Corpse Party: the game of trials, horror, blood fights, and surviving to the fittest

CorpseParty

Directed By Akira Iwanaga

Producer Asreed

Original Run

Corpse Party Missing Footage: August 2, 2012 (1 Episode, Finished)
Corpse Party Tortured Souls: July 24, 2013 (4 Episodes, Finished)

Genre Horror, Psychological

Plot

A group of high school students are brought to Heavenly Host Elementary School (located at the same area as their current school years ago) after telling ghost stories to each other and performing a certain charm. This is where a series of student and staff murders and disappearances took place, thus haunted by murdered school children.

Main Review

Plucked eyes, ruthless killings, scenes filled with blood..all these make Corpse Party into an excellent brutal gore anime. It is as disturbing as expected due to astounding sound effects and actual scenes providing an eerie atmosphere, and the story line best qualifies Corpse Party as one of the renowned gore anime of our time. It is a survival game where a group of high school friends attempt to escape the haunting of murdered children in Heavenly Host Elementary School. The anime has managed to captivate the audience with fear and disturbance, despite having a deja-vu survival plot.

The sequence of plot is to be appreciated. I love how each happening is organized into five OVAs (original video animation), starting from the prologue where the actual murder took place to the final ending where only two of the friends have survived and found their way back.  Each of the OVA is best in telling its own story descriptively. While The Missing Footage is based on the anime prologue, the remaining OVAs are based on the actual story line of survival and escape. Each Tortured Souls OVA represents the chapter of survival. The first OVA is based on the charm performance and the transportation, while the last OVA is about knowing the culprit behind the murder and the last attempts to escape.

I cannot find what is not to like in this anime. The lack of originality may hinder it from being perfect, yet its high fearful and disturbing impact has well outlawed its flaw. Corpse Party is highly recommended to gore and horror aficionados, given the high gore level that it provides through its extreme bloodshot scenes. Definitely better than Danganronpa, a mediocre adaptation of the same genre, and Mirai Nikki, a gore anime that only seeks to please the mainstream (reason why it is considered to fall under horror and romance, with so much light horror and romance in it).

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars (9/10)

Sources

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls MyAnime List

Corpse Party Wikipedia

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No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular! WATAMOTE Review ♡ ~

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Alternative Names

Watamote,
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!,
No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!,
It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular!,
私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!

Written By Nico Tanigawa

Directed By Shin Onuma

Producer Silver Link

Original Run July 8, 2013 – September 24, 2013 (12 episodes finished)

Genre Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life

Plot

Fifteen year old Tomoko Kuroki has 50+ years of dating experience in the Otome Game World with 100 boys. Wishing that it would be the same in high school, she sadly realizes that she is a socially awkward individual who yearns to fit in.

Main Review

Perhaps it is the society’s fault that Tomoko Kuroki turned into a “misfit”. She clearly blames reality for how she was turned into a loner, simply because she cannot relate to any of her classmates (and tends to bash on what they are into) and highly expects that life in reality is the same as in the game she plays. Yet, she fails to realize that she is just having a hard time to communicate and relate to people. Watamote is centered on an alienated individual who struggles to fit in and has done a great job in highlighting these struggles in the detailed, well-described scenes where Tomoko attempts to be as popular, to have as many friends and to date as many boys, all of which she ends failing at.

The depressing and tragic atmosphere makes the anime fulfill its purpose. Its main purpose is to make Tomoko worth-sympathizing, as well as to create a typical loner story line where other socially awkward introverts can relate to burdens she has faced (my 15 year old self can totally relate to Tomoko’s life story, being as socially awkward as her back then). Self-alienation, isolation, strong desire and struggle to fit in are Watamote’s crucial themes. Teenage burdens – including family problems and strong desire for popularity and having many friends – are as emphasized like in other school anime.

Not forgetting to mention that Watamote is unpredictable. It is often predicted that Tomoko would end up being popular as she has always wanted (and ends up regretting it later on), yet it turns out that she has given up realizing she is not fit enough for the category. The soundtracks and the artwork, however, are indifferent. Both opening and ending themes may be catchy, yet are trying hard to fit the anime’s central theme (and do not entirely succeed).

Despite its areas of success lies the areas of improvement. One of these weaknesses includes its dragging scenes. There are instances when the audience feels like he or she is only wasting his or her time to watch one episode, and he or she would rather do something else than keeping up with Watamote. Another weakness lies in the stereotyping, wherein Tomoko is revealed to be an anime/manga otaku and a hardcore gamer. This heavily implies that lovers of anime, manga and video games tend to be loners with poor social life, or that loners tend to be anime, manga and video game lovers. It would be best if the main character has a more developed profile other than a mere isolated gamer and otaku (e.g. can be a character who has a sad past, doesn’t get along with his or her family, been left by his or her best friend for other friends and is now struggling to become popular believing that he or she  can find himself or herself there). Likewise, it would be best if the scenes are done in a more worth-tuning way.

The anime is as far as impressive. It has well outlined the futility of being popular with heaps of friends, as shown how Tomoko ended up surrendering due to such sudden realization. Meanwhile, it has clearly achieved its purpose into making the audience sympathize with Tomoko and relate to her. The plot well describes the sad life of the loner as it intends to, although it can be more developed with less stereotypes and more thrilling scenes.

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Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars (7.5/10)

Sources

Watamote MyAnimeList

Watamote Wikipedia

Gin No Saji: Best Anicomedy of Summer 2013

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Alternative Names Silver Spoon, 銀の匙

Written by Hiromu Arakawa

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Producer A-1 Pictures

Original Run July 12, 2013 – September 19, 2013 (11 episodes, finished)

Genre Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life

Plot

Dreaming of a path different from his family of businessmen, Yuugo Hachiken moves from the city and enrolls in an agricultural school, believing he will excel just by studying hard. He then realizes his need to adjust to his new environment, while slowly adapting to the farm life and practices.

Main Review

Great story line, catchy soundtracks, well-designed artworks. All of these define Gin No Saji. Words cannot fully explain how much I have loved this anime since its first episode. Despite a simple story line based on a regular agriculture student, the anime does not fail to entertain the audience with lighthearted comedy. The anime itself highlights themes related to life-learning, including adaptation to new environment (which Yuugo is currently facing), pursuit of one’s dreams, knowing oneself, taking risks, having a life direction different from family and doing one’s best to whichever life has to offer or in spite of obstacles coming along the path.

A few dragging moments may be the flaw in this anime. And since they are far minor, the anime still manages to entertain the audience while still keeping itself at a right pace.

Currently loving the second season so far. May the second be as best in Winter as the first during the Summer (both in Japan seasons).

Overall Rating 4.90/5 stars (9.8/10)

Sources

Gin no Saji, MyAnimeList

Gin no Saji, Wikipedia

Bands, school, friendship and strong bonds..that’s K-On!

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Alternative Names Keion, けいおん!

Written by Kakifly

Directed by Naoko Yamada

Producer Kyoto Animation

Original Run

  • K-On! (Season 1): April 3, 2009 – June 26, 2009 (13 episodes finished)
  • K-On!! (Season 2): April 7, 2010 – September 28, 2010 (26 episodes finished)
  • K-On Movie: December 3, 2011

Genre Comedy, Music, School, Slice of Life

Plot

Four girls join Light Music Club (otherwise known as Keion or K-On) for different reasons: Ritsu – to pursue her dreams as a musician and to prevent the club from dissolving, Mio – as pushed by Ritsu, Mugi – as a mere passerby looking for a club to join and Yui, who has never joined a club and was impressed with the club despite not knowing any instruments other than castanets – to avoid being labeled as a NEET. The band is later joined by Azusa who, impressed by their performance, is drowned in belief that the band members are professional musicians who will inspire her to play.

Main Review

There is more to K-On than being a cliched moe (fluffy, cotton-candy like) school band anime. The story line is simple yet provides a realistic (but can be idealistic) view of a high school band leading a double life as students and band members. It simply reminds the audience of his or her high school days wherein the characters are highly focused on their career goals and university choices, are dedicated to clubs related to their passions, and spend time with their friends in and outside their clubs. Band members such as myself can also relate to Hokago Tea Time’s (HTT, it’s the name of their band) experiences as a band. The anime has highlighted a typical band biography including how it started, its performances, band retreats and rehearsals, the rituals (eating pastries and drinking tea during club meetings), and the relationship between the band members and their common dedicated passion to music.

Another aspects to appreciate are the well-portrayed and cute characters. One can identify himself or herself to each of the main characters in terms of personality and their personal experiences. The excellent typical moe art and the soundtracks (except for the song about rice, which I don’t personally appreciate) are as worth-appreciating. Lessons highlighted in K-On are not to be neglected, with friendship, strong bonds, dedication, hard work, team work and passion as its crucial themes. The anime’s description of team work may be seen as optimistic (rather idealistic), yet can serve as an inspiration/model to better cope as a group. Such model is seen through the band fighting the problems altogether (e.g. making the unmotivated motivated, trying to stop Mio and Ritsu from fighting..), pouring their souls into performing music, and keeping the friendship alive in and outside the club meeting as part of maintaining a good relationship and ambiance within the band.

Meanwhile, the development of the story line remains the anime’s core area of improvement. It is oversimplified compared to other anime with excellent and well-developed story lines, yet is better than anime with underdeveloped story lines. K-On becomes dragging as it reaches its second season. It is unnecessarily long, containing simple scenes that are only made long for the sake of doing so. Even the movie can be far as dragging. The only interesting part is when the entire band travels to London as part of club retreat.

The lack of originality is also considered a major flaw in K-On. Many anime, manga, and even movies and TV series have already adapted the similar story line and some can even make it more developed than K-On’s.

Despite the flaws, K-On remains worth a watch . It has well highlighted the importance of working well as a band, making itself an inspiration to aspiring band members (or team members in general) when it comes to dealing with co-members and doing their best in their tasks (writing songs and playing instruments) with passion. Those touching, emotional and comedic moments are its major appreciated aspects, paired with the character’s appeal and interesting identities that makes the characters identifiable to the audience. It is definitely recommended to fans of comedy, school, slice of life and musicals, and to others yearning to explore different genres.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars (8/10)

Sources

K-On! MyAnimeList

K-On! Wikipedia

South Cotabato: An ideal place to travel

Travelers would tend to consider famous spots as their options. Paris (France) and Venice (Italy) are often seen as romantic destinations while Rome (Italy), Athens (Greece) and the Great Wall (China) are typically visited for ancient ruins. Hong Kong and Singapore are often considered as a shopping paradise. One would dream to watch a Broadway show in New York (USA) and to take pictures with the stars in Hollywood (USA). Boracay and Baguio are likewise considered as popular destinations in the Philippines, respectively known as the white beach resort and cool summer spot of the country. Bohol is also at its finest in terms of local popular spots with Chocolate Hills as its well-known attraction.

There are far more other places that can provide as much as these mentioned places. I am one of those jet setters to select a site that’s either famous or inhabited by a person close to my heart, neglecting the unheard spots that have actually lots to offer. Traveling to South Cotabato, however, has changed this perspective. It has gone from being a relative-based residence to a less known tourist spot that has marked my heart, featuring those green landscapes filled with trees and different kinds of fields (rice, pineapple..), light blue skies with fluffy cottony clouds, clear waters, wide traffic-free roads and healthy food fresh from farms such as seaweeds and ferns.

The following are the remarkable places found in South Cotabato. The assets of each will eventually make your mind into considering this town among your travel choices.

1) Nandie’s Restaurant (Tupi, South Cotabato)

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Chicken Breast Barbecue (bottom left and right) with Seaweed Salad (top left and right) and Soup (right).

First place spotted. This is where I had my arrival dinner, welcomed with seaweed salad and Tupi’s local barbecue. Meat is grilled and served bland as its flavor lies in its dip, which is a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi (lime) extract and spicy vinegar. Must be consumed with rice, salad and bare hands.

2) Lake Sebu and 7 Falls

First main attractions visited with relatives. Ideal for activities such as simple walks, hiking and zipline, the latter of which provides the better view of the attractions’ proximities .

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3) Mountain Eco Resort (Lake Sebu Eco-Resort)

A cruising tour that provides a picturesque view of the lake’s proximity and delicious meals. Those entertaining traditional Tiboli’s song and dance performances are not to be forgotten.

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4) Gumasa Beach

Known as South Cotabato’s version of Boracay (for its white sand and clear waters) with less crowds and boutiques. Definitely for relaxation and picnics.

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5) Kablon Farms

Business that consists in producing and processing cacao and various organic goods. Targeted among the health-conscious who will be satisfied with the freshness of concentrate juices, jams and salad dressings, as well as health benefits and delice brought by these products.

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Kablon Farms Production and Processing Plant
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Kablon’s Coconut Jam (left) and concentrate passion fruit juice (right)
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Kablon Farms products featuring Coconut Jam (left), Passionfruit Green Pepper Chutney dressing (middle) and Wild Honey (right)
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The famous Pure Tablea, otherwise known as Pure Cacao Tablets. Ideal for champorado (chocolate rice porridge), hot chocolate drinks and other chocolate based recipes (e.g. chocolate crinkles)

6) Fortune Field Resort 

A resort that offers ‘hito sa gata’ (coconut milk-based catfish) and other seafood recipes that cannot be simply cooked at home. It also sells a bunch of yema de fruta (condensed-milk based delicacies with fruit flavors) with varied flavors including mango, choco durian and durian queso (durian cheese).

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Hito sa Gata (bottom left) and other seafood recipes along with soup (top left) and rice (center left)
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Yema de Fruta (Mango, Choco Durian and Durian Queso)

7) Sultan Kudarat (though not in South Cotabato)

It is really impressive seeing a Mosque-patterned capitol knowing that Sultan Kudarat is one of Mindanao’s Muslim areas. Its surroundings include houses with Muslim-styled roofs.

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I enjoyed my one week stay more than a five page essay can express. I have brought such ecstasy as I went back home to Manila and can not seem to get over my vacation, which may extend for a month even though I came back a week ago. South Cotabato is highly recommended to both local and foreign travelers especially those who crave nature and fresh healthy food. It is definitely a come back destination for me.

And finally, my daily breakfast, seaweed and seafood dinner, and buko halo-halo (halo-halo placed in young coconut) in respective order.

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For more information about South Cotabato

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