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Aww yeah: Next year's Garo projects give us more Zero and Leon

All part of a good Thanksgiving dinner
Nov 25
// Salvador GRodiles
You know that the end of November's gonna be amazing when we learn about the new Garo-related announcements. While three projects were announced during this year's Garo: Golden Wolf Thanksgiving festivity, only two of them a...

OP Up! Summer 2015 Edition

Nov 25 // Red Veron
[embed]34532:5207:0[/embed] "Urge" Anime: Prison School Here's a show that I thought would never get an anime because of the content. But it did and it also got a live action adaptation that I imagine is pretty much close to soft core porn. I didn't get to watch this show but I really enjoyed what I read of the manga, watch this intro because it is super hilarious with the male leads singing the theme song.   [embed]34532:5208:0[/embed] "Gate (Sore wa Akatsuki no Yō ni)" Anime: GATE A show that is taking on the latest craze where the modern world is mashed together with a fantasy medieval or past world setting, this one is to please those armchair generals and military otaku along with the fantasy fans. I enjoyed the manga a lot and it takes on interesting issues with such a setting.   [embed]34532:5209:0[/embed] "Bravely You" Anime: Charlotte Now here's a show that I did watch, it's about teens who develop powers and abilities during puberty but lose it after puberty ends. The show centers around a school student council who goes around trying to find ability users and helping them from being abused for their abilities. I enjoyed this one a lot.   [embed]34532:5210:0[/embed] "Core Basis: Metamorphosis!" Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan One of the most popular shows last season because of the eponymoust Umaru and how much we relate to her in her slovenly habits and all around selfishness that she hides from the public. We are Umaru.   Is there an anime from last season that you loved? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna know!
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Chill and Look Back
So it's the holidays for the people in the United States with Thanksgiving followed by the most insane shopping day of the year, Black Friday. So a lot you might by just chillin' in your jammie jams like Umaru pictured above ...


OMAKASE Black Friday deal gets you some stylin' anime goods

I want that Senketsu scarf
Nov 25
// Red Veron
Black Friday is here again along with the insanity but not all deals are to be had in stores since a lot of the anime goods you want aren't in brick and mortar stores these days. One great deal I stumbled upon for the post-turkey day shopping holiday is the OMAKASE subscription goodie box by online video streaming service

Annotated Anime: One Piece episodes 715-719

Nov 24 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 715: The Manly Duel - Senor's Elegy of LoveLuffy continues his senseless and losing fight against Bellamy while Leo and co. get Mansherry back to Viola. This is all peripheral to the main stars of the episode; Franky vs. Senor Pink. We have been getting snippets of this fight for many episodes and but it has never progressed further than just trading a few attacks and hits. In retrospect, I think Senor Pink was absolutely trashing Franky, delivering a hit and the sinking back into the ground. This manly fight is backed by pure testosterone. Neither side wanting to back down nor dodging a hit since it would be unmanly to avoid it, or as they eloquently put it "refuse a drink at a bar by pulling the cup away". Senor Pink's ultimatum comes in this episode stating that if Franky can withstand his ultimate attack then he will back down. The final move turns out to be a very fancy Izuna Drop. Mid-way through the descent, Senor Pink mentions that he knows Franky's weak point i.e. his back since that is the only part of him that isn't mechanised. Things are looking bad for the Straw Hat until he rises from the crater like a goddamn Terminator, red eye and all.  Then comes the emotional flashback. I was told that Doflamingo's executives had some really tear jerker back stories and they weren't lying. I didn't think I'll ever relate to a guy looks like an overgrown baby surrounded by bikini babes, and somehow One Piece has me feeling nothing but empathy for the guy. I love the way it is introduced too. Senor Pink sends Franky flying and starts to wax nostalgic about Russian and Gimlet. We're kept in the dark about these names until the second half the episode which makes the reveal hit harder emotionally. Looking back it's understandable he still holds them dear to his heart. He had to live a double life as a pirate and a family man, and neither should ever meet. I'd imagine he kept his family a secret from the Doflamingo Family as he did his pirate life from his actual family.  On first appearances I thought Senor Pink was a wacky Oda creation with no reason for him being dressed as a baby outside of diversity and character design aesthetics. Having a history behind his appearance makes Senor Pink a much deeper character compared to the other villainous lieutenants the Straw Hats face. I'm just surprised I'm getting more emotional reactions out of the antagonistic cast rather than the heroes. Episode 716: Stardust of Death! Diamante's Storm of Vicious Attacks!We continue to take a look at Senor Pink's life and how he dealt with the mocking eyes of everyone when they saw him dressing as a Baby. Surprisingly well for a Man (with a capital M) that once wore stylish suits and chain-smoked cigarettes. I really didn't think Senor Pink's back story should have been included in this episode. At least not separated from the previous episode. It would've been better if they spent an entire episode on Senor Pink's backstory instead of having two halves of two episode. Fortunately, the pacing was still spot on, not dragging too much on familiar ground and concluding with the Tontatta tribe storming the SMILE factory. As the title implies, we return to the three on one fight on top of Flower Hill. Apparently the joint forces of Robin, Kyos, and Rebecca is still not enough to bring down Steve Tyler's One Piece doppelganger. Diamante makes it rain with lots and lots of caltrops catching Kyros in the barrage of iron spiky objects. However not even this is able to bring down the one legged gladiator so Diamante shoots him instead. And even this isn't enough to bring him down though Diamante did just hit is leg instead of anything more valuable like the heart or head.  Kyos delivers a speech prompting Rebecca to finally drop her sword which is good because she hasn't really used it for the past 10 episodes and had merely served as a decorative item to complete the Gladiator ensemble. I had really hoped Rebecca would be more than a damsel in distress. She was really competent before Kyros arrived, taking on gladiators, avoiding death, and fending for her own. Did the sudden re-appearance of her father negate a decade's worth of fighting experience!?  Episode 717: Trueno Bastardo! Kyos' Furious Strike!After my long break away from One Piece, the show is finally finishing off all their major fights. Senor Pink was finished off in the last two episodes, Mansherry has been rescued and Jora was defeated again. Now it's time for Diamante to eat humble pie and be destroyed at Kyros's hands. Not much to say here as it's just fighting. Not many special moves nor smart tactics. Kyros continues to wails on Diamante as they flashback to Scarlet as she joins the two together being Kyros's wife and Diamante's victim. The two do have another thing in common in this episode and that is to have the scariest close-ups ever in One Piece. The camera gets so close to their face that they contort in bizarre shapes and colors. I'm not too sure if they're sword fighting or tripping out on the flower buds.  Diamante is downed and everyone gets a pat on the back as Violet reads off the remaining executives; Pica, Trebol, the big cheese himself Doflamingo, and Bellemy. I wouldn't consider Bellemy an executive considering Doflamingo has tried to kill that guy about three times already. Episode 718: Moving Across the Ground! The Giant Statue Pica's Surprise Maneuver!Pica decides his fight with Zoro is useless and focusses his efforts on killing Riku instead. He reasons that if the entire country wants Riku back in power, killing Riku would prevent him from dethroning Doflamingo or Doffy as his executives call him. Pica then grows to be a Kaiju-sized monster and traverses Dressrosa towards King Riku and the rest of the crew. As Zoro gives chase, we get a glimpse into the swordsman's strategic mind. Unfortunately, this entire episode is played straightedge. We don't have any funny fails in mind planning or does Zoro get lost from following a behemoth. Having a giant CG Pica looked a little weird amongst all the animation but overall the visuals are on par with a normal One Piece episode; acceptable if you don't look at anything outside front and centre.  Episode 719: A Decisive Battle in Midair! Zoro's New Special Secret Technique Blasts!Now it's time to take down that high pitched stone monstrosity that has been avoiding death since the start of Summer. Zoro's plan is to fly to the top of Pica and slice him before he can destroy King's Plateau along with Riku, Usopp, the Samurai, and the other secondary allies the Straw Hats have picked up in the past year. He gets thrown by Orlumbus and flies through the sky like a plan with swords for wings. The picture of Zoro flying at high speeds through the sky with katana akimbo looks ridiculous. He looks like Woody in the first Toy Story as he's being propelled by the rocket strapped to the back of Buzz except this time it's a suited buff dude with a bandana and two samurai swords.  Meanwhile, Pica painfully takes his time flattening Riku and even pauses when he sees the citizens of Dressrosa banding together to sacrifice themselves with the former king. I'm not too sure why he would pause at that moment considering he's probably killed far more people unconsciously traversing to King's Plateau in his Kaiju form. Zoro slices and dices in the nick of time using his new skill: imbuing his sword's with Haki. Pica escapes as per usual but is cornered midair by the swordsman. The show then starts drawing parallels with the first time Zoro fought Mihawk. I think it's because Zoro uses an upgraded version of his Three Thousand Worlds technique against Pica except the thematic parallels don't work due to the context of each situation. This may be Zoro's strongest enemy to date, but he's not fighting against an equally strong swordsman or cutting a material that is inherently difficult to cut. When he fought Mihawk it was almost certainly a losing battle, he was out of depth. When he fought Daz Bones, he was fighting again against the odds since the guy was made of Iron as a devil fruit power. An uncuttable material. This time, we see Zoro slicing and dicing stone like it's made of cheese so it doesn't look like a difficult fight physically. Zoro for most of the series been able to cut brick and motor. The Pica fight should've been trying to test Zoro's cerebral skills to make him into a better swordsman. Without tactics and intelligence, brute force would only get you so far. However the show doesn't show Zoro stressing about it at all, he doesn't have a eureka moment nor worrying about how to beat this impossible opponent. He was always calm, collected, and content on cutting up stone after stone and chasing after Pica. This seems to be a running theme through the post time skip. The crew never grow stronger after every fight, their training appears to be sufficient to tackle these challenges in the new world.  And with that I'm caught up with One Piece and so are you. Hopefully, I won't leave this week's recapping for another five weeks again otherwise I may be court marshalled from the Japanator ship for going AWOL.  [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
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One Piece catch up extravaganza!
It's been too long my friends for a salty sailor to be denied the high seas. I've saved One Piece until last since little ever happens week to week. And the five weeks I do decide to leave are the five episodes where three executives are taken down, one of the best heart-wrenching flashbacks in this arc occurs, and Zoro imitates an aeroplane. 

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 8

Nov 23 // Anthony Redgrave
After the desperate escape and rescue by Ononoki, Araragi recaps the events to the doll and his plans his next moves. Ideally he wanted to take Kanbaru somewhere safe so she won't be harmed by the Samurai oddity but since she had made physical contact with it, she is now connected to it. Also, Araragi still hasn't fulfilled his promise to Gaen of introducing Kanbaru to her so that Gaen can make use of Kanbaru's monkey paw. This is all laid out and recapped by the conversation between Araragi and Ononoki. This clears a lot of the motivation and goals of the show as previously I was unsure of which person Araragi wanted to introduce Kanbaru to. Trying to follow the story of Monogatari can be difficult amongst the streams and streams of dialogue that is spouted out every episode and it's made even more difficult when it does the Haruhi thing of airing the series out of chronology.  I once spoke to a friend about the airing schedule of Haruhi and he replied it was part of the show, that it was supposed to confusing and awkward. However, when a show has large amounts of continuity with the same characters all interacting with one another both on and off screen, it is really difficult to grasp the story and relate to the characters. Since Araragi wants to continue to protect Kanbaru from the Samurai, he proceeds with his original plan to meet with Gaen in the park. Namishiro Park specifically. A commonly revisited site for Monogatari. It has a really nice design too with boldly coloured jungle gyms and play sets contrasting strongly against the uniformly grey block of flats in the background. The middle portion of the episode has Araragi and Kanbaru getting lost a la Mayoi Cow, wondering the streets endlessly. In a case of fourth wall smashing, Kanbaru remembers the solution for the Cow oddity better than Araragi who actually experienced the oddity first hand and they arrive at the park 3 hours past the original meeting time. In a strange turn of events, they do not find Kanbaru's Aunt but a sleeping Shinobu underneath a swing set having just fought off a Monkey oddity. I really like Shinobu as a character. She is coy, confident, and the loli appearance rounds it off. Having Kanbaru jumping up and down excitedly behind the fence is great too, acting as a proxy for Shinobu fans.  The episode concludes on a cliffhanger as the oddity Shinobu was fighting returns. The dark shadow that reaches towards the camera is imposing and the glare of the background light masks the oddity in shadow, capturing the feeling of mystery and menace in one shot.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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Eat up!
From reading posts by anime fans whenever a show has a selection of female characters (often attractive) one of them will be selected as best. This is an entirely opinionated but I think the most common favourite in the ...

Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episodes 6 and 7

Nov 22 // Josh Tolentino
But first, an aside: Perhaps the most interesting news to come out of One Punch Man in the last couple of weeks has come from its production team. Chief Animation Director Chikashi Kubota recently revealed that, contrary to lay expectations (mine included), One Punch Man is animated using an "average-sized" budget, and is not the moneyed behemoth many thought it was judging by the high quality of its action scenes and prominence as a Shonen JUMP headliner. It just goes to show how "anime" One Punch Man is, and not merely in adhering to cultural quirks most folks associate with "anime-like" things, but also in a more classical sense. Japanese TV anime developed many of its stylistic and storytelling conventions from the need to make the most of very limited resources. Compared to the Hollywood-led productions of the time, the style of animation pioneered by Tezuka Productions and other postwar studios is filled with cost-saving techniques that directly influenced the way stories are told in the medium today. It's one of the reasons Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki famously disliked having their works lumped in with "anime", as to them, the term represented something defined by having been made on the cheap. Whatever the case, Kubota's tweet is a resounding affirmation on the talent at work with One Punch Man, that they can "hide the seams" so effectively that people think the show is much more expensive than it actually is. Moving on, the first "hit" of episode six is the one most everyone will be familiar with, regardless of punching strength. After all, few things have more of an impact on a person than a good ol' reality check. In this case, Saitama learns of the world of work, as he realizes that C-ranked heroes like himself need to stop crime on a regular basis to keep from being dropped from the roster. Given that he's always been far too powerful to consider stopping muggers and helping old ladies worth his while, this leads to a mad scramble across town in search of bad guy to take down.  The bad guy in question is Speed o' Sound Sonic, who opens his second appearance in the One Punch Man canon spoiling for a rematch. Needless to say, Saitama provides, absentmindedly filling his quota and inadvertently proving his superiority in one fell chop to the back of the head.  The real meat of the episode, though, is in seeing the Hero Association conduct more investigations into the origins of monster activity in Saitama's hometown, City Z. Besides a cool boardroom sequence featuring reports from various high-class heroes, the task falls to two A-rank ringers, the slingshot-toting Golden Ball and the mustachioed Spring Mustachio. Facial hair is his superpower, alongside a wicked sword thrust that recalls the likes of Bleach's Gin, but somehow cooler. After a cool action scene, the two heroes get plastered by a weird seaweed creature and learn little about the apparent mystery behind City Z (Hint: It's Saitama!), but we do get a further look into the inner workings of the Hero Association, including an early cameo by Tornado of Terror, a petulant, childlike telekinetic diva.  After the period of relative downtime in episode six, things pick up steam in episode seven. Then again, how could they not? A meteor's about to hit the city, after all. In case folks were wondering about our lead characters' lack of screentime, episode seven is mostly about Genos, who has many steps yet to go in his heroic journey. I've remarked before about how Genos could probably anchor a stereotypical action show all on his own. He's young, has a tragic backstory, and if not for his master, would probably be the star. That feeling's reinforced here, as he tries his damnedest to stop the meteor, despite a lack of aid from the apathetic Metal Knight and Bang, an aged martial-arts guru who's seen a lot of crap. Naturally, Saitama ends up stepping in to save the day, but there's never a doubt who the most heroic person was in this particular incident.   That doesn't mean our One-Punch wonder is completely without virtue, though. He may be oblivious, and kind of a dick, but he's the hero we deserve, especially compared to some of his peers. An incident with a pair of tank top-wearing jerks seems to impress that, with few exceptions, most of the heroes in the Hero Association are hardly heroic at all. Instead, the ranks are filled with preening, status-obsessed d-bags who care more for their place in the rankings than doing the right thing. By comparison, the only decent people are relative outsiders, like Saitama, Genos, and Bang, or the downtrodden, like the powerless Mumen Rider. One can't help but wonder if that's some kind of meta-commentary on how turning passion into work can lead ideals astray, but suffice it to say that being bad isn't exclusive to villains.  [Watch more of One Punch Man on Daisuki and Crunchyroll!]     chief animation director Chikashi Kubota
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That Feel When No One Knows You
The last couple of weeks of One Punch Man have delivered a couple of big hits, and neither courtesy of the titular "man" himself, Saitama. One hit is more psychological/philosophical than anything else, and the second is literal in a way that befits a show as straightforward as to have a title like One Punch Man.

Week Ender - Happy Edition

Nov 21 // Red Veron
[embed]34511:5197:0[/embed] "Okaeri" Anime: Non Non Biyori Repeat This show is part beautiful countryside scenery porn, part slice of life comedy. This ending leans toward the former quite well. Very pretty and just cheerful.   [embed]34511:5198:0[/embed] "Oto no Naru Hō e" Anime: Silver Spoon If happiness was a song and an anime ending. It would be this. Beautiful.   [embed]34511:5199:0[/embed] "Six Same Faces ~Tonight is the Best!!!!!!" Anime: Osomatsu-san I love the Oden art ending with the 70's disco song which is a staple for anime openings and endings. This one makes me happy as well as hungry.   [embed]34511:5200:0[/embed] "Sun" Anime: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou A ridiculous song with the characters performing a ridiculous play during their school's culture festival. I want to watch that play. The strange stupidity of the play just embodies the dumb stuff the kids their age love to do.   What's your favorite happy anime or happy anime ending? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Time to Smile
This weekend, we take a look at some anime endings from anime that made me happy. These anime made me happy in different ways, some are funny while some just provide you with pure joy. I hope you find these endings to enterta...

OP Up! Happy Edition

Nov 18 // Red Veron
[embed]34504:5187:0[/embed] "Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai" Anime: Gekkan Shoujo Nozoki-kun A fun show about a girl who has a crush on the most oblivious guy ever and the strange and funny people around them at school. Surprisingly fun show that sounded like a typical shoujo romance but turns out to be a comedy.   [embed]34504:5188:0[/embed] "Kachigumi" Anime: Lucky Star A show about nothing. Well, except the normal and funny stuff that happens to some teenage girls.   [embed]34504:5189:0[/embed] "Shiny tale" Anime: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou The awkward and funny hijinks of high school boys the ridiculous stuff they get into.   [embed]34504:5190:0[/embed] "Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi - C" Anime: Nichijou The show's title translates into "Ordinary Life" and everything that happens is anything but ordinary. A hidden underrated gem. Please watch.   So what's your favorite HAPPY anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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We All Could Use A Smile This Week
So I thought we could all use a bit of a different direction this week, not that forgetting any of the bad stuff that happened recently is denying that it happened or making light of the tragedy. Each person has their way of ...

These are the real-life books featured in The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Nov 18 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 1- Precious Place (Virtual Girl- Amy Thomson) [Amazon]One of the first establishing shots of the club room has Kyon reading this book and Nagato playing her PSVita. Maybe she should've founded a video game club instead. Anyways, this book isn't a literary classic like Dickens and from the Amazon preview page looks like a teen book in the vein of Animorphs or Goosebumps. Supporting the age old saying about books and their covers, this title did win the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and has been received positively by readers. A story about artificial intelligence and abandonment doesn't have a lot of parallel themes with the Nagato Yuki-chan story so I assume the animators just liked the Japanese cover of the book. Episode 10- Someday in the Rain (Mystery of the Yellow Room- Gaston Laroux) [Amazon]There is a large jump in the anime before we find another identifiable book. After Nagato from this show is lies dormant and Nagato from Haruhi becomes the dominant personality, Kyon and her find themselves back in the Literature Room hanging out, but this time Nagato is actually reading. The name of the book is Le mystère de la Chambre Jaune, a french novel that is famously known as one of the first locked-room mystery books. The cover shown in the show is a faithful recreation of the first edition of the book. The new Nagato has a penchant for the language of love with the next book. Episode 10- again (The Perfume of the Lady in Black- again by Gaston Laroux) [Amazon]This book is actually the sequel to the Mystery of the Yellow Room which is probably why Nagato picks it next. This title features a lot of characters from Gaston's first locked room mystery however, it is more well known as an Italian movie. This part of the episode shows off Kyon's complete lack of linguistic skills too as he is unable to pronounce any of these two titles. Episode 13- The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan III (Inherit the Stars- JP Hogan) [Amazon]In the show, this was Nagato's last book she checks out of the library before confessing and leaving Kyon. She was so engrossed with this book that she didn't want to leave the library before Kyon forced her to. As part of a five-parter, Inherit the Stars was James P Hogan's first book and was inspired by Hitchcock's legendary film 2001: A Space Odyssey and a bet with his buddies that he couldn't write a science fiction piece. This is the kind of book I'd expect Nagato and Koizumi to be reading, something science fiction-y and out of the world just like their true identities.  Le mystère de la chambre jaune
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It's a Literature Club, after all
In last season's anime, I had covered The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan dub for this site. The anime has now finished broadcasting and I've finished recapping, but I'm not quite done talking about it. I had noticed t...

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari episode 7

Nov 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Jumping back a spell, this story takes place after the long Summer and the start of a new school year. However, Araragi is playing truant and takes residence in Oshino Meme's old haunt. Shinobu has been largely absent this season and in the opening there was talk about her being separated from Araragi. My memories of the previous seasons are a bit hazy so I'm unsure about the situation. From what I remember they should still be together albeit their last real arc was Shinobu Time that explored Shinobu's backstory. A little bit of digging around on the Bakemonogatari Wikia reveals that this arc actually takes place during Tsubasa Tiger.  Kanbaru makes an appearance shortly after and the two share a lengthy exchange prolonged by diverted topics. Kanbaru is the same headstrong sexually directed person as always and has been growing her hair out foreshadowing her appearance in Hanamonogatari. Araragi asked to meet with her at the abandoned cram school because he wanted her to meet someone else in another place. We don't learn who they are supposed to meet or where. We only know that Araragi is only there to act as a medium between the two parties and they are not meant to meet in the cram school. This isn't out of the ordinary except Araragi starts to question his own organisational skills; why did he want to meet Kanbaru separately from where they were going to meet the other person, or why he was being vague about the other party in general. All this mystery is sandwiched between Kanbaru's requests for Araragi to take her virginity (which was her original thought when Araragi had texted her) and books about famous Japanese author Shugoro Yamamoto. My guess is that Araragi was arranging Kanbaru to meet his sister Karen since he did promise this to Karen at the end of Monogatari: Second Season. By the way, the title of the book referenced 'Bishoujo Ichibannori' or 'Pretty Girl First to Arrive' is entirely fictional. Don't waste those 5 minutes googling it as I did.  The second half of the episode moves the story along with a chance encounter with an empty Samurai armour that attacks the duo. Pushed to defeat, they are only saved by the tiger featured in Tsubasa Tiger engulfing the building in flames. The enemy reveals that he is here for the Oddity Killer Sword (Kokorowatari) that Shinobu had taken from him drawing more connections to last season's Shinobu Time. I'm hoping that they will do a quick recap of the events of that arc as I have forgotten a lot of these details. All the shots that had the Samurai as the subject were great. You never really saw all the details since he was always hidden in shadow and only until the end did you see his full design.  This was my least favourite episode this season. The visuals had a cold dark colour scheme and the tone was more serious. Even during the fun jokey parts at the start of the episode had underlying sinister and mysterious music motifs. You could feel that this was a more serious episode compared to last arcs which ironically dealt with a more serious real world themes. The verbal banter between Kanbaru and Araragi was ok with most of the comedy came from Kanbaru's sexual advances.  Coming away from this episode I did learn one thing; fait accompli. This is a French saying that means 'a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected had a chance to hear about it or act upon it and ultimately have to accept it'. It's funny that I heard a French saying in Japanese and learnt about it in English [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]
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The beginning of the end
Today marks the start of the last of arc in Owarimonogatari; Shinobu Mail. This arc will last half the season and clocks in at 6 episodes. It has only just dawned on me after this episode that I've found the entire season inc...

Annotated Anime: Durarara!!x2 Ten episodes 6-8

Nov 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 6: Roses has ThornsFrom last we left the city, celebrities Ruri and Kasuka crash Shinra's apartment hoping to get some protection and advice from Kasuka's brother Shizuo. They also bring along a stray cat named Yuigadokusonmaru. It's a name that's frighteningly intimidating to pronounce so I commend the dub cast for pulling it off so confidently. I'm surprised also that a Scottish fold cat was actually left on the street too considering it's high value amongst domestic cat lovers. The story goes on to explore Ruri's backstory and her rise to fame as an idol starting with her monster complex and her obsession with the complex that drove to become Hollywood. We don't learn much about her Hollywood persona and that side of her isn't brought up much this episode. Hollywood had a key role last cour but I felt it was glanced over and underdeveloped due to competing with the other happenings in Ikebukuro. Episode 7: A Cat has Nine LivesTelling the story from Masaomi's perspective was a good change of pace since he has been absent from Ikebukuro since the start of Durararax2. The bulk of the action and drama of these last two episodes is from Ruri's stalker, a crazy martial artist with a serial sociopathic complex wanting to choke the hell out of the idol. We only see the results of months of planning for the stalker as he targets Ruri herself, Shinra as it was his apartment she is seen entering, and Anri who is also entering the apartment at the same time. Fortunately, Mikado was able to rally his new gang the blue squares to their aid and prevent the simultaneous attacks on Ruri and Anri. Shinra however, wasn't as lucky as the stalker was able to beat him down for Celty was informed. This episode shows that Mikado is able to pull the strings like master manipulators Izaya and Jinnai, but unlike the other two isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty too. He saves Masaomi from a similar beat down and asks his friend to leave the city until he has finished masterminding his plan. Mikado's dark side is slowly becoming more apparent as we start to see less of him socializing with Anri and other dollars members and more with the Blue Squares.  Episode 8: Mouth of Honey, A Needle in the HeartEven though a lot of Durarara's story is framed around the exploits of high school students, there are also happening in the adult underworld. And it's all orchestrated by Izaya Orihara. This episode focuses on Izaya's job for the Awakusu group on taking down a gambling ring run by Amphisbaena. Amphisbaena are the rivals of the drug-toting group Heaven's Smile, the gang Akabayashi took out in the bathroom of a club earlier this season. In classic Durarara fashion, the story is told disjointedly with flashes to past events that clear up the actions in the present. The ending and reveal at the end of the episode aren't a game changer but shows us the added manipulative power Orihara has with his new gang he had acquired in the last episode.  Durarara!! continues to not translate the on-screen Japanese text meaning there are some parts of the episodes in complete silence. Although not a large problem it can cause some confusion with the message board politics and identities. It's made worse now that we know Orihara has taken upon multiple message board personalities in hopes of hiding his actions amongst the dollars.  [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll] [Watch Durarara!!x2 Ten on Crunchy Roll]
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Scottish Folds are my favorite too
Apologies reader, this weekly column has somehow become a monthly one. It has been due to my review work for the site the majority of which went live last week. I have been looking forward to getting back into Durarara!!x2 Te...

Week Ender - Post Apocalyptic Edition

Nov 15 // Red Veron
[embed]34487:5171:0[/embed] "Fly me to the moon" Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion A bizarre but appropriate ending in its choice to end each episode of an anime where humanity is trying to survive after a global cataclysm while being attacked by alien monsters. Also there are more weird stuff going on and conspiracies so a Frank Sinatra song is the least odd thing in this show.   [embed]34487:5172:0[/embed] "Human Touch" Anime: After War Gundam X A nice 80's ballad for a post-apocalyptic Gundam show where the earth and the colonies get destroyed with small pockets of humanity survive. Makes me feel that there is hope for the world after such a global disaster.   [embed]34487:5173:0[/embed] "Orarion" Anime: Seraph of the End I love this ending so much. Seeing characters in a normal or different 'what if' setting is always a nice touch. I feel good about the characters seeing them in a setting other than the harsh and dangerous reality they face in their regular lives.   [embed]34487:5174:0[/embed] "Minna no Peace" Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann While most endings help you wind down, this one just pumps you up the same way like most episodes of this show. What's your favorite post-apocalyptic anime ending or just anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Life leads to Death, Death leads to Life
So I've been playing a lot of Fallout 4, a video game set in a post apocalyptic wasteland and I am loving it so much. I honestly haven't much to say since I don't think anyone reads these things and people just check out the videos below to jam to some music. Enjoy! What's your favorite post-apocalyptic anime ending or just anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!

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WTF Friday: Bad Luck Assassin

Living up to the Ass in Assassin
Nov 13
// Red Veron

Review: Gatchaman Crowds Insight

Nov 12 // Salvador GRodiles
Gatchaman Crowds Insight Studio: Tatsunoko Release Date: July 4, 2015 Format: Streamed via Crunchyroll Taking place right after Gatchaman Crowds, Insight pits Hajime and the other Gatchaman against a group called VAPE, who want to rid the world of the CROWDs. During all of this commotion, the team ended up getting a new team member in the form of Tsubasa, along with having to watch over an alien visitor go goes by the name of Gel Sadra, who happens to share the same name with Leader-X’s top subordinate from Gatchaman II. While the show’s story sounds very simple, things start to take a different turn as political themes begin to take the helm. From day one, the main thing that sets this season from its predecessor is how it takes the pieces that were set into place earlier, and uses them to build a new foundation. At first, it seemed that the story was going to focus on Tsubasa becoming a better hero to overcome VAPE, but the staff did a good job in squeezing in the political themes, as Gel runs for office. While the first series had more of a subtle feeling with hints of Berg Katze plotting something huge, Insight convinces its viewers that things are suspicious from the get-go. This is shown through Gel’s speeches, which invoke the stereotype that many politicians use to present themselves as the person who relates with the middle-class citizens. Honestly, what made the guy’s actions great was that we were made to question whether the alien had ulterior motives or not. Going by the rule of things that are too good to be true, Gel came off as this super kind person who could bring everyone together. Just like the many things that fall into this category, a lot of people were drawn to his personality. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of this story was the dynamics between Hajime and Tsubasa. Despite Hajime’s role as the girl’s mentor, Insight turned Tsubasa into the person who wishes to stand by Gel’s ideals no matter what; thus conflicting with Hajime’s super enthusiastic free spirit. On one side, you have the person who wishes for people to think on their own, and on the other, you have those who believe that true peace can occur if everyone goes with the flow. This also represents two of the various ways on how people create an atmosphere in their setting. Because of the way how society reacted to this event, this made Insight a personal story that many folks could relate to since it uses the social networking themes that it predecessor established to expand on the environment created by the political aspects. It also helps that the show’s superhero elements continue to sit in the back corner until they’re called for. Sure, there isn’t a consistent group that sends a bunch of bad guys against Hajime and her crew, but the idea that they still interact with other folks is surprisingly more entertaining. Seeing the first series focuses on the team’s rise to fame, another joyous thing about the show was seeing their efforts pay off. Whether it was O.D. showing off his fabulous personality on a live talk show or witnessing Rui using his Gatchaman powers, Insight leaves it viewers with a great sensation for investing their time with its predecessor. On top of that, once Gel’s presence becomes more prominent in the story, we start to see them change gears as they adjust to the changes in society. Thanks to the staff's great work with this story, the way how the heroes resolved the whole situation ended up being a powerful scene. Since the team was still fun to follow, this turned Insight’s closing segments into a very emotional ride. Let’s just say that it involves tears. If there’s one thing that we can always expect from Crowds, it’s the show’s stylish look. Just like the previous installment, Kinako’s stylish character designs continue to grace the screen. For the most part, the colorful looks continue to be a thing in Insight. Hell, Gel’s ability to turn people’s thoughts into speech bubbles was a nice aesthetic that improved the program’s great arsenal of abstract colorful designs. On top of that, Rui and Tsubasa’s Gatchaman suits are a nice addition to the crew’s set of armored heroes. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with a fighter who can transport people to different locations and one who can fight with fireworks. Even though some of the show’s music is recycled from the previous series, the tracks still manage to go well with Insight’s scenes. Whether it’s the catchy electro song that repeats the phrase ‘Gatchaman’ or the subtle ambient track used in the peaceful segments, Taku Iwasaki’s (JoJo 2012 and Gurren Lagann’s Music) stuff continues to push the story in a positive manner again. Just like the rest of the show, it feels like we’re hanging out with the same person who made us smile before. I guess this would count as an amazing encore. As for the new characters, Kana Hanazawa (Durarara!!'s Anri, the Monogatari series' Nadeko) did a fantastic job in making Gel's child form sound playful and innocent, and Tomokazu Sugita (Kamen Rider Gaim's Demushu, Gintama's Gintoki) helped give the alien's adult form a convincing voice as a politician. That, and it was great to see him use a gentle voice throughout the series. In regards to Tsubasa, Kaori Ishihara (Magi's Aladdin, A Lull in the Sea's Sayu) brought out her ambitious personality nicely. She may not be on the same level as Maaya Uchida's (Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger's Hakase, Outbreak Company's Minori) Hajime voice, but she hit the right notes in making her character an overly determined person. Combined with the original cast, the voice actors were able to put on quite a good show.  While a sequel to Gatchaman Crowds could’ve gone either way, the show’s crew stuck to their guns and used them to shoot out greater bullets. The title’s political elements and expansion on its social life aspects gave it another nice zest that sets it apart from many superhero shows. Whether there’s gonna be a third installment or not, Kenji Nakamura (tsuritama and Mononoke's Director) has shown us that his take on Tatsunoko’s classic property is still capable of playing the game. [This review is based on a streamed version of the series viewed by the reviewer at personal expense.]
Gatchaman Crowds Insight photo
Whenever an old property gets reinvented, many folks tend to be concerned over the changes that the title goes through. In some cases, it can be a bad thing; however, a new take on a classic could act as a great way to a...

OP Up! Post Apocalyptic Edition

Nov 11 // Red Veron
[embed]34478:5163:0[/embed] "Aoi Hana" Anime: Casshern Sins A dark reboot of a 70's science fiction anime that is all about robot massacre in a world where robots have taken over the world with humanity close to extinction.   [embed]34478:5164:0[/embed] "Brave your truth" Anime: Chrome-Shelled Regios An interesting setting for a post-apocalyptic anime with earth being taken over by giant alien bugs and humanity being forced to survive in roaming domed megacities.   [embed]34478:5165:0[/embed] "The Big O" Anime: The Big O An intriguing setting where people live in a domed city police state surrounded by a wasteland. To make things more complicated (and interesting), 40 years prior to the events of the show, a mysterious thing happened that caused everyone in the city to lose their memories. Oh and there is a giant robot and the visual style is heavily influenced by 60s and 70s.   [embed]34478:5166:0[/embed] "Ai o tomoridose!!" Anime: Fist of the North Star The best post-apocalyptic anime out there where a guy who is basically "Kung-fu Jesus" roams the wasteland. Just watch it, it's so great.   So what is your favorite post-apocalyptic set anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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The End is just the Beginning
For many video game players out there, this week is a big one with the release of Fallout 4, one of the biggest and most anticipated games of the year. Fallout 4 is a game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of the ...

Annotated Anime: Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans episodes 4-5

Nov 10 // Josh Tolentino
Iron-Blooded Orphans' fourth episode mostly consists of place-setting, giving out more details as to the situation between Earth and Mars (more on that in a bit), as well as emphasizing what's at stake for the people involved. Now that Tekkadan has its first job - escorting Aina to Earth to appeal for Martian independence - the crew need to go about the hard work of, y'know, getting her to Earth. With Orga and the other leaders off getting CGS' old space-ride up to spec (and sleazebucket Todo planning some kind of betrayal), Mikazuki and the others get some downtime, which they spend picking corn from Biscuit's family farm. It's here that the orphans' hard-luck situation is underlined further. Crappy economics and the stigma of being "Human Debris" - slaves, basically - mean that Tekkadan is their only chance at an honest living. Incidentally, the episode also lays out a little bit more background on Earth's history in the Iron-Blooded Orphans setting. I love this sort of stuff, mainly because of sci-fi anime's propensity for redrawing the map in hilarious, color-coded ways. It's always fun to see the way a given setting organizes its world can clue you into its own worldview. In this case, Earth's four power blocs include the U.S. and Latin America united in the SAU, East Asia, Australia, Oceania, and the subcontinent in their own little co-prosperity sphere, and Europe largely absorbed by Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. Poor Russia has to make do with Canada and Alaska. All things considered, it's not quite as farfetched as some other anime world maps I've seen, though one can't help but wonder just what in the world took out that huge chunk of New South Wales. A meteor capable of making a crater that big would compare favorably to the one that killed the dinosaurs! Mikazuki also has a run-in with Fareed and Gaelio, who are on Mars trying to investigate just what it is Major Coral is hiding. A bit of bad driving later, Mikazuki accidentally starts a rivalry with both Gjallarhorn agents, and Fareed gets to pull his Candy Man schtick on a couple of kids.  All the setup here pays off in episode five, where the Tekkadan heads to space for the first time. Todo's betrayal - selling out Aina to the Tekkadan's would-be guides and Gjallarhorn - goes down, only to reveal that Orga had it thought through. He's a smart guy not to trust the smirking geezer sporting a Hitler mustache. This is where Tekkadan's own White Base, an assault ship redubbed the Isaribi comes into play, debuting with an asteroid-based anchor turn straight from that awful Battleship live-action movie. It looks better than it sounds. What doesn't look as great is Gundam Barbatos' first turn at space combat. Conceptually, it's great. Nobody in Iron-Blooded Orphans has any beam weapons yet, so it's all about bullets and heavy steel axes, including Barbatos' awesome hybrid of poleax, lance, and pile bunker. For a guy who's never flown, Mikazuki seems a natural at space combat, something Fareed puts down to the kid's Alaya-Vijnana System. Simply put, not only do the horns on Mikazuki's back make the Gundam behave like his own body, but expand his awareness like some kind of Cyber-Newtype (but without the whole thing with "This Pressure!!!"). Strong as that is, though, it's a thing Fareed quickly learns to exploit, targeting the extraneous, spiky bits that Mikazuki can't "feel" naturally, like Barbatos' thrusters. You don't mess with the chocolate man. On a side note, it's interesting to see the closest thing this Gundam has to the "Newtype" archetype cast as something forced on only the lowest of the low classes. Everywhere else, Newtypes are the future of human evolution. In Iron-Blooded Orphans, they're a form of mutilation and, like Gundam Frames, a relic of an old, irrelevant war. That's a contrast I'm actually hoping the show is bold enough to take further. With a bold rescue and a traitor disposed of, we're 2 for 2 in Tekkadan's favor, and despite the fact that Orga, Mikazuki, and the crew have come out ahead pretty much every time they've gone up against the odds, what's fun about Iron-Blooded Orphans is that it still feels pretty great to root for these perpetual underdogs.  [Check out Iron-Blooded Orphans every week on Daisuki and YouTube!]
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The Candy Man Can
It's been a little while since we last checked in with Iron-Blooded Orphans, and as a result, we're a little behind. Stuff is definitely happening, though, from table-setting in cornfields to the beginning of what is clearly the Tekkadan's rise to power. Now, won't you take these sweets as a form of apology?

Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari Episodes 2-6

Nov 08 // Anthony Redgrave
Episode 2-3: Sodachi Riddle The opening to each Monogatari arc fits in with the theme, belle du jour, and style the arc is portraying but rarely do I find myself watching them all the way through. Sodachi Riddle is one of the rare exceptions where I really liked the opening. The jazzy instruments, mezzo-soprano vocals, and reflective imagery invoked a mysterious detective vibe, perfect for what the arc had in store.  The story does take us back to the present with Araragi meeting with Sodachi after two years. She has mysteriously come back to school after Araragi had solved the case in the last episode. Thinking the past was behind them, Araragi tries to strike up a friendly conversation with the former class president. It's odd to see Araragi being formally friendly. Normally his sullen look is only broken by an appearance of a loli character or Senjougahara. The sudden change in color from the corridor's warm inviting orange to cool mysterious blue once in the classroom stages the uncertainty of how Sodachi is going to react to Araragi's presence. Suffice to say it's not a friendly reunion. So much so that Senjougahara intervenes putting Sodachi out cold and leaving Araragi to solve another mystery. The story continues with Ougi in tow as Araragi dives back into his past and the origins of his relationship with Sodachi. Ougi's presence is great as she is always one step ahead of Araragi, probing and pointing into Araragi to the right direction. Her friendly personality and helpful demeanor in pushing Araragi makes us completely forget about her ghostly appearance. The arc ends nicely with the main puzzle solved and leaves enough strings curiously un-tied to help lead into the next arc.  Episodes 4-6: Sodachi Lost It's time to tackle the present problem of Sodachi tardiness. But who does Araragi choose as his partner in crime? This is the basis for the first episode of Sodachi lost as we have two contenders; newcomer Ougi or dear sweet Hanekawa. Ougi has already shown her deductive prowess in the first few episodes so she should be the obvious choice. However, we have known Hanekawa longer and she is one of the best at socializing amongst the Monogatari cast. It is also worth noting that Hanekawa is class president so is responsible for the wellbeing of her student body. This would've been a dramatic choice that needed to be made if it weren't for the series tradition of starting each arc in media res.  It doesn't suck all the drama out of the moment. The verbal catfight that ensues between Hanekawa and Ougi is great with the backdrop of congested traffic and factories spewing smoke amongst a red sky framing the entire scene. I really liked how Ougi interacts with Araragi in this scene too. The way she persuades and worms her way into Araragi's head confirms our suspicions that she is one not to be kept too close.  The middling episode of this arc is verbally draining. You may need to prime your eyes for fast subtitles if they are out of shape. Araragi and co. arrive at Sodachi's new residence and confront her about her tardiness. This spills into Sodachi's past, her outlook on life, and why she hates Araragi and her past connections with him. We learn lots about this girl and there aren't a lot of light moments here. Her past is dark and explores domestic violence, neglect, and jealousy. These themes have been explored with other girls in the series but none that refused Araragi's aid. There has been no mention of oddities at this moment so all the bad things happening to Sodachi is real. No external forces requiring exorcising, no supernatural beings, Sodachi was born into a harsh environment making her suffering hit harder than the others. The episode concludes with Sodachi burying the hatchet with Araragi and only returning to school if they can find her mother.  The mother search doesn't require much traveling. Ougi rendezvous with her sempai taunting Hanekawa at her lack of an explanation for her mother's disappearance. Ougi's manipulative nature almost gets to Araragi as she will explain it all if Araragi begs for the answer. Hanekawa makes Araragi refuse the request and asks for 10 seconds to figure out the answer. It's the most intense 10 seconds hair was you will see in anime. I know that last sentence doesn't make much sense and it doesn't make much sense in the context of the anime either, but it does look really cool. Now both the heroines know the answer and it's just us and Araragi that are still in the dark. What follows is both girls giving out various hints hoping to lead Araragi and us to the answer. It's a really good part of the episode as it got my brain working trying to decipher the various hints being spewed out at lightning speed. The answer is equally as dark as the episode that precedes it. The ending to Sodachi Lost takes up the second half of the episode 6 and is filled with warm cozy visuals and Araragi's nonchalant voice recapping the aftermath. The final scene is open-ended allowing for viewer speculation on what was written on the letter. Personally I think it's a thank you in the form of a mathematics problem that only Araragi was able to decipher thanks to his practice with Sodachi.  [Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!] her friendly personality and helpful demeanor in pushing Araragi 
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Hanekawa's boobs > Ougi
Since I've been behind on recapping Owarimonogatari, I was planning on writing a recap every time an arc had finished. This plan would've been perfect as it gave me more time in between each write up to catch up on other stuf...

Week Ender - Hidamari Sketch Edition

Nov 07 // Red Veron
[embed]34457:5155:0[/embed] "Ryusei Record" Anime: Hidamari Sketch x 365 A simple ending for the second season, this one is still full of nice visuals that still shine even in their simplicity.   [embed]34457:5156:0[/embed] "Sakura Sakura Saku: Ano Hi Kimi o Matsu, Sora to Onaji de"" Anime: Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu This is my favorite ending that is a tie with the one from Honeycomb (the last one below), it features the new characters for the first time and just continues the studio's use of nicely done minimal visuals with great music.   [embed]34457:5157:0[/embed] "Nora" Anime: Hidamari Sketch x SP This is a cute one with Yuno sleeping soundly while her friends drop by. Why doesn't this girl lock her door? What?   [embed]34457:5158:0[/embed] "Yumo Gumo" Anime: Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb I absolutely love this one. Full of color and a beautiful song, this one has Yuno sleeping again for half of the thing. I really like the lovely kimonos that sway in the wind that makes this ending such a gorgeous sight.   Is there a slice-of-life anime ending you like? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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We Must Go WIDER
Hidamari Sketch is a show I would recommend to people who like SHAFT (Bakemonogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica) and would want something a bit more subtle than their usual outrageous stuff.  It still has a the...

Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episode 5

Nov 05 // Josh Tolentino
The first test of the week, of course, is Saitama and Genos' application to join the Hero Association, the NGO that regulates hero activity in the world of One Punch Man. And what an application it is!  It's easy to get distracted by the visuals and the awesome punching, but another thing that I find great about One Punch Man is its particular take on otherwise western-style superheroes, in part because the whole premise of a "Hero Association" (and even that name!) is so very Japanese. I mean, of course they would rearrange the whole concept of superhero adventures into something managed by a thoroughly bureaucratic process! Having recently taken the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, I could see the shades of it permeating the wholet testing montage (minus the athletic stuff). Sure, we've seen similar twists in the likes of Tiger & Bunny and even Zetman, but it's One Punch Man's interpretation that strikes me as particularly resonant with Japanese culture. I can only imagine how much more resonant it might be with the people who do live over there.  Naturally, once it's over, Genos gets himself catapulted to S-rank hero, while Saitama's poor written testing is rewarded with a C-rank. Between the orientation seminar led by one Snakebite Snek, an A-class jerkface, we see the world of the Hero Association is just as consumed with office politics, factionalization, and hazing the new guys. That's emphasized further with some new material, an impromptu meeting with none other than Amai Mask, celebrity, top-rank A-class hero, and apparently a kingmaker of sorts in the Association, one who's got his eye on Genos. For Saitama, on the other hand,  seeing what used to be a hobby turned into a day job might not be the best thing. It's an interesting thing to point out, as anyone who's ever tried to make a living off  a thing they used to do for fun has experienced. It's not all world-building and highly Japanese superheroics, though. This episode contains my favorite battle of the whole series: A sparring match between Saitama and Genos, with Genos going all out to try and push his "master" and reveal some secret to his power. There's some really great stuff in this fight. Of course, much of it thanks to the manga and Yuusuke Murata's lavish artwork, but there really is something to see it in motion. Madhouse even adds a few embellishments that help push things even further over the top. It's good that we're finally getting more hints of the real substance of One Punch Man's world, in addition to the visual splendor and hilarity of seeing Saitama win at (almost) everything. It took a bit of time, but this episode taps most deeply into the things that have made the manga such a hit with so many people. [Check out One Punch Man on Daisuki and Crunchyroll!]
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Passing the test
Things start to pick up in the animated chronicle of the man who Belive In Justice and Hold A Determination To Fist*, as the theme of this week's episode is "testing", whether against bureaucracy, your teacher, or yourself. Let's get some udon when we're done! *Symphogear is the 2nd best punching anime this year *Sorry, Symphogear reference

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Cowboy Bebop

Watch this Cowboy Bebop script reading video, Space Cowboy

Toys in the Attic
Nov 03
// Red Veron
Anime purists often argue that subtitled anime is the best kind of anime and snub all dubs, but there is an english anime dub that is almost unanimously loved by all anime fans: Cowboy Bebop. When Cowboy Bebop was brough...

First Impressions: Anitore! EX

Nov 03 // Anthony Redgrave
Anitore! EX can best be described as an anime exercise video made into four-minute episodes. It's those "Get Fit with (insert washed up celebrity here)" videos that plague the discount bins and supermarket media sections except in anime form. Each episode has a different set of exercises and a different girl taking you through them. Of course, if you're not motivated by the tsundere flat chest, maybe the spunky gluttonous one will get you motivated to do some push ups. There isn't much story from each episode but according to the wiki page each girl is an aspiring idol wanting to improve their physique through exercise routines.  Each episode is shot in a POV style with the viewer taking the form of a training partner. I think you are supposed to do the exercises alongside the video. Except since I'm always taking screen shots and trying to read dialogue that mainly consists of "don't forget to exhale" and "hopefully it'll make my breasts bigger too", it's not too effective as an exercise tool. Also, the girls get tired after doing ten reps. I'm not talking just a little winded but sweaty and struggling for the last rep. These girls have a long way to go if they want to achieve that perfect beach body for Summer 2016.  The animation and art style, for the most part, is nice. The girls don't have the most original designs or personalities, but it works for the short duration of each episode. They cater to a specific moe and they all look nice while they work out. The camera has an eye for the female form but thankfully doesn't linger for too long to be part of ecchi territory. The chibi versions of each character are cute and adorable for cheering on the girls as they work out and providing practical tips during each exercise.  There isn't too much substance here. The details on each exercise are minimal and provide a basic explanation on the muscle groups they work out. If you've been on the fence about the concept of working out but have never pushed up or squatted in your life then maybe this is worth a watch. However, I cannot stress that 'maybe' enough. Personally, I've been wanting to add more exercise routines to my repertoire so the 4 minutes episodes filled with cute anime girls isn't a bad investment every week. Just don't be expecting some high or even low-brow stuff with this anime.  [Anitore! EX streams weekly on Crunchy Roll] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
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Get on the Summer body early
There has always been sports anime around that I can never get into. Either I have no interest in the sport or the drama part takes too much away from the sport that I like, or the show is more interested in showing off ...

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Voice Actress Miyu Matsuki passes away

Goodbye, Yoshinoya-Sensei
Nov 02
// Red Veron
Miyu Matsuki, who recently went on hiatus due to a case of pneumonia around 3 months ago, tragically passed away last October 27 at the young age of 38. Yes, 38 is young and to lose someone so talented whose work you enjoy be...
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Raise your flag for Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans' chiptune opening

Mars has gone retro
Nov 01
// Salvador GRodiles
With a new Gundam show airing this season, it was only a matter of time until Studio Megaane would use his amazing skills to give Barbatos a retro upgrade. Once again, the guy did an amazing job with capturing the essen...

Annotated Anime: Attack on Titan: Junior High episodes 2-4

Oct 29 // Soul Tsukino
All right, now that the fangirls have stopped screaming, we are introduced to Levi. He is an upperclassman at the school. After taking down a titan so easily, Eren wants to know what club this sempai belongs to so he can learn how to take down titans so easily. But first we see why Armin has been so holed up. He is a weak and sickly little boy who has a Linus-like attachment to his favorite futon blanket. His house is kept at a blazing hot temperature so he doesn't catch a cold. Suddenly Levi bursts into the room and steals Armin's futon before he runs away. Instantly Armin starts sneezing. Even though he is wearing cat pajamas. We catch up to the others and it seems that their attempts at joins clubs have all been disasters. Sasha's run in the culinary club didn't go well since she ate all the ingredients, and the sports clubs all are ruined by titans. They start talking about a super secret club that is trying to change and get rid of the titans, but it is hush-hush. Of course, they find the club room easily and well advertised. We get to see some of the older classmen who are members of the Attack Junior High Scout club, including Oluo who always seems to bite his tongue, Petra, and the ever bonkers  Hange. Eren wants to see Levi again, so the best way to get Levi to arrive? Putting an empty plastic bottle in a trash bin. Levi shows right up and after some begging and pleading, Levi makes them all members of the secret club. Except that the club is unofficial and secret so the school puts them all on wall cleaning duty instead. Episode 3 In this episode, we look at Annie. She doesn't like Eren since he declared he liked cheese burger steak during the opening ceremony, making everyone laugh at him. Annie likes Chee-burg too but doesn't want anyone to know. I'm only guessing, but it makes it sound like in Japan, cheeseburger steak is something for little kids and that junior high students would've grown out of eating it. Annie lies and tells everyone she likes mozuku seaweed. The class dodge ball tournament is coming up and since Annie on a different team than Eren, she vows to crush him, Eren doesn't know why. Each of the classes is split into an A team and a B team. Jean heads up class 4's A team and Annie heads Class 4's B team. Things don't look good for Class 4's A team as Eren hasn't shown up. The rules are that everyone has to play and the team has to cover up that Eren isn't there from Mr. Keith. As a result of being separated from him, Mikasa doesn't have the will to move. Sasha is constantly eating (improving her dodge skill but taking away her hands to catch anything), and Conny doesn't even know what he's doing as he hands the opposing team the ball before being eliminated from the first match. Somehow they survive the match and the team watches as Annie's team crushes their opponents. Class 4's A team tries to dress Jean up as Eren so they won't get in trouble with Mr. Keith, but Annie tells them that if he doesn't show up for the match, she'll tell him anyway. Finally, Eren arrives and instantly Mikasa is revived. The battle goes down as people are eliminated one by one. Eventually, it comes down to Eren and Mikasa against Annie. She uses to advanced technique to keeping hitting Eren with the ball, but since Mikasa keeps recovering the ball after he is hit, he doesn't get eliminated, just gets the crap beaten out of him. Eren asks why Annie hates him so much and she confesses her reason. Eren and Annie make up as the others all applaud. Suddenly the ball taps Annie on the head as Conny finally learns the rules of the game and wins it for class 4. Later at lunch Eren drops his only chee-burg on the ground, so Annie give Eren hers. Mikasa gets made and keeps shoveling fish and veggies in his mouth so he wouldn't pay attention to Annie. Jean speculates a love triangle has been made.  Episode 4 It's time to start cleaning the outer walls! For Eren and the gang, it's the first day of the wall cleaning club that they were shoe-horned into in episode 2. The wall cleaning club once had 100 members, now it's only down to the club president, Rico. So it's up to the first year students to keep the club going!  Each person is assigned a scrub bucket with supplies and are told to clean the windows of the school building. No one likes being there, but since all the human clubs are full, they'd be stuck joining titan clubs instead if they quit. Jean is especially mad since everyone laughs at them and tries to quit, but Rico comes swooping in on the omnidirectional mobility gear and hits him. Instantly everyone falls in love with the new gadget and are told they'd have to work hard to earn the right to wear them. They rush back into the building and clean the windows so well it blinds Rico, who says that even though they are first-year students, he is going to teach them. In a plotline that seems oh so familiar, everyone seems to get the hang of the gear almost instantly, except Eren. He has a moment of existential crisis over being told he'd be kicked out of the club if he couldn't learn to use the gear (Uhh... first year students weren't supposed to be using them anyway. What's the problem?) Until the club advisor, The drunk school janitor Mr. Hannes shows up and straps the gear on, not noticing the belt is damaged and crashing into Jean and the others. Eventually everyone sees the gear is broken. Rico blames Mr. Hannes for it, so she wouldn't look bad. When given a fixed set of gear Eren accomplishes being able to stand upright in it. We then see WHY there is a wall cleaning club in the first place. Yup, Titans are also graffiti making bastards. Eren runs out to try and attack them, but it doesn't end well. See, he only is able to balance in the gear, but Rico hadn't trained him how to properly use it yet.   Overall these three episodes picked up right where the first episode left off. They are fun, cute, and the plot isn't complex. I especially like the work done on episode four with how they were able to parody such an iconic scene from the source show, but still make it work for this universe. As "Weird" Al Yankovic once said of his work, doing original ideas is tough, but parody is even harder. These episodes did a great job at looking at some of Eren's friends and showing some of their funny quirks on top of Eren's adventures. And since I've made it clear who my favorite character is, here is a count of the things Sasha was eating in these eps. An entire box of "sticks" that she nearly choked on, At least 3 yams, at least one baked potato, a bowl of ramen, and a carrot. Surprisingly she didn't eat a thing in episode four. That's no good for a growing young lady like herself! Get her a sammich before she faints! Still love this series and these episodes only made it easier to like it. All right, now that the fan girls have stopped screaming, we are introduced to Levi. He is an upperclassmen at the school. After taking down a titan so easily, Eren wants to know what club this sempai belongs to so he can learn how to take down titans so easily.
Attack on Titan: Jr high photo
Lessons in life, love, and chee-burg
Episode 2 has Eren and the gang wondEreng about the long absence of their classmate Armin. Seems Armin doesn't like to go out in the cold so he hasn't been to school all winter. Eren gets tasked with going to Armin's house to...

Annotated Anime: One Punch Man episode 4

Oct 27 // Josh Tolentino
I am, of course, being facetious here, though the focus of this week's episode is definitely on villains, in particular the redundantly-named "Speed O'Sound Sonic", a sadistic, slender ninja man with a penchant for smiling like a crazy person whenever he gets his blood up.  Like our guy Saitama, he's mainly looking for a challenge, but unlike our guy Saitama, he's a true villain, chopping people's heads off at the slightest provocation with his ninja skills. Fans of the manga will note that Sonic is effectively the series' first true, enduring, antagonist. Though that's not saying a whole lot considering the relative thinness of One Punch Man's plot, knowing he'll come back someday lends the show a sense of continuity that wasn't present in the first three episodes. Also, Saitama accidentally punches Sonic in the junk, in a scene that shows off just how much Madhouse was enjoying animating the sequence: We're also introduced, ever so briefly, to Mumen Rider, the cyclist for justice. Considering his positioning in the intro sequence, as well as the surprisingly long scene and detailed animation he gets, even non-readers might be suspecting a recurring role in store for him. Spoiler alert: They're right! Besides the glorious junk-punishment meted out to the speedy ninja, we're treated to yet more spiffy takes on the manga scenes, such as a series of hyper-accelerated beheadings, courtesy of Sonic, and the local villain Hammerhead powering up his Battle Suit like the Dragon Ball villain he resembles. Even Genos gets some extra screentime, as the anime foreshadows a future, potentially gorgeous-looking battle in a coming episode. Finally, Saitama himself takes the next step in heroing: Making it a job. He used to be a "hero for fun", but starting next week, he'll be seeing life through the eyes of a professional, registered super.  [Check out One Punch Man on Daisuki and Crunchyroll!]          
One Punch Man photo
The Lowest Blow
So, it turns out that Madhouse's big twist in their adaptation of the wildly popular One Punch Man would be to turn Saitama into the villain! Who'd have thunk it?! No true hero would stoop so low as to punch a vulnerable enemy in the junk, after all. Dick strikes are the preserve of craven knaves alone!

Week Ender - Time Travel Edition

Oct 24 // Red Veron
[embed]34407:5114:0[/embed] "The Twelve Time-Governing Covenants" Anime: Steins;Gate A cool song with very minimal visuals that still gives you that impact in a show with a lot of twists and turns.   [embed]34407:5115:0[/embed] "Honey Honey Honey" Anime: Punch Line A show where the world will end if the protagonist sees a girl's panties more than twice. A visually pleasing ending with lots of color and cutesy character design.   [embed]34407:5116:0[/embed] "Kimi ga Iru Basho Anime: Occult Academy A live action ending that is okay and it may have been a sign of some budget problems this show may have had since it felt like it had to be wrapped up in half the amount of episodes.   [embed]34407:5117:0[/embed] "Hare Hare Yukai" Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Yes, there is time travel in this show. A ten year old show that any anime fan should watch, this show is one of the most influential shows in anime history. This show has a bit of everything and should please many of you.   So what is your favorite ending from an anime that features time travel that isn't on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Great Scott
Since this past week was a celebration of the date that was prominently featured in the movie Back to the Future Part II and the 30th anniversary of the first Back to the Future movie, the selection for this week's ...

Annotated Anime: One Piece episodes 713+ 714

Oct 24 // Anthony Redgrave
The episode kicks off right where the previous had ended. Nico Robin had just captured Cavendish before he could attack her. Subduing the blonde swordsman, it is revealed that his violent personality is called Hakuba and is a lot more aggressive than Cavendish. The reveal isn't played dramatically but instead for laughs. Cavendish desperately tries to regain control of his body, Hakuba wrestles against Robin's restraints, and Bartomeleo tries to understand what the hell is going on. The humour isn't dragged out as Gladius takes advantage of the situation by placing a bomb on the mountain side. Bartolomeo is placed in a difficult defensive position that puts him or Nico Robin at risk. I think if I didn't like Bartolomeo, this fight with Gladius would've been disappointing. Bartolomeo was another character that was rather polarising when he was first introduced since his character design and personality mimicked a minor antagonist. This soon turned around once he started fanboying over Luffy and any other Straw Hat he saw. There was little action or kinetic energy between Bartolomeo and Gladius, but the tension and drama are present making it a suspenseful episode. I really liked the ending of this episode as a result of the fight. An executive goes down, Bartolomeo has his moment of epicness, and Robin is finally where she needs to be to help Rebecca.  Episode 714 brings us back to the Tontatta's campaign to rescue Princess Mansherry. The episode isn't spent too long on the actual rescue process i.e. Leo and Kabu running through the castle to find her and more on why Doflamingo had captured Princess Mansherry.  Princess Mansherry is the eater of the Heal Heal fruit which is a devil fruit that makes studying for medicine obsolete. Jora having been healed previously, tries to force Mansherry to use her power on the defeated executives. For me, it isn't the drama that lies with an executive coming back and causing the defeat of an ally, it's the idea that this arc may be prolonged because they have to fight the executives again. It's an unfortunate reason since it implies I'm not enjoying watching One Piece or I wouldn't enjoy more of it, but this does also heighten the tension in this episode. Jora discovers that Mansherry doesn't have to use her powers voluntarily as a tear from her eyes can heal anyone it touches prompting her to beat the dwarf princess. It's an uncomfortable scene, more so than the savage beatings seen in the fights that have caused disfigurement, blood shed, and even death.  The finale of the episode was decent wrapping up the Tontatta campaign and moving back to the fight with Luffy and Bellemy. I'm hoping the show keeps ups this pace and shows Franky's fight with Senor Pink soon. Every clip we have seen looks absurd when taken out of context and it's been so long sine we checked into the fight that I barely remember what the context is! [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation] [One Piece streams weekly on FUNimation]
One Piece photo
Cavendish 'Two Face' Dent
Cavendish is a good character for One Piece. His character design is nice and provides some fan service for the lady viewers who'd prefer the prince characters over the overly macho Zoro. Cavendish isn't just eye candy e...

Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Tie the knot with Sailor Moon Marriage Certificates

Perfect for the cosplay wedding
Oct 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Boring old marriage certificate forms can now be made a lot prettier with the Sailor Moon inspired designs. Konin Todoke is an online certificate service that provides legislated documents for marriage and family registration...
Nisekoi photo

Nisekoi OAD trailer previews Raku's married life

Every girl is a winner
Oct 23
// Anthony Redgrave
The 21st volume of Nisekoi will be releasing with a limited edition containing an anime DVD. This DVD adapts the spin-off manga Magical Patissier Kosaki-chan into a second episode using the short stories from the 19th, ...

Review: Boruto: Naruto the Movie

Oct 22 // Christian Chiok
Boruto: Naruto the Movie Studio: Pierrot Licensed by: Viz Media Release Date: August 8, 2015 (Japan), October 10, 2015 (North America) The movie already starts off with lots of action, featuring Sasuke fighting with both Momoshiki and Kinshiki in the ruins of Kaguya Otsutsuki's palace. From that battle scene alone, you can already tell how well the movie’s animation will be and it’s a great way to get the audience hook to the movie. Just like Kaguya, Momoshiki and Kinshiki Otsutsuki’s goal was to recollect all chakra and create it into a new chakra fruit, which would grant unlimited power, eternal youth, and immortality. However, they don’t have any affiliation with Kaguya as she created the White Zetsu Army in order to fend off against them should they ever attempt to steal her chakra. Throughout the movie, it is easily noticeable that Konoha has evolved technologically as the use of computers is pretty frequent. However, was stood out the most, and what basically was an important part of the movie, was the forearm device called Kote made by Katasuke. Kote allows the wielder to use any jutsu of their choice, without the use of chakra, as long as they had the scroll to use the sealed technique. Kote suggested that he wanted to introduce the device Chunin Exams but Naruto considered it cheating and denied his request. [embed]34393:5113:0[/embed] When Katasuke brought up the device to Boruto, he denied his request and he told him he wasn’t going to be entering the Chunin exams anyway. But after discussing about the Chunin exams with Sarada, and with her convincing him to enter be telling him that it was a way to show off to his father, he decides to enter. Even though Naruto has reached his long-term goal of becoming Hokage, the movie still shows that the character has so much to learn as he continues to prioritize work over family obligations, especially when he sends a shadow clone to his daughter's birthday dinner.  When Boruto finds out, he states that Naruto was luckier than him, reasoning that a dead father is better than one that neglects his children. Later that night, Boruto meets his father’s enteral frenemy and rival Sasuke Uchiha. Boruto being aware of that, he begs Sasuke if he can become his student and hopes he educate him about Naruto's weaknesses. Sasuke stated that he will take Boruto as his student under the condition that he can master the Rasengan, an attack that even Naruto struggled to perfect. Given the condition, Boruto goes to Konohamaru and asks him to teach him the Rasengan, which took Boruto a few long days to learn. When he finally approached Sasuke to tell him he learned the Rasengan, Sasuke notes that it’s far too small then smacks the Rasengan from Boruto’s hands as it slowly flies at a tree and disappears before it can make contact. Boruto storms off the scene with a sad look on his face and headed directly to Katasuke, the creator of Kote. With Katasuke’s initial plan to introduce Kote during the Chunin Exams, He wants Boruto to pass the Chunin Exams using Kote. Even with his father banning the use of Kote during the Chunin Exams, Boruto still decides to use it because he's tired of relying on his teammates and wants to achieve victory by himself. However, during the first round of the Chunin exams, he doesn’t use Kote, but was able to pass the round thanks to his teammates. Naruto later finds out and congratulates his son via e-mail. With Boruto excited after receiving recognition from his father, he decides to use Kote on round two, which he successfully passes and Naruto instead congratulates him in person, Naturally, this makes Boruto extremely happy. Unfortunately during the third round, Naruto catches him using Kote and later confronts his son in front of the entire village, confiscates his forehead protector and states he will never become a Shinobi. When Naruto scolds Boruto and tells him they will talk after the exams, Boruto angrily replies that they will never talk as Naruto is too busy being Hokage anyway. A few moments later, both Momoshiki and Kinshiki arrive to the scene with the goal of extracting the Kurama from Naruto. Unfortunately, Boruto made matters worse by using his Kote since the Otsutsuki absorb chakra-based jutsu. With Momoshiki gaining that power boost, Naruto was forced to sacrifice himself and was pulled into their dimension. After learning that his father is still alive and afraid of what could happen to his father, Boruto regrets all the resentful thought he was towards Naruto and accompanies Sasuke and the visiting Kage into the other dimension to save him, in order to make things right. During the fight in the other dimension, clearly the highlight of that moment was the teamwork between Naruto and Sasuke, especially with the beautiful done animation and the combination of both Perfect Susano’o and Kurama. After an intense battle, Naruto was weakened so Sasuke suggested that Boruto and his father combine their Rasengans. After creating the gigantic Rasengan, with the help of his shadow clone and Sasuke, he obliterates Momoshiki. However, the most important part of that scene to me was when we see Boruto and Naruto smiling at each other while combining their Rasengan. At the end of the movie, Boruto and Naruto reconcile their differences as Boruto respects his father and Naruto spends more time at home. The following morning after the battle, Boruto and Naruto fist-bumped and asked the other to do their best as they left for a mission and for work respectively. That final scene was special as it shows how much their relationship has built up as father and son, especially when they first-bumped. The movie concludes with Boruto, Sarada, Mitsuki, and Konohamaru going on a mission to capture a panda that is running loose in the village. Overall, this movie exceeded my expectations. The story isn’t exactly the best, especially because both the villains and their motivations were boring as they were the same as Kaguya’s. However, I did enjoy the character development shown for Boruto, and the relationship build-up with his father, Naruto, was really heartwarming. After seeing his father battle throughout the movie, and he understands how hard Naruto was worked to become Hokage, not only that but, after learning what Boruto has been through, he learns that Boruto still needs his father. Additionally, I really disliked how Momoshiki wasn’t really a threat and the battle was one sided on Boruto. Even Toneri in The Last put up a bigger fight against Naruto. However, the latter was more of a love-story if anything. In addition to the character development, I would also recommend this movie based on the animation and the fight scenes as well. The fights in the movie easily match those in the Dragon Ball series and watching it in theaters only made the experience even better.  With the new generation of Shinobi, it would great to see more of them in action. Personally, I really want to see Sarada follow the path of Hokage while Boruto follows Sasuke’s path, and protects the Hokage, as stated at the end of the movie. I really appreciated how Kishimoto switched path with their children, how Sarada holds Naruto in a higher pedestal while Boruto holds Sasuke in a higher pedestal. Naturally, both still love their father very much. I would definitely recommend the movie to any Naruto fan. Even though I believe other material related to the franchise may come in the future, the movie was a nice way to wrap up the story of Naruto. [This review is based on a theatrical screening of the film attended by the reviewer.] [embed]34393:5113:0[/embed]
Boruto Narut Review photo
A touching story about father and son
Boruto: Naruto the Movie takes place several years after the Fourth Shinobi World War, in which Naruto has become the Seventh Hokage of Konoha and formed a family of his own. However, even though Naruto has already reach...

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