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FFVII Remake News photo
FFVII Remake News

Final Fantasy VII's remake to get chopped into multiple releases

To be whole, you must divide, apparently
Dec 07
// Josh Tolentino
For the better part of the last decade or so (perhaps even longer), Final Fantasy fans have demanded that Square, and later Square Enix, remake Final Fantasy VII, arguably their most iconic game. And for years they've pu...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episodes 9-10

Dec 07 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 9: Shinobu Mail, Part ThreeKicking off this episode is action. A fitting opening since in the last episode ended with a cliffhanger. The oddity had a very interesting form. It was an amalgamation of all the oddities Araragi had dealt with in back in Bakemonogatari, but it's body was made up of floating kanji. The art direction for the opening was bold and beautiful with the muted black, grey and white background contrasting with the bold yellow jacket of the oddity.A decisive play is made by Araragi and Kanbaru using their odd dojutsu (kanji in the iris) that goes wrong because Araragi is an idiot. Shinobu throws them a bone and by bone I mean the Apparition Killer blade allowing Araragi to deliver the killing blow.   After the fight, Shinobu informs the duo that Izuko Gaen is in another castle in a very odd fan servicey way possible. I'm a fan of Shinobu's character design since she is a ridiculously cute girl with an archaic way of talking. But because of her 10-year-old appearance that makes me uncomfortable when the show sexualizes her as fan service. I'm just not into lolis. Fortunately, this episode is more prude in this area, if only it was like this for most episodes involving a loli character. After making their way to the shrine and finally meeting with Gaen, we get a massive text dump that takes up the rest of the episode. Gaen falsely introduces herself as Meme's younger sister then proceeds to talk for the rest of the episode about her thoughts on the mysterious man in the Samurai Armour.  Bottom line is as a Vampire you can never die even when exposed to sunlight so Shinobu's first follower that had committed suicide by walking into the light has now regenerated 400 years later.  Episode 10: Shinobu Mail, Part FourGaen continues to leak out exposition and explanation like a gushing water tap almost designed to piss off both Araragi and Shinobu. Whenever Gaen refers to the Samurai she always says that he was Shinobu's first prompting the jealous side of Araragi to become exposed. Shinobu later reassures Araragi that the number before or after doesn't matter and that she is with him now. I thought this was a nice line to include as it shows the strong connection Shinobu has with her current host Araragi. The North Shirahebi Shrine (or Kita-Shirahebi Shrine) is a location revisited many times in Monogatari and it has shown up again as the location of an air spot. The place where all the ashes of the Samurai also known as Shinobu's first partner had gathered and began resurrecting.  Gaen leaves the problem with the team saying that if things aren't sorted out soon then they will need assistance from Kagenui since she specialises in immortal oddities.  Gaen is an interesting character for the series. I really like her character design, taking a lot of inspiration from hip hop fashion and appearing very youthful considering that she is actually classed as middle age. Her character in the story also wavers from mildly antagonistic to helpful to the protagonists. Never directly helping but serving as an adviser for Araragi and company even if she does so in an incredibly arrogant manner.  I found this episode to be dull. A lot of it was more exposition from Gaen and it began to be confusing to understand what the next plan of action was. The episode does try to tie everything back together by putting all the oddities encountered in Bakemonogatari chronologically and it would've been useful if I had seen that season recently. Since the original had first broadcast almost 7 years ago, it's hard to remember details of what occurred in each story. At least the last third of the episode lightened things up with some playful banter between Araragi and Kanbaru.  Kanbaru's Boys Love interest is revisited as she requests Araragi to buy her the latest issue of Brutal Garcon Huff-Huffs a Half-Blood Boy and a bra. The title is strange enough on its own so when I saw that the book had a Kaiki look alike (I assume this is the Garcon) suggestively holding an Armin look alike (again assuming that's the half-blood boy). I don't think I'll ever understand the yaoi genre. Araragi also ponders whether he has been showing too much interest in young girls bordering on fetishistic and picks up a couple mature gravure magazines. This also doubles to hide the BL novels he is also buying though the cover is quickly blown by the cashier. Then he bumps into the Samurai having taken a leaf out of Orochimaru's book of possessing a girl and looking super creepy doing it. [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] Episode 9: Shinobu Mail, Part Three
Monogatari photo
Gaen is hippest of the hop
Monogatari fans that love reading will really enjoy these next two episodes. Monogatari fans that like Izuko Gaen and think that she isn't in the show enough will really like these episodes. Monogatari fans that also like Monogatari would also be excited by the new trailer for Kizumonogatari part 1: Tekketsu-hen that was released recently.  What a time to be a Monogatari fan.

Review: Ninja Slayer From Animation

Dec 06 // Josh Tolentino
Ninja Slayer From AnimationStudio: TRIGGERViewed On: ViewsterPremiere date: April 6, 2015 At the time of this review's writing, the International Day of the Ninja has just passed, but there's no recent work that captures the essence of "ninja" more than this, Studio TRIGGER's latest series. Ninja Slayer From Animation makes no attempt to hide its goofy, parodic nature. That should be natural, after all, coming from a show that started life as what was essentially a Twitter prank. "Translated" from nonexistent original sources by a pair of fictional westerners named  "Bradley Bond" and "Philip Ninj@ Morzez", Ninja Slayer accurately portrays ninja seen by westerners engaged in that second wave of Japonisme that swept the world '80s and early '90s. During that time, the markets were flooded with crass, cheaply-made "ninja exploitation" films like American Ninja, and spiced up by gory, explicit OVAs and films that powered the "Japanimation" boom. Ninja Slayer's cyberpunk dystopia of Neo Saitama reflects the kind of twisted sensibility that resulted from the marriage of genuine enthusiasm and outright ignorance on the part of the outsiders. But Ninja Slayer isn't out to deliver a polemic against cultural appropriation. Bond and Morzez are in on the joke, and know that the best antidote to hotheaded outrage is a tongue planted firmly in cheek. Much to the chagrin of early viewers that didn't realize Ninja Slayer's relation to TRIGGER's own Inferno Cop, the whole thing is played for elaborate, stylized laughs. That's because they know that, played straight, Kenji Fujikido's story of revenge and violence would come across as gravely cliche and unbearably cheesy. That's why Ninja Slayer and his foes constantly introduce themselves to each other like beginning Japanese-language students practicing for a kaiwa test, and why the whole show is in the archaic 4:3 aspect ratio. It simultaneously pokes fun at and commiserates with the "Ken-sama" of the world, and smirks back at a time when Ken-sama's type represented what most people knew about Japanese culture. It's also where TRIGGER works in that ninja magic. Deliberate aesthetic choices in Ninja Slayer, like the neon-drenched pallete and aping of old-school cost-cutting techniques recall back the moments of beauty to be found in that awkward time, while at the same time deflating the nostalgic pomposity some older fans may have for the time. It's as if to say "Yep, cartoons were just as stupid then as you think they are now. But they were also awesome!" The show is hardly perfect, though, and the wild differentials between user ratings in various fan fora serve as testament to that fact. Ninja Slayer may be bold and one of the most creatively distinct anime series this year, but there are times when it's just plain ugly-lookin', beyond what could be excused on style alone. TRIGGER's no longer a scrappy underdog of a studio, which makes the frequent forays into Inferno Cop-style 2D cutout puppetry feel less like a fun diversion and more an unnecessary indulgence.  The storytelling also fails to rise above its B-grade inspirations. This isn't to say it's all bad or that every show should strive to elevate, but there is a difference between homage and mere copy, and there are times when Ninja Slayer skirts too close to the wrong side of that distinction.  Then again, for a viewer in the right mindset, Ninja Slayer is a laugh riot and a friendly wink-and-nod, all rolled into a package that never gets boring. And for a show that's very deliberately not accurate to the real-life ninjas of Japanese history, Ninja Slayer certainly gets being surprising down pat. 
Ninja Slayer Review photo
The Ancient YEEART! of Ninjutsu
DOMO, READER-SAN.  I am Reviewer. NINJA must be slain. 

Indivisible photo

Indivisible closes extended crowd funding campaign

And the final total is.......
Dec 05
// Anthony Redgrave
First a brief history lesson. Back in October Indivisible's crowdfunding campaign was launched. With a team that had produced the decade's best indie fighting game and a solid prototype ready on day one for PC players, I was ...
Final Fantasy VII photo
Final Fantasy VII

No more turn based combat in Final Fantasy VII Remake Gameplay Trailer

We've waited around for too long!
Dec 05
// Anthony Redgrave
Last summer, E3, Final Fantasy VII: Remake was announced and every lost their collective minds. Then Cloud was announced for Smash as DLC and everyone lost their nuts. And now we have gameplay footage for the remake and it's...
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: Let's take La-Mulana 2's demo for a spin

Just in time for International Ninja Day
Dec 05
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here. Also, I started my playthrough of Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which can be viewed here.] It may have taken me a good while, but I finally managed to finish La-Mulana....

Strong Style: Ichi-barnburner!

Dec 05 // Soul Tsukino
Tonight's matches come to us from the February 14th, 2015 show at the Sendai Sunplaza Hall. We get no greeting and just jump right into things. Kota Ibushi/Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano/Kazushi Sakuraba Well, this is a nice bonus match. Not a whole lot of backstory here. Both Naito and Ibushi compete as heavyweights but are on the lighter side. Their opponents are a mish-mash team with MMA legend Sakuraba and the walking foreign object that is Yano. Sakuraba starts the match with Kota as Sakuraba tries some small stuff to start, but Kota lands a right. Really odd seeing Ibushi tries to mix it up with Sakuraba, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Kota tries some slaps but gets nothing. They get into the corner with a clean break. Kota tries some kicks, but they are blocked. Waistlock by Kota only gets an armlock from the submission expert. Crowd applauding the good grappling. Yano gets the tag and Naito comes in on the other side. Naito gets armlock, but Yano gets to the ropes. Yano gets a wristlock, but it instantly gets reversed and into the rope where Yano SCREAMS for the break. Naito lands an elbow and then a dropkick sending Yano down. He grabs a wristlock again and Yano screams that it hurts. Yano pulls Naito's hair to get him down and then chucks him out of the ring He grabs the ring pad off the nearest turnbuckle and a chair and goes to work on Naito with it. Ref, of course, sees nothing. Jumping ahead with Naito getting a neckbreaker on Yano as both guys tag in. Sakuraba avoids the missile dropkick and goes for kicks on Kota, Kota fights back with strikes and then hits the springboard kick. Round kick to the gut. Kota goes for something but gets caught in a triangle choke. Kota picks him up but Sakuraba gets in the armbar, but it is broken in the ropes. Kicks to the arm now has Kota in pain. Kota tries for something, is blocked, but Ibushi gets the suplex! Yano and Naito tag back in where Naito hits the exposed buckle. Naito, however, hits a dropkick and a senton. He climbs to the top for a missile dropkick, but Sakuraba breaks it up. Yano then tags in. Naito trades waistlocks with Yano, hits the enziguri and a slam before he heads up again but doesn't get there as Sakuraba stops him, but Ibushi sends him out. Yano catapults Naito into the exposed buckle. Yabo tries for the lock, but Naito gets out, nearly running into the ref, Yano gets the low blow, He goes for his finisher but Naito reverses and gets the pin! Kind of an odd match here. Not terrible, just very odd. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Meiyu vs. The Bullet Club (Anderson/Gallows/Tonga) Jeez, Meiyu and Anderson and Gallows have wrestled each other a lot huh? I think this is the fourth time they've faced each other this season. At least this time around we have Tanahashi and Tonga to spice things up a bit. Meiyu comes out first, then Tanahashi.  Tanahashi has a bandage on his face from the nasty gash he got fighting A.J. Styles with stitches. The Bullet Club comes out with the KISS makeup from the above picture. The OCD in me wishes they had a fourth guy to be made up as Ace. Also, Tama Tonga's "Catman" makeup is weak. Gallows and Shibata start this off with Gallows going right after Shibata and pounding him. Shibata counters with some slick mat work and goes right for the figure four! Gallows rolls right into the ropes to break. Shibata tries it again but gets kicks for his trouble. Goto and Anderson tag in now as Karl gets the early advantage but misses a senton and Goto his the shoulder before Tanahashi tags in. Tama Tonga interferes from the apron as Anderson climbs up the buckle and bites Hiro right in the stitches! Quick jump as Hiroshi is in the corner and gets hit by everyone. The Club goes for the pin, but Goto breaks it up. Tama hits the Tonga twist but still can't get the pin. He goes for the charge, but Goto jumps in and hits the ushi-karoshi! All three work on Tama but all six men get in the ring. Shibata hits the running dropkick on all three men of the Club! Hiroshi hits the slingblade on Tama and hits the high fly flow and scores the pin! That was quick! With three matches, some things had to get cut, so I'm guessing some was taken out of this match for it. We get some studio words from Ishii for a change. He says that Honma means nothing to him. He wanted to beat Togi Makabe for the title and no one else so this match is meaningless to him. NEVER Openweight title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma The NEVER belt doesn't get the coverage on this show that the other titles do so we missed the belt changing hands this season. These two do have a bit of a history as both were members of Togi Makabe's Global Bash Heel group a few years back. When Toru Yano and Shinsuke Nakamura turned on Makabe to form CHAOS, Ishii followed right behind while Honma stayed loyal to Makabe, even to this day. Speaking of Togi Makabe, he was the champion coming into this show but as Mauro explains, he came down with a case of severe flu and New Japan stripped him of the belt. His buddy Honma stepped in to take his place in this match. Honma has the height advantage and the crowd solidly behind him. Lock-up to start and it's an aggressive one. Gets to the ropes with a clean break. They lock up again and back to the ropes where a shoving match erupts into an elbow to the face duel! Damn! Honma hits a shoulder block and then misses the kokashi headbutt... twice. Ishii hits some teasing kicks before hitting a chop. Ishii kicks him in the heads and rakes his boots over Honma's face! Honma back up hits some chops on Ishii, but gets a nasty chop right back! Honma is back in the corner and Ishii with chops and strikes. The announcers bring up Ishii trained by Genchiro Tenryu, who just recently retired from wrestling. Mauro tells of how Tenryu is the only man to hold pinfall victories over Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki. Tenryu could have been a big star, but horrible timing and wanting to do his own thing got in the way of that.   Honma hits a shoulder and sends Ishii down, but he pops right up. Honma hits the bulldog and goes for the headbutt and misses again! Both men up and start a chopping duel! Holy crap they are just going back and forth the crowd is loving this! They chop back and forth for what seems like forever before Honma breaks down the Stone Pitbull. He then HITS THE HEADBUTT! An attack on Ishii as Honma goes for the suplex but can't get him up, Ishii can't get it either, Ishii finally gets the suplex off. Back from break with both guys down. Ishii up first as he whips Honma into the corner and then clotheslines the stuffing out of him! Honma being set up on the top and Ishii climbs to the second rope. Honma blocks the brainbuster attempt. He grabs Ishii and drops down, snapping his neck on the rope! Reminds me of Tetsuhiro Kuroda from the old FMW promotion. Honma hits the blockbuster and then a slam. He climbs up for the headbutt, but Ishii catches him. Honma gets the sunset flip, but Ishii grabs the turnbuckle. Honma gets the powerbomb lift, but Ishii counters out. Ishii aims a chop right in Honma's throat and then does it again and then gets a powerbomb. Pin attempt only gets two.  Ishii then locks in the double chicken wing on the canvas. Honma gets to the rope for the break out of the hold. Ishii sets Honma up on the buckle again and gets a delayed suplex down to the mat. Ishii tries for the pin, but only gets two as the crowd is roaring for Honma now. Clothesline by Ishii but Honma gets the DDT and STICKS Ishii into the mat like feet straight up in the air. Ishii's seemingly always injured shoulder is out now. Both hit double clotheslines, but Ishii hits a shot to the jaw and both guys clobber each other with clotheslines. Honma up first as Ishii is on the apron and nearly gets Honma up for a suplex to the floor, but Honma blocks and they exchange strikes. Honma hits a running clothesline on the back of Ishii's neck sending him right into the post and on the floor. OUCH! He then climbs the buckle to hit the kokashi to the outside and he HITS IT! "One of the dumbest moves I've ever seen" Josh Barnett proclaims. Seriously that was insane. Back from break as Honma is up first and gets Ishii in the ring. Clothesline blocked, gets hit with a forearm but Honma slams him with a clothesline that rattles Ishii's teeth. Honma only gets two for the pin. Honma goes for something, but it is blocked. Ishii hits the back suplex as both guys are hurting now. Honma up first and starts kicking Ishii in the head a few times before hitting some forearms but Ishii isn't going for it! He's mad now. Ishii clobbers Honma with a clothesline and then sets him up again to the top rope and hits the avalanche brainbuster, pin attempt only gets two. Holy crap is this amazing! Ishii hits the clothesline and then runs him over with another one.  Two count. Ishii goes for the suplex but counters, Honma hits an elbow and then hits a running forearm. Another suplex attempt blocked and Honma MUSCLES Ishii up and hits a brainbuster of his own but Honma still only gets two. Ishii nearly gets Honma up on the shoulder, but Honma hits a kick and then hits the running headbutt into Ishii's spine, then hits a DDT, but only gets two, That is a scary spot for both guys and a hell of a chiropractic adjustment! Honma goes for the top rope kokashi headbutt but misses! Neither guy is quick getting up Ishii hits a German suplex, but Honma pops right up. He hits him again and Honma kicks out at one! Honma hits a clothesline but only gets one! Elbows traded now as Ishii hits multiple strikes but Honma counters with palm strikes. Ishii hits a clothesline, but the pin attempt only gets two! Suplex attempt but Honma gets a headbutt. Ishii counters with one of his own as they trade headbutts. Ishii hits the low clothesline but doesn't get the pin. Ishii hits the headbutt and finally gets the win and the title! This match is the DEFINITION of strong style. The fighting spirit in this was so strong you'd need a temple priest to keep it from cursing your dojo. Backstage Honma growls as he is on the floor that he can't seem to win the big one. However, he will not give up and will keep fighting. Ishii, on the other hand, says that this match meant nothing (are you kidding me?!?) and that he is only holding a temporary belt until he can't fight Makabe for it. He tells Makabe to get better so they can fight. Studio words as Ishii says that he strives to make the NEVER belt awesome. Not only does Makabe fire him up, but everyone does, as they should be fired up when they fight him. Oh man. That main event was incredible. Especially from two guys you would not expect to pull off a match of the year candidate like that. Once again we have a case of a good opener, a forgettable middle match, and a hell of a main event. This episode was worth every bit of it on just that match alone! Next week it looks like we will be returning to Sendai for more wrestling action. I will see you then! /ul/34552-/match 1-noscale.jpg
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The NEVER Openweight belt headlines!
Here we are once again with Strong Style, Japanator's coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. After taking the holiday off while AXS covered college basketball, we are back with what is supposed to be the season finale...

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's demo goes big and sparkly

Dec 05 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]34555:5235:0[/embed] The demo itself is fairly lightweight, at under a gigabyte, and contains nothing more than the cold open and title card for the main game. But what a title card it is! Things kick off immediately, flashing back to the epic battle between Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju, the progenitors of Naruto's ninja world. History is in the making for fans, as this is the fight that ultimately created the Valley of the End, the massive hole in the ground that serves as a place of dramatic import for many key moments in the series proper.  Madara and Hashirama duke it out with Wood-style jutsu, massive weapons, and huge creatures like the Nine-Tailed Fox and Hashirama's tree giant grappling in the background. For better or worse, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 looks to be almost unchanged mechanically from previous games. The controls are simple, with buttons for melee and ranged attacks, as well as ones for channeling Chakra magic and dashing around. The Chakra serves as a modifier, supercharging the next action when pressed, turning a regular dash into a chakra dash, and turning a standard attack into a special. So far, so Storm.  The main differences between this year's release and the last are largely presentational. CyberConnect2 largely maintains the games' style of cell-shaded polygons, and if not for the likes Guilty Gear Xrd, this would easily be the best-looking "anime-style" game on the market.  That said, where Arc System Works maintain their lead in detail, the Naruto title wins out on sheer scale. The aliasing present on the polygons is much less pronounced, and the most noticeable addition are veritable founts of glowing particle effects. Dust clouds, debris sprays, and novel takes on fire, both actual and magical, spice up the game's look. It's so intense that framerate issues sometimes crop up in the most intense scenes, such as when Madara fills the screen with burning triple-tornado. The game also doesn't skimp on the Quick-Time Events. Though a hoary old design contrivance at this point, CyberConnect2 has at least mastered the form, using the button prompts in a way that engages with the onscreen insanity, and promising rewards for players with impeccable timing. One can only hope that the team decides to get all meta with the user interface, like they did in Asura's Wrath way back when.  From the looks of things, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be off to a promising, if perhaps too-familiar start. Fans of Naruto and of the games themselves can look forward to a game that covers the thrilling conclusion of the Naruto story, while everyone else can expect a good dose of over-the-top anime spectacle. And with luck, CyberConnect2 will have something just as insane, and perhaps more ambitious, planned for the engine they've created here. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 will be released on February 9th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. [embed]34555:5236:0[/embed]
Naruto Storm 4 photo
Talk to the Thousands Of Hands
Naruto may have ended more than a year ago, but nothing keeps a good franchise down. Between the lagging anime series, books, more manga, and several feature films, Masashi Kishimoto's world of superpowered ninja is far ...

Week Ender - Ninja Edition

Dec 05 // Red Veron
[embed]34551:5232:0[/embed] "Fighting Dreamer" Anime: Senran Kagura If you can still pull off ninja moves while having giant boobs, then you have earned the ninja title. Fighting off deadly ninja foes while fighting chronic back pain is the true measure of a ninja.   [embed]34551:5233:0[/embed] "Kilmister" Anime: Ninja Slayer Cool ending from a cool looking show that is on a shoestring budget.   [embed]34551:5234:0[/embed] "Kurukururin" Anime: Ninja Nonsense A cute comedy ninja show about nonsense with ninjas as the title implies. This ending is a fun one with stop motion ninjas and a winged creature thing with panties on its head. Just watch it, I don't know how else to explain it.   [embed]34551:5231:0[/embed] "My Answer" Anime: Naruto Shippuuden Hey, ninjas need some beach R&R too. The beach is also a battlefield. Also some fanservice for the fans.   Got any favorite ninja anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know! 
Week Ender photo
Ninja Please
In celebration of Ninja Day today, this weekend's Week Ender is all about the secret masters of the shadow arts. They have plenty of anime about ninjas since it has been a popular figure in Japanese fiction for hundreds of ye...

Ultraman Nexus photo
Ultraman Nexus

Ultraman Nexus gets an official YouTube stream before it hits Crunchyroll

Space Monsters beware
Dec 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Once again, it's a great time to be a fan of tokusatsu, as Tsuburaya uploaded four episodes of Ultraman Nexus, one of the first Ultra TV shows that's targeted towards an older audience to prepare for its upcoming debut on Cru...
Ninja Day photo
Ninja Day

Let's celebrate the International Day of the Ninja!

Ninjas Rule! Pirates Drool!
Dec 05
// Red Veron
Today is the international Day of the Ninja according to the delicious sounding faux-burger restaurant Ninja Burger. It totally snuck up on ya? Snuck up on ya like a assassin in the shadows. Like say, LIKE A NINJA. I recommen...
Sakura photo

Cultural Ambassador Takamasa Sakurai passed away

Tragic accident takes an ally of kawaii
Dec 03
// Jeff Chuang
NHK news reports that Takamasa Sakurai, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative and frequent anime con guest, has passed away from a trackside accident in Tokyo's Nishi-Nippori station on Thursday. He...

Review: Clannad (PC)

Dec 03 // Christian Chiok
[embed]34545:5224:0[/embed] Clannad (PC [reviewed], PS2, S3G, FOMA, Xbox 360, PSP, PS3, Android, PS Vita)Developers: KeyPublisher: Sekai ProjectReleased: November 23rd, 2015 (NA)Price: $49.99 Clannad follows the story of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school student who tragically lost his mother as a child and now lives with his abusive, alcoholic father, Naoyuki Okazaki. One day, during his third year of high school, he stumbles upon a young girl named Nagisa Furukawa, who he befriends and later helps to revive the defunct drama club at Hikarizaka Private High School. As he helps the club during his spare time, Tomoya grows closer to his peers as he learns about their tough pasts and challenges and does everything to help them overcome it as he slowly grows to become a stronger and more supportive person. You will be able to interact with a set of interesting characters including Kyou Fujibayashi, Kotomi Ichinose, Tomoyo Sakagami, and Fuko Ibuki, as well as Youhei Sunohara, his delinquent who is often the comic relief in this visual novel.  As the game progresses, you will be given various decisions that will have an effect on the direction and outcome of the game depending on how you respond to a specific character or situation. Saving the game at multiple points is highly recommended if you want to redo certain scenarios to avoid a bad ending. Fans of the anime should definitely play the game as you will be able to explore through many of the character’s routes, and even meet characters that were omitted from the anime adaptation.  Being in control of my own Clannad experience was definitely refreshing, especially seeing “Good Endings” that didn’t just involve Nagisa. While I like Nagisa in the anime, she definitely isn’t the best girl in the game. While I did enjoy her overall route, playing through it felt boring at times. For the most part, I did enjoy interacting with a lot of the characters such as Kyou, Youhei, and especially Tomoyo. With characters like Kyou or Youhei around, I can’t say that there wasn’t a time that I didn’t laughed when they were around. It’s really funny how Tomoya picks on Youhei and his weird shenanigans and how Kyou puts Tomoya in weird yet comedic situations. However, Clannad isn’t only great because of its comedy but also how because it’s an emotional ride. Whether it was the Sunohara Siblings route or the Fujibayashi siblings route, there wasn’t a moment when I didn’t feel emotionally involved with their stories. As someone who watched the Clannad anime adaptation while still being in High School, a lot of the character’s issues were somewhat relatable, and experiencing these moments once more via the Visual Novel made me feel the same emotions I felt back then. For a Visual Novel that’s more than a decade old, the art style still looks fresh and it’s very pleasant to look at, not to mention that Sekai Project gave the game an HD improvement making the game look a lot better than it did 10 years ago. Of course, it still has a style that makes it obvious that the game is quite a bit old compared to Key’s newest releases.   As if the soundtrack in Air and Kanon weren’t already great, Key’s composers manage to surpass the soundtracks for Clannad’s predecessors.  It’s just so powerful and it makes the dramatic scenes even more dramatic. My personal favorite has to be Roaring Tides. The Steam version of Clannad will have new features such as Dangopedia, which offers a brief description of words and references used in the game. It also features the same achievements that the console versions of the game had.  The Steam version has also been visually improved and now features a 1280 x 960 resolution. Additionally, user interface has been polished and made easier to use. As a person that never liked or played a single Visual Novel, I really enjoyed playing through Clannad. Being one of my favorite series, I thought it was imperative that I played the original material. For Clannad fans thinking about getting the game but never played a Visual Novel, it’s hard to recommend the game, unless you don't mind going through still images and long dialogues.  I personally don’t mind going through endless dialogues, but I can understand why one would be opposed to play the game, Clannad fan or not.  So unless it’s Tomoyo After, Air, or Kanon, or games that feature visual novel gameplay like the Ace Attorney and Zero Escape series, I don’t see myself playing any other Visual Novel. For a first, Clannad was definitely enjoyable, and I can see myself spending a lot of time playing the game.  [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.] Clannad (PC [reviewed], PS2, S3G, FOMA, Xbox 360, PSP, PS3, Android, PS Vita)Developers: KeyPublisher: Sekai ProjectReleased: November 23rd, 2015 (NA)Price: $49.99
Clannad Review photo
The Place Where Wishes Come True
For the past 10 years, I’ve been a fan of the (popular) anime adaptations of Key’s various work including Kanon, Air, Clannad, Little Busters, and Angel Beats. Although I was aware that both Kanon and Air started ...

Annotated Anime: Durarara!!x2 Ten episodes 9-12

Dec 03 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 9: Eloquent & CompetentFollowing directly on from the previous episode, episode 9 clarifies a lot of unanswered questions that may have been raised. And it does so by exploring Izaya Orihara's backstory and his close friendship with Shinra. But first we are introduced to Nakura being interviewed about Izaya. The first thing that is striking about Nakura is that he dresses almost exactly like Izaya and that's not a coincidence seeing that Izaya has been using Nakura's name ever since the first season. Another is that we never see his eyes making me think he makes his living as a Hentai protagonist. As the episode unfolds we get more information about Izaya and Shinra's middle school days as when the former wasn't pissing off the most dangerous man in Ikebukuro, he was being hounded to form a biology club and running an illegal baseball betting ring inside the school. Izaya continues to be one of the most interesting characters in the whole show. He is often portrayed as an overarching antagonist but with episodes like these he fits more in the anti-hero role.   Episode 10: Blessed are the FoolishI really hope the Durarara!! cast will stop expanding otherwise we'll be heading towards Bleach syndrome. This episode is narrated by that scary dude with a wicked scar and sunglasses that work for the Blue Squares. His name is Ran Izumii older brother of Aoba Kuronuma. The origin of the scar? It was when Dota-chin's group saved Saki in the first colour gang war. Yep, the narrator was the leader of the Blue Squares back then. When I first saw that flashback I thought that dude was a minor character as the subject was Masaomi and him being in over his head with the gang wars. His more recent appearances are tied to Izaya's recently acquired muscle group. While not a whole lot happens this episode, the incident at the end of the episode is the trigger for the finale and it's all orchestrated by Izaya himself.  What makes Izaya so fascinating is that is loyalties are constantly changing, his actions are hard to predict, and everything that happens in the series is somehow linked to him. He's a character that if hidden from the viewer would supply the mystery portion of a show but instead he is always open with his schemes and plans. It makes him a lot more relatable despite not being able to predict his motives, moves, or actions.  Episode 11: Birds of a FeatherThe effects of Kyohei's incident spread through Ikebukuro as the rest of his group: Walker and Saburo hit all the major gangs trying to sniff out who was the one that planned the hit on Dota-chin. I'm not too sure if Saburo is barking up the right tree as he starts to target high school kids loitering outside of a supermarket. They're not even old enough to drive and yet you try to shake them down for information!? Walker is smarter and goes for the newly reformed Yellow scarves being headed by Masaomi. After a tense stand-off between the two, Walker is assured that Masaomi will snuff out the culprit if they are within his crew. Kyohei's Gang are known to be goofy oddballs that fight for the right side and for that they're super likable within the show. I've never realised the extremely psychopathic and violent nature of Kyohei's gang. They are willing to make threats of arson and torture to those that cross them, all with a smile and manga on the mind. They're like crazy otaku except out for blood and not limited edition phone cards. On the other side of the city, Mikado and Aoba round up their gang to go to an abandoned building so Mikado can surf the web. I'm amazed that they are able to get such a strong internet connection in an unused building, but this is Japan we are talking about. The Wi-Fi there is better than my "fibre optic" connection used to write this post. Throughout this whole cour, we have barely spent time with Mikado. He's always on the periphery or briefly shown after major events. This separation shows us how different he has become from his former shy, schoolboy self. He's now is a cold calculating gang leader under the influence of Aoba.  Episode 12: It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief It's time for the last episode to wrap up the middle cour. With the news of Shizuo getting arrested, Verona starts to wonder how she is able to repay the lanky bartender for all his favours like the canned coffee and fancy take whilst also debating when is the ideal time to kill him off would be. She runs into an old buddy Sloan who is now working for Izaya as his hired muscle as part of compensation with the Awakusu. Speaking of Awakusu, Akabayashi pays Mikado and the rest of the Blue Squares a visit under the direction of Celty and basically asks the Dollars to join the Awakusu in the most gangster fashion i.e. join us or we'll destroy you. He also brings along Shuji Niekawa, the reporter father of Haruna (the antagonistic Seika from last time) since he is still looking for his daughter and has traced her to the Dollars. However, we all know that Haruna is actually part off Izaya's newly formed motley crew. Unlike previous series finales, there isn't a whole lot of action in this episode. Walker comes face to burnt face with Ran Izumii looking for revenge. This fight doesn't last long at all and is interrupted in the funniest way possible. A huge turn of character from Izumii as he receives a phone call from presumably Izaya calling him off fighting Walker. As the episode winds down, Celty confronts Mikado about everything; what the hell has he been doing this entire arc? Turns out he is purging the whole of the Dollars of troublemakers, those that rock the boat and go against his word. Hanging out with Aoba has changed him and now he is preparing for war with Masaomi and the Yellow Scarves since Masaomi's plan is to stop Mikado's mad power trip.  Both are very capable leaders of their respective factions and it really reminds me of Death Note. L and Light never fought personally but were always trying to out-predict one another which we get a glimpse of near the end of this episode. The final shot for this cour is quite bizarre. If anyone remembers the UFO ending in Silent Hill where all the previous protagonists greet the player after passing the threshold then you will have a very similar feeling at the end of this one. Confused, oddly comforted but unable to shake what you have just experienced. It's sad to already time to depart from the urban jungle of Ikebukuro. I feel this middle cour was very meandering. Not much happened and was all preparation for the big fight for the final part of the season. The joys of Durarara!! weren't wasted in this cour as it still provided lots of colourful characters presented with wonderful and strong voice direction. Finding out how all the characters are intertwining, connecting, and tangentially related to one another is still the double-edged sword of the show. It's not entirely necessary to understand all the character's relationships with each other, but it helps engrain yourself into the world of Durarara!! [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll]
Durarara photo
Last train out of Ikebukuro
I really cannot catch a break with recapping this series. When last last weekend rolled around I was only expecting to binge watch One Piece, read some dialogue heavy Owarimonogatari, and enjoy just ONE episode of Durarara!!x...

OP Up! Ninja Edition

Dec 02 // Red Veron
[embed]34547:5220:0[/embed] "Crawl" Anime: Nabari No Ou A ninja anime about the hidden world of ninjas in a modern world with ancient stuff. It's like Naruto but in a modern world and everyone looks like they're from a Josei anime with plenty of Yaoi fodder pretty boys. Good action though with a great opening.   [embed]34547:5221:0[/embed] "Diver" Anime: Naruto Shippuuden My favorite in the latest openings from this show. Great song with some matching imagery with Naruto sinking into the depths while Sasuke shows up to be a dick. Luckily, friends show up to give him a hand (Sai grabs some Naruto booty, I SAW THAT).   [embed]34547:5222:0[/embed] "BACK IN  BLACK" Anime: Ninja Slayer A show where the opening shows only most of the well animated stuff. To describe this show in words that one might understand: Aqua Teen Hunger Force with ninjas and sometimes cool animation from TRIGGER. From the studio of Kill La Kill and Inferno Cop, this one may not please those expecting KLK levels of animation quality.   [embed]34547:5223:0[/embed] "Break your world" Anime: Senran Kagura My friend described this as "Ninja Slice of Life from the Hero perspective, while something completely different from the villians' view". Also giant boobs.   Is there a Ninja Anime you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know! 
OP Up! photo
This December 5 will be the yearly celebration of International Day of the Ninja, and this week's OP Up!/Week Ender theme will center on the masked assassins of the night (when they're not wearing bright orange clothes or hav...

Danganronpa 3 photo
Danganronpa 3

Danganronpa 3 anime series coming, is a real sequel

V3 has come to
Dec 02
// Josh Tolentino
We all knew that the saga of Danganronpa would continue. Though excellent and relatively self-contained, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair left a few threads from Trigger Happy Havoc dangling. The shooter spinoff...
Dead or Alive Xtreme DOA photo
Dead or Alive Xtreme DOA

Sorry, Nope: Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 still not going west

Now with word from Koei Tecmo
Dec 02
// Josh Tolentino
If you're a Dead or Alive fan who prefers poolside partying to fisticuffs, your fortunes this February will largely depend on your location. That's because Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, the latest in Koei Tecmo's unabashedly ribal...

Salty Thoughts: What a One Piece superfan thinks of Pirate Warriors 3

Dec 01 // Anthony Redgrave
As a quick background before diving into the game, I'm a massive One Piece fan. I do a weekly recap on the site, I've watched close to all seven hundred summit episodes of the anime including half the released movies. I spend hours on the Wikia to brush up on the lore while tip-toeing around manga spoilers and won't shut up about it whenever it's brought up in conversation. On the other hand, Dynasty Warriors and musou games are completely alien to me. My history with the gameplay style can only be described as a lazy afternoon keeping my nephew entertained at a family affair. Flashy action on a split screen with little interest in Japanese military history or strategy. Diving into One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 was an interesting affair for a guy with a mixed background such as I.  Looks like the show, sounds like an elevator lobby Presentation wise the game looks great. Like a high definition moving coloured manga, the looks and feels stunning. This is supported by having the seiyu reprise their role from the show making it feel like playing through an episode. The game captures all major set piece events from the story and animates them wonderfully. Unlike Toei's ever fluctuating animation budget for the show, this animation is crisp and detailed. The cutscenes recreate the key visuals featured in the story helping fans reminisce on the many adventures they have embarked on with the Straw Hat crew. For me, it felt like a trip down memory lane taking Luffy from his humble beginnings in Shells town to becoming a major enemy of the world government for the sake of his crew. I'm really glad they spent the time to keep as accurately as possible to the original story and try to cram as many references to the arc as possible into the 30-minute missions. A really nice touch was having the 'To be continued' end cards at the end of each mission hammering home the fact you are playing through the anime.  But it's not all there. Although the game feels like a One Piece title from the visuals, the vocals can only take the game so far. There are no familiar tracks in this game. Having the unique themes of each Straw Hat as you play as them would've really made me connect with the game on a much deeper level. After 700+ episodes, you really grow attached to the tracks. I was expecting to hear; Mother Sea for the tragic cutscenes, character eye-catch motifs for the results screen and Overtaken for the finale of each stage. They would've tied the knot on this incredibly immersive experience. Instead, the music that is provided is forgettable.  It's in the little details...and the big ones, too The game gets very bipolar about the amount of detail it would like to have with the franchise. To date, it's the most accurate One Piece video game title. It's a game that doesn't allow players to purposefully retcon the story mode. You can only play as certain Straw Hats on certain levels as long as they were participating in the bulk of the fighting in the arc. For example, you cannot play as Robin in the CP9/World Government Arc as she was being held hostage and you cannot take Franky back to Syrup Village to Strong Right Kuro in his smug face. Only the characters that fight in the show, fight in the game. That also means unlocking Nami can only be done at the Alabasta arc since she is fairly useless without her Clima-tact arts even though she was recruited in the Arlong Arc.  I really like how the game incorporates the different devil fruit abilities into the gameplay rather than just being a purely cosmetic addition. Logia Devil Fruits are considered the most powerful since the user embodies the element it possesses. This means typical sword swings and gun shots should not be able to affect them and it's shown in game by having many attacks being useless when pitted against a Logia user. It's not completely foolproof as spamming attack (like you're doing every 2 seconds) will cause the armour to break but I appreciate the extra effort they went with incorporating it into the gameplay.  All devil fruit were not made equally regardless of Oda's weird way of power boosting some of the most inane powers I've seen in fiction. There are some gameplay issues that just go against the lore of One Piece and there is two that stand out the most to me. The first is Luffy's Gum Gum Fruit. It's supposed to make him immune to gunfire and it's shown off a lot in the show from him ricocheting back bullets and cannon balls. Playing through the first level, you can still get hurt by bullets albeit really minor chip damage. But it just doesn't make sense especially when the cutscene he is shown saving Zoro by bouncing bullets back at the attackers. My second gripe is the second level that features Buggy the clown, a clown pirate that ate the chop chop fruit. By definition, this guy cannot be cut up. Not slashed or stabbed, completely immune to sharp objects. In the show, the world's best swordsman Dracule Mihawk couldn't damage this East Blue Rookie in the battle of the best. In the second level, you are allowed to take the role of Zoro, the Straw Hat's first mate and resident swordsman. As always at the end of the level you have to fight the main pirate and, in this case, it was Buggy. I was expecting a difficult fight due to my poor choice of fighter or even an option to switch back to Luffy. The game ended up letting me fight Buggy as Zoro and winning without any resistances to any of my attacks. This just shouldn't happen. His body can be sliced in any way and survive so by theory he shouldn't have been able to lose. You could apply this logic to when Luffy fought Enel but even in the manga and anime Luffy got fried a few times despite the natural advantage. Enel was able to power himself up into a electric god compared to Buggy not changing anything about himself.  And other nerdy nitpicks Like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, Pirate Warriors 3 follows the story up until the current arc and just like the Naruto, provides an alternative ending to the incomplete arc. In this case, the Dressrosa arc is heading towards its end in the manga and finally coming to the showdown between Luffy and the big bad Doflamingo. Unfortunately, the ending in this game has a lot to be desired. Just like Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, the game plays it incredibly safe and has the bad guy escape just after defeat.....It really leaves a sour taste in my mouth especially when Law and Luffy are backed by the entire Straw Hat crew and Aokiji (yeah he's there too). Doflamingo is still able to run away into the sky without any of them giving chase. This is wrong for so many reasons. Doflamingo had so much stake in Dressrosa not only as his Kingdom but also for business purposes. Would he really run away from a factory producing artificial devil fruits to supply to one of the four emperors of the sea? Or even abandon his head scientist Caesar after bargaining and scheming to get him back from Law. Doflamingo doesn't even attempt his signature move Bird Cage trapping the Straw Hats and their allies on the island! Despite my old man ramblings about the smallest detail (the default costumes aren't even canon!) I still really enjoyed the game. Every character feels unique and unlike most games I've played recently, I still want to jump back on and mindlessly attack drones with my favourite One Piece character. A current favourite is post time skip Tashigi but it just feels wrong attacking Marines as her. It is definitely the best One Piece game I've played so far and has the most comprehensive retelling of the story outside of the anime. Any One Piece fan should try to check this out as the reviews are indicating it's better than the previous two. Just try to take everything with a pinch of salt otherwise you'll end up as a salty sailor like me. ricochet To be continued
One Piece photo
Setting sail for the virtual seas!
It's been nearly 8 years since I've started watching One Piece and it seems to be one of the only constants I have kept when transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. So you can bet your bottom beli I jumped at t...

Video Game Music photo
Video Game Music

Rejoice, video game music fans: Scarlet Moon Records is having a special sale

Corgis not included
Nov 29
// Salvador GRodiles
[Disclosure: Jayson and Dale wrote for Japanator. No relationships, personal, or professional, were factored into this news post.] If there's one thing that's annoying about this time of the year, it's that we have to deal wi...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid V opens the race to total nuclear disarmament

Consoles in the lead to Peace
Nov 29
// Josh Tolentino
Metal Gear's never been shy about having an anti-nuclear message (despite arguably glorifying most other types of military violence), but for the most part, the series has put making the world a nuke-free place out of the han...
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: La-Mulana's eighth boss is about to taste defeat

The sweet taste of victory!
Nov 28
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.] Get ready, people! After weeks upon weeks of exploration and getting killed by traps, I'm finally close to uncovering La-Mulana's final mystery. Sure, I s...

Annotated Anime: Attack on Titan: Junior High episodes 5-7

Nov 28 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 5 The summer is coming up on our favorite little munchkins as this episode takes place just after the big bunch of tests before the summer break. While some of the kids are doing just fine, Armin scores perfectly on everything, some of the students are going to have to do some makeup tests to get their grades up, namely Sasha and Conny. Sasha gets levied a big threat that if she flunked the makeup test, she would no longer be allowed to eat her lunch. Our favorite food eating machine is desperate to find someone to help her study. No one wants to help her, but she asks Armin who is more than happy to help her and Conny score better on their make up tests. Conny forgets about staying after and wanders home. Armin sits Sasha down and they begin to tackle algebra, Her worst subject. Armin figures out a trick that instead of thinking about Xs and Ys, to think about food prices. While he starts with apples and oranges, Sasha starts rattling off bizarre food combinations, like Tempura and Watermelon. Armin isn't too impressed with the idea of these foods together, but at least she's getting the idea. While this is going on, Eren and Mikasa visit their senpais in the "super secret" club. Oruo goes on and on about getting horrible grades because he took things too easily (biting his tongue multiple times). He tells the younger students he doesn't need to study, but one of the others in the room says that his mom had said Oruo stays up late at night the night before tests studying in his room. Finally when everyone takes out their tests, it turns out his "bad score" was a 94 and still better than everyone else's. He talks about how year one tests are so much easier than year two tests, and how the year one students can't help him. Petra then punches him for just wanting to gloat. Our favorite Science club nutbar shows up as Hange is looking for Levi. She bets him that whoever did better on the test treats the other to Yakisoba bread (This is a thing?). He, of course, says no. She is broke but very hungry, he tell her to go buy some cheap squid. Having figured out that Levi was a no go, she decides to try and con the lower classmen in his name. It doesn't work. When Eren asks why she is so short of money, Hange takes them to the science room where she shows off two Titans she has captured (sound familiar?). She names them Sawney and Beane after a bug and a crab she used to take care off. She is broke from having to feed them all the time. The Titans keep trying to take a bite out of her when she gets too close, but she just gets her kicks from it (this does sound familiar right?). Seeing her plight, Levi gives her a loan that she has to pay back. A bag of dog food for the Titans. She then eats a handful. Later that night it is dark out and Sasha and Armin are heading home. Sasha has done well on her practice questions and seems to be picking up on things that Armin showed her. As he walks away Sasha thinks that she used to think of Armin as just weak, but that he is actually a friendly person. He comes bolting back to Sasha crying because he is scared of the dark street ahead. HEY! STOP IT YOU TWO! THIS ISN"T THAT KIND OF SHOW! We jump ahead to the makeup tests and Sasha is at first pleased to see an X and Y problem, but... she gets a little off track. She flunks the test and Conny never even shows up. Now both of them have to take refresher classes. Episode 6 We start things off by the shoe lockers as people are leaving for the day. Marco and Jean run into Conny and Sasha who are heading home together because Conny had told Sasha of a noodle place he had found. They then run into Hanna and Franz, the lovey-dovey couple always seen together holding hands. They start talking about marriage, but they were the ones who brought it up. Eren and Mikasa stroll by and Jean finally flips out on Eren saying that he is jealous. Eren goes to fight, but Mikasa carries him away. Jean then says that no woman in the school appreciates him when he opens his locker, there is a LOVE LETTER! Class begins as Jean shows up with his hair all combed and styled. Eren and his friends are shocked, especially when Eren smells cologne. Mikasa is not impressed.   Jean sits down and begins to think who could have sent him the letter. At first he ponders Sasha but realizes he'd lose all his money feeding her. He then thinks of Christa, since she would fit the style of person who would write a letter like that, then thinks of the boyish Ymir, who he dreams of dumping Christa to marry him. He gets frustrated that he'll be suspicious after every girl in school and then dreams of Rico and Petra trying to steal him away, finally ending with all the girls fighting over him. Eren, Armin, and Mikasa tell him he is getting too caught up in his own fantasy. Jean, however, doesn't hear it and begins to wonder if Mikasa sent him the letter, but then Annie shows up. Mikasa and Annie get in a back and forth as Annie has something to tell Jean, but Mikasa says she can relay the message to him (he is sitting right between them). I should mention in the background it seems each of the characters drew portraits of each other. They are adorable! Back to Jean who thinks he is causing all these conflicts with people. As Mikasa and Annie have a stare down, Jean tries to stop them and it doesn't end well for him. As he is on the floor a love letter falls out of Annie's pocket, but before he can say anything, she clubs him. Later during class, he catches her looking at him. As they are leaving for the day, Marco tries to put it gently that Jean isn't popular as he thinks. Jean tells him to shut up. They then catch Annie putting something in Jean's locker before she runs away. Jean goes into fantasy mode instantly thinking back to the dodgeball episode where he images that Annie and Mikasa were arguing over him (it was actually Eren if you remember). He grabs the letter and it says to meet him at the park. Jean takes off but when everyone else turns around, there is Annie. She asks for some advice. At the park, Annie shows up and Jean says that she can go out with him. She then runs him over and says that the letters were from her friend. She then calls her out by giving a blood-curdling scream. Oh man, this.. this can't be good for Jean. Yup. His suitor is a Titan. Turns out Annie and the Titan go to the same cram school together and that Annie is learning to speak titan. Annie says that the Titan is cute and shy and that she didn't forget when Jean gave her his lunch when she was hungry a few days before. As it turns out Jean threw his lunch at her as a distraction so he and Marco could run away as she ran towards them at the park. Jean, of course, gets some ribbing from his friends. jean goes into shock thinking his first love letters were from a titan so he freaks out and tries to tell everyone she is human.   After getting crushed, he snaps out of it and says that he can't go out with a huge woman like her, leaving the Titan in tears. She smashes him on the ground and runs away, vowing she wouldn't give up. I gotta tell you, I feel bad for the Titan here. Sasha takes pity on Jean and shows him what it's like to be popular by having a daikon and a Curry bread argue over who Jean should eat. Jean goes with it. Poor bastard. Episode 7 This episode starts off with Sasha and lunch (there is a surprise) She is dashing for her favorite Yakisoba bread when it is snatched up by Hange, leaving Sasha in tears. Jean comments that the first years aren't even supposed to buy bread and that it is just the upperclassman flaunting their seniority. Eren mentions how Jean has been skipping out on the wall cleaning club and that Rico is not happy with him, so he better show up. When they get to the club Rico is pissed at Jean and asks him where he has been. Jean comes up with horrible lies of where he has been (online karate classes being my favorite) and Rico tells them to get their enthusiasm back by going to clean all the windows. Since they had to do that they were all late for the secret club and the upperclassman gives them all hell for showing up late, and then picking over their clothes telling them what they can not do as first-year students. Eren finally has enough and tells everyone to shut up. Oruo takes to the shock by biting his tongue. Ymir, Christa, Marco, and Jean show up and literally are doing everything the upperclassman are railing about and drive them all nuts. The first years are given cleaning duty as punishment. The door opens and Hange and Levi show up and... wait, they are all on cleaning duty and Levi shows up? Oh, no.. OH NO! Hange gives the idea of having a contest between the first year kids and the upperclassmen. Whoever does worse at the sports day games between the three different years would have to clean the Titans building. We jump to the next day as the sports festival began. Christa has become a cheerleader for the team, along with Annie who isn't so up to the challenge. The first event is a bun eating race. Of course, Sasha is the year one representative, but also competing is Hange. Uh oh, this is about to get real.  Really bad for Sasha as Hange decides to bend the rules a bit. Saying that Sawney and she were like two halves of the same whole. Next up is the ball tossing game between year 1 and year 2. It looks like the object is to get your teams balls into the opposing teams basket. Year 1 cheats as Jean uses the omnidirectional gear to avoid people. Rico is furious and uses the incoming balls as ammo and takes Jean right out of the air. It... doesn't go well from there.  Year 1 is way behind now and things are looking bad. Mikasa steps in and gives everyone a strategy and pep talk. Actually, she says that all of them are unskilled and weak and that she will do things alone (There is that familiar feeling again), but despite being insulted, it fires the team up. As the game starts Mikasa is doing better than everyone else of course. She even gets sneaky by distracting Petra by dressing in everything the upperclassman told them they couldn't while Eren sneaks up and grabs the bandana of a year 2 leader. The game turns absolutely brutal as Armin sacrifices himself to take out another team. Eren and his team go on as you hear the screams of the other teams in the background. They break through to find the year 3 leader and... he's cleaning. The boys go for it, but Levi ends that quickly enough. Just then Hange comes flying in with Sawney and Beane with a giant ball of something. She falls out of the basket and pulls the cord, releasing MOUNTAINS of confetti. The game is ended and Levi isn't too pleased. We cut to later as the first year kids are cleaning the mess when the second year kids decide to join them, saying that Levi and the third year kids beat them last year too, but they helped them clean as well. The first year kids all bow and apologize. They then wonder what happened to Levi and we find him chasing Hange around. I think she is enjoying it. Wrapping this up This series is still a lot of fun! Seeing what these kids do and how it harkens back to the original series is really enjoyable. Having episodes focusing on characters like Jean and Sasha was great too as you got to see a lot more of what makes them tick. And, as mentioned here many times, Sasha is my favorite character, so this was a lot of fun seeing her! If there is any complaint, it was Episode 6. Not that it was a bad episode, but showing that the Titans have feelings and thought REALLY screws up the series. I know it's meant to be a joke, but not only did I feel bad for the Titan in that episode, but it made Eren look like a horrible racist little kid and Hange's set up REALLY questionable. But then again, maybe I'm over thinking this. Anyway, big thumbs up for this series and can't wait to see what these kiddies are up to next! [Watch Attack on Titan: Junior High on FUNimation] Episode 5   The summer is coming up on our favorite little munchkins as this episode takes place just after the big bunch of tests before the summer break. While some of the kids are doing just fine, Armin scores perfect on everything, some of the students are going to have to do some make up tests to get their grades up, namely Sasha and Conny. Sasha gets levied a big threat that if she flunked the make up test, she would no longer be allowed to eat her lunch.   Our favorite food eating machine is desperate to find someone to help her study. No one wants to help her but she asks Armin who is more than happy to help her and Conny score better on their make up tests. Conny, forgets about staying after and wanders home.   Armin sits Sasha down and they begin to tackle algebra, Her worst subject. Armin figures out a trick that instead of thinking about Xs and Ys, to think about food prices. While he starts with apples and oranges, Sasha starts rattling off bizarre food combinations, like Tempura and Watermelon. Armin isn't too impressed with the idea of these foods together, but at least she's getting the idea.   While this is going on Eren and Mikasa visit their senpais in the "super secret" club. Oruo goes on and on about getting horrible grades because he took things to easily (Biting his tongue multiple times). He tells the younger students e doesn't need to study, but one of the others in the room says that his mom had said Oruo stays up late at night the night before tests studying in his room.   Finally when everyone takes out their tests, it turns out his "bad score" was a 94 and still better than everyone else's. He talks about how year one tests are so much easier than year two tests, and how these year one can't help him. Petra then punches him for just wanting to gloat.   Our favorite Science club nutbar shows up as Hange is looking for Levi. She bets him that whomever did better on the test treats the other to Yakisoba bread (This is a thing?). He of course says no. She is broke but very hungry, he tell her to go buy some cheap squid. Having figured out that Levi was a no go, she decides to try and con the lower classmen in his name.   It doesn't work. When Eren asks why she is so short of money, Hange takes them to the science room where she shows off two Titans she has captured (sound familiar?) .  She names them Sawney and Beane after a bug and a crab she used to take care off. She is broke from having to feed them all the time. The Titans keep trying to take a bite out of her when she gets too close, but she just gets her kicks from it (this does sound familiar right?).   Seeing her plight, Levi gives her a loan that she has to pay back. A bag of dog food for the Titans. She ten eats a handful.   Later that night it is dark out and Sasha and Armin are heading home. Sasha has done well on her practice questions and seems to be picking up on things that Armin showed her. As he walks away Sasha thinks that she used to think of Armin as just weak, but that he is actually a friendly person. He comes bolting back to Sasha crying because he is scared of the dark street ahead.   We jump ahead to the make up tests and Sasha is at first pleased to see an X and Y problem, but....she gets a little off track.     She flunks the test and Conny never even shows up. Now both of them have to take refresher classes.
Attack on Titan: Jr high photo
Hope you like Sasha and Jean!
Hello, Japanator readers! It's time for us to take a look at the next three episodes of the chibified adventures of the Attack on Titan gang. What adventures and junior high troubles will Eren and the gang face this time around? Let's find out!

Week Ender - Summer 2015 Edition

Nov 28 // Red Veron
[embed]34538:5211:0[/embed] "Secret Sky" Anime: Rokka no Yuusha I love the Celtic(?) music inspiration for the song in this one, reminds me of the many Japanese RPGs I played in the past.   [embed]34538:5212:0[/embed] "60 Oku no Tsubasa" Anime: Gatchaman Crowds Insight Really rad ending that's making me go want to finish the first season. I think I'll do that soon. I want that song for my iPod.   [embed]34538:5213:0[/embed] "Glorious Break" Anime: Senhime Zesshou Symphogear GX A great show that combines crazy action with singing and music, I have to catch up on this one.   [embed]34538:5214:0[/embed] "Hey! Smith!!" Anime: Monster Musume no iru Nichijou People like this. Not really my thing but I enjoy seeing people gush over it since the whole premise is ridiculous.   Is there a show from last season that you loved? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Catch up on last season!
It's the weekend after Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the United States and I'm sure many of you out there might have taken this chance to catch up on the anime and manga because of the laid back and chill vibe of this holi...

Persona Snow Festival photo
Persona Snow Festival

Hee-ho: Atlus takes us to a Persona Winter Wonderland

I've been waiting for this!
Nov 27
// Salvador GRodiles
With Persona 3 The Movie #4: Winter of Rebirth getting ready to hit theaters in Japan next month, Atlus has revealed that they're teaming up with the Nippon Ski Resort Development to bring us not one but two Persona-them...

Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episode 8

Nov 26 // Josh Tolentino
It's ironic, then, that the "realness" of today's big setup comes courtesy of two characters that are practically impossible to take seriously, and for reasons that aren't really funny, in all honesty. I am, of course, referring to the big baddie, the Sea King, and the most powerful non-lead  character we've seen fight, the S-Class Hero Puri-Puri Prisoner. Both are, unfortunately, tremendous missteps in the enduring quest for sensitivity in anime character design, since they act and speak like raging gay stereotypes of that peculiarly Japanese, "Cho Aniki" variety.  For the uninitiated, it's worth pointing out that Japan's conception of gay stereotyping runs slightly differently than in America and the west. Over in (In)Glorious Nippon, the things usually held "suspect" are the hyper-masculine, bodybuilding types, with looks and designs pioneered by the likes of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Fist of the North Star, and others. Yup it's not the effete, effeminate fashion-hound of a guy that trips your average Japanese person's gaydar, but the genetic beast lobster.  I am, of course, generalizing, but it's telling that Sonic, who's also in the episode and normally wears an outfit that's more snug than body paint, is the one that gets treated like a hyper-cool male badass. In comparison, Puri-Puri Prisoner is basically a prison rapist. Hard not to look at that and wonder why these S-Class types are still called "Hero".  But, it's not all bad. They may be terrible stereotypes, but Sea King and Puri-Puri Prisoner actually still manage to be pretty cool. Prisoner does it by going way over the top, striking a flamer-hulk performance that recalls the likes of Cars and AC/DC from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Sea King does it by being the most powerful and terrifying baddie the show's yet seen.  Unlike the Colossal Titan ripoff from episode 1 or Carnage Kabuto, the Sea King's out to kill, and makes mincemeat of anyone he comes across, eventually breaking into the emergency evacuation shelter in order to slaughter the puny humans inside. This is where things get more intense, as clearly doomed heroes still make a stand, despite knowing they're far outclassed and don't stand a chance. Even a jerk like Snake-Bite Snek gets some redemption. As most folks can agree, heroism isn't about your actions when you're not being challenged. It's about what you do when you're so scared you've soiled yourself. [Watch more of One Punch Man on Daisuki!]
One Punch Man photo
S-Class Went To The Sea Sea Sea (King)
If last week's installment of One Punch Man was about complicating the world of heroism for our man Saitama - and to an extent, for us as observers of the show's world, this week's episode is all about intensifying it. In a word, things get real this week.

Garo photo

Aww yeah: Next year's Garo projects give us more Zero and Leon

All part of a good Thanksgiving dinner
Nov 25
// Salvador GRodiles
You know that the end of November's gonna be amazing when we learn about the new Garo-related announcements. While three projects were announced during this year's Garo: Golden Wolf Thanksgiving festivity, only two of them a...

OP Up! Summer 2015 Edition

Nov 25 // Red Veron
[embed]34532:5207:0[/embed] "Urge" Anime: Prison School Here's a show that I thought would never get an anime because of the content. But it did and it also got a live action adaptation that I imagine is pretty much close to soft core porn. I didn't get to watch this show but I really enjoyed what I read of the manga, watch this intro because it is super hilarious with the male leads singing the theme song.   [embed]34532:5208:0[/embed] "Gate (Sore wa Akatsuki no Yō ni)" Anime: GATE A show that is taking on the latest craze where the modern world is mashed together with a fantasy medieval or past world setting, this one is to please those armchair generals and military otaku along with the fantasy fans. I enjoyed the manga a lot and it takes on interesting issues with such a setting.   [embed]34532:5209:0[/embed] "Bravely You" Anime: Charlotte Now here's a show that I did watch, it's about teens who develop powers and abilities during puberty but lose it after puberty ends. The show centers around a school student council who goes around trying to find ability users and helping them from being abused for their abilities. I enjoyed this one a lot.   [embed]34532:5210:0[/embed] "Core Basis: Metamorphosis!" Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan One of the most popular shows last season because of the eponymoust Umaru and how much we relate to her in her slovenly habits and all around selfishness that she hides from the public. We are Umaru.   Is there an anime from last season that you loved? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Chill and Look Back
So it's the holidays for the people in the United States with Thanksgiving followed by the most insane shopping day of the year, Black Friday. So a lot you might by just chillin' in your jammie jams like Umaru pictured above ...


OMAKASE Black Friday deal gets you some stylin' anime goods

I want that Senketsu scarf
Nov 25
// Red Veron
Black Friday is here again along with the insanity but not all deals are to be had in stores since a lot of the anime goods you want aren't in brick and mortar stores these days. One great deal I stumbled upon for the post-turkey day shopping holiday is the OMAKASE subscription goodie box by online video streaming service
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles is reborn on PS4!

Now, where's my Valkyria Chronicles 3?
Nov 25
// Josh Tolentino
I'm not always totally wrong about things, but there are times when I am. It's a good thing that this is one of those times, because Valkyria Chronicles is back, baby! Last week I totally ignored the news that SEGA anno...

Annotated Anime: One Piece episodes 715-719

Nov 24 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 715: The Manly Duel - Senor's Elegy of LoveLuffy continues his senseless and losing fight against Bellamy while Leo and co. get Mansherry back to Viola. This is all peripheral to the main stars of the episode; Franky vs. Senor Pink. We have been getting snippets of this fight for many episodes and but it has never progressed further than just trading a few attacks and hits. In retrospect, I think Senor Pink was absolutely trashing Franky, delivering a hit and the sinking back into the ground. This manly fight is backed by pure testosterone. Neither side wanting to back down nor dodging a hit since it would be unmanly to avoid it, or as they eloquently put it "refuse a drink at a bar by pulling the cup away". Senor Pink's ultimatum comes in this episode stating that if Franky can withstand his ultimate attack then he will back down. The final move turns out to be a very fancy Izuna Drop. Mid-way through the descent, Senor Pink mentions that he knows Franky's weak point i.e. his back since that is the only part of him that isn't mechanised. Things are looking bad for the Straw Hat until he rises from the crater like a goddamn Terminator, red eye and all.  Then comes the emotional flashback. I was told that Doflamingo's executives had some really tear jerker back stories and they weren't lying. I didn't think I'll ever relate to a guy looks like an overgrown baby surrounded by bikini babes, and somehow One Piece has me feeling nothing but empathy for the guy. I love the way it is introduced too. Senor Pink sends Franky flying and starts to wax nostalgic about Russian and Gimlet. We're kept in the dark about these names until the second half the episode which makes the reveal hit harder emotionally. Looking back it's understandable he still holds them dear to his heart. He had to live a double life as a pirate and a family man, and neither should ever meet. I'd imagine he kept his family a secret from the Doflamingo Family as he did his pirate life from his actual family.  On first appearances I thought Senor Pink was a wacky Oda creation with no reason for him being dressed as a baby outside of diversity and character design aesthetics. Having a history behind his appearance makes Senor Pink a much deeper character compared to the other villainous lieutenants the Straw Hats face. I'm just surprised I'm getting more emotional reactions out of the antagonistic cast rather than the heroes. Episode 716: Stardust of Death! Diamante's Storm of Vicious Attacks!We continue to take a look at Senor Pink's life and how he dealt with the mocking eyes of everyone when they saw him dressing as a Baby. Surprisingly well for a Man (with a capital M) that once wore stylish suits and chain-smoked cigarettes. I really didn't think Senor Pink's back story should have been included in this episode. At least not separated from the previous episode. It would've been better if they spent an entire episode on Senor Pink's backstory instead of having two halves of two episode. Fortunately, the pacing was still spot on, not dragging too much on familiar ground and concluding with the Tontatta tribe storming the SMILE factory. As the title implies, we return to the three on one fight on top of Flower Hill. Apparently the joint forces of Robin, Kyos, and Rebecca is still not enough to bring down Steve Tyler's One Piece doppelganger. Diamante makes it rain with lots and lots of caltrops catching Kyros in the barrage of iron spiky objects. However not even this is able to bring down the one legged gladiator so Diamante shoots him instead. And even this isn't enough to bring him down though Diamante did just hit is leg instead of anything more valuable like the heart or head.  Kyos delivers a speech prompting Rebecca to finally drop her sword which is good because she hasn't really used it for the past 10 episodes and had merely served as a decorative item to complete the Gladiator ensemble. I had really hoped Rebecca would be more than a damsel in distress. She was really competent before Kyros arrived, taking on gladiators, avoiding death, and fending for her own. Did the sudden re-appearance of her father negate a decade's worth of fighting experience!?  Episode 717: Trueno Bastardo! Kyos' Furious Strike!After my long break away from One Piece, the show is finally finishing off all their major fights. Senor Pink was finished off in the last two episodes, Mansherry has been rescued and Jora was defeated again. Now it's time for Diamante to eat humble pie and be destroyed at Kyros's hands. Not much to say here as it's just fighting. Not many special moves nor smart tactics. Kyros continues to wails on Diamante as they flashback to Scarlet as she joins the two together being Kyros's wife and Diamante's victim. The two do have another thing in common in this episode and that is to have the scariest close-ups ever in One Piece. The camera gets so close to their face that they contort in bizarre shapes and colors. I'm not too sure if they're sword fighting or tripping out on the flower buds.  Diamante is downed and everyone gets a pat on the back as Violet reads off the remaining executives; Pica, Trebol, the big cheese himself Doflamingo, and Bellemy. I wouldn't consider Bellemy an executive considering Doflamingo has tried to kill that guy about three times already. Episode 718: Moving Across the Ground! The Giant Statue Pica's Surprise Maneuver!Pica decides his fight with Zoro is useless and focusses his efforts on killing Riku instead. He reasons that if the entire country wants Riku back in power, killing Riku would prevent him from dethroning Doflamingo or Doffy as his executives call him. Pica then grows to be a Kaiju-sized monster and traverses Dressrosa towards King Riku and the rest of the crew. As Zoro gives chase, we get a glimpse into the swordsman's strategic mind. Unfortunately, this entire episode is played straightedge. We don't have any funny fails in mind planning or does Zoro get lost from following a behemoth. Having a giant CG Pica looked a little weird amongst all the animation but overall the visuals are on par with a normal One Piece episode; acceptable if you don't look at anything outside front and centre.  Episode 719: A Decisive Battle in Midair! Zoro's New Special Secret Technique Blasts!Now it's time to take down that high pitched stone monstrosity that has been avoiding death since the start of Summer. Zoro's plan is to fly to the top of Pica and slice him before he can destroy King's Plateau along with Riku, Usopp, the Samurai, and the other secondary allies the Straw Hats have picked up in the past year. He gets thrown by Orlumbus and flies through the sky like a plan with swords for wings. The picture of Zoro flying at high speeds through the sky with katana akimbo looks ridiculous. He looks like Woody in the first Toy Story as he's being propelled by the rocket strapped to the back of Buzz except this time it's a suited buff dude with a bandana and two samurai swords.  Meanwhile, Pica painfully takes his time flattening Riku and even pauses when he sees the citizens of Dressrosa banding together to sacrifice themselves with the former king. I'm not too sure why he would pause at that moment considering he's probably killed far more people unconsciously traversing to King's Plateau in his Kaiju form. Zoro slices and dices in the nick of time using his new skill: imbuing his sword's with Haki. Pica escapes as per usual but is cornered midair by the swordsman. The show then starts drawing parallels with the first time Zoro fought Mihawk. I think it's because Zoro uses an upgraded version of his Three Thousand Worlds technique against Pica except the thematic parallels don't work due to the context of each situation. This may be Zoro's strongest enemy to date, but he's not fighting against an equally strong swordsman or cutting a material that is inherently difficult to cut. When he fought Mihawk it was almost certainly a losing battle, he was out of depth. When he fought Daz Bones, he was fighting again against the odds since the guy was made of Iron as a devil fruit power. An uncuttable material. This time, we see Zoro slicing and dicing stone like it's made of cheese so it doesn't look like a difficult fight physically. Zoro for most of the series been able to cut brick and motor. The Pica fight should've been trying to test Zoro's cerebral skills to make him into a better swordsman. Without tactics and intelligence, brute force would only get you so far. However the show doesn't show Zoro stressing about it at all, he doesn't have a eureka moment nor worrying about how to beat this impossible opponent. He was always calm, collected, and content on cutting up stone after stone and chasing after Pica. This seems to be a running theme through the post time skip. The crew never grow stronger after every fight, their training appears to be sufficient to tackle these challenges in the new world.  And with that I'm caught up with One Piece and so are you. Hopefully, I won't leave this week's recapping for another five weeks again otherwise I may be court marshalled from the Japanator ship for going AWOL.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
One Piece photo
One Piece catch up extravaganza!
It's been too long my friends for a salty sailor to be denied the high seas. I've saved One Piece until last since little ever happens week to week. And the five weeks I do decide to leave are the five episodes where three executives are taken down, one of the best heart-wrenching flashbacks in this arc occurs, and Zoro imitates an aeroplane. 

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