Welcome to another edition of my Monthly Favorites! Where the content is sometimes organized in a cohesive manner, and occasionally is even stuff you haven’t watched or read before! I really liked how last month’s edition was structured and received so I’m hoping to continue the trend. If I succeed or not we’ll have to wait and see.
Normally, I get addicted to True Crime Youtubers but I rarely ever admit that in person let alone online. My addictions only last as long as the channel has content I haven’t watched. At best it’s usually a few weeks long, but it’s enough to be engaging. I don’t quite know how I found this channel, or what Youtube algorithm caused it but I’m quite glad it happened.
I’ve been recently grooving on Defunctland videos, especially those that deep dive into Disney parks. It appears that the Disneyworld I grew up with has largely disappeared. It never occurred to me that theme parks have to change out rides to keep visitors coming to them. I mean, it literally never occurred to me that things had cost of maintenance, relevancy to the current era, and things like that to be profitable to a park. It’s been a little surreal to realize but very interesting.
Among these gems was the first video I watched, which is actually about Nara Dreamland in Japan. (imagine that!) I’ve never been myself but it was interesting to see the Japanese rival of Disneyland before Disneyland came to Japan permanently. There was something so haunting and compelling about the history and footage of the park. Eventually, I might get up the courage to ask my co-workers if they ever went, or if they ever knew it existed.
The weird nostalgic feel of both park and video put me down the rabbit hole of Defunctland. If you’re like me and curious about the past give it a watch. The information you never realize is out and available to know about our beloved amusement parks and their former rides is out there! Just be careful since these videos are very much binge worthy material.
Next is probably a bit of a surprise for all, but I can’t not talk about them. Below, is the last single from 9Muses, who even after passing the 7 year curse for girl groups in Korea, disbanded after 9 years on February 24th.
I’m still torn up about this being honest. K-Pop is a shit hole of an industry in general but 9Muses might be one of the truly tragic cases, but also one of the most inspiring. Star Empire ruined any momentum they had with improper promotions and quite literally physical abusing the members. 9Muses had several iterations of the group, with the group dwindling down to four members. Hyemi being the only original member and only member to stay with the group for the entirety of their career.
9Muses was a group that wasn’t shy about their sexy concept and released hit after hit. “Wild” was my first era with the group and they remain to be one of absolute favorites. The fact that many fans will only remember them as a group that physically abused on camera without ever getting a music show win, makes me sad.
9Muses, even after members left have some of the best bonds I’ve ever seen. When members left, it was always on good terms. They all still meet up regularly and support their former members in their new pursuits. Rana is a professional DJ that tours the world, with Sungah recently married and studying to become a DJ as well. Ryu Sera has a successful career as a soloist, and youtuber. Moon Hyuna is married, releases solo music, her own art exhibit and her own clothing brand! Park Minha is a successful model and actress. Lee Hyemin is also a model. They regularly comment on each other’s posts online and have attended one another’s special dates, opening ceremonies and the weddings!
MINE’s have been one of the kindest, and most supportive Kpop fandoms I’ve ever had the honor of participating in. So many other Kpop fans bandwagon in lamenting the loss of a group they never took the time to actually know. 9Muses had a decade long legacy, showing the world that perseverance pays off even without an award attached to it. So to 9Muses; thank you. MINE’s will always stand by you.
Moving forward, we have this month’s post recommendations. This time I’m going to attempt to organize them by loose categories in case people want to shift through this in chunks. This month I absolutely failed to comment as often as I would have liked… the energy it took just to read was hard enough to muster. It’s been one of those months. To make up for that, I have a slew of posts from bloggers to share with you!
Starting off with anime, we have Karandi of 100 Word Anime discussing “Is There A Best Time To Post An Anime Review?”, which honestly is a very good question. There are both pros and cons to posting ‘first’ verses posting later, and there’s a healthy amount of room to do both! I did muster the energy to comment here, which was that I didn’t think too hard about posting a review until this post. Good food for thought, with excellant comments to pursue too!
Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews, then discusses “The Power of the First Impression” especially in regards to anime. Again, another post that really reminds me how little thought I put into certain things. I will slug it out with a bad series if the premise is good, or because I hate dropping things. Other people will drop after one episode, etc. Seeing that a human trait being adapted into something like anime first impressions is pretty impressive and Scott does a great job with this post. Again, there’s also some fantastic comments in there to take a peek at.
I’ve been trying to avoid double featuring one blogger in these posts but… this month Irina, from I drink and Watch Anime, gets two. And they’re not even Natsume posts! Which… I should probably just say there’s a theme with this month and it’s that I haven’t considered a lot of these topics. … Moving on, “For Valentine’s Day I Think I Figured Out My Weird Shipping Issues” and honestly… I 100% agree. There’s a bit too much of a focus on romantic relationships with ‘shipping’ and honestly; it’s boring at best. We need more casual co-worker fanfics!
Secondly, she does talk more about Sports Anime in “Irina Goes One About Sports Anime Again”, and again it’s something I really agree with. I have not made the time (or the effort) to talk about my love of sports series either!
Seriously, are we secretly related in some manner? Nonetheless, she makes some great points worth talking about here.
Shifting into the manga gear, starting us off is Bloom Reviews with “I Hear The Sunspot Manga Book One Review”. I’m familiar a bit with this series rising popularity (I believe TinyUglyAnimal brought the series to my attention first), so seeing more in-depth analysis without too many spoilers (if any). Seeing more positive representations of the hearing impaired makes me feel warm and fuzzy, Bloom’s Review just adds to that feeling! If you’re on the fence about committing to the series or not, I recommend taking a look at Bloom’s thoughts.
Lita of Lita Kino’s Anime Corner, brought up something near and dear to all of us; our first shojo manga (or series in general). Her post “The Manga That Got Me Into Shoujo: Kare First Love”, just is really fun to read. It’s always intersting to see what other people read to get hooked into the genre. I remember seeing so many ads for this series in my first shojo manga “Alice 19th”! If you’re looking for the Valentine’s content my blog never had, you should take a look at Lita’s post instead.
In a final bit of anime/manga news is Moyatori talking about “Snow-Sculpting 101: The Building of Motoko Kusanagi”. Obviously, I couldn’t pass up the post since it’s about one of the few anime ‘waifu’s’ I have. That and the fact that snow sculpting seems absolutely awesome and if I ever get enough snow again I will be trying something similar to this!
Sliding in a bit of JDrama goodness, is Sweet Life who wrote about “Japanese Drama: Long Vacation”. I hadn’t heard about this series, but now I’m hoping I’m able to track down a copy to watch! They really articulated the points that had them coming back to the series, despite it’s age. As a lover of classic dramas, finding out about this one was a treat.
Lastly, we have some music posts from the blog-o-sphere to round out posts from our site! Kwenzqoatl, of KPop-Khop dove in to Jpop with their post “Japanese Songs You Should Listen To”. For me it was really nice to see a post bridging the gap between Jpop and Kpop, especially since Jpop has been shifting a lot recently. If you’re looking for recommendations that are closer to Kpop then ‘traditional’ (a loose description here) Jpop this a good place to start.
A Nerdy Perspective is requesting some assistance! If you check out “I Need Your Help! (An Exciting New Project!)”, you’ll know they started a second blog called Sounds of the Rising Sun. Which is going to start talking exclusively about all sorts of Japanese music, so I’m hoping I’ll regain some motivation that I’ll be able to contribute the project too! If you have a minute, or an idea, you should check it out!
Moving into non-blogging articles that are worth a look! Firstly is The Chicago SunTimes about “‘Marie Kondo Effect’ floods Chicago area thrift stores with donations”. It’s been intersting to see Marie Kondo’s ideas spreading from her Netflix series. It’s been very intersting discussing in Japan, and with friends and family. I have to say, if it’s helping people and the community being a better place; all the better!
The Japan Times talks about the Japanese Rap/Hip-hop community in “88rising’s quest to find a Japanese hip-hop sensation”. It was an intersting read since the author Patrick St.Michel, has written about pop-sensation ‘Perfume’ before. Personally, I’m not the most well versed in Japanese rappers, although I love Rude-a, and Sky-hi. Seeing how Khip-hop has taken off after KPop; I don’t see why Japanese Rap can’t do the same with the right person. And there’s a lot of talent on the rise in Japan.
Wrapping this up is JRockNews doing two fantastic interviews that are must-read’s for Visual Kei fans. Firstly is the “Special Interview with Hakuei, Honorary Editori-in-Chief of Club ZY.”, and following was the “Interview with Keita, CEO of Vivarush’s record label KERBEROS ENTERTAINMENT”.
Once again, quite a mouthful from me! I’m honestly surprised that I had so many thoughts about these articles (I really need to start commenting more…) and that I’m able to share with you guys! Thanks for reading if you made it this far thanks for reading! See you next month!