The long arduous journey of Okabe Rintaro and the dire consequences of time travel has been the focal point of the original Steins;Gate, and later revisited in this year’s Steins;Gate 0. Through the exploration of the beta world line, where Okabe fails to save Kurisu Makise from death, the latest anime goes to deep, dark places before a ray of hope emerges for our tortured hero. It has been quite the trip in Steins;Gate 0, which recently aired its final episode for the series.
As the last remnants of summer fades away and autumn gracefully appears in all of her magnificent and colorful splendor, the days have been growing shorter, the rhythms of life relaxing into a steady hum of regular schedules and routines. September and October tends to feel like the calm before the rush of holiday obligations and preparations that come right after them. Summer has been a particularly busy time for me this year with vacations, trying new things for the first time, and entertaining myself with Netflix or games that caught my attention based on my mood at any given time. To give summer a proper sendoff, here are just some of what I’ve been busy with in the last few months.
Romantic comedies follow a basic formula—boy meets girl, boy and girl undergo challenges before they become a couple, and then boy and girl kiss to live happily ever after. There will be some variation of the formula, but it will always follow these simple principles. Some variations may sound good in theory but can be poorly executed. The recent Netflix teen romantic comedy Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is a prime example of a badly done movie with good intentions.
As we near the end of summer, there seems to be a bit of a resurgence for the romantic comedy genre, both on the big and small screen. The latest film to join the ranks is Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
With the advent of streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, summer has been the prime time to watch shows and movies during those months when major network shows are on break until the new season starts up again in September. Even though there’s now an overwhelming amount of options of shows and movies to add to our watch lists, I do like the accessibility and ease streaming sites give us to watch very specific genres at any time. This particularly applies to anime, and I’ve been using much of my summer to watch a handful in the past few months.
When books get adapted for screen or television, it’s almost certain there’s a clear and definitive end, at least if it’s not a book series being adapted. If you read the book prior to the adaptation, you get to decide if the movie or show is a worthy interpretation of its original source material. Or if you haven’t read the book before watching the adaptation, it may convince you to read the book. I’ve always been convinced a standalone novel that becomes a movie or TV show would always be enjoyed as a self-contained story, a one-time piece of entertainment to consume and re-watch whenever you feel like revisiting it. Instead, when a show or limited series becomes a massive hit, albeit a bit controversial, studios are quick to renew it for another season. That’s the end result of Netflix’s original series 13 Reasons Why.
The year has been good for anime so far. Thanks to making a recent decision to upgrade to a paid Crunchyroll subscription, I’ve been able to take advantage of the many new series being simulcast with the Japanese broadcast. I watched or added a few series to my queue list, like How To Keep A Mummy and Persona 5. In addition to new anime, it has also been the year of sequels to beloved original series that have ended many years ago. Among those sequels have been Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card and the newly released Steins;Gate 0.
Every once in a while you’ll stumble upon an anime series completely by accident. Sometimes you won’t have much of a premise to go on other than some short clips from episodes you saw on your social media feed. It’s not often that I’ll choose to spend time watching an anime I know nothing about. But with a combination of select scenes being promoted on social media to having an overall weakness for anything cute and adorable, I spent one weekend afternoon watching How To Keep A Mummy and it’s the surprise gem of the year so far.
The long awaited and highly anticipated second season of Stranger Things 2 went live on Netflix last month and it’s the talk of the town. Almost every entertainment news site has at least one Stranger Things related article each week, from interviews with the cast members to episode recaps. The hype train is real for anything that’s Stranger Things. It can also be difficult to sidestep spoilers from the show when you may not have the time to binge watch all 9-episodes in a single weekend. Although I am one of those people who hasn’t been able to devour the show within the first weekend since season two came out, I already have strong impressions of what I love about the current season so far. Here are some of my personal highlights from the first four episodes. As a note of caution, there will be some spoilers from the first batch of episodes of Stranger Things 2. You may want to come back to this post when you’ve gotten a bit further into the second season.
The anime Yuri!!! On Ice, about a Japanese ice skater named Yuri Katsuki, who is at a crossroads in his life after facing a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix Final, and the renown Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov, who is inspired to be Yuri’s coach after seeing secretly recorded footage of Yuri skating in the rink, has been the runaway hit series of 2016. It’s also one of the rarer anime series to prominently feature a positive same-sex relationship between two men. I had the pleasure of finally finishing all 12-episodes of Yuri recently on Crunchyroll, and I’m definitely excited for more of this delightful show. Whenever Yuri comes back for a Season 2, there’s a number of things I hope to see in the new season. There will be some light spoilers about the anime, so read at your own risk.