I first watched Sakura Quest around this time last year, started it around the end of March. Back then, it strongly resonated with me due to the rural setting and the main character Yoshino’s circumstances. She wanted to get away from a rural setting, and she believed a big city like Tokyo is the place to be. Then it turned out coming to Tokyo is one thing, but staying in Tokyo is more of a challenge than it may seem. And so, circumstances saw her once again end up in the rural setting that she wished to avoid. Her financial situation and lack of success at job searching left her without any other options to choose from.

This resonated so strongly with me, because I myself, moved from a city to a rural area. (Interestingly, Manoyama was said to have around the same population as my former city, but for Croatian standards, my former city is a well-established medium-sized city). And it was just a couple of months since, so it was still a fresh thing. Plus, I still had to visit the former city almost on a weekly basis due to driving lessons. It was hard not to get reminded that I moved, and I felt like it was a step backwards. I missed being in the former city.

It felt like it was all a compromise for whatever reason, and I was searching for that “reason” that would make moving here an “improvement”. Maybe Yoshino felt the same way at the start of her one year as the Chupakabura queen.

Accepting your circumstances and trying to make the best of them. “Home” can be anywhere, as long as you accept the surroundings and the people, and ofcourse, the people accept you. One year ago these were my main takeways from Sakura Quest. It truly made me start feeling more at ease with the moving.

A year later it’s definitely still an important message and takeway. But this time it doesn’t feel as prominent. Maybe it’s because I got much more used to not living in my former city?

Dream job? True calling?

Yoshino struggled so much with finding a job in Tokyo that in the end, she was forced to give up on staying there. (For a while, at least).

Sanae tried working in her field in Tokyo, but found that it was too stressful and felt like she wasn’t making a difference – that anyone could easily take her spot without many things changing.

Maki tried fulfilling her dream of being an actress in Tokyo, but returned to Manoyama when she realized that doing something professionally requires a lot more than just… Wanting to do it.

They all tried their luck in the big city only to find out it’s not so simple – they had to find different ways to support themselves. Which is where the important message comes in.

Even with dreams, and areas you are good at, it won’t necessarily work out. Which doesn’t mean you should give up either. You can incorporate your passions into your alternative job. Just as Maki still found ways to act on stage despite working on revitalizing Manoyama, and Sanae still used her web design/programming skills for the same objective. Even Ririko’s passion for UMAs ended up useful for that same objective.

I’ve realized that the whole “one true calling” narrative doesn’t actually work for me. I have at least 3 things I would call my passion, so why would you make me choose just one thing to do? I guess my point is, even if you can’t turn one of your passions into a living, you can always do it with something else.

And if you don’t have particular passions? I would say just go for whatever you can see yourself enjoy or be good at. You never know what job could end up having something that you enjoyed more than you perhaps expected. Or if nothing else, at least you can be skilled in various areas that could prove useful when you don’t really expect it. Just ask Maki.

The five heroines

By the end of Sakura Quest, Yoshino learned that you can bring a part of yourself to any job and make it more interesting. Similarly, Maki decided to bring something she likes to whatever job she’ll have. Sanae realized that each individual really can make a difference in some way. Ririko opened up and became determined to travel the world.

Ririko has a passion for unconventional things, but that doesn’t mean she should be shunned off as “weird”. Once you give people like Ririko a chance, you’ll realize they are much different and more fun to be around than it may seem, and no, they should not be forced to speak about more “normal” things. And yes, I wrote the last part of that sentence with a certain scene in mind…

What even is “normal” anyway? Screw that concept. Embrace the differences that people have and let them be themselves. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

I didn’t actually write anything about Shiori yet. It wouldn’t be fair to leave her out. In terms of “relatable” aspects, I probably have the least with her, but I can be an airhead sometimes too. Or should I make that “all the time”?

Each of the five main Sakura Quest characters is a fair choice for “best girl” but I think I’m leaning towards Maki or Ririko.

Conclusion

To be honest, this is the most underrated anime I know of. It seems to have a bit of a reputation of being “boring” or people just never heard of it. It may just be me since I’m so used to slice of life anime, but I really don’t know what would make this “boring”. Maybe the setting or the type of issues the characters are facing? I don’t know. But in my opinion, there are so many things happening every episode I never once found myself bored. But tastes are a subjective thing.

P.A.WORKS shows are created with a mindset to leave a lasting impression to people and that can encourage people to look forward to tomorrow. We would like to keep on making shows that people can dream about a positive future story of themselves. We hope to make our shows not just a consumable entertainment but a show that becomes precious to the viewer and shed light to their path ahead.

P.A.Works website

And this is why P.A. Works is actually my favorite studio. With their slice-of-life they succeed in just that – they encourage me and leave a lasting impression. I think it’s a wonderful thing to strive for when making anime, and I’m grateful for their work.

I already miss Sakura Quest and I only finished rewatching it last night. Please give it a chance if you haven’t already.

(Hanasaku Iroha review)

(Shirobako review)

It’s fall. Temperatures have started falling, night is arriving much earlier. For some people it may be a sad time, but personally I’m feeling extra positive energy simply because the weather is this way. Just another thing to make me weird I guess.

No matter how you feel about autumn though, everyone could use something to make them feel better from time to time. And for me, what often quickly does the trick are anime openings and endings.

Maybe you can remember that towards the start of my blogging career I made a post listing 7 openings and endings that make you feel everything will be alright. If this is your first time hearing about that post, you can take a look at it here.

Consider this a sequel to that post. Now allow me to start improving your mood (hopefully) with some anime openings and endings.

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome domo yo Opening (CHiCO with Honeyworks – Otome domo yo)

Opening of the season? Forget about that. This, along with the next entry on this list is surely my favorite opening of the year. I could listen to it many times on repeat and not get tired of it at all.

There is a hint of melancholy in this song as well as a feeling of empowerment and liberty. I also love the way that instrumental part at the beginning was used, with the characters reading out lines as they would in their school literature club. That same instrumental is, by the way, how do I describe it, heavenly. Full of lovely visuals as well, there is so many things to love about this opening sequence.

Fruits Basket 2019 Opening 2 (ai otsuka – Chime)

This makes me smile all the way through every single time. To put it simply, everything from the song and the visuals just makes me so happy. I love the umbrella theme and the different designs each character has. I love going through the sequence and seeing each character being introduced. And I know it’s such a simple and basic thing, ofcourse an opening sequence would be introducing the characters, right? But in this case there is something more special to it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that giving each of your characters an unique umbrella is a great way to introduce your characters in a sequence…

I also love how it ends with Tohru running towards all of the characters and then all of them throwing their umbrella in the air. To say I don’t mimic some kind of an umbrella throwing move every time at the end would be a lie.

Girlish Number Opening (Bloom)

There is so much cuteness and overall good vibes in this opening. And I really love how they played with the visuals. By that I mean the color schemes and “abstract” backgrounds. And the way the camera zooms in towards the diomedea logo – for some reason it’s so satisfying.

This opening gives me those fall/autumn feels. It’s mainly because I watched it in Fall 2017, but Fall 2016 is the season it actually aired in, so it really is a “Fall” anime. And every time the characters form that star with their fingers, I get reminded of that one time I used that exact screencap for a school art project. Good memories.

Hanasaku Iroha Ending 1 (Sphere – Hazy)

This ending song works so well on a roadtrip. It’s very gentle and soothing. Imagine being on a trip listening to this song and watching the sun come out.

Relax because things will work out. Relax and enjoy the journey. These are the vibes that I’m getting from this song.

(Hanasaku Iroha review)

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Ending (halca – Sentimental Crisis)

I already made a specific post about this particular ending sequence, but in summary; it’s cute, it’s dreamy, and it gets the “making you feel everything will be alright” job done.

What’s dreamy here isn’t necessarily the song, it’s the visuals and the whole story of the ending sequence. We are invited into Kaguya’s sweet dreams which involve activities with the student council members.

This is another song with a hint of melancholy, but it becomes warm and sweet by the end. Or should I say, kawaii?

Sakura Quest Opening 2 ((k)now_name – Lupinus)

Motivating lyrics. Even if you don’t know Japanese, you will understand words like “yes go ahead, let’s try again, so find a way only live once”. Upbeat music. Sympathetic ways of introducing the characters. These are the main things I love about this opening sequence.

I even made an AMV on this song recently, only to have it manually taken off YouTube cause of copyright…

Hyouka Ending 2 (Kimi ni Matsuwaru Mystery)

I know that after the recent tragic events many people may not see this as an ending sequence that would “make you feel everything will be alright”. But I still really wanted to mention this ending.

There is so much charm to it and it’s instantly memorable with its unique visual style. I don’t think detectives searching for criminals has ever looked cuter.

Thank you Kyoani ♥️

By the way…

…today is basically this blog’s birthday. Yes, I’ve actually been doing this for a year now. From starting with this to overall 75 posts. It’s been an exciting journey with many trials and errors. I don’t really know how well any of it worked but I do know I’m proud of myself for starting all this and continuing with it. All of this has definitely made me grow, and I’m looking forward to more of that.

And ofcourse, I want to give my warmest thank you to anyone who ever clicked on any of my content. I hope you could take at least something good out of it.

Thank you for sticking with me. I’ll keep trying my best to produce something of value, whether if its in written or video form.

Yeah I had to take a picture that includes Saki

Yahallo! Notice anything different about this site? That’s right, an entire new look. I had the same theme since the start, which was some 10 months ago. I thought it worked quite well, but feedback from a few people made me think it’s something I could look into changing. I had it in my mind for a while now and now that I did the change, I’m very happy with the new look. I hope you feel the same way about it!

If you’ve read the title you can probably guess what this post is about. I haven’t made a lot of blog posts in the last, well months now, and it’s all for a reason. What started as a break for the summer exam period, became an extended break to reflect and focus more on other things. Those other things are video editing ofcourse.

And I think it’s gonna remain the focus. In the next few weeks I’m again busy due to the exam chaos, I still haven’t passed the difficult electrical engineering, and I’m planning to also work once again in the next days. But once those things end, I’m going to be dedicating most of the time to video stuff once again.

This blog is here to stay. But there won’t be 10 posts monthly as it used to be. I’m sorry for that. But what I will post, I hope to make it as enjoyable as possible. A more “liberal” posting schedule has less of that “it has to be done” pressure anyway.

I’m talking like this when the only kind of posting routine I had was one post every 3 days. How does it feel then for those hard working bloggers who post daily? I admire those that do that!

Anyway the videos. I already mentioned that Sakura Quest AMV in a previous post but let me do it again. The first of the AMVs I posted in the last month was a Sakura Quest typographic AMV made on the opening song of that anime. Typography in videos is something I really enjoy, and in this case I used it to highlight the english words from the opening.

Next up was a Fire Force character video, dedicated to Maki Oze. The idea was simply to find a few fitting words to describe her, and then freeze a few frames, and make a fancy background that fits the word. I was very happy to see this be my first video to break the 1000 views barrier!

The latest video is a Fruits Basket lyric video. The song is Switzerland’s Eurovision 2011 entry called In love for a while. Out of the three videos, this one I’m most proud with. Making it made the wait for a new Fruits Basket episode much easier, cause, well, it made me go through the anime once again.

That would be all for this, kind of an update, kind of an invitation to take a look at my AMVs kind of post. See you next time, whether it’s on a video or a blog post!

MAL scores (or myanimelist scores) – they serve as a rough estimation of how well an anime is received.

But ofcourse, if something has a high score, it doesn’t mean its a series that will most certainly without a doubt work for you.

Nor does a low score mean you will find the series terrible too.

The majority may feel one way, but it doesn’t mean you will feel the same way too.

In this post I will highlight some of the MAL scores that I would change. Cases of both the score being too high and too low will be included.

Remember that this is just my opinion, which I’m not supposed to have (in the words of PewDiePie, or should I say – Gloria Borger).

Clannad After Story (Score: 8.99)

Starting straight away with what I think is the most controversial entry on this list.

Many have described Clannad After Story as a lifechanging, unforgettable experience.

Unforgettable maybe, but lifechanging? I just never felt that.

After Story definitely had its moments. Episode 18, if I’m not mistaken, when Tomoya starts telling Ushio about his mother, broke me and for me that was probably the highest point of the series.

But I still have an issue with that ending. It would have been much more impactful if Nagisa was the only person that Tomoya lost. Seeing Tomoya moving on after that event would have been a great way to end.

Instead, the series basically goes back to Ushio’s birth and restarts everything from that point on, with a happier outcome than the first time.

And I know the message here is probably of karma, give to the city and the city will give back to you, but the whole supernatural aspect of Clannad never really worked for me, and that ending made all the events after Nagisa’s death feel useless.

Another issue are the characters. For a story like this to work on you, you need to get attached to the characters and for most of the Clannad characters, that wasn’t the case for me.

Saying all this, I’m making a Clannad AMV so this is kind of awkward…

Oh and the rating. It almost has a 9, making it one of the highest rated anime on the site.

If you would ask me, I wouldn’t rate Clannad After Story over 8.10.

Kimi ni Todoke (Score: 8.11)

Well, I did drop this anime afterall. So it’s kind of self explanatory why I disagree with the 8.11 rating.

I tried to give this anime a chance, I really did. I made it to Episode 18 I think, which was the recap.

But even with anime characters there is a limit to the dumbness that I can handle and Sawako was just too much.

Since on myanimelist I never actually give ratings to the anime that I dropped, I’m not sure if its fair that I talk about the Kimi ni Todoke rating.

But for the sake of this post, let’s say 7.5 is the highest rating I would give for this anime and nothing above that.

Harukana Receive (Score: 6.84)

It’s easy to dismiss an anime like Harukana Receive as nothing but fan-service without much value otherwise. It is a story about girls playing beach volleyball afterall.

And yet I ended up enjoying this anime more than I expected, and not simply because of the eyecandy. It was an interesting story with likeable characters that had a very sweet friendship.

Another strong aspect of Harukana Receive was the music. The opening and ending songs always improve my mood and the OST from the anime called Rise still serves as my alarm ringtone.

All of this for a myanimelist score of under 7.00? Harukana Receive deserves to at least break that barrier. I rated the anime with an 8 but I would be fine with at least a score of around 7.5.

Kimi no Na Wa (Score: 9.14)

I was not sure if I should include this. Not because it would be too controversial but because I’m not sure if what I’ll say about this will make sense.

This is the second highest rated item on myanimelist. And for this reason, the expectations were high when I watched this movie.

And it delivered. The story was well-made. Animation was gorgeous. The music was beautiful.

But I was still missing out on that feeling after finishing a 10/10 anime. It simply didn’t feel like I finished one of the best anime out there.

Maybe it was the characters? Actually, it probably was that. There was not too much you could take away or learn from the characters.

Which has a lot to do with the fact that its a movie, and in the time-frame of a movie it’s harder to create the attachment for the characters. At least in my opinion.

Which is also why movies usually work less well for me than a TV series.

I rated this movie with an 8. Something like an 8.30 score would be more appropriate I think.

Sakura Quest (Score: 7.45)

One of my most recently finished anime. Sakura Quest was beautiful.

I recently moved to a rural area just like Yoshino. Altho, if a city like Manoyama which has a population of around 50 000 counts as small, then I wonder what the village I’m in right now should be called…

In any case this was a well-made story about the life in a smaller area. Moreover, each of the girls had something I could relate to. Yoshino wished to live in a bigger place, then tried to make the most of an unplanned situation.

Shiori is an airhead. Maki all but gave up on one of her dreams.

Sanae is a web designer and blogger who hates bugs. Ririko is an introvert who can’t stop talking when asked about the things she is knowledgeable about.

I guess my point is, pretty much all of them are worth being called best girls.

P.A. Works is becoming one of my favorite studios. They really know how to hit my slice of life sweetspot.

Sakura Quest deserves to at least break the 8.00 score barrier on myanimelist.

Do you agree with my list? Which anime do you think have a myanimelist score that should be changed? Feel free to let me know in the comments 😉

Another season of anime is behind us! We are already one-quarter into 2019…

Just as I did at the end of the Fall 2018 anime season – I’m gonna go through all the anime I’ve watched in Winter 2019, be it seasonal, non-seasonal, or a rewatch.

Seasonal anime

Boogiepop wa Warawanai

I do enjoy watching Boogiepop but it’s really not an anime you would watch weekly. After watching the first 2 episodes that way, I already felt confused with the events and characters so I decided to restart my watching.

Now I’m just at the start of the second half of the series and I’ll get to finishing the remaining episodes soon.

It’s also not an anime I’d watch at any time other than late night. The music and the whole mood just fit that time so well. But I guess that’s expected from something with the Horror tag isn’t it?

Circlet Princess

If you’re into ecchi you’ll love this, but don’t expect anything high quality in the other aspects.

I gave Circlet Princess the famous ‘3-episode rule’ chance but I haven’t continued it since, and I doubt this will change.

Here you can read my first impressions post for this from January.

Dimension High School

Unlike Circlet Princess, I actually finished this anime.

And I actually… dare I say it… kind of enjoyed it? It was so different that it was interesting enough to keep me for the full 12 episodes.

Although pretty much everything about this was bad, at least I ended up discovering a great ending song. And the ability to say that I’ve finished something that had a score of under 5 on myanimelist for most of its airing time.

My first impressions on Dimension High School from January are here.

Sword Art Online: Alicization

Sword Art Online: Alicization is coming towards the end of its part 1.

At the time of writing, the latest episode aired is episode 23. And I have to say that the events of that episode have left me disappointed with certain things.

All I’ll say is that, spoiler alert:

Eugeo deserves better.

This is my breakdown of the second Alicization opening. Recently they updated the opening, which I covered here.

The Rising of the Shield Hero

I’m still enjoying The Rising of the Shield Hero even if its an anime that makes me annoyed in pretty much every episode.

Annoyed at all those characters that are constantly undermining Naofumi.

Rarely is watching someone being a jerk to others as satisfying as it is seeing Naofumi treat the others in a similar way that they treated him.

The Rising of the Shield Hero was the very first Winter 2019 anime I wrote my first impressions on. You can read that here.

The Promised Neverland

This really had everything – the story, the suspense, likeable characters, music, impactful scenes…

And I’m so happy that in this time of awesome anime announcements, we’ve been informed there will be a second season.

Still, I’m very seriously thinking of buying the manga volumes. I need more of this and I need it fast.

My first impressions on The Promised Neverland from January are here.

And my episode 10 review is here.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Imagine if Chika Fujiwara’s dance didn’t blow up on the internet and various funny screenshots from every Kaguya-sama episode weren’t on my twitter timeline.

I would probably never start Kaguya-sama: Love is War, and I would miss out on what is honestly turning into one of my favorite anime in general.

That’s how much I love it. And my Saturdays are about to feel really empty without this anime.

Till a second season hopefully happens, this is another anime I’m probably gonna buy the manga for when possible. Apparently some Hayasaka chapters have been skipped and I just can’t keep living without reading those.

I have no first impressions post for this but I do have a breakdown of the ending sequence which you can see here.

W’z

Looking back on W’z, its an anime with very nice visuals and sound but hugely lacking in the story.

And the fact that its a sequel to something I didn’t saw before doesn’t help matters.

You can read my first impressions post on it here. But this anime also appears in my post where I listed my dropped anime…

Non-seasonal

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

March has seen me return to watching more non-seasonal anime, and one of them was Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.

I really liked this. In terms of comedy its actually one of the better anime I’ve seen. It actually gave me slight Kaguya-sama vibes because of the comedy and random emotional moments with beautiful music…

I barely see anyone talk about this anime but I’d love another season.

Bungou Stray Dogs

How is this rated under 8 on myanimelist? And why am I even surprised with the myanimelist ratings anymore?

Anyway, Bungou Stray Dogs is awesome. But it’s probably another anime I’d put on my list of shows with better side characters than the main one. Before starting it, I actually thought Dazai was the main character.

I have more than enough time to finish season 2 and jump straight into the upcoming season 3.

Sakura Quest

When searching for an anime that would give me a similar feel to the amazing Shirobako, I saw Sakura Quest mentioned along with Hanasaku Iroha.

I think I understand why. Sakura Quest does have slight Shirobako vibes, not to mention the art style. But they are from the same studio anyway.

I’m really enjoying the aspect of living in a smaller city. Although if I remember correctly, they stated that Manoyama has 55 thousand inhabitants, which is actually even more than the city I lived in till very recently.

I’m now sort of living in a village so I can relate with the ‘moving from a city to a smaller area’ aspect.

No Game No Life: Zero

No Game  No Life: Zero could have been amazing if it wasn’t for my main problems with the series reoccurring.

In lack of a better word – it’s the asspulls. I was yet again left wondering how exactly were the events made possible and what did actually happen.

Maybe I’m just too stupid for this series? Probably.

Noragami

Noragami was fine. But not without its issues. Mainly I’d say the predictability and a few moments of the characters getting out of situations that looked too hard to be saved from.

How do I say it? I guess some resolutions to the events didn’t feel satisfying enough.

ReLIFE

ReLIFE was really worth watching. The concept was simple, and it’s essentially just a school anime with a twist, but it was a really unique twist and it felt strangely nostalgic.

Even if I’m still only the first year of college and I was in high school just last year.

I reviewed this anime, but as a guest post.

Accel World

Accel World has left me in that awkward situation of starting a series and then simply not returning to it with no definite reason why.

I saw the first two episodes and they weren’t even that bad. Yet for some reason I just didn’t return to it since. It’s already been two months.

But at least it’s not been on my on-hold list since June 2018, as Mushishi currently is.

And that’s pretty much what I watched in Winter 2019. Here is to an even more fun Spring 2019 anime season!