Sanrio Stickers from Katzwhiskas UK

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Being the huge Hello Kitty fan that I am (I can tell you her twin sister is called Mimmy, her boyfriend is called Dear Daniel and other such trivia), I was in the mood to purchase something Sanrio related and had a good browse around the internet recently.

As someone living in the UK, Hello Kitty and other Sanrio related merchandise can be a bit thin on the ground, or not always the kind of thing I’m looking for, so I was pleased to find a UK website called Katzwhiskas which sells a wide variety of Sanrio and other stuff, a lot of which you wouldn’t see in high street shops. Some of the products are things I recognised from high street shops which are now cheaper on the website as well, great for anyone seeking a bargain!

I decided to order a Hello Kitty and a My Melody sticker set, which were £3.99 each. Each included 61 stickers in a cute little plastic wallet shaped like a bag.

Both of these also came in a cute little bag covered with Sanrio characters which I thought was a nice touch! The bag had the Japanese Sanrio website on it which makes me think it might be a Japanese Sanrio bag as well which really made me feel like I was buying a Japanese Sanrio product.

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In the pack you get 60 small stickers and one large sticker. You get two of each small sticker. I was impressed with the range in colour and style of the stickers. This would make a great present for a Sanrio fan of any age as the stickers could be used in a variety of ways.

Overall, I was impressed with the product and service from Katzwhiskas and I am sure I will be using them again at some point in the future.

To have a look yourself, check out katzwhiskas.co.uk.

 

Code Geass

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Are you looking for an anime with giant mecha robots fighting each other? Are you looking for an anime with mysterious powers and green haired witches? Are you looking for an anime with high school romance and political rivalries and morally grey areas? Look no more! Code Geass has them all.

In the year 2010, the nations of Britannia have conquered Japan, renaming it “Area 11” and subjecting its inhabitants to a life as second class citizens. Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian prince is caught in an attack which kills his beloved mother and forces him to flee to Japan with his sister Nunnally, who has been rendered blind and paralysed. Although they are able to live as privileged Britannian citizens, concealing their royal status, Lelouch swears to his childhood friend Suzaku he will one day have revenge on the injustices Britannia has created.

Lelouch’s wish is granted several years later when he meets a mysterious woman named C2 (C.C. in the manga) who makes a contract with him which grants him the power of Geass. Geass allows Lelouch to command anyone to do whatever he wants, though he can only command a person once and he must have direct eye contact with them. Lelouch vows he will use Geass to create a better world for his beloved sister to live in, and begins to assemble a resistance movement called the Black Knights, led by himself under the alter ego Zero.

Lelouch and Suzaku are childhood friends...and political rivals
Lelouch and Suzaku are childhood friends…and political rivals

Code Geass is an interesting anime from the get go. It’s impossible not to support Lelouch’s cause when the effects of Britannia’s tyrannical rule are shown, but his methods and sacrifices keep him from being considered a pure hero. Lelouch believes the end justifies the means, and there isn’t much he won’t do to reach a better world for the Japanese. Suzaku is the white knight to Lelouch’s black knight, and wants to change the system from within, even joining the Britannian forces and battling Lelouch’s group. They represent two binary opposed approaches to social injustice.

Code Geass is a riveting political fantasy drama, with a set of interesting characters. Lelouch melds hero and anti-hero in an engrossing way. The budding romances add a human touch to the backdrop of war and political manoeuvring, and provide some painfully tragic moments which keep the audience asking that core question – is the end worth the means and the lives lost or destroyed along the way?

My only real complaint would be the occasional over the top fanservice moment here and there which felt unnecessary, although the men are as pretty as the women are large breasted which is down to CLAMP being responsible for the character designs. It can also be hard to keep up with the politics later on when other factions are introduced, but this only adds to the realism Code Geass aims to convey in portraying the ripple effect one warring nation can have on those around it.

Whether you’re new to anime or a seasoned watcher I would highly recommend watching Code Geass if you haven’t already. It effortlessly combines multiple genres, really makes you think about how injustice should be dealt with and demonstrates the real impact of war and tyranny on the innocent. The mecha battles are pretty cool too.

Meteor Prince (volume 1)

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I am quite fussy about my manga, and it has honestly been a while since I read a new one, but I was drawn to the glossy cover, starry pattern and art style of Meteor Prince in the manga section of Waterstones and decided to give it a go.

The story centres on 16 year old Hako Natsuno, a sweet girl who bad luck follows wherever she goes. Her usual accidents involve things falling out the sky, but things get a lot weirder when a naked alien boy falls out of the sky who claims they have the same wavelength and she must mate with him and bear his children!

The boy calls himself Io and tells Hako he is from the planet Yupita. On Yupita, people mate with people of a different race, and have a heart stone which tells them if someone has the same wavelength as them. Io believes Hako has the exact same wavelength as him, which makes her his soulmate.

Naturally, what follows is a series of fluffy and light shenanigans as Io proceeds to declare his love for Hako at every opportunity, treat her like his girlfriend and ask at the most inappropriate times if they can mate. He reminds me a little of Tamaki Suou from Ouran High School Host Club in that he is blonde, handsome, and acts much like an eager and loveable puppy dog most of the time.

In the first volume, the focus is on the romance more than the supernatural elements, though there is one impressive scene in which Io transforms into a dolphin. Being an alien he also has the ability to turn into whatever he likes which is used well for both comedic and serious effect.

I’m not sure where this manga is going to go but it is cute and fun and if you’re looking for a new shoujo manga to get into with wacky hijinks and romantic moments this ticks both boxes.

 

Life is Strange

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Square Enix has always excelled at story focused games and Life is Strange is no exception. Max Caulfield is a photography student at the prestigious Blackwell Academy. After a bizarre vision, Max discovers she can rewind time. She first uses this ability to save a girl from being shot, a girl who turns out to be her best friend Chloe she’s been estranged from for five years. During their estrangement Chloe has been hanging with another girl called Rachel Amber, but Rachel has gone missing.

The game works as an interactive, open-ended novel. As Max, you travel round the campus and surrounding areas of Arcadia, speaking to classmates and other citizens of the town. The primary goal is to find out what happened to Rachel, but unfolding dramas and events seem to be connected and form a much larger picture which you have to get to the bottom of. Even small choices like whether or not to sign a petition or take a phone call have an impact on the storyline, and every time you make a decision that has consequences you are alerted to this. The game allows you to rewind and change a decision immediately if you don’t like the way its immediate effects play out.

Be careful what you say...it could have consequences
Be careful what you say…it could have consequences

Although the gameplay is not generally dynamic – you walk around, speak to people, interact with objects and rewind time where needed, the story is hugely ambiguous. There are five episodes in total and it becomes clear from episode one that many threads are connected, so speaking to one character about a drama might actually shed some light on another character and give a clearer idea of the overall picture.

The most fascinating aspect of the game is that there are often no clear choices. Unlike Catherine, in which your answers are unambiguous and will move you along on a good/bad scale accordingly, it is not always clear how your actions are going to impact others in the long term. There is no way of knowing how far reaching even a seemingly small action could be. The Chaos Theory is referenced in Life is Strange when Max sees a butterfly at the start of the game and a butterfly will appear in the top left corner whenever a change is made, maintaining the notion of the butterfly effect in that we have no way of knowing how our actions will affect others in the long term.

Life is Strange features a strong host of female characters and the style of the gameplay is very much geared towards those who enjoy social and drama based stories. Issues such as privacy, gun use, drug use, mental health and environmentalism are examined and used to support the game’s message that our actions and decisions often have a much bigger impact on the world around us than we realise. The game also throws in a relationship subplot, giving you the option to make Max lean towards either Warren or Chloe in a romantic way.

I really enjoyed the number of female friendships in this game
Max and Chloe’s relationship forms the core of the game

The indie soundtrack and the soft, dreamy aesthetic help the emotion of the game stand out. Whilst the dialogue can be grating and cheesy, throwing in a heavy dose of how adults seem to think modern teens speak, such as “go fuck your selfie” the voice cast is strong and this is a really enjoyable and interesting choice based game.

Life is Strange is available on multiple platforms now.