After buying it and letting it lay around my room for a couple weeks, I finally checked out Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy And The Beast. The film tells the story of Ren, a young boy who had recently lost his mother in a car accident. When his disappeared father’s side of the family came to pick him up, he runs off and later comes across a couple of yōkai. Eventually he ends up in their realm, and one of the yōkai (the bear like Kumatetsu) takes him in as his pupil. This movie is really gorgeous to look at, which shouldn’t be a surprise from Hosoda since he directed favorites such as Summer Wars andWolf Children Ame and Yuki. I also found the relationship between Ren and Kumatetsu to be enjoyable. While there are many moments in the movie where they’re butting heads, you can tell that they genuinely care about each other and inspire the other to do great.
– Janelle Smith, TV & Film Writer
I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. My thirteenth birthday was especially memorable because I received the original Star Warstrilogy on VHS that day. I used to watch those video tapes over and over again. I also have a distinct memory of my friends and I being really excited for the new prequel movies in high school. Unfortunately, we were all disappointed and confused by them in the end, and I think I turned away from Star Wars for a while because of them. Yet, in college, I became enthralled with the Knights of the Old Republic video games and slowly found myself returning to the fandom. Surprisingly, even after all these years of loving Star Wars, I’ve never gotten into the expanded universe materials. I’ve never read any of the Star Wars novels or any of the comic books or played any of the other video games. So, recently, I decided that, since the official canon is now much smaller and less intimidating to delve into than it used to be, I would start exploring Star Wars lore once again. I decided to begin my journey by trying to watch all of the official film and television canon materials in chronological order before the release of Rogue One in December. Of course, I started with the first two prequel films, even though the acting and script still make me cringe, and then moved on to the Clone Wars television series.
Clone Wars—I actually got really into the Clone Wars television show! I just finished watching it about two weeks ago, followed by the third prequel movie, and then found myself quickly binge watching the Rebels television series in about a week! I mean, I had to know what happens to Ahsoka, one of my new favorite characters and Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan in the Clone Wars. I was surprised with myself, because I really enjoyed both Clone Wars and Rebels. I thought that because they are cartoons I wouldn’t like them, but I think that because they are cartoons, I liked them even more. I mean, I am Girls in Cape’s Anime Writer after all. I love cartoons! But, at first, it was a little difficult getting into Clones Wars. The first two seasons feel repetitive, like every episode is just another battle, and not a lot happens at first. But seasons three through six definitely make it worth wading through the earlier episodes to get to them. I’m absolutely in love with Ahsoka, as well as Obi Wan and cartoon Anakin and Padmé. If only cartoon Anakin played himself in the prequel movies, they would’ve been so much better! I also found myself becoming attached to some of the Clone Troopers, particularly Cody and Rex. And it still kills me that Cody turns on Obi Wan when Order 66 is implemented. But anyway, if you’re a Star Wars fan and you haven’t watching Clone Wars and Rebels yet, I highly recommend them!
– Rine Karr, Anime Writer
In the Great Harry Potter Re-read of 2016 I have reached the point in the series in which I am no longer wiling to carry the books with me everywhere. I now read eBooks while I’m on the train and at my computer at work. My latest eBook checkout spree on the Chi Pub Lib website has resulted in seven books I’ve had to renew because the first book I decided to read was about 900 desktop-window-sized pages long. Which brings me to the next book on the list, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. As always, I’m late to the party on books, but I do really enjoy this book. Normally I don’t gravitate towards non-fiction but there are lots of interesting aspects of her story – a black woman with a colorful family history against the backdrop of the development of cell culture research and the ensuing controversies in the medical field. My day job is in the medical field, so it’s fascinating to see that some of the standards we use (HIPAA and consent forms, for example) have been used in practice for maybe fifty years. I decided to read the book because I was mostly interested in the story of the person Henrietta Lacks, who was a part of greater social and medical issues, and I’m very glad that someone has been able to tell her story.
– Christina Casano, Assistant Editor