Judge (2010)

Are you ready to be judged for your sins?

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Source: judge-manga.wikia.com

Hi guys! Since today is Halloween, I thought I would share with you a manga with horror/mystery genre. Honestly, I’m not very fond of this genre, but I find this manga which I would share with you is very thrilling and interesting.

This manga is called Judge, written and illustrated by Tonogai Yoshiki, the same author who created Doubt in 2007 (I would make another review for it later). This manga told a story about 9 people who were kidnapped and confined in a room, where each of them wearing an animal mask. Their kidnapper informed them that it’s already time for them to be judged for their sins. They would have to judge one another as in every 12 hours, they had to choose one among them who would die until the ones who remained uncover the truth.

I find this story similar with Saw series especially where human psychology played a huge part for the story development, but without body-parts cutting scenes, which is a great relief. With only 17 chapters long, every bit of it was thrilling and interesting enough so you couldn’t stop until you finish the story. It is amazing how the author could create different characters close enough with reality so every judgment or decision they made on the manga was very realistic.

If in Doubt the characters were killed in random, it was more structural in Judge since the remaining characters were the ones to decide. So it was very intriguing to find out who will be killed next and what kind of reaction each of them would give. As someone who likes psychological play like me, this series was very satisfying. Though it would be more interesting if each character’s background was told in detail, it wasn’t a big deal. I’m still think that 17 chapters are great numbers.

Even though the idea is similar with the previous manga Doubt, this one is totally on a different level. When I read Doubt, I think it was quite easy to guess which one of them is the culprit. So basically I just reading the manga to find out how the crime was carried out and the motive behind the crime. But in Judge, the author did a good job to surprised me. The story was much more unpredictable and the biggest plot twist was put on the very end of the manga. When I finished it, I could say “Oh my that was amazing! I couldn’t see that coming at all!”.

For a Shounen manga, I think Judge has a very good art style. It was well drawn but still gave you the creeps, especially with those animal masks. From the manga cover, there’s already splotch of blood everywhere. Even so, the gore level for this manga is still far below Parasyte or Elfen Lied. So if you think you can’t really stand gore manga, this one is still safe. Even I don’t read Attack on Titan at all because I’m afraid it would be too much.

So, if you find a good reading for a mystery/horror manga, Judge probably would be perfect. It doesn’t take too long to finish the story, yet still giving you enough thrill and suspense.

Happy Halloween!

Donten ni Warau (2011)

Laugh!

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Source: amazon.com

So I just finished reading a series of manga called Donten ni Warau or Laughing Under the Clouds in English. I wondered where were I that I didn’t find this amazing series sooner, because it’s been there since 2011 and I just found it recently. But I’m still grateful that I had the chance to stumble upon this manga, because if I wasn’t I’m sure I will regret it. Thanks to MangaRock for the recommendation!

This manga is set in the 11th year of the Meiji era, where Japan was slowly changing because of the western influence and carrying swords were forbidden. But there were plenty of people who disagreed and thus the crime rates increased. The government solution was to create a prison called Gokumonjo in the middle of Lake Biwa. The protagonists, three Kumou brothers were assigned to transport the criminal through the lake to the prison. But their main job was never only transporting criminals. They had duty to prevent the rebirth of the Orochi, the legendary snake who appeared every 300 years and said to bring calamity to humankind.

At first, I thought this manga was just a series of one shot, telling the daily life of our protagonists. But at later chapters, the pieces are coming in place to create the bigger picture of the story. When I got the idea of the story, I just couldn’t stop myself from reading it until I finished. And finishing it didn’t take a long time, since it’s only 29 chapters in total. In my opinion, those numbers are just perfect, the plot wasn’t dragged with unnecessary plot and not too short either so it didn’t feel rushed at all.

The main idea itself is quite simple, but with some plot twists here and there, the story become unexpected and full of emotions. I laughed at the jokes, but I was also surprised this kind of manga could make me cry once or twice while reading through the chapters. Those element of surprises in the manga is one of the reasons why I say the story is unexpectedly very real, totally different from the other shoujo manga with the same theme.

It also has a very fitting ending, even though it’s not the kind of ending where everyone is come together and live happily ever after, but still, this kind of happy ending is fine. The manga still maintained its realistic element until the end and that’s what makes the manga even more amazing. This manga is totally one of that makes you want to read it again and again in the future.

In addition, the art was also beautifully drawn by Karakara Kemuri sensei. Her style is become one of my favorite immediately. Not to mention that almost all of her male characters are handsome (insert heart emoji here hahaha).

By the way, this manga also came up with two other series. One is Donten ni Warau Gaiden, which consists of few side stories before and after what happened at Donten ni Warau. Another one is Rengoku ni Warau, a prequel manga set in 300 years before Donten ni Warau. Go check it out, another amazing works by Kemuri sensei 🙂

Score: 9/10

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Manners… maketh… man.

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Source: www.superherohype.com

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the sequel to the previous movie Kingsman: The Secret Service which was out in 2014. It was produced and directed by Matthew Vaughn, distributed by 20th Century Fox. The story follows the surviving members of Kingsman, Eggsy and Merlin to team up with another spy organization in America, the Statesman to save the world again from another threat.

In my opinion, this movie is quite disappointing compared to the previous movie, considering this sequel is one of the most awaited movie of the year. The plot itself is shallow and predictable, though I did enjoy the comedy and action. If we could see Eggsy’s personality is growing in the first movie, then in this sequel there’s almost no character development. For that kind of plot, I do think that the duration of the movie is overly long. Not to mention that I wasn’t very fond of the idea of the character who’s been presumed death came back to life just like that. It was too easy and he sure had a very good luck there. On the other hand, I didn’t see the point why Merlin had to die while Harry is alive. But maybe, we can see Merlin’s alive on the third movie? Who knows.

If in the first movie I was in awe by Taron Egerton’s action, I felt like in this movie his skill is rather lacking. In the end of the first movie he could successfully finish his mission without too much trouble, but in the sequel, he couldn’t even take down agent Tequila alone. In addition, at the final fight against agent Whiskey, both Galahads seemed quite troubled even when the fight was 2 against 1. And then, in my opinion, killing people by throwing them into a beef mincer isn’t necessary. Honestly I think it wasn’t funny and very disgusting.

When I watched the trailer, I thought Channing Tatum will play a significant role in this sequel. I expected him to be Eggsy’s partner from the Statesman on the mission. It turned out that he didn’t. The bigger role was given to the Pedro Pascal instead. So maybe it was counted as a plot twist? However I’m not gonna complain on that because actually I was waiting for Pascal’s role on the movie. I was interested in him since his acting on Game of Thrones. And I wasn’t disappointed, he’s a good actor and he’s best for portraying laid back playboy like agent Whiskey.

I might sound like I complained a lot regarding this sequel, but the truth is I still enjoying it. The comedy, especially on the scenes with sir Elton John, oh my God, it was hilarious! I can’t forget how Elton John performed side kick with those high heels on. When I first see Elton John’s name on the list, I didn’t expect him to act like that, so I could say it was a surprise and it’s a good thing. I also love Taron Egerton’s British accent very much! I wish I could speak English like that.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie, though it’s lacking on the plot and character development. Happy watching!

Dunkirk (2017)

“What do you see?” | “Home.”

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Source: http://www.slashfilm.com

Dunkirk is a 2017 war film distributed by Warner Bros Pictures and directed by Christopher Nolan. Set in 1940s during the World War II, the movie told a story of Dunkirk evacuation. After Nazi invaded France, thousands of British soldiers retreated to the seaside city of Dunkirk, waiting for evacuation. The movie’s narrative covers three different periods of time. The beginning occurs on land and covering one week, then on sea covering one day, and the last occurs on the air covering one hour.

In my opinion, this movie is another masterpiece from Nolan. The movie was intense and breathtaking from the start. Even with so little dialogue, viewers are still drawn into the movie thanks to the combination of amazing cinematography, great scoring, and the acting of the casts.

But if you see the movie from the story development perspective, it might seem quite flat, because the whole movie itself is already the climax of the event. So it felt like everything happened so fast from the beginning. I really like how few scenes were repeated, but shot from different perspective. It was like the movie is a messed up puzzle and those scenes completed the missing pieces.

I’m not a fan of war movies, but I can’t deny that this movie was a great one. I even find myself enjoying every bit of it. So I think this movie deserves to be nominated for Oscar.

Nagi no Asukara (2013)

Would you choose friendship over love?

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Source: crunchyroll.com

Title: Nagi no Asukara (凪のあすから)

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Slice of Life

Studio: P. A. Works

Number of Episode(s): 26

Songs:

  • lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~ by Ray (1st Opening)
  • Ebb and Flow by Ray (2nd Opening)
  • Aqua Terrarium by Yanagi Nagi (1st Ending)
  • Mitsuba no Musubime by Yanagi Nagi (2nd Ending)

Plot:

Manaka, Hikari, Chisaki and Kaname were 14 years old middle school students from the sea village Shioshishio. They had to go to Mihama Junior High on the surface since their old school has been closed down. At first, they did not get along very well with their classmates because of the fundamental separation between the sea and land people. But soon after they joined Tsumugu to build the Ojoshi-sama for Ofunehiki festival, they started to overcome their differences and worked together with the rest of the class. But the problem was not only how they adjust to the completely new environment, they also had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which they feared would ruin their friendship.

Then there was a bigger problem, the salt-flake snow which was supposed to fall only on the sea, started to fall on the surface. This occurrence was predicted to bring disaster to humankind as the surface will become very cold so the land people would die because they could not stand the cold while the sea people would be hibernating until the salt-flake snow stopped falling. It was believed that it happened because the Sea God lost some of his power so he became weak.

As the situation became more serious, they decided to hold the real Ofunehiki festival with expectation that it would help the Sea God restores his power and the disaster could be avoided. But the festival itself was a disaster. There was a terrible storm just when the group arrived in the middle of the sea. Manaka ended up became the Ojoshi-sama, the offering to the Sea God instead of Hikari’s sister. Hikari who failed to save Manaka, could not make it to the surface and gone in the middle of the storm. Kaname also fell to the sea after helping Chisaki saved Tsumugu. Chisaki, being the one left on the surface, could not go back to Shioshishio as the sea people already started hibernating and all access to Shioshishio has been blocked to protect the villagers. She ended up live with Tsumugu and his grandfather because she did not have anywhere to go on the surface.

Five years later, the story continued. While Chisaki and Tsumugu has grown up as a college student, Hikari, Kaname, and Manaka did not age at all because of the hibernation. The salt-flake snow is still falling on the surface too. Once again, they had to deal with their complicated feelings toward each other which was not resolved yet and the disastrous Ofunehiki festival which gonna be held again to finish what they started five years ago.

Review:

Personally, this is my favorite anime of the respected season besides Kyoukai no Kanata. Because I really like it, I watched all of the episodes in one day. I was totally lacking in sleep but it was worth the watch. In my opinion, this anime is very well made in all components. The soundtracks fit perfectly with the anime.

For the art, it is amazingly detailed, from the environment until the character design. What I love most from the anime is the psychological development of each character of the anime. They successfully deliver complex and deep character so throughout the series we are drawn to fully understand each characters and their feelings.

And for the story, I must say that it is indeed very beautiful and touching tale of friendship and love. It can bring you into tears and smile at the same time. We can really feel the character’s emotion as the story progresses. One thing that’s bugging me is I didn’t really satisfied with the ending, in my opinion it’s kinda rushed and it could be better than that. But it doesn’t really matter, the happy ending is still delivered nicely. Even though the plot is kinda slow at the beginning, it’s still worth the watch. Very recommended!

Despicable Me 3 (2017)

“I have a twin brother!” – Gru

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Source: movies.universalpictures.com

I’ve been following this animation movie franchise since the beginning, including its spinoff, so despite the bad review and ratings, it’s still become one of my must watch list this month.

Honestly this movie was below my expectation. The idea and storyline were so-so. I mean, Gru suddenly has twin brother? That’s really came from nowhere. In my opinion, compared to the previous movies, the quality of the story is going down as the sequel increases. Given the quite open ending, I think there will be a 4th movie in a few years.

As the movie is supposed to be family comedy, in my opinion it’s not as funny as the previous movies which could make the whole theater laughing out loud. This movie is funny but it’s not that funny that you want to roll on the floor and laughing so hard. The funniest part of the movie and might be the best part is still nailed by the minions army. So for entertainment only, this movie is still served its purpose. If you are looking for some animation comedy but with deeper and impactful storyline, this one is not recommended.

 

Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

“If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.” – Tony Stark to Peter Parker

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Source: www.bleedingcool.com

One of the most anticipated movie from Marvel’s superheroes is out this month. Getting high rating from both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes has proven that this movie is a big hit. Personally, I like the talkative Spiderman better like this one rather than the gloomy-looking one from the previous franchises, especially the Amazing Spiderman. Tom Holland did a great job portraying a teenager who is desperate to prove himself capable of fighting the bad guys.

If I don’t remember it wrong, the movie is set eight years after Avengers: Age of Ultron, is it really that long since Avengers’ timeline until the Civil War? I thought Civil War was started not too long after Avengers. I don’t know if it’s only me or the timeline is really off. Yet in this movie Peter Parker was even younger than Peter Parker from Amazing Spiderman including aunt May. But I was wondering where’s uncle Ben? He was just briefly mentioned in the movie but there’s no explanation what’s happened to him. So I conclude that maybe he already died long before, not to mention that this movie is not about the beginning of the Spiderman but rather continuation from Captain America: Civil Wars from Peter Parker’s point of view.

I like how the scenes were well balanced between action and humor. The best part was the final battle, when Spiderman was fighting Vulture wearing his self-made suit instead of the suit given by the Iron Man. Because honestly I don’t like that suit, it’s so equipped with the advanced technology that it became more like Iron Man wearing Spiderman suit rather than the original Spiderman. The suit even has its own AI like Jarvis called Karen. So it really was satisfying to see the final battle was won by Spiderman using his own strength even though his self-made suit looked like pajamas instead of battle suit :))

Just like any other Marvel’s movies, this movie also has two post-credit scenes. But the second scene was the best so far. It’s nothing like sneak-peak for the next movie but instead I think it was intended for trolling us. Because they know people would always wait till the very end for Marvel’s movies and definitely fall for the trap. Good job for that one, Marvel!