you slowly find there is more to her than what meets the eyes. Her character shows that there might be a lot more to a person that you may never know about. People are not just simply good or bad, there is much more behind them. There are reasons the way they act the way they do. Misaki acts rudely at times, but she is simply a flawed person like everybody else is. That doesn’t mean that’s all she is. She does want to help people, even when she may look down on those people, she still wants to make their lives better. I don’t want to reveal to much more about her, but she is a complex person and you find out many things about her along the way. I liked her at time, but at other times she seemed extremely mean-spirited. Overall, she’s a compelling and fascinating character.

    Yamazaki, Kaoru

    Welcome to the NHK!

    Yamazaki is Satou’s next door neighbor and high school friend. He got bullied in school for being a geek and having glasses. That’s when Satou offered a helping hand. Their relationship grew a little more after that, but they never became best of buddies, so they never stayed in touch after high school. Coincidentally, Satou and Yamazaki moved next door to each other unknowingly. Yamazaki always played annoying songs from anime until Satou finally decided to knock on his door and talk to him. They then teamed up and became greater friends than ever before. Yamazaki is an otaku who loves anime. He goes to a video game school where he is still made fun of. He also has some girl trouble along the way. Yamazaki never knows if he can really trust her or not. I think Yamazaki was probably my least favorite character in the show, as he was annoying at times and sort of slow to catch on. Still, he was a well thought out character and had an entertaining personality. Quite a geeky person. He was a good character to have in the show.

    Sound of Welcome to the NHK!

    (8/10)

    The sounds of Welcome to the NHK were pleasing to the ears. I enjoyed the first opening to this show a great deal, but I didn’t enjoy the ending songs as quite as much. Also, the second opening song for Welcome to the NHK was simply a remixed version of the first one. I thought the original version was a whole lot better than the remixed version. The first ending song was a very quirky one. I haven’t heard any other ending song even slightly close to it. For me, it seemed that the first ending song represented all of Satou’s craziness in his mind, which he sure does have a lot of. The background music to this anime was usually quite melancholy, which definitely fits the mood of the show. There were some happy songs spread throughout the show to lighten the mood a little. I enjoyed most of the songs and I sometime listen to the OST from time to time.

    The voice acting in the Japanese and English dubs were both amazing. If you have been following my reviews, you’ll know I usually prefer the Japanese voices, but for this one, either one will do fine. For once, an anime show that has a good dub that doesn’t make me want to pound my head against a wall. You could really hear the weariness in Satou’s voice in the Japanese version, but that could just be my opinion. In all their voices, you could hear their emotions and soul radiate from it. Some moments made my heart break a little because of how well the voices were. Great voice acting.

    The environment noise in Welcome to the NHK was fairly standard; nothing special. It got the job done. There was some good details in the major events in the anime, but other than that, nothing spectacular. The sound didn’t fully immerse you in the anime, but it was still fine.

    Art of Welcome to the NHK!

    (5/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Well, the art was sadly pretty crappy at times. One scene would be animated very nicely; with details of the characters and pleasant shading. Then, the next scene would have the character be blobs of color. It was horrible to transition from a nice piece of art to a kindergarten’s drawing. My guess would be that the animator’s may have gotten lazy or ran out of money so they had to cut some corners. I wish everything was better animated overall; even the scenes that were animated good. It was honestly distracting and sort of frustrating when the art goes to crap.

    Nothing much else to say about the art. There wasn’t really any noteworthy scenes or beautiful things that I noticed. Well, I guess it sort of fits the general mood of Welcome to the NHK.

    Enjoyment of Welcome to the NHK!

    (9/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Man, I enjoyed the hell out of this show. Despite its few minor flaws here and there, along with the artwork taking a dive occasionally, it was still a really fun show to marathon through. I enjoyed almost every episode that was thrown at me. The character interaction and the interesting problems that arose, made you want to watch one episode after another. At first, I was a tad bit reluctant, but once the show got going, I couldn’t stop myself. Whenever the show felt too dark, the creators added some dark humor to make you chuckle. I especially enjoyed this show because of my love for Satou. With his crazy and quirky personality, I couldn’t drop the show for a second. I wanted to see what he would do next. This anime seemed compelling in every way: with the characters, plot twists, and the craziness of it all. I definitely didn’t regret starting this show.

     

    Overall Rating and Final Notes of Welcome to the NHK!

    (8/10)

     Welcome to the NHK!

    Welcome to the NHK was a crazy ride that I won’t forget anytime soon. I don’t think any anime will replace the special spot Welcome to the NHK has in my heart. The troubled characters, the dark and pretty realistic story, and the morbid humor makes this anime quite an enjoyable one. I really wish that more anime would attempt the kinds of things that this show did. Not everything in life is full of butterflies, rainbows, and kittens. This anime shows how life can be really tough to some people and sometimes you will hit rock bottom. Hopefully not very often. Conspiracies in this show is a good reminder for people to not get too wrapped up in them, or you may find yourselves talking to a fridge. This show does the themes of depression and the harsh reality of life well. That’s the main reason why I enjoyed this show so much. It serves as a wake up call for some; that you need to get off your butts and do something once in a while. Anime isn’t everything in life.

    I think this one of the few times where my overall rating is going to be lower than my enjoyment rating, as my personal enjoyment usually adds up to how good the anime is overall. But, alas, this is an exception. I did enjoy this show a great deal, but this show can’t be rated a 9 out of 10 when put all together. The few flaws that the story had and the dips that the artwork took, lowered the score a little bit. 8 out of 10 is still a really good score, don’t forget, but Welcome to the NHK isn’t a masterpiece. I recommend this show to anybody who would enjoy a realistic show and wants something different. Who knows, this show might end up being your Misaki in life.

    ~TheDragonStar

     


  • Person 4 Golden (Video Game) Review

    Persona 4 Golden Player Review

    Persona 4 Golden
    Game Cover

    *Spoilers are present*

    Review by Yu

    Format: Digital Download and Physical
    Publisher: Atlus
    Developer: Atlus
    Rating: M
    Cost: $29.99 (US)

     

    Overview of Persona 4 Golden

    01-persona-4-the-golden-2

    In a small town named Inaba, you play as “Insert your Hero name” or as many know him as Yu Narukami. Recently after Yu comes to Inaba due to his parents’ work, must stay with his uncle for a year, as murders begin to happen. At the same time, a rumor travels about Inaba, where at midnight if you watch the tv while it was turned off the [Midnight Channel] would show your soul mate. Due to this rumor, Yu goes to experience the Midnight Channel, him being partly sucked into his tv, is now about to enter the tv, and meets Teddie along with Chie and Yosuke accompanying you. During their time there, Yu is now able to manifest a Persona known as Izanagi. With his new found abilities, you must discover what the other side of the world hides.

     

    Characters of Persona 4 Golden

    Persona 4 Golden
    Characters

    Hero (Yu Narukami or whatever name you want to be called): Now living in Inaba for a year, he is a second year student at Yasogami High School, after his first few days in Inaba, he gains the ability to manifest a Persona. Hero is developed through how you play the game and by the bonds you make as well. Some events need certain development to see these events.

    Yosuke: Second in Command of the Investigation team with Yu as the leader. Hiding that he is tired of Inaba and wants to be in the big city, his your jokester and fun kind of person, with a lot of bad luck that comes his way.

    Chie: This girl loves MEAT, I know that obviously most of you think of that in a perverted way, but she literally loves to eat meat. She’s the athletic girl with a powerful kick but still looks great after eating. She is friends with Yosuke and Yukiko in the beginning and later joins the Investigation team.

    Yukiko: The next generation owner of the Amagi Inn, she is a traditional Japanese girl with a odd sense of humor. She may be traditional but her cooking will knock you out (literally). After facing with her want of being free of the Amagi Inn, she becomes a great asset  to the team.

    Teddie: Being found in the tv world, not much is known about Teddie, except that he has lived in the tv world for a long time. He takes notice of people being thrown into the tv and appearing on the other side. After being bullied alittle by Yu and Yosuke, he joins as a analyzer for the time.

    Kanji: The Reckless Beefcake known as Kanji, is seen as a biker and a hooligan. But what you truly find will amaze you. After dealing with his other self, he will join as the second melee oriented character in the game.

    Rise: Known by the world (In game), as Risette, she leaves the music business and is replaced with another Idol. Now living in Inaba, she must deal with being a victim in the recent murders. Question is if “Yu” can save her.

    Naoto: Known as the Detective Prince, Naoto is very suspicious of this case like going into danger that will cost the detective’s life. One of the greatest assets to the Team.

    Nanako: Daughter of Dojima, and calls Yu, Big Bro. She is a lonely child at home, and grown mature due to the loss of her mother.

    Dojima: the Uncle that you will stay with for a year. He works as a detective for the Inaba Police Department, which can help in your future endeavors.

     

    Gameplay of Persona 4 Golden

    Persona 4 Golden
    Game Play

    The game works great, loading times don’t take long, combat looks great since it is all 3D. I would compare the combat to Pokemon but a much more tactical and a lot of interactive version of it. You are able to give your teammates orders during battle to do specific things. The game in the city is 3D as well, allowing you to run through Inaba and visiting nearby places.

    This game focuses on choices will can change how people think of you, how they feel about you, and alter your ending. There being about 5+ endings. The drawing of the character faces show how well the game has been worked on and their moods.

    There are some mini games including fishing and bug catching.

     

    Experience of Persona 4 Golden

    Persona 4 Golden

    I’ve played a total of 209 hours and 22 mins of this game, completing the game about 5 times with different endings. The game is a great narrative and one of the ones that make you think of how people are different and how strong your bond with people can be. Combat is really fun once you start playing and continue to play. I’ve also cried several times in some scenes that you should experience your self. Also once you meet everyone on the Team, you’ll start to think that their actually friends, that’s how great this game is, making it one of the best rated games for the Vita  on IGN and other game review sites.

    Score Rating

    The game is my honest favorite for the Vita, with me giving a 10/10
    Pros
    -Deep Story with alternate endings based on how you play and interact.^^
    -Great 3D combat^^
    -Replayable for many times^^
    -Deep back story for all of the character bonds available^^
    Cons
    -Same looking enemies but with different abilities and some appearance changes.

    “**” is for main concerns of the game that may cause you to play the game longer than you intended to or something people might not like.
    “^^” is for great features of the game.


  • Princess Jellyfish (Anime) Review

    Princess Jellyfish Review

    (Warning: This review contains minor spoilers. It won’t affect your watching experience much, but they are still there)

    Princess Jellyfish

    I began watching Princess Jellyfish because it was on Netflix. I had already seen all the anime that I wanted to see on Netflix, so I began watching it. I instantly fell in love with the characters and the story.

     

    Plot of Princess Jellyfish

    Tsukimi Kurashita watching a jellyfish

    One day on Tsukimi Kurashita’s way home, she stops by the pet store to visit her favorite jellyfish. There, she notices that there is another jellyfish in the same tank. She realizes that with this new jellyfish, her beloved friend will die for sure. While she tries to warn the shop clerk, she is turned into the stone at the sight of how stylish the shop owner actually is. All members of the sisterhood cannot be around the stylish, or else they will turn into stone. She is then suddenly pushed down by a shop clerk, a beautiful girl named Kuranosuke. Kuranosuke appears behind her and helps Tsukimi rescue the jellyfish. When Tsukimi and Kuranosuke get back to Tsukimi’s home, they put the jellyfish in the bathtub. Afterwards, the beautiful girl lies down in Tsukimi’s bedroom and falls asleep. After giving up on waking her up, Tsukimi falls asleep as well. The next morning, Tsukimi wakes up to find out that the beautiful girl that helped her was actually a boy who enjoys dressing up in drag. This is where it all begins, as Kuranosuke and Tsukimi slowly become friends, while Tsukimi tries not to tell Kuranosuke’s secret to anyone in the sisterhood. Bringing a man into the sisterhood is considered an act of treason amongst them.

    While Tsukimi and Kuranosuke become friends, Kuranosuke begins to take interest in Tsukimi’s appearance and starts to dress her up so that she looks like a stylish. This is when she meets Shu for the very first time. Shu and Tsukimi become friends as they go to the thing that Tsukimi loves most, the jellyfish in her bathtub. Shu slowly finds his way into Tsukimi’s heart as Tsukimi finds her way into Shu’s heart. Then a problem begins to occur. The entire area around their building is being torn down to put up new buildings. The next building to be demolished is their building! The sisterhood must now enter the world of the stylish and try to save their building from the temptress who is trying to tear down it. Tsukimi is suddenly plunged into a pool of sadness as her heart is slowly breaking into pieces. However, she cannot stay in the pool, for she must try and save their building from being torn down!

     

    Characters of Princess Jellyfish

    Princess Jellyfish
    The Sisterhood

    Princess Jellyfish is centered on an otaku girl named Tsukimi Kurashita, who is in love with all things involving jellyfish. She has recently turned 18 and has moved away from her father to an apartment with a bunch of girls who call themselves “The Sisterhood.” They are all a lot like Tsukimi, as they are all obsessed with one thing or another. Banba has a extreme love for all things involving trains. Then there is Mayaya, a girl who loves all things related to Nine Kingdom. We also have Chieko, who loves to make kimonos for her little dolls, who she considers to be her children. Jiji loves old men and collects anything she can that has old men on it. Finally there is Ms. Mejiro, who hates the light. She is also known as the best yaoi manga creator in all of Japan.

    This anime is one of my absolute favorite anime. It tells the tale of a heroine who does not always have everything going her way. It is a truly unique story full of romance/comedy. Also, it is an inspiring story about a young girl who never thought she could become a princess.

    Overall Score: 9/10

    ~GarytheOtaku


  • Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment (Video Game) Review

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment Player Review

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragments
    PSVITA game cover

    *Spoilers are present*

    Review by Yu

     

    Format: Digital Download

    Publisher:

    Developer:

    Rating: T

    Cost: $39.99 (US)

     

    Overview of SAO Hollow Fragments

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment
    Hollow Area

    To start, Hollow Fragment takes place in a alternative ending to Sword Art Online (Anime), where a glitch in the game, causes Heathcliff to disappear before the finishing blow.

    Now with nothing to do and unable to log out of the game, Kirito and 108 Members of the Assault Team including Agil, Klein, Asuna, Silica, and Lizbeth must continue from Floor 76 to Floor 100, while being unable to return the lower Floors of Aincrad (#1-75).

    Along with the glitch, it made the game unstable and unlocked a new area to Kirito known as the “Hollow Area”. Here is where we meet Philia, a female Treasure Hunter, who has been trapped in the Hollow Area unable to return to Aincrad. As the game starts you learn that this Area has High Level Monsters, including Floor Bosses that have been weakened to the point that two people can take them down (So far from what I’ve seen, you can fight the Grim Reaper (Floor 75 Boss) and Ilfang the Kobold Lord (Floor 1 Boss)). No more details of the Hollow Area will be released.

     

    Characters of SAO Hollow Fragments

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment
    Create Your Character

    The Main Characters that return to this alternate version of SAO return. Including Kirito, Asuna, Yui, Agil, Klein, Lizbeth, and Silica (with Pina of course). The new Side Main Characters are Suguha (Kirito’s sister) who during this time plays ALO (Even thou ALO was made after SAO was shut down), but because of the glitch in the game, transfers her in to SAO, where she sees Kirito again for the first time in 2 years. Sinon, who during this time, was in use of a therapy version of the NervGear (most likely due to her fear of guns) and has lost her memory. Next is Strea, a girl that sudden appeared to Kirito, while following him through Floor 76, not much is known in the beginning about her, time will tell who she really is. Finally Philia, a Treasure Hunter who has been trapped in the Hollow Area, unable to leave, not much is known of her past. You can expect to see some side characters from the show like Argo, the Info Broker, who helped Kirito find the Revival Item for Sachi.

     

    Gameplay of SAO Hollow Fragment

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment
    Game Play

    The game is designed to feel like a MMO, but it is a illusion, and so people know, it is free roam. The game moves very well in the field and in the city. You can expect some lag in high populated areas of the main Root Town (Arc Sophia). The graphics look great move smoothly and feels great.  It has a Dating Feature in the game, so you can date any of the female characters (or Klein, or everyone). The game includes Co-op, but only locally and takes place only in the Hollow Area, and a Concealed Area.

    Fighting in the game focuses on BURST and SKILL Attacks. BURST is like where you just started a fight and full of energy and does more damage, but has to be used wisely along with the RISK bars, which is the form of how angry the monster is at you, at this time you would SWITCH with your PARTNER, to reduce the RISK, Switch can NOT be used over and over, it has to recharge before using it again. SKILLS are your main asset in SAO, they are your strong attacks you use and also your Finishers as well.­ SKILLS do require a cost, for this game it is SP, regular attack skills use 100 out of a total of 300 (Unless you upgrade your skills).

    Great anime and animated cutscenes to it making it a Graphic Novel as well.

    Also just like the show, there are different weapons that you can use not just Kirito’s Dual Blades. Plus you don’t have to keep him too, you can make your own character, but it can only be male, but you can try to make your Kirito look feminine if you would like.

     

    Experience Opinion of SAO Hollow Fragment

    Sword Art Online Hollow Fragment
    I have played over a total of 18 hours in the game and currently on Floor 80. I honestly enjoy this game very much since it is a good action narrative game, along with the free roam and the exploration of the Unreleased Floors of Aincrad (76 – 100). Plus I can’t wait till I reach Floor 100 to see this alternative ending to the Sword Art Online Franchise.

     

    Score Rating

    I give the Game a 9/10
    Pros
    -DLC Available (Including one for 30 extra hours of content, date unannounced)
    -Free Roam
    -MMO Feel
    -Great Narrative and Cutscenes
    -Coop
    -New Untold side of SAO
    Cons
    -Only Local Coop**
    -Hack & Slash
    -Large Skill Tree that takes long to master a skill**
    -Leveling up is hard and takes time and many battles**

    “**” is for main concerns of the game that may cause you to play the game longer than you intended to or something people might not like.­


  • Owari no Seraph (Manga) Review

    Owari no Seraph Manga Review

     

    Owari no Seraph
    Cover

    English Title: Seraph of the End

    Genres: Shounen, Drama, Action, Mystery, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Vampire

    Owari no Seraph is published in Jump SQ (Jump Square), a monthly magazine that also carries titles like: Claymore, Blue Exorcist, and Tegami Bachi. Owari no Seraph first serialized in September of 2012, and since then it’s popularity has grown. It is an ongoing manga and the first volume is available in the USA. 

    Written by: Takaya Kagami

    Illustrated by: Yamato Yamamoto

    Storyboard by: Daisuke Furuya

     

     – Plot of Owari no Seraph –

     

    Owari no Seraph
    Manga Page

    The story starts in the near future with Yuichiro Hyakuya, already trying to find ways to kill vampires, even as a young kid. After a virus killed everyone over the age of 13, he and other children were taken as live stock for the vampires. Yuichiro and the other children make plans to escape but Yuichiro is the only one able to. He then vows to kill vampires. 

     

    – Characters of Owari no Seraph –

     

    Owari no Seraph
    Characters

    ~Yuichiro Hyakuya ( 百夜 優一郎 )

    Yuichiro is our protagonist. He is driven by the death of his “family” when he was used as live stock, to kill vampires. He does impulsive and often irresponsible things without thinking of the outcome, even if it’s risking his life. Yuichiro is brave and reckless. He cares deeply for his new comrades that he meets and still for his old ones. 

    ~Hiiragi Shinoa ( 柊 シノア )

    Shinoa is sent to watch over Yuichiro, and eventually become comrades. She is calm and thinks before she acts. Shinoa doesn’t put much emotion in her words, except when teasing Yuichiro. Later through the manga Shinoa begins to develops feelings for Yuichiro. 

    ~Yoichi Saotome ( 早乙女 与一 )

     Yoichi is fearful, and a scaredy cat. He has little courage and is often bullied. He meets Yuichiro when Yuichiro saves him from bullies. Yoichi’s sister was killed by vampires which stimulates him to take revenge for her death. 

    ~Michaela Hyakuya ( 百夜 ミカエラ )

    Michaela Hyakuya was with Yuichiro when they were treated as live stock. Together they helped orchestrate the breakout. Michaela was unable to get out and was killed by the vampires, or so Yuichiro thinks. Michaela and Yuichiro were close friends. Michaela sacrificed himself so Yuichiro could escape. Michaela did not end up dying, he became a vampire. What Yuichiro has vowed to kill. Michaela is kind and gentle. He is also portrayed as smart and good planner, because of his actions the children had an advantage in escaping. When Mika (Michaela) became a vampire against his will he became hollow, a shadow of his former self. He would rush to battle but he wouldn’t care about any glory. He seems to construct a certain disdain for humans though he once was one. When he meets Yuichiro in battle his hatred disappears and wants to protect his childhood friend. 

     

    – Review / Thoughts –

     

    Owari no Seraph

    Honestly I absolutely love this manga. The characters are well developed, with some mystery and also very enjoyable and likable. The series has very little, if even none, ecchi properties, fan service, that takes away from the plot. It has the classic “Revenge” theme yet there are many twists and turns to a solid plot which is always intriguing. I would highly recommend it.

     

    – Ghost Girl


  • Kimi ni Todoke (Anime) Review

    Kimi ni Todoke
    Kimi ni Todoke

    Welcome everyone to my first ever anime review on this website! Yay. So to top it off I picked a very romantic, first love type anime that a lot of you guys out there might like ( if you are into romantic shows like that.)
    Okay, Let start!

     

    Plot of Kimi ni Todoke

    Kimi ni Todoke
    Kimi ni Todoke

    Kimi ni Todoke follows a girl named Sawako Kironuma. Sawako has always been feared and misunderstood because of her appearance; rumors around school report that she can see ghosts and curse people. However, despite her ominous appearance, she is actually a sweet and timid girl who only longs to be able to make friends and be liked by everyone else. When her idol, the popular boy Kazehaya, begins talking with her, everything changes. She finds herself in a new world, making new friends and talking to different people, and she can’t thank Kazehaya enough for giving her these opportunities. Slowly, but surely, a sweet love blossoms between the two as they overcome circumstances and obstacles that stand in their way.
    (wiki)

    Rumors suck. It always destroy somebody’s life. In the begin of the show you might feel sorry for her because she is trying her best to make friends and talk to someone but people keep running away from her leaving her all by herself ( I’m surprised that her parents don’t know about the rumors). She is really nice girl and likes to help people in need. Lucky she gains friends in the end.

     

    Characters of Kimi ni Todoke

    Kimi ni Todoke
    Characters of Kimi ni Todoke

    Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma
    Sawako is a shy, honest girl in search of friends,but her resemblance to the horror film character Sadako Yamamura makes this difficult. Her shy and modest nature prevents her from correcting people’s misconceptions, to the point that most of the school believes her name is, in fact, “Sadako.”

    Shota Kazehaya
    Kazehaya is Sawako’s outgoing and friendly classmate, and also the person that Sawako looks up to. Kazaehaya’s popularity is so widespread that during middle school, the many girls that liked him had to form a “Kazehaya is Everyone’s” alliance in order to maintain some level of peace among his admirers; more than half of these girls now attend his high school. Kazehaya falls in love with Sawako shortly after meeting her.

    Ayane Yano
    Ayane is a close friend of Sawako. She is the arguably the most mature of the group and she has a boyfriend in college as well as having her ears pierced multiple times.

    Chizuru Yoshida
    Yoshida is another close friend of Sawako. She is the tomboy of the group, and she even admits this when Ryu calls them brothers, where she argues about who is the older rather than that she is not a ‘brother’.

    Ryu Sanada
    Ryu is also Sawako’s friends. He is quiet most of the time and rarely talks, but still can communicate well with Sawako, as they both don’t talk much anyways. Ryu and Kazehaya was both on the baseball team in middle school and was friends since then. Chizuru and Ryu are childhood friends but Ryu has a crush on her too and does not deny it.

    Kazuichi “Pin” Arai
    Aria is a substitute from their homeroom class becausse their homeroom teacher got sick over the summer holidays while getting help from Sawako. ( there goes the rumors again) His nickname in school is Pin but Sawako, being polite, calls him Arai-sensei. He is also into baseball and knew Ryu and Kazehaya since middle school.

     

    The Art of Kimi ni Todoke

    Kimi ni Todoke
    Kimi ni Todoke

    The art in the show is pretty normal for a school life type of show. But at certain moments of the show you can see the background with shine and sparkle or the art would change to a water color painting. It makes seen really pretty and nice.

    Final Verdict:

    Sawako was unwanted from everyone and everyone is scared of her to having friends, being popular and everyone wants to be her friends. Its a sweet and kinda slow anime to watch but i think you might enjoy it just like i did. ( I even brought the manga)

    Overall Grade: 7.4/10

     

    Miki Nya


  • Ayakashi Ayashi (Anime) Review

    Ayakashi Ayashi Anime Review

    Ayakashi Ayashi
    Ayakashi Ayashi

    Ayakashi Ayashi is set in the Tenpou era in Edo, Japan. The events in the story occur before the arrival of Commodore Perry. The leads of the show are a band of warriors known as Ayashi, who are commissioned to fight beasts from the other world, known as Youi.

     

    Plot of Ayakashi Ayashi

    Ayakashi Ayashi
    Ayakashi Ayashi

    The series starts out a little episodic (monster of the week, if you will). However, it comes off very well in blending fantasy into real history. The plot starts to pick up near the middle, but feels a little rushed near the end due to the fact that the series was originally planned for a 50 episode run. Being cut in half due to the unsatisfactory ratings required of a “primetime” show really hurt this area. It still is pretty enjoyable, though I felt it would have been much better given a few more episodes.

    If you are interested in Japanese calligraphy/word study, this series will appeal even more to you. Ryuudou can draw “Ayagami” from people and youi, which are basically their names and depending on their meanings (current, and original meaning of the word), he is able to magically create weapons, armor and whatnot.

     

    Art of Ayakashi Ayashi

    Ayakashi Ayashi
    The Art

    The art style used is very aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and remains constant throughout the series. The action scenes are animated very well and the style blends really well with the mood of the series. It also gives off a very ‘classy’ Japanese feel. Very beautiful and one of my favorite parts of this show.

     

    Sound of Ayakashi Ayashi

    Personally, I found the OPs and EDs to be great. The ED animation might not be very flashy, but it fits well with the songs and the show in general. The OPs are quite fast paced and are animated quite well.

    The soundtrack fits the show to a “T”, and although not one of the best, still really helped enhance the mood of many scenes.

     

    Characters of Ayakashi Ayashi

    Ayakashi Ayashi
    Characters

    Characters are generally likable and have quite a few focal episodes where they are well developed, including their pasts etc. Voice acting is also superb for most roles. I liked how the main character was a middle-aged man and not a young child like most shows in this slot (Gundam SEED, Blood+, Eureka Seven). However, the lack of a main where kids can relate too probably helped contribute to the lack of popularity for the show.

     

    Overall

    I found myself enjoying this show quite a bit. If you enjoy a little history or Japanese mixed into your anime, then you might wanna check this one out.

     

    ~YamiShiki


  • Sword of the Stranger (Movie) Review

    Sword of the Stranger Review

    Cover Art for Sword of the Stranger

    The cover art for Sword of the Stranger was honestly one of the main reasons why I watched this movie. Another reason was the fact that the anime movie had to do with samurai… got to love those fights, don’t you? Anyways, I am glad I ended up watching it. The story was especially touching and made me smile, well, only part of it. The friendship part.

     

    The Plot of Sword of the Stranger

    When the boy meets the rounin

    Sword of the Stranger seems to focus on three main things: friendship, trust, and betrayal. A young boy is forced to leave his home, a temple, due to the fact that some Chinese people, known as “Ming,” are after him. He moves to an abandoned temple along with his dog and stays there, surviving on stolen food. One day, after returning from a successful job of getting some food, he finds a rounin sleeping inside of the temple. The boy attempts to get him to leave, but fails. He continues on with his task of preparing his food, hoping that the samurai will eventually leave. The dog, however, takes a liking to the samurai and offers him his food. Soon after, some men sneak up in search of the boy. The rounin defends the boy and kills almost everyone there. The boy, realizing he will need assistance to survive, hires the samurai to take him to another temple, one where he knows the people that stay there. The bond between the boy and samurai grows overtime, resulting in a long-lasting friendship, though the boy has his doubts about the rounin at first.

     

    The Characters of Sword of the Stranger

    Nanashi, Kotarou, and Tobimaru

    The three main characters in Sword of the Stranger are Kotarou, Nanashi, and Tobimaru. Kotarou is the young boy of Sword of the Stranger. He claims to have a short temper and has a tendency to over-exaggerate things. He is wanted by the Chinese for a special reason that he will not tell the samurai. Tobimaru is Kotarou’s dog and best friend. Kotarou will do almost anything for Tobimaru and loves him dearly. Tobimaru is a sweet dog, but can also fight if Kotarou is in danger or the time calls for it. He also takes an immediate liking to Nanashi, the samurai. Nanashi has an unknown past that is only shown through flashbacks. He does not like to use his sword to fight and keeps it tied to the sheath. He explains that his name, Nanashi (meaning “nameless”) was chosen by him because he changes his name very often. He chooses to protect and aid Kotarou in his travels, not knowing what he is getting himself into.

     

    The Background Music of Sword of the Stranger

    Battle between Nanashi and a Ming

    An amazing part of Sword of the Stranger is definitely the background music. It gives off such a good feel and clearly demonstrates the feeling that is supposed to be felt in the anime. It can make someone feel from happy to sad to… I do not really know how to describe another one of the feelings I felt in the anime. For those of you who have watched the movie, or plan to watch it, it was during the scene that everyone is racing to the fort where the Ming are. I almost want to call it proud, but that is not at all the word I am looking for. It just made me feel… amazing. Again, I can’t really describe it.

    Sword of the Stranger is an amazing movie that I would recommend to anyone who likes stories involving action and a strong friendship bond. It is definitely one of those anime that makes you feel a ton of emotions at once, and gives you an amazing feeling at the end.

    Overall Score: 9/10