Thursday, January 27, 2022

Anime Roundup

It's time for another edition of Anime Roundup!

My Neighbor Totoro
Continuing with my Studio Ghibli catch-up mission that started with Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, I decided to check this one out, which ended up being a total delight. A story about two sisters (and their father) who move to a rural area to be closer to their hospitalized mother and subsequently encounter spirits in their new house and in the woods, it's a simple yet nuanced tale that is layered with deep thematic elements, which seems to be the Studio Ghibli modus operandi. Also, now I really want to ride a Catbus (I've heard there's a giant plush version in the Ghibli Museum in Japan, but only kids 12 and under can enter it. Ageism!)

Edens Zero
Brought to you by Hiro Mashima, the same mangaka (manga creator) responsible for Fairy Tail (a personal favorite of mine), this one is a Star Wars-influenced "space fantasy" about a teenage boy who goes on a quest through the universe to find the fabled goddess of the cosmos while making as many friends as he can along the way. Okay, so, Mashima-sensei, I have questions: is Happy the cat the same being in both Fairy Tail and Edens Zero, or is he just a parallel-universe-doppelganger version? Along those lines, are Rebecca Bluegarden and Elsie Crimson the doppelgangers of Lucy Heartfilia and Erza Scarlet? And was that Natsu I saw in the diner in one of the early episodes?

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop
A cute slice-of-life rom-com/dram film (not a series) about two shy teenage kids - a boy who loves to write haiku and an online influencer girl who wears a mask to cover her braces (no, not because of Covid) - who have a chance meeting at the local mall and then there are lost phones and a day care center and a old vinyl record mystery and, well, you just have to watch it.

Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World
The best way I can sum this show up is that it's like Food Wars but without the "fan service" or, well, any semblance of a plot. But that's okay, because I love it anyway! I mean, it's basically a portal fantasy where the front door of an izayaka (Japanese bar/restaurant) called Nobu opens to an alternate medieval-style world called Aitheria whose citizens then discover Nobu and the amazing food and drink contained therein. Also, each short-ish (14 minutes or so) episode ends in a live-action segment showing either a Japanese celebrity visiting a restaurant who serves the food from the episode, or a lesson from a Japanese cook instructing you how to make it at home. What's not to love? Also, like Food Wars, it makes me really hungry after watching it, even if I've already eaten.

Meow Meow Japanese History
Me: (scrolling through the endless amount of anime on Crunchyroll looking for something to watch)
Crunchyroll: Japanese history, but with cats!
Me: Yes please

I don't think I really need to describe this one...I mean, that tagline says it all, right? Be advised that, if you're looking for accurate research material, this might not be your best resource (they often change the names of historical figures, events, places, etc. to include the word "nya" - Japanese for "meow"), but if you're just looking for some general high-level introductory knowledge that you can look up more on your own if you're so inclined (and you love cats), then this show is perfect, and, at nine minutes an episode, fun and easy viewing. (Disclaimer: I haven't gotten through all the episodes yet, as there are a LOT of them)

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Random Life Tips That Work For Me

The last time I did one of these was on September 17, 2020. Since then, I've amassed a few more nuggets of wisdom that I thought I'd pass on to you, loyal blog reader (disclaimer: just remember to view any bits of advice given to you by a writer/musician with a healthy amount of skepticism. Except for maybe the ones that have to do with writing or playing music).
- If you've adopted a new kitten, start them on a good dental hygiene routine NOW. If brushing their teeth proves to be too difficult (trust me, I understand), at least feed them dental treats and use a dental water supplement. With any luck, this will save you money and reduce your stress down the line (not to mention, your cat will be more comfortable since their teeth won't be bothering them).

- Probiotics. Now, I know, their benefits haven't been scientifically proven, and again, take any health-related advice from me with a giant grain of salt (figurative, too much salt is bad for you), but, hey, they seem to work for me (see: the title of this blog post). Of course, your results may vary, consult your doctor, etc.

- The morning routine that always gets my day off to a good start consists of exercise, followed by five activities that all end in "-ation": appreciation (i.e., counting your blessings, gratitude, etc.), meditation (5-10 minutes is fine, I do ten while listening to one of the many meditation music videos on YouTube), affirmation (positive self-talk), inspiration (thinking about your life's purpose, which in my case is helping to make the world a more positive place through pop culture), and visualization (picturing your goals as having been achieved, etc.). And, I guess, maybe hydration? I dunno, I do drink a lot of water and green tea...

- Experiencing ennui (per Google dictionary, "a feeling of of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement") due to the pandemic or otherwise? Well, five ways I've found to combat it without making drastic moves are: (1) vacation (yes, I know, travel is iffy right now, but any kind of break can help); (2) therapy (talking it out, also helpful); (3) refocus on your passion/purpose (see the bullet point above); (4) change your routine (even what seem like really small changes can help, like reordering the kinds of exercises you do in the morning); (5) makeover your space/yourself (nothing too radical is necessary, maybe just move some furniture around or get a haircut).

- Live in the moment.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Quickie Status Updates

Here's a brief and exciting roundup of my various projects!
I've received the initial evaluation of Volume Six from my editor and will be discussing her notes with her today. Excited! Also, Volume Seven is up to 5268 words, or a little over 21 pages that comprise two full chapters.

My band has completed three full rounds of the pre-production process we call "boot camp" in preparation for a special project that we will be recording in early February. Excited! What kind of special project, you ask? Don't worry, the details will be forthcoming in a future post.

Our artist, Jenny Ho, left the Glorified project after the completion of Issue #4. That's not too exciting. But not to worry, we (me and the guys in my band) have no intention of stopping and are currently searching for a replacement! (If you know anyone, feel free to contact us at They don't have to copy Jenny's style, we just ask that they honor the original character designs as closely as possible.)

Although we're currently on an every-other-week schedule due to the aforementioned boot camp process, we are still cranking out episodes and recently published our Season 2 finale and Season 3 debut. Check them (and other episodes) out here!

Besides anime, I've been enjoying a ton of other exciting shows lately, including Hawkeye, The Book of Boba Fett, Cobra Kai's season 4, The Wheel of Time, Blade Runner: Black Lotus (which, I guess, could be considered an anime, but I'm choosing not to count it as such for various reasons that I won't get into here because I said this is supposed to be a QUICKIE Status Updates post), the latest Doctor Who special (time loops, yay!) and season 4 of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir which just dropped on Disney+ and is SERIOUSLY BLOWING MY MIND

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Random Haiku For 2022

And so, we begin another year. No, that sentence is not part of the haiku (Japanese poems). The haiku start after the picture.
Hole in old towel
It looks like an angry face
Or, well, maybe not

One-month-old picture
Since then, more holes have been made
Time to throw it out?

Why do we keep it?
It is easy to replace
I really don't know

Like the year gone by
There is no past, no future
There is only now

Twenty twenty-two
A year is just a number
Illusion of time

All is energy
Even this old, worn towel
Reflecting the light

Perhaps we will see
The meaning of existence
Through the face-like hole