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Books & Film

Distinctive Identity of Anime: Breaking Free from Cartoon Stereotypes

I have had this conversation with most people and frankly, I am disappointed. Anime is not cartoons.

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Anime focuses primarily on life issues; things tied closer to human emotion and has diverse themes. Cartoons are generally made to make people laugh and so are more comical. Remember this next time we speak …. enough of the rant, here are some unique and easy Anime to start out with.

Samurai X (Rurouni Kenshin)

Old is gold…. so is Samurai X. The story revolves around Kenshin Himura, a former ruthless assassin who now seeks redemption by peaceful wandering, vowing never to kill again. During his journey, he encounters various individuals and forms new connections, including Kaoru Kamiya – a kindhearted dojo owner, and Yahiko Myojin – a young student seeking guidance.

However, Kenshin’s violent past catches up with him as formidable enemies from his past emerge, forcing him to confront his demons while protecting those he cares about. The series skillfully combines action, historical elements, and profound character development. This makes it a timeless tale of honor, redemption, and the enduring power of humanity. The anime started in 1996 and takes place in the 1860s during the Bakumatsu Revolution when Japan was torn asunder as revolutionaries tried to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled for 300 years, and restore the Emperor to power.

Another

Anime horror slaps differently, if you don’t believe me try this one. In class 3-3 of Yomiyama North Junior High, transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara makes his return after taking sick leave for the first month of school. Among his new classmates, he is inexplicably drawn toward Mei Misaki—a reserved girl with an eyepatch whom he met in the hospital during his absence. But none of his classmates acknowledge her existence; they warn him not to acquaint himself with things that do not exist. Against their words of caution, Kouichi befriends Mei—soon learning of the sinister truth behind his friends’ apprehension.

The ominous rumors revolve around a former student of the class 3-3. However, no one will share the full details of the grim event with Kouichi. Engrossed in the curse that plagues his class, Kouichi sets out to discover its connection to his new friend. As a series of tragedies arise around them, it is now up to Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates to unravel the eerie mystery—but doing so will come at a hefty price. I rate this a 9 – it’s a great one-season show.

Honorable mentions
Yakusokuno Neverland (The Promised Neverland), Demon Slayer, Bleach, Jujitsu Kaisen, and Atack on Titan.


*Anime has English versions, you do not have to strain to use subtitles. Just watch dubbed episodes.


Have a lovely watch.

Books & Film

Unveiling the Luo Legacy: A Chronicle Profile of Clans by Stephen Osieyo

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Luos in my opinion are among the most traditionally preserved cultures among Kenya’s diverse cultural gathering. We all have heard either myths or stories about their beliefs albeit some very interesting. Stephen Osieyo’s “Luo of Kenya: Chronicle Profile of Clans” is an exploration of the rich history and culture of the Luo community. Delving into the origins and legends of the major Luo clans, such as Alego, Gem, and Seme. Osieyo’s engaging storytelling makes complex historical narratives accessible and exciting, bringing to life notable figures like the legendary warrior Luanda Magere and political icon Tom Mboya.

While the book acknowledges some gaps, like the omission of southern Nyanza clans, its comprehensive scope and vivid detail make it a must-read for anyone interested in Kenyan history and cultural heritage. “Luo of Kenya” is a celebration of the Luo’s enduring legacy and their significant contributions to Kenya’s socio-economic and political landscape.

This book is a brilliant chronicle that promises to enlighten, inspire, and provoke thought. How does your culture differ and how much do you agree with the Luo? Dive into this enthralling narrative and discover the profound legacy of the Luo people and the reputation they wield.

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Books & Film

“Mvera”: A Riveting Drama of Escape and Redemption

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I recently finished watching “Mvera,” a powerful film directed by Daudi Anguka that left a lasting impression. The movie follows the harrowing journey of a woman named Mvera, played by Susan Kadide, who becomes ensnared in an organ trafficking ring. The story is both a gripping thriller and a poignant social commentary on the exploitation masked as opportunity. “Mvera” was Kenya’s official submission to the 2024 Academy Awards by the Oscars Selection Committee Kenya (OSCK) to vie for the Best International Feature Film Award.

Mvera’s struggle to escape and return to her community to warn them is heart-wrenching and suspenseful. Susan Kadide delivers a standout performance, portraying Mvera’s resilience and determination with emotional depth. The supporting cast, including Carolyne Rita Mutua, Hillary Namanje, and Patrick Owino, add authenticity and gravity to the narrative.

The cinematography effectively captures the contrasting settings of Mvera’s ordeal, from the stark, oppressive environments of the trafficking network to the warmth of her home village. This visual storytelling enhances the emotional impact of the film.

“Mvera” not only engages with its thrilling plot but also raises critical awareness about the dangers of human trafficking and corrupt wanna-be politicians. It challenges viewers to look beyond the surface of seemingly benign opportunities and consider the hidden threats that many face. The ability, especially financially, to vie for a political seat does not make you qualified.

“Mvera” is a compelling and thought-provoking film that combines suspense with a powerful social message. I highly recommend it for its strong performances, engaging story, and its important commentary on exploitation and resilience.

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Books & Film

Navigating Memory and Identity in Yvonne Adhiambo Owour’s novel;”Dust”

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Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owour

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s “Dust” intricately weaves personal loss and political turbulence into a narrative deeply rooted in the Kenyan psyche. The novel opens with the violent death of Odidi Oganda, unravelling a deep exploration into Kenya’s soul and making it an essential read for understanding contemporary Kenyan issues.

Owuor’s prose vividly explores Kenya’s landscapes—both geographical and emotional. The journey from Nairobi’s chaos to the arid expanses of northern Kenya mirrors a deeper voyage the characters undertake, confronting their pasts and collective national memory. This raises profound questions about identity, belonging, and reconciliation.

“Dust” reflects current struggles with corruption and political instability in Kenya, portraying the grim realities of societal betrayal and colonial history’s lasting impact on governance and cohesion. This resonates with the current political climate and the public’s demand for transparency and justice.

The novel also challenges you to think about the formation of historical narratives and who controls them. By shifting perspectives and timelines, Owuor suggests that history is a dynamic, contested space. This is crucial as Kenya grapples with its diverse ethnic and cultural histories, seeking a unified national identity.

Additionally, “Dust” meditates on the nature of memory and its present impact. The characters’ struggles with their memories and choices of what to remember or forget directly address the national conversation on historical amnesia and the importance of confronting the past.

“Dust” invites introspection and dialogue about Kenya’s future direction. It urges readers to acknowledge their painful history and the shadows of their personal and collective memories to move forward. Owuor compels Kenyans to reflect on how their individual stories intertwine with the national narrative, advocating for a future where such stories are heard and recognized.

In conclusion, “Dust” is more than a literary achievement; it’s a vital cultural artefact that provides deep insights into confronting Kenya’s past to pave the way for reconciliation and a cohesive national identity.

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