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anime

Final Impressions: Haruchika: Haruta and Chika

Mar 29 // Soul Tsukino
After getting through all of the episodes, though, I feel like this show didn't quite deliver on its potential. Now don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this show. It's cute, knows when to put in some adorable humor along with serious topics, and had some compelling characters. But its execution and delivery were uneven and seems like it was being held back from it only being 12 episodes.  Breaking things down, you have GREAT episodes like the first four episodes, but then you had some weird episodes like Naoko's aunt's weird story and the episode with Motoko and the piano. The Miyo episode about the Rubix cube and her dead brother laid out a great mystery and have good clues leading up to the ending, same with Naoko's debut episode, while you had some episodes mysteries just come out of nowhere and not make much sense, like they were tacked on to have a mystery for the episode like the dog mystery. I liked the characters that are in this show. Chika shines as the star here. She has a Usagi Tsukino like quality of being in way over her head, but still does the best she can for her friends, even if she doesn't have a clue what is going on half the time. Haruta makes a good foil for her as the smart person that seems to figure things out quicker than anyone else and keeping Chika from getting too out there and hopefully on target.  But the problem lies with the other characters. Miyo, Muren, Akari, Naoko, and Kaiyuu all had time devoted to them to introduce them but then were immediately put in the background. Only Naoko got any more focus on her once she was introduced. Meanwhile, you had the club president and the Twins sitting there the whole time and never got much of character development or inclusion at all. They had to have motivations to be there as well. I'm not sure if the books delve into these characters anymore, but I felt disappointed they didn't get time of their own on the show. Visually This show is great. I love the animation style and even when the show had it's more "anime" moments it didn't get too cartoony with its art style. The multicolored eyes helped set this show apart for more as it makes the characters seem more alive and full of spirit for me. Great work. In the end, it feels like a show trapped by its short length and even its concept. I think with a full 26 episodes and scaling back on the mysteries this show could be a great slice of life show. Give it space to explain more into the characters and their motivations. Give stories time to play out without having to cram everything into such a short time. And showing us more of Chika, Haruta, and the others doing silly things outside of some convoluted mystery that ends up not amounting to much in the end. But for all its flaws, it's still a cute and enjoyable show.   After getting through all of the episodes, though, I feel like this show didn't quite deliver on it's potential.   Now don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this show. It's cute, knows when to put in some adorable humor along with serious topics, and had some compelling characters. But it's execution and delivery was uneven and seems like it was being held back from it only being 12 episodes. Breaking things down, you have GREAT episodes like the first four episodes, but then you had some weird episodes like Naoko's aunts weird story and the episode with Mokoto and the piano. The Miyo episode about the rubix cube and her dead brother laid out a great mystery and have good clues leading up to the ending, same with Naoko's debut episode, while you had some episodes mysteries just come out of nowhere and not make much since, like they were tacked on to have a mystery for the episode.   I liked the characters that are in this show. Chika shines as the star here. She has a Usagi Tsukino like quality of being in way over her head, but still does the best she can for her friends, even if she doesn't have a clue what is going on half the time. Haruta makes a good foil for her as the smart person that seems to figure things out quicker than anyone else and keeping Chika from getting to out there and hopefully on target. But the problem lies with the other characters. Miyo, Muren, Akari, Naoko, and Kaiyuu all had time devoted to them to introduce them, but then were immediately put in the background. Only Naoko got any more focus on her once she was introduced. Meanwhile you had the club president and the Twins sitting there the whole time and never got much of character development or inclusion at all. They had to have motivations to be there as well. I'm not sure if the books delve into these characters any more, but I felt disappointed they didn't get time of their own on the show.   Visually This show is great. I love the animation style and even when the show had it's more "anime" moments it didn't get to cartoony with it's art style. The multicolored eyes helped set this show apart for more as it makes the characters seem more alive and full of spirit for me. Great work.   In the end it feels like a show trapped by it's short length and even it's concept. I think with a full 26 episodes and scaling back on the mysteries this show could be a great slice of life show. Give it space to explain more into the characters and their motivations. Give stories time to play out without having to cram everything into such a short time. Ad showing us more of Chika, Haruta, and the others doing silly things outside of some convoluted mystery that ends up not amounting to much in the end. But for all it's flaws, it's still a cute and enjoyable show.
Haruchika photo
The story of love, music, and mysteries
What an interesting trip Haruchika has been. The concept of two reunited childhood friends trying to save a school club by solving mysteries was an interesting one from the start and a good hook. The fact that it was based on...

Annotated Anime: Haruchika: Haruta & Chika episodes 11 & 12

Mar 27 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 11 We pick up a little bit after the first round of the competition from the last episode. The Brass Band club has made it through City and prefectural competition and is now at the regional Class B competition level. Good for them! As the club is waiting for practice they are met with a strange woman. After Naoko finds that the piano they have to practice with is out of tune, this woman, named Motoko, challenges Naoko to make something beautiful even after finding out the piano isn't up to snuff. She then pulls out a musicaa (a reed instrument with a keyboard on it, pay attention to the opening of this song and you will see what it is) and plays. It turns out this woman has a link to Mr. Kusakabe, making Haruta jealous immediately. She's the granddaughter of his music teacher. We find out there is a mystery surrounding a piano that belonged to her grandfather and that she was the only one told about the key to its keyboard. The "mystery" here isn't nearly as heavy as some of the others have been. Eventually, they find the answer to the key but comes completely out of left field with little clues leading to it. But this episode seemed more than just the mystery as  Motoko and Naoko form a weird bond that you only find out the true depth of until nearly the end of the show. To be honest I'm not quite sure what this episode was trying to accomplish. We do find out some more of Mr. Kusakabe's past in this, and that he wasn't always the nice kind hearted teacher he is to the Brass band club, but at the same time, that information seemed like an aside. Not a terrible episode, but probably not the best-written episode. The resolution comes out of nowhere with no hint of where things were going and the point of the episode is a muddled and not quite clear. Let's hope the finale is more on point. Episode 12 The finals of the competition are next week so everyone is nervous. However, something pops up that makes Haruta and Chika panic as it looks like Mr. Kusakabe may be leaving them.  The episode opens right up with the class advisoer meeting with two men. With his snooping we find out that Mr. Kusakabe is being offered a conductorship for a big orchestra again. Haruta, of course, is devastated ad Chika isn't thrilled either., but they keep the secret to themselves. However, Haruta wants to tell Mr. Kusakabe how he feels before the teacher leaves. This leads the two kids to follow him. The mystery they solve is the big one. You find out why Mr. Kusakabe ditched his conductorship that has been an underlying theme of the entire show. You don't get any specifics, but you get enough to know why he did what he did. No dramatic reveals or clues or anything, but the ongoing mystery is solved. The show then runs the credits but there is still a third of the show left. We see everyone pcking up and going to the regional contest and we see them play. It's a really touching moment in the series as you see POeople in the crowd calling back to previous episodes and harkens back to the past episodes. Miyo's parents are there holding a picture of her and her brother together, Muren's parents are there, Naoko and her aunt are there, the reporter and Matoko are there too. After that, we find out the results. Not going to spoil it, but we also find out Mr. Kusakabe's decision as well as Naoko's feeling as well. If you followed the series up until now, this part of the episode is the most emotional of the entire series. Whatever they were lacking up until this point in the episode, the after credits scenes more than makeup for. It's not the best series finale I've seen. Heck, I don't even think it's the best episode of this series, but at the same time it's not terrible and it does wrap things up without being nightmarish bad like the Magikano ending or something similar. Its pacing is a little weird. Heck, I'd have put all the stuff with Mr. Kusakabe in the last episode with Motoko and I think it would have played out better, but for what was giving, it was all right. We pick up a little bit after the first round of the competition from the last episode. The Brass Band club has made it through City and prefectural competition and is now at the regional Class B competition level. Good for them!   As the club is waiting for practice they are met with a strange woman. After Naoko finds that the piano they have to practice with is out of tune, this woman, named Motoko, challenges Naoko to make something beautiful even after finding out the piano isn't up to snuff. She then pulls out a musicaa (A reed instrument with a keyboard on it, pay attention to the opening of this song and you will se what it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB1Q-PfUvN0)   It turns out this woman has a link to Mr. Kusakabe, making Haruta jealous immediately. She's the granddaughter of his music teacher. We find out there is a mystery surrounding a piano that belonged to her grandfather and that she was the only one told about the key to its keyboard.   The "mystery" here isn't nearly as heavy as some of the others have been. Eventually they find the answer to the key, but comes completely out of left field with little clues leading to it. But this episode seemed more than just the mystery as  Motoko and Naoko form a weird bond that you only find out the true depth of until nearly the end of the show.   To be honest I'm not quite sure what this episode was trying to accomplish. We do find out some more of Mr. Kusakabe's past in this, and that he wasn't always the nice kind hearted teacher he is to the Brass band club, but at the same time that information seemed like an aside.   Not a terrible episode, but probably not the best written episode. The resolution comes out of nowhere with no hint of wear things were going and the point of the episode is a muddled and not quite clear. Let's hope the finale is more on point.
Haruchika photo
The end of the song
We've come to the end of the line for Haruchika as we look at the last two episodes of the short series. How will things end and what mysteries will get solved. Let's take a look.

Week Ender - Adapted Drama Edition

Mar 26 // Red Veron
[embed]34890:5506:0[/embed] "Last Piece" Anime: Great Teacher Onizuka This property has multiple live action adaptations which take a lot of liberties with source material. I haven't seen many of them but I did see the anime that waters down the content because there are certain things they can't show in an anime on television back when it aired. Maybe if we get another anime adaptation, it can be much closer to the manga.   [embed]34890:5507:0[/embed] "Sagittarius" Anime: Nodame Cantabile One thing I do love with the anime adaptation of this property is the great soundtrack that just wasn't live action drama. The anime was produced by JC Staff, the same studio that adapted Honey and Clover which also has a great soundtrack and beautiful animation.   [embed]34890:5508:0[/embed] "Split" Anime: Honey & Clover The only thing I liked about the live action adaptation of this show was really good ending song "Canvas" performed by Ken Hirai. I would've featured it but the overprotective Japanese music companies make it hard to have the actual ending up on the internet.   [embed]34890:5509:0[/embed] "Shissou" Anime: Ouran High School Host Club I love this anime but not the drama. To be fair, I never gave it a chance but the trailers not as good. The live action trailers made the show look like it didn't have much of a budget and for a story were rich people are involved, you may wanna make them look rich.   [embed]34890:5510:0[/embed] "Akai Coat" Anime: Arakawa Under the Bridge I remember watching the first few episodes of the anime and found the whole thing to be super ridiculous. Then a few years later, I hear a live action drama adaptation for television was developed and I just had the most puzzled and surprised look on my face. I also got the same look again on my face when I heard about a live action film adaptation the following year.   Is there an anime adaptation that you love over the source material or other adaptations? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
ANIME MADE REAL
When they make a manga or novel into live action, there will always be differences. Either they take away something or add something, it will always be different. Then there are are manga or novels that are so insane that you...

FLCL photo
FLCL

Praise Atomsk: New episodes of FLCL are incoming


Thanks, Toonami
Mar 25
// Josh Tolentino
If you're an anime fan of a certain age, you're probably going to find this news quite exciting (or perhaps terrifying): New episodes of FLCL are on the way!  For the uninitiated, FLCL (aka Fooly Cooly) was a G...

Final Impressions: Oshiete! Galko-chan

Mar 25 // Anthony Redgrave
A very different episode for the finale of Oshiete! Galko-chan. We are taken to the start of the second year where cliques are already starting to form; there's the Gyaru (the popular students), honour students (I guess we know them as preppies), and finally the outsiders which are the people that don't exist in those two categories. In this show that means they're the students that like heavy metal and horror movies. However "Otako" doesn't exist in any of these groups, not even an outsider as she finds reading by herself far less troublesome than socialising, also known as the Oreki philosophy. And then she meets "Galko".  The origin story of how the three friends became friends is something I didn't think we needed exploring for a slice of life anime about asking and answering questions. Anime viewers are accustomed to wacky and weird people socialising together without needing an explanation, let alone spending half an episode to explain and show it. For a show like Galko-chan, it works as a thematic closure. "Galko" is the walking talking definition of misinterpreted stereotyping. In a class full of these stereotypes, "Galko" is always shown to look one way but react in another and even though we see her as a saint or a deeper character behind all the makeup and fashion, she too falls in the ways of stereotyping other people.  The origin story takes up the majority of the episode with the second half only briefly completing "Galko's" character arc of making it to class on time if that can be counted as an overarching series character arc. This episode has a typical slice of life ending. Students head home with the promise of more fun ahead. It's an ending I detest personally as it leaves the series open-ended without anything gained or lost. Oshiete! Galko-chan was a good show to keep me occupied throughout the winter season. The show didn't retain its signature question answer format opting for more character introductions in the latter episodes which I found a little disappointing but I did enjoy the overall light-hearted take on more mature topics in a slice of life anime. The short episode length was also nice as they didn't overstay their welcome with filler or fan service. The show knew how to keep everything succinct and snappy and the bright colorful palette of visuals meant it was fantastic to watch. I'll be eager for a second season or OVA of this show. Oshiete! Galko-chan is a great little anime with an interesting concept, beautiful designs, and a great pace. I picked up some interesting facts while watching this show making it hard to say anything bad about entertaining education. Even if it's facts about Female Hygiene, the genito-urinary system, and breasts.  Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan It's not even their real names! I feel like I've been lied to the whole series "Ideology as Learned from a Cat" sounds like a really interesting read but I feel that it's just a book full of Garfield strips The return of "Galko's" sister as a start of a model magazine called "GAL AGE". Very interesting cover model choice since it's a lady with no eyes I kinda want to know what pill "Otako" received. Is it paracetamol, Ibuprofen? Common painkillers I would've thought "Otako" would know about "Ojou" is a sneaky third wheeler "Galko's" observation skills are very impressive. Detective Conan eat your heart out "Galko" may have come to class early to talk but then she falls asleep. One step forward and two steps back. [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll]
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
When Galko met Otako
Slice of Life with a school background is a genre that is overplayed in anime. Used to capture the youthful adolescence of an endless high school as characters transition from immature teenagers to adults often fails in ...

OP Up! - Adapted Drama Edition

Mar 23 // Red Veron
[embed]34877:5499:0[/embed] "Kimi ni todoke" Anime: Kimi ni todoke Here's a show that I really love that is so beautifully made in both visual and sound. The voice acting really captured the heroine's character really well and the opening is just sooooo charming.   [embed]34877:5500:0[/embed] "Dramatic" Anime: Honey and Clover This show is one of my all time favorites and I still love it to this day. So when I heard it had a TV drama adaptation, I was overjoyed. Until I watched it and how it just changed a bunch of how the characters were and elements of the story that it didn't feel the same as the manga and anime. The anime has great music and visual so check it out if you loved the manga.   [embed]34877:5501:0[/embed] "Allegro Cantabile Sound" Anime: Nodame Cantabile If there was ever a perfect adaptation of a manga (and even anime), it would be the live action Nodame Cantabile drama. The drama version had the entire story from the manga, and even captured the slapstick comedy that was present in anime. It had the music too, and while the anime had it too, you got to see musicians "performing" the pieces themselves instead of a static picture. Both the anime and drama are indeed worth watching.   [embed]34877:5502:0[/embed] "Honto no Kotoba (My Real Word)" Anime: Gokusen This manga not only got one season for the drama, but got two more and a TV special. I loved the first season but then the second season just felt like a rehash with an entirely pretty boy cast instead of the colorful variety that was in the original show. I never really watched the anime but I think it had a dog in it that wasn't in the drama.   [embed]34877:5503:0[/embed] "Ai no prison" Anime: Prison School This is one property I never though would ever get a live action adaptation, let alone an anime. But lo and behold, it got both. The anime looked great from the little I saw and I only saw a little bit of the live action show too and it looked okay. I can't wait to see both when I have time.   Is there an anime adaptation that you love over the source material or other adaptations? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Anime or Live Action
Most of the anime we watch are usually adapted from either manga or novels but sometimes manga or novels get the occasional live action adaptation. However, some get multiple forms of adaptations and usually are changed for t...

Annotated Anime: Oshiete! Galko-chan episode 11

Mar 20 // Anthony Redgrave
Even though the show has a Hollywood grade A starlet in the looks department, she doesn't flaunt those curves for the camera every time she is on screen. There is some cheesecake here and there as expected by anime standards except it refrains from the ridiculous perversive situations of a typical harem ecchi. Apart from this episode which has a silly premise right off the bat. The question of the show asks 'whether strange things happen in the school hallways' and the scenario features Otao skipping class due to his anaemia. On his way back he hides when he hears the girls coming back from swimming class. Suffice to stay he isn't spotted despite taking peeking lessons from Tony Tony Chopper. Cue punch line of Japanese nosebleed after erotica.  It's a typical slice of life fan-service gag formula downplayed since Galko-chan hardly makes these kinds of jokes. The shows comedic strengths were always in the situations sometimes sexy and the reactions from it, often Galko's. This, however, is more voyeuristic and a tad perverse which doesn't suit the show. I didn't feel the gag worked and was just an excuse to see the girls in school bathing suits. Since the show's premise is based on asking questions, it'd be more appropriate if all the girls were asking about different hair types and how the reacted to water or even the difficulty of swimming different strokes. That way there is a reason for them to be in swimming costumes and discussing these topics. Instead, the show asks a question that I doubt has ever been asked and used it to show girls in school swimsuits without really answering the question.  The following sections are more entertaining than the start. We join an un-named character shrouded by bangs ordering a coffee before observing Galko's actions. Of course, as Galko dresses in Gyaru fashion, she is immediately typecast as a Valley Girl sort. We view Galko from her eyes as she sees what we already know about Galko; childish, expressive, and embarrassed over adult material (which apparently is BL). This scene is linked to the next one in the classroom where the class is learning about the different utensils throughout time to wipe your bottom. Some interesting facts if true. From a character perspective, we learn that Galko likes to over share some information with her bestie Otako. From my experience, it isn't unusual for girls to share this information over SMS although it's best not to pry too far into a maiden's text log.  For the next recreational class activity, the whole class is open to nominations and voting of movies. Despite not winning with Galko-chan's choice of a direct to DVD movie (could it really be that good!?) Ojou is generous enough to allow Galko to watch it on her home cinema screen with Otako rolling the whole thing into a slumber party. The actual event is nothing to go on about as it is covered in still images of their activities. Before heading off, Otako debates the most important of feminine hygiene questions; should I take pads in case of a period. I really liked Otako's imagination of Ojou. It was something out of left field and carried an old joke regarding Ojou's choice of period products. After next week, we'll have to be bidding goodbye to the blonde high school girl that teaches us things. I really hope the last episode will be better in the question department. I'll be expecting the extra amount of fan service seeing it is a season finale with Galko's sister's eyes finally being revealed! Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan People used swan necks for what!? Back and forth! The nurse looks cute but I can't shake the fact it looks like Otao's mom What the hell is Naked Eating? Is it like Naked Gun? From Otako's imagination, I expected Ojou's house to be the Playboy Mansion Aku-On! sounds like K-On mixed with Wolf Children. Looks like an H-game. [update 03.21.16] The Mangaka has posted on his twitter about the cast of Naked Eating [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan Ojou VA does the narration, and it's adorable The faceless narrator has an adorable voice Ojou has her own sound effect Otao represents 90% of the viewer base for Galko-chan Nikuko has the god-like breast control whilst running [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll]
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
Galko x Ojou
I'm not sure what to think of Galko-chan nowadays. The last few episodes have been ho-hum since I'm not learning much but we're getting a lot more slice of life character introductions. It's becoming something that is the same and when I loved it when it was different. Oh! Galko-chan.. you're tearing me apart!

McDonald's photo
McDonald's

McDonald's Anime Commercial makes minimum wage look fun


I'm lovin' this Commercial
Mar 19
// Red Veron
McDona'd's isn't doing so hot lately in the US but I think they are doing better in Japan with interesting gimmicks that has captured the attention of the public such french fries drizzled with chocolate. Weird food was one t...

Week Ender - Giant Plot Edition

Mar 19 // Red Veron
[embed]34861:5489:0[/embed] "Kimi to Taiyou ga Shinda hi" Anime: High School of the Dead This is a show where a zombie apocalypse happens and the most impossible thing to happen are breasts moving faster than bullets. Yes. Even if you're not into giant mammaries, the zombie-slaying action ridiculousness is worth the time investment.   [embed]34861:5491:0[/embed] "Kimi wo mamoritai" Anime: Freezing I've only read the manga of this show, the animation seemed decent and this ending just takes full advantage in showing off the females and their busts that is making their clothes burst at the seams.   [embed]34861:5490:0[/embed] "Dear Sweet Heart" Anime: Sekirei I've only seen the title card of this show on Netflix but never got around to watching but this funny ending makes me want to give it a chance.   [embed]34861:5488:0[/embed] "STUDY x STUDY" Anime: Highschool DxD This is the reason why I chose this theme for this week's OP Up!/Week Ender. This ending was definitely created with the internet in mind and their love for making GIF animation pictures. It's so hypnotizing and I CAN'T STOP REWATCHING.   Is there an anime/anime ending or opening that has big boobs that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know (even though we know DXD is the best).
Week Ender photo
The Bigger the Plot, The Better the Show
This has been the easiest theme to find videos for, with a lot of anime having characters that are well-endowed in the chest area. Often referred to as "plot", giant breasts are a staple in anime and manga. I could only make ...

Annotated Anime: Haruchika: Haruta & Chika episodes 8-10

Mar 18 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 8 Straight up, this episode is bizarre as hell. It is either being really metaphorical or someone lost their damn mind but the imagery here leaves you scratching your head. Things open up decent enough. There are two months left until qualifications for the B class finals for the Brass club. The "friend" of Naoko's who was also the person behind the mysterious radio show has joined the group. He is a first year named Kaiyuu. But this episode revolves around Naoko, the girl we met a few episodes ago who is losing her hearing. It seems her aunt who has been living in Australia is moving back to Japan and wants Naoko to live with her. Naoko, of course, doesn't want to. For some reason, Naoko's aunt is seeing a "First Love Sommelier" who is one of the upperclassman based on the first floor along with the other weirdo clubs we've seen in previous episodes. Haruta and Chika go to check things out with Naoko. This is where things get really weird. It seems Auntie's first love is tied to Onigiri, so as they are being prepared she tells this story of  a small child being lost in the woods and meeting "The children of the forest" who are a bunch of anthropomorphic animals. She meets a bear guy named Benjant and helps him make onigiri for the others. She goes and feeds the birds and comes back, seeing some leftovers. She takes one bit and Benjant sees her, BEFORE HE ATTACKS HER. She is made an outcast as a result. And the whole point of this is that she can meet Benjant again. Is this some weird illusion to her being raped or something? I'm totally missing something here. Anyway, the rest of the episode plays out with Naoko, Haruta, Chika, and the Sommelier going to stop Naoko's aunt and we find out, at least, part of the story of just what the hell she was talking about. If only a little bit. Outside of that confusing part, there is a lot in this episode that explores the relationship between Naoko and Chika. While it was painted out in previous episodes that Naoko wouldn't give Chika a second thought, we find out that Naoko actually has admiration for Chika in that she has friends. Naoko even offers to give Chika a "one day lesson" to help with her flute playing. So in all, if you actually ignore the bizarre main story line nearly completely, you find there are some real touching moments in the episode. But the main plot IS there, so this one isn't one of their best shows.   Episode 9 This episode is more like it. Something more normal and not some weird illusionist stuff about a bear man and forest children. When Mr. Kusakabe falls faint, we find out he's been advising a Brass band from the upper-class high school close by while their advisor is out on a suspension. The school's students don't know why the teacher known as "The Gorilla" was suspended, but they report he had been acting very strange the last few weeks and mysteriously was rearranging the seating assignments in his homeroom class. Haruta dives right in, since he wants Mr. Kusakabe only for their class, in wanting to find out why The Gorilla was suspended, so, of course, Chika jumps in as well. However, Kaiyuu also joins them in finding out what was going on. We really get to see Kaiyuu in this episode. It turns out he is as good a problem-solver as Haruta is. As he says "I spent a lot of time around old people, I've learned a lot of superfluous things." You notice he always has his drumsticks with him and is often tapping away. He seems to get along with others really well. Great showing more of him as a person. The story plays itself out well as we meet and hear from those around the mystery teach and what may have lead to his suspension. The clues actually make sense and there are no great leaps between clues and plot points. Everything seems to flow in a good line and does end up giving you a twist ending or anything like they did with the old man artist and his trip to America a few episodes ago. No denying that for me, this is a much better episode than the last one. The plot not only was realistic and made a lot more sense, but everything lined up perfectly from beginning to end. What the last episode lacked this one made up for in spades.   Episode 10 The competition is here! It's the morning of the big competition and the Brass Band club is gathering together in the meeting hall. Seems Chika had a heck of a morning as she saved a little kid who had fallen out of a window. Seriously? Yup, poor Chika hurt her wrist and hip catching the tumbling toddler, but she says she is okay. However, both Haruta and  Mr. Kusakabe are not here yet. Seems Haruta found himself a friend. This episode is obviously just a primer for the next two episodes with shoehorning in a mystery about who is the owner of this large dog. Don't get me wrong, it is still a good episode, but with only 2 episodes left and it being the morning of the big competition, you know that there are bigger things to come in the final two episodes. The mystery is simple, Haruta finds a dog that is worth a lot of money and two people claim it is theirs. A little girl and some guy.  Haruta and Chika have to solve the mystery in a short amount of time before they have to run back to practice for the competition. Honestly, when trying to find the answer I over thought it out and came to a much different and more complex explanation, but the answer was much simpler than I had guessed. Things seem to be setting up nicely already. Besides paying off the season long main storyline of the competition itself, you have a somewhat shifty reporter hanging around who knows a lot about Mr. Kusakabe, and you even have an appearance from "The Gorilla" and his club who let Chika and her club use their practice room since they perform much earlier.   An interesting batch of episodes here. Episode 8 is really nuts with no explanation as to what the hell was going on there, but 9 and 10 are both pretty straight forward.  The finale is coming up so things are set up for something interesting to happen. We shall see where the ending takes us. Strait up, this episode is bizarre as hell. It is either being really metaphorical or someone lost their damn mind but the imagery here leaves you scratching your head.     Things open up decent enough. There are two months left until qualifications for the B class finals for the Brass club. The "friend" of Naoko's who was also the person behind the mysterious radio show has joined the group. He is a first year named Kaiyuu.     But this episode revolves around Naoko, the girl we met a few episodes ago who is losing her hearing. It seems her aunt who has been living in Australia is moving back to Japan and wants Naoko to live with her. Naoko of course doesn't want to. For some reason Naoko's aunt is seeing a "First Love Sommelier" who is one of the upperclassman based on the first floor along with the other weirdo clubs we've seen in previous episodes. Haruta and Chika go to check things out with Naoko.     Things is where things get really weird. It seems Auntie's first love is tied to Onigiri, so as they are being prepared she tells this story of her as a small child being lost in the woods and meeting "The children of the forest" who are a bunch of anthromorphic animals. She meets a bear guy named Benjant and helps him make oniguri for the others. She goes and feeds the birds and comes back, seeing some left overs. She takes one bit and Benjant sees her, BEFORE HE ATTACKS HER. She is made an outcast as a result.     And the whole point of this is that she can meet Benjant again. Is this some weird illusion to her being raped or something? I'm totally missing something here.     Anyway the rest of the episode plays out with Naoko, Haruta, Chika, and the Sommelier going to stop Naoko's aunt and we find out at least part of the story of just what the hell she was talking about. If only a little bit.     Outside of that confusing part, there is a lot in this episode that explores the relationship between Naoko and Chika. While it was painted out in previous episodes that Naoko wouldn't give Chika a second thought, we find out that Naoko actually has admiration for Chika in that she has friends. Naoko even offers to give Chika a "one day lesson" to help with her flute playing.   So in all, if you actually ignore the bizarre main story line nearly completely, you find there are some real touching moments in the episode. But the main plot IS there, so this one isn't one of there best shows.  
Haruchika photo
Yeah, things get weird
We are closing in on the end of Haruchika: Haruta and Chika, the big concert competition is fast approaching and all the members of the Brass band club we will meet are here. We have a concert to perform and mysteries to solve! Let's jump right in.

OP Up! - Giant Plot Edition

Mar 17 // Red Veron
[embed]34855:5483:0[/embed] "Trip -innocent of D-" Anime: High School DxD I still see gifs from this show and people liked this show a lot. Get your generic anime protag in a harem and some action with some tiddies and you got a good anime stew going.   [embed]34855:5484:0[/embed] "Stargazer" Anime: Ikkitousen - Xtreme Xecutor I only know two things about this franchise: fanservice with clothes ripping and somehow it is related to Chinese mythology. Who cares about ancient stories when you have hot anime girls with clothes ripping and big boobs?   [embed]34855:5485:0[/embed] "Errand" Anime: Seikon no Qwaser I admit that I saw about half of this first season since it had a ridiculous premise where warriors get power boosts from drinking breast milk--- DIRECT FROM THE SOURCE. Yes, it's an anime where characters get powers from breastfeeding. A friend who likes yuri and ridiculous anime recommended this to me, and it definitely delivered on the ridiculousness.   [embed]34855:5486:0[/embed] "HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD" Anime: High School of the Dead I used to wonder why almost every female in this show and manga had large breasts and oodles of fanservice, until I found out that the author also draws hentai. Normally, too much gratuitous fanservice turns me off but it seems to suit the apocalyptic zombie setting that isn't seen that much in anime and manga at the time when they came out. I love this opening a lot.   So which anime that has big tiddies that you live? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know.
OP Up! photo
Watch it for the plot
One thing I noticed with localized anime releases in the US that has always stood strong are anime that feature females that are well-endowed in the chest region. The market never went away and I am always amazed at how anime...

Review: Death Note: The Omega Edition

Mar 16 // Christian Chiok
[embed]34843:5475:0[/embed] Death Note: The Omega Edition (Blu-ray [reviewed])Studio: MadhouseLicensed By: Viz MediaReleased: March 1, 2016 (NA)MSRP: $69.99 What makes The Omega Edition special over the standard edition is that it includes both of the Relight films, as well as the one-shot manga chapter that inspired the anime series. Between these and the inclusion of Spanish, Portuguese, and French dub options.  I had never seen Death Note in Spanish, having moved to the U.S. by the time it was airing, and after giving it a go here I was surprised by how good it was.  Personally, I didn’t try out the Portuguese and French dubs as I don’t speak or understand those languages, and I felt unable to appreciate them properly. Unfortunately, the Relight films were only available in Japanese, English and French. Naturally, I watched them in Japanese. The Omega Edition also includes interviews with the creators, behind-the-scenes footage of the English and Japanese voice cast, production art and much more. Many of these extras are lifted from Death Note's 2009 DVD release, and are of poor quality compared to the extras new to the Blu-ray edition. Regardless, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it if you’re curious of what went behind the creation of the series. Ever since Blu-ray made its debut decade ago, a lot movies and series prior its era has been getting remastered into this new format.  While the Death Note series released months later, it really wasn’t aired in HD.  With the series getting its first Blu-ray treatment, at least in North America, the visuals were heavily improved, and almost look as if it were a new series entirely. In 2016, I think most of us have seen Death Note, and if not, most likely you weren’t interested. I mean, it’s been a decade since its original Japanese release. However, if for some reason you,still haven’t seen the series, definitely give it a go. It has a thrilling story full of action-packed scenes, suspense, great characters, and an amazing soundtrack. Depending on your stance though, you may or may not find the ending disappointing, but it was for the best. It would have been interesting to see an alternate ending, though. If aren’t familiar with the Relight films, they are basically recaps of the original series with some extra footage. The first Relight film covers the first episode all the way through Episode 25, while the second film covers the second part of the series, which are Episodes 26 through 37.  Naturally as recaps, they had to cut a lot of stuff to fit into a 2 hours’ time frame, however I believe that they still cover most of the juicy stuff that you need to know about the series. I don’t think I would recommend watching these if you never seen the original series, but they definitely serve as refreshers if you don’t want to go through the original series again.  As an anime collector and a fan of the series, Death Note: The Omega Edition is a valuable addition to the collections of otaku who can fit it into their budget, while the standard edition still packs the crisp, remastered HD visuals that blow most available streaming options out of the water. [This review is based on a copy of the product provided by the distributor] Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 4, 2016 (JP), February 5, 2016 (EU), February 9, 2016 (NA/SA)MSRP: $59.99
Death Note photo
Good show, great extras
Until recently I didn't have much interest in buying anime box sets. They were just too expensive, and I had few aside from ToraDora! and Dragon Ball Z.  Death Note: The Omega Edition is also pretty expensive, but makes a convincing pitch, thanks to some unique extras  and its comprehensive gathering of a great anime series. 

Annotated Anime: Myriad Colors Phantom World episodes 7-9

Mar 15 // Nick Valdez
Episode 7 Each episode of Phantom World starts with Haruhiko elaborating on the episode's central idea. Some episodes it's a scientific theory, and others it's some sort of philosophical idea. As he explains Schrodinger's cat experiment (where a cat is stuck in box with poison and is technically both alive and dead until someone confirms otherwise), subtly all but goes out the window as a loose phantom turns everyone in the school into cats. Well, anime cats (so just cat ears and tails) anyway. As the series amplifies its cute premises and character designs, the stakes aren't as huge. And while this was a negative at first, it ends up being a comfortable groove for the series to settle into. All these cat ears also tie into the mission of the week, finding a little girl's lost cat. The Phantom Hunting club then heads into an abandoned school building where cats used to hang out in search of the Phantom and then Kyoto's affinity for crazy visuals kicks in. Crazy hallucinations, the myriad of colors the title's been promising since inception, and an awesome Phantom design (leading to a literal interpretation of "house cat"). Then the episode ends with none of the characters growing or learning anything. But that's okay for now.  Episode 8 When a hot spring suddenly appears in the middle of the school, we get a continuation of the fun from last episode. Instead of weighing itself down with things like story or character development, Phantom World decides to amp up everything that's actually working. Unfortunately that comes with a bit more perverse jokes (and finally dipping into the harem trappings), but to balance it out we finally get a look at something I've wanted from the beginning. When the show started, it said the new generation of kids got powers through mutation and I've wanted to see more of those powers since then. As student after student fights the phantom-of-the-week (a gang of perverted monkeys), it's both visually interesting and humorous. Some of the jokes were clumsy, but I laughed quite a bit. It's a shame that it took eight episodes for me Phantom World to finally feel like a complete show.  Gags were influenced by character quirks, and I finally got a good grasp of who each of these characters were. It's not a lot, to be honest, but I'm happy to even have something here. With all of that, however, Mai is developing feelings for Haruhiko and that's what I didn't want. The show's been avoiding this stuff entire series and has been great for it, so don't drop it on us now.  Episode 9 Continuing the trend of using the monster-of-the-week formula to its fullest and just having fun with it, a girl we've never seen before says she needs the Phantom Hunting Club's help with the drama club's latest play (a samurai tale). As they practice, they realize that a phantom's been lurking by. On the day of their performance, the new girl suddenly reveals she's a phantom and transforms the stage into the actual Edo era. The gang figures out they have to successfully finish the play in order to satisfy the Phantom completely. The gang finishes the play, and everything kind of goes back to normal. No big developments here like in the last few episodes, but it's still and entertaining enough story. It's just not as gripping as the past two episodes. That's alright, but we can't really afford to waste time anymore. If KyoAni wants to swing for the fence, they've got to land it. We've gotten some good examples of a lighthearted, fun romp so I definitely want more of it. Either way, it's been okay so far. 
Annotated Phantom World photo
Myriad of actually interesting stuff
I've been hard on Myriad Colors Phantom World since its inception because I went in expecting more from Kyoto Animation's effort. Their past shows have been great when they work, so I was hoping this too would be one of the b...

Reflecting on Women in Anime and Manga

Mar 15 // Yussif Osman
Like everywhere else in the world, pressures surrounding gender roles in Japan are great and these pressures are disproportionately great on women. Women in Japan are expected to stop working after they get married and are then expected to perform the typical duties of a wife and a mother. But like most places in the world, I argue it is getting better, at least in the way people see and treat one another, if not structurally. Hayao Miyazaki, who is notable for creating great, leading female characters, remarked facetiously that he has so many strong female animators, that he may need to make more films with male protagonists to encourage men. He's joking and life is still very difficult for women around the world, but in certain spheres we see strides being made, whether that's a female presidential candidate in the US or increasingly inspiring and strong female protagonists in anime and manga. With regards to Studio Ghibli, we can point to the powerful and driven San from Princess Mononoke or the resourceful and resilient Chihiro from Spirited Away, but I would like to in particular flag up the lesser known Only Yesterday which though released in Japan in 1991, would not be released in North America until over two decades later in 2016. This is a mature and therapeutic film which deals with memory and growing up from the perspective of the twenty-seven-year-old Taeko. The positive outcome of the film being released so late is that we millennials were able to see it as we become Taeko's age and wrestle with the same issues she does, like love, career and working out where we belong. Taeko recalls her childhood whilst seeking to escape her life in the city by doing seasonal work in the countryside. Taeko leads viewers in the same stage of life as her by example, encouraging us to reflect and discover what truly makes us happy as she decides to ultimate to stay in the countryside. Taeko might not be Hokage or a pirate captain, but she is still a leader, in a very meaningful and important sense. Another character who strikes me personally is Mari from Tokyo Magnitude 8. Mirai and Yuki are separated from their from their family when a devastating earthquake hits Tokyo and Mari, a complete stranger takes it upon herself to make sure they reach home. What strikes me here, in particular, is how their coming together was written. Often, something binds characters, meaning they have to come together, often by chance or fate, but this isn't the case here. Mari simply chooses to take responsibility for the children, it's a choice she freely makes to undertake this heavy mission and that says a great deal about her character. Through the course of the story, she becomes more than the typical older sister often found in older young women in anime. She is a protector and a guardian, a teacher, a guide and a parent. She helps them hope and in doing so becomes pivotal for their survival. Not just that, but through her they learn about each other and grow as brother and sister. Another reason this character is so compelling is that it's easy to present a heroine who is strong because she is just written as fighting strong enemies like Ryuko from Kill la Kill, instead, the enemy here is an earthquake and cannot simply be fought and must instead be navigated through, not with strength or attacks, but with character, with optimism and audacity, will and hope, human characteristics which inspire us and should. That said, I believe there are still 'fighting' female protagonists who bring a-lot to anime and manga, more so than their male counterparts. I would like to use the example of the two Nonos from Gunbuster and Diebuster. Both characters are dreamers who discover themselves in their dreams of becoming space pilots and grow as people. But even as shounen-like characters, their fights are spectacular and outshine the battles found in One Piece, Naruto and Dragonball Z. Why do I say this? Whereas in most shounen anime and manga, the protagonist fights by showing off attacks, skills or new techniques, with the Nonos instead what we get is a display of sheer willpower and fury. Where Naruto relied on ascending to his various fox and frog forms to fight progressively stronger foes and Goku has to go super saiyan, the Nonos had to learn, grow and display impossible willpower, resulting in an awesome displays of human perseverance. In short, it's awesome. There remain issues, it is assumed that shounen anime and manga in the mainstream require male protagonists, depriving young boys of strong female role models which I believe are necessary to foster a healthy and fair society. Instead, for most shounen anime and manga, the female characters either need protecting or are a love interest, feeding into existing stereotypes and perpetuating them. As I have described here, strides are being made, but there is still a long way to go. There's one series in particular that I would like to place emphasis on which turns this issue on its head. Revolutionary Girl Utena is about a young woman who seeks to become a prince; i.e. someone who is brave, proud and strong, rather than a princess. The result is a protagonist who plays much of the roles taken by male protagonists in shounen anime, including combat, but with a feminine perspective that brings something new to the table. Rather than simply defeating her foes, Utena empathises with them, understands where they're coming from and in doing so, brings the conflict to resolution, rather than simply beating them into submission. The result is far more compelling and interesting episodes than the average anime. The way the show explored gender and sexuality would also go on to inspire the American cartoon Steven Universe where female alien gems fight, protect and fall in love. Utena empathising with her enemies is akin to Allen Walker liberating the spirits of his akuma foes in D. Gray-man and this brings us to Katsura Hoshino. Hoshino has fought waves of illness and continued to bring D. Gray-man to the world, a story filled with mystery, stunning art and a complex, detailed world with even more complex characters. Hoshino brought us a world of very troubled and traumatised characters, who deal and work through their trauma throughout the story, creating vibrant journeys of self-discovery and startling revelations. D. Gray-man is one of the few shounen manga to have truly empathetic villains, who suffer and have complex lives behind their actions. This is in contrast to even Naruto, which though seeks to portray some of its villains such as Pain and Obito as having reasons for the terrible thing they've done, they're not 'alive' or 'real' in the same way that D. Gray-man villains are who are complicated in virtue of more than just motivations, but quirks and behaviour, personalities that are more than just bitter, rather they are filled with humour and bonds of their own. This may be a trait that female authors and creators bring to their work in a more effective way than their male counterparts, that their characters are simply more complex, multi-layered and interesting. The Millenium Earl and the Noah family are more than just evil, they are a family and genuinely likeable. Likewise, Hoshino's heroes are more than just good, they're odd and bizarre with a billion flaws and detailed likes and dislikes and personalities. Compare multiple Naruto side characters like Tenten or Shino who are given special abilities, but who are basically two dimensional, compared to a single D. Gray-man side character like Lavi, who has a complex personality and backstory of his own. Whereas Lavi is a reluctant Bookman, seeking to record the history of the world, we never learnt a thing about Tenten or Shino which could make us care more about them. I don't know, it might be unfair of me to say that female authors create more compelling characters and stories, but I know that these female authors most certainly did, and so did Hiromu Arakawa, who is responsible for arguably the perfect anime and manga in Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Arakawa built an incredible world and went as far as to create a science from scratch for the sake of the story in the form of Armestrisian alchemy. The hero-villain axis is fluid as people's motivations bring them dynamically in and out of line with one another, Scar and Greed being primary examples. The story covers issues such as race relations and military occupation, family and international relations, the ethics of science, religion and humanism. The sheer originality of the series is amazing as entire ontologies, countries and philosophies flow into existence before our eyes. Not just that, but the series itself becomes incredibly complex with a range of characters doing multiple things across multiple locations, whilst events still coalesce and work together seamlessly regardless. The story is enjoyable, interesting and moving and I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope we all see more of Arakawa's original work in the future. Having lived and work in East Asia and in Japan in particular, I can say that gender is an issue that still has a long way to go. Stereotypes, societal pressures and expectations make life incredibly difficult for girls and women, but I believe that through the medium of storytelling, we have opportunities to make strides in gender equality and the perception of women. Japan is blessed with a massive storytelling industry in anime, manga, light novels and video games and so, I believe ample opportunity to make a difference.
International photo
Celebrating women characters and authors
This article comes a week late, but I think better late than never and better a little late than very late. I wanted to do something for International Women's day and thought why not reflect on a couple of female characters and creators who have made the world of anime and manga a better, more compelling place.

Death Note photo
Death Note

Japanator Unboxes: Death Note: The Omega Edition Blu-ray Set


A Classic Series Now Available on BluRay
Mar 14
// Christian Chiok
I remember when I first watched Death Note in 2006. The idea of getting rid of people by killing them with a simple notebook was terrifying yet intriguing. Not only that, but the thought that the Death Note was under the powe...
Gundam photo
Gundam

This Lobster Shell Sazabi model looks as cool as the real thing


Who needs Gunpla when you have lobsters?
Mar 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Move aside, plastic. There's a new material in town that can be used to make Gundam models and it can be obtained from a delicious delicacy. Instead of hunting down a Gunpla kit, Niconico User Nurezokin's younger brother dec...

Week Ender - Sweaty Sports Men Edition

Mar 13 // Red Veron
[embed]34847:5476:0[/embed] "Splash Free" Anime: Free! This song is isn't like the others and is a J-Pop/K-Pop song, it's good for dancing. Also, this might be the most homoerotic ending in the show. Set in a desert for some man thirsty oasis action.   [embed]34847:5477:0[/embed] "Fantastic Tune" Anime: Kuroko no Basuke A pretty rad ending that can double as an opening, it's got some good visuals that would work as an opening if sped up a bit. That song isn't as fast but still can get keep hearts racing.   [embed]34847:5478:0[/embed] "Be My Steady" Anime: Prince of Stride - Alternative I like the use of color and shapes in the OP and ED of this show, which is one thing I love in the current trend of anime visual styles. I need to sit down and watch this show to see if the style isn't just in the OP and ED.   [embed]34847:5479:0[/embed] "Kaze wo Yobe" Anime: Yowamushi Pedal A light pop rock song here for easy listening, this song is a good way to wind down from all that blood pumping excitement for a sports anime.   [embed]34847:5480:0[/embed] "Tenchi Gaeshi Anime: Haikyuu!! Here is one of those emotional endings where you get to feel stuff but not quite the same revving up you get in an opening. I don't know how to articulate it but just watch the opening, also has a good song that would be good to have in a playlist towards the end.    Is there an sports anime song that gets your blood pumping? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Men Longingly Stare at Each Other
It was International Women's Day last Tuesday so I took the chance to feature some anime that is loved by a lot of women. A lot of which feature sweaty sports men. What was once a genre that was for men who burn with passion ...

Annotated Anime: Oshiete! Galko-chan episode 10

Mar 13 // Anthony Redgrave
With the show starting to head towards the final stretch of its 12 episode season, we're starting to learn a bit more about the rest of the cast that Galko interacts with. In this case, it's those three boys that just can't get enough of the blonde protagonist. This episode's lead is Charao, the blonde dude with the earrings. He's not the nerdy one or the tall silent boy, he's the guy that sometimes talks to Galko and, like his entourage, isn't a stranger of imagining Galko is different situations that are far from the truth. Case in point where he notices that Galko is wearing a male shirt causing him to assume Galko is seeing someone. Like the last episode, there isn't a lot of learning to be done here. One question is whether baldness is caused by a high sex drive. Enter Otako to mention something to do with the levels of hormones and family genetics. Not an in-depth answer but enough to subside the question and to bring up the fact that Galko is a nosey person. She can't stop mothering the whole class thus joining in with every conversation including male-centric ones about bikini models.  Even though this episode features the least screen time for Galko, she is still the topic of most discussions. It would've been interesting to see the male version of Galko with the guys asking male mysteries such as: do males sit down to pee or do they prefer to wear boxers or briefs? The episode was decent overall as it was surprising how much I enjoyed following the male members of the cast. The finale with Charao and his Kouhei is sweet and I would like to see more of them in the future.  Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan Ojou VA does the narration, and it's adorable The faceless narrator has an adorable voice Ojou has her own sound effect Otao represents 90% of the viewer base for Galko-chan Nikuko has the god-like breast control whilst running [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan Ojou's smug look is amazing We cannot trust everything Otako says is true It could be possible that when losing weight your boobs go first because it's made of different fat.... possibly. They never really clarify it. [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll]
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
What do the boys think?
When I first started watching Oshiete! Galko-chan it wasn't for the visuals or the premise, it was because it was kinda interesting to see the show answer these quite weird questions. Questions and queries that made you go 'h...

Cosplay photo
Cosplay

Party hard with Beat Down Boogie's MAGFest '16 video


There's no despair around these parts
Mar 10
// Salvador GRodiles
If you missed out on this year's MAGFest, the festival where you get to party with other people while partaking in events related to video games and video game music, the gang at Beat Down Boogie have covered their favorite ...

OP Up! - Sweaty Sports Men Edition

Mar 09 // Red Veron
[embed]34834:5469:0[/embed] "Dried Up Youthful Fame" Anime: Free! Eternal Summer Being sports anime, a lot these openings can really get you pumped up and make you want to do the sweaty sports. This opening for a show that I have no interest in got me really excited. Or maybe it's the tea I'm drinking right now. Maybe both.   [embed]34834:5470:0[/embed] "PUNKY FUNKY LOVE" Anime: Kuroko no Basuke This song doesn't pick up with the fast beat until towards the end, and then it gets all super basketball time with the characters. Not as cranked up as the other openings but still as good.   [embed]34834:5471:0[/embed] "Ah Yeah" Anime: Haikyuu!! This opening goes for a more dramatic approach with a light rock approach and soulful vocals. It does swell up to a climax like other songs and hits a great chord with those who've stuck with the show since the beginning.   [embed]34834:5468:0[/embed] "Strider's High" Anime: Prince of Stride - Alternative So this is that new anime with a made up sport called "Stride" which looks like parkour. Though I don't think the homoerotic undertones are part of the sport. I don't know, I haven't seen the show but this bright neon colored visuals in the opening outshine the song. Hopefully the second opening does better with the song.   Do you have a favorite men's sports anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! Enjoy!
OP Up! photo
For Women who like Sweaty Men
Yesterday was International Women's Day, and to celebrate that wonderful day for all women, I chose this week's theme to be something that a lot women like in anime. I wracked my brain a bit about the anime that is really pop...

Digimon photo
Digimon

Agumon digivolves into a comfortable PC cushion


Use your computer the Digidestined way
Mar 09
// Salvador GRodiles
You got to hand it to Digimon's heroes for being good friends with their partners. Thanks to Bandai, people can now use their computer alongside an Agumon PC cushion; thus allowing them to emulate the strong bond be...

Annotated Anime: One Piece episode 732

Mar 07 // Anthony Redgrave
Not a lot can be done in one minute and therefore not a lot is done in this episode. Rebecca is still slowly advancing on Viola under the control of Doflamingo, Luffy is still waiting for his Haki to recharge like a battery, and the rest of the Straw Hats are desperately trying to stop the impending Bird Cage from destroying all of Dressrosa, or what's left of it.  In a twist of fate, it is Gatz that proves to the hero of the episode. Just as Mansherry's healing power starts to wear away, Gatz is able to rally the people of Dressrosa to their aid. He acts like Luffy's hype man, revealing Lucy's identity to the rest of the population that still don't know and gets the crowd pumped for his return. It's actually quite effective and entertaining despite it being stuff we have already heard before. Luffy has been out of action for a few episodes, so we as an audience are very excited to see him return to action. The countdown is cut short as Doflamingo attacks Gatz bringing the mood to a low. The cheering stops, Rebecca is launched into a final attack against Viola, and Luffy is nowhere to be seen as the clock runs passed a minute. It's a short beat of lowered mood before we see the hero return and save the damsels in distress. We all know Luffy will return so it was how he made his appearance and when which makes this beat so effective. Bringing the mood down and all that built up momentum to a standstill was the contrast that made Luffy's reappearance hit harder than if he were to appear immediately after the countdown.  The grounds are set for Luffy to end this arc finally. I'm guessing Luffy's final attack will take approximately five episodes to actually execute and bring down Doflamingo. Alternatively, the Bird Cage is brought down or stopped so Doflamingo and Luffy can prolong their fight without the constant worry of the Bird Cage completely obliterating Dressrosa before the fight is over.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
One Piece photo
A hero's come back
I know anime takes a lot of liberties with real world scientific laws. Pretty much everything we know about modern science can be skewed in anime and then thinly explained before becoming the norm in that series. Time isn't o...

What Would You Do? Bitten by Rize Kamishiro

Mar 07 // Lindo Korchi
As soon as her teeth penetrate ferociously through my shoulder, I'd freeze due to the shock. However, I may be more confused as to just why she's biting me the wrong way. In all those movies in which people fall victim to biting attacks, the attackers always used fangs capable of puncturing the skin fluidly. Even that would feel excruciating, and I'm sure that being bitten in a resistant manner, without the use of fangs, would feel even worse. Thus, attempting to escape or push her away will only provoke her to intensify her grip. So, I would sneeze on her. This will catch her off guard and increase the likelihood of her letting me loose for a moment. It sounds funny, but think about: if you were enjoying the moment of devouring a raw shrimp, and it somehow sneezed on you, would you take a step back for a moment? The only difficult thing is figuring out how to sneeze on que. I should practice now. After I've accumulated a few seconds, running wouldn't serve me any good. Crying wouldn't help either – plus, I already cried when The Titans Returned, so I wouldn't want to make it a habit. Above all, I have to find a way to make her lose her appetite towards me. In another way, what else can the shrimp do to make you lose your appetite? Because of the situation, it's actually the only time where using too much cologne is actually a good thing. It'll mask my human scent to a degree and potentially create a horrendous odor due to the amalgamation of cologne, body heat, and blood from my shoulder. I could also take off my socks and throw it at her face, but that's risky. Not because of what you might expect, though. It's risky because the scent has a 50% chance of either increasing her appetite, due to my scent and sweat of walking all day, or it can decrease her appetite for the same reasoning. If none of my attempts work, then I'll feel like a character from Street Fighter who's in practice mode. Which equals to no hope whatsoever. Of course, this is a plan I came up with after analyzing and thinking. If it were in the moment, I'd probably just bite her back.....wait a minute, that just might work. If a shrimp bit me, I don't think I'd want to eat it anymore. I'd likely get another shrimp or lose my appetite. Interesting. Well, if either plan works, I hope she'll just flee. This gives me time to actually make it to safety and live to tell the tale. That is....if I'm not already doing that now. What would you do in such a situation? [Image credits courtesy Koyorin, Ilya Kuvshinov, infukun]
What Would You Do? photo
Step Two: Don't Panic
[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.] See, the thought of getting...

Annotated Anime: Oshiete! Galko-chan episode 9

Mar 05 // Anthony Redgrave
This week's Galko-chan is lite on learning. The show kicks off with Galko refusing to open her mouth for reasons that are explored throughout the episode but boil down to; she still has a mindset of a child. Otako is able to weasel this out of her eventually leading to the next segment about Ojou. Ojou is a character that is largely left to the background, faithfully playing second fiddle to Otako's schemes. I really like her character design and her supporting role is fantastic when we see her doing bizarre things in the background. However, I feel that we never get enough out of her every episode leaving her whole persona something to be desired.  Fortunately, she takes a larger role in this episode as wanting to be more like Otako. Her big moment comes as she explains to the girls why the inside of a Vagina is always pink regardless of skin colour or race. I'm not sure why she went straight to the genital area when the same is true for the entire digestive system from the mouth to the anus but I think it's because Otako dives for the explicit topics.  The final part of this episode is another Galko being childish bit. She gets scared because Otako says something mildly disturbing and Otako has to put things right before the episode is over. Rinse and repeat. Overall this episode is one of the weaker ones in the series. It didn't provide a lot of information and it mainly focussed on Galko being immature despite her mature appearance and sometimes mature personality. We did get some good visuals including Galko's sister as a high schooler, Galko as a Middle Schooler, and Ojou having more screen time.  Things I learnt from watching Galko-chan Ojou's smug look is amazing We cannot trust everything Otako says is true It could be possible that when losing weight your boobs go first because it's made of different fat.... possibly. They never really clarify it. [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Oshiete! Galko-chan on Crunchy Roll]
Oshiete! Galko-chan photo
Ojou wants to join in
I wonder what we will learn today.

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. 


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