Category Archives: Updates

UEM! is Now on Patreon!

When I started this blog, back in the summer of 2015, it was an offbeat idea I had to keep myself busy with something other than the revision I should have been doing. It was my first real venture into the many communities of anime lovers online. Over the year-and-bit that’s passed, I’ve made many friends, and annoyed a few more people than I should have with my endless rambling about why we need to question what makes anime, and all art, ‘good’. I’ve made so much progress as a blogger, and it’s all thanks to you guys.

Among the readers I’ve picked up, some fantastic conversations have been made. Some of the best have come from more recent articles, posts that are more than just elaborations of opinions. I’ve been tapping into wider reading and research, into theories about art and how we appreciate it, old and new, to fill this blog with new ideas which are challenging and developing my own.

I recently wrote a post defending my pursuit into seeing anime from an academic lens. Now I want to follow up on that post by cementing this blog’s vision – to bridge the gap between popular anime and puzzling academia. To spell out exciting theories in relation to anime we’re all familiar with. But to achieve this – to further the work of channels like Pause and Select and Philosophy Tube in making the academics make sense – I’m going to need some help.

Today I’m launching a Patreon.

Continue reading UEM! is Now on Patreon!

About those Impressions

If you’ve been following this blog, you’d have probably notice that I’m behind on weekly Impressions. Close to two weeks behind now.

While previous and similar lapses have been due to illness, the problem I’m facing this week, after promising to catch up in the most recent Impressions post, isn’t that I’m ill. It’s not that I lack the motivation to blog or watch anime either; in a couple of days I cranked out a 5000 word article on my issues with The Mary Sue’s approach to anime. That was last week, and it got me thinking: I want to do more of that.

And that got me thinking about how little value I feel is in these weekly Impressions posts.

Continue reading About those Impressions

On Pause For Now!

It’s that time of the year when university stops being nice to me and I realise it was being really nice before, though it never felt like it. I’ve got a mountain of work and it’s forcing me to hike up it with only the essential supplies. If only I was Saitama and could complete my essay in one punch.

Second thoughts, maybe not. Might damage my computer screen.

Suffice to say that everything I’ve watched these past two weeks has been a fantastic reprieve trying to write about overcomplicated post-modern fiction, apart from Myriad Colour Phantom World. Episode 8 may be the worst fan-service episode that’s aired in years. Might write a post about it once I have some time again – next week term ends, which is why this week’s workload sucks so much.

A break from blogging will also give me the renewed energy to make my weekly impressions as fun to read as I can. Been feeling I’ve been veering back into my long sentences habit more than I want to. If these posts end up sounding like essays (again) I probably won’t be able to cope with keeping them up. They’ll remind me too much of how horrible it is to write these 2000-word English essays on books you’d usually have to force me to read at gunpoint.

Notice her hands cuffed in those stocks? That’s how I feel with this essay due Tuesday. If only words came out as fast as bullets. If only I could write essays on anime and not Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great work of literature. But it’s not anime.

I’ll be back soon.

Feeling Like Part of the Supporting Cast of Gakkou Gurashi

Just a quick heads-up to say that reviews for the latest episode of Gakkou Gurashi, and possibly the next episode of Charlotte, are going to be late due to illness. Watching anime is one of the ways I try to recover from feeling like a sack of aches and pains, but I try not to watch something new and important like the shows I’m blogging unless my mind is operating as full capacity. I will catch up on the latest episodes of anything I’ve missed as soon as I’m better, so reviews will hopefully go up in the next few days.

Ugh, at this rate half the posts on my blog are going to be updates about what I’m not posting…

Thanks for all your ongoing support. I look forward to blogging again once I’m fit as a fiddle and not unfit as… a double bass? Something like that.

Final Changes to Blogging Schedule

Due to some parts of my somehow-getting-through-this-ridiculous-Oxford-reading-list schedule needing a lot more time than I’d initially thought they would (it’s amazing how much bleaker the future looks after a little research), I’m unfortunately having to discontinue my coverage of Durarara!!x2 Ten as well as Classroom Crisis. Apologies for yet another reduction to this blog.

Part of the original issue with blogging it alongside Charlotte was that they both aired the same day, meaning my Durarara!! reviews would always come a day later than I’d want them to anyway. I’d also wanted to cover it because not many bloggers I knew were, but at the same time that’s meant that those reviews haven’t been viewed much in comparison to other shows I’ve blogged about. The show is definitely lower in priority than my other blogging commitments, so it unfortunately has to go. As with CC, I’ll still watch it and I’m sure I’ll love it. I’ll probably/hopefully end up writing an article or two about it as it progresses to make up for the lack of reviews that I’d otherwise want to write.

To recap, UEM! will currently run Christianime on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, Gakkou Gurashi reviews on Thursdays/Fridays (sometimes my internet doesn’t like me), and Charlotte reviews on Saturdays/Sundays (again, internet no likey).

Thank you all for your ongoing support, and I hope this final reduction to UEM!’s schedule will help the content that remains to be enriched with the time and energy a smaller workload will bless me with.

(also, I’ll probably make dropping shows a more regular thing if I continue to do episodic reviews in the next season, and a section for those I’ve dropped after a couple of reviews for some reason or another, be it the show or my own commitments. UEM! evolves from its setbacks!)

The Classroom’s Not the Only Thing With a Crisis

When I received an offer from Oxford University to read English, I was a little more scared than I was thrilled. I knew that I needed to secure my grades, and that I’d get a reading list over the summer in advance to knowing whether I had a place or not, making my vacation involve more work that I’d actually done to secure the offer I’d been given. Lo and behold, my college has sent me the reading list, and it’s huge. It’s ridiculous.

It’s a bit more important than this blog, to say the least.

But have no fear – it was goal in the beginning to have UEM! function while the books piled up. Episode reviews and the weekly Christianime feature will continue as normal, barring one small amendment; this blog will no longer be covering Classroom Crisis. I said I planned on keeping every show until the end of the season, but that was before I discovered my reading list was twice as large as I’d thought it would be.

I’m still going to watch CC, but three shows is a much better workload than four and something I can definitely manage alongside the hundreds of thousands of words I’ll be absorbing from now on each week. Apologies to those who were enjoying my write-ups – I know some people have been on the fence about the show and reading people’s thoughts on the opening few episodes can be useful in deciding whether you want to give it a go yourself. I won’t be completing a ‘three-episode test’ of reviews, but I can say that the show looks like it might be picking itself up after a shaky start, so I’ll keep going until it takes another nose-dive.

Thanks for all your support so far. I look forward to keeping the majority of this blog running while preparing for my book-filled future.

Award Overload! Sunshine + Real Neat Blog Nominations

So there I was, not having any shows to review today or articles I wanted to write (felt like I needed a rest after my first Christianime feature), thinking today would be a sleepy day for my blog. And now here I am, responding to not just one, but TWO nominations for awards from other bloggers!

tumblr_inline_mk2rcveszO1qz4rgp

I’ve only been blogging for a little over a month and the site was just a random bunch of editorials until recently (with weekly reviews and features beginning a few days ago), so I’d like to give a massive thanks to nikki over at nikkinootaku.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and Matthew over at matthew903.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. I hope it’s okay that I’m responding to both awards with one post, mostly to celebrate the fact that I got them almost at the same time which really made my day. ^o^

Without further ado:

The rules of each award are pretty much the same, so for getting either the Sunshine Award or the Real Neat Blog Award, you need to:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

2) Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.

3) Nominate any number of bloggers for the same award, linking to their blogs.

4) Ask those bloggers the same number of questions you were asked for each award.

5) Notify those bloggers on their blogs.

6) Put the award/badge/thing on your blog.

First, the Sunshine Award

sunshine
Below are nikki’s questions and my answers – thanks again for the nomination!

1) What, or who, makes you genuinely smile?

Lots of things! But if I had to pick one, it would have to be whenever I talk to the friend I made while having interviews for Oxford University. We kept in touch after talking a lot over the period you have to stay there, and now we both have offers to the same college! It would be even better if she liked anime, but oh well – that’s something I’ll have to work on as I get to know her more in person. I’ll make an otaku out of her yet! >v<

2) What’s one of your favourite books or films that you’d like to see turned into anime? (I’m asking this because I’d be so thrilled if anybody ever thought to turn the Harry Potter books into an anime series…perhaps without the loopholes in the story).

Anything by Neil Gaiman – although Coraline already has a fantastic stop-motion animation. Something like The Graveyard Book would work great as a small episodic series, and both that and Neverwhere would look fantastic if shaft has a go at animating them. I can’t help but think of Gaiman’s style whenever I see the witch’s world in Madoka.

3) What’s your catchphrase? (or a couple of them, if you can’t choose)

I have a habit of always greeting people by saying ‘heyo!’, even though the internet says I should only do that when I’m excited to see them. It’s just something that’s stuck with me over time, I guess.

4) If, at the moment you are reading a book, write the line you last read; if you’re listening to a song, write the line that’s being sung; if you’re doing neither of these, write one of your favourite quotes, be it from an anime or book or film or anything, really.

“You’d fit perfectly to me, we’d end our loneliness, melt this curse away
Though I’ll never know your name I’ll cry for you the same.”

‘Fresh Static Snow’ by Porter Robinson – he played Anime Expo a few days ago!

5) What’s the weirdest déjà vu you’ve ever experienced? (Yes, they’re all weird by nature, I know).

I once had a dream which only involved me turning off my alarm, and then my alarm went off to interrupt that dream and I turned it off and thought ‘wait, I just did this’. xD

6) What’s the last thing you do before going to bed? (Please don’t think of pervy stuff!)

I tell myself that I’ll go to bed sooner tomorrow – I’m always staying up way past midnight without much reason to, unless I’m finishing off a blog post late, and even then that’s something I should have done earlier in the day. I pretty much miss the morning every day because of my bad going-to-bed habits. Hopefully that’ll change if I can get a job this summer. :)

7) What’s an anime series that’s very close and dear to your heart, due to someone you have watched it with? (If you can’t choose one, you’re allowed two, but no more than that)

I still haven’t finished Cowboy Bebop, but it was the first series me and my sister fell in love with watching it together. At first we could only find the first five episodes to buy locally, so I ended up eventually busting my small bank account to buy her the whole remastered series for her birthday. I’ve never seen her happier than the moment she unwrapped that boxset. :’) She’s taking a break from anime at the moment though, so I have to wait until I can continue watching it with her.

 .

And now for Matt’s questions – thanks again for nominating me!

1) What inspired you to become a blogger?

Reading other people’s reviews and and blogs and thinking how much I’d like to have a project like that myself, but also the number of great Christian anime blogs I kept seeing everywhere. I wanted to grow a blog that would both be a great place for reviews and a way of connecting with the Christian aniblogger community.

2) What is your favorite season (Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter)?

Nothing beats summer for me, even though most of my fashion sense is more suited to colder weather. But maybe that’s because I’m British and our sunny days never last long. >< I just love how it makes everything feel more relaxed, giving me more time to be myself and do creative things like reading books, writing stories and poetry and running this blog.

3) What is your favorite Disney Movie?

I’m one of those strange creatures who isn’t much of a Disney fan, but their collaborations with Pixar have almost always ticked all my boxes. I’d have to say that either Wall-E or The Incredibles is my favourite of the films they’ve been behind, both for their fantastic appeal whatever age you are, transcending generations like Shakespeare transcended social classes.

4) What was your favorite video game as a child?

Am I still a child? Maybe. I’m only just about to start uni, so I guess anything I’ve played in the last 18 years can qualify. That being said, the only game I can and will ever consider my favourite is Dark Souls, since it taught me more about perseverance than real life ever has. Plus it’s the kind of experience that couldn’t work in any other form or medium.

5) What is your favorite type of music?

I’m ridiculously eclectic – one moment I’ll be listening to some dark synthwave a la Carpenter Brut, and the next I’ll be relaxing to some Radiohead, and then I’ll be bouncing along to whatever kawaii tunes have found their way onto my SoundCloud. Overall, though, I’d say I like music that does cool things with electronics the most – not much of what goes for mainstream ‘EDM’ nowadays, more what crawls through the underground championed by small DJs with more personal approaches to what they play. Deadmau5, Porter Robinson, Ryan Hemsworth, to name a few.

6) Would you consider yourself a Marvel fan or DC comics fan?

The only DC comics I’ve read are Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and The Killing Joke. Since those combined are enough to render anything Marvel can do obsolete, I’ll have to go with DC.

7) Who is your favorite actor/actress?

Can I pick Chloë Grace Moretz back when she was a kid? Hollywood seemed to have spoiled her, but she was by far the most amazing child actress to have ever existed when she took on the role of Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass.

 .

That’s all the questions – now to ask some of my own! These apply to both those I nominate for the Sunshine Award and the Real Neat Blog Award, though I’ll be nominating different bloggers for each.

My questions:

1) Who or what got you to start watching your first anime?

2) What do you think is your most controversial opinion about anime/manga?

3) What song do you wish could be an anime opening or ending?

4) Has a show ever impacted your beliefs or values in an important way?

5) What’s the most exciting thing you’ve been a part of?

6) Which show do you wish your life was more like?

7) What’s your biggest goal in life, and how do you plan to achieve it?

 .

For the Sunshine Award, I nominate Shiizumi, kelloggspp, The Otaku Judge and Cloudy – their reviews and opinions always make for a warmer day.

For the Real Neat Blog Award, I nominate josefcd904, LiteKino, Takuto and Keatle – love their thoughts and how they present them.

Thanks once again to those who nominated me! I’ll be sure to get the badges on my site as soon as I can remember how to fiddle about with wordpress. I look forward to everyone I nominated answering my questions!

Finally, a massive thanks to everyone who reads this blog, liking, commenting and making we want to keep doing this for as long as I have bandwidth! Arigatou gozaimasu!!!

Summer 2015 Changes & Schedule

As Summer 2015 begins, UEM! is going to get a bit more of its act together. Until now there’s mostly been a stream of (usually unnecessarily long) editorials and other things that I just felt like writing up at the time. But for its first ever full aniblogging season, this blog is going to get (somewhat) more organised.

First and most importantly, UEM! will be covering a few series over the summer with episode-by-episode reviews. This is something I’ve wanted to do since the beginning of this blog, but starting halfway through the spring season put a dampener on that idea. These ‘reviews’, however, won’t be the kind where I evaluate an episode and give it an arbitrary letter/number to say how good I think it was. Nor will they be the kind of ‘reviews’ where I spend most of the article recapping what happened in the episode in chronological order. What I want to do most is simply say what I thought about each episode, what I’m excited about, what the show is doing for me and also what I’m getting less interested in. Expect the kind of over-analysis I never try to compromise on, but also expect a more relaxed, conversational tone compared to how a lot of the essays I’ve written before often veer towards the kind of ironclad, forthright, over-opinionated style that I’m now trying to get away from on this blog. Each review should be posted within 48 hours of the episode airing, allowing me time if I circumstances mean I can’t watch an episode immediately or write my review on the day I watch it.

As for the shows I’ll be covering this summer:

Classroom☆Crisis

Classroom☆Crisis

I’m always in the mood for a good bit of slice-of-life, but the most attractive thing about Classroom Crisis for me is that I barely know anything about it. School-based comedies and dramas are things I like to start without any expectations, as they can vary from incredible (last season’s Hibike! Euphonium) to a completely let-down (I still haven’t finished D-Frag!). CC has every chance to surprise me by reaching the heights that its genre can bring. I especially hope Lay-Duce can bring something new to the table, being so new to the table themselves.

Gakkou Gurashi!

Any show that carries such childishly bright and cheerful imagery with a ‘horror’ or ‘seinen’ tag becomes something to watch in my books. Who can forget who successful Madoka was at pulling the rug from under the feet of typical magical-girl expectations? I’m hoping that Gakkou Gurashi! will try to make a similar impact on the genre – if you can call it a genre – of cute-girls-doing-cute-things, the kind of slice-of-life that can always be in danger of becoming an insubstantial indulgence without compelling plot and character developments. I’ve already had other bloggers warn me about preparing for ‘the feels’, so hopefully this show will deliver on all the fronts that it needs to.

Charlotte

I’m too much of an Angel Beats! fan to think twice about following Jun Maeda’s new masterpiece-in-the-making every step of the way. Okay, that sounds biased, and my reviews of the show will be as honest and fair as I can be. But even if you didn’t enjoy his previous work, you can’t fault Jun Maeda’s attention to style, design and ramping the feels-factor up to over 9000. He’s even alleviating scepticism by telling everyone that Charlotte will be an improvement from the ‘faults’ of his earlier triumph, and considering how I found those ‘faults’ to add to my enjoyment of the show, we could be in for something truly spectacular this summer.

While I was hoping to review both Durarara!!x2 Ten and Rokka no Yuusha, they air on the same day as Charlotte. After a long internal debate, I’ve had to conclude that I’m not that much of a masochist, so I can only review one of them. I’ll decide which I want to follow after watching the first episode of both, though it’s likely, being such a fan of Durarara!! as I am, that Rokka no Yuusha won’t get coverage despite my interest in the show.

Is it bad that most of the shows I’m reviewing have a school-centred theme? I guess those are simply the ones that have caught my attention the most, looking like the kind of things that I wouldn’t drop even if they became disappointing in some way or another. Maybe it’s also something that will become my niche, since most of my favourite shows already follow a similar tone and mood (unless, like Madoka, they’re all about subverting it).

.

Aside from the episode reviews, I’m going to start a weekly feature – another thing I’ve wanted to do come the start of a new season – called Christianime. Aside from simultaneously having the best and worst title I’ve ever devised for a long-term project, this is going to be my preferred way of talking about anime from the Christian viewpoint that I often hold back in other discussions and editorials. I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing all my reviews and opinions on anime to have some kind of Christian content, as that wasn’t the original purpose of this blog, but I also don’t want my appreciation of anime online to be devoid of that approach. Therefore, this feature will regularly tackle ideas and issues with anime that I find myself often bringing before God myself, leaving my reviews and other articles to focus on all my other thoughts and feelings about what I watch. I’m planning the first instalment to be posted on Tuesday, so watch this space!

Finally, additional articles and editorials will be posted, albeit less frequently, whenever I feel like going more in-depth into a particular issue, especially if it’s something relevant to a show that’s airing: a divide in a fanbase, a common reaction that I don’t agree with, or a comparison with an older show that sheds light on how I feel about something new. These articles won’t be strictly scheduled, but will rather pop up here and there, sometimes as additional thoughts on shows I’m reviewing, sometimes on show’s I’m not reviewing, and sometimes on things from the past I’ve rewatched and had some ideas on and would to share.

That’s all the announcements I’m making for now. Stay tuned for all the new and exciting content UEM! has to offer!

This is what happens when you have far too much free time

So yeah, I started a blog. Seeing how hard it was to try to be myself on over-moderated forums like animenewsnetwork’s, it seemed best to make my own space and just dump stuff there. I’m not that bothered if no-one reads it, though I’ll be really happy if anyone does. ^^

Too bad I’m mid-season with a bunch of shows right now. I’ll probably be posting some meaningless essays and editorials until the summer season begins; then I can start doing episode-by-episode reviews. If only Shia Labeouf had motivated me* to start this blog sooner.

Hope you enjoy whatever follows this intro!

*If you’re reading this in the year 3015, Google it