Tag: featured

10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Haikyu!!

Haikyu!! is based on the ongoing Weekly Shounen Jump manga series by Haruichi Furudate. It’s one of the most popular sports series and the anime was recently voted the Sports Anime of the Decade over on Funimation… which is huge since Haikyu!! beat out the likes of Free and Yuri!! On Ice. The series follows the members of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club as they attempt to rebuild their team and win Nationals. It sounds like the premise of just about every other sports anime under the sun, but there is just something special about Haikyu!! that get’s your blood pumping! From the intense volleyball matches to the dynamic cast of characters to it’s compelling character drama, Haikyu!! is hands down one of my favorite anime series of all time!

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I blame Kat Sade for my Haikyu!! obsession, because without her I would have never discovered this amazing series! This series single-handedly got me interested in the sports anime genre, I binge watch the entire series every couple of months and no matter how many time I watch this series I find my self falling even more in love with the characters and the music… and just everything! Like many in the Haikyu fandom I am eager for the premiere of the LOOOOOOOOONG awaited 4th season, Haikyu: To the Top on January 10th.

There are still a few days left before season 4 starts, which is plenty of time to catch up on the series. But, if you’re still on the fence about Haikyu!! here are 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Haikyu!!

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My 10 Otome Games of the Decade

The end of 2019 marks the end of a decade, and everyone seems to be reflecting on the past 10 years, with their various lists and videos. So I decided to jump on the bandwagon too and reflect on the past 10 years in otome games. Since I didn’t keep up with my Japanese language studies, I’m limited to English localizations (and fan patches), so I can’t speak for the JP only releases. But, I can honestly say that these last few years have been pretty good to Western otome fans, with tons of game releases and announcements coming out (fairly) regularly.

So, I wanted to go back and look at the otome games released between 2010 and 2019 and pick out my favorites. Some years were more fruitful than others for the western otome fandom, but I still stand by my picks for each year and it’s kind of fun to see how my tastes have changed in the past 10 or so years of playing otome games.

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Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk Otome Review

I just finished my first playthrough of Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and I’d like to get my initial thoughts about the game down before I get any deeper into the story, because my God was this game intense. I played Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly awhile ago and I didn’t really like it all that much, so I went into Ashen Hawk expecting it to be much the same as its predecessor… thankfully I was wrong! Ashen Hawk is a marked improvement over Black Butterfly in almost every way and one has to wonder what the hell happened between the production of the first game and this one to cause such a huge difference in quality… Technically Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk isn’t a sequel to Black Butterfly, though it is set in the same world as the first game, but with a completely different story and characters.

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Now I say that, but there were QUITE A FEW Easter Eggs and callbacks to PBB in Ashen Hawk, that you’ll only truly get if you’ve played through the first game, but it’s not a requirement to enjoy the game. That said, EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED!! I know I literally just said you don’t have to play Black Butterfly before playing Ashen Hawk, but boy does playing the first game pay off in a big way in this one!! It’s no secret that I didn’t particularly care for Black Butterfly, but damnit if Ashen Hawk didn’t make slugging through the mess of the first game worth it. But, what I love most is that the connection between the two games isn’t overly in your face, the reveals work well within the context of their respective stories while also expanding on the preexisting lore of both games.

Game Details

Spoiler Warning

Since folks are really hung up on spoiler warnings, this post will contain some minor spoilers for the game, so if you haven’t played either Ashen Hawk or Black Butterfly, maybe hold off on reading this review.

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I Hear the Sunspot BL Manga Review

I’ve been on a real boys love kick lately, so I decided to finally read through Yuki Fumino’s I Hear the Sunspot. The series focuses on the relationship between a hearing impaired college student and his cheerful and outspoken classmate. Originally released in 2014 as a stand alone volume, the story was expanded into a second volume, I Hear the Sunspot – Theory of Happiness and then again as the ongoing series I Hear the Sunspot – Limit. The series is currently licensed in English by One Piece Books, I picked up the first two volumes at con and I fell in love with the series, so when I saw them up for pre-order on Amazon, I snapped the rest of them up as well. Unlike most of the series I buy, I Hear the Sunspot is an ongoing series, with only four volumes available in print (as of this writing).

Kohei is a hearing-impaired college student who is used to being misunderstood by his peers due to his disability, to the point that he’s resigned himself to a life of loneliness. But, when he meets the outgoing and friendly Taichi, Kohei finds his quiet life of solitude is no longer enough to satisfy him. After sharing their lunch together, the pair strike up an instant friendship that slowly develops into something more than friends, but less than lovers, where will life take these two very different young men…

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Crazy For You: 5 Otome Game Yandere

A few months back I wrote a Beginners Guide to Otome Games post on character archetypes (here’s a link to the thing: A Beginners Guide to Otome Games: Part 3 – Common Character Archetypes), where I broke down some of the most common character archetypes in otome games. I gave a basic overview of each archetype and provided a few examples of characters from games that fit the trope, but I always wanted to go back and write a list spotlighting characters from the various archetypes. First up to bat are the yandere chararacters… yay?

The Basics: What is Yandere?

Yandere is a Japanese term used to describe a person who is initially very loving and gentle towards the person they love, only for their affection to suddenly become obssessive and destructive. Their behavior becomes unhinged, bordering on deranged leading to these characters becoming violent and possessive. The term yandere is derived from the Japanese words yanderu (病んでる), meaning insane or sick, and dere dere (デレデレ), meaning affectionate or loving; so a yandere character is someone that is literally “lovesick”.

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Note a yandere in action, notice how he maintains eye contact at all times

These characters are a bit controversial due to their dangerously obsessive behaviors, which lead to them harming themselves and others in pursuit of love. While their actions stem from an overwhelming sense of love and devotion, these characters are prone to jealousy and will do everything in their power to ensure that nothing comes between them and their love. Yandere can be very forceful in their affections and may resort to entrapping the object of their affection in a misguided attempt to protect them. Some yandere have been known to lock their lovers in cages and in extreme cases may be mentally or physically abusive.

Yandere are pretty popular in otome games, and there’s usually at least one character in each game that exhibits some obsessive tendencies (though this is usually reserved for bad endings). But, if yandere are your shtick, here’s a list of some yandere characters that would be more than happy to show you to your own personal uguu love cage…

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[OWLS “Fantasy” Blog Tour] Otome Games: Choose Your Fantasy

It’s time for another OWLS Blog Tour, most of you were directed here after reading Takuto’s lovely post about Sword Art Online Alicization and if you haven’t read his post I definitely recommend giving it a read!! If you stumbled upon this post by chance, welcome to Blerdy Otome! The end of the year is fast approaching and we’ve hit our 10th Blog Tour of 2019. For those of you just joining the party, OWLS is a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism! We use our love of pop-culture and other media to discuss a wide range of topics. Each month we host themed Blog Tours where we discuss topics we feel are important to the greater fandom community.

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For the month of October our topic is “Fantasy” I decided to discuss otome games (again) and how they portray romance. The appeal of otome games comes not from depicting realistic romance, but from the fantasy of what we wish romance could be.

In the month of October, we will be exploring the world of fantasy in pop culture. The genre of fantasy focuses on telling stories about our external and internal environments. There are many ways we can interpret the word fantasy. For example, we can talk about how a fantastical place could glorify what reality should be, or the dangers of ideal expectations. Fantasy could also be seen as taking a “wild journey” or a “hallucination,” and how that can affect our psyche and well-being. Additionally, fantasy can focus on our personal dreams and expectations, and how those expectations do not align with our reality. Overall, our posts will reflect on how we view the fantasy genre and what we can learn about these pop culture mediums.

– October 2019 Blog Tour Prompt

I’ll reference a few otome games in this post, but there shouldn’t be any spoilers since I intend to focus primarily on the concept of otome games rather than a rundown of a specific title.

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Escape Journey – BL Manga Review

The boys love genre has always toed the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to romance, usually straying into some pretty questionable territory in how it depicts same sex couples. Either you get an angst filled drama fest or a lot of non-con smut, and every so often you come across a title that manages to give you something genuinely wholesome. Escape Journey is Ogeretsu Tanaka’s English-language BL debut and like many boys love manga before it, struggles to find that balance between wholesome romance and the appropriate amount of “drama”. However, despite its flaws, Escape Journey is a solid boys love title and at only three volumes it delivers a rather savory reading experience.

Escape Journey follow Naoto and Taichi, two guys who went from friends to lovers in high school, but the relationship proved to be too much and the pair split after a huge argument. Even though years have passed, Naoto is still upset (read: pissed off) about how things ended with Taichi and is looking forward to getting a fresh start in college. But, on his first day he discovers that Taichi has also enrolled at his university and interested in being friends again. While Naoto is initially unsure about his feelings for his ex, the two quickly fall back into their old friendship, which eventually evolves into something more… but, old hurts don’t heal easily and the pair finds themselves falling back into the same routine. Will they be able to move on from the past and build something stronger this time around or will Naoto and Taichi continue to hurt one another?

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#TheAnimangaFestival: So You Wanna Play Otome Games? – Five Otome Game Recommendations for Total Newbies

Hey Hey Guys, I have a super special awesome post today! Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto doing it big for their third (er, second) Bloggiversary, by hosting the Animanga Festival. This month long celebration will feature themed posts, events, and games that the entire Aniblogger community is encouraged to participate in throughout the month of October. I just happen to be one of the many bloggers participating in the event and I am super excited to see what everyone comes up with for their posts!!

If you’re still curious about The Animanga Festival check out Auri and Nairne’s introduction post over on their blog for all deets and important links: The #Animanga Festival Begins Tomorrow

Today’s festival prompt is “Anime/Manga You’d Recommend to a First Timer”, since this is a gaming blog, I figured I’d focus on Otome Games. But, I couldn’t decide on just one game to recommend, so I chose FIVE instead!

For those of you unfamiliar with the otome games genre, I highly recommend checking out my Beginners Guide To Otome Games series for a crash course on everything you need to know about otome games. But, if you don’t feel like reading that right now, here’s the cliffnotes version:

“Otome Game (乙女ゲーム lit. otome gemu) is a Japanese term used to describe a series of story based games targeted primarily towards women… the main goal of otome games is to foster romantic relationships between an in game female protagonist (also often referred to as the MC or Heroine) and one of multiple male protagonist (some games also feature female romantic partners), similar to the setup of reverse harem media.” 

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Melanin Friendly Otome Games & Visual Novels

I’ve written about the importance of representation in media quite a few times in the past, I even have a post series dedicated to talking about inclusion and diversity in nerd culture. Most recently, I wrote a post about diversity (or the lack there of) in otome games and after penning the post an indie developer friend of mine reached out to me about the topic. We had an awesome discussion about the depiction of people of color in visual novels and the importance of wholesome representation. She even gave me some insight into the difficulties some content creators have when crafting characters of color in their games, a perspective I hadn’t considered. I’ve seen quite a few polls and surveys floating around about the content of western otome games and visual novels, many of which have sections dedicated to gauging player interests in diverse characters.

I love that there is an open dialogue about diversity in games, especially in romance themed games since there is a noticeable disparity in the number of otome games that feature black and brown characters in major roles. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are a handful of developers that have been saying that they don’t include darker skinned characters in their games because they “look bad” or aren’t as attractive as non black and brown characters. Some people have stated that it’s harder to create characters with darker complexions using the anime art style common in otome games… and hearing that is really heartbreaking. On some level, I feel like this is just a carryover of colorism, and the notion that dark skinned individuals are not as attractive as lighter skinned individuals (which is not the case at all). But, on other levels, it’s less an issue with darker characters looking bad and more a case of an artist needing more experience depicting characters of color.

There is a demand for more diverse games, heck, this past weekend someone used the search term ‘otome games black girl friendly’ to get to my site and I’m gonna be honest with you guys, it made my whole weekend! As more people start playing otome games (and romance visual novels) the demand for more inclusive characters and narratives will only rise and those who stay stuck in their ways are really limiting themselves. So, for the person that searched for black girl friendly otome games and for the folks that think “darker characters look bad” here are a few Melanin Friendly Otome Games and Visual Novels!!

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Five Webcomics I am Totally Obsessed With…

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, I don’t know about you guys, but, it’s been a pretty hectic week on my end. Between deadlines at work, unforeseen disasters, and just plain old adulting, it’s really easy to get bogged down by… well, Life. Sometimes, you just want a bit of an escape, whether that’s kicking back with a good book or watching that Netflix series everyone’s been raving about, we all have our ways of checking out from reality (if only for a short while). I, myself dabble in quite a few extracurricular activities to get my mind off of my responsibilities, but recently, I have been obsessed with webcomics!

So, to pass the time, I figured it’d be cool to compile a list of my current favorites! Forewarning though, I’m partial to slice-of-life romances, and it wasn’t until after I wrote this list that I realized they were all romances… I guess I have a type… Also, these aren’t in any particular order, since I love them all for different reasons.


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