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Strong Style: Super Juniors Finals!

Feb 18 // Soul Tsukino
We kick things off with an intro from Will Ospreay! Satoshi Kojima/Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega/Bad Luck Fale Well, this is a bit random. The feud here is with Omega and Elgin over the Intercontinental Title. Omega and Fale are members of the Bullet Club, and Kojima is there for some reason. Elgin and Kojima come out first and are ready to go. We cut right to the Bullet Club on the outside with a trashcan, a ladder, a double ended mop, and Chase Owens. The club gets in the ring as just as they are announced the jump Elgin and Kojima from behind before the bell even rings. Kenny and Elgin go outside as Kojima and Fale are now the legal guys. Kojima tries a headlock and a shoulder block and that's a bad idea. He finally gets Fale down with three shoulder blocks, but Fale just pops right back up and runs Kojima over like a tank. Kojima rolls over and tags Elgin immediately. Big Mike goes up top and delivers a flying shoulderblock to bring the big guy down. Kenny comes diving in and Elgin catches him and gives him a suplex for that idea. Elgin gets in some forearm shots on Fale but when he goes for a running forearm, Omega trips him from the outside and Elgin falls to the mat and Fale drops a big elbow on him before trying for the cover. It gets two. Omega drags Elgin outside and climbs up on the table to drop the ladder and himself onto Elgin. Fale and Kojima start fighting on the other side of the ring and they go right into the crowd. Meanwhile, Omega is screwing around with the announcers at ringside and as he turns around Elgin fires off a scissors kick right to the face! Elgin roils right in the ring and Fale as somehow the ref gets knocked down. Fale stands on Elgin in the ropes as in the background Kojima is trying to revive the ref. Fale blocks the ref and Omega chokes Elgin out with his t-shirt. Kenny tags in and starts twirling around a double headed mop. As the Ref just kinda looks at him, Fale is choking Elgin out on the buckle in the corner. Kenny drops the mop[ and hits a sledge hammer (not literally) shot to Elgin's back. Omega hits a shot to the neck as JR once again brings up Steve Williams. I like Dr. Death too JR but GIVE IT A REST! HE'S DEAD!. Elgin gets sent into the buckle by the beard. Omega starts choking Elgin with his boot in the corner. Kenny struts around a bit and walks right into a shot by Elgin. Mike lands another one before Kenny answers back with a forearm to the chest. He then launches a loud chop to the chest but Mike answers right back with one of his own. Mike lands another one and Kenny goes right for the eyes. Kenny scoops Elgin up and gets an O'Conner roll and leaps right to he second rope. He tries a moonsault but Elgin moves and Kenny lads on his feet. Kenny charges but runs right into a boot by Elgin. Fale charges down the apron and runs over Mike with a clothesline. Fale is tagged in and he scoops up Elgin but Elgin slides out the back. Fale drills him anyway and Mike falls into the hands of Omega. Fale tries for the running splash but Elgin moves and Kenny goes flying off the apron right into the barricade. Fale turns around and gets an enziguri kick right to the head. Elgin crawls over and tags Kojima. Satoshi comes into the ring and immediately lays into Fale in the corner with his rapid fire chops. Omega comes in with the trash can lid and accidently clobbers Fale with it before Kojima lays in the rapid fire chops on Kenny! Kojima goes for the big chop but Kenny uses the lid as a shield and Kojima's hurt his hand. Kojima recovers quickly and fires Kenny into the opposite corner and lands a big forearm shit. Fale comes thundering down but Kojima sidesteps him and nails Fale with a big forearm of his own. Kojima calls for his big clothesline but he runs into Fale's death grip as he goes for the grenade. Kojima gets out and hits a Kojicutter on Fale. Crowds rallies for Kojima as he tags Elgin and Fale tags in Omega. Elgin comes in and gives a big shot to Kenny. Kenny flies back into the corner and Elgin hits him with a big clothesline. Omega tries the whip but Mike sends him right back into the corner and a clothesline to the back of the head. Elgin gears up for another hit but Kenny hits a superkick. Elgin is like "nope" and runs him over with a discus forearm. Mike goes for a running forearm but Kenny blocks it with a kick but Elgin spins around and clotheslines him. Elgin goes for a cover, but gets two. He picks Kenny up and clotheslines him in the chest, then the back of the head, then the chest, then the back of the head. He shoots the ropes for a big clothesline and Kenny gives him a step up knee to send the big guy out. Kenny gets a running start and SAILS over the top rope onto Elgin and one of the young boys at ringside. Kenny gives a few more shots to the poor young boy as we get a replay of the dive. we come back with Omega grabbing the ladder he had brought out. He sets it up in the ring and climbs it like he is going for a moonsault. The ref comes out and grabs right onto Omega's leg as Elgin slides in and punches Omega right in the guts. Elgin climbs up and Sup-lexes Omega off the ladder!  Elgin crawls over for a cover, meanwhile the ref is throwing a FIT in the ring. like jumping up and down and clenching his fist. He makes the count but Fale comes in and breaks it up. Fale grabs Elgin and goes for the grenade but Kojima comes in to break that up. He clotheslines the big guy out of the ring while Chase is after the ref on the apron . Kenny grabs the ladder and nails Elgin in the guts with it and then drops it on the big guys back. He sets the ladders on the ropes before scooping up Elgin for the One-winged- angel but Elgin slides out and nails Omega. He then scoops him up for a powerbomb and drops him right on the ladder! BY GAWD the ladder is broken in half! That ladder has a family!  The ref turns around with an "oh shit!" look on his face as Elgin grabs Omega and gives him the Elginbomb for the three count. We cut to a little later as Omega grabs the mic at ringside. He says Elgin humiliated him. The ladder match is supposed to be his specialty, so the challenge to have a ladder match for the IC title has been accepted. We get some words from Will Ospreay now. When he first saw the schedule for the tournament he thought it was insane and he was going to have to work for it. He has always dreamed of winning this tournament and when he made it to the finals he was very emotional. He is a fan of guys like Kota Ibushi and Prince Devitt and they have all won the tournament. He admits he didn't think Taguchi would be in the final and guessed it would be Kyle O'Reily. He thought Taguchi was just a joke until he saw Ryusuke's match and realized he could go. He respects Taguchi for what he can do. Best of the Super Juniors XXIII Finals: Rysuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay Here is what people came to see! Taguchi is "The Funky Weapon" and a bit of a comedy act. However he is a former Junior Heavyweight champion and is able to put on good match when he isn't acting like a goof. Will Ospreay is a member of CHAOS. He has become quite the international star, but also can goof around in the ring sometimes. Normally you'd think this would be a mid card comedy match, but seeing as this is the finals of the tournament, I don't think they'd goof around that match. Ospreay comes out first in black and gold and with the Union Jack. Taguchi comes out next with little fake flags of something. Tiger Mask and Liger in his corner and Roppongi Vice in Will's corner. Taguchi does the Nakamura pose in his intro. He has the crowd on his side. Bell rings and we are off. Shake of hands and stare down to begin. Kushida doing commentary at ringside. Lockup into the ropes but clean break. They lock up again and Will gets the advantage into the ropes Lock up pushed to the ropes again and Ospreay does the Okada fake punch and clean break.  The crowd starts an Ospreay chanting so even as a gaijin he has his supporters too. Lock up and Will immediately slides into giving Taguchi a hammerlock. Taguchi reaches down and scoops the leg and goes right for the headlock. They get up but Will takes it back to the mat again and gets a brief roll up that gets a one count before Taguchi rolls out but keeps the grip. Will tries to counter with a wristlock but Taguchi puts the headlock right back on. Ryusuke kicks Will's leg out from under him to bring it back down to the mat but Will rolls through for the pin attempt. Ryusuke rolls into the ropes and the hold is broken. They square off in the ring and go for a Greco-roman knuckle lock but Will springs around and gets a takedown on Taguchi. Taguchi spins around on  the mat and rolls back and forth a bit before jumping up and getting the reversal and gets Will into the wristlock. Will rolls through and does his flip-flop back and forth on the mat before jumping up and reversing the wristlock into a takedown that Taguchi counters with a head scissors and Will slips out of that. Taguchi hits the ropes and comes off with a rana. he quickly hits the hip attack to send Will outside. He gets a running start for another hip attack but Will ducks and Taguchi just hangs there. Will goes to hit him and Taguchi jumps into the center of the rings and poses with his arms between his legs and pointing with his ass. Will walks around a bit before coming back inside. Taguchi immediately locks in a headlock again. Shoot off into the ropes and Taguchi hits a shoulderblock to send Will down. Ryusuke hits the ropes again and they trade leapfrogs and dive counters before Ospreay lands a dropkick to send Taguchi outside. Will runs the ropes but cartwheels back into the ring and does his pose before he does Taguchi's pose! Ryusuke takes a bit of a walk but as he gets in the ring Will kicks him right in the face and delivers a body punch as Taguchi goes down. Will delivers some MMA knee strikes on the mat and now we are getting serious. Will delivers a kick and a few chops as he gets Taguchi in the corner. He fires off some more chops and a forearm before locking in a cravat. Will snapmares him over and delivers a low dropkick. Will covers for a two count. Will grabs the wrist and locks in an octopus hold before Taguchi is able to get to the ropes. Taguchi lands three shorts to the gut but Will responds with a shot of his own and a big kick that is caught by Taguchi. Will cartwheels over but as he lands he tweaks his knee and Taguchi immediately hits the low dropkick. Taguchi tries for the ankle lock but will gets to the ropes and the apron. Taguchi smells blood and dropkicks Will in the ankle and off the apron. Taguchi slides out after him and slams Will's ankle into the outside mat three times before he rolls the injured Ospreay into the ring. He grabs Will's leg and legdrops right on the ankle before getting up and just kicking the bejesus out of Will's ankle. Ryusuke drags Will out of the corner and puts a spinning toehold on Ospreay twice before locking in an Indian deathlock and then puts his own leg over Ospreay's head to really put some stank on it. Will is SCREAMING in pain! Taguchi makes it even WORSE by putting on a wristlock on Will's arm. Will smartly rolls and turns it into a pin so Taguchi has to release the hold. Will backs into the corner and Taguchi goes after him. Will comes out with a battering ram headbutt and a couple of shots before Taguchi hits another low dropkick to the bad leg. Taguchi gets Will back in the corner and climbs up. he then gives Will the hip attack ten tens from the middle rope. Will falls down and as Taguchi is posing Will sneaks up behind him and tucks Taguchi's head under the buckle and give Taguchi a side kick right to the butt. Taguchi gets up and spanks his iron ass a few times. guess you just can't hit the Funky Weapon. Will turns around and goes for a kick and misses but goes right into a springboard side kick and takes Taguchi down. Will is in the corner and Taguchi goes for the charge but Will slides onto the apron. Taguchi hits the buckle and Will hits him with a kick. He slingshots in and hits a big forearm shot to floor Taguchi. Will then launches a standing corkscrew and goes for the cover but doesn't get it. We come out of commercial with Will landing some sidekicks to Taguchi. He goes for a third but Taguchi blocks it. Taguchi tries to punch the leg but Will cartwheels and lands a low dropkick to Taguchi. Will actually goes for a rainmaker but Taguchi hits with his ass to counter and gets a roll up on Ospreay for two, but counters that into an anklelock! Will goes for the ropes but Taguchi drags him back in the middle. Will does something really neat as he lifts himself high with his hands and brings his other leg down on his out knee to bring Taguchi close and then drills him with a back elbow to release the hold. Nice!  Will goes for another kick but Taguchi counters it and goes for a waistlock. Will reverses it into a reverse DDT position but Taguchi slides out the back of that and tries for a suplex  but Will counters out of that for a try for a suplex but Taguchi reveres THAT into a spinning bomb! Will is on the middle rope as Taguchi comes over and gives him a stinkface. He then hits some running strikes with the funky weapon before he slides outside and gets a high kick to Ospreay. Will rolls into the ring and Taguchi launches off with a springboard hip attack that sends Will flying out of the ring!  Taguchi signals to the crowd and then comes running into a swan dive over the top rope onto Ospreay! The count starts as Taguchi gets up. both guys are having a hard time getting up. As the count nears 20, Taguchi just nails Ospreay and rolls in himself. Will barely makes it in at 19. Taguchi latches onto Will, and fires off the three amigos suplex but on the last one he gives Will a facebuster instead. Will gets up in the corner and Taguchi goes for the hip attack and Will dives out of the way. Will tries for an attack and Taguchi dodges. Taguchi then gets a reverse powerslam on Will  He does the Nakamura pose, with his own flare added in, and nails a flying hip attack on will and tries for the cover but only gets two. Taguchi goes for the dodan but Will counters into the roll up for two. Will then turns and kicks Ryusuke right in the head with a low dropkick. He then paintbrushes Taguchi in the face with his foot. He goes for a running kick but Taguchi leaps right up and lands a headkick! Ryusuke goes for the dodan again but Will is struggling. Will counters the move into a rana and sends Taguchi into the ropes. He does a cartwheel off Taguchi's chest and sends him over the top rope with a clothesline. Will gingerly runs across the ring and gets in a cartwheel corkscrew over the top rope. He doesn't land much of it and mostly hurts himself, though. Will tosses him into the ring and slowly gets up the turnbuckle. He tries for a 640 but Ryusuke moves. Will lands on his feet but his ankle buckles. Ryusuke goes for the low dropkick but Will leaps over it and comes down with a double stomp right to Taguchi's chest. Will hits a spinning kick to the head but when he goes for a diving back elbow, Taguchi catches him and goes right into the anklelock. Will struggles to get to the ropes but Taguchi keeps pulling him back in the middle. Will stands up but Taguchi hits the dodan! He goers for the pin but only gets two. Ryusuke goes for the kill as he sinks in the anklelock again. Will rolls over and lands some kicks but it doesn't work as Taguchi locks in the hold again! Will counters and gets out of the hold. just as he stands up Taguchi charges in but Will catches him in the C4! Will tries for a cover but only gets two!  Will goes up but Taguchi meets him. Will slides out and tucks the head again, this time landing a kick to Taguchi's head. He sets him up and climbs up the buckle where Will hits the 640 splash and tries for the cover but only gets two! Will hits the hopes and does a backward springboard cutter! He covers and gets the three count! Will has won the tournament! The others come in the ring to help both guys as the crowd is into it and even Kushida at ringside is heartedly applauding. Back from Commercial with Taguchi backstage. He admits he fooled around in the match and he shouldn't have. Stupid. Back in the ring, Will is presented with the trophy. He takes the mic as the crowd is cheering for him. He immediately tells Kushida to come into the ring. He tells him they aren't finished. Okada brought him into CHAOS to win the Junior Heavyweight Belt and that is what he will do. He lays down the challenge. Kushida takes the mic He accepts with a handshake. Will thanks his friends, family, the audience, and those watching on New Japan World. Studio words as Will says it was a dream come true. He says he saw his friends and those he looked up to win this, and now he did. he did it for England and he made history. He wants to win the title and also wrestling at the Tokyo dome at Wrestlekingdom. He tanks the fans as we close out for another  This was amazing! The tag match was all right for what it was, but that matches with Taguchi and Ospreay was really good! They didn't cut much, if anything, from it and it was a great showcase for Will and an example of what Taguchi can do when he isn't being a total goofball. Seak this one out online f you can. totally worth it! Before we go this week, I would be remised without mentioning the passing of George "The Animal" Steele today at the age of 79. Steele originally started in wrestling in the late 60's after he had been a teacher and a wrestling coach. He had his biggest success wrestling for Vince McMahon Sr. in the northeast. He was a top challenger for the WWF title against Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund and even Hulk Hogan, covering a span of about 20 years. He was also a star d7uring the Rock n Wrestling era and even appeared during the attitude era WWF as well. Between his green tounge, eating turnbuckle pads, and MINE, his doll mascot, he created a lot of memories for generations f wrestling fans around the world. [embed]35565:6083:0[/embed] So thank you, George, for all that you gave us over the years. May you rest in peace.  
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The finals of the BOTSJs XXIII
Hello again Puroresu fans and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we take off from last week as we look at the finals of the 23rd Best of The Super Juniors tournament. So let's go back to June 6th, 2016 and the Sendai SunPlaza for the action!

Weekend Japanatainment - Hatsune Miku Commercials Edition

Feb 12 // Red Veron
[embed]35547:6074:0[/embed] Domino's Pizza Japan Let's start with the weirdest commercial where a Domino's Pizza executive is introducing their new promotion with Hatsune Miku in Japan. This one got quite popular a few years ago and reached the US which garnered a great reaction. It's still surreal to see this commercial years later.   [embed]35547:6075:0[/embed] Toyota Corolla USA The first major attempt at introducing Hatsune Miku to the US by Toyota. While it sounds like it could work, it just didn't.   [embed]35547:6076:0[/embed] FamilyMart Japan FamilyMart is one of those convenience store chains in Japan that is slowly expanding in Asia and they're pretty good. This is one of those semi-weird low-key commercials and even features a kid making a weird face.   [embed]35547:6077:0[/embed] Lux Shampoo - Featuring Scarlett Johansson This is that shampoo commercial that had Scarlett Johansson talking to Miku on the phone. Just watch it, explaining it in words is not enough to describe this commercial.   Is there a weird Japanese commercial you love? Which commercial did you like here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Versatile Virtual Mascot
Japan is quite commonly stereotyped as a land full of crazy commercials and this belief is not wrong. Attention-grabbing attempts at trying to sell consumers on products and other tactics such as mascots only get bigger and l...

Strong Style: Bring on the Juniors!

Feb 11 // Soul Tsukino
We open with a greeting from Taguchi! Also, we have the new opening and theme song. Block B: Will Ospreay vs. Volador Jr. Ospreay is the British phenom who is storming around the world and quickly becoming a big star everywhere. Volador is a vet of Lucha Libre and a name south of the border having won a bunch of lighter weight division titles for CMLL. For this match, Volador Jr. is tied with Ricochet and Bobby Fish. If he wins he gets the block. Will Ospreay is just behind those guys in points, but if he wins, he will tie all of them but go to the finals since he would have beaten all three. Will enters the arena first and it is an odd setup. The floor of the arena is small with fans on all four sides of the ring, but only two of the sides have barriers. Volador Jr. enters wearing a red bodysuit (think Deadpool) and a mask, making him look like Rey Mysterio Jr. He takes off the mask when he gets in the ring. JR and Josh explain how things stack up point wise for these guys. Bell rings and as they go for the lock up Will goes low and scoops out Volador's leg. Volador leaps right back up and Will goes for a half nelson but Volador flips through it. A lot of lucha arm drags and hip tosses to start. Volador gets a double rotation on a rana to send Will outside the ring. Volador starts running for a dive but Will slides in and tries for a clothesline but Volador ducks and gets in a rana but Will cartwheels through it and lands a dropkick to send Volador outside. Will then comes off with shooting star press from the apron and lands on his feet! We skip ahead as Will is in the ring and Volador is on the apron, landing a kick to Will's head. Will stumbles back and Volador lands a slingshot body press for a two count. Will stumbles back into the ropes and Volador clotheslines him to the outside. He goes to the apron and lands an Asai moonsault to Ospreay on the floor! Back from the commercial, as both guys are outside on the floor. Will is sent in first Volador gets in a back stabber right into a pin attempt for a two count. Kicked by Volador, Will whips him into the corner but meets the luchador's boots. Volador slingshots him into the corner but Will lands on the middle rope and flies back into a flip into a reverse DDT on Volador! Will goes for the pin but only gets two. Will goes up again but gets caught. Volador goes up and gets a super rana off. That gets a two count. Volador scoops him up and sets Will on the top rope before going up. He grabs Will for the top rope Spanish fly! Will lands on his feet! He nails the cutter and scores the pin! Backstage, Will says tomorrow night his dream comes true and he will be the first Englishman to win the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Block A: Kushida vs. Bushi These two do not like each other. Kushida is pretty much the standard bearer for the Juniors at this point. He's been the top guy in this division more often than not. Bushi is a member of Los Ingobernables de Japon and a big challenger for the Junior Heavyweight Title. If Kushida wins, he ties for first place with Matt Sydal. Bushi is a spoiler here as he is already eliminated. Bushi comes out first with the goofiest overmask I've ever seen. He looks like a black version of Darwin, the goldfish from The Amazing World of Gumball. Thankfully he takes that crap off to his regular mask. Kushida comes out as JR goes on about the Great Kabuki and Gary Hart. The title is not on the line. Bushi dropkicks him immediately and then hits a suicide dive to the outside of the ring. He grabs Kushida and smacks him against the wall and walks back into the ring. Kushida just rolls in at 19 and Bushi catches him and throws him throat first into the ropes. Kushida outside again as Bushi strolls into the ring. Kushida is gagging and is in at 19 again. Bushi chokes with his t-shirt. Bushi sends Kushida on the top rope Kushida goes to the apron but when Bushi goes for him he nails Bushi with a kick and then a springboard dropkick. He nails Bushi with the inverted atomic drop and then the cartwheel dropkick right to the arm. More kicks to Bushi's arm. Bushi yells in pain. Whip in the corner and Bushi gets a foot up, then the second charge gets a flip kick., Bushi goes up and lands a kick. Kushida counters and hits a flying dive to the outside. Back from break with Kushida in the ring, Bushi gets in at 15 and gets a dropkick as he gets in. Kushida tries a moonsault but lands on his feet as Bushi moves. He goes for the double wristlock but Bushi gets into the ropes. Kushida gives him a kick for that. He tries the wristlock again but Bushi blocks it on the ropes. Kushida just snaps the arm on the top rope anyway. As Kushida comes back in the ring Bushi lands a lungblower! He hits Kushida with a knee to the face and then a swinging neckbreaker but only gets a two count. Bushi goes to the middle rope but Kushida avoids contact and they just start exchanging elbows in the middle of the ring. Kushida just kicks him right in the arm. Kushida goes for the baseball punch but Bushi clocks him with a punch of his own. Kushida hits the running kick to the arm and then goes for the wristlock again but he can't quite get it. Kushida rolls over for a cross armbreaker. Kushida struggles but finally locks in the hold. Bushi counters by starting to BITE Kushida in the leg! Bushi finally shoves the ref down and sprays the black mist in Kushida's face! Bushi goes up and lands the MX (super lungblower) but only gets two!  Bushi goes up top again and hits the MX again! He goes for the cover and gets it! Kushida is out of the tournament! Bushi grabs the belt and looks at it before he blows the green mist on the belt. He grabs the mic and tells Kushida that the Juniors division is not just him. He then makes the challenge for the belt. Backstage Bushi is vexed he isn't going to the finals but he is going to be the next champion. Kushida says this is a stain on his career. We get words from Taguchi. He was motivated since the finals are in his hometown. Last year Gedo bested him after Taguchi acted goofy and Gedo went to town on him. This year he hopes for something different. Block A: Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi Gedo is, of course, Kazuchika Okada's mouthpiece and a member of CHAOS. He usually puts the tights back on for this tournament since New Japan usually needs to put in a few guys to fill out the blocks. Taguchi is the comedy act known as "The Funky Weapon". He can put on some great matches but often times bogs himself down with comedy stuff and excessive use of his hip attack in lieu of actual offense. Taguchi has to win here to win the block or else Matt Sydal wins on points. Gedo is dead last and in a spoiler position here. Okada is on commentary at ringside cheering for his mentor. Gedo comes out and his beard now has become quite epic. He and Michael Elgin should have a beard match. Taguchi seems to have learned nothing as he comes out with a bandana pulled really low over his eyes to mock Gedo again. And just like last year, Gedo kicks him right in the guts again. Sorry, but damn that's stupid. And anyone who gets this reference is awesome. Gedo goes to work as he nails a DDT. Gedo then takes off Taguchi's t-shirt and chokes him with it. Outside goes Taguchi. Gedo tags him with the bell ringing mallet. DING! He hits him again as Red Shoes is looking right at him. Head to the table for Taguchi. Gedo then slingshots him right into the ring post. As the ref counts Gedo goes in and pulls off the buckle pad. Taguchi goes in and gets whipped right into the bare buckle. Gedo tells someone to shut up and whips Taguchi into the bare buckle again. Gedo is nasty tonight. Facelock into a neckbreaker by Gedo. Reverse chinlock but Taguchi gets a foot on the ropes. Gedo takes his time releasing the hold. Taguchi into the bare buckle AGAIN. He tries the whip but Taguchi reverses it. As this is going on JR makes another Bill Watts mention, this time spurred on by Gedo's shoes. Taguchi gets in the Funky weapon as Gedo goes outside. Taguchi comes off the apron with another Funky weapon! Back from commercial, Taguchi rolls into the ring. Gedo rolls in and gets another hip attack. Taguchi gets Gedo on the bottom rope and grinds his ass on him. He hits a running hip attack and another and another. He tries a pin but gets two. Taguchi locks him in and goes for the three amigos but on the third Gedo locks in the crossface. Taguchi slips out and goes for the anklelock in a great counter. Gedo goes for the ropes but Taguchi gets a pin attempt for two. He goes after Gedo but gets a superkick to the face. Gedo for the pin but gets two. Gedo does the rainmaker pose and goes for the rainmaker but gets the hip attack instead. Taguchi goes for the rainmaker (?!) but Gedo ducks and gets a punch to the face. Taguchi goes for the tiger suplex but Gedo counters into a headlock and gets a low dropkick. Taguchi goes for the anklelock but the ref goes down. Gedo gets in a low blow. Gedo goes for the Gedo clutch but Taguchi counters into a backslide and gets the pin! I'll be damned. Gedo throws a hissyfit and JR gets his weekly shot at Twitter in as well. Taguchi, with words backstage, actually apologizes for someone like him reaching the finals. He jokes about being Taguchi-prey. He is ready for Will and winning the tournament. I... have many doubts. Studio words from Taguchi, as he says that doing the parody of Gedo was intentional and was part of his plan. He admits to goofing around a lot lately but he showed newer fans that he actually can go. He also says he is really going to push the joking and see how far he can go with it. Yeah, I don't know about this. Lots of quick action tonight! Although all three matches were clipped to some degree, a lot of that was just guys stumbling back into the ring. JR and Josh even did an admirable job in informing us how things stood with the points for these matches. Fun show and we shall see how things turn out next week!
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Best of the Super Juniors XXIII
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Now that the Wrestlekingdom coverage is over we get back to business. This week we take a look at some of the matches from the Bes...

Loot Anime: Dimension - Japanator Unboxing

Feb 07 // Red Veron
Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's themed box, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!  
Loot Anime photo
Adventure in Another World
We've all probably fantasized of embarking on great adventures in worlds of sword and sorcery and doing all kinds of cool thing like slay dragons and saving kingdoms. This setting is familiar to those who are fans of anime a...


Strong Style: Wrapping up WrestleKingdom 11

Feb 05 // Soul Tsukino
  Juice Robinson vs. "The American Nightmare" Cody No, I didn't forget Cody's last name. Basically, the WWE is screwing with Cody since he left the company on his terms. They said that even though his father Dusty Rhodes came up with the name, Cody can't use it since he didn't start using it until he came to the WWE. We all know who he is and most people call him Cody Rhodes anyway. Cody decided to turn heel and became the newest member of the Bullet Club for some reason. Maybe he is the backup in case Kenny Omega bolted for the WWE (he didn't). Juice, on the other hand, isn't a guy we see a whole lot on this show. He was a longtime WWE developmental guy as CJ Parker, angry environmentalist hippie. However, he left there because they never did anything with him and were never going to promote him to the WWE. Instead of trying to act like a bigger star than he really was, he told NJPW he wanted to train at the dojo instead. He's kind of a lower card guy who really only gets featured in matches like this when they need a body to fill. Juice is wearing these trunks and knee pads that look like 1968 kitchen decor. Then again he kind of looks like Primo and Epico's hippy cousin. JR goes over Juice's history as he comes to the ring. JR makes a statement that he was trained by Dusty Rhodes. I guess it's kinda true, but he went through the WWE's developmental system so he probably was trained by a lot of other guys too. Cody makes his entrance wearing a leather jacket instead of that odd lined flight jacket he wears usually. Juice offers up a handshake to start and Cody makes the weird gun gesture. Juice doesn't seem to care. Lock up to start as Cody immediately goes for an arm wrench. He puts it on again and then takes Juice down with a pull of the dreadlocks. Ref gives a warning. They lock up again and  Juice gets a headlock. Cody shoots him into the ropes and goes for a hiptoss. Juice counters, and Cody counters with a hiplock that sends Juice over the top rope to the floor. With Juice outside Cody signals for something. He runs and leaps to the top rope for a dive but Juice CATCHES HIM! Belly to belly suplex for Cody! Juice yells something to the crowd and holy gods he has an awful high pitched voice. He sounds like an angry Lord Littlebrook. Juice then runs and hits a cannonball right into Cody on the barrier! Juice seems to have tweaked his knee on that move but they both get back in the ring. Juice goes up top by Cody Charges him. Juice lands on his feet but stumble right into a punch from Cody followed by a Goldust uppercut from the mat. Juice answers with a punch of his own. He lands a few more shots but Cody scoops him up into an Alabama slam. Pin attempt gets two. Cody gets up and pops Juice right in the face before landing some kicks and raking his face while on the ropes. More kicks before he centers his kicks to the back on Juice's knee. Ouch. Cody lands some more kicks and punches before going up and lands a crescent kick. He poses some more as the ref (Tiger Hatori) asks Robinson if he wants to give up. Cody starts an argument with Steve Corino at ringside ad we can actually hear Corino go "C'mon now!". Cody picks juice up in the corner and slaps him right across the face.  He does it again and Juice is PISSED. Juice says something rather dirty before Cody panics and dropkicks Juice right in the knee. Cody goes for the ropes but is met with a Juice sidekick that puts him down. Juice lands some punches and chops before Cody goes to the corner. Robinson lands a clothesline and then whips Cody into the opposite buckle and hits another clothesline followed by a hooking clothesline. Juice scoops him up and drops Cody on both knees, but it is botched a bit. Juice with the cover gets two. Juice gets Cody up in a suplex but Cody floats through it and then chopblocks Juice!  Cody laughs. Juice is able to get back up in the corner and Cody makes the charge. Juice sticks out his foot but Cody catches it. Juice just straight up punches Cody in the face to counter that. "I might like Juice Robinson more if his name was Sauce Robinson. I have a sauce thing going on," said JR. Juice climbs up to the top rope (a bad idea) and goes for the splash but Cody rolls through it and locks Juice into an Indian deathlock. Juice is screaming in pain by finally gets to the ropes. The hold is broken and Juice goes to the apron but Cody is right there to meet him. He sends juice's head into the post and then hits the disaster kick. Cody drags him over the top rope for a hangman DDT and you can see Juice's head make contact. Damn. Two counts only. Cody goes for crossroads but Juice counters it into a snapmare. Cody goes to the ropes and Juice hits him with a clothesline. Attempt only gets two and Juice cusses again! Such bad language from the gaijin tonight. Juice tries to get Cody up for a powerbomb but his leg buckles and drops him. Juice tries an unprettier but Cody counters into crossroads and gets the three count to no one's surprise. IWGP Junior Tag Titles: The Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice Bullet Club vs. CHAOS here. Bucks are the champion and Vice won the Best of the Super juniors Tag tournament to get this shot. Nice to see just two teams here instead of four like they do most years. These teams have met plenty of times before so let's see what they can do and still wow the audience. The challengers come out first. Josh retells how he helped train Rocky Romero in catch fights and even MMA. Rocky would be a seven-time champion with a victory here tonight. The Bucks enter next and they have all kinds of gold with them. They are defending the IWGP Jr. tag belts, but they also are ROH Tag champions, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla tag champions, and now have custom made "Superkick Party" tag team belts as well. Have I mentioned I'm not a fan of these guys? They make remarks about the Hardys into the camera because I'm sure the Japanese know what's going on with that. The Bucks get in the ring and start jawing with Vice but Vice ain't going for it and start throwing punches right away. The bell rings and we are officially underway. The bucks try to whip Vice into each other but Rocky and Barreta pull the old dose. However, they miss with clotheslines into the corner. The Bucks try the clotheslines and they miss so Vice lands clotheslines of their own. Barreta picks up Rocky and drives him knees first right into Matt. Then he turns around and clotheslines Nick right out of the ring. The Vice goes for running dives but the Bucks run away and start going up the aisle away from the ring. Vice go after them and get super kicked for their trouble. Not only have I seen this bit from the Bucks before, it was against Roppongi Vice! How original. The Bucks run back to the ring as Vice crawl and struggle, barely getting in the ring at the count of 19. The Bucks immediately toss Rocky over the top to the floor, leaving Barreta behind. Barreta fires off some elbows and kicks but when he goes to the ropes he is caught in a back body drop and LAUNCHED in the air and crashes down. Matt does a running dive feet first through the ropes and catches Rocky on the outside while Nick whips Barreta into the buckle where he goes flying over the ropes and onto the apron. Nick lands the superkick and Matt comes around and pulls Barreta right to the floor. Rocky climbs up to the corner as Matt is tagged in and the Bucks double dropkick Rocky off the apron. Barreta rolls in and Matt goes right to the cover but only gets two. He yells at the ref and then starts in with a bunch of punches. Matt tries to piss of Rocky by doing the DX "suck it" with Barreta hands and sure enough, Rocky just climbs in the ring and punches matt right in the mouth. Rocky goes back to the apron and Matt superkicks him in response. Matt then goes to the apron in Vice's corner and begs Barreta to make the tag. Barreta runs over and drives an elbow Matt's Face. Nick comes in and goes for the knee charge but misses and Barreta nails him with a swinging DDT. As Rocky is struggling to get up to the corner Matt runs in and tries the atomic drop on Barreta. Barreta slides out the back only to get Nick trying the atomic drop and Barreta slides out of that! Barreta tries for the tag but Both Bucks catch him and drive him into the corner. The Bucks go for the in/out double kick but Barreta moves and Nick kicks Matt in the face. Nick dives in to catch Barreta but the big guy slides out of the ring. Nick goes to the apron to kick Barreta but he moves and Nick is hit in the face again!  Matt comes to the floor and goes for another superkick and nails a young boy instead! Barreta gets back in the ring and makes the tag to Rocky who hits Matt with a splash and then hits a rana and then nick comes in ad Rocky misses a few kicks but nails a mule kick to send Jackson into the corner. FOREVAH CLOTHES! Both Jacksons eat clotheslines a few times. they dodge a few and try for the double atomic drop but rock slips out the back and runs them both over with clotheslines. Rocky then goes for a blockbuster but Matt catches him and sets him up for a Meltzer driver. Rocky counters with a rana sending the Bucks crashing together and Nick going down to the floor. Matt turns around as Barreta comes in and Matt gets a double knee before Rocky does a running dive to Nick outside the ring. Barreta sets Matt up for the Vice finisher drop but matt escapes, only to get locked into a torture rack position and Rocky comes off the top for a hard hit. Cover only gets two. Barreta sets him up for the drop finisher again but as Rocky dives, Nick catches him in the air and dropkicks Barreta right into a destroyer flip piledriver. Nick comes in a gets in a high corner knee on Rocky  Both bucks set him up on the top rope for a double superplex but Rocky counters as Nick falls to the floor and Matt falls in the ring. Matt tries for a superplex of his own but Barreta leaps to the top rope at tosses Jackson backward in a German suplex. The bucks get together outside and Berretta goes for the running dive over the rope, but the Bucks move and Barreta just splats on the aisle way in a sickening fashion. Replay shows he hit the aisle way right on his spine. How the hell he could move after that is beyond me. The Bucks go after the lone Rocky in the ring but he comes out swinging and tags both Bucks. They try the superkick but he holds onto the ropes. He ducks a double clothesline and gets both of them in a rana! One of the Bucks tries the superkick but rocky catches it. However, when he tries a move of his own they nail him and he goes down. They give him a low double superkick and Matt gets in a running knee. Matt tries the cover but gets two. Matt picks up Rocky and gets the buckle bomb with the added kick from the apron. Matt hangs Rocky on the ropes and nick gets in an awesome 540 splash.  Can't get the pin though and the audience gives him applause for that. Rocky gets hit with a superkick, a second superkick and a double superkick, but he just won't stay down. The Bucks go for more bang for your buck. Barreta comes out of nowhere to hold Matt on the turnbuckle and Rocky reverses the roll into a backslide and scores the three! We have new champions! IWGP Junior heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Hiromu Takahashi Not much of a storyline here. Hiromu is a guy who has been kicking around for a while. He was a young boy for New Japan before spending a few years in Mexico and the U.S., mostly under the name of Kamaitachi. After a short run in Ring of Honor, he returned to New Japan as "The Ticking Time Bomb" and immediately hooked up with Los Ingobernales. He made the challenge by licking the belt that was around Kushida's waist and here we are. Takahashi comes out first with his creepy smile and sweet fur coat but is also carrying his regular jacket over his shoulder. I shall forever call you Hiromu "Two Coats" Takahashi. They have these red and black giant inflatable balls bouncing around in the audience that really looks odd for a bad guy's entrance. Kushida comes out with a new entrance video as he is coming to the ring the camera cuts to Takahashi with that creepy ass smile on his face. JR explains that right before this Takahashi pinned Kushida in a tag match, so he knows he can beat the champ. They have a stare down on the apron but Takahashi backs off as Kushida comes in over the top. Kushida goes up the corner to pose during his intro and Takahashi runs up and kicks him right over the top rope to the floor! Kushida scramble as Takahashi lazily goes up the ropes for a dive and Kushida smacks him with the double heel kick to send Takahashi crashing to the floor! Kushida goes up and hits the cannonball on Takahashi to lay him out. The bell finally rings with both on the floor. Kushida rolls Takahashi in the ring and hits him with a good ol' Anderson hammerlock slam. Kushida sets up the arm and stomps right on it.  Kushida shoots him in and gets a hiptoss right into a keylock on the arm. Just noticed Kushida has a heavily taped up right shoulder. Takahashi gets to the ropes for the break. They get up and Kushida lands a stiff chop to the chest. Takahashi tries a chop but Kushida answers that with a knee to the gut and a couple of elbows to the back of the head. Kushida tries to whip Takahashi into the corner but Takahashi slides right out of the ring. Kushida follows him as Takahashi gets back in and hits the ropes with Kushida on the apron. Takahashi goes over the top and NAIL Kushida with a sunset flip right to the floor! SPLAT goes the time splitter! Ref doesn't even try to count as he is outside asking if Kushida is okay. He is very slow getting up. The ringside doctor is now looking at him. Meanwhile, Takahashi is sitting cross-legged in the ring trying to get feeling back in his arm. Kushida rolls in slowly and Takahashi comes over and starts laying in the boots! Stomps and kicks now before he just swats the champ's head a few times. Kushida stands up only for Takahashi to hit him with a superkick! Lax cover only gets two. He picks up Kushida in a fireman's carry but the champ wiggles out of it near the corner. Takahashi turns around and charges but gets an elbow to the face and then Kushida flatliners him face first in the ropes. Kushida is awake now as he runs in with double chops and then a back elbow. He gets Takahashi down and hits his cartwheel dropkick. Kushida lands those nasty sidekicks of his as he gets three in on the sore arm. He tries a whip but Takahashi reverses, only to come out with the back spring elbow. He goes to the ropes again and tangles with Takahashi. He ends up going for the double wristlock but can't get it as Takahashi hits a back suplex and rolls right into a cover but keeps hold of Kushida and rolls him into another German suplex. With Kushida down, Takahashi stupidly goes over and invites Jushin Liger to step in a fight him. He runs down the apron and goes up the ropes as Kushida stands up. He goes for a rana to send Kushida over the rope but botches it and Kushida goes down to the mat while Takahashi bounces off the rope with his back. Kushida slides outside as Takahashi climbs up and comes off with a cannonball that barely hits and he SPLATS on the floor. We come back from the commercial as both guys are trying to get up. Takahashi tosses Kushida in the ring and goes up the buckles again. Kushida gets up and Takahashi comes off with both knees. He lands right into a pin attempt but only gets two. Takahashi gets him up in the fireman's carry but Kushida elbows out. Take hits a strike but Kushida nails him with the Pele kick. Kushida gets up and falls back to the ropes. Takahashi comes charging in and gets the kick as Kushida goes backward. Takahashi charges and goes for the apron sunset flip again but Kushida backflips out of that and lands a shot. Kushida goes down the ringside aisle as Takahashi goes to the apron. Takahashi flies off but Kushida lands a chest kick and rolls right into the armbar at ringside! Takahashi is tapping but it doesn't count and the ref starts counting. Kushida releases the hold and tosses Takahashi back in the ring. Kushida lays in the hard kicks right to the arm. He tries a third kick but Takahashi catches it and nyaaaahhhs at Kushida. Kushida slaps him for that. Another kick to the arm and another. Kushida finally goes for the hoverboard lock! Takahashi is trying not to quit.  Takahashi is screaming in pain. Takahashi is struggling for the ropes but Kushida pulls him back.  Takahashi gets to his feet and gets a rolls through and scoops Kushida on his shoulders. Kushida rolls through that and gets a victory roll for the pin attempt. Kick out. they get up and Kushida goes for the wrist again but Takahashi counters out only to get met with a spinning elbow to the jaw!  Kushida shoots to the ropes but Takahashi counters that. Kushida leaps up and tries the wristlock on the other arm now. Takahashi struggles but is able to get in an elbow to break the hold. Kushida tries the baseball punch but Takahashi nails him with it instead!  Kushida nails the punch and now they both crumble to the mat. Both guys slowly get up and Kushida goes for a charge but Takahashi flings him backward right into the buckle. Takahashi tries a charge but Kushida hits an elbow. Takahashi sets Kushida up on the buckle and climbs up but Kushida locks in the wristlock on the ropes! Takahashi gets in some body blows to break the grip. He then jumps and spins himself around and brings down Kushida in a victory roll to the canvas. The count gets two. Takahashi picks up Kushida in another fireman's carry but just runs right into the buckle with him. He goes with another fireman's carry and he hits the time bomb! He covers and gets the three count! We have a new champion! Backstage, Takahashi is clutching the belt like Linus clutching his blanket. He has worked hard to get a shot at this belt and it is the reason for being in New Japan. Now that he is the champion the belt will be elevated but he needs a new nemesis. He wants more. More. MORE!  Man. That was an action packed way to end the WrestleKingdom coverage. I mean, the Cody match was a no brainer on who was winning and honestly if you've seen one Young Bucks match you've seen them all, but it was still a fun show. Just to round things off. In terms of Wrestlekingdom 11 action we didn't see in Strong Style, Michael Elgin won the New Japan Rambo by eliminating Cheeseburger, Tiger Mask W defeated Tiger the Dark in a match I covered HERE, and Adam Cole defeated Kyle O'Reily to become the first ever 3-Time ROH champion. Not exactly sure where we go from here, hopefully, to back where we were in December. Whatever it may be, I'll see you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The juniors and Cody!
Hello again gang and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight we take one last visit to WrestleKingdom 11 from the Tokyo Dome. We have both the Junior Heavyweight and Tag titles on the line plus we have an appearance by Cody Rhodes! So once again let's go back to January 4, 2017 for the action!

Final Fusion: Happy 20th Anniversary, King of the Braves GaoGaiGar

Feb 01 // Salvador G Rodiles
[embed]35524:6050:0[/embed] [embed]35524:6051:0[/embed] ぼくらの勇者王!!by KOU@お仕事募集中 僕らの勇者王 by 影法師@ダメ人間 明けました!(2017)。by 薙 おそろい帽子。by 薙 勇気ある戦い by Guyca Braves ワクワクしすぎたミラクル先輩 by 束原雨侠 髪の毛を振り回すサイボーグのイラストです。by Tonbi 勇者王と獅子の女王 by オトカム@クローン病 ガオファイガーとイークイップ命 by オトカム@クローン病 King J-Der by オトカム@クローン病 GaGaGa, GaGaGa, GaoGaiGar! by Ela ひととき by 桜兎 ワンドロと兄弟 by  桜兎 [落書き]勇者王ガオガイガー by NAbyssor@完全社畜 月下の破壊神 by 野マヨ 最強勇者ロボ軍団 Ladies by 阿叶【aky】
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Celebration Approved!
A new month has started, and things are starting to get golden around here. Today marks the 20th anniversary of King of the Braves GaoGaiGar, which aired on  Feb. 1, 1997. The show was the final installment in Sunrise an...

Weekend Japanatainment - 2007 Anime OP Edtion

Jan 29 // Red Veron
[embed]35521:6041:0[/embed] "Megumeru ~cuckool mix 2007~ (メグメル~cuckool mix 2007~)" Anime: Clannad Now this is a show known as "the sad one that will reduce you to a bawling baby on the floor" and I have not seen it yet. Not because I don't want to be sad and cry, which is something I regularly do anyways, but I am saving it for when I do want to feel those emotions.   [embed]35521:6042:0[/embed] "Allegro Cantabile Sound" Anime: Nodame Cantabile A great Josei (shoujo's big sister) comedy drama about a guy who wants to realize his dream in music and meets an odd woman who happens to be a brilliant pianist. A fun and funny show with good drama which also has a fantastic live action adaptation.   [embed]35521:6043:0[/embed] "Prism" Anime: Dennou Coil I describe this show as Ghibli meets Ghost in the Shell with a splash of Satoshi Kon's surrealness. It focuses on a group of kids who live in a world where digital technology in the form of digital augmented reality being part of daily life. It's so integrated that things like urban legends that kids come up with are part of the new reality where technology is basically like magic. This show is now available in the US on home video and I recommend it to anyone who loves Sci-Fi and the Miyazaki Ghibli films. A very forward thinking anime that is much more impressive now that we are seeing the precursors to the technology seen in the show.   [embed]35521:6044:0[/embed] "Hito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru" Anime: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei A very odd show about a pessimistic teacher who is prone to despair with everything that is troubling and he meets the most optimistic highschool student. A ridiculous show that features a lot of satire on a lot of things which focus mainly on Japanese culture but is still interesting with all the crazy imagery and presentation by renowned studio SHAFT.   [embed]35521:6046:0[/embed] "Motteke! Sailor Fuku" Anime: Lucky Star A show that I initially dismissed because of mainly on the rather slow pace of the first episode but later loved years later. A fun slice-of-life that's one of those "moe" or "Cute girls doing cute things" show that gets really funny as the show goes one. I would recommend this for those looking for something light and chill.   [embed]35521:6045:0[/embed] "Sorairo Days" Anime: Gurren Lagann The show that is still popular and everyone's blood pumping, Gurren Lagann is a classic that still gets cosplays at conventions which is a testament to its timelessness. If you haven't seen this one, go see it. If you've loved Kill La Kill, you will love this show because it is basically the predecessor of Kill La Kill.   Is there a show from 2007 that you still love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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10 YEARS AGOOOOOO
It has been decade since 2007, a great year for anime with plenty of shows from that year that still pop up in must watch anime lists because many of them hold up to this today. I was looking at a show from 2007 and found oth...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 14-16 and more!

Jan 29 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 14 So here we are after the big reveal that Yellow Devil was not who everyone hoped he was. You would think this episode would be a big step into where things go next and in a way it is, just not in the direction I was expecting. On the GWM side of things, Takuma confronts Billy the Kidman on the plane about Yellow Devil. Billy is in rough shape in a hard neck collar, but Takuma roughs him up anyway. Turns out the Yellow Mask from 3 years before is a mystery and no one knows who he is or where he is now. Kevin has to pull Takuma off of Kidman. Later when Takuma and Kevin are going back to the Tiger's Den, Takuma explains the whole thing to Kevin. Once in the bottom of the mountain, Odin is overjoyed that the "great hope of the Tiger's Den" has failed and will be the tackling dummy for rookies now. Takuma decides to enter "Hell in the Hole" instead of rotting away down here. Kevin also signs up, and Odin finally does as well. Meanwhile, Miss X is having problems of her own. It seems that the GWM can't draw flies in their new arena and they are losing money FAST. In a conference with Mr. X. he tells her that she was only allowed to live after Tiger Mask won the tournament, but that it was time to exploit him to fill the arena. Later Miss X tells Tiger that he has to appear on the GWM cards or else he will have to pay a huge penalty. Sucks to be you, dude. Now, if this was all to the episode it would actually be interesting. Instead, that is only the first ten minutes. THE REST of the episode of is Naoto running around to go on a totally-not-a-date date with Ruriko, Daisuke's nurse at the hospital who wants to go see the matches at the Sumo Hall. So a majority of the episode is Naoto running around trying to avoid Haruna and wrestle (against Bad Luck Fale of all people) as well as be with Ruriko. This has 80s sitcom humor all over it and is just a waste of time. Why can't Naoto tell Haruna or even Takaoka that he is doing this is beyond me? Anyway, this all leads to Ruriko saying at the end of the night that she is leaving her job at the hospital, since it was a job her Father got her, and becoming a ringside nurse for the GWM at the Max Dome. So they spent almost an entire episode of bad romantic comedy just to set up that Ruriko and Naoto will be at the Max Dome together, but that Ruriko doesn't know that Naoto is Tiger Mask. Ummm okay. This episode did provide some good story points coming off the last episode. You at least know what both sides are up to, but the romantic stuff between Naoto and Ruriko really doesn't do anything for me. I'm hoping this isn't the main storyline for the rest of the season, but it looks like it will be a major one. Episode 15 Oh boy. This episode. This will stretch your suspension of Disbelief like a high tension rubber band. So the GWM has Tiger Mask bound to appear at the Max Dome, and it works to increase profits as having him on the bill sells out the arena in advance. Miss X holds a press conference to announce Tiger Mask's opponent and it is Bigfoot. Yeah. I think the animators got a little too fanciful with this one. He appears to be over 9 feet tall and demonstrates how awesome he is by cutting down a tree with only his grip. I'm sorry but this is stupid. Yeah, it's a cartoon I know, but up until now it has kept things largely very realistic (mostly) and didn't stretch things beyond the realm of the plausible. This crap pretty much kills it. They try to justify it by having a flashback later from the Original tiger Mask show by talking about Gorilla Man, but that doesn't really help. However, another announcement is made that plays into one of the other subplots. Remember the Divas match from the Masked World Tournament? Well, it seems those two women, Queen and Payne are now teaming up! They will compete for the first ever GWM Diva tag team title. Their opponents are The Candy Pair: Mint and Milk.   The differences are noticeable. What is also interesting here is that they actually say "divas" here instead of Joshi. After the conference is over, our favorite reporter asked Miss X about Tiger the dark and Miss X says he joined the "farm team" and goes on a spiel about how sometimes you lose everything after only one loss and how it makes you better building yourself back up. Back at the garage, Haruna is in awe of the women and tries to train by lifting weights. Of course, she puts to much weight on the bar and can't lift it.   At the arena, the show begins with Fukuwara Mask against Tiger the Dark's other running buddy Mike Rodriguez. Backstage Tiger Mask goes to check on Ruriko in the medical office, under the guess of wanting a roll of medical tape. She secretly tells Tiger she is rooting for him. I should also mention Mike hit on her right out of the medical office earlier, so she must be loving her new job. Haruna goes out and happens to come across the dressing room for the Candy Pair. She is amazed that they are fighting Americans on the GWM stage and they are only 20 years old. She might be impressed, but most Japanese women get into wrestling much younger than that so it's not THAT big of a deal.   Things don't go well for the Candy Pair. They pretty much get massacred. Haruna goes by their dressing room and they are crying. Ruriko and the doctor come by and eventually are let in. Makes you just want to dive in there and fight doesn't it Haruna? Tiger's match goes as you'd expect. You can only win by a knock out 10 count or "forfeit". I think they mean submission here as I've never heard of a match where you expressly have to win by not having the other guy show up. He does the smart thing by going for speed and technique against the big guy. But it turns out that Bigfoot has better stamina and can mat wrestle way more than anyone thought. Tiger overcomes the odds and Bigfoot well... you can make your own "A giant wrestler walks into a bar" joke here. This episode kept the subplots going that's for sure. I'm really not a fan of them stretching reality here with Bigfoot, but that's just me. The Haruna wanting to be a wrestler storyline has me wondering how it will pay off. At first, it just seems like a silly thing so we can get bits of Haruna trying to train and failing, but seeing the Candy Pair crushed like that makes me wonder if things are going to get more serious with that. The Ruriko storyline was there as well, but not nearly as dominant as last week's show. So if anything this episode had me wondering more than anything.  Episode 16 What the hell is this? Did I accidently get an episode of Ranma 1/2 or something? This episode may be funny but it is completely useless! The plot of this episode is that the New Japan guys are holding a show in some village in the middle of nowhere to a bunch of old people. Along for the ride is this woman who is a big shot Mexican promoter. She is trying to get Nagata to let her have Tiger Mask to go to Mexico. Evidently, GWM bought up all the big Mexican stars and Lucha Libre is suffering for it. Nagata explains that Tiger is freelance and that he has a manager. She literally kicks him in the junk for that. So promoter woman calls Haruna and works out a deal where he would go to Mexico for a one time match for 5,000. You can already guess where this is going since she doesn't exactly say 5,000 of what she is offering. Haruna thinks it's dollars and thinks they are getting $50,000 for one match. Haruna hops in her car and bolts right to the village only to find out it was 5,000 pesos or only 278 bucks. They then hatch out a wager that if Tiger loses the match tonight against the promoter's son, The Saboten, Tiger will have to do it but if Tiger wins, they get a vacation in Acapulco. While the other wrestlers are directed to the villages secret hot spring, Tiger and Haruna go explore the villages old school. Lucha manager directs her son to go follow Tiger and hurt him before the fight, but he is so stupid he hurts himself more than anything including falling out of a second-story window. Meanwhile, at the spring, We have peepers! It's the village's old ladies taking pictures! Nagata and the boys are about to have them arrested when the mayor of the village says they are taking pictures of the guys so that the ladies send them to women in other villages in the area so that they bring their husbands to the show. With that, every is willing to pose for pics. And if the idea of a septuagenarian taking a cell phone pic of Bad Luck Fale in nothing but a towel makes you vomit in your mouth a bit, you aren't alone. As if I'm expecting anything other than lunacy at this point, Tiger and Saboten have their match. It's as insane as you should expect at this point as Tiger is attacked before the bell but quickly regains control. Mexican promoter lady then attacks Tiger and gives her son a cactus (WTF?!?) to use. He sticks his own mother in the ass with it and she flips out and chases him out the door. Saboten is counted out and Tiger wins as all the old people throw money and seating pads in the ring like a sumo match. Even Tiger Mask himself wonders why we have this episode. Yeah, this episode is complete filler and has absolutely no effect on the story at all. That being said it was funny in a slapstick kind of way. This feels like a typical anime troupe type of episode for yuks than anything else. Completely passable. Well, this batch of episodes was completely all over the place. They may be setting up things for down the road but that hot spring episode really makes me think they are killing time and stumped on ideas. If this kind of inconsistency keeps going, it's going to be a long road for the rest of the 39 episodes. Bonus Match! We go to the real life Tokyo Dome for this match from WrestleKingdom 11 on January 4, 2017. Since this match won't be shown on AXS TV, We are covering it here instead. This match kicked off the big show and we have ROH's Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino calling the action for us. TV Animation Special Match: Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger the Dark Tiger the Dark makes his way out first. We get a Crunchyroll plug from Kevin Kelly as he tries to explain how good the show is, even explaining Tiger the Dark's backstory accurately. The man under the mask is no big secret here as it is former Ring of Honor star ACH, who not only is a huge anime fan but also used to dress like Goku and Luffy for some of his matches. While to us fans this might not look like the best spot in the world, he is kicking off the biggest show of the year and gets to cosplay from a show he probably watches. So he is probably in hog heaven right now. Tiger Mask W comes to the ring first and he is accompanied by Suzuko Mimori, the voice of Haruna on the show. She is cosplaying Haruna here. Steve Corino talks about him and his 3-year-old son watching this show. Steve also puts in that the two men under the Masks will give it their all, even if the moves aren't the same from the show. I've heard that Kota complained about the Mask he wore when he wrestled as Tiger Mask last time and it does appear the mask has been redone slightly. The Bell rings and we are off! Tiger with a headlock and he gets shot off into the ropes and gets a shoulderblock. He hits the ropes again, Dark with a leapfrog and gets in and armdrag to take Tiger down. Tiger gets in an armdrag of his own and then both guys go for dropkicks at the same time. They both kip up and we have a staredown to the applause of the Tokyo fans. As they circle around Kevin explains how Haruna calls herself Tiger's manager and that Steve Corino should check out Miss X on the show. "Why is that? I'm a married man?". Dark gets Tiger in the corner and hits a strike before trying to whip Tiger. Tiger tries the reverse but Dark comes out with a backflip into a dropkick. Tiger slides outside to ringside and Dark crisscrosses the ring before launching himself into a backflip and clears the top rope before crashing down on Tiger! Dark throws Tiger back in the ring and tries for a cover but only gets two. Kevin makes a quick plug for Tiger Mask W's second season as Dark picks Tiger up and hits a chop. Corino mentions that both these guys are trained professionals ("Maybe even well known, we don't know.") and still want to win. Dark lands a spinning forearm and goes for a clothesline, but tiger ducks and lands another sweet dropkick. Dark goes stumbling out of the ring. Not a good place to be in this match!  Tiger points to the heavens before launching off a moonsault from the middle turnbuckle to Dark on the floor! Big applause for that! Tiger rolls dark back in the ring at the count of 14 and goes right for the pin. He gets 2. As they stand up Tiger launches into a lightning quick palm thrust and kick combination that literally wows the crowd. With Dark seated Tiger goes for a swinging kick and a standing moonsault, but Dark gets the knees up. Dark tries to get Tiger in the Dark driver but Tiger resists. He instead locks tiger into the Dark lock instead. Both Kevin and Steve mention both moves as favorites of Tiger the Dark in the show. Tiger tries to power out of it, but Dark gives a shot to the ribs before releasing the hold. Dark runs in and Tiger counters quickly by scooping Dark up for the tombstone, but Dark reverses it and nails the dark driver! He goes for the pin but only gets 2. Tiger is the dark is SHOCKED! As Kevin Kelly goes over all the cameos you will see in the series, Dark is left scrambling before he snatches Tiger up for a double underhook suplex but Tiger counters out and gets Dark into a waistlock. Dark wiggles out and goes for a clothesline but Tiger ducks it and locks in a full nelson before switching into a waistlock again and nails the German suplex! Dark gets up and Tiger grabs him in a double chicken with for the tiger Suplex! pin attempt only gets two. Tiger picks him up again in the double underhook and lifts him up. He then picks Dark up real high and hits the Tiger bomb and gets the 3 count! Tiger Mask W wins! "So the light shines bright here in Tokyo dome."- Kevin Kelly. These guys were in a bit of a tough spot here. They were the opener for this huge show and essentially went out there to promote a cartoon more than anything. they didn't get a huge amount of time, but in the end, both guys made the most of it. NJPW really put an effort into this as not only did the wrestlers themselves know how to go with the moves from the show, but the broadcasters genuinely sounded like they knew what they were talking about. I think it was a great job on all parts, and better than anything the WWE would have done in a similar situation. This was no comedy match or crapfest with fans booing it to death. This was fun and entertaining while still doing its job. Good match from everyone.
Tiger Mask W photo
Real life Tiger Mask as well!
We are back with the second season of Tiger Mask W. The big match between Tiger Mask and Yellow Devil ended with disappointment for Naoto as well as Takuma as their quest for revenge hits a roadblock. Where do we go from here? Let's see!

Gems of Japan: Handmade Onigiri or Onigiri From a Convenience Store?

Jan 23 // Lindo Korchi
After some time, I saw an onigiri in Kyoto. But this was no ordinary onigiri from the convenient store. Instead, it was a handmade onigiri that was prepared on the same day. Time itself had paused and there was only one thing to do: purchase the handmade onigiri, as well as the convenient store onigiri, and have them battle it out to determine which is the supreme onigiri. The battle would be done by a taste test. [embed]35504:6030:0[/embed] Handmade onigiri: It was huge. It seemed like 1 1/2 convenient store onigiri's put together. I was quite glad about that, until I took my first bite -- it was only rice. The ratio between rice and salmon was disproportional. Now, the salmon was great and tasted super fresh, but the amount was so miniscule. The seaweed was moist, which I didn't enjoy. A moist seaweed is chewy and tough to eat. The reason it's moist is because the onigiri is warm rather than cold or cooled down. It's a battle and I don't like to battle with my food. (Konbu onigiri) Convenient store onigiri: It was small and had a cool temperature. Opening it felt like a work of art, as you need to pull the wrapped down, then up, which tears the plastic in half. Then you pull right and left to free the onigiri of plastic. After, the corners of the seaweed sheet blossom a bit, in which you need to lay it across the onigiri in order for it to stick. Finally, the rice ball nearly becomes covered with seaweed. The first bite is full of crunch (since the seaweed isn't moist) and cooled down rice, along with a taste of salmon. Now the ratio between rice and salmon is also disproportional, in my opinion, but not nearly as much as the home-made onigiri. It's as if the homemade onigiri contained the same amount of salmon, but had an increase of rice. Japan Full Course Menu: Before tasting them both, I secretly rooted for the homemade onigiri, as I love homemade food. I also cook, thus I appreciate it as well. But with such a noticeably unbalanced rice-salmon ratio along with moist seaweed, I couldn't add it to the menu. The convenient store onigiri has made it instead. It taste delicious, fresh, crunchy, and cool. It's awesome. But I do hope to find a home-made onigiri that is supreme. (Yes, it's true: I purchased this manga simply because of the onigiri.) I asked a Japanese friend and tourist about their opinion. The Japanese person said they prefer the homemade onigiri, but it's a little more expensive and not as convenient to get as the one in the store. The tourist said he likes the home-made onigiri for its moist seaweed and warm rice, rather than the cool and crunchy one at convenient stores. That, I found interesting. What about you?
Gems of Japan photo
Which will be in your Full Course Menu?
My first encounter with an onigiri was at a convenient store located in Tokyo, Japan (huh, why does that sound so drastic? It's as if a showdown is about to occur). I looked directly at the well packaged rice ball, and saw...

Weekend Japanatainment - DragonBall Z + Linkin Park Edition

Jan 22 // Red Veron
[embed]35505:6031:0[/embed] "What I've Done" For what I've doneI start againAnd whatever pain may comeToday this endsI'm forgiving what I've done   [embed]35505:6032:0[/embed] "Numb" I've become so numb, I can't feel you thereI'm tired of being what you want me to beI've become so numb, I can't feel you thereI'm tired of being what you want me to be   [embed]35505:6033:0[/embed] "Faint" You hear me out nowYou're gonna listen to me like it or notRight now, hear me out nowYou're gonna listen to me like it or notRight now   [embed]35505:6034:0[/embed] "In the end" I had to fallTo lose it allBut in the endIt doesn't even matter   [embed]35505:6035:0[/embed] "Breaking the habit" I don't know how I got this wayI'll never be alrightSo I'm breaking the habitI'm breaking the habit tonight   What's your favorite AMV? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
I PUT MY TRUST IN YOU
If you were on the anime internet around the turn of the century, there was a prevalence of anime music videos that combined clips of the hit anime Dragon Ball Z with the music of the "nu-metal" band Linkin Park. It was ...

Review: One Piece Film Gold

Jan 21 // Christian Chiok
One Piece Film Gold Studio: Toei Animation Licensed by: FUNimation Release Date: July 23rd, 2016 (Japan), January 10, 2017 (North America) Naturally, like most Anime movies based on a long running series, like Naruto and Dragon Ball (for the exception of the latest ones), they are non-canon. It’s been a while since we have seen all nine members present in a story that's implied to take place after the Dressrosa arc since Gold mentions the Straw Hats defeating Doflamingo for him, not to mention, if you keep up with the manga, the crew is once again separated, so it makes it difficult to fit it in a canon setting. The movie starts with the introduction of the movie’s antagonist — Gild Tesoro, the owner of the massive ship with a large entertainment city built on it, and known for having 20% of the world's money in it. This place is known as Gran Tesoro — the setting of the entire movie. Just from this opening sequences, you can witness the quality of the animation, these being Gild Tesoro and his partner Carina dancing and singing while the Straw Hats are fighting off a pirate crew of disposable while introducing each of the crew members, their personalities, unique abilities, and bounties. [embed]35497:6027:0[/embed] Personally, while the Vegas-like setting certainly made the movie quite interesting, story-wise, this was probably the weakest out of the three. I really enjoyed the back story between Nami and Carina — back when they were working together as thieves. As for the rest of the Straw Hats, they didn’t get much development, but they were still the great characters we’ve grown to care and love. While not really a bad antagonist, Gild Tesoro wasn’t too interesting in my opinion albeit he isn’t too generic either. During the movie, it is shown that he went through a rough childhood of poverty. The premise of the movie is that Gild Tesoro tricks people into getting into debt, and because they victims can’t afford to pay back their debt, they become his slaves for an eternity. With the help of his underling, Baccarat, who can steal the luck of anyone by simply touching them, making them extremely unlucky, she was able to trick the Straw Hats into a debt – initiating the main conflict of the movie.   The comedy in the movie was just as you would expect from One Piece — Luffy being the goofy captain and messing up things, Sanji always falling beautiful women, even if they are in the opposing side and thus falling for their trap, Usopp and Chopper alongside Luffy and their shenanigans and much more that had the entire theater laughing throughout the movie. Being disconnected from One Piece’s English Dub for over ten years, since I watched most of the movies with the original Japanese voices and most recent One Piece games only offer Japanese voices, being presented with the English dub once again was refreshing. The cast outdid themselves and hearing the talented Vic Mignogna portray Luffy's older brother Sabo was great. Keith Silverstein’s portrayal of Gild Tesoro was great as well — being able to sound as smooth and confident as the character is supposed to be. Overall, I am glad that I got to experience One Piece Film Gold in theaters. While the movie is certainly the weakest out of the latest three, Film Gold delivered with its great fight scenes, animation, soundtrack, and character interaction. While it’s not something that might captivate newcomers of the series, it’s certainly a ride that all One Piece fans will enjoy. 
One Piece Film Gold photo
Welcome to Grand Tesoro!
If there’s something we can all agree on, it’s that the recent One Piece movies has been epicuticular — Strong World, Film Z and now Film Gold. It’s no wonder that these films have been great since Eii...

Strong Style: Best Match Ever

Jan 15 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35489:6017:0[/embed] The Tokyo Dome is ready for some action and the setup is amazing! We get a much different opening with an announcer telling us what to expect tonight and a different opening sequence telling us that this is WrestleKingdom 11. So if I were to guess, this is an American exclusive, instead of a re-edit of the Japanese clip show this is based from. Sweet IWGP Title: "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada vs. "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega The set up here really starts one year ago. After losing the Jr. heavyweight title at WK10, Kenny turned on A.J. Styles and took over the Bullet Club, declaring he was moving up to heavyweight. He had runs with the IC Title and the NEVER 6 man belts but his eyes were on the prize. He declared he was going to win the G1 tournament MONTHS in advance and win the belt at Tokyo Dome, since, as he said, New Japan was protecting their guys and that would be the only way to have a chance to fight for the belt. Lo, and behold he wins the damn thing earning the shot. Right before this show Omega and the Club got to Okada by driving him through a table with the One-winged-angel to bang up the champ a bit but really just pissed him off. We start right off with Kenny coming to the ring with his Terminator entrance. A video plays of him reenacting the "clothes" scene from Terminator1, only with him speaking Japanese. No trash cans or brooms, he comes out in a leather jacket, half mask, and a prop shotgun. Won't see that in WWE. Okada comes out with belt and Gedo. Okadabucks galore! JR mentions Omega was the first foreigner to win the G1 Climax tournament and first Canadian to headline in the Tokyo Dome. Back from commercial as Omega crumples a fake Okadabuck. Bell rings and there is a stare down before they tepidly circle. Lock up and Okada gets the headlock and Omega turns it into a waistlock that is turned into a series of armlocks. Okada goes for the leg for an anklelock. He slides up into a headlock. Omega goes for the pin but it doesn't even get one. They get up and Omega gets in an elbow to break the hold. Kenny gets in some forearms and kicks but as he gets to their feet Okada counters. Kenny then turns around and gets the headlock back on and really grinds it in. Okada counters into the back suplex but Kenny holds on to the headlock. They get back up and Okada starts elbowing out of the headlock. Okada whips Kenny into the corner and goes for the elbow but Kenny counters and gets a sunset flip into a pin attempt that Okada breaks out of. Kenny goes for another pin but Okada gets out. They get back up and go for a lock up where Okada pushes him back to the ropes and gives a nice little pat to Kenny for the clean break. They whip and reverse back at forth before Okada gets Kenny on the top rope and goes for the dropkick but Kenny kicks him. Okada goes in but Kenny slides over him and tries for the one-winged- angel but Okada slips out. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Kenny counters and then spits in Okada's face. He poses for a bit before rolling outside the ring. He walks around and kills time. he teases coming into the ring but Okada keeps going forward and the ref stops hm. Finally, Okada's had enough and goes out after him. He chases Kenny right back in the ring and Kenny goes for the ropes but that only serves him to run right into Okada's boot. That's what you get for stalling jerk. Okada sets him up and lands the short dropkick right to Kenny's face! Kenny rolls to the floor in a splat. Okada sends Kenny right into the barricade right in front of Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly. Okada goes for the boot but Kenny catches it. Kenny goes for the suplex but Okada counters it and drapes on the barrier and hits the DDT. Okada grabs a table for revenge from last month but Omega gets a cheap shot to end that. Okada pushes Omega over the barrier again and comes FLYING over the barrier with a body splash to the ground. They get back inside with Okada on the advantage with a slam and a reverse chinlock.  Omega elbows out and tries the offense but Okada gets a neckbreaker into a pin attempt for two. Kenny gets up only to get whipped in, but Kenny ducks the big boot and gets in a low dropkick on Okada's leg. He rakes Okada's eyes with the boots and gets in knife-edge chop on Okada. JR mentions that Japan is the only place someone can fire off a knife-edge and the crowd doesn't go "Woo!". Kenny fires off a forearm into the back that sends Okada down. Omega tries a few elbows but they all miss. Kenny hits another strike to send Okada back down. Kenny goes for the pin and Okada kicks out. Okada gets whipped in but counters with strikes, only to get kneed in the gut. Okada gets a shoot in on the pick up, but Kenny comes off the ropes with a rana to send Okada outside. Kenny gets his Terminator on and does an AMAZING swan dive over the top rope! Flying Canuck! Back from commercial with Kenny driving Okada's back against the apron. He chucks Okada back into the ring and climbs up and hits a flying dropkick to the back of Okada's head! Kenny goes for the pin but Okada gets to the ropes. How is he conscious? Whiplash that bad should have put him in a wheelchair. Kenny locks in an Arabian clutch but Okada gets to the ropes again. Kenny goes to finish it off with a powerbomb position but Okada's blocking. Kenny hits a forearm and an elbow to the back of the head again. Okada counters as he scoops Kenny up and hits a fireman's carry drop. Both guys are hurt but getting up as Okada gets in some solid and quick elbow strikes and finally a double stomp and a DDT. Okada tries the pin but only gets two. Kenny counters the pick up with some elbows but when Kenny goes to the ropes Okada counters into a flapjack. Okada locks in his deep in debt submission hold and Kenny looks about to pass out but he gets to the ropes. Okada gets up and drags Omega over. He goes for the elbow but Kenny kips up and Okada goes right over him. They tussle in the corner but Okada picks up Kenny into the Alabama slam position and drops Omega into the neckbreaker. Okada goes up and nails the elbow to the stomach but Kenny gets outside. As Okada goes for the change, Kenny ducks and Okada goes over the barrier. The Bucks start yelling at the broadcasters to move their tables back as Okada can barely get up and Omega flies with a HIGH altitude flying moonsault over the ropes and over the barrier to nail Okada! Serious air! Just as Okada gets back at ringside Kenny nails him, drops a table on him, and hits a double stomp from the apron! Kenny tosses Okada back in the ring. He picks Okada up and hits a powerbomb but Okada kicks out! Kenny picks him up and hits a doctor bomb! Okada kicks out again! The Bucks have set a table up at ringside. That can't be good. Kenny goes to the apron and drags Okada on out. The ref pulls Kenny back and Okada rolls back in the ring to save himself. Kenny just starts drilling elbows and strikes into Okada's back. Okada whipped into the buckle. Kenny goes for the shot but runs right into a boot, and then a double boot. Kenny counters and picks Okada up for a Finlay roll into a moonsault. Kenny goes for a full nelson but Okada strikes out. Kenny goes for the charge but Okada reverses to set Omega on the top buckle and hits his high dropkick to send Kenny over the ropes to the floor. Okada goes to pick Kenny up on the apron and they fight over the ringside table on the apron. Kenny goes for the One-winged-angel through the table but Okada slides back into the ring. They exchange shots and Okada is knocked into the ropes. Kenny charges but Okada tosses him over the top rope and through the table! We come back from commercial as the Bucks and the ringside doctors are looking over Kenny. Okada says the hell with it and throws Omega back in. Okada scales the ropes and nails an amazing dropkick with Kenny in his knees. Okada goes for the pin but only gets two. He scales the ropes again and nails the elbow drop! He calls for the rainmaker but he can't Omega to stand. Okada nearly gets it but Kenny gets into the ropes. Okada lands a kick to the back. Okada goes for a DDT but Kenny pushes forward into a tackle in the buckle. Okada answers with an elbow but Omega counters with a heel strike. He sits Okada on the top and goes up but Okada elbows him off. Kenny goes back up again with a full nelson and hits the dragon suplex with Okada landing right on his head! Kenny goes for the pin but Okada kicks out! Kenny scoops him up and drives Okada down neck first on his knee! Kenny goes for a running knee but misses and Okada gets the German suplex! Okada goes for the rainmaker but Kenny ducks and lands the knee. He then hits the step up knee! He goes for a third but Okada hits the dropkick! Okada goes for the rainmaker but Kenny counters, he tries the high knee but Okada counters. Kenny then nails the reverse rana! Kenny goes for the angel but Okada counters out! Okada blocks the strike and when Kenny goes for a rana Okada gets him into the tombstone and drops him on his head! He hits the rainmaker but Omega kicks out! DAMN!  Okada goes to pick Kenny up but Omega keeps elbowing Okada in the gut. Okada backs up and hits a low dropkick that makes Kenny shoot back like a chicken from an air cannon. Okada picks Kenny up for another tombstone but Kenny counters into a package piledriver! Okada somehow kicks out! JR announces at this point this is the longest match in the Tokyo Dome's history as we are over 40 something minutes in. They stagger back up and exchange forearms back and forth faster and faster before Omega gets the quick dragon suplex and a knee but when he goes for the pin Okada kicks out! Kenny hits another knee! He goes for the angel but Okada blocks it and turns it around into the rainmaker! Okada can't make the cover! He gets up and goes for it again but Omega nails him in the face with knees and boots but Okada nails the rainmaker anyway.  Okada goes for another rainmaker but Kenny counters and tries one for his own but Okada slips under into the ropes but is met with a dropkick. Kenny nails a knee strike! He goes for the angel but Okada slips out into a tombstone! He hits the 4rth rainmaker! Okada goes for the pin and gets the three count! He defended the title! Holy crap! Spoiler warnings for the 2017 awards, this is match of the year. As Kenny is carried away by the Bucks, Okada gets on the mic. He actually praises Kenny as the strongest foreigner he ever faced. He mentions that there is a lot of new faces for this year's event and thanks the fans for coming out to see the show. It is a heavy burden to carry NJPW on his shoulders but he is doing it. As long as he is carrying NJPW, he will make it rain. As the show ends, they run a memorial graphic to AXS TV executive Darrell Ewalt, who amongst many other jobs, was the executive producer of NJPW on AXS TV. Without him, this kind of action wouldn't have happened on American airwaves. So cheers to you Mr. Ewalt and thank you.   THIS match is one of, if not the best match I've seen on this show EVER. There is a reason both hardcore and casual wrestling fans are talking about this match. It went damn close to an hour and stands over anything in a country known for its amazing wrestling. If you are reading this, FIND THIS MATCH!!! While I'd prefer the Kelly/Corino commentary version, this one was just fine. JR didn't really have time for his usual follies and was right into it as we were. It was the perfect match, and this presentation didn't hold it back. Be sure to check out next week as we take a look at some more of this amazing show! See ya!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
WrestleKingdom 11 time!
Hello Japan wrestling fans and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV! We are back after a break and we start off the first show of the year with WrestleKingdom 11's MAIN EVENT! It...

Weekend Japanatainment - Winter Anime OP 2017 Edition

Jan 15 // Red Veron
[embed]35492:6021:0[/embed] "Kagerou (カゲロウ)" by ЯeaL Anime: Gintama. (2017) A new season this soon? Fans of the crazy comedy (sometimes great action) show Gintama will be happy to know that the new season is finally here and last year marked 10 years since the anime's debut in 2006. How did it keep getting adapted for the last decade? Well, because it is good.Mostly a gag show and get really good with its "serious" story mini arcs that pack the same amount great action and story in 4-6 episodes that shounen action shows stretch out to dozens of episodes over years. If you must start watching the show from the beginning, skip the first two filler episodes which are just horrible.   [embed]35492:6022:0[/embed] "TOMORROW" by Machico  Anime: KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2 One of the best comedies from last year gets a new season! If you haven't seen this one, it's about Kazuma, a highschool kid who happens to get killed on the way home from buying a video game. He wakes up in the afterlife and given a chance to be resurrected in a medieval fantasy world. Kazuma takes the offer hoping for fame and fortune and finds out soon that things aren't exactly what he expected because he is an idiot.   [embed]35492:6023:0[/embed] "Kimi no Hana (キミの花)" by Hanako Oku Anime: Seiren From the same people behind the Amagami SS romance shows based off dating sims, this shows takes the same style with giving each heroine her own time to shine with mini arcs. A cheesy as hell romance show but it sets up a satisfying end for each arc that doesn't leave you hanging in the end. Great for those wanting some romance and/or waifus.   [embed]35492:6024:0[/embed] "Wagamama MIRROR HEART (ワガママMIRROR HEART)" by Ayaka Ohashi Anime: Masamune-kun's Revenge Teen who got rejected by a girl when he was a fat kid tries to get his revenge now that he is hot. How is he going to get his revenge? By trying to make her fall for her and he will dump her. Not really as mean as it sounds since it's a comedy.   [embed]35492:6025:0[/embed] "Shiny Ray" by YURiKA Anime: Little Witch Academia (TV) A TV series adaptation of the OVA releases of the same name by the anime studio TRIGGER, the same folks behind Kill La Kill (who also worked on the popular anime Gurren Lagann). Wonderfully animated as expected, this show set in a magic school is just so good. Check it out for yourself! The OVAs are available on YouTube for free!   [embed]35492:6026:0[/embed] "Itteki no Eikyou (一滴の影響)" by UVERworld Anime: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga - Season 2 The second season of this show is finally here after almost 5 years since the first season aired, this show was quite popular. It's about Rin Okumura, a teen who finds out that he is the son of Satan and that he possesses the blue flame which can only be used by Satan. Of course, Rin rebels against his father having lived in the human world and trains to be an exorcist, those who fight against the forces of Satan's ream.   Is there an anime from this new season that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
New Animu!
The new winter anime season has just begun and we have a lot of great new shows for everyone to watch while you cuddle up indoors, whether it is freezing or warm out or whatever crazy weather it is where you live. We've got b...

Impressions: Fate/Grand Order: First Order

Jan 15 // Josh Tolentino
To get to the core of that assessment, we’ll have to drill down into why Type-MOON, and more specifically Fate and other associated works by lead writer Kinoko Nasu work as well as they do. At a distance, the so-called “Nasuverse” isn’t all that different from the many game- or light-novel worlds that have popped up over the years. Type-MOON’s various efforts may chronologically predate the light novel boom by a bit, but in many ways they’re the paragon of chuunibyou success, with their intricately constructed settings – always dense with obscure Kanji and idiosyncratic readings -  forming the foundation for a number of engaging, rich stories. In Nasu-verse stories, it’s comparatively easy to see the thematic bones at the core of each story. High-level concepts like Nasu’s notions of eternal, metaphysical conflict between humanity and the world itself lurk in the background of Fate and Tsukihime, there to be discovered by fans who read between the lines or fall deep enough down the wiki hole. In short, the absurd quantities of lore, trivia points, and little rules feel like they exist for a reason, rather than for their own sake, something that's not always as clear when viewing shows like  While flashes of that brilliance can be found in Fate/Grand Order: First Order, the special can’t help but feel far less necessary to the greater Fate canon than even the dopiest Carnival Phantasm skit. Its biggest problem is that it does very little to make the world of Fate/Grand Order – the game – feel like it’s a place worth visiting. That is a huge issue for a show ostensibly made to promote the game. Problems arise at the very beginning. The episode opens with our hero, Ritsuka Fujimura, lying on the floor for no clear reason. Was he sleeping there? Was he kidnapped and dropped in the corridor? Why is he on the floor? We’ll never know, because the story doesn’t bother to go into that detail, or perhaps because they wanted to copy Saber and Shirou's first meeting, but couldn't find a good enough reason for, well, anything to happen in  away that made sense. This isn’t just nitpicking, mind you. It shows how little care First Order has for anything beyond being something tied to the game. If it did genuinely feel the story was worth paying attention to, It’d try to make that connection, taking the game’s vagueness as a sign to fill that gap, or to deviate from the source. The hero then meets up with Mash Kyrielight and the game’s mascot, a Carbuncle knock-off named Fou. Mash is one of the few Fate heroines with about as little personality as your average male light/visual novel lead. She’s as much a cipher as the hero is, and beyond a vaguely deferential personality (like Sakura without the tragic edge), she’s a nonentity. The hero is soon enlightened as a member of Chaldeas, an organization dedicated to preserving humanity’s future. There’s one problem, though: The future seems to have disappeared. Their fancy simulation/time machine can’t see past a dark spot situated in the year 2004, right around the time of the Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City that backgrounds the events of Fate/stay night. A bunch of mooks with “Master Potential” - Ritsuka among them - are to accompany Olga Animusphere, Chaldea's Rin Tohsaka-esque administrator,   on a trip into the past to see what gives.  Ritsuka - again for no apparent reason - falls asleep during this briefing, and is subsequently ejected from the meeting by Olga. But rather than take this as a prompt to have something interesting happen, the show takes this as a signal to kick off another long briefing, this time at the behest of the company doctor. The drama that follows to set up the main thrust of First Order arrives with all the impact of a raindrop. A series of unfortunate events later, Mash gains a bit of prominence. She gets outed as "Shielder" the Grand Order equivalent of a Starter Pokemon. But rather than being a Fire-, Leaf-, or Water-type, she's "Shielder",  Just how much the show and game owe to Fate itself is quickly reaffirmed when its most compelling presence comes in the form of Caster. Or rather, it’s Fate/stay night’s Lancer, reimagined as a Caster-class Servant. He carries the rest of the episode, until the pair, rejoined with Animusphere, go off to defeat a corrupted version of the Saber we all know and love. Followed by a rather obvious heel turn, the hero and Shielder are left with one task: Save the world by hopping across time and space to participate in big ol’ grail wars against heavily anime-fied versions of history’s greatest heroes and villains. Gotta catch ‘em all! And that’s it. Look, it’s one thing for a free-to-play mobile game not to have much of a story. That's usually a given, all things considered, and there’s only so much one can expect from a transparent tie-in designed to spur downloads on the app store. But it’s hard to see the show as anything more than a damp squib. It adds virtually nothing to the larger canon of Fate lore, and doesn’t even make a very good case for the game itself. The story scenes in the game itself are far more compelling, and focus not on the absurd contrivances of Fate but on the franchise’s greatest gimmick, namely its superbly exaggerated takes on well-known figures of myth and history. That's why all the absurd terminology and trite rules work, ultimately, but First Order doesn't capitalize on that strength, thinking the people are watching to see a wiki entry come to life.  Of course, expectations must once again come into play, and it's not as if promotional tie-ins to mobile games are held to an especially high standard, but in the ways that matter most, Fate/Grand Order: First Order is a letdown.
Fate/Grand Order photo
Nothing happens in phone games, it seems
I have to admit that I was initially rather disappointed to learn that Fate/Grand Order: First Order was being planned as a one-off TV special, rather than a full-season TV series, as the rumors had originally state...

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!

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 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 themed box, 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...

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...

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!

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...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 8-10

Dec 12 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 8 This episode really was a mixed bag of a few things. Each of its points actually had a purpose, but it just put a lot of them to you as a viewer for a single episode. Think of it like one of the episodes of wrestling either right before or right after a big show where it has lots of storylines to give you. The first part of this episode is delving into Naoto's past before he became a wrestler. Naoto and Haruna visit Daisuke in the hospital and then on the way to the matches he shows Haruna that he had been living in a temporary relief shelter when he lost his home and family in an earthquake. We then see flashbacks of a younger Naoto begging Daisuke to train as a wrestler. We get to see him getting the rough treatment and meeting Takuma for the first time. It's a nice bit of background, but at this point do we need it? The next part of the episode shows us what Naoto and Takuma are both up to. Akuma and his two friends as training in a ring  (inside a cage, inside a CAVE) beating on poor Odin. Seems this is where he ended up, as a sparring partner. Miss X tells them they will be part of the big tournament in Japan. Odin begs her for mercy. She tells him she will relent only until after he competes in "Hell in the Hole" whatever that means. Sounds kinda dirty. Odin freaks out about "the Hole".  Meanwhile, Tiger Mask is competing in a NJPW show. He and Tanahashi are teaming up against... aw crap... Yup. Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale. The match is short and the good guys win, earning a tag title shot at the next big show.  Not much else to report here really. We see what both Tigers have been up to and setting the stage for the tag title shot. We then finally get to the main point. the GWM announces their new Japanese arena, the Max Dome, and the GWM Masked World Tournament. Tiger the Dark will be there, so will European champion Wagner, and Yellow Devil. Miss X opens it up to any masked wrestler to take part. Naoto wants to compete, but GWM schedules it at the same time as NJPW's show. The NJPW guys aren't happy about this either. Nagata, Okada, Wakamatsu. and Tanahashi, see this and want no part of it. There is actually a really funny line as Nagata tells the other wrestlers to tell "Liger" (referring to NJPW legend Jushin "Thunder" Liger) they are not participating. Someone then asks about "Captain" (The wrestler formally known as Captain New Japan now as Bone Soldier) and Nagata answers "He wouldn't go even if I told him too." BURN! As soon as that's agreed on Tiger Mask shows up and says he can't make the Tag Title match because he will be in the tournament instead. The NJPW guys aren't happy but Tiger has made up his mind. They all silently understand so they don't bust his chops too badly. The episode seems to bounce around a bit but we have a clear goal in sight. The Masked World Tournament seems to be the finale of the first part of this series (it was announced this show has 39 episodes). So while it touched on a lot of things, they all seemed to be gearing towards that in some way. So it didn't focus on the action, but it did serve the purpose of setting things up. Episode 9 It's tournament time! This episode, unlike many of the ones from this series, focuses on the single point of the big World Masked Tournament the GWM is putting on in their new Max Dome. We see the announcement of the eight participants. Tiger Mask is entered, along with Fukuwara Mask. Yuji isn't pleased to hear that, but it turns out Yuji didn't bother to make him an offer not to enter. Yellow Devil, Tiger the Dark, and Wagner are also entered. Rounding out the field are a wrestler named Poseidon, and two goofballs named "Oriental Magic" Dragon Young and  "The Japanese Trump Card" It's-The-Ace. Ya know, I've been accused of being a cynical wrestling fan but those guys look REALLY familiar. Leading up to the afternoon show, We see some minor stuff like Tiger Mask and Fukuwara Mask chumming together at the arena, Fukuwara, and Haruna not being allowed to sell their merch because they aren't GWM talent, and we find out the European Champion is just Tiger The Dark's running buddy Kevin Andersen and Wagner is just made up. Miss X comments it happens all the time.  The big show kicks off with a fan making the "random" draw for the tournament. Tiger the Dark vs. Fukuwara Mask,  Tiger Mask vs. Wagner, Poseidon vs.  It's-the-Ace,  Dragon Young vs. Yellow Devil. If you don't see how this bracket will work out on the next few episodes, then I suggest you go back to the recap of the first episode and start this over again. We get to the action and the first match between Tiger the Dark and Fukuwara Mask doesn't last very long. Tiger Mask makes his entrance for his match and Wagner... isn't there? That doesn't make much sense. Someone ELSE arrives and lays down the challenge to Tiger Mask instead.   Evidently, he is Mister Question, a character from the original show who wants to see if this new Tiger Mask is up to snuff. Okay, kind of random. Wagner finally shows up and he is pissed, but Mister Question quells that argument rather quickly.   Finally, we have a straightforward path in this series, maybe a little too straightforward, but at least we know where we are going and hopefully there won't be a lot of filler anymore. Even though you kinda know how this will play out, I still feel compelled to watch and see how they get there.  Episode 10 The tournament continues! We pick up where we left off with the last episode. Tiger Mask is staring down his new opponent in the tournament, Mister Question. As the match begins we see that Mister Question is no ordinary guy, and I don't mean the white bell-bottomed suit with a turban as part of his mask. It appears he is super flexible.   Like REALLY flexible. Did a Kinnikuman villain walk onto the wrong show? Fukuwara Mask jumps in on commentary and explains that Mister Question is from India, and India is known for Yoga. Anyway as the match progresses, Tiger seems at a loss. Miss X then tells Mister Question that he would be rewarded for taking out Tiger Mask, but he turns that down flat. He's not in this for the money and glory. Miss X is not amused. Tiger is about to get beat when he sees something that fires him up.   After the match ends Mister Question says he will tell Tiger who he is later. Meanwhile, we get the next match of Poseidon vs. It's-the-Ace. There is no question who It's-The-Ace is and the show doesn't even try to hide it. The match ends predictably and in the locker room we find out that Poseidon was actually Mikasa, The former Jinpang wrestler who was Odin's original opponent in episode 1. During the match though we get a meeting backstage between Tiger Mask and Mister Question. The gist of the meeting is that Tiger can't beat the GWM the way he is now, and the man from India tells Tiger he needs to develop a new killer finisher, just like the original Tiger Mask did after the original Mister Question broke Tiger's original finisher. Guess that's Tiger's next goal.  We get to the final match of the first round as Dragon Young faces Yellow Devil. This goes about as well as you'd expect. Poor Wakamatsu doesn't stand a chance and it's over quick. We get an announcement that the next round is next week and that is pretty much it. The second round has Yellow Devil facing It's-The-Ace and Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark in the other match. This episode was clear and straightforward, a lot less meandering around as some of the episodes been this season. The big reveal of Mister Question isn't exactly anything worth noting but it does play into the storyline. I don't see this as the most noteworthy or best episode so far, but at least you could see where they were going with the story. So with these episodes, we are seeing the climax of the first season starting to take shape. We have a goal and a path to get there. We've seen the villain and he is a rough dude. The next few episodes should be a lot of fun!
Tiger Mask W photo
We finally have some direction
The adventures of Tiger Mask W continues here as we look at the next batch of episodes from the series. So far we've had some ups and downs as far as episodes go but so far I've been enjoying it. Where do we go now? Let's find out!

Strong Style: Fale of fish

Dec 11 // Soul Tsukino
Our first hour opens with Naito giving us a greeting. We start with Naito in the studio. He talks about seeing Okada return from the U.S. back in 2012 with all this flash and attention but wonders what happened. He admits to being jealous but now Okada's presence is so small and wonders what happened to the guy who made him up his own game. Ouch. IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito Naito won the New Japan Cup tournament, as seen a few weeks ago. He didn't really want to cash it in on this show, but Okada challenged him to it so here we go. We get full entrances for this one since we are going the full hour. Naito enters first with EVIL and Bushi with him. He takes his time getting into the ring as usual. Okada time! JR makes reference to someone on Twitter saying Okada reminded them of a young Rock. I can see that comparison. Gedo in the corner as always. We get the introductions and surprisingly Naito gets a loud response from the crowd. Some BOOS for the champion. There is a surprise. Guess Philly isn't the only crowd in the world who will cheer a heel. We come back from break and we get things underway. The crowd is into this! Neither guy does anything at first. Lock up as Okada gets Naito into the ropes and gives him a clean break. Lock up again and Okada gets an armlock that is reversed into a full nelson. Okada reverses into a hammerlock. Naito into the ropes to break but Naito reverses and gives him the clean break. Naito then smacks him. Naito lifts Okada to the apron and a forearm to the floor. Naito poses in the ring. Okada enters as Naito leaves the ring. Naito walks around and rolls in to break the count before rolling right back out. Mind games. Naito rolls in and Okada charges but Naito kicks him. They run the ropes and Okada gets in an elbow. He hits a snapmare and then gets a running dropkick to Naito's head. Okada keeps on him with a straight jacket hold before Naito gets to the rope. Okada whips him in and lands another elbow and then a senton before going for a cover that gets two. Okada scoops him up and slams him. He looks to go for the senton over the rope but Naito is right back up.  Okada hits the ropes but Bushi trips him and Naito lands the dropkick. Okada rolls outside and is sent right into the barricade by Bushi and EVIL. Naito then attacks Gedo! Gedo gets into the ring as Bushi and Naito beat him up and distracting the ref, EVIL horse collars Okada outside the ring with a chair and then hits him with another chair! We come back from break with Okada down outside the ring. He rolls in and Naito lays in some boots before hanging him in the tree of woe. Naito lands some stomps and backs off as Bushi chokes out Okada from the floor. Naito lands a low dropkick and Okada falls off the buckle. Naito locks in a leg scissors and really puts the crank on it. Gedo is back up on the outside as Okada gets a foot on the rope. Naito lands some more stomps in the corner before picking up the champ. He lays in forearms on Okada but backs off. Naito goes for a charge but Okada catches him. Okada goes for the dropkick but Naito counters. Okada spins out and lands a dropkick right to the shoulders but Naito counters into a cravat.  Okada tries for a whip but Naito breaks it. He tries for something but Okada reverses it into a neckbreaker. They get up and Okada lands some clotheslines before landing a boot to Naito's face. Okada sets Naito up on the buckle and lands his sweet dropkick and Naito falls to the outside. Okada follows him out and tosses him into the barrier. Okada then boots him over the barriers into the crowd. EVIL tries a charge but goes flying over the barrier as well. Bushi tries and he gets flung into the crowd as well. Okada then charges and splats all three of them. Okada drags Naito out of the crowd and tosses him back in the ring. He gets in a bodyslam and then goes up, but Naito is up so Okada dives over Naito and rolls out of it. Naito is in the corner and Okada tries a charge but Naito gets the boot up to send him down to the mat. Naito picks him up and pokes his eyes. He then charges in and gets a big DDT. Naito tries a suplex but Okada counters and shoots him in the ropes and into a flapjack. Back from commercial  as Naito is up first. but Okada gets up too and they trade forearms back and forth. Kick to the gut and Okada lands a DDT. Naito flees to the corner. Okada goes for the charge and misses. Okada goes for the Alabama slam but Naito wiggles out and then counter until Okada ends up with the red ink submission on the mat. EVIL jumps up to interfere and so does Bushi, but Gedo takes care of them. However, the distraction had Okada break the hold. Naito lands a low blow and locks in a Koji clutch submission. Okada struggles  and nearly passes out but he gets a foot on the rope for the break. Naito takes his time as Okada gets up into the corner. Naito gets a heel trip in and then sets up Okada on the top buckle and gets the top rope rana. He tries for the pin but gets two. Naito tries for gloria and the pinfall but Okada kicks out. Okada gets into a chinlock but Okada elbows out. Okada goes to the ropes but Naito hits a sweet spinebuster! Both struggle to stand up and Okada hits the cannonball dropkick sending Naito flying back into the buckle HARD. Think of a movie stuntman getting shot for a scene. Okada hits the low dropkick and then hits a second one, but only gets two on the cover. Okada gets up on the top rope and hits another cannonball dropkick! He goes for the cover but again only gets two. After all that I wonder how Naito doesn't have whiplash! Back from another break as we look at the awesome dropkick again. Okada picks Naito up and slams him down. He goes to the top rope again and lands the big flying elbow. He calls for the rainmaker and Okada sets him up but Naito grabs the ref and Okada hits him with the rainmaker instead! Bushi and EVIL come in and Okada gets both of them out of the ring. Naito tries to attack but Okada hits the dropkick and a tombstone but there is no ref. Some guy enters the ring behind Okada. He is wearing leather, an Ingobernables shirt, and a kicking face mask. He hits a neckbreaker on Okada! He takes the mask off and the crowd goes...silent. It's Sanada, a former trainee under the Great Muta who had worked for Muta in TNA, All Japan, and most recently Muta's company Wrestle-1. It is a big shock seeing him jump ship (and a ton of muscle too), but I don't think the crowd knows who he is. Sanada jumps up to the top rope and hits a moonsault. Gedo is in shock! Ingobernables has a new member! Naito gets up and is smiling! He hits the forearm on Okada and tries for destino but Okada counters and tries for the tombstone but Naito squirms out. Okada goes for the rainmaker but Naito reverses that into destino and scores the win! Naito is the new champion! As Gedo is looking over a fallen Okada, Bushi attacks him and blows mist right in his face. They then set up Okada and mists him before Sanada locks in the dragon sleeper. Ishii and Goto come out to break things up and Los goobers clear the ring. They have a staredown between Naito and Ishii as Goto and Gedo pull Okada out of the ring. Ishii isn't backing down. That is an interesting match right there. Back from the break as Naito is screwing with Ishii  but Ishii leaves so Naito can be presented with the belt. Naito then attacks Red Shoes! He takes the mic. He acknowledges the cheers and wonders if the NJPW president hears them. He mocks NJPW for spending so much money making Okada a star. He doesn't need that. The crowd is chanting Naito! A heel Japanese crowd. They want to show the fans a new scenery in NJPW. Naito takes the belt and just tosses it in the air like nothing. In the back, Naito says that NJPW is itself now after him. Studio words as he says it's been nearly 20 years for him, but he had never felt that level of excitement from the fans. He says Sanada's interference wasn't against the rules (guess what, it was) and his way of doing things included stuff like that. Once he had the belt in his hands, he said it looked different to him because he had surpassed the belt itself. Onto hour two with a greeting from Kenny Omega! And if the Hakata Star Lanes doesn't ring a bell, it is because it is a luxury hotel. This show is taking place in a ballroom. It has a really low ceiling and crappy lighting. Not only that but there can't be more than 100 people for this show. It makes me think this is more sponsorship deal since this is basically a house show under the "Road to Dontaku 2016" name. And yes, from what I could gather this hotel has a hell of a bowling alley in it. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale Awww, crap. It's Fale. Welp gotta do what I gotta do. Anyway, this is a grudge match as after the big 6 man match shown here last week when Fale came out of nowhere and attacked Tanahashi because... he's part of the Bullet Club? As good as reason as any for NJPW to pretend like Fale is a real threat to anyone.This isn't exactly a fresh match up either. These two have fought each other before on AXS TV.  Fale lumbers out first. This building makes for a strange setting like this show is taking place at a convention or something. Fale throws the timekeeper down for some reason. Tanahashi enters with the 6 man title. We get some more background as Fale beat Tanahashi in the first round of the New Japan Cup, but Tanahashi was, and still is, suffering from a shoulder injury. Since almost all of Fale's feuds start that exact same way, why did we need Fale attacking Tanahashi at the last show? Bell rings and Tanahashi immediately goes for a slam and pays for it with a bunch of clubbing hits to the back. Tanahashi goes for another slam and Fale falls on top of him. Fale tosses Hiroshi outside and starts beating on him as Tanahashi's hurt his shoulder again. Fale goes to whip Hiroshi, but Tanahashi reverses it sending Fale into the barrier. Tanahashi tries a bodyblock but Fale catches and slams him. Back inside Tanahashi is in the corner and Fale goes for a splat, but misses. Tanahashi leaps up to his feet and lands some forearms before finally slams Fale. Out of the commercial Tanahashi goes for a clothesline but Fale tosses him over the rope, Tanahashi skins the cat and catches Fale, dragging him outside. Tanahashi goes up and hits the top rope splash outside the ring. We jump ahead as Fale is down on the mat and Tanahashi hits a dragon screw leg whip. He then locks in the cloverleaf but Fale muscles out. Fale whips Tanahashi in but Tanahashi goes for a sunset flip but Fale just sits on him. Count nearly gets three on that. The big guy goes up to the top rope but Tanahashi catches him and gets in a big superplex! Tanahashi goes to the top but Fale catches him and gets in his own superplex! Well there! Fale gets in a running spear and goes for the cover but Tanahashi kicks out. Fale gets him up for the bad luck fall but Tanahashi counters into a headscissors. he tries for the pin but doesn't get it. Tanahashi gets to the corner and Fale splashes him and goes for the cover but doesn't get it either. Fale goes for the bad luck fall again but Tanahashi turns it into a weird version of the slingblade and gets the big guy down. Tanahashi gets in the belly to back suplex! That's a load to throw over! He hits the slingblade and goes up to the top, he lands the high fly flow and gets the pin! Backstage Tanahashi says the damage is not good. He says there is a change within him that he feels building up. Studio words from Omega as he says he did what no one else could do. He knows Elgin from Canada and ROH but he doesn't have the fire for New Japan like Omega does. First Gaijin against Gaijin for the IC belt. He says its power vs. power as he has an athlete's body vs. Elgin's fat body.     IWGP Intercontinental Title: Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin This match also came about from the big six-man match up last week as after his team defeated Omega and the Bucks, Elgin gave a staredown to the champion and made the challenge.  JR mentions this is the first time any NJPW belt is being put up in a match with two Canadians. Talk about a good one eh? Elgin comes out first ready to kill and we get another Steve Williams reference from JR as normal. Omega comes out alone but with a ladder and a trashcan with a mop out of it. Togi Makabe is at ringside as a broadcaster and Omega starts taunting him. Bad idea chief. You got enough on your plate. We get full intros here. JR mentions his podcast for the third time since this match started and the bell hasn't even rung yet. Back from the break and we get this underway. Omega plays to the crowd but Elgin wants to fight. They lock up and Elgin practically chucks Omega down across the ring. Another lock up and Elgin takes him right to the corner but Omega reverses and lands a bunch of forearms. Elgin hits him once. Guess who wins that tussle? Elgin sets him up for a suplex but Kenny slides out and tries for a jumping move and Elgin just catches him and slams him down. Elgin grabs him and suplexes him up and holds him there before dropping him down. Omega bails and goes right for the garbage can but Elgin just doesn't care. Omega throws the mop and tries for the cold spray but nothing works and Big Mike is gunning for him. Elgin throws him over the barrier. Elgin throws him into another barrier and Omega tries for a moonsault from the barrier but Elgin just catches him and drops him down. Omega tries for the ladder and they fight over it, with Omega getting the strike and sending Elgin down. Omega then piledrives Mike on the trashcan before getting in the ring. Elgin gets in at 19 as Omega comes over and gets a Samoan drop on Mike and then a middle rope moonsault for a two count. Kenny then rakes Mike's face before raking Elgin's eyes on the top rope. There is some good ol' heel cheatin' right there. He throws some kicks and strikes in the corner. He tries to drive Elgin's head in the buckle but Mike blocks in and pokes the eyes. Mike whips Kenny in and Kenny dodges a strike and lands a low dropkick to the knee and then a sliding kick to send Elgin outside. Omega goes for a tope but Mike partially dodges it and Kenny smashes his knee on the barrier. Kenny struggles up but grabs a table from under the ring. He sets up the table as Mike tries to get up. Kenny goes for a back suplex but Elgin punches out. Kenny gets in the ring as Elgin gets to the apron Elgin keeps from falling back on the table. Kenny shoots the ropes but Mike comes flying in with a wild shoulderblock. Kenny tries to whip Elgin in but Mike stops that. He tries for a suplex but Kenny blocks it. He tries a few chops to the chest but Elgin picks him up for a gorilla press and slams him down right into a cover for a two count. Kenny grabs beard and rakes the eyes. He goes to the apron and tries to slingshot in but Mike lifts a legs and kicks Omega. Kenny rolls to the apron and Mike goes for his middle buckle falcon arrow but Kenny shakes the legs and gets out as Mike goes down. Kenny then tries to suplex Mike out of the ring onto the table but Mike blocks it. Kenny counters to send Mike down and Kenny runs to the top buckle. He makes the leap of faith but Mike catches him and sends him down. We come back from break with both guys struggling to get up. Mike up first. He sets Kenny up for the piledriver but Kenny slips out. Mike tries for something but Kenny hits the superkick. He tries for a gutwrench but doesn't get it. Kenny and Mike exchange blows, and Mike hits the scissors kick but Kenny hits the jumping knee and a snapdragon suplex. Kenny then gets big Mike in the Doctor-bomb! That's impressive. He gets two out of it, though. Kenny gets a running uppercut but Elgin begs for another. Mike counters into a suplex but Kenny flips right through it and lands a kick. Kenny goes to the apron and Mike goes for his middle rope falcon arrow. Mike gets it but only gets a two count. Mike sets Kenny up for the piledriver position but Kenny sits out. Kenny backs into the corner but Elgin charges but Kenny flips over it. Kenny tries for a dropkick but Mike catches him and then just dumps him right through the table at ringside! The ref starts counting, but Mike stops the count! He goes outside and chucks Kenny back in. Cover gets two. Mike tries to walk over Kenny but Kenny grabs the ankle and Mike stomps the crap out of him. Mike goes up but Omega catches him and goes for the one winged angel but Mike kicks him away. Kenny climbs the ropes but Mike swats him down. He goes for the moonsault but Kenny moves out of the way and big Mike crashes down. Kenny goes for a headscissors but Mike catches him and hits the buckle bomb. He tries for a second one but Kenny puts him into the buckle face fist. Kenny tries the one winged angel, but can't get it. Elgin gets out but Kenny hits the jumping knee. Kenny goes for a clothesline but Elgin catches him again and slams him with a hard powerbomb. Cover gets two. Mike's up first and lands a buckle bomb but no, Omega counters. He lands the Nakamura booma ye! Elgin gets knocked senseless, Kenny actually get Mike up in the one winged angle and scores the win! He earned that win! We come back from the last break as Kenny celebrates in the ring. Tanahashi comes out and enters the ring. Kenny grabs the mic but gives it to Tanahashi who immediately lays down the challenge. Kenny figures it was about that. He says he will think about it and immediately gives Tanahashi a kick to the balls and tells him no. Omega then grabs the ladder and drops it on Hiroshi. He sets up the ladder on top of Tanahashi and poses on it. He tells Tanahashi he doesn't feel like wrestling him again. In the studio, Kenny says that it was for the belt so they went for it all. Two Canadian boys. He is ushering in the new era of New Japan. Tanahashi is called a selfish MF'er and wears his hair like a girl and that someone had to put their foot down. He says that the IWGP title is protected by NJPW and no one can touch it unless you win the G1, but the IC belt is a reward for hard work and good matches. As he has done before, he vows to win the G1 and win the IWGP title. Two good hours and two really good matches. Fale and Tanahashi did what they could but the match was clipped and what was shown wasn't very good. Naito and Okada was a little slower pace than some of the others might put on, but I think that's a good thing. And call me very impressed but Kenny Omega shined here, by himself, against a monster like Elgin. Great showing for the new champion! Next week I can kiss any Friday plans goodbye as AXS TV brings you THREE big hours of action. I'll see you then!.
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Another double shot of action
Welcome back to another week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling action on AXS TV. This week we have two big episodes! The first is the third episode covering Invasion Attack 2016 held at the famed Sumo Hall in Tokyo on April 10, 2016. The second episode takes place on April 27, 2016, from the Hakata Star Lanes in Fukuoka.

Weekend Japanatainment - 90's Anime Movie Edition

Dec 10 // Red Veron
[embed]35433:5983:0[/embed] Anime: Princess Mononoke I must confess, I have not seen many Ghibli films. No, please don't take away my weeb card! It's the only thing I have left. However, I have seen this movie once and I was super impressed in how different and wonderfully made this movie turned out for a medium that was often seen as something just for children. Strong female lead with some cool action and beautiful animation, this one just needs to be seen if you love the anime medium.   [embed]35433:5984:0[/embed] Anime: Ninja Scroll Another one that I haven't seen. PLEASE DON'T TAKE MY CARD AWAY. This one is another one of those anime that many kids and teens rented in the 90's from the video store because the cover looked cool and it had 'ninja' in the title. Then they watched it and got a great dose of really cool visuals with plenty violence and mature stuff that those under 18 shouldn't be watching.   [embed]35433:5985:0[/embed] Anime: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Another cool looking anime movie that I have not watched. HAVE MERCY ON ME. Just looking at the cover, this one just looks pretty cool with the soldiers in their gear with the red glowing eyes. This one is set in alternate 1950s where Germany conquered Japan. Why have I not seen this one yet? It's perfect just for me.   [embed]35433:5986:0[/embed] Anime: Perfect Blue Now, this one is a favorite of mine that I first watched on a PlayStation Portable UMD and I still own that UMD. I love this movie, made by the late great Satoshi Kon (Paranoia Agent, Paprika), this is a suspenseful psychological thriller that just really takes that suspense and thriller to the next level and that 'psychological' part just goes to beyond. Just watch this movie, it's a must watch for anyone who likes psychological thrillers.   Is there an anime movie from the 1990's that you love? Did I forget to add it on here? SHARE IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Expen$ive VH$ Tape$
The 1990's in the US was an exciting time for many anime fans, especially most of them didn't even know what the heck "anime" is yet. It was a time when anime was making it onto US airwaves and more anime came over with even ...


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