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Rock-Paper-Scissors photo
Rock-Paper-Scissors

What if rock-paper-scissors and shonen anime collide?


The game to end all games
Jan 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
If there's one debate that is serious business, it's the one to decide on which place to get food at. When you have two people set on two different cuisines, it's important to settle the whole thing in a civil matter; otherwi...

Final Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!!

Jan 11 // Nick Valdez
One of the things I noted back when I first covered the series was how impressed I was by its smooth action animation. Luckily that indeed continued as the season rolled on to its end. As the girls' attacks became more ridiculous, so did the animation. Unlike other sports anime, which only bent physics, Keijo!!!!!!!! often incorporates many flashing lights and colors not unlike ones you'd see in traditionally shonen anime. In the last mini-arc, as sort of a graduation exam from their time at the Keijo Academy (which was only a year long, for some reason), the girls found themselves facing off against a rival academy from the East. This meant the series suddenly found itself in even wackier circumstances than before. This mini-arc presented the best episodes in the series as girls suddenly started using spiritual qi attacks, harnessed wind, and, of course, the absolutely nuts "Gate of Bootylon."  But ridiculous as the visuals were, I found myself not caring about any of it. As was indicated in the first episode, these girls have no character beyond what techniques they use. Nozomi had an interesting motive for joining the sport (wanting fame and fortune, which is pretty atypical for the sports genre) but that was dropped after the premiere. Even when the series slowed down for its brief training intermissions, these episodes felt like filler. Just as how it became a shonen series in animation, it took on some of the worst characteristics of shonen storytelling. The filler training episodes were more about developing certain techniques rather than use the development of those techniques for character growth. For example, Nozomi training to use her signature Vacuum Butt Cannon only resulted in her learning the move rather than have the move be a resolution to a personal problem. It wasn't to overcome any weakness, or something a bit more worthwhile character wise, it was just because. While that's characterization in itself, it's still not strong enough to warrant following this character through the series.  But as you've probably guessed, strong character work isn't exactly Keijo's top priority. That's totally fine, but it doesn't save the show from being hollow. At least it does a few different things toward season end that actually might be interesting additions if/when the show continues. Along with the flashier moves and kookier characters, a bit of characterization is introduced in the final mini-arc. The top keijo player in the rival East school is a girl named Maya. We're given a bit of her background in which she's teased for her inhuman strength until her mother introduces her to keijo (by having Maya break a hole in a bed with her butt), but her anxiety over the sport created a second, more antagonistic personality, Kaya (complete with new eyes and hair color). Her inner conflict (solved within two episodes, on par with the series' rapid pace) ends up an outer conflict against Nozomi and it's a bit interesting. Nothing to write home about, but better than the zero character work than I expected. It's just a shame Nozomi doesn't develop herself as a result. All she gets is a 'Super Saiyan' like mode which helps her win the day. I suppose there's an argument for having a blank slate main character as Keijo becomes more of a shonen-action series, but the best shonen anime give their main characters personalities, if small ones. Yu Yu Hakusho's Yusuke was a brash punk, One Piece's Luffy is blindly optimistic and selfish, and even Dragon Ball's Goku more often fights for himself than others. Then again, those series had time to flesh out their characters. Keijo's hugest flaw is how much it wants to cram into its short, 12 episode run. The series just has too many characters doing things at one time to really focus on anyone. Apparently the season took place over the course of a year, and that year was Nozomi's entire time at the Keijo Academy. That's insane. Because at the end of the season the girls start talking about their love for one another, but there's not enough evidence of this before it's all just dumped on the viewer. Much like taking a hip whip to the face, the series blindsides you with how fast it goes.  It's like butt whiplash.  I may not be interested in Keijo!!!!!!!! anymore, but I'm glad it has its fan base. There are already quite a bit of anime productions littered with fan service, so viewers might as well enjoy the competent one. If you're going to look at boobs and butts, then I fully support looking at ones used as tools and weapons.  I mean, when nipples are hardened to the point where they're used as acupuncture to achieve a "Super Saiyan" transformation, I can see the appeal.  [You can stream Keijo!!!!!!!! on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now] 
Keijo Final Impressions photo
Zoom-a zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom poom
At the start of the Fall 2016 season, as the Japanator staff chose anime to cover, Managing Editor Josh Tolentino warned me about selecting Keijo!!!!!!!!. He told me to be sure about covering this show because I'd have to kee...

Gekisou Sentai Carranger photo
Gekisou Sentai Carranger

Safety First: Carranger is up for pre-order on Shout! Factory's Website


Who wants to learn about traffic safety?
Jan 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now this comes as a surprise. It turns out that Shout! Factory plans to launch Gekisou Sentai Carranger, the show where Power Rangers Turbo got its footage from, on April 25. Just like their previous releases, if you pre...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 11-13

Jan 09 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 11 If you love training videos then this is the episode for you! This episode takes place just after last week's show has ended. Tiger has a week until his next round match against Tiger the Dark and he needs to come up with a new killer move. Wakamatsu and Tanahashi invite him to train at the NJPW dojo, which Tiger agrees too. This pisses off Takaoka who is so old school he talks about a bodyslam or keylock being a killer move once. Anyway, most of the episode is literally a commercial for New Japan as both Tanahashi and Okada (where has he been this whole time?) take turns beating the crap out of Tiger Mask at the New Japan Dojo. I have to admit the animators must have made a trip to the Tokyo building because they get the inside of the training hall scary accurate! Kudos to them for that. Another interesting point in all this is a random appearance of Tetsuya Naito. He doesn't play a part in the story and is only on for a few minutes, telling Tiger Mask to chill out and Tranquillo and that's it. That was... useless. What the hell was the point of that? Unless Los Ingobernalbes show up to help Tiger Mask beat Tiger the Dark there was no point to this cameo at all. It literally would have made more sense to have Nagata, Fukuwara Mask or hell, even Gorilla Jeet Sign show up here more than that! After his time at the gym, Tanahashi and Wakamatsu take Tiger to a waterfall to stand under, with Tanahashi saying it was something Hirooki Goto did to find his finisher, to which Wakamatsu said that it was to collect himself when he lost to Okada. Either way, Hirooki Goto hasn't even appeared on this show so unless you are a fan of New Japan wrestling, it will just fly over your head. Outside of watching Tiger get his clock cleaned a number of times and pointless mentions and cameos, We see what the GWM guys are doing with their training! It's all atmosphere and pressure chamber space age technology with them as it's just like the training montage from Rocky IV. Tiger the Dark wants to be just as strong as Yellow Devil. We also see Takuma go to the hospital where his father is, but he still can't face him so he leaves some pudding with the nurse and leaves. His father figures out where the pudding from his hometown came from and tries to go after Takuma but he is still wheelchair bound. This episode flat out was not very good. It seemed more like an advertisement from NJPW and its top wrestlers more than anything that really advanced the plot. Nothing here couldn't have been accomplished in a 2-minute flashback and didn't need to be played out like this. Total skippable episode. Episode 12 It's time for the next match as the semifinals of the masked world tournament are tonight. However Tiger is still training with Tanahashi to try and get his new finishing move down at the NJPW gym. I can't say this is a good idea, but this is anime and that changes things. We even get a little bit of Haruna training at the home gym a little bit as she is toying with the idea of becoming a wrestler. The training bag ends up hitting her and knocking her down to the floor. The big show starts promptly at 3 pm and Tiger Mask, Dragon Young, and It's-The-Ace are not there. Tonight's matches are an opener of a couple of jobbers, Ken Anderson and Mike take on Poseidon and Dragon Young, and the two semifinals. Tiger and his buddies don't show up until the opening match is just ending so poor Poseidon is standing there just as his partner shows up (in a cab no less) and they run to the ring and promptly lose because they keep hitting each other. They then start fighting. Umm, okay. Yellow Devil and It's-The-Ace are up next and no surprise that Tanahashi does more damage to Yellow Devil than anyone else. Were you expecting any different? But since NJPW is producing this, Tanahashi loses without actually being pinned or submitted because screw you that's why! When your main villain of the season can't be bothered to pin a dude, that doesn't really look all that great when the final happens does it? Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark finally go at it. It is actually really disappointing as the match really isn't much to talk about. Tiger the Dark unveils his own new special move, a modified Octopus hold, and Tiger nearly passes out. But Haruna had invited Daisuke and the nurse to watch the show! They arrive just in time and not only does this revive Tiger, but Tiger the Dark freaks out, as you could imagine. It doesn't help that Daisuke is cheering for Tiger Mask and not him. Well, stupid, if you'd actually face you father and tell him what you are doing this wouldn't have happened now would it? Anyway, Tiger Mask unveils his new move, which is a flying knee to the face. Seriously, he got his ass kicked by NJPW's guys, stood in a waterfall, and got jabbed at with sticks on fire just to come up with a flying cartwheel knee to the face. This doesn't put Tiger the Dark down, it just splits open his old scar from Yellow Devil and pisses him off. Dark goes to retaliate but just passes out from the blood loss and Tiger Mask wins. This episode was disappointing. It still was able to hit some plot points but man it was like the match with the two tigers was just an afterthought. That match should have taken WAY more of the episode instead of messing around with all the extra crap. This episode wasn't a total disaster, but I would have done this one a whole lot differently. Episode 13 It's now time for the finals of the Masked World Tournament. But first, it's time for a women's match for no particular reason! Yup. GWM puts on a women's match right before the finals, proving that even in an anime, women matches get the death spot on a card. It's kind of weird as the subtitles refer to it as a "divas" match while you clearly hear them say "Joshi". Both describe a women's wrestling match but have much different connotations. Divas was the term the WWE used for women wrestlers but did away with at Wrestlemania last year as many of the women found it demeaning. Joshi conjures up images of the AJPW women's dojo and beating the tar out of 15-year-old girls before throwing them in the ring. Seriously, look up some vids online of that place. Scary. The only point for this is that originally they were supposed to go 30 minutes, letting Yellow Devil and Tiger Mask rest before the fight, but Miss X shortens it to 10 minutes. They don't actually explain it, but the idea is that Tiger Mask just got done a fight while Yellow Devil is sitting back relaxing. As this match is going on Tiger Mask is PISSED. He yells at Hikari going to his dressing room when she tries to get some questions. Turns out that in the match with Tiger the Dark, he actually screwed up his new big move and that kneeing him in the skull was an accident. Botchamania time for Tiger Mask! Meanwhile, Yellow Devil brings up a good point to Miss X, saying a fighter's top fear is the unknown. He then shows that he is not known for his headbutt but will use it against Tiger. The women's match ends with both unconscious on the mat, with them only going 5 minutes meaning not only does Tiger have to turn around and go back out there, but that the GWM needs to stick their women fighters to some endurance training. Tiger Mask and Yellow Devil start the match and Tiger is ready to kill right out of the bell. He tries for big moves like a tombstone but nothing is working. Yellow Devil is just tossing Tiger around before tossing him out of the ring. Tiger gets so furious he dents the metal barrier outside. Daisuke, Takaoka, Haruna, and Fukuwara Mask all notice Tiger is mad and tells him to calm down (THIS would have been a good Naito reference with Tranquillo). Tiger finally calms down and gets back in. It's around this point that Tiger The Dark wakes up and staggers out to watch the fight too. The match sequence is actually pretty good. Much better than the Tiger the Dark fight. Tiger counters Devil's moves but Devil has had enough of that and strangles Tiger with a choke and then headbutts him so hard Tiger starts bleeding. Daisuke freaks out saying that this isn't the Yellow Devil he knows. Everyone else freaks out as Yellow Mask damn near killed Tiger. Devil picks Tiger back up and goes for the choke and headbutt again but Tiger has a mental episode and counters it. He gets Devil back in the corner and finally hits his move correctly to knock Devil out and win the match. It's a corner cartwheel into a lung blower and monkey flip. I'd stick to the knee to the face. He grabs Yellow Devil and we find out that the masked man wasn't who everyone thought it was, pissing tiger off immensely. As he walks to the back in disgust, Tiger the Dark realizes that Tiger Mask is after Yellow Devil as well. After a couple of duds, this was a good episode. The women's match part of it wasn't the greatest, but they delivered in the actual meat of the episode. Since this was the finale of Season 1 (of 3) I wondered what this show would do. They had a climax with plenty of reason to keep watching (as good wrestling should). Not only does Tiger keep fighting, but a seed has been planted between Tiger and Tiger the dark now that they have a common goal.
Tiger Mask W photo
The climax of the tournament
We are back at it with the further adventures of Tiger Mask W after a holiday break. We are at the end of the first season and the GWM's Masked World tournament is in it's second round so let's get started with the action!

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger photo
Uchu Sentai Kyuranger

Watch Kyuranger's heroes strike a cosmic pose


It's Space Time!
Jan 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
At long last, we get to see Uchu Sentai Kyuranger's constellation-themed heroes in action. Thanks to TV Asahi, the first teaser for the show gives us a better look at the team's costumes. While we only get to see the tea...
Snow Miku photo
Snow Miku

Snow Miku's 2017 music video will take you to a winter wonderland


Cuteness triumphs over frostbite
Jan 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
No matter how cold the winter season can get, but that isn't stopping Hatsune Miku from warming people's hearts. Speaking of Vocaloids, AO FUJIMORI and yuiti hinata team up to bring us an animated music video of n-buna and Or...

Weekend Japanatainment - Cartoons Made in Japan Edition

Jan 08 // Red Veron
[embed]35482:6008:0[/embed] The Real Ghostbusters (1986) Yes, this show was animated mostly in Japan by a company called KK C&D (while the last two seasons were done by a Korean studio). There are many scenes in the series that just suddenly get very anime and it just looks pretty cool looking at it from today knowing who worked on it.   [embed]35482:6009:0[/embed] ThunderCats (1985) This intro is probably the most anime of all the intros in this selection, not to mention the most 1980's as well. It's got that super high energy that just doesn't stop with the animation and the music. I never really saw the show, but that remake was a straight-up anime.   [embed]35482:6010:0[/embed] SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (1993) I couldn't verify much of the information on this show but I can confirm that the intro was worked on by Itsuki Imazaki, who has worked many roles on different anime. The intros definitely give off very strong anime influences and eventually the show started to look more and more like anime. Don't believe me? Go watch some episodes in the second season.   [embed]35482:6011:0[/embed] Batman: The Animated Series (1992) Animated by another Japanese studio, TMS, this show does not look like anime at all with its very distinct character designs by Bruce Timm. Though there are moments where we get that occasional flash of anime influence.   [embed]35482:6012:0[/embed] G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) A show about with the subtitle "Real American Hero" is made in Japan? Yep, Toei animation, the folks behind many of your favorite anime such as Dragon Ball, was made in Japan (also with some help from Toei subsidiaries around Asia). This sequence from the movie is just pretty crazy and just feels like something from an insane action anime with everything going on.   Are there cartoons that were secretly made in Japan that you loved? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
American Anime?!
Wait, what? Yes, I just blasphemously compared your beloved Japanese anime with American cartoons. Now, before you all start grabbing your imitation 'Made in China' Katanas and ninja run over to the Japanator building intendi...

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Dance through the darkness with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero


You can't go wrong with surprises
Jan 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.] With this weekend being the first that's not on a major holiday, it's time for me to enter the scene again. Thanks to a close friend of mine, I was able to nab...
Fafner: The Beyond photo
Fafner: The Beyond

Are you there? Fafner's next project gets a trailer


The story continues
Jan 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
To this day, Fafner is one of the shows that I never expected to get a continuation. With a prequel OVA, a sequel film and a second TV series, the anime is an example of a situation where the team is willing to do what they c...

Review: Kaiju Girls

Jan 05 // Salvador G Rodiles
Kaiju GirlsStudio: Studio PuyukaiViewed On: CrunchyrollPremiere Date: September 27, 2016 As a person who’s still new to the Ultra franchise, I found the anime staff’s depiction of some of the giant monsters to be faithful to the original creatures. For example, the anime manage to capture Pigmon’s cute characteristics that make it one of the series’ friendliest beasts. This acts as a neat reward for viewers who’re familiar these monstrosities. At the same time, it contributes to the idea that many of these life forms have their own set of instincts. While Kaiju Girls’ depiction of the monsters as cute ladies is one of its strengths, the show doesn’t do much to take advantage of its ideas. Even though the show’s premise involves a group of called GIRLS that trains women with the souls of large monsters to protect people, the program fails to do anything grand with this concept. Instead, the title focuses on the everyday lives of three heroines who’re based on the Capsule Monsters from Ultra Seven, the third show in the Ultra franchise and the second Ultraman installment. For the most part, the staff’s decision to focus on the daily life of girls with giant monster souls worked decently. The idea of Windom being a closet fujoshi who envies Eleking, another otaku Kaiju Girl, lead to some cute moments that brought a smile to my face, and Pigmon’s tendency to be a cute person while giving off a serious authoritative presence was enough to make me giggle. Even though this format was entertaining at times, most of the skits were hit or miss. The episodes that featured fight scenes fell flat since the show’s three-minute episode timeframe didn’t give Kaiju Girl’s conflicts the chance to shine, such as the Shadow Monsters and the ladies with monster souls who went berserk. Since the series’ strengths lied in its skits between the girls, the story outside of the Capsule Monsters’ training and everyday life segments were weak at times, as they didn’t appear until the show was nearing its end. In any other Ultra show, these sorts of moments might’ve worked, but in a series of small shorts, you need more time to flesh things out. Of course, the cast’s hard work in making the girls sound like cuter versions of their original monster counterparts was one of the primary elements that helped make a few of Kaiju Girls’ segments entertaining. Sora Tokui (Milky Holmes series’ Nero, Is the order a rabbit? series’ Maya) gave off the right tone to make Pigmon sound adorable while showing her authority as one of GIRLS’ leaders, and Yurika Endo (Ace of Diamond series’ Haruno, Sakura Trick’s Rina) contributed to making Windom’s closet otaku personality seem funny. Since Kaiju Girl’s main focus is on the dialogue and the cast’s characteristics, the show doesn’t take advantage of the gang’s powers. The only elaborate part is the magical girl-like transformation sequence where each character is shown in a full-body design when they tap into their monster souls. For the most part, it’s a simple show that aims to bring amusement with the chibi girls’ expressions and the voice actress’ performances. Even though Kaiju Girls doesn’t complement the Ultra franchise’s tendency to feature ridiculous wrestling moves between a Giant of Light and a huge monster, Studio Puyukai uses the show’s simplicity to bring us something that could bring a smile to many folks. Each character almost showcases the right personality that complements their specific monster soul, and it works as a neat spinoff where the Ultra Warriors aren’t the star of the show. Unfortunately, some of the skits can be hit or miss, and the series’ major conflicts are a bit of a letdown; however, the title’s small episode timeframe might be enough for some folks who’re in the mood for some cuteness in short bursts— especially if they’re familiar with the Ultra franchise’s giant monsters and aliens. [This review is based on a streamed version of the series viewed by the reviewer at personal expense.]
Kaiju Girls photo
Unleash your inner Monster Soul
When it comes to tokusatsu franchises branching out into other mediums, I’m always open for these types of ideas since they can pull off things that could be hard to pull off in a live-action series. In this case, Tsubu...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - Nier Automata


Gravity Rush 2 Demo too!
Jan 04
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 10PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page and the video of the stream will also be posted here during and after the stream, so check it out!]   The new year is fin...

Japanator Awards 2016: Soul's picks for the best of the year

Jan 02 // Soul Tsukino
ANIME:   4) Haruchika: Haruta and Chika A series based on light novels, this series was like the scent coming from an air freshener. It wasn't heavy handed, over the top, but it still made you think. The adventures of two old childhood friends who are in a school's band club while solving puzzles is an interesting pitch and it worked well for the few episodes that it had. The series lacked any time to be able to expand on a lot of the characters, but the ones that were shown were funny and made the series really enjoyable. 3) Attack on Titan: Junior High I loved these little toe rags! Since the series finished in January I can include it here. A parody of Attack on titan, this series took what was VERY heavy and made it hilarious. The hardcore fans thought it was a waste of time but I thought it was a fun way to lighten up. A silly series that made me giggle and have a good time. 2) Sailor Moon Crystal I'm sorry but I loved this series! I waded through all the bitching and moaning people did complaining it's not the original series and really liked what was done here. Sure, the art had some issues, but I got into the story just as much with this series as I did when I first saw the original. I'll admit it had its faults but I took a lot more positive out of it than negative. It was a great series to watch and as an old school Sailor Moon fan I got into it. 1) Keijo!!!!!!!! This series should not have been good. This series should have been skewered to death and destroyed. But you know what? I enjoyed it. Other people enjoyed it. This show had me laughing literally every episode with just how insane it really was. This show took fan service and made it an art form with its creativity and not being afraid to be as silly as it could with a concept like this. Under any other circumstances, you'd think this show was have been buried and loathed, but I'll be damned if people aren't enjoying it for what it is. This not only was the biggest surprise for me but the most fun I've had with an anime series in a long time, so damn right I'm making it my top pick! WRESTLING: Match of the Year: Hiroshi Tanahashi v/s Kazuchika Okada WrestleKingdom 10 These guys had a major hill to climb. Not only did they have to the main event the biggest event of the year, but this was a rematch from the year before so they had to do something new. They delivered. The story of Okada never winning in the Tokyo Dome and facing the guy who not only beat him the year before but ALWAYS won in the Tokyo Dome made for a great stage for this contest. They gave it their all and made the match really exciting. Okada finally getting his big win made the story that much sweeter. Junior of the Year: Will Ospreay No one, and I mean NO ONE has made the splash in wrestling this year like Ospreay has. This 23-year-old Englishman shot to superstardom this year and is wanted around the world. He not only became an instant smash in New Japan but also in WCPW in England and Ring of Honor in the United States. Barring injury, this kid will only get bigger and better in 2017. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Dud of the Year: Yoshitatsu Poor Yoshi. Spent a year and a half on the sidelines with a broken neck and finally gets to make his comeback to see it go over like a fart in church. He went from teaming with Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi to teaming with Captain New Japan and cosplaying as Triple H in record time. If there is someone in desperate need of a change in career trajectory, it's this guy. Tag Team of the Year: The Young Bucks/Jacksons I didn't want to do it. I REALLY wanted to find someone better. I hate these guys with a passion. But there just wasn't anyone else that had the year these guys have had. Multiple tag title reigns in New Japan with the Jr. tag titles as well as runs with the ROH tag belts here in the U.S., these annoying little snots put on some great matches with teams over the last 12 months. So, having to bite down and bear it, these guys are my top team this year. Wrestler of the Year: Tetsuya Naito I thought over this one a lot, with Kenny Omega and Shinsuke Nakamura being possible other choices, but Kenny's got a bigger 2017 ahead of him and Nakamura is in the U.S. full time. Naito was the guy who was never over like Tanahashi, Okada, or Nakamura as a face. He was just an over glorified junior who got main event shots when the champ needed someone to beat. He would get booed out of buildings and while he had great matches, he just couldn't get over that hump with the fans. A radical change in personality and approach later and he has the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands. As the leader of Los Ingobernables, he has become a real threat in New Japan having won both the IWGP World and Intercontinental belts in the last 12 months and while The Bullet Club is teetering on being a bloated parody of itself, Los Ingobernables is primed to take their place. With great matches, big wins, and a style on his own, I give the master of Tranquillo the top spot for the year. OTHER STUFF WTF story of the year: Parents leave kid alone on a mountain Seriously, was there a more f'ed up story than this during the year? Yamato Tanooka's parents try to teach their misbehaving child a lesson by kicking him out of a car on a lonely mountain road, only to find out when they went back for him that the kid has vanished into the bear-infested, cold forest at the base of a volcano? Yamato seemed to be a tough little guy surviving for five days alone before wondering onto a Self Defense Force training base just as it looked like he wouldn't make it. Hopefully, this is a lesson to all the parents out there to NOT DO THIS. Pop Culture fad of the year: PikoTaro I don't think anyone has made so much out of a blend of writing utensils and produce. Dressed like either a pimp or a used car salesman and with dance movies of a drunk uncle at a wedding, this guy arrived out of nowhere to show use what to do with pens and fruit. Now he's on TV,  has many spoofs, and even has a restraint in tribute to his ode to pineapples, apples, and pens.  Gotta love it.   So with that, I bid adeu to 2016. I hope everyone had a happy holiday and may we all find health and good fortune and luck in the next year. See you all in 2017!
Japanator awards photo
Anime,Wrestling, and other stuff
Hey, Gang! It's that time of the year where we look back at the last twelve months and decide what was the best of the best. Since I like to cover more than just animated adventures, I'm putting my stamp on other things Japan related I've been encountered in the last year. So hope on and here is what I think was the best of the best in 2016.

Japanator Awards 2016: Christian's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Jan 01 // Christian Chiok
[Editor's Note: As with last year's Japanator Awards, our lists are arranged in order, with our #1 pick being our favorite of the year. To qualify for inclusion in the Japanator awards, a candidate must have concluded a broadcast run or season ("cour") within the calendar year of 2016.] 5. Keijo!!!!!!!!! This series had to make it into the list somehow, right? Like many have said before, Keijo!!!!!!!!! Is definitely the gem of the season. Keijo offers the flashiness similar to Kuroko’s Basketball, where techniques are exaggerated and shown as attacks from your typical Shonen series. Additionally, it manages to combine both a wacky and serious tone quite well.  From the outside, it may look like a perverted series of clashing boobs and ass. From the inside, however, the series is about an intense sport called Keijo and the hardship of many of the students that work to be the best at it.  If you like sport series, I would definitely recommend it. Don’t let the wackiness fool you. Additionally, Aoba is definitely the best girl in the series. 4. Haikyuu (Season Two & Three) Aside Kuroko’s Basketball, Haikyuu is definitely one of my favorite sport series in recent anime history. While it doesn’t give out the same intense for “Dragon Ball in sports” feel, the series does a good job at keeping you at the edge of your seat. Coming from Production I.G, the animation is certainly phenomenal as well. Both seasons, the second one which started last year but ended this year and the third one which both aired and concluded this year were certainly enjoyable. Both protagonist, Shoyo Hinata, and deuteragonist, Tobio Kageyama, made tremendous development in both seasons. This isn’t saying that the rest of the Karasuno team didn’t make any development, but these two guys went through a lot which eventually made them better characters. I don’t think Volleyball is as interesting as Basketball, and not to mention, Haikyuu isn’t as unrealistic as Kuroko’s Basketball. Still, a lot of the plays were quite intense and watching them in anime form was enjoyable thanks to Production I.G. 3. Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara Just like last year, Shokugeki no Souma delivered once again with its craziness and delicious plates. Additionally, I also appreciated the references put in some of the matches, especially the one with Megumi and Ryo where both of them had Stands. The tournament arc was quite enjoyable to watch as well — from its delicious food to the same intensity that you get from watching a sport series. My thoughts haven’t changed from last year when I put the first season on my top as well. The series features a variety of characters with different personalities who are certainly memorable. 2. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable If you took your time to read my Top 5 from last year (which I’m thankful for if you did), then you saw this one coming, because I did say I was going to automatically make it my Top 5 of 2016. To me, Diamond is Unbreakable is the best Jojo arc for many reasons. First, it features one of the best villains ever featured in a Shounen series, if not the best. He isn’t your generic “I am evil just because” or “I turned evil because I got friendzoned (looking at you, Obito). Yoshikage Kira has a unique background compared to other villains, and his purpose of doing what he does is unique as well. To add, Killer Queen was great antagonistic stand. Just like it features a great villain, the series though has a great protagonist as well. Joseph and Jotaro are great, and while Giorno Giovanna is my favorite JoJo, Josuke Higashikata definitely comes in second. He’s a hilarious character with a great personality but when it comes to being serious, he’s not playing around. Just like his father, he’s certainly a smart fighter as well. The side characters such as Jotaro, Joseph, Okuyasu and especially Koichi add to the series as well. 1. Orange This is the series that a lot of people in my circle called “If Clannad and Erased had a baby,” including myself of course. However, Orange’s traveling concept isn’t the same as Erased’s. In Orange, the protagonist, Naho Takiyama received letters from her future self to save her classmate, Kakeru Naruse, from comitting suicide. Each letter details on the things present Naho must do to save present Kakeru. Similarly to Clannad, Orange will also take you through the feelings roller coaster, similarly to the former. You’ll find yourself easily attached to many of the characters and feel what they are going through, which is an accomplishment considering the length of the series. I’m no afraid to admit that I shed some tears here and there watching the series. My only gripe is that the series was a bit short but perhaps it’s better if it was “short and sweet.” Honorable Mentions: Mob Psycho 100, Yuri On Ice, Re:Zero, My Hero Academia, Erased, All-Out, and Drifters.
Japanator Awards 2016 photo
Emotional Coasters, Boobs, Food, & More!
With another batch of enjoyable anime released this year, another Top 5 article was certainly obligatory. Unfortunately, just like last year, I didn’t invest my time much in Anime and spent it a lot more video games ins...

Japanator Awards 2016: Sal's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Jan 01 // Salvador G Rodiles
5. Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro If there are two things that I never imagine seeing in the same place, it’s preparing food being and becoming a DJ. Somehow, Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro drags us into a tale where a guy aims to be become a DJ through applying his experience of working at his family's tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets) restaurant to perfect his techniques. For the most part, the show made this whole thing seem ridiculous while making us root for this underdog who just wants to create a fun mix for people to enjoy. Even though the show’s looks wasn’t the best out there, the whole thing blended well with the series’ bizarre combination of themes. With each episode running at ten minutes, it was nice to see how well the tonkatsu theme played a huge role in Agetaro’s journey to become a great DJ. At the same time, I loved how this concept went well with the idea how one can apply their experience from a previous field in one that’s entirely different— in terms of understanding the new path better. Of course, it’s hard to deny a show where food and music go hand-in-hand to create a fun ride. To top it off, it deserves some props for giving a positive outlook on the word “chill out.”   4. Space Patrol Luluco While we’re on the topic of interesting shorts, Space Patrol Luluco served as an example of a series that reward me for sticking with it until the end. Even though the idea of Luluco being a series of shorts made me skeptical at first, the show ended up growing on me. We got to see a surprising origin story that’s relevant to Studio TRIGGER itself, along with a ridiculously over-the-top love story that took us through different worlds and galaxies. However, the big thing about this series was how much the series accomplished with its length. In 12 short episodes, we saw the show go from a tale of a girl following her dad’s footsteps to be a space officer so that she could use the money to free him from being frozen to story that took the idea of romance and used it in a scenario where everyone’s lives were on the line. At the same time, Luluco was a fine example of a project where the team at Studio TRIGGER just wants to have lots of fun while they mix a bunch of random off-the-wall ideas to create something wild. As a person who’s a fan of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s stuff, it was nice to see him make his over-the-top ideas work well in a series made up of seven-minute episodes. To top it off, the idea of seeing M.A.O./Mao Ichimichi (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger’s Luka/Gokai Yellow) as Luluco and Tetsu Inada (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger’s Doggie Kruger/Deka Master) as the show’s police chief, Chief Over Justice, felt like a dream come true since they both had solid roles in the Super Sentai franchise.   3. Konosuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! When it comes to comedic fantasy titles, I do my best to catch them when I can. As a person who enjoys titles with a wacky gang of heroes who get into lots of trouble, such as Slayers and Louie the Rune Soldier, Konosuba quenched my thirst for this genre. The idea of having a NEET who was revived in a fantasy world after experiencing a humiliating death, a goddess who the main guy took with him, a delusional Arc Wizard who’s super obsessed with the explosion spell, and a masochistic Crusader who can’t hit her target joining forces worked well in creating a random cast that made each episode really amusing. This is thanks to series is placing this team in many situations where their quirks contribute to the show’s humor. With moments that range from the gang struggling to slay simple creatures to somehow taking out a powerful boss who works for the main villain that threatens the land, Konosuba made way for many surprises; thus making it one of the funniest trapped-in-another-world shows to grace 2016. Last but not least, Megumin the Crimson Demon might be the show’s best girl, which may nor may not be a factor into Konosuba’s placement on this list. In all seriousness, I had lots of fun with the show’s ten episodes and I hope that its sequel will continue to deliver in the humor department.   2. Mob Psycho 100 As a person who adored One Punch Man, there was zero chance that I would find Mob Psycho 100 to be a disappointment. Lo and behold, this ended up being the case since the series presented us with a powerful hero who only wishes to live life as a normal person that doesn’t rely on his special abilities. While the show focused on the whole “with great power comes responsibility” type of story, it also conveyed the idea of someone who wants to be a competent person outside of their forte. Even when people envy Mob for his powers, the guy only wants to live a normal life without having to worry about his abilities going out of control when he gets pushed to the edge. Because of his drawback, the show is a nice parallel to ONE's One Punch Man since they both present us with different takes on stories with overpowered characters. Of course, his relationship with the supporting characters was another thing that made the series worthwhile. One of the show's most noteworthy aspect was his relationship with his boss, Reigen, who happens to be a con artist that tricked Mob into thinking he’s stronger than him. Then there’s the show’s tendency to make people laugh through subverting signature tropes, such as the one where the lead might save a club from going under. Combined with Bones utilizing sketchy lines in the show’s action to complement ONE’s simplistic designs, we were left with another fine piece that did justice to its source material.   1. Re:ZERO  -Starting Life in Another World- If there’s one thing about life that’s harsh, it’s how things don’t always go your way. Re:Zero took this idea and had its main character Subaru suffer while he fought hard to achieve the best outcome when things went wrong. The idea of him being a shut-in sent to a fantasy world who can relive his life after death somehow was a nice take on the trapped-in-another-world genre of stories. It helps that our main hero is a normal person outside of his ability and that each arc pushes him to push towards discovering the right choice to save those he cares about. No matter how bad he suffered from his attempts to do well, the payoff was always exciting as the fruits of his labor lead to some wonderful confrontations. Hell, I found myself rooting for Subaru when he would find a way to save someone from an impossible situation. Because of the major steps Subaru had to go through, he easily became a great lead since he slowly went from being a shut-in to a person who can bring people together for a great cause. The idea of his ordeal being the fantasy version of reality slapping you in the face really hard was what got me hooked on the series. I wanted to see how his mistakes made things worse and how he would resolve them, which lead to my decision of making Re:Zero my top show of 2016. Honorable Mentions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Keijo!!!!!!!!!, Kiznaiver, Durarara!! X2 Ketsu, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak Academy, Erased, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt
Japanator Awards 2016 photo
Never giving up is the name of the game
With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time for us to reminisce about the stuff that made our year worthwhile. Thanks to this tradition, this gives us the excuse to talk about our favorite anime shows that made our day. Even...

Japanator Awards 2016: Nick's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Dec 31 // Nick Valdez
5. Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School  The Danganronpa visual novels were one of my favorite video game series of the last few years. A dark series full of death, kooky characters, and mystery was naturally primed for an anime series. But unlike Spike Chunsoft's first attempt, which only summarized the events of the first game, Danganronpa 3 fleshed out the series' ever evolving story. This ambitious show laid out its story over two series: the Despair Arc, a prequel telling the events leading up to the games, and the Future Arc, a sequel bringing the narrative to a close. While it won't have much to offer for non-fans, this series was an absolute delight for those who've devoted their time to the series. Series characters got more development, especially fan favorite Chiaki, and the brutal death scenes are still some crazy stuff. I kind of prefer the story told in this matter, also, rather than reading through endless lines of text in games. If you're a Danganronpa fan, you should check it out if you haven't already.  4. My Hero Academia There just aren't enough anime shows with positivity, much less action oriented ones, so My Hero Academia was a welcome breath of fresh air. Mixing both Eastern and Western superhero tropes, the series follows the young Midoriya as he tries to be a superhero in a world full of heroes. Struggling with his lack of power, his bright, never give up attitude eventually grants him the opportunity to join the titular academy and it was fun throughout. The action is slick, with a color palette aping Western cartoons (complete with thick bold outlines), the character design is kooky (I love the invisible girl, haha), and I can't wait for season two. Also, the fact that his power is activated by yelling out "Smash!" is one of the most inspired things ever. More please.  3. Mob Psycho 100 Much like ONE's other prolific effort, One Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 defies your expectation of what an "anime" truly is. With its crude, but highly expressive art style, this is series is just as bold and kooky as its narrative. A story about young psychic who bottles up his emotions until they explode in an awe-inspiring display of power and his con-man mentor, this series is one of the most unique projects to release in quite some time. Its fight scenes alone are the most gorgeous and slick scenes this year, and honestly, some of the best anime has to offer.  What's even better than its animation is its central hero, Mob. Much like the rest of the series on this list, Mob is a non-traditional character than prefers to chase self-improvement for his own sake rather than rely on his godly psychic talents to get ahead. Mob's just a simple guy who's just happy to have people in his life, and that's a good message you don't get anywhere else. And I still haven't mentioned Reigen, one of the best new characters of the year! This is definitely a must watch.  2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Ever since I started reading as a kid, I've always been drawn to stories of growth. The monomyth (or hero's journey) is an outline many anime series follow, but Re:ZERO was the first time I had seen it used so effectively. What many stories fail to grasp properly is the "struggle" part of the hero's journey. Struggles and hardships are what spark character evolution, and no series excelled at struggle better than Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-. The series' main character, Natsuki Subaru, wakes up in a fantasy world (much like other anime shows sharing the same premise), but unlike other characters, he's forever trapped in a Groundhog Day-esque time loop that resets every time he dies.  Along with the pain of death, Subaru is constantly forced to confront his poor choices as he relives his bad days over and over again. At the start of the series he's a selfish loner, but after facing all kinds of heartbreak, mortality, and anguish, Subaru becomes less so. The greatest thing is that his changes aren't explicit, nor drastic. He's not some superpowered hero who grows in strength thanks to his bonds or something like that. He's just a normal guy who makes small changes to his personality, and it's awesome to see how his differing choices affect the characters around him. Re:ZERO is an intentional grind of a series, but it's so worth the trouble.  1. She and Her Cat: Everything Flows She and Her Cat is pure art. A short miniseries about a girl struggling to find work, told through the narration of her cat Daru, had quite the emotional effect on me. I'm still astounded at how a series that's twenty minutes in total could do so much. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles the rest of the anime on this list have, but it's not needed. It's just a short and sweet bundle of pure happiness.  Sometimes that's all you need.  Honorable Mentions: Digimon Adveture Tri. (because it's still not finished!), Gate, ERASED, KonoSuba
Nick's Top 5 Anime photo
Death, heroes, and cats
While 2016 has been kind of a bummer year all around, there have been some great anime releases. Series challenging typical action tropes, traditional animation, conventional character growth, and even redefined how long an a...

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Galaxy

Dec 31 // Red Veron
Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's "Delicious" themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!  
Loot Anime photo
Beyond the Stars
We're ending the year with a big bang with an out-of-this-world themed Loot Anime box full of goodies with the theme "Galaxy"! We have some pretty cool merch here that is sure to please Space Cowboys everywhere! I absolutely...

Japanator Awards 2016: Josh's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Dec 30 // Josh Tolentino
[Editor's Note: As with last year's Japanator Awards, our lists are arranged in order, with our #1 pick being our favorite of the year. To qualify for inclusion in the Japanator awards, a candidate must have concluded a broadcast run or season ("cour") within the calendar year of 2016.]  5. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Season 1 and Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Over the last few years, my favorite Gundam productions have engaged with Gundam not just as a common brand but as a cultural phenomenon and an artifact of history shared by all its fans. Shows like Build Fighters and games like Gundam Breaker thought of the famous mecha franchise as a series of toys rather than weapons of war. For all intents and purposes, the fourth wall between Gundam and the world didn’t exist in those titles. Iron-Blooded Orphans and Thunderbolt, which tie for this place, do a similar thing, but in a different way. Instead of breaking down the fourth wall and recognizing Gundam as the toy and media property it is, these two series – Orphans in particular, grapples with the longstanding patterns and archetypes of Gundam stories, tackling them in fresh new ways and re-contextualizing them to examine, and even challenge their old meanings. Iron-Blooded Orphans takes the traditional Gundam standby of the teenage pilot and recasts its aura over the child soldiers of Tekkadan, framing their struggles as a heroic, but fundamentally tragic and flawed quest to carve out a place in the world the only way they know how – by brutal violence. It doesn’t shy away from the compromised morality of their position, allowing the viewer to think outside the good-guys-bad-guys dichotomy and see war, even justified war, as the tragedy it is. And this all happened in Season 1. Season 2 is ongoing, and proves Orphans as the rare multi-cour anime that gets better as it goes on. Similarly, Gundam Thunderbolt frames war’s consuming nature through the stories – and bodies – of its pilots, and looks and sounds absolutely stunning while doing it. Both series succeed where shows like Gundam 00 tried and failed, finding a fresh, character-driven approach to familiar themes. 4. Keijo!!!!!!!!! Keijo!!!!!!!! is this year’s trashy treasure, and a blazing, bouncy reaffirmation of the fact that you can’t judge any anime series by its premise alone. It manages to be credible sports/battle anime in a year chock full of entertaining sports series, but distinguishes itself by its utterly ludicrous premise: That there is a genuine competitive scene out there for ladies who like to knock each other into pools using only their chests and hindquarters. It’s magnificent. Sure, ludicrous premises for sports are part and parcel of the anime experience, and in the end Keijo!!!!!!!! doesn’t quite come up to the level of, say, Girls und Panzer, Yowapeda or Haikyuu for elevating the genre. But it gets credit in my book for really leaning into the fan service in a way not even dedicated fan service shows manage to, selling the sexier aspects as a real facet of the proceedings on-screen, rather than just horndog opportunism and pandering. That they had to do it by structuring the entire show around weaponized fan service is telling, of course, but what matters is that it works and has led to true glory in this case. 3. Girlish Number I love Shirobako and consider it one of my favorite anime of all time, thanks to the strength of its direction and its appealing cast, but also because it was almost a documentary, revealing the production side of anime creation at its stress-ridden studio source. That said, there’s no denying that the show was fundamentally more positive and optimistic in its outlook, tending to gloss over some of the industry’s quirks and (very real) problems. By contrast, I call Girlish Number “Shirobako with bloodshed on its mind.” The show, penned by My Teen RomCom SNAFU author Wataru Watari. Knowing it’s from the author that brought the world a butthead like Hachiman might have been a dealbreaker for me, but Watari’s typically cynical disposition is tempered by charm and sarcastic comedy. Its sharp-tongued jabs at the industry’s troubles come from a better place as well: Where SNAFU’s downer snark made its characters too unlikeable for me to stick with, Girlish Number’s attitude comes from exasperation and a tired but essentially hopeful mindset. Perhaps that’s what’s needed to survive in the anime industry these days, but whatever the case, Girlish Number gets the job done.   2. Mob Psycho 100 I may have picked One Punch Man as one of my anime of the year, but I have to admit that I thought of it as a fluke. The pairing of an irreverent webcomic satire of battle manga tropes with the most talented and dynamic battle manga (and anime) producers around was a great juxtaposition, and the result was the best kind of appropriation you could ask for. On the other hand, Mob Psycho 100 seemed different. While retaining its notion of a nearly omnipotent lead, it struck me as a more typical story at first, and I wondered if the same approach would reap the same awards. I shouldn’t have worried. Bones took a different, yet equally effective tack in adapting their source. Rather than play up the highly detailed, deliberately conventional style of Yuusuke Murata’s One Punch Man, they hewed closer to the squashed and deformed caricatures of the original webcomic, supplementing it with brilliant handcrafted effects work and crackerjack characterization. Bones really helped sell the struggle of one young boy as he tried not to be driven bonkers by life’s little ordeals, lest he unleashed his omnipotent psychic powers. But like the deeper appeal of One Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100’s lush visuals and action cloak a series of sometimes-touching personal dramas. A boy that struggles to communicate with the people around him. A mentor trying to live up the image of him held by his pupils. A brother wrestling with his sense of inferiority. These relatable, everyday conflicts formed a strong foundation for the insanity on-screen to grow from.   1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu Perhaps it’s telling that the best anime of 2016 is the show that is the least “anime”, at least as we go by the commonly-held stereotypes of what anime is. There are no giant robots, destined heroes, wacky sports, boob humor, or high school age students. Instead, there is an old man, a young man, a young woman, a long legacy, a name freighted with meaning, an obscure, old-fashioned art form, and a time period that your parents likely lived in. It could have been a live-action prestige drama series or a feature film. It could have been a big novel. It could’ve been a lengthy stage play. But now it’s an anime, and it’s a thing to see and hear. Expert performances sell two eras and a sharply written, almost painfully tragic personal history. The only qualms I have about picking Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu for anime of 2016 will be that I may be pressured to not pick next year’s continuation as the anime of the year in 2017. Honorable Mentions: Sound! Euphonium, Yuri On Ice, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Osomatsu-san, My Hero Academia
Japanator Awards 2016 photo
Five Lights In the Grim Darkness
It’s that time of the year again, and increasingly I’ve found the biggest challenge of picking an anime of the year is actually remembering what I watched. This isn’t to say that the shows have been bad...

JapanaSix: 6 anime to binge over the holidays

Dec 28 // Karishma Roy
6. Ef: A Tale of Memories If one love story isn't enough, Ef: A Tale of Memories gives us two. The first one features a love triangle filled with jealousy, friendship, and passion. The second one is a hauntingly sorrowful tale of a boy who falls for a girl suffering from a certain illness. The uniqueness of this second tale is what makes the story stand out among the vast array of romance anime. There are unpredictable twists and turns and each episode leaves you wanting more. It may be a bit confusing initially as all the primary cast are introduced in the first episode and you feel thrown into a bunch of different, seemingly unrelated scenarios. However, you will soon get used to the two plots running simultaneously. The story focuses on the brilliant development of each character so you are sucked into their lives and feel their emotions as if it were your own. Pay attention to the side characters too as they are the main cast to the sequel Ef: A Tale of Melodies. The animation by Shaft is distinctly attractive and the quality of music significantly contributes to the captivating storyline. If you're a sucker for romance like me, you will not be disappointed!    5. Clannad: After Story (AS) This is the continuation of the series Clannad - you don't need to have watched it to follow the events in Clannad AS but it does help to have the bigger picture to appreciate character development. Clannad AS is essentially the story of Tomoya Okazaki and the challenges he faces as a husband and father. You could describe him as a tragic hero who struggles desperately to protect that which he loves but encounters failure. There are themes of despair, forgiveness, acceptance and most importantly, hope. I laughed, cried and kept crying for a long time after watching it.    4. Honey and Clover This is one of those stories that forced me to realise a few things about myself and had a real impact on my everyday life. Honey and Clover follows the lives of five art university students and features common struggles such as unrequited love and the challenges that come with friendships. The animation art appears washed-out with soft edges which did not appeal to me at first but I hardly noticed it by the second and third episodes. Honey and Clover is entirely carried forward by the wonderfully complex characters; everyone's perspective is featured which helps us to care for each individual. A big shout-out to Shinobu Morita - a hilarious guy with surprising depth who remains in my all-time top five favourite anime characters. Get ready to laugh until you cry and vice versa!   3. 5 Centimeters Per Second This is a three part movie directed by the well known and incredibly talented Makoto Shinkai. It a story about childhood friends who fall in love but are separated by unfortunate circumstances. Despite the distance, they try to maintain their fondness for each other by initially keeping in touch through letters but with the passage of time grow apart. The themes include coming of age, accepting the past and finally letting go and taking control of one's life. This story is heavy with emotion and bears a quiet and contemplative feel. The visuals are simply stunning and the soundtrack aptly creates and enhances the mood.   2. Wolf Children  This movie is all about celebrating a mother’s love for her children. Hana, a university student falls in love with a werewolf. They get married and have super cute werewolf children (Yuki and Ame) however shortly after Ame’s birth Hana’s husband passes away. The anime features the challenges Hana faces as she tries to raise her wild children in a busy urban surrounding and when it doesn’t work out she is forced to move to the countryside to give her children a better quality of life. Important themes are explored: self-discovery, belonging to a community and the courage to follow your own path. The animation is pleasing to the eye and characters are distinct and interesting. The pace is slow and every detail is captured and whilst I enjoyed this aspect of the movie, not everyone might. To be honest, I wished the movie was longer as I was slightly unsatisfied with the ending but despite that it is a heart-warming tale.   1. Yuri!!! On Ice The anime premiered this Fall and true to the name of its inspiring opening song, it did indeed become a “History Maker”. I never imagined I’d become a huge fan of a story about men’s competitive figure skating! The protagonist, Yuri Katsuki, returns to his hometown in Japan after a humiliating defeat at the Grand Prix Final. Despite this, Yuri’s passion for figure skating hasn’t faded and one fateful day, he skates to a routine originally performed by a long time champion and his idol, Victor Nikiforov. The video is captured by his friend’s kids, posted online and takes the media by storm. The great Victor himself watches the clip and instantly flies from Russia to Japan to coach Yuri with the intention of helping him win the next Grand Prix Final. However the competition is fierce, with another Russian skater, a  fifteen-year-old prodigy Yuri Plisetsky (Yurio), also desiring Victor’s expertise and aiming for the gold medal. Why should you watch this? For the incredible main and side characters - their hopes, fears and desire to win despite challenges and failures; the iconic romance and the beautiful skating routines. I can’t claim to have ever been interested in figure skating (heck, I can barely stand on ice!) but the show convincingly conveys the complexity and beauty of the sport. The character’s programs and performances are choreographed by the real life Japanese ice-dancer champion Kenji Miyamoto. The animation is beautiful, attention to detail astounding, and the music enjoyable. EVERYTHING is great about this show so go watch it, okay. And if, like me, you've already watched it, then do it all over again! Do you guys have anything to add to this list? Post your thoughts in the comments below and let's get discussing! 
JapanaSix:Holiday Edition photo
Let's have an Otaku celebration!
Season's Greetings everyone! I'm sure for most of us Christmas day included eventful family gatherings, festive food porn, and some form of entertainment -a Christmas movie or two. I did plan to carve out time to enjoy some j...

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger photo
Uchu Sentai Kyuranger

Check out Uchu Sentai Kyuranger's otherworldly cast


This team is out of this world
Dec 26
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since Kyuranger's suits were revealed, I was behind the idea of a constellation-themed Sentai team with nine members. With the show's cast and staff announced, the franchise's 41st show is starting to look more interesti...
Yuri!!! on Ice photo
Yuri!!! on Ice

Dale North's take on Yuri!!! on Ice's OP is born to make history


Just in time for the holidays
Dec 24
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Disclosure: Dale North wrote for Japanator. No relationships, personal or professional, were factored into this post.] As Yuri!!! on Ice came to a triumphant close, Former Japanator Managing Editor and Destructoid Editor in ...

Gems of Japan: Why is Christmas popular here?

Dec 23 // Lindo Korchi
As I parked my bike to explore the city by foot, I began to notice how department stores, bakery shops, and even train stations catered to the holiday season by displaying decorations, the Christmas cake (usually a sponge cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream), and special baked goods. Many Japanese nationals walked in awe of the illuminations & were filled with smiles; their reactions were as if they were experiencing Christmas for the very first time. Slightly puzzled by witnessing the Western influence, I asked my Japanese friends why Christmas was popular in Japan:"Japan has looked to the West for influence and has adopted some of their holidays. Like Halloween, we take it as a day to have a nice time out, dress up and have fun. The same with Christmas; it really doesn't mean anything to us, it's just for fun, nothing serious." one stated."Christmas is like Valentine's Day in Japan. It's a time where people go out with their boyfriend or girlfriend and have a nice time. It's also why some Japanese people feel lonely during Christmas if they don't have a partner; some get the courage to ask out the person they like before Christmas to avoid being alone for the holiday. But it's just a nice time to go out. Also, many parts of the city become lit, which makes it a pretty and happy time." another friend mentioned.While Christmas isn't a national holiday in Japan, I learned that Christmas doesn't have a significant purpose as it does in the West and is used more for enjoyment than religious purposes. Christmas in Japan also tends to focus more on spending time with those you hold precious rather than exchanging presents. Additionally, Christmas Eve tends to be the highlight; a special day set for couples to enjoy each others company, stroll around the city as they view the illuminations, have dinner at a restaurant, and exchange gifts. As for Christmas day, fried chicken tends to be the tradition, in which people actually place orders in advance, specifically from KFC. Interestingly enough, some accommodation spots also use the holiday as a way to bridge the gap between Japanese nationals and Western travelers as a common interest between the two cultures. This approach has been easy for both parties to form new connections. And while Christmas isn't celebrated in the same way it is in the West, it's interesting to see how Japan has adopted the holiday to be harmonious to their way of life.Do you enjoy the fact that Christmas has been introduced to Japan or do you have different views on the matter? Don't be shy to voice an opinion -- let me know. [Photo Credit: Urasimaru and Isado]
Gems of Japan photo
Two Locals Tell Us Why
As I cycled through the streets of Tokyo, Shibuya to be specific, I couldn't help but notice the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city. "This can't be what I think it is; the decorations surely aren't set up fo...

Tell us your holiday wishes and win some sweet swag from MoeNovel!

Dec 23 // Josh Tolentino
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Get some divine aid in 2017!
It's almost time for Christmas, and whether you celebrate it or not, we've got a good chance for you to win some sweet swag, courtesy of our fine friends at MoeNovel! MoeNovel, who you may remember from If My Heart Had Wings,...

Godzilla photo
Godzilla

Kick off your Christmas weekend with El Rey Network's Godzilla marathon


The gift that keeps on destroying
Dec 20
// Salvador G Rodiles
The holidays may be among us, but that isn't stopping the King of Monsters from wrecking havoc on random buildings. As a special tradition, El Rey Network is hosting third Kaiju Christmas marathon on Friday, Dec. 23, as they ...

Weekend Japanatainment - Prequel to Winter 2017 Edition

Dec 18 // Red Veron
[embed]35445:5994:0[/embed] Anime: Chaos;Head Sequel: Chaos;Child This one is a prequel to two much more successful anime, Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes, and this show happened to be considered to be the worst of the trilogy. I've seen people online who profess to like it but I just did not see what they saw, it was even in a time when I was significantly less discerning with anime and watched whatever was on. Hopefully the new show makes up for the previous show and pleases those who actually liked the prequel.   [embed]35445:5995:0[/embed] Anime: Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road Sequel: Yowamushi Pedal New Generation The newest season of the bicycle racing show that has some really good openings. It has a kid who turns out to be good at riding a bicycle because he did some strenuous bicycling to school everyday and joins a bicycle racing club at school. Sports anime stuff happens like rivalries and super time dilation happens throughout. Sorry, I haven't seen this one except for the first episode but I know a lot of people who love this show.   [embed]35445:5996:0[/embed] Anime: Blue Exorcist Sequel: Blue Exorcist Kyoto Fujouou-hen The continuation of the adaptation of the manga, an action packed show featuring a teen who happens to be the son of the devil but he is actually a good person despite being rough around the edges. Get this, he is actually secretly powerful and is humanity's hope in fighting demons from hell.   [embed]35445:5997:0[/embed] Anime: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Syukufuku wo! Sequel: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Syukufuku wo! 2 The next season to this one is actually pretty anticipated by many, a ridiculous and irreverent comedy where a teen dies a humiliating death and is given a choice to reincarnate to a fantasy world. Well, the fantasy world featuring magic and monsters isn't all it's cracked up to be and plenty of comedy happens. I highly recommend this one for everyone to catch up on.   Is there a show from next season that you're excited to see? Why is that? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Look to the past for the future!
The new winter anime season is almost here and it looks like we're going to get a few sequels to some beloved anime soon. So I thought it would be perfect to check out some of the previous anime season openings to get everyon...

Strong Style: Becoming a Dontaku Otaku!

Dec 18 // Soul Tsukino
We start our first hour with a greeting from Kushida. Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL The first of our CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables matches stemming from last week's show and Naito winning the title with lots of help from his buddies. Goto has had run-ins with the goobers before so he knows what to expect. EVIL comes out in a cloak, carries a big scythe, and has a glove that had a green laser coming out of the finger. JR asks if Goto has any allegiances making him even less on the ball about Goto joining CHAOS than I was about it. As Goto comes out they meet in the aisle and start fighting at ringside. EVIL eats ring post immediately. Bell rings and EVIL goes into the barrier and then another one. Goto is about to send him to a third but EVIL turns that around and Goto eats the steel. We see Tanahashi at the broadcast table oddly. The ref takes a hard hit and goes down. EVIL grabs a chair and horse collars Goto with it. He grabs another chair and whacks Goto and the first chair. Ouch. We skip ahead with both guys now actually in the ring. EVIL scoops up Goto but Goto counters out with an elbow. He goes to the ropes but EVIL is right there with a clothesline to stop that. EVIL then goes to the ropes but Goto is right there with a clothesline to stop that! Evil tries the ropes again and runs right into a Goto sidekick. Goto goes for another one but EVIL catches him. He goes for the fisherman buster but Goto blocks it and delivers another big side kick and another. They run the ropes but keep countering each other until Goto gets EVIL on his shoulders, but he escapes. Goto goes for a strike but EVIL counters and tries an STO, but Goto counters that by bringing EVIL's head right down on his own knee. Goto hits the ushigoroshi but a pin attempt only gets two. Jim Ross goes off about guys naming their own moves and marketing for some reason while Goto goes for a dragon sleeper, but EVIL reverses it into a fisherman's buster. Both guys struggle to get up and EVIL hits a running clothesline, but Goto is like "Nope." EVIL tries again and the same result. Goto then throws a clothesline to little effect. Goto then tries a tornado clothesline but EVIL just flattens him with a clothesline of his own. Goto is dizzy and EVIL giving him a forearm to the face doesn't help. EVIL presses Goto up and drops him in a powerbomb for two. He senses the end and hits the STO on Goto and scores the pin!  Surprisingly clean win for old bug eyes. Kuazuchika Okada vs. Sanada Okada gets his revenge against Sanada, whose interference directly cost him the title. What a way for Sanada to make his debut for NJPW huh? Welcome to the big leagues kid. Sanada comes out with "coldskull" on his leather jacket and tights. Okay. That explains the skull mask then. Okada comes out with Gedo and Will Ospreay! Bell rings and the lock up. Sanada gets a waistlock, reversed into a wristlock back into the waistlock again. That time under Great Muta wasn't a waste then. Okada goes for his usual mocking on the rope break and Sanada beats him to the punch. Sanada goes for the ropes and gets an elbow for his trouble. He goes down and gets a low dropkick as well. Okada slams him down and gets and over the top senton from the apron. He goes for the cover and gets a two count. Okada runs the ropes, and Sanada gets two leapfrogs before landing an awesome dropkick. Wow, that is impressive! Okada rolls outside and Sanada follows him out. Sanada hits a piledriver on Okada! Sanada rolls in but Okada is having trouble. He finally makes it in at the count of 18. He rolls in and is met with a springboard dropkick that sends Rainmaker right back out again. Sanada then hits a flying suicida! Wow, he wasn't this good when he was in TNA, but then again he wouldn't be the first to have that said about them (Okato anyone?). They roll in and Sanada hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. We come back from the commercial as Sanada goes for a dragon suplex but Okada counters into an armdrag. Okada goes on the offense with a few forearms, but Sanada counters with a few of his own. They go in the corner and Okada with a DDT. He lands the flying elbow but gets a two count. He hits a low dropkick and hits another and a third one, but only gets two on the cover. Okada picks him up and slams him. He hits the Macho Man elbow and signals for the rainmaker. Sanada counters and they go back and forth three times before Sanada gets the dragon sleeper with a body scissors. Okada barely survives it and gets to the ropes. Sanada bitches to the ref but hooks the tiger suplex and barely misses a three count. He gets the swinging TKO on Okada but can't get the pin. He hits a weak backbreaker and tries for the Muta moonsault but Sanada misses. Okada gets to the corner and Sanada charges but Okada gets the foot up. Okada goes for the tombstone but is countered into the dragon sleeper back into a tombstone into another counter. Okada gets some distance and hits his sweet dropkick. Okada goes the tombstone and gets it. He hits the rainmaker and scores the pinfall and revenge! We are now in the studio with Kushida. We see the clip of the challenge Liger made. Kushida says he has respect for Liger so he gladly took the challenge. Liger is a star all over the world and had an amazing career so Kushida wants to be at that point. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger The challenge from Liger was laid down after Kushida beat Will Ospreay. Being in "the last chapter" of his career, Liger wants to challenge for the belt one more time. Kushida, being a life long wrestling fan, didn't hesitate to face off against one of his idols. It is also a fandom moment for me as well. I love Jushin Liger's work and have been following him since 1991. He has always been a favorite of mine even when he was a bad guy. So anytime he appears on this show, it's a treat for me! Liger comes out first. He is wearing a red and white outfit and mask with a cape. Thankfully he stopped wearing those masks with the fake yellow hair on them like he used to in Mexico. As the Time Splitter comes out, JR reminds us that Liger is 51 and that he might not do all the flippy diving stuff he used to, but he has brought in a stronger grappling game now. Liger's son is in the audience as we are in Liger's hometown. The son is actually a big Kushida fan. Kids today, eh Liger-san? We come back from commercial for the bell to ring Handshake to start. Lock up and Liger sends him down but Kushida rolls through it. Kushida goes for a guard but no go there. Liger grabs onto Kushida and rolls him into a pendulum lock. Kushida tries to escape but Liger pulls him back into the stretch into a surfboard. He's going to work early in this one. He locks in a headlock on the champ but is shot off and Kushida lands an inverted atomic drop. The champ then hits a dropkick right on the arm and it's his time to get to work. Kushida puts the stomp and grind on the arm and then locks in the armlock. He short arm scissors the arm for a bit and then stomps on the arm again. Liger is whipped into the corner but Kushida misses the charge. Kushida goes for the ropes but Liger catches him n a tilter whirl and Kushida comes down bad on his knee. Liger then kicks the leg and drives him outside. Liger goes right out after him. Liger uncharacteristically rams Kushida into the ring post twice! Liger then brainbusters him on the floor!  Grizzled Liger can be a mean sonuvagun! Liger rolls back in and waits for the count. Kushida struggles to get in the ring and falters a bit on 18, but the ref goofs the count, and Kushida makes it back in. Liger gives the ref some static for that. Liger then hits the shotei palm strike and then scoops Kushida up for a Ligerbomb for two. Kushida is set up on the top rope for the Liger rana, but Kushida rolls through it for a two count. Kushida pops up and kicks the arm a few times to regain control. Kushida lands the springboard reverse elbow and a standing moonsault but doesn't get the pin. Champ goes up and tries for a top rope splash, but Liger gets his knees up. Liger thinks quickly and locks in a double wristlock on Kushida! Kushida struggles a bit but is able to counter with his own wristlock and then bars the arm. Liger rolls to get out but Kushida just puts the hold back on. Hold is broken when Liger gets to the ropes. We return from the commercial as both guys lift themselves up. Kushida dropkicks the arm again. He wrenches the arm but Liger wrenches it back Forearms to the mask countered with a low dropkick. Liger gets the dragon screw leg whip and into a leg lock, into a Kurt Angle anklelock. Liger sinks it in. Kushida turns it back around and SCREAMS and Liger before getting into the ropes. Funny bit here as Kushida is in the ropes and accidently kicks the camera, knocking out the picture for a few seconds. Kushida goes for the baseball punch but Liger hits the rolling Ligerkick and hits a Thesz press for a two count. Kushida recovers and kicks the damaged arm. Liger turns around and hits the palm strike again. Liger hits the brainbuster but Kushida kicks out!  Liger goes for another palm strike but Kushida counters and turns it into the double wristlock. Liger tries for the ropes but Kushida counters to roll it back in the ring and Liger taps! Kushida wins! Both guys are down and hurt. Kushida pulls off his boot and kneepad. The champ gets his belt and then kneels down and bows to Liger, and Liger bows back. Kushida takes the mic. He says he stopped Liger's last chapter and says to keep being you for five, 10, 20 years more. Liger takes the mic says he may keep going and the next times he challenges for the title, he will have the belt around his waist. Kushida mentions the cards that were canceled because of the Kyushu earthquakes and promises they will be back o those places soon. In the studio, Kushida talks about being in Liger's hometown and the shows being canceled. He says he had to be committed to break Liger's bones or he would lose the title. His goal was also to one up the heavyweight title match and he felt he did that. As a fan, he wants to see Liger keep going and it was an asset for them to fight while both were in good condition. That's it for show one. Time for the second hour of Dontaku coverage! We are greeted by Yuji Nagata! NEVER Openweight 6 man titles: Yoshi Tatsu/Hiroshi Tanahashi/Michael Elgin vs. Bullet Club (Kenny Omega/Jacksons) The big rematch for the belts with these two teams. Yoshi is in his "Hunter" mod here which is literally just copying Triple H right down to the DX colors and spitting of water during his entrance. Pretty much as everyone would have gathered, Yoshi isn't over with the crowd. The Club comes out first. Kenny is carrying mops with him while the Jacksons mug for the camera and have a ladder with them. I never noticed this but their outfits they are wearing are covered in pictures of themselves. I kinda wish I could unsee that. I love seeing the Bucks get their asses kicked. The Champions come out together. Yoshi and Elgin march to the ring while Tanahashi takes his time mingling with the fans. Yup, Yoshi has the fake Triple H look down as he is wearing short Green and black tights and sprays a bottle of water from the ring apron. JR and Josh ignore it. Everybody is in the ring facing off. Kenny starts swearing at Tanahashi and we just break into a fight. The Club all get sent into the corner where Yoshi delivers a clothesline, Tanahashi a body splash, and then get squashed by Big Mike. The Champs all get suplexes on the club at the same time. Yoshi vaults over the top rope onto Omega while Mike presses Tanahashi over his head and brings him down on the Bucks. Yoshi rolls Omega in the ring and hits a blue thunder bomb on him before Elgin scoops him up in a waistlock. He drops him with a German suplex. Tanahashi goes for the high fly flow, but the Jacksons trip him up. The champs all et sent outside the ring and the Club set up for the triple suicide dives! We return from the break with everyone on the floor. Yoshi is rolled in and Kenny starts stomping and clubbing away on him before making the tag to Nick Jackson. They whip Yoshi into the corner and hit the triple kick on him. For some reason, Omega makes the cover even though he isn't legal but the ref counts it anyway. Elgin comes in to break that up but gets sent right back out and Nick Jackson hits a moonsault from the apron on him that the camera misses. Matt tags in and stomps on Yoshi in the corner while screaming "MATT-O!". Nick gets the tag while Yoshi is in the corner and the Bucks go for a double kick, but Yoshi ducks leading Matt to kick nick right in the face. Nick is still able to come in and yell "Suck it!" as high pitched as he can before Yoshi nails him with a dropkick. JR seems to finally understand that the Jacksons and Bullet Club are just rip offs of the NWO at this point. Meanwhile, Elgin gets the tag and flattens Nick in the corner. Nick reverses a whip but charges right into an Elgin clothesline. Elgin tries for a suplex but Nick wiggles out of it. Mike gets close to the ropes and Matt tries a clothesline but Elgin ducks and Clotheslines him right off the apron.  a "suck it!" from Elgin to Matt as Nick comes running up and he goes over the top rope and gets a "suck it!" from Elgin as well. Big Mike looks to go for a dive but Omega jumps up and stops that. Kenny tries to slingshot in but mike catches him into a powerslam! Nick tries to launch in but Mike catches him in a suplex position and nails him! Count only gets two before Matt comes in. Now Yoshi and Tanahashi come in and we got chaos again. The champs have Matt now and sandwiches him in the corner before setting him up for a super powerslam from big Mike on the middle rope. Count only gets two. Tanahashi tags in and they set up for the double team splat but Kenny comes in with a step up knee right to Elgin's face to stop that. Tanahashi is grabbed off of Elgin's shoulders and into a tombstone position as they are setting up for the Meltzer driver. Yoshi blocks Kenny from hitting the move and Tanahashi gets out of the grip to hit a dragon screw on one of the Bucks. Kenney comes in and gets one of his own and Tanahashi sets him up in the cloverleaf. Nick comes in and hammers on Tanahashi but Tanahashi just shakes it off and keep on the hold! Nick tries a superkick and Tanahashi just grabs his leg and lets go of Kenny but locks in the cloverleaf on Nick! Matt distracts the ref as Kenny grabs a can of coldspray and sprays Tanahashi with it. He picks up Tanahashi and chucks him over the top rope but Tanahashi skins the cat back in and nails Kenny with some forearms. Kenny tries to counter and in the scramble his blasts the ref with the coldspray! Poor Tiger Hatori probably doesn't have much vision left and Kenny goes and does that. With the ref down Tanahashi gets a low blow, and Elgin gets a low blow. The Bucks help the ref up and HE gets a low blow-- damn dude, he's an old man, leave him alone! After the break, we come back to the Club going outside and setting up ladders in the ring and a table on the outside. The Bucks get in Kazuo Yamasaki's face at the broadcast table which I do not recommend boys as that guy with kill you deader than Elvis. In the ring, Omega starts hitting people with the big ladder. Kenny makes the mistake of trying to buckle bomb el\gin but he can't pick him up. Elgin flips Kenny over and when the Bucks try to attack, he blocks Matt's kick and hits Nick with it. Yes, Elgin got so mad he hit a dude with another dude-- love that meme. He suplexes Nick with a German suplex and then buckle bombs him right into the ladder! Elgin positions the table at ringside and goes up on the apron. He grabs Matt and looks to try and suplex him from the ring to the table but Kenny blocks it by spraying Elgin with the coldspray. He tries a sunset flip on Elgin into the table but Matt has to hold him for Nick's superkick and crash! Elgin went through the table. Tanahashi comes in and takes the ladder and he takes the club down. Yoshi comes in and he takes everyone out with high knees and a spinebustter (Hmmm). He then goes for the pedigree(?!) but the Bucks come in and stop then. All three hit the triple superkick and Kenny hits the one winged angel and that is it. The Club get the belts back. The Bucks set up the ladder and Omega sets him up for the Meltzer driver, but Tanahashi comes in and topples the ladder over. Tanahashi then slams Omega right on the ladder and goes for the high fly flow but Omega rolls out. Tanahashi grabs the mic and challenges Omega. Kenny says no. He says if he wants a ladder match. However, he says yes. The pose on the ladder and even shake hands over it. Back from break with words from Nagata. They mention the "third generation uprising". It was a match that took place in February where Nagata and Nakanishi took on TenKoji is a sort of legends tag match and beat the snot out of each other. Yuji then proclaimed that the "third generation" could still heat up a ring. I'm guessing Inoki was first gen and guys like Shinya Hashimoto and Masa Chono were the second. We then see Shibata's words calling Yuji an immature old man. Shibata then beat Kojima and then Tenzan. It was after the Tenzan fight that Yuji came in the ring. He didn't expect the bow from Shibata nor the kick to the face. Yuji feels Shibata may have wanted him all along and that's why he kicked him.  NEVER Openweight Title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata Yuji pretty much explained the backstory here so I don't need to go over it. This is an even match as both guys are strong grapplers and can get a submission pretty much whenever they want to. Nagata comes out with Nakanishi in his corner. Josh mentions how he wrestled and lost to Nagata in his debut at a Tokyo Dome show years ago.  Shibata comes out in his straightforward way. They have a staredown. "Shibata looks like a bond villain"- JR. We return from break with the start of the match They circle and the crowd is behind Yuji in this one. They do some amateur scrambling before Shibata goes for an armbar but Nagata counters out. They try for leg locks but they are countering each other out. They break and get back up standing as that was going nowhere. They trade Greco Roman locks and Shibata backs him into the ropes and SMACKS Yuji. Damn! Shibata smacks him again! Yuji gets in a kick though. Yuji nearly gets another one but Shibata ducks. Shibata locks in a knee lock but Yuji gets to the ropes. Shibata pulls him center ring and locks in the figure four leg lock but on the other leg. Yuji tries to roll it over but Shibata is fighting it. Yuji gets the reverse but they get into the ropes. Shibata pops up and lays in some heavy kicks. He tries to shoot the ropes but Yuji counters with a kick. He drills Shibata with a deep kick. Yuji gets Shibata into the corner and goes for an exploder but Shibata counters and gets Yuji down with some forearm shots. Shibata lands some hard kicks and a running kick to the ribs before he hits the hanging dropkick. Shibata tries for a cover but doesn't get it. We see Kota Ibushi doing color at ringside. This would be right before he would come to the states for the Cruiserweight Classic and then turn down the WWE when they pushed him. Shibata goes for a pickup but Yuji counters into an armbar. Shibata counters it to a sleeper hold and Yuji fights and gets to the ropes, only to gets a stiff kick for his trouble. You are never safe around either of these guys. Shibata tries to shoot off the ropes but Yuji catches him in the exploder suplex! Back from Break. as both guys start trading forearms on their knees as they stand up. Shibata tries for the ropes but gets a kick, Shibata counters with a kick, but Yuji lands the exploder suplex only for Shibata lands a suplex of his own. Shibata lays in some kicks but that just pisses Yuji off as he drops Shibata in one hit. Knee right to the chin and kicks to the face. he drives the knee in the cover and drops Shibata. Shibata is lifted up and Yuji hits a step knee to the face. Yuji with a brainbuster but only gets two! He tries for the Nagata lock but Shibata gets to the ropes. Shibata stands up and Yuji lands a dropkick! Cover gets two. Shibata gets behind Yuji and locks in the sleeper. Shibata hits a Saito suplex! He gets Yuji down and goes for the PK but Yuji catches it and hits a palm strike and a suplex for a near fall. Yuji lands some more kicks and an enziguri! He hits Shibata with a knee and a backdrop suplex and Yuji gets the pin! Yuji Nagata wins the title! Score one for the old farts! 49 years old telling the young fella to get off his lawn! Backstage Yuji is congratulated by the commentator who is his biggest fan. Yuji says that Shibata's hits were more powerful than usual but he fought back. In the studio, Yuji said Shibata's hits were the real deal but he fought back hard. He was surprised so many people congratulated him. These types of matches are the true Japanese fights. Two down and one more show to go as we are now ready for the main event of the evening! We start the hour with a greeting from Tetsuya Naito in the studio with Naito. He says no one does not want the belt, so he was there to win the title against Okada. He had beaten Ishii in a fair match during the New Japan Cup so why did he have to defend against him he ponders. He did think the belt should not be that accessible. Even if he turned it down he would have had to fight Ishii since it was NJPW making the matches. IWGP Heavyweight title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito If you have been following along, Naito won the title by defeating Okada and not by fair means. Fellow CHAOS member Ishii steps up to make the challenge after Naito was screwing around. Ishii isn't usually a top title contender, usually fighting for the NEVER belt instead. Stone pitbull makes his way out first. JR actually gets his full name right. Okada and Gedo come out with him. Ishii is the ROH TV champion at this point and he carries the belt with him. Los Ingobernables de Japon come out with Naito leading the way in his white suit.  He takes his time getting into the ring and tosses the belt to the mat. Red Shoes picks it up and polishes it. We get full introductions as we are going full-hour on this. JR froths over Ishii's short boots as always. Naito actually gets some boos as opposed to when he won the belt. We must be really stretching for time as we get Naito getting out of his suit just before we go to a commercial. We come back as Naito is getting out of his pants. Bell finally rings and Ishii is ready to go. They circle around and Naito starts screwing around and avoids the lock up. The finally lock up and Ishii powers him back to the ropes but Naito reverses it, but Ishii reverses back and Naito reverses. Naito backs up but spits on Ishii and pitbull runs him over and starts whaling away before running over Naito with a shoulderblock. He did ask for that whooping. Naito bails right out of the ring. Naito rolls in and right back out. Naito rolls in again and Ishii just starts in again with stomps. He picks Naito up and lands chops in Naito and forearms to the face. Ishii seems annoyed. Wonder why? Bushi trips Ishii from the outside and Naito lands a low dropkick to send Ishii outside. Naito follows him out and sends him into the metal barrier. EVIL does the horse collar with the chair and sends Ishii into the ringpost. Ishii rolls in and Naito gets the cravat. Back elbows to the face to get him down and starts stomping Ishii on the mat. Ishii into the ropes and into a back elbow and the low dropkick. Cover gets two and Naito locks in the vice leg scissors. Ishii gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Naito stomps on Ishii's face. He can't pick the big guy up so he gets mad and lays in more stomps. Naito lays in hits to the back as Ishii gets up but goes back to his knees. Naito begins screwing with Ishii with weak kicks and it doesn't end well as Ishii slams him down for that. Back from commercial, as Ishii picks Naito up and chucks him into the corner and flattens him with a clothesline followed by another one. Ishii lands a suplex but only gets two. Chops on Naito's chest now. Ishii goes for a Saito suplex but Naito blocks it. Naito goes in the ropes and hits the back of the neck on his knee! Ishii goes to the corner and Naito lands a neckbreaker but only gets one on that. Naito swats at the ref because he can. Naito sends him into the ropes but Ishii blocks and hits a low dropkick on Naito's leg. Ishii smells blood and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Stomps by Ishii on the knee. Naito hits a forearm to the face but Ishii gets a victor (side) roll and locks in a kneebar! Naito screams in pain but gets to the ropes. Ishii picks him up and sets him on the top turnbuckle. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Naito counters with an eye rake and a headbutt. Naito hits a missile dropkick but Ishii rolls right through it and pops up. Naito gets a waistlock and Naito drives Ishii right into the ref. EVIL waffles Ishii with a chair! Ishii goes to the corner and Naito hits his trip and dropkick combo. Naito lands the reverse atomic drop to drop Ishii and lock in the Koji clutch. Gedo is SCREAMING to Ishii. Ishii fights and struggles and gets into the ropes. Back from commercial, as Naito picks Ishii up and gets a high German suplex into a bridge but only gets two. Naito picks him up and goes for Gloria but Ishii gets out. Naito whips him into the ropes but Ishii counters with a strike to the knee. He hits the knee again. Naito is on one foot as they are trading shots back and forth. Naito SLAPS Ishii right in the head and Ishii is PISSED and smacks the crap out of Naito. Ishii grabs the leg to go for an attack but Naito lands several hits but Ishii lands an enziguri. Ishii hits Naito with a big power bomb and nearly gets a pin but Naito counters into a lock only for Ishii to counter into the kneebar. Naito gets to the ropes but Ishii pulls him right back to center and locks in a leg and knee bar. CHAOS is holding Ingobernables back. Naito grabs the ref and drives his head into the mat. Los Goobers come in and attack Ishii. Okada comes in and nails EVIL with a dropkick. Okada and EVIL fight to the back as Bushi, Sanada, and Gedo are gone too. All three men in the ring get up. Naito blocks a clothesline but gets a headbutt for that. Ishii hits a running clothesline but only gets two. He hits the sliding low clothesline but only gets two. Ishii signals for the end and goes for the brainbuster but Naito lands a knee. Ishii picks him back up for the brainbuster but Naito counters with a DDT. Back from break, as both guys stagger up. Naito goes up top and lands a missile dropkick to the back of the head! Naito lifts Ishii up and hits the super rana and he gets a two count. Naito hits the gloria drop but only gets two again. Naito picks Ishii up but Ishii counters out but runs right into a spinebuster by Naito. Naito tries for destino but Ishii blocks it and drops Naito STRAIGHT ON HIS HEAD. HE'S DEAD! BY GAWD HE'S DEAD! Ishii goes for the cover but Naito kicks out! Naito hits Ishii straight on his head! Ishii is bleeding from the mouth!. They get up and Naito hits the headbutt and a rolling kick to the head. Naito hits the dragon suplex but only gets two. Naito tries for destino but Ishii hits the back elbow. He starts some hard strikes but Naito hits a palm strike and an enziguri but only gets two. He hits a clothesline and Naito hits destino! He gets the three count-- damn, that was the main event! Gedo and Okada come back out and help Ishii from the ring and he is spent. Okada is on the apron and the crowd is chanting for him. He gets right in Naito's face and Naito gives him the stink eye. Okada leaves and helps his friend to the back. We come back from break with Okada backstage saying CHAOS can't end like this. In the ring, Red Shoes presents the belt to Naito and Naito decks him. He calls out the NJPW president for not being at the show. For his next defense, he wants the prez to be in the building to see and hear the response he gets. He says Okada made the challenge but tells Okada to be tranquilo and not to rush it. Backstage, Naito calls this a throwaway match for him-- dude, after that drop on your head and neck, you are lucky to be alive. In the studio, Naito says he didn't think Ishii wanted the belt since he never mentioned it before the fight. He says his presence is more than that of the belt itself. Riiight. What a showing! The first two matches were quick but kept up the story of CHAOS and Ingobernables feuding. The Kushida/Liger match was amazing and glad Liger can still keep up with these guys. The six-man match was the usually from Kenny and the Jacksons, but Yoshi's gimmick just flat out sucks. I don't know where he got the idea from but I never want to go there. NJPW pretty much gave up on him right after this anyway. The Yuji and Shibata match wasn't very long but that is to be expected. Good grappling action there. The main event was very enjoyable and a change of pace from watching Ishii kill himself against guys like Shibata or Togi Makabe. He does very well with a smaller opponent, despite nearly killing Naito by dropping him on his head and neck. This was a fun and awesome show! And remember folks, Wrestlekingdom 11 is coming up on January 4, shown both in English and Japanese on New Japan World. However, Strong Style will be covering it starting on January 11!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Three big shows in one!
Hello, puroresu fans, and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight we got a big night as we have three shows. The date is May 3, 2016, and we are at the International Center at Fukuoka. So hold on and here we go!

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Shantae and the Pirate Curse's final boss is about to walk the plank


This voyage is about to end
Dec 17
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.] Well, people. There's a good chance that I'll get to send Shantae and the Pirate Curse's main villain back to Davy Jone's Locker soon. Since I'm close to reach...
Dragon Soul  photo
Dragon Soul

Derek Padula's Dragon Soul book transforms into a physical release


This wish wasn't beyond Shenron's power
Dec 16
// Salvador G Rodiles
You got to hand it to authors who get their digital books released physically so people can immerse themselves while they turn each page with their hands. In a similar manner to how a Saiyan goes Super, Dragon Soul: 30 Years ...
Star Wars Samurai  photo
Star Wars Samurai

What if Star Wars was a black-and-white samurai film?


Don't underestimate the Blind Jedi
Dec 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
As many folks prepare for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's theatrical premiere, the gang at Beat Down Boogie have prepared a Star Wars fan short, Star Wars Samurai: The Blind Jedi, that's inspired by Akira Kurosawa's stuff and ...
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
New Japan Pro Wrestling

Feast your eyes on WrestleKingdom 11's full card


Japan's Wrestlemania looks awesome!
Dec 15
// Soul Tsukino
It's that time of year again as Japan's biggest wrestling show of the year takes place at the Tokyo Dome with WrestleKingdom 11. Every year New Japan Pro Wrestling brings out it's best matches to give fans all over the world ...

Impressions: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Manga Vol. 1

Dec 13 // Christian Chiok
For those unfamiliar with Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, it all starts with the legacy of Jonathan Joestar, the protagonist of Phantom Blood, the first part of the series. In short, the series consist of his struggles with his adoptive brother Dio Brando, which ends with Dio being defeated, or so we thoughts. A hundred years later, we are introduced to Jotaro Kujo who is the grandson of Joseph Joestar, the protagonist of Part 2: Battle Tendency and grandson of Jonathan Joestar. The volume starts off introducing Jotaro, starting off with his childhood years then transitioning to his present teenager years. During a school fight with four delinquents, he discovered that an “evil spirit” possessed him so when incarcerated, he decided to stay. Then comes Joseph Joestar, who already knew the “evil spirit” that possessed Jotaro when Holy mentioned it to him over the phone. This “evil spirit” is known as Stand, which will be a common thing throughout the series. A stand us a powerful apparition created by one’s energy and because it stand’s next to the user, it’s called a “Stand.” With Holly being part of the Joestar bloodline, just like her father and son, she gained the power of a Stand, but unfortunately because of her gentle and non-violent nature made her lack the mental strength necessary to control the Stand, slowly making her ill with a harmful high fever and putting her life at risk. Knowing that, Jotaro and Joseph decided to make a trip to Egypt to defeat Dio and stop the curse. As soon their trips began, Dio’s lackies already started assaulting them and intervening with their trip to prevent them from finding Dio’s hideout.   From beginning to end, I was definitely satisfied with how Viz Media handled the first volume. If you’re a huge fanatic of Jojo prior the new wave of fans that just discovered the series due to the 2012 anime, you probably already have it, but if you’re part of the latter and never read the manga, then I would recommend you to do so. It’s better to start from Phantom Blood, but since you are already up to date with the series, it should be fine to start your manga collection from Stardust Crusaders and experience the series in its original form. 
Stardust Crusaders photo
A Very Bizarre Adventure
If I have to name my favorite Shonen series, more specifically battle series, then I would have to say Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure.  If you been keeping up with Japanator and read my Top 10 from last year, you’l...


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