Japan Trip 2017 – Day 5 and 6

The fifth and sixth day of my Japan Trip 2017, I hope my parents never read this

If you haven’t read Day 1 & 2 of my Japan Trip 2017 blog series, please do so before reading this post for context and continuity’s sake. Day 3 and Day 4 are also available to read.

Also, some of this post contains very NSFW imagery and descriptions.


Two days in one post, huh? Sometimes the days spent travelling between destinations don’t offer much in the way of content. Also it rained a lot these days so outdoor activites were limited–least that’s my lazy-ass’s excuse!

So what’s first then for Day 5? Breakfast as Japan’s favourite fake French place ‘Vie De France’, I don’t remember what these particular ‘noms’ were, but I’m sure they were adequate… probably?!

I remember that double decker sandwich thing up front was decent AF.

Uh-huh, anything else? Yes, this was lunch! Again, not sure what it was or where it was from… haha these posts are deteriorating fast, but I promise I pick up my game again soon!

Pork thing maybe?

Tch. Did you do anything other than food this day? You’re going to regret saying that, things are about to get super uncomfortable and personal in here! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! That goes for you too readers, things are about to get very NSFW for the next two pictures and 5 paragraphs. If you want to skip this section, click here to jump past the NSFW stuff.

Uh-oh, what have I walked into? So I was in an adult store in Akihabara, and I saw an onahole I wanted… for those of you who don’t know what an ‘onahole’ is, well its a masturbatory aid, sort of like a fleshlight (if you don’t know what that is–then, well I don’t know what else to say). It’s a Rem and Ram (from Re:Zero) double onahole, one side is meant to be a mould of Rem’s vagina the other side Ram’s.

Cross-section view from the back of the box, apparently they aren’t identical after all…

No comment. Continue. Anyway, at this stage I felt like I should get something for Sharon, the irlwaifu, since she was elsewhere (probably resting in the hotel) so I was looking through a random assortment of dojinishi (that’s fan-made porn if you haven’t heard of the term) and I found one of Levi from Attack on Titan, “perfect!” I thought, “she loves Levi!” But then my painfully obnoxious heterosexual insecurities began kicking in… “what if the clerk thinks I’m gay?” I thought… as if it even mattered I can say in hindsight, like I’d ever see this person again in my life… but I am ashamed to say I was concerned enough about a stranger’s opinions of my sexuality.

So what’d you do? I did what any sane and rational person would do in the situation, I bought a pair of “panties with younger sister’s smell” to balance it all out.

All 3 items in question.

Okay, you’re going to have to explain what the hell that is before I call the police! Calm down, it’s considered a joke gift (even though it’s totally not), and the “smell” in question is artificially created, the Akihabara police cracked down on selling real used panties like 10 years ago so this is 100% ethical, no little sister’s were exploited in the making of this product.

That aside, how exactly does adding that to the proverbial shopping basket balance things out? Couldn’t you have just bought a heterosexual doujin to “balance it out” as you say? Hindsight’s a funny thing, in the moment it seemed like the smart play plus I thought it was way too unique a thing to pass up buying. But yeah, looking back I think adding that to the purchase only made me seem more problematic than I intended.

END NSFW

You are one weird individual. Is that all from that particular shop can we move on to ~normal~ holiday photographs? Dinner was yakitori (skewers of various meets and veg) accompanied with large drinks. It was very delicious.

There’s probably some Freudian thought process considering what I purchased that day and choosing ‘skewered meats’ for dinner.

Oh good another food post. And then after that Day 6? Yes, Day 6 had us moving on from Akihabara and on to Maihama, where we stayed at the very swanky (and yet surprisingly affordable) 4-star hotel The Oriental Bay Maihama. The hotel’s lobby had a gorgeous atrium that actually held a wedding on one of the day’s we were there. It was also Halloween so there were some decorations up for that. Being that it was just a single train-stop from Tokyo Disneyland the place was a lot more ~family~ oriented than expected so that was certainly a change from Akihabara’s antics!

Yay for blurry photo :/
2spooky4me

Oh, so I take it Disneyland photos are coming soon? We arrived at the hotel after 2pm, so DisneySea and Disneyland are planned for the next two days. (We stayed in Maihama for 3 nights) However we did go pay a visit to Ikspiari which is kind of a fanciful looking shopping complex just outside the theme park.

Average weather made for average photography, that’s my excuse at least!

It looked very pretty at night.

What, no food pictures? Apparently not, and if there’s no food pictures from a particular day it usually means we slummed it and had something safe and Western–a mistake I intend not to make on my trip next year! Although there was one food item that warranted a picture just because of how amazing it was, from the convenience store in the hotel (yes this hotel had a Lawson’s convenience store inside the building!) I found an ice-cream that ranks among my favourite of all time, not just for taste but ease of eating too! It’s basically a wafer brick, with ice-cream inside. Amazing. Why don’t we have anything like this in Australia?!

It may look basic on the outside…
But inside is a world of goodness!

And that’s how we’re ending this post on a picture of a convenience store ice-cream, huh? Just be thankful I didn’t end with something lewd! Stay tuned because it’s only Disney-style wholesomeness from here as Day 7 takes us to Tokyo DisneySea! Just kidding, we manage to find a way to be lewd at a Disney park too.


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Steins;Gate 0 – Full Season QandA Rundown

Steins;Gate 0 – Full Season QandA Rundown

What’s the important information? Steins;Gate 0 is a Spring/Summer 2018 science fiction anime that aired 23 episodes from April to September. It is based off the visual novel of the same name which is a sequel to the first Steins;Gate anime and visual novel.

What’s it about? In a divergent timeline from the original Steins;Gate series, Rintaro Okabe fails to save the life of his love interest Kurisu and is presented with a world in which World War 3 will occur from the major global powers fighting over time machines. Several months have passed and Okabe is learning to live life again when he meets two former colleagues of Kurisu’s, Hiyajo Maho and Alexis Leskinen who have been working on an AI project called Amadeus—based on the compiled memories of Kurisu just months before her death.

Why did you watch it? The original Steins;Gate anime is one of my Top 10 anime of all time and any chance to have more experiences with the cast and setting that I loved so much was something I was eager to have! There’s no mistaking that it was my number 1 most anticipated show of Spring 2018!

Did you enjoy the show? I reviewed each of the 23 episodes weekly on the site (links can be found below) and almost immediately I was enraptured by the more personal, more contemplative version of Steins;Gate and specifically our protagonist Okabe. Everything was darker, more subdued, more meditative and I loved it so much for it, it wasn’t ~trying~ to recapture something from the past, it was its own show and all the better for it.

What was your favourite episode? I said it during the reviews and I’ll stick by it, Episode 22, struck a perfect balance and showed Akihabara—a city I have great fondness—for in such a reverent way. It also put to rest the long lingering mourning that Okabe had for Kurisu by getting rid of the AI Amadeus, but doing so in an appropriately emotional way for everyone concerned.

What were your most favourite things about the show? That this was its own show and not a lazy cash-in or fan-service laden rehash. With the exception of a few late-game moments Steins;Gate 0 is it’s own unique beast. I love that the series shows the effect of grief so thoroughly and doesn’t brush off the lasting impact losing someone (repeatedly) has on a person’s mind, body and soul.

What were your least favourite things about the show? I don’t know… while there were individual episodes that I nitpicked a lot in hindsight nothing really seemed especially egregious. If I were forced to choose, I’d say some characters were perhaps underutilised given we were introduced to new characters and had all the old ones return so content was perhaps stretched thin so that everyone had something to do—even if it was seemingly inconsequential.

Who was your favourite character? Maho! Maho is best girl, better than Kurisu, better than Mayuri. What’s that? You didn’t ask me who was ‘best girl’ but ‘best character’? I’m sorry, I don’t see the difference!

Thoughts on the OP (opening) and ED (ending) and the soundtrack in general? It’s a hard act to follow, having an OP that compares to the brilliance of the original Steins;Gate’s “Hacking To The Gate” by Kanako Ito. And kudos to the lady she comes close—arguably the lyrical content of Steins;Gate 0’s OP “Fatima” is better it’s just not quite as catchy as the original. The first ED, “LAST GAME” by Zwei is great, evoking almost a late 90’s James Bond credit aesthetic that I totally dig! While the second ED “World-Line” by Asami Imai is pretty much trash.

What’s something unique about this show? It’s hard to imagine something that is ostensibly alt-fiction of a different timeline to not only be so compelling but also almost supersede the original in terms of narrative satisfaction and yet here we are. My love for the original series perhaps makes me a little biased but I can’t help but be enraptured by this more mature approach to the series.

What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? For once this is an easy question to answer, put simply if you like Steins;Gate you should find something to like about this series unless all your after is more of the same as the original in which case just go watch the original again.

Who would you recommend it to? Firstly, watching the original Steins;Gate is absolutely a pre-requisite, you’ll be lost otherwise. So if you’ve watched the original and want a darker-alternate ending that not only compliments the original but expands the universe and narrative substantially then this is the show for you!

Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘The past is the past, let’s focus on the present and make the most of it.’

Final score? 95 out of 100.


Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review
Living On Sorrowed Time – Episode 20 Review
Making Up For Lost Time – Episode 21 Review
A Night To Remember – Episode 22 Review
A Means To An End – Episode 23 Review


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Japan Trip 2017 – Day 4

The fourth day of my Japan Trip 2017, it’s all nice and (relatively) wholesome until the end

If you haven’t read Day 1 & 2 of my Japan Trip 2017 blog series, please do so before reading this post for context and continuity’s sake. Day 3 is also available to read.


So you mentioned something about a theme park for Day 4? Yes! One in the heart of Tokyo, in fact it’s so close to other buildings that one of it’s main attractions–a roller coaster, skirts along the rooftops of nearby skyscrapers! But I’m jumping ahead a bit, first off breakfast and a little bit of anime shop exploring.

What’s for breakfast? There’s a chain of casual breakfast/lunch style eateries/bakeries called ‘Vie De France’, very good quality and quite affordable if you’re looking for a break from Japanese food!

From left to right: Croque madame (first time having one, pretty good) fried chicken sandwich (delicious) and some weird salad that was pretty mediocre.
I continue my contemplation of ‘fine art’.

And then after that? We headed to ‘Tokyo Dome City Attractions’ just a 5ish minute train trip from Akihabara! I’ve probably not had the chance to mention it before but I love theme parks and amusement parks, I used to be ~obsessed~ with them, and while that obsessive streak has transferred wholly over to anime I still geek out over them whenever I’m at one!

The view approaching from the station.

So Mister Theme Park expert, how does it ranks among the theme parks you’ve visited? It’s unique in that it’s right in the middle of Tokyo, and it’s not a cramped place either it takes up a fair ol’ chunk of real estate which makes me wonder how they stay profitable. Especially as the day we were there was very quiet. Though I guess with Tokyo’s population plus tourist numbers it probably manages to scrape by. As for the park’s quality itself, it’s above average. With the exception of the roller coaster (which we’ll get to) the rides are pretty standard amusement park fare, drop rides, dark rides, swinging pirate ships, etc.

There’s also this log flume which is actually located inside amongst all the eating establishments and beside a shopping mall. It was pretty fun, but more of a novelty.

But that roller coaster though, that’s gotta be some experience, huh? Yes, that’s “Thunder Dolphin” a 130km/h beast of a roller coaster that not only travels across rooftops and through the side of a building, but also goes right through the middle of the world’s first hubless Ferris Wheel! It’s fast and intense but a smooth ride, even the irlwaifu who can sometimes feel the effects of these types of rides a lot harder than I did found it to be an enjoyable (if terrifying) experience!

I’m actually in this photo (the irlwaifu took it) I’m back right on the third carriage from the back with my arms up. Dude in front of me has his arms up too.

How many times did you ride it? Three times I think. Unlike the other rides in the park which were a less than 5 minute wait, the first time we queued took 40 minutes so clearly it’s a drawcard for the park. Though the subsequent times were less than 15 minutes each.

Was such a nice day for photos like this too!

And after that? Lunch of course! Amongst all the fast-food options and incredibly busy restaurants that were in the indoor food court area of the park we found a small and relatively quiet (no wait) place that served Sundubu. It’s a Korean dish I’d never even heard of but the risk paid off as it was delicious!

It was spicy and delicious! Mine was Pork and Mushroom Sundubu.

And after lunch? More rides! Though ones a bit more relaxed this time… The big Ferris Wheel, suggestively named “The Big O” had some incredible views of the city, just shame the glass on the windows were so dirty.

This was the best photo from the bunch I took on the wheel.

Before we got on the Ferris Wheel they take your photo, and of course we had no intention of buying it because I mean, what kind of rube buys theme park photos?! But when we got off the ride we noticed they’d already printed it, plus I really liked how my shirt looked in the photo…

Halloween-y stuff too!

Complimenting your own shirt, huh? How vain can you get… Hey! Out of all the anime shirts I wore while in Japan this ‘Froppy’ shirt got the most unsolicited nods and smiles from random people, I mean it’s probably the most well-known character on all of my shirts too so that probably was a reason too.

Enough about the shirt! What’d you do after that? After a couple more low-key rides we went for a walk to some places nearby, unfortunately Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens was near to closing time but the gardens outside the actual gardens were quite photogenic too!

I love photos of gardens next to skyscrapers.

And then let me guess, after that… dinner? Correct! There’s a ‘Carl’s Jr’ in Akihabara and seeing as we don’t have them in Melbourne we decided to give it a try and man, probably one of the best fast-food burgers I’ve ~ever~ had!

Hard to take a good looking photo of fast food…

Well this day seemed mostly without weirdness, congratulations on that I suppose! Hey, we ain’t done yet! While browsing Akihabara, on the ground floor of department store ‘Don Quixote’ we found what I like to refer to as a “waifu vending machine”! I don’t know why but all I knew was that I had to get me some bottled water with a cute anime girl on it! Enjoy the below video of the process! If anybody knows who this girl is, what she’s from or why I can buy water of her feel free to leave an enlightening comment! Otherwise this is just another Akihabara mystery.

Well I admit that’s pretty strange, but at least you didn’t do anything perverted! And then I went to the nearby convenience store to buy beer and porn. Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed Day 4 of my Japan Trip–stay tuned for more soon!

I mean by now you’ve just gotta expect the worst from me, right?

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A Means To An End – ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 23 (Finale) Review

A Means To An End – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 23

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 23.

So here we are—the season finale of the show that some months ago you said was “even better than the original Steins;Gate”, do you remember that? I can’t even remember what I said last week let alone ~months~ ago, cut me some slack, will ya?!

Well since you mention last week, here’s something you said then that’s worth repeating, and I quote: “Calling it now, this was my favourite episode of the season and no matter how good next week’s finale is nothing will be able to beat this one!” End quote. Listen, I say a lot of things in the heat of the moment and I’ve been known to engage in hyperbole on occasion…

Uh-huh, so regretting those words now, is this finale better than the previous episode? Actually you know what, no, it’s not, it’s ~as good~ as last week, that is to say it’s almost perfect—just in a different way than last week’s near-perfection.

Okabe’s Angels.

Okay, so what’s so good about it? While last week was moody and contemplative, a fitting penultimate episode and almost like a eulogy—this week brings the high-energy and big drama and raised stakes. It’s also pretty damn complicated, which for this show is certainly saying something, I’m not saying I was ever confused at any point in this show but this is certainly not an episode you’d want to be distracted with other things while watching.

That’s a nervous look if ever I’ve seen one, not that I blame her!

So what happens in the episode? You know what, I’m not going to go into a full beat-by-beat analysis of everything that happened in the episode. What I will do is highlight a couple of things I felt this episode did exceptionally well and was utterly delighted with. If you want a full synopsis of the episode I’m sure you can find it elsewhere!

Well that’s a smart idea, turn away half the people reading this to other sites, but whatever you’re the boss… I loved that Okabe didn’t rob Mayuri and Suzuha of their importance in the narrative and Mayuri’s newfound confidence in her ‘role’ in Okabe’s life. They got to do what they intended to do and did a fine job of it too—the scene where Steins;Gate 0 Mayuri is talking to original Steins;Gate Mayuri over the phone was exceptional and emotional in all the right ways. Likewise their resignation to whatever fate was about to befall them as they slipped through history with the time machine being out of fuel was kind of beautiful.

Mayuri brought her A-game to this finale!

Wait, so Mayuri and Suzuha are lost in time? Come now… this is still Okabe’s story, he’s not going to let things end like that! Back in future time 2025 Okabe’s about to cheat his destiny by changing the “prophecy” that he dies that year by using the time machine to leave (and therefore technically not existing anymore) and with it he intends to track down Mayuri and Suzuha. And I’ll be honest, I don’t actually know if any of what Okabe was saying about being able to track them down made sense from a series technical continuity standpoint. I don’t remember the original Steins;Gate all that well, I loved it, it’s one of my top 10 anime of all time, but I’ve still only ever seen it once. Regardless of it though, I believed he would find them and as the time machine disappeared and the end credits started to roll I had a vague doubt about whether the show was going to leave things ~ambiguous~.

I like this younger version of Kagiri! Shame we didn’t see more of her!

And does it? Of course not! The post-credit scene not only gives Okabe his “big-win” that he’s been searching for all this time but ends the series on a monumental high!

Who could it be?

Well the show might not have left things ambiguous but this review certainly contains more mystery that it oughta. Listen, I may have talked up this show plenty throughout the season but I’m definitely no expert on the series—if you want expert reviews go to people like Irina who’ve actually played the Visual Novels this series is based on, they’re far more qualified to talk about the rich detail of this series! As for me, I can just tell you what I thought about the episode as a series finale, it was fantastic, I loved every minute of it and I’m more than satisfied with this conclusion!

I guess he deserves to look that smug all things considered…

Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review
Living On Sorrowed Time – Episode 20 Review
Making Up For Lost Time – Episode 21 Review
A Night To Remember – Episode 22 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

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Japan Trip 2017 – Day 3

The third day of my Japan Trip 2017, expect maid cafes and general silliness

If you haven’t read Day 1 & 2 of my Japan Trip 2017 blog series, please do so before reading this post for context and continuity’s sake.


Okay, so Day 3 of the Japan Trip 2017, still in Akihabara I presume? Indeed. And for once we actually had something resembling ‘plans’ as opposed to just wandering around. aimlessly. But we got up early so time for some aimless wandering!

Some scenic shots I see. So what about these “plans”? Well, we had booked a ‘Maid Tour’ of Akihabara which is basically just aimless wandering around but with someone who knows lots about Akiba showing you around and talking about history and stuff! Also with the added bonus of being with someone who spoke fluent Japanese and thus were able to go to places we might feel intimidated to go to otherwise.

I shudder to think where you of all people would be intimidated to go in Akihabara… Why a maid cafe of course! I’ll spend a little bit of time talking about this because it truly was a unique experience. So this was the ‘@home cafe’, among the more reputable of establishments in the area. The place was extremely busy with a queue outside the door (which thankfully we skipped because our tour-guide made a reservation ahead of time).

From left to right: the irlwaifu, a.k.a Sharon, me (+ Rem shirt), our serving maid from @home cafe, our delightful Akiba tour guide Emi and the only other person who was in our tour group, a lovely gentleman from China whose name I’ve sadly forgotten.

We were seated at a table near the back and handed menus which had all manner of cute items to eat and drink. Because we were on a fixed time schedule for our tour we opted for just a drink rather than a meal, after we ordered and received our drink the maid serving us asked what we’d like drawn on top. At the time my Japanese vocabulary was rather limited so I simply said “neko”.

This photo was taken 5 mins after it was drawn so sadly it sunk into the foam a bit by then. It was actually quite good before that!

Right. Anything else happen at the maid cafe? Only the most silly thing I’ve probably ever done in public! So after the drink the maid comes to us with a list of the maids that are working and ask us which one we want to have a photo with. Then one-by-one we are called to the stage (yes there was a stage at the front of the cafe) where we pick a cosplay item, then a pose to make and get a polaroid taken!

I went for the bunny ears because nobody else was going for the bunny ears + obligatory rabbit pose.

Wow, I’m surprised you shared that with us… that’s… uniquely embarrassing! I think the word your looking for is “kawaii!” Honestly the whole experience was surprisingly wholesome considering, not to mention just a lot of fun. I don’t know how much fun it would have been without our fluent Japanese tour guide, I mean you could probably muddle your way through it but it was just so easy with her. Anyway, afterwards we were given a souvenir booklet as well as the ‘License of Your Majesty’ which works as a loyalty card, yes they have a loyalty card which upgrades and gets better rewards the more times you visit. While we were there a patron was having an ‘upgrade ceremony’ where he was ranking up from ‘Platinum’ card to ‘Black’ card which we were told by our tour guide meant he had visited the place 2000(!) times! Talk about customer loyalty!

I still keep that card in my wallet even though it’ll likely never get used again.

I don’t even know what to say to that. All in all it was a truly unique and unforgettable experience made better and more ‘relaxed’ because of our tour guide, Emi. I doubt I’ll go back there though, I’m not into real life maid cafes anyway, I’ll stick to the 2D anime equivalent! Anyway after a couple of extra stops to places like Super Potato (a retro game store) and Kotobukiya (a figurine/merch store off the main strip) we had to bid farewell to our tour guide. All in all I’d recommend taking the tour, even if you’re pretty clued up on Akihabara, its history and its various hot spots it was just a pleasant and fun experience!

My face is too large for this selfie.

Okay, well glad you had fun! What happened after the tour? What do you think? More aimless wandering of course!

Oh and of course the obligatory photo in front of something lewd, because of course I did!

Nothing can keep me out!

Geez, what did your ‘irlwaifu’ think of you taking all these photos? Who do you think was the one with the camera?! Besides she had her own husbandos to pose beside…

Halloween Colonel Sanders ftw!

Well that’s… certainly something. Anything else you did on Day 3? Gachapon!

Gesunheit. No, gachapon, they’re capsule toy machines and they’re everywhere in Akiba! Here’s a picture of a whole bunch of them in the side alley beside the Toranoana building.

So many toys so little luck.

Right. So what kind of toys do these machines dispense? Oh you know just anime merch like keyrings and rubber stamps and mini figurines for various anime, also taps.

Huh? Yes, literal taps.

Your guess is as good as mine!

I, uhh… huh? Yeah that was pretty much my reaction too. I tried to buy one but it wasn’t working, guess taps are too hot for this site! But while we’re on the subject of gachapon machines we were exploring a shop of ill repute under the streets of Akiba when I found this particular dispensary. Yes, that’s right, it’s a panty vending machine!

Only 500 yen? Sign me up!

Good god, so the legends were true?! Well first of all let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t one of those “used panty” vending machines that circulates urban legend websites about Akiba, this was just a regular, wholesome gachapon machine underpants, brand new, never been worn, except in your imagination by the anime girl of your chosing… I mean I assume that’s what this is for? Women aren’t certainly going to underwear shopping from a gachapon machine are they?!

I was hoping for the striped ones…

This was weird, just sayin’… Don’t worry, next comes Day 4 and we’re going to a theme park! Nothing but wholesome family fun at a theme park!


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A Night To Remember – ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 22 Review

A Night To Remember – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 22

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 22.

So what happens in th— Calling it now, this was my favourite episode of the season and no matter how good next week’s finale is nothing will be able to beat this one!

—Not even making people read a little bit of the review to find out your opinion on the episode, huh? Sorry, I got excited—but I’m not the only one who has problems containing their excitement when reviewing things!

Eh, whatever man, it’s your site. So what happens in this episode that’s got you so sold on this episode’s overall quality as legendary status? Well it starts off a bit uneven but by the time we get to Okabe showing Amadeus [Kurisu] around Akihabara I’d absolutely fallen in love with the episode.

I love this shot and I’m not even sure why exactly!

Ah… the tried and true ‘Akihabara Fan-Service’ technique, hmm? What ever do you mean?

Whenever any show even ~mentions~ the place—let alone shows it—you’re all over it, praising it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread! Fine, I’ll admit I’m a slut for Akiba but you know what, regardless of the reverent way this show presents Akihabara and the attention to detail, this was also a meditative, emotional and touching send-off to a character who’s kind of been overlooked for more than half the season. And letting us see Akiba through Amadeus [Kurisu’s] eyes was the perfect way—at least for me—to have us connect with a character who by all logic we shouldn’t have a connection with.

Night time has rarely looked better in this show than this episode.

Why shouldn’t we have a connection with her? Because she’s an AI, she may be based on someone we used to know, or rather someone Okabe used to love, but she’s not that person. And getting that stark reminder, while simultaneously reinforcing how real the illusion can feel and how genuine the emotions seem brought me back to the way this show was in the first 9 or so episodes when I was calling it “one of the best shows ever” and “better than the original”.

Reflections of one another…

Oh yeah, I remember that, you sure did make a big deal about this show back then—feels like a lifetime ago… What’s more I think the way they decided to scale back the Hyouin Kyouma bits and allow Okabe to still be fragile and contemplative as well as occasionally manic made this episode a lot more believable. Had that other persona returned fully and without respite it would have made the show something it’s not.

This moment was pretty adorable though…

Anything else you wanted to add? I don’t often talk about the production values of an episode and even more rarely do I speak of them when they’re good (after all we only usually comment when things are bad) but I was blown away at how gorgeous Akiba looked during the last half of the episode—they really committed to making those scenes look as good as they needed to look to sell Amadeus [Kurisu’s] sacrifice. Also that last scene where Amadeus [Kurisu] gives that pep talk to Maho and then she smiled that one last smile was gorgeously heartbreaking.

Can’t protect what doesn’t exist…

So you said you didn’t think next week’s finale could possibly beat this episode in terms of overall quality, are you predicting a lacklustre final episode then? I honestly have no idea where and how this show is going to end—and for once I love being completely at the mercy of this shows genius imagination. If they manage to pull it off and deliver a satisfying, emotional and intelligent ending then there’s very little in the way of me proclaiming this better than the original Steins;Gate and that’s not something I say lightly!

One last “pretty” shot for the review!

Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review
Living On Sorrowed Time – Episode 20 Review
Making Up For Lost Time – Episode 21 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

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Japan Trip 2017 – Day 1 and 2

Hello everyone! So, in case it wasn’t abundantly clear by my sheer existence I love Japan–the country, it’s people, it’s food and especially the anime/otaku culture! In October and November of 2017 myself and the irlwaifu visited Japan for 21 days and ~roughly~ documented our travels through photography and daily instagram posts. Why is this important? Well because in February of 2019 we’ll be heading back to Japan for 21 days again and in anticipation of that upcoming trip I thought it’d be fun to share some travel stories and photos from the previous trip–sort of like a countdown to the next trip in blog form! I didn’t take ~nearly~ as many photos as I should have but that’s a lesson learned for next time! From here on out the rest of these posts will be styled in my QandA style, enjoy!


So uh, what’s all this then? Didn’t you read the blurb above?

Blurb? More like wall of text, give me the bullet points, man! Going on a trip to Japan in 2019, thought I’d share some pictures and anecdotes of my trip from 2017.

Oh great, so basically you’re subjecting me to a slide show of your travel photos… how exciting. Shut it!

Fine, so let’s get this over with, where do we begin? Well of course we begin how any trip begins, with a way too early alarm. (Actually that’s not strictly true, our flight for the 2019 trip leaves at Midnight so no early alarms for that one!) Why did I take a photo of my alarm time? Well because my usual daily wake-up time is around 10:00am so this was particularly painful!

An evil time of day to be sure!

And who did you fly with? Qantas, which was my first time flying with them in like 15 years, and they’re very good. All you can drink alcohol included in the price of an Economy seat? Win!

And the arrival? Yes, we arrived at Narita Airport quite late, some time after dark and because Narita Airport is like over an hour from Tokyo itself and we didn’t want to bother with that much extra travel that late at night we stayed in a hotel one train stop from the airport. It was the APA Hotel Keisei Narita Ekimae and for those of you who don’t know the APA Hotel Chain is basically a 3-star business hotel with small rooms with massive beds that take up almost the entire room. They’re always extremely well maintained and very new-looking and are a personal favourite for the price to quality ratio. Me and the irlwaifu got lost for about 15 minutes trying to find the hotel from the train station, something of a tradition apparently as the same thing happened on our first ever trip to Japan in 2015!

Let me guess, you were leading the way? Well, uh, yeah! Of course my male ego presumed to know the way from having glanced at a Google map once the night before!

Tsk tsk… Anyway, the hotel itself had a Lawson’s convenience store attached and for those who aren’t aware Japanese convenience store food is such high quality and so cheap too! Also, fair warning a lot of these posts will contain pictures of food because as mentioned in the prologue I ~adore~ Japanese cuisine.

Pork butadon (even though it’s not in a bowl so not technically a ‘don’) with a Calpis soda and Suntory whiskey nightcap. All purchased from Lawson’s for under 1300 yen (~$13USD)

So that was the first night in Japan, any jet lag? No, but Japan despite being a 10 hour flight from Australia is only an hour behind in timezones, so that’s a big win, never yet have I had to experience the dreaded ‘lag’. Anyway, next morning and here’s a picture of the view from the hotel, nothing terribly interesting but a room with a view is always better than none (we’ll get to that in a minute).

I sat for at least an hour just happily people watching, I think I was just blissed out by the fact I was in Japan.

So this is what you’re calling Day 2 now, yeah? From here onto the first destination I presume? Well, not before some obligatory Japanese TV weirdness.

I have no idea what was going on here and that made it even better!

Why do I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I see a picture of something weird you saw on TV… Heh… So afterwards we headed to Tokyo, having to change trains at Ueno which–again–thanks to my flawless directions and map-reading skills got us lost for a minute or 30, but we did at least have some fine food at an eatery near the station! (I promise next time to actually take notes of the names of these places for those interested).

It was my first ever Unadon (eel rice bowl), it was ~pretty~ good but eel isn’t my preferred meat.

So after Ueno you headed to…? Why, only the greatest place on Earth… Akihabara! I didn’t take any daytime photos on this day but don’t worry there’s some nice night time photos, also we stayed in Akihabara for 8 days! So you’ll see plenty of daytime pictures in later blogs. Anyway, the hotel–the Akihabara Washington Hotel was kinda disappointing and it wasn’t so much the room but the view–or lack thereof. I wish I’d taken a photo but basically we had an interior facing room which meant our view was of a dimly lit emergency escape staircase and a dripping pipe… Anyway after a brief rest we ventured into some Akiba anime stores and so began a trend of me posing in front of “inappropriate” wall art.

But is it art?

I was wondering how long and til you posted something lewd and anime, not long as it turns out! Oh trust me, it only gets worse (better!) from here!

I shudder at the thought… so next I presume is dinner? Correct! We found a hot pot place on the seventh floor of one of these anime buildings, if I remember correctly the irlwaifu found a cheap K-On! Nendoroid figure in a second-hand store on the fifth floor. Anyway, I’d say this was the only ~awkward~ dining experience we had at least in relation to the language barrier. We ordered easy enough by pointing at the menu, and the food was delicious, but little did we know that the particular set-menu we ordered required multiple steps that required one of us summoning the waiter to do additional steps (basically to add rice to the hot pot liquid after the ‘main’ course to turn the “soup” into “risotto”) and so we waited for over an hour presuming they’d get to use eventually and they never did. So we just awkwardly paid and left.

So delicious though. Not pictured, heaps of equally delicious appetisers that came with the ‘set’.

Ah, the old ‘language barrier’ issues. Indeed, thankfully they were limited this trip! So on our way back to the hotel, walking down the main street of Akihabara we came across a woman advertising an owl cafe, with a real life owl accompanying! It was very cute, but, well, not to be too much of a wet blanket but I’m not really a fan of animal cafes that use ‘undomesticated’ species’ as the attractions. Cat Cafe? Fine, they probably don’t care anyway. But owls? Well that’s open to debate.

owlcafestreet.jpg
She was very nice even and the owl was pretty chill all things considered.

Anything else before we wrap up your second day in Japan? Just this beautiful shot of Akihabara by night. Man, I love this city so much.

Akihabara by night, what else needs to be said?

Very nice. So, uh… do the pictures and things you do get more interesting from here, because, well no offense but this was a bit… low-key? “Low-key” is a nice way of saying dull and yeah, fair enough. And yes, things get more interesting from here on out! We wanted to ease into the trip and that’s exactly what we did!

Stay tuned for Day 3 of Japan Trip 2017 where we participate in a guided trip around Akiba with a maid as our tour guide, we find halloween Colonel Sanders, I buy panties from a machine and we visit a genuine maid cafe!


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

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Making Up For Lost Time – ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 21 Review

Making Up For Lost Time – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 21

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 21.

So last week you kinda hammered the episode for having the audacity to do time travel in a time travel anime… have you come to your senses now? Listen, you know it wasn’t ~just~ the time travel that bothered me—it was the fact that it felt like we’d gone to the future just for the sake of some edgy drama in the form of Ruka dying and seeing Okabe old and (more) distressed. Also the fact that it was more-or-less just so Okabe could confirm, “yep the future sucks, better go fix that” which I felt was a slap in the face to Suzuha who’d been saying as much for the whole damn season, it was like he didn’t even listen to her!

So you’re still on that high horse, huh? What about this episode then? It’s great and legitimises the previous episode completely and I’m going to retire from reviewing now because I’m obviously an idiot who has no idea what I’m talking about.

DJ Oldkabe about to drop a phat beat at da club.

Come on now, don’t be like that, you’re allowed to have gaping lapses in judgement from time to time. If only I was binge-watching this, I could have saved making such a fool of myself!

Nobody cares, also you’d find a way to make a fool of yourself in a different way anyway… That’s true.

Kawaii little Suzuha!

So what’s so good about this episode then? It’s an ~extremely~ satisfying 25 minutes of television, not only does it give time-travel a meaningful place in the narrative it also finds a dynamic and possibly damaging way to do it that puts Okabe’s mind under unimaginable strain but in a completely different way than him repeatedly seeing Mayuri’s death from the original Steins;Gate series. There’s never a dull moment, never a wasted fame and it more or less culminates in something I didn’t even realise I was missing—the return of Houoin Kyouma, Okabe’s mad scientist alter-ego.

The poses are absolutely necessary. Why even ask?

Oh yeah? I seem to recall you saying a few episodes ago that you “didn’t miss him” and would be happier if he didn’t return. Why do you suddenly have such a good memory—tch! Yes, I said that too but that’s because at that stage in the narrative it felt unearned, like all the people who were saying they wanted him back at like Episode 2 kinda made me retroactively resent him. I was more than happy with ‘depressed Okabe’ I didn’t need the obnoxious mad-scientist. That was then and this is now and we’ve more than earned his return and it is particularly joyous—almost cathartic to have that ridiculous man back in our lives. Although for how long remains another matter…

If you don’t accept me at my Okabe you don’t deserve me at my Kyouma.

What do you mean by that? Well despite all the pieces seemingly falling into place with Okabe’s return to the past things—of course—don’t go to plan as once again the time-machine with Mayuri and Suzuha is blown up by an attack helicopter as its transitioning to the past. Although the episode ends ~somewhat~ ambiguously, so maybe they made it this time and the anime is just cliff hanger baiting us.

It’s happening again! Again…

So, sounds like you had a pretty positive experience with the episode? Some final thoughts? I don’t often like to compare things to other things—especially when the other thing is something very specific and not at-all anime related. But this episode’s central plot, with Okabe having to “time-leap” 3000 times to make it back the 25 years to get to his starting point reminded me fondly of my favourite episode of Doctor Who—‘Heaven Sent’, which aired in 2015. I won’t explain the plot of the aforementioned as it’s complicated and best worth discovering on your own but it too is about the kind of mental sacrifices that come with facing insurmountable difficulties with only one—very tough solution. I really loved this episode, even if that cliff hanger ending suggests the true ending is going to be harder fought still.

Look at this f**king guy…

Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review
Living On Sorrowed Time – Episode 20 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

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Living On Sorrowed Time – ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 20 Review

Living On Sorrowed Time – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Steins;Gate 0’ Episode 20

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 20.

So what’s the episode about? You know, I was pretty content with my viewing experience after this episode ended, thinking—“yeah, lots happened, that was great!” But the more I thought about it the more doubt kept creeping into my mind…

Doubt about what? Whether that episode was completely meaningless.

Okay, you’re going to need to actually tell us what it was about, you know? So Okabe awakens in a hospital-like bed, old, frail and confused. He ventures outside to find the once vibrant and alive Akiba in war-torn ruins—quickly he realises he’s in the future and after being rescued by Suzuha is informed by a more svelte-looking Daru that the year is 2036 and everything is awful.

This version of Daru reminds me of someone but I can’t figure out who, any help from my readers?

Well that’s certainly a change in scenery! You’re telling me! I don’t think I was quite prepared emotionally for seeing my favourite place in the world—Akihabara, all destroyed like that. Seeing those familiar sights and landmarks that I hold such fondness for kinda was upsetting, but in a good way, like it made for evocative viewing and ~immediately~ cemented me in Okabe’s mindset.

Just when you thought Okabe couldn’t look any more distraught!

So it’s a war-torn future, who’s still alive from our main cast? Well Mayuri’s dead because she died in the time machine explosion from the previous episode. Obviously Suzuha is here since she was born in this world, fathered by Daru his running the show in Okabe’s absence. Faris and Ruka are still going strong, fighting the good-fight, Ruka looked amazingly cool in combat fatigues and that long flowing black-hair but well, that’s sadly shortlived…

Oh? Yeah, the show decides that Ruka has to die and in Okabe’s arms no-less, and I guess it was supposed to be a sweet moment but to me it felt intentionally manipulative.

To quote the irlwaifu, “would”.

So that’s the first strike you have against the episode. What next? Maho’s still alive too—looking exactly the same much like Faris didn’t look a day older despite it being 25 years later and a literal world war breaking out in the meantime. And that’s another thing that kind of rang hollow about this, Maho and Faris haven’t physically changed at all whereas all the men are wearing the passing of time on their faces. It’s almost like the show was too afraid to make the waifu’s less appealing by giving them age lines or anything to symbolise that life has been hard this past quarter of a decade!

*giggle*

And that’d be the second strike. You mentioned that you had some feeling that this episode was “completely meaningless”, where does that come in? So it comes after talking things through with Maho—in what’s probably the best scene of the episode—she’s seriously such a stable core to this series, but does so very much from the sidelines. Okabe mentions that “Suzuha warned me the future was bad but I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself” or some crap and then says he intends to travel back once more and find ‘Steins Gate’ and fix things. And the more I thought about it the more I wondered, how self-centred do you have to be to not put stock in what Suzuha was saying, like did Okabe just think she was over-exaggerating how bad World War 3 was going to be? Like that really rubbed me the wrong way, that Okabe couldn’t just believe her and he had to see it for himself! I don’t know if that’s a character flaw or the flaw of the writer thinking the viewer wouldn’t take to heart the importance of avoiding World War 3 without having their analogue, in the form of Okabe, experience it first hand.

Just as legal loli as always–even as a 46 year old!

Okay. So it’s pointless because he’s going to change the bad future? No, it’s pointless because Okabe/the writer thought we needed to see all this and it’s going to all go away. I know that’s ~kinda~ the point of time-travel narratives that things will change and therefore events that have happened won’t happen. But usually there’s something important a character will learn from having experienced a bad ‘timeline’ but he already knew everything that was going to happen from Suzuha! There was nothing new learned from this episode existing, other than Ruka turning into a total badass in the future and even then that’s undercut with a death for the sake of drama.

So if young/normal aged Okabe reminds me of Matt Smith does that make old Okabe Peter Capaldi?

Right, so not a fan of this episode? Eh, it’s fine—in a binge watch it’ll be less egregious, it’s just having to have waited a week for an episode that doesn’t add anything more to the narrative just felt a bit galling. But it was still entertaining, and sometimes that’s enough, isn’t it?


Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review


If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!

patreon

kofi2