[One] Over and Over Again

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A little over three and a half months ago, I found myself lying awake in the middle of the night in a hotel room on the other side of the planet with an aching feeling in my chest. Perhaps it was excess adrenaline from a long night of concerting or the full speed run to the station to get away from the incoming typhoon, but it was a feeling that didn’t go away until I finally fell asleep hours later from exhaustion. That night was the night of the final domestic concert of Toyama Nao’s first live tour and it was in every sense of the word, incredible.

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[Two] Kirito’s kind of a cutie, too.

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The fervent swinging of an ax and an ever-growing count mark the start of this story. Just two boys swinging away at an impossibly vast tree under the hot summer sun. The unfamiliar names and unrecognizable locale suggested a place far removed from the world we once knew until the utterance of a single name answers all questions as to where this story is set.

“It’s your turn, Kirito.”

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[Three] Minori’s Ghosts

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This year will be the fourth consecutive year in which I’ve participated in the 12 days of anime making it very much a holiday tradition now. But even before all this I occasionally took part in a different anime-related holiday tradition, something called: the Toradora Christmas Club. As the name suggests, it involved watching Toradora over the holiday season; the twist being that episode 19 – titled “Christmas Eve Party” – would be arranged to land right on Christmas day. In retrospect, this might have been a little inappropriately pain-inducing for such a day with the content of that episode, but it did make for some emotionally charged holidays.

I have many fond memories of the tears shed and laughs shared while returning to this beloved series year after year, and with friends and family alike. And while I don’t quite have the time to indulge in this tradition again this year, I figured I’d honor the series in its own way by cheating a little and talking about this delightful 2008 show which has never quite left my mind over the past decade.

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[Five] The Sounds of Togetherness

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In her final year of middle school and on the grand stage of the national koto competition, Satowa Hozuki, the prodigal heir to the Hozuki school of koto, composed a song. It was a piece that was all at once, a frustrated tantrum, a sorrowful cry, and a desperate plea to connect to her loved one when words could no longer bridge the gap. This song would eventually become a great source of regret for her, but also the initiator of her journey in finding the people that would give her the chance to try and connect again.

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[Six] Just a Few Light Novels I Liked this Year

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For a variety of reasons, I found myself with a lot more interest and time for picking up and following new light novels this year. It’s gotten to the point now that I can comfortably say that probably I’ve read more volumes in sheer number this year than any other before. I’d like to think that a big part of it came from my increased awareness of when new stuff comes out after helping out with English Light Novels but I certainly can’t blame the actual purchasing of the things on anything but my lack of self-control.

In any case, I’ve found myself in the position of being able to recommend a bunch of new titles that I’ve tried and liked this year and so, here we are. Let’s get started.

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[Eight] Wolf and Sheep

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Several years back now, I promised a friend of mine that I would watch one of his all-time favorite shows, Spice and Wolf. It was a series that was generally really well received and with perhaps one of the most renowned female characters of the late 2000s. I saw no reason not to give the series a try and try I did. Three times in fact. There was just something about the premiere that held me back from getting into the series proper and so the show was put on the back-burner for good while. This year I finally followed through on this extremely long-standing promise of mine in a way that was, in hindsight, probably the easiest way to get me to try any sort of series – through the light novels. In October of this year, with work slowing down just a touch, I blew through almost 8 volumes of the series in a fortnight.

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[Ten] From Me to You

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Everyone’s probably got one of these but there’s a couple a of shows for me that immediately come flooding back to mind, not seconds after any track of the OST begins to play – no matter how long it’s been since I’ve watched or even thought about the series. Unsurprisingly, a number of these shows are ones that I adore, with the music playing a not unsubstantial part as to why I love them. One, of which I’ve never gotten a chance to talk about here, has been worming its catchy inserts into my head over the last couple days thanks to Youtube’s auto-play. And with this being a somewhat decade’s end-themed 12 days, the chance has finally come up to talk about one under-watched series from the 2010s that I liked a lot and the instigator to this whole post. That being, 2011 & 2012’s Kimi to Boku, otherwise known as You and Me.

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