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Now Playing: No Other

February has the season that a lot of romantics love. I was originally planning to post a review of one of my favorite romance manga/anime/drama series or some sort of a list of my top romance stories, but then I came across this certain music video and I made some GIFs of it (plus I don’t really have much time to write), so I decided to talk about some things related to that music video. That particular video is that of Super Junior’s No Other.


Years ago, the song “Sorry Sorry” became known in our country. I always see it on MTV channels. I did not became a fan of the group until I was able to watch the MVs for “Sorry Sorry Answer” and “Blue Tomorrow”, though. That was when I started looking up each of  their names.

Since becoming familiar with their names, I started listening to their other songs as well as watching the music videos for some of their other songs. I loved a lot of their songs, especially the older ones (Don’t Don!). I am particularly fond of Happiness and No Other, however.

While Happiness speaks of the desire to make other person whose been with him happy (the MV makes me envious of the fans who managed to hug them!), No Other is a song about man’s dedication and love for his beloved. It is always great to see people who are loving another person to their fullest. SuJu’s music video shows some of the members (sad to see that they’re not complete there) — Siwon, Leeteuk, Sungmin, Yesung, Donghae, Heechul, Shindong, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, and Eunhyuk — doing different romantic surprises or gestures, ranging from the simplest ones to those which require so much effort.

Now, I’d like to list them based on how I personally liked them. Just because.

10. Tied shoelaces

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Siwon’s here is probably the simplest gesture, with him tying up the girl’s shoelaces. It doesn’t mean he loses with the others, though, because it’s always great to see guys being gentlemen and caring. Plus, Siwon looks adorably shy here. (I don’t know why he isn’t with the group dancing, though.) I remember spazzing over him so much because of him here and on Happiness.

9. Heart collage

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The ever-so-adorable maknae Kyu, meanwhile, gathers different photos to create a big collage that creates a heart on the wall. (It’s the one on the opening scene of the music video.) Of course, just sticking up pictures won’t do because it also requires thinking for the whole picture to have some kind of balance.

8. The puzzle of hearts

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Here’s a cute surprise from Shindong. He puts together a puzzle that makes a colorful heart. Not sure how many pieces there are (it looks like it’s about a hundred based on some of the shots), but I’m just happy to think that he enjoyed doing that!

7. Love-related photos

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Leader Leeteuk takes different pictures of things and scenes related to love. He even took a photo of the ones with Kyuhyun, Shindong, and Heechul! He had to pay careful attention to his surroundings and to go to different places to gather the pictures.

6. Washing the car with love

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Ryeowook here is out to surprise the girl by personally washing her car. A+ for effort doing that while wearing good clothes! Haha!

5. Watch the abs man

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Then, we have Eunhyuk’s dance routine recorded for the lucky girl. She’s got her bonus what with him having his shirt unbuttoned all the way, so his abs are showing while dancing.

4. Classic surprise

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Handwritten love letter? That’s what Heechul has here! I just want to hug him whenever I see this scene where he gives the letter! It doesn’t help that the perspective is the audience’ so it feels like he’s giving me the letter!

Now, onto the top 3, which, I must say I am heavily biased toward so they’re up on the list.

3. One red rose

If one thinks about it, this is really just a simple surprise which takes less effort than what the others did. One only has to buy one rose and to call the beloved person to a gymnasium or somewhere and that’s that. But I can’t help putting it up on my list because, well, that’s Donghae! He’s just so adorable that I couldn’t help but make other GIFs of his parts here.

2. Piano surprise

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I’ve always loved serenades, so this is definitely on top of my list. I’d love to be serenaded by Sungmin! He has such a nice voice. (Look how cute he tiptoes!)

1. Kids and balloons

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I’m fond of kids and I like balloons, so this surprise has been the best for me ever since I watched the MV. I liked how kids are involved in the preparation (and who knows whether they are the ones who led the girl to the venue). This particular shot of them takes my breath away. Especially with that ring. I wouldn’t mind if this is how someone will propose to me someday! Oh, and Yesung’s absolutely handsome here! (He became my first bias in the group when I first watched the Sorry Sorry Answer MV. I called him “the vest guy” back when I still didn’t know their names.) For me, this is the best surprise.

This February isn’t only the time to make surprises for the love of our lives — may that be a special other, family, or friends. Everyday gives a chance for us to show our love to other people! I’m sure even little surprises are enough to make their hearts flutter.

Chatterbox: Scheduled Posts

On Tumblr, there is the option to queue posts and I usually do that especially back when I was so much more active there. It is easier there, though, since I’m more like a reblogger as I rarely have original posts.

Here on WP, since the posts are all mine, I really have to take time to write each one. I AM SO REGRETTING NOT DOING SO LAST DECEMBER WHEN I STILL HAVE TIME. I have a lot of posts on my drafts but I’m not finished editing them yet. (I am so slow in editing. Why oh why)

School’s starting and we don’t have an internet connection in our apartment so I guess I will have to write some more stuff to post till I can go online again. This sucks. Ugh.

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For the Team

The Summer 2013 lineup has this anime which makes it feel like it’s really summer.
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From the studio that introduces lots of moe characters is this anime which seems to prove that they are not all moe; they are able to show us lots of biceps, triceps, and six pack abs. This anime which became a hype is Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. It was actually a hype already even before the anime was announced. It all started with this 30-second CM. All sorts of fan arts and fan fictions came out based on that.

Four boys named Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rin all participated in a swimming tournament shortly before graduating elementary school and later parted ways. Years later, they reunite when Rin challenges Haruka to a race and wins. Not wanting to be defeated so easily, Haruka gathers Makoto and Nagisa and a new recruit named Rei to form the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.

(Source: ANN)

My first encounter with Free! is when I was still kind of actively lurking DeviantArt. I stumbled across this anime dating sim. Of course, I played it and too bad it hasn’t been updated for years (I actually just checked it again now). Then, my dash on Tumblr became filled with lots of posts about it. That was when the anime was not yet confirmed. Actually, some even believed that it wouldn’t turn into an anime. But we all know that Animation Do and Kyoto Animation actually brought it to life.

According to MAL, I started watching the anime on June 2014, but I put it on hold after two episodes. I just picked it up the other day to watch and I was surprised I finished it in a day.

Free! is considered a sports anime, but I feel like it’s leaning more on the slice of life genre. Yes, there are training camp, practices, and all, but the amount of drama is so much more than I expected. I couldn’t help but laugh because of it. Not that it’s all bad. Their friendship is good and all. I just think that the plot is quite… generic?

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There are certainly lots of abs, though. From the first to the last episode, there are fan services around. The animation is beautiful, especially whenever they are swimming. Usually, the sight of abs, real or animated, disturbs me, but thankfully, the character designs here did not bother me. Anyway, this sure is a feast especially to the fujoshi fans out there. Seriously, I have never seen a group of guys as clingy as they are.

Anyway, the characters are enjoyable to watch. They all fall under certain character tropes. Gathered together, they create an environment that’s fun to watch despite how predictable some things may be.

639e5cb5de6ec6f556e11a6e382deb58Nanase Haruka is the silent, passionate type of guy. He likes water a lot, to the point that even if he just saw an aquarium, he would strip. But he doesn’t care about other things except swimming/water and his friends. I think he is so adorable. Judging his image alone, I thought he would be a jerk, but it turns out he’s like Daiya‘s Furuya.

Then, Tachibana Makoto is the mother of the group. Understanding, patient, and responsible, he manages the group. Hazuki Nagisa is that hyper character who moves a lot and plans a lot, most of which are for fun.

Of course, there’s Matsuoka Rin, their childhood friend who decided to go away to pursue his dream. He becomes Rin’s rival of some sort. All the drama stems from him and his relationship with the group.

The addition of Ryugasaki Rei is good. I thought that his character is the most funny and interesting of them all, too. I knew he would be the type who thinks rationally, but I never thought that he is one to care so much about beauty. He isn’t a snob nor arrogant, too. He even obeys his seniors. I was pleasantly surprised by his character and I couldn’t help but grin whenever I see him.

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Another notable character is Matsuoka Gou, Rin’s younger sister. I think she is the representation of everyone in the fandom. I like that she isn’t just any timid character. She does her job as a manager very well. She even reminded me a bit of KuroBasu‘s Riko, though Riko doesn’t even bat an eye whenever she sees their players’ bodies. Anyhow, I loved Rin and Gou’s relationship with each other. They show how much they care for each other with their every interactions. I initially thought that Rin would be the type who snaps at his sister, but I’m glad he isn’t. Those two are adorable! (Ugh. Why don’t I have an older brother?)

The OSTs are fine. The OP “Rage On” by OLDCODEX sounds catchy to me and I usually sang along with the “Rage on mabushii hikari” part on the intro. The ED “SPLASH FREE”, used for ep1-11 and “EVER BLUE”, which was used in ep12, are sang by STYLE FIVE, the group formed by the seiyuu of the main characters. Their voices are good.

Overall, I enjoyed this, mostly because of the animation and the characters’ interactions. However, for someone looking for intense plays which are usually seen on sports anime series out there, I think this is a bit of a letdown. (Or at least it was for me.) I hope Eternal Summer will be fun, too, and better.

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Behold!: Mackenyu

mackenyu-mackenyu-e7-9c-9f-e5-89-a3-e4-bd-91-40046087-320-320Behold, one of the most gorgeous guys my eyes ever laid upon!

Mackenyu. Son of the actor, producer, director, and martial artist Sonny Chiba (whose works I haven’t seen yet). He  is a Japanese-American who is born in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, his English is good. He has a gorgeous voice, too! Another thing that I love about him is his eyes. They are expressive. Whenever he is acting, it’s like his eyes speaks a lot of words, too. One look at those orbs conveys lots of emotions.

His first show that I watched is Aogeba Toutoshi. He played the character Kitora Ren. (Somehow, all the Ren from series that I watch and read are all attractive.) I did not know anything about him then. From the cast, I only knew Mikako Tabe, Akira Terao, Kentaro, and Nijiro Murakami. During his first appearance in the drama, though, he caught my attention because of his looks. Besides, his hair color stands out so it’s difficult to simply ignore him.

cqt-y8hueaabk-cHe does not wear much fancy clothes in the show, but, wow. He looks gorgeous even in plain white shirt. I cannot remember how many times I squealed “HE IS GORGEOUS!” and was shushed by my brother while watching the whole show.

And I am just simply happy for the fact that he’s not just an eye candy. He can act not like other actors out there who gets lots of big projects when they can barely act. (Yeah, yeah. I’m bitter about it.)

Not to say that his acting is already topnotch, but he is definitely one of the promising actors of his generation. More challenging roles and I think he can be versatile.

aramajapan_hanadan-musicalThe next time I saw him, I did not recognize him. Since I got into Japanese stage plays, I wanted to see more of them. One time, someone shared Hana Yori Dango The Musical. I was initially surprised because I did not know about it. Since HanaDan is one of my guilty pleasures, I decided to watch it.

It was halfway the play when I decided to pause it to search about the cast and voila! It says that Mackenyu is Nishikado Sojiro. Well, his looks definitely suits him. I thought he somehow has a semblance with Matsuda Shota (the drama adaptation’s Sojiro), too! I guess his hairstyle there is the primary reason why I did not recognize him at first. I did thought that he is attractive, too. Of course, he did not have as much exposure as the Domyouji and Rui, but I can say that he was able to portray the character well.

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Then, the next time I saw him is in Chihayafuru movies as Wataya Arata. I think Mackenyu will do great with romance dramas, so I hope he gets casted for one someday. (But that could be a shoujo adaptation, so I’m a bit conflicted. But I want to see him as a lead, so I don’t know anymore!) He seems like the type who can easily have chemistry with his onscreen partners.

This 2017, he has a couple of movies coming out! One of them is Pacific Rim 2, so I’m contemplating if I’ll watch its first movie. I’m not even sure if he has a big role there, but whatever. At least I will see him. Haha!

He also has Cheerdance which actually stars Hirose Suzu, the actress who portrayed Chihaya Ayase. Seeing the trailer, I assume she has some sort of crush on him. He tells her that he is going to support her, too, so maybe his character has or will have an interest on her character, too.

Then, there’s Peach Girl. I was able to watch the anime when I was younger, but I barely remember anything about it. But I’m sure there is a love polygon. I think it’s pretty generic because I forgot about it. Anyway, Mackenyu will act as Toji, the love interest of the main protagonist. Still going to watch it for him.

Of course, Chihayafuru Part III will also be out this year, so I’m definitely waiting for it! More Mackenyu, Nomura Shuhei, and Matsuoka Mayu! Yay!

tumblr_ohs3zdl4lq1r54tyro1_500Oh, and Mackenyu’s also casted for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. I haven’t seen the anime nor read the manga, but I’ll probably watch this since it’s going to be directed by Takashi Miike plus Mackenyu, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Okada Masaki, and Yamada Takayuki are included in the cast.

He has such a sweet smile and sparkling eyes; I can stare at him all day! I’d love to see him in a drama or movie with lots of my beloved actors, too! Just look at that picture of him with Kamiki, Yamazaki Kento (not a fan of him, though), and Sakurada Dori (that face LOL)! He uploaded that on his Instagram account on Sakurada’s birthday. I guess they celebrated it together.

Speaking of birthdays, if there’s one thing that hurts me, it is him being months younger than me! It is even almost a year gap! As if I have a chance with him and as if age matters a lot. Anyway, this gap won’t be able to stop me from seeking his shows and from gushing over him. Now, I’m so excited for his future projects. Looking forward to his improvements!

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Step by Step by Step

Animation is one way of telling stories artistically. These stories, in one way or another, are grounded in reality. Glimpses of reality could be seen through the simple animation of the characters, the challenges the characters encounter, or the emotions, the being of the characters themselves. Of course, because it’s animation, it still has its purpose to entertain. That’s why to some degree, there are exaggerations in the story.

There are a lot of these exaggerations especially in most sports anime out there. After all, they help build the tension. Thus, the existence of the Generation of Miracles’ and Kagami Taiga’s abilities, the different signature moves that Echizen Ryoma and the others have, Kobayakawa Sena’s super speed and agility, and the likes. These makes some of the characters overpowered which can be good or bad.

There are also sports anime that try to stick closer to reality, though, like Slam Dunk, Chihayafuru, and this one anime I watched some days ago — Baby Steps.

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Written and illustrated by Katsuki Hikaru, Baby Steps is published in Kodansha’s Weekly Shounen Magazine. It is first adapted into anime in Spring 2014 and has a second season that aired the next Spring 2015.

It is a story about Maruo Eiichiro, an honor student. Meticulous and organized, he has his life planned in detail. He decides he has to exercise, so he decided to check out tennis, though he had no prior experience. The series is about him slowly being sucked into tennis world. Because he is not our tennis prince who is a prodigy, Maruo has to use his wits to effectively play in the matches. Data tennis like Sadaharu Inui’s.

The title Baby Steps is exactly the definition of Maruo’s growth as a tennis player. I think it is also one of the beauty of this series. You get to see his small improvements which make you proud of him. It seems that this is also one of the things which some people dislike, though. Maruo is not overpowered, so there are failures. If one watches an anime, you want the main character to win and to achieve his dream because these wins and successes could make us feel better. There are so much failures and struggles in life to overcome that many, of course, does not want to see in a show they watched for entertainment.

Not that Maruo always fails or loses. It just shows how much he needs to work as he still have a lot improve, especially if his opponents have been playing ever since they were young. This, somehow, does not appeal to many, so the fandom is sadly small as compared to other sports anime out there.

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Watching this feels like taking a crash course for tennis.

In any case, I love the story for what it is. I am actually reading the manga (or at least the summaries available for the chapters that aren’t scanlated yet) and I’m enjoying the happenings after the second season. It amazes me how it sticks so much to reality. If there’s one ridiculous thing here, it’s the speed of Maruo’s thinking as well as writing ability. During matches, Maruo thinks a lot though, of course, that happens for a few seconds only. And he is able to write a lot and neatly even if there’s only a few minutes to spare. Aside from those, the flow of the games are usually believable.

tumblr_nmcf9ksyc21qcsnnso1_540Because this is not about team play, there are less characters. We focus on the single players who are strong. Where Maruo attends to play tennis, Southern Tennis Club, there are Takasaki Natsu, Egawa Takuma, and Fukazawa Yukichi who are the most notable, especially Takuma and Natsu. Of course there are familiar faces as well as their coaches, but they are rarely exposed. I like Coach Aoi, though, because his character balances that of Eiichiro’s.

The rival characters are also likeable because they all show friendly rivalries. Out of them all, my favorite ones are Souji Ike (he’s such an adorable, passionate guy plus his seiyuu is Yoshimasa Hosoya!), Iwasa Hiromi (I like how he’s cool and a lover of art), and Alex O’Brian (I love how cute he is with his sis-con and his seiyuu is Kamiya Hiroshi!). There’s also Yoshiaki Ide (Sakurai Takahiro!) who is nice and a joy to watch.

tumblr_ntxcqafiru1s7zc6oo2_5001Though the story mostly focuses on Eiichiro’s tennis performance, there are times, especially during breaks, when it shows his relationship with Natsu, the main female protagonist. These two are adorable and have one of the healthiest relationships out there. Their scenes does not pop out all of a sudden and their interactions feel natural, as well.

If only Studio Pierrot gave more effort to animate this, I think it will have better feedback. The most that I enjoyed here are these scenes above from the OP sequence. Other than those, the matches are not really well-animated. There are a lot of still shots of the trainings and of practice and real matches that it frustrates me I guess I should be grateful that at least there are some details for their rackets and shoes. Anyhow, the art is fairly simple. I would have liked it if it was more detailed, though. Oh, and I was so irritated by Maruo’s rooster hairstyle that I wanted to pull it off. Good thing that when I saw it in the manga, it’s not as disturbing. It’s not really pretty to look at, however.

Overall, I enjoyed watching its two seasons, but I craved for more after the second. I don’t know if there will be another season (there’s enough material), but I will watch it if ever. Now, I’m going to catch up to the latest chapter of the manga with my very limited knowledge of the Japanese language and with the aid of the summaries available online.

I’m excited to see when his baby steps will turn to giant strides and to see where these strides will take him.

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Now Playing: Yuuzora No Kami Hikouki

20251Just finished watching Hajime no Ippo: Rising hours ago. I pretty much binge-watched the three seasons. (What a really unproductive vacation this is. I’m seriously going to suffer in my studies once the semester starts.) Actually, Hajime no Ippo aired before on a local channel and I was able to watch some of its episodes, but all I remember is his Dempsey Roll move, the name of which I just knew when I re-watched a couple of days ago.

I loved the OSTs for the three seasons. In my opinion, it’s one of the anime series which has powerful OP and ED. Out of all its songs, though, my favorite is Yuuzura no Kami Hikouki (lit. Paper Plane in the Evening Sky). Written, composed, and performed by Mori Naoya, it is Hajime no Ippo’s first ending theme. Here’s the video of the MV with the singer.

The skyscrapers are gorgeous when the pastel sky reflects on them

Each person passing by sees the scene differently in their own heart

Can you do anything to help someone who’s feeling blue as you are now?

Flightless birds don’t think the sky’s so very high, they don’t want to think of it like that

I was worrying about nothing

So I wrote “it’s going to be okay” on a page in my notebook and tore it out

I made a paper plane and sent it flying, hoping it would somehow be in time for tomorrow

Chasing the setting sun forever and ever

I send a prayer to the sky, begging for my paper plane to never land

Because I want to dream forever and ever

When the sky pales, I feel so very small

I think about the day that’s ending and try to find some way I can make a difference

But maybe I’m overthinking it

Believing that everything’s going to be okay is the first step forward

I send the paper plane flying, hoping it’ll somehow be in time for tomorrow

Chasing the setting sun forever and ever

I send a prayer to the sky, begging for my paper plane to never land

Because I want to dream forever and ever

I send the paper plane flying, it’s buffeted about by the wind again and againBut keeps going further, higher, to the ends of the earth, forever and ever

I send the paper plane flying, so that my dreams won’t die without being realised

I’ll keep believing, forever and ever

So it can keep on flying, forever and ever

(Source: lyricstranslate)

Honestly, I’m not sure of the translation’s accuracy, but I tried to double check it with my minimal knowledge of the language. What I am sure of is that this is not a literal translation.

Anyway, the melody of the song is striking. It is so emotional that it easily tugs at the heart especially when it plays during specific scenes. And they put it right when it is needed! I missed it as it isn’t on Champion Road and Rising. This will forever hit me with feels, especially of nostalgia if I listen to it years from now.

Chatterbox: Of GIFs

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SUCCESS! After almost an hour of playing with GIMP, I finally made a GIF! Just look at these dorks! Cue waterfall tears. This GIF perfectly sums up my feelings now. It’s perfect for the first successful attempt I did. This is all thanks to fy-gimp!

You see, after switching to Mac (thanks to some gracious colleague of my father), I thought I would never be able to create GIFs again. (Yeah, exaggerated.) Not that I’ve done that many. But I wanted to create more. But, yeah, Adobe Essentials is expensive. I’m not even sure how it can be installed on Macbook Air. So, I just settled with GIMP all these time. (I MISS PAINT TOOL SAI. CRIES) Not that it’s bad, but I could do more with Photoshop. I enjoy playing with PS’ effects and all. And I love SAI more than GIMP because I feel so much more comfortable using that. But yeah, GIMP can suffice. I guess I just have to be more knowledgeable.

These two GIFs are some of what I did before. Real slow. The left one’s from It Started with A Kiss 2 and the right one’s from Long Vacation. I will re-do these once I got more time to spare. Oh, and that GIF of the adorable dancing Suga and Tatsunari, too! These three GIFs have too big file sizes and image scales.

Anyway, thanks to all the people who works on the script AnimStack, I can finally edit lots of GIFs that I want! Though I will only be able to do some simple editing (I bet I could do a lot more with PS), I think this will satisfy my desire. For now. I will be able to put more personal edits on my posts now (if I didn’t become lazy). YAY! HOORAY! BANZAI!