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Update On Life!

No, no I am not dead; I’m still very much alive and actively writing!

“But Ashley, you’ve been so behind and non-existent!”

Well no, not exactly. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will see that I have been pretty active and very much… Existing! But I have not done my due diligence with this blog the way I would like to. Since January, my life has changed drastically and so I feel it’s time I update you lovely readers on all the wonderful things going on behind the scenes.

Firstly, we moved! My partner and I, and of course Elliot, finally have a place to call our own and have been adjusting since late January when we officially packed up and left. This is something we’ve been working towards for the last year; now that it’s finally happened, we’re so very grateful and excited to start this next adventure in our lives.

Elliot is actually happier than anyone with this move. We were worried what separating him from his biological brother would do, but since Elliot has never been the alpha it seems he finally has his own space to grow. Hard to believe as it is, Elliot actually got bullied quite frequently by both his brother and the other resident cat at my parent’s house. His whole demeanor has changed and he is now the king of the house!

We’ve also made some major additions to our family. I did post this to my social media, but we started expanding back in September with the addition of two ferrets, Bristol and Briar. Since our move, we’ve now rescued another ferret named Basil and have added two crested geckos to the mix; Nozdormu and Alexstraza.

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For those of you who do follow Black Moor, this does mean we have a new studio location [official post to come soon with additional info]. The second room in our apartment is now a dedicated office to all of our projects. I don’t have any official photos of the studio yet, but once we’ve finished putting together the last bits we want to improve, we will be posting it on our website! And you know we’re going to have a fish tank in here asap.

In other news, I did say I have still been writing. I’ve expanded my workload and now have started working with a few different publications. If you want to know which ones, please check out my Twitter feed where you can see all the official articles I repost. I love the sites I’m currently working for as the teams are so wonderful, unique and helpful!

My journalism career has not been the reason for less blogging, however. In fact, the readjusting to my new life has been the biggest culprit in creating a steady schedule. This will be my last year in college, as I am on track to graduate this fall, and I’m currently finishing my final praxis research project. Getting two degrees has set me back a semester, which is already more than I would have liked, but I am excited nonetheless! In addition, I’ve made the goal to try to get into grad school which has been another large feat taking quite a bit of my time. My latest scholar’s schedule has been rough and time consuming, leaving other projects to be in a sort of limbo state.

Now that it’s been about a month since our official move, I’m settled in enough to get things back on track; including Ashley’s Anime. There will be regular posts on this blog, new episodes on Black Moor and The Untold Vale is now underway and accepting submissions!

So please stay tuned, I’m not dead yet! If I am, you’ll know because I’m fairly certain Elliot will eat me.

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Love is Like a Cocktail – Review

We finally made it friends. We now have an anime about drinking. That’s literally what this entire short anime is about. Seeing as I’ve just turned 21 this past September, I was pretty intrigued by the kind of drinks I’d find. But wait, there’s more…

Love is Like a Cocktail is yet another short anime. Each episode follows a woman named Chi who works as a major editor and holds a lot of responsibility. At work, her hair is up, she barely talks and she works diligently. But at home, her husband, a bartender, makes her amazing drinks to help put her hair down.

The Good:

I really liked that this was a story about a married couple who have a mutual understanding about each other. Chi isn’t very talkative and still seems sort of shy with her husband, but he doesn’t mind that. Just like how she doesn’t mind how forward he is.

I also liked the portrayal of working women, to an extent. I thought it was really cool to see a woman who was in such a position and had a husband who supported her. We usually get men in these business positions and women working more standard office jobs. It was refreshing.

The Bad:

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of drinking. This may have influenced how I viewed the anime overall. I didn’t really like the notion that Chi could only relax with her own husband if she didn’t drink. The idea seemed a bit toxic to me.

I also am unsure whether I like this idea that working women are uptight in the first place. While I liked Chi’s duality in how she could be a totally different person when she drinks, which many people are, I’m not sure I like the stereotype.

Kitty Review:

This wasn’t a bad anime, don’t get me wrong. And honestly, the stereotypes didn’t even bother me that much. Elliot and I even learned some cool new drinks to try now that I’m of age! But overall, this wasn’t really my pick of poison.

What’s your favorite drink? Leave the recipe in the comments below! 

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Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- Review

I was seriously looking for an anime to replace last season’s Hell Girl; twisted anime are certainly one thing I always look for in an anime season. Thankfully, this new rendition of Kino’s Journey came to fill that cold and lonely void.

This anime follows a girl named Kino as she travels country to country with her motorcycle, Hermès. Each episode takes place in a new country and each country has a unique, twisted story to tell. This season also focuses on characters that Kino interacts with, like her mentor.

The Good:

I really do love this anime’s stories. I even like the way Kino looks, where she comes from and why she became a traveler. Each country has a delightfully dark story and I rarely ever saw the end coming.

I think what’s unique about series is that it has a story without giving you a main character too involved. Kino can be an enabler in these stories, of course. However, I never felt she was so involved that we knew much about her till later on in the series. It was an interesting dynamic.

The Bad:

Some of these stories, I will warn, are disturbing. I personally don’t think this is a bad thing, but I will warn those who don’t have the stomach for it.

That being said, I really don’t find there to be a lot of problems with this show. There’s stories for everyone, which I think is one of the best things about it. If you can withstand darker stories, you’ll like it.

Kitty Review:

I really do adore anime like this. If you really want a thought provoking anime, I’d recommend this one in a heartbeat. This was a really good rendition of a classic that I think most people will enjoy.

What was your favorite country that Kino and Hermès visited? Leave a comment below! 

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BLEND_S – Review

Cute anime girls, maid outfits and little love stories; all the makings of a fantastic anime. BLEND_S knows exactly what it’s doing. If you’re looking for a sugary sweet anime filled with adorable stories, this may be for you.

This is the story of Maika, a girl who has a bit of a nast glare. Due to this, she’s unable to get a job which she needs to save up to travel abroad. That is until that very glare gets her a job at Stile; a cafe that caters to different… Er… Kinks. She makes friends and gains confidence in herself though each episode.

The Good:

I was a little concerned about whether or not this anime was going to have any substance to it. You see a cute anime girl who’s sort of a dork and works at a fetish cafe and can only imagine.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. There wasn’t as much story as I would have preferred, but for a light-hearted anime that you could just relax and watch, it was pretty good. The characters are cute, the story is fairly humorous and innocent and it’s just fun to watch.

The Bad:

This isn’t a deep anime, so I’m honestly not going to be too harsh on it. I found the manager to be a little odd since he’s a little older than Maika and is in love with her, but nothing too out there happens. I also don’t think he’s much older than her to begin with, so it wasn’t super odd to me.

Overall, I don’t feel like there’s a lot to say on this anime. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it and sometimes I didn’t appreciate how the manager talked about their resident idol, but again, this anime wasn’t a big deal.

Kitty Review:

I don’t have the heart to give this anime a bad review. It was pretty cute and nothing to hard to swallow. If you’re looking for an easy-going and adorable animal, it’s a perfect anime for pastime. Plus Elliot and I liked the outfits; it may be on my next cosplay list.

Who was your favorite character this anime? Tell me in the comments! 

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The Ancient Magus Bride – Review

Hold on to your hats folks, because this may be my new favorite anime. Flaws and all, I felt like I finally got the fantasy anime I wanted after going through so much junk. As a fantasy fiction lover, I just couldn’t stay away.

The Ancient Magus Bride follows a girl named Chise who is saved by a fairy named Elias. She’s lead a very abused life in her past, but Elias shows her kindness. He wants to learn more about humans and she just wants a family. The two grow a relationship and the anime revolves around their adventures together.

The Good:

I immensely appreciate the amount of pure effort that was put into this anime. The story includes so many small details from folklores, traditional fantasy and even twists on old superstitions. Everything from the art to the music was beautiful.

I will get a little more in depth on some of the issues I took with the romantic dynamic between Chise and Elias later. However, despite being a bit problematic, I did enjoy that as the episodes went on, Chise regained a lot of herself. It was refreshing to follow someone so lost on a journey to find themselves. As we go into this next season, I also have a feeling we’ll see Elias also make more decisions that purely benefit her rather than himself.

The Bad:

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the romance between Chise and Elias. I think they get better as they go, but the origin of their relationship sets an odd dynamic between the two I’m not entirely comfortable with. It often feels like Chise really only considered him a master rather than family, which is something she does work on.

Still, I do feel like Elias does hold most of the power in the relationship considering his position. Towards the end, we see he’s going to have to make a huge decision that could benefit Chise at the cost of his own comfort. I don’t like when partners make decisions for their significant other, but I’m all about supporting growth. So… I’m going to wait and see where this goes.

Kitty Review:

Despite some of the disturbing themes in this anime, I still did like it quite a bit. There was this feeling of actual whimsical fantasy that really touched me. More than that, I think there was an actually interesting story.

 

Elliot also likes the talking cats and, I mean, who can blame him?

What kind of fantasy do you like? Tell me! 

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Konohana Kitan – Review

Yeah because who doesn’t want to cry at three in the morning watching an anime? I thought this was going to be some childish loli thing, but no. It just had to get deep.

Konohana Kitan has everyone’s favorite things; fox girls. A level lower than neko girls. But these aren’t just any kind of fox girls. They work at a hotel called Konohanatei. This hotel is in a spirit plane that serves the gods and occasionally gets humans. Each episode, our protagonist Yuzu learns more about her new home and the guests who come through it.

The Good:


At first glance, I thought this was just some cute girl anime. I honestly didn’t think it would be some sort of emotional roller coaster. I mean, it was just one cute clumsy fox girl at first, you know?

But no, this anime has a lot to offer. While it does follow the story of Yuzu, each episode is a different story that comes with each guest. These stories are not only clever and well thought out, but they also are it so hard not to love the consistent characters residing at Konohanatei.

Also it’s kind of gay.

The Bad:

I… Really had to fish for bad stuff about this one. If fox girls aren’t your thing, maybe you’ll stay away from this anime all together. The characters are pretty standard; we’ve seen their personalities before.

That being said, I really do feel like some of these stories are worth it. If you want to look past some of the more standard attributes to cute anime, this anime has something going on.

Kitty Review:

 

 

I think this deserves a good rating. I mean, I did cry a fair amount of times. Elliot was a little salty that they weren’t cat girls (and I think they reminded him of his sisters) but he came around.

Watch this anime if you want to feel again.

Who’s your favorite fox girl pairing? Tell me in the comment section!

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Recovery of an MMO Junkie – Review

Finally, the love story anime I always wanted! To fall in love through an MMO game is the ultimate way to fall in love. Trust me. This anime is great.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie follows the story of Morika; a woman who has quit her job to commit to the life of being a NEET. A former MMO lover, she finds a new game to play only this time with a male avatar. She makes friends with a girl named Lily who also has a secret of her own.

The Good:

I could actually relate to this anime on a lot of levels. As an MMO player myself, I felt like this anime was not only realistic, but something that happens often. This is a love story and honestly, it’s a really good one.

I love the characters and their stories. Each one has things they’re vulnerable about and each one works though their own personal issues. And I liked the way that the guild helped each other out; I used to have a guild like that, so the nastolgia was so wonderful.

The Bad:

The romance does get a tad bit weird. I can understand that Morika wants to get better with other people and try new experiences, which I’m all for, but at times there were awkward obstacles. Some of it just felt like unnecessary.

There’s also this question I’ve had the entire anime; what is her recovery? I understand that she was suffering from some personal issues and becomes a NEET, however, I really do hope that the romance was not supposed to be considered the way to “recover”. I’ll give this the benefit of the doubt and say it had more to do with the friendships and relationship overall.

Kitty Review:

A full five Elliots! Ciall me biased, but I rally did enjoy this anime more than I probably should have. It was just so cute; I mean we all know I love messy gamer girls. But more than that the story just filled me with nostalgia since I play MMOs myself.

Elliot also liked the outfits.

What are your favorite MMOs to play? Tell me in the comment sections! 

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GAMERS! – Review

This anime is frustrating, adorable and ultimately a wonderful show. Praise be to Gamers! as it brings to life one thing we never get to see; a gamer who just wants to play games. For once, it’s not about a genius gamer who can beat anything he puts his mind to. It’s not about being competitive or winning. It’s just about having fun.

Oh yeah, and dating hot girls.

Gamers! is an anime about Keita Amano and his friends getting into a mess of trouble. Amano just wants to play his games in piece, but the most popular girl in school just wont seem to let that happen. Karen Tendou is desperate for him to join her competitive gaming club, for more than just his skills. Through a series of events, we find friendships and romance blossom around the shared love of gaming.

The Good:

Honestly, I’ve never seen a character, let alone a main one, who wasn’t aggressive with their gaming. Amano loves video games with a passion, but he doesn’t feel he needs to prove it through beating everyone. At the end of the day, it’s all about loving and appreciating the game itself. It’s about having fun. Even in the real world, I think we have too many competitive gamers out there who aren’t remembering what’s important.

More than that, the characters, despite being so thick-headed, are actually really charming in their own way. I love most of them, well… Except one. While some of the romance felt really force and rocky at best, there were still wonderful moments that really grabbed at your heart. I think it’s best attribute, however, was definitely the love for video games itself.

The Bad:

I have to say, I did not like  Hoshinomori. At first I thought she was adorable! I love gamer girls with messy long hair and tired eyes; it’s my thing dang it! But Chiaki got progressively worse throughout the show and I have a major problem with characters, especially women, being thrown into romance plot for friction. Spoiler alert, she finds peace with herself at the end of the anime, which I was proud of, but overall I felt like she just kept trying to interfere with other people’s relationships which is an awful trope in anime.

I also wasn’t a big fan of Tendou and Amano’s relationship; yes really! It felt a little forced on his end. I didn’t get the feeling that Amano actually liked Karen at all.  Even when he said sweet things about her, I felt like she just intimidated him more than anything. And the confusion of the romance, while meaning to be funny, just came off as a lot to digest and too much frustration. It’s a lot for Elliot, my dudes.

Kitty Review:

Four whole happy Elliots? Absurd! But true. I actually did really like this anime despite my frustration. And sure, Elliot had a bit of a nervous tummy after watching it, but sometimes that means the anime is actually really good! I would recommend this one to any gamer/anime lover in my life. Overall, it’s still a really cute anime. Watch it!

Do you like playing video games for fun or are you a competitive player? Tell me in the comments below! 

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Knight’s & Magic – Review

Knight’s & Magic was the anime I thought would make me happy and ultimately… Well… Let’s just get to the summary.

This anime is yet another one with the theme of a main character reborn into a new world (which has been another trend on the rise lately). This one follows the reborn Ernesti who is absoltely in love with robots. A previous mech figure collector in his previous life, he now has the chance to work with real-life giants in his new life.

The Good:

I was fairly excited about a new fantasy-themed anime. I’m not the largest fan of mech anime, but I was still really excited to see them on this show. The animation is really well done and the art is simply beautiful. To a certain extent, I even sort of like the characters.

That being said, the beauty in the art of this show is purely where I would say the good ends. The only thing I would say is a positive is the mech fights. They’re really big, really well-done and honestly the only reason you would be watching this anime. If you like a lot of mech fights but aren’t too keen on good stories, this is probably the anime for you.

The Bad:

It’s half-baked at best. I felt like someone had made brownies and took them out of the oven before the batter had even caked. So we just have brownie soup like it’s an episode of Drake and Josh and everyone goes home with a stomach ache. There is no story line to compliment any of the fight scenes. It feels like anything that happens in the background is purely there to justify the next fight.

This could have been a well-thought out anime, but overall I feel like there was no build-up or good world-building in the writing. Instead, we gain new villains every few episodes and the same one dimensional characters. Each character has one thing to obsess over, but nothing else to add to their personality. It’s more than disappointing because I had high hopes for this anime.

Kitty Review:

Nothing make me sadder than brownie soup; just watery batter with the glimpse of what could be. A good fantasy mech anime is every nerd’s dream, but unfortunately, Elliot has spoken. Knight’s & Magic is not that anime friends. If you just want to watch well-animated mech fights, this could be the anime for you… But ultimately there’s nothing but bones here. And Elliot is a meat-eater.

Do you like action shows that are purely made up of action? Do you enjoy a good story line in addition? Let me know what you think! 

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A Centaur’s Life – Review

I knew when I clicked on this anime, I was going to regret it. After my run in with Interviews with Monster Girls, I said “Never again!” And yet, Elliot and I were sitting there on a Friday evening… Watching this… Because as soon as I saw a centaur girl on the front, I knew this was going to happen. We were just going to have to watch this.

A Centaur’s Life shows us the everyday life of Hime, a centaur (do I really need to explain this?). Hime does a lot of stuff; she hands out with her friends, she goes to school, she… Does stuff! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be half human and half horse, this anime is for you bud!

The Good:

Yes, much to your surprise there were things I actually did like about this anime. Namely, I like that I could tell the writer put a lot of thought into the world around their characters. This anime takes place in a sort-of second world setting where it’s the same earth but our population consists of humanoids; half animal peoples, angelic and demonic peoples and even some snakes thrown in there because why not?

This world surely sounds ridiculous, but if you paid attention, you noticed that they put care into how these people would dress, how much they’d need to eat, what their work/school environments looked like and even what sort of cultural practices made sense for their race; i.e. centaurs and archery. It was honestly a very well-thought out world that I could appreciate and admire as a viewer.

The Bad:

I… Yeah… So there were a few things. Namely, this is yet again another monster girl anime that just decided to be even more ridiculous. But besides them jumping on this bandwagon, I really didn’t feel like there was a story. At times, I felt inspired, but other times I felt like the title wasn’t kidding me. I was surprised I wasn’t watching Hime do even more boring tasks like brushing teeth.

I mean, this anime went as so far as to have a literal rendition of WWII and showed us an honest-to-god internment camp. I’m not making this up. That is in this anime. And while there was nothing wrong with this, it just felt so out of place. It showed you that this world was so deep, but we didn’t even get into it that much because people would rather watch this centaur go to gym class like? I don’t? Know? Overall, it just was super anti-climactic and I feel bad because a lot of thought really was put into this world.

Kitty Review:

Yeah I just feel odd after watching this anime, and rather indifferent to it as well. While I can admire where the creator’s were coming from I don’t feel like I gained anything. At the end of the day, it felt like it was just another anime jumping on the monster girls trend, and I’m not about that noise.

Elliot wept.

Do you like monster girls? Is this a trend you want to see grow? Leave a comment and let me know!