blog, Other 0 comments on Update On Life!

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.

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- Review

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! 

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on BLEND_S – Review

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! 

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on Konohana Kitan – Review

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!

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on Recovery of an MMO Junkie – Review

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! 

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on GAMERS! – Review

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! 

Anime, Anime Review, Seasonal Anime 0 comments on Tsuredure Children – Review

Tsuredure Children – Review

This is the cutest short anime I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s almost as cute as Elliot, and that’s saying something. Despite being such a small anime, they really did pack a lot into it and made it enjoyable. So get ready for your heart to go doki doki.

This anime is comprised of several small love stories between awkward characters. Each story is about current relationships, relationships to be and crushes. There’s something for everyone, but they’re so short that I don’t want to ruin the story for everyone.

The Good:

I really loved the stories in this anime. It felt like each one had something unique about it despite each one being a form of tsuredure. Diversity people; it’s what we should strive for.

More than that, I never got the feel that any of these relationships were ill-willed and I honestly never got annoyed with any of the characters. That’s surprising seeing as I usually get annoyed with at least one character.

My favorite couple you ask? The student council president and the delinquent. I could have watched a full anime about them alone.

The  Bad:

While I did enjoy this anime, I always feel a little incomplete at the end of short anime. There’s just that extra layer or that depth that some shows can really thrive on. Short anime usually miss out in this department.

Also, I don’t think all of the couples or pairings ever resolve? Maybe? I’m not entirely sure? There are these little mini pairings in between sections that we never really get to know and aren’t brought up again. Honestly, a huge fault was definitely the uneven distribution between pairings.

Kitty Review:

I’l admit, I have a soft spot for short anime. But more than that, I think these cute little stories are kind of special. Do I wish it was more gay? Yeah. But I wish that with most things. And besides, my current partner and I looked forward to each new episode with excitement.

Cute stuff, really.

Who was your favorite pairing in this show? Tell me in the comment section! 

Anime 0 comments on That One Girl in Gamers!

That One Girl in Gamers!

We need to talk, dear readers. We didn’t get a chance to talk about it last week, but this week we should talk about it.

We need to talk about this girl. This girl, and why she is important.

There’s a few reasons why I want to focus on her today. The biggest one, however, should be fairly obvious.

Konoha Hoshinomori is definitely a queer girl. Not only does Konoha clearly like women from the get go, but there’s also evidence that she also still likes men.

I should start shouting, “ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!” But I know what the biggest argument to this is going to be.

You may be asking, “But Ashley, doesn’t she also sexualize women? Is she not a part of the problem?”

While I can see that point of view, I surprisingly disagree. In most of our deepest attractions we can find some pretty problematic stuff. No matter the gender your attractions are aimed at, there’s always the influence of traditional and problematic media and societal ideas.

So the only thing we can do is translate to what it means underneath that. If you notice, Gamers! has been pretty good about not over sexualizing its female characters. Even when there’s fan service scenes, it’s not going crazy like some of those other anime (looking at you My First Girlfriend is a Gal). 

I think what’s important about Konoha is that she’s really in tune with her sexuality. Guys. I can’t express. How important this is. There are far too many girls who are just super shy and do the stereotypical “anime girl” trope or there’s the girls that just throw themselves all over the place. It’s like anime can’t seem to be in the middle.

But Konoha is. Sure, when we see her in her most private moments, she seems like a lot. But I’m sure most people are. That’s the whole point of having a private life. I think Konoha shows a side of all women (queer or not) that we don’t see enough. She’s not overly sexualized herself but she is a sexual being and owns up to it on her own terms.

That, my friends, is why she’s so important.

What do you think about Konoha? 

Anime, Anime Review 0 comments on Interviews With Monster Girls – Review

Interviews With Monster Girls – Review

It has finally made its way to our screens everyone. Monster Musume came back with a vengeance, only this time it’s younger girls in short school girl uniforms. Yes, ladies, gentlemen and others, Interviews With Monster Girls feels like an exact replica only with a fresh story and some new perspective. Realistically, the demand for monster girls is pretty popular and I can get it. Monster Musume kicked off a lot of love for new and interesting waifus. The only problem is, I didn’t ask for these waifus. Let me tell you a bit about this anime.

Interviews With Monster Girls revolves around a teacher, Takahashi, who is interested in monster girls, otherwise known as “demis”. With four demis at his school, Takahashi decides to try and interview each of the girls in hopes of gaining new information about their lives as well as proving some of his own theories. Along the way, friendships are built and crushes on the oh-so-buff teacher with a bored expression grow.

The Good:

I suppose the show was cute. No one can deny that the girls and their uniqueness really brought to life something that I found both informative and interesting. Really what surprised me was how much thought was put into the design for each individual “monster”; for example, how dullahans eat or why vampires are living more comfortable lives. Really, this was fairly thought out. I can’t rag on something original and creative in that sense.

The girls were sweet and I admired the issues they decided to personally overcome. I’m also really glad, as perhaps some of you might be, that towards the end of this series (spoiler) the teacher clarifies to Sakki that he’d never be interested in his students because they are children. That set my heart a little at ease, despite the premise of the story being a little creepy and certain interactions that kind of counteracted that.

The Bad:

Um. Hm. Where do I start? So despite the girls being cute (in an innocent way), I found the whole show to be a little uncomfortable. Machi and Yuki were honestly annoying, in my humble opinion. I just felt like they were very similar and their interactions with their teacher bothered me quite a bit. Hikari, surprisingly, was my favorite and she was supposed to be a little annoying; extremely loud, a failing student but quirky and cute. I suppose I’m always a fan of characters who put for an honest front and are aggressive at what they want. Perhaps this is a bias, but none the less, it did impact how I watched the show.

I’ll come out and say it: I’m not a fan of the “hot for teacher” theme. In any kind of media, be it a live TV show, an anime or a book, I find these relationships to be an extremely dangerous trope. I don’t mean to get dark, but I seriously feel uncomfortable with storylines that revolve around this. I was curious to see how a harem anime would be able to get away with it. Sure, he doesn’t choose a girl, but that doesn’t mean his interactions with them are innocent or not. His clarification to Sakki at the end didn’t really make up for all of the previous interactions.

The most frustrating thing about this show to me really was that he didn’t end up with Sakki, a fellow and adult teacher, nor did he have many romantic interactions with her. The only girl he really should have been with wasn’t even a girl but a full grown woman. Now, this isn’t to mention that the story line itself takes a nosedive towards the end. An episode or two later it decides it’s going to get really deep for no good reason and throws you through a loop; no not in a good way. I feel like it was poor fanfic writing in terms of genre, rather than romcom.

Kitty Review:

So despite literally being a copy of Monster Musume, I just felt like this anime was both frustrating and overall a little inappropriate in terms of content. And I don’t mean inappropriate as in “not safe for kids!” but as in “really shouldn’t be sexualizing kids!”. I know some may consider this an overanalyzing factor, as a lot of anime do have this kind of theme, but I really wouldn’t stand by it.

So me and Elliot gave it some disturbing emojis and a two and a half star rating. I just cannot do it guys, I just cannot do it. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t even let Elliot watch it through all the way. It wasn’t that anything bad happened in the show, but the theme was just… Gross. And frustrating when there was clearly one choice to go with. So. Yeah.

Do you like school girl x teacher anime? Why? Don’t even comment.

Anime, Anime Review 0 comments on Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid – Review

Miss Koboyashi’s Dragon Maid – Review

So guys they finally made the best anime ever. If anime were to die with this anime, I would die along with it happily. This was the best show of the 2017 winter and I will gladly stake my life on that statement. If it were not only for its growth in popularity, specifically that Luca cosplay, I would love this anime no matter what. It’s gay dragon maids guys. That’s all I’ve ever asked for.

Torhu is a dragon, found wounded by Miss Koboyashi who decides to take her in one drunken night. Her obsession of maids worn off on Torhu, the dragon tries to be the perfect maid for her new master. But as we see, the every day life of these two grows more and more complex (or perhaps even simpler) with each episode. A feel good anime, even if it does have its strange moments.

Without further ado, let me tell you exactly why this anime was perfect in every aspect.

The Good:

I don’t even know where to begin, everything was so great. The animation was fantastic, the music is always playing in my head and the story itself makes you’ve wrapped yourself in a warm mental hug. The characters made this show really come to life with the variety of amazing personalities and colorful dialogue.

The relationships felt almost realistic, in terms of anime, and what I loved was how you saw beyond the inherit silliness towards real issues each of them was facing. In fact, I think that’s my favorite part about this anime is that even though it clearly has silly moments and even a silly premise, it actually surprised me to see there was a balance in the seriousness of the characters and their goal. Really, it was an innocent and pure goal that to me, made everything feel relatable; the want to have a normal life.

Toru is a dragon and a maid; two of my favorite things. But even better, she is this amazing character who grows into this loving personality while she’s with Koboyashi. Koboyashi, on the other hand, goes through this entire lifestyle change from a workoholic to this more family environment. And while they’re never completely stated as a couple, they do treat each other as such and Toru does come out as more attracted to women in the very beginning of the series; the kind of representation I’ve been waiting for.

The Bad:

Now I can see the flaws in this anime very clearly. One of the biggest issues is that it does go over the top and plays off of some very generic anime tropes we see all the time. That being said, I don’t feel that’s always a bad thing when done right. For me personally, this show did it in a fun, humorous manner. But it might not be for everyone. The big boobs thing can get tiring after a while, I get it.

The one thing I can say I had an issue is that, yet again, another queer “couple” was never explicitly stated. Toru and Koboyashi never really say that they’re together. While Toru clearly loves Koboyashi and, we see towards the end, that those feelings are fairly mutual, we’re not given enough to really stake them permanently. Sure, you don’t always need to say it, but it can get frustrating when you’ve been waiting for certain representation and feel as though you’re not getting it.

Kitty Rating:

Elliot and I are giving this anime a full five Elliot Emojis. I was in tears over how much I loved this anime and I feel like it was so well done. Even though some may argue it was just a generic or silly anime, I have to argue that it brought something fresh to the table with an idea that must have been hard to pitch at the table.

I really feel like this was what I was personally waiting for. I felt like there was a couple I could relate to and a story that was just downright entertaining. There’s really nothing more I can say on the subject other than the fact this whole thing was so fantastic. I may be over shooting it, but if you’re looking for something that makes you feel a little normal when the world is so out of place, please watch this anime.

Did you like the representation in this anime? What was your favorite thing about it?