Anime Review: ReLIFE

Genre: Science fantasy, drama, romance

Episodes: 13

Rating: 7/10

To get another chance at living an easier, more carefree time of your life. That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? No more worrying about searching for a new job, paying the bills, or any of that old, boring, crusty adult stuff.

That’s exactly the deal that 27 year old Kaizaki Arata gets when he meets a mysterious man called Yoake Ryō.

One pop of a magic pill and he’d be rejuvenated by 10 years- which would then allow him to attend highschool all over again. That would be a dream come true for many. Unfortunately, life isn’t an anime, no matter how much we wish it would be.

Luckily for Kaizaki, ReLIFE is one.

So what is ReLIFE exactly about?

If you’ve taken the time to at least keep up with news regarding Japan every now and then, you might have heard of the term “karoshi”, and in turn, the difficulties found in a Japanese working environment.

For those who aren’t aware, “karoshi” is a Japanese word that is defined as death from overwork, or suicide from work-related stress.

As one of the few Japanese entertainment shows to touch upon the subject, I was immediately intrigued. An anime about karoshi? You can bet I’d pay to see that- and I did.

The story starts with a peek at half-NEET Kaizaki Arata’s daily life. After quitting his job of only 3 months, he struggles to find employment, as companies refuse to hire someone who seems unreliable on paper. He claims that the reason behind his resignation is that the company “does not fit his highest potential” when in reality, he couldn’t bear the thought of working for a black company any longer.

So with his reputation in pieces, he walked away from that job and has been struggling ever since. The situation only worsens when his parents cut off his allowance, and he has to fall back on his only other source of income- a part-time job he managed to snag at a mini market.

It is at this point that Yoake enters his life, and offers him a job opportunity, on the condition that he agrees to be a test subject for a scientific experiment first. This experiment involves rejuvenating Kaizaki by 10 years and sending him back to highschool as a student, in order to fix whatever is wrong with his life as well as to provide a chance of enjoying youth again.

Desperate and running out of funds, Kaizaki agrees and signs the contract.

So that was it. He has a year to fix his life and maybe, just maybe, score a job.

Getting a bit too real in here

Despite the obviously fantastical element, ReLIFE does manage to weave in doses of bitter reality in its tale.

The Japanese working environment is not an easy one, and ReLIFE does not hesitate to explore the hardships it possesses. From sexism, power harassment and disregard for life, this anime lays it out on a silver platter. The content is perhaps not as in depth as one might wish it would be, but it does the job nonetheless. And it is through this that one might get the Japanese’ obsession with the highschool genre- things were just much more simple back then, no?

That said, ReLIFE is not without its light-hearted moments. It has plenty of those, especially when Kaizaki struggles to fit in as a student. Having been out of school for so long, the really-a-27-year-old has completely forgotten what he had learned in classes all those years ago. Maths? What the heck is that? The man can’t remember how to solve third year equations for the life of him.

Don’t even get him started on his dilemma with a certain attractive and jarringly familiar girl in his class.

So is ReLIFE worth a watch? I would think so, especially if you’re interested in the subject of karoshi.

The anime retains a fun, easy-going feel despite its darker undertones, and this makes it easier to watch in one go. There is plenty of humour to be had in this, with an amusing cast of characters and their own stories to further colour it.

I look forward to watching Season 2 the conclusion of this series.

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Beauty Review: Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

Beauty Review: Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

What is it?

Winner of 22 Global Beauty Awards, Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (RM58) has high expectations placed upon it by all who encounter it. Which may be surprising to some considering its super affordable price.

After all, high price = super quality, doesn’t it?

Not at all in this case.

This 6-in-1 clay mask focuses on the following: pore tightening, sebum control, dead skin cell exfoliating, deep cleansing, and skin complexion improvement through its cooling effect. If you’re not sold on this just yet, then take note that Innisfree claims that it is more effective in controlling sebum than mud and red clay.

Which ought to score a hurrah from combination/oily skin types, but let’s take a look at how well it performs first.

What is it like?

When I first opened the container, I was surprised by how dry the mask looks. I have used my fair share of clay masks by now, and this was the first time I encountered one that was that dry. It wasn’t by any means deprived of all moisture, but it was dry enough that it was somewhat hard to scoop out and apply on my face. The texture is drier and stiffer than what I’m used to, but not enough to put me off. As long as it works, it’s all good, no?

And almost as though to make up for its texture, the mask was surprisingly comfortable to wear. There was some feeling of tightness, but overall, it was just… nice. I didn’t find it uncomfortable in the least.

Washing it off was quite easy too. There was no need for excessive rubbing or even scrubbing; the mask just washes off after a few splashes and wipes.

Packaging

While I do not abhor the idea of masks coming in pots much like this one, it does bring with it the concern of hygiene.

Of course, I always make sure to wash my hands before applying a mask on, but constantly dipping my fingers in the pot to spread more of it on my face… That can’t be clean, right? Right.

I would’ve preferred it if this came in a tube.

End result

It is always a pleasure to find affordable products that deliver results, and this was a feeling I rediscovered the day I decided to give Innisfree a try.

And to date, I honestly can’t think of a single Innisfree product that fits that image more than the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. Priced at just RM58, I was happily taken aback by how clean my face looked after I washed the mask off.

If that sentence doesn’t make sense, then allow me to elaborate. After I washed the mask off, I found that my pores were smaller, tighter and for the most part, unclogged. That was not all, though. Thanks to the deep cleansing effect of the mask, my skin was also brighter and enjoyed an improvement in texture. It was amazing.

My good experience carried on till the next day as well, because my skin produced much less oil than before. If that’s not a call for me to keep using this baby, then I don’t know what is.

Quick overview

Pros

  • Pores appear smaller and tighter
  • Pores are unclogged; less blackheads and whiteheads
  • Skin texture is improved; it’s brighter and smoother
  • Excellent oil controlling properties
  • Immediate results

Cons

  • Mask texture is a bit stiff
  • Comes in a pot

Where can I find it?

Innisfree.

Verdict

  • Product rating: 4/5
  • Packaging rating: 4/5

Will I repurchase this? Oh, definitely, definitely. For the price and the results it gives, you can bet your bottom ringgit I will.

Ingredients

Water, Butylene Glycol, Volcanic Ash, Silica, Trehalose, Kaolin, Bentonite, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zinc Oxide (Ci 77947), Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract, Orchid Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, PVP, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Xanthan Gum, Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sorbitan Stearate, Polyacrylate-13, Mannitol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Lactic Acid, Polyisobutene, Menthoxypropanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Polysorbate 20, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.

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TV Series Review: Yamada and the Seven Witches

Starring: Yamamoto Yusuke, Nishiuchi Mariya, Triendl Reina, Ide Takuya, Ono Ito, Mamiya Shotaro, Kobayashi Ryoko, Miyama Karen, Kojima Fujiko, Matsui Airi, Takuyama Hidenori, Nagae Yuuki

Genre: Romantic comedy, supernatural

Episodes: 8

Rating: 4/10

Ever since I started attending Japanese language classes, I’ve taken the initiative to watch more Japanese shows that extend beyond anime. Despite having seen a few since then, this will be the first one I’ll be touching on- simply because I suck and had next to no opportunity to write during the time. Perhaps one of these days I’ll write about the rest, because there were quite a few gems in the lot.

Anyway.

After watching so many slice of life films and tv shows, I decided I wanted to try something different. I wanted to see the Japanese’ hand on the fantasy genre. Should be interesting, right?

So, compelled by the eye-catching DVD cover and 3 for RM30 offer, I picked up “Yamada and the Seven Witches”, the live-action version of a manga series by Yoshikawa Miki.

What is it about?

The story starts with the introduction of the two main characters, Yamada Ryū (Yamamoto Yusuke) and Shiraishi Urara (Nishiuchi Mariya).

Yamada is the school delinquent. Much like a good chunk of anime/manga protagonists, Yamada is naive, blunt and as dumb as a sack of bricks. Shiraishi, on the other hand, is a quiet, smart girl who is currently being bullied by her peers.

One day, Yamada and Shiraishi accidentally trip whilst they are walking up a flight up stairs. A rough fall in which they knock into each other and inadvertently have their lips connect is where the string of events that follow begins. This is because after Yamada awakens from his fall, he realises that he’s in Shiraishi’s body, and she his.

They had swapped bodies.

What in the holy Hell?! Panic grips him and he works with her to return to his own body. Unfortunately for Yamada, however, it doesn’t just end there. He soon finds himself in a mind numbing web that involves witches, dastardly schemes and magic.

Time for the nitty gritty

If you’re the sort of person who likes watching shows with actual depth and meaning, you should probably give this one a pass.

Although “Yamada and the Seven Witches” does have its highlights, it is largely a show that runs on a senseless plot that solely depends on fanservice, with the added trait of trying to emulate the immature side of anime/manga as much as possible. It is for the latter reason that “Yamada and the Seven Witches” is rife with over the top reactions, strange logic and bizarre interactions that cannot be found in real life. The characters are, in the simplest term possible, caricatures.

So those who are unfamiliar with the nature of anime/manga will likely find this incredibly off-putting and nonsensical- although to be fair,  older fans of the genre will probably share the sentiment. The main difference is that they would understand why the material is the way it is. It is crack and honestly isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

That is not to say that this eight episode series is a total loss; as mentioned earlier, it does have its strong points.

These strong points are the cast and the light-hearted humour it is injected with. For all of “Yamada and the Seven Witches” faults, the actors and actresses have done no wrong and have simply done their job in giving a good performance. Colourful and vibrant, it is through their work that the series retains some semblance of entertainment value, thank Heavens.

So would I recommend this to anyone who wants anything remotely serious? Definitely not.

But I would recommend this to someone who doesn’t mind spending a lazy Sunday afternoon watching senseless fun and a near endless stream of fanservice.

“Yamada and the Seven Witches”? More like “Yamada and Every Man and Woman on the Planet”.

You get the picture.

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Beauty Review: Innisfree’s Apple Seed Deep Cleansing Foam

Beauty Review: Innisfree’s Apple Seed Deep Cleansing Foam

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have noticed that Korean beauty products have pretty much taken the world by storm- and that among those in the forefront is Innisfree.

A popular eco-friendly company that is made all the more attractive thanks to its reasonable prices, Innisfree has easily wormed its way to my list of favourite beauty brands. Which isn’t very easy, mind, since I tend to only like one product from any single brand and call it a day. But here we are.

So of course, when I was gifted with a generous amount of samples by Innisfree, my fondness for them grew all the more. Which prompted me to type up this blog post.

Today, I’ll be reviewing the Apple Seed Deep Cleansing Foam (RM39.31) from the Apple Seed Cleansing Kit Series.

What is it?

Enriched with “the vitality of apple seeds”, this Innisfree foam cleanser is and looks like, despite its marketing jargon, a pretty standard cleanser. Which is expected, given the fact that cleansers aren’t products that are supposed to be on your face for a long period of time. It’s a cleanse-and-rinse sort of deal, as you should know.

That being said, that doesn’t mean you can just buy any old cleanser off the rack. Effectiveness differs from product to product, and everyone’s skin is different. There is just no one-size-fits-all solution here.

But I digress.

For more information regarding the Apple Seed Deep Cleansing Foam, the official website states it is supposed to do the following:

  • The dense and abundant lather helps completely and delicately cleanse any makeup residue and impurities in the pores
  • The formulation with apple extract and apple seed oil smoothens out flaky dead skin cells to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy
  • Fresh apple fragrance helps you enjoy a refreshing cleansing time

Pretty standard, right? Right.

What is it like?

The cleanser comes in a white, creamy texture that gives off a clean, artificial scent with a hint of apple. Now that I’m getting used to using scented products, I can’t say that I mind it all that much. Still not fond of them, but this one is not overwhelming, at the very least.

As for its performance, this cleanser foams up easily and is able to remove oil and dirt from my face without so much as a fuss. To place emphasis on how well it cleans, my cotton pad catches next to no yellow residue whenever I tone afterwards.

And best of all? This Apple Seed product doesn’t leave behind a tight sensation on my skin. It’s pretty much all a girl can ask for from a cleanser.

Packaging

The main colours incorporated into the design are smooth white and bright green, which grants a young, fresh impression at first glance.

It’s nothing extraordinary, but its aesthetic minimalist appeal does not matter as much as its functionality, which again, does the job. That creamy cleanser is just one squeeze away, and the cap need only be snapped close once you’re done with it.

End result

A pleasant experience; it’s nice to use a product that does exactly what it says it does. Despite having used it several times, I’ve not experienced any tightness or dryness whatsoever. I’d even go as far as to say it helped with keeping my face oil-free for the most part of the day- and I have very greasy skin.

Quite unlike the nightmare that was the Hado Labo cleanser I tried awhile ago.

However, I would like to add that because I have very oily skin, dry types should probably stay away from this.

Where can I find it?

Innisfree.

Verdict

  • Product rating: 4/5
  • Packaging rating: 5/5

I might actually purchase this in the future.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Peg-32, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Pyrus Malus (Apple ) Seed Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Orchid Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyquaternium-7, Peg-90m, Disodium Edta, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance.

 

2+

Movie Review: Let Me Eat Your Pancreas

Title: Let Me Eat Your Pancreas (Yes, the title is correct. I checked)

Japanese Title: 君の膵臓をたべたい || Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai

Starring: Kitamura Takumi, Hamabe Minami, Oguri Shun, Kitagawa Keiko, Otomo Karen, Yamoto Yuma, Sakurada Dori, Kamiji Yusuke, Morishita Daichi

Genre: Romance

Rating: 9/10

Holy crap what is that title

If you’ve been on a lookout for a zombie movie, you’re going to be sorely disappointed with this flick from Japan. Because as funky as the title is, Let Me Eat Your Pancreas is anything but a gore fest.

Which is something I would have pinned it down as if not for the fact that I regularly lurk on the Moments page of HelloTalk. I saw people raving about how romantic/beautiful/poignant it is, so really, the thought of it being a horror flick pretty much diminished from my mind.

That doesn’t mean the same applies for everyone else, though. There was a handful of people at the cinema last night who kept staring at the screen, then at their tickets, then at the screen again in utter confusion. Of course, the words “What the heck is this movie about?” and “What movie is this?” followed suit. Like they had expected blood and violence instead of what appeared to be a serene, cherry blossom-blessed scene with young high school leads leading completely normal lives. Where were the guts and gore?

Oh, the pain.

Unfortunately for them, the most morbid thing in Let Me Eat Your Pancreas is the female lead’s joking comments about cannibalism.

So there’s no horror. What is it about then?

Set in Japan, Haruki is a high school teacher at the same school he graduated from. Despite choosing to pursue teaching due to the encouragement of someone special to him, he is laden with doubts. He has always been a loner, so really, what makes him suited to be a teacher? He has to interact with people, and that has never been his thing…

These doubts slowly begin to change when he is requested to sort out the books at the school library, which has to be closed down- for it has reached a state where it has been deemed too run down for use.

It is at this point onwards that his memories of his high school years begin to return to him with burning clarity- and with far greater frequency. Of his days spent with an ex-classmate, whom he had found out was suffering from a terminal pancreatic disease after he picked up her Illness diary at the hospital. Her name was Sakura, and there’s not a day that passes him by where he does not miss her.

What’s your take on it?

If I have to be brutally honest, even though I greatly enjoyed the movie, I wasn’t surprised by the way it turned out. It carries a lot of themes that are commonly found in Japanese stories (novels, dramas, anime, manga, etc…) and most prominently, it bears a strong resemblance to the live-action film, Your Lie in April. You know, the one starring that ball of fluff, Yamazaki Kento? That very one.

This familiarity with Japanese works is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t tear up during the film even though my friend did hahaha.

Still, though. Let Me Eat Your Pancreas is a beautiful movie that is worth watching, and dare I say, it might be a bit better than Your Lie in April? It’s tough to say, because both are brilliant works with talented leads, so I’m going to say that this particular decision of mine is made out of pure taste. Because even though I adore Kento to bits, I prefer the more focused approach that Let Me Eat Your Pancreas has on the leads’ relationship.

So yes. I definitely recommend giving this a watch. Let Me Eat Your Pancreas is hands down the, if not one of the, best romance Asian films I’ve seen to date. In fact, I still have this warm, feel-good feeling that it left me with as soon as the credits rolled last night.

It’s a lovely story about first love and I can’t help but to smile just thinking about it.

Just for fun

The title was shortened to “LET ME EAT YOU” on our movie tickets. My friend and I had a good laugh out of that!

I swear the title is a stroke of brilliance.

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