One Piece Arc Review: Amazon Lily

Amazon Lily is one of the last One Piece arcs before the time skip takes place, and it is one of the smallest cannon arcs in the story.

It stands as a unique role in the story, because it isn’t an island that is used for a main story. Instead it is used as a jumping off point for upcoming arcs.

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Was humor the intent?

Amazon Lily is an island entirely of women. Men are not allowed, and often killed whenever they step foot on the island.

Luffy lands on the island when is sent there by Kuma, and the women have no idea what he is (a man).

Their naivety leads to a lot of child-like humor, mainly focused on Luffy and his rubber penis.

It’s innocent and there are a few jokes that are a bit funny, but after an entire island population being entirely captivated by Luffy, I was a bit bored of it by the end. It was no longer funny, and it hasn’t aged too well.


An Island of Women

Being an island of women, Amazon Lily introduced another Warlord: Boa Hancock. She is an interesting character that adds more depth to the world.

If you can ignore her creepy level of love for Luffy, her slavery background makes the One Piece world that much more interesting.

Her and her sisters were kidnapped and sold into slavery to the Celestial Dragons. This makes Boa more interesting than her lovestruck story that is forced down our throats. The slavery adds a continuation to the Sabaody Archipelago story with the Celestial Dragons, and makes us hate them even more than we already did the more we fall in love with Boa.


Slingshot into the future

Amazon Lily is used as a home base for Luffy for the next arc, so the introduction makes a lot of sense in this part of the story.

If it had been introduced any later than this, we wouldn’t have been able to get as rich of a story, and Luffy’s story would feel a lot more like he was getting plot armor benefits and not actually telling a story.

There isn’t a lot that happens on this island, but we do get to explore the idea of Haki more, building up on the past few arcs.


Final Thoughts

There isn’t a lot that happens in Amazon Lily. It does what it was designed to do, and keeps the story going. It does slow the intensity of the last arc a bit, but it sets up the next arc nicely.

I wouldn’t consider this one of my favourite arcs in the One Piece story, but I don’t really have any negative comments about it.


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Movie Review: Princess Mononoke

Hello dear readers, it has been a while. Today’s Ghibli review is for Princess Mononoke. It has been suggested to me by a few people, so I knew I had to watch it as soon as possible. It was a lot less innocent than the rest of the Ghibli movies I have seen already, but it was a great movie in itself.

If you are interested in my other Studio Ghibli movies that I have reviewed, you can see them here:

Spirited Away My Neighbor Totoro Ponyo Kiki’s Delivery Service

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Title: Princess Mononoke
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆

In the 14th century, the harmony that humans, animals and gods have enjoyed begins to crumble. The protagonist, young Ashitaka – infected by an animal attack, seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami. In his travels, he sees humans ravaging the earth, bringing down the wrath of wolf god Moro and his human companion Princess Mononoke. Hiskattempts to broker peace between her and the humans brings only conflict.


Blood and Gore

I was quite surprised when a Giant Boar Demon’s head was sliced in half early on in this movie. The rest of the Ghibli movies I had seen were relatively family friendly.

They had moments that might have been seen as “violent” but I would let any kid watch them.

Princess Mononoke was a lot different though. I wouldn’t say it was excessively violent or bloody, and some moments had that family friendly feeling to it, but it is definitely violent.

Even though it is rather violent, it still comes off as a fun light-hearted movie. Some of the sub-story lines would be harder to understand, but the core of the movie is simple.


One With Nature

I don’t fancy myself as a religious or overly spiritual person, but I am a big fan of the Ghibli movies having the idea of “spirits” that inhabit the world.

Princess Mononoke doesn’t have as strong of a spirit presence as other Ghibli movies, but I like the idea that the forest’s animals are more sentient and have conscious thought.

Man vs. Nature is one of the forms of conflict, and is probably one of my favourite. It simplifies down to technology vs. animalistic behavior.

Base instinct and raw power vs. technology and strategy. It’s a simple concept but the storytelling possibilities are nearly endless.


Simple Story

Princess Mononoke‘s story is simple at its core. Humans vs. Nature.

The recent human settlement, now a mining town, is at war with the wolves and other animals of the forest.

One man, Ashitaka, is trying to stop the war and find peace amongst the two warring sides.

He is caught in the middle of a war between three factions, but still holds true to himself.

I wouldn’t say there was a lot of character growth in this movie. For the most part they seem to stay true to the characteristics, which is fine.

Not every movie needs to have a great amount of character growth, but it’s always nice to see it when it happens.


Final Thoughts

There are some stories that just wouldn’t work as a live-action movie, and I think Princess Mononoke is one of those movies.

It has a reliance on animal spirits that wouldn’t make for a great live-action adaptation in my opinion.

The more I think about this movie, the darker it really is. I wouldn’t recommend it for any young children, but teenagers would be fine with it.


What did you think of Princess Mononoke? Do you have any recommendations of Ghibli movies to watch next? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Hello dear Ghibli fans, I come to you this week with a review of Kiki’s Delivery Service.

If you don’t know by now, I am slowly making my way through the Studio Ghibli catalog and reviewing each of the movies. So far I’ve reviewed: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.

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Title: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy it here

13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back.

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Simple is Best

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a perfect example of why I love movies with a simple premise. Often it’s thriller movies with a simple but intriguing concept that I like the most, but Kiki follows the same principle.

Its premise is simple, but the storytelling possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes it beautiful. It could have been a much more confusing movie. With magic and technology working hand in hand, the world building could have been a lot more in-depth, but it didn’t need to be. It fit perfectly to the feel of the movie, and I wouldn’t ask for it to be any more in-depth than it is.


Coming of Age

This theme seems to be quite common for Ghibli movies, and its amazing to see it in so many different ways.

It’s quite a common theme in storytelling, but it’s effective. When done well it can get you to relate with the characters, and you see their growth.

Kiki’s Delivery Service tells a great coming of age story, despite some parts being a bit unbelievable. We see a strong, determined Kiki go through struggles and fears to push through them and become a strong young woman in her own right.


Soft Magic

Kiki’s Delivery Service, like many of the Studio Ghibli movies has magic involved, but we never really get any explanation of it. We don’t get the rules of who can do what sort of magic, all we get is that people can do magic.

Magic can often be used as a storytelling device, which it is in Kiki’s case, but it doesn’t grow with our characters. Our characters don’t get stronger the further into the story we get, they just embrace their powers and use them as a part of themselves.


Final Thoughts

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a great movie that is obviously family friendly. If you can get past the “old-school” animation style it’s a great movie to cuddle up on the couch with and enjoy one night.

It’s not only enjoyable and fun, but it teaches some great lessons for kids to learn.


Movie Review: Ponyo

Hello dear readers and watchers, welcome back to my third review of a Studio Ghibli movie.

I started this journey a few weeks back with my review of Spirited Away, and continued last week with My Neighbor Totoro.

I plan on reviewing a new Studio Ghibli movie every week until I no longer enjoy it, so if you have a favourite movie of theirs you want me to watch and review, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.

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Title: Ponyo
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★☆☆

During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.


Lowering My Standards

I think I started this journey incorrectly. I started with what is often considered the best Ghibli movie; Spirited Away, and then started going down the list.

Spirited Away blew me away, and I haven’t been quite impressed since. I’m not saying Ponyo is bad, I just don’t think it was a movie I would want to watch again.

Others might think this is one of the greatest movies ever made, but the story didn’t do it for me. I was often guessing what would happen before they happened and coming up with better plot points.

Ghibli movies go for very simple stories, so it’s not hard to follow along. They also seem to mainly be focused on coming of age stories for young children, or at least the ones I have seen are.

This can be nice because they’re simple to follow along with, and they are fun the whole family can enjoy, but I guess sometimes they are a bit too simple for me.


Lost in Translation

I’ve read online that Ghibli movies can be watched in its natural Japanese or in your native language and enjoyed to the same extent.

I appreciated that when I watched Spirited Away and My Neighbor, because I was able to multi-task while I was watching the movies.

This didn’t seem to be the case so much with Ponyo. It just seemed like the English language wasn’t as playful and fun as the Japanese language is, or at least it is in my experience.

Also, I haven’t looked it up to confirm it, but I am pretty sure Liam Neeson was in this movie and that kind of threw me off. Maybe I am paranoid, but it felt weird to have a man who has killed hundreds of people in other movies play a cartoon character.


Beautiful Artwork

Though I found the story a bit lacking, I loved looking at the artwork. If Ghibli did nothing right, they definitely know how to match their visuals with the story.

It’s almost as if the story is written around the artwork, not the other way around.

Ponyo was colorful, playful, and happy, which is how most would probably describe the movie.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t dislike Ponyo at all, I just found it a bit predictable and boring. If I had watched it when I was a kid, maybe I would think differently, but as a mid-twenties adult, it was too childish for me.


What did you think of Ponyo, and what Ghibli movie should I watch next? Let me know in the comments!
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Best Quotes from Akame Ga Kill

“There is no way to train your heart to be invulnerable.”
– Lubbock

“I had a friend who was very kind to me. No matter what happened or how badly I messed up, she never once made fun of me. The time I spent with her was the only ray of happiness in my entire life.”
– Sheele

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“No matter how many good deeds you perform, your past sins cannot be erased.”
– Sheele


“As the living it is our responsibility to carry out the wishes of the ones who are gone.”
– Akame

“No one would help me. And that’s when I understood… That only I could help myself.”
– Mine

“Everyone has their own reasons to fight! Sometimes, you have to settle it yourself or there’s no way forward!”
– Tatsumi


“The reason doesn’t matter. As long as a tiny bit of hope exists, that’s all that matters.”
– Tatsumi

“If we quit now, then all the dead would have died for nothing.”
– Leone

Manga Review: Akame Ga Kill

Hello my dear manga readers, I feel sadness in my heart when I think back on this manga and anime.

I will be honest and admit that I did watch the anime of Akame Ga Kill before I read the manga, but I like them both for different reasons.

Akame Ga Kill is not a long manga at all, only 78 chapters long. That might seem long to some, but when I’m used to reading One Piece and Naruto that is in the hundreds, 78 is relatively short.

If you’ve read Akame Ga Kill, or have any suggestions for a manga I should read, let me know in the comments or send me a message on social media.
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Title: Akame Ga Kill
Author: Takahiro
Rating: ★★★★☆

The story focuses on Tatsumi, a young villager who travels to the Capital to raise money for his home only to discover strong corruption in the area. The assassin group known as Night Raid recruits the young man to help them in their fight against the corrupt Empire.


World-building is Key

I’m a sucker for a well-developed world that you can immerse yourself in. A lot of my favourite series are ones that build an entire world around the reading experience.

Akame Ga Kill does not do a lot of world-building, but it creates a wonderful world around it. We get an understanding of the way the world works in a narrow lens of it all. There is almost no mention of what goes on outside of our characters’ lives yet we know how the world works and the atrocities in it.

Our main focus is on a group of assassins trying to make this world a better place by killing the corrupt men and women of the capital.

We get a bit of history and lore as we discover new characters and new areas, but its shallow and only enough for the next little arc to make sense.

And that’s all we need. The story isn’t world focused, its character focused, and they drive the plot forward with their actions.


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Characters Make the Story

When a story is driven forward by its characters, there is a lot more emotional investment in what happens next. If we don’t fall in love with the characters, then we don’t get the emotional attachment to their actions and any potential conflicts they might need to face.

Akame Ga Kill does a brilliant job of making me fall in love with a group of characters, each so unique and lovable in their own way.

It doesn’t take long for you to love each of the main characters, and people all have a different favourite. No matter who their favourite is, it doesn’t take you long to feel like one of the team.

I wouldn’t say I have one favourite character, because it is often their interactions with others that make me like them so much. If I had to choose, I think I would pick Akame. There is a lot more to her than we get to see outright in the story. If we don’t pick up on subtle cues here and there, her character is a lot different.


Hits you in the Feels

I never thought I would be so emotionally involved in such a short time. You read the first few chapters, and before you know it, you’re already 10-15 chapters in and the story is really rolling. We get connected to these recent strangers with a brilliant plot of assassinating threats to a free world.

Since we mainly follow a new recruit named Tatsumi, we get to interact with each member of the team as they teach Tatsumi something new.

When each character has their important moments, you feel like you’re connected with them on a deeper level since you just went on a mission with them.

Though I didn’t cry at any point, I think a lot of readers will. My emotions were all over the place when I was reading this, so prepare yourself of you’re prone to tears.



Final Thoughts

If you enjoy action-based manga, Akame Ga Kill is a must read for you. It’s short, has some of the best manga fight scenes I have seen, and is character driven, giving the reader a real emotional connection as the story progresses.

Honestly the only reason that it didn’t get a 5 out of 5 star rating was because it did feel a bit repetitive at times, and the writer had a hard time coming up with ways to advance the plot forward smoothly.


What did you think of Akame Ga Kill, and who was your favourite character? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on social media.
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Manga of the Month: Tower of God

Hello dear readers, I want to showcase a manga to you that I’ve really enjoyed, even more so since its anime release at the beginning of the month.

Now technically Tower of God is considered a Manhwa, which from my understanding is just the Korean version of a manga.

It is written and drawn by Lee Jong-hui, who goes by the pen-name S.I.U, and has been serialized weekly in Naver’s webtoon platform Naver Webtoon since June 30, 2010, with the individual chapters collected and published by Young Com into two volumes as of April 2020.


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Why should you read it though?

Tower of God centers around a boy called Twenty-Fifth Bam, who has spent most of his life trapped beneath a vast and mysterious Tower, with only his close friend, Rachel, to keep him company. When Rachel enters the Tower, Bam manages to open the door into it as well, and faces challenges at each floor of this tower as he tries to find his closest companion.

As the story progresses, the reader gradually explores the lore, history, and motivations of important characters and factions that drive or try to change the fate of the tower, for more than 10,000 years. Mysteries are gradually unveiled and added, as the readers learn about the struggles and triumphs of the inhabitants of the tower.”


It has action, comedy, adventure, and it feels like a video game because there are quests and side-quests, leveling up, weapon choices, different races.

It was sort of a hidden gem that was quite popular, but nobody was really speaking about because they wanted to keep it a secret.

If you don’t mind catching up on a few hundred chapters, which contain some really beautiful artwork, then you definitely need to check out Tower of God.