Ramblings & Reviews

Minneapolis Strong

Minneapolis is going through some crap right now (and what big city isn’t). People outside the city say they’re staying away – the same people who never had a desire to go into the city in the first place.

Just a heads up that there isn’t any place in Minnesota right now I’d rather be. There’s a ton of people here who are working hard to make things better in the face of adversity. And I like being a part of that.

Ramblings & Reviews

Comic Piracy

Pet peeve:
People substituting their own joke over someone else’s cartoon.

As a meme it’s lazy, and adds the insult of disregarding the original artist as they always crop out their signature.

-Jim Keefe

Ramblings & Reviews

Intro to Anime

When I was in my 20s the groundbreaking anime film Akira was released here in the States. It pretty much blew any American made animation that was being produced at the time out of the water.

That said – this got me to thinking about how woefully ignorant I am in regards to anime, so I put together the following as a tutorial…

For this first part I deferred to my daughter Tessa (who was thirteen at the time this post was originally written). She loves manga and took Japanese as a language in Middle School.


Note: Tessa wouldn’t let me include a photo, so I posted a manga style drawing instead. And yes, her volleyball team was district champions.

As far as a kid-friendly intro goes, Tessa gave Shawna Howson’s intro to anime videos a thumbs up, and ads that her explanation of Shōjo in the following installment is especially dead on.

And for those who slam Shōjo,
here’s Howson’s rebuttal…


An American animated series (with definite anime roots) that Tessa recommended highly is Avatar: The Last Airbender.


This is NOT to be confused with the movie by M. Night Shyamalan. The strengths of the animated series are actually best made in this episode where the Nostalgia Critic compares the animated series to the movie.

The following recommendations are from MCAD alum Allison O’Brien. In addition to being a fantastic artist she was also President of the MCAD Anime Club back in the day.


From here on in, all comments in italics are from Allison.

These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head, but it seems about right.

Princess Mononoke

Ghost in the Shell

Spirited Away

Grave of the Fireflies

Perfect Blue – Personal preference.

Tokyo Godfathers


Redline – For sheer style ALONE.

Kid-friendly picks. Spirited Away (listed above) was one.
Here’s more…

Castle in the Sky

The Cat Returns

My Neighbor Totoro

Kiki’s Delivery Service – Really just anything Ghibli are quite good.

Maybe add Summer Wars, though it might be pushing it.

The ones listed in my previous list are pretty violent/psychological in nature (ESPECIALLY avoid Perfect Blue and Grave of the Fireflies).
Princess Mononoke may also cut it, but it does have some decapitations/similar violent imagery.

Manga Recommendations:
Note: Among Westerners, “manga” refers to Japanese comics.

Most of what I gave you previously were movies, so here’s a few series that are great to get into. I mean clearly I could give more, but I figured some series to balance out the movies would be good.

Monster – Psychological drama, very intense.


Mushi-shi – Cerebral/spiritual, emotional experience.


Hunter x Hunter – My preference is the 2011 version, but the ’99 one is still great, incredibly smart and influential.


Baccano – Colorful cast, unique storytelling.


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Known as one of the best shounen series, for good reasons.


Mononoke – Insanely gorgeous.


This is the default chart that tends to get sent around when people ask for recommendations.


-Allison O’Brien

So there you go. This at leasts gives you a starting point if you’re new to all this. And if you’re not new to it, titles you may be unfamiliar with to look out for.

Before signing off I’d like to thank Allison for her recommendations. To see more of her work, check out her portfolio at

Also check out her progress blog at
Fun stuff!

Ramblings & Reviews

COVID-109 Info at

For comprehensive info go to

Also the New York Times has free coverage at
The Coronavirus Outbreak.

Wishing you and yours all the best during these difficult times.

-Jim Keefe

Ramblings & Reviews

Healthcare Professionals on the Front Lines

Editorial Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

I had to make a run to an Extended Care facility recently (I was scheduled to pick up meds for someone – not an unessential visit). Upon entering I had my temperature taken and had use of surgical gloves before bing admitted. While I was waiting an unnamed incident happened on the floor above us so the unit was put into lockdown – no one could come in or out unless it was deemed absolutely necessary by staff. Residents who wanted to get a smoke started to congregate. Very quickly some started getting impatient – then indignant.

One heavyset man in a motorized wheelchair started yelling at the staff, “I’m 70 years old – you can’t tell me what to do! They don’t tell us nothin’ here! What is this – a PRISON?!

Tensions in the room kept getting higher as the lockdown continued. The yelling continued. Throughout it the staff stayed calm, obviously accustomed to such behavior and refusing to escalate the situation by echoing the patient’s aggravation.

Eventually the lockdown ended and the residents/patients got their smokes – crisis averted.

A very small reminder to me of the countless number of doctors and staff who are on the front lines dealing with the endless ramifications/repercussions of this pandemic head on – day in and day out in. The work being done on our behalf by the medical profession right now is incalculable and I am in awe of their dedication and sacrifice. And the inconvenience of self isolating on my part seems pretty small in comparison.

and that’s my two cents…

-Jim Keefe