Ao Haru Ride - Anime Review

It's been a while since I sat down and watched an entire anime series that I really enjoyed, but recently I finished Ao Haru Ride - a romantic high school slice of life story about Yoshioka Futaba and her middle school beau Tanaka Kou - who haven't seen each other for three years and finally meet up again in high school.

It's actually a bit more touching than I expected it to be. Futaba has completely changed her personality in order to fit in and play at having friends. It's popular in Japanese schools to ostracize girls who are considered "cute" because they attract the attention of boys and make the other girls jealous. This happened to Futaba, so she styled herself as someone completely unfeminine to survive.

Enter Kou, who she hasn't seen since middle school because he suddenly moved away. It's like he's become a different person - cold, aloof, and constantly insulting her in that bored way of his.

And even though he drives her nuts and makes her angry, his insults really drive home and so Futaba sets out to reinvent herself in a truer sense. In doing so, she loses friends, gains a few more that are worthy, and eventually get Kou to come around and reveal why he's so different.

The anime itself is only 12 episodes long and I just KNEW it was a promo for a manga series. Low and behold - I was right. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites online to read manga for free so I'll include links to that as well.



Lolita in the Media: Melanie Martinez

Does anyone remember that cute girl from season 3 of The Voice - the one who wore vintage dresses and hair bows all the time?

Yeah, her! Melanie Martinez - I was so rooting for her to win and she got pretty damn close, too - despite the rude diss from Christina Aguilera. But she went on to sign to a label and start producing her own really bad-ass tunes.

I think my favorite of hers is actually Dollhouse - and the video for it just kind of adds to her quirky charm.

I had noticed some "Lolita" elements to her style and personality, but I would never really have called her a Lolita. Until now that is:

Here she is wearing a full set from Angelic Pretty for her live music video. Sure, there's the lack of petti, but she's also hanging out in just socks, so it feels more like a Lolita after a long day out and kicking off all the un-comfy bits of an outfit.

I really do like the mix of pastel-goth inspired hair and wacky eyebrows with something pastel and cute. She rocks it in a way that no one else can.

I plan to keep an eye on her and see if she rocks anything more Lolita-esque attire. You guys will be the first to know!


The Oft-Neglected Pinafore

When you think of the word pinafore, dear readers, what comes to your mind? Perhaps the frilly apron which Alice wore over her blue dress, or the kind of embellishment sometimes seen in Natural Kei. Maybe you think of something your grandmother used to don in order to dust and sweep the house - but the pinafore is an item that comes in many different shapes and styles. And it is often overlooked within Lolita.

There are many a brand that have tried this concept in the past, but you still don't see it much at actual meetups or in daily coordinates.

As I have stated dear readers, they come in a variety of styles, from an apron meant to be over a dress to a skirt featuring criss-crossed straps and waist ties. Certainly something for everyone, no?

Yet I believe I know why it has come to be so avoided - the dreaded Ita-Maid look. It's one that is pushed into Lolita's mind from the beginning of their frilly journey. Along the same lines of not wearing cheap lace and please don't wear maxi pads on your head, the idea of the apron has rooted itself into ita or maid territory, both of which are something your average Lolita does not wish to be associated with.

So what advice do I have for my intrepid readers who may be willing to attempt this garment?

1. Avoid white - Choose a pinafore in a popular print  - Angelic Pretty and Meta both make an apron style JSK for many of their cheerier prints. Opt for white or a plain color underneath and let the apron be the focal point, rather than the other way around.

2. Choose one that is heavily stylized - a border print, corset lacing, bows, etc. It should complement the rest of your coordinate, not appear as something you merely tossed over it.

3. The brave Lolita wearing white should keep it simple - the apron should look like another layer of your ensemble. In that respect, keep it streamlined and avoid excess lace or ruffles.

4. Give it a country twist - an apron over a natural kei style dress (something long sleeved in a dainty floral or calico print) will look more Little House on the Prairie than housekeeper.

But why, do you ask, dear readers, did I dig up this particular topic? Well, as luck would have it, a recent trip to a large thrift shop yielded a new acquisition in the form of a vintage frilly apron in a dark blue polka dot calico and I'm extremely fascinated with finding unusual ways of coordinating it. I was merely inspired, readers, and now I hope that you might be too.


Halloween and Lolita: The Horror Story

I'm not entirely certain, dear readers, that you need a wall of text to understand my horror regarding the fru-fru costumes that crop up around Halloween taking the moniker of "Lolita", so instead I'll show you some visual examples. For those new to the undertaking of Lolita, let this be a lesson to you in what Lolita is not nor ever should be.

Yellow Sweet Lolita Maid

Red Checkers Lolita Cosplay

Sexy Harajuku Girl via Amazon

There is a silver lining, though, readers! Halloween is a wonderful opportunity for you to don your most outrageous coordinate or experiment perhaps with a style or garment you hadn't the nerve to before. Remember though, dear readers, Lolita is not a costume but can be worn for extravagant occasions much like one would wear a slinky dress to a cocktail party. Have fun with it!