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Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Streaming GET: Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S head to Crunchyroll


Tsuburaya keeps on giving
Mar 02
// Salvador GRodiles
With Crunchyroll achieving its new form as the go-to place to watch the Ultra series, the group has united with two more titles in the franchise. This time around, Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S are now on Crunchyroll; howev...

Anime Matsuri X Cosplay Gallery Part 1 of 2

Mar 02 // Red Veron
At the convention, I ran into the cool people from BoomSlank who helped me find a certain vendor. Check out their site for some really cool art that I regret not picking up. This year, I heard unconfirmed reports that more than the projected 30,000 people attended and some have said that this makes it the best Anime convention in Texas. I haven't been to many Anime conventions in Texas to be able to judge for myself but I do think it is one of the major anime conventions in Texas that fans of Japanese pop culture in Texas should check out. There will be another gallery tomorrow and a video that is in the works! Come back tomorrow! Enjoy the gallery! Which one is your favorite? Look out for more about Japanator at Anime Matsuri: Part 2 of Anime Matsuri X Cosplay Gallery Japanator Anime Matsuri Video (Coming Soon!) Last Year's Galleries: Anime Matsuri 2015 Cosplay Gallery - Part 1 Last Year's Galleries: Anime Matsuri 2015 Cosplay Gallery - Part 2
Anime Matsuri photo
BEST ANIME CON IN TEXAS?!
This past weekend was the tenth year of Anime Matsuri, a celebration of Japanese pop culture and other related interests, and I had a lot of fun despite trying to currently get over con funk. I ran into many awesome cosplay, which isn't surprising since I have always been impressed of the cosplay at Anime Matsuri.  

Annotated Anime: Myriad Colors Phantom World episodes 4-6

Mar 01 // Nick Valdez
Episode 4 So after some complaining over how light on story the first three episodes were, the fourth finally has some character development. Unfortunately for us, it's not very compelling. In this episode we learn that Reina's parents don't really approve of her fighting phantoms in her down time (although it doesn't make sense since we were first introduced to the character in the middle of a phantom fight), and that's caused her to act a bit weird. Thus leading to the phantom of the week, a ghost bus that takes Reina to a house with bunny parents. After some shenanigans, it turns out Reina genuinely connected with these faux parents and has a tearful goodbye. Then, all of a sudden, everything's resolved by episode end as Reina says her parents are okay with everything after all. It's sloppy and lazily handled. For one, we never actually meet her parents (which is probably a good thing since the show can't even handle getting its core characters right) and it's not really developed. This plot doesn't have any threads moving forward into future episodes, and I still don't feel like we know Reina all that well. But I guess if you wanted to see her in bunny ears, you've got your wish. It just left a bad taste in my mouth overall.  Episode 5 To follow the pattern from the last episode, the fifth episode is trying to do some character work with the fourth member of the phantom hunting club, Koito. She's a derivative character you've seen many times in the past: a stoic loner who's power isolates her. But Phantom World refuses to be dark enough to make this whole plot work. You see, the reason she's been so alone and weird to everyone else is because she once fought a phantom as a kid and caused a bunch of damage. Rather than make the stakes highly emotional, or at the very least heavier (i.e. her fight causing injury or worse), nothing really has any narrative worth. Just like the previous episode, everything feels resolved too easily. And while the show's been doing its best to avoid typical harem traps (which is why I was drawn to the series initially), it plants the seeds of one here. As Haruhiko refuses to leave Koito alone (which a typical anime protagonist is want to do), he somehow makes some kind of impact on her. You can't really tell given the episode has very little development on this end, but apparently he's done something other than cause her harm. Seriously, the two times he jumps in to help only makes it worse for her. By the end of the episode, Koito joins the group full on but she really shouldn't have. There's no evidence supporting that she'd do better with a group than without at this point.  Episode 6 During the events of the previous episode, the fifth member of the phantom hunting club revealed herself. The fourth grader, Kurumi Kumamakura, with the ridiculous name and the ability to turn her teddy bear, Albrecht, into a giant monster fighter. This episode chooses to develop her as Haruhiko and Kurumi end up stumbling into Kurumi's fantasy world of talking bears and war. Since Kurumi has been anxious about fighting the phantoms (y'know, since she's a child), she retreats to this fantasy world where her bear can talk. It's not a particularly engaging character story here either, but the episode is saved by its stylistic choices. By just being generally weird and different than the rest of the series, this is definitely a stand out episode. Mixing in this series' love of colors with Kyoto Animation's love of fluid movement and weird character design, it all came together into a pleasant package. It's hard not to love how cute all of this is, and I appreciate that Kurumi doesn't get involved with the Phantom club at the end because of a crush on Haruhiko or something.  Once again Haruhiko finds himself inexplicably involved with a character's story, but doesn't really add much of value. I have loved how the female characters are much more valuable to the series overall, and none of them seem to be pulling along because of the male protagonist. In fact, he's basically a harem protagonist without all of the skeeviness that comes along with it. So he's pretty dopey and useless, but not really perverted or even attracted to any of these girls around him or vice versa.  I may have been hard on how light on content the series is, but if this trend continues and all these characters just go on a monster hunt week after week then I'll be fine with it. The only problem is its time frame. It's not like this show is scheduled to go on forever. And with an end imminent, Myriad Colors Phantom World needs to find a reason to exist quickly.  Also, Kyoto Animation needs to work on some kind of magical girl series. Could you imagine how good that'd look?  [You can stream the myriad of colors of Crunchyroll and Hulu]
Annotated Phantom World photo
Myriad of problems
To tell you all the truth, I've been drafting and deleting this article for awhile now. The more I write recaps, and the more I start watching anime (I just finished Netflix's Seven Deadly Sins a bit ago, too), the more I sta...

The Trial of Myotismon: Growing Up and Digimon's Legacy

Mar 01 // Yussif Osman
I'd like to first off admit, that my experience of Digimon is the English dub, so many of the names I use will be the English ascribed names for characters, concepts and creatures. So what is the appeal of the original Digimon series? I'm a fan of Pokémon, but to make my point, just to begin with, I will make comparisons with it and the first season of Digimon. I'd like to begin on the surface. Atmospherically, it is a beautiful series, whereas as the world of Pokemon is very much a human world akin to ours, the Digital World is bizarre, vast and desolately beautiful, as telephone poles breach lakes surrounded by rain forests, towns populated by ghosts and deserts. And whereas in many anime, there's a set format for the adventure, for example gym leaders and Team Rocket in Pokémon or searching for discs in Monster Rancher, Digimon was a blank slate. Anything could happen, they could meet anyone, do anything, the world was literally vast in terms of the plot as any kind of story could be pursued. I would go as far as to argue that the awe and excitement in exploring the Digital World for the first time ever was a feat comparable to a Studio Ghibli film in the fantasy genre, like Spirited Away. Moving on, I'm going to forego the argument that Digimon was conceived before Pokémon as I believe that says little about the series itself. But I will say this, where Pokemon introduced us to a world of interesting and fun creatures, Digimon when they were first introduced were not creatures in the same sense. They were people. Let me qualify this. Whereas Pokemon were creatures to be trained, apart from the odd legendary like Mewtwo, they were not characters, they lacked character development and though bonds were stressed in the show, these were pets, and this was fine for what the anime and the games had in mind. Digimon on the other hand, did not merely have the ability to speak, but had their own personalities, quirks and goals. [embed]34807:5461:0[/embed] Digimon were more than just props in their world, they were characters with motivations and principles. As such, it was possible for the Digimon themselves to be both heroes and villains, whereas we can quote Ash as saying directly “...there can't be an evil Pokémon”. The simian Etamon was as colourful as a Bond villain, the vampiric Myotismon as haunting as Darth Sidious and the insidious Piedmon as disturbing as the Joker. The Digimon grew up with their child counterparts, their relationships developed and evolved as the Digimon themselves came to terms with what they represented to their respective Digi-destined. Many anime are guilty of having children in them simply for the sake of it, saying little about what it means to be a child or the significance of growing up. Each child possesses a crest representing a quality or emotion, Taichi possessing courage and Mimmi possessing sincerity for example. As the series draws to its climax and the children confront their most terrible foe in the form of Myotismon and the world literally crumbles around them, they step-up and display the qualities that will define them, whether that's courage, sincerity, compassion, love or hope and the Digimon themselves are analogues for this, conduits or avatars if you will as the characters grow-up. No one ever has it is easy in life, but it's those opportunities when we get to show who we really are and as cheesy as that may sound, this is a kid's show and sometimes they have a point. Digimon became a story about children growing up and taking responsibility for their lives, something we all must do and something which should be liberating and fulfilling as we come to know who we are and evolve. Much like the Digimon themselves when their children come to terms with their crests.   The Digi-destined spend most of their time exploring the Digital World before returning to  Earth to face Myotismon, when they have to put forward all they've learnt and gathered as people, in a story arc where they're faced with such issues as sacrifice, friendship, the value of family and tragedy. Whereas the Digital World is an analogue for childhood, Myotismon and his assault on Earth I argue is representative of growing-pains, when the children's crests activate and they come into their own. And just as Myotismon is defeated, Piedmon and the Dark Masters make their assault and the children must bring with them not only everything they've learnt, but now everything they've become as well. Just like life, as what we believe the pivotal trial comes to an end, a grander one presents itself, asking everything we have of us and more. I am conscious of the fact that generally this is the way storytelling works, that as the story draws to a close, the stakes are highest. However, in Digimon, the stakes painfully increased in relentless waves and even though it still takes the form of a typical adventure story, I believe adventure stories overall tell us a lot about life. The genre of Magical Realism for example, pioneered by Gabriel Marquez used fantasy not to escape the real world, but to more adequately talk about it. To make emotions vivid and characters more representative of the human condition. Nothing says flawed like a special power you can't control and nothing says compassionate like a monster companion. But this isn't a grim story, if it were, I don't think it would create nearly the level of nostalgia that it does. Though I've argued here that the anime deals with the mature theme of growing up, it is fundamentally a children's story and so, a hopeful one. I believe that is the appeal of children's stories to us when we've become grown, in part it's that we've grown up with them, but it's also that they're necessarily hopeful. And so in a subtle way, for us who struggled with the Digi-destined, it gives us hope too. Hope by definition requires high stakes, this is true of the series and the vibrant, early Digimon movies that followed and I believe of life itself. So how did I feel about Digimon Tri now that its first installment has been released? A full review is beyond the scope of this article, but I believe it's still too early to make a verdict on the sequel.  What we've been given so far is a mere introduction and though I admit it lacks the wonder, colour and vigour of the original series, I remain hopeful and would encourage other fans of the series to be as well. In anime and in life.    
Digimon Adventure Tri photo
Exploring the legacy of Digimon season 1
In the second half of 2015, something amazing happened in the world of anime. Digimon returned. But not just any incarnation of the series, rather Digimon Tri is a continuation of the original first season, based on Taichi and the other Digi-destined who befriended Agumon and fought with Myotismon and traversed the vast and beautiful Digital World for the first time.     

Annotated Anime: One Piece episode 731

Mar 01 // Anthony Redgrave
Throughout Dressrosa, there is a massive rally for people to start pushing against the descending bird cage. Dressrosa civilians, gladiators, and even the monarchy are joining up with Zoro, Franky, or Robin to push against the Bird Cage. Even the Marines join the cause with Fujitora turning a literal blind eye towards the pirates to help push by imbuing his blade with Haki. I thought it was really cool seeing Zoro do this for the first time against Pica, but with the arrival of generic Marine than can imbue their weapons with Haki, it's just another super power that's tossed around. Those Marines aren't even officer class! They're just Marine grunts that get tossed around by any main or slightly interesting tertiary character. Rebecca gets assigned to crowd control duties by her dad and grows tired of not being part of the action. And like a child going through their troublesome teens, she picks up a blade and has the urge to murder. Fortunately, her target is Doflamingo who has already extinguished the last of Luffy's protection. Violet, having the same idea as Rebecca, engages Doflamingo in mortal combat instead. It's sad to say that this is extremely stupid because both these girls are leagues below Doflamingo. Like stupidly so. A pointless sacrifice that gets Violet beaten down hard. At least, there are some cool martial arts moves animated in this fight.  As the episode winds down, the Bird Cage Brigade are able to stop the stringed menace for a few seconds giving evidence for a possible solution or delayed death. The same is sadly not true for Violet as she is caught up in Doflamingo's strings with a manipulated Rebecca heading towards her with her blade raised. It's a twisted death at the hands of her niece being controlled by Doflamingo except the ex-warlord has forgotten one thing. Rebecca always fights with a blunt blade due to being completely against attacking other contestants. I have no idea why she would bring a blunt blade when going to assassinate Doflamingo apart from that is what she is most comfortable using.  The clock ticks down like a doomsday clock or when Noah was about to descend on Fishman Island. The clock strikes one minute to midnight and it will take exactly one minute before Luffy can recover. This could be the longest 60 seconds in anime history if the next episode doesn't run the time limit.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
One Piece photo
Rebecca does something stupid
There is so much in anime that happens in between minutes of time that if I was able to that much done in the span of a few short minutes, you would see a lot more Annotated Anime articles on Japanator each week. One Piece's  time manipulation is kicked into high gear this week as the 10-minutes takes more than 20 minutes real-world time to tick down. 

Cat Island photo
Cat Island

Japan's Cat Island gets lots of love to fight food shortage


A Purr-ty big response!
Feb 29
// Soul Tsukino
Aoshima is a small island in a remote part of the Ehime prefecture of Japan. It's the kind of small island you mind find a martial arts master residing, or the kind of place you'd take a high school class for a trip (don't forget the commemorative metal collars!). The whole island is only about 8 miles around and is occupied by about 16 people- -and oh yeah... Aoshima

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Feb 28 // Josh Tolentino
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 4, 2016 (JP), February 5, 2016 (EU), February 9, 2016 (NA/SA)MSRP: $59.99 Indeed, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is purportedly the last of the series, despite this particular installment being the first of its kind that Cyber Connect 2 have brought to this generation of consoles, complete with jazzed-up visuals and just the right place in the Naruto storyline to take advantage of some high-octane ninja magic.  And there is a lot of ninja magic in this one. With the characters at the height of their power and the stakes almost literally apocalyptic, there's no holding back on a grand series of massive, world-shaking battles. That's what the whole single-player mode really is, come to think of it. With the previous numbered installment covering the minor and major skirmishes of the Fourth Ninja World War, the entirety of the story is spent almost exclusively following the original members of Team 7 - Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi -  as they take their final steps and confront the last three villains of the saga. I'll decline to name them here on the off chance that there's a reader out there whose primary source of information about Naruto is these games, but suffice it to say that the matchups are suitably grand in scale and significance. The game makes few allowances for people new to Naruto, but the story is simple enough to follow even without in-depth familiarity, and Naruto fans will find that the visuals and action lend a spectacular, explosive edge to a manga finale that practically slogged at the end.  [embed]34755:5449:0[/embed] With the narrative being as condensed as it is to the principal cast, one might be forgiven for thinking that Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 would have a shallower bench than usual, but the opposite is true. Dozens of characters across the entire series' timeline are present and playable. Young or old, dead or alive, if one was a ninja in Naruto, one is on this game's roster. Of course, a large cast has always been a selling point for the series, so that's hardly surprising at this point. Perhaps more damning is the fact that many of the fighters available are, but for a different costume and a high-resolution touch-up, almost identical to their incarnations from previous titles. Though that does dull the value proposition somewhat for longtime players, in this case it's better to have too many options for play than too few. Both concerning and comforting is how similarly the game plays to almost every other edition of the franchise. The controls haven't changed - most characters control similarly, and differ mainly in their selection of combos and available powers - and minor adjustments to balancing won't really resonate outside the minority of players that take the combat and competitive aspect of the game seriously. That said, folks into either aspect of Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's combat are well-taken care of. Online play comes with a number of desirable options for customization, stat-tracking, and organizing tournament and ranked play. The online experience is quite connection-dependent, though, so one shouldn't expect matchups from faraway lands to play especially well. The real party piece is the new ability for players to swap between any member of their chosen team during a match, almost at will. Whereas in previous games players would select a character and two supports to be called at the tap of a shoulder button, a flick of the right stick can switch out characters to extend a combo, escape a bad situation, or even move over to a more suitable moveset. In adding this new feature, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 evokes shades of Marvel vs. Capcom, a similarly frantic fighter, and one whose vision of team-based play fits well with the coordination and combination techniques so common in the manga. In the end, the game doesn't stray too far from formula, trading the risk of the overly familiar to refine and emphasize the aspects that made the game so notable in the first place: A massive roster, eye-popping visuals, and an obvious love for all things Naruto. That doesn't make for a huge amount of novelty, but thankfully, endings aren't about the new, but about remembering all that came before. In that, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a good way to go out.   Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $49.99
Naruto Storm 4 Review photo
Ninja War Never Changes
Endings are hard. Whether you're putting the finishing touches on a blog post or finding a way to wrap up a decade-and-a-half-long epic, concluding almost any affair in a way that satisfies all involved is a challenge. That's...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: Recettear's final bill is about to get paid


Can Sal free Recette from her debt?
Feb 27
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here. Also, I started Danganronpa, which can be watched here.] I may have failed to meet Recettear's goals twice, but it looks like I have one more payment left until I rescue...
Tales of Berseria photo
Tales of Berseria

Let's dive into a sea of Tales of Berseria screenshots


More challengers have arrived
Feb 27
// Salvador GRodiles
Whenever I hear about something that's related Tales of Berseria, my desire to check out the game continues to go up each time. With Bandai Namco sharing some more details and screenshots of the title, the game's premise cont...

Annotated Anime: Oshiete! Galko-chan episode 8

Feb 27 // Anthony Redgrave
The episode opens with the boys ranking the breast sizes of the female members of the class. Of course, Galko is on the list but newcomers Nikuko a foodie futsal player and the Occult Japnese goth chick Okako also make the list. I imagine Nikuko is a play on words as Niku is a Japanese derivative for meat. To complete the logic circle, I only know this information because of a character in Haganai been given the nickname Niku due to her breast size. Anime's hidden agenda is to passively teach you Japanese. I've talked previously about how this title is an insight into the female conversation and said it it's interesting if it were true. On the flip side, I cannot say that I've had the same debate over the female student body bust ranking during my time in education. According to Galko-chan, the male student body cannot get over the intrigued and fascination over Galko's actions or changes in appearance. There is some truth behind this as any male going through puberty would have a hard time not finding something interesting about Galko.  The second story focusses on nails and manicures. Class Prez breaks a nail and Galko goes about fixing it much to Class Prez's chagrin. The gang discusses Galko's nails and how she's able to cook with them, to which the reply is with disposable rubber gloves. Galko's sister, always quick to come up with an alternative option causing Galko to be embarrassed. The great thing about this anime is that the sexual joke isn't lost nor is it explicitly said. You still get the punch line of Galko cutting off her sister and the definitive sexual answer without beating around the bush or leaving it entirely to the imagination. Galko's motherly actions and innocent facade will put her high on the waifu list this year.  Lastly, we expand the classroom cast to include the emo boy in the corner. Constantly annoyed by the outlandish behaviour of Galko, he is saved by her after coming into school with a terrible case of bed head (don't worry we feel your pain brother). Expert stylist Galko is able to change the sullen looking boy into a more fashionable sullen looking boy garnering the attention of Ojou and Otako. Another example of why Galko is pretty much the best person ever.  Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan How cup sizes of Bras work How to accurately determine where someone's nipples are accurately according to their ears. I don't think they work on fakies The importance of fixing broken nails The process of a manicure That emo boy possibly lives with a mom that is mute and a troll. [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll]
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
Anime teaches you the best things
I'm not adverse to learning new things but the stuff that really stick are told through anime. Detective Conan/ Case Closed  has taught me the signs of cyanide poisoning, Lucky Star the benefits of leaving curry out...

Week Ender - Anime Matsuri X Edition

Feb 27 // Red Veron
[embed]34800:5455:0[/embed] Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku Anime: Steins;Gate Anime Matsuri guest Yuzuru Tachikawa has directed many episodes of popular anime and one of them is Steains;Gate. Every anime featured here has been worked on by Tachikawa.   [embed]34800:5456:0[/embed] "Shinsekai Koukyougaku" Anime: Death Parade Tachikawa also directed this show and I've seen a few cosplayers decked out as characters from the show. I really need to watch more than the first episode.   [embed]34800:5457:0[/embed] "Mask" Anime: Bleach My favorite ending for this show and it happens to the last. Also, I chose this one since one of the guests at AM is Johnny Yong Bosch, the english voice actor for Ichigo. Bosch, also known for playing the second Black Ranger in Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger, played at last year's AM with his band Eyshine.   [embed]34800:5458:0[/embed] "Shinsekai Koukyougaku" Anime: Kill La Kill TRIGGER, the studio behind the show Kill La Kill, partnered up with AM last year to offer some great goodies related to different TRIGGER properties like exclusive art books. I was unable to get some since they sold out before I could find the area they sold them. SADNESSXINFINITY.jpg   So do you have a convention you love and/or something about a convention you love? It can be a memory or an event or ANYTHING. SHARE ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
TEN YEARS BABY
The first day of Anime Matsuri is done and the second day is here! I hope everyone in attendance of AM (Anime Matsuri) is enjoying their time. I am probably gorging on yummy food truck food when this goes live and/or running ...

Anime Matsuri photo
Anime Matsuri

Japanator is going to Anime Matsuri X


The 'X' means it's cool
Feb 24
// Red Veron
This year marks the tenth year of Anime Matsuri, an anime convention based in the heart of Houston, Texas, and Japanator is once again there to take a look at the great cosplay that is always on display. Being the tenth year,...

OP Up! Anime Matsuri X Edition

Feb 24 // Red Veron
[embed]34799:5451:0[/embed] "Flyers" Anime: Death Parade Director of the Anime Death Parade, Yuzuru Tachikawa, will be attending Anime Matsuri. Tachikawa will also be joined by Animation Director and Character Designer of Death Parade Shinichi Kurita.   [embed]34799:5452:0[/embed] "Cras numquam scire" Anime: Dantalian no Shoka Death Parade's Director, Yuzuru Tachikawa, also directed several episodes of Dantalian no Shoka, which I enjoyed a lot. Sadly, I don't think there will be any more seasons of the show. I love Victorian era mystery anime with some mysticism and fantasy.   [embed]34799:5453:0[/embed] "Black Rock Shooter" Anime: Black Rock Shooter Black Rock Shooter is one of my favorite characters due to her design and her origins from a song and fan art. So when I saw that Anime Matsuri's Convention Chairwoman Deneice Leigh got some great BRS full body car decal stickers on her car Itasha to promote Anime Matsuri, I was beyond overjoyed.   [embed]34799:5454:0[/embed] "Motteke! Sailor Fuku" Anime: Lucky Star If you saw the pic above, Anime Matsuri's official Itasha used to have an awesome Lucky Star decal featuring Konata. Watch that show, it's sloooow at the beginning but great when it picks up. Don't watch the dub, Konata sounds like Bart Simpson.   So do you have a convention you love and/or something about a convention you love? It can be a memory or an event or ANYTHING. SHARE ABOUT IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Houston's Best Anime Con
I love Anime conventions, I am here today at Japanator because of some cool people I met up with at an anime convention. These gatherings allow fans to express their love for their favorite things in an fun environment filled...

Sword Art Online photo
Sword Art Online

Finally, an actual Sword Art Online Virtual Reality game


As the gods intended
Feb 22
// Josh Tolentino
File this one under "It's happening!", because it really is: Sword Art Online is getting a game adaptation in the medium that it helped make famous: Virtual Reality. IBM have announced a new online VR game project title...

Annotated Anime: Haruchika: Haruta & Chika episodes 5-7

Feb 22 // Soul Tsukino
Episode Five This episode gets it's comedic bits out of the way right off the bat as we see a smaller girl in a different uniform from the school being chased around the hallway before meeting Haruta, Chika, and Miyo. Haruta, ever attentive, figures out the girl is from the local junior high and figures out what instrument she plays. It seems Haruta's adventures of solving mysteries for people has got around and the girl, named Akari needs his help.  The mystery here is an interesting one. Akari had been told that her grandfather was dead, but she recently been told that he is alive. A long time ago he had promised to get married to her grandmother but was going to study art in America for a year. She found out she was pregnant and didn't tell him so not to worry him, but after the year was up he never came back. He had been found in Japan recently, but seems to have very vague memories of what happened to him during that time, only speaking of seeing "The Elephant's Breath". Akari wants to find out what he had been doing so she could scold him for abandoning her grandmother. As you can imagine, this mystery is more abstract than a Rubix cube or a strange house. The grandfather isn't about to give up any information, and you can sense he is of sound mind and doing that on purpose. They sneak in some humor of having the old man make lecherous comments about Chika's long legs, but the further you go on in this, I just got this horrible feeling this isn't going to be a happy ending.  The way the story unfolds is wrapped around this story that is told about an Elephant and how it was being held by people but escaped. Once free it finds a young elephant that got separated from its pride and raises it until it grows up. The younger elephant asks why its father has chains around his leg and the older Elephant says that those are its troubles and sadness. The younger elephant than breaks it's chains and free him from his long torment. This starts becoming more and more accurate to the theme as the episode goes on. The ending, as you can guess, is not the happy "wrap everything up" ending that has been in a few of the previous episodes. Akari, as well as the viewers, find out what really happened to him. As you can guess there is no waving of a magic wand that makes everything better, but you till get resolution. This episode is sad, no doubt about it. Sure it has little bits of comedy to lighten the mood just a bit but still doesn't mask the solemn tone this mystery takes. However it does not mean it's a strike against this episode, the exact opposite really. This is a very well told story and the ending may very well surprise you with its answers. Even if it seems like this episode doesn't have much impact on the rest of the series, it's still a great part of the series and I'm glad it is in there.   Episode Six We are back to business in this episode  where right off the bat we hear the story of a young girl who walks the line of music to set herself apart from her family. Since a young age she doesn't want to be like her father and grandfather  who are over confident in their jobs, nor does she want to be like her mother. Heck of a way to start of this episode. We start off during spring break (not American spring break. No beaches and cheap alcohol here) as Chika is trying desperately to recruit more members to the Brass Band club. Of course, her recruiting is a dismal failure. She meets up with Haruta up on the roof as he is practicing. They have a real funny back and forth about the type of people they are attracted too before we find out that some of the other brass members are scattered around the roof of the building...and one other it seems. A mysterious person is playing the clarinet from one of the classrooms before she is stopped and the window is closed. Soon enough the mystery is afoot as we find out that a girl named Naoko Serizawa. She has been snooping around the band room before school every day for some reason. She is described as being brilliant with aspirations to go pro. When Chika suggests that she join the club, a metaphor of D&D characters is used with a hilarious little animation that details what they are explaining. Out of the mold of the show's past episodes, the mystery behind Naoko doesn't last very long and not only is Chika the one to figure it out (on her own, mind you) but she has a clever solution to help Naoko during the rest of the episode. I am not sure if it was the show creator's intent, but this scene, as innocent as it seems, finally shows Chika is not stupid. She doesn't get a lot of the references that the other characters may make, but she's not an idiot either and this episode shows that better than any other episode has so far. Another interesting part of this episode is Naoko makes an illusion to her friend as for why she was snooping in the band room. They even show us his face. Considering both characters appear in the opening credits this will come back in a future episode. Between that and the conversation she has with some of the band members about their future goals, there is a lot of foreshadowing going on here. Considering this is the halfway point, maybe things are going to get more interesting at this point in the show. This episode also plays good contrast to the last one. Whereas the last episode was very sad and solemn, this one is more positive. There is more humor in this episode and even a few "anime" moments sprinkled in the mix. A good pick-me- up from the last outing.   Episode Seven This episode gets off on the best of beginnings as a girl sits in the dark and ends up calling a radio show that is about helping lost souls. The girl talks about wanting to die and they make jokes. Yeah, That's not how your supposed to do that. Anyway, this episode starts the new school term. The band club ended up getting a bunch of new members, including Akari from episode five. So now they have more members (though we don't meet any of them) and Akari is now a regular character on the show. This episode had an unusual approach as it seemed like you had two different plotlines going, the one that is alluded to in the opening with this counseling radio station that is visited in the opening and again in a hilarious scene when it turns out Haruta is one of the callers and Chika finds out, and the other being the mysterious geological club, entirely made up of shut in students who didn't like going to school at all. This episode impressed me with not only the way it brought together these two plotlines of the mysterious radio station and the hunt for the geological club to get more funds to the Brass Band club, but it also made references back to the last episode as well. The show was giving us clues to a mystery it hadn't even revealed yet. And the best part is that they don't seem to be finished yet. You don't get much resolution in this episode though, but it also seems like it's leading into the next episode more than standing on its own. Like the 6th Harry Potter book. It's not the greatest episode on its own, but it leads to bigger things. For what it is, it is a pleasant, very funny at times, and even touching episode of the series that also makes me want to see where this is going and what else may pop up. These three episodes bring emotional to the table, somewhat like The Miyo episode, but in a different way. When you find out the real story of Akari's grandfather, it is a tug at your heart. And as someone who has had those feelings before, you crack a smile in seeing what happened to that lonely girl who wanted to die, even if the way it happened is not something recommended as a response to ANYONE feeling that way. Now that we are narrowing in on the end of the series things are pulling together a little more and we still have plenty to watch in the future. Love this series. This episode gets it's comedic bits out of the way right off the bat as we see a smaller girl in a different uniform from the school being chased around the hallway before meeting Haruta, Chika.   Haruta, ever inattentive, figures out the girl is from the local Junior high and figures out what instrument she plays. It seems Haruta's adventures of solving mysteries for people has got around and the girl, named Akari needs his help.   The Mystery here is an interesting one. Akari had been told that her grandfather was dead, but she recently been told that he is alive. A long time ago he had promised to get married to her grandmother, but was going to study art in America for a year. She found out she was pregnant and didn't tell him so not to worry him, but after the year was up he never came back. He had been found in Japan recently, but seems to have very vague memories of what happened to him during that time, only speaking of seeing "The Elephant's Breath". Akari wants to find out what he had been doing so she could scold him for abandoning her grandmother.   As you can imagine, this mystery is more abstract than a rubix cube or a strange house. The grandfather isn't about to give up any information, and you can sense he is of sound mind and doing that on purpose. They sneak in some humor of having the old man make lecherous comments about Chika's long legs, but the further you go on in this, I just got this horrible feeling this isn't going to be a happy ending.   The way the story unfolds is wrapped around this story that is told about an Elephant and how it was being held by people, but escaped. Once free it finds a young elephant that got separated from its pride and raises it until it grows up. The younger elephants asks why it's father has chains around his leg and the older Elephant says that those are it's troubles and sadness. The younger elephant than breaks it's chains and free him from his long torment. This starts becoming more and more accurate to the theme as the episode goes on.   The ending, as you can guess, is not the happy "wrap everything up" ending that has been in a few of the previous episodes. Akari, as well as the viewers, find out what really happened to him. As you can guess there is no waving of a magic wand that makes everything better, but you till get resolution.   This episode is sad, no doubt about it. Sure it has little bits of comedy to lighten the mood just a bit, but still doesn't mask the solemn tone this mystery takes. However it does not mean it's a strike against this episode, the exact opposite really. This is a very well told story and the ending may very well surprise you in its answers. Even if it seems like this episode doesn't have much impact in the rest of the series, its still a great part of the series and I'm glad it is in there.
Haruchika photo
Uplifts, bummers, and everything else!
We are checking in with our favorite high school friends of the Japanese TV season again as we look at the next three episodes of Haruchika: Haruta and Chika. The gang is finishing up the school term and new faces arrive to make their lives more interesting. Let's take a look.

Kamen Rider Den-O photo
Kamen Rider Den-O

Kamen Rider Den-O Actress Rina Akiyama's first child has arrived


Congratulations on achieving Mother Form
Feb 22
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not have gotten the chance to watch all of Kamen Rider Den-O, but my experience with the franchise's films that featured the show's fun cast has ensured me that I'll love the actual TV series. So why am I bringing up th...

Week Ender - Top Anime Edition

Feb 21 // Red Veron
[embed]34794:5445:0[/embed] "Zetsubo Billy" Anime: Death Note Pretty appropriate ending given the show's title. I don't really remember this one since I only watched the anime up to a certain point and read the manga until the end.   [embed]34794:5446:0[/embed] "Landscape" Anime: Fairy Tail  A nice and cute chibi styled interpretations of the characters that I want to have on a keychain.   [embed]34794:5447:0[/embed] "Sonna Kimi, Konna Boku" Anime: Naruto Shippuden So many emotions in this final ending for the series. You can just feel it in every frame.   [embed]34794:5448:0[/embed] "RAY OF LIGHT" Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist - Brotherhood A very minimal ending that is pretty good with its song. Them golden locks.   What is your favorite popular anime and anime ending/opening? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Anime Favorites
So I've been having an amazing birthday celebration so far which I will end with some great gourmet ramen tomorrow night. Now I chose this week's theme since I wanted to take it easy but it's proven to be the same amount of w...

Make Anime, Not War: Itami, Abe, and GATE's take on modern Japanese militarism

Feb 21 // Yussif Osman
In the first episode, otherworldly forces from beyond the Gate attack Ginza and we see how our Self-Defence Force soldier reacts. Itami could have been written to take a primarily combat role in the ensuing chaos, taking on the invading knights and monsters. Instead, he turns his attention to the civilians, guides them to safety, makes sure they're okay and gives them comfort, makes them feel safe. And it's for this that he moves up in the ranks and takes centre stage in the world of GATE. Not for combat, but for disaster relief. Or at least, that's one way to look at it. Japan's military history is a sensitive topic in East Asia, the Imperial Japanese Army was responsible for war crimes across Asia, forced labour and mass killings included. After the Second World War, pacifism became inscribed in schools and society, the hyper-militarism which once dominated the country was displaced with a progressive culture of democracy and empathy, I believe making possible the creative culture we love today. Constitutionally, Japan cannot really take an aggressive, or even a proactive stance in global military affairs, the modern constitution is a pacifist one. The largely pacifistic mentality of the population meant for most of modern history, the SDF was not in high standing with public perception. Something worth remembering is not just how the imperial army of the Second World War did damage abroad, but that the military and its actions did damage at home too. Anyone who questioned the military or the war effort was punished severely whilst people were forced into becoming suicide attackers as kamikaze. The imperial army's aggression would be met with firebombing and famine, the consequences of which have been portrayed in such anime as Grave of the Fireflies and Rainbow. People never forgot this. That was at least until the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. The SDF played a vital role in disaster relief, rescuing people from waters and debris; for the first time, the SDF was seen as a positive force in Japan. Arguably, the focus on Itami helping civilians over fighting the enemy is in line with this. Something that receives frequent attention in GATE, is the humanitarian streak of the SDF, rescuing civilians from fire dragons, providing refuge for refugees and engaging in dialogue with their enemy in the Empire beyond the Gate. There is a story arc in the anime where the SDF protect a village from insane bandits and after winning the battle, demand that their new allies whom they fought beside treat the defeated bandits with compassion and humanity. The anime portrays the SDF more as a humanitarian organisation for the most part, rather than an army. That's at least part of it. Also and more disturbingly emphasised in GATE is the sheer overwhelming power of the SDF over the medieval Empire. Japanese soldiers slaughter the Empire's forces. Any confrontation between the SDF and an enemy beyond the Gate isn't a battle, but a massacre and in my view, if it is to glorify the SDF, it is in very bad taste. I'm encouraged by the humanitarian actions of the SDF in the show, but the frequent displays of overwhelming firepower and dominance, are a little unnerving and like the Empire itself, I hope that peace negotiations go well. So why does this worry me? Recently, Japan has been undergoing a military expansion under the direction of Prime Minister Abe. This has been controversial both in and out of Japan, with young people in particular and survivors from the Second World War era fearing a gradual return to military dominance over society. Not only has there been a drive for an inflation of military power, but Abe has been pushing for greater involvement in conflicts such as that in Syria, which commentators in Japan have actually denounced as unconstitutional. And with television commercials claiming that “all dreams can be achieved through the SDF”, in context, we've got to ask ourselves if we should actually be worried that Itami is so relatable. Well, since we're back on to the topic of our main character, it's worth actually quoting him when he says if he had to choose between his Otaku hobbies or his job, he would choose his hobbies. Hardly the hyper-nationalist soldier of days gone by. And Itami is a genuinely compassionate character; recently in the second season, he pretended to be the father of a deluded and bereaved elf who was having trouble grieving. Though I actually disagree that this was the right thing to do, this says a lot about him as a character and most vitally, it said nothing about him as a soldier. I argue that the anime is not about the SDF, but rather about a man travelling to another world who happens to be in the SDF. It may just be a coincidence that this anime emerges now, but in context, I believed it was worth exploring its implications and what it might mean. Itami is an interesting and empathetic character, and I believe rather than trying to portray the SDF as a glorified beacon of humanity or power, the creators of the light novel and by extension the show, are just trying to create a compelling story, exploring the morality of a man and what would happen if two very different worlds clashed and how we hope a modern society would react. With mercy, empathy and 21st Century humanity.    In the first episode, otherworldly forces from beyond the Gate attack Ginza and we see how our Self-Defence Force soldier reacts. Itami could have been written to take a primarily combat role in the ensuing chaos, taking on the invading knights and monsters. Instead, he turns his attention to the civilians, guides them to safety, makes sure they're okay and gives them comfort, makes them feel safe. And it's for this that he moves up in the ranks and takes centre stage in the world of GATE. Not for combat, but for disaster relief. Or at least, that's one way to look at it. Japan's military history is a sensitive topic in East Asia, the imperial army was responsible for war crimes across Asia, forced labour and mass killings included. After the Second World War, pacifism became inscribed in schools and society, the hyper-militarism which once dominated the country was displaced with a progressive culture of democracy and empathy, I believe making possible the creative culture we love today. Constitutionally, Japan cannot really take an aggressive, or even a proactive stance in global military affairs, the modern constitution is a pacifist one. The largely pacifistic mentality of the population meant for most of modern history, the SDF was not in high standing with public perception. Something worth remembering is not just how the imperial army of the Second World War did damage abroad, but that the military and its actions did damage at home too. Anyone who questioned the military or the war effort was punished severely whilst people were forced into becoming suicide attackers as kamikaze. The imperial army's aggression would be met with firebombing and famine, the consequences of which have been portrayed in such anime as Grave of the Fireflies and Rainbow. People never forgot this. That was at least until the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. The SDF played a vital role in disaster relief, rescuing people from waters and debris; for the first time, the SDF was seen as a positive force in Japan. Arguably, the focus on Itami helping civilians over fighting the enemy is in line with this. Something that receives frequent attention in GATE, is the humanitarian streak of the SDF, rescuing civilians from fire dragons, providing refuge for refugees and engaging in dialogue with their enemy in the Empire beyond the Gate. There is a story arc in the anime where the SDF protect a village from insane bandits and after winning the battle, demand that their new allies whom they fought beside treat the defeated bandits with compassion and humanity. The anime portrays the SDF more as a humanitarian organisation for the most part, rather than an army. That's at least part of it. Also and more disturbingly emphasised in GATE is the sheer overwhelming power of the SDF over the medieval Empire. Japanese soldiers slaughter the Empire's forces. Any confrontation between the SDF and an enemy beyond the Gate isn't a battle, but a massacre and in my view, if it is to glorify the SDF, it is in very bad taste. I'm encouraged by the humanitarian actions of the SDF in the show, but the frequent displays of overwhelming firepower and dominance, are a little unnerving and like the Empire itself, I hope that peace negotiations go well. So why does this worry me? Recently, Japan has been undergoing a military expansion under the direction of Prime Minister Abe. This has been controversial both in and out of Japan, with young people in particular and survivors from the Second World War era fearing a gradual return to military dominance over society. Not only has there been a drive for an inflation of military power, but Abe has been pushing for greater involvement in conflicts such as that in Syria, which commentators in Japan have actually denounced as unconstitutional. And with television commercials claiming that “all dreams can be achieved through the SDF”, in context, we've got to ask ourselves if we should actually be worried that Itami is so relatable. Well since we're back on to the topic of our main character, it's worth actually quoting him when he says if he had to choose between his Otaku hobbies or his job, he would choose his hobbies. Hardly the hyper-nationalist soldier of days gone by. And Itami is a genuinely compassionate character; recently in the second season, he pretended to be the father of a deluded and bereaved elf who was having trouble grieving. Though I actually disagree that this was the right thing to do, this says a lot about him as a character and most vitally, it said nothing about him as a soldier. I argue that the anime is not about the SDF, but rather about a man travelling to another world who happens to be in the SDF. It may just be coincidence that this anime emerges now, but in context I believed it was worth exploring its implications and what it might mean. Itami is an interesting and empathetic character, and I believe rather than trying to portray the SDF as a glorified beacon of humanity or power, the creators of the light novel and by extension the show, are just trying to create a compelling story, exploring the morality of a man and what would happen if two very different worlds clashed and how we hope a modern society would react. With mercy, empathy and 21st Century humanity.   
GATE photo
GATE & Japanese Military Build-up
[Ed. Note: Our newest contributor Yussif Osman begins his tenure at Japanator with a reflection on GATE, and this popular anime, light novel and manga's relationship to Japan's own attitudes towards military activity] I'm a p...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: How to run a business the Recettear way


Capitalism, Ho!
Feb 20
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] No matter how well I do in managing my item shop in Recettear, the game throws in many factors that players have to take into account. One of these elements is the pric...

First Impressions: Oshiete! Galko-chan

Feb 20 // Anthony Redgrave
Sarcasm aside, I'm actually really impressed with this anime from what I have watched. In the starring role as is the titular Galko, a buxom blonde student that looks like she should be texting her bae in the side seat of a Mustang with the other Californian raisins. She's actually modelled after the Japanese fashion gyaru and while her outward appearance matches the American stereotype, her personality is more traditional. This is supposedly the source of the comedy with a physically opposite character Otako looking like Miyamoto's sister from another mister provides all the jabs and insinuations of racy behaviour. Rounding out the main cast is Ojou, the rich girl used to provide contrast and commentary on the excessively rich in Japan. So the characters aren't the most original. They've been put together many times before. It's almost the Lucky Star crew minus the game spewing Konata and drawn differently so they can make different jokes. It wouldn't be a great anime to talk about if it wasn't for the content of their conversations which gives each episode the plot. It's been a while since I've seen a slice of life not talk about school work, golden week, or base jokes on pop culture. Instead Oshiete! Galko-chan goes for the more "realistic" conversation topics of a mid-twenties group of women. Whenever you hear girls say they share everything with their girlfriends and you begin to question what they mean everything, this anime will be your keyhole into the female dialogue. Topics on female hygiene products, panties for when you're on a period, tanned nipples at the salon, and whether your eyebrows match the pubic hair (also known as the carpet and drapes discussion) are all fair game in this anime. It's enough to make this title feel fresh as not only do they openly discuss these surprisingly mature topics for a high school anime, they don't fanny around with the answers either. Even after the initial blush expression, the topic continues to the end not going for the tease of character reveals. The show even provides some snippets of education including the anatomical reason why females require the restroom more than males to the weight of E cup breasts. I never found myself guffawing with laughter as the jokes still stem from the ecchi brand of embarrassing situations, but the psychological test episode was pretty funny.  The anime just like it's main lead is a stunner to look at. Even if you're put off by the unsavoury discussions, the optic pleasures should be enough to make it through the 7 and a half-minute episode. Oshiete! Galko-chan uses bright colours to make the picture really pop as seen by the pop art style backgrounds when focussing on a character. The character design is also a refreshing change from the large-eyed moe fests that is common in 'slice of life' in favour of a simple cartoony style. Overall it gives off a wonderful childish colourful style that is hard to dislike. The show's a fan service anime all the way using saucy topics of discussion as fire to fuel the visuals. It's a hook that works as each topic has me engaged more so than the framed visual stimulants. I'd be inclined to use the word mature to describe the various conversations but that's only applicable to the topic and not how it proceeds. The short episodes mean that they don't linger on the same topic for too long allowing the episode to move a brisk pace. It's not for everyone as the tried and true school girl formula is still in effect making the whole premise a walk through deja vu. Give it a try if you really want to know burning questions like: Is it true that virgins use pads and non-virgins use tampons? [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] Oshiete! Galko-chan
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
Questions you never wanted answered
It's another anime that I joined a little behind the viewing schedule and now it's halfway through the season. This time, it's an anime about high school girls discussing their daily life in a high school peppered with jokes, nice visuals, and plenty of fan service. A totally original concept!

Strong Style: Man up!

Feb 20 // Soul Tsukino
We start off with a greeting from Togi Makabe. NWA World Title Hiroshi Tenzan vs. Big Daddy Yum Yum Oh, good heavens it's Yum Yum. For those unfamiliar, Big Daddy Yum Yum is a former WWE developmental wrestler. He is a big guy at about 6'6" and pops up inNew Japan every so often. He is also not known for his great wrestling work. Tenzan is a long time veteran that has held the IWGP title in his day and had beaten Rob Conway to get the NWA title he is defending here. As Tenzan comes to the ring Mauro lists off a bunch of the old NWA champions such as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and so forth. When Tenzan gets in the ring we are greeted with current NWA President Bruce Tharpe who looks like he cleaned out the closet of the Rod Roddy estate sale. The bell rings and they lock up with Yum powering Tenzan back into the corner. Tenzan escapes with a kick to the gut. A few shoulder blocks go nowhere. Yum chops him down and hammers him with punches before he runs him over with a shoulderblock. Tenzan counters with a straight punch before throwing some of the Mongolian Chops he is known for. We aren't very far in this match and it's already not looking good. Mauro calls a spade a spade and says this match is not even close to the level of matches the NWA Title used to have back in the day. Yum gets in a few kicks and then tosses Tenzan outside the ring. He follows him out but doesn't do much. We thankfully jump ahead with both men back in the ring. They trade some shots back and forth but this match is in the sewer already. Yum goes for a spinning clothesline but Tenzan blocks. Tenzan runs him into the corner and hits a clothesline and then a brainbuster but only gets two.  Tenzan hits a Samoan drop but the cover only gets two. Josh and Mauro are not talking about this match by the way. Both guys try covers but don't get it. Yum lands a HORRIBLE mafia kick and then a crappy looking AA. I can see why the WWE dropped him from developmental. Yum hits a standing moonsault to my surprise but gets a two count. Yum hits a few slaps but runs right into a spin kick by Tenzan. Tenzan goes up but Tharpe interferes and gets headbutted a bunch of times. Tenzan lands a hit but doesn't get the pin. He then locks in the anaconda vice into the buster. Yum kicks out but Tenzan locks the vice back in and Yum submits. THANK THE GODS! We go to the studio where Togi Makabe talks about how he got the flu from his "old lady" 3 days before the big match he was supposed to have with Ishii. He was surprised when after winning the vacant belt, Ishii wouldn't recognize himself as champion until he beat Makabe and no one else. NEVER Openweight Title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe The match Ishii has wanted for a while. These two go back a few years when Ishii was one of the men to turn on Makabe and leave the Global Bash Heel group to form CHAOS. Makabe defeat Ishii back in January for the title, and they were supposed to have a rematch, but as explained earlier, Makabe got the flu. He was stripped of the title and Ishii defeated Togi's buddy Tomoaki Honma to win the belt. Togi is healthy now, so we have our match. Ishii comes in glaring at Makabe. Makabe glares right back. The bell rings and Ishii gets the side headlock. Togi whips in and shoulderblock goes nowhere. They butt into each other like mountain goats but no backing down. Ishii is first to go down when Togi throws some forearms and Ishii counters but gets sent into the corner. Togi gets him down and gives him a knee in the corner. Ishii gets up but gets met with some chops for his trouble. Ishii lands a chop right to Togi's throat, picks him up, and does it again!  The shots to the Adam's apple take their tolls as Makabe goes down in the corner. Ishii slaps him in the head and throws some petty insulting kicks but Makabe looks right up at him and asks if that's all he had. He throws some forearm shots but Ishii throws some more of his own to send Makabe down again. Togi asks for more and Ishii answers. Ishii hits a headbutt to send Togi down. Ishii tries for a suplex but neither guy wants to lose before Togi picks up Ishii and lands the suplex. He picks him up into the corner and lands some means clotheslines before Ishii runs out and tosses Makabe down. He then straight hits him right in the head. Togi asks for more and Ishii gives him strikes and chops but Makabe ain't feeling it. Ishii runs into with full body force but not affecting Togi. Togi catches Ishii and slams him, before setting him up in the corner and hitting the northern lights suplex. Makabe hits a powerslam but the pin is only 2. Back from break as Togi picks up Ishii and goes for a piledriver but Ishii reverses it sending Togi down. Makabe pops right up and hits Ishii with an uppercut to send him down. Ishii struggles to get up as Togi talks smack. Togi slaps him a few times and then hits a forearm and Ishii is hurt. Ishii tries to fight back but it isn't working. Ishii slaps the mat in frustration but he gets to his feet and glares at Togi, countering each of Togi's forearms with his head before sending Togi down and then hitting another shoulderblock. Jackknife cover only gets two before He locks in the shoulder lock on Togi. Togi stands up and Ishii hits the tiger suplex. Ishii goes for the clothesline but misses and Togi locks in a waist lock but gets backed into the corner where Ishii hits the clothesline. Ishii sets Togi on the ropes for a superplex and sends him crashing down to the mat, pin only gets two. Both guys get up and counter each others clotheslines. Togi locks in a waist lock but gets hit for his trouble. Ishii hits some headbutts before he gets the clothesline to the back of the head. Ishii's hurt his shoulder but that doesn't stop these two clotheslining each other a bunch of times. Both are sucking wind now before Ishii hits a clothesline, but Togi hits a clothesline as well sending both down to the mat. Togi hits the powerbomb but Ishii kicks out!  Togi tries for a waist lock, gets an elbow, but Togi smacks him. They exchange hits and palm strikes before Ishii hits him with a clothesline to send him down. They go for the clothesline but counter each other before they exchange hits. Makabe clasps his hands together and hits the double axe handle right to the face to send Ishii down. Hit right on the top of the head to Ishii leads to Togi landing a German suplex into a pin attempt that doesn't get it. Back from break as Makabe gets up and lands a clothesline to the back of Ishii's head and set him up for the spider suplex. Ishii tries to fight it, but Togi slams his head into the post and then dumps him backwards right on the bad shoulder. Togi goes for the King Kong kneedrop but Ishii moves out of the way. Both are slow to get up. Togi comes running into the foot, but counters into a clothesline. Togi hits the ropes and Ishii dropkicks him! The crowd of 2,900ish are cheering for Makabe at this point. Strikes traded back and forth now. Both guys are just screaming at each other now to bring it. Ishii hits a suplex and then hits the enzigri and finally a hard headbutt to get Makabe down, but can't score the pin! He tries for the brainbuster but Togi squirms out of it Togi hits the rabbit clothesline and tries for a suplex but Ishii counters. Chops to the neck for Togi but Togi hits the tiger suplex and dumps Ishii right on the top of his head. Both get up as Togi hits some clotheslines but Ishii won't go down. They trade clotheslines before Makabe hits the running clothesline to send Ishii to the mat. Makabe tries for the pin, but only gets two again. Ishii jumps right up and lands some chops and headbutts to Makabe. Togi counters with a clothesline and then hits another one but Ishii kicks out of the pinfall. Togi ax handles him several times and climbs to the top. He hits the kneedrop and that is it as Ishii is pinned for a three count. Togi Makabe regains his title! Back from break as Togi addresses the crowd. He says THIS is pro wrestling and no matter how many times they got knocked down, they got back up. He gives the crowd some thanks and says he wants to appreciate the crowds. Backstage, he talks about how great NJPW is and gives credit to Ishii, something he doesn't usually do. He then challenges all the other champions of the company for their belts. Studio words as Togi talks about the match and hoping it appealed to the crowd and how the match was about heart, not just getting hit. He really puts things into perspective and shows the attitude differences with puroresu and American wrestling. This match wasn't just two guys clobbering each other, it was about the spirit of the match and getting back up when they got knocked down. You don't see that in WWE or much of anywhere else in this country. Mauro has some words of thanks to the show's fans as we sign off. Talk about night and day with this show. The first match was the drizzling shits. Even Josh and Mauro couldn't hide how awful Big Daddy Yum Yum is. I have found someone on this show I hate more than Bad Luck Fale! Let's hope we don't see much of him on this show ever again. Luckily this match was short and they had a strong main event to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. Meanwhile, once again Togi Makabe and Tomohiro Ishii tore the house down. I love watching these two wrestle and if you want to know what Strong Style is, watch one of their matches. Next week we get to hear Jim Ross return to announcing a weekly show and let's see how he fairs with Japanese action and no out of touch billionaires screaming in his ear. Later!   We start off with a greeting from Togi Makabe.
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The NEVER title is up for grabs!
Welcome back everyone to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we have two title matches from the April 29th, 2015 show at the Grand Masse Kummamoto in Kyushu. The title...

What Would You Do? The Return of the Titans

Feb 19 // Lindo Korchi
So how would we deal with the return of mankind's greatest foe? First off, I won't be playing the hero. Considering that the airports and taxis will be out of service, I'd have to find my own way out of the city. For the heck of it, let's just say this is based in Athens, Greece since it sounds much cooler. The problem is finding a way to escape to the outskirts of Athens without being hindered by the crowds who are fleeing towards that same direction for safety. My first reaction would be to go down the sewers for safety, but assuming others will do the same, it won't be long before the Titan's catch up. While I would love to find someone who has a helicopter, as seen in the Day After Tomorrow, those odds are like playing the lottery and I can't rely upon it. Though, if I did "win", then awesome. That wraps up this article. Goodbye and good luck. But it's unlikely. Whatever the plan, it has to be original; something that the masses aren't doing, which is exactly why I would keep calm and hide under some of the debris. As everyone is running and screaming like lunatics, the Titans will be too focused on them rather than looking for me under rubble.Taking this approach takes serious bravery as you're essentially "leaving yourself behind." If that weren't possible, I'd try my best to go under the earth, as I'm sure an earthquake would occur, or at least, a sinkhole formed. Tucking myself there (though it can't be too deep) may help. I wouldn't climb to any high place since it'll just make me more of a target and stand out before the Titan. Thus, the helicopter idea may not be a great one after all, depending on the distance. At the end, keeping silent and tucked away in the sinkholes or debris would be my way of surviving. All other options that I've come up with just places me with the masses, and that's where the Titan's full attention is at. But if my strategies failed and the Titans managed to find me, then I'll have to unleash the mightiest Spartan kick I can give. After all, I am in Greece. How would you deal with the events of the Titans' return? So, how? First off, I won't be playing the hero. Considering that the airports and taxis will be out of service, I'd have to find my own way out of the city. For the heck of it, let's just say this is based in Athens, Greece since it sounds much cooler. The problem is finding a way to escape to the outskirts of Athens without being hindered by the crowds who are fleeing towards that same direction for safety. My first reaction would be to go down the sewers for safety, but assuming others will do the same, it won't be long before the Titan's catch up. While I would love to find someone who has a helicopter, as seen in the Day After Tomorrow, those odds are like playing the lottery and I can't rely upon it. Though, if I did "win", then awesome. That wraps up this article. Goodbye and good luck. But it's unlikely. Whatever the plan, it has to be original; something that the masses aren't doing – which is exactly why I would keep calm and hide under some of the debris. As everyone is running and screaming like lunatics, the Titans will be too focused on them rather than looking for me under rubble.Taking this approach takes serious bravery as you're essentially "leaving yourself behind". If that weren't possible, I'd try my best to go under the earth, as I'm sure an earthquake would occur, or at least a sinkhole formed. Tucking myself there (though it can't be too deep) may help. I wouldn't climb to any high place since it'll just make me more of a target and stand out before the Titan. Thus, the helicopter idea may not be a great one after all, depending on the distance. At the end, keeping silent and tucked away in the sinkholes or debris would be my way of surviving. All other options that I’ve come up with just places me with the masses, and that's where the Titan's full attention is at. But if my strategies failed and the Titans managed to find me, then I'll have to unleash the mightiest Spartan kick I can give. After all, I am in Greece. How would you deal with the events of the Titan's return?
What Would You Do? photo
Step One: Die horribly
[Ed. Note: What Would You Do? is a new column run by our newest contributor Lindo Korchi, examining popular scenarios from anime to develop a proper plan of action (or inaction) for any situation.] Considering all the chaos t...

Super Robot Wars OG photo
Super Robot Wars OG

Rejoice: Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers gets an English release in Asia


Dreams really do come true
Feb 18
// Salvador GRodiles
Remember all of those times that I've said that hell has frozen over? Well, it looks like the underworld is going through an ice age, as Bandai Namco Asia announced that Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers hits Indonesia,...
Chronicles of Time photo
Chronicles of Time

Relive Chrono Trigger's best moments with a new tribute album


Let's create a good future for everyone
Feb 17
// Salvador GRodiles
[Disclosure: Dale and Jayson wrote for Japanator. No relationships, professional or personal, were factored into this post.] To this day, Chrono Trigger continues to be one of my favorite RPGs ever. Honestly, this infor...

OP Up! - Top Anime Edition

Feb 17 // Red Veron
[embed]34783:5437:0[/embed] "Cha-La Head-Cha-La" Anime: Dragon Ball Z A classic opening that I remember fondly when I first saw it in the Philippines sometime in the late 80's/early 90's. I used to think "Saiyans" had something to with science since they were they sounded alike.   [embed]34783:5438:0[/embed] "LINE" Anime: Naruto Shippuden No, the name has nothing to do with the popular messaging App in Japan but I wouldn't be surprised if it had a little bit of inspiration. Yeah, this opening is great as it has almost everyone and feels all emotional since it is the last anime opening from what I hear.   [embed]34783:5439:0[/embed] "Hard Knock Days" Anime: One Piece A super fun opening that a show like this should have, you get that feeling of adventure and excitement all in one neat package.   [embed]34783:5440:0[/embed] "THE HERO !! ~Okoreru Kobushi ni Hi wo Tsukero~" Anime: One Punch Man A super rad opening that only one band can do, JAM Project does an amazing job with this opening that shows off the badassery that Saitama does in the show.   Which one is your favorite popular anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
TOP OF THE CHARTZ
So it's my birthday this week so I'm taking it easy and I am also not feeling well because of allergies and sinus stuff so I'm totally phoning this one in more than usual. Please pardon the intentional poor quality of this we...

Annotated Anime: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu episodes 4-6

Feb 17 // Josh Tolentino
In case you've forgotten, episode three ended on what seemed to be a dramatic cliffhanger, with the Yakumo the 7th's mistress Miyokichi showing up, seeking the master. In a different story, she'd be like a live grenade tossed into the cast, exploding the old, comfortable dynamic and setting the plot in writhing motion. Except she's absent for most of the fourth episode, which devotes its eye solely to the relationship between Kikuhiko and Sukeroku (née Bon and Shin), living together in an apartment following their promotion to futatsume. It's at this time that some of the subtle subtexts lurking in Shouwa Rakugo bubble up to the fore, clear to see even for folks who aren't into close reading or other film studies piddle-paddling.  It's hard not to see Kikuhiko's longing for his best friend, even as he only slowly comes to realize it himself over the course of the next few installments. But for us viewers, it's plainly evident in the married-couple banter the pair exchange, Kikuhiko's apparent indifference to the opposite sex (including a bond with Miyokichi that seems more maternal than romantic), and even the way the camera and framing of the scenes treat Sukeroku. Of course, this cat isn't out of the bag (or closet) just yet. The show's historical context virtually ensures that Kikuhiko's path of self-discovery would be an ambivalent one. Hell, we already know what he's like in the future, and "out and proud" isn't one of those things. At this point, we're on the hook to find out just how he, Sukeroku, and Miyokichi are involved in leading to the present state of Yakumo Yurakutei the 8th.  If nothing else, the journey to finding out remains riveting as ever. Ably voiced by Megumi "Rei" Hayashibara, Miyokichi is less a plot grenade than a fire pot of character work, playing a grounded, perceptive, utterly attractive woman for whom a term like "temptress" feels both accurate and unforgivably reductive. Her role in catalyzing the events that lead to Kikuhiko discovering his own style of Rakugo also can't be overstated.  It's not all happy, though. As good as one feels for the characters and their journey so far, the shinjuu in the title still looms. In fact, Kikuhiko discovering how to make his mark on Rakugo brings him one step closer to the sly, sinister, troubled old man we met in the first episode, and to whatever tragedies made him that way. [Watch more of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu on Crunchyroll!] née
Shouwa Rakugo photo
The plot thickens
The last time we checked in on Shouwa Rakugo, it was shaping up to be one of the best (or at least, most grown-up) anime series to air in years. Anime fans looking for more mature, grounded plotting and complex character work...

Impressions: Dimension W episodes 1-6

Feb 16 // Nick Valdez
Dimension W takes place 20 years in a future where mankind has discovered a fourth dimension, the titular "Dimension W" (as it lies across from the X,Y, and Z axis), that's full of usable energy. Harnessing that power through little devices called "coils," society eventually became consumed by their use until 2070-something and the New Tesla Energy conglomerate eventually monopolizes the devices. In response people have started making their own bootleg versions, and that led to the rise of "Collectors," people who shut down the use of illegal coils. The story follows one collector in particular, Kyoma, who hates the coils and refuses to use any of their technology as he stumbles one a young robot girl Mira whose father was some former big wig at New Tesla who commits suicide to avoid capture. Now that they're both at a loss, Mira joins Kyoma in his hunt for illegal coils.  Now there's quite a bit of jargon in that synopsis, and unfortunately that's one of the key issues early on. There's so much world building shoved into the first couple of episodes, and at such a rate, that it's kind of difficult to digest everything. That's also why W does that classic anime thing where it has a brief summary of its premise before its opening credits those first three episodes. It seems tedious at first, but by the third episode (with two weeks or so inbetween) I definitely needed a refresher on some of the world's key elements since they were kind of blazed through before. I'm also sure W has another season planned since there are plenty of loose threads that won't get satisfying resolutions within its slotted 12-13 episode run. For example, there's still the weird magical thief Loser, Kyoma's past as a super soldier, why Mira is as advanced a machine as she is, and what a certain group of powerful coils (known as the "Numbers") have to do with anything. Regardless of its early pace issues, Dimension W eventually settles into a groove. It eventually uses its science fiction premise to evoke a pretty unique style. All of the pieces form a nice package, too. The art style is slick and has a nice fluidity while character designs range anywhere from strong to middling. Kyoma's is particularly notable since he reminds of Samurai Champloo's Mugen and even moves in the same fashion. Mira's yet another robot girl, but her schtick is her cat like tail and ears. The opening and closing themes are fine, if inconsequential rock music. But all of that converges into W's intriguing world. There's a two part episode early on about some kind of ghost mystery, and for a few minutes the show becomes this odd, supernatural body horror anime complete with a nearly naked Mira hanger from the rafters by chains while a bunch of ghost monsters growl beneath her (and of course, this is also an episode where a collector who uses robotic bats and wears a gothic lolita outfit is introduced). It's a weird tone but it's a nice technological spin on stuff we've seen before. The plot itself made no sense, however.  Unfortunately, that's the issue overall. Even after watching six episodes, I really have no idea where Dimension W is going. Unpredictability is great for a series, but there has to be a rooted idea to keep folks coming back. With as stylistically weird W is, it feels like it's all over the place. You know how I mentioned it became a supernatural horror earlier? Yeah, the tone shifts like that from episode to episode. In particular, this show is one of those "gut punch" shows where every episode most likely hides some kind of darkness halfway through without really building up to it. Episode five in particular has an unusual amount of murder, sexual violence, and just all around depression atmosphere. It's all too sudden to be either enjoyable or comfortable. It's just "Oh, that guy definitely killed that guy" and we move on. It's not like the show pretended to be something other than serious, it's just a little off putting when it's so sudden.  Regardless, I'll be keeping an eye on Dimension W. I'm already halfway through the season and felt strong enough about it to write on it here, so what's the harm it watching it through the end? This definitely feels like Dimension W was trying to find its footing, and whatever its setting up next might be fun to watch.  Now that it's got all of its world building out of the way and it's found a tone to work with, it'll hopefully be less confusing going forward. If you've followed along well enough, tell me about it. Maybe there's something I missed in all the madness. 
Dimension W  photo
Dimension what?
Anime with a futuristic, science fiction setting are always a toss up. For example, another science fiction series this season, Luck & Logic, ended up being awful halfway through its second episode. So I was really nervou...

Annotated Anime: One Piece episode 729

Feb 15 // Anthony Redgrave
The episode kicks off where the last one ended, Luffy powers down to his normal form and is picked up by one of the most irrelevant characters in the arc, Gatz. If you don't remember him, he is the commentator of the gladiatorial matches. Turns out that Law's prediction of Luffy running out of Haki is true and it takes exactly 10 mins for it to recharge. 10 minutes may be a short time for us mere mortals but when you have a crazy puppet controlling psychopath on your ass studios can stretch it out to 10 episodes. There is a silver lining as Luffy states that when he has recovered he will finish off Doflamingo. I'll be personally holding you to that Luffy! So begins the great chase with Gatz carrying Luffy and the minor gladiators providing protection and support. I liked how there was a brief beat where all the gladiators reconciled their differences with Luffy and vowed to protect him. It's a small plot point that is seen in other One Piece arcs where the denizens begin to count on the Staw Hat's support against the central antagonist. This familiar plot structure feels like progression is happening in this two-year-old arc. Although we can expect all the crudely drawn Gladiators to die and the more defined gladiators to have a more sophisticated death.  As foreshadowed last episode, Jesus Burgess bursts through taking advantage of Luffy's condition. Fortune favours the pirates as Sabo comes to Luffy's aid and intercepts the attack. This episode highlights the either sheer stupidity of the entire cast of One Piece or their lack of perception as it comes to a shock for all involved that Sabo was the one that ate the Flare Flare fruit in the arena and had replaced Luffy as Lucy in the last fight. Even if I missed a few episodes showing that Sabo had taken Luffy's place I would've recognised that it was Sabo underneath the fake beard and sunglasses! Actually judging from Jesus's first attack on Sabo completely missing due to not imbuing it with Haki and going straight through the Logia user supports my claim that pirates are stupid. He clearly knows that Sabo ate a Logia fruit so why doesn't he attack with Haki exclusively!? All other attacks are completely useless unless you too are a Logia user! The conclusive scene of the episode is something out of nightmares as Doflamingo literally slaughters the gladiators trying to buy time for Luffy. It's a subtle edit but if you imagine the string tentacles with red instead of dark purple it paints a much more gruesome picture.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
One Piece photo
Let the streets run red
From browsing Reddit, I stumbled upon an excellent Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike match between Dudley and Ryu where they go back and forth, back and forth. And it's how I feel about the final match between Luffy and Doflamingo. A hopefully ending soon match of Pong. 

Kamen Rider photo
Kamen Rider

You don't need a mask to watch this Kamen Rider Valentine's Day video


Rider Pun!
Feb 14
// Salvador GRodiles
I love it when a good pun comes into fruition. When it's done right, the person telling the joke always find a way to make his/her words flow in a way that brings a smile to everyone's face. In light of today's special occas...
Today in Anime photo
Today in Anime

Today in Anime: Happy Valentine's Day!


Get lovey with your Waifu and Husbando!
Feb 14
// Anthony Redgrave
No matter the country, the day of love and romance will always fall on the 14th day of the second month of the year. Valentine's day is a day dedicated to being with your loved one and is common practice to exchange heart-sha...

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