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Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episodes 9-10

Dec 12 // Josh Tolentino
Of course, things were already looking rather bleak for anyone that wasn't Saitama. Puri Puri Prisoner, Lighting Max, Allback Man, Snakebite Snek, and others had already been trounced hard in episode 8. Genos gives his best as well, with a devastating opener and a solid effort thereafter, but in classic superhero fashion, the baddie takes advantage of the hero's natural altruism and uses a civilian in danger to gain the upper hand. This leaves everything up to the otherwise powerless Mumen Rider, who suffers the most of all involved, summing up the circumstances in one unfortunate gif:  I'd like to believe that Madhouse intentionally highlighted this particular sequence as a twist on the best scene in The Avengers, because the contrast between the Hulk's cutting short Loki's monologue and the Sea King absent-mindedly pulping poor Mumen Rider is exquisite. The Avengers scene is quick and unexpected and played for surprise and laughs. Here in One Punch Man, though, the same scene is long, drawn out, and with the roles of the two combatants reversed (the "Hulk" is the bad guy, here), almost painful to watch. And yet Mumen Rider gets up, delivering a speech worthy of the best. The soul of heroism isn't in having the power to win, but in having the courage to stand up and do the right thing when no one else is willing or capable. Extra points go to Mumen Rider's voice actor, Yuichi Nakamura, who must have been real tired of playing d-bag male leads like Oreimo's Kyousuke and Mahouka's Tatsuya (who is his own story's "One Punch Man"). Nakamura really sells it, and combined with properly cheesy/uplifting piano music and a well-timed incitement of the crowd, conveys classic heroism in the best traditions of Marvel, DC, and Toei.  And speaking of Marvel, here's a bit of interesting trivia: Nakamura is also the Japanese voice of Captain America in those editions of the Marvel movies. It seems fitting, somehow. Saitama eventually shows up to end the fight, ripping the Sea King a new blowhole with a punch so hard it stops the rain. But that's to be expected. What happens next, though, is more interesting, as Saitama opts to make himself out to be the villain, just as the crowd is about to turn against the fallen heroes for having the temerity to fail where Saitama succeeded. Pretending to have simply cleaned up after Genos and the rest weakened the monster, he helps the heroes who did try their best save face (not that they deserved to lose it in the first place) and honors their sacrifice.  It's a good new revelation of Saitama's character. We've seen his fundamentally selfish desire for a challenge, and we've also seen his "I don't give an eff" attitude towards his public image, solidifying his status as more the savior we deserve than the one we want. But here, he does help show that doing the right thing doesn't always involve standing up against a bad guy, but sometimes taking one for the rest of the team, and giving credit where credit's due. There's no doubting that the real heroes of the day were the guys who got their asses handed to them, after all. If episode nine was a more thoughtful reflection of the soul backing up One Punch Man's more superficial appeal, episode ten is a return to the show's more typical form, capitalizing on gags, light slapstick, and creator ONE's oddball Japanese take on an American-style superhero ecosystem. The Hero Association takes center stage once more, assembling all the S-class heroes (with Saitama tagging along) for an emergency briefing. Characters like Atomic Samurai, Child Emperor (whose Japanese name is a hilarious pun on the slang term for "virgin"), Silver Fang, Metal Bat, and Terrible Tornado (who gets the most screen time of all thanks to a cold-open fight against a Godzilla-sized monster) fill out the ranks, with notable absences in the form of the increasingly sinister-seeming Metal Knight, and someone named "Blast". The reason for the gathering is an absurd guarantee from a late seer that something bad will happen...soon! It's as ridiculous as it sounds, but it seems to be proven true in a matter of seconds, as a massive Macross-sized spaceship shows up and pulls an Independence Day on the city surrounding Hero HQ.  With hundreds of thousands, if not millions annihilated in an instant, such a titanic loss of life would be devastating in a more serious series, but it's a good thing that One Punch Man is not that kind of show. After all, there are cool fights to be had, and now that the best of the best are involved, that's what we'd best care about. [Watch more One Punch Man on Daisuki] If anything, the punishment taken by the heroes in this particular engagement is best summed up in the following gif.
One Punch Man photo
The Bald Man and the Sea (King)
One Punch Man  might be a comedy, but just as even the grimmest, darkest fiction isn't completely free of levity, this satirical send-up of all things superheroic can sometimes swing things straight and earnest. And from the pace of proceedings, the showdown with the Sea King is the place to do it.

Week Ender - Anime Idol Edition

Dec 12 // Red Veron
[embed]34573:5247:0[/embed] "Next Destination" Anime: Senki Zesshou Symphogear G Not your usual idol show, but this show does feature pop idol/warriors who fight inter-dimensional monsters by activating their powers through singing. This is an over-the-top show with action that has a bit of that music idol element in it. It's just fun watching the ladies kick butt while singing the most engrish pop song ever.   [embed]34573:5248:0[/embed] "Donna Toki mo Zutto" Anime: Love Live! School Idol Project This is one of the more popular idol anime with a popular rhythm music mobile game that further increased its popularity in recent years. It now has a spinoff/sequel that features a new set of girls mirroring the real-life idol industry where younger girls take over after the older ones get preggers or just old.   [embed]34573:5249:0[/embed] "Mirai Shoujou-tachi" Anime: Locodol More slice-of-life anime than idol anime, this one focuses on the rise of local idols in smaller cities and towns in Japan. While they are more like mascots, this show captures that recent phenomenon. Less about the glitz (if any) and more about the cute-girls-doing-cute-things, this show is a fun one without much of the heavy drama that showbiz side of these idol shows bring with them.   [embed]34573:5250:0[/embed] "Yuubae Present" Anime: The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls A sequel/spinoff to the popular idol management sim, this one is about a new batch of girls going through the paces of becoming idols. This show aims to launch yet another multimedia anime idol franchise starting with a mobile game that got an anime and is striving to be one of the big ones and it does have the backing to do just that.   So which is your favorite anime idol or idol anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Waifu Worship
There's like 14 anime girls in that picture up there, that's a lot of waifus in one show right? Well, you gotta cover all your bases when trying to appeal to so many people. Idols in anime have been around for a long time, it...

OP Up! Anime Idol Edition

Dec 09 // Red Veron
[embed]34570:5243:0[/embed] "7 Girls War" Anime: Wake Up, Girls! A bit more drama than slice of life or the typical idol anime show, this one was a bit more low-key than the other shows on here. I didn't get to watch much of this show but it has its fans.   [embed]34570:5244:0[/embed] "Star!!" Anime: The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls An anime adaptation of a mobile game spinoff of a popular console idol management sim game. I saw a little bit of this one and have concluded that ShibuRin is best waifu.    [embed]34570:5245:0[/embed] "Mirai Fanfare" Anime: Locodol I love how this show is more slice-of-life anime than girl idol anime. It doesn't go into arbitrary dramaz or serious stuff so it maintains that light slice-of-life feel. This opening just upsets me because they're polluting and possibly killing some animals with releasing non-biodegradable balloons.   [embed]34570:5246:0[/embed] "We're Living in the Moment" Anime: Love Love! School Idol Project Possibly the most popular idol anime franchise in recent years, this multi-media property is more than just an anime and music. Add in a globally popular mobile game along with a movie shown in theaters across the world, Love Live! is possibly the king (or queen?) of anime idol franchises. Nico is the best waifu for me.   SO WHO IS YOUR BEST WAIFU OR FAVORITE IDOL ANIME?! SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I WANNA KNOW!
OP Up! photo
I haven't done this genre yet? Wow.
Wait, so I haven't done one of these about female anime idols? Googling it doesn't say so here we go. Idol anime have been around in the last decade or longer but its rise to immense popularity started about half a decade ago...

Annotated Anime: One Piece episodes 720+ 721

Dec 08 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 720: So Long! Bellamy's Farewell Blow!With the last of Doflamingo's Lieutenants falling by Zoro's hands and the SMILE factory being destroyed by the Tontatta tribe everything is looking up for the Straw Hat- Heart Pirate Alliance. Trebol is still under the impression that they still have Mansherry's healing powers to fix everything, but we know that she got saved by Leo some episodes back and this episodes is able to rendezvous with Robin, Rebecca and Kyros.  Apart from that nothing happens in this episode. Most of it is patting each other on the back or looking at the now tertiary characters briefly. I had completely forgotten about Kaola and her investigation until this episode. We do get a small flashback to when Zoro learnt to imbue his sword with Haki from Mihawk at the expense of being completely teetotal. I assume it's so Zoro doesn't get into the bad practice of sword fighting and drinking like Hyouzou.  I think what everyone wants to see is the conclusion of the Bellamy- Luffy fight and that doesn't occur until the last 5 minutes of the episode. Fortunately, it is a good 5 minutes. The finale of the episode recaps Luffy's entire relationship with Bellamy and his choice to finally end his suffering. It goes through the themes of honour, weakness, acceptance, and pride, things that we have seen before during this fight which seems overplayed now since this fight has been really drawn out. It ends with Luffy re-creating the Jaya arc and downing Bellamy with one punch. It's easily the best part of the episode. As the blow is struck, all audio is cut off and you can only see the rage of Luffy's expression mixed with the complete defeat from Bellamy. The impact is made so much stronger without any audio accompaniment. Episode 721: Law Dies - Luffy's Raging Onslaught!The last episode ended with a bit of a cliffhanger as Doflamingo and Trebol leer over a bullet-ridden Law corpse. Winding the clocks back a few minutes we see the last two executives mercilessly beating the crap out of the Heart Pirate captain. Doflamingo does offer Law an ultimatum; if he performs the eternal youth operation on Doflamingo then Doflamingo will grant Law one wish after he dies. I'm unsure of the validity of the request since Doflamingo is probably the evilest person in the whole of One Piece and Law would never know whether his final request was respected. Like many D.'s before him, he spits on Doflamngo's request making the Heavenly Demon lose his shit and pop many many many caps into Law.  Just as Luffy arrives on the scene, Doflamingo begins to shrink his Birdcage destroying Dressrosa and it's inhabitants, also known as the destroy everything because it's fucked up. By this point Doflamingo is cutting his losses and a fight with Luffy is completely meager now that Law is dead. I would have to agree. Luffy was having trouble fighting off a Doflamingo puppet so he would no match against both Doflamingo and Trebol together.  This episode was slightly better than the previous but again re-treads old ground with the same themes explored in the same manner. Doflamingo's tantrum at Law did reveal some interesting points around Law. Law's Heart Pirates name might be referring to the position Corazon once had in the Doflamingo family and the position Law was supposed to take after Corazon's death. Law wears Corazon branded clothing as a mocking gesture at Doflamingo as he is carrying out his will even in death against his brother.  Again there is a cliff hanger with Law whispering some advice to Luffy. After point-blank musket shots to a person, you'd think they would be too mangled to make coherent words or thoughts. In the world of One Piece, unless you die by the sword, bullets and explosions are mostly meaningless.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] So Long! Bellamy's Farewell Blow!
One Piece photo
Click bait titles
Whenever this show has a juicy title, you can always guarantee that 90% of the episode will be filler. The part you want to see will be at the very beginning then quickly revisited at the end for a cliff hanger. Or on the fli...

Kizumonogatari photo

The new Kizumonogatari trailer goes back to where it all started

Won't you help a fallen vamp?
Dec 08
// Josh Tolentino
It's finally happening. The now venerable and celebrated Monogatari Series may be coming to a conclusion with Owarimonogatari, but it won't really be over until we return to the beginning with the movie adaptations of K...

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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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]
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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. 

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 8

Nov 23 // Anthony Redgrave
After the desperate escape and rescue by Ononoki, Araragi recaps the events to the doll and his plans his next moves. Ideally he wanted to take Kanbaru somewhere safe so she won't be harmed by the Samurai oddity but since she had made physical contact with it, she is now connected to it. Also, Araragi still hasn't fulfilled his promise to Gaen of introducing Kanbaru to her so that Gaen can make use of Kanbaru's monkey paw. This is all laid out and recapped by the conversation between Araragi and Ononoki. This clears a lot of the motivation and goals of the show as previously I was unsure of which person Araragi wanted to introduce Kanbaru to. Trying to follow the story of Monogatari can be difficult amongst the streams and streams of dialogue that is spouted out every episode and it's made even more difficult when it does the Haruhi thing of airing the series out of chronology.  I once spoke to a friend about the airing schedule of Haruhi and he replied it was part of the show, that it was supposed to confusing and awkward. However, when a show has large amounts of continuity with the same characters all interacting with one another both on and off screen, it is really difficult to grasp the story and relate to the characters. Since Araragi wants to continue to protect Kanbaru from the Samurai, he proceeds with his original plan to meet with Gaen in the park. Namishiro Park specifically. A commonly revisited site for Monogatari. It has a really nice design too with boldly coloured jungle gyms and play sets contrasting strongly against the uniformly grey block of flats in the background. The middle portion of the episode has Araragi and Kanbaru getting lost a la Mayoi Cow, wondering the streets endlessly. In a case of fourth wall smashing, Kanbaru remembers the solution for the Cow oddity better than Araragi who actually experienced the oddity first hand and they arrive at the park 3 hours past the original meeting time. In a strange turn of events, they do not find Kanbaru's Aunt but a sleeping Shinobu underneath a swing set having just fought off a Monkey oddity. I really like Shinobu as a character. She is coy, confident, and the loli appearance rounds it off. Having Kanbaru jumping up and down excitedly behind the fence is great too, acting as a proxy for Shinobu fans.  The episode concludes on a cliffhanger as the oddity Shinobu was fighting returns. The dark shadow that reaches towards the camera is imposing and the glare of the background light masks the oddity in shadow, capturing the feeling of mystery and menace in one shot.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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Eat up!
From reading posts by anime fans whenever a show has a selection of female characters (often attractive) one of them will be selected as best. This is an entirely opinionated but I think the most common favourite in the ...

Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episodes 6 and 7

Nov 22 // Josh Tolentino
But first, an aside: Perhaps the most interesting news to come out of One Punch Man in the last couple of weeks has come from its production team. Chief Animation Director Chikashi Kubota recently revealed that, contrary to lay expectations (mine included), One Punch Man is animated using an "average-sized" budget, and is not the moneyed behemoth many thought it was judging by the high quality of its action scenes and prominence as a Shonen JUMP headliner. It just goes to show how "anime" One Punch Man is, and not merely in adhering to cultural quirks most folks associate with "anime-like" things, but also in a more classical sense. Japanese TV anime developed many of its stylistic and storytelling conventions from the need to make the most of very limited resources. Compared to the Hollywood-led productions of the time, the style of animation pioneered by Tezuka Productions and other postwar studios is filled with cost-saving techniques that directly influenced the way stories are told in the medium today. It's one of the reasons Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki famously disliked having their works lumped in with "anime", as to them, the term represented something defined by having been made on the cheap. Whatever the case, Kubota's tweet is a resounding affirmation on the talent at work with One Punch Man, that they can "hide the seams" so effectively that people think the show is much more expensive than it actually is. Moving on, the first "hit" of episode six is the one most everyone will be familiar with, regardless of punching strength. After all, few things have more of an impact on a person than a good ol' reality check. In this case, Saitama learns of the world of work, as he realizes that C-ranked heroes like himself need to stop crime on a regular basis to keep from being dropped from the roster. Given that he's always been far too powerful to consider stopping muggers and helping old ladies worth his while, this leads to a mad scramble across town in search of bad guy to take down.  The bad guy in question is Speed o' Sound Sonic, who opens his second appearance in the One Punch Man canon spoiling for a rematch. Needless to say, Saitama provides, absentmindedly filling his quota and inadvertently proving his superiority in one fell chop to the back of the head.  The real meat of the episode, though, is in seeing the Hero Association conduct more investigations into the origins of monster activity in Saitama's hometown, City Z. Besides a cool boardroom sequence featuring reports from various high-class heroes, the task falls to two A-rank ringers, the slingshot-toting Golden Ball and the mustachioed Spring Mustachio. Facial hair is his superpower, alongside a wicked sword thrust that recalls the likes of Bleach's Gin, but somehow cooler. After a cool action scene, the two heroes get plastered by a weird seaweed creature and learn little about the apparent mystery behind City Z (Hint: It's Saitama!), but we do get a further look into the inner workings of the Hero Association, including an early cameo by Tornado of Terror, a petulant, childlike telekinetic diva.  After the period of relative downtime in episode six, things pick up steam in episode seven. Then again, how could they not? A meteor's about to hit the city, after all. In case folks were wondering about our lead characters' lack of screentime, episode seven is mostly about Genos, who has many steps yet to go in his heroic journey. I've remarked before about how Genos could probably anchor a stereotypical action show all on his own. He's young, has a tragic backstory, and if not for his master, would probably be the star. That feeling's reinforced here, as he tries his damnedest to stop the meteor, despite a lack of aid from the apathetic Metal Knight and Bang, an aged martial-arts guru who's seen a lot of crap. Naturally, Saitama ends up stepping in to save the day, but there's never a doubt who the most heroic person was in this particular incident.   That doesn't mean our One-Punch wonder is completely without virtue, though. He may be oblivious, and kind of a dick, but he's the hero we deserve, especially compared to some of his peers. An incident with a pair of tank top-wearing jerks seems to impress that, with few exceptions, most of the heroes in the Hero Association are hardly heroic at all. Instead, the ranks are filled with preening, status-obsessed d-bags who care more for their place in the rankings than doing the right thing. By comparison, the only decent people are relative outsiders, like Saitama, Genos, and Bang, or the downtrodden, like the powerless Mumen Rider. One can't help but wonder if that's some kind of meta-commentary on how turning passion into work can lead ideals astray, but suffice it to say that being bad isn't exclusive to villains.  [Watch more of One Punch Man on Daisuki and Crunchyroll!]     chief animation director Chikashi Kubota
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That Feel When No One Knows You
The last couple of weeks of One Punch Man have delivered a couple of big hits, and neither courtesy of the titular "man" himself, Saitama. One hit is more psychological/philosophical than anything else, and the second is literal in a way that befits a show as straightforward as to have a title like One Punch Man.

Week Ender - Happy Edition

Nov 21 // Red Veron
[embed]34511:5197:0[/embed] "Okaeri" Anime: Non Non Biyori Repeat This show is part beautiful countryside scenery porn, part slice of life comedy. This ending leans toward the former quite well. Very pretty and just cheerful.   [embed]34511:5198:0[/embed] "Oto no Naru Hō e" Anime: Silver Spoon If happiness was a song and an anime ending. It would be this. Beautiful.   [embed]34511:5199:0[/embed] "Six Same Faces ~Tonight is the Best!!!!!!" Anime: Osomatsu-san I love the Oden art ending with the 70's disco song which is a staple for anime openings and endings. This one makes me happy as well as hungry.   [embed]34511:5200:0[/embed] "Sun" Anime: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou A ridiculous song with the characters performing a ridiculous play during their school's culture festival. I want to watch that play. The strange stupidity of the play just embodies the dumb stuff the kids their age love to do.   What's your favorite happy anime or happy anime ending? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Time to Smile
This weekend, we take a look at some anime endings from anime that made me happy. These anime made me happy in different ways, some are funny while some just provide you with pure joy. I hope you find these endings to enterta...

OP Up! Happy Edition

Nov 18 // Red Veron
[embed]34504:5187:0[/embed] "Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai" Anime: Gekkan Shoujo Nozoki-kun A fun show about a girl who has a crush on the most oblivious guy ever and the strange and funny people around them at school. Surprisingly fun show that sounded like a typical shoujo romance but turns out to be a comedy.   [embed]34504:5188:0[/embed] "Kachigumi" Anime: Lucky Star A show about nothing. Well, except the normal and funny stuff that happens to some teenage girls.   [embed]34504:5189:0[/embed] "Shiny tale" Anime: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou The awkward and funny hijinks of high school boys the ridiculous stuff they get into.   [embed]34504:5190:0[/embed] "Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi - C" Anime: Nichijou The show's title translates into "Ordinary Life" and everything that happens is anything but ordinary. A hidden underrated gem. Please watch.   So what's your favorite HAPPY anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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We All Could Use A Smile This Week
So I thought we could all use a bit of a different direction this week, not that forgetting any of the bad stuff that happened recently is denying that it happened or making light of the tragedy. Each person has their way of ...

These are the real-life books featured in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Nov 18 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 1- Precious Place (Virtual Girl- Amy Thomson) [Amazon]One of the first establishing shots of the club room has Kyon reading this book and Nagato playing her PSVita. Maybe she should've founded a video game club instead. Anyways, this book isn't a literary classic like Dickens and from the Amazon preview page looks like a teen book in the vein of Animorphs or Goosebumps. Supporting the age old saying about books and their covers, this title did win the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and has been received positively by readers. A story about artificial intelligence and abandonment doesn't have a lot of parallel themes with the Nagato Yuki-chan story so I assume the animators just liked the Japanese cover of the book. Episode 10- Someday in the Rain (Mystery of the Yellow Room- Gaston Laroux) [Amazon]There is a large jump in the anime before we find another identifiable book. After Nagato from this show is lies dormant and Nagato from Haruhi becomes the dominant personality, Kyon and her find themselves back in the Literature Room hanging out, but this time Nagato is actually reading. The name of the book is Le mystère de la Chambre Jaune, a french novel that is famously known as one of the first locked-room mystery books. The cover shown in the show is a faithful recreation of the first edition of the book. The new Nagato has a penchant for the language of love with the next book. Episode 10- again (The Perfume of the Lady in Black- again by Gaston Laroux) [Amazon]This book is actually the sequel to the Mystery of the Yellow Room which is probably why Nagato picks it next. This title features a lot of characters from Gaston's first locked room mystery however, it is more well known as an Italian movie. This part of the episode shows off Kyon's complete lack of linguistic skills too as he is unable to pronounce any of these two titles. Episode 13- The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan III (Inherit the Stars- JP Hogan) [Amazon]In the show, this was Nagato's last book she checks out of the library before confessing and leaving Kyon. She was so engrossed with this book that she didn't want to leave the library before Kyon forced her to. As part of a five-parter, Inherit the Stars was James P Hogan's first book and was inspired by Hitchcock's Kubrick's legendary film 2001: A Space Odyssey and a bet with his buddies that he couldn't write a science fiction piece. This is the kind of book I'd expect Nagato and Koizumi to be reading, something science fiction-y and out of the world just like their true identities.  Le mystère de la chambre jaune
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It's a Literature Club, after all
In last season's anime, I had covered The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan dub for this site. The anime has now finished broadcasting and I've finished recapping, but I'm not quite done talking about it. I had noticed t...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 7

Nov 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Jumping back a spell, this story takes place after the long Summer and the start of a new school year. However, Araragi is playing truant and takes residence in Oshino Meme's old haunt. Shinobu has been largely absent this season and in the opening there was talk about her being separated from Araragi. My memories of the previous seasons are a bit hazy so I'm unsure about the situation. From what I remember they should still be together albeit their last real arc was Shinobu Time that explored Shinobu's backstory. A little bit of digging around on the Bakemonogatari Wikia reveals that this arc actually takes place during Tsubasa Tiger.  Kanbaru makes an appearance shortly after and the two share a lengthy exchange prolonged by diverted topics. Kanbaru is the same headstrong sexually directed person as always and has been growing her hair out foreshadowing her appearance in Hanamonogatari. Araragi asked to meet with her at the abandoned cram school because he wanted her to meet someone else in another place. We don't learn who they are supposed to meet or where. We only know that Araragi is only there to act as a medium between the two parties and they are not meant to meet in the cram school. This isn't out of the ordinary except Araragi starts to question his own organisational skills; why did he want to meet Kanbaru separately from where they were going to meet the other person, or why he was being vague about the other party in general. All this mystery is sandwiched between Kanbaru's requests for Araragi to take her virginity (which was her original thought when Araragi had texted her) and books about famous Japanese author Shugoro Yamamoto. My guess is that Araragi was arranging Kanbaru to meet his sister Karen since he did promise this to Karen at the end of Monogatari: Second Season. By the way, the title of the book referenced 'Bishoujo Ichibannori' or 'Pretty Girl First to Arrive' is entirely fictional. Don't waste those 5 minutes googling it as I did.  The second half of the episode moves the story along with a chance encounter with an empty Samurai armour that attacks the duo. Pushed to defeat, they are only saved by the tiger featured in Tsubasa Tiger engulfing the building in flames. The enemy reveals that he is here for the Oddity Killer Sword (Kokorowatari) that Shinobu had taken from him drawing more connections to last season's Shinobu Time. I'm hoping that they will do a quick recap of the events of that arc as I have forgotten a lot of these details. All the shots that had the Samurai as the subject were great. You never really saw all the details since he was always hidden in shadow and only until the end did you see his full design.  This was my least favourite episode this season. The visuals had a cold dark colour scheme and the tone was more serious. Even during the fun jokey parts at the start of the episode had underlying sinister and mysterious music motifs. You could feel that this was a more serious episode compared to last arcs which ironically dealt with a more serious real world themes. The verbal banter between Kanbaru and Araragi was ok with most of the comedy came from Kanbaru's sexual advances.  Coming away from this episode I did learn one thing; fait accompli. This is a French saying that means 'a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected had a chance to hear about it or act upon it and ultimately have to accept it'. It's funny that I heard a French saying in Japanese and learnt about it in English [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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The beginning of the end
Today marks the start of the last of arc in Owarimonogatari; Shinobu Mail. This arc will last half the season and clocks in at 6 episodes. It has only just dawned on me after this episode that I've found the entire season inc...

Annotated Anime: Durarara!!x2 Ten episodes 6-8

Nov 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 6: Roses has ThornsFrom last we left the city, celebrities Ruri and Kasuka crash Shinra's apartment hoping to get some protection and advice from Kasuka's brother Shizuo. They also bring along a stray cat named Yuigadokusonmaru. It's a name that's frighteningly intimidating to pronounce so I commend the dub cast for pulling it off so confidently. I'm surprised also that a Scottish fold cat was actually left on the street too considering it's high value amongst domestic cat lovers. The story goes on to explore Ruri's backstory and her rise to fame as an idol starting with her monster complex and her obsession with the complex that drove to become Hollywood. We don't learn much about her Hollywood persona and that side of her isn't brought up much this episode. Hollywood had a key role last cour but I felt it was glanced over and underdeveloped due to competing with the other happenings in Ikebukuro. Episode 7: A Cat has Nine LivesTelling the story from Masaomi's perspective was a good change of pace since he has been absent from Ikebukuro since the start of Durararax2. The bulk of the action and drama of these last two episodes is from Ruri's stalker, a crazy martial artist with a serial sociopathic complex wanting to choke the hell out of the idol. We only see the results of months of planning for the stalker as he targets Ruri herself, Shinra as it was his apartment she is seen entering, and Anri who is also entering the apartment at the same time. Fortunately, Mikado was able to rally his new gang the blue squares to their aid and prevent the simultaneous attacks on Ruri and Anri. Shinra however, wasn't as lucky as the stalker was able to beat him down for Celty was informed. This episode shows that Mikado is able to pull the strings like master manipulators Izaya and Jinnai, but unlike the other two isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty too. He saves Masaomi from a similar beat down and asks his friend to leave the city until he has finished masterminding his plan. Mikado's dark side is slowly becoming more apparent as we start to see less of him socializing with Anri and other dollars members and more with the Blue Squares.  Episode 8: Mouth of Honey, A Needle in the HeartEven though a lot of Durarara's story is framed around the exploits of high school students, there are also happening in the adult underworld. And it's all orchestrated by Izaya Orihara. This episode focuses on Izaya's job for the Awakusu group on taking down a gambling ring run by Amphisbaena. Amphisbaena are the rivals of the drug-toting group Heaven's Smile, the gang Akabayashi took out in the bathroom of a club earlier this season. In classic Durarara fashion, the story is told disjointedly with flashes to past events that clear up the actions in the present. The ending and reveal at the end of the episode aren't a game changer but shows us the added manipulative power Orihara has with his new gang he had acquired in the last episode.  Durarara!! continues to not translate the on-screen Japanese text meaning there are some parts of the episodes in complete silence. Although not a large problem it can cause some confusion with the message board politics and identities. It's made worse now that we know Orihara has taken upon multiple message board personalities in hopes of hiding his actions amongst the dollars.  [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll]
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Scottish Folds are my favorite too
Apologies reader, this weekly column has somehow become a monthly one. It has been due to my review work for the site the majority of which went live last week. I have been looking forward to getting back into Durarara!!x2 Te...

Week Ender - Post Apocalyptic Edition

Nov 15 // Red Veron
[embed]34487:5171:0[/embed] "Fly me to the moon" Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion A bizarre but appropriate ending in its choice to end each episode of an anime where humanity is trying to survive after a global cataclysm while being attacked by alien monsters. Also there are more weird stuff going on and conspiracies so a Frank Sinatra song is the least odd thing in this show.   [embed]34487:5172:0[/embed] "Human Touch" Anime: After War Gundam X A nice 80's ballad for a post-apocalyptic Gundam show where the earth and the colonies get destroyed with small pockets of humanity survive. Makes me feel that there is hope for the world after such a global disaster.   [embed]34487:5173:0[/embed] "Orarion" Anime: Seraph of the End I love this ending so much. Seeing characters in a normal or different 'what if' setting is always a nice touch. I feel good about the characters seeing them in a setting other than the harsh and dangerous reality they face in their regular lives.   [embed]34487:5174:0[/embed] "Minna no Peace" Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann While most endings help you wind down, this one just pumps you up the same way like most episodes of this show. What's your favorite post-apocalyptic anime ending or just anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Life leads to Death, Death leads to Life
So I've been playing a lot of Fallout 4, a video game set in a post apocalyptic wasteland and I am loving it so much. I honestly haven't much to say since I don't think anyone reads these things and people just check out the videos below to jam to some music. Enjoy! What's your favorite post-apocalyptic anime ending or just anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!

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WTF Friday: Bad Luck Assassin

Living up to the Ass in Assassin
Nov 13
// Red Veron

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