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I’m Back!

Hi everyone!

First of all, I would like to apologize for my long hiatus since I’ve been really busy with my university stuff T^T It is now my summer break so I can probably update this blog once in a while with some news and reviews about the series that I have watched recently. Thank you so much!

A Journey to the Village Hidden in the Leaves

Contains SPOILERS: 

©Masashi Kishimoto

The moment Masashi Kishimoto announced that he was going to end the manga this month, I was utterly in shock. I thought I was already mentally and emotionally prepared for it. When rumors circulated online about the impending conclusion of Naruto, I decided to ready myself just in case the gossips become true. But even after it was officially announced by Kishimoto himself, I was still doubtful. My inner otaku refused to believe it. I just couldn’t accept the fact that the story that I had been tailing for the past couple of years would finally end. No. I just simply couldn’t acknowledge it.

But no matter how much I repudiated, the truth haunted me. And the moment I dreaded finally came. Chapters 699 and 700 were released simultaneously, signaling the inevitable end of my favorite manga. Upon reading 699, the emotions that I had been trying to repress from the past couple of weeks suddenly poured out. The previous chapters, which mainly depicted the struggle between Naruto and Sasuke, were just too much for me. The feelings I had when Sasuke finally acknowledged his defeat were beyond description. To be honest, I was actually upset with him when he declared a revolution against the Kage and the shinobi world. But putting into consideration all the miseries he had suffered, I couldn’t totally blame him for his actions. He was annoying, that is true. But I couldn’t just simply disregard the reasons why he chose to stay in darkness. And I was thankful to Naruto for saving his friend. For chasing him and knocking him unconscious until Sasuke finally realized the path he was trying to take. So when I saw Sasuke flashing a genuine smile to Naruto, my heart just leapt for joy. The tears he spilled were so precious. He had never shown such emotions to anyone other than Naruto. 

Chapter 699, I believe, was a far more suitable ending to this manga than 700. In 699, Team 7 finally reunited, and when Sakura and Kakashi arrived at the Valley of the End. I felt like I was with them, too. That was one of the things I had been waiting for all these years—to see the four of them together again.

©Masashi Kishimoto

©Masashi Kishimoto

The Infinite Tsukuyomi had been undone, and everyone was saved. It was just too unfortunate that Naruto and Sasuke lost one of their arms, but I think it was also very symbolic. The blood that gushed out of their severed arms was linked together, as if representing the strong bond that held them through their ventures. Kakashi became the sixth Hokage, and everything turned back to normal. Sasuke was pardoned for his previous sins, but he chose to continue traveling the world as he took his road to redemption. He flicked Sakura on her forehead, and that action was enough to melt my heart. I am not a big fan of any pairings, but I must admit that that scene was touching. But what’s even more touching was the last part where Naruto met Sasuke before the latter began his journey. He already returned Sasuke’s forehead protector that was left after their first big fight at the Valley of the End. That panel could have been the best ending for this series, as it provided a sense of closure between the rivalry and friendship of Naruto and Sasuke. The only missing part would be the inauguration of Naruto as the Hokage, which I thought would never happen since the trailers of the upcoming movie only showed Kakashi as the Hokage. I would totally flip out if Kishimoto didn’t let Naruto achieve his other dream that he also chased for the last 15 years.

That information was actually included in the final chapter. But that was the only thing I liked about 700. Personally, I would love it even more if the characters were only portrayed as adults, but WITHOUT ANY KIDS. I wished to see all of them supporting Naruto with his duties as the seventh Hokage, and Sasuke serving as his right-hand man and staying in the village for good. Now that they had finally acknowledged each other, it would be such a waste if Sasuke would just continue to wander somewhere. Besides, the other pairings seemed to be forcibly made up. How did Chouji and Karui end up together if (correct me if I’m wrong) they were not even shown conversing with each other in the previous episodes? There were a couple of plot holes here and there, and I also didn’t like the fact that Naruto and Sasuke didn’t seem to take care of their children as you would expect them to do considering the solitude lives they had when they were kids. (And LOL, Sarada actually resembles Karin more than Sakura.)

And speaking of Karin, a lot of other characters were not shown in the finale. Team Taka and Yamato (oh my poor Yamato!), for instance, did not exist in any panels. I pity Yamato since he had been gone throughout the most parts of the Fourth Shinobi War, and he was only briefly shown again after Infinite Tsukuyomi was dissolved. How great it would be if he was shown chatting together with Kakashi and Gai!

©Masashi Kishimoto

Yamato’s final appearance in 699 ©Masashi Kishimoto

Chapter 700 was probably just fine for most fans, and it was actually okay for me, too. I was only expecting it to be far better than that. After all, I didn’t wait every week for a new chapter for so many years to get a plain ending like that.

The only things I actually liked about this chapter are the following:

  • Naruto finally fulfilling his dream of becoming a Hokage.
  • Temari and Shikamaru with their son, Shikadai. I ship these two more than the other OTPs in the series. So their pairing is fine with me.
  • Sasuke with his Madara hairstyle. Nuff said.
  • Kakashi and Gai casually talking with each other. Just like the old times.
  • Everyone matured really well in terms of their physical appearance.

Aside from those, the whole chapter itself was nothing special, much to my disappointment. It didn’t reach my expectations. Chapter 699 would have been a better ending for the manga’s 15-year run. But I am not a critic or something. I am just a mere fan. And as a fan who grew up together with the characters in this series, I cannot convey my feelings now that it already concluded. I laughed at their antics and stupidity. I cried at their deaths and pain. I got annoyed and fell in love with each of them. I imagined myself living with them. I waited anxiously every week for what was going to happen next. I endured watching all the fillers in the anime. But now, I don’t have anything else to look forward to every week. And that thought makes me sad. It has been a long and rough journey, but it was worth reaching the end. After 15 years, Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke, together with their friends and other shinobi, have finally grown up. And I am proud to say that I grew up with them.

So I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Masashi Kishimoto-sensei and to everyone who was behind the creation and production of Naruto. It has been a wonderful roller coaster ride, and I wouldn’t mind riding it again in the future. I am looking forward to the upcoming spin-off series next year. But for now, let me just reread the manga from the very start, だってばよ!

Uzumaki Naruto, as the seventh Hokage ©Masashi Kishimoto

Uzumaki Naruto, the seventh Hokage of Konoha ©Masashi Kishimoto

Tokyo Ghoul (Review)

You see, I only began reading the manga last week after I finished watching the anime. The last episode was a total cliffhanger so I decided to read the series especially when I found out that it already concluded. Be warned, though. This post contains some spoilers (if you haven’t read the manga yet) and some possible long rants lol.  Yosh! Let’s start!

The first few chapters of the manga reminded me of the scenes in the anime although I instantly recognized the parts that were a little bit altered. Since the first season of the anime was too short, I couldn’t completely connect with the characters that much. But with the manga, I was able to establish a more in-depth understanding of them, especially of the protagonist, Ken Kaneki. The story is definitely tragic and more than half of the scenes are vicious and gory. (Therefore, this manga is not for the fainthearted!) As you may probably know, the story revolves around ghouls devouring humans and the protagonist here unfortunately ended up being a hybrid after a ghoul’s organs were transplanted into his body after a certain incident. He tried to suppress it at first, but he eventually learned to embrace his new self after getting help from other ghouls at Anteiku. However, after he was kidnapped and tortured by Jason, Ken began to drastically change. From being a timid and frail teenager, he suddenly turned into an atrocious ghoul who sought more power to protect those around him. He faced a lot of enemies, including the CCGs and Aogiri members. And that was where the climax of the story began.

This is probably a given due to the nature of the story, but still, I must definitely give all the action scenes an A+! Browsing through the pages of each chapter kept me at the edge of my seat since almost all chapters contain grisly images of ghouls and human being severed into pieces. These parts would definitely look more awesome in the anime adaptation, so I’m extremely hoping for a second season!

While reading each volume, I also developed a sense of connection with the characters, especially with Kaneki and Amon. There were also quite a handful of surprises that left me astounded, confused and depressed. Most of the characters were given some brief background details that explained their stance in the latter part of the story. Take, for example, the case of Suzuya. When he first appeared in the story, I ultimately despised him. But toward the last chapter, I suddenly found myself sympathizing with him. The character development of most characters were distinctly written that they’d make you change your impression toward a certain individual. You could never be certain whether the character was a heroine or a villain.

I had no particular problems with the story so far. Well, not until I reached the climax. The battle between the CCG and Anteiku ghouls was probably the best fight in the series. It also clarified some questions about Yoshimura and the One-Eyed Owl but other than that, the last chapter was a disappointment for me. Disappointing in a way that the ending didn’t particularly clear a lot of issues. In fact, several questions remained unanswered. Ishida-sensei did give some hints about some issues but they were too implicit for me to comprehend since I could only make assumptions about the ending. The way Kaneki died looked plain to me. I was expecting a more intense fight between him and Arima. Kaneki’s death was definitely tragic, but also upsetting at the same time since he didn’t even manage to deliver a fatal blow to the investigator. Kishou Arima also didn’t have a lot of scenes in the manga. No background story was given and the only thing I know about him is that he’s exceptionally good and apathetic. ( I also read the spin-off manga about him but so far, nothing really significant has been revealed about Arima.) Questions about Uta and his group Pierrot still haunt me as well. The body of Amon wasn’t also shown though he was presumed to be dead. Same with Kaneki’s friend, Hide. And what happened to Hinami and Rize? You see, I have a lot of questions and I’m not sure if I just missed some important details while reading but I would only be satisfied if the announcement regarding Ishida-san’s “surprise” would be about a sequel.

So if I have to rate it, I’d probably give it 7 out of 10 points. The peak of the story was truly gripping but the end of the series left me discontented.

tsukiyama

This was like me after I finished reading the manga LOL

The Inevitable Ending of Your Favorite Anime/Manga and How to Deal With It

If you are a big fan of anime and manga, I’m sure you have somehow gotten through the different stages of joy, denial, and remorse following the end of your favorite story. I know that feeling—an overwhelming rush of complicated emotions that threaten the very existence of your sanity.

Trust me, I have been in that black hole to and fro, every time I finish that last episode of an anime, or whenever I flip the last page of a manga. I have listed the cycles I’ve been to in the past several years of my life, thanks to (or probably not) those anime and manga that have seeped through the depths of my life.

1. Excitement and Anticipation

When the thought of the ending dawns upon you, you feel an overwhelming excitement rush through your veins. You are excited to know how the story will conclude, and whether your favorite OTPs will get together in the end.

2. Fear

Yes, you get frightened with the impending doom that’s about to ensue. Regardless of its genre, there is a big possibility that one of the main antagonists might die. (Or your OTP might break up. I don’t know which is more distressing between the two.)

3. Relief and Joy

After all those sleepless nights that you had the previous days, you can finally heave a sigh of relief once you realize that your fears are groundless. Fortunately, none of your favorite characters died, and your OTP actually ended up together. It’s now the right time to rejoice! That “happily ever after” ending actually exists. And you’re thankful for that.

4. Depression

After the jovial celebration comes the sudden realization that the story is already finished. That very truth will haunt you the moment you switch off your TV or exit the video player. Wait. That’s it? And the next phase begins.

5. Denial

“No! It just can’t be! How can it end so quickly?”

Even though the anime already has 600+ episodes, or the manga has more than 700 chapters, they would still be insufficient. None of them is enough for a hardcore fan like you. You refuse to accept the fact that the story you have monitored for the last couple of months or years has already ended.  You will try to search every portal to see if you have missed some episodes or a mistake has been made. Unfortunately, everything is just in vain. Truth really hurts, doesn’t it? (Well, you can always try to begin watching a new series immediately to cover up your grief and make you move on more quickly.)

6. Acceptance

The stage of denial usually takes the longest time for recovery, but after all those excuses and questionings you’ve done, you will gradually learn to accept the bitter truth. Just like in a relationship, you can never move on unless you acknowledge that it already ended. And when you do, you can engage yourself again to another commitment.

7.  A New Beginning

Now that you’re over with your previous anime, you are now fully prepared to start all over again. You can begin reading a new manga or watch a new episode. You will have a new OTP. You will get drowned with various sorts of feelings. But then at the end of the day, you will always return to the very first phase of this cycle. After all, this is just like a roller coaster ride. You get thrilled and excited from the moment the ride starts until the climax, but you will always have to get off after a couple of loops and curves.

It’s extremely difficult to move on especially if you have been keeping track of that story for years. You have been waiting for a new chapter to be released every week. You have been staying up late at night just to watch the new episode. You have been praying a lot for a new season to come out immediately. You have been saving up ’til now just to purchase the newest merchandise available online. These are the reasons that make it hard for you to deal with the finale of your favorite anime/manga. But even though its story has come to an end, the characters that you have learned to love will always remain in your heart…forever.  *sniffs*

How about you guys? Let me know how you coped with the ending of your favorite show/manga.