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Impressions: Kuroko's Basketball Extra Game

Nov 12 // Christian Chiok
A couple of months after the main series has ended, Tadatoshi Fujimaki released its continuation called Kuroko’s Basketball: Extra Game which features Kuroko and Kagami alongside the Generation of Miracles working together as Team Vorpal Swords aiming to beat Team Jabberwock, a street American Basketball team composed of  Nash Gold and Jason Silver, who have extraordinary talents that surpasses the Generation of Miracles, as well as other three nameless players who are on the same level as the former Teiko players. The arc starts off with Jabberwock playing against Team Strky, a team composed of recently graduated third years from Shutoku, Too, Rakuzan, Kaijo and Yosen. After Jabberwock defeated Strky by a landslide, Jabberwock insulted Strky and as well as the entire country of Japan by stating that they are monkeys and they have no right playing Basketball. As that kind of person that really gets involved and engaged with stories, seeing Team Strky get humiliated made me feel a bit hopeless, as if I was part of that setting. I can't say that their arrogance and their need to insult Japanese players really affected me, but it made me dislike the characters from the start. While it may sound contradicting, in cases like Kuroko's Basketball, I consider giving me a good reason to dislike the antagonist a good way to get myself engaged in a story.  Kagetora offended (as well as the rest of Japan, of course), it drove him to form Team Vorpal Swords and scheduled a game against Jabberwock for the following week. As a result, Kagetora had to pay for their expenses as well. Ever since the original series started, I always wondered how well can the Generation of Miracles fare with American players, especially a team that has beaten some professional NBA players. As soon as I read that, I was already expecting them to get crushed, of course, to a much lesser extend compared to Team Strky. Overall, this first chapter was a good introduction on the new set of antagonists. While I think addressing Japan as “monkeys” went too far, and it gave me enough reason to immediately despise the characters, it was still a good way on showing their personalities and more reason to root for Team Vorpal Swords once the game started. Whether its a battle series, sports series or any series that features competition, I consider it important that the antagonists are shown destroying the protagonists' comrades as a way to tease their abilities and power. It may be cliche, but Fujimaki pulled it off right. With Team Strky being annihilated by Jabberwock despite Strky being composed of highly skilled players, plus the insults, it made the anticipation of the main match even harder.  The best part of the chapter was the ending, where all seven players, being Kuroko, Kagami and the rest of the Generation of Miracles met up in the gymnasium to train, as it felt like it was a throwback to their former Teiko days—before they turned arrogant and showed comradery. It was definitely one my favorite arcs in the series. While Kagami wasn’t part of Teiko of course, seeing him with the Generation of Miracles was good fan service.  If you're a fan of the original series and was left with the need of more content, I would definitely recommend that you read Extra Game. The first chapter so far starts off well featuring the Dream Team we wanted to see since the series ended.  Naturally, as stated above, before reading Extra Game, it is imperative that you watch or read the original Kuroko's Basketball series. 
Kuroko photo
Make It Flashy!
Ever since emerging myself into the wonderful world of Anime and Manga, I’ve being a fan of many sports series such as Hajime no Ippo, Captain Tsubasa, Slam Dunk, and Prince of Tennis. One of my rece...

Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Tie the knot with Sailor Moon Marriage Certificates

Perfect for the cosplay wedding
Oct 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Boring old marriage certificate forms can now be made a lot prettier with the Sailor Moon inspired designs. Konin Todoke is an online certificate service that provides legislated documents for marriage and family registration...
Himouto! Umaru-chan photo
Himouto! Umaru-chan

Popular Himouto! Umaru-chan character gets spin off manga

Akita girl in Tokyo city
Oct 20
// Anthony Redgrave
Creator of Himouto! Umaru-chan had recently announced the publication of a spinoff manga to his popular series about the perfect high school girl turned slacker whenever she is at home. The main star of this new ser...
Nichijou photo

Nichijou's HUGE announcement is pretty normal

Oh Mai-chan that was a good joke~
Jun 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) is a lot like Cartoon Network's Regular Show, it's anything but. It takes the tried and true school girl slice of life comedy formula and treats every punch line as a road down to ludicrous-ville. ...
Costco Manga photo
Costco Manga

Shopping at Costco becomes a manga

Costco meets Manga
Jun 17
// Anthony Redgrave
There's still so much going on at E3 it's hard to escape the gravitational pull towards writing about video games. But outside of the hot Los Angeles convention centre news is still happening, specifically doujin news regardi...
Memoirs of Amorous Gents  photo
Memoirs of Amorous Gents

Animator Expo's 23rd short adapts another Moyoco Anno manga

Gentlemen can be perverts too
May 23
// Salvador GRodiles
We're getting close to the Japan Animator Expo project's final stretch, and the latest piece ends up being another adaptation (slightly NSFW) of a manga by Moyoco Anno. Just like the previous piece that adapted her work, "Mem...
Crunchyroll manga photo
Crunchyroll manga

Crunchyroll adds PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team! original comic

Original manga to debut in end of May
May 21
// Soul Tsukino
Crunchyroll has announced the latest offering from their “Crunchyroll Originals” manga/comic line with PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team!, an all-new, full color digital webco...

SCANDAL manga recommendations

Even rockstars like manga
May 21
// Anthony Redgrave
J Rock Girl Group SCANDAL have just finished performing in Mexico with their next stop being on the other side of the world, Hong Kong. But despite this busy lifestyle they still have time for Japanator's favourite literature...
Bakuman photo

Live action screens from Bakuman movie

Manga on the big screen
May 18
// Anthony Redgrave
Movies based off anime/manga have faired much better than their geeky partner video games. The Death Note movie may have faltered a little due to the massive change in story but all the characters looked great and i...
Your Lie in April photo
Your Lie in April

Feel emotions again with Your Lie in April OVA

Get Rekt, Emotions. AGAIN
May 15
// Red Veron
I know many of you are still trying to get over the ending Your Lie in April and the wound still fresh in your hearts, why don't take a look at a more simpler time? News of a 23rd anime episode just hit and instead of an epil...
Attack on Avengers photo
Attack on Avengers

Behold, the Attack on Titan and Marvel crossover nobody asked for

Titans Assemble?
May 12
// Josh Tolentino
I've been getting back into reading comic books of late, the fabled "ame-comi" from across the Pacific, and one fun part of American comic book culture is the practice of "Free Comic Book Day", when comic stores and publisher...
Himouto-Umaru-chan photo

Himouto! Umaru-chan Anime Details Revealed

Coming July 2015
May 07
// Nicole Helmeid
Gag manga Himouto! Umaru-chan is receiving an anime adaptation set to air during the Summer 2015 season.  The series, produced by by Sankaku Head centers around a high school girl named Umaru and her older brot...
One Punch Man photo
One Punch Man

Studio MADHOUSE winds up for One Punch Man anime

Fingers crossed!
Mar 21
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: Check out a hot cam promo for the show below, straight from the AnimeJapan 2015 show floor!] I must say that as hyped-up as I am about the prospect of a hot new anime adaptation of One Punch Man, the skeptic in ...
Araki Hirohiko photo
Araki Hirohiko

Learn the secrets of the trade with Jojo author

Joestar's Secret Manga Technique!
Mar 17
// Anthony Redgrave
From years of watching high school slice-of-life anime, there should always be a friend wanting to get into the manga/anime industry. Usually they would be the megane character; if it's a female she may be shy about...
Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Start off your Spring Break with Viz's upcoming digital manga titles

March is about to get crazy
Mar 04
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be more of a fan of reading things physically than digitally, but Viz's March digital manga roster contains some interesting titles, since they resurrected a few Tokyopop titles. On top of that, Tokyo Ghoul and Spell of...
My Hero Academia photo
My Hero Academia

Rejoice: My Hero Academia to be released physically

It's time for us to don our capes and cowls
Feb 22
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but it seems that Viz Media is in a super good mood this week. Aside from their unexpected acquisition of the 2011 Ultraman manga, the company has plans to release My Hero Academia, the latest manga by...
Ultraman photo

Licensing GET: Viz grabs the 2011 Ultraman manga

It's time to witness Viz's special transformation!
Feb 19
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like Viz Media's tapping into their toku side, as they've licensed the Ultraman manga that's written and drawn by Linebarrels of Iron's Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi. Honestly, I'm still very surprised ...
Gundam: The Origin photo
Gundam: The Origin

Watch 7 minutes of the Red Comet in Gundam: The Origin

Watch the veritable Red Comet in action!
Feb 17
// Red Veron
Fans of the Red Comet, rejoice! We finally get to see Char Aznable in action in this new trailer for the upcoming first part of the OVA adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. The trailer features Char Aznable laying w...
Urasawa photo

Naoki Urasawa joins the 21st Century and gets a Twitter account

Wrong century?
Feb 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
Acclaimed mangaka and all around cool dude, Naoki Urasawa has finally made a Twitter account! The news might not be all that exciting for everyone, but being that he's pretty much my favorite, it's huge news for me! The man i...
Golgo 13 photo
Golgo 13

Golgo 13 is officially Too Old For This Sh*t

The OG hitman retires soon
Feb 09
// Josh Tolentino
Indeed, like a certain police officer, the legendary assassin Golgo 13 is just a few weeks from retirement...literally! After nearly forty-seven years in serialization, the longest-running currently published manga is set to ...
Twin Tail Day photo
Twin Tail Day

Twin Tails day is upon us again and let us celebrate!

Twin Tail Day is Best Holiday
Feb 02
// Red Veron
Today is February 2nd in Japan, which is the officially designated day to celebrate the iconic hairstyle: The Twin Tails. The day "2-2" was chosen because of how the 2's look like two bunches of hair on both sides much like t...
One Punch Man photo
One Punch Man

It takes just one man to make a One Punch Man anime

Well, a prototype of one, anyway
Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
If there's anything I've learned over the years of writing about the things I enjoy, it's that making those things - in this case, anime - is very hard work, often done by large numbers of very talented people. That makes th...

Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 610-613

Feb 01 // Josh Tolentino
Of course, "movement" and "things happening" doesn't always have to equate to people getting punched or cut, and in these chapters, we not only see what passes as an explanation of big boss Ywach's powers (but no explanation of his Mutton Chops, sadly), but also the death and rebirth of Ichibei, leader of the Royal Guard. Oh, and the Soul King gets stabbed, too. But first things first: Ichibei, namer of names in Soul Societ and a guy who gets to define what's what when it comes to powers, gets himself blown the hell up. Why? Even six weeks on, I'm not entirely sure. Ywach's power as the "Almighty" Quincy seems to be some kind of omniscience, an ability to know pretty much everything with his eyes "closed", and even more than everything now that they're "open". In this case "open" eyes mean revealing that they're really really weird. Like, with four pupils, each poking their way into the whites like he's The Undertaker. He's a literal "four-eyes" (or rather, with two sets, an "eight-eyes"), though not nearly as nerdy as the moniker might imply. I'm not sure how knowing all that would necessarily equate to the monk getting blown up, but with references to "raw power" being made, I'll just assume it's because he's too much for it. That fits the Bleach pattern, in any case. Interestingly, the Soul King also seems to have himself a set of extra pupils as well. Months ago, when his eyes were first shown, I had thought the extra pupils were just dark, and that he had the "star-shaped eyes" thing going that Nia from Gurren Lagann had. I was wrong, and the implications of that seem to be that, alongside Ywach addressing the King as "Father", Quincy and Soul Reapers are far more closely related than anyone suspected. Remember back when they just used to be the guys that used bows? Ah, youth. Speaking of youth, all our favorite protagonists, the humans (hah!) finally come face to face with Ywach, after getting a quick briefing from the suddenly resurrected Ichibei. As for how he got back to the land of the sorta-not-dead (I just now remembered that Soul Society is technically the afterlife), just calling his name does the job. It's like he's a Kamen Rider or something! And reinforcements are on the way. The remaining Captains, as well as Rukia and Renji, are gathering with Urahara to make their way up to the Royal Palace, now that the fight's over on the ground. Hopefully the humans will be able to put up a credible fight before they arrive to steal the show again.
Bleach photo
A Long Time Coming
While it's been at least six weeks since the last time we checked in with Bleach, various publishing breaks and delays have given us just four-odd chapters to work with, and given the pace Bleach tends to move at, it fee...

Crunchyroll photo

Level Up: Crunchyroll's Premium Members now have unlimited manga access

Magma for Everyone!
Jan 18
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be late to the party again, but I thought that it was worth noting that Crunchyroll has granted their Premium Members the ability to access their magma... um, I mean manga library. In other words, the anime subscribers ...
Yen Press photo
Yen Press

Licensing GET: Yen Press grabs Durarara!! light novels and more

It's time to rejoice to the max!
Jan 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Alright, people! I might need someone to wake me up from my eternal slumber, because Yen Press' latest announcement is too freaking good to be true. In other words, the company has licensed the original Durarara!! light novel...
Spider-Man photo

Japanese Spider-Man always saves the day!

Best Spider-Man ever
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
All us normal everyday folks know to call their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man when they get into a jam, but what happens when Spider-Man gets into a jam? If Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott is to be believed, ...
Finder photo

Digital Manga Inc. forms a Kickstarter to restock Finder

It looks like DMI is trying something new
Jan 09
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like Digital Manga Inc. has made an interesting move recently. Instead of starting a Kickstarter to fund a license a manga series, the company is starting a campaign to restock Finder's first six volumes. While ...
Prophecy photo

Prophecy unveils a creepy new live-action trailer

Dec 22
// Hiroko Yamamura
The uber popular manga Prophecy, written by Testuya Tsutsui is getting an adaptation on the big screen in Japan. The tale of unfulfilled justice and judgment makes its debut in theaters on June 6th, adding to the already solid summer movie line-up. I hope the film can give the slow burning crime thriller a bit of justice, as the shots look pretty good so far!
J-Stars Victory VS+ photo
J-Stars Victory VS+

Shonen Jump J-Stars Victory VS+ answers all the big questions

Everyone comes out to party
Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
The biggest question of them all being "When the hell is Bandai Namco releasing Jump Stars Victory VS?" in English. The answer to that is "Next summer, on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and all under the somehow even more nonsensica...

Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 607-609

Dec 14 // Josh Tolentino
But let's talk about that "visual language" thing I mentioned first. Kubo's always loved high contrast. It's not a matter of so-called "laziness" that Bleach has become known for being a series that "hates" having to draw backgrounds and scenery, but that to its creator, a blank white or black expanse is the most beautiful background one can imagine. The lastest engagement, between Quincy god-king Ywach and Royal Guard Captain Ichibei Hyousube, has expressed Kubo's love of contrast in a fashion about as close to its logical extreme as ever. Considering that the true "logical extreme" of Kubo's art style would probably be a giant poster of a yin-yang, that's pretty close. All the components of a Bleach-style battle (at least, the ones not involving Ichigo) are on display here, and with three full chapters devoted to the throwdown between the two highest-ranked combatants in the series to date, the general structure of Kubo-format combat is much more clear here than usual. And the takeaway? Bleach hates even matches. It's always a see-saw with these guys, and for the last sixty-odd pages, the weight has been on the side of the mad monk. At every turn Ichibei's been laying the smack down on his Quincy counterpart, and looking crazier and crazier doing it. The scale of the attacks are immense, all giant hands and feet, with monk and buddhist motifs to suit the burly fellow's stature. For the most part, Ywach is completely unable to counter, sitting there and taking it, with a dash of trash talk. It's almost enough to believe that Ywach's being pushed, here, but that other component of a Bleach fight - fact that any early victory is a virtual guarantee of defeat - rears its head quickly enough, as Ichibei deploys his sword-brush, Ichimonji, and its Bankai (or "Shinuchi" as its original name was), Shirafude. Even here, the theme is black-on-white. The Soul Reaper, who wears a white cloak over black kimono, unveils a weapon that splashes ink like he was accenting a Street Fighter trailer, with the power to blot out the name - and thus the qualities - of anything it touches. On the other side is the Quincy, whose letter is "A" for "Almighty" (with a chuuni-style double reading for "Omniscient"), wearing his black cloak over a white western-style coat , who puts his power in his name. It's all very much on-the-nose, and in classic Bleach fashion, the most powerful of the "good guys" (the ones that are destined to lose, at any rate) are ones that look most "evil". Ichibei looks more and more monstrous in his hubris, and even his power set implies a sort of corruption. Ichimonji's ability to "blacken" things and Ichibei's control over the color "black" speaks to idiomatic expressions about pollution, of converting untruth into truth, and (literally) overwriting that which is "true" (Ywach's power and identity) with falsehood ("renaming" Ywach into a mere "Ant").  Of course, that's what a dude with power over names does, but messing around with meaning like that pretty much puts the bad guy back on top of the coolness pedestal. In Bleach's world, real winners don't have to mess around with the parameters of the match. And as if on cue, Ywach quits messing around, revealing the meaning of his "A", and, in Aizen-esque fashion, claiming that he's foreseen all of this. The echoes of his fight with Yamamoto are almost palpable this time around, but even if the fight was ultimately unproductive, Ywach made a good show of looking like he'd been put on the ropes. Now we'll see the stuff the Quincy leader's made of, and hopefully set the stage for the true heroes to start doing what they do (which is win for realsies).
Bleach photo
Doesn't matter if you're black or white
Longtime readers of Bleach will note that this "final" arc of the series - scare quotes here because you can never trust a Jump manga to end on time - has featured a number of breaks from author Tite Kubo's established p...

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