Life doesn’t end at 20..

Have you ever wondered whether you’d be too old to do things you were doing in your teens once you turn 20? Truth is, I have. I would even consider stopping to adopt the same mannerisms when I come of age, like switching from my typical jeans-tee-Converse attire to a femme fatale look, wearing semi formal and floral dresses, high heels and flats. I wasn’t even surprised seeing how people could get married and have kids at 23-24 and assumed that such feeling should remain the same as I reach that age. I kept telling myself that I should keep my room clean at all times, should no longer argue with my parents whenever there’s a disagreement, should focus more on mundane tasks rather than what I like doing, should consider socializing with adults who are not just your age but also the ones in late adulthood, should cope more with adults in family gatherings and should consider going for a serious leading-to-marriage types of love relationships. All these things are dictated upon me by my teenage self, telling myself that I’d be too old having the similar teenage mindset once I’m 20. And yes, crushes and casual dating should be over by then, my teenage self once told me.

But nothing has changed when I turned 20. I’m still a sixteen year old trapped in a young woman’s body, whose mindset are more similar to a teen’s rather than to an adult’s. I still pick crushes and casual dates over those serious committed relationships, I still choose to stay out all night in clubs with friends, 80-90% of my current interests (arts, music, anime/manga, gothic culture, dark fantasy/horror/adventure, rock/metal..) come from childhood and teens, I still wear the same outfit as I was wearing at 16-19 years old, I still dedicate my time to doing what I want than what I must and I still consider spending money on pointed studs, skull necklaces and earrings and metal-based jewelry rather than pearl and diamond jewelry that most women are already wearing. And yes, I still look up to ragged looking men than those men in suits (though the latter aren’t bad). You will still find me sleeping with my dearest childhood plushies, dwelling too much on my emotions and having online social media accounts that look teenager-ish. I’m still surprised seeing how my friends can get married and have families at 18-24, although it should no longer be an issue at my age. Can it be that..I’m not matured enough for my age? Or am I just way too scared to take a step ahead?

But then I learned that I’m not the only one. Joining several adult hobby courses and workshops, I’ve realized that many adults, particularly 20-somethings, are still exploring themselves as much as I do. I’ve met this online friend my age who shares similar interests and views as mine. I’ve met a bunch of people in their mid/late 20’s who are still studying, or adults who are still finding time to learn new things and to explore their passions in life despite their hectic work and family life. I still see a bunch of 20-somethings (sometimes even 30-40 year olds) who consider having piercings and tattoos, sporting ragged attires, playing video games, attending music festivals and sports games and watching a bunch of cartoons and anime. I then realize that we are never too old to stand up for who we are and what we love. I begin to be satisfied with my now 24 year old self, not minding what my teenage self has dictated upon my future 20 year old self. And besides, I’ve realized that my teenage dreams are coming true in my 20’s. Performing onstage, being in a band, still having time for my interests, making more friends, hanging out more in bars and clubs, etc..

All in all, I’ve learned that being in your 20’s is a crucial stage. We are young enough to relive our teenage (even childhood) dreams, while being old enough to assume more responsibilities and exploring our identities as adults. I’ve realized that I still have a life ahead of me and I should not mind what the society pressures me to do at a certain age. Life doesn’t definitely end at 20. It is just a beginning of one’s new life.

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One day at The Maya’s Kitchen..

Just when I thought of taking a baking class. I’ve always been involved in arts and music, my earliest passions in life, and thought of moving to a new direction where I can explore new interests such as culinary arts. I told myself that it would serve me in the future especially when moving away from parents, getting married and having my own family. My undeniable love for desserts also drove me to learn baking. I’ve been looking for a prestigious short baking course that’s worth my experience and to my luck, end up attending basic baking courses at The Maya’s Kitchen.

It is definitely one of the best courses I’ve been to. I’m not only referring to culinary arts courses but to courses in different areas. I’ve lived my life studying several courses such as voice, guitar, piano, charcoal painting, life coaching and personality development, theater acting workshops, and now, basic baking. It is my first time studying a culinary related course and the basic baking from Maya’s already satisfied me. I learned how to bake a variety of delicacies (bread, cakes, pastries, cookies..) and a few tips to bake them more effectively as to provide good taste, texture and appearance. Here are the snapshots taken during the demo and the hands-on.

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The “mis-en-place”, wherein the bakers prepare the ingredients needed. The fundamental step in baking

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Cream Puffs in form of bird
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Chiffon Cake (top) and Pineapple Pie (bottom)
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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
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Spanish Bread sample from the baking demo
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Ensaymada samples from the baking demo
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Bread dough for pandesal. Let it rise (covered in cloth) before the actual baking
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Focaccia topped with caramelized onion and pepper, from special demo by Chef John

If you’re looking for a baking and other culinary-related course, the Maya’s Kitchen is definitely a must go! It is good to interact with an experienced instructor and sometimes course mates, who will guide you in giving your desserts a better flavor. Another reason for appreciating this course is I gained some friends. It is a relief knowing that other adults still explore their passions as I’ve always been doing.

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Basic Baking Class Batch July 09-12, 2013 with instructor Ms. Rory Quintos
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The Maya Kitchen’s freebies sported by dearest plushies
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Post-baking reads
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And finally, my baking certificate!

For more inquiries about the course and center, kindly visit the Maya’s Kitchen website. There is more to this culinary art center than my blog can tell. 🙂

Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko: When you wish upon a cat

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Alternative Name The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat; HenNeko; 変態王子と笑わない猫

Written by Sou Sagara (manga and light novel)

Directed by Youhei Suzuki

Original Run April 13, 2013 – June 29, 2013 (12 episodes finished)

Genre Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, School life, Supernatural, Seinen.

Plot

Sixteen year old Youto Yokodera is thinking of expressing his lustful thoughts freely. He then learns of the stony cat statue, wherein he wishes for it and encounters Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi, a girl wishing to get rid of her emotions. Meanwhile, it turns out that the granted wishes are not what he expects, making him want to take his wish back. Having given up on the facade, he realizes that Azusa Azuki has it, as the stony cat provides the sacrificed possessions to the ones who need them. Yokodera also learns of Tsukiko as Tsukushi aka The Steel’s younger sister and therefore a family member of the Stony Cat statue owner.

Main review

The anime (since I haven’t read the manga yet) is just okay. Not that it is terrible but it is not a grand masterpiece ever made. It has no particular story, with random scenes related to making wishes and taking them back. Besides, the anime was corny at first. It also promotes the idea of being a multiple timer, being based on a harem love story of a guy involved in several girls and making them all feel that they’re the most important person in his life.

However, Henneko still has good points. It is best recommended for lolicon (little girl-adult relationship), siscon (sister-to-sister romance), harem (multiple time relationship), ecchi (minimal porn) and comedy slice of life (real-life based comedy) fans, as it has everything the fan bases expect – sex scenes and jokes, the humor behind Steel-san x Tsukiko siscon and Yokodera’s lolicon crush on Emi. Another good points of the anime are the metaphor behind the stony cat (a symbol of fate wherein wishes do not necessarily end in a way the bearer has expected, either because the bearer chooses not to want it himself/herself, or the wishes do not literally answer what the bearer expects) and how the anime plays around it with a series of related comedic scenes. It already proves that the anime is still of virtue, despite not being taken seriously. An optimistic approach towards turning back makes the anime optimistic and hopeful enough, as shown through cancellation of the wish, wherein the characters can still go back to the days where they have not wished anything yet.

The remaining aspects to appreciate in HenNeko are the clean and attractive moe quality of art, the interesting characters that either make them loved or hated, and the opening and ending themes that manage to emphasize the overall anime theme (though the ending song is not as catchy as the opening). Some episodes (particularly the last two episodes which I find touching, teary-eyed, funny and romantic) can be as entertaining despite the anime being random.

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Be careful what you wish for.”

One lesson learned in HenNeko.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars (7/10)

Sources

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko MyAnimeList

The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat Wikipedia

Mahou Shoujo Madoka ★ Magica: The Fight for Victory and Loss

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Alternative Name Puella Magi Madoka Magica; Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika; Magical Girl Madoka Magica; 魔法少女まどか★マギカ

Illustrated by Hanokage

Original Run February 12, 2011 – May 30, 2011 (3 volumes completed)

Directed by Akiyuki Shinbou Producer Shaft

Original Run January 7, 2011 – April 22, 2011 (12 episodes finished)

Genre Dark Fantasy, Drama, Magical Girl, Psychological, Tragedy

Plot

Fourteen year old Madoka Kaname and her best friend Sayaka Miki are invited to form a contract with a known magical creature named Kyubey. This will result them in becoming Puella Magis – a group of magical girls claimed to fight witches who are responsible for numerous unexpected human deaths. As soon as Madoka learns of the Puella Magi’s unfortunate lifespan, she then begins to become oneself – and changes such bitter fate.

Main review

There is so much to appreciate about my favorite anime/manga at all time. One of the best anime/manga I daresay. The plot can be a bit dragging, but I find it deep and complex, being an allegory to making a risky decision where there is no turning back. Besides, the dark, cursed and tragic ambiance make this animanga more appealing. Notable themes include making a risky decision, surviving to the fittest in facing the consequences of decisions made, creation and recreation of one’s destiny, being responsible for one’s decisions and actions, and the human’s accountability for every decisions made (according to Kyubey, one is accountable for her decision to become a Puella Magi. His purpose is only to persuade, but the final decision lies in the invited bearer, no matter what the consequences might be. It is also similar in real life, wherein the human is responsible for his/her own decision and must face the consequences it gives).

Other factors to love in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica? The art/animation, characters, the opening and ending themes. The overall artwork, including special effects, are colorful, vivid and lively, while the characters are interesting and well-developed enough that they are brought to life (with a unique personality and life story). The opening and ending songs fit the plot and the themes very well. Not forgetting to mention that they’re catchy.

For those who are into dark anime and manga with deep storylines, this anime/manga can be your cup of tea. Being into magical girl genre is a plus.

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars (9/10)

Sources

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica MyAnimeList

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Wikipedia

Further reading

Puella Magi Madoka Magica USA Official Website

Despicable Me 2: And the Minions strike back..

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Country USA

Release Date 3 July 2013 (USA)

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt.

Genre Animation – Comedy – Crime

Length 98 min long

Plot

The ex-supervillain Gru is now adjusting to the family life and the world of human interactions. An anti-villain league invites him to investigate the case, wherein animals are to be transformed into complete purple monsters through procedure tests.

There is more to this movie than words can describe. Despicable Me 2 is really enjoyable to watch, more entertaining than its first sequel can ever be. It is about Mr. Gru who, after getting out of his shell, is on the process of learning human relationships more through his love for his adopted daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes, and his newly found love with his co-detective Lucy. It is indeed touching seeing him as the children’s father figure (kissing his daughters good night and being overprotective towards Margo, who is being seduced by Antonio, El Macho’s teenage son) and the romantic Gru and Lucy tandem gives chills. Other interesting parts in the movie include Agnes’ cute yet baby-ish attitude, Margo’s not-so-love encounter with Antonio, funny and wacky acts, the presence of superficial ladies who are worth to be mocked upon, the full-loaded action and detective adventures in arresting El Macho, and not to forget, more Minion scenes.

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When the world needed a hero, they called a villain.”

Overall Rating 5/5 stars (10/10)

Sources 

Despicable Me 2 IMDb

Fushigi Yuugi: Anime vs Manga (Anime side)

I would usually prefer a manga over an anime. But in Fushigi Yuugi, it’s all different. I’ve grown to prefer the anime over the manga, not because I discovered the anime first. Here are the reasons why the anime is a lot more treasuring.

1) The details of the manga are all included in the anime.

The only major difference is that the manga contains a more detailed story where Tamahome now lives in Miaka’s world as Taka Sukunami. The anime only shows Miaka and Taka Sukunami’s first meeting, wherein Keisuke introduces his known friend to Miaka and Yui, now high school students.

2) Miaka (the main character) is more described as a character you’d love to hate in the manga.

It underlines more of her negative traits (gluttony, “spoiled brat’ attitude, “whinings”, not being a good daughter to his mother..), and the positive traits of hers are not so much emphasized until the middle of the story. The anime, however, concentrates more on her kind-hearted, compassionate and loyal friend side. This has brought me to being her fan and I remain loyal to her despite my disappointment towards her description in the manga.

3) The anime shows Keisuke’s reading scenes, at the same time as Miaka and Yui’s adventures in the book.

Similarly, it shows Yui’s reading scenes and Miaka’s adventures simultaneously, which makes the anime more realistic. And how could Keisuke know what was happening to his sister in the manga without proof that he was reading the book? He might be taking a shower, going out with Tetsuya, or doing things other than reading the Universe of Four Gods.

4) The anime describes Keisuke as a real older brother to Miaka.

Not the overprotective one but the one who understands and knows her best and, at the same time, protects her at all cost. I just love how he covers Miaka up about Tamahome and her life as a Suzaku priestess. This is not even emphasized in the manga and besides, Keisuke looks more of a real authoritative figure there. A brother acting like a father.

5) The art in the manga looks like it’s made from scratch.

In the anime, however, it is pretty much developed.

6) The opening and ending themes are worth hearing – same with the other theme songs in the episodes.

However, these are what I found good in the manga, even though I’d consider the anime more.

1) The scene where Miaka’s mom finds about Tamahome and Miaka’s adventures as the Suzaku Priestess.

This is one of the realistic approach of the story, which will make the Fushigi Yuugi animanga fans wonder how Miaka can easily escape from her not-so-intelligent mother (especially if they haven’t read the manga).

2) Those post volume 13 scenes.

It’s interesting to witness how Tamahome (now reborn as Taka Sukunami) and Miaka’s love story in Miaka’s world. If you’re a Fushigi Yuugi fanatic, then the volumes 14-18 are worth the read!

3) The brief explanation how priestesses with strong heart and stable beliefs won’t get devoured easily by a beast God, in contrast with the ones who have a weak spirit – like Yui, who is easily manipulated by Nakago into changing her beliefs and having her heart filled with doubts.

In the anime, this isn’t even explained. Instead, it just shows Yui getting devoured almost entirely, while Miaka overcomes Suzaku’s consumption of her soul.

4) The manga explains how Miaka gains her voice back.

It shows the scene where Subaru restores it through her spell while in the anime, Miaka had it back for no reason at all.

5) The logic behind the Universe of Four Gods translated into Japanese (the book written by Einosuke Okuda) and the original parchment.

It clearly shows that the Japanese version has missed a portion from the original Chinese parchment (written by an unknown author), which is the fact that the Demon Lord (whom no one knows apart from Nakago) plots to destroy all the Four Kingdoms. In the anime, however, the entire story is only based on the Japanese translation.

And meanwhile..what I find indifferent.

1) The scene where Nakago destroys Yui and Miaka’s school in the manga.

In the anime, he comes immediately on the streets and destroys everything. For me there’s no difference between the two, as both managed to prove how ruthless he is, for destroying the human world and become its God.

I didn’t regret having read the manga. It’s good to see how the story is arranged in two different sources although I prefer the anime. I appreciate how the manga encouraged me to relive my memories of Fushigi Yuugi, as much as how the anime managed to stay true to the manga and improved the story arrangement. I would therefore suggest to watch the anime first however. Reading the manga is worth only for curiosity, especially if you’re curious about the second book of Miaka x Tamahome love story. And besides, the mission where Miaka has to find a few elements for Tamahome’s memories to be restored (the Demon Lord is planning to destroy Suzaku and the other kingdoms any time soon and originally from the book, it will somehow affect Tamahome’s memories even as a human) is worth tuning to.

If I discovered the manga before the anime, I would not appreciate Fushigi Yuugi as of now. I am merely describing the manga in a way I discovered it.

Fushigi Yuugi: Another Childhood Memorabilia

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Alternative Name The Mysterious Play; Curious Play; ふしぎ遊戯

Written by Yuu Watase

Original Run May 1992 – July 1996 (18 volumes completed)

Directed by Hajime Kagemaki

Producer Studio Pierrot

Original Run April 6, 1995 – Mar 28, 1996 (52 episodes finished)

Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Harem, Historical, Martial Arts, Psychological, Romance, Shoujo

Plot

Junior high school best friends Miaka and Yui are taken into a mysterious book called The Universe of Four Gods upon its discovery. Their story then begins to unfold, both being destined to oppose one another as priestesses of two enemy kingdoms Suzaku and Seeiryu. Now their friendship put at stake, Miaka strives to retrieve her good terms with Yui while searching for their way back to their world.

There’s one memorabilia I wish to travel in my childhood – to enter the Universe of Four Gods. It is not an ordinary book where the reader only catches the words but the one that literally sucks the reader as a character of the story. For me, it’s always been a book of dreams. I’ve always wanted to travel in Ancient China, being the priestess of one of the four kingdoms whose life is devoted to find Seven Constellations, to summon the beast God that results to saving the kingdom and have her own wishes granted. I’ve also dreamed of falling for a man who’s close to perfect – but nowhere to be found in my own universe.

This book can neither be found in the libraries nor in bookstores. It only exists in Fushigi Yuugi, an anime that marked my whole life. I discovered it first at 12 years old, when it was first aired in the Philippines few years after the anime became popular in Japan. Funnily enough, it brought me so much memories from my late childhood – how I would just sit in front of television every Friday night waiting for it, I would sport Miaka’s signature dumpling hairstyle and end up wearing it in a family gathering, I would imagine myself as Miaka and my childhood crushes as Tamahome and Hotohori respectively and how I’ve always mistaken Fushigi Yuugi as ecchi (minimal porn) or hentai (extreme porn) based on Miaka and Tamahome’s sex love story. Unfortunately, the airing was cut. It took my happiness away.

Few months ago, I found myself watching the same show again. And this time, it’s in front of my laptop – when the Internet is already on the rise. I’m still a loyal fan girl surprisingly after several years, while the other children back then seems to have forgotten how anime fanatics they once were. Besides, I find myself appreciating the anime in a more matured perspective. I found the story line deep and well-crafted, rolling those action, emotional, fantasy and romantic scenes into one, involving many unexpected twists and teaching us the most important values in life such as love and friendship over ambitions and success through evil deeds. It also taught us that experience is the best teacher, and that our strong belief in our wishes drives us more in getting what we want no matter how it will cost our lives. And at the foremost, I can finally understand why the airing of Fushigi Yuugi was stopped. There are lots of scenes that are inappropriate for the young audience, particularly the abundance of nude sex scenes or sexual acts (e.g. Nakago licking Tamahome’s face during the fight).

I didn’t regret not finishing the show back then. The Internet gave me hope to have a second glance, making me become a Fushigi Yuugi fan girl as I was once were. Other than Miaka as my all time favorite character and Miaka x Tamahome as my favorite couple are my other bets – Nakago, Nuriko, Amiboshi, Soi, Tomo, Tatara, Hikitsu, Tomite, Subaru, Tamahome’s master, Keisuke, Taitsukun’s nyan nyans, the Gods of the Four Kingdoms, that Seeiryu blue mark and Miaka xx Yui best friend pair-up. I have so many plans in mind relating to my fandom status that include creating fan fictions, cosplaying as Miaka both in school and priestess attires, purchasing any Fushigi Yuugi merchandises such as The Universe of Four Gods book, Miaka’s ribbons and outfits, Tasuki’s Rekka Shinen fan and the Shinzahos and downloading the entire Fushigi Yuugi soundtrack, which I just did and found outstanding. Having so much of these plans already makes me one of the Fushigi Yuugi’s biggest fans.

All in all, Fushigi Yuugi is already part of my top favorite anime/manga list. Miaka’s also one of my favorite characters alongside Misa Amane and Mikasa Ackerman and Miaka x Tamahome among the best animanga loveteams. Miaka and Yui became my top favorite anime best friends recently, overtaking Lucy and Levy as well as the K-On band members (although they are also close to awesome).

Who knows if I would still swoon over the same anime after 12, 24, and even 60 years?

“Herein contains the tale of a young lady and her quest to gather the seven Constellations of Suzaku together. And if you, the esteemed reader, should read to the story’s end, the spell contained within this book shall bestow you the powers of the heroine, and grant you your wish. For indeed the moment the page is turned, the story will become reality.” – The Universe of Four Gods (Fushigi Yuugi, volume 1, chapter 1).

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars (9.9/10)

Sources

Fushigi Yuugi MyAnimeList

Fushigi Yuugi Wikipedia

Fushigi Yuugi Quotes Angelfire

Further Reading

Fushigi Yuugi fan site

Flame of Recca: My Heart Will Always Burn In Fire

FlameOfRecca

Alternative Name Recca no Honoo; 烈火の炎

Written by Nobuyuki Ansai

Original Run 1995 – 2002 (33 volumes completed)

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Producer Studio Pierrot

Original Run July 19, 1997 – July 10, 1998 (42 episodes finished)

Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Romance, Shounen.

Plot

Sixteen year old Recca Hanabishi is obsessed with ninja and claims to be one himself, bringing him to street fights wherein he swears to become a ninja to the opponent he loses. His life begins to alter as he learns about his status as a 7th generation leader of the Hokage clan from 400 years ago, making him bear responsibilities to protect Yanagi Sakoshita, a girl of healing, at all costs and to prevent Mori Koran from gaining eternal power through Tendou Jigouku and Yanagi’s healing powers.

Main review

There is more to this anime/manga than the words can describe. A few reasons may not be enough to prove Flame of Recca has been a part of me, providing that it marked my childhood. I remember climbing up the stairs every night to catch it up on television, while my entire family was downstairs watching the news followed by a soap opera. I watched the anime again few months back, got addicted to it as I once were and eventually read the manga, which was just as memorable.

My perspectives towards the anime have changed. I am no longer a preteen who would enjoy a television series in presence of action, adventure, thrills, comedy and romance without minding what the story was about. I am fully grown enough to know that these are not enough to make a series worth-appreciating, considering that an interesting and well-crafted story line, moral, psychological and philosophical implications, an outstanding art and animation, and characters with interesting personalities and life stories add to my appreciation towards a certain anime and manga. I have indeed found flaws while watching Flame of Recca the second time as an adult, as much as I have found factors that could qualify it as a good anime. The following are the aspects I have liked and disliked in the known series.

WHAT I SMILE AT

1) Overall enjoyment and impact.

Nobuyaki never failed to move the audience with action, adventure, thrills, emotions, comedy and romance as intended, not making one to skip a episode.

2) The interesting and well-crafted plot concept.

The ninja adventure story has already captivated masses of audience, making them devour more of the animanga.

3) The anime/manga at a right pace  It is neither too fast, nor too slow and dragging.

4) Characters with unique and interesting identities – which either makes them loved or hated.

Besides, there are lots of interesting couples in the animanga, be it real or fan made (e.g. Raiha xx Neon, which is entirely more of a made-up couple).

5) How the manga (at least) is not solely based on Recca’s life but on the others’ as well.

For instance, it even featured how Fuuko was bullied back in elementary school and had no friends other than her long time rival Recca and how Yanagi, a long-time loner, found her passion in creating comic books and wanted to be a children’s book author.

6) The presence of moral values and implications – self-dedication, hard work, friendship, teamwork, camaraderie, love and sacrifice, fight against evil, human relationships and morale over evil ambitions and greed.

One interesting implication is the presence of religious connotations, wherein immortality is viewed negatively, providing how it implies the ability of humans to have Godly powers (in Christianity, it is already a sin to God to attempt having the equal amount of power as him) and making the most use of them to do evil deeds (e.g. slaughtering the human population, destruction of the whole world..). Meanwhile, Recca and the team Hokage are similar to Jesus Christ in some way (if you’re a Catholic, then you’ll get my point), having the power to turn an evil person to good (though it only takes them a few snaps to do so, which is totally unrealistic).

7) The catchy opening and ending themes.

8) The manga that includes the overall complete version of the story and involves lots of calm moments in between the fights, making the team Hokage’s adventures more realistic.

9) The fact that it took Recca time to be a powerful flame wielder and gain trust from the dragons – Now that’s what makes the animanga more realistic.

10) It took the other characters some time to be that powerful.  In the manga at least.

11) The presence of basic elements (fire, spirit/soul, metal, earth, wind, ice/water…) and how the characters is associated with each in terms of powers (Recca + Kurei – fire; Yanagi – spirit/soul; Kaoru Koganei – metal..).

12) The presence of historical elements and references.

13) Yanagi Sakoshita!! 

My favorite character in the series. It’s outstanding to see how she evolved as a person (esp. in the manga), going from ‘damsel in distress’ to an ultimate heroine. Besides, I love how she improved her personality as a whole. She began as a shy, fragile and submissive type who cannot express her feelings easily, then gradually became strong in spirit as the story progresses.

Another aspect I like about her is we can totally relate to one another – being a shy, quiet, yet a sweet and kindhearted person myself. We almost have the same passions in life including books, drawing (though hers are not so much of a masterpiece and I never dreamed of becoming a children’s comic author) and working with little children.

14) The fact that the flames have their own shapes (e.g. dragon and phoenix).

In other anime/manga, the flames used by wielders (e.g. Natsu, Ace..) are only limited to shape of fire.

15) The fact that the flame dragons were once human (ones who, having failed their mission, carry such burden in their hearts till death). This can never be found in any animanga.

WHAT I FROWN AT

1) Shallow plot details.

I would expect a deeper and more intelligent reason for Recca to become infuriated with Kurei aside from Yanagi’s kidnapping and learning how his older brother has always hated him and wanted to become the flame master of the 7th Hokage generation. Similarly, I would expect that Recca and his friends would win the battles for their own efforts, rather than being helped by the other teams or confronting an enemy who would give up very easily.

2) Lack of coherence. 

The high school setting in the anime/manga resembles more of a middle school (it’s even more similar to elementary school if I underestimate way too much), with students venerating Recca for challenging them in his ‘ninja’ fights (in real high schools, people like Recca are generally made fun of) and a claimed sixteen year old who is still that obsessed with outdated creatures (I mean isn’t it a bit old for a sixteen year old to be that obsessed with ninjas and superheroes?). Besides Recca’s adventure is more typical among middle school aged characters (e.g. Naruto, Yosuke from Yu Yu Hakusho) than of high school’s. Either the characters age should be lowered to around 10-15 years old, or the author creates ninja adventure plot concept that is 16-17 year old like (e.g. adventures similar to Kagome’s in Inuyasha, or Miaka’s/Yui’s in Fushigi Yuugi).

Similarly, the Death Match tournament (Ura Bouto Satsujin) is not what we call a Death Match. Looks more like a martial arts wrestling fight to me. And if Recca was the actual cursed child, how come he’s had flame dragons in his body from the very beginning (even before they can recognize him as their true master)? And how can Kurei still perform ‘Jinjutsu’ (the forbidden time travel technique in Hokage era) after the destruction of the Hokage?

3) Lack of originality.

Take note of Naruto that has similar plot or Natsu from Fairy Tail who has the same flame powers as Recca’s and Kurei’s. And Gray has more or less the same ice powers as Mikagami.

4) Excessive character recycling.

Seeing all Ura Butou Satsujin participants in SODOM Battle Arc (next to last battle in the manga series) might be fun but is considered unnecessary. I can understand why Kurei and his team Uruha Hokage attempts to fight but what’s the purpose of the other teams in fighting still?

5) Anime for having an incomplete storyline and an abrupt ending.

6) The idea of having enemies as allies (more frequent in Flame of Recca). Especially when it’s done too quick.

7) The SODOM Battle Arc that looks kinda video game-ish, spy kid related and sci-fi ish, in contrast with what the ninja adventure is supposed to be like.

8) The final Tendou Jigouku fight wherein the trio (Tendou Jigouku + Kaima + Mori Koran) are easily defeated by Yanagi’s flame throwing.

Another scene proving how shallow the manga (not featured in the anime) is.

WHAT COMES IN BETWEEN

1) The art and animation.

It has improved as the series (at least, the manga) progresses.

2) The fights.

They may not be that intense and challenging but I appreciate how emotions and sometimes, life lectures, are poured into the fights. And besides, I love seeing Yanagi in flame spirit. She looks like an angel (just a matter of personal preference).

Yes, Flame of Recca indeed has flaws pertaining to the storyline details. It would have had a rating of 10/10 (5/5 stars) if such details were deeper, more coherent and realistic due to the overall impact and enjoyment it brought to the audience. It is an anime/manga (although more like anime since I knew Flame of Recca first as an anime) that gave me stronger impact since childhood, proving that its petty flaws will not simply make me turn my back against it. There are other factors that still make the anime/manga more appreciable, outweighing all the flaws it contains.

My heart for Flame of Recca will always burn in fire. Yes indeed! (^o^)

Rririr

“Listen [Recca-kun], I’m very happy you’ve always protected me. But now it’s different. Now we fight together.” – Yanagi Sakoshita (Flame of Recca, volume 33, chapter 325)

Overall Rating 4.25/5 stars (8.5/10)

Sources

Flame of Recca, MyAnimeList

Flame of Recca, Wikipedia

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