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Sugar Cookie Cuteness photo
Sugar Cookie Cuteness

Tiny Japanese meal cookies are too cute to eat


Bite-size Beauty
Nov 10
// Josh Tolentino
Japanese food can be known for its presentation, and in some cases its carefully considered portion sizing, but this might be going a step too far...if we're talking about actual food. Japanese artist Masako (known as "chi___...

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

Nov 09 // Salvador G Rodiles
In this case, Ex-Aid’s weakness isn’t its theme, but the way how the team implemented the show’s video game aspects. The staff’s decision to add video game effects in a Scott Pilgrim-esque manner takes away from the action scenes, due to the messages appearing at a speed before the viewer has the chance to register the show’s special touches. Even when the words are viewable, the whole thing feels a bit subpar in comparison to previous Rider shows where the special effects were flashier. For a show that’s doing its best to capture the magic of video games, the special effects in Ex-Aid’s action scenes made the whole thing look like a poorly-made live-action adaptation of an existing title. Thankfully, the series’ choreography is enjoyable when the fights are more focused on the heroes fighting their opponent. While many of Toei’s tokusatsu shows have never had a huge budget, previous Rider shows like Fourze showcased a great mix between its special effects and action to the point where it gives off a better gaming vibe than Ex-Aid. Sure, they got Hironobu Kageyama of JAM Project to voice the series’ transformation belts, but the program can’t keep up with the guy’s energetic lines and songs that cause people’s blood to boil. In fact, the show introducing folks to a dynamic super robot-themed rocket punch can’t make up for it either. Despite this issue, the series still has some promise. As for the show’s combination of medical and video game themes, Ex-Aid manages to make the whole thing work. The main villains were game-related glitches who turned into creatures called Bugsters, and their goal is to infect people with diseases so they can become complete beings. Of course, this adds a bit of intensity to the series since the main Rider has to prioritize in saving the victims before they fully succumb to the bad guy’s diseases. Depending on what the staff does with this idea, the show has the potential to turn this premise into a super serious matter. The other connection is that the show’s main Riders are all different types of doctors, with the program’s lead, Emu, being an Intern Pediatrician. From the looks of it, the series goal might be to use the guy’s status to have him view the medical field in a different way from the pros, as he tends to find a way to balance his patient’s feeling with their condition. Since the show already introduced a total of five Riders, the show’s rivalry angle might serve as a fun way for the audience to see how Emu deals with this outcome. Perhaps the factor that sparks this rivalry between the doctors is that you have an unlicensed doctor who’s a shout-out to Black Jack that wants everyone’s Rider Gashats, the cartridges that act as the source of each Rider’s power, and a guy with an unknown agenda as Riders, which makes you wonder if this will get in the way of the group's goal to stop the Bugsters. Design wise, Ex-Aid is all over the place. The show’s Riders have features that represent various gaming genres, which work well so far.  At first, most of the gang’s tacky choice of colors seem weird on the eyes, but they manage to grow on me as I got to see them in action. As a fan of RPG games, it was nice that Kamen Rider Brave’s knight look was a neat suit from the get-go. Unfortunately, the Bugster’s costumes aren’t as strong as the Rider ones since many of them feel a bunch of rejected Metaroid designs from the Spy-themed Sentai Series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Even though it’s a bit of a step up from Ghost’s early bad guys, there’s something about them that lacks that ferocity that previous Monsters-of-the-Week had. At the moment, Graphite, one of the show’s major villains, sports the best look so I’m hoping that Ex-Aid's later episodes will make way for some cooler looking beasts. Despite its shortcomings, Ex-Aid still isn’t out of the game yet. The chemistry between the show’s four main Riders could lead to some entertaining conflicts, and the series’ latest reveals could take this show to the next level. Since the series is building up to a possible betrayal moment, there’s a high chance that the show’s staff will increase the difficulty and deliver a more exciting product as its development continues further in the week. Who knows, this angle might cancel out the series odd choice of special attack effects and tacky elements.
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid photo
This game is far from Ex-Citing
When it comes to shows with hybrid motifs, I’m always down for titles filled various things that would normally not go together. Even though the latest Kamen Rider series, Ex-Aid, mixes video games with the medical fiel...

Strega photo
Strega

Gun Caliber Sequel Strega unloads a new teaser


Ready to Rock
Nov 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
Well, folks. It's time to see some bullets fly again, as the guys at Garage Hero upload a new teaser for Gun Caliber's sequel, Strega. The best part is that the project will start its production phase this month. All in all, ...
Free Anime photo
Free Anime

Hey USA, chill out and watch some free streaming anime


You deserve a break today
Nov 08
// Red Veron
Hey there, USA. I hear you've got a big day today. If you've done your civic duty as a US citizen and/or just tired of all the crazy stuff from the past year, it's time to chill out for a little bit and maybe enjoy some free ...

Annotated Anime: Keijo!!!!!!!! episodes 2-5

Nov 08 // Nick Valdez
Before I begin, I'd like to discuss a bit of the discourse I've seen surrounding that first episode. While some (rightfully) declared Keijo was an offensive work, others (also rightfully) defended its parodical content. Neither perspective is incorrect since the women (18 and over, as poignantly noted) do have agency, as they have yet to make a decision for someone other than themselves, but the fan service nature of its production rejects that agency. But as I've noticed throughout the last four episodes, the balance between the two perspectives is thrown out of whack when the girls aren't competing.  For example, episode two and three are a training episodes. As Nozomi and her friends practice to take an elite class entry exam, they train in various techniques. Like most sports anime, Keijo adheres to the training episode narrative (girls struggle before eventually succeeding when they exploit a new technique). But try as it might to take this part of the story seriously, the episode's fan service point of view negates a lot of its attempted narrative work. You see when the girls are competing, there's a sense of seriousness in the work regardless of how ridiculous its imagery gets. The girls may fight each other with their butts and boobs, but they're treated like tools or fists. There's a respect for these girls in the animation when they compete. Shots are composed at wide angles, and they usually don't linger in compromising positions. Yet, in the training episodes, there are several shots dedicated to zooming in on these same body parts with less respect. These "butt figure eights" or Nozomi's constriction suit are shown in lower POVs, emphasizing the girls' assets, instead of reflecting hard work (as you would see in sports anime). Then its a matter of breaking down Keijo's parodical take on sports anime. When does the fan service perspective outweigh the exaggerated comedy? As mentioned, the girls' Keijo battles are definite highlights. Leading to things like "Titty Hypnosis," "Shoryucans," "W-Acceleration," "Vacuum Butt Cannon," and "Cerberus," the flame dog automatic butt attack that literally bites into the other girls. With these moments, we're laughing with the series. And so far, the ratio has been on the more positive end. While the second episode (and one match in episode 4), made the imagery more titilating, the rest of the episodes have yet to do that so far. But the visuals wouldn't be as big of a deal as I'm making them if the rest of the show had anything to work with.  Since Keijo's  personality is entirely derived from its imagery, its characterization falls flat. The girls themselves are, forgive me, two dimensional. The only development each girl received so far is a new technique. and only two of those reveals are relevant to the girl's personality type (i.e. the shy girl talks when her skill is revealed to be dope, the klutz has a butt cushion which helps her accidentally steal victory). The worst part about all of this is I'm forgetting all of their names. That's the trouble with exploitation media in general. You can argue stuff like story and characterization away by simply stating "it's meant to be a joke!" But sexual exploitation is always icky when not subverted by the rest of the production. You need something to say its alright to enjoy its explicit fan service. Whether its humor or some kind of satire, it just needs to be something of importance to elevate its schlock. Otherwise, it won't last long.  The difference between Keijo!!!!!!!! and intentionally exploitative productions (such as Grindhouse or Black Dynamite) is there is still not enough done to elevate its exaggeration. It's slowly making its way toward more fun, but right now it's hollow fan service. I'll even go as far to say that if it were not my job, I most likely would not continue on with this series.  But since I've already invested the time, I will keep hoping something more concrete eventually hits the series. While I still believe Keijo!!!!!!!! indeed succeeds as a fan service delivery system, it has lost that unique sense of fun and confusion I felt after watching the premiere.  [Keijo!!!!!!!! is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now]
Annotated Keijo photo
Get it right, get it right, get it tight
The series premiere of Keijo!!!!!!!! was probably the most confusing anime I've seen this season, and most likely the year. Introducing a world in which busty girls attack each other with their butts for money, I expected the...

Weekend Japanatainment - Monarchy Edition

Nov 06 // Red Veron
[embed]35371:5927:0[/embed] Anime: No Game, No Life A pair of siblings who happen to be really good at all kinds of games are bored of their daily lives and want something more--- challenging. They get transported to a magical land by a deity where war has been replaced by games to decide things between nations. The siblings become the rulers of a nation on the brink falling to another nations using their mad gaming skills. A fun show where characters compete in different games with some very clever and entertaining solutions. A bit of ecchi fanservice in there too.   [embed]35371:5928:0[/embed] Anime: Aldnoah.Zero In the far future where humans in Mars has its own royalty, war breaks out between Earth and Mars due to some human nonsense. Plenty of political intrigue and giant robots too. Written by the same guy who wrote Madoka Magica and Kamen Rider Gaim.   [embed]35371:5929:0[/embed] Anime: K A cool premise where Japan is ruled by different kings that supercede the Japanese government despite having a similar political structure to the real world. How? Because superpowers and fashionable' street wear because most of them look like street gangs. This show's animation style is pretty unique and a lot of people love it.   [embed]35371:5930:0[/embed] Anime: Code Geass In an alternate timline where the British royal family is ousted from Britain and flees to what is now the United States to establish the country of Britannia. Britannia is ruled by a monarchy and they have a military giant robots and some super powers so they take over most of the world. This show is about Japan trying to liberate itself from Britannia with the help of Guy Faulkes-type of character who happens to have a super power that lets him get revenge on Britannia.   Who is your favorite anime royalty or anime featuring royalty? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW WITH EVERYONE!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
No Vote for you!
If you've been paying attention to the news lately, the US is having an election in a few days. As much as everyone is already tired of the election news, being able to vote for a leader is better than having one chosen by pe...

Nichijou photo
Nichijou

Funimation blesses the US with the brilliant Nichijou


THERE IS A KAMI
Nov 06
// Red Veron
Over the years, I have been bothering telling anime distribution companies to bring over one of the best anime comedies ever made (to me it is), Nichijou - My Ordinary Life. Anime distribution company Funimation, announc...
E-SAKUGA photo
E-SAKUGA

Dive into FLCL's key frames with E-SAKUGA's upcoming product


Ride on Shooting Sakuga
Nov 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
There's something wonderful about seeing the hard work that goes into creating an animated piece. One nice thing about this process is seeing the project's key frames that make each scene pop out. Speaking of which, FLCL is g...
Your Name photo
Your Name

Your Name is set to arrive in the US in 2017


Emotional Body Switcharoo
Nov 05
// Red Veron
[Update: The film is set to release on April 7, 2017] Your Name (Kimi no na wa), the astoundingly successful anime film of 2016, will finally reach our US shores next year, thanks to the great foks at Funimation! If you'...

Strong Style: New Beginings

Nov 05 // Soul Tsukino
We are welcomed by Okada! NEVER Openweight title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii A WK10 rematch! Not much else to say about these guys I haven't mentioned before. This should be a fight! Ishii enters first. Right out of the gate Jim Ross screws up and calls it the NEVER Overweight title. He then proceeds to forget Ishii's nickname of "The Stone pitbull". It's gonna be a long night if that keeps up. Shibata enters carrying the belt in his hand. Josh Barnett points out something interesting here as Shibata believes a champion has to earn the right to wear the belt to the ring by defending it once. The man has principles. They glare at each other and then go nose to nose. Bell rings and they go right into a lock up. Shibata goes for a punch but Ishii reverses. Shibata lands a shot and keeps asking Ishii to hit him as he keeps smacking him with forearm shots. They go right into exchanging forearms back and forth. Figured as much. They KEEP going back and forth for like 2 minutes before Ishii stumbles back stunned. Shibata snaps him over and lands a kick. We move ahead a bit as Shibata is landing running boots to Ishii's head. He asks for more and gets it! Ishii stumbles back but throws a clothesline. Shibata no sells it. Shibata lands some more kicks but Ishii hits a clothesline to send Shibata down. Ishii put him on the top turnbuckle and lands the avalanche brainbuster! Cover gets two. Ishii hits a powerbomb but only gets two. Shibata locks in a triangle lock on Ishii out of the pin attempt! Ishii gets his foot on the ropes to break the hold. They get back up and more forearms by Shibata. He picks the big guy up and hits the DVD but Ishii pops right up. He hits a suplex but Shibata is up and lands a kick to put Ishii back down. Only gets a 2 count. Shibata locks in a rear choke. but Ishii powers out and reaches the ropes again.  Shibata lands a kick to send them both down. they struggle back up and MORE forearms now. Shibata goes down first. Ishii runs him over with the clothesline and hits a suplex, but Shibata gets up. Ishii hits two headbutts and a low clothesline, but only gets two. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Shibata wiggles out and locks in the armbreaker! He turns it into a triangle and then turns it back into the arm breaker. Ishii gets to the ropes but the damage is done. Shibata gets up and lands some kicks but Ishii gets up. and throws an elbow right to the throat! Shibata lands the back fist!  Shibata tries for the PK but Ishii catches him! Ishii hits a headbutt that stuns Shibata. Ishii with a dropkick! Ishii counters out of a choke attempt. Shibata throws the headbutt but Ishii with the hard smacks. Shibata gets the sleeper. Ishii is down. PK! Shibata gets the win and retains the belt! What a match!  We go to commercial and holy crap a commercial for New Japan World! Cool! In the studio with Okada. He doesn't know the story going on with Goto, but he does remember Goto calling him out in the middle of the ring. Okada teases him by saying he was going to make it title vs. title but that Goto had lost his belt. IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto Goto got a big win over Naito at WK10 while Okada defended the belt a shook the monkey off his back by beating Tanahashi. However, on our last show in a big tag team match, Goto was booed severely when facing up against Okada. Let's see if that plays into the match at all. I'll point out that I saw the original entrance from New Japan and they did a quick montage of ALL the previous IWGP champions before this match. Wish that had been shown here. Goto comes out and he looks incredible. He is wearing all white, including tabi boots. He has on a red oni mask and is painted in white with lots of kanji written on him in black. The subject of former WWFer Jinsei Shinzaki and JR mentions the WWE network.  Jim, YOU DON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE! Barnett says the writing on Goto's face is "fierce warrior". Full introductions for this one. JR mentions Goto has challenged for the belt 8 times and never won it. Bell rings and they do... nothing. They both finally leave the corners and go for a Greco-roman lock up, but back away. Lock up and waist lock by Goto. Okada gets a wristlock but Goto reverses into a full nelson and snaps him over in a chinlock. Okada gets out of it, but Goto goes right into a headlock. Goto up still with the headlock, but takes him down again. for a one count. They go into the ropes and Goto gets a kick in and starts striking Okada down and Okada rolls out of the ring. Goto slides out, but Okada slides in and when Goto enters the ring Okada hits him with a dropkick. Goto comes back in as Okada takes over with strikes and slam before hitting a senton. The cover goes nowhere. Okada grabs a heavenly lock in but Goto gets a rope break. Snapmare but Goto pops up and lands a clothesline. He RAMS Okada's head in the buckle and tosses him outside. Goto runs Okada around the barriers before tossing him inside. All this time JR is going on a rant about how TNA had Okada for months and used him as a Kato like character. "If I were to build a company, I'd do it around Okada." "That's kinda what New Japan is doing." - Josh's reply. Goto leads in with some kicks as Okada gets up but Goto strikes him and tosses him into the corner. He works over the champ with kicks and strikes. Forearms right into the face now. Ref breaks it up as Okada gets up and tosses Goto into the ropes but misses the kick and is clotheslined. Goto gets a reverse chinlock and tags Okada on the head with a chop. Okada gets up and strikes Goto but Goto just hits him back. he goes for a cover and gets two. Meanwhile, JR is bitching about wrestlers playing video games in the locker rooms instead of watching the matches. Josh counters that if the wrestlers are playing video games, they aren't interfering in the matches. Back from the break as Goto gets a suplex, but only two on the count. Okada gets the turnbuckle again and a series of elbows in the face. Okada reverses but hits the buckle again, however, when Goto goes to the ropes, Okada gets in a flapjack. Okada hits some forearms and then a kick to send Goto down. Whip in the buckle and Okada gets the side hit into a DDT and a kip up. He goes for the pin but only two. He slams Goto down and climbs up but Goto pops up, Okada dives over him and Goto clotheslines him in the back of the head. He lands some brutal side kicks and then a spinning kick into the corner. He lands a suplex on Okada and goes for a pin but again, doesn't get it. Okada tries to throw a clothesline but Goto turns it into a spinning neckbreaker. Okada gets into the corner and Goto tries to run in but he hits Goto with a kick. Goto tries the corner again and is lifted to the apron but Okada blocks an attack to send them both down. They get up and start exchanging forearms back and forth. Okada tries a headbutt but Okada hits the clothesline but Okada counters with heavy rain! Cover gets two. Okada hits two low dropkicks but doesn't get the pin. Okada climbs up and hits the missile dropkick. Pin gets a 2 count. Okada hits the slam and climbs up and hits the flying elbow! rainmaker pose! He goes for the rainmaker but Goto spins around and locks in an armlock! Goto tries to wrench back but Okada rolls it over for a pin attempt. Okada breaks and hits the ushigoroshi. He then goes back to the arm breaker. He is stretching the champ now! Okada gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Back from break with Goto up. He lands a kick to the back a few times. More kicks. Goto picks him up and hits a reverse ushigoroshi. Goto goes for the suplex but Okada snakes out to escape, but Goto comes right over and strikes him. He lifts Okada on the buckle and gets a few forearms. Goto picks him up on his shoulders and hits the avalanche ushigoroshi! Count only gets two. Goto picks him up in the suplex but Okada reverses it into a small package. Goto rolls through it and picks him up and hits the shotenkai! Goto goes for the pin but Okada gets his hand on the rope. They get up and Okada hits the rainmaker! Both men down now. They pick themselves up and throw some forearms on their knees. Okada up first and throws some uppercuts. Okada lands a kick and a shot to the face before going into the waistlock. Okada goes for a kick, Goto counters, but Okada counters into the suplex. They struggle for it but Okada hits the dropkick. Okada tries for the Rainmaker, but Goto hits the headbutt. Okada tries it again and gets a headbutt again. Goto tries for a suplex but Okada grabs onto the arm and hits the rainmaker. He then hits it again! He hits it a third and Goto's out. Okada pins him to put it away. We come back from break and the champ has something to say. With all the happenings in NJPW, don't worry. I'm here. Mr. Goto, your revolution ends here. But if you want to keep changing things, join CHAOS. He has no third point. Someone who left said pro wrestling is the greatest, but it's New Japan that is the greatest. Backstage Okada says Goto didn't really change other than his costume. he wasn't so much inviting Goto to CHAOS but extending him a hand to help him change as he wants to. Studio words saying the same thing about Goto. He said Nakamura left to find the best wrestling in the world, but he doesn't agree and thinks New Japan is the best in what they do. The action was amazing. Both matches were fun, even if they were a little slower paced than say stuff from someone Kenny Omega or Nakamura. You could see the intensity in Goto as he looked to kill Okada to get the belt. Jim Ross's commentary through was grating. His rants about wrestlers playing video games, Ishii not wearing socks, Constant WWE mentions, bashing TNA about something that happened 10 years ago, harping that this was Goto's eighth shot at the title he's never won, and mentions of Bill Watts over and over are wearing thin. He is on autopilot and desperately needs new material and less bitching about these dang kids today. He's becoming more like Abe Simpson than anything. Anyway, just giving you all a heads up as next week's article will be a bit delayed as I will be covering the AniMaine Convention again this year with a full report. The big match next time though is Tanahashi and Omega for the vacant Intercontinental title so you will not want to miss that!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Okada defends the belt!
Hi Gang! Welcome to another Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro wrestling on AXS TV. This week it is a New Begining! We are traveling to Osaka fresh off the heels of WrestleKingdom 10 with some big matches from February 11, 2016! Let's get to the matches!

PinocchioP photo
PinocchioP

PinocchioP's HUMAN album is up for pre-order on iTunes


Gotta love digital music options
Nov 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
November has arrived and we're closer to the release of Vocaloid Artist PinocchioP's third album, HUMAN. The nice part is that it can now be pre-ordered on iTunes for $15.99, with three songs already available for folks ...
Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Get left in the cold with RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel


Don't forget to bring a warm coat
Nov 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] It looks like things are going to get icy around here, as I attempt to go through RosenkreuzStilette's sequel, RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel. Compare to its pr...

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Delicious

Nov 03 // Red Veron
Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!  
Loot Anime photo
Sweet Tooth for some Sweet Anime Loot
My monthly craving for some anime goodies just got satisfied with the latest Loot Anime box! The lovely folks over at Loot Anime HQ provided us with this month's Loot Anime, and the theme is "Delicious". This month's Loot An...

Mofu Mofu Dogs photo
Mofu Mofu Dogs

Let's give a round of appaws to Japan's new canine idol group


This group has more bark than bite
Nov 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
Well, people. It looks like we have a new dog-themed group in town and they're ready to create music with their barks. Going by the name of Mofu Mofu Dogs, these idols are actual Akita-Inu breed canines with human bodies...
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger photo
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger

Indie Ninja-themed Tokusatsu Tekkaraiger's second season looks fun


Never bring a gun to a shinobi fight
Oct 30
// Salvador G Rodiles
Last week marked the premiere of the Indie Group Shield and Sword Production's Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger Season 2. With two episodes out on their channel, the project's sequel shows some promise. While the new season hasn't rev...
Light Novels photo
Light Novels

Licensing GET: J-Novel Club grabs Grimgar and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse


Two new light novels enter the scene
Oct 30
// Salvador G Rodiles
As J-Novel Club continues to grace the Internet with its service that gives people access to digital light novels, the company has added Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalyps...
Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: RosenkreuzStilette's final part is about to go poof


Can we pull off this disappearing act?
Oct 29
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] It looks like fate wasn't on my side last time since I wasn't able to get to the final boss in the Megaman-like doujin game known as RosenkreuzStilette. Part of this fa...

Weekend Japanatainment - Scary Anime Edition

Oct 29 // Red Veron
[embed]35358:5911:0[/embed] Anime: School Live! Here is an interesting show, take a cute-girl-doing-cute-things kind of show and set it in a zombie apocalypse. Do I have your attention? Yeah, this one is a definite must watch especially with that kind of setting that is actually pretty unique.   [embed]35358:5912:0[/embed] Anime: Ghost Stories This is a show that has been brought over to the US and received an English dub. It was a fairly generic anime horror with kids in actual peril but when it was brought over, the US company that dubbed it, the late ADV films, changed the entire script into a comedy. So what we get is a raunchy and funny show full of jokes and ad-libs by the voice actors turning this horror anime into something quite different.   [embed]35358:5913:0[/embed] Anime: Paranoia Agent This is a show that freaked me out a little bit when I first saw it on late nights on Adult Swim more than a decade ago. The show had atmosphere and mystery with different and separate characters all experiencing odd or weird phenomena that were just plain unsettling at times. It was all thanks to the late anime director  Satoshi Kon, who's made some amazing mind bending anime that just really makes your imagination go wild.   [embed]35358:5914:0[/embed] Anime: Sword Art Online RIP Character development. This show killed it the second it began.   Are there any scary anime or anime with scary elements that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
OBLIGATORY SCARY TIME
It's that time of the year again and I am slapping together an impromptu post about scary anime to coincide with the celebration of Halloween! This yearly event of dressing up and asking for candy from strangers is also about...

Strong Style: Moving on

Oct 29 // Soul Tsukino
Since this is a special show. No greetings from anyone.  The Bullet Club (A.J. Styles/ Kenny Omega) vs. CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura/ YOSHI-HASHI) An all-star tag match. This takes place the night after WrestleKingdom where Nakamura beat Styles, Omega lost the Jr. Heavyweight Title to Kushida and Yoshi was part of the pre-show rumble. Okay, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. We are at the Sumo Hall as all four men are already in the ring. Styles and Nakamura start off Lock up and they reverse waist locks before Nakamura gets the advantage and Styles gets the sit out. Lock up and they go into the ropes and Nakamura goes for the belly rub. Styles drills Nakamura in the back of the head for that and goes right into a wristlock. Nakamura counters with a cartwheel and gets in a wristlock of his own before sliding into a headlock, but Styles whips him into the ropes and a leapfrog but Nakamura hangs onto the ropes. Styles tries for something and misses while Nakamura goes for a knee strike and miss. Styles challenges Shinsuke to come on. Nakamura charges but Styles gets the deep arm drag but Nakamura counters with a leg scissors, but Styles slips out of that and we have a standoff. We jump ahead (probably editing out the Yoshi-Hashi stuff) to a point where Nakamura is landing some kicks to the gut of Styles. Nakamura lands an enziguri to send Styles into the corner. Nakamura gets in the good vibrations and goes for a knee strike but Styles moves. Styles charges in but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut anyway and sets up AJ on the top rope, cartwheels backward and lands the knee strike to the stomach. Nakamura goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He picks up Styles who jumps up and launches into a strike and kick combo but Nakamura ducks the last strike and fires off a combo of his own. Styles goes down and crawls over to the corner for as tag. Kenny comes in and lands a few punches on Nakamura. Shinsuke lands one back but Omega turns around and hits him. Kenny goes to the ropes but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut and then hits an enziguri kick. Shinsuke goes for a side suplex but Omega blocks it and hammers in a few elbows. He spins around and gets Nakamura in a facelock but Yoshi runs in and lands a blockbuster on Omega and holds him so that Nakamura lands the low knee. Pin attempt only gets two as Styles breaks it up. Yoshi tosses Styles from the ring and gets out. Nakamura tries for the booma ye but Kenny catches him and put him down with a Finlay roll, but when he goes up for a moonsault, Nakamura brings the knees up. Nakamura goes for the booma ye again but Kenny lands a clothesline to send Shinsuke in a flip. Kenny dead lifts him from a prone position on the mat and picks him up into a powerbomb position before hitting a doctor bomb on him. He nearly gets the pin but Yoshi comes in and breaks it up. Omega goes for the one winged angel but Nakamura slips out. He holds Omega as Yoshi comes in but Omega ducks and Yoshi clotheslines Nakamura!  Styles comes in and hits the bloody Sunday DDT on Yoshi to take him out. Omega hits a running knee to Nakamura's head and then a second one! Omega tries to pick him up but Nakamura springs to life. Nakamura lands the reverse power slam but when he goes for another move Styles comes flying in with a springboard clothesline. He turns around to attack Nakamura and lands the Pele kick on him before Omega leaps up and hits the reverse hurrancanrana and drives him down. He lifts Nakamura up and hits the one winged angel for the pinfall! Styles and Omega congratulate each other as Nakamura is helped out from ringside. We come back from break with both guys still in the ring. As styles climbs the turnbuckle to congrat the fans, Omega comes up and gives Styles the one winged angel! Omega lays in the boots as the Bucks, Cody, Gallows and Anderson come in to split things up. as Doc, Karl and Cody Hall lift Styles up, the Bucks and Omega land the triple superkick! Anderson and Gallows seemed confused at first, but they join in as the entire group kicks the crap out of Styles. We have a new leader of the Bullet Club. Omega grabs the mic and asks if anyone was surprised. Styles, you have been fired! He renounces being a junior and says he is challenging Nakamura for the IC title! They begin to leave but jump back in the ring and attack the young boys before going after Styles again. Omega then hits the styles clash on AJ. The Club leaves and Styles climbs up to his feet as the crowd cheering for him. He bows to the fans for his final exit. Backstage Styles says he respects NJPW and all it offered him. He will never forget what happened in the ring. But as the saying goes about the best-laid plans. Things did go as New Japan quite wanted. See Styles had been competing for them withgout a contract for a while before this, so they knew he would leave. Having Kenny Omega was the plan. But the original idea was to have Omega defeat Nakamura and win the IC title from him to put him over. But Nakamura put in his notice too, and both he and NJPW thouyght he would hang around for the next big show to drop the belt and put Omega over. Be it either NJPW, The WWE, or Nakamura himself, that was nixed and Nakamura was going to leave for the U.S. earlier than they wanted. Nakamura vacated the belt and it was announced that he would face someone else, but didn't say who. That brings us to January 30th, again at the Sumo hall, and Nakamura's final appeaerence. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Meiyu vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii) Now THIS is an all-star match! The crowd is all for Shinsuke with a chant and red banners everywhere now. Everyone is in the ring as Nakamura makes his entrance.  His partners even hold the ropes open for him. The match starts with Okada and Goto. The crowd starts a big Okada chant surprisingly. Jim Ross surprises me a bit by bringing up the "New 3 Musketeers" that were Nakamura, Tanahashi, and Shibata when they came out of training, and mentions the original 3 musketeers of Great Muta, Masa Chono, and Shinya Hashimoto (Rest in Peace big man). Anyway, Goto and Okada lock up and go right into the ropes where Goto gives the champ a shot and then another. Okada backs them both to the middle of the ring and lands a few forearm shots before running the ropes only to get hit with a shoulderblock by Goto.  Goto lands a low kick and Okada rolls outside. Goto doesn't do that crap and goes outside and throws Okada right back in, but Okada is sneaky as he leaps up and runs across the ring to come back and land a speeding dropkick to send Goto down. Goto looks pissed, but just calmly walks around before slowly entering the ring. Okada turns around and tags Ishii. Shibata (who is wearing a huge bandage around his leg) begs to come in and Goto obliges.  Shibata comes in and they circle a bit before Shibata goes for a waistlock that has them both on the ropes. Clean break. They tie up in a greco-roman style lock up and back into the ropes again. Ishii decides to not go for the clean break instead chopping Shibata right in the chest. Shibata literally brushes that off and begs for more. Ishii lands a few more shots before aiming these suckers right to the throat! Shibata just asks for more. Finally Shibata lands a forearm shot to Ishii's chest and HE asks for more. After three forearm shots he starts firing off forearms and we got a duel. Back and forth for what seems like forever before Ishii goes to the ropes. Shibata goes for a kick but Ishii sidesteps in and lands another forearm. Ishii goes back to the ropes and Shibata lands the boot this time but Ishii just yells at him. He goes for a third time and finally Shibata drops him. Ishii seems to be holding his wrist, but Shibata goes for the legs and locks in his version of the Figure four leg lock. Ishii just yells at him more before Shibata torques the ankle. Ishii reveres the hold, but it's turned right back. Shibata lets go of the hold and Tanahashi tags in. Ishii goes over and tags Nakamura. The crowd is right into this match up as they start cheering. The two old rivals lock up aggressively and right into the ropes. Nakamura gets the belly rub thing in one last time and backs off, challenging Tanahashi. Hiroshi goes for it and Nakamura lands a knee to the stomach. Shinsuke goes for a kick and a knee but misses them both as Tanahashi gets up and dares Nakamura to come get some. He goes for it and Tanahashi lands a sweet armdrag. He locks in a textbook armlock on Nakamura before he tags in Shibata. They both whip Nakamura in and land a double shoulderblock. They give each other a look before they go for an MMA style lock up. They back into the ropes and for the love of chud SHIBATA does the belly face rub to Nakamura! Shinsuke has this look of "you got to be kidding me" before he goes for a strike that Shibata block and Shibata lands a slap to the face. they back off a bit and start over with Shibata trying for a waistlock but Nakamura rolls through it. Shibata then tries for a chinlock but they keep out maneuvering each other. This finally ends up with Nakamura getting a chinlock but Shibata flips him over to the mat and then lands the kick to the back. As he is trying to get up, Shibata keeps land kicks to Nakamura. Shinsuke counters with a block and tries to throw a kick but it misses, only for him to hit the rebound with a spin kick to Shibata's head. Okada and Ishii suddenly come in and send the opposing corner to the floor. As the fight is going on Nakamura sends Shibata down in the corner and lands good vibrations followed up by a jumping knee into a 2 count. Ishii tags in and both he and Okada come in. They both whip Shibata into the ropes and he runs right into THREE BOOTS. Shibata goes down but Nakamura and Okada PICK UP ISHII. The drop him onto Shibata with a sit-down splash and he gets a 2 count. He lands some weak kicks to Shibata to fire him up and then some chops. Shibata just gets mad and stand up as he fires off some forearm shots. He puts down Ishii but then runs over and lands a low dropkick to Nakamura to send him to the floor. Ishii runs up and lands a low kick to Shibata. We come back from the break with Okada legal now as he slams Shibata near the ropes and goes to the apron. He lands the slingshot press. He tries the cover and only gets two before tagging Nakamura back in. Nakamura lands a kick and then gets in a front choke. He brings it back to his corner where Okada tag back in and lands a shot to the back. He tries to whip Shibata in the corner but when he goes running in, he is met with a kick. Okada hits the ropes but he is met with a strike to the face. Shibata rolls over and tags Goto. Goto gets booed big time. Man, the crowd just does not like him. Wonder why (no, I am clueless why they hate him all of a sudden)?  He takes out the two guys in the corner and then lands some stuff kicks to Okada before whipping him to the buckle and lands a twisting kick and streams right into a back suplex. He goes for a pin and nearly gets it, but Okada kicks out. He then gets right on Okada by beating his brains in with elbow strikes. He charges the corner but Okada moves. and lands a DDT into a nip up. He hits a rolling uppercut and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He slams Okada down and goes up top, but Goto gets up and meets him. Okada jumps over him and when Goto turns around Okada hits him with a forearm. He whips Goto in and lands the flapjack before tagging in Nakamura. Shinsuke lands a bunch of deep kicks to Goto who catches one, just t get the enziguri kick to the side of the head. Nakamura hits the ropes but Goto leaps up and hits the ropes too and runs over Nakamura with a clothesline. He tags in Tanahashi who just strolls into the ring. Nakamura gets up and they have  a stare down before Tanahashi SLAPS Nakamura. Shinsuke answers with a forearm and now they are dueling with forearm shots to the jaw. Tanahashi springs off the ropes and hits Nakamura with a flying forearm to the chest. He slams Shinsuke down and hits the senton off the middle rope but can't put him away. Nakamura tries the full nelson but Hiroshi breaks it, then breaks the waistlock before Nakamura tries for a kick but Tanahashi catches that and hits the dragon screw leg whip. He sends Nakamura into the corner but Nakamura dodges the charge setting Tanahashi perfectly on the top rope and a knee strike. He gets caught by Nakamura who lands the reverse suplex  Nakamura shimmies a bit and signals for the booma ye but as he goes for it Shibata comes in and lands a dropkick. Goto comes in and hits the ushigoroshi and Tanahashi goes up for the high fly flow. Shinsuke brings the knees up and down goes Hiroshi. Nakamura goes to whip Tanahashi but Hiroshi reverses it into the slingblade.  Ishii and Shibata tag in now and Ishii runs right over Shibata and starts laying in forearm shots. Shibata answers back with a head to head glare before he starts throwing forearm shots. He unveils a new move as he whips Ishii into the corner and is right behind him with a flying kick. He does it again before throwing more forearm strikes. He hits his sweet hanging dropkick before dragging Ishii up and hitting a half hatch suplex and goes for the cover for two. Shibata looks for a suplex but turns in into a front facelock. Ishii says the hell with that and turns it into a brainbuster suplex. Ishii whips Shibata into the corner and squashes him before gong for the cover but not getting it. Ishii goes for a piledriver but Goto comes in and lands the clothesline. He then runs over and nails Okada. Shibata picks him up and Goto goes for the clothesline but Ishii ducks and Goto clothesline Shibata. Okada comes running in to boot Goto in the face.  All three of CHAOS come in and Nakamura lands a step kick and Okada hits a senton and then Ishii hits the elbow, but can't get the pin. Nakamura and Okada go outside but Goto comes back in. Shibata holds him and they get the move off but Okada comes back in the ring and boots Goto. He tries to boot Tanahashi but Hiroshi catches his leg and gets the leg whip. Nakamura comes in and lands a flying knee but Shibata comes in and lands a big dropkick on Nakamura!  Everyone except Shibata and Ishii rolls to the floor. Ishii comes running across the ring and flattens Shibata with a clothesline. He picks Shibata up, but Shibata lands a spinning back fist! Shibata scurries over and locks in a triangle but Nakamura comes in and kicks Shibata right in the ear. Tanahashi comes in and they start fighting outside the ring. Shibata locks in the reverse choke and Ishii struggles to the ropes. Shibata BLASTS him with a kick to put him down but he goes to the ropes where Okada meets him with his awesome dropkick. Nakamura then hits the booma ye. He tries and pick Ishii up and slaps him around to wake him up. Ishii feels better and lands the brainbuster on Shibata to score the pinfall!  We come back from commercial with Kenny Omega now at ringside. He says that it's Nakamura's last match, but we shouldn't be sad. It's his graduation to go take on the world! He wants Nakamura to admit that he is a chicken and is scared to fight him. Tanahashi appears, grabs a mic and tells Omega that HE will be facing Omega for the IC title and that he is the ACE. Omega backs down from that. Tanahashi leaves as the ref brings Okada and Gedo in and raises the hands of the winners of the match. Nakamura takes the mic. He bows to the fans and asks if he should say something He is grateful to all those he fought and the fans who supported him. He will show the world what he has. He will not say goodbye, just Thank You. Yeahoh! He tries to leave but the other CHAOS guys come out (even Jado!) and he hugs all of them. Okada's even in tears. They give a big pose for the cameras and the crowd is chanting for him. He declares that Pro Wrestling is the greatest. As they leave Okada carries him out on his shoulders. The announcers say this is a celebration for Nakamura, not a mourning of him leaving. Backstage he says it's been a long time and some of the guys are like family. He says he is sure Okada will protect this place. Someone ask about fans waiting for him to come back to wrestling in NJPW and he kinda just doges the question as we end things this week. Well, the first match was nothing to speak of. They hacked a lot out just to skip to the ending. The second match though was great! A fitting way to end a run for Nakamura than that. Skip the first ten minutes and the show is wonderful!  See you all next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
2 stars say goodbye
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  This week we deal with the immediate fallout of WrestleKingdom 10. Okada is still the IWGP Champion, GBH are the new tag cha...

First Impressions: March comes in like a lion episodes 1-3

Oct 29 // Red Veron
March comes in like a lion introduces us to Rei Kiriyama, a teenage professional Shogi player who happens to be really good at it. Though that setup sounds like he has it good but he has no real family and very few friends. The show starts out pretty quiet and a bit dreary when we first meet Rei. He lives by himself in a new town where he just moved to and lives a rather lonely existence in his apartment with a nice view of the river. The first episode begins as we follow him as he starts his day and he goes to a shogi match. As we get to know more of Rei, we find that his life isn't all bad but not exactly perfect. Rei is in that self-discovery part of his life (like most teens his age), trying to find his place in the world and figuring things out. These things are explored as Rei plays shogi, the one thing Rei is good at, which makes Rei feel conflicted with each win he makes takes something away from someone else. The second half of the first episode has a dramatic shift in tone that really came out of nowhere. Everything did feel dreary and sad but once that shift in tone happnes, I felt like I was getting hit with a train. Except that train was made of rainbows and happiness. This very much sets up the show, there will be plenty of quiet and sad moments punctuated by some happy and funny moments to break it up. It's much like real life, where even if everything isn't going well, people will try to find something to break that up with something happy to keep their sanity intact. We get to meet more characters in the first few episodes and we find that Rei isn't exactly alone. There are people around him, he has a bit of a problem with connecting with others because of his past, which we learn more and more. The characters we meet are an interesting bunch, providing a lot of comedy and contrast to Rei's more reserved nature. The secondary characters are given some development early on and most of them probably will much like in Honey and Clover. Shogi plays a minor part in the show, with Rei being a professional Shogi player but the viewer doesn't need to know the game at all to enjoy. The Shogi playing is a backdrop and more a plot device used more to show off the nature of the characters playing Shogi. I really want to talk about everything in the show but it would spoil all the good stuff that can surprise viewers. Visually, SHAFT does an excellent job in bringing Chika Umino's art to life and I honestly thought I was watching more of the author's previous work with Honey and Clover, which was made by J.C. Staff, an entirely different studio. While SHAFT made this show, the first episode was much more subtle than their usual work and their trademark motifs and touches are only noticeable to those very familiar with their work. SHAFT faithfully recreates Umino's pretty character designs and even her watercolor pastel art style from her artwork very well.  SHAFT's fingerprints do show up more often with each episode. The very SHAFT moments do make things better in this show, as it perfectly lends itself to the comedy while adding more to the dramatic moments. This is all due to the director, Akiyuki Shinbou, who worked on popular SHAFT productions such as Hidamari Sketch and the Monogatari series, and March comes in like a lion is full of those elements from those shows. Those worried that SHAFT might screw this up or take it too far should be rest assured that SHAFT has had experience with slower paced slice-of-life anime. The songs they chose to start and end the show are by Bump of Chicken and they are just superb. Not quite as diverse as Honey and Clover's soundtrack, but the songs that bookend the show and insert songs go really well with the show and set up the mood just right. Fans of Chika Umino's work will find familiar themes from her previous work, a slice-of-life story with drama that can get heavy at times. It's a coming-of-age story in trying to find a place in the world and not knowing how things will turn out. No actual romance in yet this early in the show, but there might be some down the line. The first episode is a good example of what to expect, and the following two prove that there is more to the show with comedy and not just gloomy teenager stuff all the time. I highly recommend this show for people to watch if they want a grounded and solid slice-of-life drama to balance out all the action and waifu/husbando shows from this season. [Catch March comes in like a lion on Crunchyroll and Daisuki.]
First Impressions photo
Game of Life
It's been almost a decade since the first time I watched the anime adaptation of Chika Umino's Honey and Clover. I was hooked right from the first episode; from its beautiful art and animation to the memorable characters, it ...

Final Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Oct 28 // Salvador G Rodiles
While Thunderbolt Fantasy’s scene that involved Yao Tu Li resulted in a moment that ended too quickly, it’s thanks to the team’s surprises that this segment was made into a big thing. We barely knew anything about Shang Bu Huan’s background or the limit of his abilities, so his finishing move ended up being the thing that was big enough to leave us amazed with his latest arsenal that no one knew about. Of course, the thing that made the show’s finale spectacular was the fight between Mie Tian Hai and Gui Niao/Lin Xue Ya. Prior to this finale, the series made it seem that this whole story was going to lead to Huan being the one to face off the Xuan Gui Zong’s leader. Aside from the glorious clash between the two characters, the idea that we learned about Ya’s real motives was made this confrontation even more worthwhile. Not only that, the guy was as mysterious as Huan. In a way, his idea of stealing from powerful egotistical villains to break them goes well with Thunderbolt Fantasy’s possible theme about realities’ harsh truths. The nice part about this element was that it applied to any character in the show, regardless of their alignment. Since the butcher does his best to make sure that everyone gets a taste of the knife, his goal to make his characters suffer suited the whole theme of how things don’t always go the way they planned. Whether it was a certain character getting the last laugh on Ya or getting a glimpse of Huan’s true power, Thunderbolt Fantasy was filled with many surprises that made up for its quick battle between Huan and Yao Tu Li. Honestly, that the battle against Yao Tu Li was handled poorly; it's that wasn’t as fleshed out as the previous fights that appeared throughout the series. Nonetheless, the way how Huan took it down was what made the whole thing amazing. While it seemed like something that came out of the left field, it added to the main hero’s mysterious nature. Seeing that the series is getting a sequel, this element could be something that they could expand upon in this new show. For now, it serves as a way to show us that he likely has more surprises up his sleeve than Ya. On top of that, it was nice that he found a way to give Dan Fei hope after it seemed like her mission was going to end in failure; thus fulfilling the butcher’s requirement of a bittersweet ending, except happier than his usual stuff. Even when Thunderbolt Fantasy started off as a straightforward tale about stopping Hai, the show was filled with many elements that foreshadowed towards things getting out of hand. Most of the cast had mysterious backgrounds and there were many folks who exhibited ulterior motives. Accompanied with the weekly over-the-top puppet on puppet action, every episode featured the right amount of elements to keep the audience entertained. This was also thanks to the crew’s hard work in designing the characters and environments for each scene. Throughout the series, the staff did their best to present a set of large environments for the puppets while using both digital and practical effects to give the setting some life. Overall, the detail that the team put into the stages worked well in pulling us into Thunderbolt Fantasy’s world. The show’s food props gave off a mouthwatering feeling and the weather segments were executed in a way that it seemed like the studio was hit with an actual storm. Of course, it was a treat to see the staff go out of their way to showcase their puppets in high-speed battles that knock the world out of balance each week. Just like the environments, the team’s puppet designs were one of the show’s highlights. The detail placed into the cast’s outfits gives each character an elegant look, as the various colorful fabrics make each person shine. To top it off, the puppets’ sculpts on the puppets made sure that each one exhibited a sense of mystery or ridiculousness. One example was Hai’s design, which had him sport a black robe with fancy gold pieces and jewelry. His exquisite mask and collection of swords worked well in making him look threatening, along with being someone of high power. In Urobuchi’s quest to be involved with different mediums, he’s shown us again that his cutting techniques are qualified for high-octane marionette action shows. His style was able to mix well with Pili’s tendency to blow people away with their puppets. Together, they came up with a fine project that taught the main cast the harsh truths about reality, along with giving a new hope to those who survived the final outcome. While the main story is over, there are still plenty of things that Thunderbolt Fantasy could pull off with its sequel. For now, this series is the start of a beautiful thing that can blossom into something that’s even greater than it already is. In fact, it could keep us tied up for a good while. [Feel Thunderbolt Fantasy's shock at Crunchyroll.]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
Now that's what I call electrifying
It’s hard to believe that one of the best shows of the summer was a series that featured puppets involved in cool action sequences. Honestly, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s biggest treat was the way how Urobuchi, Pili Inte...

Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate photo
Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate

Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate brings us a new take on Los Angeles' local hero


The sun rises again
Oct 27
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's been a year since the Indie Los Angeles Tokusatsu Show Fujiyama Ichiban's first season came to a close, and the team is ready to take their creation to the next level. This time, Michi Yamato (Chodenshi Bioman's Sui...
Full Metal Panic! IV photo
Full Metal Panic! IV

Huzzah: Full Metal Panic!'s new series to air next Fall


Fall 2017 is going to be spectacular
Oct 23
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since I watched all of Full Metal Panic!, my desire to see a new series was one of my biggest wishes of all time. While this project was revealed last year, new details about the upcoming anime were revealed at the Fanta...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 2-4

Oct 23 // Soul Tsukino
In the first episode of Tiger Mask W, we were introduced to Naoto and Takuma, the last remains of the Jipang wrestling gym that was put out of business thanks to the Global Wrestling Monopoly. They both have their own way of getting revenge not only for the gym disbanding but also putting Takuma's father in the hospital. Takuma becomes Tiger Dark and joins the GWM while Naoto becomes the heroic Tiger Mask and takes on the GWM's best. Now that the introduction episode is out of the way, we move on to see where the story goes from here. Episode 2: The second episode picks up where the debut left off and the immediate fallout of the debut of the mysterious Tiger Mask. The story starts out with Miss X and the GWM demanding an apology and issuing a challenge at a press conference. Haruna goes to answer the challenge and we find out Tiger's next opponent is a veteran wrestler named Black Python. When the two sides start to squabble, we see the real star of this episode, New Japan Pro Wrestling. You can't really be surprised, with them coproducing this series and all, but this episode focused more on their part in this series even more than Tiger Mask himself. They were just kind of there in the first show, being the biggest company in Japan since the GWM had left. This episode they play a part of a third wheel, with real life wrestler Yuji Nagata appearing for the first time, but in a role of a booker/office guy instead of a wrestler. He wants part of the spotlight of Tiger Mask and the GWM too, so he gets Miss X and Haruna to agree to have a big show at their arena during the big tournament. Things get more interesting when he weasels both of them to have a "prelude" tag team match first (a typical move NJPW does in real life). Black Python's partner is Tiger Dark, while Haruna can't come up with a partner, Yuji "provides" them with Wakamatsu, the young boy wrestler who has been hanging around Okada in the first episode. Yuji and Okada later talk to the boy and tell him to look really good in the match so that NJPW gets the attention. If this story sounds like NJPW trying to shoehorn themselves into the story the hardest they can, you would be right. But, I guess you gotta get wrestlers from somewhere to side with Tiger Mask after all. It can be a little distracting, but with it only being the second episode, hopefully, it won't be quite so noticeable in the future. Speaking of distractions, the show didn't take long to get to the fan service with a Miss X shower scene. It wasn't very long, but it didn't exactly do anything either. She's in a shower and answers the phone. That's it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, LOOK at her and tell me that fan service isn't the goal here. The actual match isn't bad. Being co-produced by NJPW gives it the benefit of having (mostly) realistic looking wrestling, even if most of the bad guys look like rejects from the old HUSTLE "Fighting opera" promotion from a decade ago (look them up and see the guys they had wrestling for them). Black Python especially looked worse for wear with a white beard and one eye. Seriously, they designed him with a mask with one of the eyes just stitched up. A few minor gripes though didn't detract me too much from the episode, though. Being the second episode it set up a lot more possible things, but it still told a story. This felt like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, It was telling you there were bigger things coming, but still able to put something together for you. It will be interesting to see where this show takes us next. Episode 3: Time for a Flashback! Yup. 3 episodes in and we are having a flashback episode. So I'm guessing the big singles match with Black Python isn't going to happen now, especially since he got pinned by NJPW's young boy Wakamatsu. So instead the GWM is bringing in the Red Death Mask. But that is almost an afterthought. In fact, so is NJPW in this episode as they are barely mentioned either after being the focus of the last episode so much. Instead, this episode serves as a flashback, expanding more on what happened in the beginning of the first episode. Things are touched off with Takuma and Kevin Andersen having a bit of time off in waiting for Red Death Mask. Kevin and Takuma end up going to the hospital where Daisuke is recovering. Instead of talking to his father, Takuma hesitates. The rest of the show is flashbacks to how the JinPang gym was disbanded after the GWM challenged them on the JinPang 10th anniversary show and crushed them. With Daisuke in the hospital, we are introduced to Mr. X, the villain of the first Tiger Mask show. Yellow Mask recruits Takuma to join the Lion's Den as the only way to get strong enough to avenge his father. Meanwhile, Azuma is recruited by Kentaro to train at the Original Tiger Mask's training ground. This episode is a complete 180 from the last one. This is entirely back-story expanding upon the events in the first episode. Between Mr. X showing up and finding out Kentaro was the original Yellow Devil, we get a lot more references to the original show, even finding out what happened to the Tiger Mask of the first show. Interestingly we get a few odd name drops. There is a giant tackling dummy in Tiger Mask's old gym named "Roussimoff", the family name to Andre The Giant, and one of the GWM lackeys in the flashback is named, Billy The Kidman, a reference to former WCW and WWE wrestler Billy Kidman. Which is about as bizarre a reference as you can get from a Japanese show. While I think this episode is good and provides more backstory, it seems to kill off the momentum from the last episode dead. No mention of NJPW, or Black Python, or much of anything. Much like real life wrestling, sometimes the story just takes a dead stop for a week. However, I liked this episode a lot more than last week's by far as the flashbacks flowed well with the story that counts, not trying to shoehorn NJPW down our throats. Episode 4: It's now time for the big match between Tiger Mask and Black Python err.. Red Death Mask. Since evidently, no one has seen this new Red Death Mask before. NJPW has set up a preview match for him against Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu seems confident going into the match as he talks to Tiger Mask and Haruna, even saying he wants to meet up with Haruna afterward. This is where I was really surprised. The level of violence shown in this episode was not what I was expecting. Let's just say that Wakamatsu's match with the GWM newcomer doesn't go well for him as I'm pretty sure Wakamatsu suffers a fractured skull. The idea is that Red Death Mask leaves his opponents with a mask of red death, so whomever he faces gets covered with blood. This show does an amazing job at showing just how bad Wakamatsu is doing when you here the crunch of his skull more than once and then the sound of him meeting the ring post is even worse. We get a little bit of a flashback of when Naoto first arrived at the Takaoka garage. Haruna comes home, just after being accepted into high school. They had a promise that when she graduated from high school she would work for him at the garage. He then breaks it to her that they are closing the garage. She, of course, is upset and takes it out on Naoto. I'm really not entirely sure what this particular flashback was supposed to accomplish really. If it was to show the relationship with Haruna and Naoto, it doesn't do a very good job. About the only thing it does show is that despite her appearance Haruna is of legal age, making the earlier scene with Wakamatsu a lot less creepy. We also see more of the wrestling reporter Hikari. She briefly appeared at the end of the last episode, but this is a more proper introduction as she tries to interview Tiger Dark and the other two GWM guys, Kevin Anderson and Mike. She doesn't get much from then and they walk away. However, we do see Tiger Dark and Kevin later. Dark bitches at Miss X that his match is second on the show and Tiger Mask's match is the semi-main event. She basically tells him "Tough Titty!" and he and Kevin go out and wrestle in front of a sparse barely interested audience. Welcome to wrestling kid! Anyway, it's time for the match and yeah, it's even more brutal that the match we saw earlier. There is a really funny spot as Yuji Nagata is at ringside commentating and then tries to go into the ring, only for Red Death Mask to throw him back to the commentator's table. I'm not going to give too much away, but as I've said before, the actual wrestling in this show is amazing and the holds and counter holds are not only well done, but very clever as well. Outside of the flashback scene, this episode is very good, even if it cranks up the violence and gore up several notches. If you are not a fan of animated blood than this wouldn't be for you. But I like that Red Death Mask is actually built up as a dangerous threat and not just plopped into the plot like Odin or Black Python. I also like the subplot here of Tiger Dark being a curtain jerker and getting mad about it. If wrestling has taught me anything when guys get into that frame of mind anything can happen so this may turn into a much bigger part of the plot. However, I wonder if the show peaked TOO early with having Red Death Mask getting his match in episode four. This guy comes just short of collapsing a guy's skull and the first real threat to Tiger Mask. What is the show gong to do between now before we get to the inevitable matches with Yellow Devil and Tiger Dark? I'd hate to see this show become "Monster of the week" like the original Sailor Moon, so that makes me wonder what else this show has in store. Overall, these episodes show this anime is going to be an interesting one. You had three very different episodes here, each putting their contribution to the story. While some of these plots seemed oddly placed, we will see how they fit into things as the show goes on. I can't wait!  
Tiger Mask W photo
Continuing the story
After a smashing premier, what does this new generation of Tiger Mask have to keep the momentum going? Turns out quite a bit!

Weekend Japanatainment - Nintendo Anime Edition

Oct 23 // Red Veron
[embed]35352:5905:0[/embed] Anime: Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach (1986) Here is an early anime OVA featuring the Super Mario Bros on an adventure that isn't really based off any game. The original games, Super Mario Bros only came out the year before this one so it does take liberties with the interpretation of the original game and characters. If this anime looks like something that would air in the United States at the time, that is because a lot of the cartoons that aired in the US were either made in Japan or South Korea (and many still are made in South Korea today), so a lot of those cartoon shows back then were technically anime. Crazy, huh?   [embed]35352:5906:0[/embed] Anime: Pokemon Origins - Episode 1: Red This miniseries is not like the ongoing anime/cartoon series that features the forever young Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Origins takes more after the original Red and Blue/Green versions  from the Gameboy, even naming the main character "Red" and his rival "Blue". This show is a bit more violent than the cartoon and is the source of that horrifiying clip where a Charmander screams in terror as it gets its neck chomped on by a Squirtle.   [embed]35352:5907:0[/embed] Anime: Star Fox Zero - The Battle Begins This promotional tie-in anime with Star Fox Zero was made in collaboration with Shigeru Miyamoto and anime studios Production IG (Ghost in the Shell) and WIT Studio (Attack on Titan). It's got some great production value and I wouldn't mind seeing more in the future.   [embed]35352:5908:0[/embed] Anime: F-Zero Falcon Densetsu Now this is from a time where Nintendo tried to make some anime of their existing properties but it didn't really pan out. I just wished they made more games in this series on modern consoles.   [embed]35352:5909:0[/embed] Game: Super Smash Bros for WiiU/3DS This was quite a surprise, this announcement of a character in the then upcoming Super Smash Bros games was done in anime form featuring Link from The Legend of Zelda games and Pit form Kid Icarus games fighting it out in cool anime action. This excited a lot of people and want more. Hopefully we actually get some cool Nintendo animu. Please, my body is ready.   Is there a Nintendo-based anime that you love or want to see? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know.
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Japanese Nintendo Cartoons
If you've been around the interwebs lately, you may have heard of Nintendo's new gaming device that both does portable and home game console gaming, the new system called "Nintendo Switch". Now I wouldn't be a good "journalis...

PinocchioP photo
PinocchioP

Vocaloid Artist PinocchioP's third album launches next month


This is not a lie
Oct 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
It looks like November might be a good month for fans of Vocaloid music, as PinocchioP's upcoming album, HUMAN, comes out during that period. From the looks of it, it might be a good way to start the holiday season. Among the...
Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Let's shoot down magical girls in RosenkreuzStilette


We're about to go Megaman on people
Oct 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] With October being the month that Halloween takes place in, I felt that it was time to play something that fits with the season. The Doujin Game RosenkreuzStilette...

Strong Style: Main Event time!

Oct 22 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Okada! IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi A rematch from last year's show where Tanahashi left Okada fleeing the ring in tears. Okada is out to not only keep his belt but also avenge such a devastating loss. Tanahashi worked his way up to become a contender again by winning the G1 classic and earning the briefcase. These guys have met before, but this match brings with it a lot more intensity than ever before. Okada in the studio talks about his not so great history in the dome. He was booed out of the building his first year, was voted out f the main event in favor of the IC Title match one year, and had last year's nightmare loss. His determination to end this streak added some emotion to this year's match. Tanahashi comes out first and JR mentions he hasn't lost in the dome since 2008. When he is called NJPW's Cena they aren't kidding. Tanahashi poses for a bit in the ring. JR mentions that while Okada is the champion, he is an underdog and doesn't get the same respect and that he needs to beat Tanahashi to get it. Okada makes his way out with Gedo following behind. Red Shoes holds the belt high. We come back with the bell ringing and we are underway.  They both just take in the crowd noise before we circle in and go for a knuckle lock before backing off. They lock up and bull each other into the ropes with Okada getting the advantage. Okada gives a clean break, but screw it Tanahashi takes a swing and they trade some punches before backing off. Okada lands a strike that sends Tanahashi down but we get back to where we started. Okada lands a knee to send Tanahashi down but he responds with a strike to the mouth of Okada. They back off but just walk up and stare each other down. Tanahashi swoops Okada in but rainmaker counters with a kick to the head. Okada puts on a cravat into a snapmare. He tries to get a chinlock but Tanahashi gets the hammerlock and Tanahashi ends up getting a waistlock into a headscissor. Okada slips out and gets a headlock on Tanahashi. Tanahashi brings things back up and steps on Okada's knee to escape and goes into a headlock. Okada tries a whip but doesn't get it. Okada gets a wristlock and switches it over so he gets a headlock. Tanahashi lifts him up and dropped on Hiroshi's legs. Tanahashi chopblocks him on the other knee. Okada is already hurt as Tanahashi goes to work on one of the knees with elbow drops. Tanahashi gets down and torques onto the ankle before Okada gets to the ropes. Tanahashi lays on some kicks on the right leg and stomps on the hamstring. Okada pushes Tanahashi off and goes after him in the corner and they get lost for a second before Okada gets pushed off and Tanahashi goes up to the middle rope and lands a body press but doesn't go for the pin. Tanahashi scoots out to the apron but Okada launches a dropkick to send Tanahashi to the floor. We come back from the break as Okada takes a break in the ring before slowly going out and whipping Tanahashi into the barrier. He follows it up with a kick to send Tanahashi over the barrier. He then gets a running start and flies over the barrier and takes out Tanahashi in the crowd. Tanahashi crawls to the ring, but Okada helps him back in. He slams him close to the ropes and lands a senton over the ropes. He goes for the cover but Tanahashi kicks out. Okada then locks in a chin lock and grinds on it. Tanahashi struggles back up and uses a few elbows and uppercut to break. They go into the corner where Okada tries for a dropkick and misses. Tanahashi then goes to the second rope and misses the senton. Okada whips Tanahashi into the other corner and lands a running elbow and a diving uppercut to get a two count. Okada then crosses the arm for a heavenly lock!  Okada lets go and locks in a weird looking chinlock, like his hands, are positioned all wrong. Tanahashi counters with some low punches and Okada breaks the hold. Tanahashi tries a low dropkick to the knee but Okada dodges. Tanahashi lands a flapjack and then a strike before he lands the low dropkick on the knee! They get up and Okada lands some punches but when he goes for a high kick, Tanahashi catches him and gives him a dragon screw leg whip.  Okada rolls onto the apron and Tanahashi climbs for an attack but Okada springs up and punches him. He tries to pick Tanahashi up on his shoulders but drops him. They both end up on the apron. Okada goes for a kick and Tanahashi moves so Okada gets his leg caught in the buckle where Tanahashi gets the screw legwhip again. Okada tries to get in the ring but Tanahashi hits the leg whip again! Okada is still stuck on the apron and Tanahashi hits the slingblade on the apron to send Okada to the floor with a flop. He tries to get up but Tanahashi goes up and lands the high fly flow outside the ring. Tanahashi rolls into the ring with Okada barely moving. He rolls into the ring at 16. Tanahashi with a slam and goes to the second rope and gets a splash on the knees! He grabs Okada's legs and struggles to get the cloverleaf  but Okada is blocking it before getting to the ropes. Tanahashi lays in some kicks. He locks the leg in the ropes and throws a dropkick right into the inside of the knee. Okada gets up and Tanahashi tries for an Alabama slam but Okada reveres it, the reverse and reverse again ending with Okada getting a Tanahashi drop across the knee. They get up and just start trading forearms back and forth. Tanahashi gets and uppercut and goes to bounce off the ropes but Okada lands a dropkick. He gets Tanahashi down and lands four low dropkicks right in the row. He goes for the pin but doesn't get it.  He climbs up the rope and lands a sweet dropkick. He tries for the pin but doesn't get it. Okada with a slam. He goes for the ropes again and lands the Randy Savage elbow! He gives the rainmaker pose as we go to commercial. He picks up Tanahashi and shoots him into the ropes but Okada catches him into a tombstone but Tanahashi rolls it into a pin attempt for two. Tanahashi then grabs Okada's other leg and hits the leg whip! Tanahashi goes into the rope but Okada tosses up a dropkick but Tanahashi catches him and locks in the cloverleaf! Okada's in deep trouble! He keeps going for the rope but can't quite get it. He struggles and gets his hand on the rope to break. Both men are exhausted. He goes into the ropes but Okada shoulders him in a weird spot. Okada tres to pick him up but can't get it. Tanahashi hits the sling blade! Tanahashi climbs up for the high fly flow but he misses! Okada drags him up and scoops him into a tombstone but can't get it. Tanahashi locks in a suplex and gets him over. He goes for a second but Okada turns it into a tombstone! Okada gets the rainmaker and goes for the cover, it's only two! Even Gedo is surprised. We pan out to this awesome crowd as Okada launches up to the top rope and lands the high fly flow! Hw tires to get a pin but no Tanahashi picks Okada up and locks in the arm and lands a rainmaker clothesline of his own! Count only gets two! Okada up first. He takes Tanahashi's head but Tanahashi kicks him right in the leg. He does it again! Tanahashi kicks the leg again! Okada gets him up for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out the back and lands the slingblade and gets a dragon suplex but Okada gets out of the pin. Tanahashi climbs up and lands the high fly flow. He goes up again and hits another one but Okada kicks out of the pin! Both slow to get up and Tanahashi goes outside and climbs the ropes again. He goes for a flying splash but Okada throws a dropkick. He lands right in the gut! Okada drags him up and tries for a suplex but can't get it. He fights it with elbows and gets out, but lands a HARD slap to the face. Tanahashi goes for something but Okada lands the dropkick to the jaw! He tries for the rainmaker but misses, he gets a waistlock and nails Tanahashi in the jaw. He picks up Tanahashi and nails the rainmaker, twice, three times! Tanahashi is out. Okada goes for the pin and he gets it! Okada has finally won! He's killed the demon of the Tokyo dome! The ref and Gedo peel Okada off the mat. He is spent. In the back, Tanahashi is passed out at the table. He says he doesn't know if his dream has been fulfilled or if it has passed on. He then gets up and walks away with Captain New Japan following him. Back in the ring, Okada addresses the crowd. He has three points to make. He says Tanahashi is strong and they should do it again. He will raise NJPW to a new level. His third point is nothing and says that people should keep their eyes on him in 2016. He poses on each ring post in front of the crowd. He goes all the way up the ramp before saying that he will make it rain money in 2016. Backstage he promises to keep working hard for the fans approval. In the studio, he says he is simply glad he win. The crowd loves it when they fight and it was great to finally win over Tanahashi in that atmosphere. He wants to create a better atmosphere in wrestling. This match lived up to everything it was said to be. It was just as incredible watching it on the original show as it was here. While I wish they showed to other two matches, the coverage of WrestleKingdom has been amazing. Lots of fun! Next week we say goodbye to Nakamura with his last match in NJPW! See ya then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Battle for the belt!
Ladies and Gentlemen. It is now time for our Maaaaaaain Event of the evening!  Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight is our last look WrestleKingdom 10 with the main even...

Tokusatsu Film School photo
Tokusatsu Film School

Tokusatsu Film School hits us with some useful tips


Teamwork is important
Oct 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's time to hit the book again, people. Garage Hero's Tokusatsu Film School series is back with a new episode that focuses on giving us some advice on the filming scene. Of course, it talks about the importance of keeping tr...
Manga Contest photo
Manga Contest

Do you have what it takes to get published in Weekly Shonen Magazine?


Sounds like a rad opportunity
Oct 18
// Salvador G Rodiles
For a good while, I've always been behind the idea of contests that let people get the chance to get their stories published if they win. Speaking of which, the Comic Website MediBang is teaming up with the folks at Weekly Sh...

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