Sunday, July 22, 2018

Half Yearly (Jan-Jul) Food Favourites

Life Update

How many times have I left my food blog for months without posting? Probably too many to count haha. As always, real life has been busy and stressful since I've graduated but haven't found a paying job to feed myself lol. The good thing is, I've finally started my practical legal training and so I'll be looking for a part time job whilst I try to finish that.  Basically, I'm poor and stressed haha! But I'll still eat LOL.

If anyone is still reading this blog, to accommodate my on and off periods and my stress, I've decided to make it easier on myself. Instead of doing restaurant reviews, I've decided to try and post monthly on what foods/dishes from what restaurants/places I have visited that I most enjoyed for that month. So basically, it'll be all about praises where I can reminisce about the best food I had for that month and what I would actually go back and eat again in the future. This would be more beneficial to me as well since it's difficult for me to remember what food I've actually enjoyed that much, so yeah, if I'm posting about it from now on, it must mean that I absolutely loved it!

Lil Miss Collins
13 Wentworth St, Parramatta
Poached Chicken Breast Salad ($16)
Breast chicken, walnuts, snow pea leaf, baby kale, apple, chickpeas topped with berry compote seeds topped with chef's dressing

I still remember this salad. I legit ate this in February but I still remember it because it was that good and I usually hate salads. The chicken was so tasty and tender, it was unbelievable and the dressing just made everything work so well with each other, it was so delicious. It didn't feel heavy, but I was full. Perfect balance of saltiness to complement the freshness of the salad and the dressing, I actually really want to go again just to eat this hahahah.

King-T
Shop 18/127-133 Burwood Road, Burwood
Mixed Fruits Green Tea ($6.50)

This was the first time I've ever drank the popular mixed fruits teas and I can honestly say that I'm sold! It's so refreshing and sweet! The green tea was also subtle but apparent making the tea have a great balance of sweet and the tea taste, I'd say it's on the sweeter side though. But really though, the price is not bad and it's super fresh and tasty, hard to pass this one when you're in Burwood! The line can be really long at times though!

Cafe Zodova
28A South St, Granville
Chicken Schnitzel ($15)

The other time, I decided to try a local cafe and I was really craving a chicken schnitzel so I just went for it instead of my usual brunch options. I'm so happy I did though because I did not choose wrong! The schnitzel was nicely crumbed, tender, and full of flavour even by itself, I wouldn't have even needed the sauce because the chicken was just cooked so nicely! The only sad thing was that it's not a gigantic schnitzel but that's fair enough hahaha. Chips were nice and crunchy too but a tad too salty, which makes the salad perfect to cleanse the saltiness of the chips haha! Great overall meal and would definitely recommend if you ever came along~

Kanzo Fresh Sushi TO GO
Shop 6/55-67 George St, Parramatta
Salmon Lover Platter ($49)
12 pcs nigiri, 8 pcs sashimi, 8 pcs large, 6 pcs medium and 12 pcs baby roll

Fyi, I've been to the restaurant but I like the takeaway store with limited seating much better. Anyway, this platter is awesome. It's relatively cheap and so worth it. My bro and I have ordered it takeaway quite a few times already and most of the time, the salmon is quite fresh. It's got a variety of salmon prepared in different ways and personally, I love the baby rolls the most because they have the perfect salmon to rice ratio. Otherwise, solid platter if all you love is salmon and can't get enough of it lmao, I've shared this with my brother and we finish it quite easily for our dinner haha.

Cuppa Flower
1/15 Allen St, Waterloo
Giant Tempura Soft Shell Crab Croissant ($23.80)
Fried eggs, fish roe, sriracha mayo

Isn't this so beautiful?! The moment I saw it on Instagram, I knew I had to order this and happily, it really does taste as good as it looks! It's so worth it (even though it sounds expensive) because the crab is a very generous portion and really complements well with the mayo and croissant. It has a very nice crunch and flavour to it when eaten altogether and the croissant is sooo soft and crunchy by itself as well. Everything was done so well in this dish that I'm still so mesmerised by it just looking at the photo. It's extremely filling btw, I barely finished it haha! Egg was runny and yess,  about the crab again LOL, it was so juicy! Absolutely recommend! It was a trek to get to Waterloo but it was worth it <3

New Shanghai Night
267c Liverpool St, Ashfield
Pan Fried Pork Buns

I can't remember the price but all the food here was pretty cheap, we had 6 dishes and it was ~$70 total. Anyway, if you don't mind the cramped space and the loud atmosphere at the usual Asian restaurants then you must come here! The buns are sooo good, it has a good amount of "wok air" where the bottom is nicely crisp and the top is so soft. The meat is super juicy as well! I don't think I've had a pan fried pork bun I've been so satisfied with in so long, super super recommend~! The line can get a bit long though, so watch out for that. Otherwise, the pan fried dumplings and steamed dumplings were really great too! I'd say I love this much more than New Shanghai and Taste of Shanghai.

Xi'an Eatery 西安诱惑
183D Burwood Rd, Burwood
Biang Biang Noodles ($12.80)

I love this restaurant, like legit my favourite restaurant in Burwood right now, mainly because of these Biang Biang noodles. I thought they were going to be overhyped noodles on Instagram but NOPE, so good. It's so chewy, and thick but so easily slurped up. The taste is amazing as well with it being nicely mixed with meats and other veggies such as tomatoes making it not heavy at all! I could literally have another bowl lol. The noodles are definitely the highlight and are a must try! Other dishes worth mentioning would have to be the pan fried dumplings because they were very light and tasty as well, thin wrapping, juicy meat, sooo good! The pulled pork burger was also pretty nice.

Vinh Phat Chinese Seafood Restaurant
12/10 Hughes St, Cabramatta
Egg tarts

I used to love Rhodes Phoenix egg tarts for yumcha the most but NOPE, after visiting Vinh Phat (15-20mins line on a Saturday afternoon, it looks long but line moves quite fast), I have found my favourite egg tarts. They're so huge as well omg. It's so creamy, sweet and legit melts in your mouth, I had two because I saw them come out with fresh ones omggg, so worth the calories! The pastry is quite thin and flaky so it doesn't take from the creaminess and just makes it taste even better, love love it! You can't go and not try these!

Whew! Finally done! These are the foods I've enjoyed the most in the past half a year I've disappeared haha, so hopefully I'll be back next month with more~! I'm getting hungry again after writing this up lmao.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

JUAN - Bowl & Tea, Redfern

First post of the year!~ I came here last year but I've been busy applying to the College of Law and doing assignments and looking for someone to take me in for my PLT hahahah so yeah, things will be slow as usual XD I haven't given up on my blog yet though! It's always nice to come back and see what I think about foods I've eaten before hahaha.

On to Juan, it's a neat little place that requires bookings since it's a rather small-sized shop with few staff and I'd say it's more on the expensive side as well. It's very clean and sorta artistic though, which I like, it's got a good vibe.


Honestly, I can't remember if this was Chicken/Pork Katsudon but anyway it was around $18 iirc and dangg the egg was good. Loved it. As for the, yeah I'm pretty sure it's pork now hahaha, the texture varied. Some were rather tough and dry (might also be because it got cold as I ate it I guess or maybe just the meat-fat ratio was unbalanced since it was quite meaty) but the first few pieces I ate were so good. Texture was crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, nearly melting in my mouth. Sauce was more on the salty side but made it flavoursome. I'd say the rice and egg was the highlight though because that was perfect~ 


The Wagyu Beef Rice Bowl was probably better in terms of appearance than the taste. Wagyu tasted rather plain and not very smooth. Portion size was also really small. My brother and I weren't a fan of this one, unfortunately.


Just a photo of tea! My brother's girlfriend's sister got the tea that is best accompanied with the wagyu XD Just wanted to say that the tea cup was so pretty~


Think I got the peach iced tea and my brother's girlfriend got something similar but different flavour. To be honest, I didn't like this lol, I couldn't taste the peach at all and probably could barely smell it. The syrup helped with the sweetness but tbh, it reminded me of Lipton Iced Tea without that dry aftertaste. I'd say it was more of a sweet syrupy iced water.


The Sakura Matcha Tiramisu was so yumm~ It's so soft, spongey and full of matcha goodness. It's quite on the soggy side but I don't mind that~ You can apparently smell sakura from it but I couldn't really tell hahaha. Definitely recommended~


Overall, I'd say the atmosphere, the plating and interior was really artistic and nice but the food is rather average The only thing I'd really recommend is the tiramisu just because it's so pretty, soft and sweet!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Favourites

Can't believe it's the end of 2017 already!! So many things happened this year, it's been a bit hectic so I apologise for the lack of posts, sigh. I haven't completely given up though so I'll continue to try my best and blog =) This year, I finished studying my Juris Doctor (will do PLT next year, gg) and my sister got married!! Kinda crazy that she's considered someone's wife now but yeah, crazy year! There might not be as many favourites (maybe) as previous years for some categories and maybe way too many for others but la-di-da~ Hopefully, you enjoy it!~

SKINCARE

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Holika Holika Gudetama Lazy & Easy All in One Master

I've been using this day and night for months and it always brings a smile to my face with its' packaging and the contents! It's a toner and essence in one so it helps to skip the biggest part of my simple skincare routine. I really like how it has made my skin smoother and softer and I can stay lazy! Doesn't feel sticky to me at all and absorbs into my skin pretty fast~ Smell is kinda artificial but no problem~ I love that it's a pump, soo much easier to get product out for lazy me hahaha.

COSRX HYALURONIC ACID INTENSIVE CREAM 100ml
COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream

This is super moisturising, even for a dry skin person like me. Kinda too heavy for the morning imo, since it seems to leave quite a heavy and a bit sticky residue; so best used at night. It doesn't irritate my sensitive dry skin but it doesn't exactly calm it either so I prefer to not use it when my skin is irritated. As said, it might seem sticky when you first apply it but when it absorbs through, it just feels hydrating after. I use this when my skin is lacking moisture, so it was great in Winter. A little really goes a long way with this one! My skin always feel so soft and supple after using it <3

La Roche-posay Toleriane Ultra Overnight 40 mL
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Overnight

When my face is super irritated and red from eczema, I usually use Avene's Skin Recovery Cream. But since it wasn't on sale the other time, I decided to pick this up instead. In terms of packaging, this is a pump whereas Avene is a squeeze bottle (that fyi is SO HARD to squeeze that I'm so pissed at it LOL), so this one is winning in that area already. In terms of the cream, it's very soothing, hydrating and keeps my skin soft, it's great for my dry and sensitive skin! I really like this one and might continue to use this instead, since that squeeze bottle just stresses me out so much hahaha.


MAKEUP


Etude House Berry Delicious Colour in Liquid Lips in PK014 Berry Cherry To Go

Bright pink, very pigmented, stays on well even after eating with a nice natural pink tint left behind. You would need to reapply it if you want to keep the super vibrant colour. Compared to the pic above, I'd say it's a bit more hot pinkish. It stands out quite a bit, but not as crazy as a red lip. I really like it since it really helps to make me look  made up hahaha. It's best removed with an oil-based makeup remover since the tint left behind can be a bit of a struggle with water based ones. Proves that it's long lasting though! XD I'd say it lasts around 4-5 hours in terms of vibrancy and has a bit of transfer but not too much. It's super easy to apply as well btw even though the brush can be a bit fat. It has quite a strong artificial strawberry smell so that might be a turn off but it doesn't bother me.

Bangin' Brunette brown eye Brow Pot
Colourpop Precision Brow Colour in Bangin' Brunette

A bit too light for me considering my black hair but I think it applies well with an angled brush and it stays on really well! Doesn't disappear like my other eyebrow pencils etc after rolling around on my bed for a bit, it really only rubs off if you purposely rub it off with fingers or any makeup remover. Easy to use for beginners like me. Has quite a warm undertone as well I think  Will get black n' brown next time to try probably though. It's so cheap as well~ I think I'll be using this for a good while. Definitely a must try for the price!

La La ultra-glitter soft copper Super Shock eye Shadow
Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow in La La

Very soft, velvety and super pigmented! Nice copper with glitter, very bouncy/cushiony texture that is best applied with fingers. Difficult to apply with brushes unless it's synthetic bristles apparently. I personally think they apply best with fingers to give my eyes a nice subtle glittery pop that isn't too crazy. Basically, it's guaranteed pigmented and I haven't experienced any fall out; it literally stays on all day at the same intensity. Easy to remove with normal makeup remover too!

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BH Cosmetics Be... by Bubzbeauty Eyeshadow Palette

A bit of fallout when trying to get it on brush and depends on colour as well. However, my favourite colours 'Grateful', 'Optimistic', 'Inspired' and 'Charismatic' work really nicely. Easy to blend and are quite pigmented and look soft on the eyes. I'd say it's great for beginners too since you look well made up with only a bit of effort. This is my go-to when I want to look a bit fancy but I'm lazy at the same time lolol. Lasts all day but I use a primer so... Glittery shades are really nice and soft, haven't really tried the purple ones. Some of them can look and feel a bit pasty though, like 'Happy'. But, considering the price, it's well worth it imo! And I really like Bubz so yahh! They're easy to blend too~ It doesn't compare to Colourpop eyeshadows in terms of application though, sometimes it's a bit hard to get it evenly on my eyelids but yeah, I still like it.


BOOKS

Unfortunately, I only read 14 books this year and most of them were the Allison & Lillia to Treize series. Reason is because I've been playing mobile otome games (kinda like female oriented visual novels), so what I lack here, I will make up with in the games category lolol. The other books I read weren't worth mentioning since they were rather average zz.

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The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I think the translation I read was kinda awkward and tiring at times, so I'll probably read it again in the future. Anyway, I actually really enjoyed this book. I think it was the way the story was relayed from the perspective of Prince and his interactions with the people around him. More than an idiot, I'd say he was too kind and helpful towards everyone to survive the intricacies and complexities that people brought into his surroundings. Gotta say, I felt quite protective of him and really hated when people laughed at him for his 'idiocy', in my opinion though, I felt that Prince was smart but too kind for his own good. Since, really, he himself didn't seem to be able to handle his own kindness against the moral depravity of others. I guess that's why he's an idiot? He's a good idiot then I guess.

 The story basically follows Prince and his endeavours as he meets people, especially two different women who impact upon his life quite a bit. It has quite a bit of that drama and soap opera kinda feel but the way Prince handles everything really makes the book enjoyable. The process is definitely better than the ending but it's definitely well worth the read if you're into reading the story of a man who tried to live good and do good in his simple idiotic way that was incapable of working in a society/his surroundings of problematic and broken people, causing everything to spiral downhill I guess.

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Allison & Lillia to Treize by Keiichi Sigsawa (Light Novel)

The Allison novels are definitely the better of the two. Allison and Wil's chemistry and interactions are definitely what make it so great, which is why Lillia and Treize were just so lacklustre. Anywho, it's basically about the East and West sides sharing the same continent at war with each other because they believe their respective people are the true ancestral forefathers of mankind and things just escalated from there. Allison and Wil meet an old man who tell them of a treasure that will stop the war and so they go to find it. Pretty simple and straightforward story but it was played out well. Allison and Wil may seem like opposites with one calm and the other rash, which to an extent they are but they are both very smart and take initiative in their own different ways. So really, they're both different but similar. I love the mystery and adventure in this series~ It's not mindbreaking but it's definitely interesting and fun! Quality is relatively consistent throughout the novels but I have to say the first and last novel is my favouritee.

In terms of Lillia and Treize's novels, I can't say I recommend them simply because Lillia is a very basic character that doesn't do much but has strong moralistic feelings to doing good and that's how she supports Treize into doing the things he needs to do. Romance is also very meh compared to Allison and Wil. It just felt like Lillia and Treize never really grew as people throughout the series, they just acted out their roles in an adventure that wasn't as charming or fun as the Allison novels. So really, I'd just recommend the Allison novels, I'd say the same for the anime as well btw. I remember being very disappointed back then in Lillia's part of the story in the anime as well hahaha.

GAMES


Let's just say, I played many otome games this year....LOL I wanna say it's not an addiction but clearly it kinda is since these aren't the only ones.... I'll start off with other games first :D


Guild Wars 2 (PC)

GW2 isn't new and to be exact, I've played it since it came out in 2012 but took a break for a year or two and recently started playing again since Living Story Season 4 and the new expansion Path of Fire is out. Can't comment much about those yet since I'm still catching up but I can tell you the Heart of Thorns expansion to the story was a drag, but there's mounts now so that's cool I guess. Anyway, contrary to before, GW2's core game is now free-to-play so it's worth a try!

Plot/Characters: GW2 is an MMORPG following a pretty straightforward story of meeting and uniting a bunch of heroes to exterminate the evil dragons in a sense. It's more complex than that obviously but that's the simple version lolol. You can be a human, charr (beast), norn (giant human), asura (mini..alien? LOL) and sylvari (plant humans). The other races are pretty unique and cool in their own ways but I'm a human person hahaha. Great thing is that your character is fully voiced! So much better for engaging yourself into the story, but it's one voice per gender for each respective race, which is already good enough because there's quite a bit of lines I must say.

With the two expansions and the constant addition of the Living Story, which are time restricted stories that occur in real time, the story is always developing. The crappy thing is that if you start now, you'll have to buy Seasons 1-3 since they've ended alongside the two expansions. So yeah, that could be a turn off. It's probably around $10 USD for each season. Our playable character is pretty cool since you become like a respected commander that eventually gets your own little group of heroes to save the world from dragons. Best thing about the story modes is that you can choose to play it through by yourself or with friends, your choice. Nothing requires you to be in a group so you can be a happy loner hahaha. Heads up that the first part of the story is different depending on your race though so even though friends can join you, if they are a different race, they'll need to progress their own story. It just gives insight to the different races so it doesn't really matter which you choose though.


Gameplay: GW2 is pretty casual friendly with two weapon sets to change between, one healing skill, 3 selectable skills of the respective profession and one elite skill (ultimate skill). There is no dedicated healing or tanking classes but the different armour types of light, medium and heavy sort of dictate which are more squishy and which are more durable. Also, there are obviously classes that have builds that will be best for healing but  you can play however you like, so it doesn't matter. Best thing is that you don't need to rely on others to heal you or tank depending on your build and the armour stats you choose. Your stats are dependent on your chosen armour of different variations to suit your build e.g. pure physical, DOT damage, healing etc and levelling slowly grants access to your vast selection of skills to use. Another thing I love about GW2 is that you can dodge roll to evade damage! You can't always do it since there's an endurance bar but it's so convenient and can really make or break your battles.

There are several modes of play including PvE, PvP, WvW and other time limited mini games.

PvE focuses on open world play with all the other people in the game where you complete objectives around the map with events and quests. These aren't all run-of-the-mill hack and slash killing XX amount of monsters but can also include other things such as watering plants etc. They can get repetitive though. There are also specific world bosses that require many people (20+) to defeat and they only spawn at specific times. The lag is real during these events though LOL. Dungeons and raids are the main gameplay requiring groups. Fun or not is really dependent on your preference but each game mode reaps exclusive rewards such as weapon and armour skins so there are merits to doing it. Best thing about them is that since there is no dedicated tank or healing roles, you usually won't have long lines waiting for healers etc. I haven't tried raids so not sure about that~ Guild missions can include looking for bounties on selected maps, going through jumping puzzles (my favouriteee), dungeon-style gameplay and mini games where you race to the finish line as rabbits etc. There's quite a selection and is actually really fun when you have a guild to do these with so I'd recommend joining a guild! Crafting is rather simple but tiring as usual with the gathering of materials and making items, at least they can't fail being crafted unless you don't have the ingredients though, so super straightforward and easy. Just time consuming.

There are many reasons to explore the world though since there are jumping puzzles, vistas to see the beauty of the different maps and there are other mini games! For example, during Christmas, there's a specific jumping puzzle along with other games such as the bell choir that's kinda like music DDR game. They also have the Super Adventure Box that was an 8 bit game, so it was literally a game inside of a game, it was mega cool.

PvP is a game mode I rarely touch but my friend used to love it and force me to play with him lmao. There are a few different maps so the objectives and environments are different. However, it usually entails the capturing of specific places in the map and holding it for your team. You can get great 1v1s in there but yeah, you could get totally swamped as well lol. This is a great place to check out if you like your profession as well since you'll have access to all the skills here.

WvW is World vs World and is my favourite gameplay. Here you have towers, camps etc that you must protect from other worlds in GW2 and this is the main reason why choosing worlds is very important when you first start GW2. It's like fighting a war with other servers where you must defend territory and take their territory. This is the reason I played GW2 for years tbh. Back then, I used to play every single day because I was so dedicated to my server and our land LOL. It's really fun because you can choose to follow a commander around and have 20+ people fighting against another 20+ people from another server and it's crazy laggy but amazing at the same time considering the different roles professions play here and how important teamwork is. If you like roaming around, that's cool too because although a bit difficult, you can literally capture territory or obtain stat benefits for your server through other objectives, just be careful of the huge amount of people running around that might swamp you loll.

Graphics/Soundtrack: Graphics have never been the highlight of GW2 since they're rather average. I mean, my crappy laptop can play it so lolol, but they're good enough, I love it. The highlight are probably the dragons, they're quite beautiful. Otherwise, nothing mindblowing but still nice in its own way. Soundtrack is pretty nice, fits the adventures and maps.

Overall, I'd say that GW2 strives on the PvE aspects and so it will always be the main focus for ArenaNet. They have many updates in terms of PvE which can cause other modes of gameplay to stagnate but there are dedicated players in those so it'll never die lol, especially the hardcore WvWers. I want to say that if you don't like the PvE, that means you're hating like 80% of the game already LOL and there's no point but really, I used to only play WvW and I was still very satisfied, so who knows! I'd definitely recommend trying the game though since it's free now!~ As someone who played it for years, it was worth my every penny~

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Higurashi When They Cry (PC/Steam/PS3)

I'm only up to the third novel which is the Tatarigoroshi-hen but I can see why this novel is so well received because I absolutely loveee it! Apparently the anime is quite different in that it's more gory and bloody and stuff but I don't really care about that since I think Higurashi excels in the story, interactions of the characters and the atmosphere rather than the gory parts. And the original is this sound novel so I'm much more interested in this. Anyway, Higurashi is a psychological horror and mystery story revolving around our MC Keiichi who moves to a small town called Hinamizawa. Initially, everything is all good with his new friends and town, but as he learns more about the town itself with its dark past of people dying due to an incident and at a festival every year, he slowly starts to unravel bloody parts of the town's history, leading to his possible demise.

Plot/Characters: In the first three novels, there is the similar premise of starting off with all the light-hearted parts first for you to get attached to the characters and understanding them better before getting into the dark stuff. The mystery is a lasting premise throughout the series so it probably won't be resolved until I read the answer arcs since the first 4 or so are question arcs which show the details of the characters' personalities, their background and their motivations etc.
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The first half usually revolves around Keiichi's school club with Mion, Satoko, Rika and Rena where they play all kinds of games and dares. It sounds boring but I swear it is so entertaining seeing how their different personalities interact. As the stories develop further, you see darker sides of each character and see that below the surface, not everyone is as simple as they seem, I mean Rena seems pretty crazy tbh but she's so cute and cool at the same time omgg. It mostly revolves around the idea of the MC finding out different things about the town and the people such as a dam project being shut down, people mysteriously dying, the dark past of the town etc. I don't really want to spoil though but every character is likeable in their own way since they're quite unique and you really grow to understand and like them. Whether it be Mion the smart leader tomboy, Rena the quiet but perceptive girl, Rika the "innocent" but manipulative cute kid and Satoko the evil troublemaker that is actually very adorable. The MC is also hilarious but very relatable in terms of the circumstances he is faced with. The horror definitely isn't in your face but it accumulates through the continuous fear built up through the story and the atmosphere. 10/10 game for me and I've only played 2 arcs loll.

Gameplay: There really isn't anything too explicit in the novels since it is a sound novel, which basically means it's just full of words and interactions between the characters with background music. There is no voice acting and you can only tell who is talking through the sprite popping up or through the text itself.  If you really want voice acting, you can play or patch the PS3 version but I'm rather fond of the original version with just sound and text. There are no choices, so really you're just literally reading a novel with pictures of characters and background images to create the atmosphere and with some noise in the background of course.

Graphics/Soundtrack: There are three different sprites of the characters with the original, Steam version and the PS3 version. Personally, I think the original is too weirdly proportionate and kinda weird to play with, the PS3 version is okay but kinda mainstream and so I like the Steam version since it's pretty lolol. Tbh though, it's probably because I'm used to it already that's why I like it since most people seem to prefer the PS3 version.

Before I played this game, I never thought background music could change the atmosphere of a story so well because literally, whenever the MC is panic-stricken or the girls seem kinda crazy about something, the music really makes the whole situation even worse than it already is. Otherwise, the happy music also makes things very bright and nice. There's not a great selection of music but it's definitely enough.

Overall, totally recommend this game if you want a good mystery and some psychological horror. The slice of life moments in the beginning are really fun but might not be everyone's cup of tea, I find them very enjoyable and insightful to the personalities of the characters. Definitely try out this classic, you won't regret it! This series is easily my favourite game I read/played this year. It's so engaging and entertaining!

HEADS UP RIGHT NOWW! The rest are otome games, which are female oriented visual novels and to an extent dating sims since you choose your boy etc. Not all of them are heavily focused on romance such as Cinderella Phenomenon but there is still romance so if it's not your cup of tea, you can skippp! Some guys really enjoy Cinderella Phenomenon and Mystic Messenger though so it really depends~


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Cinderella Phenomenon (PC/Steam)

Plot/Characters: This is a great free-to-play game because the story is good, guys are pretty with good personalities and the heroine is strong. In terms of plot, it follows our heroine being cursed with the fairytale curse of Cinderella where she changes from a princess into a peasant where no one except other cursed people recognise her. In order to break the curse, she must do three good deeds. The heroine was cursed by a witch to help her understand how cold of a princess she was etc and thus is helped by one of the five romanceable love interests to break the curse. Waltz and Fritz (first two from the left) aren't immediately available until you play the other routes though since their stories are rather plot heavy and Waltz's is essentially the true route.

Heroine is really cool because she's a rather logical and straightforward girl that is cold to others for a legit reason (from her mother's upbringing/brainwashing) but since she is her own person, she's gotta realise that if she stays as she is, she won't be able to survive. The basic concept of the story revolves around fairy tales causing witches to be negatively perceived and killed, causing the witches to eventually retaliate with these fairy tale curses. It's quite saddening tbh. Anyway, the heroine is called Lucette and her character growth throughout the stories is greaat! She learns to be such a strong-willed and independent woman but also possess kindness for others through her interactions. If you want a heroine with personality, Lucette is one of the best~ I'll talk about some general stuff about the guys from left to right~

Waltz is the true route so I won't spoil anything, but he's essentially the protective childhood friend that Lucette had forgotten for some reasons, and so he's always loved and cared for her without her knowing. His route is more plot heavy rather than romantic, which is fine with me because I was quite engrossed with the story and thought it had a nice conclusion. He's the mature older guy that tries to take care of her and open her up again. Basically, he's sweet and considerate~

Fritz is quite a basic cinnamon roll that does everything for Lucette and loves her for who she is no matter what. He tries his best to protect her at all times but his curse interferes with this and that curse *spoiler* created another personality of him which is on the villain's side. His name is Varg and I'd say this is more of a Varg route than Fritz route because you mostly see Varg and get attached to him rather than Fritz lol. Varg isn't nice but since deep down he is Fritz, his feelings for Lucette in the end overcome any other things he attempts to do as the bad guy.

Karma is a crossdresser due to his curse and I've gotta say his curse is the best twist on the fairy tale it relates to. I'd say his and Lucette's circumstances are the most similar in that they were both cursed to learn to be considerate of others. Although playful, he is kind but also scared of showing his love to Lucette, it was nice to see them develop feelings for each other slowly though, it was super cute. Jurien and Garlan becoming a couple was the besttt~

Rumpel has amnesia and so Lucette spends her time unravelling his memories and finding out things about him. He's a sweet flirt but I wasn't too into him. Maybe because I couldn't help but sympathise with his *spoiler* ex-fiancee that he was so selfless that he became selfish. He was a doctor that only cared about his patients and never really cared about her feelings so it's nice that Lucette can come to understand and support him now but I still feel sorry for that girl...

Rod is Lucette's stepbrother and probably the most vanilla route. What I liked about his route was the curse and Lucette being able to come to like her stepmother and stepsister after spending time with them. Being able to reconcile with the family was so nice that I get kinda sad that it's not as important in other routes. Rod is so shy and cute though, I'd say the romance was most fluffy here~

Gameplay: Super simple, there are only two choices to be made for each interaction that requires answers. So, essentially there is one good ending and one bad ending for each guy. This is probably the first time I've enjoyed both good and bad endings for every character because dangg those bad endings are quite sad... Rod's and Karma's especially hit me but so does Waltz's... Makes it all the more worthwhile to see those happy endings.

Graphics/Soundtrack: Art is really pretty, has a western kinda feel so it's not exactly cutesy but they are pretttyyyy. There's an opening song for the game and I actually really like it, quite mesmerising, catchy and fits the Cinderella theme. Overall soundtrack gives quite an impact in the situations it is used in, especially the sad ones T_T

Overall, there's really no reason to not play this because it's absolutely great! It's free, story is interesting, Lucette is strong and cool and the guys are nice. My favourite otome this year in terms of story probably~

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Mystic Messenger (Android/iOS)

Best mobile otome game hands down. Wins in story and unique gameplay, I can see why there was so much hype for this because it is soo worth it.

Plot/Characters: There are 6 characters to choose from with various good, bad, normal endings but I only played the good ending since it's super time consuming loll. Plot revolves around our heroine receiving a message to help some Unknown do something in an apartment and she eventually enters a chatroom with all the guys (and girl!). They try to figure out who the heroine is and how she got into their exclusive chatroom and during that time, she slowly seeps into their hearts and becomes irreplaceable to them. Really, the game spans over 11 days (real-time) and the heroine becomes part of their association called RFA helping to plan a party as a replacement for a girl called Rika. So literally, they're falling in love through talking in a chatroom without even seeing each other face-to-face, it might sound silly but I love 707 and Zen so much, it's real LOL. It's basically reflecting reality man, since we're holding our phones interacting with text and falling in love with our virtual boys haha!

Zen is the narcissistic but kind guy that worked hard his whole life to get to where he is now. He's a bit slow on technology and other things unrelated to acting but he's like your most reliable best friend when you're not romancing him and when you are, he's the prince that will protect you no matter what. He can be corny but he's so adorable too~ Now if only Echo Girl didn't exist and didn't annoy us in this route...

Yoosung is the younger college boy that is obsessed with his cousin Rika that "died" and is always comparing the heroine to her, which can get reallyyy annoying. He's the cute, innocent and emotional boy that tries to cope with the loss of Rika through games. He was pretty cool at the end but I felt like the heroine was babying him the whole time that I just couldn't feel the romance tbh.

Jaehee is the only girl of the routes available and you guys don't exactly date but it is implied that the heroine and her regard each other as more than just friends I guess. Most of the time, the heroine is playing a supportive role to Jaehee by encouraging her to pursue her own way of life rather than being stuck as the assistant of Jumin and it's so great to see Jaehee be able to let go of her past and find herself with the encouraging words the heroine says in the chatroom. It's a very heartwarming route for those who want to pursue something meaningful to them in their lives rather than the stability of a job I guess.

Jumin's story goes into the Deep Story area where you get to know more about Rika and the association since he's childhood friends with her and V. The mystery surrounding Rika's death unravels quite a bit in a way that was unexpected and saddening. But yeah anyway, Jumin is the emotionless and logical guy that doesn't regard love as important due to his father being a playboy. The heroine eventually makes him realise what love is I guess and I'd say this was a literal Korean drama route lmao, Although I have to say that I think Jumin is too possessive and clingy, think he should solve his problems first before being in a relationship tbh..

707's route is the true route so should be played last and it's such an emotional rollercoaster. 707 is usually the funny one of the bunch and he still is but he's just got so much emotional baggage that it's difficult for him to accept the heroine's love and I gotta say she was pretty annoying in this route but I guess that's what was needed to open 707 up. Nevertheless, it was still really sweet but also saddening. Definitely read the epilogues to complete the story~

V's route is the most recent to come out and it really involves the tragic romance between V and Rika as they both loved each other in such emotionally detrimental ways. The heroine is there to support V's escape from Rika emotionally. Wouldn't say V or Rika is wrong I guess, since they both obviously had their problems. Romance isn't strong in this route but it does offer a more detailed background of V's and Rika's love that ended so...devastatingly. Quite a depressing route so be ready for that..

Gameplay: Highlight of this game is the gameplay. It's like SO COOL. I don't think I've used my phone as a phone that much until I played this game because the guys text you and even call you!! Yes, they call you at certain times and it's so soothing and nice to hear their voices! Chatrooms also open at specific times so if you don't wanna miss out, you better know when they open because it goes with real time. And yes, some chatrooms open at like 2am omg, so either have a lot of time on your hands or have lots of money to get hourglasses and not miss them. Otherwise, it's not really fatal if you miss a few, just don't miss a lot because you need hearts to get the good endings. There are also emails that you have to reply to as the party coordinator (I just looked at a walkthrough), but omg some of the guests are absolutely hilarious, definitely read them hahahaha. But yes, phone calls, text messages and chatrooms! It's super fun but also super time consuming~

Graphics/Soundtrack: Zen is the prettiest guy ever but I'm so partial to 707 and V <3 There are lots of CGs to collect, the amount of selfies that Zen sends is unreal lolol. But yeah art is prettyyy~ Soundtrack-wise, everyone has their own theme which is cool and definitely enhances the experience. I still enjoy listening to it outside of the game haha.

Overall, Mystic Messenger is a must try! It's free and so interactive. Haven't found a mobile otome more entertaining and unique as this, totally recommended.


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Shall We Date? Guard Me Sherlock (Android/iOS)



Plot/Characters: Basic premise is that the heroine goes to the office of Sherlock Holmes asking for his help to solve her problem/case and the mystery involved depends on the guy you choose. Heroine isn't really a doormat but she can be at times LOL. She's shown to be rather intelligent most of the time though but also playful and sweet. Besides the guys constantly vying for her love whether she's in a relationship or not, the game is pretty decent in terms of mystery and romance.

Sherlock is awkward but really cute. He doesn't really have common sense but that just makes him adorable and lovable in his own way since John and Mikah help him out. I still find it really cute that Sherlock is a big fan of her role in a crime drama and has always liked her, he's such a smart but cute guy loll. He's sincere though and that's the best. S1 is great but S2 is definitely very meh, heroine is nothing but the girl to be lusted after by the guys and the mystery wasn't that interesting either, the bodyguard premise in S1 was much better and straightforward.

John is a doctor that is romantic and I guess the most normal out of all the guys lmao. Him pretending to be her fiance was fun and cute. It was also nice to see more of John and Sherlock's relationship, they match so well as partners haha. John is quite the gentleman character so if that's your thing ;) S2 was all right, it was kinda funny that John was pretending to be a phantom thief for a bit haha. The heroine is quite energetic and playful when she's with John lol.

James is the most openly affectionate guy that is unafraid to shower the heroine with his love through actions, words and gifts. He's a criminal though so that is a problem for a bit but she tries her best to prevent him from doing bad things in an acceptable way so it's rather endearing. The route is a bit dramatic and has that dreamy love feel to it but I really loved it. His S2 was also fun too, you just can't get enough of James lmao.

Mikah was a weird route because I always liked him as the little kid so having him suddenly grow up (he's not cute anymoreee) and the heroine having no problem with the age difference at all was weirdddddd. Like it was an okay route but, it was short and didn't develop the romance enough for me to feel that their relationship was romantic. Felt like the heroine was very passive about the whole thing and Mikah was...okay but nah, he's a bit of a smartass too loll.

Mycroft breaks my heart with the pretend marriage thing that turns real because it's just so cuteeee! Especially since he always thought of love as a hassle until he met the heroine. He's rather rough around the edges at times but the effort he puts in to making the relationship work is what makes him so great. It's also so cute how he dotes on Sherlock in his own way haha.

James and Mycroft are most definitely the best guys~ Their affection is so cutee~

Gameplay: There are 5 story tickets maximum and one is refreshed every 4 hours. There's points you need to accumulate to pass checkpoints and also gold you'd need to accumulate to buy the necessary clothes to pass checkpoints too. Also important to get the correct answers to increase intimacy to be able to get the good endings. There are also random quizzes that the guys like to get you to solve through the routes and they're pretty interesting and fun!~

Graphics/Soundtrack: Art is very Japanese so it's like Japanified Sherlock etc haha. Cute though. Quite a few CGs to keep too! Each guy has their exclusive theme but I think James' one is the most noticeable and catchy~ <3

Overall, there isn't a route for every guy right now and it's unclear whether NTT Solmare will do the rest of the routes or not...so if you play this, don't get your hopes up about the other guys XD

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Shall We Date? Lost Alice (Android/iOS)

Plot/Characters: Lost Alice goes along with the Alice in Wonderland theme and quirky (but cool) clothes and world. Instead of following a rabbit to go to Wonderland, the heroine has for some reason came to Wonderland by her own will and become Alice, the reason is currently unknown because she has amnesia and can't remember. So, as the heroine tries to gather her memories, she receives the help of iconic characters such as the Hatter, Queen of Hearts etc. Contrary to how the characters are portrayed in the original book, I'd say their personalities are quite different. The heroine is also very proactive and cool since she tries her best to rely on herself to solve problems and doesn't rely on the guys. She works hard and takes initiative :)

Choose Luke if you like gentlemen! He's the first guy I went for and I still love him so much <3 Luke's the guy that tries his best to protect the heroine whilst giving her space, he respects her and supports her when she needs it. He's like the perfect guy lmao.

Kyle is the Cheshire Cat where he's guarded against others but also mischievous. His job is to guide Alice in Wonderland and so his existence is only meaningful if she is there, so really he's been a lonely guy until she came along. He's the one that thinks that her recovering her memories aren't necessarily for the best and tries to prevent that but, with the positive influence the heroine brings, he learns that having no memories is painful as well..

Joker is in the same boat as the heroine with lost memories. He's a realistically kind guy, so he's not as fairytale perfect as Luke but he's still very kind and protective in his own way. I guess his route kinda shows the fear of recovering your memories that may not be so good, when they both got their memories back though, that was so cutee.

Owen and Luke are my absolute favourites. Owen's always burdened with the reality of protecting the people in his kingdom against the sacrifice of those in the real world to keep things running in Wonderland. He thinks that realistically he can only choose one and it wasn't until the heroine appeared that instead of accepting this reality, he learns that he should keep fighting against this reality; her support was important and sweet to see.

Sidd is the March Hare aka bunny boy. He and the heroine shared common goals in this route, encouraged each other the whole time and  thus naturally fell in love. He's the super reliable and mature guy that helps to change the world through his little actions behind the scenes I guess haha.

Chronus is the timekeeper that steals time from the people in the real world to keep Wonderland functioning. But since he's a really kind guy, the constant guilt of doing this to the people in the real world burdens him physically and mentally. If you wanna feel protective of your guy, this is the route, Chronus has such a painful life...

Ace is the commander of the knighthood serving the Queen of Hearts. He's the mature, level-headed guy that teaches the heroine magic to protect herself but also depends on her to have his back. Didn't feel the romance much but he was cool.

Neil is a guy that has accepted his fate to be the role the Spinner of Tales (the guy who created the tale of Wonderland) had given him and believes that he doesn't have the capability or right to emotions and other feelings. But obviously, the existence of the heroine makes it apparent that he's not just an empty shell~

Spinner of Tales shows the background story to how he had become who he is in all the routes. It tells of his sad but generic story that caused him to go crazy trying to keep the story of Wonderland alive forever. It was understandable though. Didn't feel the romance much but I did enjoy his story and the heroine saving him from that torment of keeping this story alive.

Gameplay: Pretty much the same as Sherlock without the quizzes. Some of the newer routes have checkpoints that are a bit harder to pass due to the increased amount of points needed though, so it can take longer to read the story zz

Graphics/Soundtrack: I think the art in Lost Alice is so pretty and mostly consistent! The heroine is super cute most of the time and the clothes are so cutee and pretty. There are also quite a few CGs even if you play for free so it's great! Mainstream art but I like it. Soundtrack is limited but enough~ quite mystical.


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Shall We Date? Niflheim (Android/iOS)

Plot/Characters: Niflheim is the world of the dead and the heroine is a dead princess that was awakened by the king of Niflheim so that he could get her to be his wife loll. Since she never got to experience love when she was alive, she is very curious of it and the new world around her that she lives in. I like the heroine, she's got a good personality where she isn't the most strong but she knows what she wants and tries her hardest to do what she can to achieve her goals, whether that be supporting the guy or whatever.

Orlando was a guy that couldn't believe in love due to what happened to him when he was alive leading to his death. So, as the adviser to the king of Niflheim and the one that teaches the heroine etiquette to be a proper future queen, he also does not want to admit that he would fall for her when shes' s the king's future wife. However, seeing the heroine try her best to show how much she loves him and seeing how much fun he has with her, he realises that he needs her in his life. I liked this route, I think it's my second favourite.

J.J. is the scientist that only thinks about his experiments. As he is tasked with the job of making a love potion for the king, he receives help from the heroine. She helps him out as an assistant at the lab and by trying to teach him what love is since he's a logical guy that knows nothing of this feeling. He's such a good and sincere guy, so innocent and cute hahaha.

Philippe is a poet and romance novelist, oh and he's also the librarian haha. His story revolves around the heroine finding out that he's actually still alive in this realm of the dead! As the heroine starts to delve into his life more, you discover his true and romantic reason for staying here when it's so dangerous for live humans to be here, it's quite a fairytale sweet route haha, probably just like the novels he writes.

Jean is the king of Niflheim and my favourite guy. Initially, I was like pfft to him but he's the greatest guy ever. He's funny, silly but also a seriously caring guy that loves his people. He feels lonely as the king but the heroine fixes that by treating him as the person he is and in turn, he learns what it means to love another person and only them. He's such a sweet and endearing guy, he always makes my heart melt, and then he makes me laugh haha.

Pale Ghost (Nick) was a rather interesting route, since no one but the heroine is able to see him until later on, thus developing feelings of possession and love where they both want to be the most important person to each other. Such a big reveal when they find out why no one can see him but I'd say this was a pretty dramatic route with Nick being sad most of the time lol.

Victor is a doctor and the heroine goes to help him out because she's bored lol. He's kinda like Frankenstein in that his body is made up of different parts of people's corpses but due to this, he has different personalities and thinks that he can never be truly loved. As they try to solve a mystery relating to Victor's father, they fall in loveee~ The heroine was really brave and cool in this route~

Skeletiano is such a funny guy but his route wasn't very funny at all, it was pretty dramatic and sad since he doesn't have memories of when he was alive. Initially thinking of it as something normal like amnesia, it turned out to actually be something much deeper and sadder to have been discovered, causing the existence of Skeletiano to be in jeopardy. Thankfully, the power of love prevails!

Leo is the king of Muspelheim, which is like the bright version of Niflheim loll. He's a very energetic guy that's rough around the edges trying to look for a wife hahaha. He's a bit aggravating in the beginning but as you learn his background and how much he cares for Surt (his wolf), you see how considerate and loving he is.

Gameplay: Same as Sherlock without quizzes. Problem with this one is that closet space and gold is quite hard to get so passing checkpoints can be difficult at times. However, you get lots of items to get more energy to earn more gold so it's fine. Oh and you can do those Ball of the day things to get gold there too so it's relatively easy.

Graphics/Soundtrack: The art for Niflheim is so unique and is probably the biggest reason for playing it since the guys look different but cool! There are only like 1-2 CGs per route if you just play for free. Soundtrack is the same most of the time I think haha but that doesn't bother me.

Totally recommend Jean, Orlando and Leo~~ J.J. is also kinda cute though hahaha. Overall, most routes are pretty good so I'd recommend playing them all. They're all very individualistic and not generic at all which I loveee~


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Princess Closet (Android/iOS)

Plot/Characters: The heroine is an office worker that gets recruited by Reo to be a fashion model for their brand 'Princess Closet'! Wanting to get out of her mundane life, she decides to try it and thus meets the CEO, photographer and makeup artist related to the brand, leading to a blossoming love~

Reo is the guy that designs the clothes for the brand and thinks that the heroine is the perfect image for it. However, her low confidence kinda blows him off at times (and me too) and causes some misunderstandings with his overbearing love. He gives her extravagant gifts like aquariums though, so he's probably a keeper LOL. Tbh though, he's a pretty sweet guy and he seems to try harder than the heroine in the relationship by always trying to win her affection and love and yet she questions that love of his all the time..

Shuu is the CEO that is so focused on taking care of everybody else before himself. The heroine eventually lives with him so that he can teach her how to be a model and maintain her weight etc and that's how they develop feelings but he refuses to admit it since he doesn't want to mix personal relationships with work. Doesn't work though because he can't help but dote on her whilst trying to put a line between them haha. It's pretty cute but sad too.

Kai is the kind and sexy makeup artist that acts mature by trying to prevent their relationship from getting deeper just in case it affects the image of the brand but he's too allured by her~ They're always in this complicated relationship where they're like dating but not dating. He's the sensual adult that values the heroine and his work and I think I love him the most hahaha He frustrates me at times but I understand him.

Akito is the route I do not recommend AT ALL. Seriously. He's like worse than Toma from Amnesia: Memories because he's the biggest jerk ever because of whatever problems he has from his parents and childhood. Anyway, at least Toma cared for the heroine, Akito treats her more like a pet and a possession that he's obsessed with and the heroine is like totally okay with that. She's just like oh he's got problems but it's okay. DUDE, IT IS NOT. Anyway, if being locked in a bird cage is your thing, by all means, go for it~

Gameplay: No choices, no checkpoints. Tickets/gems are refreshed every day. You can get more  tickets/gems by watching ads though.

Graphics/Soundtrack: Pretty average, solid colours. A few CGs, around like 4 per guy I think. Soundtrack is limited with only one track for each route, so you literally recognise the guy by the track hahaha. It's the samee music the wholee timeee until you move on to the next guy lmao. I'd say Reo's is the most annoying since it's pretty loud lolll.


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Shall We Date? Oz (Android/iOS)

Plot/Characters: This follows years after Dorothy returns to Kansas after her adventure in Oz. As her 17th birthday draws closer, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Lion have changed into their respective human forms to pick her up and celebrate her birthday in Oz. But, little did they know that Dorothy's birthday is actually quite an important event for another reason.

Anyways, as stated above in the image, those are the personalities of the three haha. Crowlie (Scarecrow) is serious and very focused on trying to be a good king to Emerald City. However, since he prioritises knowledge over other important things a king needs, the heroine helps and supports him into realising that knowledge isn't everything.

Leonardo (Lion) is the king of the forest. He's the rash and straightforward guy that jumps into things without thinking, making the heroine uncomfortable with his inappropriate advances sometimes. But, since he loves the heroine, he tries his best to keep his animal instincts at par and show her the cool regal king he is in the forest. It's pretty cute since he's more like a little puppy lolol.

Heartmann (Tin Woodman) is the kind and gentle nice guy. He's very capable and cares for his people, but because he's got a good head on his shoulders, he's one of the few guys that understands that the heroine can't stay in the land of Oz forever and so tries to be cold to her so she can leave easier. He's a silly but nice guy after all.

Oz is insecure about the fact that he can only do magic tricks and not actual magic. However, by protecting the heroine in his own way from the deceptive actions of the other wizards, she provides encouragement and assurance that he is capable in his own way.

Wesley is the main reason why this game is recommended. Everyone else's routes are average but Wesley's is the besttt. He is the Wizard of the West that Dorothy killed by splashing water on and has thus been revived by Norton. I'd say that Wesley and the heroine's relationship was the most equal and balanced because she was able to restore his loving heart and give him happiness. He's such a sweet bad guy.

Solomon's route was kinda weird because of the age difference and how obsessed he was with her but okay..He's a bit of a tease but he works hard for the people he governs. He also believes in the heroine when Norton can't. This route mostly provides background to the story, the romance was pretty meh.

Norton is the guy that wants the best for the land of Oz and since the heroine's actions can cause that to go awry, he tries his best doing things that don't necessarily treat her well but she accepts that because she knows how much he loves the land of Oz. Rather than love though, I feel like Norton appreciates the heroine but whatever rolls with them I guess.

Gameplay: Same as Sherlock without quizzes. Checkpoints are very easy to pass. I never had any problems with it.

Graphics/Soundtrack: Graphics are okay, they're nice in their own way loll. Can't really collect CGs though because you only get like a chunk of it unless you pay for the premium kinda route zz. Soundtrack limited but there's quite a variety of happy ones haha.

Overall, I'd recommend to play this game just for Wesley because he's the bomb hahaha. Or maybe it's because I felt like his was the only decent route that I thought it was so great lmao. Nevertheless, I loved him.

MANGA/WEBTOONS

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Kuzu no Honkai (Scum's Wish) by Yokoyari Mengo
Genre: Drama, Mature, Romance, School Life, Seinen
Status: Complete, 47 chapters scanlated

There was an anime this year! I didn't watch it but I think people saw the appeal of it, so I guess I'd recommend it if you cbb reading manga lol. Basically, it revolves around the rather tame friends with benefits relationship Mugi and Hanabi have. They both are in love with other people that they can't hope to have and so relish in each other's company and intimacy to cure their lonely hearts.

Btw, really don't like the female teacher Mugi is into and I will never know why and what that guy sees in her. Like, she was detestable but I acknowledged that was her character, still didn't like the ending she got though, unfairr. Anyway, most of the manga surrounds the idea of the darker sides of people that succumb to their loneliness making decisions that aren't the best for them but the temporary pleasure it brings allows them to forget about their individual pain. I quite enjoyed it because I felt that it was to an extent relatable since most people understand the sadness of being lonely. It's just that our MCs here acted on trying to fix that in their own detrimental way. They knew nothing would come out of this meaningless and toxic relationship but they still went with it because they couldn't bear being lonely. And I guess that's what I loved about it; how "wrong" and sad but in a way, it couldn't be helped that things went along like that. Wasn't too big a fan of Mugi but I liked Hanabi's character.

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Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) by Ooima Yoshitoki

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Psychological, Romance, School Life, Shounen, Slice of Life
Status: Complete, 62 chapters scanlated

After watching the movie, I couldn't help but be interested in the original. The story follows Shoko who has impaired hearing and how she eventually is bullied by her classmates, with Shouya being the head of that. Due to the repercussions of the bullying, Shoko moves away and Shouya is blamed and thus becomes the new target of all the bullying. With his experiences of bullying firsthand, he meets Shoko again years later and tries to understand and help her and in turn redeem himself. Bullying is reprehensible but seeing how much Shouya had to go through as well made me unable to hate him anymore, because at least he tried his best to fix things in the present since he can't change the past. He takes on the hatred and everything from Shoko's mother and sister (to an extent) like a true man! Unlike the class rep girl that is so fake and shallow and thinks she did nothing wrong like whaat. I wanna punch her every time I see her. At least the other girl is upfront and honest in admitting that she was a bully and stuff. Didn't like the other guy that was bullied in the past too, he was so self-righteous towards Shouya when he understands nothing. Only Sahara and Shouya's best bro (hahahah) were good.

Anywho, I guess it's a story of redemption with a tad of school life and showing the importance of having friends working together on the common goal of creating a movie together. It really showed the details that the movie wasn't able to incorporate and I felt like I understood Shoko better by reading this since things felt kinda abrupt at times in the movie, making me have to assume things rather than understand it. Otherwise, the rollercoaster of emotions between Shoko and Shouya as they try to move forward but are burdened with her physical incapacity and his continuous guilt for his past actions. I really liked the manga because of how much they grew together and found how they should continue living together, since Shoko always felt like a burden and Shouya always felt ostracised and wrought with guilt. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing.

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Fire Punch by Fujimoto Tatsuki
Genre: Action, Mature, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Sci-fi, Shounen, Supernatural, Tragedy
Status: Ongoing, 82 chapters scanlated

Initially, I didn't like this because I felt like it was degenerating into a boring cliche revenge story where the MC has no thoughts for himself besides following another person's instructions to reach his goal, but I'm so glad the direction changed and turned into what it became~ It follows the story of the world being one of snow, starvation and madness due to the Ice Witch's powers. For some reason, our MC has regenerative powers and so he supplies his own meat to the village in order to keep everyone alive. Things go awry when the village is decimated for being cannibalistic and thus the MC stricken with grief and thought for revenge goes on a journey to find the guy that killed them all. Also, for some reason, his body is continuously burning now, so really he runs around naked and burning the rest of the series LOL.

I wouldn't say this is the best manga I've read, but it has this certain allure for being interestingly weird and unpredictable lol. You never really know what the author plans to do but you go along with the ride anyway because why not? A burning man's journey for revenge and what awaits him after achieving that is something they try to explore in this manga. Although it seems like no matter what, inner peace can never be given to our poor MC. This is definitely a weird one so it's good to read when you're drunk I guess LOL.

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The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Days ~ Touzoku to Seishoujo~ by Iwasa Mamoru, Artist: Kokukuji Yo
Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen, Tragedy
Status: Complete, 7 chapters scanlated

Ban and Elaine are probably the favourite couple in the original manga, so now there's a spinoff showing a detailed version of the seven days they spent together!~ Contrary to what you may think considering their story is probably detailed enough, there's no such thing as too much detail of their relationship XD Seeing them spend such happy and peaceful days together before the tragedy occurs really brought some tears to my eyes again. It's a really bittersweet love story that you can't help but support since they're both so adorable. Their determination for trying to save the other no matter what is touching, especially when you see how dedicated Ban is in the original to protect her and bring her back to life. Such an enviable relationship~

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One Punch-Man by ONE, Artist: Murata Yuusuke
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi, Seinen, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Status: Ongoing, 84 chapters scanlated

After the anime came out, it's been all the hypee but I still prefer the manga just because Murata Yuusuke's art is SO AWESOME. Like seriously. The details, the intricacy of every little thing is just so amazing. If you don't know, the story follows Saitama (a basic and average looking guy) who defeats every monster with one punch and that's all you need to know lolol. But really, it's a world where there's a hero association dedicated to destroying monsters harming their cities and Saitama eventually becomes a hero there because it's his hobby and he needs some living expenses. This leads to him meeting many different heroes of different caliber and motivations that help to shape his thoughts of what being a hero is. As Saitama continues his streak of killing every monster with one punch, he can't help but feel that everything in life is boring with no excitement, so meeting people like Licenseless Rider and King makes him think again about the kind of hero he wants to be.

Fyi, I love Licenseless Rider because of his strong determination and conviction to being a hero that helps those who need help. He's not the strongest but he's someone you can't help but cheer for no matter what. Watchdog man is probably the most ridiculous looking but coolest guy ever omg. His fight with Garou was hilariously cool. Oh and I really like Garou too, I'm so looking forward to seeing that animated! Anyway, if you're interested in a world of various types of monsters and heroes, cool fights, amazing art and contemplation on what heroism entails in a funny way that defies the mainstream (yet keeps with it), then give it a try~

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ReRe Hello by Minami Touko
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Status: Complete, 43 chapters scanlated

Ririko's father owns a handyman business and so after stuff happens, she helps out the company and that eventually leads to her cooking dinner for Minato at his home quite often. This all obviously leads to loveee! Anyway, Ririko's a great heroine because she's down to earth, sincere and hard working. She does her best and takes on everything with a positive attitude. She can be a bit slow but that's cute about her. Minato is initially perceived as the rich flirty kinda guy but he's just as sincere as the heroine. They're both likeable as they experience cliche shoujo moments together such as the childhood friend rival and rich people problems but the heroine handles everything with poise and in her style without succumbing to having to "reach his level". She carries herself with confidence and a bright personality that affects other positively. Kinda draggy at times but nevertheless a cute fluffy shoujo that isn't super annoying. It's an innocent love so it may frustrate with the slow romantic pace but I think it's good.

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Kageno datte Seishun Shitai by Kitagawa Yuka
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Status: Ongoing, 12 chapters scanlated

This follows the typical low confidence girl with a popular guy trope with a cute little twist, which is the heroine looking chibi at times LOL. It's not all the time and it's really a representation of how she feels and her confidence levels etc rather than her actually turning mini but it's done very entertainingly. It's cute and fluffy since it starts off with him asking her to be his fake girlfriend for a bit until he very forwardly asks her out~ She always thinks she's never good enough but she's so silly and capable in everything that the guy really serves to balance things out lol, he's a pretty down to earth guy that always saw her for who she was and wanted a simple life. Good looks just made his life difficult lol. Anywho, if you want a funny and cute shoujo, I'd recommend this~



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Que Sera, Sera by Gonalisa, Artist: Sujeong
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
Status: Complete, 70 chapters scanlated

The story follows Hani as she accidentally has a one night stand with her best friend's younger brother. Worse goes to worse when she finds out that she's pregnant though! Not wanting to jeopardise his great opportunity for a career in another country, she doesn't tell him about it and this ensues drama as they both lead their own respective lives until the brother comes back for personal reasons. It's really a story full of drama tbh, with side love interests trying to get the MCs affections and interfering with the big reveal of whose kid it is lol. The kid is so adorableeee though, she's the cutest thing ever and the highlight of the series lol. She's like a breath of fresh air from all the drama. I know some people don't like Hani and what she did but I think her actions were understandable and realistic, she also has no duty to go with the brother (like other commenters seem to think she does) just because he's the father. Although I did cheer on the brother haha. I think the best friend was quite a frustrating character to have to bear with though...

Anyway, if you like your Korean drama with hints of baby cuteness and a sporadic love that frustrates you but is also sweet then go for it~

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Oyasumi Punpun by Asano Inio (R 18+)
Genre: Adult, Comedy, Drama, Mature, Psychological, Romance, School Life, Seinen, Slice of Life
Status: Complete, 147 chapters scanlated

With the recommendation of a friend, I read this depressing manga. It's unique in that the MC appears as that bird looking thing above the whole of the series and his form changes depending on his mood, emotions, mental and physical growth. It talks about Punpun's (MC) life from a dysfunctional family and love interest as he deals with adolescence and the problems popping up one after another. He can be a bit frustrating at times since he's just as selfish as the others but that's also what makes him humane and young I guess. It tells of the terrible experiences Punpun goes through with toxic people around his life, no good role models and when he finally finds someone that is, he's spiralled way too down the life of depression and self-pity that he isn't able to bring himself out of it to believe that there is hope in a better future for him.

I really love this story because the quality was pretty consistent throughout the series until things just went from bad to worse lol, but I think the story and the ending really showed that whatever happens in life, there will always be this dark spot in our lives and whether we succumb to it or not depends on us. It also really exemplifies the idea that what's worse than death is having to continue to live.It just felt like most of the characters, there were so many reasons to die and so few reasons to live, but they still struggle until it comes to the point that rather than living, they're in a sense merely existing. It's quite a sad story...I'd definitely read it again though.

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Monokuro Shounen Shoujo by Fukuyama Ryoko
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Status: Ongoing, 67 chapters scanlated

Fukumenkei noise by the same author is more popular than this especially with the recent anime but I personally prefer this one much more, just because the former is very dramatic and teenage angsty to an extent lol. Anyway, this follows our heroine (a human) going into a literal beast school. Her role is to help these future kings and queens of their kinds accustom and understand how to live peacefully with humans I guess loll, although she could so easily get eaten haha. Anyway, I love the characters especially Kureha because she's softhearted but tries her best to be strong. She works her hardest to help out the people around her and softens their hearts <3 A bit of drama with the love square here but it's starting to resolve in a bit rushed but nice way. The only problem is whether she'll be able to be with the guy she loves after they graduate since only the person with the best grades can become human and go to the human world after, but it's a fluffy and mystical shoujo so everything should be just finee! Recommended if you like your boys to have some animal ears (LOL) and enjoy a hardheaded but cute heroine with a tsundere kinda guy that is super adorable loll.

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Dr. Stone by Inagaki Riichiro, Artist: Boichi
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi, Shounen
Status: Ongoing, 41 chapters scanlated

In the beginning, I was skeptical as to whether I'd enjoy this series since it seemed rather exaggerated and not that appealing but it gets soo much better and entertaining when the focus goes to our scientist guy Senku rather than our other main character Taiju who is mainly a musclehead lol. It is the author of Eyeshield 21 combined with the artist of Sun-ken Rock so you've gotta have expectations!

The story begins with our boys living in modern civilisation until a strange light covers the world turning everyone and everything into stone. A thousand years pass until Taiju and Senku are freed from their petrification, so now it's up to them to save everyone else from this mysterious petrification that they were somehow able to break out of! The beginning can be a bit slow as it establishes the main villain, the setting of the story and the objectives of the two main characters. As Taiju goes undercover with the villain, Senku tries to establish a kingdom of science to fight against the villain that is smart and very overpowered. As this goes on, Senku meets other funny but capable people that help with his science experiments into restoring human civilisation back to how it was rather than living in this stone age kinda era.

The manga really makes science look fun especially when they recreate crappy versions of ramen and cola, but it's always so exciting and groundbreaking since Senku is so cool and funny hahaha. He's a great MC. He's still on his way to establishing common scientific discoveries and it's very entertaining. The art is gorgeous too but rather unique, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea but I love it. It really does well in its' balance of being funny, informative and interesting. I really like Chrome, he's such a sincere and self-sacrificing guy. I really love the characters that are a part of Senku's team haha.

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The Promised Neverland by Shirai Kaju, Artist: Demizu Posuka
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Shounen, Supernatural
Status: Ongoing, 69 chapters scanlated

This is to an extent seen as the new Death Note because of the constant thought provoking and engaging plans to outsmart the other side, but I'd say the two are very different lol. However, this is still appealing because it is interesting. The story follows Emma, Norman and Ray as they discover that the "orphanage" that they are living in is not as simple as it seems, and is actually a human manufacturing plant to offer them at their best quality for demons to eat. After finding out this, they think of ways to increase their physical abilities and find ways of escape from this plant whilst evading the suspicion of their "orphanage mother".

The story has developed beyond what was first presented and is still going strong. The mystery remains engaging and I admit that the intense struggle to finding way to live in this world that goes against them is very interesting since the odds are against them, so instead of merely finding a way to get stronger, they have to learn to outwit their enemies. Emma is more of the typical naive girl that wants to save everyone but she's smart, perceptive and constantly growing and although she remains idealistic towards saving every person, she has also become more realistic of what she is capable of right now. She's very likeable and we all need a main character like this, right? XD Art is different and may seem childish but fits the mood since they are kids in a dark world and it's actually very detailed and nice.

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Kakao 79% by Aoi Umi
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life
Status: Ongoing, 79 chapters scanlated

Ayano and Yuu are childhood friends that have been inseparable since they were kids. Due to certain circumstances and her intense regard of Yuu as a friend, she has never properly considered a romance with Yuu. He has also hidden his feelings for most of his life in consideration of her until he can't help but tell her one day making their relationship move forward slowly but also in a complicated manner. Personally, I think this story is very refreshing and nice because Ayano isn't the girliest girl (and is even called a gorilla by Yuu) but she's also like a little lamb because she really wants friends and tries her best to treat them well but the popularity of Yuu and her closeness with him has always interfered with her making friends with girls. They're such a cute match because Ayano is pretty innocent but rough and Yuu is shy but also sweet. They have really good chemistry and they're so funny! If you want a comedy romance then go for this onee! The problem of them being so close that it's hard to move forward as more than friends without it being awkward and different is also explored very nicely and I can really relate with it, one of my favourite romance ones that I read recently!

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Hikaru no Go by Hotta Yumi, Artist: Obata Takeshi
Genre: Comedy, Drama, School Life, Shounen, Sports, Supernatural
Status: Complete, 148 chapters scanlated

Hikaru goes to his grandpa's house and touches a Go board meeting a ghost that is so attached to the game of Go that he has appeared throughout eras ever since his death to continue playing Go. With this ghost's (Sai) influence, Hikaru eventually becomes interested in the world of Go as he aims to defeat his rival Akira. Frankly, I wasn't the biggest fan of Hikaru himself since he's pretty selfish and unappreciative  of Sai's help imo. Also, what made the manga good was Sai's existence so when *spoiler* he disappears, it really turns into a normal shounen manga with nothing special about it. Like, it wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. I loved Sai's comedic moments and how he would have battles with those at the top of the Go world balanced with Hikaru slowly climbing up. It was entertaining to see those two sides. It ended very abruptly though so.. Overall, it's still a childhood favourite despite the fact that I only like Sai and the other old guys lolol since they're mature etc. However, it's still worth a read!

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Inugamihime ni Kuchizuke by Miyata Kouji
Genre: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, Seinen, Supernatural
Status: Complete, 24 Chapters scanlated

Ecchi but only because of the sensual kisses the MCs sharee! This is a super quirky and I totally dig it. Basically, it is steamy without being lewd hahaha. The story revolves around Kazura who swaps places with the dog spirit residing in her when she shares a kiss with the guy and this is needed in order to fight against evil spirits and exorcise them. It goes with the usual formula exorcising a demon of the day but the interactions between the MCs are so fresh and entertaining since they're so funny and cute. She's always embarrassed to wake up randomly when she's in the middle of licking the guy's face (since the dog loves the guy) hahahah. It's a short but sweet story with some good action as well with their fights against the spirits. Although the guy never really shows his feelings, he still cares for her a lot.

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Rurouni Kenshin by Watsuki Nobuhiro
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Historical, Martial Arts, Romance, Shounen
Status: Complete, 255 chapters scanlated

Loosely based in the beginning of  the Meiji era where swords have been banned and samurais have in turn lost their means of living. As a killer that brought about this era of supposed peace, Kenshin hopes to atone for his past and vows to never kill people again by wielding his reverse bladed katana so that he can protect those in need. Eventually, he meets trustworthy comrades that hope for the same goal of peace and they work together fighting against the remnants of the previous era that are dissatisfied with the current state of the country.

I loved the pacing of the story since it really showed what was needed, it dealt with the present issues, past issues and future issues equally with villains that all had their respective understandable problems with the current era since it is true how unstable and corrupt it remains, however Kenshin continues to try and improve this knowing that. The weight of his past and everyone else's burdens are so heartbreaking that I couldn't help but feel so sad for them. I loved all the characters here because they all played out their respective roles greatly such as Kaoru supporting Kenshin and is also representing the idealistic future they should be fighting for. This is my top favourite manga along with Hunter x Hunter and always will be. The fights aren't the most aesthetically beautiful but they are short and to the point, the way I like it, they also show the importance of mental and emotional fights rather than mere physical fights and that's why I love it.

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Himegoto - Jyuukyuusai no Seifuku by Minenami Ryo (R 18+)
Genre: Adult, Drama, Gender Bender, Romance, School Life, Seinen
Status: Complete, 100 chapters scanlated

If you're looking for another manga with dysfunctional people  surrounded by toxic people (maybe just person lol), then this would be an interesting one. It talks about 3 college students who are burdened with the idea of gender and sexual identity as they each try to go against the ridiculous expectations of the world around them. For Yuki, she lost her opportunity to have a fulfilling high school girl feminine life making her think that she can only stay dressing as a tomboy accepting the reality that she isn't feminine or pretty. This leads to her weird fetish and need to wear a sailor uniform in order to masturbate and delve in that pleasure. Mikako is a beautiful girl that sells her body as a fake 15 year old. She loves deceiving people into thinking she is of that age as she herself hopes to forever be at the ripe age of 15 due to traumas of the past. Kaito is a pretty boy that is obsessed with Mikako and cross dresses as her quite often to relish in her beauty and her interests.

Basically, it involves them trying to hide their guilty pleasures from people as their secrets slowly start to be unravelled by each other and they manipulate each other trying to bring each other down with them. Well, Yuki and Kaito are the only ones that try to keep each other sane but they both have their weaknesses. So really, if you're into exploring sexual depravity and the things people do that aren't the most normal but are the only way for them to keep themselves sane, then this might be something you'd like.

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Keishichou Tokuhanka 007 by Kaji Eiri
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
Status: Complete, 33 chapters scanlated

The best thing about this one is the gorgeous art! It's soo beautiful! Like, it's elegant but also artistic. The girl and the guy are equally pretty mann.  Their chemistry is so good too because they both help to make up for what the other lacks which would be emotion for the guy and work capability (+expertise I guess) for the girl. The story follows the two of them as they're a part of the Special Crime Investigation Department 007 with the most capable investigators. They both become partners working to solve difficult cases that require Fuyuki's special powers that she was born with. I love how supportive Kuze is of Fuyuki and how she is able to break through Kuze's shell, I really like their relationship and that's the highlight of this manga. The crimes and cases they solve are nice interesting as well since it really shows how well they work together and how they develop a bond of trust and love. I really like this one! The updates kinda killed it for me since it would stop for a long time and then pop again when I've forgotten the details of the story but now that it's done, no one will have that problem anymore XD

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Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (Love is Hard for an Otaku) by Fujita
Genre: Comedy, Josei, Romance, Slice of Life
Status: Ongoing, 22 chapters scanlated

If you're in need of a manga that knows about your otaku interests with inside jokes here and there, then this is the onee! The guy's a gaming otaku and the girl is a fujoshi and they've been friends since they were young but finally decided to try dating. Their interests overlap so it's always so cute to see them so naturally talk about their favourite characters etc in their everyday conversations without it feeling out of place at all. It's so relatable because I know how it feels when your favourite character dies as well and you're so depressed. It's so funny and cute, and it really delves into the minds of otaku and to a degree their ostracism. There's an anime that is in the works right now so we'll get to see it animated in the future too! It totally deserves since it really knows what it's talking about~

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Lovely Everywhere by Ke Li
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
Status: Complete, 16 chapters scanlated

If you want a short and sweet love story then this is the onee! I've read this more than once already and find myself crying and aww-ing at the same moments every single time LOL. Danwei is a high school student that looks like an elementary school student but really hopes to meet her fated guy. One day, she meets a pretty boy and becomes friends with him and ends up falling for him. Initially, he hurts her quite a bit but he is eventually warmed to her affections because of how much of a sweetheart she is. I love her so much and wish that I could see more chapters after they get together but oh well, the chase was cute and fluffy. It's hilarious as well and quite touching. The guy is not a jerk at all, he's a very sentimental and loving guy as well, he just didn't realise how important of a place she had in his heart until later XD

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Omaera Zenin Medokusai! by TOBI
Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance, School Life, Seinen
Status: Ongoing, 27 chapters scanlated

Kunihiko-sensei is a really nice teacher that treats his students with sincere care and kindness. By interacting with one of his students, they eventually become friends. Little did he know that she actually has feelings for him though and that's where the troubles come because it soon becomes a harem of female students that are all trying to win his affection, when he wants to do is be a good teacher lol. Although it's a harem, it's one of the good harems where every girl is definitely likeable in their own way, maybe besides the main girl because I feel like she's being quite unfair in the recent chapters. I mean, she confessed to him and other things without telling the other girls when they all told the rest of them whether they'd be making a move! Oh well.. The great thing about this is that the teacher knows of their affections unlike the other clueless MCs but he only treats them as students and is very serious about his job, so he can't return or accept their feelings. He's mature about it and considerate of them, which is why they all like him so much I guess haha. Recommended harem~~ Older sister is my favouritee~

That was a lot of manga...omg LOL, to be fair, I didn't read many new ones this year, most of these are ones I've read for a while and have finally decided that I can recommend them since they've picked up the plot~ I'll try to limit myself next year, maybee hahaha. My manga list is superrr long XD

ANIME

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Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! 2
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Supernatural, Magic, Fantasy
Episodes: 10

Sequel to the first season but probably not as good. I mean it was still pretty good since it follows the journey of the team and they're still as crazy and ridiculous as ever but I feel like they heightened up the ecchi this season and it just made me not like it as much. It was like ecchi > comedy and I wanted the comedy factor moree. Loved it when they went to Aqua's town (or the town that loves her) but they didn't recognise her as their god and kicked her out lolol. It was so funny that her believers were like brainwashing people too hahahah. Overall, worth watching if you enjoyed the first season but don't get your hopes up about the quality.

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Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, School Life, Shounen, Cooking
Episodes: 12

The anime is going to continue with the train part next year~~ Compared to the second season, there's more story than battles this time, which we gotta appreciate I guess since it is delving into Erina's story more now and fleshing out her character. In a sense, it's through this arc you can see the author focusing on Erina rather than Megumi as the end girl for sure now, which is kinda sad but oh well. Pretty decent animation of the manga, always great to see Tsukasa in anime form. The food looks as good as always. Azami is as arrogant as usual loll. Although, when you see Saiba's back story, you can pretty much see why Azami decided to embark on the idea of Central where chefs don't need creativity. Overall, Erina fans can rejoice in this season! I've already read the manga so I can't really say I thought it was interesting or not since I know what happens lol but definitely watch it if you've watched the previous seasons~ It's still entertaining and it will just get even more entertaining when his Dad shows up!

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UQ Holder!: Mahou Sensei Negima! 2
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Magic, Fantasy, Ecchi, Shounen
Episodes: 12

To be honest, I don't really want to recommend UQ Holder since they butchered the story quite a bit with the amount of content they skipped to put random romance and ecchi moments that were less necessary than the actual plot. Basically, it's about our main guy Touta who becomes an immortal and joins an organisation of immortals to protect the world and achieve his dream of climbing up the tower. As he tries to do this, the finds out his true identity and what he needs to do to save the world. The other characters' have different abilities and forms of immortality which is really interesting and fun so that is cool to watch.

Anyway though, more complaining because they also made Fate's fight not as cool as it was in the manga..sigh. The best thing about this anime would probably be the fights and the Negima nostalgia because, really, seeing Asuna, Fate, Negi and everyone in animated form made me want to cry. Saw them in the manga but it doesn't hurt to see them like this too, I'm a pretty big of Negima after all XD Anywho, the last two episodes probably make zero sense to anime watchers and they totally cheapened Touta's confession to Yukihime because it's not like he and she liked her because of something so simple and silly. They've been in love with each other eras ago when he went back in time and met her before she even met Nagi and Negi. The confession was soo much better with that background story and they rushed to it cutting that part out! Literally made the confession useless, so mad! Anyway, only watch this for fights and maybe to gauge whether you might be interested in reading the manga because it skips heaps of chapters and even characters lol. Only watch it for the Negima nostalgia as well lol and then maybeee you won't be THAT disappointed.

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Inuyashiki
Genre: Action, Drama, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Seinen
Episodes: 11

This is my favourite anime of 2017! I'm going to read the manga when I have time! By the author of Gantz comes Inuyashiki where an old man and a high school student are suddenly changed into robots. The story shows the reactions and choices of action the two make after discovering what they have become, with the old man hoping to help people with his new powers and the boy killing people. The contrast between them is very entertaining to watch and also saddening as well. For them, the old man only feels alive and like a human when he saves people whereas, for the boy, he only feels alive and like a human when he kills people. It's pretty cruel tbh when you see him go on his mass killings but it's also so heartwarming to see the old man try his best to stop the boy and protect the people of this world. He's a true hero. I think it really delves into the idea of  what can happen depending on the person when they are given powers beyond their capabilities. Delves into the mental psyche of both MCs and how regardless of how cold Hiro (the boy) is, he still always regarded his friend and his mum as people important to him, he just didn't care about anyone else. Which is reprehensible no matter what though considering the amount of people he killed. The old man will touch your heart though so it's all good haha. I definitely recommend this one!

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Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
Genre: Game, Comedy, Romance
Episodes: 10

I watched this on a whim and enjoyed it more than I thought. It's about a NEET woman who couldn't keep up with the stress of her job and thus decides to spend her time playing an MMORPG to soothe her soul I guess and in that, she finds a person that was able to really understand her and encourage her to face life again. Although the anime doesn't delve into the actual MMO very much, it is very relatable with RNG boxes, spending real money on good loot etc, so if you're an MMO gamer, you'd probably enjoy it. The best part though is the slice of life romance that is done at the right pace! No crazy misunderstandings, just slow and thoughtful guesses that reveal the whole story of the girl haha. Most people have probably had an in game partner or friend that they played games with so much that they become your confidant, so really seeing this story really hit close to home because it reminded me so much of the times I spent with the people I once played games with. It's a pretty short anime so it's really worth a try, I mean the romance is really cute too! It would be so nice if I could find someone online and offline that understands me as well as the guyyy~

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Detective Conan
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Comedy, Shounen
Episodes: Ongoing, 886 episodes subbed

Let's just say, going into Detective Conan is quite a commitment LOL. Took me half a year to catch up and I'm behind again lmao. Anywho, if you don't know, Detective Conan revolves around the story of Shinichi who is drugged (in hope of killing) by people from the Black Organisation, which in turns shrinks him into a little kid. In order to hide his easily recognisable child face from his childhood friend Ran and the Black Organisation, he puts on glasses and calls himself Conan. Basically, Shinichi is constantly trying to find the Black Organisation guys to capture them and also try to get his original body back throughout the series but this is hindered by the complexity of the organisation and million other murder cases and potential murder cases he has to solve lmao. He's even called the god of death because he always appears at every crime scene hahaha!

Anyway, if you're interested in crime, solving them (to an extent since it doesn't always give all the clues properly) and the amazing intellect of Conan, alongside the various different methods people use to kill others, you'd like this. I mean, I'm still so fascinated at how creative some of these murderers are, especially those who didn't mean to kill the person but somehow have this elaborate plan thought up of to dispose of the body or kill them etc. I am like so impressed with the author's mind because they are really interesting and engaging! The actual plot is also really good as well (when it actually progresses) because the characters involved all have their own objectives and the cases are played out with such thrill! I'm always hyped when Shinichi's parents appear or when Akai is there, like dangg. Even the anime originals are pretty good sometimes~ I'd totally recommend this if you have the time.

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Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Historical, Romance, Shounen
Episodes: 94

Just a heads up that episodes 62+ are anime originals and so I didn't bother watching them lolol because they're kinda exaggerated and weird apparently. Otherwise, as stated above with the manga, I love it. I rewatched it again this year and it still touched me to the core. It made me cry so much with Aoshi and Souji and everyone tbh, everyone has had such painful lives. The fight scenes are done pretty well too. I'd say the Kyoto arc is probably the most faithfully adapted even though it does have its problems. The fights in the Kyoto arc are the same though, so you're not missing out on action~ Shishio is a great villain. Too bad Enishi isn't in the anime (the last arc) because his arc really clears up the past and stuff so I'd recommend the manga~ I mean, with the scandal by the author that has stopped the Hokkaido arc from continuing, any dreams we had of them doing a new anime on Rurouni Kenshin has been crushed, so read the manga guys because it's totally worth it! Kenshin's VA is kinda feminine though so that might be weird but you get used to it haha.

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Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Genre: Action, Military, Adventure, Drama, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen
Episodes: 64

Everyone should know FMA but just in case you don't, it's about the Elric brothers who are searching for the Philosopher's stone to recover their original bodies. Due to an irreversible decision (forbidden act of alchemy) they made as children, Edward's leg and Al's whole body was sacrificed in the name of equivalent exchange for what they tried to use alchemy to create. In order to at least get Al's soul back, Ed lost his arm and transmuted Al's soul to a piece of armour. As they search for it, they discover that the war between Amestrians and Ishvalans, the Philosopher's stone and the military are connected intricately making things very difficult to handle. The war is the main foundation for the characters' motivations and it has also left scars on most of the characters that participated or didn't participate in it.

Anyway, the idea of alchemy with equivalent exchange is interesting alongside the different Sins the brothers end up meeting to defeat the final boss. It's a pretty classic shounen with its' comedy and serious moments. Roy, Scar, Ling Yao and Shao May are probably my favourite characters with the former two being the ones with the wits and the greatest burdens to carry as men who desire a future. The latter two are pretty cool and entertaining XD Considering the huge popularity FMA still has even to this day, it's definitely worth a try to see if it's your cup of tea. Personally, it's not one of my favourites but I still liked it mostly for the characters rather than the plot itself, although it was relatively interesting haha.

MOVIES

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Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
Genre: Drama, School Life, Shounen

Same as above of the manga but with less detail on Shoko and her family. But I still think the movie is great even if it doesn't have the school festival part since that means more Kawai and I hate Kawai loll. But yeah basically, I'd recommend this if you're interested in seeing the story of someone who realises their past grave mistakes and tries to change the present instead of dwelling in the past. He has his weak moments of course but so does the FMC and I find that his struggles are very realistic and portrayed very well. It made me teary seeing how difficult it was for him.  It's not too deep of a story but it definitely has its moments and that makes it easy to watch without totally breaking your heart but it still got me very teary :') It's a wonderfully bittersweet story and I love it so much more than Your Name.

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Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Drama, Romance

Initially starting out lighthearted, the story delves into the repercussions of what constantly time travelling for your own benefit could cause  and change in your everyday life even if you think that the things you are changing are minor. The story follows Makoto who picks up a walnut-looking object and then she discovers that she is able to travel back in time. She travels back for silly things like wanting to sing karaoke longer etc or not wanting her friend to confess to her and make things awkward. But then as she realises the gravity of the change that is affecting the people around her, she tries to make things right again with the limited amount of time leaps she has left.

I actually really enjoyed this classic because it's kinda like a simple slice of life story of anyone. Any person that realises that they could time travel could be as simple as Makoto and use it on frivolous things that are unimportant, but even then, this act would still inadvertently change the future and cause problems and that's what I think is really interesting. We always see stories of people using time travel for important things or changes but Makoto uses it for little things that you think wouldn't affect the future too much, but in the end it does and I really liked the exploration of that factor. Not sure how much I like the ending since it made sense but I still don't get why Chiaki said he'd see her in the future, unless he means the painting or something loll, I dunno XD But I still really enjoyed the movie, I recommend!

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Kotonoha no Niwa (Garden of Words)
Genre: Slice of Life, Psychological, Drama, Romance

Of the popular Shinkai works, I'd have to say Garden of Words is my favourite one. It follows the story of a boy and a woman who for different reasons stop by at this shelter every rainy day and they eventually start talking to each other and bonding. It's a very short movie but it really hits the core with the atmosphere, their simple but detailed interactions and how the tides of life can affect people. I think the way they bonded felt so natural and nice since they would go along with whatever they're doing inside the shelter but also keep each other company and share their individual character and personalities through their subtle actions. Anyway, I recommend this so much also because the animation is beautiful. Probably not as great as Your Name but the intricate rain drops and backgrounds are still totally worth gazing at for long periods of time lmao. Great story, great animation!

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Infernal Affairs
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

I'm not ashamed to admit that I never watched Infernal Affairs until this year. But dang, I was missing out on so much! Literally one of the few movies where I actually thought every single scene was important to the whole of the story. Seriously. Every moment was needed and was meaningful. Tony Leung and Andy Lau were great in it btw, I loved the contrast of the two characters and the different burdens and troubles they both had. Basically Tony is a cop that's undercover in the triad and Andy is a triad member undercover in the police. This has been going on for 10 years and the two are starting to question how long they can really keep this up in terms of their mental stability and the people possibly catching on to their tracks.

The movie explores really well the suffering and mental anguish the two men share having to undertake roles where they can never bring to light their true selves and thoughts to anyone. I felt so bad for Tony Leung's character but I really liked the ending. Well, I liked the entire movie but the ending was great too. I literally cried when Andy Lau's character in the end said that he would have loved to swap places with Tony Leung, because I guess at least he was on the side of justice and a proper goal. Anyway, it was a very sad but engaging movie where it felt so difficult for Tony Leung to live and achieve his objective but his dedication for his mission that has spanned 10 long years was just so admirable. I loved every moment of it.

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Shaolin Soccer
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sport

One of the more popular Stephen Chow movies~ It follows Sing who is a master of Shaolin Kung Fu that wants to spread the spiritual and practical benefits of it in modern society. Eventually, he does this through soccer and the hilarity ensues LOL. Don't think of this as an actual sport movie because it's mostly comedy but it's a classic comedy. I mean the integration of kung fu in soccer was such a great and funny idea that I have no idea who thought of it but it was pretty hilarious. If you're a fan of HK comedy films, this is definitely one of the ones you need to watch, although I personally love Tricky Brains the most.

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Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (In this Corner of the World)
Genre: Historical, Drama, Seinen

The story is set around 10 years before and after the atomic bomb as it dictates the simple life of the housewife Suzu as she experiences the before and after of the war. It builds up the peaceful and sweet life Suzu experiences as a natural airhead but slowly delves into the cruel realities war brings from a Japanese civilian perspective, where for them they were merely trying their best to live their lives to the fullest in their own way and yet peace is just so difficult to achieve once war breaks out. Silly, cute, heartbreaking and painful, the movie goes through a rollercoaster of emotions through its' simple depiction of Suzu's life against the events of reality and how she deals with it. It's a pretty tough thing to see but it's quite heartwarming as well. I really enjoyed it in how informative it was to see a Japanese perspective but also the perspective of a normal everyday person that knew nothing of the decisions the country makes since they're already trying their best to live day by day. It was very enlightening and nice to see. I'd recommend it for sure~

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Memoirs of a Murderer (Japanese)
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

This is based on the popular South Korean movie of the same title and follows the story of a detective who has lost his comrade to a serial killer that would always kill the victim in front of a person close to them so that they can be the witness of the murder. After the statute of limitations had passed for the crime, some guy comes out with a book stating that he was the serial killer that everyone has been looking for. As the people debate the legality and morality of allowing a murderer to roam free like this, the story twists to show *spoiler* who the true killer is. It's not the best mystery ever since it unravels bit by bit to captivate the audience and get them to follow along with the story rather than guess about whether the true killer is that guy or not etc. It was executed simply and very nicely. I enjoyed it and thought the serial killer's motive was very interesting. The reason that he had done these things was that in the past, his friend had been killed right in front of his face as well, but for some reason he was spared. He could never figure out why he was the only one that was spared and so in order to discover this (along with his mental trauma etc), he decided to kill people in the same way with the same methods in order to see how the people who have survived that ordeal live their lives afterwards. I thought that was a really interesting take on the motive of a serial killer and so I thought that was cool~ haven't watched the Korean movie though XD

HK TVB DRAMAS

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The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2017) 射雕英雄傳
Genre: Drama, Wuxia, Historical, Martial Arts, Action, Adventure, Romance

Technically, this is a Chinese drama that was dubbed into Cantonese so it's not really TVB but it was aired by the channel so close enough haha. Legend of the Condor Heroes is a classic wuxia story that follows Guo Jing and Huang Rong as he grows up to be a renowned martial artist with the support of Huang Rong. They go through tumultuous times as Guo Jing is burdened with the duty of avenging his late father and his promise to marry the Mongolian princess when he has fallen in love with Huang Rong during his journey.

The best thing about wuxia is always the side characters the MCs meet and the fun adventures they go on to meet them and after they meet them. It's supposed to be a straightforward task but one thing always leads to another and that's where the great stuff come. They usually do a new adaptation of the Condor Heroes quite frequently and I think this is pretty nice version, I really liked the Huang Rong in this one. Initially, I thought she acted a bit too cute but then she really warmed up to me soon after. Yeung Hong was also pretty good. Definitely a must watch classic btw so if you've never watched Condor Heroes before and love adventure combined with martial arts and cool characters, watch this~

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The Unholy Alliance (同盟)
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller, Romance

Tbh, I'm very disappointed with the story of this one, mainly because it was so predictable, quite boring and not very thrilling at all. It's about Ruco Chan coming back to HK from Taiwan discovering his true identity to being the secret son of a woman who is like the boss of multiple syndicates and so she left him with someone else in order to protect him. But since his identity starts to be in jeopardy, she gets Nancy Wu to be his bodyguard. Then it just really talks about how Ruco tries his best to get his mother away from this crime-ridden life and the difficulties with that.

The only thing I really liked about it would be the action scenes with Nancy Wu and the acting. It was such a waste of a good cast btw and really, the only character I really liked was Joel Chan's because he was such a good adopted son, loyal, loving and smart. He's literally the whole package. Anyway, I really loved the acting in this show and thought everyone did really well with their characters, the problem was the plot and the shallow characters. I was so disappointed in the direction the show chose to take and the unnecessary draggy story it had. It totally can't compare with Fist Within Four Walls from last year. But yeah, it was a disappointing show, only watch if you want to see Joel Chan and Nancy Wu I guess lolll because I felt Ruco Chan's acting was very meh in this, didn't seem like he tried very hard at all lol.

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My Ages Apart (誇世代)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Supernatural, Time-travel, Romance

Probably my favourite show of the year from TVB just because the show itself doesn't take itself seriously so you can just have fun watching it for the lols. Bobby's character is quite annoying tbh but since he shares the main character role with Louis Cheung and Moses Chan, the show is okay hahaha. Moses Chan is definitely the most entertaining character since he aims to take revenge on the Seung family for the deaths of his parents and in order to do that, he marries into the family by partnering with Ali Lee in a fake marriage. Surprisingly, Ali and Moses have such good chemistry and are so cute together. They're the main reason I watch the series because I love them. Anyhow, it's basically a revenge plot accompanied with the supernatural theme of being able to swap bodies, since initially Bobby swapped with a young boy and was forced to live his life as someone else. I don't even know how much sense I'm making with this but basically, it's a comedy, with whatever goes. There's no concrete direction it's going in besides Moses' plot for revenge and the rest are just random occurrences that just make things pretty silly and funny haha. I like it quite a bit because of how much I can relax and not need to concentrate when watching this lol.

SONGS

So, I was looking for Cantonese wedding songs for my sister and ended up finding so many old songs that I used to love so much! Here's a bit of them, there's so many more though omgg hahaha.

胡鴻鈞 Hubert Wu - 遙不可及

This was a song played frequently in the TVB drama The Exorcist's Meter, drama was average but it had a touching moment where Kenneth Ma realised that his frequent customers (of his taxi) were actually ghosts repeating a certain period of their lives again and again. It was the worst when he realised that they were actually his parents. Anywho, the heartbreaking moments accompanied by Hubert Wu's soft but piercing voice in this song really made that part of the drama absolutely great. It's a sad song  about never being able to reach the other person (I think) but it's great T_T

王菲 - 給自己的情書

I forgot where I first heard this song but I know I love this song. No matter how many times I hear it, I always feel a bit mellow and sad but also hopeful since it is a song that tells you that you need to  love yourself in order to love others. It's an encouraging song with a sad feel I guess! Never realised that Faye Wong sang this but I love it~ It's true though, since the only one that will never leave you is yourself, so loving yourself is very important imo~

許冠傑 - 十個女仔

Sam Hui has a whole bunch of silly songs and serious songs and I love both, but one that especially resonates with me is this one. My cousin used to always listen to it in the car and that's how I knew about it. It's so hilarious though, it really shows how great Cantonese is in terms of the slang and his lyrics are just way too awesome hahaha! It talks about the vanity of women in a funny way. I seriously wanted to sing this to my sister hahahah~ I love the melody and how true it is to an extent hahahaha. Most of his songs are really hilarious or hit very close to home so I totally recommend them if you know Cantonese (or not I guess!) and surprisingly don't know Sam Hui!

任賢齊 Richie Ren - 對面的女孩看過來

I used to always sing this song with my sister when we were kids. Richie Ren's songs were the bomb back then, especially this one since it's asking the girl to look over here at you. It's got a nice little story and it's catchy! This is a classic with great lyrics hahaha. It's a very happy song lol, not the ending I guess though lolol since he doesn't get a girl to look his way XD My other absolute favourite of his is 心太軟 which is a sad song about the girl always being too softhearted towards a guy that will never appreciate her feelings. I guess what I love about his songs are that the lyrics are great and that they just touch my heart in some way. He's got a soft but passionate voice ;)

陳小春 - 相依為命

In terms of all the wedding songs I chose, I'm quite partial to this one just because I really liked one part of the lyrics where he says that he doesn't dare to die first because he wants to stay beside the girl and protect her forever, and that because of her, he has learnt to desire life and fear death. Which basically means that for her, he will try his best to live and that's just so sweeet!  Essentially, it's a really sweet song that talks about how he wants to stay together with the same person forever~ He's got a bit of a rough but gentle voice and that's what I loveee~

王浩信 Vincent Wong & 譚嘉儀 Kayee Tam - 陪著你走

After hearing this in My Unfair Lady不懂撒嬌的女人 accompanied by Vincent Wong and Natalie Tong's cute relationship in the drama, I couldn't help but lovee it. It's such a soft and gentle song of (once again!) staying together forever with your loved one. This isn't necessarily aimed at just romantic love though! But it's basically walking together until you both grow white hair~ so it's pretty sweet in that way. The song's been a pretty big hit this year haha~

Beyond -  光輝歲月

I feel so bad that I had forgotten about Beyond, but the moment I heard their songs again, I literally cried because I remembered how much most of their songs touched my heart. The tunes of the songs and the melodies are strong, hit the core and their lyrics are so meaningful. The lead singer really made the song the best, it's so saddening that he passed away so young... But I'm so glad that I can always listen to his songs because you can totally hear the passion he has in his songs and the strength, encouragement and hope he had for the future especially in this song. I always feel so much more rejuvenated after listening to this song. Totally love it!

MISCELLANEOUS

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Tiger Stainless Thermos Bottle 300ml

I know this is like a weird thing to favourite but omg this is the most useful thing ever and I can't live without it anymore LOL. I literally use this every day (because I'm too lazy to walk down the stairs to get water all the time) and it keeps my drink hot for sooo long! Sometimes I'd leave something in there for like 8-10 hours and it would still be warm loll. It's gooood. It's kinda expensive though but totally worth the price. I should have gotten one so much earlier~ Now I can keep my water and tea hot all the time~~ Sometimes it keeps it too hot though lmao and I need to leave it open for quite a while hahahah. Proves that it's great though! XD

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Pandora Rose My Princess Tiara Ring

Seriously never thought I'd buy a ring since I don't really wear rings but I couldn't help but fall in love with this one when I tried it on my finger. Due to my fat finger problems, thin bands don't look nice on me at all because it just doesn't show when my meat covers everything lolol, but with this one, I look a bit more dressed up and it's so pretty too! The rose gold at Pandora is so pretty, I totally recommend it. I've been wearing this constantly ever since I bought it just because it's so pretty and I love looking at it hahaha. Never really worn a ring before so this is a first that I'm willing to continue with <3

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LAMY Safari Fountain Pen Dark Lilac

If you know me, I've been a bit obsessed with fountain pens this year. I've got like 3-4 (different nibs) Platinum Preppys because everyone recommends them and the finer ones are kinda scratchy so I'm not the biggest fan. However, they're pretty cheap and I wanna learn how to properly refill ink before I destroy the better pens lol. Anyway, my friend knew of my obsession and my like for the LAMY Safari and got it for my birthday present! It wrote so smoothly and beautifully omg, you can really tell the difference between this and the Platinum Preppy in terms of how smooth it is but it is quite an expensive pen haha. I think it's worth the splurge but definitely start off with the Preppy if you want to see if you like fountain pens. The dark lilac is such a beautiful colour too btw~

AAAAND I'M DONE! Literally finishing this at 11:19pm lolol, only like 50 minutes until 2018! Crazyyy! So yeah, I might not be bothered to edit my post since I'll be starting my PLT studies soon too, so I really need to find a place that will take me in aiyaa. Hope for the besttt! Anyway, enough about me! Hopefully you guys enjoyed my favourites this year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! See you next year! <3