[Anime] Review – In Another World with my Smartphone: A Blatant Self Insert Fantasy


In Another World with my Smartphone, originally titled Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, is technically about a teen who is transported to another world, one filled with magic and mystical creatures. Any reasonable description of the show would have you believe that it’s about how Touya – the main character – adapts to this new world while having unique adventures made possible by his smartphone.

A few episodes in, you quickly realize that’s not the case at all. The show is actually a very blatant self insert fantasy with an overpowered main character and no overarching plot, and half the time, you forget he even has a smartphone. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start with some context. Continue reading


(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 5 and 6: The Layoff Game


It might be that I’m just getting really excited about how this drama is progressing as a whole, but Liar Game feels like it’s getting better and better with each episode. Episodes 5 and 6 detail the events of the revival round, where Nam Da-Jung and other losers from the Minority Game come together to participate in the Layoff Game. Also called the downsizing game or the restructuring game, the basic premise of the Layoff Game is a popularity contest where contestants vote for each other in a series of rounds, with break time in between each round. The one with the fewest number of votes at the end of all the rounds gets “laid off” and officially loses the right to participate in future rounds of the game.

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[Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso] Episode 4: The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End

“Come on, let’s go on a journey.” – Miyazono Kaori

shigatsu 4 4

Overall. Wow, what an emotionally intense episode after the setup in Episode 3. My palms started sweating and I almost cried when Kousei struggled and finally gave up on playing in the middle. It was the sort of thing you knew was coming, yet couldn’t help but be swept up in the moment anyways. Episode 4 was the like the epiphany that finally sparks after two years of struggle. We got our long-awaited Kaori-Kousei duet, Kousei’s return to the limelight, and a semi-success in overcoming his trauma. This is just a beginning for Kousei—technically he still can’t hear his own notes—but it seems to be the beginning of the end for Kaori. These two are polar opposites. Kousei is trapped while Kaori is free. Kousei is monotone while Kaori is colorful. Kousei is timid while Kaori is bold. It makes sense then that as Kousei waxes, Kaori wanes. People, “April will be ending soon.”

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(Kdrama) Liar Game Episode 2: A Hint of Romance and of the Future


Originally I planned to review and discuss the second episode of Liar Game in the same post as the first episode since they both aired in the same week, but there was too much to talk about to comfortably put into a single post. The second episode covers the release of Cha Woo-Jin from jail and how he helps Nam Da-Jung take back her money from her teacher, wrapping up the first round of the game.

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[Anime] Nodame Cantabile: The Seven No’s for a Great Romance Anime

I was so inspired by Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso that I went back and re-watched all three seasons of Nodame Cantabile, which in my opinion is one of the best music and romance animes of all time. Nodame Cantabile is about the developing relationship between Shinichi Chiaki, a perfectionist piano and violin genius who longs to become a conductor, and Noda Megumi (Nodame), a klutzy “loser” pianist who has a lot of hidden potential. Both music students in the same department at the same university, Chiaki and Nodame’s first unfortunate meeting leads them onto a path that changes their lives forever.

Nodame 1

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[Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso] Episode 3: Engrish, Demonic Cat, and Terrifying Foreshadowing

“You exist inside a spring that can’t be replaced.” – Arima Kousei

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Overall. In Episode 3, plot moves forward and plot is foreshadowed. Kousei’s snail pace trauma recovery continues from Episode 2 (read review here) when he attended a classical music competition, to playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in a cafe and becoming Kaori’s accompanist in Episode 3. I want everything to be smooth sailing awesomeness from here on out, but I have a feeling that Kousei’s recovery will likely be one step forward, two steps back…aka, prepare for imminent breakdown in the next episode. Music and animation continues to be stunning, and we (maybe?) get a peek at something very, very scary—an idea of what the real lie in April is.

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Z-Kai: Cross Roads – How “SAT Classes” Lead to True Love

Z-Kai, a Japanese company that runs cram schools and correspondence courses for university-hopefuls, has made yet another unique commercial. For background, Z-Kai’s previous “meme” commercial portrayed a high schooler shouting from the river bank about his passion and eagerness to experience college life, only to be shut down coldly by the narrator who stated, “You can’t pass entrance exams only by motivation.”

Ignoring the illogicality and sheer commercialism of that last statement—I think we would all agree that using study aids and cram schools like Z-Kai is showing motivation—Z-Kai’s latest commercial has broken all boundaries. Now, not only will Z-Kai’s courses help you get into university, but it will also lead you to find your one true love. See for yourself:

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[Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso] Episode 2: Love Conspiracy, Music Heaven, and Nitpicking Mistakes

“My music…will it reach them?” – Miyazono Kaori

shigatsu 2 violin

Yes, it will.

Overall. Great follow-up to the first episode (read Episode One Review). In terms of plot, not much happened though – Episode Two is more of a setup episode, and builds up the hype for the season fantastically by giving you a taste of what is to come on all fronts—awesome music, superb animation, developing romance, and of course, the return to competition. Arima Kousei is slowly but surely getting pulled back into competitive piano and the “sports” genre aspect of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is already peeking out behind the curtain, something I suspected will happen since I first started noticing the anime’s similarity to Chihayafuru (aka Shigatsu won’t be a full-on romance anime like Nodame Cantabile). This suspicion is further supported by spoiler scenes in the opening sequence—a blond boy and black-haired girl playing the piano who will probably be set up as Kousei’s rivals.

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[Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso] Episode 1: Gorgeous Art, Music, and Laputa

“I met the girl under full-bloomed cherry blossoms, and my fate has begun to change.” – Naoshi Arakawa, mangaka

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is about a piano prodigy Arima Kousei who had a mental breakdown after his mother and piano instructor died. Two years later, he hasn’t touched the piano and is content to live a normal life surrounded by his childhood friends, until he meets free-spirited violinist Miyazono Kaori, who helps Kousei return to the music world.


Episode Thoughts / Reactions

Overall. Wow, I have to say that Episode One completely surpassed all my expectations. I stumbled upon Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso while looking for something different than my usual schtick, usually either shounen fantasy / seinen psychological / sports shows. I am definitely thrilled that I humored my whim. This anime is going to be fantastic.

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