Category Archives: Alex Watches

The Bittersweet Taste of Orange

2017-04-09

If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say? “It will get better”? “Don’t stress too much about fitting in”? “Yes, what you’re feeling is love, and that’s okay”? “The future is awful and sad and I want you to work tirelessly to make sure you don’t end up a regret-stricken wreck like me”? Orange takes this last approach, and the result is a series that I have a barrel full of mixed feelings about.

Spoilers and content warning for suicide ahead.

On the first day of the new school year, protagonist Naho finds a strange letter addressed to her, which was apparently sent from herself, ten years in the future. Naho is confused and dubious that such a thing can be real, but then the events the letter describes start coming true: the letter tells her that a new student, a boy named Kakeru, will be joining their class that day, and he’ll sit next to Naho. Naho’s friends will attempt to be welcoming and invite the new kid to hang out once school is over, but, the letter warns, they should absolutely not do that. Not that day, at least.

Naho soon realizes that the letters are full of specific advice from her future self, chiefly about things that Future Naho regrets and wants to change. These mostly concern Kakeru, since, as Naho is shocked to find out, ten years in the future Kakeru is no longer alive. In Future Naho’s world, Kakeru died—in an accident later discovered to be suicide—when he was seventeen, and she’s sending these letters back in time to try and stop that from happening.

Head to Lady Geek Girl and Friends for the full review!

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A Magical Girl Education: Sailor Moon

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It occurred to me while outlining my article about the dark and gritty reboot of the magical girl genre that I’ve spent more time reading meta, analysis, and personal pieces about the iconic power of Sailor Moon than actually watching the show itself. While I know a lot about it, I’ve never seen all of it first hand—at least, not in order, and certainly not in its original undubbed and uncut form.

I caught the occasional episode on TV when I was a kid and was kind of intrigued but never entirely won over (thanks to that whole “it’s obviously for girls And That’s Bad” mentality), and years later, borrowed and rewatched to near memorising the DVDs from CP… the only trouble there being that CP only owned volume 1, 2, and 8. Anime DVDs seem expensive to me now, but they were practically diamonds to our fourteen-year-old selves, and a pain to hunt down as well. Skipping straight to volume 8 dumped me in season two with no context, but we all just sort of rolled with it at the time. It was fun, that was the most important thing.

A few months ago, in the midst of editing and completing said dark magical girl article, my right arm flared up with what was probably RSI. Given time off work (hooray!) but effectively forbidden to type (the horror!), I sat down and dived into Sailor Moon season one. Animelab, as a tie-in with the remastered re-release, was hosting 89 of the episodes for gloriously free, legal streaming. I, of course, wiped my brow and said “Wow, 89 is a lot! But I can commit!” before being told that 89 is only the first two seasons. I have a lot to learn, as you can see. Continue reading

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Sense8ional: A Sense8 Review (Repost)

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[This review was originally posted on Popgates. It is being re-posted here on a reader’s request, since Popgates has discontinued its pop culture column and thus deleted the original post.

And hey, just in time for season two…]

What do…

A troubled Icelandic DJ trying to get by in London

A San Francisco hacktivist celebrating Pride with her girlfriend

An action-movie-loving bus driver from Nairobi

A German safecracker trying to get out of his mobster family’s shadow

A closeted melodrama actor living in Mexico City

A Korean businesswoman/part-time martial artist trying to keep her family company afloat

An Indian scientist preparing to marry a man she’s not in love with

And a Chicago cop with a heart of gold and parental issues

…have in common?

Well, nothing much at all, until they all witness the suicide of a mysterious, almost angelic woman in white. From that moment on, they start noticing strange things: they can taste what someone else is eating on the other side of the world, hear the thoughts and emotions of people they’ve never met, and master skills they’ve never even tried to learn. They’re a cluster of Sensates, spread across the globe but linked by a psychic connection. Continue reading

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ToraDora! Wrap Up Post

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So, ToraDora! A show about coming of age, love, heartbreak, and a bird that swears.

Overall, I enjoyed rewatching this beautiful beastie a lot—it struck the right balance between being nostalgic and impressing me afresh, and it was nice to know that for the most part it’s still as fun and engaging as it was when I first watched it in early high school and it lodged itself in my brain. I’d like to thank everyone who read along each week, and leave you with a few final assorted thoughts and retrospectives… Continue reading

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ToraDora! #25: Heaven Help the Fool Who Falls in Love

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The end begins with Ya-chan bursting through the front door of her parents’ house, because Taiga left her a fake phone message saying Ryuji had been injured in a car accident. Ryuji is fine, and because nothing brings people together like casual deceit, suddenly three generations of his family are all stuck in one place where they manage to reconcile and grow. Continue reading

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My Favourite Anime: ToraDora!

The cast of ToraDora

There’s a certain giddy rush you feel—partly validation, partly just reborn joy—when you rewatch something you loved when you were younger and discover that it’s actually still good.

I first watched ToraDora! approximately nine years ago, in a very different time of life, and something about its themes and characters was so emotionally resonant that it burrowed into my heart and has stayed there ever since. I recently rewatched it, and was a little relieved to see I hadn’t overhyped it in my memory—while it’s not a perfect show, it’s still poignant, funny and relatable, even though I’m no longer in high school myself.

In some ways watching while older made it more resonant, since I was able to look back with a degree of self-awareness I couldn’t the first time. And hey, you don’t just have one coming-of-age moment and then wake up as a fully functioning, emotionally sorted out adult—it’s a constant process, which explains the pulling power of a show like this. That, and the romantic comedy shenanigans, which are pretty damn great.

Elisabeth and Dominic are taking a hiatus from the Little Anime Blog, so I’m pitching in and contributing to the My Favourite Anime series! Head over there for the full post.

My regular, more long-winded ToraDora! posts will conclude next week. Who’s pumped?

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ToraDora #24: Boy, That Escalated Quickly

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It’s happening, people. It’s happening. Continue reading

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