Up Close with Yato

Yato is a character with a fairly strong fan base and after watching Noragami and then its sequel, Noragami Aragoto, it is pretty easy to see why. For a penniless character who spends a lot of time mooching off of others he’s incredibly charming, funny, as well as a character who elicits genuine sympathy once more of his story is revealed. In the context of who Yato is and what he’s gone through, his occasional bouts of silliness are fully understandable and mostly I just want to give him a hug.

I am however going to avoid major spoilers so there are some aspects of his character we just won’t be able to get into.

Starting off with his positive traits, Yato is an incredible sword fighter. Even though he’s a ‘stray god’ and has previously been known as a ‘God of Calamity’ who would take on any wish from anyone, his fighting ability is amazing. Even Bishamon with all of her regalia can’t stop him though she certainly pushes him to his limit.

Yato is also incredibly soft-hearted. That might not always seem like the case given some of his decisions seem quite cold, but once you understand his perspective and where he’s coming from, he’s an incredibly kind soul.

Also, despite how poverty stricken he is, he still only charges his five yen for a wish and regardless of the quest he takes his duties seriously (something you may not believe if you’ve only watched the start and watched him kind of ignore Hiyori’s request). Still, whether it is watching the counter at a convenience store or cleaning a bathroom, once Yato’s on a job he sees it through with pride and enthusiasm.

I would be remiss though not discuss his relationship with Hiyori. At first she’s a client, someone useful, someone who remembers him. However, Hiyori fast makes herself someone Yato needs, a friend. She looks out for him, worries about him, seeks him when he is missing, rallies others to help him. I don’t actually see their relationship as romantic (though it could be seen as heading that way), but I do know that there is a deep love and respect formed between the two characters over two seasons. It is through contact with Hiyori, and later Yukine, that Yato really begins to grow and those relationships are beautiful to watch form and develop.

Noragami Aragoto Yato

And even if they were his only defining traits he would still be an awesome character. However, given he is a god with a complex back story, there’s quite a bit of tragedy and darkness following Yato. While he works hard to ensure those nearest him don’t see it, they worry about their friend and want to help him. Season two particularly dealt with this side of Yato far more and the emotionally moving journey that took us on was well worth it.

So Yato, the small-time god who has big dreams, is definitely a character I respect and enjoyed watching. I’d love another season of Noragami and a large part of the reason is Yato. In the meantime I think I’ll just go and binge watch the first two seasons again because they are amazing.

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Karandi James
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NORAGAMI: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
NORAGAMI: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

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Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Series Review: Bliss Out With Cafe Food

While Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t the most original, exciting, or beautiful anime out there, this one ended up being a surprisingly good anime just to chill out to each week during the Spring 2018 anime season.

Review:

This is another one of those shows where I genuinely went into the first episode expecting to drop it at the end, maybe write up an impressions post, and never think about it ever again. However, I think I phrased it best in my First Impressions post where I said:

…I really just fell into a happy watching coma while watching this…

And yeah, that’s more or less the experience of watching these four guys serving tea and really great looking anime food in a cafe using plates and cups made by one of the guys while serving latte art that is kind of terrifyingly bad.

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Exhibit A.

It isn’t as though this show didn’t have a few mis-fires. While some people really enjoy Gure’s character, I found him kind of the painful weak link in the set of four and when we were thrown an episode that entirely focused on him it kind of broke my general calm mood while watching. The other three characters, Sui, Tokitaka and Tsubaki all have their moments and I quite enjoyed watching their interactions. Even Gure was fine when diluted by the rest of the cast. It’s only when the show focuses on him for a longer period that it started damaging my calm.

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Visually this anime isn’t exceptional. The cafe, Rokuhoudou, is a beautiful cafe and I’d love to actually know somewhere like that to eat because just going there would be an experience. However, other than a fairly washed out colour palette for everything except the food, there’s nothing really distinguishing about how this looks. With character designs they are all pretty ordinary so a lot of the support cast and cafe guests end up blending together, not that it matters all that much.

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For the most part this is a slice of life and just follows the general daily business of the guys at the cafe so don’t expect much in the way of a compelling story. There is an ongoing plot involving Sui and his family but it kind of gets introduced in the first couple of episodes and then abandoned save for minor mentions here and there until the very end. This isn’t a plot driven drama so if you are looking for a story that moves, look elsewhere. Normally I would, and yet I really did have fun here.

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Do not watch this show while hungry.

Maybe it was just good timing because I happened to watch the first episode while really stressed and to be honest, there’s literally no way you can remain stressed while watching this. There were a number of episodes where I just completely spaced out while watching altogether and while that might not normally equal a recommendation, it was more or less exactly what I needed at the time.

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If you want a clear idea of what you are getting into, each episode is basically split into two parts. Normally one of the guys will mention something or be thinking about something that will somehow connect to some customer problem or issue and then everyone will band together to drink tea until the problem goes away. Okay, that is somewhat sarcastic, but really they don’t go about solving all the world’s problems and they do like to think about things, usually while sipping on tea.

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How much mileage individuals viewers will get out of these episodes will depend entirely on how well they like the focus character and the customer that they are helping. What that means is that some episodes will strike home better than others, but the series as a whole is pretty consistent in terms of tone and quality. The exception is episode 5 that goes off on some weird tangent that I still haven’t figured out. Just weird.

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Overall though, I’d recommend giving this show a shot unless you absolutely despise slice of life stories. I’m not normally a fan of anime that lack a driving plot, but this one worked for me and at the very least it isn’t another cute girls doing cute things slice of life.

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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Anime Characters With Pink Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a colour list and I actually struggled a bit with 5 males I liked with pink hair. The female list which will come out next week was definitely easier to come up with. That said, there are some interesting characters on the list below and as always I’d love to know who your picks would be for male anime characters with pink hair. I kind of went for characters that are important to their story and really rock the pink hair colour.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Number 5: Hikaru (Ouran High School Host Club)

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Okay, right from the start I am cheating here because Hikaru does not normally have pink hair. Yet, for one episode of Ouran High School Host Club, after a fight between the twins seemingly triggered by an innocuous comment by Haruhi, the twins dye their hair blue and pink. I have to admit, I kind of liked the look and kind of wished they’d kept it going for the rest of the season.

Number 4: Zange Natsum (Inu X Boku SS)

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There’s something super-cute and simultaneously super-creepy about Zange. He see’s far too much and isn’t above manipulating others for his own entertainment. That said, he certainly marches to the beat of his own drummer and provides some of the best scenes in Inu x Boku SS so despite his more questionable tendencies he became one of my favourite characters.

Number 3: Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter)

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I still haven’t decided if I like Hisoka as a character or not. He’s incredibly creepy but he adds a lot to the story and he has some great moments. Plus, you have to admit he’s got a style all of his own and I really couldn’t imagine him with any other hair colour other than pink. He’s certainly earned himself a spot on this list even if I feel like running the other direction.

Number 2: Alice Color (Sunday Without God)

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Alice Color only shows up in the final arc of Sunday Without God (though is in the OP from the beginning) and while he’s a fairly stoic character he is also very cool. Driven and determined to free his town from its endless loop, even when he believes that he’s going to die to do it, his story is one of the best in Sunday Without God.

Number 1: Natsu (Fairy Tail)

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Okay, if it was a question of my favourite character in Fairy Tail, Natsu wouldn’t get much of a look in. Despite some pretty cool dragon themed powers and a fiery personality, I don’t really enjoy Natsu’s antics in much of the early parts of the story (definitely prefer Gray). That said, when looking at distinct pink haired anime guys, Natsu immediately jumped to mind. While I think a lot of the other characters are more interesting, Natsu is definitely a bundle of energy, his interactions with Lucy are adorable, and when he gets going in a fight you know its going to be big. Plus, he has a talking flying cat for a friend so you really can’t beat that.

That’s my list this week, be sure to check back next week when I list my top 5 anime females with pink hair.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Characters with Green Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Following on from last week’s selection of female characters with green hair, I now bring you the list of male characters. These are my personal favourite characters who have the distinction of having green hair, though in many cases I’m still not sure why given green is not even close to a natural hair colour. You have to admit though, some of these guys look great with it.

As always, feel free to add your thoughts and your choices in the comments below as I’d love to know some of your favourite male characters with green hair.

Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Rei Sagara (Love Stage) and Genpachi Inukai (Hakkenden).

Number 5: Envy from Full Metal Alchemist

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Not hard to see why Envy would earn a place on the list. To start with, the hair actually makes sense when you consider the sin they are portraying, and secondly, this character was fantastic. Self-centred and with a massive chip on their shoulder, Envy stayed true to who they were all the way through the story (both versions) and was a great deal of fun to watch on screen no matter what they were up to.

Number 4: Jae Ha from Akatsuki no Yona

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He’s a massive flirt and playboy but also a very loyal friend and warrior, Jae-Ha initially annoyed me when he was introduced as one of the dragons in Akatsuki no Yona but it is very hard to overlook his charms as a character. Despite his frivolous exterior, he has his reasons for his actions and ultimately he is probably the dragon with the most familiarity with the ways of the world and an ability to cope with new situations.


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Number 3: Sadao Maou from The Devil is a Part-timer 

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Sadou is a fantastic character. Having fallen from being the demon king in control of a country to a part time employee of a rip-off McDonald’s, he still isn’t going to let anything get in the way of his ambitions. What I like the most about his character is that he isn’t just waiting for an opportunity or for success to fall upon him. Sadou Maou is out there every day working to make his dreams a reality and for the most part he is working within the rules of the system around him and trying hard to overcome the obstacles in ordinary ways. Anyway, he is a great deal of fun and the thought of the devil making pepper fries is always pretty amusing.


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Number 2: Gon from Hunter x Hunter

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While I’m not quite finished my journey through Hunter x Hunter yet (almost there now), Gon has been quite the joy to meet and travel with. While by himself he isn’t an overly impressive character, his interactions with the support cast bring out the best in him and in the rest of the cast making him fairly memorable. Of course, the spiky green hair certainly leaves an impression as well, though I’m not quite sure how it manages to stay looking like that given I’m pretty sure Gon isn’t using any kind of product. Any way, he is a super cute, super hard working and super loyal character and he is great fun to watch in action.

Number 1: Midoriya from My Hero Academia

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Were you honestly expecting anyone else to top out this list? While Midoriya might be a new comer to my favourite character list, he’s certainly left quite the impression. Another impossibly hard worker and someone who isn’t just waiting for success to be bestowed upon them, Midoriya is a character I admire for his focus on his goal and his willingness to fight for what he wants to achieve. Also his genuine concern for his friends is kind of impressive particularly as he was teased most of his life which could have left him being the bitter and anti-social individual, but instead he’s just a really nice person who has a really big dream. And that is why he gets the number 1 spot on this list.

Okay, so they are my top 5 male anime characters with green hair. Over to you and who you would have put on your list.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Yokai

Tuesday's Top 5

Continuing on from last week where I looked at my top 5 favourite female yokai, this week we have my top 5 male yokai. I must admit, my first draft had a lot fox yokai on the list and even the revised version hasn’t really fixed that issue. Apparently I like foxes. Anyway, as always, I’d love to know who you would include on your list so please leave a comment below.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Kappa from Nurarihyon.

Number 5: Yahiko from The Morose Mononokean

 

Okay, I nearly chose Fuzzy from this list but ultimately had to go with Yahiko. Seriously, this fox is so cute and his desire to play hide and seek is adorable (okay, potentially deadly but still pretty cute). Admittedly, the fact that Yahiko was introduced as a potential big bad and then quickly degenerated into the little brother type character that just wants all the attention is probably the reason Yahiko isn’t further up the list.

Number 4: Kuro from Blue Exorcist

 

Yeah, I know technically they want to say Kuro is a demon but I’m still including him as a yokai. There really isn’t much to explain with this choice. Kuro is my favourite character from Blue Exorcist. Fiercely loyal and yet definitely a cat, Kuro manages to steal pretty much every scene he is in.

Number 3: Yasaburo from The Eccentric Family

 

Our fast talking, trouble seeking tanuki, Yasaburo had to be on the list. He’s just such a great character even before you consider the fact that he is a shape changing tanuki. As the third of four brothers he is pretty content to drift through life looking for things to make his days ‘interesting’. Despite that, he’s pretty loyal to his family when it matters and most of the time he cleans up the mess he makes (mostly). I absolutely adore spending time with Yasaburo.

Number 2: Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss

 

Now, how could I overlook Tomoe, the fox who serves as a land god’s familiar. He is rude, occasionally foul mouthed, and extremely short tempered, but also incredibly loyal and ultimately a fairly lonely character seeking acceptance. Not to mention incredibly powerful and needs to be given how often his human-turned-god master Nanami gets herself into trouble.

Number 1: Miketsukami from Inu x Boku

 

So what beats a fox familiar, well a 9 Tailed Fox secret service member who uses a sword apparently. Told you there were a lot of foxes on this list. Seriously, the guy is adorable both in his normal suit and when he transforms into a yokai. If it wasn’t for his creepy stalkerish tendencies (I guess he calls that loyalty) he’s be nearly perfect. About the only thing he lacks is the ability to actually have a normal human interaction and eventually he might learn to get around that.

There is my list of my favourite male yokai characters. I’d love to know who you would have included.

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Karandi James
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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Guys with Black Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Last week we did the list of top 5 anime females with black hair focussing on the cool beauties of the anime world. This week my attention shifts to the male characters and I think my main focus here was focussed and dependable. That said, there are an enormous number of males with ebony hair that I just could not fit onto my list so I would love to know your thoughts and who would have been included on your list.

Please note there are some spoilers in the descriptions below.

Honourable Mentions: Jiroh (Black Blood Brothers), Kazuya Shibuya (Ghost Hunt) and Gilbert Nightray (Pandora Hearts), plus the dozens of others that were considered and ultimately left off the list.

Number 5: Hei (Darker Than Black)

Whether he’s on a mission, infiltrating an organisation, reporting in, apparently having a break, Hei is always focussed on his primary goal, find out what happened to his sister. He might be a crazy powerful contractor but even before he became a contractor he was feared for his skills. he is one guy you do not want to cross because once he sets his sights on something, one way or another he’s going to make it happen and he’s going to look really good while doing it.

Number 4: Kirito (Sword Art Online)

Another highly focussed character and one I very much enjoy watching in action, Kirito does not let anything stand between him and his current goal, not even death. Plus, once you get through his protective shell and anti-social exterior, he’s actually a genuinely caring person who looks after those he considers his friends. While his tunnel focus might work against him when he gets fixated on single points and sometimes misses the bigger picture, in terms of drive it is hard to argue against his actions.

Number 3: Kuroh Yatogami (K)

If you are looking for dedication and loyalty than you can’t go much further than Kuroh. Not to mention the guy can cook and rocks that pink apron. Admittedly, there’s a bit of a disconnect between his good looks and personality when fighting to his more laid back persona and he definitely has some personality traits that are a little questionable, such as listening to the recordings of his dead master for guidance on a daily basis. Still, he’s a strong fighter, wields a sword, has an absolute sense of duty, and ultimately does what he believes is right. He is one very cool character for this list.

Number 2: Shinya Kougami (Psycho Pass)

I’d like to let the pictures speak for me on this one. Kougami is tough, focussed, and relatively unstoppable once he puts his mind to things. He’s also really great to watch in action. However, he isn’t a muscle head who only relies on his fists, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and knows when to use it. A pure joy to watch as he unravels the mysteries in Psycho Pass and seeks out his revenge.

Number 1: Sebastian Michaelis (Black Butler)

Was there ever a moment of doubt that Sebastian would not be number one on this list? The guy can do anything and look amazing while doing it. Okay, he might be a demon so has an unfair advantage. In a fair world, Kougami would be the number 1, however fair or unfair, Sebastian is perfect, except for the whole eating people’s souls things. That’s a minor hiccup in an otherwise flawless persona.

Alright, I’m done so I’m handing it over to you for your top 5 guys with black hair.


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30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 26

30-day-anime-challenge

Day 26: Favourite Male Protagonist.

This challenge has definitely made it clear just how indecisive I am around this notion of favourites. Choosing one over all the others is actually really hard (and I am dreading Day 30).

Ultimately I’m going to go with a character that made me feel so much for him on his journey, who I wanted to pick up and hug, offer a word of support to, and then run the other direction so whatever horrible thing was about to happen to him never happened to me. Of course I am talking about Allen Walker from D Gray Man.

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Nice guy but avoids the trap of having that as his only personality trait. Very powerful but in no way overpowered given the enemies (and even the allies) around him. Everything about Allen is fantastic and this is a character I desperately want to be victorious one day but I kind of feel he’s a walking tragedy so I won’t hold my breath.

I did consider quite a few other characters including Ciel in Black Butler, Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou, Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion, and even Sadou Maou from the Devil is a Part Timer.

Who is your favourite male protagonist and why? Please share in the comments below.


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