Cherry Magic: The Movie 🍒 Trailer

The trailer is out for the movie!

The trailer confirms, that the movie is a sequel set after the TV show.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW

According to the trailer, Adachi still has his mind reading ability. His happy end with Kurosawa is shaken up by a transfer at their work place. We are also likely to meet their parents in the movie as they have been cast according to the official twitter. Tsuge and Minato also makes an appearance with the other side characters at the office.

Tv Series Review: My Love Mix-Up / Kieta Hatsukoi

I have already reviewed Cherry Magic aka the most wholesome (boys’ love) romance series there is, but I also need to talk about Kieta Hatsukoi which is a worthy contender for the spot. Unlike the work romance story, Kieta Hatsukoi is a highschool romcom offering a lot of laughs and an adorable pairing.

The set up is simple: Aoki likes his classmate, adorable Hashimoto-san, the girl who sits next to him in class. Aoki is content with just friendly conversations until he borrows an eraser from her. He finds that Hashimoto wrote another boy’s name on the eraser and despairs.

You see, writing your crushes name on your eraser serves as a love charm in Japan. With his dreams and hopes shattered, Aoki is devastated to find out that Hashimoto likes someone else. That certain someone else is Ida, who is sitting right in front of Aoki. While Aoki is too busy tending to his broken heart, Ida accidentally sees the eraser with his name on it, and assumes that it belongs to Aoki.

This is where the misunderstandings starts to pile up with Ida thinking that Aoki has a crush on him. While Aoki tries to get Ida to forget about the eraser and protect Hashimoto’s secret, the two start to spend more time together and they realize that they surprisingly get along well. And Aoki’s crush might start to become more than just a white lie to protect a secret.

As if the set up wasn’t ridiculous enough, Aoki’s dramatic inner monologues and antics will surely make you laugh out loud. Like the time he tried to take himself out with the recycled trash or vowed to run away to the mountains and live as a recluse instead of solving his problems. Or the time he volunteered to step in at the school play as Cinderella’s understudy.

I loved the side characters and how they showed support and companionship to Ida and Adachi during the story. Hashimoto really is the nicest person there is but she also has her own story to tell about who she really likes. Aoki’s friend, Akkun is a chaotic but very well intentioned friend who is always there to cheer him up. And honorary mention goes out to the drama club couple, Hiromu and Rumi, who tend to have tea parties on the school rooftop. They are ridiculous and I love them.

Ida is one of the nicest romantic interests out there, he is super considerate and kind if a bit clueless when it comes to romance. It was lovely to see that the reason Aoki started to like him was because of his considerate nature. His more serious, thoughtful personality is the perfect foil to Aoki’s dramatic, over the top antics. The two have great chemistry and more importantly very good communication throughout the story.

I loved seeing that every time they were running into an issue they resolved it by talking it out. The misunderstandings get cleared up in due time with satisfying resolutions and while the characters take some time to think over their feelings and what they want from each other romantically and emotionally, the story is not burdened with unnecessary miscommunication.

The writing does an amazing job at portraying emotions, while most of the series is seen through Aoki’s eyes we also get a glimpse into Ida’s side. The romance is slowburn at it’s best and have adorable longing gazes and shows really well what it is like to have a crush on someone.

It also doesn’t shy away from showing how other people can react to same sex relationships and tackles these scenes with seriousness while never straying too far away from the overall light hearted mood of the show.

It adds a special feel to the show that the two main Kieta Hatsukoi theme songs, are each sung by one of the leading actors, as both Aoki’s and Ida’s actors are idols.

I immensely enjoyed watching this show and I had to stop the episodes several times because I was laughing so hard. The ending was super satisfying to watch and this definitely made it onto my list of feelgood shows, It has a lot of funny moments and a wholesome, heartfelt romance. I really hope we get to see more gems like Kieta Hatsukoi and Cherry Magic among romance series. The series is available to watch on Rakuten VIKI.

The tv show is the adaptation of a manga series, still running under the same name. The first few volumes are translated to English.

✨✨ Cherry Magic: The Movie ✨✨

As I have already raved about what an absolute delight the Cherry Magic tv adaptation is I was super excited to find out that it is receiving a movie! Cherry Magic: The Movie airs April 8 returning with the same cast! So far only the below teaser has been released.

English subbed teaser:

The official site: https://cherimaho-movie.com

You can also show support over at the official twitter:

Japanese teaser:

May Book Haul

The first three were re-reads, I do love well done and sweet LGBTQIA+ titles. Bloom Into You is one of my all time favorite yuri/girls’ love manga. It is very character driven and the writing is really amazingly detailed for a manga. I feel you really do have to read all volumes to get the full picture.

Go for it Nakamura is just a super sweet shounen ai title, it shows the protagonist who is very bad at socializing trying to become friends with his crush. Unfortunately, this is only a oneshot, so there is no second volume.

Heartstopper is basically a webcomic, that got super popular and is also published as a book now. It also features a boys’ love couple who are very sweet. If you like sweet romances this is a good read, with a very light story.

Bloom Into You on Amazon (Kindle available )

Go For It Nakamura on Amazon (Kindle available)

Heartstopper on Amazon (Kindle available)

I have been waiting religiously for the release of Cherry Magic! volume 3. This is a great boys’ love series, very character focused with lots of laughs. It also has an amazing live action drama (which is even better than the manga!)

The Secret Garden is a very cute graphic novel based on the original book. It was a sweet, light read but maybe a bit too short.

Across the Green Grass Fields is the 6th book in the Wayward Children series. I adore the series a lot and I loved this book as well. Though I did feel that the adventure was possibly the tamest we had so far (and didn’t seem to connect to the overall storyline as the others did) but this one was advertised as a great introduction to the series for new readers and it definitely checked that mark while keeping the author’s usual style and priorities.

Cherry Magic on Amazon (Kindle available)

The Secret Garden on Amazon (Kindle available)

Across The Green Grass Fields on Amazon (Kindle available)

I also managed to finish Clockwork Angel from the Shadowhunter books. I admit the writing was much cleaner in this one, but I still had issues with the romances Clare writes and there didn’t seem to be a lot of character development happening in the second half of the book.

Clockwork Angel on Amazon (Kindle available)

After watching the amazing Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone, I of course needed to start reading the book as well. (I only read the Six of Crows duology before) The book is pretty fun and it’s nice to see where they changed things in the show to improve on Alina’s story and where they lifted dialogues and scenes from the book.

I say Alina’s story since Kaz, Inej and Jesper are not in Shadow and Bone originally, you only meet them in the Six of Crows books. As others said before the book and the characters aren’t perfect so I didn’t mind the changes done to Shadow and Bone. I just hope the screenwriters won’t change much about Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom because those are very well written. Full review to come once I finish the book.

Shadow and Bone on Amazon (Kindle available)

What have you been reading in May?

Chasing After Aoi Koshiba, Vol. 1 by Fly (Illustrator), Hazuki Takeoka

Genre: manga, yuri, girls love, lgbtqia+

Rating: 4 out of 5 🌷🌷🌷🌷

Content warning: n/a

A yuri manga with gorgeous art and a reference to Bloom Into You? Of course I needed to read this immediately. Huge thank you to Kodansha and NetGalley.

The story starts present day, Sahoko Narita is headed for her high school reunion party. She is in her third year of university right now and on her way she wonders why do people even go to these parties. She meets up with her two best friends from school and one of them mentions that a certain Aoi Koshiba is not likely to attend tonight. Sahoko feels sad and a bit embarassed and this is when we head to flashback territory – and see the girls at high school, as they are on the cover.

I was surpsied that we only got to see the high school years in the flashbacks. This is just my personal preference but I don’t really like stories where the present day character spends most of their time reminiscing about the past. It seems that the things that happened in the past will be a cataclyst for things to move forward in the present, and if that is the case I won’t mind it much. But this is mostly speculation after volume one.

Most of the first volume is spent in the past and I liked these chapters much better. We learned what kind of a person our protagonist, Sahoko is. And boy, is she a handful! Sahoko remembers having a boring school experience before high school so she did everything she could to change her life around. In Japan kids usually graduate from their previous school and attend high school for three years (essentially 10, 11 and 12th grade) and we see Sahoko as a 17-year old in her second high school year. She spends a lot of time and energy to look pretty, and to give others a good impression. She is obsessed with having a popular Instagram account and getting likes while also fishing for people’s irl admiration of her. She became friends with two equally cute and popular girls so she feels settled in her new life – while also secretly worrying about doing anything that would brand her as lame. Unfortunately, due to her new social status she also became a bit vain, easily writing off other students as lame, unpopular, etc. based on looks alone.

Things change when she meets Aoi Koshiba, who is just so effortlessly fun and people seem to like her even though she is a bit of a tomboy. Sahoko is jealous of her free spirited attitude and finds herself gravitating towards Aoi.

I liked this set up and I liked how the two girls started to learn a bit about each other. Aoi also admires Sahoko, and she has her own issues as well. But I felt the communication between them is something that badly needs improvement. Sahoko is rather pushy in wanting to get closer to Aoi and she never stops to ask if Aoi wants her around. Instead she worries about doing things that will make Aoi dislike her. There was a confusing moment where Aoi calls her annoying – which I get, she was a bit pushy – but then immediately wants to hang out with Sahoko. I was also not a fan of the first kiss – it felt rushed, and one sided, with both girls being really confused and it was hard to tell just how much of it was on purpose and how much of it was just an accident.

The girls also have a short talk about dating, but we don’t learn why Aoi brings it up and we don’t know if Sahoko ever really came to terms with her own attraction for Aoi during high school. She is clearly still in denial at the beginning.

Sahoko’s conflicting feelings for Aoi are super relatable though, finding the other girl really amazing and wanting to know her better while being confused if this was friendship or more. It is not clear what happened between the two yet, the dialogue suggests they had some kind of falling out, but present day Sahoko is still clearly hang up on what could have happened or could still happen between them. 

I liked this first volume but the end of the book leaves me with more questions and no answers, I felt like too many things were left open for the next volume. I wish we got some answers at least, but for now so many things are waiting to be answered that it is hard to get really invested in the story. Sahoko is asked once about dating and boys and she visible feels uncomfortable, an ex is mentione and her friends even tease her if she just made this boy up – but we don’t actually learn what the deal is. She talks about being unpopular so it could be that she made up an ex to hide the fact that she was never asked out, but it is not clear and we don’t know if she is even interested in dating. It is implied Sahoko is unhappy in her current 
life, but we don’t know what she does besides studying. She also seems a bit depressed in comparison to her high school self – is this all because of what happened with Aoi? We don’t know if her and Aoi would even meet in the presents – Sahoko wants to but she doesn’t know if Aoi feels the same way. She mentions having her contact and texting sometimes but Aoi not being very responsive and the two slowly stopping to text. Did she ever actually ask Aoi to meet up? We don’t know why Aoi stopped texting her back. Present day Sahoko feels to be a really passive character, waiting for Aoi to accidentally turn up at the reunion party but not really trying to make it happen eg. asking if she is coming. 

While I liked the past chapters more, I was pulled into the story for a sweet high school romance after all, I hope that the present – past – present divide won’t be used for many volumes. I expect the next volume to still follow this set up, but in the long run this could quickly prove annoying, trying to guess what happened in the past while the present characters stagnate and don’t move forward. However if the past inspires them to move forward in the present day that could be interesting.

I really really love the art, and the pacing and the paneling is done really well. I felt that the illustrator captured the feelings and moments really well. I loved that the scenes had enough space to breathe, sometimes we would have pages with only two panels, but it was needed so you can really get immersed in the story.

Secrets of Camp Whatever Vol. 1 by Chris Grine

Huge thank you to Oni Press and NetGalley for providing a review copy.

rating: 4 out of 5 🪁🪁🪁🪁

genre: young adult, graphic novel

content warnings: some bullying (frowned upon)

The cover and the art is pretty great throughout the series. This is a fully colored book which is always impresive to me, as that requires a lot of work and patience. The only thing that stood out to me is that we had quite a few old characters and most of them managed to have a character design that gave me the creeps, I do not know if this was intentional or not. The story managed to keep up the intrigue for the first half and it was fun trying to guess what was going on. I even felt a bit creeped out a few times.

We meet a family on their way to their new house, in the town where the Dad grew up. We learn that while the rest of the family will be busy moving in to the house, the older kid Willow will be off to a local summer camp. On their way they stop at a diner and the locals scare the kids by telling them that there are rumors about the summer camp: supernatural beings and cryptids are rumored to roam free around the island and a few years ago a camper even went missing. Despite this and the fact that the camp organizers seem shady as hell the parents still send their only daughter to camp. Willow is a spunky kid who has no problems antagonizing the bullies and almost getting in a fistfight even before they reach camp. The story follows Willow and her bunkmates as they uncover the secrets of camp and the mystery regarding the missing camper all those years ago. 

Willow is also a representation for kids who need to wear hearing aids. There was a brief part where her batteries died and the comic highlighted this by the conversation balloons appearing blank and the kids using sign language with her. It was a really awesome and creative way to express her situation

Buy on Amazon / Kindle available

The book on Goodreads

This review on Goodreads

How Do We Relationship? Vol. 1 by Tamifull

Thank you to VIZ Media for providing an advanced copy in exchange of a honest review.

rating: 💜💜💜💜

genre: romance, girl’s love, yuri, slice of life, manga

content warnings: some adult scenes and discussions of sex, some past scenes of implied homophobia and bullying

This title is a very cute yuri/LGBTQIA+ manga that is interested in not only telling how a couple starts dating but explores what it is like to be in a relationship.

Miwa just started college and on her first day she bumps into another student, Saeko. Saeko does not leave the best impression on her as she is quick to compliment her boobs, but despite all odds the two get along well and become friends. Miwa is shy about making friends and quiet, while Saeko is more the easygoing type. Their personalities bring out the best from both. While they are hanging out at school they decide to join a club together. Their choice falls on the music club and they go out for drinks with their future band mates. As we learn from the short intro at the beginning of the manga, Miwa is confident about liking girls but she has trouble with admitting this to others. So when Saeko asks about her dating life she doesn’t tell her a lot. As it happens Miwa is super popular with their new band mates and one guy immediately asks her out. She feels really embarrassed and cornered, not sure how to say no. Saeko saves her from the situation and as the two, slightly drunk, head on home they chat a bit. Miwa asks Saeko about her own love life, since she was so nosy about hers. Saeko admits that she likes girls, which lets Miwa admit the same to her. Saeko then drunkenly suggests that the two of them should try going out, after all she finds Miwa super cute and they are already getting along well. To her surprise Miwa agrees and their relationship starts!

As the two start to navigate their relationship they learn more about each other. Saeko seems to have had a bad experience with people treating her awful due to being gay so she doesn’t like to tell people about it. Miwa never really dated anyone before so it is all new for her. She also ponders a lot about whether it is all right for them to really date after a quick drunken confession, and if she is really interested in Saeko other than just-friends. I was happy that all the concerns the two have they eventually discussed, so the story wasn’t burdened with drama due to miscommunication. Of course there were topics they each found harder to open up about, but I felt that this was very normal. Saeko talking about her bad past experiences felt real and I liked that her old fears were addressed and she started working it out together with Miwa.

The art is is nice, Miwa is really pretty and I like the flow of the story a lot. You can see the development of the characters and their relationships with each other. I like the supporting cast as well, their band mates are a bit chaotic but really nice people. We are also introduced to a few of Saeko’s college friends and they were a nice addition. It was cute how everyone cheered their relationship on.

I recommended this to anyone who is looking for a more realistic but still very sweet story about two girls navigating a romantic relationship.

Buy on Amazon

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

Rating: ✨✨✨✨✨

Genre: young adult, fantasy, magical realism, LGBTQIA+

Content warnings: death, murder

This is just one of those books that I will be always grateful to have stumbled upon. I was browsing a book recommendations post on tumblr with awesome asexual/aromantic representation. That’s all I knew about the story, an ace main character and I read the blurb. I went in with no expectations and this little series instantly made it to my all time favorites list.

The Wayward Children is a series of short novellas set in a world, where on Earth special kids exist. They might not be special to the people around them, but they are chosen by other worlds to accept as their own. The worlds want them so bad that a door appears to the chosen child inviting them to live in the world that is most compatible with them. The only instruction they get is that they need to be sure of their choice and they have to keep their new world’s rules. It is a portal-magic series with lots of heart and a very lovely and diverse set of characters.

It is honestly incredible to me to this day how thin these books are compared to other young adult stories.. and despite that so many things happen! I never feel like the book was cut short or any character development or bonding scenes were cut or rushed. Seanan is just mighty good.

I also have to mention the prose! Ever since my love was reignited for Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful soul-touching prose I have been craving it from other books. This book was the first one that gave me that same comfort, of feeling known and connecting so deeply to an author’s principles. The series has beautiful, unapologetically feminist prose throughout and it won’t stand for anything less.

In each book we have a central character whose story is the main focus of the plot and a few supporting characters who will be back from time to time in the other books, or end up being the protagonists in that book. All books and plot are connected, even if chronologically they have a fun trick to them. Every odd volume is set in the present, every even is set in the past.

As such, the first book, Every Heart a Doorway is set in the present, and follows Nancy and her adminission to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is a great set up as we both learn more about Nancy and we are introduced to the world through her. 

Nancy was young when she found a peculiar door in the cellar and on the opposite side she found herself in a garden of pomegranate trees. She fell in love with the Halls Of The Death immediately and never wanted to return to the world she was born in. However, after years, she was still sent back to her birth-world. A world that is far too fast and noisy for her, to parents who never really understood her. Her parents of course don’t believe a word about mysterious doors and a world filled with ghosts and living statues and as a last resort they send her away to a boarding school for troubled kids.

The only thing they don’t realize is that the headmistress, Eleanor, has been through the doors herself and the stuff she tells to desperate parents is nothing more than a well rehearsed sales pitch. Eleanor was one of the lucky ones, her doors allowed her to visit between the world of her choice and her birth-world several times. Still she lives in her birth-world now, trying to guide kids who went through similair journeys. Eleanor, with the help of a small staff, offers lessons and counseling to the kids. As a part of this, every kid shares about the world they found. The worlds are as different as can be and the kids only seem to have one thing in common: they all hope to return one day. 

As Nancy makes some friends and struggles to accept that she might never return to her beloved world, a murder mystery intrudes on their peaceful school life. She and her new friends set out to solve the mystery while also keeping an eye out for doors that could appear at any place.

The series is about finding your place in the world, finding a place that feels like it was made for you – and then loosing it. Do you give up hope or can you keep faith that you will be able to return? What happened to those kids who just disappeared one day? Did they find doors of their own or did something else happen to them? Despite all the hard hitting questions the books manage to be full of hope and heart.

P.S.
I am just going to to happy-cry a little in the corner because I just realized we are getting a boxset release for the first three volumes. It’s not like I don’t have them already, but do I also need the set? Absolutely.

Where to find:

The book on Goodreads

Buy on Amazon

Buy the boxset on Amazon

Bloom Into You Vol. 1 by Nio Nakatani

Rating: 💜💜💜💜💜

Genre: LGBTQIA+, slice of life, romance, yuri, girl’s love, manga

Content warning: n/a

It is hard to write a review for only the first volume, because Bloom Into You has became one of the best written manga I have read during the past few years. It has quickly became the new standard to which I now hold all yuri/yaoi/bl/gl manga. It turned out to be all I needed from the genre which I never even dared to hope for.

It stars a female couple and supporting characters, among them we have characters on the aroace spectrum, lesbians, heteros and some who never really label or define their attractions. The story also deals with past trauma and overcoming them and exploring romance and sexuality and what it means for the characters. While the first volume moves quick (which I have to chalk up to the genre’s fault, more on this later) the following volumes take a step back and start exploring and explaining everything. It is rare to find such manga where all conversations and scenes add to the depth of the story and the characters or it foreshadows something. There is also a lot of symbolism in the paneling and how the illustrations express the characters feelings.

Yuu just started a new school a few months ago and she is slowly getting used to it. She always dreamed of having a sparkling and heart-pounding romance that shoujo mangas talk about. But when a friend asked her out after their middle school graduation she didn’t feel anything special. Confused and feeling like her friends would not understand she has been delaying her answer. It’s not like she doesn’t like the person, so then, why doesn’t she feel that special feeling that would lift her up from the ground?

One day she gets roped into helping out the student council after classes and she accidentally overhears a confession between an older girl and a boy on the school grounds. When the beautiful upperclassman rejects the boy and tells him she doesn’t plan on dating anyone, Yuu finally feels like she has found someone who could understand her. As Yuu gets acquainted with Touko and the two works together at the council they also learn a bit about each other. 

Yuu wants to have that special connection with someone yet she feels she is unable to fall in love. She feels like she has found a kindred spirit in Touko who also confesses to never have been in love. So she is a bit suprised when suddenly it is Touko herself who confesses to Yuu. While she doesn’t understand why she would like her, Yuu certainly doesn’t mind having Touko around. 

While the first volume and the first few chapters move very quickly and seemingly fall into instalove on Touko’s side, it is far from it. I chalk this up to the medium, since manga are often published monthly, chapter by chapter, they have to set up their story fairly quickly to grab their audience.

However, I can promise you that after volume one the story takes a step back and unravels everything that was set up in this volume. This is probably the only instance I ever had an issue with the pacing or the writing, everything in the next volumes is so carefully crafted and amazingly written.

There is a reason why Touko has been refusing every love confession before and why it is only Yuu that interests her. There is a reason why she is so quick to throw around the word love without really knowing Yuu.

While the story moves around the school year and we witness several school events in it’s heart it is very much character focused. We learn the inner workings of Yuu and Touko and even the supporting characters. There are a lot of scenes where the paneling is symbolic and portrays the character’s feelings – like in the very first chapter where Yuu feels distant from her friends and suddenly it seems like she sits a huge distance away from them.

Every scene and conversation between the characters is meaningful, it either moves the plot forward or tells us something about the character. There are no scenes that are just there for the sake of filler.

While I have read some titles that came closer to depicting real lgbtqia+ people and not just chalk their story up to the yuri/shoujo-ai genres, Bloom Into You is the first one I have read that focuses on main characters who fall on the asexual-aromantic spectrum. It lets Yuu and Touko freely explore their feelings and lets them define it for themselves: what they want from a relationship and what love means to them, if anything. And I love that it is not just the main characters who ponder about these things, we also have a self proclaimed aromantic supporting character and several confirmed lesbians.

I love that even if there is drama prevalent in the story, things get resolved in a satisfactory way and the characters actually talk things out between them. There are some heavy topics and characters going through past traumas but it all gets discussed in a healthy way and shows how they can move forward from it. In the first volume there are some scenes where the question of consent comes up but I really appreciate that these times it actually gets addressed and not just glossed over as I have seen in other manga.

If you want to read a great book with aro/ace characters and carefully crafted storytelling I recommend you start reading all eight volumes and then there is also a spin-off lightnovel with one of the supporting characters. (Has three volumes as of now, illustrations done by the same mangaka).

Oh and before I forget, there is also a gorgeous anime adaptation! It is well worth watching but the ending is a bit more open ended in the anime – at the time it was airing the manga was still running so they had to avoid spoiling the manga’s story. And they even adapted the story into a stage play which seems to come full circle with the in-story school play.

Buy the manga / Kindle available

Buy the anime on Blue Ray

Watch the anime on Netflix

Watch the anime on HiDive

The manga on Goodreads

My review on Goodreads

And if you crave more information on Bloom Into You here is a beautifully written article: Bloom Into You and Exploring Asexuality

Tv Show Rant: Netflix’s Shadow and Bone – Episode 3: The Making at the Heart of the World

Note: These reviews discuss the episodes in detail and might contain slight spoilers for the books Six Of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

So far this has to be my favorite episode of the series.

I love Genya and I knew she wouldn’t disappoint me after her cameo in Six Of Crows. I love that she addresses what everyone, even Alina kept saying, maybe she only became aware of her powers, but she has been Grisha all her life. And I am still not quite convinced if Alina really didn’t know or is she was just lying to herself all these years, after all if someone can be aware of it at only age three, surpressing her own powers for so long seems strange.

It is great to see Alina making some friends at the Grisha Palace, but of course since nothing is perfect, she is also making some enemies. I was surprised by what a jealous bully Zoya was. I understand that she had her pride hurt her by Mal saying no to her offer and as implied, by Kirigan ignored her for Alina. But still I hoped she was better than this, and hopefully she will get over herself and do better in the next half of the series. From what I understand she is actually quite the badass Grisha so it would be great to see her as an ally.

Alina’s letter to Mal are both incredibly funny and heart breaking. I wonder, if she just started writing them to console herself or if she is actually allowed to send out the letters?

From the first episode when Kaz spoke of Heartrenders, my heart leapt, could it be really her? But timeline wise it would have been too early for Nina to be at Ketterdam, and well, this episode suggests it will be another two years until she actually meets the Crows. Regardless, it was great to see Nina in all her glory and I adore the casting! Nina is a confident Grisha who is not afraid to use her powers and loves to eat and she is powerful and beautiful. I have to say that red carpet in her room had to be the most Hungarian thing they could have filmed. Everyone and their grandmother has one of those. Good for Nina for trying to fight for people in her own way and trying to help others despite the risks.

I loved to see that she didn’t go down without a fight, even after she was unable to use her powers. Since I know where her story is headed I am not as upset about her kidnapping as I should be. I really hate the Drüskelle who are esentially fantasy Nazis in the story. I wonder if her storyline will connect with the main events this season somehow, since now it seems like we have three separate storylines going on in paralell. If the story follows the books Nina is not likely to join the main cast this season. Something that stood out to me though, was how one of the Fjerdan’s wore an animal pelt that looked a lot like a white wolf – since these are their sacred animals would they really wear their pelts? But this might just be me nitpicking.

On the other hand, the Crow’s adventure with The Conductor was so amazingly funny. Watching it the second time I can only appreciate it even more, the Conductor just looking to his side at Jesper and going “yepp, we need a baby goat” is so, so funny. Of course our restless sharpshooter needs a goat. Obviously. To be fair, Jesper so far hasn’t been as fidgety as he is in the books, but he always gets distracted which is just how he is. I loved when Kaz specifically told him to only get the coal and Jesper’s resolve lasted for a whole.. five seconds.

Gambler: Who’s feeling lucky?

Jesper, the useless boy he is: Lucky’s my middle name!

I love that Kaz could be just leading the goat, especially with his bad leg, but he instead choose to carry it. While I find the idea or the Conductor and his train amazing, it raises so many questions. If there was one sole man so smart to figure out how to build an entire train track through The Fold and even somehow place markers.. possibly with a few helpers.. how did the entirety of Ravka and their military not figure out something like this? I love the idea that these people are helping others cross and I doing it for others but it just seems to be too big of an invention for one person.

I loved the train scene, where Jesper as a reflex refuses to throw out the goat, and it turns out that it was only brought to calm him down. His moment of glory is spectacular – Jesper, calm with a goat in his hand, shoots down all of the monsters. Some with closed eyes. Because our sharshooter is just that good. Don’t worry it will be explained in Six Of Crows as well. All this chaotic glory of the Crows, with Jesper and the goat, Inej praying with knife in her hands, and Kaz just trying to keep it all together.. it really brings back the Six Of Crows feelings the books gave me and it has to be my favorite scene with the so far.

Alina vs. the veil was also really funny. The way they theatrically dressed her in a uniform she never in her life had worn, and made her march up to the king for a presentation. I like that at least there is an in-canon explanation on why she can use her power with Kirigan by her side, and it isn’t just a random occurence that she can use the power just at the right moment that she isn’t able to control normally.

While I am not a fan of Kirigan, I am super glad he actually talked a bit about how Grisha powers work. The Small Science is the study of their powers They are also very clear that Grisha control and manipulate elements that are already present in the world, and they aren’t creating from nothing. Most Grisha are sorted into common types, such as the ones that were mentioned so far, Inferni (fire), Squallers (wind), Tidemakers (water) fall under Etherialki. This would also be where Alina and Kirigan are. Heartrenders (manipulating people’s moods or health), Healers (body) and Tailors (manipulating the body) are Corporalki. The third category is Materialki who can alter metals or chemicals.

And I have to give it him, Kirigan’s flair of the dramatic with all the shadows and the fancy speeches to the King and the Queen is working, it makes a damn good scene. Of course he could have just told Alina, don’t worry I can help you summon your powers so you’ll be all right, instead of the that flaky line about how things will be all right if she trusted him. The way he holds her wrist instead of taking her hand like a normal person is sending up red flares for me immediately. Alina is obviously a bit taken by him but I do not trust this man.

We also have the author cameo! When Alina goes to the Grisha the first person hugs her, and she is a woman in purple kefta withnlong blonde hair. I thought she looked familiar at first but I am just realizing this is because it is the writer of the books – Leigh Bardugo! Looking good Leigh!

It was actually good to see a main character who is wary – Alina suddenly finding herself alone in an empty library with a man she doesn’t know and immediately backing off is very realistic. This is a woman who has been attacked for many different reasons at a place she doesn’t know, of course she would rather keep her distance. I liked that she only trusted the advisor after he proved to be someone who doesn’t pose danger and actually knows about the books, not just made it up. I find this character really intriguing especially the fact that he seems to be well intentioned yet gets away with saying lines like “ I think you will suffer more”. Is this a threat, a prediction or a guess? Who knows with this person?

Baghra is an awful, awful teacher. Although the part where she “slaps” Alina feels really anticlimatic, the sound makes it feel like it barely touched her yet Alina looks so offended and hurt. The dinner scene isn’t any better, I am not sure what the Grisha is thinking, bullying their one and only Sun Summoner but also waiting for her to save all of their lives? Why would she even want to try if everyone is so awful? This is not how you motivate someone.

Alina’s letter to Mal at the beginning is beautiful. I like that she knows that all these expectation others have of her are too much. And it is so heartbreaking to see how much these two kids care about each other. I wonder if we get so see Mal’s side soon as well?

Onwards, to episode 4!