Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Manga of the Month: Orange

April 1, 2014

Orange (オレンジ) by Ichigo Takano

narutaki_icon_4040 This was the first title on the Crunchyroll Manga subscription that was on my “most wanted” list. It takes off from a common idea: what if you could tell your high school self some important information and change the future. In this case, Naho receives a mysterious letter in the mail from her future self which quickly proves itself to be real by predicting the events of that day perfectly. A new student arrives, Kakeru, who instantly becomes a part of Naho’s group of friends. But the letter warns Naho that Kakeru will not make it to his 18th birthday and begs her to prevent this from happening.

“From here on in, please make Kakeru happy
as often as you can.

I’m sure that’s what will save him.”

There is a darkness, a sadness, in Kakeru after his mother’s suicide, which we learn happened on his first day of transferring to the new school. He hints at his pain and his smile is always melancholy but he never opens up. That is he doesn’t in the past that Naho is reading about, but slowly she starts to gain the confidence to ask Kakeru about his life and his feelings. Along with her friends she might just be able to pull him back from the brink.

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The Speakeasy #051: Upside-down Pineapple, March Movie Madness

March 31, 2014
Drink #051: Upside-down Pineapple
March Movie Madness

Unlike all the other East Coast anime fans, we didn’t head to Anime Boston this month. Instead, we talk about all the movies we saw during March. Okay, yeah, fine we couldn’t come up with a real, all encompassing topic, okay? But hey, you get two anime movie reviews (Patema Inverted and Giovanni’s Island both of which played at the NYICFF) and our thoughts on the Veronica Mars movie (have we ever sounded this ridiculously happy in a podcast before?).

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Upside-down Pineapple

  • 1/2 oz. Vodka, vanilla
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake vanilla vodka and pineapple juice with ice and strain into shot glass. Add grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and will give this shot a very sweet conclusion.

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Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha: Wrath of Konkon

March 26, 2014


(Watch Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha on Hulu for free.)

hisui_icon_4040 If you asked anyone what their favorite series from this season was you would get a wide selection of answers but Kill la Kill and Space Dandy will probably come up the most. On the other hand if you ask Kate she will say Kuroko’s Basketball because . . . well she is Kate. BUT if you ask what was the best NEW show of the season we would both pick an anime that is sadly overlooked. It is a wonderful mix of comedy and romance. A series based on a seinen manga with a shojo appeal. That show is Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha is easy to dismiss as the “spirits and humans” story of the season to fill for a lack of a new season of Natsume’s Book of Friends or Mushishi but that is selling the show short. Konkon has an infectious joy that sets it apart from the pack. Unlike some other the other anime and manga in the genre that either go for a gentle melancholy or a soft warm glow like Kamichu! and Gingitsune this show goes for the laughs first and foremost. But at the same time there are some strong romantic undercurrents and well as solid friendships to bring it all together.

narutaki_icon_4040 It is funny to use “nice” as a way to describe a show I want others to watch, but Inari Konkon Koi Iroha is nice. Nice like it wraps you up and makes you feel good while watching it. You might find yourself sighing in contentment while viewing the show even.

But that’s not to say niceness is the only quality the series has to offer. Inari Konkon Koi Iroha is a nice, hilarious, fun, and sweet story featuring wacky gods, new loves, and the bonds of friendship.

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NYICFF 2014: Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart

March 24, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart hails from France. It was created as a “rock opera” based on the concept album, La Mécanique du Cœur.

The film begins with a sequence of the “coldest day ever” where we see the town go from snowy to frozen over in stunning fashion. The gothic spires, twisty streets, and angular architecture evoke just the type of macabre visual style that I love. The style becomes ever more realized as the movie goes on introducing things like an accordion stream train (seriously, this was so cool) and a sideshow filled to the brim with odd characters.

Additionally, a couple of scenes which melt into one another and back again are a dizzying delight. And the dream sequences of Jack and Acacia have a lot of charm.

The combination of imagination and technical detail was incredible in Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart.

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