Doctors – Review

Doctors – Review

Image result
http://www.wikipedia.com

Name: Doctors/Doctor Crush

Release Date: 2016

Episodes: 20

Summary: Yoo Hye Jung is a high school delinquent who is sent to live with her grandmother. She skips school, shoplifts and has a an altogether gangster personality. A chance meeting connects her with Hong Ji Hong who plays an important role in transforming her into a talented doctor. 13 years later they meet again and fall in love.

Review:

I finished this drama a while back but took time to post this because reviewing it was as boring as watching it. It baffles me how this drama reached an average of 18% ratings wise, while poor Scarlet Heart Ryeo is struggling to reach 10%.

There are many reasons why this drama was a disappointment; first of all, it played out differently than what the teasers had shown us. I mean we got to see Yoo Hye Jung (played by Park Shin Hye) fight for like 2 episodes and then we never got to hear about her martial arts skills again. Second of all, characters that seemed important at first disappeared without any explanation (whatever happened to Ji Soo’s character??), I am not sure whether it was bad writing or last minute schedule conflicts but it was weird. Third of all, I can’t be the only one to feel extremely uncomfortable watching Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won play lovers. I couldn’t feel any chemistry between the two and the majority of their scenes felt awkward and forced.

Finally, the plot itself failed to meet expectations; for a medical drama it lacked any thrilling moments with most surgeries following the same pattern. I think there just wasn’t enough material for a 20 episode drama, which resulted in a string of awkward PSH-KRW encounters connected with scenes of PSH trying to uncover the truth about her grandma and few surgeries here and there.

Characters:

Image result for doctor crush
http://www.dramafever.com

Hong Ji Hong: Played by Kim Rae Won, Hong is a neurosurgeon who decides to take a step back and restart his career as a biology teacher. Fate puts him in Yoo Hye Jung’s path and he helps her change from a delinquent to a passionate doctor. 13 years later they meet again and begin a relationship. Kim Rae Won did a good job with his character, my only concern is that I felt no chemistry between him and Park Shin Hye. At first, I thought that that was because of the big age difference between their characters, but we’ve seen previous examples where the age difference added to the chemistry rather than diminished it.

Yoo Hye Jung: Played by Park Shin Hye, she is a badass who is skilled in martial arts and isn’t afraid to use it. I was pleased to see that this role was very different than the roles that Park Shin Hye usually plays. Her acting has really improved and matured since her Heartstrings days, but again I felt that she had no chemistry with Kim Rae Won and tried too hard to act like a teenager in love. It was also disappointing that we couldn’t see much of her kicking ass skills beyond the first couple episodes.

Jung Yoon Do: Played by Yoon Kyun Sang. Jung Yoon Do was a pleasure to look at because he is absolutely gorgeous, but that’s it. I wished that the writers had explored his story further, because I didn’t feel any connection to his character or his almost nonexistent storyline.

Jin Seo Woo: Played by Lee Sung Kyung, she is frenemies with Yoo Hye Jung and is a model student and later a model doctor. She is honestly the only character that truly felt 4-dimensional and I enjoyed watching her grow and change as the show progressed.

Overall, if I had to describe this drama using one word it would be “bland”. It was too….simple and with so many good dramas this season, simple is just not good enough. Even the show’s villains felt like caricatures and failed to hit home.

Verdict:

There are way too many good dramas this season to waste time on this, skip it.

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Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit – Review

Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit – Review

Flower_Grandpa_Investigation_Unit
Image: Dramaforreal

Name: Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit

Release Date: 2014

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery

Episodes: 12

Summary: The drama tells the story of an investigation unit made up of four flower boy detectives and one female detective. An investigation goes wrong and three of the male detectives turn into 70 year olds overnight. The drama follows their story as they try to uncover the mystery of their transformation while solving crimes. If you don’t know what a flower boy is, I suggest you google it before you continue reading.

Review:

I am going to skip the part where I apologize for my inconsistency in posting and dive right in.

Before we start, I would just like to mention that I only gave this drama a chance because it starred the awesome Kim Heechul.  I don’t regret it, because I really enjoyed watching this. I don’t understand why this drama received lukewarm ratings, I thought it was hilarious and didn’t take itself too seriously. I personally think that some dramas or movies aren’t meant to be taken seriously and thus should be judged accordingly. You can’t judge Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit like you would judge Descendants of the Sun for example. Never mind that the two have different genres, it still won’t work.

Characters:

The relationship between the casts and their strikingly different personalities are what moved this drama forward. The use of banmal with “seniors” was of course a recurring joke and what made it hilarious was the passersby’s horrified reaction to it. Tip: It helps if you’re familiar with Korean culture and its emphasis on respect.

Grandpas-Over-Flowers-Investigation-Team-Poster5
Image:Dramaforreal

Jeon Kang-seok: A man with an unhealthy  obsession with pink and the girl group Apink. He is known to be strong and a good fighter. Of course this all changes when he turns 70 overnight and can barely hold a fart (literally). I am not normally someone who finds fart jokes funny, but the ashamed expression on his face and the disgusted looks of his colleagues were definite laugh out loud moments. It is also hilarious to watch a 70 year old wearing a pink hat and dancing to Apink’s nonono.

Grandpas-Over-Flowers-Investigation-Team-Poster2
Image: Dramaforreal

Park Jung-woo: Played by Kim Heechul, he is the only one of the four who remains young. His character is lazy but street smart. Knowing Heechul, it was a little difficult to buy the sweet and kind act. I also found his relationship with Eunji to be painfully awkward and misplaced. This is just not how I would imagine Heechul to fall in love and since he hasn’t done a great job convincing me that he is Park Jung-woo and not Heechul, I am going to have to judge accordingly.

Grandpas-Over-Flowers-Investigation-Team-Poster4
Image: Dramaforreal

Han Won-bin: My favorite grandpa! Han Won-bin is the classic narcissistic flower boy, so of course he takes the transformation the hardest. He is played by Byun Hee-bong who did an AMAZING job playing the character. I don’t know if it is his facial expressions or the phlegmy voice but it was hilarious watching him trying to flirt with ladies and then moaning the fact that his youth and beauty are all gone.

Grandpas-Over-Flowers-Investigation-Team-Poster3
Image:Dramaforreal

Lee Joon-hyuk: A genius who leads the team into solving the crimes and uncovering the mystery behind their change. He has to watch helplessly as his fiancée questions his sudden disappearance. I felt that his relationship with Eunji was also underdeveloped. With Heechul, I was at least able to trace when his feelings began to grow, but that didn’t happen with Joon-hyuk. Of course the character was played to perfection by Lee Soon-jae, so I am only blaming the script with this one.

The only negative thing that really bothered me with this drama was the fact that the ending was rushed which left many loose ends. It started out hilarious with the characters bumping heads because of their differences, while at the same time using these differences to solve the crimes. However, as the story progressed it felt too rushed as if the ending was an afterthought rather than something that was planned in advance. Certain decisions made by our detectives also felt out of character. Had the writing been smoother, it would have seemed as if they are simply growing but that wasn’t the case.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable watch and I do believe it would have also been absolutely hilarious  as an anime.

The Verdict:

A fun little drama that is enjoyable if you want a break from the more serious ones. Go in knowing that it is not going to be a perfect masterpiece  and I assure you that you will love it!

On Hijab, Tolerance and Choice

On Hijab, Tolerance and Choice

Tolerance (Source: familyshare.com )

Hola! Okay, so I am not going to apologize for the fact that my last blog post was back in January. I have finally accepted that I am a crazy workaholic who will always put work before anything else and that this blog will most probably never be consistent. But anyways, I am here now.

I actually wasn’t sure about posting this piece because it deals with a very sensitive topic. Religion and especially Hijab tend to be off limits in our society (plus, I have no time or patience for dead-end debates in comment sections) but I’ve never listened to the voice of reason in my head before, so why not?

A couple of days ago, I was at an awards ceremony that honored young students who excelled in fields of poetry, storytelling and speech writing. One of the participants, an innocent looking middle-schooler, went up on the stage and proceeded to read an excerpt of her speech titled “My Hijab”. What started as a proud anecdote that celebrated a personal choice soon turned into a sexist, racist and intolerant speech against non-Hijabis and Westerners.  I cannot count the amount of times I’ve heard the words “Unveiled Muslim Women”, “Western Influence”, “False Empowerment” and “Hell” come out of the mouths of adults, but to hear that coming from a child was beyond horrifying.

I do not wear Hijab. I choose not to wear it for multiple reasons. I don’t like how men tend to endorse it so passionately even though it doesn’t even concern them. I don’t like the concept of “covered sweets” that extremists use to convince Muslim women to wear it. I don’t like how our society assumes that if a girl wears Hijab then she is automatically a pious angel. And in all honesty, there is a small but vain part of me that can’t resist wearing red bows in my hair.

Will this change one day? Who knows?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Hijab. I love what it was meant to represent. I love that it calls for modesty, for wanting people to see you for who you are rather than for what you look like. I respect that beautiful sacrifice that Muslim women make in order to have a spiritual connection with Allah. But I also believe in freedom of choice, and choosing to wear Hijab does not make you better than someone who does not wear it. Choosing to wear Hijab does not give you the right to place moral judgments on non-veiled women.

I cannot begin to comprehend what this poor child’s parents were thinking when they brainwashed her into believing that she is more of a Muslim than her non-veiled friends. Why do we instill intolerance into our children and then feel surprised when they grow up to become extremists? Our society is obsessed with appearances, why else would we have parents who drag their seven your old children to Friday prayer, but don’t teach them basic manners such as placing their shoes neatly outside the mosque and staying quiet inside it?

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time that I have had to watch young children recite their parents’ speeches. A sixteen year old girl in my Karate class once asked me why I don’t wear Hijab. I told her it’s a personal choice. She said I shouldn’t expect to get married then. By the end of the conversation, I had discovered that her mom had told her that no man would want her if she does not wear Hijab.

How was I supposed to react? Where would I have begun? Should I have told her that staying single is much better than being married to a man who does not respect my personal choice? That it is better than being with a man who cares more about my appearance than my essence? That judging others based on how they look goes against the concept of Hijab and our religion itself?

How do you break mental shackles that have rusted after years of cultural influence and religious misinterpretations? I don’t have the answers, but I do know that none of this makes any sense. I refuse to believe that I am less of a Muslim because I choose not to cover my hair with a piece of cloth. I refuse to accept a standard picture of what a Muslim woman should and shouldn’t look like. Islam is much more refined and tolerant than that.

It’s time for us to go back to the roots of Hijab and to understand its spiritual meaning before its physical one. When we stop placing labels and judging appearances, maybe then, our daughters would freely choose to wear it without us having to use “covered sweets” and hateful comparisons as motivation.

 

Au commencement etait la mer – Review

Au commencement etait la mer – Review

 cafe-powell.com

Hola! It’s been a while! I know I have been neglecting this blog but that’s what happens when you’re juggling millions of projects all due at the same time. I am back now and will hopefully write new reviews more often!

Name: Au Commencement Etait La Mer

Author: Maissa Bey

Publication Date: 1996

Language: French

Genre: Fiction

Plot Summary: Nadia is a young Algerian woman who dreams of love, life and the sea. She falls in love and has to answer to an oppressive society and a misogynistic brother brainwashed by religious extremism. The book is a forbidden love story set in a violent 90’s Algeria.

Review:

I tried to love this book, I really did. Maissa Bey has a very poetic writing style; she floats between metaphors to describe a somber Algiers torn apart by extremism and hate. But once you take away the fancy descriptions, all you’re left with is a stale tale that has been told over and over again.

Plot:

Nadia spends the first half of the book describing her love for the sea, by the time we meet Karim (her lover), we’re left trying to remember what this story is supposed to be about in first place. I was really disappointed at how their relationship developed and met its clichéd end. After nights of passionate love, Karim tells Nadia that his mother is against the two of them marrying and so their relationship must come to an end. A disgusted Nadia leaves him, only to find out weeks later that she is pregnant. She undergoes an illegal abortion, and slowly spirals into depression. Not even her dramatic end could salvage the weak plot of this book. Honestly, the whole story could have been told in less than its 147 pages.

Characters:

It seems that the author’s extensive use of narrative techniques came at the cost of plot and character development. Every character, including Nadia herself, felt like a shadow of what they were supposed to be. Nadia, a young woman in an oppressive society, is actually supposed to represent Algeria; a young, beautiful country whose own children turned against. But she is very bleak, there is nothing that makes her stand out and truly touch the reader. She is first betrayed by Karim, who is too weak to fight traditions and then she is left to the mercy of her brother who, in turn, is a symbol of extremism and ignorance.

There was almost no dialogue in the book, which made each of these characters extremely forgettable. The only character that somewhat left an impression was Djamel; Nadia’s brother. An obscure figure until the very end,all we knew about him as the story progressed was that he was slowly changing under the influence of religious extremism. Maissa Bey describes him as a silent plague that slowly engulfes Nadia’s life.

Final Verdict:

I am very interested in the civil war that took place in 90’s Algeria, so I had really high hopes when I bought this book. Maissa Bey had the chance to explore important themes that played, and are still playing, a role in the Algerian society. Unfortunately, the plot and characters were too weak to leave an impact and truly send the message she wanted to send. I wanted to read about characters with vivid personalities, I wanted to feel like I was with them as they faced their demons, unfortunately I was severely disappointed.

If you enjoy reading dramatic and fancy descriptions that serve no purpose to the actual plot, you will love this book, but if you would rather have a book with strong character and plot development, skip it. Trust me.

Royal Wedding – Review

Royal Wedding – Review

Name: Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel

Author: Meg Cabot

Publication Date: 2015

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Humor

Plot Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

Review:

Ann Hathaway as Mia in the Princess Diaries movie http://www.fabulousquotes.com

Fans rejoice, Princess Mia is BACK!

If the Harry Potter series made me love reading, the Princess Diaries series made me love writing. Growing up, I followed Mia’s journey as she struggled to balance between the trials and tribulations of being a teenager living in New York, and being a princess to a small European country.

Oftentimes, the books we read growing up mark us and remain favorites long after we’ve passed the age group they were targeted at. As a teenager, Mia was my friend, we were both dramatic worriers. I could relate to her struggles because I too was going through the awkward teen years of insecurities, bad hair days, crushing on your best friend’s older brother, Algebra, and all the wonderful anxieties gracefully given to us by high school. So you can imagine my excitement when, after years of absence, Meg Cabot was bringing Mia back as a twenty-something adult.

I finished this book in a day, because what better way to forget about your impending Dissertation due date than to read about Mia’s chaotic life?

See? See right there? Even my writing style is severely influenced by Mia’s!

Anyways, back to the review. The book was as hilarious as any previous one. I was skeptical about how Mia’s personality as a twenty-something year old would turn out; will she still be as dramatic and neurotic? Or will she have changed and become unrecognizable? I was pleased to discover that Mia is still Mia but she has also matured quite a bit. She’s now more confident, more vocal about her thoughts, sometimes a little mean, and has finally embraced being a royal!

We were also made to revisit the iconic characters of Lily, Tina, Lana, Grandmere, Lars and others. Although I wished Mia had more face to face interactions with them rather than texting, it was still hilarious to read about them again and catch up on what they have been up to since the last book came out.

Speaking of texting, leave it to Meg Cabot to be as informed about pop culture as ever. While the teenage Mia back in the early 2000’s spoke about Britney Spears and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2010’s Mia is all about Game of Thrones and Kate Middleton. This is what makes Mia so loveable, she’s so realistic DESPITE the whole princess thing!

Mia and Michael:

Robert Schwartzman as Michael Moscovitz in the Princess Diaries movie princessdiaries.wikia.com

Ah Michael! My first literary crush and the reason why, to this day, I have unrealistically high expectations of boys. No one will ever understand how upset I was when they cut off his character from the second Princess Diaries movie. His story with Mia was, and still is, my favorite romance story of all time. There is nothing more romantic than two close friends who discover they both had feelings for each other while being completely oblivious that the other person felt the same way too. Classic I tell you.

Michael was as amazing as ever, but I did feel that their relationship was a little too perfect, and I was a little weirded out by the excessive romance scenes that sometimes came out of nowhere. It felt like Meg Cabot was jamming them everywhere just to show us that Mia is an adult now.

I am actually impressed that their relationship is still this passionate even after all these years. Mia is as madly in love as ever, but what was good to see was that she is no longer that timid girl in love with her best friend’s older brother. Gone is the Mia who could not believe that someone like Michael was in love with her, oh no, present day Mia is sassy and confident.

Pros:

Revisiting the old characters and seeing how they turned out

Mia’s hilarious inner thoughts

Michael

Cons:

The family drama was a little overwhelming

The Final Verdict:

I can’t describe how happy I was reading this book; God knows our twenties are more complicated than our teenage selves ever thought was possible! But if Mia can juggle between being a 26 year old princess bride with a crazy family, paparazzi, Genovian protestors, being in love and her job at the center, I can pass that dissertation (InshaAllah)!

Old fans read this book ASAP. Adult,s if you can find your inner teenager grab the entire series and read it ASAP. Teenagers, even though this series came out in the early 2000’s and adolescence has become even more complicated what with social media and all that, still, no one will understand your drama better than Mia, grab the entire series and read it ASAP.

Berserk – Review

Berserk – Review

Name: Berserk

Episodes: 25

Release Year: 1997

Genre: Action, Dark fantasy, Horror, Tragedy

Rating: R for violence and nudity

Duration: 23 minutes/ Episode

Plot Summary: A brave young warrior named Guts fights for his fortune as a mercenary on the front lines. A fated encounter unites Guts with a charismatic and deadly young man named Griffith. Leading the rogue soldiers known as the Band of the Hawk, Griffith wields his formidable force like no other. Driven by a quest for status, the Hawks exert military and social prowess the likes of which have never been seen before. The armies of Midland will quake with fear as Griffith and Guts set off on a path that will bring the world to its knees.

Review:

You know when you’re absolutely smitten with a show that you finish all 25 episodes in 3 days even though it’s so unlike you? Or that you immediately pick up its manga even though you NEVER read manga? That’s what happened with me and Berserk. I stumbled upon this anime when I read somewhere on Youtube that it is very similar to Game of Thrones. At a glance, I thought that Berserk will be your typical action anime; packed with repetitive violence and over the top characters. But then I thought: This anime had one season that ended in the late 90’s, but its love is still going strong. I should probably give it a try. So I did.

Frankly, I had a really hard time writing this piece, namely because I was afraid of not doing this show justice and because I didn’t know where to start. I don’t know how to describe it, I mean the plot is simple enough to understand, but the characters and the complex relationships that bind them are what make this show stand out.

Guts vs Griffith: One of my favorite scenes

The plot follows Guts, a brash mercenary living each day at a time, until fate throws him at the ambitious and charismatic Griffith. Griffith, who grew up as an orphaned peasant, dreams of ruling his own kingdom. He leads a band of mercenaries known as the Band of the Hawk. Together, they fight war after war, slowly rising in status. Griffith’s dream seems a grasp away, until in a moment of weakness, everything comes crashing down and all hell breaks loose.

The anime covers one arc, known as the Golden Age arc, of the manga. It’s basically a flashback arc that explains how the current events in the manga came to be. Like any self-respecting dark fantasy anime, it is drawn with violence and painted with insanity. But it’s not mindless violence done for the sake of shock-value; it’s set in a brutal world that’s built on very fragile morals. I thought that the first episode had a slow pacing, but once the actual story started, I could not devour the episodes fast enough. The show plays with themes of human ambition, fate, free will and how they guide the characters and their actions.

For such a violent show, the imageries it uses are quite poetic. One scene that sticks to my mind is when Caska and Guts are sitting atop a tree hill observing the bonfires beneath. They compare the little flames to people’s individual dreams, all brought together to join the great bonfire that is Griffith’s dream.

Characters:

My interpretation of the characters will be based on my understanding of the anime alone. I am planning on reading the manga and will probably make an updated review once I catch up with it.

Band of the Hawk http://www.wright.edu

The thing with Berserk is that it does not have a hero; all of its characters (some more than others) do questionable things. But I think that that is part of the attraction. It’s always interesting to see things from a villain’s or anti-hero’s perspective, because while you might not agree with their actions, you can understand, and sometimes even sympathize with them. As you get immersed in the show, you’ll forget that the characters are essentially mercenaries, and you’ll feel connected to them and to their little Hawk family.  These same mercenaries, who kill thousands on the battlefield, decided that they won’t leave Griffith, their former leader, behind after his downfall.

God I feel like tearing up just remembering those final episodes.

Okay, here goes:

Guts http://www.ign.com

Guts: Although Guts is the main character in this show, I was not drawn to him like I was to Griffith, but I will get to that later. Having known nothing but violence and pain all his life, Guts understands that if he wants to survive in his harsh world, then he’ll have to be as brutal as it is. On the battlefield, he is a raging storm of anger and power, but off it, he’s a very thoughtful and observing person. And while he has no problem killing people on the battlefield, accidently killing a child devastates him, which unveils the complex layers that lie within him.

He looks up to Griffith, but when he accidently hears him describe the Band of the Hawk as his subordinates rather than his friends, he decides to leave to carve out his own path, hoping to become worthy of Griffith’s friendship. Not realizing that Griffith did in fact see him as a friend, and that by leaving he broke him down, Guts, although unaware, sets in motion the catastrophic events that ensued. His story discusses the eternal conflict between fate and free will.

The two sides of Griffith
The two sides of Griffith

Griffith: Although I will never get over what he did, Griffith has found a place in my list of favorite fictional characters of all time (Hear me out). I am thinking of writing an analysis piece dedicated to him but it might have to wait until I finish the manga. There is nothing I love more than a complex villain with a tragic backstory. Griffith hovers over a thin line separating angels and Satan himself. On the outside, he’s the perfect romantic hero: Calm, handsome, intelligent and charismatic. But a subtle insanity lingers in his eyes, only coming to the surface in small doses.

Ever since his childhood, he had always believed that he’s the messiah coming to save the masses. His character’s storyline discusses ambition, fate and whether the end justifies the means. The turning point in his story is when Guts decides to leave him. Although he spent most of his life shutting away his emotions and telling himself that he feels nothing towards his soldiers, his breakdown when Guts leaves says otherwise. Fans of the show despise him, understandably so given what he does at the end, but I also think that his rise to glory and subsequent fall is one of the most tragic things I’ve seen in a long time.

Now that I think about it, it might be hard to analyze him. I’ve never seen a character that’s so hard to be placed in a box. I’ve been trying to dissect his actions and words ever since I finished the anime and I’ve yet to come to a definite answer. He’s too complex, too contradicting and too layered, which of course makes for a great villain.

Caska free4web.free.fr

Caska:  This is a man’s world. But it would be nothing, nothing.Without a woman or a girl. Caska spends most of her life paying the price for being born a girl in a medieval period. She is almost raped by a rich nobleman as a child, only to be saved by Griffith. He throws her a sword and asks her to defend herself. From that day onwards, she vows to become Griffith’s sword and right hand. She rightfully earns a high rank position within the Band of the Hawk and the respect of her comrades; however, she still has to endure the sexualized taunting of her enemies. Just like the other two, Caska had to grow up before her time and despite keeping a stern façade, she’s actually a very sweet and sensitive soul. Although she starts out hating Guts because he stole Griffith’s attention, she slowly comes to love him and the two begin a relationship.

Animation/Music:

This anime was made in 1997, so naturally the animation isn’t as fabulous as what you’d see nowadays. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you from watching this masterpiece. I am personally one of the few people who don’t mind (and sometimes prefer) the old animation style. I watched the Berserk movies that came out recently, and I must say that Griffith’s deranged glare looks more terrifying in the 1997 version. Trust me.

A lot of fans seem to hate the show’s opening song but I personally liked it, it’s not a fancy song but it gets the job done, which I thought fit Guts perfectly.

Positive Points:

Beautiful story

characters

Negative Points:

It’s so so so SAD

Final Verdict:

Extremely complex relationships, thought-provoking character choices, and a tragic ending. A word of advice, don’t let the first episode fool you, this is a masterpiece.

I leave you with this AMV that I absolutely love. It may not exactly describe Griffith and Guts’s relationship, but it perfectly captures the tragic essence of it.

Terra Formars – Review

Terra Formars – Review

Name: Terra Formars

Episodes: 13

Release Year: 2014

Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Rating: R for violence and profanity

Duration: 24 minutes/Episode

Plot Summary: With the space program attempting to travel to Mars, 21st century scientists were tasked with warming up the planet so that humans could survive on its surface. They came up with an efficient and cost-effective plan of sending cockroaches and mold to the surface so that the mold would absorb the sunlight and the insect corpses would serve as a food source for the mold.

It is now the year 2577 and the first manned ship to Mars has landed on the planet and the six crew members are ready for their mission. But what they find are giant mutated humanoid cockroaches with incredible physical strength. The crew members are easily wiped out, but not before sending a transmission back to Earth. Now, humanity will send elite warriors to exterminate the mutated bugs and claim back Mars.

Review:

Imagine a gore-fest where cockroaches have gained human-like strength, speed and agility. Now imagine that they hate you as much as you hate them. Disgusted yet? Well, that pretty much sums up Terra Formars.

I don’t know why I watched this anime; it’s nothing like what I would normally watch, but you know when you’re so disturbed that you can’t even look away? Yeah.

akari hizamaru

The show introduces us to Hizamaru Akira, a Japanese member of the Annex Project sent to reclaim Mars. He, who has known nothing but hardships all his life, joins the team after his childhood best friend dies from a virus linked to the cockroaches on Mars.

Sounds like the perfect hero with a depressing backstory right? Wrong. We don’t actually get to connect with him because right after the team lands on Mars, they divide themselves into small groups. Every episode after that, deals with a new character backstory. What’s worse is that the show kills them off before we even have time to feel sorry for them, but it still expects you to feel sorry for them.

Adolf Reinhard, I have a thing for depressing backstories

The only exception to this was Adolf Reinhard, whose backstory was so depressing and his character so intriguing that I wished the whole show was about him.

The first couple of episodes were actually very interesting, and I thought that it’ll be a more violent and depressing version of Attack on Titans, but it wasn’t. It really wasn’t. Below are some of the questions that were going through my head as I watched this:

What is happening right now?

Ew, what’s that yellow liquid?

What is this?!

Why can’t these insects just GO AWAY?

Why am I watching this?!

I read somewhere that the show is supposed to be plot-driven rather than character-driven. But let’s be serious here, there was no plot. Every episode was a bloody mess of human and insect limbs. The violence that starts out chilling and shocking soon becomes repetitive and clearly only used for shock-value. The anime slowly fell into a repetitive formula of introducing a character’s backstory, showing him/her fighting a cockroach, flying limbs, insect facts, and then the result of the fight.

The famous roaches: Ew.

The show had the chance to be REALLY good, but the repetitiveness ruined it. The plot did not advance at all, I mean there is only so much human vs roach fights you can see before you get bored, but apparently the makers of this show disagree. Literally nothing else happens throughout the 13 episodes. I don’t know how they expect people to tune in for the 2nd season. They plot idea is so traumatizing and interesting; they could have done wonders with it!

You know what would have made this show truly epic? First of all, they should have decreased the number of characters, I can’t remember half their names because they barely got any screen time. You can’t connect with any of them because their backstories were not fleshed out, and it wouldn’t have been possible to flesh them out because there were too many of them.

Secondly, there should have been more scenes that did not revolve around fighting those disgusting creatures. We needed to see team members interacting and showing their individual personalities.

Thirdly, more information on how the roaches came to be and why have they declared war against the humans. I am guessing the makers are going to delve into this during the 2nd season, but I am afraid it’s going to be too late by then.

Positive Points:

The insect facts (did you know that there is an ant that blows itself up when it senses danger?)

The first 3 episodes

Realistic art

Negative Points:

Too many characters

Repetitiveness

The cockroaches

The Verdict:

Will I watch the second season? No. But if you’re into a simple story that doesn’t really have a complicated plot and would like to know some very interesting insect trivia, this show is for you.

And finally, here is a picture of a real cockroach for your enjoyment: