Travel Itinerary Plus Photos

Hello, everyone! I’m here today to tell y’all about my upcoming travel schedule. On Tuesday, I leave for New York City, where I will be staying with my wonderful friends, Meg and Will. New York City is such an awesome place and I’m so happy to be going for the third year in a row. My last two visits there were so amazing, from doing tourist-y stuff to kayaking at a lake house, I had a seriously awesome time and cannot to go again.

I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures when I was there the past two times, but here’s a couple I really like.

Here’s a view of Manhattan from the Flatiron:

Freedom Tower:

Skyline across the water:

And here’s me and Meg splashing around in a waterfall!

So, after New York, I’ll be back home for a couple of days before I leave to visit my family in California. We went to Tahoe for Easter, and I visited them in January, so even though I’ve already seen them twice this year I just love them so much that I’m willing to make the five hour flight to Cali to see them yet again.

While I’m traveling I’ll be sure to post all about my adventures. This time, I’ll be sure to take a few more photos than I did the last couple times. Have any of you been to New York before? Or maybe you live there? What’s the best place to eat? What’s the most fun thing to do? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

News Books and ARCs, 7/20/18

Another week of summer passed, another summer weekend on tap, and a perfect time to catch up to these new books and ARCs that have arrived at Scalzi Compound. Anything in this stack that you’d enjoy reading on a warm summer night? Let us know in the comments!

View From a Hotel Window, 7/20/18: Cleveland

And what exactly am I doing in Cleveland? I have a private speaking engagement! Which, uh, means you can’t come unless you’re part of the organization I’m doing the speaking engagement for. Sorry, Cleveland. Know my love for you exists anyway.

Hope you’re having an excellent Friday regardless.

Learn More About Me: My Favorite Anime

One thing about me you should know is that I love anime. If you’ve seen any of my “What You Should Be Watching” posts, you’ll know that I love cartoons, too. Anything animated! Artists are amazing! But that’s a separate thing entirely.

So today I’m going to tell you about my all-time favorite anime, Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji). It was the first anime I ever watched, when I was twelve, and only because my friend recommended it so highly that I couldn’t resist. Also, it was on Netflix at the time so I didn’t really have an excuse not to watch it. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. I had never watched anime before, not even Dragon Ball Z or Yu-Gi-Oh! when I was growing up.

Despite my skepticism, I watched it. And I absolutely loved it. My twelve year old mind was blown. It was like a cartoon, but so much darker and violent. A little bit about Black Butler, it’s about a thirteen year old noble boy named Ciel Phantomhive in late 1800s England whose parents were murdered, so he forms a contract with a demon in order to get revenge on the people responsible. The demon poses as Ciel’s butler and together they solve mysteries, bust illegal drug gangs, find Jack the Ripper, etc., all while Ciel runs the company his parents left him in charge of and tries to maintain his appearance as a normal noble.

Black Butler is one of those “mainstream” anime, the kind that has merch in Hot Topic and F.Y.E, and you’re guaranteed to see at least a dozen Ciel cosplayers at any anime convention. Like I said, it was on Netflix at some point, so you know it’s pretty popular. Not only is the show popular, but the manga has sold around 25 million copies.

It has so many awesome elements to it. It’s action-packed, mostly because Ciel orders his demon to massacre the bad guys, but there’s more to it than just pure violence. Although, to be fair, it is pretty dark. I mean the whole premise is that a child who has lost everything sells his soul just to avenge his parents. The only person in his life who protects him and takes care of him is eventually going to devour his soul. So, yeah, it gets heavy sometimes, but it’s also really funny at times! The characters each have their own unique personalities, you’re sure to have a definite favorite. Another great thing about it being so popular is that the English dub actually has really good voice acting, and the demon, Sebastian, is played by one of my favorite voice actors, J. Michael Tatum.

One of the best things about Black Butler is the art. Though, this can’t really be applied to the first two seasons. The art is truly extraordinary in season three and the two following films, but the first two seasons are just average. I’m sure this is due to animation budget, as the show made more and more money after it got popular and whatnot. But the difference really is stunning.

I think my favorite part, though, without a doubt, is Sebastian. The greatest anime demon of all time. I just want to a take a moment to appreciate all of THIS:

 

Anyways, one thing you should know about Black Butler is that even though it’s my favorite anime, it has a ton of flaws. Like the second season. The ENTIRE second season. It’s terrible, and I hate it. Basically, they stopped following the manga and did something completely different for the second season, and then when the third season came out, it was back to following the manga and acted like the second season never happened. So, yeah, season two is basically not canon and like, never happened. There’s also a lot of episodes in season one that are different from the manga, and the second half of season one is basically as nonexistent as season two, canonically speaking. So, if you’re going to watch Black Butler, I recommend to stop watching season one after episode 15, and then immediately go to season three. However, if you want to stick strictly to how the manga goes, then you should watch episodes 1-6, and 13-15, and then onto season three.

I know that’s like, really confusing, but if you watch past episode 15 or any of season two, you will more than likely just be confused and unhappy; I know I sure was. And season three plus the two movies are so worth it! They are amazing.

To top off this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite Black Butler AMVs. I’ve actually posted one before to show where I first heard a song I recommended, but I’m going to post it again because it is a killer AMV! Of course, these AMVs contain spoilers, but they’re cool to watch if you don’t care about spoilers.

 

So, while this anime might not be the best anime in existence, and it certainly has its flaws, it is still my favorite and has a very special place in my heart. I’ve seen dozens of anime, and it remains #1, and Sebastian is still my favorite character of all time.

If you get around to watching this anime, let me know what you think! If you’ve seen it before, do you have a favorite character or a favorite opening? Openings are like, a key factor in any anime. Anyways, have a great day!