A Series of Unrelated Snippets

Butterfly and Annie have been watching an anime called Food Wars recently. Since I have been reading and writing in the same room as the television, I have caught several glimpses of the anime. The food on this show looks divine. I mean, anime food always looks particularly delicious, but anime devoted to food, such as Yumeiro Patissiere or Food Wars take it to a whole other level. I would dearly love to try some of the dishes I’ve seen in these two shows. I wonder if there is an English language cookbook featuring the recipes from the show available? Continue reading


Awesome Anime Reviewers

Anime Reviewers

Anyone who has ever met me will be aware that my two greatest obsessions are reading and Harry Potter. If you and I have more than a passing acquaintance, you will know that my third love (aside from family, of course) is anime.

Unfortunately, aside from a couple of Facebook friends (and my own children), I really don’t know anybody else who enjoys anime anywhere near as much. Oh, I know plenty of people who dabble. People whose experience of anime is limited to Pokémon, Astro Boy and the more popular Studio Ghibli films.

Now, I am by no means an anime aficionado. In fact, as much as I love anime, I still regard myself as a casual viewer. But with most people I associate having watched even less than I have, where am I to find new anime to watch?

I can find new titles by browsing the store shelves but, while reading the box will give me a pretty good idea of what the show is about, it really doesn’t tell me whether or not it is any good. With an extremely limited budget, I am fairly keen to spend my money on anime I will want to keep. This is where YouTube comes into its own. Continue reading


This is a Shingeki no Kyojin fanfic. [ReaderxArmin] One-shot. Armin reads the letter you wrote in case you did not return. I do not own Attack on Titan or any part of it. Continue reading

Top 10 Anime Eyes

When drawing an anime character, one of the most important features is the eyes. They convey the character, personality and mood of the character in question. When it comes to anime eyes most Anime Otaku have their favourites, their pet peeves and their oh-my-god-I-just-can’t-stop-looking-at-them moments. Continue reading

How do I feel today?

One thing about anime and manga is that it expresses emotion far more eloquently than my words ever could. So, how do I feel today? Continue reading

Pillow Hug by Annie

What is Yaoi?

I have had a few queries as to what yaoi is and, rather than send people off to consult Professor Google, I thought I would make a (somewhat pathetic) attempt at explaining things here. In simple terms, yaoi is anime … Continue reading

Websites I wouldn’t want to live without

We all have websites that we visit on a regular basis. Websites that have become a part of our daily lives. You know the ones I mean. Those sites where downtime or lost internet connection causes withdrawal. When you can’t get back to them soonest, you start to miss the site, you begin talking about it with your friends, you check twitter to see what’s going on (is the downtime explained, is it a trending topic), you start to panic if the downtime lasts more than a couple of hours, your fingers type the url in thin air…

Sometimes, it seems like we just can’t live without our favourite sites. Here are my top five sites I wouldn’t wish to live without. What are yours?

Number 1: WordPress

WordPress is the site that hosts my three blogs: Ravings of a Lunatic Mum (my personal blog), Quotes, Votes & Random Notes (where I record random bits and pieces that have caught my interest) and Lemonade (my family’s blog which I am in the process of transferring from Multiply). Since so much of my life is recorded on this site, it is definitely the one I would miss the most.

Number 2: BookCrossing

For those who don’t already know, I am an avid BookCrosser. This means I attach labels and a tracking number to my books when I am finished with them and then leave them laying about somewhere for a new reader to find. This is my biggest hobby (besides reading, of course) and it is loads of fun. It is such a thrill when a book checks in after being absent for a few years and it is wonderful to be a part of a community of book lovers. This is also where I keep track of my extensive wishlist.

Number 3: LibraryThing

This site has proved to be an invaluable tool in keeping track of my books. What do I have on my shelf? Which books have I lent out? What did I previously own, but have now released? When did I read this book? How long have I owned that one? It is a great place to create a catalogue of all your books and, like BookCrossing, you can catch up with a bunch of other book lovers.

Number 4: G-Mail

Everybody needs an email to survive these days and I strongly dislike using the one provided by my ISP. I much prefer to have a web-based address and, out of all those I have tried, Gmail seems to suit me best.

Number 5: Crunchyroll

I prefer not to utilise free anime on YouTube and such because there is no money going back to the artist. However, I cannot afford to buy every single anime I want to watch. That is why I have a subscription to Crunchyroll. It isn’t expensive and I can watch as much anime as I wish while having the piece of mind that Crunchyroll only provide those anime for which it has paid the license fee. I cannot get all of my favourite anime there, but it narrows down the field of what I have to buy, and gives me a chance to discover anime I would not otherwise have watched.

So those are my top 5 websites I wouldn’t want to live without. Why not go and check them out?

Bad Luck

Gravitation: Maki Murakami

Gravitation: Maki Murakami (Photo credit: Mika Marttila)

I can’t play any instruments and my singing could easily be mistaken for a banshee. As you might guess, performing on stage isn’t exactly at the top of my to-do list. And there isn’t a band or musician alive that could make me do so. Alive is the operative word here, though. Because there is a band that I would be willing to humiliate myself to perform with. They aren’t alive. They aren’t even real – at least in the conventional sense of the word. They are Bad Luck.

For those heathens who do not know, Bad Luck is the band which features in the anime (and manga) Gravitation. It consists of Shuichi Shindo (vocals), Hiroshi Nagano (guitarist) and Suguru Fujisaki (keyboard) and I would give almost anything to be able to see them for real, let alone perform with them. I don’t just mean for their music, though this is pretty cool (seriously – I just love Spicy Marmalade!), but also for their personalities. I reckon Shuichi would be an awful lot of fun to perform with and I would not feel the slightest bit of embarrassment. He sure wouldn’t be boring as a friend either! Hiro is also pretty cool and Fujisaki I could probably get to like. At least he can (sort of) keep Shuichi’s feet on the ground.

Yep, if I had to pick anyone to perform with, it would be Bad Luck. What about you?

In Defence of Anime

Tezuka as a child

Tezuka as a child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my fifth speech from the Competent Communicator Manual. I gave this speech on 13 July 2010 (my birthday). The exercise is ‘Your Body Speaks’. The title is ‘In Defence of Anime’ and the time is meant to be 5-7 minutes. I was slightly overtime (but still within competition guidelines) at 7:12.


There has been a lot of criticism recently of anime and it’s print companion, manga -mostly by fundamentalist religious types who think anything not derived from the Bible, the Torah or the Koran is Evil with a capital E.

Mr Toastmaster, fellow members and guests, I’m afraid this speech is not nearly long enough to address all of their concerns. What I hope to achieve tonight is to highlight the main criticisms and open your eyes to some of the positive aspects of anime.

But first, a little bit about anime, Most of you have probably come across anime at some point in your lives. The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Pokémon, Astro Boy and Hello Kitty are all fairly well known in the west. These, of course, are all children’s shows, but anime encompasses a far greater variety of genres and has a large selection of quality animation for the discerning adult.

Within Japan, the word anime simply means animation and holds no connotation with regards to style or country of origin. However to the world outside of Japan, the word anime has come to mean ‘Japanese Animation’. Japanese animation has been around for quite a while, with the earliest known example being made in 1917. The characteristic style currently associated with anime was developed in the 1960’s, most notably with the work of Osamu Tezuka, who has since become known as the ‘father of anime’.

While different titles and different artists have their own artistic styles, many stylistic elements have become so common as to be almost cliché. These include exaggerated physical features such as large eyes, big hair and elongated limbs; short mini-skirts on the females; and ‘face faults’ in which shocked or surprised characters will display an extremely exaggerated facial expression. Angry women will sometimes summon a mallet from nowhere and strike another character with it, male characters will develop a bloody nose around female love interests (a play on an old wives tale, which signifies arousal) and stressed or embarrassed characters will produce a massive sweat drop.

One of the biggest criticisms of anime has to do with overt sexual content, the implication being that there is too much of it. I tend to feel that this assessment is unfair. Like any other stylistic medium, anime ranges from the overtly sexual hentai (basically anime porn) to the hilariously funny sexual innuendo of adult’s anime to the complete innocence of children’s programs. To say that hentai, for example, is representive of all anime is as unfair as saying that Debbie Does Dallas represents all of hollywood.

Many people believe that anime has too much violence. What I say to these people is ‘Have you seen the latest Quentin Tarantino movie?’ While it is true that many anime are quite graphic – Elfen Lied is a good example of this – the fact that it is animated and fairly stylized means that it has far less impact than many hollywood films. Again, not all anime are graphic in nature. As with films, it depends entirely upon the feature you choose to view.

The final criticism I will address tonight is religious content. This one really gets the fundamentalist religious folk all riled up. Apparently, anime is a very bad influence on today’s youth. Why? Well, the violence and sexuality play a part, to be sure, but worse is the non-Christian theology. I’m afraid there is really no answer to this objection since it is based squarely on the facts. Buddhist or Shintoist overtones are present to some degree in most anime. Many anime feature quasi-messianic figures and most contain various demons, spirits and gods. Many also contain magic and sorcery. Viewers will simpler have to exercise their own discretion on this matter. There isn’t much we can do about the Flanders’ of this world.

As an anime fan, I would like to point out that there are some good points to be made. Firstly, today’s distinctive anime style, while vastly different from American animation, can be fun to watch. I like the exaggerated everything. I like the animation effect of fewer frames. And I like the fairly distinctive humour present to some degree in most anime.

Fans of martial arts movies will probably also enjoy anime. Since most anime are based around Japanese culture, there are some fairly impressive fighting moves present in many anime.

Finally, there are some pretty good life lessons to be learned from anime. Loyalty. Honour. Persistence. These are all lessons that are not valued as highly as they should be in today’s society. One of my favourite anime is Naruto and, in my opinion, you couldn’t find a more positive role model for your children. Naruto never gives up. Never. No matter how many times he fails, no matter how many times his enemies beat him down, no matter how few people believe in him, he just keeps on trying and trying and trying until he achieves his goal. More importantly, he does so with a positive attitude. I don’t believe I have ever seen Naruto cowed, I have never seen his spirit broken, I have never seen him stop believing in himself.

Anime characters remind us that its okay to be different and your strength comes from being true to yourself. The good guys always win in the end and evil is ultimately sent packing. They show us that you can’t always judge a book by its cover, no matter how different that cover might be from your own and that it doesn’t matter how small you think you are – you should always stand up for what’s right, no matter how mean or corrupt the bully might be.

Surely no-one would argue that these are lessons worth learning.