Nostalgia Saturdays: Magical Pokemon Journey

I decided to post two Nostalgia Saturdays posts today because I wanted to get a very serious topic out of the way this Wednesday. After this I reckon I have three to five reviews on manga I have to get done on my other website.  Like The Lion of Oz, this work of “art” also went under the sensors of many who know of the franchise or this certain world.

And I’m talking about…

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MAGICAL POKEMON JOURNEY!

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POCKET MONSTERS PiPiPi ★ ADVENTURES!

It’s so 90s that it’s bursting with pink everywhere. You know, to alert you that this work is going to be very very very very very cute and aimed toward young girls.

Unfortunately, this volume one cover was practically universal in its following releases in other languages, but America had to be different so we ended up with this…

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Oh, how many boys were fooled into reading it when they saw Pikachu I wonder? Because you know, back in my time, anything with Pokemon on it or in it was desirable to boys and girls everywhere.

The release in the US was also nontraditional meaning the pages were printed so Westerners would have an easier time reading it from left to right rather than vice-versa.

They probably expected action and adventure, but instead they got a “romantic” story of a maiden in her quest to capture the heart of a fellow Pokemon trainer.

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It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Romance in Pokemon?! What even-!? But in all honesty, it’s not even that romantic. It’s more of a comedy. It seems boring because the plot was simple but it did get a few giggles out of me.

Now at first glance this looks like the work of a fan and their take on the Pokemon world. It could have been a possible fan-fiction or a doujinshi, but I can tell you with confidence that this is an OFFICIAL serialization that was released so many years ago (as in 1997 for Japan and 2000 globally), but who’s counting? And it ran for ten volumes too.

It would have been undiscovered by yours truly if I hadn’t run across a copy of volume two in a Goodwill….a very long time ago. I bought it but at the time I was like “What the hell is this?” and this was when I was twelve or something. I left it alone on the shelf until now when I finally decided to look it up a few nights ago and lo and behold, it wasn’t a translated doujinshi series but an actual series. About Pokemon. For a more girly audience.

So I reread it also a few nights ago and gave myself a good laugh. This manga is more shoujo than the normal shoujo, I swear.

But in a way, it was charming and goofy and in all honesty it was pretty good. It’s so different and not what one would expect of the Pokemon world at all. Romance is a Farfetch’d (pun-intended) concept when it comes to the world ruled by adolescents’ fantasies. Not that we don’t have them, but it’s not exactly all important if the trainer gets the romance interest. We only care if they caught the Pokemon. The series is comedic and it’s not meant to be taken seriously and well, it’s meant to be cuter than the normal Pokemon series and it works. It’s the opposite of the Pokemon world we know.

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Hazel, the main heroine, doesn’t care much for capturing Pokemon or becoming a trainer, but Pokemon are naturally drawn to her good and honest nature so she ends up with a cute team anyway without even battling. Unlike Almond, her love interest, who wants to capture Pokemon and become an accomplished trainer but fails miserably in comparison to Hazel who seems to have a natural connection to Pokemon. And you also have an assortment of odds and end characters who always causes some sort of conflict that Hazel and the gang has to solve. It works well as a mini-series and goes well under the “slice of life” sort of genre if anything. It’s a nice sit-back-and-relax read.

And sometimes, the author is nice enough to remind us that yes, this is a romance.

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I tried looking for more copies and sellers online but unfortunately it has become such a rare piece of work that it’ll cost a fortune just to get your hands on any other volumes and issues. It’s not exactly a series I have a “need” to finish but for the sake of nostalgia I do want to read till the end. There are also no other manga hosting websites that has the complete series which is a bummer, but in my quest to at least read volume one I found a kind person who has shared their English scans of it on tumblr.

So I suggest if you do want to read it to see what I’m talking about, you can do so here.

I’m hoping that one day in the far off future someone would be kind enough to translate the rest of the series or upload the English version online because I don’t think it’ll get a re-release. But until then, I’ll make do with what I’ve found.

Fin

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Nostalgia Saturdays: The Lion of Oz

I don’t know how many of you grew up with this movie but I certainly did. It was one of those that went under the sensors for many because it was a spin-off of a classic and was mediocre in its delivery at best. Supposedly, it was the backstory of the cowardly lion before he became a part of Dorothy’s gang traveling down the yellow brick road.

My dad bought me a video cassette of it back in the early 2000s when VHS tapes still roamed about in the markets and at outlet stores. No surprise seeing as it was released direct to DVD and VHS in the 2000s. But eventually, my VHS player stopped working and we had to move houses and we couldn’t take the videos with us so we ended up disposing of them. Talking about it now, I realize that many things that defined our childhoods end up in the trash sooner or later and if we’re lucky our parents won’t find what we’ve hidden and throw those things away too.

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I don’t remember this movie much because I was never into the world that was The Wizard of Oz. I will read the book at some point in my life, but most likely not now. I don’t remember much of the lion and his journey but I do remember the songs. Yes, it was a musical movie and the musicals tend to stick with you more than those that weren’t.

It’s the songs that bring you back. So what do you do when you’re trying to find a childhood song? You go to YouTube of course. Wicked Ways was a delight to hear again after so many years. I had forgotten that the Wicked Witch of the East had a great swinging tune, but it scared the shizz out of me when I was a child. Partially because Gloom showed up at unexpected moments. I always did remember the movie was quite dark even though as an adult it’s just harmless fun. Ms. Redgrave did a wonderful job.

But I did always have a soft spot for the main characters’ songs and of course- their duet. Who thought a lion could sing so well? I was also fairly pleased by Jane Horrocks character, Wimzik who sang pretty well. An interesting name, forgettable, but interesting nonetheless. It was thanks to this movie that I went on to watch Little Voice and fell in love all over again with Horrocks’s character.

But my favorite number would have to be “Believe.” Took a while to find it, but I did.

That chorus always find a way to tug at my heartstrings.

And of course when the movie ended and the view of Emerald City faded out you’d always feel sad because it always felt like “the end’ even though it wasn’t. The credit song, which was a bunch of instrumentals for the characters’ songs, was one I couldn’t find unless you watched the full movie on YouTube but it’s nice to know it’s still there.

Being able to talk about this movie again brought me back to a simpler time. The revisit was nice.

Fin

Nostalgia Saturdays: Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater

Still not Saturday but I struck gold a few nights ago when I suddenly recalled a television show not many remember from their childhoods. Now we all grew up with Hello Kitty one way or another, she was the cutie we’d have merchandise for in odd and random places of the house. I had Hello Kitty stationery, coloring books, plushes, and films (the newer ones) growing up but I didn’t discover Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theater on DVD until I was thirteen or so. I don’t collect any of her merchandise now because I’ve moved on to other characters like Rilakkuma but there’s always something about her classic show that I keep coming back to.

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I remember looking through the shelves of an outlet store and running across DVDs of old movies and compilements of old episodes from shows no longer on television unless you head on over to the classics channel. And it was there that I chanced upon my first Hello Kitty DVD of a select few episodes from the show. I had no idea what it was but I had some money in my pocket and a curiosity that wouldn’t be satisfied so I bought two DVDs of the show and fell in love after watching it shortly after.

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The sad thing was that I was born in 1996 and the Furry Tale Theater troupe came out in the late 80s (specifically 87) and ended the same year it started. It ran for a few months, had one season, and thirteen episodes, and though it wasn’t exactly the most original thing I’ve seen it was nostalgic because it was a simple deliverance of an idea. There was no character development because we don’t get to know the characters much outside of their roles as characters for beloved fairy tales and well-known stories. But the show had a lovable cast and I found myself rewatching the DVDs over and over again during the late nights when I was finishing my math homework or spelling.

It was like a comforting cup of tea. The effects of watching it was almost therapeutic some may say because you didn’t have to take it seriously. It was a program that set out to accomplish what it tells you it will and it does. This was what I watched as a child stressing out about exams and benchmarks and now as an adult still stressing about exams and benchmarks. It was the simplicity I was in search of. A simpler time and a simpler place when all you cared about was if the heroine or hero manages to save the day from your favorite cartoon.

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Anyway, it was a great re-find and it’s even better to know that iTunes and Hulu now has all episodes up. But if you’re still questioning it, well, YouTube has some episodes up too.

Fin

Rejected Amazon Reviews: That One White Totoro Plush

I am butthurt and I ain’t afraid to admit it.

Amazon rejected my first review for the mini white Totoro plush because it didn’t meet its criteria and guidelines, but as a “whatever” reviewer I tend to have only three opinions: “good,” “meh,” or “bad.” And I’m trying to help future buyers out by alerting them of scammers out there and what happens? Amazon gives me the NOPE button and sent it back with a “Thank you very much. Come again.” Well, HA! to you Amazon. I am posting it here and you can’t stop me! MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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One of Amazon’s guidelines:

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Yeah right….

Update: 8:32 p.m.

Amazon has rejected my second review. Which links to this blog…I am grief-stricken. I am going to resubmit my review again. They say the third time is the charm. I will not be nice until the fifth or sixth time they make me review it again.

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Just you wait, Amazon.

Update: 9:43 p.m.

Amazon took even longer to alert me that once again, my review has been rejected.

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Fourth time! Here we go. This time I’m going to play the “nice card” and see what happens.

Update:10:30 p.m.

Play the trumpets! Sound the horns! Let the parade horses strut because I just won!

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I told you that I would win, Amazon! MWUHAHAHAHAHAHA- cough, cough, cough! Hahahahahahaha!

Update: 10:40 p.m.

Well, turns out they posted the review but not the link…

5th time…here we go.

Update: 10:55 p.m.

Nope, all they included were […] and not the link.

So I wrote a comment down below and included the link to this post.

I still won! Score 1 for the Craftmaster, 0 for Amazon.

Nostalgia Saturdays: FunnyBones the Animated Series

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It’s still not Saturday, but I had a sudden visit of nostalgia and I had to write about here. The intro to this animated series is pretty well-known in the creative community now due to the recent popularity of a video game called Undertale, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to actually talk about FunnyBones which I find so charming that I had to share.

I also recently started touring around the “old videos” section of Youtube and came upon more series I more or less grew up with and it brought me back…like really far back….I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to grow up with this series, but I’m so glad to have found it now. Usually, with wonderful finds like these, the good memories come rolling in with it.

You’re also probably wondering why I call this segment Nostalgia Saturdays instead of any other day. Or maybe you’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

Saturdays meant Saturday Morning Cartoons and I was lucky enough to have been part of the generation that grew up with it. Now we didn’t have cable so I had to settle with whatever was on locally, but my, those days were the best. I remember hating getting up early for school but I woke up on Saturdays feeling so accomplished. Kids WB, 4Kids, Disney Channel, PBS, Qubo, and Nickelodeon were some of the channels I frequented, torn between what to watch. They weren’t the only ones though, only the ones I care to remember. Saturdays were feel-good days and waiting for the time to run out so that I could fall asleep to the credits for Barney the Dinosaur. So that’s why this segment is called Nostalgia Saturdays to remind us of the “good” and “innocent” moments as kids.

But getting back on track, I’ve only watched one episode out of the twelve in the series. I’ll watch the rest after this post. It’s a shame that it didn’t run as long as some of the many children’s shows I grew up with. The concepts and themes were simple, but the narrator’s voice is gold and though the characters aren’t complex, they’re fairly relatable since they have “common” human traits and have “common” childhood experiences. Since there were also FunnyBones books the shorts were similar to a quick storytelling and I found nothing wrong with that seeing as I grew up watching Reading Rainbow. What I find so very precious is that it’s a family of skeletons. A majority of the shows I grew up watching never aimed to make something scary into something cute or innocent but rather focused on the “normal.” Which meant that most kid shows had main characters that were human or had human traits and always needed some type of development if they hoped to continue running on air for a longer period.

It’s a shame what television and entertainment has gone to these days. I will admit there is diversity in our midst and I’m grateful for some of the new concepts being introduced to kids but there are also plenty of shows that are lazy and don’t make any sense. I won’t point and name anyone, but even though I don’t watch television anymore I worry about some of the “nonintellectual” shows that are airing these days. That’s why I’m so glad for Youtube and the people who share what once was lost.

I’ll share the first episode here. If you have the time, do watch it. And if you get hooked, do watch and share the rest.

I’m also going to purchase the books when I get the chance so that I’ll have some nice things to brag about on the shelf and of course, I reread my picture books. I always do.

Fin

Homare Strawberry Nigori Sake

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Summer has officially started and I’ve been drinking leading up to the days before summer. I’ve got no experience in the drinking department, but instead of drinking until drunk, I drink in moderate amounts and enjoy a glass of alcohol with a plate of cheese and sausages. The true way to enjoy alcohol without tarnishing your dignity! So fancy!

Now I’m under twenty-one (but approaching it soon) so the only times I ever drink is with my parents’ permission cause I’m a good kid and I have picky tastes. Like most of my girlfriends, beer just doesn’t cut it for us or at least not on its own. With a “good” main or side dish, now that’s a different story. But it’s safe to say that we’re all girls who prefer our wines. I even told them I’d drink Pinot Noir first when I turned twenty-one. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to enjoy a bottle even before that long-awaited day. Not anything fancy, just an average $10-$20 bottle at the local supermarket. It didn’t exactly taste horrible so I just rolled with it. Finished that in half a month.

And I’m on my second bottle of wine now. A white zinfandel to be exact. Now I don’t have impeccable taste and I don’t know what wine is “supposed” to taste like so if my senses tell me, “oh, this is drinkable” or “oh, this is pretty good” or “I wouldn’t mind another sip” then it passes the test. I’m not so picky with drinks as I am with food. Sort of.

Anyway, since I was drinking wine and exploring the options of alcoholic beverages I thought, why not try sake? I went to Tokyo Central the other day and checked out their sake selection and they got a lot! Drinking for days! But I’m a sucker for nice packaging so with the mother’s approval, I picked out this pretty little number on the shelf. I have never drunk sake before either, but there’s nothing that I’ve heard that’s been generally bad about it so once again ROLL WITH IT! It’s kind of fun to just get something you’ve never tried before and the excitement from whether it’ll be good or bad totally pushed me to go with it.

They sold this bottle for about $9 I believe, which is quite high for such a small bottle. This is something you can easily finish yourself or at least with another person, but don’t expect a party. Because you’re gonna want to drink it all up yourself.

I, being quite ignorant, thought all sakes were the same until I read the label and noticed that this type of sake is called “Nigori.” There are different types of sake!? Dang, more options to choose from. Which means less money in my pocket. From the True Sake website, Nigori is defined as “the famous “cloudy” or “milky” sakes. Unfiltered “Nigori” sake is a brew that has been coarsely filtered to allow the unfermented rice particles to remain in the sake to increase feeling and flavor. Always served chilled Nigori sake is a popular bar sake that pairs well with international spicy f[l]are and appeals to those looking for direct flavors.”

And true to the description I’ve noticed what they said was true. It didn’t buzz or slightly tingle in your mouth like wine. It was a calm drink. It was smoother than anything I’ve ever tried and was way sweeter too, but not overwhelmingly sweet. It was much like a smoothie, only creamier (and 10 times better) and I actually could feel the tiniest rice grains floating in my mouth. The flavor was reminiscent of strawberries but again, didn’t overpower the senses. In no way did it taste artificial. It felt like I was eating a regular really fresh strawberry on a summer’s day. I added ice to keep it chilled and that made it more wonderful than being served chilled straight from the fridge. There was a slight bitterness that lingered in the back of your throat as you swallowed making it bittersweet in its final moments, but it was barely noticeable.

I had a great experience with it and I would recommend it to those who likes anything fresh and fruity, creamy, on the lighter side, and definitely sweeter than the normal sake. It’s a drink that’s great for beginners though the price is a bit high. It’s a “cute” drink, not exactly the kind of thing you can or should get drunk to, but the kind you enjoy by yourself or with a few friends during some “me” time or relaxing time. Otherwise, it’d be a waste.

P.S. I had some gouda cheese with it and it tasted AMAZING!

P.S.S. I don’t really think you can get drunk from it considering its alcohol content is only 7% by volume, but be wary if you’re a light-weight.

Nostalgia Saturdays: Tom and Jerry the Movie

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I decided to start up another segment for our page. And like all the other segments I don’t know how long it’ll last. Maybe for a few entries and then BANG! no more. Or it’ll stick around for a while…who knows. Nostalgia Saturdays is for talking about what I remember of the “good ol’ days.” It’s kind of like a review, but not really. I just ramble and talk about what I remember and what was good about it, maybe what was bad. Let’s keep it simple. They’ll be movies, food, toys, and whatever else I find in the pile.

So to begin…

Does anybody remember that one Tom and Jerry movie where Tom and Jerry could talk (say what?) and they actually teamed up at one point to save a little girl called Robyn?

It came out in 1992 before I was born and I only watched it because nothing else was on at the moment.

I had expected it to be much like the classic television series and cartoon shorts, but it turned out to be a “musical” instead. And the fact that there were less hi-jinks and chasing between Tom and Jerry made it somewhat not a “Tom and Jerry” movie. Then again, everyone was getting on the musical bandwagon those days. We still are. The songs weren’t that memorable, but I do find myself coming back to them oddly from time to time to refresh my memory. I mean, it wasn’t exactly a horrible movie. But it wasn’t the best either.

The villains’ song was pretty blunt.

I think one of the reasons I keep coming back is that these two were so iconic to my childhood. They were everywhere back then. And now, no one talks about them. It’s the nostalgia that brings you back, hoping that you’ll feel the same way when you were younger. The innocence that was blissful, however, is no more and you’ve become much more critical to what you hear or see. And that’s what kind of ruins the fun of it. Back then, whenever I liked something I didn’t have a reason, I just did. The mind of a child is simple, you either like it or you don’t. And now, I have to ask myself, “why?” Because that means I’ll have more material to write about.

I also find myself coming back and listening to Robyn’s song even though it was corny as heck. I did prefer the ballads in musical movies from back then rather than the ones in movies in modern times now. I’m just a sad song fanatic. That and it’s still relatable in my life now.

I cried to this song after my high school graduation. Don’t judge.

If anything though the movie was easily forgettable and so were the songs, I think the only reason I can remember it was because it had songs. Sometimes, I’d find myself humming it and it would take me back and though I’ve forgotten the plot and whatnot, I’ll still remember some of the lyrics.

It wasn’t horrible and I might even watch it again for laughs because after all, it was a part of my childhood.

Fin