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FIGHT TOGETHER FOR HUMANITY
When humanity is under a grave threat, humans need to gather together to fight for the future! There is always great strength in numbers and with the human spirit, nothing is impossible. This month's loot anime is all about ...

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese TV Commercials Edition

Jul 02 // Red Veron
[embed]35722:6227:0[/embed] 1980s Japanese Commercials 46 minutes of 80s nostalgia here for you to get lost in or leave on in the background for you to glance up every now and then to get some quick entertainment. Pardon some of the weird YouTube copyright dodging techniques employed in the video.   [embed]35722:6228:0[/embed] 1990s Japanese Commercials It's kinda fascinating to see the difference in the video technology employed in these videos, some commercials are filmed on film while others are probably on some other format that gives off a different feel.   [embed]35722:6229:0[/embed] 2000s Japanese Commercials It's interesting to see all the familiar actors, fashion, and the early cellphones that were way advanced than most of the world from these videos.   [embed]35722:6226:0[/embed] Best of 2017 So Far Decades later and the Japanese are still great at this TV commercial game of wackiness.   Which one of these commercials are your favorite? Is your favorite not in the videos below? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Wacky and weird
If there's one thing that's a constant with what westerners say about Japan is that Japanese TV commercials tend to be wacky and weird. I like to think that they're done to be memorable, like who wouldn't forget about a comme...

Weekend Japanatainment - Disney Channel Japan Edition

Jun 25 // Red Veron
[embed]35701:6211:0[/embed] Phineas and Ferb The only animated entry on here, this opening sounds pretty faithful with the tone and sounds much better.   [embed]35701:6212:0[/embed] Wizards of Waverly Place This is that show that was "inspired by Harry Potter" that starred Selena Gomez way before she got famous for stuff like music (Sorry, there's only one Selena and it's not Selena Gomez). This opening song is like the English but in my very limited knowledge of Japanese pop music, I don't think I've heard of a Japanese song doing this style.   [embed]35701:6213:0[/embed] Suite Life of Zack and Cody I really happen to really like Japanese Ska and this song is already much better than the original. Hooch is crazy.   [embed]35701:6214:0[/embed] Suite Life on Deck This is my favorite out of all these songs and I would totally jam to this one.   [embed]35701:6215:0[/embed] Cory in the House The Legend. So Epic. Lit. Roasted. Fidget spinner. Dab. Whatever the kids say these days as an adjective for 'cool'.   [embed]35701:6217:0[/embed] "Call Me, Beep Me" - Beni Arashiro (Kim Possible OP Song Japanese Version) They really promoted the Japanese version of this song covered by Japanese R&B singer Beni Arashiro, who was really popular at the time this came out in 2005. I am just now faintly recollecting that this music video was shown in the US and the wikipedia article supports it. A good cover for a very uneventful and very CG green screen video that was a bit out of date at the time it came out.   [embed]35701:6216:0[/embed] Kim Possible The same song above by Beni Arashiro but in the opening animation itself.   Which one is your favorite (aside from Cory White House de Chou Taihen!, of course)? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, I WANNA KNOW!
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Best anime openings
Hey, this is something new you probably haven't seen before on the internet in the last two years and we're totally not beating a dead horse meme. Yes, Cory White House de Chou Taihen! is on here but that brilliant ...

Impressions: Golden Kamuy Manga Vol. 1

Jun 24 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35706:6207:0[/embed] Golden Kamuy takes place in early 20th century and it introduces us to Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto, a Russo-Japanese War veteran, who has become a miner in Hokkaido to provide for the widow of his dead comrade, Toraji. When he stumbles across a map to a fortune in hidden Ainu gold, he sets off on a journey to find it. As expected, Sugimoto isn’t the only one interested in finding the fortune, and everyone who knows about it is willing to kill to possess it. During his quest, he meets an Ainu girl named Asirpa, who helps him survive the harsh conditions of the northern wilderness, ruthless criminals, and rogue Japanese soldiers. The story starts with a flashback/dream where Sugimoto was still in the Russo-Japanese war and mercilessly attacking his enemies, showing how he earned his nickname as “Immortal Sugimoto.” Then the story fast forward a little bit and we see Sugimoto talking to a man while scraping for gold, with no luck, however, and that’s where he learns about the gold rush that happened back then in every river of Hokkaido. At the same time, there was a group of Ainu secretly gathering funds to build an army so they can fight back the Japanese and ban them from fishing and hunting. They managed to gather a lot of gold, however, a man was able to steal all of it and kill all the Ainu guarding it. Then the police were pursuing the man for quite a while until he's sent to prison and sentenced him to death. Before then, the guards, just like everyone else, were trying to figure out where he hid the gold. But because he couldn't send letters to his friends, the prisoners that shared the same cell with him tattooed the location of gold stash hid into their bodies If he reminds me of someone, it would definitely be Gold D. Roger from One Piece — it's probably why I enjoy it a lot, since aside from the Nakama bond and epic fights, I really enjoy stories revolving around the quest for treasure. Speaking of epic fights, while they are more realistic, they still keep you at the edge of your seat as he's been on the verge of death in a few encounters. He's also battle smart, as expected, so that's fun to see. If you want to explore new series, especially seinen, then Golden Kamuy is a great series to pick up. It offers a suspenseful story that keeps you at the edge of your seat as you flip every page and interesting story. If you enjoy stories about journeys with a resolution to find a fortune, but in a mature setting with badass and interesting characters, then Golden Kamuy is for you.  
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Call Me Immortal Sugimoto
One of my favorite things as an Otaku is being introduced to series that I had no idea they existed. When receiving my Dragon Ball Super manga volume from Viz Media, I got Golden Kamuy alongside it. J...


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Beings beyond our comprehension
As with many manga and anime, beings of otherworldly origin are a common staple in the media featuring all kinds of crazy stuff from the supernatural and paranormal. This month's Loot Anime is all about those Unnatural force...

Impressions: Dragon Ball Super Manga Vol. 1

Jun 22 // Christian Chiok
Dragon Ball has always been alive in Japan as we always got video games here and there, and a few specials such as Episode of Bardock, Yo! Son Goku and his friends return, and the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans remake, in addition to the Dragon Ball Heroes manga by Toyotaro. Then in 2013, comes Battle of Gods, which took the Dragon Ball fan base by surprise—we were finally going to get new material. Afterward, it led to 2015’s Resurrection of F movie and finally the announcement of a new series, in both anime and manga forms, which we know as Dragon Ball Super, the latter which is aso being made by Toyotaro. For those who don’t know, Toyotaro was previously known as Toyble, and was known for creating a Dragon Ball AF manga in the 2000s. Though the manga is still behind, I’ve been enjoying it much more than the anime and I’m really liking the touches Toyotaro is adding (or removing) from the story. The first arc was adapted much better as well. There’s also some things that they added that I really like, like giving Vegeta a Super Saiyan God transformation, and things I didn’t like as much, as Goku not having Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken transformation. Overall, I feel like the manga offers a more cohesive structured storytelling, though I recommend keeping up with both regardless. Dragon Ball Super’s manga, just like the anime, starts with an adaption of Battle of Gods, and it’s much better. Not only does it straight to the point, stretching the movie for no reason like the anime did, but the artstyle was much better. I felt like it highlighted the most important points of the movie well, minus the Bingo scene, sadly. A huge difference from the movie is that this arc introduces us to Champa and Vados—siblings of Beerus and Whis respectively. Considering the manga already expects the readers have seen both Battle of Gods and Resurrection of F, we are only given a few panels of the latter before it moves into the Universe 6 arc. If you’re watching the anime and have yet to read the manga, please do so. Even though the manga is behind the anime, and from the surface both the anime and the manga are the same. You’re missing out on an interesting perspective of the series and doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reading the manga.  
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Subarashii Ningen!
Dragon Ball has been one of the most popular franchises in Japan during the last three decades, and with good reason, and when it finally ended, it really makes you feel empty, at least it did for me when I finished watc...

Beyond Fan Service: On the messed-up people of Scum's Wish

May 31 // Karishma Roy
  It’s actually refreshing to see an anime showcase sex boldly as opposed to the frequent, unrealistic portrayal of teenagers who orgasm aka “nose-bleed” at the thought of holding hands. Like, no, that does not normally happen. On the other hand, like some of the viewers, I felt that instead of devoting so much time to very awkward (cringey even) sex scenes, there could have been more of a focus on the emotional and mental consequences of the characters’ actions. It definitely lacked balance in this aspect but nevertheless, the series is still worth watching. We are taken through the journey of how Hanabi and Mugi deal with their pain and loneliness (often through sex) and eventually grow and develop into less unlikeable versions of themselves. I’ve seen that some viewers have been quick to label the female characters as “sluts” and “whores” but let’s not forget that the males are just as invested in sleeping around. More importantly, however, the sex here serves a larger purpose than mere shock value or fan service- it does contribute critically to the characters’ development. It’s not a strange idea that people may fill their hollow hearts with physical affection. The concept of friends-with-benefits and one-night stands is common in western culture and Japanese as well. Hanabi suffers from low self-esteem and abandonment issues. It’s no wonder that she gets lost trying to find her way to true love. In fact, a lot of us can relate to some sort of intense, emotionally charged teenage past. This girl is a damaged human being and that manifests (albeit annoyingly) in her focus on primitive desires. In the beginning, dealings between Mugi and Hanabi lack warmth but slowly they start to open up a small part of their hearts to each other. There’s a sense that the two of them start catching feelings for one other (totally did not see that coming) but they choose to ignore it and focus on their unobtainable adult love interests. This web of desire and possibility makes the story riveting. Hanabi gets a chance to assess the kind of person she is and makes decisions on what and who she wants to become. All the characters mentioned play into well-known tropes but their relationships with each other are what drives this show. Everyone, except that creepy cousin, transforms as a result of their interactions. For the most part, it is fascinating to watch although I found Akane’s character transformation unrealistic and very questionable. What the hell was Narumi thinking? Let’s talk about this biatch for a minute – she is by far the most twisted and fascinating one. Akane seems to derive pleasure from being the target of other women's jealousy. She sleeps with men (and underage boys) who are either in relationships or are wanted by someone else. There is a sadistically childish streak about wanting to essentially “steal” what isn’t her’s and Mugi was observant enough to figure her out as quickly as he did. Do people like her actually exist in real life!? In the end, she grows out of this toxic way of thinking which is great but I kind of wished she had an STD or prison sentence to go along with the new mindset. Other than this, I was very happy with the ending (especially Hanabi’s) because it was pleasantly realistic. The art was neat with an appealing soft colour palette and animation was fluid – every emotion was conveyed with exquisite clarity. The feels do punch you right in the gut. The soundtrack, both the opening - "Uso no Hibana" by 96 Neko - and the ending - "Heikosen" by Sayuri - are major hits among the fans. I listen to it on repeat most days! I rate this anime highly despite being unable to relate to or like most of the characters. I think that the idea of needing to empathise with every main character is limiting and one of the main reasons I watch anime, TV-shows or read books is to expand my knowledge on different fronts including religion, sexuality, culture, way of life etc.… so yeah. Should you watch it? Well, it’s a heavy, dark and sexual series where the tags “lust” and “obsession” would be more accurate than romance. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then go for it. My only advice would be to watch it privately with your headphones connected. P.S. I saw that people were comparing this anime to School Days and yes, that was equally messed up but in a different way. Scum’s Wish is purely psychological and emotional – no-one gets hurt physically, and it’s a much better watch.
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What are your sinful desires?
Scum’s Wish is twelve episodes of a mature, romantic and psychological drama set at a Japanese high school. I will emphasise the “psychological” tag because this series is one hell of a m...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 23-25

Apr 03 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 23 It's time for War Games! Well, not the war games long time wrestling fans think of when you use that name. This isn't two rings wrapped in a cage. This is something different. So different that everyone who is entering doesn't know what it actually is other than some sort of tournament where the winner challenges for the GWM World Title and gets a $1 million prize. The Third will be participating at his insistence and the challenge is open to anyone. Everyone else is hatching out their plans. Nagata gathers together a bunch of the New Japan guys saying they needed to work together. Wakamatsu wants to join, but Yuji says that only previous champions who have been in a GWM ring qualify. Not only do we see Gedo for the first time this series, but Naito does another one of his mysterious appearances and says he will be there, but he has no interest in working with the others. Meanwhile, Tiger is left scrambling a bit. Since he is freelance, he really doesn't have anyone else to team up with in this thing, that is until he remembers one other person. Fukuwara Mask. Fukuwara is still back in the village he helped last time and agrees to enter if he gets a cut of the money.   We then see what these guys are up against. Oh boy... we are entering Kinnikuman territory again. The rules are this. All the fighters start on the floor and fight each other. If someone scores a pinfall (being counted by Drones of all things. How Vanguard of them) they get to move up to the first ring. If you beat someone there, you move up a level. The fight goes on until there are two people in the top ring who will then fight for the money and the title. The third announces he is putting the belt on the line against anyone who beats him. Bonus! Besides the NJPW guys, Tiger, and Fukuwara, and The Third, we have Tiger The Dark and Kevin Andersen, Yellow Devil, The Metal Brothers, and a bazillion other guys.   The bell rings and we are off as everyone starts plotting and squaring off. The Third scores the first victory and walks right up to the next level. He's the guy to beat! The set up is bizarre and once again stretches the suspension of disbelief, but it does make for a good set up. With so many characters all gunning for the same thing, it makes me want to watch more. It gives us a clear path now that we are winding up season 2 and it gives us something to look forward too! Episode 24 We are still at war as everyone is still fighting it out for a shot at the GWM title and a million bucks at the Max Dome and GWM's War Game. There is a lot going on! Tiger the Dark's main goal is Yellow Devil. After a brief skirmish where Kevin saves Dark's ass, Dark finds him and start beating on him, even though Yellow Devil is not fighting back. We find out in a conversation with Miss X and her assistant Lady, that The Third was the one who ordered Yellow Devil be used in this match. That Tiger the Dark gets worked up when he sees Yellow Devil. I'm not the only one who suspects who The Third really is and that is a major plot reveal in that direction isn't it? Dark finally pins Yellow Devil and pulls off his mask.   Poor Mikasa once again. Poor guy just gets in way over his head. Speaking of, Dragon Young sneaks into the battle and scores a victory to ascend up to the next level of the fight and The Third. Feisty as Wakamatsu is, it doesn't go well.   The Third stays one step ahead as he goes on as the others fight to get to the second level. We don't see every individual advance but with The Third at the third level, Tiger, Tiger the Dark, Fukuwara, Kevin, Tanahashi, Okada, Naito are amongst those that get to the next level. Tiger and Fukuwara then get pins but as they are going to the next level, Tiger goes to save Tanahashi and Fukuwara fights The Third alone.  \ And they recognize each other?!? This is another of those plot points I really hope they expand on. Did they train together? Fight each other? Why does it seem like there is way more to Fukuwara mask than just comedy relief? The fight boils down to the Third and Naito and Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark. Naito does a decent job and gets some offense in, but one brainbuster later and The Third goes on. Tiger gets part of his finisher in on Tiger The Dark, but Dark counters. With some help from Kevin, Dark gets the Dark Driver on Tiger Mask and ends his run to the surprise of EVERYONE. We get a break as Tiger the Dark recovers in the locker room as a lifeless Tiger Mask is carted away. Well, this certainly had action! A lot going on here but if you kept up with who was in what ring and level you did alright.  Sure, the concept is a far fetched one, but within its realm, this episode carried things out very well. I did not expect that ending and makes me want to see where this goes in the next episode. Like I've said before when this show is on track it is really good with the action and story, but it can go off the rails so easily. If they stay on point this could make for a fun season 2 finale. Episode 25 Wow. That's the best I can say about this episode. In the locker room as Tiger Mask regains consciousness. Fukuwara Mask and Haruna are there with him. During the conversation, Fukuwara Mask tells Tiger that The Third is Yellow Devil and Tiger reveals to him why he is after Yellow Devil. Tiger is pissed and goes to fight Yellow Devil but Fukuwara sternly tells him to sit down and Tiger the Dark won the right for this fight. In the other locker room Takuma is getting looked over and after a brief press conference, the Reporter tells him that the Yellow Devil of 3 years ago disappeared but that is when The Third arrived and that they are the same person. The match begins as Tiger asks The Third straight out if he was Yellow Devil. He challenges the Third for his Mask and the Third goes for it. Loser loses his Mask. Miss X doesn't want it to happen but The Third demands it. The match itself is about as you'd expect. Dark beats him for a while but it turns cut to be part of Third's plan. He uses Yellow Devil's moves on Dark and when he goes for the Devil driver (that injured Daisuke 3 years ago), Dark counters. However, it doesn't last long as the Third starts using different moves until he puts Dark's legs in a figure four and then picks him up and drives him down, breaking his legs and knocking him out. The Third rips Dark's mask off and he is revealed as Takuma to both Daisuke at home, and Tiger Mask in the stands. As he walks away The Third tells Miss X that he is actually the grandson of the original Tiger The Great from the original series and that when two tigers meet, the power is made clear of the winner. Meanwhile, as Takuma is being stretchered out, Tiger Mask runs up to him and tells him he is Naoto. Kevin then goes ballistic telling tiger Mask it was his fault that Tiger the Dark was hurt and he could have won if it wasn't for him. Takuma is whisked away in an ambulance as a crestfallen Tiger Mask stands alone.   This was an amazing show. It got to the point and didn't screw around. No more mystery and running around not knowing what is going on anymore. This is a great set up for a third season hopefully built around making Tiger Mask stronger in revenge against the Third for all he's done. Hopefully, it means the episodes fro here on in won't waste our time anymore.  
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The War Game!
We are nearing the end of the second season and it looks like The Third has emerged as the new power player for the GWM. Tiger the Dark is back on the active GWM roster and despite the ongoing goofiness of the relationship with Ruriko, Tiger Mask is still chugging along. As we get to another crucial point in the series, let's see where things go.

Review: Your Name. (Kimi No Na Wa)

Apr 02 // Christian Chiok
Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) Studio: CoMix Wave Films Licensed by: FUNimation Release Date: August 26, 2016 (Japan), April 7, 2017 (North America) The movie introduces us to Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the fictional town of Itomori, who is tired of her life in the countryside and wishes to be a handsome Tokyo boy in her next life. Next thing we see Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo, who wakes up and realizes that he is Mitsuha, who somehow switched bodies with Taki. When both Mitsuha and Taki realized that they have switched bodies, they start communicating with each other by leaving notes on paper or leaving memos in each other's phones. As time goes on, they become used to the body swap and start intervening in each other's lives, like Mitsuha becoming more popular in school and Taki scoring a date with his female coworker, Miki Okudera While the movie starts off comedic, it takes a more dramatic turn during the second half of the movie. After his unsuccessful date with Okudera, Taki decided to contact Mitsuha but failed. He later finds that they have stopped switching bodies and eventually decides to visit Mitsuha in her hometown in the Hida region, with no information of where she lives and relying solely on the sketches of the village's scenery he has drawn from memory. With no luck finding the place, he decides to go back to Tokyo, until a restaurant server recognizes the town in Taki's sketch as Itomori. He is then told what happened to Itomori three years ago, in which is when the movie takes its dramatic turn. [embed]35666:6196:0[/embed] Your Name is kind of complex movie that will take more than one watch to fully understand. It took me watching the movie twice — both in Japanese and English, to fully understand it. There’s so much going on in the movie that just leaves you confused. Already understanding the movie because of my first watch, when watching it a second time, a lot of things started to make more sense to me, especially everything involving Mitsuha, such as her sake, rebirth and when they kept forgetting each other. The animation was fantastic, as expected from CoMix Wave Films, who were responsible for animating 5 Centimeters Per Second back in 2007. It felt so vivid, and it was beautiful to look at, especially certain scenes with the meteor. It’s going to be a great experience watching it in theaters. Both voice work and soundtrack were nothing short of amazing, especially the vocal songs by RADWIMPS. It added so much dramatic effect that made certain scenes feel more powerful. I also had the opportunity to watch the movie in English, which features an all-new English-language soundtrack created by RADWIMPS, who also were responsible for the original Japanese film soundtrack and score. I personally enjoyed the dub but the voices were a bit too soft for some of the characters, and just didn’t fit. As for the English soundtrack, while the original versions remain the best, RADWIMPS outdid themselves. Another thing is that with any translation, whether it’s anime or live action, the jokes, references, or language rules are lost in translation. Though it didn’t affect the movie too much. Your Name was a great movie, but it wasn’t as good or sad as people publicized it to be. Coming from someone who shed tears when reading One Piece or even actual tearjerkers like Clannad, the movie didn’t affect me emotionally at all, though there were sad parts.  Still, the concept presented in Your Name was unique and captivated me all the way through.  [This review is based on a commercial screening attended by the reviewer]
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Can I ask you your name?
By now, many of the anime fanbase has seen the critically acclaimed Your Name, or Kimi no na wa as known in Japan, which will hit theaters in North America this April. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Makot...

Strong Style: Wrapping up G1 26!

Apr 02 // Soul Tsukino
Before we jump into the action for this final Block B show. Here is how things stand. Naito has 12 points, Elgin/Omega/Shibata have 10 points, Yano/Nakajima have 8 points, Evil/Nagata/Hashi have 6 points, and Honma has 4 points. So here is how this works out for the 4 guys still in the running. For Tetsuya Naito to win: A win OR A tie For Michael Elgin to win: Win and Kenny Omega beats Naito For Katsuyori Shibata to win: Win and Omega beats Naito and Elgin loss. For Kenny Omega to win: Win and both Shibata and Elgin loss Got all that? Let's start with our first hour as we are greeted by Naito Block B: EVIL (6 points) vs. Katsuyori Shibata (10 points) As explained earlier Shibata needs a lot to happen to win this, and the already eliminated Evil can be the spoiler here. Again as the matches have shown before, these guys are on their own so no help for Evil here. We start with both already in the ring and the bell rings. Shibata immediately goes for a sleeper and then a backdrop suplex. He tries for the PK but Evil bails outside. Shibata comes out and throws him back in but gets clotheslined. Shibata gets whipped into the barrier and Evil ties his arm up in the barrier and kicks it. Evil then nails it with a chair! Bandaged arm is now a problem. Back in the ring Evil attacks Shibata in the corner but Shibata kicks Evil off of him. Evil goes for the STO but Shibata reverses it into his own version. Shibata goes for the pin and gets two. Kick by Shibata right to the chest. He goes for another but Evil catches it. Evil tries for a hit but Shibata hits him a few times before locking in the sleeper again. Evil goes for the bad arm and gets out with some elbows to the gut. Evil then grabs the arm and gets Shibata in the backdrop suplex. Evil tries a running clothesline and it does nothing. Another one and Shibata brings the boot up. Shibata lands a headbutt but Evil counters with headbutts to the bad arm. He then gets a chicken wing on the bad arm into a suplex. The ref checks on Shibata and Evil tosses him aside. Evil lands the powerslam and then lands another to get the surprise three count! Shibata is out in less than 10 minutes! Studio words from Naito now.  Everyone is looking to be the last guy standing in the tournament. He looked forward to this match at the start of the tournament, regardless of points. He didn't see any weaknesses when Kenny was a junior so he always wanted this match, but says when Kenny joined the Bullet Club, he became boring and not interesting anymore. In Block B action not shown: Honma beat Nagata, Yano beat Hashi, Nakajima beat Elgin, so Elgin is out of the running now too. Block B: Tetsuya Naito (12 points) vs. Kenny Omega (10 points) This match decides it! With Shibata and Elgin now out, it's one of these two guys. Kenny has to win here with Naito scooting by in a tie. All down to this. The Cleaner is the first one to make his entrance. He is alone. No coat or sunglasses or broom. Good sign for a great match. Naito is out next and the whole Hall is lit right up for this entrance. Nice! White suit and near kabuki skull style mask for tonight. We get full introductions here for both guys. Naito takes his time getting his gear off. Back from the break and we are finally ready to start. Bell rings and both just look at each other. No rush here with these guys. Naito avoids the lock up. He does it again and Kenny just attacks him. Whip reversed and they avoid kicks and contact before posing. Kenny has a big bandage on his back. Kenny spits on Naito! Naito gets up and returns the favor. Kenny spits on him again but Naito just attacks with some forearms and kicks. They bounce off the ropes back and forth before Naito lands a dropkick on the knee. Kenny down on the corner and Naito lands another dropkick on it. Naito lifts the knee and slams it on the canvas. He does it again! He takes Kenny down and slams the knee into the mat a third time. Kenny counters with feeble punches but Naito drives the elbow into the knee. Shot to the head as Kenny is into the ropes. He pokes Naito in the eyes and tosses him outside. He goes for the Terminator dive over the rope but Naito moves and Kenny goes splat on the floor. Another dropkick to the knee before Kenny is tossed into the barrier. Naito sets him up but Kenny drives him into the barrier a couple of times. Kenny picks him up and slams him right on the ring apron! Naito now has a weakness. The count starts but Naito gets back in. Kenny picks him up for a suplex but brings Naito down right on his bad knee! Cover gets two. Kenny with a head crank now as you don't see that move enough anymore. Kenny brings elbows down on the shoulder and goes for another cover but only two. Forearm to the back now. Chop to Naito's chest as Kenny chokes him in the corner with a foot. Kenny does the Rude Awakening! Complete with the hip swivel. How fitting considering as I type this "Ravishing" Rick Rude is being inducted into the WWE hall of fame. Cover gets a two count. Naito gets in an elbow to the neck but Kenny chops him to put him down and chops him again and goes for the pin. Finlay roll but when he goes for the second rope moonsault his knee buckles. He gets it anyway but can't make the cover. Back from the break as they stumble up standing. Naito whips him in and lands an elbow but Kenny lands a neckbreaker. Kenny in the corner and Naito lands his trip/dropkick combo and tries for the pin but gets two. Both guys up and exchange chops. Kenny goes for the inverted atomic drop but Naito lands the low dropkick to the knee. Naito locks in a weird version of the figure four where he puts the hold on but uses his wrong leg so it just looks awkward. It still works though as Kenny keeps fighting it but finally gets to the rope to break. The bandage comes off and we see the cut on Kenny's shoulder blade. Wonder where he got that from. Kenny gets the leapfrog leg drop and sends Naito to the apron. Kenny dropkicks him off and launches Naito right into the barrier. Kenny then picks Naito up into the powerbomb and drops him through the announcer's table!  Kenny rolls in as the count starts He launches onto the top and springboards outside and hits Naito on the floor outside the barrier! Kenny in the ring at 10 as Naito makes it in at 18. Kenny grabs him on the apron and hits the dragon suplex on the apron! That has to hurt. They roll in and Kenny lands another dragon suplex into the bridge! His knee buckles so he only gets two. Kenny goes for the doctor bomb but Naito counters into a DDT! Both guys struggle up and Kenny strikes first but they go back and forth with forearm strikes. Hard hits for both guys. Naito hits the ropes but Kenny gets the jumping knee Naito spins around and catches Kenny and gets a spinning DDT off the ropes. Kenny in the corner and Naito catches him. He sets Kenny on the top turnbuckle and goes up himself. He goes for the rana and Kenny counters into a sunset flip but Naito rolls out and gets the low dropkick. He gets up and hits Gloria! Only gets two. We are back from break as Naito gets to his feet. He goes for the arm but Kenny counters with chops. 10 minutes left for the time. Naito goes for the suplex and rolls onto his feet so injures the knee more. Kenny runs Naito over with a clothesline and hits a knee strike. He goes for the angel but Naito counters out into the knee lock.  Kenny is screaming and trying to get to the rope. He slowly pulls himself over and tries for the ropes. He finally gets it to break. Naito stands up and slams the bad knee down for the kneebreaker. Naito goes for it again but Kenny lands a knee to the jaw and gets a suplex and the doctor bomb! Kenny gets two. 6 minutes left in the match. Kenny gets the running knee and goes for the one-winged angel but Naito counters with a weird destino! Naito up first and sets Omega up on the buckle and goes up top and lands the reverse rana! Kenny lands right on his head! Naito goes for the cover but Kenny kicks out! He tries for Destino but Kenny counters into the tombstone as we have 4 minutes left! Kenny uses the ref to stand back up. Kenny lands some short knee and goes for the angel again but he can't pick him up! 3 minutes left! Naito lands a chop. Kenny palm strikes the face. Enziguri by Naito. Kenny gets a knee to the head. Kenny goes for the angel but switches to a German suplex. Kenny goes for the pin again but Naito kicks out! 2 minutes left. Kenny finally gets in the angel and scores the pin! Kenny is going to the finals! Backstage Naito is loopy as hell as he is carried to his locker room. Back from a break as Kenny addresses the crowd. As the match went on. He noticed that the crowd was cheering and how he felt about them. They were cheering for Naito and only chanted for him when he won. He felt like Japan was his him but what kind of home cheers for Naito? He's the MYP of the tournament! Tomorrow when he beats Goto, they can cheer for him, he doesn't care. If he was a betting man, he'd bet on Kenny Omega. Studio words from Naito. He thought Kenny had become boring but Kenny was interesting in this match and it was fun to wrestle him. If he had escaped more to the floor, he would have won in the draw. The members of Los Ingobernables didn't win the tournament but each one of them gained skills and experience. They were able to show their world so it was a good tournament. He was surprised he didn't win, though. Onto hour two! We are at the Sumo hall on August 14, 2016, and we are going to decide a winner! We are greeted by Kenny Omega Studio words from Kenny for the big one tonight. He says he needed a gamelan because he knee was a mess and had to go back to wrestle in 12 hours. He wanted to win so he will win is the mindset he had. Goto is a strange man where if he's not motivated, he's not a threat. He could be a main eventer if he wanted to be. Kenny scouted the match Goto had with Marufuji and Goto was at his best there, but he hasn't had a good match all year and Goto sucks. G1 Climax 26 Finals: Hirooki Goto v/s Kenny Omega Goro is still looking for the big win in his career while Kenny has been saying for months that his plan was to with the G1 and get the title shot at Wrestlekingdom 11 at the Tokyo dome. CHAOS vs. Bullet Club here. With the amazing match Kenny had the day before, Goto got the extra rest day and now has a big advantage. Kenny out first with again, no coat or any of that garbage. No bandage on the shoulder blade tonight. They talk about Masa Chono a bit as he was actually born in Seattle. I did not know that. Goto the warrior is next and looks great as always. He's been here before. Full intros of course as we are going the full hour. We look at the trophy and it is awesome as well. We come back from break as the bell rings. Kenny poses. No time limit for this match. Lock up and waistlock by Kenny. Goto gets the arm but Kenny pushes him back into the ropes. Kenny backs off. Lock up again and Kenny gets the arm. Goto takes the leg and Kenny reverses into a pin. They get back up into a knuckle lock up but Goto gets the hammerlock into a headlock. Kenny pulls hair. Whip off and Goto gets the shoulderblock. They counter each other and avoid contact but Kenny gets the rana and sends Goto to the outside. Kenny goes for the dive but Goto gets in the ring and hits the low kick and the crowd boos him! Even Goto is surprised by that reaction. Goto gets him down and locks in the leg lock. Goto locks in the figure four and Kenny tries to fight. Kenny gets into the ropes and gets into the corner and Goto lands some forearms as the crowd boos again! They exchange strikes but Goto kicks the leg. Kenny goes for the clothesline but Goto follows him and clotheslines him over the top rope. Goto goes out and attacks and tosses him into the barrier but Kenny counters the charge with a boot. Kenny leaps onto the barrier and gets a moonsault! He then picks up Goto and slams him on the ring apron. Kenny goes back in but goes right back out and lands the powerbomb onto the apron! Goto's back has got to be toast. Kenny stretches out the leg before he rolls back in. Goto rolls in at 16. Kenny with the cravat and hits the Rude Awakening! Perfect tribute. Pin gets two. Back from the commercial as Kenny locks in a one arm camel clutch.  He is cranking back on it big time. Goto in the ropes to break. Kenny gets up and lays in the stomps. Kenny lands a chop and goes for the cover but gets two. He then locks in a neck vice before Goto is in the ropes. Goto into the buckle and hits with a chop and another. Whip into opposite buckle but misses the charge. Goto gets the whip and charge but gets the boots for it. Kenny lands the bulldog and goes for the cover but gets two. As they get up Goto gets in a chop they chop back and forth before Kenny hits some elbows to the head. Kenny whips it in but they dodge back and forth before Goto hits a strong clothesline. Kenny in the corner and Goto lands the running side kick and a side suplex. Kenny back in the corner and Goto lands another clothesline. Goto goes up top and lands the elbow drop but Kenny kicks out of the pin attempt. Fireman's carry but Kenny slides off and spits. Kenny lands the Regal roll and the second rope moonsault but doesn't get the pin. Forearm to Goto's head. Kenny with strikes and kicks but Goto is getting mad. He tells Kenny to hit him. Goto goes to the ropes but Kenny counters and gets the dragon suplex. Goto rolls outside and Kenny gets the flying cannonball over the top rope! Back from another commercial as Kenny is on the apron stretching his knee again. He goes outside and tosses Goto back in. Kenny on the apron and goes up top! He hits the dropkick and lands right into Goto's back. He goes for a dragon suplex but Goto counters. Goto scoops him up and lands the ushigoroshi! Both guys are hurt now. Kenny to the apron and Goto runs him over with a clothesline. He picks Kenny up and suplexes him to the top turnbuckle and goes up after him. Goto puts him on the shoulders and lands the ushigoroshi off the top! He goes for the pin but Kenny kicks out. Goto locks in the sleeper now. Kenny's in trouble! Goto goes for the GTR and escapes it but Goto goes for another attack but Kenny tries to turn it into a sleeper and Goto locks in the sleeper. Kenny slips out and lands the knee strikes. Kenny hits a neckbreaker but he is in pain. Kenny lands a running knee and sets Goto for the angel but Goto slips into another sleeper hold. Kenny punches him but Goto keeps the hold. Kenny climbs up the turnbuckle and fall backwards in a splat! Both guys hit the mat hard on the head. Kenny first to get up but barely. Elbow by Kenny but Goto fires right back. More elbow strikes Kenny gets the kick to the face and blocks Goto's strike and gets Goto up into the powerbomb and down with a crash! Back from the break as Kenny is getting up. The crowd is chanting for him! He goes up to the top and goes for the corkscrew dive but pool's empty on this one and thump. Goto gets up and lands a middle kick to the chest. Pin attempt gets two count. Headbutts by Goto. Goto picks him up into a spinning facesplat. Cover gets two. Goto goes for GTR and Kenny counters out into a bunch of strikes and a dragon suplex. Kenny gets a cover but a two count.  Kenny goes for the knee but Goto blocks it. Kenny hits with the other knee, but Goto runs over him with a clothesline. He hits the DDT and goes for the cover but Kenny kicks out. He goes for the GTR again but Kenny reverses again into the bloody Sunday DDT. Channeling Prince Devitt now. Kenny lands the Styles Clash and goes for the pin but Goto kicks out! Talk about pulling ghosts from the past. He picks him up for the One-winged angel and hits it! He gets the three count and Kenny Omega wins the tournament! Young boys and the docs scramble in the ring as both guys are spent. The rest of Bullet Club come out for the celebration as Goto is rolled out of the ring. As Goto is carried out Omega is put on Fale's shoulders and paraded around the ring. Back from the break as the celebration continues. Kenny is presented the big trophy by a former member of Japan's national soccer team. He is given the big flag as is tradition, but throws it down and waves the Bullet Club flag instead. He takes the mic and talks about how people said the Club should disband. The Elite is not ending and it makes wrestling interesting. Days like this happen only once in a lifetime. Don't be afraid to dream. But as soon as you get there, someone like him swoops in and takes it from you. He says that all the other wrestlers just got a G1s worth of study material so get going. He issues the challenge for Okada since they have never met. He speaks in Japanese to wow the crowd. He didn't want to speak Japanese because he is the bad guy. He's really good in speaking Japanese BTW. If you don't cheer for him, he hates you too. The crowd goes wild for him. NJPW is his home and he isn't going to the other side. Backstage as Kenny says that training and fighting for all these years have finally paid off and the dream has come true. Everyone in Club has made the sacrifice to come to Japan (though I imagine Takahashi didn't sacrifice as much). He says that he was lucky in that Goto wrestled Marufuji which is a lot like him. It sucks he had to wrestle for 9ver an hour in the last two days but he did it. This is for the Club members who weren't there and the "lost brothers" before lots of Coors Beer. In the studio, Kenny said he had to call upon his Bullet club brothers and his demons. He is happy that he brought something special to the table. He wants to be the only Canadian to win the title. It is a career highlight and he wanted to be happy for it.  Holy Crap! While the first match was criminally short (my guess is that Shibata really injured his shoulder and had to keep it short), the two Omega matches were incredible! Without the Jacksons and all his bullshit, Kenny Omega can really go and these two matches showed it. This was an amazing night of action! As I mentioned, as I am writing this, they are holding the WWE Hall of Fame in Orlando. As part of the ceremony is the "Legacy" Hall of fame for those who were pioneers of wrestling. One of those names being inducted this year is Rikidozan. This man is the reason we have Japanese pro wrestling (Puroresu) today. He started the JWA, Japan's first wrestling company and it is because of him we get the great action from all over Japan today. He is truly a pioneer and I am proud that he finally gets the recognition as a star and promoter. Hail to you Rikidozan for bringing us something incredible for many generations to come. Before we go, an update on Tomoaki Honma's condition after the scary injury earlier this month, Honma's condition stabilized enough that he was able to be transferred from Okinawa to a hospital in Osaka. From there he underwent surgery on his spine. He released another statement: “Surgery was a success and now I’m starting the rehabilitation process (right now I’m raising and lowering my knees, etc). From here on out, I’m going for it! Thanks everyone!” Fight on you brave warrior! Let's make kokeshi happy! Enjoy the big weekend folks and see you next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Who is going to win?
Hello fans and Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. For wrestling fans it is a VERY big weekend with Wrestlemania and all the other wrestling events happening in Orlando this weekend...

Review: Ghost in the Shell

Mar 30 // Josh Tolentino
Ghost in the ShellStudio: Paramount PicturesDirector: Rupert SandersRelease: March 29, 2017 I’d say it certainly is, but this film probably isn’t the one to do it, and not least because of its biggest political and narrative missteps. I’m not just talking about the whitewashing, but let’s tackle that part first, since it’s the most salient point and a clue-in as to how the adaptation fares more generally. Personally, I never thought much of the case being made that the Major should’ve been played by an Asian or Japanese actress. As Shirow and Oshii put it, there’s no compelling reason in the source material to assert the character of that “Major Motoko Kusanagi” must be of any specific ethnicity. Arguments insisting on that point as a matter of "remaining true to the original" smacked of unpleasant cultural essentialism, not to mention missing the point of the Ghost in the Shell story.  I would’ve left it at that in regards to this film, if not for an eleventh-hour plot twist that retroactively validates the complaints critics had before release, and also reveals just how little of Ghost in the Shell's actual spirit survived the transition to Hollywood. In light of that bafflingly tone-deaf development, it’s impossible to see the casting decision as anything other than pure cynicism in action: Johansson was picked because she’s a big name and was willing, and the failure to cast a more appropriate lead actress is a tragic and frustrating misstep that threatens to retroactively torpedo the whole film up to that point.  This is a shame because, before that part, the film is eminently watchable and frequently gorgeous. Ghost in the Shell features some jaw-dropping design work that manages to capture the look of the Oshii movie, while adding a more novel, Blade Runner-esque visual twist. Things like car designs and the Hong Kong-inspired urban crush make the film's cyberpunk metropolis feel pleasantly retro. The world of the movie is host to a more embodied, all-encompassing take on the cybernetic future than the reality we're drifting into on our own. Johansson also turns in good work playing the Major. Or is it just “Major”? The film is oddly inconsistent about using the moniker as a proper name or a rank.  Takeshi Kitano, playing Section 9 Chief Aramaki, uses the rank, so out of respect for the master, I’ll go with that.  As the Major, a prototype full-body cyborg constructed by the Hanka corporation - “the first of her kind” – she sells the struggle and alienation of her condition well, often achieving it through a simple gaze rather than more conventional, more “human” expression. Her take on the iconic anime character is less the hard-partying badass of the manga or the reserved, introspective thinker of the 1995 movie. Hers is a Major at the beginning of her career, the head of the first wave in human evolution, along with the fear and vulnerability that comes with being part of it. To take gaming analogy, she's more like Deus Ex: Human Revolution's Adam Jensen than the consummate professional cyborg cop portrayed in other Ghost in the Shell adaptations. [embed]35661:6195:0[/embed] Her action credentials are also well-earned, through a series of bang-up set pieces inspired by iconic scenes from the anime and manga. If anything, Johansson's physicality, and her apparent superhuman capabilities actually feel a bit undersold, compared to her antics as Black Widow. The movie's successes on the style front are so compelling that in some ways it's easy to see Ghost in the Shell as the most expensive and fully-realized cosplay shoot ever made. I mean that as a compliment. This approach is instructive, as cosplay shoots aren’t usually known for their narrative chops. The film tries admirably to forge some new territory, taking names and references from across Ghost in the Shell’s varied canon to tell a story that’s not the Puppetmaster, or the Laughing Man, or even the Ghost-Dubbing, Individual Eleven, or any other extant case. Then again, maybe things would've turned out better if they had chosen a more straightforward adaptation, as the end result feels more like The Bourne Identity with cyborgs, not to mention incorporating that ghastly clanger of a final twist. Further, it appears to have been chopped up a bit in the editing room. Despite inspired and diverse casting for the other members of Section 9, most characters besides Aramaki and Batou (played by Borgen’s Pilou Ansbaek) barely graduate past the role of extra. Togusa (played by Han Chin), in particular, feels like he had more to do at some point between the first trailers and release. The plot, in the end, comes across as a pastiche of Ghost in the Shell fan service, limping around like Michael Pitt's Kuze, assembled from a hodgepodge of components and unable to quite bring it all together and look like a real boy. Given that this seems intended to start a franchise, the tidings are grim for this iteration of Ghost in the Shell. But there is, if nothing else, some (neon) light at the end of the tunnel. Nailing the style angle certainly helps with keeping hope alive. Ghost in the Shell fans, yours truly included, are used to having wildly different adaptations across the years. And thankfully, the nature of the setting leaves some room to course-correct, even in casting. As the Major says, the net is vast and infinite, and there may be room left to redeem Ghost in the Shell next time around.
Ghost in the Shell Review photo
Cyber-Bodied
Ghost in the Shell has been around for a long time. Since the release of Masamune Shirow’s seminal manga in 1989 and Mamoru Oshii’s arguably more influential 1995 film adaptation, the saga of the cyborgs of Sectio...

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Food Edition

Mar 26 // Red Veron
[embed]35658:6186:0[/embed] "These 5 Japanese Food Stories Will Satisfy Every Appetite" A collection of stories about Japanese food that serve up some interesting and appetizing morsels of information.   [embed]35658:6187:0[/embed] "Inside Japan’s Only All-Female Sushi House" Apparently, it is unusual to have female sushi chefs. Find out why in the video above!   [embed]35658:6189:0[/embed] "Japanese Vending Machine Restaurant and Food Unboxing" Only in Japan features a self service restaurant that features vending machines where you can sit down and eat food from said machines.   [embed]35658:6190:0[/embed] "How to Make GOTCHA! PORK ROAST from Food Wars, Shougeki No Sama! Feast of Fiction" Feast of Fiction, a YouTube channel all about recreating food featured in fictional works, tries to make a dish from the anime Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma. This video has them recreating "Gotcha! Pork Roast", which is an imitation pork roast as implied by the name of the dish. Notice that there are no clips of the anime are featured because of the excessive fan service nature of the show.   [embed]35658:6188:0[/embed] "KFC Christmas Japan: A Delicious Alternate Reality" Abroad in Japan tells us about the favorite story about Japan that comes up right around Christmas: The Japanese love affair between Christmas and Kentucky Fried Chicken.   Is there a Japanese food or a video of Japanese food you like? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Binge on these J-Food videos
Food and culture are very intertwined, and Japan is one of those countries that likes to take it very seriously (Yes, more than you) which is probably why a lot of their food is known across the world (instant ramen counts). ...

Strong Style: A Block beatdown

Mar 25 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35623:6147:0[/embed] But first, let's see where we are in the points total. Tanahashi/Fale/Marafuji/Goto/Okada: 10 points, Makabe: 8 points, Tonga/Sanada/Ishii: 6 points, Tenzan: 4 points. So this is how it works out with the matches tonight For Tanahashi to win the Block: A win For Okada to win the Block: A win, Fale loss (or tie), Goto win (or tie) For Fale to win the Block: A win, Marufuji win (or Tie), Okada win (or tie) For Goto to win the Block: A win, Tanahashi/Goto tie For Marufuji to win the Block: A win, Fale loss, Okada win (or tie) Hour 1: We are greeted by Hirooki Goto! A Block: Sanada (6 points) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4 points) Both men have been eliminated already so this is just for pride, mostly on Tenzan's part. Both got big victories early but dropped off in the tournament and so here we are. Sanada wanders out by himself in his cold skull mask and baseball bat, looking like something from those old cyberpunk biker gangs from anime of long ago. Tenzan comes out next with Satoshi Kojima in his corner. We are pressed for time so we cut right to the bell ringing and the lock up. It goes nowhere. Seconds lock up and Tenzan gets him to the ropes. He feigns for a clean break but instead goes for his Mongolian chops! Sanada ducks out of those and lands a kick and some shots to the back. He locks in a headlock but Tenzan shoots him off. Shoulderblock does nothing. Tenzan tells the youngin' to try it again and Sanada obliges. Stalemate again. Sanada stomps his foot and tries to shoot him off the ropes but Tenzan reverses it and runs over Sanada with a shoulderblock. He then lays in those Mongolian Chops that drive Sanada outside. Tenzan goes outside but Sanada slips inside. Tenzan tries to come back in but Sanada smacks the ropes giving Tenzan a low blow. Tenzan rolls outside where Sanada runs him into the barrier and then drives the ball bat into him! Back from the break as we skip ahead a little with both guys back in the ring. Sanada goes to whip Tenzan into the buckle but Tenzan reverses it. Sanada leaps over the ropes in the corner and then springboards back in with a dropkick. Sanada lands the standing moonsault for a cover of two. Sanada picks him up and lands a side suplex for another two count. Sanada immediately locks in the dragon sleeper to try and finish it, but Tenzan hits a jawbreaker to get out of the hold. Both get up and Sanada hits an enziguri but Tenzan just shakes it off. Sanada scoops him up in a fireman's carry and into a cutter! Pin attempt gets two as Kojima is going ballistic at ringside for his buddy. Sanada scoops up Tenzan and slams him down before going up the buckle and trying for the moonsault. Tenzan moves and Sanada lands awkwardly on his feet before falling over. Tenzan whiffs a clothesline and Sanada gets a waistlock and a suplex into a bridge, but only gets two. Sanada locks in the dragon sleeper again but Tenzan rotates out of it and turns it into a scoop slam. He drives Sanada down in a tombstone!  Tenzan tries for a cover but only gets one.  Tenzan slams Sanada down and goes up as he tries the moonsault! Tenzan misses though and splats on the mat. They get up and Sanada lands a dropkick but Tenzan just yells at him! He gives Sanada and headbutt and a Mongolian chop. Sanada tries to fire back but he just grabs his own shoulder as Tenzan keeps working in him. He hits four headbutts before clotheslining Sanada to the back of the head. He points to Kojima and lands a running clothesline to the front before going in for the pin. Two count only. Tenzan locks in the anaconda vice lock. He picks Sanada up and lands the buster but the pin only gets two. Tenzan goes for the slam but Sanada stands out of it. Tenzan gets him up anyway but Sanada floats through it and locks in the dragon sleeper!  Tenzan struggles and gets his foot on the rope to break. Sanada slams him down and goes for the moonsault. He lands with both knees to the torso! Pin attempt gets two. Sanada goes right back to the dragon sleeper again as Tenzan is in the middle of the ring now. He finally taps out. We cut to a little later as the crowd is chanting for Tenzan and he takes a bow and shakes Kojima's hand. Backstage he sad it just wasn't his G1, but it was both he and Kojima than made him fight on. Kojima thanks him for showing his spirit today and Tenzan tells him that he gets dependant when Kojima says that. Kojima was the only one who listened to him. he says he is the worst, but Kojima is the best partner he could have and thanks him as both are fighting tears now. A Block: Tomohiro Ishii (6 points) vs. Togi Makabe (8 points) Again, both guys are eliminated. These two have hated each other for years after the breakup of G.B.H. and have met plenty of times in some real beat downs. Ishii is out first and he is looking to do damage as always. Togi is out next and he is in the same mood as always. We quick cut as they get their gear off. Bell rings and they go right into the bull of a lock up. Ishii lands a chop and soon they are exchanging hard chops back and forth, back and forth. Ishii goes down but he comes back with a chop right to the throat. Wonder how none of these guys have killed anyone doing that. Seriously, I damaged my voice box as a kid going throat first into a metal bar (watch those drawstrings on your coats kids!) and that took a week to recover from. Ishii throws a shot right to Togi's head and here we go back and forth with the chops and strikes now. They beat each other senseless for a while before Makabe is down first. Ishii picks him up and sends him down in the corner as he is chopping him right in the throat! Togi is down on the mat face first as now Ishii just paws at him with a few kicks and tell him to get up. Togi pulls himself up and begs Ishii to keep hitting him. The Stone Pitbull does just that and keeps hitting him. Togi finally counters with a strike of his own and pops up and runs over Ishii with a shoulderblock. Makabe runs him over with a big clothesline and then hits him with a forearm but Ishii just tells Togi to hit him harder! Togi hits him harder but Ishii just hits him right back and now they are both down. We come back from the break as both guys scrape themselves from the mat. Ishii scoops Togi up onto the top rope and nails the avalanche brainbuster for a two count. He picks Togi up and goes for a big clothesline but Togi ducks it. Ishii grabs a waistlock and lands a big suplex and holds on to get a second one! Togi is stumbling around and Ishii nails him with a standing enziguri! Ishii rams into him with a big clothesline but that just makes Togi mad as he comes back with a big strike and now they are going back and forth again with hard chops and axhandle strikes. Makabe hits him in the gut and gets in a big powerbomb but can't make the cover. Both guys are hurting but Ishii drags him up and gets a rear waistlock but Togi headbutts him to get out and hits a bunch of clotheslines right in a row. Ishii remarkably stands back up after all this. Togi hits another clothesline and a German suplex with a bridge but can't get the pinfall. Togi scoops him up backward on the top turnbuckle and delivers the spider suplex! He climbs up to deliver the king Kong knee drop but Ishii moves! As they get up Togi charges but gets met with some kicks for that. They meet with running clotheslines that go nowhere before they just start headbutting each other Ishii gets in a running clothesline for a two count. He hits the sliding low clothesline and still only gets a two count. He finally nails the brainbuster and scores the victory! We are back from commercial with some studio words from Goto. He knew he had to win here, even if it would take some work to move on. He says the smaller the opponent is, the better for him and his power moves so thinks works out well for him. A Block: Hirooki Goto (10 points) vs. Naomichi Marufuji (10 points) Both guys have a good chance of taking this thing but they have to get by each other first. As we've seen, both men will tear you up and not stop until the match is over so I am looking forward to this one! Marufuji comes out first wearing the GHC title that is once again, pretty much ignored. For him to win the block he has to win here, Bad Luck Fale has to lose, and Okada has to win in the second hour to win by competition tie breaker. Goto the warrior is out next as he marches to the ring. For him to go to the finals he has to win and the main event would have to go to a tie since both guys beat him in earlier matches. Tie breakers are a bitch sometimes. The bell rings and the crowd is chanting for something but I'm not sure what. They lock up and Goto immediately pushes Marufuji back in the ropes. he gives a clean break up Marufuji lands a high kick right to Goto's mouth. Goto retaliates with a headlock and gets shot into the ropes, but runs over Marufuji with his shoulder. Marufuji gets up as Goto hits the ropes and gets a leapfrog but doesn't get the armdrag. Goto rebounds off and hits Marufuji with a clothesline to send him outside the ring. Goto goes out after him and delivers an elbow to the back of Marufuji's neck and a kick. He tries to whip Marufuji into the barrier but Marufuji reverses is. Goto stops short but Marufuji comes flying over and drives Goto's head into the barrier! Marufuji tosses him into the ring and goes for a cover but only gets an one count. Marufuji locks in a chinlock now. Goto gets his foot on the rope and breaks it. Marufuji stands him up and lays in a shot right to the chest. They exchange big chops back and forth before Goto goes down. Marufuji lands some weak kicks to Goto's head before locking in a chinlock. Goto once again gets to the ropes for the break and Mary goes right back to the chops. He pulls Goto out of the corner and locks in a standing chinlock with an arm trap on Goto. Goto gets to the ropes for a break. Marufuji lands a chop but Goto fires back with more chops and is getting angry. Marufuji lands more chops but Goto just wants him to hit harder!  Marufuji lands more chops before a running hip attack. He tries for a suplex but Goto blocks it. Goto gets him up but Marufuji slides out and lands a chop to the chest. He hits the ropes but Goto delivers a strong side kick to knock him down.  Goto lays in some forearm shots before whipping Marufuji into the buckle and lands a spin side kick in the corner and right into a side suplex. Goto lands a running clothesline in the corner and then goes up! He lands a big elbow and gets a two count on the pin attempt. He scoops Marufuji up for a fireman's carry but Marufuji escapes that. Goto elbows him and sends him into the ropes but Mary counters with a dropkick leading Goto to roll outside the ring. Mary gets a running start and launched over the top rope to splash onto Goto! We come back from break as both guys are on the floor. Marufuji picks him up and lays in some chops. Goto grabs hold and whips him into the barrier but Marufuji blocks himself and sneaks up on the ring apron as Goto rolls back into the ring. Marufuji springboards in with a big dropkick to get a two count. They are back on their feet as they exchange strikes now. Marufuji with his chops and Goto with his forearms. Goto gets the better of it but he goes to the ropes and Marufuji counters it. He goes to the ropes again and Mar counters it again. He tries a waistlock but it is broken by Marufuji who lands a kick right to the mouth! Marufuji goes for a big spin kick but Goto catches him by the back of the head and drives Marufuji down onto the knee backward. They both struggle to get up and Goto goes for the running strike but Marufuji moves and lands a bicycle knee to the jaw. Mary goes for sliced bread but Goto pushes him into the corner. Marufuji comes back with kicks right to Goto's head. Marufuji goes for sliced bread again but Goto grabs a waistlock and tries for a suplex but Marufuji elbows out. He lands some kicks but goes for a bicycle knee and Goto just headbutts him out of the air! Goto hits the ushigoroshi and goes for the cover but only gets two!  Hew picks Marufuji up for the GTR but Marufuji counters out and lands a kick to the jaw.  Marufuji lands another kick and then a bicycle knee for the cover but only gets two. He goes for sliced bread but Goto counters it into a sleeper hold! Marufuji tries a shoulder roll but Goto hangs on! Goto picks him up and lands the GTR and scores the pin! Backstage Marufuji is disappointed for not winning but still made a good showing for the NOAH fans. Goto says we will have to wait and see what happens now. Studio words as he said he just had to wait and see. He felt a lot more at ease with things after joining CHAOS and for the G1 so he was in a good position. In action we did not see, Bad Luck Fale lost to Tama Tonga so Fale is eliminated from winning block A. We get a graphic for Jan Ross, Jim Ross's dear wife who passed away this past week from injuries from an auto accident. We are greeted by Tanahashi. Studio words as Tanahashi talks about tearing the muscle in his arm and making the comeback. He had a slow start to this tournament but bounced back. He like Nagata now as he is 40 and Okada is only 29. A Block: Kazuchika Okada (10 points) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (10 points) And it all comes down to this. The two biggest names in New japan right now fighting it out in the final match of block A. With Marufuji and Fale out, a winner here gets the block. A tie and Goto takes it. Okada comes out first with Gedo in his corner as we are going the full hour for this one. Okada is the champion here but the belt is not on the line.  Tanahashi comes out next and unlike last time, he actually looks awake this time around.  Gear comes off and we go to break. Back as the bell rings. Lock up. Okada gets the armlock but reversed into a headlock and takeover. Okada breaks and the crowd chants for both. Lock up again and Okada gets him into the ropes for the chest pat break, but Tanahashi reverses and goes for the same, but Tanahashi slaps him in the face! Okada gets a shoulder tackle and a leapfrog. Okada goes into a roll up and gets a neckbreaker and a missile dropkick! He lands the big elbow and calls for the rainmaker early! He goes for it but Tanahashi gets the small package! Two count. Dropkick right to the knee by Tanahashi. He bumps his head landing though and rolls outside. Okada goes out and just rolls him back in, though. He slams Tanahashi down and gets in a slingshot senton. Cover only gets one. Okada sits down and hooks Tanahashi's legs and picks him up in a pendulum pin attempt and Tanahashi keeps having to fight to keep his shoulders off the mat. Okada makes a traditional cover and gets a one count. As they get up Tanahashi lays in some shots but Okada shoots him into the ropes. He tries the big boot but Tanahashi catches the foot. Okada punches out. Tanahashi tries a big boot but Okada catches it. Tanahashi hits again and Okada tries the foot and Tanahashi dropkicks him right in the knee. Tanahashi goes to work on the leg with kicks and stomps on the thigh before locking in a shinlock before Okada gets to the ropes. We come back from break Tanahashi working the leg more and locks in an Indian deathlock. Okada lands some chops. JR asks why America doesn't do Tournaments this way, sadly he knows the answers to that. JR helped book Starrcade 1989 and he even couldn't keep track as he was broadcasting it at the time. Both guys get up and Tanahashi gets Okada in the corner. Tanahashi comes running out and gets a body dropped by Okada. Running forearm by Okada as he lands a back elbow. Okada gets a corner whip and lands a back elbow into a DDT. He gets the rolling forearm but only gets two. Okada locks in red ink! Okada is screaming for Tanahashi to submit but Tanahashi crawls over to the ropes and breaks the hold. Kick to the knees but Okada gets in the forearm. Okada goes for the elbow but Tanahashi moves. Both guys down. Back up as they fire forearms back and forth. Kick by Okada. Whip by Tanahashi but charge misses. Okada sets him up and lands the big dropkick to send Tanahashi to the floor! Tanahashi into the barrier and Okada goes for the running boot but Tanahashi catches it and ties him up on the barrier and gives him the dragon screw! Now both legs are hurting. Tanahashi rolls back into the ring and goes up top and lands the high fly flow to Okada on the floor! Back from break with both on the floor. Tanahashi rolls in first as Okada is in bad shape but Tanahashi goes out and breaks the count. Okada catches him and gets the tombstone! Tanahashi is out! Count goes on but Okada rolls in at 17. Tanahashi gets in at 19.  Okada on the apron and goes for the big dropkick but Tanahashi moves and gets in the screw leg whip on the right leg, then gets another on the left leg! Tanahashi tries for the cloverleaf but Okada gets to the ropes before the hold is on. Tanahashi gets some kicks and goes for the ropes but Okada catches him and goes for the tombstone but Tanahashi kicks out of it. Okada gets him up for heavy Rain but Tanahashi counters! Tanahashi locks in a suplex and a bridge but Okada kicks out. Tanahashi goes up but Okada hits him with a forearm. Okada goes up. Okada tries for something but Tanahashi keeps fighting. Tanahashi hammers the forearm and Okada falls off. Okada counters the high fly flow attempt and lands a couple of dropkicks to the face. He goes for the rainmaker but Tanahashi lands the slingblade! Back from the break as we are told we only have less than 8 minutes in this match left. Tanahashi goes for a charge but Okada scoops him onto the apron. They exchange forearms back and forth Okada goes for the boot but Tanahashi catches the boot and gets the dragon screw on him. Tanahashi hits it again! Tanahashi comes back in and locks in the cloverleaf. Tanahashi keeps pulling him away from the ropes but Okada powers out. Okada and Tanahashi exchange strikes Okada whips in but misses the dropkick. Tanahashi whiffs the slingblade. Tanahashi goes up and hits the flow onto the back! He goes up for a second one but Okada gets his knees up! Both guys get up and Tanahashi tries for a dragon suplex but Okada counters into a tombstone but Tanahashi counters and lands the tombstone! Tanahashi gets in a neckbreaker and goes for the flow again but Okada counters with the dropkick! Okada misses the rainmaker and Tanahashi lands a slap but Okada lands the suplex. Okada tries the rainmaker but Tanahashi counters with the slap. Rainmaker hits it but Tanahashi counters into a suplex as time is running out! Okada gets in the tombstone but can't get the pin! Tanahashi counters the rainmaker into a slingblade as he goes up and lands the body press and he goes up again as we are less than 10 seconds! He lands the hit and goes for the cover as the time runs out! 1 point each as Goto wins the block! Both guys and the ref are exhausted! Wow, what a final for the block. We come back from break with both guys still scraping each other off the mat. They both need help getting out of the ring and the crowd applauds both men. Backstage Okada is disappointed. He knows he still has to defend the belt and the next step is the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi is on the floor. He thinks he didn't recover fast enough and that cost him the tournament. The truth is he just returned from the injury and was going to celebrate by taking the block. Goto asks if anyone thought he'd take the block He will show everyone the world of Goto. In the studio, Tanahashi talks about the match being a great deal of pressure. He wanted to set things clearer. He wanted to show every move hand meaning and could connect. He was disappointed in losing even if it wasn't injury free. He still got his confidence back. A big time 2-hour block here with 4 great matches. I don't blame them for not showing the Fale/Tonga match as not only would it have made things more confusing, but doesn't sound like it was very good anyway. They got the point across and did a decent job explaining it. Next week we find out who faces Goto in the final! Before we split there are a few more things I'd like to touch on. First a shout out to Mauro Ranallo who has been under doctors orders this week at home. Hope to hear back from you soon boss. Smackdown isn't as fun without you! And also in an update to our friend Tomoaki Honma who was injured very scarily in a match earlier this month. We finally got to hear from the big guy himself when he released this statement from the hospital:   Hi everyone, it’s Kokeshi.  First of all, I want to apologize for causing everyone so much worry after what happened at the match in Okinawa.    Jado’s DDT that match was definitely the hardest one I’ve ever felt. After it hit, I noticed I couldn’t feel anything below my neck. I could hear everyone rush to my side, but I couldn’t hear my own voice. I tried to speak, but nothing…Then little by little, things went black. “Ahhh, guess this is what it’s like, crossing the river Styx,” I thought. That’s when I heard a voice calling me. It was an enlightening experience to say the least.    I’ve been able move my feet and hands quite a bit since then, but currently I’m still paralyzed from the neck down. So the staff is kindly typing this journal entry for me. While my body may be what it is now, I’m getting better day by day. I’ll focus on my rehabilitation and be back in the NJPW ring for sure. Nothing can quell this burning desire I have to get back in there.  Pro wrestling is not broken or at fault here. This was simply an accident between two professionals.    To Jado,  I don’t know if you read these journals, and I don’t know if I should say this or not… but I’ll say it anyway: I’m coming back stronger than before, tanner than before, more oiled up than before! You’ll see me standing before you Jado, so just you wait!    I won’t lose, ever! I’ll be back in the ring to tell you all, “Kokeshi is happy! All together now, let’s be happy!”   Tomoaki Honma     May the gods bless the Kokeshi with a speedy and full recovery!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Wrapping up one side of the bracket
Hello and welcome to another edition of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight we once again have two big hours as we wrap up the A block in the G1 26 tournament. We are at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo on August 13, 2016 and Day 17 for tonight's night of action!

Strong Style: This will be good!

Mar 18 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35623:6147:0[/embed] Hour 1:  July 22, 2016, Koruken Hall, Tokyo. G1 night 2.  Since this is the first night of Block B. No one has any points. We are greeted by Yoshi-Hashi Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yuji Nagata Naito is the leader of Los Ingobernables and the winner of the G1 in 2013 while Yuji represents the older generation guys, having won this tournament in 2001. Naito can bring the explosive and quick offense, but his "tranquilo" often means he wastes time, while Yuji has the experience and has a style that will stretch Naito to the limit. Since we are at the Sumo Hall, the entrances are real short. Naito comes out in his white suit and Skeletor Mask while Yuji marches right to the ring. Bell rings and while Yuji is ready to fight, Naito, of course, hangs around the ropes and dicks around. JR mentions that Yuji is 48 years old at this point. We finally have a lock up. Naito gets the waistlock but Yuji counters right around into and armbar then into a full nelson back into a wristlock. Naito flips out of it and reverses but Yuji counters out with a kick. Naito gives Yuji the Nagata salute, but Yuji just gives it back to him. They square off and Yuji gets a Greco-Roman lock but Naito backs into the ropes. Yuji gives him a clean break and Naito smirks at him. as they come into the center, Yuji lands a few kicks to Naito's knees, but Naito kicks him in the guts, hammers on him, and then rakes the eyes. As this is going on JR is rambling on about their haircuts. Naito whips Yuji in and goes for a clothesline but Yuji ducks it. Nagata fakes a leap and spooks Naito but Yuji lands a low kick to the leg. Nice. Yuji shoots the ropes but Naito nails him with a dropkick to the leg. Naito slips out to the floor and grabs Nagata's leg, snapping it on the apron of the ring. Naito then sends Yuji to the metal barrier. Naito hooks the leg on the barrier and goes to work on it as honest to god JR is rambling on about going to school with Abe Lincoln and Steve Douglas. I swear he just doesn't care anymore. Naito lands a dropkick right to the side of Yuji's knee. We skip ahead as both guys are back in the ring. They are exchanging forearm shots before Naito scoops him up and drops Yuji down to his knees. Naito bounces off the ropes but Nagata catches him in a big suplex throw! They get up and Yuji just lays in the sidekicks, driving Naito into the corner. Yuji lands some stuff forearm shots before sending Naito to the opposite corner and a high boot to the face. Yuji catches him with an exploder suplex and goes for the cover, only to get two. Yuji tries for a suplex but Naito dead weights him. Yuji tries for a kick but Naito kicks him in the leg first. Naito starts slapping Yuji in the head for some stupid reason. He rebounds off the ropes but Yuji tries for a kick only to get caught. Naito lays in some forearm shots of his own. Yuji just answers back with a bunch of teeth rattlers of his own but Naito counters with the shot to the knee and then a neckbreaker. Naito goes out to the apron and climbs up top and lands the missile dropkick and goes for the cover, but only gets a two count. Back from commercial, as Naito gets some weak head kicks just to be a dick. Nagata whipped into the corner and Naito gets in his trip dropkick combo and actually lands Gloria but Nagata kicks out. Nagata counters and gets the white-eyes armlock. He then rolls Naito over and locks in the armbar but Naito gets to the ropes. Hard kick by Nagata. Another kick. Nagata wrenches the arm again but Naito just spits on Yuji. You don't do a vet like that! Yuji tosses him into the corner and just kicks the hell out of him. Naito catches the legs into a victor roll into a kneebar! Yuji is fighting it but he gets to the ropes! Naito is almost smiling now. He kicks the knee a bunch of times but Yuji keeps fighting. Naito lands an enziguri and a high forearm. he goes for destino but Yuji counters it. Nagata gets in a suplex. He goes for the cover but Naito kicks out. Yuji tries the side suplex but Naito counters. They exchange forearm shots and palm strikes but Yuji gets the side suplex and cradle but Naito kicks out! Yuji goes for the big kick but misses. Naito goes for a big kick but misses! Yuji locks in the side suplex and gets the win for 2 big points! Block B: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomoaki Honma Shibata is the NEVER Champion here and is known for being an ass kicker. Honma is, of course, the lovable loser who lives and dies by his kokeshi headbutt. However spotty his record is, especially in the G1 tournaments, Honma will give you a fight and never give up. We get the quick intros as Honma is out first. Shibata is the NEVER champion but doesn't even come out with the belt. Bell rings and the run right into each other and starts launching bombs! Forearms and uppercuts flying away. Honma goes for the headbutt and misses. Shibata launches a kick but misses. Shibata with a snapmare and into a chinlock. Shibata locks in a leg scissors. Honma gets to the ropes and breaks, but Shibata lays in some stomps. Honma crawls to the corner. Shibata lays in some slaps and that just fires Honma up!  He grabs Shibata and starts laying in forearms but then starts stomping a mudhole in him in the corner. Shibata bails out of the ring. Honma follows him out and throws him right into the metal barrier. He throws him into it again and then lands a running clothesline to send him over the top. Honma goes back in the ring as the count starts, but decides better and goes back out to bring Shibata back in the ring. he wants to win! Honma lands some chops on the seated Shibata but he just brushes them off like nothing. Another chop and Shibata actually dares Honma to hit him harder. Honma actually aims some strikes right to the throat now but Shibata just decks him and sends Honma down. He whips Honma into the buckle and starts throwing forearm strikes. Shibata tries the whip but Honma reverses it and hits a clothesline. Honma tries the whip but Shibata reverses it and follows up with a running boot to the head. Honma shakes it off quickly and hits Shibata with a straight headbutt. Shibata stumbles back and Honma hits a running headbutt. We return from commercial to have both guys get to their knee and start a forearm duel. They get up and standing but keep going back and forth until Shibata gains the advantage. Shibata gets an underarm choke and latches on with a body scissors. Crowd cheers for Honma as he gets up and muscles Shibata into a tombstone piledriver! Wow! Both guys need to ropes to get up as Honma charges first right into a knee to the gut. Shibata tries the cover but gets two. Shibata gets in a suplex but Honma is right back up and lands a big clothesline! Honma lands the headbutt off the ropes but cover gets two. Tombstone piledriver by Honma, but Shibata gets right back up. Honma lands a neck breaker. He goes up top for the big one and lands the kokeshi! He makes the cover and gets the three count! Two points for Honma! Shibata rolls out of the ring clutching his shoulder in pain. Honma actually goes out and brings him back in the ring for a handshake but Shibata isn't having any of that and gives Honma a glare. Honma just tosses him right back out again. Honma grabs the mic. He tells Shibata to clean out his ears and listen. Just because he won once, this isn't the end. He wants a title match. He says there is nothing wrong with a lucky guy winning the G1. Kokeshi is happy! Studio words from Yoshi as he is my favorite guy in NJPW right now actually. Hope to see big things from him someday. He was surprised that he got in as he was not told until the announcement for the participants. We see some clips of him from the press conference. Kenny is his kind of opponent. Powerful and explosive. Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs.  Kenny Omega Yoshi is considered a junior member of CHAOS, being that he came into the group as Okada's tag team partner and still learning his craft. He will put on a good show, even if he really hasn't broken through to be a big star of his own yet. Omega is the leader of the Bullet Club and recently held the Intercontinental Title. Yoshi has a big hill to climb here, no doubt about it. Kenny comes out first and he has a broom in hand because he's "The Cleaner". Josh makes a reference to Perry Saturn's WWF run when he carried a mop. It gets even more bizarre when JR goes on to say the difference was, Saturn's mop had a name (Moppy) and Omega's does not, so Omega can't sell any T-shirts or gimmicks about it. I am not making this up. However, it is also noted that Kenny is out here alone. JR speculates that it's because Kenny thinks Yoshi isn't worth it, but as I have said before, the guys in the G1 typically don't have flunkies outside to interfere for them to make the matches better. Yoshi makes his entrance and JR and Josh talk abut how much Yoshi is the underdog here. The bell rings and a Kenny chant starts up almost immediately. Kenny himself even seems surprised. Once the chant dies down we have the lock up. Ken gets the wristlock and a few slaps right away. Omega gets another wristlock but Yoshi counters with a few forearms but Ken gets in a shot. Headlock by Kenny. Omega sent into the ropes and they criss-cross with leapfrogs and cartwheels before Yoshi gets in the big armdrag. Kenny slides outside to the floor but Yoshi hits him with a sliding kick that sends him into the barrier. Yoshi whips him into the guardrail hard. He tries it a second time but Kenny blocks it and sends him into the ring apron a few times before driving him into the metal barrier. Kenny then pulls up the floor mat and dumps it on Yoshi before scrambling up to the top rope and diving off with the double stomp! Yoshi gets the mat off himself but doesn't roll into the ring until the count of 18. Omega is right on top of Yoshi with a cover but only gets a two count. He picks Yoshi up and slams him to the mat and hops up to the middle turnbuckle and gets a moonsault for another two count. Kenny lands a takeover and a middle rope moonsault for a two count. He pulls Yoshi into the corner and chokes him with the boot. Chop to the neck and then an elbow by Omega. Kenny whips him into the buckle hard. Kenny tries to charge but Yoshi counters with a kick. He tries to get something going but Kenny stops that with a few forearms. Kenny tries for the piledriver but Yoshi counters that and tries again to launch offense but Kenny ends that with some chops. Kenny whips him into the ropes and tries for a clothesline, but Yoshi ducks it and lands his running blockbuster! We come back from the commercial as Yoshi lands an elbow and then a running elbow in the corner. Yoshi gets a neckbreaker on Kenny and goes for the cover, but only gets two. Yoshi tries for a slam but Kenny gets out of it and they both hit the ropes but Kenny gets in a superkick to stun Yoshi. Kenny gets in a snapdragon suplex and then hits another one!  He deadlifts Yoshi up on his shoulders and gets in the big powerbomb! Yoshi kicks out of the pin, though. Omega is ready to finish him off but Yoshi escapes his grasp and hits a clothesline. Yoshi scoops him up and gets in a big powerbomb into a cradle, but again only gets two. Yoshi slams Omega down and goes up the ropes. He tries for a Swanton but Kenny gets his knees up to counter. Kenny throws a few knee strikes and goes for the one-winged angel again but Yoshi slides out from a roll up to get a two count. Kenny scrambles to get the angel in again but this time Yoshi counters it into a DDT! Yoshi scrambles back up the ropes and nails the senton this time and gets a close two count. Yoshi locks in a neck lock of sorts and Omega has to scramble to get to the ropes. As they get up Yoshi locks in the waist and tries for a suplex but Kenny counters out with some back elbow strikes. The grip is freed and Kenny lands a stepping knee strike right to Yoshi's jaw. Kenny whips him into the ropes but misses the clothesline. Yoshi comes out and hits the axe bomber! He tries for a sleeper hold on The Cleaner and tries for a pin but Kenny kicks out again. Yoshi then picks the cleaner up and looks to get a pump handle slam but instead drops him on his head in a new move called "karma"! He covers and gets the three count! Two big points for Yoshi-Hashi!! He gives a small Nakamura pose as he has his hand raised. Backstage Yoshi says that no one expected him to win over Kenny Omega. People now know he can fight and is not just there to make everyone else look good. Things will change now for him. He's had his new finisher stored up for a while but used it as a surprise for Omega. Studio words from Yoshi as he says that everyone though Omega would win but things turned out differently. He learned his new move in training with the other CHAOS guys and that Okada and Ishii thought the move would serve him well. He did the Nakamura tribute because Kenny beat Shinsuke in his last match and he thought it fitting. He says that New Japan was like a big swamp full of talent. If you didn't fight you would be sunk. He fought hard to get this spot in the G1, and he would keep fighting. In other G1 matches, we didn't see Katsuhiko Nakajima beat Toru Yano and Evil pinned Michael Elgin. So on this first day for Block B, Evil/Nakajima/Honma/Nagata/Yoshi get two big points while Yano/Elgin/Naito/Shibata/Omega have zip. We are onto hour two!  We jump WAY ahead as we are at day 13 (day seven for the Block A guys) of the G1 taking place on August 6, 2016, at the Osaka Prefecture Gymnasium in Osaka! Since we've jumped so far ahead in Block A, here is how the points stand up. Okada: 10, Marafuji/Makabe: 8, Tanahashi/Fale/Goto: 6,  Tonga/Sanada/Tenzan/Ishii: 4 We are greeted by Ishii who pulls up a chair. sits down, and says nothing because he is a bad ass and you know what you're watching. Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi (6 points) vs. Naomichi Marafuji (8 points) The "ace" of New Japan takes on the GHC Champion of NOAH. Tanahashi has the G1 edge as he has won it in 2007 and 2015. Tanahashi has been having shoulder issues while we saw last week Marafuji dominated Okada. After Hiroshi lost his opener, he lost twice more before pulling out 3 wins in a row to get back in the race. Marufuji enters this with a record of 4-2 so he is still in it as well. Marufuji enters first still with his GHC belt. He is ready to go. They actually acknowledge it this time. Tanahashi comes out next again with no bandage on the shoulder. He honestly looks like he hasn't slept as he seems to just go through the motions and doesn't put as much effort into his entrance. Bell rings and there is a stare down. Lock up and backed into the ropes. Tanahashi gives him a clean break but Marufuji tries for some kicks but Tanahashi blocks them.  Lock up again as Tanahashi gets a waistlock. Marufuji gets inside for the leg takedown and goes for an ankle lock but Tanahashi rolls onto him and gets a leg scissors. He nearly gets a triangle but they break cleanly. Lock up again as Tanahashi gets the headlock. Marufuji shoots him off and gets hit with a shoulderblock. Tanahashi gets a waistlock but Marufuji counters but Tanahashi gets the leg trip and pulls him into the corner and snaps the leg on the post. That escalated quickly. Hiroshi locks in a leglock and cranks on it before letting go. He lands some kicks to the leg a few times. Ace isn't messing around tonight! Back from the break as Tanahashi is standing tall. He slams Marufuji's knee down onto his own leg before going into an Indian deathlock. Marufuji lands a few chops to the chest but Tanahashi isn't breaking the hold. Marufuji gets to the ropes to break. Tanahashi to the apron and goes for the legs whip but Marufuji lands the knee! Marufuji to the apron and piledrives him right on the apron! We skip ahead with both guys back in the ring as Marufuji chops Tanahashi. Whip in but Tanahashi gets the forearm! He lands some elbows and strikes. He gets the big slam and hits the middle rope senton. Cover gets two. Tanahashi goes to whip Marufuji in but Marufuji counters and lands a dropkick. Tanahashi to the apron again and tries to leg whip Marufuji again but Marufuji counters into a dropkick! Marufuji lines up for a dive but it lands awkwardly for both guys as he looked to be avoiding the metal barrier. Tanahashi throws him into the barrier but Marufuji blocks and slips in the ring and catches Tanahashi with a dropkick back in the ring. Marufuji for the cover but gets two. They exchange chops back and forth and both guys' chests are beet red!  Marufuji gets the advantage and begs Tanahashi to chop him some more! Tanahashi gets in the forearms. Marufuji tries a spin kick but Tanahashi catches it and lands the leg whip! Back from the commercial, both guys struggle to get up. Tanahashi misses a knee in the corner and Marufuji lands a step-up knee strike. Marufuji lands a superkick but only gets two.  He tries for sliced bread but Tanahashi counters. He lands a few kicks but Marufuji goes for it again but Tanahashi drives him down with a downward clothesline. Never seen that counter before. Tanahashi gets the german suplex but only gets two on the bridge. Tanahashi lands the slingblade clothesline as he goes up for the body splash but Marufuji lands the mid-air dropkick to the stomach!  Marufuji lands a spin kick right to the face but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin attempt. Marufuji locks up a fisherman's buster but Tanahashi counters into a neckbreaker! Marufuji lands the kick to the face but Tanahashi lands the slingblade! Back and forth action! He goes up and lands the body splash to put him down. He goes right back up and lands the high fly flow to get the three count! THAT was a match!   Tanahashi grabs the mic and says he is finally back in Osaka. He's had a slow start in the tournament but is right back in the thick of it. Studio words from Ishii. He had a reputation of losing and things hadn't gone well. He wants to see how good Okada has become. He had to win though and was willing to knock him out on the outside to win any way he can. Block A: Tomohiro Ishii (4 points) vs. Kazuchika Okada (10 points) CHAOS explodes as it's big bruiser takes on the kingpin and IWGP world Champion. Okada has the edge here as he has won the G1 in 2012 and 2014. Ishii needs a win as he is only 2-4 at this point and a loss here would pretty much eliminate him. After losing to Marufuji on the first day, Okada went on to beat his next five opponents to take the lead in block A. Ishii comes out first and looking to do some damage.  Okada is out next as we get an update on the points of these two. Gedo is out with him. Okada won five in a row leading to this match as if Ishii was behind the 8-ball already. Barnett makes a point that while Okada is on a winning streak, he could be really beaten up and trying to hide it. Bell rings and Ishii stands strong. Lock up as Okada gets him right to the ropes, chest pat but Ishii glares at him. Teammates or not, don't mess around with Ishii. Okada gets a headlock but Ishii hits a tackle and goes for the cover. He lands the short clothesline and goes for the brainbuster early but Okada gets out and goes for the rainmaker. Ishii ducks that and scoops Okada up and hits a shoulder breaker. Okada rolls outside. Ishii rolls out on the other side but walks around. Ishii takes hold but tosses him right back in. Surprise. Headbutt right to the ear. Not a surprise. Chop by Ishii and another big chop. A third big shop! Okada comes out with forearms. he tries to go to the ropes but Ishii gets the scoop slam! Back from the break, Okada is down. Ishii gives some petty kicks to the head. He kicks Okada and lands a chop just to wake the champ up for more fighting. Okada dares Ishii to hit him again!  Okada gets floored by more chops but gets up with some forearms, but Ishii gets in the headbutt and lands chop after chop on Okada. More headbutt to the ear. Okada comes back with forearms but Ishii stops him. Whip in the ropes and Okada gets the boot and then the flapjack. Forearms by Okada. Ishii tries to whip but Okada ducks and gets another forearm. He gets the shotgun kick and goes for the cover but doesn't get it. Okada sends him to the corner and gets a kick and a DDT. Okada gets in an elbow and goes for the cover and gets two. Slam on Ishii and he goes up for the Randy Savage elbow but Ishii gets up and goes for him. Okada leaps over but Ishii grabs him into a backdrop suplex. Ishii drags him to the corner and chops the chest a bunch of times. Okada counters with some forearms and then sets Ishii up on the top turnbuckle. Okada is able to launch his high dropkick and catches Ishii in the chest. Ishii falls off the buckle but something catches and he is hung there for a few seconds before falling to the floor. Okada sends Ishii into the barrier and then lands a running kick to send Ishii out on the bare floor. If that wasn't enough Okada grabs hold of him and drags him over the barrier for a hanging DDT. Okada however, returns the favor from earlier and makes sure to toss Ishii back in the ring at the count of 16. Okada gets the slam and goes up for the elbow and lands it! Rainmaker pose and Ishii jumps up with a chop right to Okada's throat!  Told you, don't mess with Ishii!  He hits the neck again with a chop and a release German suplex. Ishii gets the running clothesline in the corner and gets a powerbomb! Cover but Okada kicks out! Ishii goes for a running clothesline but Okada gets the foot up. Ishii goes for another clothesline but Okada scoops him up and hits the F-5! We come back from an ill-timed commercial as both guys are trying to get up. Boot by Okada and Ishii doesn't care. He lands the headbutt. Okada tries to go for the tombstone piledriver but Ishii isn't going to budge. Okada whips him and tries for the dropkick but Ishii holds on to the ropes with Okada crashing to the mat. Ishii lands his own standing dropkick! He sets Okada up on the buckle. He goes up top and lands the superplex! Cover only gets two! Ishii lands the sliding lariat and cover only gets two!  Ishii gets up and goes for the brainbuster but Okada counters with the knee. Okada tries a strike but Ishii counters but Okada hits the dropkick to the back! Cannonball dropkick sends Ishii down. Okada lands the sliding dropkick. Another and another. A fourth one, cover only gets two as Ishii kicks out! Okada scoops up for the tombstone again but Ishii blocks it by grabbing the knee pad and stomps the foot. He lands some forearms and whips Okada in, but Okada lands the big dropkick! Rainmaker misses and Ishii gets in the enziguri! Ishii tries the clothesline but Okada ducks. He goes for the rainmaker but Ishii tries his own. Okada ducks and Ishii lands the headbutt. He tries again for the Tombstone but Ishii can't be picked up. Ishii scoops him up and lands the tombstone of his own (and damn near kills Okada doing it). He lands the clothesline. Cover only gets two! Ishii lands the brainbuster and scores the win! Two big points for Ishii! Backstage Okada says he got beat. He thought adding Goto to CHAOS would add strength but looks like it wasn't needed. Ishii says that this win keeps the dream alive and that is all he has to say. Studio words as Ishii says that during the match it didn't matter if it was Okada or not. He felt how strong Okada had become as champion. He had barely hung on but got the win. He has to be aggressive in the matches he has left if he hopes to win. In Block A tournament action from this night we didn't see: Tama Tonga beat Sanada, Bad Luck Fale beat Togi Makabe, and Hirooki Goto beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan. So Block A points are: Okada: 10 points, Tanahashi/Makabe/Fale/Marufuji/Goto: 8 points, Ishii/Tonga: 6 points, Tenzan/Sanada: 4 points. Some great action from both shows. While the first hour seemed rushed, the matches were still good. The second hour was unbelievable as both matches delivered. But once again, as I say every year, the G1 shows the weakness of these shows as while the action is good, trying to follow these long points driven tournaments are insane. The announcers do an admirable job keep up with the scoring, but to big of leaps just don't make this format work for it, especially with Jim Ross rambling on about mops and t-shirts. See you next week for more action!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
More action from the G1 26
Hello everyone and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we got a double shot of action as we continue our look at the G1 tournament 26. Last week we took a look at the first night of action from Block A. This week we get our first look at Block B and our second hour looks at some BIG matches from Block A. So let's get things started!

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Spider-Man Edition

Mar 12 // Red Veron
[embed]35610:6155:0[/embed] Supaidman Trailer from Marvel.com A trailer from when Marvel hosted the videos of full episodes of the show on their site years ago. They're not available anymore but someone uploaded them on YouTube and you can check it out below.   [embed]35610:6154:0[/embed] Supaidaman Intro The intro from the show and is full of that Japanese action show goodness from 1970's.   [embed]35610:6151:0[/embed] Supaidaman Episode 1 & 2 First two episodes of the show. Enjoy!   [embed]35610:6152:0[/embed] Supaidaman's Giant Robot "Marveller" A clip of the aforementioned giant robot from the show. They added a giant robot to the show at the time fearing that Spider-Man alone would not sell to Japanese kids. This robot is the reason Super Sentai (and Power Rangers) has giant transforming robots, which was a first in a live action TV show.   [embed]35610:6153:0[/embed] Stan Lee talks about Supaidaman The legend himself, Stan Lee, talks about Spider-Man being adapted by the Japanese in the late 1970's. I can only imagine what he must really have thought back in the day with some Japanese person turning his relatable-everyday-nerd-superhero into a guy who has alien blood induced super powers and a giant robot. What do you think of this adaptation? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
YEAH, YEAH, YEAAAAHHH!!! WOW!
Power Rangers is one of the most cleverly disguised cultural import the US has ever received from Japan, taking Japanese footage from Super Sentai and then mixing in some bad acting footage from US actors. We've taken a...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 20-22

Mar 12 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 20  We are back to Hell in the Hole as the GWM willfully has their wrestlers kill each other to the delight of a bunch of rich people in a posh house. We pick up where we left off as Takuma (Tiger The Dark without his gear) and Kevin Anderson have teamed up against the veterans of Odin and Billy The Kidman. We are interrupted with more bullcrap concerning Naoto and Ruriko. Naoto visited Fuji in the hospital and Fuji tells Naito that not everyone in the hospital was thrilled with her as a nurse. Turns out her father is the hospital's director and while she wanted to help people, she is so well off she doesn't need to work at all. Naoto doesn't take it well for some reason as the thought of her being so well off makes him feel bad. Yeah, I don't entirely get it either. Anyway back to the real plot here as the four guys are squared off. Things are at a standstill when Red Death Mask shows up. He makes an interesting offer that whoever of the four to turn on their friend and join him would be spared and get te table while the other three would not. Odin freaks out and asks to join the masked man (whispering to Billy to trust him) and that... doesn't go well. Red Death Mask doesn't last much longer thanks to the other three, but neither does Billy the Kidman.  They are rewarded with bottled water and Protein powder to rest up for the final push that leads them to the house with all the rich people in it and The Gatekeeper, a 7-foot tall monster named Blackout. They retrieve the key from him, they get to escape the mountain. They learned very quickly that Blackout isn't entirely what he seems. Takuma and Billy try their best but Blackout just tosses them around like nothing. Odin comes back and he actually does some damage with part of the table Red Death Mask had and actually gets the key. Blackout then has him. Odin fights back with the prize he won earlier, a lighter and... Blackout goes full Terminator! He crashes into the house and immediately goes after EVERYONE! Serves them right. Odin signals for Takuma and Billy to follow him, but not before Takuma watches big mysterious tiger guy stop Blackout with a suplex. We finish things off with Takuma and Billy on a plane heading for Madison Square Garden (how specific) and we see and injured Odin return to his grain fields and his Catherine. This was a great way to conclude this story! I really enjoyed it. And while the Odin storyline was a little last minute, seeing the payoff was nice and I teared up a bit for the poor guy. It played out well and dare I say it was the best payoff to a story yet in the series. I'm not sure if it's the end for all the other GWM guys involved, but if it is, at least it ended well. Episode 21 After last week's episode where we had some storyline progression and an ending to "Hell in the Hole," I think things are off the rails again, especially bad since we are closing in on the end of the second season. We start out with a comparison to what the two kitties are up to. Tiger Mask W is in the main event of a New Japan show teaming with Tanahashi against Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. Tiger and Tanahashi win to the roar of the crowd. Meanwhile elsewhere Tiger The Dark and Kevin Anderson are in an opening match against the Metal Brothers. Wow, do those guys looks familiar! Dark and Kevin win to an anemic response and apathetic crowd. However, the real info to be gathered here is that the mysterious new Tiger guy is named "The Third" and he is the GWM World Champion. He wrestles in the main event again Bigfoot. Uninspired name aside, he looks like a discolored Kinnikuman villain. I can tell right now that NJPW will dressed some gaijin up in that getup and have him wrestle Kota Ibushi in the next live action tiger Mask W match. Mr. X then notifies Tiger the Dark and Kevin they will be going to Japan for the next tour and after Mr. X tells Miss X to make sure the Japanese takeover actually happens this time, The Third says he's going to Japan too. Once at the Max Dome, Dark accidently gets tagged in the face by Kevin during a sparring session and goes to see the doctor. The doc tells him to take off his mask so he can treat Takuma, and when he does Ruriko walks in and recognizes him as "The pudding guy" from when he visited Fujii. She swears not to spill the beans on Tiger the Dark's identity. Meanwhile, Haruna has a meeting with Miss X. X wants a full participation in the next tour, and in a funny bit Haruna jokes about it being for herself. Haruna asks for a raise for tiger and Miss X just gives it to her. Yeah, That's not how it works! We get more whining from Naoto about Ruriko before we get to the night's matches when Tiger the Dark is facing Mike Rodriguez. Miss X tells Kevin Anderson that Tiger the Dark needs to connect with the fans more or else he won't get any higher than where he is. That never stops Roman Reigns! *ba dum pish*. Takuma says the hell with that, if he beats Tiger Mask the fans will just follow him and that is that. Tiger Mask, on the other hand, is facing El Caracas, a GWM Luchador that was one of the guys the GWM snatched from The mother of Saboten from a few episodes back. Tiger wins the match, but just barely and with a Chicken Wing submission oddly. After the match tiger confronts Caracas in the locker room and tells him he needs to go back to Mexico and his home wrestling company. This gathers a crowd in the hallway, including Tiger the Dark who tells him off by saying the strong takes all and the weak lose. Tiger Mask comes back with that the man hiding under that tiger mask couldn't beat him. You kinda asked for that one Naoto. They of course fight, but it is broken up. We end with Miss X saying that this will help hype up their match in the next tour. Ugh. this one was all over the place with all kinds of storylines. It tried to establish way too much in a single episode and was like a hyperactive ferret that someone gave a ring of cars keys to. And worse of all is, even with all that, we still don't know half of what is going on. The one thing this episode did accomplish as if we didn't already figure out, is that Naoto is kind of a little bitch. He mopes and complains because his kinda girlfriend is way richer than he is, and then gets all preachy to a guy he has never even met. Considering Caracas's response, he is probably getting paid a lot more money than he would from that insane woman and he probably needs to money for a damn good reason. I'm going to give this stuff some time to see it play out since we've still got some episodes left to make things clearer.   Episode 22 This episode shows what seems to be the big trade off that shows itself in this series. We have a single clear story to be told. It is a nice story that plays itself out from beginning to end. The trade off? It's a filler episode that has jack all to do with the overall plot. It is a nice story don't get me wrong, but it is completely forgettable in the long run. This episode centers around Fukuwara Mask. The big guy is talking with the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for a little town he likes to visit during his tours, but the town has fallen on hard times with all the shops closing and people leaving. So he comes up with the idea of holding a wrestling event called "The Fukuwara Wrestling Mishmash" and put up all kinds of posters for it. Too bad he hasn't actually asked anyone on those posters to be on the show. He basically cons Haruna by saying he knows about her being Spring Tiger and sweetens the deal with the fans voting for the MVP of the night getting 10 Million. So both Tiger Mask and Spring Tiger will be there. He then begs Yuji Nagata into getting some NJPW guys to go by promising to appear on the next tour for them. Later we see the few other wrestlers he has gathered along with them like The Candy Pair and Wakamatsu, along with a few other nameless shlubs. The guys hauling the ring are stuck in traffic, so Yuji calls up and has the IWGP ring rushed over instead. And you won't believe who is actually driving the truck! Tetsuya Naito and Evil?!? They have a weird thing with Naito as he shows up in the most random of times in this series, but this takes the cake. He is asked to be o the show, but he will only do so if he is in the main event. No problems there! We see some of the matches from the show. The Candy Pair (with Milk returning from her appendicitis from a few episodes back), take on Spring Tiger and some woman named Viper. Yuji Nagata and Wakamatsu taking on two unknown guys, and the main event of Tiger Mask and Fukuwara Mask taking on Naito and Evil. The match literally goes all over the place, but the good guys win out in the end. We wrap up with Haruna in a hot spring with the Candy Pair as she complains about Fukuwara winning the MVP of the night and the money by stuffing the ballot. Mint actually comes onto Haruna by saying she has a great body and should be a wrestler and little Haruna takes that with as much embarrassment that a comment like that would. Between that and feeling her up before Spring Tiger's debut, I'd say Mint has a thing for Haruna. Sure, this episode is pure filler. This won't lead to anything down the road. But damn if this was a fun little episode. This beat the Saboten luchador episode by a mile as it doesn't get too out there and keeps things believable. It's not trying to be something it's not. So while this is unimportant and filler, it is a nice episode to watch. The shows were enjoyable, but it showed the big weakness of the show. you either have clear stories being told, but completely useless, or you have muddled stuff where they cram in as much plot as they can into 20 something minutes. There really doesn't seem to be an end goal this season so we will have to see where all the meandering goes.
Tiger Mask W photo
We go to Hell and then a hot spring!
We are back as Tiger Mask W rolls on. The second season has been all over the place and doesn't seem to have much direction. Even though the plot advances in baby steps, we still get some storyline development. Naoto and Ruri...

Strong Style: G1 26 is here!

Mar 11 // Soul Tsukino
Have a look at who made the cut this year: [embed]35623:6147:0[/embed] We start things off with two hours of action from the first night of the tournament and Block A's action from July 16, 2016, along with the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. So with that, let's get to the action! We are greeted for the first show by Tenzan! Block A: Sanada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi Sanada is Los Ingobernables's killer. He was a dojo trainee at one time who left and trained under The Great Muta instead. He's made a big impact for the group but has an uphill battle here against Tanahashi who has won this tournament in 2007 and 2015. Being the "Ace" of New Japan Tanahashi is probably the man to beat in this tournament. I'm surprised they went with this one first. Cold Skull enters first, by himself. It's uncharacteristic of LIJ but one of the things about the G1 is that New Japan tends to keep these tournament matches to one on one so I'm not surprised here. JR explains the rules real quick during the entrance. Tanahashi is out next with his usual cheers. JR mentions Hiroshi's been out with a left shoulder injury and even missed last month's show because of it. The bell rings to start the match and Barnett mentions that both guys had trained under the Great Muta to some degree. Wonder how that will play out? Despite the injured shoulder, Tanahashi doesn't have it wrapped or bandaged at all. Tanahashi gets a waistlock, Sanada reverses into a headlock. Then he reverses into a full nelson into a hammerlock, and he reverses again-- no slouches here. Sanada goes for the dragon sleeper early and Tanahashi counters out real quick into a drop toe hold. Tanahashi uses a headlock. Shoot off gets nowhere for Sanada as Hiroshi hangs on. Shoot off again but Tanahashi gets the headlock right back on again. Another shoot off the ropes and Tanahashi wins a shoulder tackle. Sanada tries the hiptoss but Tanahashi gets it instead, and Tanahashi goes right back to the headlock on the mat. There's a turnover into a cover try by Sanada but Tanahashi counters. Into the corner, Sanada gets a kick. He whips Tanahashi into the opposite corner but when Sanada charges Hiroshi leaps over the top rope to the apron. When he tries to get back in Sanada gives him a straight kick right to the face! Tanahashi goes outside and Sanada tries to whip into the barrier but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi makes the charge but Sanada gives him a drop toe hold right into the barrier and Sanada goes right for the bad arm as he wraps it around the barrier and yanks on it. Back from a break, as Sanada rolls into the ring. Tanahashi gets in at 18 as Sanada gets in some shots on the arm as he kicks and stomps on it. Armbar as Tanahashi gets to his feet and gets some shots in. Tanahashi shoots off the ropes and Sanada wows the fans with two HIGH leapfrogs before delivering a high dropkick. Very nice! With Tanahashi down Sanada locks in a short arm scissors with his legs, but Hiroshi gets to the ropes. Sanada breaks the hold but lays in some kicks on the bad arm. Tanahashi tries to get up but an elbow to the bad shoulder puts him back down. Sanada lays in more strikes as Tanahashi gets up. Sanada whips him into the ropes but Tanahashi comes back with a flying forearm. He drives Sanada down with a slam and goes up to the second rope before landing the senton. A cover only gets a two count. Tanahashi tries the whip but it's reversed. He tries a low dropkick and misses, Sanada tries a standing moonsault but misses. Tanahashi gets in the dragon screw legwhip and then lands the low dropkick to send Sanada outside. He climbs up and delivers the high fly flow on the outside! Don't know who got the worst of that one. Tanahashi rolls right back in the ring and the count is on. Sanada gets on the apron and Tanahashi grabs the leg and gets the dragon screw again! He hits a dropkick to the leg and then another leg whip! Tanahashi goes right into the Texas cloverleaf and locks it in! He leans back hard on it but Sanada nearly gets to the rope but Tanahashi pulls him out. Sanada looks about to tap but he jerks forward and gets to the rope! Tanahashi whips Sanada into the corner but he counters into a springboard dropkick! Back from commercial, and both guys are down. They slowly get up and Sanada lands some forearms but Tanahashi kicks the leg. Sanada strikes the arm again but they go back and forth with forearm shots. They then switch to uppercuts. Hard thrown ones too. Sanada scoops him up and gets a cutter out of nowhere for a two count. He goes for the dragon sleeper but Tanahashi counters the move but Sanada counters that back into the sleeper and locks it in! Tanahashi nearly passes out and scrambles for the rope. He makes it and breaks the hold! Sanada goes up and nearly gets a moonsault but Tanahashi brings his knees up, but Sanada lands on his feet! He tries for a clothesline but Hiroshi ducks it. Tanahashi tries for one and Sanada ducks it. Tanahashi lands a slingblade and then another but only gets a two count. Tanahashi goes for a German suplex and he gets the bridge for two! He goes to the top rope and goes for the high fly flow but Sanada catches him into another cutter! Cover gets only two. Sanada slams him down and lands the snapping moonsault but it only gets a two count. Sanada lands another moonsault and locks in the dragon sleeper again! Tanahashi is screaming and Taps out! Sanada gets two points! What an upset! Backstage Tanahashi is on the floor. He's come back before and says it's all right. He hasn't lost sight of his goals. Sanada says this is just a checkpoint He won against the face of pro wrestling but there is more to go. Studio words from Tenzan. Good pick of host here has he is the more interesting story. He was surprised he identically wasn't in the tournament He tried to appeal to NJPW with all he's done in G1's past but no dice. He was happy his buddy Kojima gave up his spot, but with him initially being left out and him getting on in years, this might be his last go at it. He saw the comments people had online about why he was in and Kojima out so now he has to refute those fans who undercut him. Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Well, this will be a fight. Ishii is CHAOS's big bruiser. But in these tournaments, he sometimes ends up losing to some guys who are underneath him. Tenzan, on the other hand, is a three-time winner if the G1 (2003, 2004, 2006) but is a last minute replacement after his partner Satoshi Kojima stepped aside (and a hellish public workout) so that his friend could go on into the tournament. He's no spring chicken but he will give you a fight. No beauty contest here! Ishii comes out first as JR mentions Tenzan has been in more G1 tournaments than anyone this year and first appeared in the G1 10 years ago. Barnett mentions that Ishii is a tough draw because if you win or not, he's going to hurt you. Truth to that. Tenzan comes out with Kojima in his corner but I don't expect him to interfere. JR mentions Tenzan's 45 years old. He may be older, but he can still whoop your ass. Back from break, and the bell rings. Both look ready to go as they go right into the lock up. Push into the ropes as they reverse on the other as Ishii gets the chop. They just hit each other a few times as Tenzan gets the advantage with Ishii going down. They start whaling away at each other as Tenzan does his Mongolian chops and Ishii hits forearm shots, but Ishii goes down. A few kicks to the heads as Ishii is into the corner. Big forearm by Tenzan. Whip into the opposing corner but Ishii runs right over him with a shoulder block. he chops right to the throat and a few to the chest and another one right in the throat. Man, Ishii is not messing around tonight. Ishii goes for a suplex but Tenzan tries the block it. Ishii gets it anyway and goes for the cover but only gets one. Ishii kicks him softly a few times to get his attention while yelling at him to get up and fight some more. Tenzan is up and here we go again with the chops back and forth before Tenzan gets a rolling kick! Ishii gets up and more chops for him. Back and front with Mongolian chops. JR jokes that Mongolian chops sound like something he'd have with BBQ sauce. Lariat that knocks Ishii back in the corner. Marty the ref tries to get them out of the corner and Tenzan yells at him before he shoves the ref back. He gets Ishii back down and gets a two count. Headbutt and more chops by Tenzan but Ishii gets in a powerslam. Tenzan pops right back up and delivers a mountain bomb but Ishii is back up. He gets Tenzan in the corner and smacks him around. Big clothesline with more chops and elbows. Jesus these guys are gonna hurt in the morning. Ishii gets the post to post clothesline and tries for the cover but only gets two. Back from break, and Ishii is in control. He lifts Tenzan on the buckle and goes for the big brainbuster. Tenzan's fighting for it and Ishii gets in some elbows before Tenzan gets him down, and he jumps off with his knee to Ishii's head! Cripes! He goes up and lands the diving headbutt to the shoulder and gets a two! Tenzan locks in the anaconda vice! Ishii gets up but Tenzan hits the anaconda buster but Tenzan only gets a two count! The crowd is roaring for Tenzan now. Tenzan goes up the ropes but Ishii catches him and gets a running powerbomb! Both guys are down as the crowd really cheers for Tenzan. They both get up and are trading chops and elbows. Ishii lands a strong headbutt and then run him over with a clothesline-- close two-count. Ishii gets up and hits the running low lariat into a cover but Tenzan kicks out! Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Tenzan escapes. He chops now, and they are exchanging headbutts! You can hear the brain cells dying in this ring during this exchange. Ishii then launches up and gets a swinging kick that connects right to 'Tenzan's forehead! THAT is impressive. Tenzan counters with a strike and sends Ishii down. Tenzan scoops him up and gets a tombstone! Only gets a two count! Tenzan hits the lariat Tenzan hits the scoop slam and he's going up. The big guy lands the moonsault! Cover and Tenzan gets the win and earns himself two points! WOW, that was good! The crowd is cheering for him, and he thanks Kojima at the ringside. Backstage, he says he got his first win of the tournament, and he thanks Kojima. Studio words from Tenzan and he surprises me with how soft spoken he really is. He had imagined a lot of outcomes for him in this match and was happy that people cheered for him. The cheers gave him power. Having Kojima give up his spot so he could enter made him feel like he now represented both of them in the ring. He mentions the summer was a happy time for him and says that team TenCozy will make a run for the World Tag League tournament later in the year. Onto hour two as we are greeted by Marufuji. We are still at Night One of the tournament. Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Hirooki Goto *Deep breath* Welp, in life a little rain must Fale. Fale is representing the Bullet Club. He plays mostly a spoiler in these tournaments and is the only time of year anyone really cares about him. Goto, who won this tournament in 2008, representing CHAOS and is determined to win the big one. Fale makes his entrance first and looks about as thrilled as I am for a Fale match. He attacks the ring announcer for some reason as JR mentions his podcast again for the third time in an hour. Goto comes out in CHAOS colors. They mention Goto winning the tournament years ago but hasn't won it since. He's also been in a bit of a slump as well. Bell rings and nothing happens. Size mismatch for this one. Goto goes right for strikes on the big guy but tries for a running shoulderblock. That doesn't work as everyone in the world would expect. Goto pops right back up and goes for the lock up. Fale turns it around and gets a waistlock and a takedown. Goto slips into a reversal and gets a hammerlock and cranks on it. Fale gets to the ropes but Goto goes right back to the arm and gets him down again as Goto locks in an armbar. Again, Fale gets to the ropes. Goto keeps the lock on and hammers the arm a few times. Goto tries for the whip but Fale reverses it into the corner. Goto stumbles out and Fale then just runs him over with a big clothesline and sends him outside. We return from commercial, and Goto is on the outside. Fale tosses him into the barrier.  Again to the barrier hard. A Jim Cornette mention from Barnett as he and JR joke about the metal barrier getting its own t-shirt and gimmick. Fale rolls into the ring as Goto barely gets in at 18. Fale just steps on top of him on the back and then again on his chest. Fale chases the ref onto the apron for nagging him. Big slam from Fale and tries a one-foot cover that gets two. He grabs Goto by the hair but Goto counters with some shots, but a knee to the gut ends that. Goto whipped into the corner and Fale tries for the splash but misses and Goto hits a few clotheslines to get Fale down. Goto gets the rolling heel kick into the corner and then goes up for a top rope elbow. He tries for the cover but only gets two. Goto tries for a fireman's carry but Fale just conks him on the head and down goes Goto. Fale lands the splash and nearly gets a pin. Fale picks Goto up and lands the grenade! Cover only gets two. Fale gets Goto up for the outside edge but Goto squirts out. Fale tries a clothesline but it misses and Goto lands a headbutt. He gets the kick right to the heart. Goto gets the big guy up momentarily but he can't get anything out of it and switches to the sleeper instead! He gets the big guy down. Goto gets him into a dragon sleeper position and drops him with the GTR for the win for two points! Backstage Goto says it doesn't matter who it is or how big they are, he has to beat them all. We come back to studio words from Marufuji. After being on the outside for four years, he felt fans had changed since he last was in a G1. This made him look forward to the audience reaction to him. We see footage from the press conference where Okada says it's just Marufuji so he will have some fun. Marufuji counters that he is no pushover. Since Okada won the belt, he felt the fans had high expectations for him. Okada is one of the best in the world, no matter the organization. He feels Okada is younger but had a lot that he was jealous of. Interesting comment. Block A: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kazuchika Okada DREAM MATCH! For those that don't know, Marafuji is the top dog for Pro Wrestling NOAH and I believe the GHC champion at this point. Okada just regained the IWGP title from Naito as we saw last week. While it makes this match all the more awesome, it seems kind of silly that the sitting IWGP champion is competing for a title shot against himself. Ah well. Okada would have the historical edge here, having won the tournament in 2012 and 2014, but let's see what Marufuji can do. My suspicions are confirmed as Marufuji comes out with the Global Honor Crown title belt. What is noticeable is that JR and Josh refuse to even mention it. I've heard that the relationship between New Japan and NOAH had soured since this match took place, so I wonder if they were told not to mention it. Probably a case more of JR not knowing what the belt meant. Marufuji's outfit reminds me of Ernest Miller's get up during his brief run with the WWE a decade ago. Rainmaker Okada comes out in his usual pomp with Gedo in tow, but again, I don't expect him to interfere in this match. We are back from a break and the bell rings. There is a big stare off to start. JR mentions that with Marufuji we need to watch out for his bicycle knees, his slice bread from the corner, and something called an emerald flosion. They go for a tentative Greco-roman lock up a few times but then just lock up. Okada goes behind but Marufuji counters. Okada gets the arm but Marufuji rolls out into a reversal. Okada counters back but Marufuji gets the headlock. Okada gets shot off and hits Marufuji with a shoulder strike. Okada gets a waistlock and immediately goes for the rainmaker clothesline but Marufuji ducks it. Marufuji tries for his bicycle knees but Okada avoids that. They give each other a look as the crowd cheers. They go back to a basic lock up into the ropes and Okada just gives him a pat on the chest but then lay right into him with a couple of strikes. He lands a snapmare and gets in the sliding dropkick. Marufuji gets up but right into a neckbreaker and a two count. Chinlock by Okada. Marufuji gets to the ropes for the break. Elbow to the neck by Okada and into the buckle. Marufuji gets the reverse on the whip. He comes in but Okada scoops him up on the buckle for the high dropkick, but Marufuji grabs the arm and snaps it over the top rope! Okada yells in pain and rolls right to the outside. Marufuji is like a shark that senses blood and goes right after the arm. He wraps it around the barricade a few times and then takes Okada's hand and sandwiches it inside the metal gate and squeezes on it with his foot. Hey, this guy isn't an angel. Marufuji rolls into the ring as the count gets going and Okada makes it to the apron. Marufuji strikes him a few times and drags Okada in the ring. He locks in an armbar but Okada gets his feet on the ropes for a break. Back from the break as Marufuji gets an elbow to the face! Marufuji replays him with a strike. Marufuji lands another chop to the chest and Okada goes down in the corner. Okada is really hurt. Marufuji wrenches the arm on the rope and lands a few elbows. Okada stands up but Marufuji gets the jumping elbow in the corner. Marufuji goes for something else but Okada gets the backdrop. Okada with a few clotheslines and gets a back elbow. Lands another into the corner and then a DDT on Fuji. Cover gets two. Okada slams him and goes up or the Randy savage elbow. Marufuji is right up and makes the charge but Okada just jumps over the top of him. He turns right into a massive clothesline that shotguns Okada right out of the ring. Marufuji leaps over the rope and lands right on the hurt arm. He snaps the arm on the apron and gives him a straight jacket around the ringpost. Marufuji tosses Okada back in the ring and locks in a wristlock before he just stomps on the arm. Marufuji lands another kick to the arm before locks in the Fujiwara armbar. Okada crawls and gets a foot on the ropes. Marafuji lands an uppercut to the elbow. Marufuji uses some chops and tries a whip in but Okada reverses and gets the flapjack. He gets an elbow to the face by Okada. Then Marufuji uses a chop. They get in each other's face as Marufuji is chopping the hell out of Okada's chest-- elbow to the gut and another chop. Marufuji hits a dropkick and Okada tumbles to the floor. Marufuji launches over the ropes and to the floor again! Back from the break, as we are getting down to the wire. Marufuji goes to whip him into the barrier but Okada reverses it. However, Okada turns around and doesn't see Marufuji blocked himself from hitting the barricade and snuck back onto the apron. Okada gets back in the ring and doesn't see Marufuji come in with a huge slingshot launch into a dropkick! Marufuji covers but only gets a two. Marufuji gets a neckbreaker in but Okada counters. He goes up for the elbow but he uses the bad elbow. He is in pain. Okada gets him up and tries for the rainmaker but Marufuji hits a superkick! He hits another one and then goes for Sliced bread in the corner but Okada counters it. Marufuji is stuck backward on the top turnbuckle as Okada hits the high dropkick. He gets Marufuji down from the ropes and goes for the tombstone but Marufuji counters with a superkick. Marufuji goes for something but Okada lands the dropkick and flattens Fuji. Marufuji lands the bicycle knee and flattens Okada! He hooks him up and lands the Emerald Flosion and gets the pin! WOW! That is unexpected! Talk about a dominant performance. Okada has to be carried out as he was pretty much whipped like a dog in this one. Marufuji talks to the crowd now and says it's been a while since he's seen them at a G1. He thinks Okada is a wonderful wrestler He is the one to conquer this summer. Backstage Okada is disappointed. He will get him back for this. Marufuji says the reason he won was that he kept it his own style. It was a wonderful atmosphere. It's only the first match though so there is a lot more to do. Studio words as he says Okada was a better wrestler than he imagined but he wasn't able to give 100 percent after the arm injury. He sent a message to all the other wrestlers in New Japan that he won't be forgotten. He thanks the fans for cheering him on and taking the pressure off him. The first hit is the most important. He will spread his name all over Japan. Not a bad showing. In the first hour Sanada showed his inexperience a bit I think but him getting the big win over Tanahashi was something. I thought the Tenzan and Ishii match was great! The perfect story and opponent for Tenzan here, In the second hour the Goto match with Fale is about as I expected. I don't think anyone thinks Fale will even contend for this title. The Okada/Marufuji match was the real surprise of the night. I figured it would move much faster but not only was it a slower pace but Okada just got his ass whipped in this match. Even Barnett commented that Marufuji was never n any real trouble. Good shows tonight. In a match from night one we didn't see, Togi Makabe won over Tama tonga so that means that after night one Makabe, Sanada, Tenzan, Goto, and Marufuji all have two points while Tanahashi, Ishii, Fale, Okada, and Tonga all are zip. But we have a lot more action to go. And before I take off for this week I'd like to give an update to the news last week with Tamaoki Honma getting injured after a hangman DDT from Jado. Since then we have been given an update saying that Honma suffered an injury of some sort between his C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck. He has since recovered movement in his arms and legs and his breathing has been stabilized. He isn't being moved quite yet but it will take quite some time for him to fully heal. Best of luck to you big guy and let's make the kokeshi happy again! See you all with two more hours of action next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The best of the best starts here
Hello everyone and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we start off the ultra important G1 Climax Tournament 26. We will see the best of the best in NJPW face off and...

Weekend Japanatainment - Anime Games Edition

Mar 05 // Red Veron
[Possible mature language for the videos below] [embed]35595:6140:0[/embed] GameSack - Anime and Manga Games A few retro anime and manga based games from the too dudes from GameSack. They aren't fans of anime or manga so it's interesting to hear their take on old games based those mediums.   [embed]35595:6139:0[/embed] Akiba's Strip - Super Best Friends Play If you've not heard of the cool guys from Super Best Friends, then you're missing out because they like anime and video games. They play video games and have some funny commentary and the video above has the crew playing a very Japanese video game about stripping the clothes of vampire-like creatures terrorizing Akihabara.   [embed]35595:6138:0[/embed] Bad Anime Games - Eruption Austin Eruption loves anime and video games, and he made this video about bad video games based on anime. (Direct all your hate mail to him and him alone)   [embed]35595:6141:0[/embed] Berserk and the Band of the Hawk - Super Best Friends Play Another video from the Super Best Friends as they play a game based on the original and one true "Black Swordsman".   [embed]35595:6137:0[/embed] Sword Art Online Games Suck - Eruption Direct all your hate mail to Austin. Not me. Yes, I also thought the first few episodes of SAO were good but the rest were just very different.   Is there an anime-based game you like? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Animu Gamez
[Possible mature language for the videos below] Video games based on anime are never in short supply, anime is a very exciting visual medium that lends well to the interactivity of video games. However, making video games is ...

Review: Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale

Mar 05 // Josh Tolentino
Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale Studio: A-1 Pictures Licensed By: Eleven Arts (NA), SM Cinema (PH), Madman (AU) Directed By: Tomohiko Itou Released: February 26, 2017 (PH), March 9, 2017 (NA) You wouldn't know it from that title, but it's been several years since any of the characters in Sword Art Online - the TV series - have had anything to do with Sword Art Online - the game. Over multiple seasons of television and any number of spinoff stories, Kirito, Asuna, Klein, and the rest have left behind the death game that started their shared adventure, moving into new games, meeting new friends, and having new adventures. And yet no one's really left Sword Art Online behind. The events of the "The SAO Incident" have come to define not just the cast of characters, but even the discourse surrounding the franchise. Virtually every subsequent storyline, be it based in Gun Gale Online, ALfheim Online, or any number of new games visited by Kirito and his crew, has been compared to the original Sword Art Online thread, and often found wanting in some way. There's no denying the way that that first storyline has defined the whole of the franchise, and to its credit, Ordinal Scale incorporates that very notion into its plot, which runs heavy with themes of nostalgia, memory, and the concept of the self as a sum of a person's experiences. And no one been more heavily defined by Sword Art Online than its protagonists, Kirito and Asuna, and in focusing largely on them and their relationship, Ordinal Scale finds the focus that subsequent storylines lacked. The trick is in finding a new competition for the characters to learn and excel in. The disrupting factor here is Augmented Reality. For the unintiated, Augmented Reality (AR), is a form of technology that overlays computer-generated imagery onto the real world, as opposed to Virtual Reality (VR), which replaces the real world. The Augma, an AR device that looks like a fancy take on Google Glass, is trending, enticing consumers away from VR games (like the ones Kirito and friends have been playing) with promises of greater integration with the real world, forgoing the need to be rendered a vegetable just to play video games. The Augma's "killer app" is Ordinal Scale, an AR combat game that pits players against monsters and each other in real-world locations overlaid with fantasy art projected directly into their eyes by the Augma technology. Best conceptualized as a fusion of the real-world Pokemon GO and a prototype version of Reki Kawahara's other franchise, Accel World, Ordinal Scale doesn't carry much detail as a game, but it does provide a compelling snapshot of what people might be playing in the future, as well as a new set of challenges for Kirito and the crew to surmount. Only this time time, it's Kirito that's at a disadvantage. Whereas the VR games he used to play relied on arbitrary stats or futuristic measurements of "reaction speed" to determine performance, playing Ordinal Scale is limited by the players' own ability to move about the virtualized environment. And Kirito, after years spent as a vegetable and then later addicted to VR, is not in the best of shape. Seeing him struggle, stumble, and fall while more physically fit challengers succeed, returns to Sword Art Online a long-missing sense of adversity and progress. Where other stories tended to hinge things on viewers' existing attachment to the cast to make plots about in-game activities feel compelling, the story here feels more natural, and even exciting, once the stakes are raised. That stake-raising definitely happens, as boss monsters from Sword Art Online start appearing in Ordinal Scale, resulting in odd consequences for the many "SAO Survivors" - players who were stuck in Sword Art Online during the original death game, including Kirito, Asuna, and most of their friends - playing Ordinal Scale. Asuna falls victim to one of the monsters and finds herself robbed of all memory from her time spent in SAO, including her recall of meeting Kirito for the first time. Bereft of arguably the most important - if traumatic - experience of her life, Asuna is left unsure: Of herself, of her memories, and even of her relationship with Kirito and their AI "daughter", Yui. Even if she does remember her subsequent adventures, will it be enough for her? Kirito, meanwhile, is left desperate, pained by the loss and needing to somehow succeed at Ordinal Scale, as well as investigate the game and uncover the key to restoring his girlfriend's memories.  This tension and sense of desperation in the film really does bring out some of Sword Art Online's best qualities, marrying its entertaining vision of gaming's future and the consequences facing its characters, while capitalizing on the now years-strong investment fans have in the cast and world of the series. The whole show is steeped in nostalgia for that first arc, and sometimes stoops over to nonsensical levels to throw a fan-service bone to fans that want to see the old outfits and aesthetics of the show rendered in the glory afforded to feature-length productions. Ironically, it's when the stakes are raised to their highest - when lives are at stake, and when SAO fan-service is at its most intense - that Ordinal Scale begins to crumble. The dark conspiracy propelling the mystery, and what it means for Asuna, Kirito, and the SAO survivors would've been enough, but the last quarter of the movie feels somewhat obligatory, motivated less by the need to solve the mystery than by a mandate to have a giant battle at the end featuring all the characters from every game. There's no denying it's entertaining to see, but it certainly could've been brought about in a less transparent fashion. All that's missing is a giant blue laser in the sky and it could've been the final showdown from a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, is what I'm saying.  At the same time, I can't find it in my heart to be too critical of this stumbling block. Films like these are primarily about fan-service, so I can't begrudge its presence. It helps that the action sequences are very pretty, to boot, however wooly the reasons for their taking place. [embed]35592:6136:0[/embed] Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is best taken less as a standalone narrative and more as a coda of sorts for an era of the franchise, a break with the legacy - and baggage - of its much-lauded earlier days. In doing so it also is a welcome reaffirmation of the reasons behind Sword Art Online's sometimes-baffling popularity, effectively mixing dynamic action, inspired future-nerdery, and personal drama in a plot that reinvokes the franchise's sense of consequence and stakes.  [This review is based on a theatrical viewing of the film by the reviewer.]
Sword Art Online Review photo
Is this the (Augmented) Real Life?
What's in a name? For Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, the name is everything. I'm not referring to "Ordinal Scale", the word from the title, though. I'm referring to Sword Art Online, the title that has, to this day, loomed large over the series it graces. Ordinal Scale - the movie - is no different, and seems to know it, too.

Strong Style: Makin' it Rain

Mar 04 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35609:6135:0[/embed] We are greeted by Okada! Before we get to the action we get highlights of the IC Title Ladder match between champion Kenny Omega and Michael Elgin (subbing for the injured Hiroshi Tanahashi). Seriously, we just get some highlights of these guys falling off the ladder on the mat or the floor. We see Omega bounce off a couple of tables and then we see Elgin climb the ladder and win. WHO thought reducing a 40-minute ladder match to a short highlight package should be drug out in the street and shot. Multiple times. That match could have been made into its own episode. We get some studio words from Okada as he says that the crowd had an effect in the last match as they cheered for Naito despite his rampant cheating. He hated the way Naito would disrespect the IWGP belt, but since he wasn't the champion he couldn't do anything about it. IWGP Title: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada This is the big rematch. A few months before Naito won the Title from Okada with help from the other members of Los Ingobernables, especially the debuting Sanada. The match touched off a war between the goobers and CHAOS and we finally get the rematch. Okada makes his entrance first in his usual fashion with him making it rain.  I'm not seeing Gedo walking around, odd. The champion comes out next. JR likens Naito to Steve Austin because slobber knocker. He is wearing a skull mask and a white suit. Kinda looks like Skeletor going to a disco. The other members of Los Ingobernables are with him. Naito goes right up to NJPW owner Kidani sitting at ringside and surprisingly shakes his hand. That was odd. For Naito anyway. We come back from break and both guys are still in their gear. We get the full introductions of both men. Naito gets booed here really badly. Okada solidly has the crowd behind him. Both take their time here, especially Naito. Okada gives Naito flack for having all the other guys at ringside. Naito goes for it and sends the others to the back. Let's see if they stay away. Bell rings and they stand there letting the crowd chant. Naito slowly walks around and Okada is ready to go. Lock up with Okada pushing into the ropes. Naito reverses and gives Okada the pat on the chest. Lock up again as Naito gets the advantage but Okada turns that around into a wristlock, Naito turns it into a hammerlock and Okada reverses it and they get into the ropes. Okada goes for the chest pat but just whips Naito into the ropes through a few leapfrogs and reversals that ends with Naito in a relaxed pose on the mat. We take another commercial as they are stretching for time. We come back as Naito is hanging around outside the ring as Okada just waiting in the ring with his hands on his hips. Naito comes in with a few kicks to the gut and a few punches. Naito gets a snap mare but Okada turns around and lands a low dropkick. Naito in the corner and Okada reverses and sets him up on the buckle and lands his high dropkick to send Naito crashing to the floor. Naito gets up and starts walking away, so Okada follows him. Naito rakes Okada's eyes and then slams him on the rampway. Naito walks back further and then lands a running dropkick! Okada rolls down the entrance as Naito strolls into the ring. Okada gets in at 16. Naito tosses him right back outside and whips him into the metal barrier. Okada gets whipped again into the barrier right in front of Kidani. Naito tosses him back in the ring and lands a stomp before locking in a cravat. Okada gets into the ropes. Naito lands an elbow on the side of the head a few times on Okada. Snapmare and Naito locks in a chinlock.  Okada gets up and counters with a few elbows but Naito breaks him down and hits a dropkick and then a second low dropkick. Lax cover gets two. Stomp on Okada. Okada pops up and lands a few elbows but both guys elbow each other. Okada gets a straight jacket neckbreaker. Clotheslines by Naito gets Okada in the corner but Okada with a boot. Okada counters by just running over Naito and Naito rolls outside. Okada follows him out with some punches but Naito counters and Naito walks back up the ramp again. He looks to be leaving. Naito turns around and Okada dropkicks him!  Okada drags Naito back down the ring and lands some shots for good measure. Naito bleeding from the mouth a bit. Okada tries Red Ink, but Naito counters and lands a neckbreaker. Naito tries the charge into the corner but Okada gets the feet up. Naito catches the feet and turns it into a neckbreaker. Naito goes up and lands a dropkick but gives a crap cover and gets a two count. Naito tries the German suplex but Okada counters into a flapjack. We are back from break. Both guys down. They struggle to get up and Okada lands the back elbow into a DDT. Okada lands an elbow right to the face. Cover gets two. Okada goes for Red Ink but lands some elbows for the fun of it before locking in the hold. Naito struggles and eventually gets to the ropes and Naito breaks. Okada gets a slam and lands the Randy Savage elbow. He signals for the Rainmaker but Naito counters into the urinagi. Hiroshi Hase mentioned as JR remembers the match with Hase and "A partner" against the Steiners in 1991 and Barnett tries to say the partner was Kensuki Sasaki without sounding like a dick. Naito gets his corner trip and dropkick combo and he is booed! Naito gets and inverted atomic drop into an STO and tries for the submission but Okada rolls it into a pin attempt and Naito lets go. Naito spins around and gets Okada in the Koji clutch but Okada gets to the ropes for the break. Naito picks him up and puts Okada on the top buckle and lands the rana off the top! Naito goes for Gloria but Okada blocks it. Naito gets in an uppercut and spits on Okada and Okada slaps him for that and Naito lands the spinebuster. He goes for Gloria again but Okada blocks it and turns it into driving Naito right on his head into the mat. We come back from ANOTHER break. Both guys down again. They start hammering each other on their knees with elbows and forearms. Naito is SMILING. They stand up but keep going back and forth with these stuff forearm shots. Okada falls down first and into the corner. Naito tries the charge but catches him and slings him to the mat. Okada lands 4 low dropkicks.  Okada scoops him up and Naito slips out and hits a slap and then an enziguri. Naito tries for Destino but Okada counters. He hits a rolling kick and then gets in another high dropkick that nails Naito and he lands on his head! Okada tries the tombstone but Naito counters. Okada tries it again but Naito has a hold of the waist. Naito lands a reverse DDT and Naito goes for Destino but Naito reverses it into a tombstone! Okada hits a Rainmaker. Cover attempt and it only gets two! Wow! Okada recovers first and pulls Naito up and lands a German suplex and tries for a rainmaker but Naito counters with an attempt for Destino but Okada counters into a Rainmaker. He hits it again. And for a fourth time! Naito is out and Okada covers and gets the three count. we have a new champion! As Naito is helped from the ring Okada gets the belt strapped around his waist once again. We take our last commercial and come back as Okada has the mic. He goes into his "3 things" shtick as he gives Naito his props and says that is what fighting for the title in New Japan is like. Nest he says he will win the G1 tournament coming up. He doesn't have a third thing to say but he is on another level  Now that he's champion he wants to take the company global. He poses around the ring for a bit as JR and Josh talk about what lays ahead for the new champion. Backstage Okada says it was tough. He again gives credit to Naito for doing it by himself and having a great match. Naito says that everyone must be happy he lost, but it is all his plan. Studio words as Okada says Naito has grown as a wrestler and that the crowd reaction didn't affect him. He says that even though they weren't there, that with this victory, CHAOS stopped Los Ingobernables' momentum. The main event match was very good but taking the ladder match and reducing it to clips is bullshit. That match was actually long than the one shown here and easily could have been an episode of its own. Boo on the producers for doing that and hope it doesn't happen again. So, with the ladder match they've been building up to not really being shown, the hell with it. Here it is for YOU to watch HERE. Next week we come back with TWO hours of action! See you then!   
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
IWGP Title on the line
Welcome once again to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are back in Osaka and the Osaka-Jo hall for Dominion 2016. We cap off our look of this big show with the IWGP title on th...

Strong Style: Aerial Assassin vs Time Splitter

Feb 25 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35591:6105:0[/embed] We start off with a greeting from Kushida! IWGP Tag Titles: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. The Briscoe Brothers The Guerrillas are brothers Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga from the Bullet Club. The Briscoes are Mark and Jay from Ring of Honor. Dem Boys are pretty much getting the title shot because they are ROH's best team and copromotion and all that. The entrances of both teams are cut down as we get everyone in the ring. It's camo night as the Briscoes have on hunting camo and the sons of Haku have on red urban commando gear. Mark and Tama start as Mark goes for a clothesline and Tama just knees him in the guts and pounds on him. Tama backs him in the corner with a headbutt and kicks him some more. Welp, didn't expect a technical showcase in this one.  Tama tries to whip Mark into the other corner but Mark leaps over Tama and meets him with a big chop. Mark keeps chopping away sending Tama into the corner and Mark tags Jay. Jay comes in and lays in some boots before standing on Tama's throat. Jay6 gets him up and lays in some European uppercuts as JR talks about the Briscoes being Chicken farmers in Delaware. Barnett has chickens so he respects that. Jay hits Tama a few more times before Mark comes back in and gives us a little Redneck Kung-fu with a crane kick to a fallen Tama. He puts Tama on the middle ropes and launches some crossface forearm shots before he straight up punches Tama on the nose. Mark whips Tama in but Tama turns right around and does his weird running around avoidance counter as he tags Tanga Roa while nobody notices. Roa comes in and plants Mark with a huge clothesline. Roa picks up mark and shoulder blocks him right in the corner before laying in some punches and yells at the ref. "This is a striking contest"-JR. YA THINK?! Tama tags back in and lays in some more shots on Mark. He whips Mark into the ropes but Mark makes a tag before ducking Tama's clothesline and answering with a jawbreaker. Jay comes in and runs over Tama with a big clothesline. Jay makes the cover but only gets a one count. Jay delivers a headbutt and an elbow as JR and Josh get bored and talk about the upcoming matches. Seriously, guys, this is a one-hour recap show, not a pay-per-view. Knock it off. Jay chucks Tama outside and then pulls off a suicide dive through the ropes!  Roa goes to the floor to go after Jay but Mark runs and delivers a dropkick to him through the ropes! We jump ahead a little bit as both Briscoes are in the ring with Tama and they go for the Doomsday device but Roa trips up Mark on the buckle. Tama slips behind and delivers a reverse spinning neckbreaker on Jay. Tama rolls over and tags Roa who scoops Mark off the top turnbuckle into a fireman's carry. Tama comes in and hit the combo neckbreaker Samoan drop. Roa goes for the cover but only gets two. He gets up and sets up Mark in the powerbomb position as Tama comes off for a super blockbuster! He goes for the cover and Jay saves it at two! Tama goes outside and Jay soon follows. Roa turns right into a missile dropkick by mark and sends Roa flying back into the buckle. Mark hits a fisherman's bomb but the cover only gets two. Mark rolls over and tags Jay who comes in and delivers the jay driller! Cover only gets two. Jay sets up Roa for the Doomsday again but Tama pops up to stop Mark. Mark pushed Tama to the floor and goes up. He hits it! Jay makes the cover and gets the three count! We have new champions! As the Briscoes celebrate in the ring, Yujiro Takahashi and Hangman Page come running out and attack them. Jay gets tossed out to the floor and Page puts a noose around Mark's neck and tosses him over the top rope. They hand Mark there for a bit before letting go and he flops to the floor. Page makes sure to go out and get his noose back and JR bitches about saving his gimmick or something. NEVER Openweight Title: Yuji Nagata vs. Katsuyori Shibata This feud started months back when Shibata got into a war of words with Nagata, Nakanishi, TenKoji. Shibata then took it in the ring and beat the other 3 guys of the previous generation and after one of the matches kicked Nagata down. They had a match and Yuji beat Shibata for the belt, bringing us to this rematch. Shibata enters first and he has his business face on as he marches to the ring. Nagata comes out with TenKoji and Nakanishi in his corner as he represents the 3rd generation. We skip some stuff and cut right to the bell ringing. Nagata gets a big chant and they stand off in an MMA style stance. Both guys launch kicks but they don't land. Greco-roman lock up goes nowhere with Shibata getting out. Lock up again as Shibata tries a low kick. Lock up again and they get into the ropes Nagata backs off and Shibata drills him! Nagata with a kick to the head, Shibata answers back with the same! Shibata with a high knee and a snapmare into a chinlock. Shibata already tries for an arm breaker but Nagaya turns him over and tries for a toehold. Shibata reverses into a cross armbreaker into a triangle choke. They get into the ropes for the break but Shibata gets him in the corner and nails him. Shibata gets a hammerlock and locks him in Nagata's own armbreaker!!  Shibata locks up the arm and snaps back with it before laying in the kicks and stomps. Nagata ain't going for it though as he stands up, but Shibata drills him in the face with a forearm. Nagata answers back with a kneelift that takes Shibata down. Nagata gets some kicks into Shibata on the canvas but Shibata is like "Hit me more!". Another kick sends Shibata down. Nagata lays in some forearms and he gets a facewash. He tries for the exploder but Shibata blocks. He reverses the whip and gets Yuji in the corner and hits the hanging dropkick. Man is that sweet to watch. Shibata with the half hatch suplex and a cover for two. Nagata gets up and now they are just laying each other with forearms. Back and forth and not holding back. Yuji with a face kick and hits the exploder but Shibata gets right back up and hits two Germans of his own! Shibata first up and kicks the arm and then the guts. He kicks Yuji down in the corner. Shibata runs across the ring and gets another kick to Yuji's arm. Shibata gets him up and tries for the Octopus but Yuji is fighting it and gets to the ropes, but Shibata gets in the rear choke. Yuji gets to the ropes and Shibata kicks him in the ribs. Shibata gets a suplex on him with a bridge but Yuji gets up. Shibata tries for the PK but misses. Yuji gets up and gets the armbreaker on Shibata and his eyes roll back. Shibata fights and gets to the ropes for the break. Yuji kicks him right in the elbow joint for that. Yuji gets him in the corner and is kneeing him right in the chest. The ref is trying to break it up as Yuji gets a high knee to the chin and a backdrop suplex but Shibata gets out of the cover! Yuji hits a brainbuster! Yuji hits a PK of his own! Shibata is knocked stupid. He tries for a side suplex but Shibata blocks. Yuji counters but Shibata grabs the rear choke. Yuji tries a shoulder throw but Shibata stays on it. Yuji tries and armbar but he can't get it! Nagata is going out! Shibata releases the hold and hits the ropes. PK lands! Shibata makes the cover and gets the belt back! They stare each other down and Shibata bows to him in genuine respect. Yuji raises the champ's hand as both generations got to feel what the other is capable of. Back from commercial now as we get some studio words from Kushida. He says Will has a lot going for him from their previous match against each other. He felt proud of the tournament final. He called Will a champion as a way to express how he felt about the competition in the tournament.  IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Will Ospreay This was covered last week, but here is a quick refresher. Ospreay was recruited to CHAOS by Okada himself, with the goal of Will winning the Jr. Title for the group. He fought his way through the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament and as we saw last week, beat Taguchi in the finals. This is his payoff for the victory. Ospreay makes his entrance first as he is wearing Union Jack colors for this match. He has the BOTSJs trophy with him as well. Kushida comes out and you can hear the distain from JR about the Back to the Future thing Kushida does. I swear Jim Ross is becoming more of a parody of himself with every gripe and moan he does during these shows. Anyway, both guys have a stare down before backing into their corners. We come back from commercial as the bell rings for this one. They take their time coming out of the corner. Lock up goes right to the ropes as Will fakes a punch but pats Kushida on the chest.  They go right into a lock up and Will gets the wristlock but Kushida gets the wristlock and Will reverses out. Kushida goes for a single leg and gets an ankle lock. Oh lord, Taguchi is on commentary. Wonder how that went. Probably needed subtitles even for the Japanese audience! Will gets in a headlock and a takeover. Kushida reverses and rides him before going back to the ankle. Kushida gets the surfboard and Will counters with a barrel roll and gets pin attempt but only two. Will with a facelock but Kushida counters with a wristlock.  Kushida gets an inverted atomic drop and a dropkick before getting the snapmare into the low dropkick. Will gets up and lands the rana and goes for a second but Kushida holds on and kicks him right in the arm. Will rolls outside for a bit to walk off the pain and Kushida goes right out after him but they jump right back in the ring. Kushida goes right for the hoverboard lock! Will counters into a suplex but Kushida grabs the armbar into a bulldog! Pin attempt gets two and Kushida gets in the short arm scissors. Will gets his feet on the ropes. They get up and Kushida lands some arm kicks but Will counters into a spinkick. Kushida sends Ospreay into the corner but misses the charge as Will goes to the apron. Will lands a springboard forearm to send Kushida out and Will lands a cartwheel cannonball. Back inside Will gets a standing corkscrew that doesn't land right but gets a two count. Will lands a diving forearm and gets Kushida tied in the corner with the headtuck but he slips out and kicks Will right in the arm. He lands a round kick to the arm again. Short kicks to the face only wake Ospreay up and they start in with forearms. Will goes for some offense but Kushida sends him flying outside. Kushida goes up the buckle and lands the cannonball to Ospreay on the floor. Kushida rolls in and gets ready to strike as Ospreay rolls in at 19. Kushida strikes with his missile dropkick. Kushida tries for a moonsault but Ospreay gets the knees up. Back from commercial as both guys are trying to get up. Kushida lands kicks to the arm but Will counters with a bunch of short kicks. Will gets Kushida up and tries for a powerbomb but Kushida counters down the back into a sunset bomb. Gets a two count. Kushida cranks the arm over the should but Will counters into a moonsault and then leaps up to the buckle for another one but lands weirdly on his feet and doesn't do much. Pin attempt only gets two. Will stuffs the head in the buckle and lands the kick. Ospreay goes to the apron for the springboard but Kushida is smart and rings into it making Will miss. Will tries a punch but Kushida counters. Kushida winds up for the baseball punch but Will counters with a headbutt to the jaw. Never seen that from him before. Will tries for the C4 but Kushida counters into a triangle! He transitions to the armbreaker. Will gets to his feet and muscles him up for a fireman's carry. Kushida counters as he tries for the wristlock. Ospreay tries for a Styles clash but Kushida blocks it. Will turns it into an inverted lung blower instead. Kushida is hurt. Ospreay goes up and lands a big splash. The cover only gets two. Will lands the twist kick and goes for a second one but Kushida grabs the arm! He turns it into the double wristlock and cranks it in! Ospreay taps out! Kushida retains the belt! Both are understandably exhausted. Will is upset as he rolls out of the ring and starts to head back, but turns around and thinks about it before getting back in the ring. Kushida greets him and they shake hands before Kushida collapses from exhaustion and Will leaves. Backstage Will is really upset., He says he visioned capping off this run for the British fans with him winning the belt. Kushida says that he has been really challenged in his last few defenses but that he is taking things to a new level. Studio words as Kushida admits he was desperate to keep up with Ospreay's offense and that it kept him thinking. He was afraid of letting down on his promise to take the Juniors to the next level but that the crowd got him through it. He has never felt the help from the fans that much before. He was disappointed in not winning the tournament but he is still the champion.     Two out of three ain't bad. The tag title match just did not work for me. The Briscoes do better facing guys who can actually wrestle with them and the Guerrillas are not that team. This was not the place for that match. The other two matches though were really good! Yuji Nagata still showing he can have good matches and Shibata was the right guy for him. The juniors match was great, even with Will missing some of his moves. Good show all around. Next week we get the main event of Dominion as Naito defends the belt against Okada. See you next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Two belts on the line!
Greetings mat fans and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are traveling to Osaka (waka laka party time!) to the Osaka-Jo hall for Dominion 2016. Our first look at this BIG card has three titles on the line so let's get to the action from June 19. 2016!

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 17-19

Feb 20 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 17 Togi Makabe has a sweet tooth. That's it! Okay okay. I suppose I'll keep going. So it's fairly common knowledge to New Japan fans that Togi Makabe has a huge sweet tooth. This episode is devoted to that. As NJPW come into another town for their rural tour, everyone is running away from Makabe for some reason. Tiger and Haruna have no idea what is going on as Makabe shows up dragging Honma with him. Turns out he likes to go to the local sweet shops in the town's they are in and he blogs about it. Haruna likes the idea of stuffing her face so the four of them go into town looking for the town's local sweets. This is the whole episode folks. So it turns out that each place they go to, the restaurants are sold out of the thing Makabe blogged about. This goes on and on a bunch of times before one of the owners tells them that bunch of beefy foreigners bought all their desserts. Miss X's assistant randomly shows up, but the GWM aren't the ones buying up the desserts. At this point, I will mention this is the first real showing for Honma and it's actually hilarious. They animated him so it seems like in every scene he just looks completely lost and not knowing what is going on. His voice, though.. It is not accurate so much as you can actually understand what he is saying! It's close, don't get me wrong, but NOTHING compares to the sandpaper-scraped across a gravel road tones that come out of that man's mouth.   So after about 15 restaurants, we find out the culprits are: Yup. The Bullet Club has been eating all these sweets just to mess with him. This leads to a six-man match that turns out is being sponsored by a food company. The idea of getting a tableful of all the food he missed out on sends Makabe in a rage, meanwhile, The Bullet Club are all slow and fatigued from eating all these desserts all day. Things go about as you'd expect. I'm just surprised poor Kenny didn't just hurl all over himself after the match was over. And with Bad Luck Fale, how can you tell the difference?   Yeah, this was a filler episode that was more of an in-joke for Makabe than anything. The sheer goofiness of the episode and Honma's constant look of "huh?" redeems it a bit, but you aren't missing anything here. Episode 18 We finally get some payoff! Of course, it's one of the side plots but it's still some progress none the less. So Haruna has been working out in the gym behind everyone's backs because evidently in the Takaoka residence, no one tells each other anything. Haruna gets a call from her old friends, the Candy Pair: Mint and Milk. It seems the match where they were murdered against Queen and Payne, the American divas, got a lot of people talking and the fans want a rematch. I guess the Candy Pair are gluttons for punishment. Haruna goes to the arena to cheer on her friends when Milk is suddenly struck down with appendicitis and goes to the hospital. Mint can't find anyone to tag with and Miss X says there will be a penalty. Haruna then volunteers to be the partner. Despite the fact that she has never had a match or any formal wrestling training. When even Mint is worried about Haruna getting slaughtered she whips out a big surprise. THE HELL?!? How in the heck did bumbling little Haruna who couldn't even lift the weights or do anything without killing herself get SHREDDED that quickly? Again, stretching that suspension of disbelief like a rubber band holding a piano from an overpass.   So Haruna figures out that if old man Takaoka finds out, she dead meat. She actually has a handmade mask that she was going to market to female wrestling fans on her. She borrows Milk's outfit and calls herself "Spring Tiger".  I guess bringing up the "Tiger Dream" disaster wasn't going to happen huh? Anyway, Spring Tiger and Mint come to the ring to face Queen and Miss X?! Yup. Miss X decides to jump into this because she wanted to make things even (and also wants to kick Haruna's ass). So now we have two pros and two amateurs teaming up. This match should be a real stinker.   What the hell? Despite the fact that Haruna doesn't actually have any real wrestling training she starts cracking out a bunch of leg locks and holds on Miss X. At ringside Fukuwara Mask says that Spring tiger has an "old style" offense of going after the legs and then the arms. So did Takaoka actually train her at some point or not? Anyway the match isn't as terrible and sure enough, Haruna actually gets the first real victory over the GWM by whooping Miss X's butt. Afterward, we get a shower scene of Haruna and we see all the bruises she acquired in the match. How the heck is she going to cover that up? So while this had pretty much nothing to do with Tiger Mask (Tiger and Tiger The Dark were only briefly shown), it actually forwarded a plotline in the series. It's a really bizarre episode in the timeline of things, but I wonder if this story of Haruna becoming a wrestler will continue or not. Episode 19 Hell in the Hole time! So after talking about the subject for weeks, we finally start "Hell in the Hole" that the GWM trainers have been threatening all this time. The episode cuts in some other stuff to break things up, though. We find out that Takaoka expressly promised Haruna's mother he would never let her be a wrestler when he finds the article about Spring Tiger. We get several looks at a lunch date between Naoto and Ririko that really only shows the Max Done has a big shopping mall and a bunch of restaurants in it. I guess that explains why the building looks so much bigger than the 20,000 seat arena we were told about earlier. We go down to the base of the GWM mountain to find Takuma, Odin, and others in jail cells getting mail. We actually get a touching scene with Odin (who we find out is really named Henry) where he gets a letter from back home saying his family is worried that he hasn't had any matches on TV in a while. You feel bad for the guy.   But the real point of this episode is Hell in the Hole. The concept is actually fairly simple. GWM takes it failures and rejects and lets them loose on the side of the mountain. If they bump into each other and fight, the winner of the fight gets granted a weapon. If someone dies, so be it. They are racing up the mountain to meet a mysterious gatekeeper and to challenge them. Cameras are also following them so back at the base a bunch of rich people can make bets on who is going to survive and who is going out. We are introduced to the "party" and.... What the hell? Who is that? Is that Tiger King from the original show? What in the world is going on with this? Whoever he is, he seems to be in control of the whole thing, despite Mr. X being right there. I dunno. Anyway, we get introduced to the nine competitors: Black Python, Red Death Mask, Takuma (not wearing his Tiger the Dark gear), Kevin Anderson, Ricardo (The guy Takuma threw off the mountain in episode 1), Billy the Kidman, Odin, and two other shlubs named Cox and Phantom. A funny moment as they are introduced as Black Python and Red Death Mask are given big applause while Odin barely gets anything. Poor guy just can't get a break. This is the part where the series enters that violent and unnerving area again. Much like the match with Red Death Mask a number of episodes back, the show doesn't really pull any punches here either. They don't expressly say that guys are killed, but they come pretty damn close. It gets bloody in some parts as well. The episode finishes with four of the wrestlers left face off, much to the enjoyment of the rich bastards watching the whole thing.   This episode is much needed. After weeks of goofy filler episodes, we finally get down to some real plot and moving the story forward. We haven't seen much from the GWM side of things and Takuma has been overlooked in this series for a while. Hopefully, things start getting back on track.  But wait! We have real world Tiger Mask news as well! New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that on March 6, in Ota-ku, Tokyo (get it?) IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada will face Tiger Mask W in the main event of the NJPW 45th anniversary show! Okada laid down the challenge after the Feb. 5 show. The match will be nontitle. And as an added bonus,there will be a"preview" on March 1, Okada will team up with his manager Gedo to face Tiger Mask W and Tiger Mask IV. For the first time, old school and new will team up in a real life ring!
Tiger Mask W photo
More filler than a three-hour RAW
Tiger Mask W seems to have an ongoing struggle with itself. It seems to keep coming off the rails more times than the mine cart in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It sometimes looks like the animators are entertaining t...

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】
GaoGaiGar photo
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!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
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!


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