Your Name (Movie Review)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hi everyone! I hope everyone's summer is well. Today is going to be a bit of a different blog, as not only is it a movie review, but my absolutely AMAZING friend Leah is here to help me out of my blogging slump! She's here today to bring you Your Name, otherwise known as Kimi No Na Wa. Enjoy! <3 


“What this film has to say about how we experience time and loss overpowers the demands of logic.”                                                                           -Yoshida, Vulture

From director Makoto Shinkai, the innovative mind behind Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second, comes a beautiful masterpiece about time, the thread of fate, and the hearts of two young souls. The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High-schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint. When a dazzling comet lights up the night's sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more - a chance to finally meet. But try as they might, something more daunting than distance prevents them. Is the string of fate between Mitsuha and Taki strong enough to bring them together, or will forces outside their control leave them forever separated?



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“Once in a while when I wake up, I find myself crying. The dream I must’ve had I can never recall. But... the sensation that I’ve lost something lingers for a long time after I wake up.”


I don’t know where to start with this review! This movie has all of the elements to make you fall in love with it and hate it at the same time. I was warned before watching it that I would be hit by so many feels. And I was hit. Hard. Like a truck. Everything about the movie is perfect. The aesthetics, music, and the script worked together to make a masterpiece. Just to show a bit on the aesthetics: 




I’m not saying that the art or the aesthetic makes a good anime movie, but the shading and colors really put you in the mood. They did an excellent job of setting the scene and I was able to sink into it quite easily. (if that makes sense to any of you at all).

And now the characters. I have to admit I loved them all but I can’t say that I was totally attached to them. Unlike previous animes I watched I didn’t have an obsession over them like I usually would. Maybe it was because it was a very straightforward movie that didn’t focus too much on each characters’ background. Either way, I still cheered on Mitsuha and Taki’s love for one another. I appreciated the depth and maturity in the characters, especially from Mitsuha. 

I honestly feel like I can relate to Mitsuha the most. She yearns for something more in her life and wishes to be seen as as any other “normal” (what is normal?) person. As the mayor’s daughter, she must watch after herself and keep the family traditions of their temple. She keeps her dreams to herself, holding herself back in order to not hurt the people she loves and taint her father’s image. I admire her actions of selflessness and her maturity to be an example to her little sister. Still, I think that we should all try to follow our dreams! 



Moving on to Taki…

I personally think he is extremely funny and naive. I mean, both Taki and Mitsuha are quite cute when they explain what they do when switching bodies. For example:


(kekeke honestly I’d have the same reaction if I switched bodies lol)

It’s so funny whenever Mitsuha (in Taki’s body) tries to help Taki’s love life. The aftereffect is hilarious and makes me feel bad for Taki. I’d say Taki is similar to Mitsuha; while I was watching the movie it seemed that he felt that life wasn’t giving him much. Actually both of them looked so desperate for something more until fate brought them together. Taki is very affectionate towards those he cares about but he is quick to change emotions. Personally, I find tears come faster to me whenever he cries and his emotions are portrayed so well. I mean just look at this precious cinnamon bun: 

(wagh don’t cry child it’s okay T.T) 

Anyways, moving on. •__•

Now I’m going to bring in the stressful stuffs: symbolisms and predictions! (yes I know I’m so sorry guys)

Kimi No Na Wa has so many types of hidden messages and hints all over the place. Unfortunately since this is supposedly a spoiler-free blog, I cannot tell you all these clever tricks up the directors’ sleeves. I still believe that directors are people who feed off of people’s fear for the next episode/scene/MV *cough cough BTS cough cough* Just kidding, I love directors. Anyways the symbolism is deep all throughout.

I love how they decided to use Mitsuha’s braid cord as a red string of fate. If you don’t know what a red string of fate is, it is an East Asian belief that the gods tie an invisible red string to two people so that they would meet each other.


Basically, the braid cord is passed around in the movie between Mitsuha and Taki (as in they're connected!!!) and it definitely sticks out throughout the animation. I’d say that the red cord is a big part of her identity and definitely helps Taki recognize her. (wait is this considered a spoiler?)  Anyways with all of this symbolism and plot twists you’ll be at edge of your seat throughout the whole movie. (or bed edge depending where you watch) 

I’m sorry guys, bear with me for a bit more as I continue this rant…

Soooo music. The music is absolutely beautiful and has this feeling I can’t put into words. Some of the songs have an ethereal feel and some just feel so...hmm… it has that feeling of life. It has a mystical feel but a bit of roughness that seems to describe life, or rather the mysteries of life. I can’t really explain it so here are links to a couple of my favorite songs.


They both have the trailers so I hit two birds with one stone. Smart, am I not? Anyways, if you actually listened to the songs (and I mean listen listen by putting your heart into it and searching for something blablatkaflsef), you can probably understand what I mean up above.

So as I come to an end (yes there is an end of this rant), I will tell you my overall experience and rating of this beautiful anime movie. If you are a weak-hearted person like me, YOU WILL BE BAWLING YOUR EYES OUT by the beautiful ending. I will tell you though: there is some sort of dissatisfaction that you feel in the end, at least for me. The feels will hit you (like a truck) unexpectedly so I highly recommend a box of tissues near you. Now if you’re just  a normal person whose heart clenches for a slight moment then you’ll survive. If you have no heart, don’t bother watching it. Overall my rating for this movie is… *drumroll please*




*gasp* Yes I know, it’s nearly perfect but don’t be discouraged by this imperfection, PLEASE WATCH IT!!! The only reason why I put a 4.5 is because of the ending. Maybe it was just me comparing to previous ones I’ve watched. If you want a perfect 5 star I highly recommend an anime series called Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso. (which is the picture at the right) Yea, I know I’m advertising something else I’m sorry.

SPEAKING OF APOLOGIES

I’m sorry for infiltrating this book blog to just dump my weaboo trash here but since both Cindy and I love this anime, we decided to put this review up here. I have to say, Cindy definitely needs to update her bio considering that she has been introduced to new fandoms and other things that should be under the things she love. For example: anime and KPOP. (courtesy from none other than me) 

But anyways maybe I should end this post with an introduction, because introductions are best done at the end of a piece.

My name is Leah and telling you my last name is unnecessary so I won’t tell you.

Obviously I’m friends with Cindy and the best way for us to connect is through books. Yes, I bet you can’t believe it. I am a bookworm. Why did I not do a post on a book? Because I can. 

I’d say my taste in books is quite different from Cindy. She likes to read fantasy and sci-fi like I do, but all the reviews in her blog seem to be mostly about life and stuff. Oh and the keeper of lost cities. Not that I like that genre it’s just I prefer to be kept in the world of teen fantasy. Here are a few of my favorite books:

1. Throne of Glass (and series) by Sarah J. Maas
2. Cinder (and series) by Marissa Meyer
3. Harry Potter (and series) by J.K. Rowling (I don’t know why        
       this comes third)
 4. Relentless (and series) by Karen Lynch
5. Divergent (and series) by Veronica Roth
6. The Finisher (and series) by David Baldacci
7. Graceling (and series) by Kristin Cashore
8. City of Bones (and series) by Cassandra Clare
9. Lady Midnight (and series) by Cassandra Clare
10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
11. Carve the Mark (and series) by Veronica Roth
12. The Queen of the Tearling (and series) by Erika Johansen
13. Of Fire and Stars (and series) by Audrey Coulthurst
14. Three Dark Crowns (and series) by Kendare Blake
15. Iron Butterfly (and series) by Chanda Hahn

As you can see by the titles, these are all teen fantasy books so if you’re not really into action, death, extreme sorrow, or other mature themes that should not be shown to 15 under then I recommend you don’t read these books. I also forgot to add a book I’m working on: The Handmaid’s Tale. I highly recommend this book if you want to read a dystopian book written by a brilliant author. It’s depth and… right no more reviews. Anyways, you’re probably bored by my blabbering and probably didn’t even read 30% of this so I’ll let go of you and go back to my shell. It was nice to give you a review on something I love and thank you so much Cindy for giving me a chance to be a part of your blog!! I hope each and every one of you have a great rest of the summer and not get into a reading slump like me!

WITH LOTS OF LOVE FROM READER TO READER,
LEAH

All The Bright Places (YA Reviews)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hello! I'm back today with a review of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I've gotten so much reading and writing done over the past couple days, and I'm quite happy on my progress (Even though I'm still behind on my 2017 Reading Challenge...Ambitious goals are not easy ones to reach!) But anyway, we've had 3 snow days (5, if you count the weekend, and more to come) in up here in Boston, if you're wondering about my burst of progress. XD, but rambling aside, here's my (non-spoilery) review of All The Bright Places!


Age Recommended: 12 + (It's considered a young adult read, not middle grade! The story has to do with suicide, so it's good to keep that in mind.)
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (September 13, 2016)

The beloved New York Times bestseller that Entertainment Weekly described as “sparkling” and says “get[s] under your skin.” You won’t soon forget this heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find each other while standing on the edge.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .



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My Thoughts: 


“I should be happy, but instead I feel nothing. I feel a lot of nothing these days. I've cried a few times, but mostly I'm empty, as if whatever makes me feel and hurt and laugh and love has been surgically removed, leaving me hollowed out like a shell.” 

Can I just start with...

This book gave me so many feelings that I honestly couldn't, and still cannot, comprehend. 

I think the best way to describe how I felt when I closed the book is exactly that quote up there. I couldn't follow what had just happened, and I couldn't understand what I'd just finished. 

Of course I was expecting some hurting, as this book is about suicide, but clearly I wasn't prepared for the--it wasn't even even a whirlwind, more like a--BLASTING BLIZZARD of emotions. The book ended waaaaay to soon for my liking probably because I was desperate to hold on to the characters, and refused to let them go. I told myself when I began the book that I would not get too attached to the characters. Repeated that like a mantra while reading. And yet... #fail

Let's begin with the leading main character: 

Theodore Finch is my all-time favorite fictional boy. From his battle against himself, to the way he holds his head high when people poke fun at him, there's no reason for you not to love this guy. Finch's presence in the book is a candle lighting up a dark room, and he's honestly changed my outlook on life and living greatly. I've felt so many things for him, embarrassment, happiness, love, sorrow. I don't think I've ever empathized with a character as much as I have with him. And don't even get me started on how much I learned from him. (Let's just say I have an obsession with sticky-notes now...) 

I won't discuss the other characters, in fear of spoiling the book, but basically what I'm trying to explain is that I love Theodore Finch with all my heart and refuse to hear any criticism of his *sigh* beautiful soul. 

[*insert cartoon heart eyes*] 

MOVING ON TO THE WRITING. 

“I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.” 

Just going through the quotes on Goodreads makes my heart ache. :( 

I really enjoyed how Niven writes with purpose. Every part of Finch's story is there for a reason. Not to mention the character development and the relationships and the depth of the world. 

There wasn't anything particularly special about her writing that stood out to me. (Of course it was pretty, gosh, just look at the quotes!) But that's not a bad thing, especially because sometimes it's better to be simple and get your point across. But I think the simplicity of her writing was what caused every moment of All The Bright Places to be that much more heartbreaking. There's no sweetening it up or sugar coating, it's just facts. 

Feels-O-Meter?

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being it shattered my heart and left me in pieces and one being I barely blinked throughout the book...

I'd give this one an 9. 

It's definitely one of the saddest books I've ever read, and the only reason it didn't get a 10 was because it didn't make me cry. I don't think I've ever cried because of a book before (My friends say I have a poker face when it comes to books, haha)...And the streak continues. BUT it was really close this time. SO KUDOS TO JENNIFER NIVEN FOR PROVOKING ALL THE FEELS. 


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My Rating: 


Won't be forgetting this one any time soon. 

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Thanks so much for joining me today! Hope you all have a nice week! 


Lodestar (Book Review/Rant)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2017. It's crazy, isn't it? 

Today I'm reviewing Lodestar! I'm aware that I am quite late to the party, seeing as Lodestar was released in November...But better late than never, right? :D If you haven't seen (or read) Lodestar already (whatareyoudoingwithyourlife ????), I BEG you to, and if my voice of incredible reason weren't enough, look at the cover! (It's my favorite cover of the series, but I might be biased. You all know my obsession with Tam Song, hehe.)

(***I'm going to keep this review (relatively) spoiler free, but if you'd like my insights / rants about the book in more depth, I will be posting a separate Goodreads review.) 


  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years (But definitely mature 8-12 year olds! The theme is much darker than the others in the series, and there's an abundance of violence as well. So beware!) 
  • Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (November 1, 2016)

Dark schemes unfold—and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit—in this thrilling fifth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities—but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc.

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act.


A mysterious symbol could be the key—if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.


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My Thoughts: 

"Time is a funny thing. Once it's gone, it's gone. But then it passes to someone else. You'll do great things with it, Sophie. Wonderful, incredible things." 

I'm not going to lie, Lodestar managed to surprise me. It was exciting to see something new come out of the series, but of course, with change comes difference, and with difference comes opinion (And yes, that means both good and bad.) :D

>THE WRITING: I'm not sure if I'm even qualified to say this, but I feel that Shannon's writing style has definitely settled and become something really, truly beautiful. I don't mean that her writing wasn't exceptional in the first 4 books (Mind you, they were all well written.), but it's clear that Shannon took it to another level for Lodestar. She makes it appear as if Sophie's story is not just a group of words cleverly put together, but a piece of art that should be admired in a museum. 

(Oh, and as the Tumblr dubbed angst queen, I MUST give Shannon credit for her angst. It was really well done. Extra points for almost making me cry.) 

>CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: I'm a bit iffy on this subject, not turning against, but also not rooting for. I'm extremely satisfied with the new things we learn about side characters and their reasoning for actions in previous books, but I'm also a little disappointed that some characters seemed to be thrown to the side and forgotten, only being brought back when their role seemed necessary. I understand the logic behind the heyyou'reonlyherewhenweneedya, but it's still a bit saddening to go into a book being *SO READY* to have adventures with a certain character and not really seeing them that much. 

And you can't forget 2 certain characters who are my favorite people in the world not getting that much of a backstory and development. D: But I'm still hopeful to see how Shannon handles them in the next book. (Which, may I mention, is very, very far away....*flops dramatically to the ground*) 

PROTAGONIST: I suppose you could argue that this ties into character development, but we need to discuss Sophie. 

I love Sophie. A lot. 

But her behavior and just abilities (I'm going to include power and influence along with this) are really...*EXPLOSION*

Ahem. Allow me to explain. 

I find it hard to believe that a character can be 'the most' of everything. And I feel that in Lodestar, Sophie is prominently seen and described and told that she's 'THE MOST'. 

The most powerful. The most smart (at least, in her time of need). The most well planned, the person who everyone comes to when they seek help or advice. Not to mention that having the most abilities. Or being the only person able to succeed in doing things no one else can. 

And like I said earlier, I LOVE SOPHIE! But just in this book, in this case, she seems to rise over all her friends and peers and even the Council and Neverseen. By doing this, not only has she become one of those flat, YEAHIMTHEBEST, characters, she's also pushing the idea that everyone is inferior to her and it takes out the fun of having all her side character buddies, you know? 

I'm totally down for the idea of Sophie saving the world and killing the Neverseen in a punch, but not quite in the direction that she seems to be going in. 

And I get it, she's modest, she's 'created that way', and she has her own problems, but I find it hard to believe that Sophie's so powerful that everyone believes she herself has the power to fix the world. 

((Besides, the side characters are also super powerful??? I love them so much.))

WOW, my rambling has become pretty excessive, hasn't it? It appears I to have lots of say about this book, ha. 

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My Rating: 



3.5 stars! I'll admit, Lodestar isn't my favorite book of the series, but if you can overlook a bit of the protagonist / overall character development, it's still enjoyable! And of course, if you've been keeping up with the Keeper books, I also recommend reading it... I won't spoil anything but, some crucial events do occur! 


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Thank you all so much for joining and I hope you have a nice week! <33


 
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