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Review: Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design

Aug 30 // Josh Tolentino
Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design Published by: Tuttle Publishing Written by: Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny Release date: July 12, 2016 MSRP: $9.99 (Kindle [Reviewed]), $17.95 (Print) ISBN: 978-4805313510 The value of Japanese Tattoos is immediately apparent given the relative absence of substantial English-language work about the art and design of Japanese tattooing, or "irezumi" (刺青). Generally speaking, irezumi literature in English tends towards overly dry, scholarly analyses, or superficial, aesthetically-occupied picture books and feeds. Ashcraft and Benny position their book between the two extremes, delivering a breezy, easy-to-read explainer that isn't afraid to dive below the surface and uncover hidden nuggets of cultural knowledge and history amid the striking design work being etched right into the human body.Honed by years of writing as an editor for the game website Kotaku, and by previous books like Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential and Arcade Mania!, Ashcraft mixes his light, accessible style with deeply researched cultural references and engaging profiles of famous Japanese tattooists and their clients. Japanese Tattoos isn't to be taken as a piece of academic writing, but instead as an FAQ of sorts, answering key questions and providing interesting insights and background, to help those who aren't yet sure about their interest in irezumi become interested. And in this respect, Ashcraft and Benny have succeeded in spades. Part of this is thanks to the way the book is laid out. As befitting its role as a cultural primer, Japanese Tattoos starts with a general overview of irezumi, its history, and importantly, what distinguishes it from the tattooing practiced elsewhere. Historical notes link irezumi with older practices of tattooing as a form of punishment for criminals, or as protective symbols "worn" by laborers and tradesmen. The section also traces the longstanding Japanese stigma against tattoos to the 19th and 20th centuries, as the country raced to modernize after centuries in isolation. Ironically for a stigma born of attempts to "align with western morals", it turned out to be those same westerners  - particularly the occupying U.S. military following World War II - that played a part in keeping tattooing alive despite the attempts to ban it. [From Japanese Tattoos by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny] That leads into another important aspect of Japanese Tattoos: It's aware enough that culture isn't a monolithic, static thing, and that even "traditional" irezumi has changed over time. In rejecting the notion that irezumi is tied solely to any one thing (such as tebori, the classical method of inserting the ink into the skin with bamboo needles), the book reaffirms irezumi's uniqueness as an expression of Japanese culture, encompassing more than a specific technique but "an entire history and catalogue of iconography". Interviews with people like Horiyoshi III, Japan's most famous tattooist, reveal this progressive insight. Despite his mastery of tebori and his inspiration in classical woodblock prints, Horiyoshi III regards his work as less "traditional" than "traditionalist" thanks to his use of safer, modern ink, of mechanical tattooing machines, and the new, friendlier (and legal) conditions under which he works. It's an acknowledgement that even the most classical, "timeless" aspects of culture are subject to change and interpretation over time. That sentiment might seem in opposition to the permanence of the tattoo, but it's worth pointing out that tattoos change as their wearers do, by the virtue of being embedded on their ever-changing physiques. It's an embrace of mutability and the transitive nature of life that speaks to Japan's Buddhist influences. A tattoo may last one's whole life, but even that life ends. These reflections are woven into the other sections of the book, which cover popular and common motifs and elements in irezumi, with frequent asides and sidebars to deliver factoids that readers will want to recite back to their friends. The asides can sometimes feel a bit distracting from the chronological coherence of the book, but they're too good not to include, and so their somewhat scattershot arrangement is easily forgiven. [From Japanese Tattoos by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny] From classic kanji script tattoos to the natural images, mythic beasts and figures, and even avante-garde and anime- or manga-themed designs, Ashcraft and Benny look in on the iconography, symbolism, and meaning behind the many classical elements of irezumi in Japan. Other chapters, particularly one covering various examples of the full "bodysuit" design, also focus on the form irezumi can take. Bodysuits and sleeves are the most visible archetypes of Japanese tattooing, and their placement in the book highlights that association. Never again will readers see the awesome back pieces on display in the Yakuza games in the same way. The book is also chock-full of great pictures of tattoos. Even in my relatively low-resolution review copy, the quality of the art shone through, and keeps the flow feeling as brisk as the prose. It's one thing to read about the peony's place in floral language as used in irezumi, but another to see it incorporated on people's bodies as a form of art and expression. Japanese Tattoos is a must-read for anyone interested in tattoos and Japanese culture, but its greatest strength is in how easily it can engage readers like yours truly, who have no plans to get a tattoo at all. Being able to engage with all that material despite its near-total irrelevance to my personal experience is the sign of a good book, and this one will serve as an effective crash course in irezumi for many a reader to come.   [This review is based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.]  
Japanese Tattoos Review photo
Tattoo, not Taboo
What comes to mind when one thinks of "tattoos"? Some might imagine the anchor on Popeye's forearm, the pointy tribal band encircling a local gym fiend's bicep, or the crude inkings associated with prison art.Thinking of "Jap...

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Sports Edition

Aug 27 // Red Veron
[embed]35218:5801:0[/embed] Japanese Synchronized Swimming to Frozen Synchronized swimming is popular in Japan and even male High School students engage in this sport. There have been movies and TV shows about Synchronized Swimming and it works since it is a team sport that very much emphasizes teamwork and timing. So splash (pun intended) in some drama to a story about a group of people trying to work toward a single goal, and you're gold!   [embed]35218:5802:0[/embed] Japanese Pole Vaulter's Pole gets in the way Read title.   [embed]35218:5803:0[/embed] Slam Dunk anime Opening One of the best sports anime and manga and was once rated as number one manga in the 2006 Japan Media Arts festival. The manga needs a new adaptation, I don't care if they make them all pretty boys just gimme the anime in modern day animation.   [embed]35218:5804:0[/embed] How to make a Sports anime Sports in anime/manga has been a staple genre that has been around for ages and authors have pretty much figured out the formula (or in this video, the MODERN day formula).   [embed]35218:5805:0[/embed] Japanese High School Sports Festival YouTuber SakuraKisetsu, who went to Japan as an exchange student, made a video about her Japanese school's Sports Festival and it looks very similar to what we see in anime, just no hijinks or anything supernatural or would get anyone in trouble in real life.   [embed]35218:5807:0[/embed] Great Baseball Catch Baseball is very popular in Japan for something referred to as America's pasttime.   [embed]35218:5806:0[/embed] Mario at the 2016 Rio Olympics Because NBC in the US is run by clueless executives who don't know how to maximize views and discovery for their Olympic coverage, I am unable to properly embed the Olympic handoff to Japan. Just please click the video to be linked to YouTube so you can watch the very amusing video where Japan's Prime Minister is secretly an Italian plumber who like mushrooms.   What is your favorite Japanese related Sports thing? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
SUPORTSU
The 2016 Olympics are done and the next summer Olympics are in Japan, so every weeb out there will be excited to see the next set of games taking place in the land of the Rising Sun. So this week, I thought it appropriate for...

Strong Style: Still (Power) Struggling

Aug 27 // Soul Tsukino
We start the show off with Ishii sitting in his chair silently. Real talkative guy. IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson Back at the Destruction of Kobe event, Nakamura won the title back from Hirooki Goto. After he was given the belt Anderson came to the ring saying he beat both those guys in the G1, so he wants a title match. And there we go. Karl comes out with Cody Hall and the other heavyweight Bullet Club members. I'm already surprised as I would think this match would be on last. The bell rings and we start with a lock up going right into the ropes where Nakamura does his face rub thing. Anderson actually walks to the middle of the ring with Nakamura still hanging there before Karl take him by the chin and pulls his face up in the "my eyes are right here" kind of vein. Nakamura hits an elbow and Anderson hits a knee in response. Shinsuke and Karl trade quick hold and counter hold with some knees to the guts before Shinsuke goes into the ropes and Anderson fires off some arm drags. Nakamura counters and gets in a leg lock before floating over into a front facelock. Interesting to not here JR and Josh discuss the difference between a front facelock, that is used mostly for control, as apposed to a chancery lock that puts pressure on your opponent. It's stuff like this that give more believability and credibility to a wrestling show. Nakamura lands a few knee strikes before picking Anderson up into a cravat and snaps him over. He goes for a kneedrop but Karl rolls out of the way. He snaps off the rope and lands a straight kick to Nakamura's face! Nakamura rolls to the apron in pain, but Anderson just walks around for a bit. He finally goes after Shinsuke but Nakamura gives him a quick kick to shrug him off. The other club guys get on the apron and distract the ref as Gallows runs over and starts whaling on Shinsuke. Nakamura goes down to the apron and barely makes it to the apron at 18. Anderson comes in and lands a gun stun right on the ropes. Shinsuke goes down again and Anderson follows up with a dropkick to send him back down to the floor. Anderson ain't done yet as he goes outside and powerbombs Shinsuke right on the apron. We come back from break as Anderson has the advantage in the corner. He whips Nakamura in and kicks him in the face. Karl then scores a running powerbomb but only gets a 2 count. Karl tries another whip but Nakamura reverses. Karl tries a kick but Shinsuke gets a sleeper on Karl and brings him to the mat. They get up just as Nakamura gets a reverse powerslam. Nakamura tries running off the ropes but Karl catches him in a spinebuster. Karl goofs off for a bit and both guys stand up and trade heavy shots back and forth before trading forearms Nakamura catches his arm and lands an elbow and a reverse kick before a running knee. Count gets 2. Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Karl dodges it and then lands a gun stun! Nakamura is out on the corner and Karl picks him up and drags him up the buckle. Anderson gets him up in a fireman's carry before slamming him to the mat. Anderson goes for a pin but Nakamura kicks out. Anderson tries for a clothesline but Nakamura hits his arm and scoops him up before hitting a falcon arrow. Back from another break  as both guys struggle to get back up. Karl gets to the apron and flips over the top rope and nails Nakamura with a clothesline. He scoops him up for the rikishi driver but again doesn't get a pin. Karl goes in for another gun stun but Nakamura catches him in an armbar. He locks it in but Karl rolls him up. He breaks the hold to avoid the pin but as they get up Nakamura nails the boome ya! Karl lands a counter uppercut but Nakamura scores with the booma ye again and scores the pin! As Nakamura is laying on the mat, A.J. Styles walks over and gets in his face. Nakamura isn't backing down. Challenge accepted. Styles grabs the belt from the ref and hands it to Nakamura telling him he is going to take the belt from him.Nakamura says on the mic he was waiting for this. He says that is exciting for them to meet for the first time at the Tokyo Dome. Talk about an understatement. Backstage CHAOS gives Nakamura kempai over beer. This match was special for him since he and Anderson both trained at the LA dojo for New Japan. He says he's seen a lot of Styles up close whenever he went overseas. Styles has something he lacks, but he will get it at the Tokyo Dome (what is it?... IT!) NEVER Openweight title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma This match was spurred on a few weeks ago when Ishii won the belt from Makabe. Honma came into the ring and challenged him, based off Honma beating Ishii during the G1 and Honma and Makabe being buddies. Ishii said he'd give him one shot and would destroy him in the process. Let's see how that goes. Honma comes out first as Barnett talks about vampire chickens (a Honma nickname) and what one would look like since he owns chickens. Ishii comes out looking like he's gonna kill a dude. Ishii's knee is wrapped up but that's nothing new. JR already breaks out the "Bowling shoe ugly" analogy. We return from break with the bell ringing. Strong lock up to start. Honma with a headlock gets shot in the ropes and stalemate into a shoulder block. They start just whaling on each other before Ishii goes down. Honma immediately goes for the falling headbutt and he misses. Ishii chops him up a few times to make him regret it. Ishii backs him in the corner and alternates chops and strikes. Ishii bad mouths Honma and Honma strikes back with a weak hit but lands a stronger chop. Ishii drops him for that before locking in a half crab but Honma gets to the ropes. Kick to the back on Honma, but he pops up and lands more chops on the pitbull. Ishii chops him back. Honma shakes it off and hits the double sledgehammer, but goes for and misses the headbutt again. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Honma counters and lifts Ishii up for a suplex! He lands a strike and then a bulldog out of the corner before finally landing the headbutt. Honma climbs up and lands a blockbuster! Honma goes for a crab of his own but Ishii kicks him right in the face to counter out. Ishii lands some strikes but Honma is firing back! Ishii ends that with an elbow right to the neck. Ishii gets Honma on the ropes and then picks him up for a big suplex. Cover only gets two. Ishii goes for a clothesline but Honma doesn't budge. Ishii lands a counter strike and goes for the ropes but Honma follows him with a strike and then a DDT! Ishii goes to the apron and Honma goes for a clothesline but Ishii blocks it. Honma then counters with a straight headbutt that sends Ishii down. Honma scrambles up the ropes and lands a super diving headbutt to Ishii on the floor! Honma struggles up and tosses him back in, which JR gives him some flack for since he'd win the title on a count out. He goes to pick Ishii up but Ishii strikes him for it. Honma SMACKS him down and Ishii barely gets up just in time for Honma to run him over with a clothesline for two. Ishii lands a back suplex but he pops right up and lands two battering ram headbutts but cover gets only two. Honma picks Ishii up and lands the brainbuster! He goes for a clothesline but Ishii counters and lands his own headbutt! We come back from break with both guys down. They get to their knees and smack each other with headbutts. They then duel headbutts! Both guys and knocked loopy. Ishii runs to the corner to meet a Honma boot. He counters with a strike to Honma's chest and he goes down. Ishii lands a powerbomb on Honma and then lands a sliding clothesline but only gets two. They struggle over a suplex but Honma lets him go and lands a ram headbutt again. He lands the headbutt to the shoulder and goes up for the big one. He lands it but Ishii kicks out! Honma goes for a tombstone but Ishii counters but Honma slides out and lands the big headbutt. He goes up and lands the big headbutt again. He can't make the cover.  Both guys get up and Honma lands a clothesline and another one but Ishii lands a spinning heel kick and then a big clothesline but can't get the pinQ! Ishii tries for the brainbuster and then a clothesline but Honma counters into a backslide but Ishii gets out. Ishii whips Honma in and goes for the headbutt but Ishii counters with a nasty clothesline. He then hits another one but can't finish it. Ishii then hits the brainbuster and he finally gets the pin! Ishii gets his belt as Honma is not moving. Ishii gives hm a look as he leaves the ring The crowd gives a big round of applause as Honma is helped from the ring. Backstage Honma says he tried hard and did well. He says he wants to fight him again. Ishii says that Honma will never win since he has no confidence. Studio words and Ishii says it was the natural outcome, He laments that even though he won the belt, he feels he never seems to be going forward. Interesting. This was a good one. All four guys put on a great show but Honma especially deserves credit. He came out and really looked good here, not like the bumbling goof, but like a legit contender and it made for a great match. Fun show all around. We are getting closer now to Wrestlekingdom. So what else can happen between now and then? We will have to see!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
More from Osaka
Hello and welcome back to another action packed week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we go back to Osaka for Power Struggle 2015. We are a little over a month away from WretleKingdom at this point as this card takes place on November 7, 2015. We have two big title matches tonight so let's get to the action.

Review: The King of Fighters XIV

Aug 22 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35211:5799:0[/embed] The King of Fighters XIV (PlayStation 4)Developer: SNKPublisher: Atlus USAReleased: August 23, 2016 (US), August 26, 2016 (EU), August 25, 2016 (JP)MSRP: $59.99 Regardless, I decided to be open-minded and not completely trash the game, so I was still looking forward to it, but with less excitement compared to XII, however. I definitely made the right decision of still giving the game the chance since as the months went by, and as information came in, the game was shaping up to be good, and definitely a lot more robust than one of its competitors when it came to content.   King of Fighters XIV marks the beginning of a new canonical saga for the series. Compared to previous entries, I don’t think the story is that exciting this time around since the story is more streamlined compared to other King of Fighters.  The story revolves around a billionaire known as Antonov, who claimed to be the “first champion” of the KOF tournament and bought out all of the rights for the KOF Tournament. His announcement of a new KOF Tournament created unprecedented enthusiasm around the world. From there, this excitement reached many of the veteran participants of the legendary tournament directly in the form of an official invitation. After finishing up Story Mode, which should be fairly quick, there are other modes you can try out like Versus Mode, Training, Online, Mission and Tutorial. Naturally, Versus Mode is just like previous King of Fighters where it gives you the option to do both Single and Team VS matches. After selecting your character, you got a handful of handicaps you can choose from, such as 50% health, 75% health, an extra bar of power gauge and lastly your power gauge completely filled. After that, you choose your stage and the rest is history. Practice Mode offers a variety of options that will help you on your training such as changing the position of you and your opponent, change whether they are standing, crouching, jumping, as well as have the AI completely take over. You can also set up so the training dummy guards, counters and recovers.  All of this is definitely good if you want to have great training sessions. Additionally, there’s also Tutorial Mode which shows you the ropes. It helps if you’re new to the series or fighting games in general. Mission Mode consists of Trial, Time Attack, and Survival. In Trial, you will attempt a set of challenges for each character. They usually consist of pulling off combos.  Time Attack and Survival both are self-explanatory. I personally liked playing through Trial since it helped me out practice some combos for some of the characters that I used. Now to address the elephant in the room—Online mode. The previous game, King of Fighters XIII, was known for its awful netcode on consoles. While the Steam version heavily improved this, it still wasn’t perfect.  It’s really noticeable that they actually worked hard to improve the netcode in this game. I played around 10 matches or so without any lag—I had a smooth experience all around. Additionally, the game offers some features that make the online better as well. Ranked Match takes you straight into a 3-Man Team Battle, which affects your rank depending whether you win or lose. For advanced players, it gives you the option to play 10 battles and depending in your wins, it sets you into a Rank much faster.  Free Match is most robust as it gives you more modes to play such as Team VS, Single VS and Party VS. The first two work just as if you were playing offline with another player in the same room. What I really love is the addition of Party VS, which lets six players instead in a 3-on-3 fight. If you got a group of friends, it’s definitely a lot of fun. Room settings are the same as any fighting game in general, such as making the room public or private, the number of players, the round time, and the number of rounds. Inside a room, you’re allowed to play multiple set ups, such as Tourney, Elimination and Series. Tourney removes the losing player after the fight, Elimination removes the winning player after the fight while Series allows you to face the same opponent continuously. There’s also Online Training, which allows you to train with a friend online. This is definitely helpful for those who lack a training partner outside of the Internet. Naturally, there’s also Online Replay, which you can view all the replays submitted by players, whether it’s Team VS or Single VS matches. Spectators can join to watch the match up with an integrated voice and text chat. Additionally, a "Crowd SE" option is available for spectators, which allows them to root, applaud, and boo the match current players.There's also a Live feature, but that's just a shortcut to game's Live from PlayStation menu. While the game resembles the Maximum Impact series graphically, it still remains on a strictly two-dimensional plane and keeps the same basic mechanics as its predecessors. New features have been added such as a new Max mode system, allowing players to access the EX moves, which can be activated by using one bar of the power gauge. Additionally, using three bars of the power gauge can allow players to unleash Climax supers. With the game catering to newcomers as well, the added a feature called Rush Mode, which is similar to games like Dengeki Bunko and Persona 4 Arena. Just like those games, it can be activated by repeatedly hitting the light punch button, however, will do lower damage compared to normal combo attacks. While I’m certainly not a fan of these types of things, it doesn’t really hurt the game either. Overall, I am definitely pleased with King of Fighters XIV. While the story was kind of bland compared to the previous games, and the graphics are a bit disappointing, it still offers a great experience that both King of Fighters fans and fighting game fans can appreciate. There’s just so much content from the get-go, like a game should, that can keep you occupied for a while. It definitely makes up for the game's flaws. You can bet I'll be playing this for months. 
The King of Fighters XIV photo
Burn To Fight
Since I’ve been writing for Japanator for almost a year now, some of you may already know I’m a big King of Fighters fan and it’s one of the first series I ever played as a child. Even since then I haven&rsq...


Strong Style: The Power Struggle is real

Aug 20 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Tetsuya Naito. Guess EVIL isn't much for words. Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals: Roppongi Vice vs. Matt Sydel/Riccochet This is the final of an eight-team tournament. Presumably, the winners get a Jr. tag team title shout in Tokyo. The Vice got here by beating Kenny Omega and Chase Owens and the team of RedDRagon while Sydel/Ricochet defeated The Time Splitters and the Young Bucks. Looks like they are trying to add some variety to the Jr. Tag division. I commend them for that since it was getting stale. The Vice come out first and Josh talks about helping to train Rocky Romero in MMA way back when. The opposing team then come out and Ricochet does a nice one anded vault over the top rope. We immediately cut ahead in the match with Ricochet and Rocky diving into the ring. It is really obvious they cut out some action but JR and Josh act like the match just started. Who are you trying to fool? Anyway, Ricochet and Beretta trade whips into the corner. Rocky comes charging in with a spear that Ricochet leap frogs over and the Vice collide. Ricochet takes advantage by delivering a zigzag on Romero to send him down again. Rocky gets up and Ricochet goes for a waistlock but Rocky counters around, only to be hit with a northern lights suplex. Ricochet hangs on and hits a second! Pin attempt only gets two. Ricochet gets Romero up in a fireman's carry but Romero leaps out. He hits a strike and goes for the ropes but Ricochet catches him in a drop toehold as Sydal comes in with a leg drop. Both guys hit tandem moonsaults on Romero, but the pin only gets two. Ricochet drags him to the corner and goes up. He tries for a 450 splash but Rocky moves. Ricochet lands on his feet though and rolls through it. Rocky gets up and hits the ropes and Barretta comes in the ring and they hit Ricochet with a double jumping knee. Rocky goes up in the corner as Barretta hangs Ricochet out to dry on the top rope. Rocky comes off and nails the flying legdrop on the back of the head, sending Ricochet down where he is hit with the running knee from Baretta for a two count. Baretta tags in legally where he whips Ricochet into the corner and runs in with a flying elbow. Ricochet staggers in the ring with Barretta about to hit something off the ropes but Sydal pushes his partner out of the way and lands his patented double knees right on Barretta's head. Romero comes in and kicks Sydal right out of the ring. He turns around to hit a clothesline in the corner on Ricochet but gets a kick to the head for the effort. Ricochet rolls out of the corner and jumps up, landing a DDT on Romero and now everyone is down. Sydal tags in and he tries to get Baretta in a pump handle slam, but Trent squats down on it. Sydal hits him a few more times and tries the move again, but Trent blocks it again. Romero comes in and clobbers Sydal with a clothesline and then winds up for his freight train clotheslines in the corner. He hits Sydal with it three times before Sydal catches him and lifts him up to the corner where Ricochet hits him with a kick from the apron. Sydal climbs up and goes for the super huricanranna but Romero slips out. Sydal lands right in his ass on the top turnbuckle and bounces backwards to the mat. Talk about busting your ass! Romero bounces off the ropes and goes flying through the ropes to take out Ricochet with a suicide dive while it's still Sydal and Baretta are the legal men in the ring. Barretta hits a running knee that folds Sydal in half but only gets a two count. The Vice set up for the double team dudebomb or whatever they call it with Trent cradling Sydal in the ring, but when Romero tries to come off the ropes with a slingshot, Ricochet leaps in and spears him out of the air! Sydal turns Barretta around in a Canadian destroyer piledriver but he only gets the two count! Baretta staggers in the corner as the other teams goes for it. Sydal is launched into the corner first but Baretta sends him over the top to the apron. Sydal's leg gives out and he tumbles to the floor but Ricochet scores with the hit. He then runs towards the other corner and hits an amazing shoot star press to Romero outside the ring! Inside Sydal goes up and goes for a shooting star press of his own, but he meets Baretta's knees at the bottom. Baretta goes for the cover but only gets two. He picks up Sydal who goes for a kick but Trent ducks, he goes for another one with the same result. Baretta sets him up and hits the dudebomb but the pin is broken up by Ricochet. Ricochet and Romero trade punches back and forth. It turns into forearms and kicks. Romero hits a jumping knee and ricochet hits a superman punch. Ricochet gets Romero in a fireman's carry but Baretta pulls him off. Ricochet smacks Barretta with a kick to the face and then Sydal comes up and tries to get a reverse flying headscissors but it doesn't go quite right and ends up in a weird reverse victory roll instead. Romero comes back in and ricochet hits him with the benedryller in the corner. Both guys go up and hit simultaneous shooting star presses and get the pinfall! Sydal and ricochet have won the tournament! Hiroshi Tanahashi/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazuchika Okada/Kazushi Sakuraba Power Struggle is like the WWE's February pay-per-view. Everyone is gearing up for Wrestlemania and want to build up the main event, so we get a match like this to preview things with out having either main eventer look weak. It's a strange match as Tanahashi and Shibata had that rivalry not too far back but seem to get along now. Sakuraba usually teams with Yano, but I don't think he is a member of CHAOS, while the champ Okada is the leader. After both teams come out we cut right to Sakuraba and Shibata starting out with both men going immediately for armbars and counters before getting back up to their feet. Sakuraba grabs a headlock and Shibata reverses. Sakuraba counters into a leg scissors and clamps down. Shibata turns it around but Sakuraba turns it into a googoplata! Shibata is nearly out! He drags Sakuraba over and gets a foot on the rope. They get back up and Sakuraba hits a kick and sends Shibata to the corner were Okada gets a tag. Okada cuts the ring in half and keeps Shibata away from his corner. Okada gets him down in the corner and kicks him a few times before picking him up and hitting a few forearms. Shibata seems to have woken up and lands a few strikes. He goes to the ropes but Sakuraba catches him and locks in a choke. Okada comes up and boots Shibata right in the face. He rolls outside and Sakuraba follows him out. In the ring, Okada runs right up and knocks Tanahashi to the floor before going out after him.  Both Tanahashi and Shibata eat guardrail. Shibata makes it into the ring where Okada tags Sakuraba back in the match. The Gracie Killer starts landing some kicks on Shibata but he muscles up and strikes back. Sakuraba tags back out and then both guys drop elbows on Shibata. Okada whips him into the buckle and goes for the dropkick but Shibata kicks the champ right in the face. Shibata finally tags out and Tanahashi gets in with the champ. He hits a flying forearm on Okada and slams him in the ring. He tries for the second rope senton but the pool's empty. JR calls it a "seldom used move" by Tanahashi but he uses it in EVERY match, making me wonder if JR gives a damn. Okada picks him up and lands a few slaps before taking over with a clothesline and a whip in the corner into a DDT. Okada gets in an elbow and goes for the pin but Tanahashi kicks out. We come back from break as Okada trying for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out and lands a leg whip. Tanahashi  goes off the ropes and Okada gets in that sweet dropkick. He then hits Shibata with one as well. Okada goes up and lands a long distance flying elbow! He picks Tanahashi up and goes for the rainmaker but Hiroshi counters into a waistlock before nailing the slingblade! Somehow Okada is able to get over to his corner for the tag. Sakuraba tags in and lands some kicks in but Tanahashi  counters and sends Sakuraba down. Shibata tags in and starts hammering Sakuraba down, but Sakuraba comes back and lands some kicks before going for the front choke! Shibata lands a strike to get out and then hits a cool kick on the seated Sakuraba. Shibata tries for the PK but misses. Sakuraba gets the rear choke while Tanahashi is being held outside the ring. Shibata lands a Saito suplex but Okada breaks up the pin. Tanahashi comes in and sends Okada out. Shibata hits his hang time kick on Sakuraba in the corner. He slams him down as Tanahashi hits the high fly flow. Shibata hits the GTS and scores the pin. We don't seem to be quite done here. Shibata leaves the ring in his usual "job's done" kind of way and Sakuraba is carried out. Okada and Gedo start to leave as well but Tanahashi grabs the mic and tells Okada to get back in the ring because he is going to teach the champ something. Okada obliges him and comes back in the ring. Hiroshi says that he will be the new champion and that IRGP is just around the corner. not quite sure what he means there. Okada grabs the mic right from Hiroshi's hands but before he can say anything Tanahashi just clobbers him! We have a fight! The young boys come in to break it up but it's not working. Tanahashi clobbers Okada with the case as they just keep going at it. Talk about out of character. They finally get separated as Gedo pulls Okada back. We cut to the back where Okada and Geo are talking and here comes Tanahashi! The fight's not over yet! Gedo is yelling for Tanahashi to hold it and stay right there as we got to commercial. We come back to Naito in the studio, ?he says that getting a partner would make spreading the word of Los Ingobernables twice as fast. He looked at all the wrestlers and found EVIL was going to be his partner. We cut to a clip from the last show where Goto says that EVIL was "a mediocre wrester who came back from the U.S. without having done anything." Naito disagrees. He also says that he took this show off due to an "earlobe injury" with a big smile on his face. Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL More of that weird match order thing again as this match was the third match into this show, while the tag match we just watched was the semi-main event. Odd. A bit of background on EVIL. He was a young boy who entered New Japan in 2011 and was used for opening matches for a few years while he trained, using his real name Tamaaki Watanabe. He had a brief cup of coffee in Ring of Honor here in the states, largely being in the roll of "that New Japan guy that everyone beats". As we saw last time he made his re-debut in the company, now as Naito's goon, EVIL. During that same he got into it with Goto during and after the match, so here we go with that. After all that fighting, this seems like a letdown. EVIL comes out dressed like the grim reaper, complete with scythe. Have I ever mentioned that EVIL is a really ugly dude? I mean look at that picture? Bug-eyed ugly mother fu- you get the picture. Goto comes out with his awesome warriorness. EVIL attacks as soon as he gets in the ring! EVIL gets some shots in before he forearms Goto right in the face. He hits Goto again but when he goes to the ropes Goto kicks him right in the chest. EVIL slide under the ring and when Goto goes to look for him he smacks Goto again. Hey, at least it's not that "tranquilo" horse crap Naito does. He runs right into Goto with a chair. He then puts the chair around Goto's neck and slams him into the post. EVIL gets into the ring as the count is on. Goto rolls in at 17. EVIL gets the front facelock but Goto rolls through it only to get a hit with a neckbreaker. EVIL chokes Goto on the mat. Goto gets up and is met by a chop to the chest by EVIL and another one. Stone faced EVIL sends Goto down and then locks in an arm wrench. He then sinks in and bites Goto right in the side of the neck! After a break, we come back to see EVIL pressing a foot on the back of Goto's neck. He gets a brief chinlock and runs the ropes but both guys smack together from clotheslines. EVIL tries a clothesline but Goto blocks. Goto goes to work with some kicks and a back suplex, but only gets two. Goto kicks EVIL right in the arm and tries for a suplex but EVIL counters into a fisherman's buster suplex. EVIL goes to grab Goto but Goto tries to lock in an armbar. EVIL gets out with a kick to the head. Goto gets up but EVIL hits a clothesline, Goto counters back with three of his own. EVIL hits a clothesline off the ropes but Goto counters back. EVIL goes for the STO but Goto counters. They reverse each other until Goto hits the reverse ushi-goroshi. He locks in a leglock submission but Naito strolls down to the ring and just flat out attacks Goto. He hits his destino move right in front of the ref before Tiger Hitori FINALLY calls for the DQ. Well, he's getting older. Reflexes aren't what they used to be. Shibata comes running out and the goobers flee, wanting no part of that guy. I smell a future tag team match. In the back, Naito talks about how awesome EVIL is and how perfect the match was. He rambles on for a bit before actually saying EVIL has to speak his thoughts. "This is Evil. Everything is Evil." Welp, that sums up the character rather well! In the studio, Naito talks about if Goto was happy after the match. He says the match was merely to unveil EVILl and no point in putting in 100 percent. Naito interfered to stop EVIL from beating a big name in his debut match. He did Goto a favor and he should be happy. Odd match order aside, this was a good show. The first match was fun without being a car wreck like the four-team jr tag matches usually are. The second match did its job, even if it was a little shirt. And the main event was different. I wouldn;t say this blew anyone away but it was alright. Next week we get Honma and Ishii beating the crap out of each other! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
It's time for Power Struggle!
Hey gang! It's time once again for Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we move into the month of November as we visit Osaka once again for Power Struggle. This show takes place on November 7, 2015 and it's narrowing in on the big WrestleKingdom show in January. Let's dive in!

Weekend Japanatainment - Vending Machine Edition

Aug 20 // Red Veron
[embed]35206:5791:0[/embed] YouTube Channel Only in Japan, gives us an informative video all about the Japanese machines.   [embed]35206:5792:0[/embed]  The very kawaii Venus Angelic tries out some vending machine fried chicken and shows us the available fast food items.   [embed]35206:5793:0[/embed] This video from Munchies is all about half-Japanese Ty Demura making a quick post drinking session meal from vending machines on the way home.   [embed]35206:5794:0[/embed] Here's another video from Only in Japan where they showcase a vending machine restaurant filled with retro vending machines and a place to sit down and enjoy all the different vending machine food.   NSFW Warning!  [embed]35206:5795:0[/embed] Here is a video by timtak1 and how he found a vending machine that claims to sell used women's underwear in a small building filled with vending machines selling adult items.   What do you love about these Japanese vending machines in the video? Which one would you love to have access to on a daily basis? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Coin Operated Convenience
You've probably seen Japanese vending machines in various forms of Japanese media before, it's very much part of daily life in Japan with its highly mobile society that where a good chunk of the population use public transpor...

First Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Aug 18 // Salvador GRodiles
If there’s one thing that hinted towards a big change in the story, it’s that the Main Character Shang Bu Huan was placed in an unfortunate situation that made him a part of the group that plans to stop the evil sword collector known as Mie Tian Hai from awakening the Tian Xing Jian, a powerful sacred sword, from its seal. The unfortunate thing about this was that Huan was just a swordsman who just wanted to wander, but he was placed in an unfortunate circumstance where he ended up becoming an enemy of Hai’s evil group, the Xuan Gui Zong. Since Urobuchi loves to make his characters suffer, the idea of the hero having to give up on his routine to fulfill a specific task works well in this favor. Hell, this format tends to lead to some interesting development with the main characters than one where the lead wants to do something good from the get-go, as it shows that an unexpected journey could help someone grow. In Thunderbolt Fantasy’s case, Huan's growth will likely be related to how he handles the ordeals when the group is close to Hai's castle. Even though the majority of the show’s story focused on the main cast formulating their party to stop Hai, the mysterious character known as Gui Niao holds the title of being the possible catalyst in changing the way how people view Pili and Urobuchi’s action-packed puppet show. He was the main reason why Huang is part of the campaign to fight the Xuan Gui Zon, and there are a few characters who have problems with the guy. Depending on how the story goes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the spot as the show’s final villain. That, or we might have different factions and Niao will lead one of them. For now, his connection to the story is a factor that could elevate the series to a higher level and the suspicious vibe that he gives off contributes to the program’s entertaining aspects— especially with his persistent tendency to make sure that he has the prerequisites to overcome the trials that lead to Hai’s lair. While we’re on the topic of characters that could change groups at any time, the addition of a demon and a man who calls himself the Screaming Phoenix Killer contributes to the show’s idea of a group that’s united by a common motive. The idea that the party has their own toxic environment to deal with makes one wonder how things will change when the first major arc comes to a close. These aspects continue to push the audience towards being suspicious of Gui Niao; thus leaving people with the joy of trying to figure out where the story could go. For a team that could turn on each other, their teamwork somehow works out well, as a few of the show’s characters can give it their all when another comrade instigates them into doing something dangerously. Overall, this concept is what makes Thunderbolt Fantasy’s cast great since they’re all in it for a specific motive. Depending on how the direction the story will go later, I’m hoping that this aspect continues to be a recurring element since the team made these segments fun to listen to. Speaking of worthwhile things, the puppetry in Thunderbolt Fantasy gives off a breathtaking feeling. The actions scenes feel like an over-the-top Hong Kong film and the special effects (such as the magical flying weapons and powerful shockwaves) make every action scene a marvelous spectacle that never disappoints its audience. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this is that the show’s puppeteers are doing these segments in real time; thus resulting in a puppet show with one hell of a performance. Aside from the puppet’s impressive movements, the cast’s designs feature some highly detailed clothes and weapons. The craftsmanship in each puppet makes each of them look like a wonderful work of art. Not only that, the fact that the show’s staff uses weather and environmental damage is a solid feat, as the shots and lighting bring life to Thunderbolt Fantasy’s man-made sets. All in all, the team’s combined hard work with the puppetry, special effects and environments work hand-in-hand in creating a stage that grabs the audience's attention. Also, the idea that a majority of the show’s characters are left handed is a nice treat for lefties everywhere. As a person who never got to witness that many action puppet shows (such as The Thunderbirds) before, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s story and action left me blown away with the effort that went into the sets and action scenes. The violent puppets segments and Urobuchi’s writing serve as the true strings that’ll expose the nature of this series, which has started to unravel with Screaming Phoenix Killer’s actions and motives. With Hai entering the battlefield, it’ll be neat to see how everyone bypasses this trial. From the looks of it, this might be the opportunity that’ll allow for Huan to prove to everyone that he isn’t lying about his backstory. No matter what direction the series will take, Thunderbolt Fantasy will remain as a title that I never imagined as a medium that I needed in my life. [Get blown away by Thunderbolt Fantasy’s puppet action on Crunchyroll.]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
Lefties rule!
Ever since Urobuchi was involved with Kamen Rider Gaim, my desire to see him tackle other types of mediums outside of his usual things went up since it would be great to see how his writing style would cut up those stories. S...

Introducing Hei Stories: Inspired by Anime & Manga, Welcome to the Universe of Kaleidoscope

Aug 18 // Yussif Osman
Anyong and Salam! So this piece is important to me, so if I guess if I want it to mean something to you too, I should start by introducing myself.  I’m Yussif and more than anything else, I’m passionate about stories and it’s really Japanese culture which got me into storytelling.  Growing up, I wanted to tell my own stories, so I did plenty of writing, but it’s only recently that I decided to take the plunge and start an enterprise focused on storytelling and the worlds I created.  I’m writing to you, to introduce the startup I founded, Hei Stories, a platform, the tales of which are heavily inspired and influenced by Japanese animation and manga.  I hope you’ll stay a while and hear me out, because I think Hei Stories is full of the things which we love above fiction; complex characters and developed world, human themes and stakes we can invest in.  And maybe, something new too.  I would like to introduce you to Kaleidoscope, to a wholly new and unique universe, which although it is populated by living stars and ghosts made of songs, ruled over by an Eclipse King, protected by superheroines and challenged by explorer revolutionaries scouring the frontiers of starlight, it is a world based on our own, where hope, dreams and compassion are our armour, sword and shield.  Welcome to Kaleidoscope, I hope you find something of yours in here too. Bear with me, but the first things I’d like to talk about are ‘magic’ and ‘love’.  Perhaps this will make more sense if I use Miyazaki’s work as the foundation for this discussion.  By ‘magic’, I refer to the sense of wonder that is conjured by weaving secrets and fantastical settings that tease and play with our inbuilt desire for adventure and the mysterious.  I found a combination of the two when I came across Spirited Away; but in addition to ‘magic’, films like Chihiro’s say something unique about what it means to be human and to live and love and in doing so, are doing something quite intimate.  By exploring childhood and life, from films like Only Yesterday to Howl’s Moving Castle, Miyazaki involves us in the story and in doing so, makes the fantastical elements believable, making the entire experience truly magical.   Work in Hei Stories tries to do the same, through a blend of magical realism and Romance.  I use my work, Zoe Taylor as an example; a young woman who travels from one world she creates to another, in search of a love she has long forgotten, each world she hopes bringing her closer to home than the last.  Or Monsoon, in which Abhu dreams of her big sister; her thoughts and feelings entering the sky, becoming ghosts, gods and asura, connecting her with the person she is looking for.  In these stories, it is my hope that I have not only drawn inspiration from the likes of Miyazaki, or Makoto Shinkai, but that the tales set in Kaleidoscope explore themes such as love, hope and pain in unique ways - whether that’s Asem’s ability to draw power from the human heart or the Lovecraft militia, who through pure fury, manifest their pain in terrifying power.  It’s my aim to explore what we mean by such ideas as ‘love’, how it is an idea which empowers us, the way Petra sees beyond Asem’s trauma, or how Abhu’s longing for her sister connects them through the sky. My view of the world has been heavily shaped by the stories I watched and read growing up.  Among them, was Dragonball Z.  What did I love most about Dragonball Z? Vegeta, plain and simple.  Why? Well, he used to be a bad guy- now, that doesn’t just make him a badass, it makes him fascinating. This may have become a common Shonen trope, but think about it.  As a kid, I was suddenly introduced to the notion that the world is complicated and that maybe, just maybe, there is goodness in everyone (except maybe Frieza).  Sometime later, it happened, Naruto confronted Pain and what did he do? He talked to him. This blew my mind, even if Pain could never justify the things he did, he had reasons, and was himself suffering from sorrow which made him what he was.  By talking to him, Naruto liberated them both from the circle of hate and made it possible for their world to move forward.  This, which to me, was an impossibly amazing moment, would inspire me to go and study Peace as a discipline at university.   But above all, it made me want to tell this story to others, it made me want to tell people that there was another way, that people are complex and can be reached.  I began creating villains I wanted readers to empathise with, villains the heroes could empathise with.  Villains who were more than just antagonists.  I created Rakshasah, who gives up his freedom to the insurgent leader Asura to save his village, in exchange for being raised on a philosophy of hate; ultimately giving up on himself, seeking to force Neha, whom he loves to see the world the way he does, so he doesn’t have to suffer alone.  But even though Neha is accompanied by a rain demon, she would stop Rakshasah not by fighting him, but fighting what had been done to him.  Then there is Iconoclast, someone so utterly rejected by the world that she felt the need to conquer it in order to change it.  Is she good? Evil? More appropriately, a revolutionary, in the tradition of Lelouch.     One of the aims of Hei Stories became to contribute to social and global commentary, by spreading positive and progressive messages and engaging in a discussion to humanise and spread tolerance, understanding, positive change and empathy. I believe stories have the power to create significant change in the way we view the world and it is our aim to contribute to the discourse of making the world a better place. From LGBT rights to the need for the world to welcome refugees, from peace to overcoming depression and heartbreak, I hope these stories can be there for people around the world overcoming adversity, dreaming and hoping towards better futures.  The way Luffy and Naruto were there for me. And for anyone who is like me, searching for their place in the world, I am writing Centillion Lights episodically on Patreon, a saga about a race across multiple plains of existence, from Flower Kingdoms to Art Empires, to find Earth, a very different place in the heart of each racer, seeking to make the world something of their own. A coming of age story which takes the 'spring of youth' concept found in so much anime and really pushes it with what it means to be young and trying to work out who you are in an unknowable world. So Hei Stories is seeking to branch into different mediums including spoken word, literature, audio and ultimately animation. It is our aim to begin production on an animated feature/series set in the world of 'Kaleidoscope' in 2017. To this end, I’ve begun crowdfunding on Patreon, initially contributions will fund things like a concept artist (I’ve done the art to date, but I’m not a professional) and comiccon space to spread the word, but combined with funds gathered from public readings we’re doing in London and prospective grants from established institutions, it’s my hope that we’ll be able to fund the animated series. If you like what you’ve heard, you can support us on patreon.com/heistories, or you can explore more of the world I’ve created on heistories.wordpress.com/blog or on Youtube @ Hei Stories.  In addition, it is our aim to create opportunity for young and emerging artists.  The actors who will be performing in 'Asem', the major public reading we’re doing soon, are in the early stages of both their lives and careers and it is our hope to give them exposure and help them grow as well as give them support.  Poets and musicians are also involved in this project and it is our sincere wish to help nurture and support the young artistic community and see it thrive, because quite simply, art makes life better. I think that’s one of the reasons that we love anime, because it combines music and visual art, drama and writing in a spectacular collaboration to produce something like Sword of the Stranger or Princess Mononoke. And exploring genres, produces a literal kaleidoscope of artistic collaboration. In the tradition of Ghost in the Shell, or Darker Than Black, I explore neo-noir and urban horror in Lights and Letters From the Sleepless Wars, trying to push the boundaries of what we understand to be real.  Or in the tradition of epic Romance like One Piece, I created the Sunflower Diaries which explores a universe which challenges what we understand the world to be, all from the foundations of a young girl’s dreams.  We weave stories around unique countries like the Moon Kingdom, actually inspired by the aesthetics of Klonoa with its solar temples and moonlit palaces.  Then there is the whimsy of the bizarre and fun, such as Space Dandy, in stories like our Mighty Mighty Mighty Thunderclap Coalition who aim to spread Earth culture in a post-Earth solar system. And with these stories come a variety of aesthetic, inspired by animators like Yutaka Nakamura as I imagine Bonfire Engines assemble themselves from a will to be, or worlds racing past as a ‘Runner’ sprints through the universe- or a girl turning a flower into a small bird as subtly as when Chihiro tapped her feet to make sure her shoes were on. I have spent a-lot of time talking about what has inspired Kaleidoscope, but I want take a risk here and dare say that Hei Stories does some things that are new.  Sometimes we seem inundated with ‘harems’ and battle adventures and MMO reality swapping stories.  But look at the uniqueness of the premise of Erased, D.Gray-Man’s Noah Family, all of Makoto Shinkai’s and Ghibli’s work; the biggest way in which anime and manga has inspired me, is by encouraging me to create something new.  From watching the breathtaking, experimental animation of Mob Psycho 100 or experiencing how 5cm Per Second blends the cosmic with the Earthly.  These stories have pushed our imaginations, visually and in how we think about storytelling and the world.  In particular, I would like to site Bounen no Xam’d and Eureka 7, both works from Bones which are significantly original stories which push how we understand genre and bring human drama to the fantastical with original ideas, whether that’s the sentient ‘Coral’ at the centre of the Earth, which we have to come to terms with co-existing with in Eureka, or the way an Emperor declares war on the world because he has lost his name in Xam’d, set in a world where emotions create immensely beautiful beasts whilst a love story is told, based on a relationship that is never traditionally defined.  Or we can look at Sore Demo Sekai wa Utsukushi which pushes the boundaries of how love evolves and what motivates people.   It would feel arrogant to inundate you all the ways I think Hei Stories is original, but here is a short list of examples of how the world we’ve created pushes the boundaries of fiction as inspired by anime, from setting, to story structure: Kaleidoscope is a universe not based on material space, but rather ‘place’ is painted across a landscape of thoughts, emotions and concepts, materialised in starpaint and hyperdimensional oceans.  It is my aim  to make accessible sensitive issues like extremism and tolerance and trauma through fantastical settings, whilst exploring new character archetypes, with ‘hyperambition’ which blurs good and evil or a revolutionary that is in love with the world.  We explore time and story beyond the three act structure, exploring legacies, world histories and ideals, all interconnected by characters and ideas.   Watching Gainax push the scale of how we understood stakes, inspired me to push it as well, in both a cosmic and Earthly sense, in terms of relationships, concepts and action. So what does Hei Stories and the universe of Kaleidoscope come down to? It comes back to where I started, ‘magic’ and ‘love’.  To enchant and inspire.  It is my hope, to truly bring something positive into the world.  Kaleidoscope is a universe crafted on the principle of hope, where the fantastic serves the real and so, to illustrate that, I would like to end with this excerpt, where Hubble, the literal spirit of the Hubble Telescope who watched us for centuries, speaks: First, there were Chart Makers, they are the stars and ideas which make life possible. Independently, Stargazers were born, life in the material world, humans, animals, the Brave, species from across Kaleidoscope, across the universe. Stargazers and Chart Makers fell in love with one another, the living fell in love with life and life fell in love with the living. And in the space between that love, we, Constellations were born, an expression of every thought and hope and sadness. And for a time, love was law. Until he found you, Naenamh, you know him as the Eclipse King. Even we, Constellations, aren't sure what the Eclipse King is exactly, but he existed before the advent of life, he was alone in the dark. So when light and life began, he saw your joy and was enraged at the reality of his sadness. He came to hate everything. In his grief, he declared war on love and sought to spread his sorrow to the living. He murdered Aset, partner of the Chart Maker, Sirius. Sirius, not knowing how to deal with grief or loss, attacked the world on the Eclipse King's behalf. And so began the wars between Finality and Infinity, grief and love, spanning long into the millennia and deep into the human history. Yet every time, you win. I've watched you conquer over despair, time and time again. When the Eclipse King finally decided to simply destroy you, the only reason the Forge you call Amazing was able to find you and stop him, was because he could hear you through bottomless space. He followed your music and laughter, shouts and speech across an ocean of stars. And from him, Fragments were born, another miracle born of the underbase of love and life, a substance created by human interaction and will. And then Asem. You all created her, your world raised her and taught her to love. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it, feel free to get in touch to talk about anything, whether that’s here, one of the links or on [email protected] . Speak soon - live, love, hope and eat oreos. In Kaleidoscope, every child has a memory of the day the sun stood up, it’s my hope to remind us. “I would like to make a film to tell children it’s good to be alive.” - Miyazaki.
Hei Stories photo
Introducing a storytelling start-up
[Editor's Note: Here at Japanator we work on stuff that's not directly related to the site. this thing here is Yussif's new jam.] – the sun itself, uncurled and stood. Mountain shadows scattered as she rose. She stood a...

Japanator goes to AniMaine Bangor 2016

Aug 15 // Soul Tsukino
I've written coverage of my home convention here in Maine, AniMaine, before. It is a very close-knit gathering of friends, both old and new alike. That con takes place in November in South Portland, Maine, about and hour or so south of where I am located. It is a highlight of my year. The same group, some in different roles, decided to put on another convention this weekend in AniMaine Bangor, a one-day convention located in Bangor, Maine. The "Queen City" as it is called is about two hours north of where I am located. Most of the staff are from the area since it's the location of Husson College in its associated school NESCom where a lot of the staff graduated from, as did I about ten years before they did. It can make me feel old sometimes with them young whippersnappers and their fancy degrees. The weather on Saturday was not in our favor. The news had called for rain and we sure got it. Luckily there wasn't much scheduled for outdoors (if anything at all) so outside of a trip to your car, you were okay. I went with my usual partner in crime Jeremy "Emerje" Crocker from Tomopop and arrived a little before 9 a.m. This event was being held at the Four Points by Sheraton located right next to Bangor International Airport, a place neither of us had been before. It took a little time to get organized as the con registration was located on the second floor of the entrance. Luckily some familiar faces were there (namely Con chair  Diane Lapierre) to point us to the right place. The layout of the space was small, one panel room, one game room, a small vendors area next to the hotel gym, with some information tables located in a walkway leading to the airport terminal. The vendors' area was open when we arrived and we checked things out there, with about six different vendors including a Henna painting table, a table set up for a couple of local horror themed cons, an artist, and a seller offering up old toys and another offering anime stuff and really good prices. We checked out the first panel of the day, hosted by longtime AniMaine staffer Michael Churchill about Magic: The Gathering. Not my cup of tea as far as subjects go but it was still interesting. We took some time to check out the con's program and found that the schedule had been updated and changed the night before, without a chance to fix the programs. I was prepared as I noticed the change on the con's website and had printed out my own copies. We took some time to look around for a short bit before the next panel, What Makes a Video Game Great. The presenter was Adam Crowley who is a Ph.D. looking at games. He was very engaging and would mention things that were popular and why and took a deeper look into the games we love.  The next panel was cosplay judging so we explored around some more. There were quite a lot of cosplayers to this con, but we aren't judges and they actually filled the room. I took the time to really get my bearing as to where things were located as relating to a small elevator that really made things easier. We got some lunch at one of the small terminal restaurants and hung out for a while. As I've said of AniMaine in South Portland, this con was very relaxed and had a laid back environment that encouraged conversation with those around you. Next up on the program was the first of two panels by the headline guest, voice actor, director, and AniMaine veteran guest, Terri Doty. with her first of two panels, Voice Acting 101 with Terri Doty. She always makes for a good panel as she is very entertaining, but at the same time has been working in the industry long enough to speak real wisdom. There were a few young audience members who were looking into the industry and Terri was able to answer their questions with stories and anecdotes like only she could. The panel that followed was Hey, I'm Walkin' Here hosted by AniMaine's South Portland Chair, Colin Harvey. This was an animation tutorial panel on how to create a simple walking loop using home computer animation programs. Again, a lot of it flew over my head but it still was enlightening. The next panel was planned to be a Karaoke Extravaganza but some wires got crossed so the room was used for a makeshift panel from one of the staffers while we milled around for a while on our own, I stayed at the hotel while Jeremy checked out some of the surrounding stores. I walked around checking in with some old friends and getting pictures of some of the cosplayers that were there. I met a couple with a very adorable little dog that was the cutest. I returned to the Vendor's area and something cool happened while I was there. For those of you that have seen my posts at our sister site, Tomopop will find I'm a big collector of '80s/early '90s style GI Joe figures. I got to talking with one of the vendor's selling older toys and he said he had a bin of figures he would sell cheap and I assured him if he brought it in I would buy something. Since he lived only 20 minutes away, he went to get them. I took the meantime and got something to drink and hung around the lobby of the hotel near the front desk and chatted with people as we watching Olympic diving (yes, the one with the green water, ick). He returned and SCORE! I ended up getting 13 Joes, most of the which were only a few dollars. He was happy, I was very happy, all was awesome. Reconnecting with Jeremy, we took in some of a panel called Making Your Own Games with Unity where the host showed off a small game that he had designed himself. We milled around some more and hung out at an empty table in the game room for an hour or so before the next panel, which was Con Stories with the vendor for the local horror cons I had mentioned earlier. There was only 5 or six of us but it was a lot of fun and silly stories for conventions past, talk of tipping cows, Star Trek actors, and how awesome Billy Dee Willians is. We finished out the con with Terri Doty's Q and A panel. As said before, she tells wonderful stories about not only her work in voice acting but her life as well. She raffled off a few DVDs, Jeremy ended up winning one of the Hetalia collections. With the panels ended we headed out for the long journey home. AniMaine is family. Old vets like yours truly were just as apt to have discussions with long time friends as much as people going to their first cons ever. It's a relaxed atmosphere where you can just hang out and chill, play some games, take in some great stories, and reminisce about things that happened in days past. The different location from the South Portland cons didn't affect that. It's like if you have a family tradition of going to the grandmother's house every year for Thanksgiving, but then one of your cousins invites the family to their house for a day. Even if the location is different, a place you have never been before, the AniMaine spirit is still there and welcoming. This more than anything else showed that no matter where we are, we are home with family.
AniMaine Bangor photo
A new location but the same good time.
This weekend and era came to a close as Otakon, one of the east coast's biggest conventions, was held in Baltimore for the last time. Since 1999 the convention has been held at the Baltimore Convention Center and had seen its...

Review: A.W. Phoenix Festa

Aug 10 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35189:5778:0[/embed] A.W Phoenix Festa (PlayStation Vita)Developer: APLUSPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: July 26, 2016 (US), July 26, 2016 (EU), January 28, 2016 (JP)MSRP: $39.99 When launching the game, you can either choose to play as Ayato Amagiri or an original character, which you can name whatever you wish. While the game doesn’t specifically state it, it is implied that playing as Ayato is easy mode since your stats are already high enough and ready for the Phoenix Festa as opposed to the original character who starts with lower stats, thus making the game more challenging, but you are given more time to prepare before the Phoenix Festa. What I didn’t like about Ayato’s storyline is that you need to find a partner for the Phoenix Festa before the deadline, which is 2 weeks after the game starts. While that may sound like a lot, time really flies fast in the game. While it’s doable to choose the partner that you want, those two weeks could push you to make a rash decision since if you don’t find a partner in due time, the game will end prematurely. While I personally do like Saya, at the same time, it as a rushed choice since I only had one day to find a partner. With the original character however, you are given two months before the Phoenix Festa thus giving you plenty of time to build up your character as well as his relationship with the rest of the cast. I felt a lot more comfortable doing his path since it gave me time to think work on who I wanted as a partner as well as build up my stats the way I desired. Though it was somewhat harder compared to Ayato’s playthrough, I definitely recommend playing his story first since it’s a lot more flexible and gives you more room for enjoyment. Like a lot of Dating Sims, the game is time dependent. You are giving a calendar in which you can set up appointments, train, go shopping, upgrade your equipment and even take on a job. There are two time slots for each day —AM and PM, and which gets fill up depending on what activity you choose to do. Setting up appointments allows you to either duel or take the person on a date.  Though I would recommend on challenging them on a duel first since it not only boosts up your stats but it also raises your affinity with that character as well. However, the battles aren’t really enjoyable, which I’ll get into later on. Training allows you to boost up a stat individually such as Life, Attack, Defense, Insight, etc. However, in return, training takes a toll on your health and body condition, which reflects on your battles, so it’s imperative not to overdo it, or heal up before proceeding to battle. Job requests are like side quests in which nets you extra money that can be used to buy weapon upgrades in the laboratory, or buy medicine or even presents to raise your affinity with the girl characters in the Shop. All in all, if you enjoyed the anime’s story, then you’ll most likely enjoy the dialogue in this one as well. However there were times where the game got too repetitive with the dialogue and kind of boring. There were times where I took Saya to a date multiple times, but unfortunately they were the same scenario most of the time, though that’s because though affinity cap isn’t really that high either. Most anime games don’t offer too much depth in their combat system, and that should be expected, however, the combat system is this game is so bland that it makes the game not so fun to play. You only have two attacks, mapped to the square and tringle button as well as a special attack which is used by pressing L1 and Triangle. While the special attack is spammable as long as you go stamina, it’s blockable, though it can make battles pretty annoying. At least since each character wields different weapons, it somewhat offers different play styles for each character. Whether we’re gaming or working on a project, we know how imperative it is to save your progress. While I appreciate that the game auto-saves your progress, I feel that as a Visual Novel, it does it excessively.  There was times where I lost matches or made the wrong choices, so I wanted to revert to a previous point but realized it was too late. Naturally there’s always the option to quit the game before the game saves your progress but that still feels like too much of a hassle, even when the game doesn’t take much to load. Considering I somewhat enjoyed the series, I really wanted this game to be enjoyable as well since it looked enjoyable from first impressions. I wasn’t expecting for too much, but something I can turn to for some quick fun on the go and don’t have to invest too much time in. Even if for some reason you really enjoyed the series, it’s hard to recommend this game, even when it hits a sale. I wanted to enjoy this game but every aspect of it it’s really weak.  [This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
A.W. Phoenix Festa photo
Bland Stories & Battles
In this gaming generation, especially with both the PS Vita and the 3DS, it’s pretty common for Bandai Namco to make a quick cashgrab of anime series currently airing in Japan. It happened to Kuroko’s Basketball, ...

Strong Style: Olympi- who?!?

Aug 06 // Soul Tsukino
For our first show, we are greeted by Ishii who walks in front of the camera, sits down, and says absolutely nothing. Tomoaki Honma vs. YOSHI-HASHI No real reason to have this match other than to put these guys n the card. Honma is the loveable loser who finally broke his double-digit match losing streak in the G1 by unexpectedly scoring a win over Tomohiro Ishii. Hashi is the low guy on the CHAOS totem poll that originally came in as Okada's infrequent tag partner. He usually is left in the background behind most of the other CHAOS guys, so he's been a bit frustrated. Hashi comes out first with his trademark giant walking cane. Josh talks about how Hashi tried to enter the NJPW dojo three times before they accepted him. Honma comes out as determined as usual. The crowd is in his corner as no one really cares about Hashi, JR and Josh make mention that he gets looked over a lot and he is getting more frustrated. The bell rings, and Hashi goes right into some elbows across Honma's back as he is taped up across his lower back. Hashi grabs a side headlock. Hashi tries to whip Honma in but Honma counters to send Hashi down. Honma goes for the falling headbutt but of course, misses. They go outside where Honma gets his back slammed into the barrier. Hashi grabs his walking cane and takes a shot at Honma with it near the barrier. Hashi drags him on the apron and suplexes him in the ring. He goes for a second but drapes Honma on the top rope. He hits a dropkick to the dangling Honma for a two count. Hashi then hooks the leg and goes for a single leg crab to put more pressure on the back. Honma gets to the ropes and Hashi pulls the tape off. Hashi drives him into the corner with elbows but Honma comes back with some chops and another failed falling headbutt. We come back from break as Yoshi picks him up and tries for a suplex but Honma counters and drops to the mat. Hashi picks him up and tries again but Honma nails the suplex instead. He finally hits the falling headbutt and when Yoshi gets up, Honma hits a DDT. Yoshi is stunned as Honma goes up and hits a blockbuster but can only get a two count. Honma goes for a gutwrench but a shot to the back ends that. Yoshi nails a suplex into a neckbreaker but only gets two. Yoshi goes for a piledriver but Honma counters into the corner. Yoshi charges in but gets an elbow or his troubles. Honma hits the diving headbutt and then another one but gets a two count. Slam and he goes for the big headbutt from the top rope and he misses. Both guys struggle to their feet. They collide with clotheslines but Honma gets the edge on that. He goes for a headbutt and Yoshi gets a clothesline. Yoshi hits a powerbomb into a roll up but Honma kicks out. Yoshi goes up for his move but misses. Honma staggers into the corner and hits a diving headbutt to Yoshi's back. He hits another butt but it only gets two. Honma goes for the tombstone but Yoshi counters into a near fall. Honma gets up and hits a diving headbutt right to Yoshi's chin. Yoshi is down and Honma scrambles up to the top. He hits the big kokeshi headbutt and scores the pinfall! Backstage Honma says that Yoshi was settling in with CHAOS but every day is a tryout for him and he fights his best every night. Yoshi will never beat him ever. Yoshi says he will do whatever it takes to make it up to the fans for this loss. Bullet Club (Anderson/Gallows/Fale) vs. CHAOS (Sakuraba/Yano/Nakamura) What a collection of guys we have here huh? The real focus here is between Karl Anderson and Shinsuke Nakamura stemming from our last show where Anderson laid the challenge for the IC belt of Nakamura. Otherwise, YOSHI-HASHI would be in the match instead and we wouldn't be watching it. The Club comes out first with Gallows wearing a gas mask. The opponents all come out together oddly enough, which is like the world's weird cosplay waiting line with Sakuraba wearing an oni mask, Nakamura dressed in his usual gear, and Yano carrying water and the latest DVD. Nakamura and Karl have a stare down based off our last show and end up starting the match. Lock up quickly has Nakamura getting the upper hand with a whip and kicks. Anderson gets Nakamura down with some arm drags. Lock up into the Club corner where Gallows tags in and hits a headbutt on Nakamura but Nakamura stomps on his foot and tags in Sakuraba. Sakuraba ducks a punch and lays in with some MMA kicks. Gallows catches the leg and flattens Sakuraba with a  big punch. The other club guys come in and with have a brawl! It ends quickly as Gallows drives Sakuraba into the corner and tags in Fale. He just stands on Sakuraba's back and flips off the ref for the warning. Anderson rakes the eyes from the floor. Fale literally sits on Sakuraba and then tags out to Anderson. Anderson comes in all cocky but when he tried to grab Sakuraba. He is locked into an armlock that Gallows has to save him from. Anderson tries a cannonball but Sakuraba moves and tags in Nakamura. He reveres the whip and hits a one leg dropkick and then good vibration. Anderson counters with an elbow to the knee but Nakamura counters and puts Karl to the corner and gets the knee lift. Nakamura gets the reverse powerslam and goes for the booma ye but Gallows comes in to end that and we've got mayhem. Guns and Gallows double team on Shinsuke, but Nakamura kicks Gallows and Anderson in the knees. He then hits a jumping knee to put Anderson down again as he tags in Yano. Fale tags in and squashes Yano immediately. He throws him into the corner and squashes him again. He goes for the bad luck fall but Sakuraba comes in a breaks that up. With extra guys in the ring the ref gets distracted. Tama Tonga climbs in the ring for the attempted double team but Yano nails them both low. He scoops up Fale and scores the pin for his team. Backstage Karl says no one gives a shit what Yano did and only care for Nakamura losing his title to Anderson. Nakamura says he will enjoy it and then mocks Karl's machine gun. In the studio now with Ishii, let's hope he's more talkative this time. He wants revenge for Togi beating him for the belt. Despite never beating Togi, it is not like he can't he says. NEVER Openweight Title: Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii Bar the doors and bolt down everything because these guys are gonna fight! There is a lot of history here with Ishii being a former member of Togi's group Global Bash Heel. They have been facing off in recent months with Ishii never getting his decisive win over Makabe and damn well determined to beat the unchained gorilla's face in! This will be fun! Ishii comes out first. No crap, no frills. His left knee is wrapped, but this guy is always hurt. Togi comes in just as determined. Stare down right off. Bell rings with a stiff lock up and the bulls face off. Togi backs to the ropes and a break. Ishii gets the headbutt and a shoulder block. Headbutts to the face but Togi comes off with a shoulder and tosses Ishii outside. Tomo hits the barrier and Togi tries the other side but Tomo counters. The clobber each other some more before deciding to get back in the ring. They meet with some dark clotheslines before Togi gets an edge and Tomo goes down. Togi lays in some kicks and sends Tomo to the buckle before laying in some elbows in the corner. Togi yells at Ishii and Tomo stands right up. Tomo smacks Togi with a clothesline that flattens him. Tomo kicks him a few times in the head to see if he is still alive. Togi gets back up and Tomo smacks him around before getting a suplex. He slaps Togi on the canvas and Togi asks for more! Tomo throws some elbows and Togi takes it like a man! Tomo goes for a strike and Togi scoops him up for a powerslam. After the commercial now with Togi picking Tomo up. Tomo hits back but Togi hits a shoulder block. Tomo goes in the corner and Togi follows in with 10 punches and a laugh in the corner, followed but Northern lights suplex. Tomo gets up and counters back with a chop. Togi lays in the hits to the head and Tomo gets back in it with a chop to the throat. He hits another one. Ishii scores the Saito suplex.  Whip reversed as Togi goes into the corner and Tomo hits him in the head. He positions Togi up on the buckle and goes for a superplex. He hits it! Togi kicks out barely at two. At this point, I should note Jim Ross keeps screwing up Togi's name by calling him "Toji". Remember this later on when he whines about "being corrected by guys who live in their mom's basement." Tomo goes for a clothesline but Togi ducks, counters and hits another northern lights suplex. They meet in the ring with a double clothesline. Togi gets a head shot and then a clothesline but Tomo doesn't go down. It takes two clotheslines to the neck to knock him down! Togi picks him up and then hits the king kong powerbomb but only gets two again. Togi tries to pick him up but Tomo is hurt. Tomo uses the ropes to get back up. Togi tries a suplex and a shot to Togi's back but a clothesline flattens him with another clothesline to the neck. Togi sets him up for the spider suplex. Tomo holds on for dear life and he counters with some elbows. Tomo gets out and turns around on the buckle and Tomo starts wailing away before Togi gets his shots in. Both stand up on the buckle and they exchange shots but Tomo hits a headbutt that sends Togi down to the mat. Tomo dives off with a knee to Togi's head! Wow! Makabe still gets up and they meet with some clotheslines. Togi goes for a suplex and then hits an enziguri. Tomo scores a surprise roll up but only gets two. Togi rolls over Tomo with a big clothesline! After the commercial now with both guys down. Akira Maeda is in the crowd! Both guys back up and just start punching each other in the head before Tomo gets one in the face and falls over. He gets back up only to get a chop to the neck. Togi lands a German suplex, but only gets two. Togi lifts Tomo up and drives his face into the buckle and then levels him with an axhandle. Cover gets two.  He picks Tomo up for the spider suplex in the corner again and he hits it! Togi goes for the knee drop and Tomo strikes him with a headbutt! Tomo hits a running clothesline but only gets two! Tomo goes for the brainbuster. Togi tries to counter but Tomo catches him with a dragon suplex and then a sliding clothesline. Ishii tries to cover but Togi kicks out! Tomohiro is not deterred as he grabs Togi and hits the brainbuster! He covers and gets the win! We have a new champion and Ishii has finally defeated Makabe. As both guys are in pain and Makabe is carried from the ring, Honma comes out and jumps in the ring. Ishii asks what his problem is and Honma challenges him for the belt. Ishii says he gets one shot but yeah, let's do it. Honma says he beat Ishii in the G1 so he should get a shot. Ishii says he can finally look ahead and isn't stuck fighting Makabe anymore and got what he wanted. He says with Honma, he is going to beat him up for his one shot and that it's payback time for losing in the G1. In the Studio, Ishii says he wasn't going anywhere as he continually fought Makabe. Now that he has finally beaten him, he can move on. Some would say the match was a true NEVER fight, but he doesn't think so since the match would have been the same, the belt just happened to be there. This was a fun way to start off the night. there probably was some clipping, especially in the six man match, but it wasn't very noticeable. All three matches were fun and had a variety to it to give a little something different to everyone watching. They also did well in putting this together to explain the storylines in the matches and the interviews. Good episode and we aren't even close to done yet! On to Episode 2 as we are greeted by Hiroshi Tanahashi.   IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kenny Omega v/s Matt Sydal This one could either be really good or complete crap depending on Kenny's mood. The backstory here is that after Omega won in his last defence, he noticed Sydel who was at ringside and hadn't even debuted for New Japan yet. Kenny made the challenge since he's beaten everyone and here we are. Sydal enters first as he still does the same hand gestures and poses he's been doing for years. Here comes the Cleaner! Omega comes out with Cody Hall and even grabs a trashcan and plays it as a drum as he sings to his own theme song. We skip ahead just a bit as the bell rings. They glare at each other before we go into the lock up. Both go in the ropes as Kenny screws with Matt a bit teasing a smack but just gives a clean break. Back in the ring for another lock up and Kenny gets the advantage and a headlock. Sydal shoots him off but Omega holds on into the takeover. Sydal goes for a side headlock but Kenny holds on, Matt tries to counter out but Kenny holds on. Sydal lets go and goes for the armdrag but Omega blocks it and lay in the shots. He grabs Sydal and tries to throw him in but Sydal counters and gets a headscissors takeover into the corner. Matt gets the hit and goes for the cover but Omega kicks out. Matt gets a toe hold and goes for the Muta lock! Omega won't give up and just barely gets to the ropes. Matt lands a kick to the knee and sends Kenny over with another kick. He locks in a knee wrench and slams down on it. He does it again and again! Kenny lands a kick but is slow to get up and gets a kick to the knee. Omega hits Matt with a karate kick right to the chest. Kenny lands some chops  and an elbow to the head before standing on him on the apron. Cody gets in a choke from the outside. Kenny gets a drink and spits on Matt. He pulls off some tape from his wrist and throws the ball at him before landing a backbreaker for the two count. He tosses another tape ball at him and hits a strike to the back. Kenny hits an elbow to Matt's back. He goes for another but Matt spins around in a kick, but Sydal gets kicks and another backbreaker to stop that offense. After the break, Kenny has a glare n his eye and whips him hard into the buckle. Kenny tries it again but Sydal counters and hits a hard kick into the legs. He hits the double knees to the face. Matt misses a jumping kick but gets the back kick and a cover but only gets two. He NEARLY gets a pin off another strike. Sydal comes charging into the buckle but gets hit with Kenny's boot, but Sydal counters and nearly gets another pin from it. Matt goes up the buckles but Kenny jumps up and stops him. They fight up and Omega gets kicks off the ropes, but pops right back up, only for Sydal to get the headscissors and the kick. Kenny rolls outside into Cody's arms, but Matt goes up top and launches off in a dive to take both of them out at ringside. Sydal shoots him back in the ring. he goes for the double knees but Kenny catches and holds him (!) before tossing him into the buckle.  He grabs on and gets a gutwrench into a powerbomb for a 2 count. Wow! Omega gets in a front facelock and tries for the suplex that Sydal counters into a headscissors and nearly a pin! Sydal lands a kick and another but Kenny keeps trying to get back up. Kenny gets a kick now and then a jumping knee. He goes for a second but Sydal counters into a backwards headscissors. Omega is spiked right on his head! Sydal goes up for his air Sydal splash but crashes right into Omega's knees. Kenny gets the full nelson suplex and the running knee, Sydal tries to counter but Kenny gets the one winged angel to score the pin and retain! Good match! In the studio now as Tanahashi talks about Naito always being a looming presence. He wasn't aware of Naito's change and it threw him off in their last match. Tanahashi says Naito knows how to put on a show and he's brought a lot of attention to this match. For the IWGP Title Shot: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs/ Tetsuya Naito This match is, like last week, for the WrestleKingdom title shot that Tanahashi earned from winning the G1 Climax tournament. After retaining the briefcase against Fale, Tanahashi called out Naito, since everyone in the company wants to kick Naito's ass now. Naito was like "*shrug* whatever" and we have a match. Also interesting to note from last week was that Naito said he found a partner and he would debut him here. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN! Naito comes out in his black suit and mask as he strolls to the ring. Another man comes out in the black suit in the mask so Naito has found his partner! The nice thing about Naito's entrance is it easy kills five to ten minutes so I don't have to type anything while JR and Josh talk about whatever. Both masked men stand in the ring to a chorus of boos before Tanahashi's music hits and instant cheers. The ref asks Naito to take the mask off and he finally does as we go to break. We come back and we skip over Naito taking the rest of his gear off. The bell rings with nothing happening. We nearly get a lock up but Naito walks away from it. He does it again as the crowd boos. Naito just kicks Tanahashi and lays into him with some shots and drives him into the buckle. Naito leaves the ring to screw around but Tanahashi gets a baseball slide to send Naito into the barrier. Tanahashi comes out and Naito nails him. Tanahashi sends him into the barrier now. Naito kicks him in the head and tosses him back into the ring where he hooks in a front facelock from the floor and drops him with a hanging DDT. Ouch. He grabs a chair from ringside and sets it up in the corner of the metal barriers. He plops Hiroshi in it and lands a running dropkick. He grabs the chair, bring it into the ring and has some tranquilo time as Tanahashi crawls back in the ring at 19. Naito lays in the kicks before scooping Tanahashi up and hooking him in the tree of woe. He holds the boot to the chin before hitting Hiroshi with a sliding dropkick. Naito locks in a headscissors and cranks on it!  Tanahashi gets into the ropes but Naito turns and kicks the cameraman for some reason . Naito scores a low dropkick and poses like Tanahashi for a bit. Naito spits on Tanahashi and then gets a cover. Tanahashi is bleeding from the mouth and Naito gets in a chinlock. Naito tags the ref who goes outside. No DQ for that by the way. Tanahashi tries to fight back but Naito throws some punches and kicks before spitting on Tanahashi again! Tanahashi gets an uppercut and nails a flying forearm and is holding the back of his head. He gets a hard elbow in followed by a senton and a pin attempt but Naito kicks out. Tanahashi gets in a liver punch and tries to whip Naito in. Naito counters with a flip but gets a dropkick to the knee by Hiroshi. Tanahashi locks in the cloverleaf but Naito gets to the rope and Tanahashi doesn't want to break! Naito to the apron and Tanahashi scores the dragon screw leg whip on the damaged right knee. Naito rolls out but Tanahashi comes off the top with a body splash. However, Tanahashi grabs his arm awkwardly so he is hurt! Naito is rolled in and Tanahashi runs right around the other masked guy and tries for the high fly flow. Naito brings his leg up and counters! Back from the break. Both guys are getting back up Naito runs into Tanahashi in the corner and hits a kick, a trip, and then an over the rope dropkick. He scoops Tanahashi up and lands a frakensteiner. Naito kicks Tanahashi in the head a few times. He hits an elbow to the neck but Tanahashi is getting up. Tanahashi lands an elbow but Naito feels nothing. Naito spits again as they start firing elbows back and forth. Tanahashi lands a uppercut but Naito comes back with a face rake. Naito tries for the dragon suplex but is countered with Tanahashi landing a swinging neckbreaker. They go into the ropes and Naito hits a slingblade but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin! Naito goes for an arm crank but Tanahashi gets sent into the ref who goes down useless putz. The masked guy rolls into the ring and takes off the mask to reveal Watanabe! He takes off his coat and they start in on Tanahashi now. Capt. New Japan comes in but he gets beat up because he is a loser. Watanabe lands a suplex on Tanahashi and Shibata and Goto come out and clear the ring of Naito and Watanabe. The guys help Red Shoes out at ringside. Naito rolls back in Tanahashi tries for a kick but Naito catches it and goes for the low blow. He nearly scores the pin when Red Shoes comes in but only gets two. Naito shoves the ref again but Naito tries for Destino. Hiroshi counters with the sling blade. He goes up and nails the high fly flow and scores the three count! Goto jumps in and starts whaling on Watanabe but Watanabe lands the STO on Goto to lay him out. Goto is helped from the ring as Tanahashi stands tall! Backstage Goto is pissed! He vows to teach Watanabe a lesson. Naito says he doesn't care about the match and just wanted to show his partner off His new partner speaks Spanish (I wonder about that) and his name is EVIL! Tanahashi is confused as to Naito's way He says NJPW has too many stars and they only need one, him. Wow, even Cena wasn't that self-centered. In the studio, Tanahashi talks about Naito being different but it was a great match despite the interruption. He says Goto and Shibata were uneasy on interrupting, but they were glad Tanahashi won. Both of these matches were really good! This was one of Kenny's good nights it seems as Cody didn't interfere a whole lot. The main event of this hour was a great battle between these two with a story developing with EVIL showing up. How can we top that? With the main event of course! Here comes hour three as we are greeted with The Rainmaker Okada. Studio words from the champ as he says he couldn't wait to defend the title. He wasn't overlooking Styles ahead of the Tokyo Dome show, but that he got distracted in a tag match during the final show of the G1 and got beat. His eyes are solely on Styles right now, IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada v/s A.J. Styles The leader of CHAOS taking on the leader of The Bullet Club. These guys have met plenty of times with Styles beating Okada for the title in his very first NJPW match in 2014 and Okada beating Styles for the belt three months prior to this. With WrestleKingdom so close, this very well could decide who gets to defend the title at NJPW's biggest event. Styles comes out first and he isn't alone. Gallows, Anderson, and Tama Tongs are right behind him. Okada comes out with Gedo in his corner. JR mentions the winner of this is the champ for WrestleKingdom 10 so there ya go with that. We are getting full entrances for both as we got plenty of time here. We get the full introductions as some people cheer for Styles but it's mostly "boos" for the Club. Okada gets introduced to the cheers of the crowd. We return from the break as the bell rings and here we go.  Immediate Okada chant. They circle around but don't lock up right off. am A.J. Styles chant starts up and Styles starts bitching to the crown like: "I know who I am. Let me do what I'm best at and shut the hell up!" Styles locks up and Okada immediately reverses and gets in an armlock. He gets the hammerlock in but Styles reverse into an armlock and backs into the ropes. They break as Styles bitches some more. Styles gets a headlock and the go down to the canvas into a pin attempt. They scramble and Styles gets a rollup for another near fall before they both nip up into a staredown.  Lock up again as Styles is back in the ropes Okada goes for a chop but fakes Styles out for a clean break. Okada then turns around and smacks him anyway. Okada gets an Irish whip into a reverse splash and a neckbreaker. He gets distracted by the Club and Styles takes advantage and rakes Okada on the ropes. Okada gets the slingshot suplex over the ropes as Gallows gets on the apron. Okada is pulled out of the ring and beaten up by Tama Tonga. Ref distracted again as Gallows drops Okada on the apron with a powerbomb. Okada rolls in and Styles goes for a pin but he kicks out. Styles sets him up in the corner and he hits a high splash in the corner before putting a foot on Okada and posing. Okada counters with some elbows and gets shot in the ropes where Styles nails him with his awesome dropkick. We come back from another break as Styles picks Okada up and gets in a snap suplex. Okada gets tossed out again. Styles comes out but Okada sends him into the barrier. Styles gets up and sends Okada into the barrier before rolling back in the ring as the count starts. Okada gets in quick and hits a snapmare into a chinlock. As another aside not only does JR bring up Vader so he can bitch about internet fans, but he starts going into memories of NWA wrestling at 6:05 on Saturday nights. Okada gets back up and lays in some elbows before uncorking an uppercut. Styles goes into the corner and Okada nearly gets the boots, but Okada catches and sends Styles to the other buckle where he connects with another uppercut. Okada lands a running forearm and then a DDT on Styles. Styles gets back to the corner where Okada misses a charge. Styles tries to climb the buckle but Okada nails HIS sweet dropkick sending Styles crashing to the floor. Okada goes out but gets sent to the ring apron. Styles tries to whip Okada into the barrier but he reverses, Styles leaps over the barrier but goes for a slingshot clothesline and gets nailed but Okada and crashes in a heap. Okada tosses him into the ring and goes for the pin but Styles grabs the ropes. Styles counters a corner charge by leaping to the apron. He runs Okada's head into the buckle and lands the slingshot forearm. Styles lands a pumphandle gutbuster and goes for the pin but Okada kicks out. Styles sets him up for his next move but Okada counters. Styles goes into the ropes but gets met with a flapjack on the mat for his trouble. Out of another break with Styles catching Okada into a buckle suplex. Styles rolls to the apron. He goes up top and leaps over a charging Okada. He tries it again and catches Styles and brought him down into a reverse drop neckbreaker. Okada goes for the Tombstone but Styles escapes into a wristlock. Styles picks Okada up and dumps him on his face for a 2 count.  Styles goes for a piledriver but Okada counters and they counter again. Okada tries to counter but Styles dumps him on his head awkwardly. Ouch. He tries a pin but Okada kicks out. Styles goes outside and tries for the springboard but he misses and splats on the mat. Okada crawls over and climbs up the ropes and hits a missile dropkick that drills Styles right in the face. They crawl up and Okada nails some elbows to the face, Styles counters in kind. They just trade shots back and forth. Elbows back and forth right to the face. Styles gets a snapmare and a kick to the back. Okada gets up but Styles lands an enziguri. Okada then surprises Styles with a dropkick, then hooks onto Styles landing a German suplex but holds on into the rainmaker! Okada nearly gets the pin but Anderson pulls the ref outside. Okada gets mad and goes outside where he sends both Gallows and Anderson right into the post and puts them down. He comes back in but then does a dive to take out all three guys on the outside for good. Okada comes back in and starts up the turnbuckle. He grabs Okada and scores with a superplex that makes Okada bounce off the mat like a rubber ball! Styles goes for the pin but Okada kicks out! We come back from another commercial and both guys are down. Styles slowly picks Okada up and goes for the styles clash but drops Okada. He tries it again but Okada counters out so A.J. rolls him into the calf killer. Okada tries and rolls through with it but as he stands up, Styles wraps him in another one! He is in major pain as he struggles and finally gets to the rope for a break. Styles goes for the leg again and tries the calf killer again but Okada rolls through and hits the tombstone! Okada is badly hurt and can't make the cover. Okada hits a weak forearm and Styles hits one back as they can barely move. They struggle back up. Okada goes for the rainmaker but gets into a backslide. Okada gets out and hits a legscissors, but Styles hits the Pele kick to counter. Styles goes for the styles clash into an exploder position into a tombstone position. Styles gets out on the apron and sends Okada into the buckle again. Styles goes up but get an uppercut right to the head. Okada goes up and goes for a fireman's carry. Styles tries for the super stash on him but they crumple. Okada falls back and Styles gets down only to get clotheslined twice! Okada hits the rainmaker and scores the win! Okada is going to WrestleKingdom! Styles has to be carried back down the hallway with Anderson and Gallows telling him he is still the best in the world. We come back from commercial with Gedo and Okada in the ring. Okada says that Styles increased the shine on the belt and they should have a rematch. As he talks about WrestleKingdom Tanahashi slides in the ring. Okada turns right around and says that you are next Mr. Tanahashi. Hiroshi says this brings back memories. he says the Ace should be the champion. The pose face to face for a bit before Tanahashi leaves. Gedo talks saying that Hiroshi won't win against the rainmaker. Backstage Tanahashi says he wants to bring the rivalry to an end. Okada says he has good memories of every arena except the Tokyo Dome. He wants to make a good memory. He brushes off Tanahashi and said he will give it his all. In the studio, Okada says that Styles is a great and creative wrestler. He says he is a foreign version of Tanahashi He is someone wrestlers around the world pay attention to. If asked if he was dismayed he would have to face Tanahashi again, Okada said it has to be Tanahashi to get his revenge. That was a hell of a main event! These guys really brought out their A-game and had an incredible match! Aside from Jim Ross having something up his craw, it was a great way to end this night of wrestling. I had a lot of fun all the way through! Tune in next time for more wrestling action!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
No point system here!
Hello again, and welcome to another edition of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are jammed packed with THREE big hours of wrestling. All three of tonight's episodes are coverage of the King of Pro Wrestling show from October 12, 2015. We are at the famous Sumo Hall in Tokyo for this big night of action So let's get underway!

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Squadron

Aug 04 // Red Veron
If you are interested in signing up for the "Back to School" themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off your order at Loot Anime! Next month will feature items from Assassination Classroom, Digimon Adventure tri, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Persona 3, Danganronpa and Fruits Basket!
Unboxing photo
Anime Squadron Goals
The latest Loot Anime box arrived at my doorstep and I am here to show y'all the awesome goodies inside the box. This month's theme for the monthly subscription box Loot Anime is "SQUADRON", and this new box of anime and man...

Japanator Eats: What's Japan's best rice?

Aug 02 // Lindo Korchi
Hakumai (white rice) is the staple of Japanese cooking and most popular. While genmai (brown rice) is healthier and more nutritious than white rice, it isn't considered as delicious as hakumai. Japanese rice is also sticky when cooked, though not mushy. However, mochigome (glutinous rice) tends to be stickier than regular Japanese rice and is mostly used to form rice cakes. Beyond the traditional format of how we view and consume rice, there's a unique form that the Japanese have taken upon, and that's mochi (rice cakes) – rice on a whole new level. It's made by pounding the mochigome into a paste and molding it into whatever shape desired. Typically, it tastes extremely bland and chewy; it's a traditional food widely consumed and served in soups during the week of New Years in Japan. Thankfully, mochi is also available year round in a variety of ways, including sweets. If you've ever had mitarashi dango, a popular Japanese sweet sold in many convenient stores, grocery shops, and popular hot spots, then you may have eaten rice without even knowing it. With the continuing rise of mass production, many Japanese continue to opt for fresh ingredients. If the rice was harvested, processed, and packaged beyond that same year, then it cannot be sold and labeled as shinmai (new harvest rice). But what's the difference between shinmai and komai (old rice)? The grains of shinmai contains more moisture than komai, resulting in an immediate difference in taste. It's like comparing moist chicken to dry chicken; though both well, it's quite a noticeable difference. While a larger percentage of the Japanese enjoy shinmai, many do prefer komai as it's dry and not as sticky. When it comes to fresh rice, moist rice is the freshest form. The purest way to try shinmai, or any form of rice, is to have a plain bowl of it. However, I typically enjoy adding something to it, may it be nori (seaweed), furikake (dry Japanese seasoning), or salmon. Because of its nature, shinmai is more expensive than other forms of rice that you can purchase in a shop. This would also apply to various forms of dishes that are made using shinmai, such as onigiri (rice balls). You'll notice that homemade, shinmai onigiri are more expensive than the “same” onigiri found in the convenient store. The best way to try shinmai and komai for yourself is to point to a rice product (either a pack of rice, onigiri, pre-made rice, mochi, etc.) and ask “Kore wa, shinmai desu ka?”, which translates to “Is this new harvest rice?” Or, have a Japanese friend who can recommend you places that serve either shinmai or komai. As you can see, there are a variety of styles of rice, including mochi, and they're all pretty good. Currently, one of my personal favorites is onigiri made of komai. It's not too sticky, it's pretty firm, and the nori isn't moist. A common dish is tamago kake gohan (a bowl of rice mixed with a raw egg). It gives the rice a creamy texture and is quite a treat. What type of rice do you prefer, along with your personal favorite rich dishes? [Photos provided by Myself]
Japanator Eats photo
Gohan no Showdown
Interested in the tasting the best rice of Japan? Well, you may be disappointed. Unfortunately, the word “best” is an undefined word that people continue to try to define. It can't be defined because it relies ...

Strong Style: Aw crap, it's Bad Luck Fale

Jul 30 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Hiroshi Tanahashi. It's kinda weird here as he has his hair tied up, but at this angle, it looks like one of those little girl side tails like Bayley wears. IWGP Jr. Tag Titles: ReDragon vs. The Time Splitters These two teams have faced off a bunch of times in 4-way matches, but I don't think they've faced each other in a regular tag match (at least on this show). Dragon is representing ROH here. It's not so much of a feud, but there is history here as Kyle O'Reily and Kushida faced off in the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament final. Time Splitters come out first. Alex Shelley is just coming off a foot injury here. They are starting to get nearer the end of the team as they aren't wearing the same gear and Shelley would start popping up in ROH pretty soon. O Reilly and Fish come out as the champs. The crowd is behind the Splitters, and some scramble early on with Kushida going for a low dive. They grapple around on the mat with some headlocks and wrist locks. They each get up and trade a kick but both miss. Kushida gets the headlock before shooting him into the ropes and going into a wristlock and then a tag to Shelly who comes off the top with a strike. on Kyle's arm. Fish runs in but Shelley just boots him in the gut before hitting him with a double body drop. Back to Kyle and Shelley as Shelley gets in some chops. Kyle sends him into the ropes where Fish clobbers him from the apron. Alex turns around and clobbers him. Fish stands up and sweeps out Shelley's leg from the floor and Kyle delivers a kick and pushes Alex to the floor where Fish sends him into the barrier. Sheeley is sent into the ring and Kyle holds him down and tags in Fish. Fish comes in and lands a shot to the gut. He gets a kick and then leaps to the apron and jumps back in with a senton. He lands another kick before tagging Kyle back into the ring. Kyle goes for the arm with a wristlock and an arm ringer. Alex counters with some punches but Kyle won't let go. Alex is finally able to break the hold with more punches. He goes to the ropes and gets the sunset flip but Kyle does some air punches to regain his balance and quickly gets the arm breaker in. Shelley immediately maneuvers into the ropes. Kyle tags in Fish and Fish lands a bunch of punches into the corner. He turns around to flip off Kushida and doesn't see Shelley nailing Kyle in the corner. When he turns around Alex nails him. Fish knees him in the gut but Shelley grabs hold and slams Fish face first in the turnbuckle. Shelley slowly crawls for the tag but Kyle runs in and catches him in an anklelock. Shelley gets up and nails Kyle with the enziguri and scoots on Kyle to get the tag. Kushida goes bananas and even scores a hand board elbow ala the Great Muta. He hits Kyle with a kick on the ropes and twirls out onto the apron. He scores kicks on both guys and then grabs each guy by the arm and snaps them off the top rope. He comes back in and Fish goes for a sunset flip but Kushida does his own air punches to regain balance and goes right for the hoverboard lock. Kyle comes in now and goes for the front chokehold. As these guys are holding on, Alex comes in the ring and pulls Kyle off and locks him into a move close to an octopus. As this is going on Kyle is using his free arm to smack Kushida across the face! Shelly changes his hold to an armbar-like move but Kyle rolls through and picks Shelley up and drives him down with a suplex. Kyle tries to go after Kushida, but Kushida lands some strikes  and kicks before dropping Kyle with his fastball punch. Kushida then turns his attention to Fish with a wristlock. Fish shoots him to the ropes where Kushida goes for the swinging headscissors. Kyle stops that but before he can do anything Kushida gets in the hoverboard lock. Kyle struggles but is able to strike Kushida and get out of the hold. We return from the break with both guys tagging out. Shelley and Kyle come in but Fish kinda lingers in the ring. Alex takes both of them out and sends Fish out of the ring. He goes for a dragon kick to O'Reily but Kyle catches him and gets a suplex in. Fish comes back in the ring and try for Chasing the dragon but Kushida pulls Fish out and Shelley counters Kyle's suplex. Both Splitters come in and  start teeing off on O'Reily now with elbow strikes. Shelley hits a sliced bread #2 off the ropes but doesn't score the pin. Shelley picks him up in an exploder suplex that is combined with Kushida kicking Kyle in the head. When Shelley goes for the pin Fish sneaks in and pushes Kushida out to break up the pinfall. The Splitters go to work on Fish hitting kicks and punches before hitting the Mutalock and a dropkick combo to send Fish to the outside. Kushida tries a dive on him but Fish moves out of the way. Kushida lands on his feet but Fish steamrolls him right into the barrier. O'Reily and Shelley are in the ring trading moves and doges to those moves before Kyle just runs him over with a clothesline. Kyle locks in an armlock and Fish hits the headbutt from the top but Shelley won't give up. Kushida scores with a moonsault to break the hold. Shelley rolls Kyle up but the pin is broken up. Fish comes in and lands a buckle bomb on Shelly. Kushida gets sent out of the ring and ReDragon double team the crap out of Shelley with suplexes and a version of the decapitator. The pin is only two seconds. They go for Chasing the dragon but Kushida rolls in to break that up. Kyle starts kicking the crap out of Kushida and he goes to the floor. Everyone just kinda collapses and rolls out to the same side of the floor as Dragon sets up Shelley for chasing the dragon on the floor. Kushida gets on the apron and breaks up the attempt with a running dive to Fish's face. Kyle then bulldozes Kushida into the barrier. Everyone lays on the floor before a count of 14 when O'Reily and Shelley roll into the ring. Shelley gets in some offence but Fish and Kushida come into the ring. Shelley goes out and dragon starts in on Kushida with three rolling double arm suplexes leading to the wheelbarrow suplex. Unfortunately, Kushida is not the legal guy. Shelley comes in but he is spent. Dragon double up on him hitting a DDT on him before hitting Chasing the dragon and scoring the win! After the match, the Splitters put the belts around Kyle and Bobby's waists as a sign of respect. Roppongi Vice come out and attack EVERYONE. "It turns out you don't need to be a member of the Bullet Club to be a douchebag in New Japan Pro Wrestling."- Josh Barnett. Vice then cuts a promo saying they will be the next champs. We get some words from Tanahashi in the studio. He says the title shot should not be that easy. He doesn't want to sit there for months while the champ has to defend the title. So he wanted to step up and defend the title as much if not more than the champ. He says Fale is always composed and it is like he has no weaknesses. I wouldn't go that far considering how many matches we've seen him lose. For the WrestleKingdom Title shot: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale: It has been a while so I'll explain this. Tanahashi won the G1 Climax tournament, seen here a few weeks ago. The winner of the tournament receives a shot against the IWGP champion at WrestleKingdom at the Tokyo Dome in January. Before then though Tanahashi has to defend the title shot he won in every singles match he wrestles. He loses, the title shot goes to the guy who beat him. Why anyone would think Fale deserves to main event New Japan's biggest show or even receive a title match is beyond me. Fale makes his entrance first. With his shades and hat, he looks less like an "underboss" and more like a guy who plays standing base at a jazz club. Of course, Tama Tonga is with him. Hiroshi comes out carrying the title briefcase. Wonder where New Japan got the idea  of using a briefcase for a title shot from? JR and Josh compare Tanahashi to John Cena. The show seems to be killing time by not editing the entrance at all and making JR and Josh kinda have to ramble a bit. Hiroshi hands the briefcase to the ref, who actually opens it and shows off the contract inside before putting it back and handing the case to the outside ring announcer. After a brief commercial, we come back as the bell rings. The crowd is behind Tanahashi of course. They lock up and Fale muscles him in the corner. Tanahashi reveres and Fale just pushes him off. Tanahashi gets in a headlock but Fale pulls the hair and Tanahashi breaks. JR butchers Tonga's name BTW. Tanahashi tries a knuckle lock  but Fale switches into a toe lock and then into a headlock. Again, both guys are back up and circle around. Tanahashi tries for a slam but doesn't get it. Fale tries to slam Tanahashi but Tanahashi gets a headscissor to get out and goes outside. Tanahashi scores some hits and gets Fale down to a knee but not for long. Tanahashi tries the bodyslam again but doesn't get it. Tanahashi gets sent to the apron where he gets some elbows, but Fale runs over him like a truck sending Tanahashi to the floor. Tama Tonga starts in with the kicks that leave Tanahashi laying on the apron. Fale comes over and gets the big splash on the apron! Fale comes out and sends him into the barrier twice. He starts getting mad at the ref for starting a count for some reason. Tanahashi gets in at 19 but Fale stands right on top of. Fale just stands there for a bit before he bends down only to get hit in the gut a few times. Fale counters with a bodyslam. He stands on Hiroshi's chest and then picks him up and sends him to the corner. Fale misses a charge and Tanahashi tries to slam him and Fale falls on him for a near fall. Fale gets up and starts in with a nerve hold on the neck. At least it's better than just standing there like he usually does. He then gets a sort of chinlock but by pulling the hair. He goes back to the nerve hold for a bit before he slams Tanahashi down again and goes for the splash but Tanahashi rolls out of the way. They stagger up and Tanahashi hits two flying forearms to get Fale down. He gets a senton on the big guy and goes for the slingblade but Fale shoots him over the rope. He skins the cat but gets attacked by Tonga, only to kick Tonga off. He rolls up and sends Fale over the top rope. Tanahashi then gets back in and goes for the top rope body splash on the big guy on the floor! Back from the break as Tanahashi rolls back into the ring. Fale lumbers up onto the apron. He steps in and Tanahashi gets a dragon screw leg whip. He then goes for the cloverleaf but Fale just muscles out of that. Fale gets the running splash in the corner and then hits the big splash but Tanahashi kicks out. Fale gets the chokehold but Tanahashi gets an uppercut and then goes for a sunset flip. Fale just drops on him but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin. Fale gets up and goes for the bad luck fall but Tanahashi squirms out and hits a massive punch to the face. Tanahashi gets some elbows in to stagger the big guy. Fale counters with the Vader strike. Tanahashi goes to the ropes, but Fale catches him with a Samoan drop. Tanahashi goes for the ropes again but Fale spears him in the worst spear I've seen. Fale picks him up and goes for the razor's edge, but Fale trips over himself and falls over. Not kidding. Tanahashi hits the slingblade but for only two. Tanahashi goes for the high fly flow, but Fale catches him and hits the grenade, but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin. Fale climbs up to the top but Tanahashi jumps up and hits a superplex! Tanahashi finally slams Fale down and gets the high fly flow to score the pinfall. Tanahashi speaks to the crowd challenging Naito  Naito takes his time strolling  out. he sits on the ramp as Tanahashi says Naito doesn't have a choice. fight him. Naito actually gets up and walks to the ring. He then turns right around and walks back up to the entrance. Hiroshi says he will defend the shot until he actually gets to the Tokyo dome. We get some words from Naito. He says the company is centered around Tanahashi. He accepts but doesn't trust NJPW to actually give him the shot when he wins. He wants a popularity poll after he wins to see who is the star. He then announces that he is going to unveil a Spanish speaking tag partner soon. Tanahashi says he wasn't expecting this attitude from Naito. In the studio, he talks about how he is kinda small for a heavyweight. He says big strong guys like Fale are essential in Japan. I tend to disagree. He then says he wanted to get on Naito's nerves. He says Naito is over 30 and hasn't been the champ yet so the pressure is on. Well, the first match was good anyway. Both teams really brought a great match to this show and it as exciting! The "main event" was a typical Fale match of him lumbering around aimlessly getting in a basic move and having someone beat him. Having a big monster like him doesn't work if everyone has already beaten him, some more than once. Like I said, he only get's matches like this to put over guys like Tanahashi or Nakamura and no one really expected him to win, Ao it was a decent show for the tag match only. Next week is THREE brand new shows. It's going to be a long night for me! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Epic Fale!
Hello again and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we got back to Kobe World Hall and our second look at the Destruction of Kobe event from September 27, 2015. Since...

First Impressions: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc

Jul 27 // Salvador GRodiles
With hope and despair being two things that go hand in hand, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope Peak’s High School – Despair Arc’s first two episodes work well in making the audience feel relieved after witnessing the intense moments that happened earlier in the week. Hell, the whole thing played out like an over-the-top high school comedy series, as the Ultimate Housekeeper Chisa Yukizome goes out of her way to make sure that the main cast of Danganronpa 2 (except Hajime) uses their school time to create great memories. A majority of the great laughs came from the gang’s exaggerated and wacky personalities, a feature that made them very fun to follow during Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. With the animation being completely original, this lead to some a priceless segments throughout the series, such as Gundham the Ultimate Breeder appearing on top of a bunch of ruins while performing an incantation that might summon a powerful demon, or Nekomaru the Ultimate Team Manager’s deadly farts that are on par with One Punch Man’s Saitama’s punch. So far, it lives up to the game's comedic aspects that occur when no one is getting murdered. When you compare the effort put into the show's crazy scenes alongside Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc’s stuff, it’s possible that a majority of the manpower was placed into Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc; however, these differences are likely a matter of the latter starting off as a comedy than budget management, so there’s a chance that the folks at Lerche are making sure that both sagas have their own distinct style. Overall, this move benefits the series since the audience is getting their taste of hope and despair during the same week. Of course, the best moment from this format is going to be when the tones of the show's two arcs decide to trade places. Even though Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc made sure that Yukizome and the Danganronpa 2 gang’s best quirks were at their highest, the show still reminds us of the later events that’ll set the pieces for the first major tragedy to occur. The interesting part about it is getting to learn about Hajime’s predicament that made him decide to be part of the Ultimate Hope project. In Danganronpa 2 and the light novel known as Danganronpa Zero, I felt that the Hope’s Peak High School Board forced Hajime into this project against his own will. The idea that his desire to remain at Hope’s Peak played a role in being part of the experiment adds a new layer to his character. He saw this opportunity as a hope to overcome the despair of not being able to continue his studies as a reserve course student, yet this choice ruined his future (and the world’s state) until he found his new path at the end of Danganronpa 2. Seeing that the original mastermind is definitely plotting her actions from behind the scenes, the subtle elements of this segment act as the main aspect that goes against the show's current positive vibe. While we’re on the topic of things that’ll lead to absolute despair, the fact that Chiaki was an actual person is one of the most surprising things to come out of Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc. This opens up to a lot of questions in regards to the events in the present; however, there’s still a chance that she might not survive, so this possibility could be thrown out the window. I guess the important question is whether or not something happens to her that results in Yukizome's students becoming the original mastermind's loyal followers. Since both Danganronpa 3 Arcs have a few references to each other, Chiaki’s role as the Ultimate Gamer has the potential to lead to some juicy aspects if she’s a Remnant of Despair that’s still out there in the present. Either way, her inclusion in the series was a nice addition to the “Despair Arc’s” humor, as her passion for games brought everyone together in a fun way. However, once we get past the show's silly segments, I'm certain that her role is likely going to have a large impact on the story later on. Despite the original Danganronpa anime failing to do justice to its source material, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was able to overcome this burden and show its audience that it has the potential to become a worthy successor to the previous Danganronpa installments. Since the show’s “Future Arc” accomplished this as well, this proves that a studio that threw a foul ball in the past can step up their game when you have people who care about the series managing the project. If the gang can keep up this up this great record, then they’ll make their audience smile with their complete comic book that’ll present the last piece of evidence that's required to bring Danganronpa’s Hope’s Peak High School story to a triumphant close. In other words, the future is going to be a hopeful one after all. [Fall into despair with Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair Arc at FUNimation.]
Danganronpa 3 photo
This is not going to end well
Sometimes in life, the greatest things are those that occur out of an unexpected turn of events. These opportunities can give many people the chance to do things that they normally couldn’t do. In my case, Spike Chunsof...

Strong Style: More Destruction!

Jul 23 // Soul Tsukino
We start off the show with some words from Mr. Tranquilo himself, Tetsuya Naito IWGP Intercontinental Title: Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Right off the bat the Japanese producers of the show really screw around. This was actually THE main event of this show, it's event announced as such by the ring announcer. They put this match on first in what appears to be two weeks of coverage. Wonder if New Japan is bitter about Nakamura leaving?Anyway, this match is the fourth that these two have had. Goto has won the last two, where he won the belt and then successfully defended it. Bell rings and they stare each other down. Knuckle lock to start as they muscle each other back and forth. Nakamura gets the armlock but it is reversed. Nakamura rolls through it but Goto holds on. Nakamura tries to counter again but Goto brings him down. Nakamura gets the head scissors, Goto slips out, and they are back up.. Goto with a side headlock and they go into the ropes. Nakamura tries his face/belly rub thing and Goto nails him for it. I like Nakamura but always love it when someone nails him for that. They exchange some strikes before Goto runs over Nakamura with a shoulder block. Nakamura gets up but Goto runs over him with a clothesline to send him out of the ring. We are back after a commercial as Goto goes after the fallen Shinsuke on the floor. Goto lands a kick before picking Nakamura up and draping him on the barrier. He locks in a strangle hold on Nakamura around the barrier briefly before snapping Shinsuke's head back. He picks Nakamura up and tries to whip him into the barrier but Shinsuke reverses it. Nakamura sends him into the barrier again and then goes to try for a third time but Goto shoves him into the barrier.  Goto sends him into the barrier again and gets in the ring. Nakamura stumbles up to the apron and Goto reaches out to grab him and gets a knee to the head. Shinsuke jumps to the apron and nails a knee to Goto's head and then gets the drop guillotine kneedrop on the apron. We skip ahead as both guys are in the ring with Goto down in the corner. Nakamura tries for the running knee but Goto rolls out of the way. Goto charges in but he is met with an elbow. Nakamura scoops up Goto and lays him on the top turnbuckle. He gets a running knee to Goto's gut and catches Goto off the ropes to land a lung blower. Shinsuke lands a reverse powerslam and then goes for the booma ye, but Goto slides out of the way. Nakamura tries to throw a clothesline, but Goto blocks it before going into an armbreaker. Goto really cranks on the arm now and Shinsuke makes it to the ropes with his long legs. Goto up lands a kick right to the bad arm. He gets a wristlock on and snaps the arm down. He gets an Olympic slam on Nakamura but the count is only two. Goto lands a kick to the chest and then kicks him again in the arm! Goto goes for another but Nakamura kicks the back of the knee and lands a knee strike to the back of the head. We skip ahead again. Nakamura lands some kicks before a kick to the back of the head and a booma ye but doesn't get the pin. Nakamura sets him up on the top turnbuckle.  Nakamura tries to get Goto on his shoulders but Goto is fighting it. They start exchanging strikes back and forth before Goto hits a headbutt. Goto then goes over the top and hits a sunset flip slam from the buckle, but doesn't get the pin. Back from commercial with both guys are down and not moving. They pull each other up. Goto goes for the charge and Nakamura goes to the middle rope. He jumps right into Goto's arms and a ushigoroshi. Count only gets two. Goto picks Nakamura up on the ropes and goes up. He gets the avalanche ushigoroshi but Nakamura kicks out! He goes for a brainbuster but Nakamura counters with a knee. Goto drills a headbutt. Nakamura replies with strikes to the face. Goto nails another headbutt. He goes for a clothesline but Nakamura rolls with it and turns it into an armbreaker. Goto slips out and gets an armbreaker but Nakamura is holding on his grip to keep the hold from working. Goto replies with some leg strikes into the face. Nakamura tries to get out and rolls out and nails him with a shin strike to the face! Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Goto catches it. He tries to catch Nakamura but Shinsuke gives him a kick and then hits the booma ye for the pinfall. We have a new champion! Nakamura is presented with the belt as Goto is carried from the ring. Everyone looks to the entrance way as Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows come out. Anderson gets in the ring and tells Nakamura he beat both Nakamura and Goto in the G1 and he wants the IC belt. Nakamura takes the mic and accepts. Backstage Nakamura says the next dice has been cast, but he will be wearing the belt in the end. We come back with some studio words from Naito.  He is wanting to make up for losing to Shibata and Shibata saying he wanted to beat up the brat. We get footage of a six-man tag match not shown on this show of them antagonizing each other at the last show. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito Since Naito's gone all tranquilo on everyone, I'm surprised he doesn't have a beef with the rest of the roster. You've heard the saying "he who hesitates is lost"? In this match, it just might be "He who hesitates in tranquilo gets choked the hell out". Naito comes out first taking his time. They cut the crap out of the last match, but we get this is full.  JR and Josh go on and on here. Shibata finally comes out in his usual way of no frill and no shits given to whether the other guy lives of dies. We come back from commercial. It has been more than 10 minutes since the last match ended, yup. Time management is a bit of an issue here. Shibata demands he get in the ring and fight and Naito takes time. As Naito is dicking around, Shibata runs right up and kicks him off the apron into the floor. He goes out to choke a bitch but Naito pops up and nails him with a kick to Shibata's head. Naito hits a club to the back of the head and tosses him into the barrier. Naito gets in the ring and lands a sliding dropkick to send Shibata down. He leaves the ring and unhooks the metal gate before tossing Shibata into ringside. Naito lands more hits before tossing Shibata in the ring and lands more kicks to the back. He gets Shibata in the corner and lands a bunch of punches and kicks. He tosses the ref aside and lands a running dropkick. He picks Shibata up and lands a neckbreaker. Shibata goes all murder, death, kill mode and pops right up. He tosses Naito into the corner striking him a few times. Naito gets up and drives Shibata in the corner and follows him in, landing on the apron. Shibata grabs Naito and puts a stranglehold on him in the ropes. He brings him inside in the corner where he facewashes Naito a few times before Naito rolls outside. Shibata follows him out and chucks him into the barrier. He then does this all the way around the ring before landing a kick right to Naito's face. He tosses Naito back in the ring and strikes with an elbow before tieing him up in an abdominal stretch. Shibata lets him out and then kicks him. Naito crawls to the corner where Shibata hits that awesome hanging dropkick. We come back from break with Shibata getting a suplex and a two count. Naito spits on Shibata and gets a bunch of forearm strikes to the head for that. Naito lands an enziguri and a suplex before Shibata runs him over with a clothesline. They fight up, striking each other with forearms. They start going to town on each other before Shibata gets an uppercut. He goes for the enziguri but misses, but he gets Naito in a submission lock anyway. He goes for the rear choke, but Naito gets to the ropes. Shibata kicks Naito right in the throat and then some short kicks as Naito is down. He locks Naito into the rear choke again but Naito grabs the ref and shoves him down in the corner. He throws his leg back and hits the low blow, breaking the hold. Naito sees the ref is still down and gets in another low blow before hitting Destino and scoring the pinfall. After the bell, Shibata rolls to the floor in pain. Naito starts attacking a young boy and chases away the ref before he leaves. He walks up the ramp and then starts attacking the camera guy before Shibata comes flying up the aisle. They chase each other backstage. Backstage Naito asks who the winner was.  He says he learned a tiny bit from Shibata as Shibata brought the fight, but he still won. Someone asks him about Tanahashi wanting to fight him with the title shot on the line. Naito says if he wants to fight, come challenge him. In the studio, Naito says that everyone should thank him for giving Shibata the chance to have a good match. Yeah, a bad editing job on the part of the Japanese producers. The main event is put on first and is cut nearly in half. That match actually went on for 36 minutes, but here they showed on 20. What was shown was good, though. The other match was also a good one and it's fun to watch Naito get his ass kicked now. Join us next week as Tanahashi puts his title shot on the line against... *sigh* Bad Luck Fale...damn. Please join us anyway.
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
This time it's Kobe's turn
Hello again and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we look at the top matches from the Destruction of Kobe show, taking place on September 27, 2015. This takes place four days after the matches we saw last week, and while last week's show was... meh, this week is sure to deliver with two big matches from the show. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: never say NEVER!

Jul 16 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Togi Makabe wearing a stylish hat and a chain... like an actual dog chain. IWGP Tag titles: Bullet Club vs. TenKoji This match stems from an 8 man elimination match we didn't get to see. I believe Kojima eliminated Karl Anderson. Guess that equates to a title shot. Bell rings with Tenzan and Gallows. Stalemate on the lock up. Doc pushes him into the corner and Doc throws some body shots before hitting an uppercut. Tenzan isnt impressed and he comes out with a charge and they smack like two bulls. They go again for the shoulder and it's a stalemate. Gallows finally wins the battle with a shouldblock but as Doc picks him up, Tenzan nails a headbut to the gut and then lays in with some of his famous Mongolian chops. He gets Doc back in the coner and lays into him with more chops and a headbutt before getting him over in a suplex. Both guys get up and Tenzan goes for a charge but Gallows gets a boot to the face. Gallows then go for a charge but Tenzan nails him with a rolling kick. Tenzan goes for an awkward cover but transitions right into an anaconda vice and sinks it in. Karl Anderson has to jump in and save his partner. Tenzan gets up and headbutts Anderson right in the gut sending him out of the ring. He heads to the top rope but. Karl jumps up and grabs his leg letting Gallows kick him in the face. Tenzan falls to the mat with a splat. Gallows reaches over and gets the tag so Anderson is in legally now. he starts mocking him by hitting him with Mongolian chops. He bonces off the ropes only to get hit with a mountain bomb. Kojima gets tagged in as Karl gets up. Kojima gets him in the corner and goes for his rapid fire chops as Karl screams in pain. He whips Anderson into the opposite corner and nails him with a clothesline. He jmps up top and lands an elbow to Anderson, but it only gets 2. He tries for a leg lariat but misses. Karl and Koji go for a clothesline duel and Karl gets the better. Doc comes in and they go for the magic killer but Tenzan comes in and we have a fight! Gallows and Tenzan fight out of the ring while Anderson goes for the gun stun. Kojima counters it and goes for his Kojicutter but Anderson counters. Tenzan comes back in and they land the TenKoji cutter but Doc comes back in to break up.  He  is set up for the TenKoji cutter but nails Kojima with a booth and then hits his old 12 steps finisher on Tenzan. He goes after Kojima but a solid clothesline drops Gallows to the mat. Kojima gets a brainbuster on Karl but Karl kicks out the pin. Kojima lines him up for a big clothesline, but Anderson kicks the arm to coubnter. Kojima spins around and nails him with the other arm! He ges for another clothesline but Anderson catches him and gets the gun stun. Tenzan comes in and he gets dropped as well. Gallows enters and they ht the magic killer on kojima to get the three count and retain the belts. Backstage they brag about beating Tenkoji. Doc Gallows mentions that the only things they like are fighting and screwing. Even Anderson looks at him funny after that. Dude, you have a wife! IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega There is history here. Kushida and Omega have traded the title back and forth, with many of those matches being covered on this show. It also is a sign that the Jr.s division in New Japan is a little thin. Besides these two you had Tageuchi who isn't taken very seriously, Vets like Tiger Mask and Liger, Jr.'s Tag wrestlers like the Bucks, Roppongi Vice, and RedDRagon, or guys brought in from ROH. Omega comes out first and you automatically know something is up because the Bullet Club is with him. Meanwhile a bunch of the Jr heavyweights come out to support Kushida. Matt Sydel is sitting at the commentary table because he gets the next shot evidently. Bell rings and Omega goes for a handshake. and surprisingly it's a clean one! Kushida gets a waistlock that goes into an armbar. They go down for a headlock that turns into a riding session on The Cleaner. Back into the headlock They go the ropes and break clean. Lock up again into a headlock. Shoot off to the ropes where Kushida gets some good leapfrogs before catching Omega in armdrags into an armbar. They get up and Omega grabs the hair and pulls Kushida back into the ropes, only to break and offer another headshake. Kushida goes for it again and Omega spits on him! He gets fired up and starts wailing away on Omega with punches. Bad idea Kenny on that one. Kushida fire of a back hand spring elbow that sends Omega outside the ring. Kushida goes for a dive but Kenny moves and Kushida flips onto the apron. He goes for a diving headscissors but Omega catches him. Kushida tries to escape but oega gets him into a fireman's carry and dropps him in a roll before spiring up onto the barrier where Doc Gallows hands him a trash can and he does the backflip onto Ksuhida with the trashcan. Right in front of the referee. Gallows somehow gets a hold of Alex Shelley and Kushida both but Omega comes over the rope in a cannonball. The Time Splitters both move and Gallows takes the shot. As Omega crawls into the ring, Kushida hits his running dropkick. Kushida hits the moonsault and goes right into the hoverboard lock. Omega squirms and screams but won't quit. Kushida switches to the armbar but Kenny keeps his hands locked together. Kushida really tries to crank back, but Kenny rolls right through it and back up to a standing position where he nails a doctor bomb for a two count. Gallows and Alex Shelly get involved and Kushida gets an armlock but goes for a rebound and Omega lands a hard knee to the face. He goes for one winged angel but Kushida squirms out. Kushida tries for the hoverboard lock but Karl Anderson jumps in and nails the gun stun. Omega hits the one winged angel and wins back the title! Omega grabs the mic and says he is going to clean Sydel up. Backstage Kushida says that Omega should be ashamed of himself. Togi in the studio now. He views this as a bit of a revenge match, since when they met in the G1, he was feeling beat up. He thinks Kota is soft on the outside but is very stoic in his matches. He didn't have respect for Ibushi coming from DDT, but only after did he fight him did he have any respect for him. NEVER Openweight Title: Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi This match stems from the G1 tournament when Ibushi scored a win over Makabe in a match best described as a "clash of styles". Togi was carrying an injury at that time (big surprise) let's see if he has healed any and can put on a better effort. Kota comes out first. Togi comes out looking like he is going to kill a bitch. We get a shot of Kota's face, and he looks about to piss himself. "Togi Makabe looks like someone set his face on fire and tried to put it out with a rake."- JR. We come back from break as the bell rings. Kota starts throwing punches! Togi shuts that down. He starts throwing elbows but Kota comes back with a dropkick and karate kicks. Togi catches one but Kota just jumps on him and throwing punches. They go outside where Togi tosses him into the barrier a few times before Togi gets back in the ring.  Kota rolls back in and Togi starts right in bashing him on the head. He drags Kota into the corner and slugs Ibushi more and more in the body and on the head. Kota tries to come back with some weak chops but Togi drops him again. Togi gets a snapmare into a chinlock but Kota gets to the ropes after a struggle. Togi gets a suplex but a pinfall only gets two. Togi gets in a half boston crab, a move I've not seen him use to often. Ibushi gets the break by again getting to the ropes. Kota isn't getting up as Togi poses a bit. Straight shot to the face, and another one. He tries to whip Kota in the ropes but Kota holds the rope. Kota throws a sweet kick and knocks Togi down. Makabe struggles back up and they start trading elbows. Togi tries for a charge but runs into a kick in the gut. Kota goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Kota tries for something but Togi gets a sweet powerslam. He picks Ibushi up and gets his powerbomb. Makabe doesn't go for the pin though as he picks Kota up! He lands a clothesline in the corner. He goes up the ropes to pound on Kota, but Kota slides out and hits the bicycle kick. Kota goes up and nails Togi a few times before hitting a frankensteiner from the top turnbuckle. Both guys struggle up. Togi goes for a waistlock but doesn't get anywhere. Togi throws a clothesline but Kota ducks it. They nail each other with clotheslines and flatten each other to the mat. We are back from the break. Togi is outside the ring and Kota goes after him. Kota goes to the barrier again and then AGAIN. Maybe outside the ring is not a good place for you Kota. Togi goes outside the barrier and grabs a TABLE. Those damn Japanese tables! He tries a powerbomb but Ibushi flips out of it and nails a kick to the head. Kota leaps up and gets a hurencanrana and sends Togi down. Kota sets up the table and puts Togi on it He heads up top and hits a DOUBLE STOMP on Togi's gut! Table doesn't break. Both guys and crawling back in the ring and Togi gets in at 18. Kota hits some palm strikes and then a stiff kick to the neck. Kota hits a powerbomb but only gets 2. Kota keeps going for the turnbuckle but Togi grabs the legs. Kota goes to the top buckle but Togi hits him. Togi goes for the spider suplex but Ibushi blocks it. Togi bashes Kota's head on the buckle a few times and goes for it, but Kota slips right over. He grabs Togi in a waistlock and gets a suplex, but pin only gets two. Kota climbs up and goes for a phoenix splash but misses! Togi tries for a pin but only gets two. Kota gets up and throws some elbows but Togi tells him to bring it. Togi gets up from a few hits but Kota hits the clothesline. They have a stand off now as they trade clotheslines before just throwing rapid fists at each other. They trade chops to the chest before Togi runs him over with a lariat. Togi goes for the pin but only gets two. Togi throws him into the corner and hits a clothesline to the back of the head. He sets him up for the spider suplex Kota blocks it a few times before Togi hits the full nelseon suplex right on Kota's head before hitting the king kong kneedrop and scoring the win to retain his title. As he celebrates Tomohiro Ishii comes it to the ring and have a staredown. Ishii leaves the ring and Togi gets the mic. He accepts the challenge. Backstage Ishii says he has never won against Togi and he wants to change that. Togi says that Ishii has excellent skills but he will win. Studio words have Togi saying that Kota is a talented wrestler and despite the weight difference, He used the full nelson suplex because after all that happened, he had to. The NEVER title guys don't doge and that is why it is so popular. I'll be honest, not one of the best shows. The Tag Title match was decent for what it was. I can't fault it. The Jr. match was good until you saw the Bullet club running interference and the ref just magically disapear. Omega can do better than this. The Main event was the exact same train wreck of styles that the first match was, but instead Togi more or less steamrolled over Ibushi. Togi works better with guys like Ishii, Tenzan, and Shibata. If you want an awesome exampls of what Kota can do, look up his match this passed week again Sean Maluta from the Cruiserweight Classic. But here, this show is a pass. See you next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Two belts on the line
Hello again! After a break last week, welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  With the G1 Climax Tournament finished and Tanahashi standing tall with the trophy and the Title...

Final Impressions: Space Patrol Luluco

Jul 14 // Salvador GRodiles
Perhaps the thing that made the show’s seasonal format work was Luluco’s development as a person who’s in love for the first time, as it remained a recurring thing in each episode. Hell, the payoff from this lead to a ridiculously satisfying final battle that’s on par with Imaishi’s other works, such as Gurren Lagann and KILL la KILL. Honestly, it’s impressive that the team were able to capture this sort of magic in a seven-minute episode. As random and unexpected as Luluco was, the whole thing gave off a feeling that its format was intentional from the very beginning. If there was one thing that would lead to this show being similar to FLCL, it’s that both shows found a way to link these elements together; thus creating a glorious build up when the viewers reach the end of the tunnel. Considering that love can cause many people to feel strange early on, the high-octane moments were likely used to convey the unpredictable nature of the obstacles that can obstruct the feeling of romance. Aside from the show being a ridiculous love story hiding under a whacky space police show, Luluco’s other strengths was in how the main character’s heart flourished throughout the series. Luluco’s brief moments with Nova represented the nourishing phase of her romance and the show’s final seasons showed us her resolve to stick with her true feelings— even if it would drive her to tears. Considering that the program accomplished a ton of things during its short timeframe, it’s impressive that the TRIGGER veterans were able to throw the audience into an emotional state towards the end. While Luluco was placed in an unfortunate scenario against the Blackholian’s leader, her will to face her last opponent on while dealing with her inevitable loss made way for a great moment that gave off a feeling that was similar Simon’s resolve in Gurren Lagann’s final battle. This showed that Imaishi is capable of working well with a series that's made up of shorts, which makes me hope that he can take advantage of this format in any future TRIGGER projects where he wants to go all out. Compare to most of the previous TRIGGER shorts, it was a nice treat to see that the show features the most animation out their previous smaller titles. Other than the crazy perspectives and angles featured in the show’s actions scenes, the idea of having Luluco crossover with the other original TRIGGER projects was an idea that complemented the series’ overall style since it allowed for the gang to attempt to throw our main heroine off her game, such as the priceless scene when Sucy thought that her poison mushrooms would end Luluco's life. One great payoff from this direction was how the show ended up making way for the origin story of the company’s mascot; thus making Luluco the series that links all of the studio’s works together. Going back to TRIGGER’s gutsy move of ending the show during the beginning of its fifth season, the wonderful thing about this action is that they gave us a bit of hope to go off of towards the end. Not only do we get a moment that’s likely a reference to the Super Sentai franchise’s Red Ranger hand-off scenes, we’re given a beacon of hope that might lead to Luluco earning her true happy ending. It’s the combination of these two feelings that leave us really satisfied with the way how Space Patrol Luluco turned out. Of course, the idea of seeing the supporting cast doing better showed that their decision to support Luluco rewarded everyone nicely. I may have been a bit concerned about the length of Luluco’s episodes in the beginning, but Imaishi and the gang showed me their true colors of justice, as they used their short timeframe to give us one hell of a love story that was filled with tons of unexpected moments. Each scene made showed that the team was having a blast as they likely threw logic out of the window while they placed their heart and soul into the piece. If TRIGGER’s veterans continue to maintain this amazing routine like they did with Luluco, then there’s a chance that the Little Witch Academia TV series will end up making Trigger-chan proud. [Give Space Patrol Luluco a big high five at Crunchyroll]
Space Patrol Luluco photo
Love is Justice!
Not many shows have the guts to end during the beginning of a new season. One possible reason is that it would confuse the masses if the title were to end after making a comeback. Despite this move being very risky, this is w...

JapanaTour: A boat ride around Tokyo Bay

Jul 08 // Lindo Korchi
Anyways, let's continue on:   If you're exploring Asakusa (when you're exploring Asakusa, I should say), you'll notice a ship-like torpedo, equipped with panoramic windows, maneuvering along Sumida River -- it is called a water bus. And if you're not familiar with the river, it's the one that separates Sensoji temple and Tokyo Skytree from one another. Keep that in mind.     You can take the water bus from Asakusa to Ryogoku (which is famous for its sumo stadium and chanko restaurants) or from Asakusa to Odaiba (the man-made island in Tokyo; also the headquarters for Fuji TV & the home to Tokyo Big Sight). Prices vary, but an average range is between 300 JPY to 1,600 JPY.   One of the highlights regarding the boat rides is that you have options. While the Asakusa to Odaiba route is quite popular, you can further explore the bay, along with other areas in Japan, by going to different piers. A few include Tsukiji, Yokohama, Harumi, Aomi, Toyosu, Ariake, and furthermore.   Another option worth exploring is by taking a ferry that crosses the Tokyo Bay Aqua-line bridge between Kawasaki and Kisarazu – or simply put, two different cities in entirely separate prefectures. The Tokyo-Wan Ferry crosses the bay between Kurihama (in Kanagawa) and Kanaya (in Chiba). I know, a lot of Japanese cities that you may have never heard of – but that's the point, look at how much you can explore. You'll have a chance to explore Japanese cities that most travelers don't venture out to, so keep that in mind.     If you're interested in experiencing the city of Tokyo in a unique way, while also taking in the scenery without the intrusion of cars, pedestrians, bikes, or buildings in your path, then this is something you may want to consider. If you’re into film and have a go-pro or similar recording device, you can create a time-lapse video of Tokyo by Boat. And that's a memory you won't forget. Of course, be sure to bring in an extra battery pack and memory card if you intend to do such.   If you've explored Tokyo by Boat, what stood out to you most and would you recommend it to others? [Image credits courtesy MyTokyoGuide, Japan Times, Andrusm]
JapanaTour photo
An Extra Adventure
As your plane arrives at Narita airport, your heart begins to race; after all, you'll be walking the streets of Tokyo, hanging out in Shibuya, and getting lost in the labyrinth known as Shinjuku station. However, there's some...

Japanator's Summer 2016 Anime Preview Guide!

Jul 04 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]35116:5717:0[/embed] Berserk Studio: Gemba, Millepensee (Teekyuu, Wake Up, Girls!) Broadcast Date:  July 1, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) An easy candidate for the most effin' metal anime of all time, Berserk has been adapted quite often. The new twist for this latest, TV series-sized attempt is that this will be the first time an animated adaptation has gone beyond the "Golden Age" arc. In all honesty, I couldn't tell you what all that actually means, as I've never seen or read Berserk. Does admitting that mean I have to hand in my otaku membership card? That dude sure does have a big sword, though. The series is airing now, and...well, there'll be more to say about it in our impressions.   [embed]35116:5718:0[/embed] Mob Psycho 100 Studio: BONES (My Hero Academia, Bungo Stray Dogs) Broadcast Date: July 12, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) "From the guy that writes One Punch Man" is probably one of the more effective marketing lines you could ask for these days, but in truth, Mob Psycho 100 seems to be a rather different beast than the saga of Saitama. Shigeo Kageyama (nicknamed "Mob" after the Japanese term for movie extras) is a completely unremarkable high school student, bar the fact that he's got prodigious psychic superpowers. Having superpowers can be a real hassle, though, so he keeps his emotions suppressed to force them into check.  Unfortunately, life usually happens in opposition to well-meaning plans, and things quickly threaten to produce emotional reaction in Mob, leading to the "100" in the title. For when his pent-up feelings reach the breaking point, bad stuff's going to happen. Between the sound of things and the deliberately laid-back aesthetic, Mob Psycho 100 seems to be aiming more a more psychological take on superpowers and action show tropes rather than the "sardonic-but-badass" angle One Punch Man typically explores. I'll be giving Mob Psycho 100 a look once it airs.   [embed]35116:5719:0[/embed] Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy (Side: Future and Side: Despair) Studio: Lerche (School Live!, Monster Musume) Broadcast Date: July 11, 2016 (Future) and July 14, 2016 (Despair) Rejoice, players of Danganronpa, your questions will be answered! Danganronpa 3 arrives not in the form of a game (though an actual new Danganronpa title is in development), but as two simultaneously-broadcast anime series. The first, Side: Future, effectively acts as coda of sorts for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, recounting the adventures of star Makoto Naegi and his fellow Hope's Peak survivors as they form the Future Foundation, and framed as a trial for Makoto himself in the wake of the events of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.  Side: Despair, on the other hand, promises the secret history of the cast members of Danganronpa 2, and what happened to them before they were thrown into the game. The reason this matters functions as a major spoiler, and both shows seem to presume a familiarity with the games. Both I and fellow Japanator editor Salvador G-Rodiles are big fans of the games. I'll be checking out Future once it hits, and Sal will look at Despair. If you want to catch up, both games are available on PS Vita and on Steam.   [embed]35116:5721:0[/embed] Orange Studio: Telecom Animation Film (Moyashimon, Phantasy Star Online 2) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Time loop anime seem to be the new "superpowered highschoolers" anime in terms of trendiness right now, and Orange is exactly one of those. Like the leads of Steins;Gate, Re:Zero, and Erased, Naho Takamiya is given the chance to change her future, thanks to a letter written by herself, ten years from now, and sent to herself in the present. And it seems like many of future-Naho's regrets are tied to transfer student and love interest Kakeru Naruse. It's cool to see the sci-fi twists usually used on mystery and suspense fantasies applied to the more romantic stylings of shojou manga, and Orange seems to have a strong reputation in that crowd. I'm hoping to see a bit more of the show's high-concept sci-fi twist manifest itself among the feels and personal relationships. [embed]35116:5723:0[/embed] 91 Days Studio: Shuka (Durarara!! x2) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Who would've thought that a studio whose staffers helped make shows like Durarara!! and Baccano! would go on to make a new show about the weird underground in a bustling, thriving city? I'm being facetious, but there's definitely merit in sticking with what you know. Following the latest seasons of Durarara!! x2, Shuka take on a setting that's new...-ish: Prohibition-era America. In the fictional city of Lorel, a young orphan named Avilo joins up with the local mafia outfit. The twist is that Avilo lost his family years prior in an attack by the same crime ring, so the newly made man is in it for revenge.  With the screenwriter of Joker Game, last season's bit of period fiction, and plenty of experience making multifaceted plots and juggling an ensemble cast, 91 Days looks like it might be a gritty winner.   [embed]35116:5724:0[/embed] ReLife Studio: TMS Entertainment (Actually, I Am..., Zetman) Broadcast Date: July 1, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Ever wish you could go back in time and get a redo for your childhood mistakes? Perhaps relive your high school life knowing what you know now as a weathered adult? Lots of anime shows sure seem to think that's what we're after, but not all are as bald-faced about it as ReLife, where Arata Kaizaki, a beaten-down twenty-something stuck in a career and lifestyle rut gets the opportunity to take a magic pill that ages him down to a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old, to repeat a year of high school and refresh his life. It's a tempting premise mainly for the fact that Arata seems like a relatable sort of lead (at least in the mind of this beaten-down thirty-something), and some of the other twists appear to plant the seed for drama to come. I'm just hoping they don't mine the slightly creepy "adult man hanging out with underage kids" angle too hard.   [embed]35116:5727:0[/embed] Taboo Tattoo Studio: J.C. Staff (Selector Infected Wixoss, Flying Witch) Broadcast Date: July 5, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Taboo Tattoo is about Japanese high school students who have special powers and a penchant for getting into fights with each other.  I am, of course, being hideously reductive, but suffice it to say that it's definitely one of those types of shows (the tattoo motif is particularly reminiscent of last season's Big Order), and while it seems unlikely to change peoples' minds, judgment will have to wait until we see more of it in action. For what it's worth, I'm digging the seeming emphasis on martial arts as opposed to "my power is a gnarly weapon". This might make for some cool action sequences.  There's also the backdrop, which casts the Tattoo powers themselves as developments in an ongoing arms race between America and the fictional nation of Selinistan. This might make for a good world-building opportunity to background the rest of the action, so there's hope for this one, at least.   [embed]35116:5729:0[/embed] Alderamin On The Sky  Studio: Madhouse (One Punch Man, My Love STORY!!) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) "Alderamin" sounds like the name of a sleeping pill, which makes sense, because the premise sounds like it could be something of a snoozer. Two nations, Katjvarna and Kioka, whose names sound like the noises you make when you're on Alderamin, are at war, and Ikuta, a lackadaisical and passive young recruit who joined the army with no interest in becoming an officer, has become Katjvarna's greatest military commander after a mere few years. The show purports to tell the story of how he got there. That sounds like it could be interesting, and given Madhouse's pedigree, there may be some potential in the visuals and war setting, but otherwise it sounds less like a historical chronicle than another hagiography in the manner of Mahouka. At the very least, I'm hoping this turns out less like that and more like Lord Marksman and Vanadis, a show that was at least enjoyable for its cast, if not for its tedious core principles.    [embed]35116:5730:0[/embed] Qualidea Code Studio: A-1 Pictures (Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, Asterisk War) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) What happens when you lock the authors of light novel sensations Henneko, Date A Live, and My Teen RomCom SNAFU to hash out a multimedia anime project? This thing, apparently, which frankly reads like it could've come from any single one of them. Get this: High-school age kids have superpowers and are now using them to defend the Earth from an unknown threat. Actually, the threat is aliens, which are literally called "UNKNOWN".  Great.    [embed]35116:5728:0[/embed] Sweetness and Lightning Studio: TMS Entertainment (Yowapeda, Bakuon!!) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) If you've been jonesing for another does of anime parenting to gush over, this season's successor to the likes of Bunny Drop, Barakamon, and the Yotsuba&! anime you'll never ever get looks to be Sweetness and Lightning.  That said, the show does seem to distinguish itself in that the father-daughter relationship here is a literal father-daughter one. No weird non-blood connections to pander to incest fetishists with (Lookin' at you, ending of Bunny Drop!).  It even starts off on a tearjerker, with the father, Kouhei, being recently widowed and struggling to raise his adorable kid Tsumugi without any domestic skills. Enter one of his students, Kotori, who's from a broken home and is looking for companionship, to teach her teacher in the art of domesticity. Sounds heartwarming enough to me, though given the dynamics at work there's some risk of Sweetness and Lightning dodging the incest trap and instead falling into the pothole of winter-spring romance.    [embed]35116:5731:0[/embed] Rewrite Studio: 8bit (The Fruit of Grisaia, Infinite Stratos) Broadcast Date: July 2, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) If you had the power to "rewrite" yourself, i.e. change your own story to suit your needs or whims (think "Editing your character sheet in D&D to give yourself all the best stats"), what would you do? The answer, if Rewrite has its way, is "have adventures and romance with saucer-eyed waifs and amnesiacs".  Indeed, 8bit and the team behind The Fruit of Grisaia are tackling the biggest Key visual novel adaptation since Little Busters!. I've never been a big fan of Key or Jun Maeda, but Rewrite sounds like it might be a different sort of beast, seeing as it was written not by Maeda but by Romeo Tanaka, writer of the superb Humanity Has Declined. I'm not sure if that will be enough to hook me into watching it, but it should be a bit different from the usual Key fodder.   [embed]35116:5732:0[/embed] The Morose Mononokean Studio: Pierrot (Naruto, Level E) Broadcast Date: July 3, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) You know what's big in Japan right now? Yokai. The diverse creatures of Japanese folklore have gone mainstream with the likes of Yo-kai Watch and other vehicles, and it's well deserved. I'm of the opinion that having culturally rooted monsters makes for more interesting design and interpretation that trying to come up with new designs from scratch (see how weird Pokemon have been looking lately). But this isn't a Yo-kai Watch preview though, it's one for The Morose Mononokean, which aims to take a daily-life angle on the godly and supernatural shenanigans covered by the likes of Hozuki no Reitetsu and Noragami. The titular Mononokean is a tea room that serves as the headquarters for an exorcist and the high schooler he takes under his wing. As it's based on a webcomic, I doubt we're looking at the next Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun or something similarly good, but it'll have done its job if it manages to entertain and educate about Japan's supernatural bestiary.   [embed]35116:5733:0[/embed] Amanchu! Studio: J.C. Staff (Shana, A Certain Magical Index) Broadcast Date: July 8, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Few anime are better known for being utterly chill than Aria. Set in space-Venice, the show followed the peaceful, if uneventful lives of a troupe of cute girl gondoliers. Now the same team and author are bringing things a little closer to home, by setting Amanchu! in the Tokyo of the present day, as a bunch of cute schoolgirls get really into diving underwater. It's basically ABZU, but with more cute girls and anime.   [embed]35116:5734:0[/embed] NEW GAME! Studio: Doga Kobo  (Plastic Memories, Himouto! Umaru-chan!) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 As someone who occasionally writes for Destructoid, I generally know more about game development than I do about anime production. Sadly, I can't say that the previews for NEW GAME! which sounds on paper like Shirobako-but-for-video-games seem all that accurate. But there's still hope, as Shirobako was far cuter and more positive than real-life anime production. Then again, NEW GAME! is aggressive about being cute in a way that I worry might undermine its potential to "tell it like it is". After all, Shirobako was cute and positive, but it also hinged on the kinds of personal relationships and procedural detail that made it so fascinating to watch. Is the crew that gave us Plastic Memories up to that? If they are, we could be sitting on this year's anime of the year. If not...well, it might at least be cute. Sequels, Shorts, and Other Notable Releases: My unfair bias against sports anime and male idol shows continues as I entirely forgot shows like B-Project and Tsukiuta exist. DAYS promises to bring an exotic sport called "Football" to the anime stage, while Battery debuts a sport that must surely be some fictional thing: Baseball. Cheer Danshi! follows around a group of male cheerleaders, which might be unusual had my own high school and university not had their own all-male cheer squads (Blue Eagles the king!). Also, Ouendan exists, so I'm good on that front. On the sequel front, the hilarious but ignored Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! gets a sequel, and signifies it by calling the second season Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE LOVE!. The Seven Deadly Sins is also getting a new season, but may end up ignored if the streaming services lock it down until it's done like last time. After disappointing countless fans looking for the latest from the Code Geass guy, Active Raid shambles into a second offering of frustrating bureaucracy and nonsensical characterization. Barakamon, one of the more adult shows of its season, turns the clock back with a prequel, called Handa-kun. I honestly don't see the point of it, since the whole appeal of Barakamon was in its adult focus, but hey, it's anime after 2008, so high school must somehow be involved, or something. Either that or a raging war between two fictional countries and/or alien invaders. Food Wars, the one Shonen Jump titan you just can't dodge these days, is getting a sequel, and Nick Valdez will be leading the coverage of that. Love Live! hits the reboot button by introducing a gaggle of samefaced girls for Love Live! Sunshine!. Show By Rock! continues in its mission of making catgirls the default for idolatry. Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars is this season's original mecha production, and the fact that I'm giving it the afterthought space speaks to how aggressively generic it is. After duds like Argevollen and others, I'm wondering just what it would take to make non-franchise mecha shows as compelling as they used to be. At least Macross Delta is still running, which would give me the chance to write it up for once. While shows like Taboo Tattoo and Qualidea Code seem constructed to marvel at about how awesome things would be if we had superpowers, Saiki Kusuo no Psi-Nan puts it down for the "mo' powers, mo' problems". Philosophy. The titular character's prodigious abilities are making his daily life miserable, and the director of Cromartie High School is on hand to show everyone just how miserable things can get. I'm definitely down for that. Interestingly, only one overt "boobs anime" made the cut this summer: Masou Gakuen HxH, which doesn't beat around the bush. Its hero literally powers up the fighting girls by getting in close with their chesticles. I imagine a few Hunter x Hunter fans are feeling a bit insulted that this puerile hilarity has taken their beloved acronym while their joy goes on hiatus again. The one sequel I'm angling to watch this season, though, is The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Duststorm Dance. After finally catching up with the show, I already regret not having seen it from the beginning. The animation may have been blah and the quality uneven, but it's as worthy a successor to Legend of the Galactic Heroes as I've found in the last few years. And now this part of the show promises to go to some places of actual consequence. That should do it for our Summer preview. What are you angling to see this season?
Summer 2016 Anime Preview photo
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A happy Monday to you, and a happy July 4th to all our American readers! What better way is there to celebrate American independence than by staying home and watching a buttload of Japanese cartoons? Welcome to Japanator's Su...

Strong Style: Wrapping up with the G1's Climax

Jul 02 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted in the first hour by the time splitter himself, Kushida IWGP Jr. heavyweight Tag Titles: The Young Bucks vs. ReDRagon These teams have faced off millions of times and usually make for fast paced action. The Bucks are part of the Bullet Club and defending champions while RedDragon is representing Ring of Honor. O'Riely and Fish come out first. Interesting fact I learned, Bobby Fish is actually 10 years older than Kyle O'Riely. Seriously doesn't look it, but Fish is around 40. The Champs, the Bucks come out with Cody Hall, whose soul existence seem to be as a lacky and being Scott Hall's son. Bell rings with Fish and Nick Jackson in the ring. Criss-cross as Fish goes for an ankle lock and Jackson nearly gets a superkick in. Jackson spits right in Fish's face and then bails and tags his brother. Kyle gets the tag in now. They criss-cross and Kyle ends up in the armlock that Jackson tries to turn into a pin. They get up again and Kyle locks in the guillotine choke early. Jackson throws him off and goes for a superkick, but Kyle catches the foot and goes down with it, locking in a scorpion deathlock!  Nick crawls over to the ropes and Kyle looks to the ref like "I got this." Fish drags him over to the corner where he drives in a headbutt into Matt's side before tagging in Fish.  Fish sinks in a knee and a slam before hitting a springboard senton on Matt.  Fish tags kyle back in and he lands some strikes before Matt whips him into the ropes and Kyle gets a shot from Nick on the apron. This brings in both Jacksons and they send Kyle into the ropes but he blocks both charges before he gets sent into the corner and sends both Jacksons to the apron. Fish comes in and also goes over the top but he takes out on of the Jacksons on the floor. Matt avoids a kick on the apron only to have an armlock put on him from Kyle in the ropes. The ref breaks that up only to get a kick from the outside that sends Matt right down on his face. ReDRagon comes into the ring and do the Bucks goofy pose. Nick tries to come in the ring but trips the middle rope and flops on his face. Dragon both start laying in the kicks on Matt as they double kick him before going for a cover but getting only a one-count. Fish takes over and lands a few elbow strikes to the face and a kick to the ribs. He goes for the ropes but Nick grabs his legs and pulls him outside the ring. Nick catches him in a standing head scissor and Nick comes across the ring onto the apron where he lands a punt to the face on Fish. Nick jumps back up to the apron and Kyle kicks him off. He gets on the apron in a running strike to the Bucks, but is meat with a double Superkick and laid out. They scoop him up on the across and hit him with a hanging press on the floor. Matt jumps in and pulls the ref over while Cody scoops up Kyle and then RUNS AWAY WITH HIM! Even JR is baffled by that one! We come back from the commercial with the Bucks stomping on Fish in the ring. Cody Hall comes back down the aisle alone. Fish tries to fight back. He dodges two superkicks as he trips Matt and locks Nick in an ankle lock but gets kicked in the head for his troubles. Bucks get a neckbreaker on Fish over Matt's knee, but a count only gets two. Fish fights back with elbows and a running strike. He goes for a tag, but no Kyle. Matt hits a knee strike on him and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Fish keeps fighting back by sending the Bucks to opposite corners and Matt comes running across and ends up knees in his brother's face. Kyle comes flying down to the ring from the other side of the building. He immediately tags in and a goes to town on Matt with knees and strikes before being stopped by a thumb to the eye. Kyle doesn't care as he locks in an armbar and then an ankle lock on one of the Bucks. ReDRagon double team on Matt but a pinfall only gets two. Matt lands a slingshot facebuster on Fish in the ring and bails out with a moonsault on Kyle outside the ring. They double team on Fish in the ring but still can't get the pin. Back from the break, Matt tries for a roll but Kyle gets a choke hold. Matt hits a dragon suplex but hangs on to the choke. Outside the ring as Nick tries to throw powder but Fish kicks it in his face. Dragon double teams on Matt in the ring but can't get the pin. Fish and Nick exchange some hard elbows and strikes. Kyle gets in and gets and armlock but Nick is blocking it until Fish dives on him to complete the move. Fish and Matt have an exchange in the ring and the ref gets shoved out of the ring and immediately Matt gets a low blow. Nick tosses the belt in the ring and Matt smacks Fish in the head with it, but even with that, he can't get the pin. The Bucks land the Meltzer driver slingshot tombstone but Fish still kicks out. He gets up and gets to the ropes where Cody jumps up and grabs him, but the Jacksons throw double superkicks only to hit Cody and knock him to the floor. Fish rolls out of the ring and the Bucks set him up for the Indytaker on the floor but Kyle breaks that up. Fish gets an avalanche falcon arrow but Matt breaks that up. The ReDRagon get chasing the dragon to score the pinfall and win the titles! Backstage the Dragon tell everyone they are the best and that they conquer. They held the belts before and never got the proper rematch for them, so when they finally did they won the belts back. After the commercial, we have some studio words from Kushida. He wanted to steal the show on the final day of the G1. Ricochet hadn't been in New Japan for a while and wanted to see what he had gained since then. Kushida talks about his grappling ability being the strength in this match. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title: Kushida vs. Ricochet These two had a really good match the year before in the finals of the Best of the Super Jr.s tournament where Ricochet got the victory. He came back to the U.S. to do more indy work and also film more matches and Prince Puma for Lucha Underground. He is back and goes for the belt here. We oddly skip Ricochet's entrance but show Kushida's in full. Back from the break as the bell rings. Slow start with a stare down. Kushida goes low but it goes nowhere. Proper lock up as they roll around on the ropes. Josh comments Ricochet is bigger since he last was in NJ, JR says he might be on the sauce... JR's BBQ sauce. They run the ropes and cartwheel around before Kushida gets a rana to the outside the ring. Ricochet runs the ropes but Kushida gets to the apron so Ricochet does several backflips. Kushida says enough of this and launches in with a slingshot dropkick taking Ricochet down in the cloner. Kushida goes over and lands a kick right to Ricochet's arm. Kushida begins to work on the wrist as he locks in a wristlock and strikes the sore arm now.  Ricochet keeps hanging onto the ropes as Kushida keeps going on the attack. He tries to land some punches but Kushida stops that with a wristlock. Finally, Ricochet suckers Kushida in and gets a spinning powerbomb. Kushida rolls out of the ring but Ricochet launches himself over the buckle onto Kushida, but he landed just as much into the metal barrier as he did the champion. Back into the ring Ricochet starts in with the chops and elbows on the champ into the corner before snapping him out and landing a low kick right to Kushida's face. He lands a flying moonsault for two before talking some smack. They exchange some side kicks with Kushida landing a kick to Ricochet's arm. Ricochet gets sent out of the ring with Kushida's rolling kick. Kushida hits a cannonball from the top rope. Ricochet struggles back in the ring and Kushida does his running dropkick. He sends Ricochet down and goes for a moonsault but misses. Ricochet is able to land the zig zag and a standing moonsault but only gets two. Ricochet tries for a suplex but Kushida lands some elbows to stop that. Kushida gets sent into the ropes and flips over to get a hoverboard lock. Ricochet tries to counter but Kushida gets it back on. Ricochet tries to suplex out but Kushida rolls with it and lands a kick right to the arm. Ricochet tries a cross body but ends up locking into an armlock. Ricochet rolls into the move and picks the champ up before dumping him onto the mat. Back from break with both guys down. The get to their knees and smack each other in the face. They get up and trade elbows Kushida gets a kick to the arm to stop that. Ricochet tries for something but Kushida gets in another kick to the arm to send them both down. Kushida tries for a move but Ricochet catches him and gets a northern lights suplex but hangs on and hits it again and hangs on and hits the third! Two count only. Ricochet tries a slingshot 450 but Kushida moves. Ricochet rolls right through it though. Kushida hits his baseball punch and a dragon suplex. He scrambles up for a top rope moonsault but it only gets two. The champ lands a running kick to the arm and he immediately tries for the hoverboard lock but Ricochet fights out of it. He throws a kick but Kushida blocks it and lands a kick to his head.. Ricochet hits a shooting star press but again, only two. Ricochet hits the round kick to the head but Kushida gets to the ropes. Ricochet pulls Kushida into the corner and goes up to the top again. He tries for a summersault press and misses spectacularly. Like, he bounces off the mat. Kushida goes right in and gets the hoverboard lock. Ricochet tries for the ropes but Kushida rolls him into the middle of the ring and gets the submission. As Kushida celebrates, Kushida bows to his opponent and Ricochet reminds him that they are one and one in their matches. Backstage Kushida is glad about the results and that the match tonight closes the gap between the heavies and juniors divisions in NJPW. In the studio with Kushida, he talks about fighting a lot on international guys in such a short period of time. He says that Ricochet had a lot more irregular moves and was high flying more in this match. He is now looking ahead to the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 2016. The tournament is hard physically and mentally but he will do it. This was a fast one. I couldn't keep up with what was going on! Despite ReDRgaon and the Bucks meeting many times before, they do try to bring something  new, Having Cody kidnap Kyle and take him out of the match was an interesting idea I've not seen too many times. Ricochet and Kushida had a good one and I think it was every bit as good as Kushida wanted it to be. A great first hour! We are greeted in hour 2 by Tanahashi! Tanahashi says that while they both appeared in a lot of G1 finals over the years, they never fought each other there. Nakamura's words after the match with Okada stuck with Tanahashi and that he was looking forward to this match. G1 Climax Finals: Block A winner Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Block B winner Shinsuke Nakamura Winner gets the trophy, the briefcase, and a title shot at WrestleKingdom in January. These two are old rivals going back seven or eight years and many title wins between them. We get Nakamura's entrance first and he is in all red this time around. Tanahashi comes out in his usual garb. Both guys are banged up as Nakamura has his elbow problems and neck injuries and Tanahashi has his neck issues. The crowd goes wild for both guys. Coats come off and we go to break. We are back with the ringing of the bell some posturing and circling at first. tentative knuckle lock goes nowhere. Real lock up now and Tanahashi goes for the waistlock. Nakamura goes for the arm but Tanahashi reverses it and goes for the bad elbow. Lock up again as Tanahashi goes into a ringer on the bad arm. Nakamura cartwheels out of it and they reverse on each other a few times before Tanahashi backs off. Tanahashi goes right for the arm again and then locks in a headlock. He hangs on even after several attempts to escape.  Tanahashi takes Shinsuke's bad arm and locks in a brief leg lock but they instead get back to their feet. Tanahashi locks in a cravat but Nakamura cartwheels out of it and lands some knees to the gut. They go for a scramble lock up but Nakamura slides under and starts to work on the leg. They grapple on the mat before they both get up and stare at each other. Nakamura lands some kicks as Tanahashi is trying to lock up. He grabs Nakamura's leg and chopblocks him right in the knee and starts working on it with some elbows. We come back from break as Tanahashi stomps down on Nakamura's arm and landing some elbows to the arm. Nakamura then gives him a shot in return and they trade elbows. Tanahashi lands a kick to the knee cap and then goes for a cloverleaf but Nakamura gets to the rope.  Tanahashi gets Nakamura in the corner and tries for the good vibrations but stops for some reason. Weird. He set Nakamura up for something but a kick sends Tanahashi down and outside the ring. He gets Tanahashi on the apron and gives him the running knee and a kick in the back of the head. Tanahashi flops on the floor and Nakamura gets back in the ring. Tanahashi crawls in but gets met immediately with some stomps before Nakamura locks in the chinlock. He drops a knee and goes for the goofy pin and doesn't get it.  Nakamura lands a kick and Tanahashi just looks at him. Tanahashi gets to his feet and they go at it! Tanahashi gets leveled with a punch to the gut. Nakamura tosses Tanahashi in the ropes and he gets a flying forearm and lands an elbow before a moonsault and a 2 count. Tanahashi gets a slam in and hits his middle rope senton. They are back up as Nakamura reverses a whip attempt right into a spin kick that sends Tanahashi into the corner. Nakamura gets in good vibrations but Tanahashi grabs the foot and lands a dragon screw leg whip. Nakamura roles outside but met with a flying splash from Tanahashi off the top rope and to the outside. We are back from the commercial with both guys outside. Barnett references Voltron and JR tells us to mark that down. Bonus points for that one. Nakamura back in the ring first and lands a high kick that sends Tanahashi to the floor again. Tanahashi comes in at 18 and Nakamura lays in some elbows before it becomes a slugfest. They go into the corner where Tanahashi misses a bodypress. Nakamura gets the reverse powerslam and Tanahashi landed right on his face. Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Tanahashi lands a dropkick right into the knee. Tanahashi stomps on the knee a few times before Nakamura tries for a kick. Tanahashi catches him and rolls with a screw leg whip. Tanahashi locks in the cloverleaf! Nakamura looks nearly ready to quit but holds on. Nakamura finally gets to the rope to break the hold. Tanahashi scoops him up for the falcon arrow and then goes for the high fly flow but misses. Nakamura lands the booma ye to the back of Tanahashi's head, but he uses his bad knee. Nakamura stumbles up to the middle corner and a booma ye! He signals for another one. He goes for it but Tanahashi gets a waistlock and a roll up. He gets a sliding booma ye to Hiroshi's head but only gets two. Nakamura tries to scoop up Tanahashi, but he counters out and gets a twisting neckbreaker. Yan hits the slingblade and goes up to the top and gets the crossbody and goes up again for the high fly flow but Nakamura kicks out! Tanahashi picks up a limp Nakamura, but Nakamura counters with some slaps to the face and hits a landside but can't make the cover! Back from break both guys are down. Nakamura is the first one up and lands some elbows in on Tanahashi but collapses. They perk up and start exchanging blows back and forth before going into an uppercut duel.  Nakamura gets his him down and lands a bunch of side knees and goes for the choke but can't get it. Nakamura misses a kick but Tanahashi catches it. Nakamura into the ropes nearly gets a flying armbar in but Tanahashi  counters it by hooking his arms. Nakamura gets a triangle choke but Tanahashi gets to his feet and then rips his boot into Nakamura's eyes. Nakamura counters with a standing booma ye then gets a VERY close two count. Nakamura drags Tanahashi up by the neck and gets him up on the top rope. "This is not good"-JR. He scoops Nakamura up but Nakamura recovers enough to counter out with some forearms. Tanahashi starts smacking Nakamura with slaps. He lands a cross body and lands a dragon suplex. He gets Nakamura down and climbs up. Tanahashi lands the high fly flow and than hits another one to get the 3 count ! Tanahashi won the tournament! Nakamura's fans are visibly upset and damn that was a good one! Nakamura gets up and shakes hands after that fight. Nakamura raises the winner's arm and limps out of the ring with his head held high. Back from break with backstage words from Nakamura. Saying he gave everything he had. In the ring Tanahashi is announced as the winner and he thanks the crowd They chant for him. He thanks them for being wrestling fans, supporting the company, and then for everything. Even though the G1 ends, wrestling goes on! I love you! Tanahashi waves a G1 flag around so hard he snaps the pole in two! He just kind of stands there stunned as to what to do. Backstage he says right now he is not sweating the small stuff. At least his heart didn't break and it is a "one of a kind" accident. He says in his career he didn't want to be just someone's rival. Kinda think you proved that a long time ago Tanahashi! Studio words as he says Nakamura was really fired up. He risked everything and gave it his all. He changed the most of the two from this battle. He said the ending meant a lot now since Nakamura was leaving. It was amazing. He is fine with Nakamura leaving because he is perusing his dream. It's all good. He wishes him the best of luck. We end on some words from JR and that's it for the G1 Climax 25! Even though these guys have met before, must like the first match tonight, they were able to do something new. They both expertly played off the legit injuries both men had going into this match and it told a great story. Hell of a way to finish things off for the G1 Climax. It might have been a little predicable during the round robin matches, but the tournament prodivded some good matches and fun action. See you all next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Who's going to win G1 Climax 25?
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we finish off the G1 25 tournament with two doses of action from the finals, Both hours of action take place from the famed Sumo Hall from August 16, 2015. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: Block B there (or B square)!

Jun 25 // Soul Tsukino
We start off our first hour going right to the action! Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto Yuji hasn't had a great showing either, only beating Honma and Kojima. Goto's run has been much better, with losses from Nakamura and Anderson. Unfortunately, that means that he too is eliminated as in the best case, he would tie against one or both of the guys who beat him. Yuji enters the ring  as Josh talks about how Yuji got him into pro wrestling. Goto comes out once again like the wrestling samurai. Bell rings and the crowd is solidly behind Yuji here. They trade waistlocks to starts into a side headlock down to the mat. Knuckle lock They grapple some more before going into a facelock by Yuji that is countered by Goto into a hammerlock. They pop right back up and go into grappling into the corner where Yuji slaps Goto in the face! Show me what you got Junior! Screw that they start in with the forearms and kicks. Goto blocks a Yuji kick and drives an elbow into the knee. Yuji grabs his ribs from the previous injury and rolls outside where Goto follows him and starts in with some kicks. Goto tosses him into the barrier before bringing him in the ring. Goto gets some more shots in before Yuji lands some elbows to Goto's mouth. Goto just tags him in the ribs to send him down. Goto goes for the cover but doesn't get it. He locks in an armlock and then delivers another shot to the ribs. Yuji tries to get up, but a kick to the ribs ends that. Yuji tries to get back up but more kicks stop that. Goto sends Yuji into the corner and Yuji comes out with a kick! He is trying to fight back but Goto isn't taking it. Back from the commercial. Yuji is landing some forearms now and a running kick into the corner. After two HARD kicks, Goto goes down.  Yuji tries for a suplex but Goto slips out. Yuji dodges an attack but Goto runs him over with a clothesline. He lands a rolling kick into the corner and a bulldog. Attempt only gets two. Yuji tries for the armbar but a shot to the ribs ends that. Goto whips him into the corner but Yuji catches him and suplexes him into the buckle. Yuji then hits a running knee to Goto's face, but Goto hits a suplex and sends Yuji down. Goto runs over Yuji again with a clothesline and then the Ushigoroshi but YUJI KICKS OUT! Goto tries for a suplex but Yuji elbows out, but Goto flattens him again. Goto goes for a suplex but Yuji gets the armbar on! Goto tries for the ropes but Yuji pulls him back in the ring. Goto slowly crawls over and gets a foot on the rope. Yuji gets up and just starts kicking Goto's sore arm. He goes for a waistlock but Goto elbows out. Goto goes for the clothesline but Yuji catches him into the Saito suplex. He goes for another one but Goto knees him in the face and then kicks the ribs again. They trade elbows back and forth. Yuji tries the enziguri but Goto blocks. Goto goes for the clothesline but Yuji blocks. Another Saito suplex and gets the pin! the 47-year old just beat the IC Champion! Satoshi Kojima vs. Karl Anderson Kojima's had a bad run in this tournament with only wins over Honma and Elgin under his belt. Although Anderson is at 12 points, he is mathematically eliminated since at best he would tie with Okada, a man who beat him in an earlier match. Karl comes out first and he has Tama Tonga and Luke Gallows with him. Kojima comes out alone. Bell rings and Karl gets a flying dropkick right off the bat. Anderson goes for the gun stun but Kojima gets out. The action goes outside as Kojima gets in a bunch of rapid shots and tosses Karl back in the ring. He gets a variation of the gun stun on the ropes to Kojima. Kojima sent to the outside. Ref distracted as the outside Club guys start in on Kojima. Kojima rolls in the ring but Anderson slides to the apron and snaps his arm on the top rope. He steps on Kojima's arm in the ring and locks in an armlock as JR mentions Karl was trained by Les Thatcher. Anderson snaps the arm on the top rope and then for some reason tosses a chair in the ring. He pulls Kojima up and delivers some forearm shots and Kojima crumples down to the mat again. Out of the break, Karl locks in a facelock into a suplex, but Kojima slides out. Karl sends him into the corner but Karl misses the charge. Satoshi then goes into his rapid-fire chops with the bad arm. He whips him to the other corner.  Satoshi nails an axe bomber and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Back on their feet, they exchange chops and forearms. Kojima goes for the discus clothesline but Karl lands an uppercut and a boot to the head. He gets in a running powerbomb but only gets 2! They go to the apron where Karl lands some forearms but gets met with a strike to the head and then a DDT to the apron.  They fight on the outside and then scramble in the ring at 18.  Kojima goes for his cutter but Karl blocks it lands a reverse gun stun. He lands a neckbreaker but doesn't get the count. Karl lands another reverse gun stun but again Kojima kicks out of the pin. He tries for another one but Kojima blocks it with a clothesline and lands his Koji Cutter. Karl stumbles up and Kojima lands a clothesline but doesn't get the pin either. Kojima goes for the clothesline but Karl blocks it. Karl goes for the gun stun but Kojima blocks it and then lands another clothesline and gets the pin! Karl is now officially out of the tournament. We get some words from Ishii. He says Elgin fights with heart and any of his moves can be finishers. He is not like other non-Japanese wrestlers. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Michael Elgin This would the textbook definition of a slobber knocker. Elgin's run in the tournament is a little underwhelming as he beat Nagata, Honma, and Takahashi, and got a forfeit win over Nakamura. Ishii on the other hand, beat Kojima, Nagata, Anderson, and Takahashi... and lost to Honma. Both guys are out so this is just to see who is the toughest. Elgin comes out first as the crowd gives him good applause for a foreign guy. Ishii comes out ready to go. Bell rings and they run right into each other and start trading forearm strikes right away. Shoulderblock goes nowhere and they smack into each other. Elgin is the first to go down but a pin doesn't go anywhere. Elgin lands a boot to Ishii's face. He picks the pitbull and MUSCLES him up for a suplex and holds him there with one hand before dropping him. Pinfall doesn't get it. STRAIGHT punch to Ishii's face. Slam near the ropes and Elgin goes out for a springboard splash! "Like a flying refrigerator." - JR. Ishii fights back and Elgin begs him for a fight. Elgin flattens him with a strike but doesn't get the pinfall. Whip into the buckle and then a charge misses with Elgin then landing a buckle bomb and then a top rope senton. Splat. Pinfall gets 2. Elgin goes for the piledriver but Ishii blocks it. He body drops Elgin over and then gets a belly to back suplex. Ishii lands some chops in the corner and then gets a powerslam, only gets 1. Ishii gets Elgin up and hits a big suplex. Ishii hits a massive running clothesline. The both go for another but smack into each other. Ishii blocks a clothesline but Elgin flattens him and lands a strike of his own into a pin attempt. Back from commercial with Elgin on his feet. Throws an elbow to the head and gets Ishii backed into the rope. He swats Ishii in the head and Ishii stands right up. They trade elbows back and forth and Elgin screams "HIT ME!". They trade hits back and forth. Elgin lands a discus forearm and gets Ishii down. He lifts him from a prone position and suplexes him. That dude is a freak of nature. He holds on but Ishii gets the elbow shot in, but Elgin gets in another suplex. Ishii rolls to the apron and Elgin follows him. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Ishii blocks it. Elgin lands the dvd on the apron! He grabs Ishii on the outside and gives him the buckle bomb to the steel barrier! Elgin picks him up and drags the dead weight into the ring. He climbs to the second rope and pulls Ishii from the outside apron into a falcon arrow! Ishii kicks out of the pin! Elgin hits a buckle bomb but Ishii lands on his feet. He scoops Elgin onto his shoulders and drops him straight down on his head! Both guys get up and exchange elbows right to the face. Ishii lands the enziguri and then picks Elgin up and puts him on the top turnbuckle and lands the avalanche brainbuster but Elgin is right back up! Ishii lands a clothesline and then lands the low clothesline but only gets two! Ishii goes for the suplex but Elgin scoops him into a powerbomb. He tries for another but Ishii elbows out. Ishii lands a headbutt and then a clothesline but Elgin kicks out. Ishii lands the brainbuster and he scores the win! That was a damn fine match! In the locker room, Ishii actually talks about not living up to expectations?!? Elgin gives Ishii credit for being a bad ass but says they will fight again. In the studio, Ishii says he can't remember large parts of the match. After his loss to Nakamura, the tournament went south and that this year's tournament was a disappointment. Despite the fact that these matches didn't mean anything in the tournament, this show was a lot of fun. The action was good in all three matches and the main event was just as good as I had hoped.  I think Elgin makes an even better opponent for Ishii than say Togi Makabe does. While Togi is a straight up brawler, Elgin can actually wrestle and I think that brings out a better match than just a brawling fight. Good show! And here we go with show 2 as we are welcomed by The Champ, Kazuchika Okada! Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma We already went over Honma's one win in this tournament, finally breaking his losing streak in G1 tournaments at 17 losses. Takahashi didn't do much better with wins over the two old farts, Nagata and Kojima. Needless to say, neither guy is a threat for the tournament. Yujiro comes out with Mao Chan, whomever that is. Here comes Honma! They completely ignore Honma's win over Ishii in talking about his run in the G1. The crowd is chanting for Honma as the bell rings and they are exchanging chops. Honma wins that duel but misses the headbutt. Yujiro tries for a suplex but Honma reverses it and gets the suplex instead. Honma lands some chops and whips Yujiro into the corner and then delivers a bulldog and the headbutt on the canvas. Cover only gets 2. Honma charges in and gets dropped on the ring rope. Yujiro scoops him up  on the top rope and scores the belly to belly suplex. Honma kicks out of the pin. Back from the break as Yujiro goes for another suplex, but Honma tries a counter only to get a clothesline. They finally mention Honma has won a match as he is taken over in a body drop. Honma lands a forearm shot and tries for a clothesline but Yujiro picks him up for the Miami shine but Honma squirms out. He hits the headbutt and then a brainbuster but can't get the pin. He tries for the top-rope kokeshi headbutt and misses, of course. Honma is up first but Yujiro rakes the eyes. He whips Honma in but Honma tries for the torpedo headbutt and misses. Yujiro lands the fisherman's buster but doesn't get the pin. He hits a clothesline but Honma gets up. He tries for a powerslam but Yujiro pushes him nearly into the ref and hits the low blow before scoring the Miami shine and the pin. We come back with some studio words from Okada. He was in great shape heading into this match. He has no qualms about fighting his CHAOS teammate but wondered what Nakamura would do after his elbow injury. Winner goes to the finals: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada Block B boils down to this match. Okada's only loss came to Goto. Nakamura entered this tournament with an injured elbow and lost against Anderson and had to forfeit against Elgin. Even though if Nakamura wins he would tie Okada, he would go on since he would have actually beaten him. Okada is also the IWGP champion, but the belt is not on the line. Nakamura  comes out first in black leather for this one. Okada makes his entrance with Gedo. These two have met before in G1's past and are split 1 and 1. We come back from the break and the bell rings. They stay in the corner and look each other over before we get into it. Knuckle lock goes nowhere. A Greco-Roman lock as Nakamura shoots for the single leg but Okada ends up getting the open guard on Nakamura. They both are back up and circle around. Okada with a wasitlock into a Nakamura armbar. Okada reverses it and Nakamura flips and cartwheels out of it. He gets a side headlock and they get up and into the ropes. Okada feigns going for a chop but just gives some pats on the chest for a clean break. Nakamura runs out and they miss kicking each other and Okada nearly gets the rainmaker but misses that. Nakamura throws a kick and we are back to the takedown as Nakamura ties up with an ankle lock into a headlock. Nakamura  gets a waistlock and then transitions into a near sleeper choke. They go outside as Nakamura sends Okada into the barrier but Okada reverses and sends Nakamura into the barrier and Okada lands a dropkick to Nakamura's head sending him over the barrier. Okada then lands the hanging DDT as we are cooking now. Nakamura rolls in and Okada is right on top of him. He hits a neckbreaker and gets a 2 count. He ties Nakamura up with a heavenly lock. Nakamura gets to the ropes with his foot. We come back from the break. Okada sends Nakamura into the corner and Rainmaker lands a number of elbows before kicking Nakamura down and giving him the good vibrations! The crowd boos that. Nakamura fights out with some elbows but Okada gets the shot in before landing a springboard senton. Okada lands a sliding dropkick right into Nakamura's head. Nakamura rolls to the apron and smacks Okada with a kick and sends him out. He drapes Okada on the barrier and hits a running knee. Okada rolls in and Nakamura lands some kicks before he goes for good vibrations. He rolls Okada out and lands several nasty knees to the ribs and head before a shotgun kick to the face. Nakamura only gets two. They get up into a double facelock and Nakamura goes for something but Okada lands a flapjack. He lands a few elbows and then a DDT. Okada hits a slam and then heads up but Nakamura is up. Okada jumps over Nakamura and then he gets hit. Nakamura lifts him laying on the turnbuckle and lands a knee lift. He lands a head kick but Okada lands the reverse neckbreaker. He picks him up and suplexes Nakamura down. Count only gets 2. Okada goes for the tombstone but Nakamura rolls through and lands a lung blower and a scoop slam. Nakamura tries for the booma ye but misses, only to hop on the middle buckle and lands it! The count is two. He goes for another but Okada trips him into a pin attempt only gets two. Nakamura tries to go up but Okada lands his sweet dropkick to send Nakamura to the floor. We come back from the break with Nakamura on the outside. Okada goes after him and tombstone's him on the floor! Okada rolls in first but rolls right back out and brings Nakamura into the ring. He might pay for that one. Slam to the mat as Okada goes up and lands the Randy Savage elbow. Rainmaker pose but Nakamura counters with a kick. Okada counters but Nakamura hits a knee right to Okada's jaw knocking him flat! Both guys are slow to get up. Nakamura hits a forearm first, Okada counters and we go back and forth. Nakamura goes rapid fire and sends Okada down. Okada goes for the uppercuts but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut and a kick to the back of the head. He hits the running knee strike but the pin only gets two. Nakamura picks Okada up and gives him a dvd. Pin only gets two and Nakamura lines up for the booma ye, but Okada hits the dropkick! Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but Nakamura counters right into a backside but he nails Okada. Okada tries for the rainmaker again but Nakamura gets a wristlock. Okada counters into the tombstone but Nakamura counters into an armlock and into a triangle choke! Okada gets on his feet but sinks back down and Okada submits to the armbar! Shinsuke Nakamura wins! Nakamura  stands up and actually bowed to Okada before Okada rolls out of the ring. The crowd cheers as he is announced as the block B winner. He grabs the mic and says that he has one more match to win. YEAH-OH! Backstage Okada says it is frustrating he lost by a tap out. He wants Nakamura to win and they will wrestle again. Nakamura says bring it on. he gave it his all. In the studio, Okada says it was a memorable match and one of the greatest of all time, even if he lost. He was grateful to take part n the tournament. We get our first mention of Nakamura  leaving as Okada says he will miss him. It won't be the same without him, but he wishes him the best (spoilers: He is doing great).   Both shows this week were fun. While the Honma/Takahashi match was...there, the main event was very good, even with the slow start. A fun two hours that got me ready for the final next week! Next week, another double dose as we look at the Finale of the G1 25!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Who is going to the finals?
Welcome everyone to Strong Style, Japanator's coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we have two shows as we decide who goes into the finals of the G1 25 tournament to face Hiroshi Tanahashi next week. Both ...

Here are the otaku games to eye this Steam Summer Sale

Jun 24 // Josh Tolentino
[Note: Pricing and actual percentage discounts can vary based on your region, so check your local Steam page to get the exact numbers.] The Fruit of Grisaia - The well-regarded visual novel series recently got an anime adaptation and was localized by Sekai Project last year. Its sequel, The Labyrinth of Grisaia, is also on sale, as is the Michiru-led comedy spinoff The Leisure of Grisaia. Higurashi When They Cry - The classic and now terribly ugly "sound novel" series was being sold for impulse-buy money even without a discount, and now the whole series, including Umineko, is up for the cut. Also interesting are other MangaGamer offerings like lesbian ghost sim Kindred Spirits on the Roof and Nikola Tesla pretty-boy sim Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning. Bandai Namco felt the touch of the green percentage as well, with all three Dark Souls games facing significant price cuts, as well as Tale of Zestiria, which has an awesome Japanese intro whose lyrics didn't make it into the English version. The Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm games are also on sale, so if you want to catch up with the last quarter of the Naruto manga's plot while also having cool graphics, that's up. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse and One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 also flesh out the roster of Shonen JUMP titans. Square Enix is as well-known these days for publishing western games as much as Japanese ones, but as far as relevance goes, Final Fantasy titles are where it's at. VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XIII, XIII-2, Type-0 and Lighting Returns are all on sale. And if the thought of playing all those JRPGs makes you want to strangle someone, they're also selling a handful of cool Hitman games. Capcom also brings a slate of offerings headlined by a much-needed discount on the beleaguered Street Fighter V. By most accounts, the fighting-game core of this unfortunate beast is strong, but the damn thing simply isn't finished yet. Capcom are promising a free "cinematic" story mode soon, as well as some new characters. Fans of Dead Rising can snag a hefty discount off a bundle containing Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, and Dead Rising 3. The PC version of Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is also available, spreading its cult appeal beyond the consoles. Look at Sega's store lineup and you'll find more Total War and Company of Heroes than the games most folks used to associate with the company. That said it would be a "shameful display" if a self-respecting, PC-owning otaku didn't at least try Shogun 2: Total War at the price it's being sold at now. It's the most Japanese game to ever come out of West Sussex, where developer Creative Assembly is quartered. People who do remember what Sega used to mean can drown their sorrows in a hefty collection of retro rereleases, or maybe some Valkyria Chronicles. XSEED, which has in many ways overtaken Atlus as the premier English-language localizer of note, has a number of PC offerings on sale, including the PC versions of Akiba's Trip and Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus. Fans who don't need too much anime boobies in their life can turn to a host of Ys games and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Ghostlight, publisher of many a localized game in the UK, has a handful of Agarest titles up for discount, but the real prizes in my mind are Way of the Samurai 3 and 4, the quirkiest open-world games this side of a Yakuza spinoff. They're also basically better, more thought-out takes on what you may have tried in Akiba's Trip, but with more swords and S&M torture and less anime boobies. Speaking of games that were published by Spike Chunsoft at some point (they handled the original versions of Way of the Samurai and Akiba's Trip), you also can't forget Danganronpa 1 and 2, which are arguably two of the best visual novels available in English right now.  In keeping with the fact that Idea Factory International mostly just handles a few games these days, a truly absurd number of Hyperdimension Neptunia games and DLC are on sale, with Fairy Fencer F and the redundantly-titled otome game Amnesia: Memories rounding out the offering. Playism brings a raftload of fairly obscure titles, but the headliners here are Swery's D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, and the Indiana Jones-like metroidvania La-Mulana. NIS America, for its part, only started releasing PC games recently, and its availablity of old PS2-era strategy titles, including Phantom Brave and Disgaea alongside tough games like htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary and Stranger of Sword City  are up for some modest price cuts. Other discounts of interest include the brilliant Stardew Valley, which does Harvest Moon better than its current masters in Japan have managed, and Undertale, a loving and subversive send-up of JRPGs. That's just a smattering of the most notable otaku-oriented offerings this summer. There may be more or larger discounts rolling in as the sale develops, so keep an eye on the storefront if there's something you're hoping to pick up.
Steam Summer Sale photo
And, like, five thousand other games
It's that time again, eager gamers and deal-conscious customers: Valve's yearly Steam Summer Sale has just kicked off, and the prices are a-dropping. That's especially relevant to you, the fan of games from Glorious Nippon, a...

Annotated Anime: Space Patrol Luluco episode 12

Jun 24 // Salvador GRodiles
It’s thanks to this format that Luluco has been a huge roll for a good while. While this episode wasn’t the one where the gang confronted the Blackholian’s leader, the whole thing played off nicely with the concept of how one values their feelings for their first crush. Since M.A.O.’s performance hit the right notes in delivering a powerful yet cute moment during Luluco’s big scene, it shows how everything was pieced together just for this big event. Hell, the team’s idea to give the whole thing a final battle treatment while our heroine sticks to her resolve gave it a dynamic that’s on the same level as the penultimate confrontation in most of Gainax and TRIGGER’s titles. Honestly, the big thing that made this whole thing magical was how everyone decided to set aside their differences to make sure that Luluco wins Nova over, as the whole thing breaks out into an all-out battle against the Blackholians. This whole build-up worked well in conveying the idea of someone who has the support of their close ones while they build up their confidence to confess to the person that they love. Considering that Luluco’s goal was powerful enough to get her parents to help her out, TRIGGER was able to bring us a neat take on the saying “Love conquers all!” Even when Imaishi and the TRIGGER veterans were putting Luluco and the gang through random situations each season, the one thing that always remained consistent was the heroine’s feelings for Nova. To an extent, this tone probably represents the obstacles that one has to deal with, as the insane situations could be a representation of the factors that attempt to ruin one's focus on their main goal. For a show that was presented as a short that was filled with many off-the-wall segments, Space Patrol Luluco managed to present its audience with a memorable love story of the season. This was thanks to TRIGGER’s subtle moments between Luluco and Nova, which served as a great pay off for people when it reached its climax. At the same time, their use of timing and anticipation in these scenes allowed for them to capture the hearts of people during these brief segments. In the end, it’s amazing to see that the show will end on us with a season that’s only one episode. Then again, TRIGGER might pull a fast one with this last segment, so it’ll be interesting to see how the chapter’s title will come into play. One thing for sure, this anime might take the prize as the best five-season series of the year. [Confess to Space Patrol Luluco at Crunchyroll]
Space Patrol Luluco photo
Double Love Xtreme!
For a second, I thought that Luluco’s fourth season was going to be the end the series. Not that I’m against there being a new season, as there are still many things that the show has yet to resolved. If anything,...

Would a Sailor Moon prequel work?

Jun 23 // Soul Tsukino
To answer that question, we should take a look at the series itself. Sailor Moon is a series about a teenage girl named Usagi (also known as Bunny or Serena depending on the source), who, along with her friends, turn out to be reincarnations of royalty that once ruled over the planets and the Solar System in a kingdom that was headquartered on the Moon. This Kingdom, known alternatively as The Moon Kingdom or the Silver Millennium, looked after all the planets with their own guardians under the eye of Queen Serenity. Unfortunately, the Silver Millennium came to an end thanks to a dark evil army of brainwashed or misguided Earthlings and a dark power known as the Dar Kingdom or the Negaverse as it was also known as.  Queen Serenity watches as her daughter, the prince from Earth, and the guardians are all killed during a horrific battle. Serenity uses all her power to send everyone to Earth to be reincarnated in the future and dies alone in the rubble of her own kingdom. In modern times, the Queen's daughter is reborn into a whiny but loving crybaby and her friends are the guardians for the past. Their powers all awaken to fight the evil kingdom that has also come around once again. They not only discover who they are now with super powers but also discover who they were long ago. As you may guess, there is a whole lot of back-story, no matter which version of the story you enjoy. A Moon Kingdom-based Sailor Moon series would open up a new and completely different story. Although only really referenced in passing or in flashbacks, the personalities of the main characters wouldn't be quite the same as they were in their modern forms. In the live action show, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Usagi's Princess form was actually really scary and dark, even trying to destroy the world. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but there would be some differences to the bumbling crybaby that Usagi is known for. The big challenge would be the story itself. What would a bunch of teenage princesses actually do?  Sailor Moon, as great as it is, was a slave to the "monster of the day" formula that it inherited from the sentai shows that inspired it. The first few episodes introduced characters, then each episode afterward had the big villain have someone send out a monster to collect something (energy, pure dreams, so forth), the scouts would defeat them, wash rinse repeat. This wasn't an issue with the manga's story, but for television is was the routine. A Moon Kingdom centered story wouldn't really work with that formula. The story established by the previous media had the conflict largely be between distrustful human and those who lived in the Moon Kingdom. Not really a "monster of the week" kind of show. At least on its surface. So what would the story be then?  I think a cue from the manga would work. In the manga, the Princess Serenity was seen as a flighty princess who would sneak out of the kingdom and go to Earth to visit the prince that she loved, much to the other guardians' frustrations.  She would skip out on her studies and would shirk off responsibility.  Sounds like an interesting character for a slice of life show to me. Maybe not quite as light as say, Azumanga Daioh. A little drama about the worsening condition of the Earth and Moon relations would be a good backdrop. Just enough to keep a good overall story going. The big problem? The ending. Yeah, wholesale slaughter of all your characters is kind of a bummer.  Even if you were to string the ending to the rebirth part, it would really be a dark ending to what could be a really upbeat show. Sailor Moon has never been about that, and this show shouldn't either. The best option I see is to not take the story to that part. End the series before the story reached the point of all out warfare and show the better days of the Silver Millennium. Make the conflict something else, something lighter, something that can have a better resolution than a massacre. So would a prequel to one of the most well-known anime series work? Yeah, I think the concept has some legs to it. Would it be the same series we have been used to for the last 25 years? Probably not. But that doesn't mean it can't be a good show of its own. And that is ultimately what anime could use right now. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Sailor Moon photo
Would you watch it?
Sailor Moon is one of those shows that just about every anime fan has heard of. Even if you've never seen it, you've heard about it from someone you know. Hell, it was the series that really got me into anime when it was bein...

Review: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Jun 22 // Nick Valdez
[embed]35079:5680:0[/embed] Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U (reviewed))Developer: AtlusPublisher: NintendoReleased: December 26, 2015 (JP), June 24, 2016 (NA and EU)MSRP: $59.99 When shadow monsters known as Mirages invade Tokyo in search of Performa (which is the energy created from singing and acting performances), childhood friends Itsuki and Tsubasa get suddenly thrown into the battle as it changes their lives forever. Uniting their skills with ghosts of characters from the Fire Emblem series (like Chrom and Caeda), the two strive to become pop idols in order to strengthen their bonds with their new friends from Fortuna Entertainment (which is secretly full of other Mirage Masters) and help prevent the world from plunging into darkness. Told entirely through the Japanese VA track, TMS has personality to spare. But those who do not understand the language will miss some of the personality TMS is so proud of. It's not a huge issue, but the characters are always talking to one another during battles and 50 hours in you'll definitely wonder what they're saying.  Complimenting that strong personality are Tokyo Mirage Sessions' equally strong visuals. From the opening title screen to the final battle, it is bursting at the seams with color. The UI is clean and bright (the main menu is graced by a gorgeous spread of all the characters), the character design is typical Atlus fare marrying cuteness with style (enough so that you'll most likely have a favorite cast member), when you clear certain side stories or story chapters the player is rewarded with full cutscene performances animated with the Fire Emblem engine, and there is an overall attention to clean design. Only the battle menu and HUD feel cluttered, but that also alleviates over time the more you play it. The game's design serves to emphasize accessibility, so the over world and dungeons have checkpoints which make it easier to travel back to the home base to craft your weapons and skills and the like. Thanks to the lack of egregious load times, there is no hefty punishment for retreating from a dungeon from time to time which further encourages the player to do so.  Helping with this clean design is Tokyo Mirage Sessions' utilization of the Wii U's gamepad. Acting as Itsuki's cell phone, the gamepad occasionally receives text messages, or "topics," which keep you up to date on the character's reactions to the story (which can be a bit banal, but further build the world's personality), tells you when side missions become available (which are avoidable but help boost a character's stats and skill set), and also serves as the dungeon map. Crawling through the game's laborious dungeons is much easier since you don't have to cut away from the game in order to pull up your map. And when the story forces you to retread through many of its dungeons later in the game, you'll be glad traversal is easy. The dungeons themselves are heavily padded with frustrating "puzzles" which force you to backtrack and do not inspire cleverness. Rather than celebrate when you finally get to the dungeon boss, it's more of a sigh and "finally."  But the major draw of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, is the battle system. This is definitely where all the time and effort was placed. While there is no permadeath from the Fire Emblem series (though the punishment for a game over is having to reload your save), its weapon triangle (a rock, paper, scissors like system where certain weapons deal more damage to others) unites with Shin Megami Tensei's elemental weaknesses (a la Persona or Pokemon) into an obtuse system that takes some time to get used to. But it's a rewarding battle system to learn as there are plenty of options to do damage. Couple that with TMS's Sessions, which are secondary attacks that chain when you hit an enemy's weakness and earn you bonuses, Special Perfomances, which are super skills that deal more damage, Ad-lib Performances, which randomly take effect when you activate a character's skill, and by the end of the game the player can theoretically attack an enemy 19 or 20 times in a single turn. Unfortunately while these attacks are satisfying and stylish the first couple of times you pull them off, eventually the battles will start to feel like they are dragging on rather than engaging.  For example, to compensate for how strong the player can become when they utilize sessions, enemy weakness, weapon crafting, and character switching (which allows you switch your teammate on the fly in exchange for taking their next turn a bit later), TMS suddenly ramps up its difficulty midway through. Enemies suddenly become attack sponges and deal far more damage, so the player not only is forced back through dungeons they have already visited but they are forced to grind for experience in order to stay competitive. It artificially lengthens the game and eventually becomes frustrating since you won't likely be attached to the story enough to push on through. TMS' story just is not compelling enough to keep you entertained for its 40-50 hour length. Like its J-Pop soundtrack, the story is fun but inconsequential until its final set of chapters. Anyone looking for the level of depth seen in both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, will find it in its battle system and not much else.  Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is built with a very specific audience in mind. While its casual and accessible appearance may draw you in, only the truly hardcore RPG fans will dig deep enough into its battle system to fully enjoy everything the game has to offer. But on the other hand, if you do put in that work you are rewarded with a battle system full of so many options that no two people will have the same strategy.  It may be more of a game for Shin Megami Tensei fans than Fire Emblem ones as it's not a complete marriage of the two, but to bring it back to the Reeses analogy, if you like the taste of chocolate and peanut butter, then you will like them together. You just won't like it that much. [This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tokyo Mirage Review photo
Like chocolate and peanut butter
When Nintendo first announced a crossover project between their Fire Emblem series and Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series, no one expected the final project to a videogame where pop idols transform into heroes in order to fight...

Review: Grand Kingdom

Jun 21 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35113:5710:0[/embed] Grand Kingdom (PS Vita [reviewed], PS4)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: November 19th, 2015 (JP), June 17th, 2016 (EU), June 21st, 2016 (NA)MSRP: $49.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PS Vita) Unfortunately, the story is only about 12 story chapters each lasting at least 30 minutes to one hour.  On top of the short story, the game only gets interesting near the end.  It’s unfortunate since some of the characters are likeable as well as the voice acting work. Some of the characters reminded me of the typical ones found in Shonen series so I was really looking forward on seeing more of them. However, all the 36 chapters that were delivered as DLC in Japan are going to be included in the western release, giving you a total of 48 chapters of story from the get-go.  In the DLC chapters, you’ll have the chance to delve yourself in the story of each of the four Great Nations, allowing the player to align themselves with a particular nation and dig deeper into that nation’s motivations and history. Each campaign will introduce you to brand new characters, deeper ties that bind rulers to family and nation, and perhaps even discover something about yourself as you decide which nation tugs at your heart the most. The uniqueness of the gameplay styles with each mission taking place on a large game board in both you and enemies move around in, one turn at a time. Your team will be represented by a silver piece while the enemies’ will be represented by a purple and red piece, the latter being a stronger enemy. Additionally, the game board will have items lying around which can improve your journey. The concept may sound simple from first looks, but there’s a lot more to it. Depending on the mission, there will be a limit of how much you can move your piece, and reaching the limit results in an automatic failure. However, for the most part, you realize that you will have a lot more turns than that mission requires giving you room for mistakes and dawdling. You’ll also encounter invisible enemies in which you can only see their movement every three turns. Once you encounter the enemy, you will be taken to battle in a beautiful and crisp 2D art style similar to the Dragon’s Crown and Odin Sphere. In a way, you can say that the game is similar to Valkyria Chronicles, except in a side-on view with three rows for characters to stand on and move around in. Each turn, you will move your unit to a desired spot until your action gauge is emptied, then you can perform a skill, which can range from melee or ranged attacks as well as heal your comrades.  While on the hub and the quest map, you’re allowed to visit the Party menu in which you can form different formations. The game already has two default ones, however, both Offensive and Defensive in which you can modify.  You can also set shields or even medical boxes, which both are very helpful in battle.  Including DLC, which will be available to western players from the get-go, the game offers over 17 classes including Melee, Ranged, Magic, and Specialist units. You’re only allowed to hire a certain few classes in the beginning of the game but it’s enough to create a competent troop to beat the game. You’re allowed to make up to six troops consist of four units each. When hiring, you can customize your character ranging from their hairstyles, voices, colors, and starting stats. Melee units are characterized by their high attack and defense and specialize in close combat. They also have the ability to Guard, allowing the unit to negate all damage until their guard gauge depletes. Melee units have low magic defense, so it’s best to be careful when facing Magic units. Ranged units can attack from longer distances. With their extended attack range, they can reach enemies at the other side of the map. Unfortunately, Ranged units have low defense, so it's imperative that you place them in places where it’s hard for them engage in close combat or being hit by other Ranged units. Magic units have medium attack range, and use ranged attacks which allow the player to target multiple enemies. Some of their more powerful skills must be charged before they can be used, leaving them vulnerable to an enemy's ranged attack, in which results your attack being disrupted as well. Remember that the game has friendly fire so make sure that your units are out of the way as well. Unlike the Melee, Ranged, and Magic units, Specialist units lack a clearly defined role in battle. These units have individualized abilities that can be a great asset in battle, but their specialized nature affords little room for flexibility. They range from Medics, Challengers and Dragon Mage. Medics heal your units, Challenger places explosives and Dragon Mage allows the player to perform powerful melee attacks. One of my issues when using the Medic is that while angling where you want to throw your potion, it’s never accurate.  There will be times where you accidentally hit your unit with a poisonous potion or accidentally heal the opposing unit. While you’ll eventually adapt to the weird aiming, but this still proves to be a hindrance.   Aside from the story missions which usually consist of going from Point A to Point B, the game also features different side quests with variety of missions such as Stealth Missions and Guarding missions. In Stealth missions, you’ll navigate the world-map in a puzzle-like fashion to avoid encountering any enemies at all. As for the Guarding missions, you’ll be moving around the map to defend certain spots from incoming enemy assaults. Once the enemy reaches the spot, the missions fails. A big letdown with this game is that it doesn’t support cross-save so any progress that you made on the go with your PS Vita won’t be transferable to your PS4. It was a bit bothersome since when I got my hands on the PS4 version, I wanted to continue my journey on a bigger and better screen. At least the game allows cross-play support across both systems, expanding the amount of players you can play with in the online multiplayer modes.  Naturally the PS4 version is the superior version as it runs at 60 frames per second at 1080p. However, that doesn’t mean that the game is less enjoyable on PS Vita as it runs very smooth as well. If you’re looking to expand your Tactical JRPG library on PS Vita, I can definitely recommend Grand Kingdom.  Including the integrated DLC chapters, the game offers many hours of fun with more hours on top if you play the side missions. While the main story is short, it still features likeable characters making the journey worthwhile. With the PS Vita not getting many games lately, you can’t go wrong with Grand Kingdom. It’s an excellent addition on PS4 as well, though. 
Grand Kingdom photo
Fight For Your Grand Nation
Being a fan of the JRPGs, I always look forward to new additions to the genre, especially ones that offer a unique gameplay style that separates itself from other series. While not entirely unique, when first announced, Grand...

Strong Style: Kicking some (block) A!

Jun 18 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Hiroyoshi Tenzan who has a little fun with his intro. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Doc Gallows Shibata did all right in this tournament, getting 4 wins (beating Makabe, Naito, Ibushi, and Fale). Gallows, not so much as he only beat Yano and Naito. Not like Gallows was going to win this thing anyway. Gallows enters the arena by himself, which is always a good sign in a Bullet Club match. Shibata comes out in his usual no-frills style of marching to the ring like no one is around him. Bell rings and Shibata drops right to his back in a guard. Gallows goes for him a bit but backs off. Unintentional tribute to the Inoki vs. Ali fight right there. Shibata gets up and grabs Doc's leg and goes right for the figure four! Doc reverses it and Shibata brings it right around. Doc reverses again and they go into the ropes. Shibata lays in with the kicks and goes right into the face washes in the corner. Doc grabs the foot, stands up and tosses Shibata aside like nothing. Doc throws him from the ring and tosses him into the barrier. The count is on as Doc gets back in the ring. Shibata gets to the apron and then gets kicked right in the face! Doc grabs him and chokeslams right onto the apron with all his body weight! Shibata rolls in at 18. Gallows face washes him for some payback Shibata pops up and glares at Doc as they start exchanging strikes. Shibata gets a half hatch suplex and then a chin lock but Doc backs into the corner for the break. Shibata gets the hold right back on. Doc kicks him in the gut and Doc gets a gutwrench suplex. Gallows goes for the suplex but Shibata gets the chinlock. Shibata releases and gets a kick to Docs knee. He doesn't get the pin. Doc gets up and grabs Shibata and lands a powerbomb. 2 count only. Doc goes for something and Shibata gets a surprise triangle choke! Shibata releases and lands a quick kick for a 2 count. Shibata goes for something and Doc clobbers him for it with a kick. Shibata charges again and gets a kick. Shibata charges for the third time and gets kicked! Gallows latches on and gets a double handed Chokeslam for the pinfall! Wow, surprised with that one. Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi Talk about a clash of styles!  Makabe comes in having beaten Naito, Tenzan, Gallows, and Yano but he also comes into this match with a heavily bandaged right thigh. Ibushi comes into this one having beat Styles, Tenzan, and Gallows. We skip the intros for this one. Staredown right at the bell. Jim Ross makes the mistake of keep calling Togi and Toji. Figure that one out. Togi with some hits to the head right to start. Kota counters with FAST kicks. That dude is like lightening. Togi just clubs him and then throws him into the buckle and runs him over with a shoulderblock. Kota starts in with kicks to Togi's thigh. Kota gets a leglock in on the bad wheel and Togi pulls himself to the ropes to break. He stomps on Toki's leg as it looks like Togi's just getting mad now. He gets up and dares Kota to keep kicking. Kota tries a running move and Togi just clotheslines him into oblivion. Right hands by Togi into a northern lights suplex into a pin attempt. He tries a German suplex but Kota counters. Togi tosses Kota into the corner and begins punching him from the middle buckle. Kota slips out and does a Pele kick that knocks Makabe to the apron. Ibushi doesn't let up as he hits the ropes and nails a sweet dropkick sending Togi to the floor. He then runs up and does the Golden triangle moonsault! Back from break, We get a replay of the moonsault. Ibushi tosses Togi back in the ring and lays in with some karate kicks. Togi once again gets up and dares him again. Togi gets some hits in but Kota counters with a kick and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Kota tries for a German but no go. Togi reverses it but can't get it either. They exchange some swings but Togi finally lands with a clothesline. Togi lands a powerbomb but Kota kicks out. Kota is whipped into the corner and clotheslines. Togi sets up for the spider suplex but Kota has a death grip on the turnbuckle. Togi gets clubbed in the back and Togi gets the suplex but Kota lands on his feet and dives right in on the hurt leg. With his hurt thigh, he is in agony hanging there before Ibushi lets him flop to the canvas. Kota lands a kick and goes up for the phoenix splash and gets it! This match was alright, but not great. I don't know if it was from Makabe's injury or just being too diverse in style but this could have been better. In the studio with Tenzan now. He felt uneasy about entering the G1 this year, but Naito had said he was old and his career was over so he felt more determined to enter. He wants to crush Naito. He thinks Naito has wasted chances with his new attitude. He thinks Naito is still a good wrestler, though, and actually doesn't like facing him. Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Naito has had a good run in the tournament. He defeated Tanahashi, Styles, Ibushi, Yano, and Fale. That is nothing to sneeze at. Tenzan only managed to get wins over Shibata and Gallows, disappointing for a former winner, even if he is up there in years at 44. Naito comes out first and takes his time coming out in his Skeletor business attire. It should be noted that JR is actually explaining the concept of the G1 DURING THE SECOND TO LAST DAY!  Naito is really taking his time and actually makes for a nice break for me. Tenzan comes out and JR notes that Tenzan has a nasty cut over his right eye thanks to a headbutt from Yano. Tenzan is the reigning NWA Champion here but the belt is not up for grabs. Another point here is made as Naito was once Tenzan's "young boy" or apprentice back in the day so this is personal. Both men are in the ring and we are ready to go but Naito just stands there not moving an inch. Tenzan is getting miffed. You do not want to get Tenzan miffed. We actually go the break and when we come back and the bell rings and Naito is still in his suit. He takes off his jacket and waves it like a matador cape. Tenzan has had enough and just starts clobbering Naito. Naito tries to bail out of the ring but Tenzan follows him out and tosses him into the ring post. Told you. You don't want to get Tenzan miffed. Naito rolls into the ring but rolls right out the other side. Tenzan goes right after him but gets caught with an eye rake and a kick to the gut. Naito then sends him right into the barrier. Naito finally gets in the ring and gets his gear off. Tenzan is pissed. Naito drives Tenzan back out of the ring and runs the ropes only to lay down in the ring. He gets Tenzan in and attacks the big guy's knee. He gets a headlock into a leg scissors and smacks Tenzan in the head! Tenzan gets to the ropes  Naito breaks the hold and then spits on Tenzan. Naito stands on Tenzan's head and poses a bit. He chokes Tenzan on the ropes and when the ref gives him static, Naito threatens the ref. JR and Josh get into a weird conversation about not being able to pronounce "Los Ingobernables" that ends with JR saying Josh was cool. I wonder if these two taped this one at the end of a long day. Naito with a cravat and Tenzan starts punching away and Naito just asks for more. He then uses Tenzan's own Mongolian chops that he is known for against him. Tenzan whips Naito but holds on and drives a headbutt to Naito that flattens him. DAMN.  Tenzan lays in the Mongolian chops and a series of headbutts. Naito SMILES and asks for more! Kicks by Tenzan now and Naito just kinda stares. Tenzan lands another headbutt and a clothesline. Naito reverses and drops Tenzan spits on him then hits a flying dropkick. Tenzan goes to the corner but Naito is right on him as he lands a kick, another kick, and then a dropkick from the apron that leave Tenzan a heap in the corner. He gets a lame pin and then Naito chases red shoes right out of the ring for not counting three. Red Shoes stands outside looking mad now. Naito goes for a German suplex but Naito gets out of it. Naito hits the ropes but Tenzan catches him and brings him over in a slam. RED SHOES KICKS NAITO! He signals for Tenzan to keep beating him up! Red Shoes finally grew a pair. We come back from break as Tenzan hits more of the Mongolian chops and then a spinning kick right to Naito's mush! He locks in an anaconda vice and cranks on it hard! Naito somehow gets up to his feet and escapes. He gets an enziguri and tries for a German suplex. Naito with the atomic drop and then into the code de blanca submission.  Tenzan grabs Naito's hair and delivers a couple of headbutts to the face. Great counter! They both get up and exchange hits and Naito kicks him in the leg before he spits on Tenzan again! Naito goes for the dragon suplex but Tenzan gets out. He misses one clothesline before hitting from the right side into a 2 count. Tenzan with the cobra clutch. Naito struggles and Tenzan falls into the ropes, breaking the hold. Tenzan gets up and delivers a couple of headbutts and then locks in the clutch again but this time, it's the cobra max! Naito struggles hard but passes out! Tenzan schools his boy by spitting on Naito a few times before kicking him right out of the ring. Backstage Tenzan says Naito has no right to insult him anymore. He calls Naito a fool Naito responds saying Tenzan did a good job. In the studio, Tenzan said he was determined not to lose to Naito. He says it was physically tough to do all the tournament matches. He was determined to make it through the whole tournament, even if he didn't win. Not a bad show. The first match was quick but there just wasn't a lot to work with. The second match tired, but it just didn't click with those two. The Main event was really good, especially with the story and the heat magnet that Naito has become. Really entertaining! Let's jump into show 2! We are greeted by Tanahashi, saying this is the 200th episode of "Pro Wrestling Returns" the source of this show. Bad Luck Fale vs. Toru Yano Oh holy merciful gods, please make this one short. Anyone surprised this match wasn't advertised? Anyway. Fale somehow comes into this match with victories over Tanahashi ,Tenzan, Makabe, Ibushi and Doc Gallows. That's kinda scary. Yano, on the other hand, has wins over Tenzan (low blow), Ibushi (hair pull in less than 1 minute), and Shibata (leg lock into a flash pin). We have to watch this match while Yoshi-Hashi sits out on the sidelines? Fale comes out with Tama Tonga. Yano comes out with his entrance video being a commercial for the CHAOS soundtrack CD. He immediately sprays Fale with water and as Fale climbs through the ropes, Yano kicks them to make for a low blow to Fale. The big guy recovers and grabs hold of Yano and just starts wailing on him. Fale picks him up in a big slam and Yano rolls out of the ring. Fale follows him out and clubs him in the back. He takes the DVD Yano was shilling and smacks him with it before Tonga takes it and destroys the damn thing. Fale strolls back into the ring and Yano barely gets back in at 19. Fale picks him up and kicks him to the gut before whipping him from one corner to the other. Yano actually gets hold of the turnbuckle pad and pulls it off. Fale goes for a splash but lands right into the bare buckle. Of course, he just shakes it off. He clubs on Yano some more and tosses him from the ring where Tonga starts in on him. Fale comes out and whips him into the barricade. He then goes for the bad luck fall, but Yano slides out and punches both Club members in the gut. He low blows both guys and ducks back into the ring as the ref gets to 20 and Fale is counted out! Fale gets PISSED but Yano runs for his life! Well, it was there and it was short! In the studio with Tanahashi as he talks about being real beat up coming into this match. His neck is messed up so he can't bridge very well. The winner goes to the finals as he s determined not to lose. To Determine the A Block winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles Both guys are top of the bracket obviously. Styles only losses were to Naito and Ibushi while Tanahashi's losses came to Naito and Fale (SHAME). There must be a winner and whoever does goes into the finals. Styles enters first and by himself thankfully. Jim Ross talks about this being a 28-day series, which is wrong, it was only 19 days. Tanahashi enters with the crowd behind him and air guitars! We come back from the break as the bell rings. Circling around before the lock up and they both are pushing around. They hit the ropes and circle around into the corner. Styles backs off clean but with a taunt. Lockup into a side headlock Styles reverses with a headlock into his own. He gets him down and works more on the headlock. Hiroshi powers out but right back down to the headlock. he powers back up into a test of strength now and Hiroshi gets the headlock. They run the ropes and leap frog a few times before both catching the ropes. They start jawing again. Styles charges and gets taken down with an armdrag into an armbar with Hiroshi's knee on Style's face. They whip each other into the ropes with Hiroshi getting a backdrop on Styles. He whips AJ hard into the buckle. Hiroshi charges right into an elbow but Hiroshi goes out of the ring. He trips AJ from the outside and pulls him to the post where he wraps both knees around the steel to for good measure. Hiroshi climbs in and starts kicking the thighs. Back from commercial as Hiroshi stands on Style's injured knee and then drops an elbow on it. He just lays into Styles with kicks to the knee. Styles gets up and chops Hiroshi. Styles throw Hiroshi into the ropes and Hiroshi tries to skin the cat but Styles chucks him to the floor.  He drops Hiroshi on the metal barrier. Hiroshi climbs in and Styles is right on top of him. He puts Hiroshi in the corner and hits his running forearm. Slam on Hiroshi and lands a leaping knee on the face. Hiroshi gets up and lands some punches. Hiroshi goes to the ropes but Styles nails a high dropkick on him. Hiroshi gets up on the ropes and Styles goes for a running charge. Hiroshi gets a leg up and Styles catches it and drives it down to the mat. Styles immediately starts working on Hiroshi's knee now on the ropes. Hiroshi is in pain as he stands up in the corner but he catches Styles with some hits. Styles backs up and goes for a charge but Hiroshi dives and Styles crashes in the corner. Hiroshi lands an elbow on Styles on the mat. To the corner now as Tanahashi drops Styles with a hit. He tries the flip senton but Styles rolls out of the way. He rolls to the apron and goes for his slingshot forearm but Hiroshi pushes him right off the rope. He climbs the buckle and hits a flying crossbody on Styles outside the ring! Back from the break as both guys are in pain. Hiroshi is up first and climbs into the ring. Styles struggles but rolls in at 19. Hiroshi catches him on the apron but Styles gives a snap on the top rope for that. Styles gets his springboard death drop. Styles rolls out to the apron again and goes for the forearm but Hiroshi catches him. Styles gets out and goes for a clothesline but Hiroshi catches him again and hooks him for an arm trap German suplex. Tanahashi goes for the pin but Styles just makes it out before the 3. Styles hits a jawbreaker. He tries for a kick but Hiroshi hits the dragon screw leg whip. Styles tries to get up in the corner and Hiroshi comes flying in with a splash and takes out Styles and the ref! Styles gets in a low blow and then goes for the Styles clash and Hiroshi hits him low! Payback. It hurts! "It's good AJ has three sons, because the rest of the story is he will have no more"- Jim Ross. The ref gets back up as both men exchange forearms. Styles with some kicks to the knees. Both go down to their knees and start hitting each other. They will themselves up and just keep going. Styles goes rapid fire but Hiroshi slaps him in the face to stop that cold. Styles goes to the corner and Hiroshi goes for him but Styles grabs hold and gets the calf killer! Hiroshi is screaming now but won't give up! Hiroshi scrambles and gets to the ropes but he is hurt! Styles keeps trying to get Hiroshi from the ropes and Styles throws the ref around. Hiroshi gets a kick in and then a neckbreaker. Hiroshi goes for a clothesline but Styles counters into a facebuster and nearly gets the pin with it. Styles goes out to the apron again and hits the springboard forearm. He can't get the pin, though.  Styles struggles to get Hiroshi in the clash but Hiroshi blocks it and counters with a knee. He gets the slingblade in and goes for the styles clash?! Dude, that's cold. Styles counters into an ankle lock to break that up. Hiroshi counters that and drives Styles into the buckle. Hiroshi goes for the clash again and hits it! Cover only gets two! Hiroshi goes for the high fly flow but lands on the knees. Styles rolls out to the apron and to the top where he gets the high fly flow of his own! Near fall and hits the Bloody Sunday DDT. Styles picks him up and Hiroshi hits Styles in the knee. Both guys are down now but struggle back up. Hiroshi hits some strikes and AJ goes for the Pele but Hiroshi catches it and whips him down. Hiroshi goes up and hits the high fly flow. He then hits another one before he gets the pin! Hiroshi is going to the finals! Tanahashi gets announced as the winner of the block and the crowd goes wild.  They get to their knees and go for the handshake but Hiroshi flips him off. Well then! We come back with Hiroshi in the ring soaking up the crowd chants. He says he has one more match to win. He wants to win the G1 with the fans and gives them a hearty I love you! We go to the studio where Tanahashi says that this match is his new best match ever. He says that they both had similar visions for the match. He thinks 2015 was an astonishing year for NJPW and that he thinks Styles is a great wrestler. He wants to do it again sometime. A good episode to finish the bracketing stuff off. The matches that needed to be quick were and the spotlight was put on the right matches in both these eps. Jim Ross seemed a little off in both these episodes and I wonder if these were the last eps he had to dub that day. Anyway, decent shows. Next week we finish off Block B with two big episodes! See you then!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Wrapping up the A Block
Hello again and welcome of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. We have another double shot of action tonight from the G1 Climax 25 tournament as we wrap up Block A action tonight. We have skip...

Annotated Anime: Space Patrol Luluco episodes 5-11

Jun 12 // Salvador GRodiles
I don’t think the word "fun" is enough to describe the time that Imaishi and his crew are having with Luluco lately. From episode 5 and beyond, the team has been launching the series into greater heights than many folks have imagined. With her mother Lalaco showing great promise, she served as that piece to takes things up on a notch. In other words, the TRIGGER veterans must be having the time of their lives with this project. This might just be a speculation of mine, but I had a feeling that Lalaco being a space pirate was likely connected to one of Mao Ichimichi/M.A.O.’s previous roles. The reason behind this link was that she played as Luka Millfy/Gokai Yellow in the pirate-themed Super Sentai series known as Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, which featured a flying red pirate ship. When you look at Lalaco’s ship, the color scheme almost resembles the Gokai Galleon from the series. For now, this scenario might just be a coincidence; however, I still found this random observation to be something that helped make this arc more entertaining than it was. Most importantly, the big thing was how the series brought back elements from KILL la KILL, as Lalaco’s pirate outfit seemed like it was made from Life Fibers. Whether it is or not, the beauty about it was how it made way for the show’s TRIGGERverse season where Luluco and the group had to reclaim their home that was stolen by Lalaco. While we got to go back to KILL la KILL and Little Witch Academia during this arc, the highlight was the return of Imaishi’s Japan Animator Expo short, “Sex & Violence with Machspeed,” making a comeback. All in all, the clash between our heroine’s full-color palette with the world’s usage of black, yellow and white gave it a distinct style. The cool part was that it retained the Panty & Stocking-like humor that the original short had while maintaining the spirit of Luluco's randomness. Even though the series gave off a feeling that TRIGGER’s goal was just to have a blast and push things to overdrive, you have to hand it to them for inserting the pieces for the show’s climatic arc. From the “Alpha” and “Omega” terms in Nova’s name to Midori’s Black Hole App, the team harnessed these things that many people likely thought were just random and brought us a segment that took us back to the Anti-Spiral from Gurren Lagann— except that the show’s villain's scheme is all about stealing things. The thing that sealed it for me was the ongoing arc about Luluco’s love for Nova as tragedy befell the show’s main heroine. Perhaps the neat part about this scenario was how TRIGGER foreshadowed an element from it during the show’s ending sequence. It’s these little aspects that amplify the major parts of episode 10’s big scene— especially Lalaco’s reaction to the whole thing. Combined with a lecture by a certain iconic TRIGGER character in the episode after it and we have ourselves a wonderful moment that makes us want to root for the anime’s main heroine. When I first started watching Luluco, I wasn’t sure how to react to the show’s short length; however as I kept keeping up with each episode, I started to slowly see the vision that TRIGGER was going for as they threw a ton of unexpected challenges to force Luluco to aim high in her mission to save her father and her hometown, along with nabbing the guy of her dreams. From the looks of it, the show might be shooting for a theme about how one should just take a risk and plunge into whatever obstacle that you’re tackling for the first time, along with holding on to the things you value the most. Whether the team intended for Luluco to be the series that connects every original TRIGGER anime to create a TRIGGER-verse or not will continue to be a thing that’s up to the viewer’s interpretation of the anime; however, it might just be an idea they wanted to mess with for this title as it left us with some priceless scenes, such as the group defeating the Life Fibers with a simple solution. With Space Patrol Luluco Season 2 and 3 being a huge improvement over the first, it looks like the series finale will leave us surprised as something unexpected comes our way. Based on TRIGGER’s work so far, they’ll get to accomplish more things than a majority of anime titles that run for four seasons. Of course, the best part is that they’ll do it with lots of love and “Justice!”
Space Patrol Luluco photo
Is this the birth of the TRIGGER-verse?
You got to hand it to shows that outdo themselves to the point where they can convert any doubtful viewer into a fan. In this case, my concern for Luluco’s episode length was wiped out of my system as Imaishi and t...

Review: Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

Jun 12 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35088:5690:0[/embed] Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PC [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: TamsoftPublisher: Marvelous Entertainment/XSEED GamesReleased: June 1st, 2016 (PC), October 14, 2014 (PS Vita)MSRP: $29.99 This game brings back the Shinobi Battle Royale, an ancient tradition amongst numerous Shinobi schools whereby every 50 years, the five elite students of each school will do battle in which result the winners will have the opportunity to burn down the loser’s school and allow them to continue their training to be a legendary shinobi, The story is your typical Shonen-esque (battle manga) so it can be quite enjoyable if you’re a fan of the battle series. Additionally, each character has their individual story allowing you to witness the hardship as well as their preparation for this ancient tradition. From the four schools, you will be able to choose among five characters and go through their individual story. I recommend playing through their individual stories first as it informs you more on the characters’ personality, albeit it may have a small correlation with the main story. Most of it is satire, but is definitely worth playing through. By the end of each of their stories, your characters will be well leveled-up and ready to breeze through the main story. In Dojo Mode, you and three other friends will be able to battle it out online or through the system’s ad-hoc feature. The mode offers three different types of games or six if you include their “Team” variation. There’s Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Strip Battle, Team Strip Battle, Understorm and Team Understorm. In Deathmatch, you will battle it out with your opponent to get the most points. To win, you must inflict damage to your opponents and reach the set amount of points per match, or at least acquire the most points by the end of the match. Avoid getting hit or dying as that can decrease your points. Random enemies will be wandering around as well, which can help stack some extra points. Strip Battle is just like its name suggest. It shares similarities to Deathmatch, but offers its own little twist. Depending on how much clothing you destroy, the number of points you acquire will vary. The more you destroy, the greater the number of points you’ll get. Lastly, Understorm is quite different than the other two modes. In this mode, players need to collect as many pairs of “Skimpy Undies” as possible as they rain down from above. Additionally, you can mug other players for their lingerie they collected thus far.  Overall, I had a lot of fun playing this mode with friends the most. While not exactly a Musou game, the game has some similarities to the genre, such as beating multiple foes on the field while leveling up your character. You’ll have two attack buttons, normal and strong attacks, which can be used to chain up powerful combos as you level up. You can also block and parry attacks when blocking timely. The more leveled up the character, your arsenal of combo chains increases. Just like many beat-em-up games, this title has a lock-on feature in which you can use to concentrate all of your attacks into an enemy but it comes with its downsides. Locking on really limits your camera control and leaves you vulnerable to the enemy. From my experience, it seems that the camera angles have been improved as well compared to the Vita version where it switched to a first-person like view, putting your own character out of view and leaving you vulnerable. With XSEED porting the game to PC, the game received graphical and performance enhancements. While it doesn’t look as Estival Versus on PS4, you can tell that XSEED took advantage of the capabilities on PC.  Additionally, they improved the frame rate issues the game had on PS Vita, as well as made the game 60 frame per second, making it a lot more enjoyable. Only issue I have is that character animations are awkward when in the hub, almost as it wasn’t meant to be 60 frames per second. You have two transformations at your disposal—a Shinobi Transformation and a Frantic Transformation, both giving enhancements to your character. When using the Shinobi Transformation, it allows you to perform continuous attacks by pressing the various action buttons repeatedly. In addition, both your attack and defense will be increased.  In Frantic Mode, you can execute Weak Attacks and chain them together infinitely. You will also receive a huge boost to your attack power but your defense drops drastically.  You will also gain two Secret Ninja Techniques, which deals a lot of damage to the opponent. To use your Shinobi Transformation, you merely press the L and the R buttons; using Frantic Mode requires a bit more. Your Secret Ninja gauge will need be full first, then you press R and Triangle. That will later prompt you with a close-up of the character’s breast on the touch screen, which you must slide outwards. Granted that’s an easy task on a regular Vita, but playing it on a PlayStation TV requires more work to execute, which leaves you vulnerable to attack. When you take damage, not only will your lose health but your outfit will rip and tear. If you take enough damage, your clothes will fly completely apart.  Outfit damage goes through three different stages: Costume Break, Lingerie and Naked. If you want to fully strip an opponent, you will have to bring her down to “Lingerie” and execute a Secret Ninja Art as a finishing blow.  Normal attacks will destroy their lower body’s clothing while Strong Attacks will destroy the top part of their clothing. As expected from Senran Kagura, it has its shares of perverted moments.  You can customize the characters’ apparel, such as their normal attire and their Shinobi and Frantic Mode attire. The customization extends to equipping extra accessories such as tails, glasses, gloves and more. As expected, the clothing options are exotic and really bring out the character’s outer beauty. When in the Dressing Room, you can fully view the character models from multiple angles, and it includes a “perverted” mini game, if that’s what you can call it. In this mode, you can harass the character in multiple ways using your mouse. Lacking the some of the features the PS Vita has, unfortunately this isn’t as fun as it could be. Even with the in-depth gameplay, like every niche Japanese video game, Senran Kagura is aimed to a selective audience. It has fun gameplay alongside good multiplayer modes that add replay value to the game.  I think that the breast galore and panty shots could be a turn off, but beneath all that, it’s fun title that fans of action games should get.  
Senran Kagura photo
The Shinobi Battle Royale, Now in HD
It’s been almost two years since I had the opportunity to play and review Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus when it finally made its way outside of Japan. With XSEED willing to port most of their games into PC, it was about...


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