Tokyo Ghoul √A – Deep Layers

© Sui Ishida
© Sui Ishida

So it has been a few weeks since my last review of Tokyo Ghoul √A, but this episode has prompted me to write this post, which contains massive spoilers. You’ve been warned.

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Digimon Adventure Tri

© 2015 Toei Animation
© 2015 Toei Animation
Throughout elementary school, I remember occasionally tuning to Fox weekday afternoons to watch the original eight DigiDestined and their adventures in the Digital World. It wasn’t until I discovered fanart in high school that I marathoned the first two seasons of Digimon (and then the third season along with the movies). I distinctly remember being holed up inside my sauna-like bedroom during that fateful summer break, watching possibly a voice dub or some strange unofficial english dub on YouTube. I remember this because the characters would say “Hickory” instead of Hikari or Kari. Long story short, I was obsessed with Digimon. I loved the characters, the voice acting in both English and Japanese, and the plot… and I still do. I know Pokemon fans will come at me with pokeballs, but I always say Pokemon’s storyline pales in comparison to Digimon’s storyline, especially the first two seasons of Digimon. Honestly, the DigiDestined have a special place in my heart.

So, the other day I was perusing through tumblr, and discovered announcements regarding Digimon Adventures Tri. Mouth agape and internal screaming quickly escalated to me jumping around the house with my hands in the air. A season dedicated to the original eight: Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Joe, Mai, TK, and Kari (yes, I prefer going by the English dub names)—six years later after Digimon Adventure.

If you’re a Digimon fan, even a casual one, mark your calendars for this April! In the mean time, you can head over to digimon-adventure.net for teasers.

Childhood is calling

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I am fortunate enough to have an older brother who loves video games. I don’t recall which console I played on first or what my first game was, but it is safe to say that the Super Nintendo made a huge impact on me. I remember how we had games without the cartridge casing (so basically the green piece of metal), and I remember my brother playing Secret of Mana and battling AIs in Street Fighter. Chun Li obviously is the best character.

Why the sudden nostalgia? Apparently my brother’s friend has been holding on to my brother’s SNES games and he finally returned them. I didn’t even realize we owned so many. After rediscovering the console amongst many cable wires a couple years ago, I plugged it in to see if it still worked… and it did, and still does.

I guess what I am trying to say is that despite the graphics looking primitive in comparison to today’s video games and despite the console being clunky, the Super Nintendo is timeless. These games laid out before me are timeless… well, some of them. I literally feel like I am four again as I am clutching these SNES cartridges.

If you don’t hear from me in a while, it’s safe to assume that I am engulfed in a 16-bit world.

What was your first video game you’ve played? Do you have a favorite game and console?

King of Tokyo

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Okay, confession time: I’m not as huge a fan of board games as I am of video games; however, I believe this is due to our household owning only Monopoly and Seven Wonders. So when Amazon had sales on popular board games, I jumped on the chance and bought King of Tokyo and Tokaido (which I will review for another day).

Name: King of Tokyo
Publisher: IELLO
Play time: ~30 minutes
# of players: 2–6

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

colorless tsukuruIt has been a while since I read a Haruki Murakami book. Although I have read a few novels by him, I am by no means a hardcore fan who knows everything. I read some reviews that this novel is better than IQ84 (on my list!) but pales in comparison to his earlier novels such as Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood—both which are also on my list. I can neither agree nor disagree with these statements, so I can’t say much about Murakami’s writing style. However, I did thoroughly enjoy delving into the life and mind of this “colorless” character named Tsukuru Tazaki. When I read about Tsukuru and his group of friends, I felt like I could relate to him. This seemingly ordinary fellow who thinks he has no outstanding attributes compared to his friends.

I think the pacing is a little slow in some areas, but the book picks up when Tsukuru goes on his “pilgrimage” to resolve an issue from his past, thereby discovering who he is and understanding the importance of his life. The story is told nonlinearly in the beginning, jumping between two moments in the past—his high school years and college years—and the present. Then the story is told chronologically by following present-day, 36-year-old Tsukuru. I felt I was immediately thrown into the darkest moment in Tsukuru’s life in the beginning, and as the saying goes, once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. From there, we learn his past and how much it has affected him (to the point where he welcomed death). I admit, it was a bit difficult to read because I sympathized with him.

I’m horrible at analyzing the symbolism and the themes of books, but I believe the book touches upon many topics such as spirituality, closure, and acceptance. I think the book’s main focus is the connection one has with the people whom he/she encounters. It is a bit ironic considering how much a connection I built with this fictional character, yet the ending left me baffled. I must warn you the ending is open for interpretations. I understand that the open-endedness is to show the flow of time and how Tsukuru’s life still continues onward, but after all the protagonist went through, I was hoping for something more. I guess my expectation for a happy ending is due to all the Disney movies I watched as a child, haha.

[SPOILER // highlight to view]I am still curious what happened to Haida and who killed Shiro. Was it her sister? Why weren’t there any suspects in Shiro’s case? I was hoping Haida could in some way be connected. I am curious if Tsukuru and Sara did get together, and if Tsukuru ever met Aka, Ao, and Kuro ever again. I still want to know whether the story told by the musician Haida’s father met is true, and if so, who is carrying death right now. [/SPOILER]

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book despite some plot holes and unanswered questions. I recommend listening to Franz Liszt’s Le Mal Du Pays, Switzerland while reading the novel (unless you can’t focus reading while listening, then forget my suggestion). The music was mentioned a number of times in the novel, and I think it’ll allow you to immerse yourself more in the story. Also, the book design is superb. Seriously, I was admiring the cover and first few pages longer than necessary (dat transition!).

I will end with one of my favorite quotes from the novel:

Some things in life are too complicated to explain in any language.

Tokyo Ghoul √A episode 1

whitehairkaneki
I honestly could not sleep yesterday because of the excitement (also the fact that there’s a new episode of Your Lie In April), and I woke up early and kept refreshing tumblr and hulu for any glimpse of episode one. Heading over to funimation, in all its glory, was episode one. Available. Just a click away. Well… several because I registered just to get a 14-day trial to stream Tokyo Ghoul √A. I’m not obsessed at all /whistles/

The raging feels coursed through my body that I needed to run around the house and scream after I finished the first episode. I’m not kidding, I’m trying to let it out right now by making random graphics and posting it on tumblr. If only I had someone to talk to, haha. If you’re a Tokyo Ghoul fan, please let’s chat!! 😀 I’m quite glad the anime isn’t like Sherlock where I have to wait a year for a new season, haha.

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Vita 500 (비타 500)

the case and bottle
the case and bottle

My friend who lives in Korea came back to visit over the winter break, and she gave me a box of Vita 500, which is a popular South Korean vitamin drink. The box contains 10 small, brown, glass bottles. She told me the name comes from the 500% of Vitamin C contained in the drink; Vita 500 also contains 86% of Vitamin B₁₂. I never had any American energy drinks, so I am not sure if Vita 500 is just as sweet as or sweeter than energy drinks, but Vita 500 does have a strong sugary (with a twinge of sour) taste. I think it is quite addicting to drink, but because of the sweetness I am hesitant to chug five bottles in one go since I feel like I may be ingesting 3 billions grams of sugar. Overall, it is an interesting experience and I am a sucker for the packaging. I can’t help but like tiny bottles.