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Tiger Mask photo
Tiger Mask

New Tiger Mask anime series announced


Classic wrestling anime to be rebooted
Mar 04
// Soul Tsukino
During an announcement made on Thursday, New Japan Pro Wrestling Chief Owner Takaaki Kidani announced that the company would be producing a revival of the classic Tiger Mask anime series. The original series was based on &nbs...

Anime Matsuri X Cosplay Gallery Part 2 of 2

Mar 03 // Red Veron
Enjoy the gallery! Which one is your favorite? Look or more about Japanator at Anime Matsuri: Part 1 of Anime Matsuri X Cosplay Gallery Japanator Anime Matsuri Video (Coming Soon!) Last Year's Galleries: Anime Matsuri 2015 Cosplay Gallery - Part 1 Last Year's Galleries: Anime Matsuri 2015 Cosplay Gallery - Part 2  
Anime Matsuri photo
30K IN ATTENDANCE
The official numbers are in and about 30,215 people attended the tenth year of Anime Matsuri, one the best anime conventions in Texas. Anime Matsuri is a yearly celebration of Anime and Japanese pop culture, taking place in ...

Anime Matsuri X Cosplay Gallery Part 1 of 2

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

Annotated Anime: Myriad Colors Phantom World episodes 4-6

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

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

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

Annotated Anime: One Piece episode 731

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

Annotated Anime: Oshiete! Galko-chan episode 8

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

Week Ender - Anime Matsuri X Edition

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

OP Up! Anime Matsuri X Edition

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

Sword Art Online photo
Sword Art Online

Finally, an actual Sword Art Online Virtual Reality game


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

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

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

Week Ender - Top Anime Edition

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

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

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

First Impressions: Oshiete! Galko-chan

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

What Would You Do? The Return of the Titans

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

OP Up! - Top Anime Edition

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

Annotated Anime: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu episodes 4-6

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

Impressions: Dimension W episodes 1-6

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

Annotated Anime: One Piece episode 729

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

Week Ender - Swordswomen Edition

Feb 13 // Red Veron
[embed]34771:5428:0[/embed] "Tsuki Akari" Anime: Akame ga Kill! What's better than one female sword wielder who wears black and red? TWO female sword wielders in black and red! The sisters Akame and Kurome, just look really cool in this one and I can't decide which one I want to waifu more. I'll just waifu them both. Yes, "waifu" is a verb now.   [embed]34771:5429:0[/embed] "Yoake Umare Kuru Shoujo" Anime: Shakugan no Shana Simple ending with a great song and great art. Starts out all black and white then BAM! Full color art at the end with that great red hair.   [embed]34771:5430:0[/embed] "MEMORIA" Anime: Fate Zero An ending with a lot of stuff going on showing off the servants and masters. I love endings that give us a different glimpse into the characters that we never see in the show. We get to see the heroine Saber just being a badass in this one in the past.   [embed]34771:5431:0[/embed] "Gomen ne, Iiko ja Irarenai" Anime: Kill La Kill Another ending that shows off a different side of the character from the show.We get to see the heroine Ryuko walking around and doing stuff that a normal teenage student would do. Probably taking place shortly before the beginning of the show, it's nice to see something "normal" in this crazy show for once.   So who's your favorite swordswoman and the anime opening/ending they're in? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Beauty and the Blade
There's something about women wielding swords that is just really appealing to me. We see them a lot in anime and manga so I know I am not alone in my infatuation in seeing women cut up some fools with a sword. I don't much e...

Dragon Ball Nine-Nine photo
Dragon Ball Nine-Nine

Fusion, Ha: Dragon Ball Z and Brooklyn Nine-Nine collide


Be careful when you interrogate Frieza
Feb 12
// Salvador GRodiles
[Disclosure: Salvador is friends with BlueBandanaJake. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into this post.] Never in a million years would I have thought to see Dragon Ball Z and the police-themed comed...

OP Up! Swordswomen Edition

Feb 10 // Red Veron
[embed]34766:5423:0[/embed] "ft." Anime: Fairy Tail I went through a few openings from this series and they were pretty good. I just wished I had the time to go through the series. Erza Scarlet is the swordswoman in this show and she has multiple forms where she wields different swords and she has a pretty cool design.   [embed]34766:5424:0[/embed] "Light my fire" Anime: Shakugan no Shana Here is a show that I can really get into, Shana's character design with that red hair and sword just really appeals to me. Also, JUSTICE.   [embed]34766:5425:0[/embed] "Spiral" Anime: Blood C I've featured this opening so many times before since it is one of my all time favorites; I love the opening, character designs, and the song. So it is no wonder I feature this one a lot. I enjoyed the series but didn't like the movie.   [embed]34766:5426:0[/embed] "Liar Mask" Anime: Akame ga Kill! Of course I love the eponymous Akame's design, her design is a favorite of mine with Saya from Blood C (featured above) just ahead of her by an inch when it comes to female sword wielders. That second opening above is pretty good too.   So who's your favorite swordswoman and the anime opening they're in? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Women with Sharp Steel
I just noticed that all the openings I chose for this week's selection featured characters whose design featured a lot of the color red. I love that a lot, and it's also a bonus that they have swords. So this week's selection...

Naruto x Steam photo
Naruto x Steam

Now you can get your Naruto anime fix on Steam


Jouki no Jutsu!
Feb 07
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice, ninja fans, because Naruto has come to Steam! And no, I'm not referring to the bountiful slate of Ultimate Ninja Storm releases, but instead to a raftload of honest-to-goodness anime, courtesy of ...
Love Live photo
Love Live

Get some Love Live Lovin' on Valentine's Day


Waifu is love, Waifu is life
Feb 06
// Red Veron
Next weekend is a certain date that may be a bit harsh for some of you out there, though I may have some news that may help ease that feeling for some of you all out there. Love Live! is a fun show about high school...

Week Ender - Collectible Creatures

Feb 06 // Red Veron
[embed]34748:5414:0[/embed] "One Star" Anime: Digimon Savers I never got a chance to see this show but this is a pretty rad song. It's got one of those simple running along a sunset ending and it suits the music well.   [embed]34748:5415:0[/embed] "Let's join hands" Anime: Pocket Monsters - Best Wishes Season 2 Decolora Adventures A happy ending where everyone gets together at the end. Pretty uplifting if you ask me.   [embed]34748:5416:0[/embed] "Youkai Taisou Daiichi" Anime: Youkai Watch This is one of those dancing ending things that a lot of Japanese kid's shows do a lot and I like the idea of kids jumping around getting exercise after sitting for a half an hour in front of the TV.   [embed]34748:5417:0[/embed] "Toshishita no Boku" Anime: Medarot (Medabots in the US) This ending is soooooo 90's that it's giving me super nostalgia pangs. When I see and hear stuff in this style, I am instantly transported to those days when I would watch anime on those warm, late afternoons in my youth in the Philippines. So good.   Is there an anime or anime ending from a show all about collecting sentient creatures that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Collection Commercial
They sure did make a lot of cartoons that were secretly commercials back in the day and I gotta say that the ones from Japan were the best. The cartoons (which were secretly anime) had a different flavor compared to the US ca...

RIP photo
RIP

Rest in Peace: Creature Artist Yasushi Nirasawa passes away


An amazing monster designer has left us
Feb 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Sad news, everyone; it turns out that the great creature illustrator Yasushi Nirasawa passed away at the age of 52 on Feb. 2. According to his Twitter page, his passing was caused by kidney failure. In case this is your first...
Naruto Shippuden photo
Naruto Shippuden

Naruto Shippuden: Itachi Shinden-hen ~Hikari to Yami~ trailer


No end in sight
Feb 05
// Hiroko Yamamura
I know I haven't been around the site for quite a while, but last I heard.. Naruto was ending or something. Well, it looks like the story lives on, in some type of spin off at least. Naruto Shippuden: Itachi Shinden-hen ~Hik...

Impressions: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash episodes 1-4

Feb 05 // Salvador GRodiles
Perhaps this is what makes Grimgar an interesting series to follow. Compared to many other titles in this genre, none of the characters overpower each other. In fact, they all play up the idea of an RPG group where each member has a major role to fulfill. You have your basic party of a Thief, Dark Knight, Fighter, Hunter, Mage and Healer, which make up the core group of the main cast. However, the kicker is that they’re not very good at using their jobs in battle. Instead of the series focusing on a tale about a group of adventurers saving the land or trying to escape from an unknown world, Grimgar touches upon the struggle of the main group trying to make a living in a new location. Even though their tasks seem to be simple in the eyes of many folks who play RPGs or Dungeons & Dragons, the series does a fine job in showing the audience that fighting a creature that’s usually depicted as a weakling in most titles (such as the show’s goblins) can be a threat to those who’re trying to learn the ropes of battle. In a way, it covers that feeling that comes from doing something for the first time, as the cast lacks any previous combat experience. Since the group has no memory of their life in their own world, this gives Grimgar a nice sense of mystery, as the viewers are unsure of how the characters actually are. To an extent, they’re all basically amnesiacs living an entirely new life, which makes one wonder how they’ll change when their memories return to them. Because of this angle, these elements made the series' story intriguing since this could play a major role when they uncover the truth about themselves. With the cast randomly shouting out terms related to our world, there’s plenty of promise with the story's mystery. Despite the series’ fantasy look, the meat of show focuses mostly on the group living their everyday life. The first three episodes gave us the rundown on Grimgar’s setting, along with showing us the gang’s routine during each day. Surprisingly, there’s also a feeling of innocence and curiosity between the main gang, as the staff handled a couple scenes that seemed like they would be played off for perverted laughs in a way that focuses more on the characters’ reaction than what’s happening in front of them. In this case, it works surprisingly well in grounding the group’s relationship with each other. For the most part, the show’s direction resulted in the whole thing being decent. While the show’s first three episodes didn't grab me at first, their story elements utilized made way for a major event that pieced everything nicely. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see this sort of scenario happen this early in the anime since the group was still getting used to hunting goblins for a living. Perhaps the most impactful thing about the outcome is that it resembles a scenario from a D&D campaign or a tough RPG where the player’s mistake can result in a huge consequence, regardless of how small it seems. Of course, Grimgar's visuals are a treat, as the backgrounds are colored in a way where they resemble a watercolor painting. To top it off, the characters’ colors and shading mesh well with the environment which gives off a nice soothing vibe. Thanks to this aspect, this helps most scenes look great when it focuses on the cast performing their daily routine. Even though the show’s soundtrack had some weak rock tunes here and there, there are still a few subtle fantasy tunes that suit the show’s setting. The main opening is alright and the series features a few vocal tracks that pan over a scene, which can be enjoyable at times. Since the music’s quality is the type that grows on the viewer with each passing episode, I could see it getting better later on. At the end of the day, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash presents us with some intriguing ideas on the concept of characters being trapped in a game-like fantasy world. While the show’s presentation resulted in the whole thing being average, episode 4’s tragic event delivers enough impact to make it promising. Since the show gives off a nice .hack//SIGN vibe, I’m hoping that it’ll improve when things start getting even tougher for the main party. In the meantime, the title’s recent event could cause the series to level up soon. [You can live the Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash life at FUNimation]
Grimgar photo
Living the fantasy life isn't easy
There’s something great about playing anime roulette when one chooses a show to cover—especially if it’s a title that one isn’t too familiar with. Before I jumped into the anime adaptation of the light...

OP Up! - Collectible Creatures Edition

Feb 04 // Red Veron
[embed]34737:5404:0[/embed] "Chie to Yuuki da! Medarotto (Wisdom and Courage! Medarot)" Anime: Medarot Known as Medabots in the US, this show aired in english around the world in the early 2000s. This show is taught me all about takoyaki, which they refer to as "Octopus Balls" in english and it is appropriately weird enough that it adds to comedy of that episode. Oh and this show has sentient robots that battle each other. I regret not picking up that DVD of the first season for $5 that one time in that store.   [embed]34737:5405:0[/embed] "XY&Z" Anime: Pocket Monsters XY&Z The latest opening from the Japanese version of Pokemon, this version has male vocals unlike the original and it sounds so much cooler with that opening. So edgy.   [embed]34737:5406:0[/embed] "Geragerapou no Uta" Anime: Youkai Watch It's the new thing that the kids in Japan are into and putting up a great fight against the juggernaut that is Pokemon. A silly opening that is dumber in the US version but not so dumb that it's good like One Piece 4Kids opening.   [embed]34737:5407:0[/embed] "Butter-Fly (tri Version)" Anime: Digimon Adventures Tri The return of a favorite for those kids who watched cartoons in the late 90's/early 2000s, this show looked pretty good and I've her people should check it out now that all the episodes are out. The episodes are all from the first of six films and more are to come in the near future. It feels great to see old friends again.   Is there an anime or opening from anime with collectible creatures that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Gotta Collect'em All!
Commercials disguised as TV shows have been around since the dawn of television and they're still around. Anime just is one of those perfect medium (it's not a genre) to sell products to children and even adults, and anime fr...

OMAKASE photo
OMAKASE

OMAKASE Launch Box Unboxing


Box Unboxing
Feb 02
// Red Veron
These days, there are plenty of those monthly box subscription services where you a box of some nice assorted themed items every month or so but the quality of the products in those boxes may be hit or miss at times. I've dab...

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