Favorite Tropes

Tough Guys & Cute Kids. I’ve been loving (and writing) this classic trope for ages. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dad, a big brother, a guardian, or some (oft reluctant) stranger who’s left holding the baby, I’m there for it. (In the IY fandom, this was Sesshoumaru & Rin.) Thankfully, this trope has become a recent trend in manga/anime. Last year’s big hit was Spy x Family, in which a top-ranked international spy needs to cobble together a family for a mission.

If you loved that, you’ll love this one. I’d been reading The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting manga for months when I heard news that the anime would release (again, last year).

Which brings us to this morning. I just finished the first episode of a new simulcast that fits the going theme. Buddy Daddies involves two guys (assassins this time) who end up having to juggle their career with child-raising.

Umm … you’re welcome. ::twinkle::

Anime Recommendation

If / Then. If you’re like me, and you couldn’t get enough of the comfortable friendship between Tanaka and his reliable bestie Oota in Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless (slice-of-life, comedy, 12 episodes), then I’ve got a winner for you. Aharen-san wa Hakarenai (translates to Aharen-san in Indescipherable ) is currently simulcasting, and it’s got that same ambiance. Recommended!

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon

Three Hanyou Princesses. If you missed the hype, there’s an InuYasha sequel, and simulcasts air every week. The main characters are three young ladies: Moroha (Inuyasha & Kagome’s daughter) and Sesshoumaru’s twin daughters Setsuna (who was raised by Kohaku and has no memory of her sister) and Towa (who was tossed forward in time and was raised by Souta Higurashi.

As a longtime fan of the series, I’m quietly enjoying the frequent allusions/homages. It’s the sort of thing I’d do in a next gen fanfic.

By the end of Ep2, I made up my mind where the plot would go if Yashahime was my story to tell. We’ll see if I’m close. And if not, welp … I already have a Canon Divergent tale in my back pocket. ::twinkle::

Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume’s Book of Friends. I always have a hard time pinpointing my favorite anything … because it always depends. I don’t have a single favorite book, but I can narrow down my favorites within a genre (eg. my favorite book with dragons in it or my current favorite investigative duo). I don’t have a favorite song, because what I want to listen to depends entirely on my mood. I also don’t have a favorite character (of my own). People ask me this a lot, actually. And I have a pat answer: “The one I’m writing now.” Which means today … it’s Mikoto. ::twinkle::

But if I were backed into a corner and someone demanded that I declare a favorite anime, I’d definitely (probably) have to say Natsume Yuujinchou. It’s slice-of-life with a paranormal twist, about a boy who can see youkai. I have been collecting the manga, but it’s the anime that first won my heart. From the first, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. There’s a soothing ambiance, emotional depth, unexpected friendships, heartwarming moments, and deepening ties. I love its gentleness. If you can find them where you watch anime, there are currently six seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends. And the newest volume (24) of the manga just released (yesterday!) in the US. Highly recommended.

Natsume Yuujinchou

If you want to keep up with what I’m currently reading (manga-wise), I rate and review on Goodreads >>

Honey and Clover

Simple Complexities. There are anime that I’ve watched. Lots and lots of them. But there is a whole different category of anime. Those that I’ve rewatched. In the case of Honey and Clover, I think I’ve rewatched it more than a dozen times. It’s a comfort pick, I suppose. Something I can leave running off to the side while I’m puttering with something else. It has a wistful, hopeful mood. I like the airy ambiance. I enjoy revisiting the characters. (I recently picked up the manga, but I haven’t taken the time to read it yet. And see if it varies at all from the animation.)


The primary setting is an art school, and the cast includes students, teachers, alumni, and other artists already in the workforce. It’s slice-of-life. It’s self-discovery. It’s heartbreak and the pressure to create. It’s starving artists and the lure of money and loneliness and courage. And … I will probably always love these goofs.

If you already know and love Honey and Clover, may I further recommend another of Chica Umino’s works? March Comes in Like a Lion follows the life of a professional shogi player. Rei is only seventeen, and his life seems so empty. Until the day he meets a family made up of three sisters. Their warmth becomes his haven. The cast includes Rei’s mentors, rivals, teachers, classmates, and family. I admire this storyteller’s ability to brush gently against the strong emotions, pressures, longings, and tensions that are tangled up in every human soul.


My Storytelling Style in Two Frames

House of Five Leaves. I am currently rereading the manga series House of Five Leaves by Natsume Ono, which is a historical story about an awkward ronin who bumbles his way into a group of criminals who call themselves “The Five Leaves.” When he stays (even after learning that they’re kidnappers who live off ransom money), he becomes their fifth member.

I first met Ono’s work as an anime, which I’ve watched countless times. The music, the voices, the ambiance … I find them calming. So I’ll often have House of Five Leaves playing on the side while I’m writing. Last year, I picked up the manga. Mostly to see if there was more to the story. Much to my amazement, the story diverges at Volume 4. Not only does the anime edit out an entire (main!) character, the ending is different. (Not in a bad way, simply different.)

Anyhow! These two screenshots are from the first and last episodes of the anime. And I think they sum up my storytelling style quite neatly. Continue reading

Four Favorites: Anime Categories

I watch a lot of anime. Probably not a shock, right? It’s the whole reason I’m even around. My first forays into fiction writing were in an anime fandom. But my whole world doesn’t revolve around InuYasha. I’ve watched scores of anime across a wide variety of genres. People sometimes ask me for recommendations, which I find difficult. I mean, I can’t just say, “You’ll love this!” because I did. Expectations vary. As do tastes.

This year, one of my little resolutions is to talk more about the anime I watch (and the manga I read). So I’ll do blog posts now and then to chat about personal favorites. And since it’s as good a starting point as any, let’s talk genre. Most people have a favorite or two. It’s the kind of story we like best. A category. Like action, romcom, or psychological suspense.

Forthy’s Favorite Anime Categories: Continue reading

Fruits Basket

Returns! If you haven’t yet heard, there’s a NEW Fruits Basket anime, and the simulcast began tonight. Now, I own the original anime, and this was the very first series that I collected when I stumbled upon manga, so the story and its characters hold onto a sizeable corner of my heart. Tonight’s revisitation still has me giddy with nostalgia.

Fruits Basket, Shigure

If you’re familiar with the first anime, you’ll be in familiar territory. The new Fruits Basket is a faithful rendering (almost verbatim in spots) … but with utterly gorgeous, even cinematic backdrops and subtle tweaks to character design. For instance, Yuki actually looks like he could be related to Shigure now. ::twinkle::

Fruits Basket, Yuki

If you’re familiar with the manga series (and how everything ended), you’ll catch new nuances of foreshadowing. And since the title panel includes the text “Season One,” I am holding out hope that we’ll get the full storyline (and the full cast) with this new rendition.

Fruits Basket, Kyo

Heaven help me, this could lead to fanfiction. ::twinkle::

Anime: March Comes in Like a Lion


A bad cold is as good a reason as any to hide in bed with a box of tissues, a packet of cough drops, and an endless supply of anime. One recent indulgence has been March Comes in Like a Lion by Chica Umino. The main character, Rei Kiriyama, is a seventeen-year-old shogi player who turned pro while still in middle school. Episodes explore Continue reading