Chihayafuru and the Hyaku-Nin-Isshu

The Hyaku-nin-isshu is a collection of 100 poems by 100 different individuals, compiled by Fujiwara no Teika during the 11th century.  The poems follow the tanka form of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables per line, and are mostly about love or nature, written in a time when only members of the nobility were allowed, or known, to write poetry;…

The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu)

The anime movie, Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises), released in Japan in 2013 was the last film directed by Studio Ghibli‘s Hayao Miyazaki before he retired in September of the same year.  The story is based on the real life of Jiro Horikoshi, the aircraft engineer who designed the Mitsubishi A5M and A6M Zero, which were used during World War II. As…

Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

Without giving away too many spoilers, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children Ame and Yuki) is about overcoming certain challenges in life:  raising children as a single parent; learning to stand on your own two feet but realizing that you sometimes need other people’s help; realizing your true nature and having other people…

Emma: A Victorian Romance

Emma: A Victorian Romance is, as the name implies, exactly that – a Victorian romance.  Contrary to my belief, it is not based on Jane Austen’s novel, Emma (which is also set in England in the 1800’s). The anime, Emma is about the love affair between a housemaid (Emma) and a young aristocrat (William), set in London,…

Baka and Test

Baka to Tesuto to Shokanju or simply, Baka  and Test is one of the funniest anime I have ever watched. With its classroom setting and storylines making fun of otakus, it’s like a cross between Ouran High School Host Club and Lucky Star. Fumizuki Academy is a unique school where students are grouped into 6…

Skip Beat!

Skip Beat! is a bit old – it originally aired late 2008 to early 2009, and despite its popularity, I didn’t watch it until much later.  Besides being a shojo anime/manga, which I don’t usually watch, I didn’t really like the animation style and the look of the characters. I was finally curious enough to see…

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)

Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light) is a short OVA based on a one-shot manga by Yuki Midorikawa.  Though the manga was published in 2002, the OVA was not made and released until 2011. Hotarubi no Mori e is about the unique friendship between a human girl, Hotaru, and a spirit-like…