Book Review: No Longer Human

I’m branching out into book reviews now.

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Background information: This book was written by Japanese novelist Osamu Dazai. It’s the second best selling novel in Japan. Dazai committed suicide shortly after the book was published in 1948.

The book is divided into three notebooks: childhood, high school and university, and adulthood. Yozo never thought of himself as a human. The book is about his life, and a lot of miserable events happen to him. Yozo never truly felt happiness.

I became interested in No Longer Human because a lot of people said that it was “depressing” to read. However, I never felt sad while reading it. The book is in first person and I understand why Yozo did the things that he did. I don’t think Yozo did anything wrong and never felt frustrated with his actions either. Instead, the book made me feel very calm. I never felt angry or any other strong emotion. A friend of mine stopped reading the book halfway because it became depressing to read. I had a different experience because the writing compelled me to finish the book. Even though my heartstrings were not tugged or pulled, I was interested in reading the story to the end.  I was about to finish the book without having formed an emotional attachment to it until I read the last page of the third notebook.

I was shocked. There are three sentences on the last page, and I could not believe it. The last page of the third notebook changed my view of the book completely. The writing is phenomenal! I do recommend this book.

Fair warning: It may be triggering for some people because there is suicide, death, rape, and self-sabotaging behaviour.

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Rant: Anime Characters Do Not All Look the Same

A criticism about anime that I often hear is “all anime characters look the same.” No, they do not. Please, you sound stupid when you say that. Let’s examine the definition of anime.

Anime means “animation” in Japanese. In our context, anime is “animation from Japan.” So if you say that all anime characters look the same, you’re saying that ALL animation from a country looks the same. I’ve never heard anyone say that about Western comics, so why are people saying that about anime? A lot of people are used to seeing the following characters:

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Big eyes, exaggerated features, cute girls. Let’s take a look at some other anime:

Ping Pong 

Junji Ito Collection

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Kaiji 

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One thing that Kaiji is great at is showing human emotion. People don’t look pretty when they cry.

Devilman Crybaby 

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Neo Yokio

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I’m not a fan of this art but it’s still anime.

The photos of Sailor Moon and Yu-Gi-Oh look very 2D, but look at this beautiful photo from Violet Evergarden. This photo gives a totally different feeling from the first two photos.

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I’m glad that my university (University of British Columbia) recognizes the value and importance of including anime in academia. I’m happy to have taken a course on Anime and Manga. If you think that “anime characters all look the same,” I encourage you to critically think about this. Honestly, it’s not very hard.

Review: Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi no Togi (Hell Girl: The Fourth Twilight)

Synopsis: You can send someone you hold a grudge against to Hell if you access the Hell Correspondence website at midnight. Enma Ai and her team will do an investigation and give you a voodoo doll with a string attached. If you remove the string, the person will go to Hell. However, you will have to pay a price in which you will go to Hell too after you die.

The Fourth Twilight is the fourth season of Hell Girl, and each episode follows a different character who wants to send someone to Hell.

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Out of the six episodes, I liked three. The cases are either a hit or miss. Some cases are interesting and eventful while other cases are silly. This anime is short, but I do like Hell Girl so getting some new episodes is better than nothing. There are six more episodes, but they are re-runs from previous seasons.

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A new character is introduced and her backstory is revealed in episode 5. She also plays a significant role in episode 6. I don’t particularly hold any strong feelings toward the new character because she isn’t very fleshed out. I think the series is too short to explore her character further. We don’t dive deep enough to come to like her a lot.

I enjoyed Futakomori, the second season, a lot more so I recommend watching that over The Fourth Twilight. I blogged about Futakomori in an earlier blog post, which you can find here.

Review: Kamisama no Memochou

I’m going to write some shorter anime reviews. 🙂

Kamisama no Memochou, also known as Heaven’s Memo Pad, is a 12-episode anime about NEETs who solve cases. NEET stands for “Not in Education, Employment, or Training” but some of the characters go to school and work at the ramen shop. Some of the cases they solve involve missing people, the yakuza, drugs and death.

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Narumi, a high school boy, joins the NEET Detective Team after being introduced by his classmate Ayaka. He also joins the Gardening Club at school with her. Other members of the NEET Detective Team are Alice and the boys in the photo. Alice (in the middle) spends most of her time indoors on the computer. She’s an expert at hacking and does a lot of valuable research for the team. She loves drinking Dr Pepper and being with her plushies. The other members do the ground work and find more information for the cases.

You should drink Dr Pepper while watching this anime. 🙂 That’s what I did. I can hear someone calling me a weaboo

I was interested from the beginning, but the ending made the show worthwhile. Episodes 10-12 touch on a super interesting case and I was invested. The last case is on a serious issue and the last episode in particular left a strong impression on me. After watching the series, I just sat there for a while because I was in shock. I do recommend this anime if you’re interested in mystery anime.

I now own volumes 2 to 14 of One Piece!

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A couple of people have asked me if I own the first volume. I don’t, because someone bought it before I did. I bought these 13 volumes for $1 each at a book sale! They are brand new and they have shiny covers!

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This post reminds me of an older blog post of mine.

Review: Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori

Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori, also known as Hell Girl: Two Mirrors, is the second season of Hell Girl. I wasn’t too impressed with the first and fourth seasons but saw that the second season had the highest rating on My Anime List. Let me just say that it was amazing!

Synopsis: You can send someone you hold a grudge against to Hell if you access the Hell Correspondence website at midnight. Enma Ai and her team will do an investigation and give you a voodoo doll with a string attached. If you remove the string, the person will go to Hell. However, you will have to pay a price in which you will go to Hell too after you die.

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I don’t think you have to watch the first season before you watch this anime, but it would be better to watch it first. There are 26 episodes. The first 21 episodes follow the same formula: a person with a grudge goes to the Hell Correspondence website, Hell Girl gives them a voodoo doll, the person removes the string and sends someone to Hell. Even though there are so many episodes that follow the same formula, it was interesting to watch because every episode follows different people in different situations. I don’t think it gets too repetitive. Some episodes were brilliant, but some episodes were stupid because the person sent someone to Hell over a misunderstanding that could have been resolved with proper communication. There are more interesting episodes than stupid episodes, and the last few episodes make the show worthwhile.

This season touched on the background stories of three of Enma Ai’s companions: Wanyuudou, Hone Onna, and Ren Ichimoku. I came to love them, especially because we get to see moments when they feel sadness and other emotions. They’re not human, but they sometimes seem human because they’re drawn to particular cases.

Things shift in episode 22 because the plot progresses and there is an actual storyline. A boy and his whole town is involved. We see some connections from Season 1 and we see Enma Ai following her own heart and beliefs. I felt so many different emotions in the last few episodes and was blown away at how good it was.

Visuals: I loved the imagery because there are beautiful spider lilies in just about every episode. We continually see other beautiful images throughout the series, like the patterns on Hell Girl’s kimono, the wheel her grandmother spins, and the gate to Hell.

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Music: The music is great. There are so many good instrumental songs and the ending song is beautiful. Some songs make you feel calm and other songs make you feel sad. There are also some songs that are perfect for the vengeance scenes.

Overall, it was an anime that evoked strong emotions from me. Some episodes were very creative with great directing. I enjoyed it a lot, and think that watching it to the end is worthwhile because of the last few episodes.

How I Stay Focused Throughout the School Term

A lot of people seemed to like my Study Tips & Uni Advice post so I decided to blog about school again! I’m currently doing a Social Work degree at UBC, so I’m taking five courses while doing a practicum. I can still blog and watch anime because I usually finish all my assignments early.

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1. Use a calendar to record all your due dates and make a to-do list. Check these very regularly! 

I try to minimize my to-do list all the time because I know that it will get longer. If I see that I have a lot of due dates in the next couple of weeks, I start working on my assignments whenever I have free time. Thinking about the future will help you to not procrastinate. I don’t mean, think about your future career because that is a long time. Instead, think about your future weeks and how tired or stressed you might feel if you procrastinate now.

More importantly, I think the key to not procrastinate lies within your habits. Working on assignments early is a simple task for me because it’s so ingrained in my daily routine. It doesn’t take much willpower. It just happens on its own.

2. Self-care is super important. 

Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is important because if you are sick or feel a lot of stress, it will be harder to focus on school. To a lot of people, self-care is jogging or doing some sort of exercise that makes them feel good. Honestly, exercise just makes me tired and I don’t enjoy it at all. Self-care really differs from person to person. To me, self-care is watching anime and getting a lot of sleep. Watching anime is not a waste of time if it helps you relax or take your mind off of school work. We all know that self-care is important, but also understand that it will look different for every person.

3. Understand what your priorities are. 

I prioritize school, doing a good job at practicum, and this blog. When your priorities are clear, it’s easier to say “no” to procrastination with your inner voice.

4. Live a fulfilled personal life, while maintaining balance with your school life. 

My personal life consists of being a cosplayer and blogger, and eating foods with friends. These are important to me because if my identity was only tied to being a student, that would be a very sad life. Your hobbies, interests and friendships give you more purpose and you’ll have fun outside of school.

It’s dangerous when you focus too much on your outside interests and not enough on school, so always do self-reflection and think about these different roles.

I write myself letters whenever I feel dissatisfied with my life, and I make an action plan on the things I can do to immediately change my current situation. It’s generally pretty effective. Take comfort in knowing that no one will read these letters except for you, so there’s no need to filter your thoughts! Be as vulgar, petty, or shallow as you wish, given that you do some reflection afterwards. 🙂

5. Know your self-worth. 

I feel like I am going off-topic but this is also related at the same time because if you feel good about yourself and view yourself as a person of value and importance, you might not procrastinate as much. I feel that often times, procrastination stems for feelings of insecurity or dissatisfaction with some aspect of life.

Every person is important and every life matters. Your grades are NOT an indicator of your worth as a person. Please don’t let negative thoughts get the better of you. Each day is a new day, full of possibilities.


Every person is different, so maybe just one thing on this list will help you. Maybe all five are helpful, or maybe none at all. I also procrastinate sometimes. However, when I do, I forgive myself and move on. It rarely happens but I’m only human.