Let’s face it, anime is not yet big in Croatia. Sure enough, everyone has probably heard of Pokemon at some point. The Yu-Gi-Oh cards have been a popular thing to play with, as well as Beyblades and Bakugans at one point. But that’s about it. And this focus on only the selected few titles brings with it a number of problems, which I’ll explain in this post.

These are the struggles of a Croatian otaku from a mid-sized city:

Nowhere to buy anime

Sure enough, you can buy merchandise from the already mentioned shows that are Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Beyblade or Bakugan, but what if you are into other shows? What if you want to buy manga or light novels? What if you want to buy figurines? What if you want to buy anything else that can be classified as anime merchandise, but isn’t a Pokemon plush or a Yu-Gi-Oh card set? (By the way, I actually had both of those things mentioned, I played with Beyblades too, and had no idea at the time that all of it was anime)

No chance you will find it here. At least not in my city. I’ve seen that Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is in a better situation, apparantly you can even find manga there, maybe other merchandise too. But if you are from a smaller city like I am, forget it. Buying via the Internet is your only option. I asked in bookstores if they sold manga, every time without success, but I did once ended up buying a Japanese-Croatian dictionary instead. That’s about as close to manga and light novels you could find in my city.

No better luck with other merchandise either, other than the already mentioned Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon stuff.

But hey, I did found a store where they sell Japanese tea flavours, so that counts, right? Right?

Lack of anime events

Imagine being able to go to big conventions in your own city, with loads of different panels and stands by people involved in the industry. It sounds like a far-fetched dream to me at this point.

But Croatia does actually have a few anime conventions, most notably Pandakon in Zagreb. Apparantly maid cafes are also a thing, but only for a selected few days. Events are rare, but they are happening, but you need to be involved in Croatian anime groups on Facebook to be aware of them, and you need to be ready to travel to the bigger cities, cause chances are the event is not held in your city.

No anime in cinema

The recent My Hero Academia movie has been very successful in America and Canada, which gave me a small bit of hope that it might be screened here in Croatia. So far, it hasn’t happened and it’s unlikely it will, seeing how the highest-grossing anime film ever, Your Name, has not yet been screened in Croatian cinemas.

Croatia actually does have a past of screening anime movies. Princess Mononoke was screened in 2000, as well as Spirited Away and Howl’s moving castle in 2004 and 2005 respectively, but since then, which was now 13 years ago, nothing.

I was surprised when one of the Croatian TV channels, HRT3 screened a number of anime in the period from December 2017 till April 2018. Maybe this is a sign things could get better. At least I hope.

Lack of other fans

This month when I started with university, I met a few people that were invested into anime. I’m able to talk with them about it without feeling like I will get judged and it’s truly an amazing feeling. But only a few months ago it was different, when I was in high school, where only one of my friends was knowledgable about it. The rest either knew nothing about it, or were only aware of the mainstream shows and the bad stereotypes surounding the medium. I only really had one person outside the internet, that I could discuss anime with.

My situation is improving when it comes to this, but overall it still feels as if the anime fans I do meet are the exceptions to the rule. With the lack of anime in the Croatian media, it’s hardly surprising.

Are you also from a country where anime isn’t widespread? Are there any other struggles you would like to talk about? Let me know in the comments!

How to enter the idol world? You can create an idol club in your high school and start out as a school idol. You can enter an idol agency and grow your popularity that way.

Or, you can start you idol career in some alternative way, like becoming a zombie for example.

No, really, it’s possible. Don’t believe me? Zombieland Saga is here to convince you otherwise.

This original 12-episode anime is a story about Sakura Minamoto, the second year high school girl. One day on her way to school, something bad happens – she dies after getting hit by a truck. She is then seen waking up in a dark house filled with zombies. After managing to escape, she encounters a policeman, who got scared looking at her. When looking at her reflection she realizes – she has turned into a zombie! The policeman shoots Sakura, but a man with shades ends up hitting him with a shovel. It later turns out that man is Koutarou Tatsumi, who wants to save the Japanese prefecture Saga, by making an idol club with zombies.

How are zombies gonna work in an idol club, you ask?

For Koutarou and his make-up skills, that is no issue, as he manages to hide the zombie look of each of his idol group members. Soon the idol group called Green Face makes their debut at a death metal festival. The audience was impressed with the group’s headbanging and screaming skills, as Sakura recalls a memory from her previous life. The next day, the majority of the group has regained their senses, with the exception of Tae Yamada. In the second episode, two of the group members, Ai Mizuno and Junko Konno, try to escape the group’s mansion, and Sakura follows them in worry. They encounter a group of rappers trying to hit on them, when policemen come, and the three zombie-girls return to the mansion. Later the group has their second performance, and the yet awakened Tae Yamada ends up decapitated. Sakura presents the awkward situation as a magic trick that is a part of the act. She later ends up arguing with Saki Nikaido, which they turn into a rap battle, with the help of Koutarou’s beatboxing from behind, as well as Yuugiri playing a string instument.

I’m not sure what I expected going into this series, but I don’t think it was a zombie-girl version of idolmaster xD

It’s a hilarious show, which, in a strange way, makes the combination of zombies and idols somehow work.

Koutarou Tatsumi – the idol group “producer” made me laugh in each of his interactions with the girls. His voice actor is Mamoru Miyano, known very well for his epicness as Okabe Rintarou, and his voice is really the perfect match for this kind of character.

In terms of the sound in this series, I haven’t really noticed any problems so far, and that rap battle was simply epic. The opening doesn’t take itself seriously, just like the rest of the show doesn’t. In that respect, it’s almost surprising the ending kinda feels… too serious for this show.

No complaints about the art or animation as well, the zombie looks maintain a dose of creepy while still being perfectly watchable at the same time.

Overall, Zombieland Saga is a refreshing comedy series, combining the incompatible – idols and zombies. It’s great for this time of the year too, when many are excited about Halloween. I highly recommend it if you want some good laughs, and an absurd show that somehow makes that absurdity work.

 

 

Synopsis

The original 13-episode anime Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara is a story set “in a world where a minuscule amount of magic remains in everyday life”. The 17-year old Hitomi Tsukishiro is the main character born in a witch family. She lost her sense of color at a very young age.

Her grandmother, Kohaku, sends her back in time to the year 2018. After a strange bus ride, Hitomi finds herself in the house of Yuito Aoi. She manages to leave the house without being noticed by Yuito, but his friends saw her leaving from the window of the house, which they quickly spread to everyone else.

A bit later on, after seeing Hitomi trip, they approach her and ask her if she needs any help. They end up showing her the way to the magic shop Hitomi was searching in order to find her grandmother from 60 years in the future, Kohaku.

In the magic shop, Hitomi finds out Kohaku is currently studying magic in England. Kohaku’s grandmother reads the letter Hitomi came with, and offers her a place to stay until Kohaku returns. The next day, Hitomi uses magic to find the azurite she dropped, and it turns out she dropped it in Yuito’s house.

She finds Yuito, and when looking at one of his drawings, she is able to see colors once again. Yuito realizes Hitomi is in front of him and he turns off the tablet with his drawing.

Hitomi explains why she was in Yuito’s house. Yuito tells her not to worry about it, and asks her to be more careful with magic. Kohaku’s parents apply Hitomi to the Minamigaoka high school, the same school Kohaku is going to. Her first day in the school, the classmates start avoiding her cause of her relation to Kohaku, who is known for breaking school property with her magic.

After meeting Kazeno Asagi, Hitomi is also introduced to the other members of Asagi’s photography club. Yuito wants to see Hitomi perform magic, which she does, creating a star, While being introduced to the photography club and their activities, Hitomi finds out that Yuito is the sole member of the arts club. Hitomi wanted to see Yuito’s drawing once again, and she finds him at the rooftop of the school.

She gets her wish, and Yuito expresses interest in seeing her magic once again, which makes Hitomi smile.

My thoughts

So far, this series has really grabbed my attention. First of all, the art and the animation is stunning, the best quality since the Winter season of anime, when we had Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho and Violet Evergarden. The character designs work really well. The way Hitomi’s sense of color is portrayed and the scenes when she saw Yuito’s drawing for the first time are breathtaking.

The story has good potential. Time travel is involved, something that in most cases works for me. Magic being involved but not directly, but more as a hobby of sorts, is interesting for me to see. So far, in the shows I’ve seen with magic and school involved, it was in special magic schools and it made a huge importance to the story.

Here, it doesn’t seem to be as direct as that. Hitomi losing her sense of color is a new thing in anime for me, and I’m looking forward to see where will they go with that concept. And ofcourse, then there is Kohaku, and the reasons why she even sent Hitomi to the past. Loads to look forward to storywise.

Hitomi is a character I really enjoy so far. She is telling herself she doesn’t mind being alone, but deep inside she knows that is not the case. It seems she was isolated from the others in the past. I love how she reacts to things from 60 years behind her time, like when she had trouble opening a window, or when she didn’t recognize a sticking plaster. I’m looking forward to her growth and overcoming of her problems.

Yuito seems to be misunderstood by others, as they think he is only interested in drawing and nothing else. He is similar in personality to Hitomi and his drawings give her back what she lost – her sense of color.

Sound is another great aspect of this show. The OP and ED feel beautiful and refreshing. I really have no complaints about the rest of the OST, as it fits the mood every time.

Overall, this is looking like it’s gonna be among my top shows this season, and possibly year as well. It does everything right for me so far and I’m glad I picked it up. I highly recommend you do the same too

When finishing a show, usually you will take away something from it. There will be things from the show that you will remember, for good or bad reasons.

It could be the characters, it could be the story. It could be the artwork and it could be – the music, and more specifically the openings and endings – the things I will focus on in this post.

Since I started watching anime, I’ve developed a few habits, or you could even say rules. One of them is never skipping the openings and endings.

I watched a lot of shows on a laptop whose touchpad and keyboard haven’t been working, and plugging in the mouse every time just to skip a small part of the episode sounded like too much effort.

But this isn’t the only reason for this rule. Today I don’t even have the mentioned laptop anymore, so all anime watching is now done on the PC and phone, but the rule still remains.

Why would I decide to listen to the same song and watch the same sequence 12, 24 or in the case of Hunter x Hunter, even 148 times?

Note: I know Hunter x Hunter had different Opening sequences but it still used the different parts of the same song during the entire series

The song quality

One reason is simply the quality of the songs. This is subjective for everyone, but usually I genuinely really love the songs.

Sometimes it’s love from the first listen, sometimes it takes a long time for the song to grow on me, but 9 out of 10 times it happens.

Anime has had a huge impact on my music taste and it made my music library full of Japanese songs and you guessed it – pretty much all of them are from anime.

The connection

Then there is the connection to the show that the opening or ending song gives you – after you finish a show, the openings and endings become something like a storage of feelings which you then bring back when you rewatch the sequences.

Basically it’s your trigger for nostalgia. These are the songs you hear a lot of times when experiencing the fun, excitement, hype, sadness, anger, or whatever other feelings a show can induce on you, so it’s natural you connect the song with the show.

The visuals

Another reason is related to the visual parts. Usually you start a show without knowing too much about it other than perhaps what is written in the synopsis, so the openings and endings leave you with scenes you aren’t really sure what they mean.

While watching the show, you get to understand more and more of the opening and why it’s made the way it is, and the more subtle the sequence, the better that understanding feels.

In some cases realizing the “why” behind the opening can be mind blowing, as it was with Madoka Magica when after a certain episode you realized the opening was not from the perspective of who you thought it was.

Understanding the OP and ED sequence more and more, episode by episode makes the entire experience enjoyable for me, especially while binge-watching shows.

The mood it creates

The opening is usually made to fit the show and watching it is guaranteed to put me into the mood for the show I’m about to watch. This is especially important when watching a weekly show or when I’m watching more shows in one sitting.

Conlusion

And that pretty much sums up why I never skip openings and endings. They are a hugely important part of each show for me, and watching them every episode gives me more benefit than skipping them. Skipping them would give me extra 4 minutes, but it would also take away a part of the experience.

I would rather have the full experience.

What about you? Are you skipping openings and endings? Let me know in the comments!

It’s interesting with Sword Art Online. It’s a show that clearly has its flaws, and I acknowledged them, but deep inside I just… love this show. I have fond memories of the first part of season 1. It was never the best show ever, that first part of season 1 had its plot holes and stuff that never really made much sense to me (the entirety of Yui’s character really) and yet it still did a lot of things right, overshadowing those issues for the most part.

Then the second part of the season came, and I remember thinking how “I’ve never seen a show ruin itself this badly in a single episode”. I never truly enjoyed that second part of season 1, sure it still had an amazing opening and ending, and I loved Leafa’s design but the main plot was just too cliche, the villain had zero depth and the incest subplot… Yeah no thanks….

…and yet I still cried on the final episode during the Kirito/Asuna reunion xD

In the couple of months after finishing season 1, I thought I don’t really want to watch season 2. But then it just sort of randomly happened, when I had no other shows to watch, I simply started season 2.

And oh my I really loved it. Sinon became my new favorite character of the series, it felt like SAO has discovered characterization cause for the first time they provided us with a more in-depth backstory of a character. I binge-watched the GGO part of the season in a day.

Sure, the fact Kirito blocks bullets so well with a sword is kinda… questionable but yay there was Sinon which was enough for the bad parts to be overshadowed for me xD Then came the Excalibur arc which I would agree was a bit pointless and boring but the way they ended the season certainly made up for it.

Mother’s Rosario was amazing, even if the ending was cruel. But SAO leaving me with such emotions is not something I saw coming and it really positively surprised me. All this was enough for me to rate season 2 with 8/10, compared to the 6/10 for season 1. After that happened the movie, which was an enjoyable experience but I actually think it was a bit forgettable compared to the first 2 seasons.

Which brings us to today – the first episode of SAO season 3. I feel so happy to see the original SAO back that I’m actually kind of surprised at myself.

I guess it’s because people are saying it’s the start of the best arc by far from the series. And today I could definitely see why. I’ve actually read a part of the Alicization light novel. The part I’ve read has covered around 15 minutes of the 48 minute episode 1.

So far season 3 feels more… deep and more defined than the first 2 seasons and movie. The art and animation were really high quality. I wonder if this will stay the case all the way through the season.

The music was great as always. There is not much to actually complain about other than maybe Eugeo’s voice actor sounding a bit softer than I expected. But I’m sure this is something I will get used to with time.

SAO is back and I’m shamelessly gonna say that I am hyped and excited about it. Can’t wait to see what this Sword Art Online year has in store for us.