What It Means to bBe a LORD OF THE RINGS Nerd

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Even if you haven’t read the Lord of the Rings, you’ve likely seen the movie trilogy. And if you haven’t seen the movies, you’re still familiar with the basic premise of the whole thing because, let’s be honest, you most likely have a friend that loves The Lord of the Rings. If you know slightly more than the title of the books, you know Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (who were great friends) realized England didn’t have its own mythology. So they took it upon themselves to write one, which is how the epic Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia series were created.

While both series are brilliant, Tolkien went much further in creating an enchanting, mythological world that is immensely more detailed and rich than Lewis’s more didactic approach to the task in The Chronicles of Narnia. However, Tolkien did incorporate his views on the Industrial Revolution, the changing world of England, and the First World War. Through his love of languages, interest in Celtic and Norse histories, awareness of his changing world, and an exceptional imagination, Tolkien created a trilogy that changed the world of fantasy forever. If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you already know all this (if you know a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably also know all this), but if you are a through and through, genuine, authentic LOTR nerd, you:

1.) Have the books memorized

You grew up with LOTR being read to you as your bedtime story. You still read them as your bedtime story. You plan on reading them to your children as a bedtime story. In fact, you’ve read the books so many times that whole phrases have become part of your everyday vernacular, and some even find their way into homework assignments and job applications. You may secretly feel that you could have written a better screenplay for the movies, but your loyalty to anything LOTR trumps the thought that it could be even better.

2.) Also have the movies memorized

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You have an annual marathon of the LOTR extended edition movies (why do they even sell any other edition?), which you can quote all the way through. You love it anyway. You usually watch them dressed up as your favorite character. You may also reminisce about the night you went to each movie premiere, also dressed up.

3.) Don’t need the subtitled translations

Aside from the fact that you have almost every line memorized, you still wouldn’t need the subtitled translations because you are fluent in the elvish language. You may even have a preference language — Quenya or Sindarian. If you are made fun of for speaking Elvish, you are quick to defend yourself by reminding your critics that those are both academically studied languages. You may have even gotten caught in school for passing notes, but never went to the principal’s office because the teacher either couldn’t read it, or could read it and you both became instant friends.

4.) Profile LOTR Style

Depending on whom you identify with in the book, you may profile all the people around you in relation to your character. You may have accidentally called your best friend “Sam,” your nemesis “Legolas,” or your next door neighbor “Gollum” (it’s not your fault he treats his ’71 Mustang like his prrreeecccioussss…). You also tend to treat whomever you are in a relationship with as only a true LOTR nerd would. Sure, you can give away jewelry to signify a love that would surpass even the desire for immortality, but you would never consider a proposal with a ring.

5.) Have “the voice”

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You know what it is and you can imitate it. Perfffeeecctttllyyyy.

6.) Live happily ever after

However, your happily ever after isn’t tinted by rose-colored glasses. You get that there are hard things in life, that there are some things you have to fight for, and there are some things you lose, but that, in the end, everything will work out. You don’t see life as a journey to an end; you see it as an ongoing journey that you have the choice to embrace. And perhaps most important of all, you realize “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

By Katie Bullock

What Does It Mean to Be a Studio Ghibli Nerd?

I have been a Studio Ghibli nut all my life, but did not know exactly where the phenomenal films came from until I was in college. Most people who love the films have similar experiences and have seen the films, but don’t necessarily connect them to the studio that produces them, nor to the fact that Ghibli has produced numerous films! I would say this is our first type of Ghibli nerd: the unknowing “Ghiblet” who needs a little guidance to get access to the knowledge that, yes, there are other films like Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service.  I cannot count on my fingers the amount of times I have asked people, “Do you like Studio Ghibli?” and they respond, “What is that?” Then, I proceed to ask them if they have seen a Ghibli film, Spirited Away, for example and they answer something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh! I love that movie!” Oh, those lovely unknowing Ghiblets…

Next, we have the Ghibli for life people who are balls deep into the whole Ghibli thing. There is a wide range of these guys (i.e. from the fanatics to the film appreciators), and they express a few character traits that we’ll talk about below. The unknowing Ghiblets (UGs) have the potential to become one of these, and I don’t see why the UGs would not want to go all in on this stuff because it is amazing. Disclaimer: I am clearly not biased, so trust me on this one. ;)

So, here is what that true Ghibli nerd is like:

1.) They have all the merch:

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Well, maybe not all of it, but they certainly want to!  I mean, who wouldn’t want a Totoro bed, some awesome Ghibli paintings to put up on your wall, Ghibli coin purses, costumes — you name it! Basically, you can get anything Ghibli if you set your mind to it. Admittedly, I myself rock the My Neighbor Totoro wallet and several pieces of Ghibli wall art. And let me tell you, folks, it just makes my day a little better every time I look at sweet, sweet Tororo’s face. If you want to see more of this awesome Ghibli stuff of which I speak, go ahead and check out my Ghibli board on Pinterest here!

2.) They have seen most, if not all, of the movies:

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You’ve likely heard someone refer to a Studio Ghibli film at one time or another, as the films from this studio are pretty popular, to say the least. Perhaps you know of the studio after having seen some of the films, perhaps not; either way, you have likely experienced a Ghibli film at one time or another in your childhood. And, hey, what childhood is truly complete without the magic of Ghibli? Disney geeks might try to contest this, but there is really no case against it because Ghibli films in America are distributed through Disney! Distributed, yes, but created by Disney? Definitely not. The films under the Studio Ghibli umbrella are typically headed up by Hayao Miyazaki, his mentors, and mentees. If you’re already a Ghibli nut, you’re probably aware of this by now, but if you are just getting into Ghibli films, I strongly recommend finding out more about the creators of these films because they are some of the most talented artists you will ever hear of!

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So, to be honest, experiencing these movies is the best facet of being a Ghibli nerd because you have practically flawless movies to watch again and again and again. There are many films that have been released in the US that almost everyone knows about, such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and a couple others. If you have ever seen a single one of these movies, you might know that they are far above the quality necessitated to call something a “classic.” Growing up on Ghibli productions has helped so many children enhance their youthful imagination and make the best of childhood. What I know of Miyazaki confirms this, as this was largely Ghibli’s mission in creating most of the their films out there — they are simply works of art and stimulate the imagination of adults and children alike. Now, if so many people in the States have seen these, what differentiates the people who admire the films from a distance from the true Ghiblet?

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Well, although these movies are well-known in the states, there are also some lesser-known Ghibli films that have been translated into English as well. Most diehard Ghiblets know about these and agree that they are essentials to the Ghibli repertoire. Some of these include: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, From up on Poppy Hill, When Marnie was There, The Wind Rises, Princess Mononoke, and many others. It is unfortunate that these films are lesser-known in the States, as they are masterpieces in the world of cartoon-making. Ghiblets, however, know this and want more people to experience these films. In fact, before I became a true Ghiblet, a friend of mine who already was one convinced me to watch a bunch of the Ghibli films I had never even heard of. They even bought me a few of the films, just to ensure that I was able to experience them! Now, friends, that is a real Ghibli fan. And thank goodness for those because, without them, UGs like I was would not have the opportunity to see some of the world’s finest artwork.

3.) They Tend to Admire Hayao Miyazaki

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But really, who wouldn’t?! This guy has created countless classics that define people’s childhoods. On top of that, he is generally a cool guy who knows how to be an adult, but live and enjoy life like a child. His art definitely reflects that too.

4.) They all want to go to the Ghibli Museum in Japan

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Okay, Ghibli nerd or not, who wouldn’t want to do this? This place has the cutest attractions you could dream of, from a giant catbus to the robot soldiers from Laputa Castle in the Sky. They also show a special animated short that you can’t find elsewhere. Pretty cool, if you ask me. 

Well, those are the basics of what it means to be a Ghibli nerd, my friends!  Definitely not an exhaustive list, but an honest effort! If you’re into this stuff already, I advise you to keep going. If not, you are missing out and will find that getting more into Ghibli awesomeness will enrich your life totally!

By Corey Cherrington

What It Means To Be a STAR WARS Nerd

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Star Wars has been a worldwide phenomenon since it debuted in 1977. The franchise is widely credited with launching the age of the modern blockbuster and is directly responsible for the many cinematic universes we see in film today. Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012 breathed new life into the franchise after a disappointing prequel trilogy, and fans are excited to see what the future holds. But what does it mean to be a Star Wars fan? We came up with a few things most Star Wars fans do.

The Lightsaber

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Every huge Star Wars fan has one. It may just be the one their mom bought them at Wal-mart when they were a kid or it may be a fancy Force FX replica. Either way, they own one and have at least considered wearing it in public. They battle with their friends, making the iconic humming and clashing noises as they fight. Super hardcore fans may know what their lightsaber color means, and perhaps even the eight different styles of lightsaber combat. Any way you slice it, a Star Wars fan will have a lightsaber.

The Merchandise

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Next to the lightsaber, every good Star Wars fan needs a Star Wars t-shirt. Most likely, they own several, and wear them proudly. And the t-shirt is just the first piece of merchandise a Star Wars fan will own. Action figures, books, posters, prop replicas, costume replicas, Legos, bedsheets, breakfast cereals, and more will fill the home of a Star Wars fan. Every Star Wars fan loves their Star Wars merchandise.

The Prequels

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Most Star Wars fans will agree that the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) are the only “good” movies in the franchise. Many Star Wars fans were sorely disappointed with the prequels (Episodes I, II, and III). The prequels had some great action and cool special effects, but they had poorly written dialogue, little to no character development, and not enough practical effects. Just about every Star Wars fan has had multiple heated debates about just how bad the prequels were and where George Lucas went wrong. Despite those heated debates, a true Star Wars fan still knows the prequels inside and out and still loves to watch them.

A Family Affair

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Star Wars is a unique franchise. It has captured three generations of fans: the generation raised on the original trilogy, the generation raised on the prequel trilogy, and the generation that will experience the new trilogy and stand-alone films. Parents love watching their kids fall in love with Star Wars almost as much as they love watching the films themselves. There are countless videos out there of parents and their kids enjoying Star Wars together, and no matter your age, Star Wars is magical. Just ask these kids...

Going Forward

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Thanks to Disney, J.J. Abrams, and a successful Episode VII, Star Wars has a bright future. This December will bring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to theaters, the first standalone film in the franchise. With a trilogy still awaiting completion, a Han Solo film, a quality TV series in Star Wars Rebels, and new comic books produced by Marvel, there is plenty for the true Star Wars fan to look forward to. What are your favorite things about being a Star Wars fan?

May the Force be with you.

By Jacob Gibb

Four DOCTOR WHO Stories You Should Watch During The Break

By: Aaron Goins

This time of year, we would normally be gearing up for new episodes of Doctor Who. The last two seasons started on August 23rd and September 19th, respectively. But this year is different. Back in January it was announced that Series 10 of Doctor Who will not air until Spring of 2017. That means there will be a long 16 or so months separating the finale of Series 9 from the premiere of Series 10.

So what do we do during the wait? Well, there was another major announcement in January: Steven Moffat will be leaving Doctor Who and new showrunner Chris Chibnall will be taking over starting with Series 11. With Series 11 not coming until 2018, we have even longer to wait to see what his version of Doctor Who will look like. But it’s never too early to start doing your homework.

Chibnall has written five episodes of Doctor Who making up four stories (one of the stories is a two-parter). What better way to get a feel for the future of Doctor Who than to watch the future showrunner’s previous work? So while you are waiting for this year’s Christmas Special, check out these four Chibnall-written Doctor Who stories.

"42"

Chibnall’s very first Doctor Who writing credit was for a 2007 episode featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha. This episode was unique in that it was the only Chibnall-written episode to not feature the Eleventh Doctor and the Ponds. The main villain in this one was a sun-entity that possessed people and burned them up from the inside. Or were the villains the humans who were stealing energy from the entity? You decide. Chibnall can write scary and intense. He gave David Tennant’s version of the Doctor some very memorable scenes that rival the most emotional Doctor moments. There was also some nice foreshadowing of the Master’s return at the end.

"The Hungry Earth" and "Cold Blood"

Chibnall returned to Doctor Who in 2010 and penned this two-parter. The Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory traveled to the wrong place and time and encountered some scientists who were unknowingly drilling into an underground civilization. The aliens below the surface did not appreciate this and wanted to start a war. Humans carelessly hurting an alien species and paying the consequences...sound familiar? We can definitely see some themes Chibnall enjoys to write, although this one is somewhat of a Doctor Who staple. These episodes also featured the return of a Doctor Who alien we had not seen in the series since 1984, the Silurians. The Silurians appeared or were mentioned in three of the five Chibnall-written episodes. I wonder if we should expect to see them more when he takes over the show for Series 11.

"Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"

This 2012 episode of Doctor Who took us from one extreme to another. It showed us a very silly side of the Doctor, not uncommon in Matt Smith’s run. It also showed us the dark side of the Doctor, where he essentially killed a man, or let’s say, let him die. This episode gave us one of the more interesting villains in the modern series, a man who was so void of morality that the Doctor wasn’t sure exactly how to deal with him. As Chibnall takes over Doctor Who, I hope to see more villains like Solomon and more dark moments for the Doctor. The triceratops that acted like a dog? Let’s not revisit that.

"The Power of Three"

Chris Chibnall’s last Doctor Who episode was also written for 2012’s Series 7. It was a story featuring little black boxes appearing on Earth and the introduction of a villainous species with a lot of potential, the Shakri. But this was all just the vehicle to carry the real story, which was the Doctor coming to terms with having to say goodbye to the Ponds. Some of the best dialogue of Series 7 can be found in conversations between the Doctor and Brian (Rory’s dad) and the Doctor and Amy. Chibnall showcased his ability to write the tear-jerking emotion we all love to see in our Doctor Who.

Which Doctor Who episodes have you been watching while waiting for the show to return?

Relive The Highlights of GAME OF THRONES Season 6 With These Gifs

By: Aaron Goins

The sixth season of Game of Thrones was full of huge moments: epic battles, character deaths, betrayals, alliances, even a little time travel. There were too many great moments to list them all, so I picked ten, one from each episode. Spoilers ahead!

Brienne To The Rescue

In the season opener “The Red Woman,” we were shown that Jon Snow was very much dead, and they were going to leave him that way for a bit. We saw a lot of death and a change of leadership in Dorne. Melisandre was revealed...in a different way than we had seen her revealed before.

But the moment that makes the list is Brienne fulfilling her desire to protect and serve another Stark. She showed up just in time to save Sansa and Theon from the fate of being brought back to the maniac Ramsay Bolton. With the help of Podrick, and even a little from Theon Greyjoy, Brienne fought off their pursuers. This allowed her to once again offer her sword to Sansa.

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In “Home,” Jon Snow is still dead. Ramsay Bolton killed his dad and baby brother in ways that only Ramsay could. Balon Greyjoy also met his end at his brother’s hand. By the end of the episode, Jon was resurrected.

You may think Jon Snow taking his first breath would be the hands down top moment of the episode, but something else really stood out to me. Tyrion’s interaction with the dragons was so good. His fear was real, but his awe of the creatures eclipsed his fear. Tyrion’s story of wanting a little dragon of his own was perfect as he set the creatures free.

Sword of The Morning

In the previous episode, we saw Bran’s ability to experience the past with the help of the Three-Eyed Raven. In “Oathbreaker,” we got to see him use that ability again, but in a more exciting way. He brought us to the place where his father faced off against Ser Arthur Dayne in the legendary battle. The fight lived up to expectation but had an ending that surprised Bran. And just when we thought a popular fan theory would be proven, Bran woke up.

Trial By Fire

As the Lannisters and Tyrells continued to spar with the High Sparrow in “Book of the Stranger,” Dany is a prisoner of the Dothraki. Her fate seemed to be that she would have to retire with the other khal widows, but that wasn’t going to work for the Mother of Dragons. Instead, she set the khals’ tent on fire, killing them all, and taking her place as Khaleesi once again.

Hold The Door

“The Door” revealed to us the origin of the White Walkers. I never trusted those creepy Children of the Forest. Bran also made the mistake of being touched by the Night King during a vision. This ended up being a huge mistake which led to the deaths of the remaining Children, the Three-Eyed Raven, and Summer the direwolf.

The big moment of the episode was the reveal that Hodor’s name and catchphrase was just a slurred version of “hold the door.” Holding the door was his last act of bravery and allowed Meera and Bran to escape.

Holy Alliance

In “Blood of My Blood,” Sam took Gilly home to meet his parents. His mom seemed nice enough, but his dad could have worked on his manners. Gilly stood up to Lord Tarly and Sam had enough. Sam, Gilly, and child left in the night, but not before Sam took the sword that was rightfully his.

The return of Benjen Stark and Dany’s inspirational speech were other big moments in this episode, but the game changer was the High Sparrow getting the advantage in his chess match against Cersei. Just when Jaime thought he was going to put the zealot in his place, the High Sparrow revealed his latest convert.

Return of The Hound

This I did not see coming. When Sandor Clegane was beaten by Brienne and left for dead by Arya, I thought we would never see him again. Imagine my surprise when he showed up helping a cute little community of villagers.

Other big moments in “The Broken Man,” were the negotiation with Lyanna Mormont and the surprise stabbing of Arya Stark.

In The Dark

“No One” gave us the reuniting of Brienne and Jaime at Riverrun and the eventual death of The Blackfish. The Brotherhood Without Banners made a return and crossed paths with Sandor Clegane. The Brotherhood and the Hound have no current allegiances, so it will be interesting to see how they play into the upcoming war.

Arya sought the help of Lady Crane, but couldn’t hide from the waif for long. An exciting chase through Braavos led to Arya setting a trap for the waif. All that blind training really came in handy.

Face Your Mistakes

“Battle of The Bastards” was packed full of huge moments. I could almost make a list of ten from this episode alone: Dany making a pact with the Greyjoys, Rickon Stark taking an arrow to the heart, Ramsay Bolton finally getting what was coming to him...to name just a few.

Visually, the moment that really stuck out to me was Jon Snow standing alone on the battlefield facing down the charging horses of the Bolton army. Sure, it was his impulsiveness and bad decision-making that led him to his likely death, but it made for a great hero pose.

Beyond The Sea

The explosive season finale “The Winds of Winter” set the stage for what is to come in Game of Thrones. House Frey joined House Bolton in being nearly eliminated from the game. Cersei blew up the Sept, taking out the young Tyrells, the High Sparrow, and most of his forces. Tommen jumped out of a window, leaving the throne open to his mom. Jon Targary—I mean Snow was proclaimed the King of the North. Everyone else seemed to be Team Daenerys. The season ended with a fantastic view of dragons and ships crossing the Narrow Sea.

What were your favorite moments from this season?

5 Anime That Would Make Badass Live-Action Movies

We’ve now seen a couple of instances of filmmakers wanting to take an anime show and turn it into a live-action movie, and every time it has been a flop. The obvious examples are of course The Last Airbender and Dragonball Evolution. However, what if people did these adaptations right? We picked some of our favorite anime shows that could potentially pull off the live-action treatment.


Supernatural Genre

Yu Yu Hakusho

The Story: Yu Yu Hakusho is an anime from the '90s about Spirit Detective Yusuke Urameshi. Yusuke goes around with his friends fighting off demons to save the world. This could be adapted really well into a live-action movie using the Saint Beast story arc. We’d start off with Yusuke, already having his powers, receiving the call to Maze Castle, where the four Saint Beasts reside. Yusuke and supporting characters Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama would, of course, defeat the Saint Beasts, but those fights could be really fun to watch if done properly. The story from this arc is great yet compact enough to fit into a 1.5 or 2-hour movie if planned correctly.

Other Thoughts: The demons could all be made with prosthetics, giving it a more real feel. Although some may not be able to be done with prosthetics (Genbu, for example), that doesn’t mean we can’t use them in a different way. The fights could also use a style similar to those in kung fu movies, or even Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Honorable Mentions: Witch Hunter Robin, Bleach


Mecha Genre

Zoids — New Century/Century Zero

The Story: Zoids is a fantastic show from the early 2000s about people piloting giant robot animals to fight. There's not too much there in terms of story, except at the end of the show. The last five episodes of Century Zero are the story of the Royal Cup, which is the best narrative section of this series. The narratives are better in Chaotic Century, but they're also next to impossible to break down to one movie. The Royal Cup is long enough that you can have the same narrative, play with a couple of the details (we don’t need 15 minutes of the Blitz Team goofing off at the beach), and make some of the battles longer/more detailed. Let’s face it: when watching a mecha movie, we’re not looking for the best story as much as we’re looking for a really fun time.

Other Thoughts: The animal nature of Zoids would be a nice break from other giant robot movies like Pacific Rim and Transformers.

Honorable Mentions: Gundam Wing, Neon Genesis Evangelion


Sports Genre

Haikyuu!!

The Story: Haikyuu!! is by far the biggest breakout sports anime of the past two years. Based on the JUMP manga, this show follows Karasuno High School’s boy’s volleyball team in their quest for victory. This show is praised for its realistic portrayal of sports (compared to other shows in this genre) and we think a live-action adaptation would help celebrate how true-to-life the action really is.

As much as I love every second of this anime, there’s no way to fit all of season one into a movie. If we simply focus on the Karasuno vs Seijou rivalry, however, I think we can do it justice. This would mean cutting out everything involving Nekoma and requiring different explanations for both Coach Ukai joining the team, as well as Asahi’s return. With these changes, the plot would still focus on Hinata joining the team and how the team has to learn to come together to defeat Seijou, but after Karasuno’s first practice match against them, we’d simply jump into a training camp montage before the tournament arc starts. The movie would end the same way that season one does.

Other Thoughts: This film would be most successful if it was shot in the style that 2004’s Miracle was, where the camera followed the action on the ice, as opposed to showing a bird’s eye view of the games, like you would see in the Olympics. This would allow for the same dynamic action that the anime portrays so well.

Honorable Mentions: Free!, Kuroko’s Basketball


Action Genre

Soul Eater

The Story: Soul Eater is an anime from 2008 that takes place at a school where there are two types of students: weapons and meisters. These students team up to fight evil and collect corrupted souls. For this movie, we’d focus on the team of Soul and Maka, and the adventures that they go on in season one. These would lead up to the battle at the school in episodes 18-24 that involves Maka and her friends trying to prevent the evil witch Medusa from awakening the monster known as the Kishin.

Other Thoughts: My only concern for this film is that it would be very easy to be extremely cheesy. Lame weapon props, crappy effects, or even poor set design could instantly strip away all of the awesomeness that this series brings to the table.

Honorable Mentions: Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bleach


Romance Genre

Your Lie in April

The Story: Kousei was a brilliant piano player when he was young. But after he lost his mother, he could no longer hear his piano playing, despite his ears being fine. This forced him to give up his beloved piano until high school, when on a bright warm day in April, he met a violinist named Kaori. Through Kaori’s encouragement, Kousei was able to conquer his mental block, continue to play piano, and most importantly, fall in love with Kaori. While everything got better for Kousei, life played a cruel joke on Kaori: she was very ill.

“Do you think you will be able to forget? I’m not holding back. So that people who’ve heard me will never forget me. So that I can live in their hearts forever. That’s my reason for existing. I am a musician, after all! Just like you.” — Kaori Miyazono

Other thoughts: I was listening to Kreisler’s Liebesleid (Love’s Sorrow) while I was writing this article. Kaori and Kousei were supposed to play this song together on stage, but they were unable to because of Kaori’s health problems. Your Lie in April is a beautiful story, but it is also sorrowful, like the kind of love that Kaori had for Kousei. Even when she was very sick, she still tried to be brave and supportive. This love story took place in April between two talented teenagers. Maybe it was a lie, but it was the most beautiful lie.

Honorable Mentions: Itazula Kiss, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya


Post By: Tommy Wiliams, Catherine Wilson, and Yifan Zhao