Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Ouran High School Host Club

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Ouran High School Host Club

Looking for a good time with cute boys and laughter? Look no further than Ouran High School Host Club!

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Brief intro: Meet Haruhi Fujioka, a middle-class scholarship student in Ouran High School, an elite school for rich and high ranking students. While looking for a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by Tamaki, the club—whose other members include Kyouya, the Hitachiin twins, Haninozuka “Honey,” and Mori—is where good-looking boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls of Ouran High School.

In a frantic attempt to get out of the club before being noticed, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen. Of course this causes quite a bit of noise, and she is noticed by the hosts. Due to her having a deeper voice than other female students, short hair, and androgynous clothing, Haruhi is mistaken as male. Haruhi is then forced into becoming the host’s errand boy to repay her enormous debt. Soon after, she proves to be a natural host and is promoted to full status as a host of the Ouran Host Club. It then becomes clear to the other hosts that something isn’t quite right…

Review: OHSHC will have you laughing, tearing up, and head over heels in love.

In the words of Tamaki, the leader: Only those with excellent social standing and those from filthy rich families are lucky enough to spend their time here at the elite private school, Ouran Academy. The Ouran Host Club is where the school’s handsomest boys, with too much time on their hands, entertain young ladies who also have way too much time on their hands. Just think of it as Ouran Academy’s elegant playground for the super rich and beautiful. Thanks for the intro Tamaki (who is also voiced by the same VA that did Fullmetal Alchemist’s Edward Elric).

Let’s meet our hosts! Tamaki: the princely president of the Host Club. Kyouya: the cool vice president of the Host Club. “Honey” Haninozuka:the child-like and cute martial arts champion. Morinozuka: the strong and silent protector of Honey and the Hitachiin twins, Hikaru and Kaoru who are mischievous troublemakers.

Upon meeting Haruhi and pushing her into becoming the club’s errand boy (that is, until they decide she would be more valuable as a host) to pay for the vase she broke, the members of the Host Club have no idea that Haruhi is actually a girl. Haruhi’s mistaken gender doesn’t last long though. The club members quickly come to her aid once the secret is out. They must keep their female clientele fooled as Haruhi fills a gap in the club’s collection of anime male character tropes. Plus she still has to pay them back for that vase.

What we get is a ridiculously huge amount of hilarious circumstances and lots of romance. Bizarre events, characters with gobs of money, and intricate costumes; OHSHC doesn’t hold back. The Host Club is Tamaki’s invention and his week-to-week themes keeps you on your toes. But in the best way. You’ll just have to go with with flow on this one.

The Japanese shoujo tropes are all a part of the fun, too. Don’t feel guilty when picking a favorite. It’s hard not to! The guys are all so easy to like and are even more likable as the anime digs into their past and lets you see who they are behind the tropes they represent during club time. On the surface, the club is superficial and lacks depth. Underneath is a gang of friends who love and care for each other like no one else.

One thing that this anime does well is the play on gender roles and being non-gendered. Obviously Haruhi doesn’t look or dress like a girl and it lets her choose her own identity. Then we meet her dad who has formed himself into a mother AND father figure to help Haruhi. If you’re curious to read more about this, check out Lyn’s post: Disrupting Gender in Ouran High School Host Club.

An anime that promotes identity versus gender and gives us a peek behind the curtain of typical anime tropes is sure to become one of your favorites of all time.

Bottom Line: Don’t let the stereotypical tropes fool you into thinking Ouran High School Host Club is a flop; it deserves to be on your watch list!

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Comedy, Reverse Harem, Shoujo

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

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Saturday Suggestion – Anime: My Love Story!!

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: My Love Story!!

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Tired of the stereotypical shoujo boys? How about an intimidating high school guy with a heart of pure gold?

Brief intro: Meet Takeo Gouda, a tall and intimidating high school freshman who is a courageous hero to boys, but not a huge hit with the girls. With his best friend Makoto Sunakawa, Takeo attempts to navigate his lack of a love life. Unfortunately for Taeko, Sunakawa is every girl’s dream guy, much to Sunakawa’s disappointment. Comparing himself to his best friend takes Takeo’s confidence down a notch even though Sunakawa has shot down every girl who has confessed her love for him!

After saving innocent Rinko Yomato from a pervert on the bus, Takeo finds himself falling hard for the cute baker. However, he suspects that she is in love with Sunakawa. Putting his own feelings aside, Takeo decides that he will help Yomato win Sunakawa’s heart! But does she really like Sunakawa? Or are all those special treats really for Takeo?

Review: Good things happen to good people. Finally!

This anime put a bright spot into my Fridays while Alec and I were long distance. Every Friday, we got our dinner, sat in front of skype, and watched this delightful anime together. I can’t recall how long it took us to finish the season, but we recently picked it back up now that the distance is permanently closed. My love for this anime was immediately renewed.

Takeo’s character is so easy to love. He’s so big and strong, an instant hero to all the boys young and old. He can’t ever seem to “get the girl” though! They flock to his best friend Sunakawa instead. Sunakawa reminds me of my own best friend in some ways. He’s very loyal to Takeo. The girls find him handsome and charming, even though he’s very sarcastic and always bored. Not once has he reciprocated a confession from a girl who likes him!

Takeo has grown used to the girls always preferring Sunakawa’s tradition shoujo looks. Takeo is tall and built like a sumo wrestler. He looks intimidating to most girls, that is until he saves Yomato from a molester. Yomato obviously likes Takeo but is way too shy to say it. Instead, she continuously makes reasons to see him. Takeo, used to being overlooked, assumes she must like Sunakawa. In an interesting turn of events, he pledges to help Yomato with Sunakawa, putting aside his own feelings for the girl.

I found myself immediately rooting for the two of them and also wanting to smack Takeo upside the head. I loved the frustrating first episodes of watching the romance bloom. It’s beautifully done and very similar to its manga counterpart art-wise. It’s a bit of a different art style than the other anime I have recommended before. The music is sweet and complements the art wonderfully. I really adore the whole package of this romance anime.

If you have a soft spot for funny romances, My Love Story!! should be on your list.

Bottom Line: It’s not your typical romance, and that’s a good thing.

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Comedy

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

Saturday Suggestion – Comic: Fables #1-5

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*Some affiliate links have been used. Check out my about me page to learn more about these links.

If you’ve played The Wolf Among Us, you may not have realized it’s actually a prequel to the long-running Fables comic series that was completed in 2015 with several spin-offs. (To read Fables and all of its spin-offs in order, follow this link.) I had been wanting to get my hands on the first issue of Fables for awhile to continue with the characters I’d gotten attached to during The Wolf Among Us, and a trip to the comic book store for some D&D dice gave me the opportunity to snatch it up.

At Christmas, I was given two of the first compilations so look out for those reviews soon!

Brief intro: As a lover of fairy tales and all things Disney, I was excited to dive into this nitty-gritty version of my favorite stories. These characters call themselves “Fables” and live in a New York community known as “Fabletown.” They created this community centuries ago after their homelands were taken over by a villain known simply as The Adversary.

The first story arc is called Legends in Exile and expands from the first issue to the fifth issue. We meet our first two main characters: Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown, and Snow White, the assistant to the Mayor of Fabletown. Bigby begins the investigation of Snow White’s sister’s, Rose Red, apparent murder in a grungy, who-done-it, murder mystery.

Review: Before I even get to the writing, I have to tell y’all about the artwork. It is exquisite! Beautifully done, gritty, different, and it really goes along with the themes that make Fables the comic that it is. Several artists have contributed to the comic over it’s long run but this particular issue has me sold. The colors, the line work, how the text is incorporated into each panel, are simply works of art in themselves.

The writing is just as phenomenal as the artwork that compliments it. Mystery and intrigue with dashes of romance will make this fantasy-drama comic pull you right in and leave you wanting more. Its adult themes and mature writing style set this comic up for a not-so-Disney kind of story. It’s not rated 17+ for nothing!

After playing The Wolf Among Us and getting to know Bigby and Snow by just a fraction, I was eager to know more about them. Legends of Exile give us another peek at Snow White’s life and back story as Bigby shows off his detective skills and shows Snow White (again) why he was made Sheriff of Fabletown. You know you want to root for our favorite reformed villain, and this story arc gives you all the opportunity to do just that.

I literally gobbled up this story in one sitting and wanted to run back to the comic book store for the second book. Fables belongs on your shelf for just the fantastic story, but you’re actually buying it to cure that craving of good, mature, character development and mystery. You will rejoice for these fairy tales that are more aligned with the Grimm Tales that Disney ever was and set in modern day.

Bottom Line: If you wanted Disney to be more up front about the real Grimm Tales’ characters, it’s time to pick up Fables and dive into the grungy world of Fabletown and its inhabitants.

Official Rating: 17+

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Mature

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Doki Doki Literature Club!

Saturday Suggestion – Game: Doki Doki Literature Club!

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Trigger warning for suicide, self harm, and other disturbing content.

You’ve read the game tags. You’ve read the warnings. You’ve read the reviews. It’s on Steam for free. Now it’s your turn to experience the psychological horror that is Doki Doki Literature Club!

Don’t let the innocent logo, shades of pink, and the stereotypical looking visual novel ladies fool you. This game made me scream, and never have so many obscenities come out of my mouth while playing a Steam game before. Jump scares? Check! Nightmares? Check! Images burned into my eyeballs? Check! Music stuck in my head for days? Check! Check! Check! As always, buckle up for a spoiler free review!

Brief intro: You’re a high school student in a very typical Japanese style visual novel. You meet the first girl, your childhood best friend named Sayori, on your way to school. You walk together every day. After a bit of pestering from Sayori about what club you’re going to be in this year, you start to consider possibly joining a club. After class is over, Sayori invites you to stop in at her club where you meet three other girls: Monika, the president of the Literature Club and the most popular girl in school, Natsuki, the typical tsundere who loves cute things, manga, and baking, and Yuri, the mysterious and introverted bookworm.

Things are definitely checking off all the boxes for your typical romance visual novel. You get a glimpse of personalities from the girls, you’re pushed into being a member of the club, and after what you’ve seen so far, things are normal. Normal and quiet… You are lulled into a simple choice romance game, picking what you know will get you the most time with a girl. Creating poems to be shared with each girl to get to know her better…

But slowly, you start to see things. Little things. In the dialogue. In the poems. Things that make you take a second look. Things that don’t quite make sense. Things that don’t belong… Things that frighten you.

Review: Hang on tight, because shit gets cray in Doki Doki. I finished this game in 2 days because I just HAD TO KNOW what the F was going on. With a game play of about 2 to 10 hours, it’s short and sweet but leave your heart jumping from your chest. Fans of thrillers and psycho horrors: this game is for you.

Without spoiling the game or ending, this game gets under your skin. It starts off innocently enough and is cleverly disguised as a romance visual novel with your typical high school guy and four girls to “choose” from. Endless dialogue and the usual choices will start to make you yawn (or if you’re like me and actually enjoy visual novels you’ll feel right at home). Then… it starts.

Strange poetry, strange dialogue, strange reactions from the girls, and strange game glitches. You’ll be scratching your head wondering if that just happened. Was it a part of the game? Are you seeing things? Why are the girls acting so weird? You’ll think back to past conversations as the pieces start to fit together.

Speaking of strange poetry, the poems that you share every day with the girls in the Literature Club is a game mechanic I haven’t encountered before but definitely has a place in Doki Doki. You choose from a set of words twenty times to create your poem. These words range from ‘sunshine’ to ‘suicide’ and correlate to each girl. Pick the right ones for the right girl, and you’ll have her attention. Despite never getting to see your poems, it’s still a neat game mechanic

Beautiful and sometimes haunting music accompany the Japanese style visual novel graphics. It’s subtle enough to accompany the story without taking you away, but haunting enough to be stuck in your head for days (just ask my husband). The character art is very well done and up to visual novel standards. There’s static movement with the occasional full size shot of the girl you are romancing. For a free game, it was most definitely crafted with love by Team Salvato. I’m looking forward to any other games they put out on the Steam store.

Doki Doki Literature Club truly belongs in it’s own genre. It’s terrifying, discusses mental health on a highly uncomfortable level, incorporates heavy foreshadowing in an already intricate story, and really screws with you as a player (hello, fourth wall breaking!). You’ll even find yourself digging into the game files to uncover… things. Do yourself a favor, and play Doki Doki Literature Club.

Official Rating: M

Genre(s): Psychological Horror, Visual Novel, Dating Sim

Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Castles, Courts & Kingdoms’ via Cratejoy

Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Castles, Courts & Kingdoms’ via Cratejoy

This is the second month of my OwlCrate subscription, and it really blew me away with all the goodies inside. OwlCrate hooked me with ‘Find Me in the Forest’ and reeled me in with ‘Castles, Courts & Kingdoms.’ Let’s dig into this review of OwlCrate’s November box: ‘Castles, Courts & Kingdoms’!

Overview: OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box that contains a newly published hardcover Young Adult book with a special cover, 3-5 other items, as well as exclusive goodies from publishers and authors. Each box also has a unique theme every month!

Review: I was so excited for this theme! I love medieval settings with strong women and a dash of romance. I couldn’t wait either to see what what Harry Potter item would be included this time! The box came two days after I got my tracking number, and I waited a few days to open it due to the holiday craziness. The wait was so worth it though!

The small postcard on top goes into detail about each item inside the box with a handy spoilers tag. I always set this aside first so I can dig in without spoiling any of the items. There is a booklet with an author interview, word search, suggested reads if you liked the book, an interview with Fizzy Fairy Apothecary, photo challenge, and next month’s theme! There is also a matching button to go with the booklet’s cover art.

Now let’s get to the good stuff…

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The book in this month’s box was The Glass Spare by Lauren Destafano. After opening the book, I found an autographed bookplate and a note from the author!

Here’s the note from the author as well as some colorful temporary gem tattoos!

The beautiful, lined notebook is from Stella Bookish Art! “Don’t let the hard days win.” -A Court of Mist and Fury

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This wooden brooch with magnet back from Juniper and Ivy Designs is based on the Grishaverse was specially made for OwlCrate subscribers! There’s 3 brooches total; which one did you get?

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My favorite item in the box was this Expecto Patronum beanie from OwlCrate! I wear it every day. I also lovelovelove my lip balm in blackberry mint from Geek Fire Labs.

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Last but certainly not least is this adorable Elven bread soap from Lord of the Rings by Fizzy Fairy Apothecary! You may have seen it on my instagram feed last night as the “soap which may not be used… only looked at and sniffed!” The smell is A-MA-ZING!

Bottom Line: Love Young Adult reads? Love bookish , handmade items from your favorite fandoms? You’ll love OwlCrate!

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Would you like to see a video of next month’s OwlCrate unboxing? Leave me a comment if you prefer the blog style review or if you wanna see a Youtube unboxing! Or both?!

Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Find Me in the Forest’ via Cratejoy

Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Find Me in the Forest’ via Cratejoy

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OwlCrate has been on my Cratejoy wishlist for ages and I finally got to subscribe to this awesome monthly box! Let’s dig into the ‘Find Me in the Forest’ OwlCrate for the month of October!

Overview: OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box that contains a newly published hardcover Young Adult book with a special cover, 3-5 other items, as well as exclusive goodies from publishers and authors. Each box also has a unique theme every month!

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Continue reading “Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Find Me in the Forest’ via Cratejoy”