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Welcome to my journal! I mainly use this journal to review and recommend great stories and anime. My favorite fandoms are BBC Sherlock, Harry Potter, White Collar, Kpop, and anime.

You may be interested in my recommendations for:

[Harry Potter] [Sherlock] [Kpop] [Anime] [White Collar] [Cabin Pressure] [Other Fandoms]

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Please also use the tags to the left to find other reviews. I'm always updating my lists, and I love to chat, so please also comment and feel free to friend me. Thank you!

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Anime Review: My Hero Academia

Anime Review: My Hero Academia

 “The deeper the darkness, the more dazzling the light shines.”

In a world filled with people who have genetic powers known as “quirks,” there are professional heroes with powerful quirks who rescue civilians from villains. Izuku Midoriya is one of the few “quirkless” people without a quirk…until he meets the professional hero All Might, who decides to pass on his powerful quirk to Midoriya. Midorya then gets to attend the prestigious U.A. High School to train to fight villains.

 Almost everything works for this colorful, fun, intense, intelligent, and meaningful anime. The characters are universally a delight with each one having interesting quirks, which contribute to their identities and help to lend depth. Our protagonist, Midoriya, is sweet but clever and powerful, and the way his new quirk is too powerful for his body, causing him to be constantly injured, is fascinating to watch. Shoto Todoroki has an amazing and horrifying backstory to his half-fire, half-ice quirk. Katsuki Bakugo transitions from being a bully to an insecure hero. Ochaco Uraraka is bubbly but with an undercurrent of steel.

The pacing is excellent, with never a dull moment or a filler episode. The fight scenes are stunningly choreographed and never filler: each one advances the plot or character development in meaningful ways. Even the overarching message of bettering yourself in order to help others is an important one that is well-presented.

 The only issue is the very occasional annoying fan-service element of sexualizing a handful—certainly not most!—of the female characters (Mt. Lady, Midnight, Momo). But the fan-service at least doesn’t seem to prevent their character development: in fact, their confidence in their bodies is presented positively. In addition, a student (Mineta) who insists on sexually harassing others is called out on it and generally presented in a negative light.

Here’s hoping to many excellent seasons ahead for this anime.

Sherlock in Molly's lab

Movies I've Seen in 2017

A guide for me to keep track of everything. Please ask if you’re interested in any of them! :)

Previous years: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

::: Animation :::

  • Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie (very enjoyable and even subtly progressive, plus Weird Al song!)

  • Kubo and the Two Strings (cute and a little profound)

  • Moana (impressive visuals, solid movie but not amazing)

  • The Secret Life of Pets (so bad I fell asleep and couldn’t finish, wow)

  • Sing! (not bad but goes off the rails a lot with a random storyline)

  • Trolls (genuinely very good! Great cohesive message and tone)</i>

  • Voltron: Legendary Defender (on Netflix; clearly a kids’ show but still fun)

::: Documentaries :::

  • Casting JonBenet (unusual exploration of the JonBenet Ramsey murder from the perspective of actors auditioning to play the Ramsey family)

  • The Elephant in the Living Room (heartbreaking and very well-made documentary about exotic pets in the US and how in many states there are no legislations against it whatsoever)

  • Icarus (well-done documentary about the Russian sports doping conspiracy)

  • The Keepers (a great Netflix documentary series like Making a Murderer, about the murder of a nun and a buried Catholic sex abuse scandal, that is fascinatingly filmed but the content is completely infuriating)

::: In-Theater Movies :::

  • Baby Driver (amazing; the use of music alone is phenomenal)

  • Bladerunner 2049 (fantastic atmosphere, acting, and music; very enjoyable)

  • The Dark Tower (such a disappointing adaptation of Stephen King’s epic series, totally missed the mark)

  • The Disaster Artist (funny fan tribute to the makers of The Room, great performances from the brothers Franco)

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (I didn’t like the first one, but this one was great! Fixed all the issues I had with the first one, had interesting female characters with growth, and actually made it a commentary on rape culture, wtf?!)

  • Logan (finally, an R-rated Wolverine movie!)

  • Logan Lucky (very good acting from Daniel Craig and Channing Tatum in particular)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (I’m a big fan of this series and enjoyed this a lot)

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (quite enjoyable film solidly in the Marvel universe; Michelle completely stole the show)

  • Thor: Ragnarock (tonally uneven but still lots of fun)

  • War for the Planet of the Apes (such impressive emotional acting and CGI covers a lot of plot holes)

::: Other Films :::

  • The Andromeda Strain (from 1971, a fascinating hard sci-fi movie that focuses on the scientific process, based on Michael Crichton’s novel)

  • Beauty & the Beast (2017; I love Emma Watson, but this live-action remake just didn’t work for me)

  • The BFG (actually awful??? How is Spielberg this bad?)

  • Colossal (surprising and haunting movie with Anne Hathaway, has to be seen to be believed; try not to see spoilers before you watch it)

  • Cooties (slapstick horror-comedy with Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, and Alison Pill, not hysterical but not bad)

  • Dad’s Army (with Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon, and Mark Gatiss—sweet and fun, and a bit feminist)

  • Death Note (the Netflix 2017 remake. I’m a huge fan of the original, and this wasn’t actually that bad! It missed a lot of nuance and style but was still enjoyable)

  • The Discovery (with Robert Redford; fascinating setup but can’t completely fulfill its premise)

  • Dr. Strangelove (absurdist 1964 movie with Peter Sellers but still feels very relevant)

  • Dunkirk (interesting movie with almost none of the usual “Hollywood” feel of a war film)

  • Everything, Everything (completely implausible but with a really appealing lead in Amandla Stenberg)

  • The Founder (good movie but a bit obvious and the stakes didn’t feel very high)

  • Ghost in the Shell

  • Gifted (sweet and pretty much exactly what I expected with math, family drama, and custody issues)

  • Girl on the Train (very slow but intriguing)

  • Hail, Caesar! (very, very strange but not very good)

  • Hidden Figures (important story of female African-American mathematicians at NASA)

  • The House (with Will Farrell and Amy Poehler, had funny moments but could have been better)

  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (sweet Taika Waititi New Zealand movie)

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (infuriating but amazing movie starring Oprah Winfrey about a black woman whose cells were taken without her consent to be used in medical research)

  • John Wick Chapter 2 (enjoyable sequel, very beautifully filmed sequences)

  • King Charles III (a fictionalized account of what might happen after Queen Elizabeth II’s death *cries* The acting was great but the plot wasn’t particularly believable)

  • Kong: Skull Island (a good cast but kind of silly writing)

  • La La Land (sort of poignant, I guess, but I found it dull)

  • The LEGO Batman Movie (sweet movie with a good message)

  • Life (2017 alien movie with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds; I didn’t find it scary in the slightest and I’m easily frightened)

  • Maudie (fascinating movie about a Nova Scotia folk artist who had such a difficult life but made really beautiful and happy paintings anyway)

  • A Monster Calls (visually beautiful and emotionally resonant film)

  • Moonlight (the Academy Award Best Picture winner! I found it a sweet and moving character study, but I felt like it was too sanitized)

  • Morgan (good creepy atmosphere; reminded me of Deux Ex Machina)

  • Murder on the Orient Express (1974; entertaining even knowing the mystery’s solution beforehand)

  • Office Christmas Party (silly and funny; I enjoyed it)

  • Polytechnique (disturbing movie by the director of Arrival about a massacre on women attending a Montreal university in 1989)

  • The Riot Club (heavy-handed attempt to show the warped mentality that goes into secret elite university clubs)

  • The Room (one of those so-bad-it-becomes-unintentionally-brilliant kinds of movies)

  • Split (with James McAvoy; brilliant acting but sad that we have yet another evil character with inaccurately portrayed dissociative identity disorder)

  • Suicide Squad (certainly not good, but not as bad as everyone was saying)

  • Temple Grandin (intelligent and sensitive film about autism and animal husbandry with Claire Danes)

  • Why Him? (funny Father of the Bride-style movie with James Franco and Bryan Cranston; reminded me of the British show Cuckoo)

::: Film (Non-English) :::

  • The Host (great Korean movie where the monster isn’t the really scary villain, mindless bureaucracy is)

  • In the Arms of My Enemy (interesting French historical movie about brothers and love)

  • The Mermaid (slapstick comedy action romance drama (!) from China)

  • Train to Busan (well-done zombie disaster movie from South Korea; made me tear up at times)

  • Twenty (comedy from South Korea)

  • Yossi (moving film from Israel, the sequel to the amazing but sad Yossi & Jagger)

::: TV / Drama :::

  • Black Mirror (excellent as always)

  • The Good Place (fun and suprising)

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (excellent as always)

  • Stranger Things (season 2, very enjoyable)

  • The Windsors (silly but fun parody of the British royal family)

Sherlock in Molly&#39;s lab

Anime Rec: Spiritpact

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Anime Rec: Spiritpact

This 10-episode shounen-ai anime is the Japanese edit and dub of the Chinese anime Ling Qi (Soul Contract).

In it, a young You Keika is living in poverty as a fortune-teller when he is hit by a bus and killed. In death, he chooses to become contracted to the human demon-hunter Tanmoku Ki as his spirit shadow, a partner to protect Tanmoku and give him strength. Unbeknownst to both of them, they are connected more deeply than they realized. Along with Tanmoku’s ignored fiancée Shin Shiyou, the three team up to uncover the sinister plot going on at Tanmoku’s family home.

The anime packs a lot into its 10 episodes with lots of supernatural hurt/comfort elements and a gentle shounen-ai between You and Tanmoku, with some humor and very pretty art and character designs as well.

While the supernatural elements are a bit stereotypical and aren’t explained well, and the characterizations are a bit one-note, it’s interesting to see the different motivations of the characters, particularly the “evil” ones who are all vying for power behind the scenes and constantly testing Tanmoku and You’s relationship.

Tanmoku is difficult to read as a typical tsundere, but You makes for an appealing lead with his innocence and occasional frustration with his situation. I felt really bad for Tanmoku’s fiancée, Shiyou. Her character is actually fleshed out but it’s still hard to determine her reasons for sticking around when Tanmoku overlooks her constantly. She seems to have more meaningful interactions with You than with her fiancée.

Where the anime really shines, though, is in the evolving relationship and powerplays between Tanmoku and You. The two have great chemistry and it’s wonderful to see how they slowly get to know one another and how they react to seeing each other in danger. Towards the end I loved seeing how they had evolved into a team.

Unfortunately, after just 10 episodes it feels like it’s just getting into the good content when it ends. Would love to see more!

More anime recs can be found here.
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