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Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese English Dubs Edition

Nov 20 // Red Veron
[embed]35406:5957:0[/embed] Batman: Mask of the Phantasm The wonderfully made animated Batman show from the 90's set the bar when it comes to western animation. Be advised that the subs are a joke.   [embed]35406:5958:0[/embed] Rick and Morty Of all the things we export to Japan, the very "unique" Rick and Morty made it across the pacific and probably further made Americans look weirder to Japanese people with all the "American Jokes" contained within. This dub is pretty decent and keeps with the spirit.   [embed]35406:5959:0[/embed] South Park the Movie: Bigger, Longer, Uncut A dub of the movie from 1999, I would totally rewatch the entire thing multiple times (like I did with the original) just to see how they did the translation and dub. The songs are pretty good too in Japanese.   [embed]35406:5960:0[/embed] The Dark Knight Rises If you've been around the "questionable" part of the internet (or twitter), you may be aware of the meme with the movie and the character Bane. I've seen other dubs of this scene and I just associate them all with the ridiculous jokes.   [embed]35406:5961:0[/embed] Big Hero 6 This one is all kinds of meta. This movie is a mashup of east and west where we get a western animated movie with a very strong Japanese inspiration. Now we get to see it in Japanese, what a trip yo.   Is there a western made entertainment product you want to see in Japanese or have seen in Japanese? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! We wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Western in Japanese
As lovers of media from Japan, we often see dubs of our favorite Japanese shows and movies in English (or your native language) but we rarely see it the other way around when it comes to western media. This new thing called t...

Strong Style: Fight for the cup!

Nov 20 // Soul Tsukino
We start off with a greeting from Naito! New Japan Cup semifinals: Toru Yano v/s Tetsuya Naito Naito defeated Yoshi Hashi and Tomohiro Ishii while Yano defeated Yujiro Takahashi and Satoshi Kojima to get to this point. An odd match with the Trickster in Yano and Mr. Tranquilo Naito. Naito comes out first in his white suit and fuzzy mask. He is taking his time on this one as always. Yano jogs right to the ring and starts whacking away with a chair!  He cracks Naito a few times as the bell rings. He gets in a couple of clubbing shots and whips Naito into the ropes but Naito hangs on. He tries for a clothesline but Yano slips around and gets the roll up for two. Naito is wide -eyed and surprised now! He pops up looking to attack but Yano slips between the ropes and the ref stops Naito. Naito pushes the ref out of the way and does a roll to just lay down in front of Yano and glare at him. Yano says the heck with it and walks across the ring and pulls off the turnbuckle pad in full view of Naito and the ref. He turns around and kicks a standing Naito but Naito rakes his eyes and hits an atomic drop. He spits on Yano for good measure. Naito tries to run in for something and Yano catches him in an atomic drop. Naito comes charging in and lands right into the exposed second buckle. Yano tries for a quick pin but doesn't get it. Naito is all out of sorts as Naito tries his hair pull pin but doesn't get it. Naito goes for the waistlock but Yano reverses it and pushes Naito into the ref. Yano then goes low and delivers the low blow and tries to roll Naito up, but hee's got a hold of the ref so when Naito goes over, the ref goes flying over as well. Yano yelled at the ref to get up but Naito comes over. Yano tries another low kick but Naito catches the foot and kicks low himself before getting the roll up and the pin. The match was two minutes long, but with these two that is not unexpected. New Japan Cup semifinals: Hirooki Goto vs. Michael Elgin Elgin beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Bad Luck Fale while Goto defeated Yuji Nagata and Tama Tonga to get to this match. Also worth mentioning is that Goto has won the NJ Cup three times, but has never been able to cash it in for a belt. Yeah, this should be a much better match. Goto is in white but no paint this time. Bell rings and they circle around with the crowd going nuts for Elgin. Japan loves a hoss evidently. They lock up and Big Mike just shoves him down. Goto gets up and tries for a waistlock but Elgin reverses. Goto elbows out but stupidly tries a shoulderblock and Mike just stands there like a breeze hit him. Goto tries another one and Elgin bounces off the ropes and runs over Goto with a block of his own. Elgin gets in some clubs and drives Goto back into the corner. Mike tries the whip but Goto reverses it. Mike stumbles out and Goto meets him with some of his hard kicks. Elgin catches one of the kicks and Does an ENZIGURI! Goto goes outside the ring but Mike follows him onto the apron. he then comes off with a rolling cannonball onto Goto on the floor! We move ahead slightly as both men are on the apron slugging it out now. Elgin hits the bicycle kick to put Goto down. Mike gets back in the ring and goes up to the middle rope. and grabs onto Goto for a suplex and lifts him up from the apron. He brings him down in a falcon arrow in the ring but only gets a two count. Elgin gets Goto up and delivers the bucklebomb. He goes for a second one but Goto slips out. Elgin goes for his spinning back fist but Goto just headbutts him down. CRACK!  Goto goes for a sleeper but Elgin just shoves him off. Mike calls for a clothesline but Goto hooks it and turns it around into a roll up and the pin! Words from Naito He wasn't worried who faced him in the finals. He has never won against Goto and was excited to see a changed Goto in this match. New Japan Cup Finals: Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito A rematch from WrestleKingdom and a grudge match. The winner here gets to choose which singles title he wants a shot at. No time limit. Neither guy had a very long semi match as you just saw. Naito comes out first with Bushi and is in his regular sweatshirt and hat entering the ring. Goto comes out without his jacket and looks ready to go even though he had the tougher match. Goto stares down Naito entering the ring but backs off for the introductions. We also get a look at the actual trophy and DAMN! Bell rings and the crowd seems to be for Goto. They circle slowly as Naito seems disinterested. They go to lock up and Naito pulls back so Goto just start throwing strikes and gets some armdrags on Naito. He lays in some kicks before a chinlock. Naito gets a foot on the ropes but Goto lays in some boots. Naito starts to fight back but Goto lays in some kicks. Naito shoots Goto in the ropes and Bushi trips him. Naito then hits a low dropkick to send Goto to the floor.  Naito whips him into the barrier and Bushi comes over and starts in on Goto, whipping him into the barrier as well. Bushi chucks Goto into the ring. Naito lays in a good strike before tying Goto up in the tree of woe. Naito lays in some kicks and Bushi comes around and starts choking Goto as well. Meanwhile, Naito has shoved the ref down for little reason. Goto falls to the mat. Naito picks him up to whip him into the corner but meets a kick for the charge.  Goto runs out but Naito catches him with an atomic drop and then a neckbreaker. Naito poses a bit before pulling Goto up and slinging him into the ropes. Naito hits an elbow and then a low dropkick. Naito gets a cover but Goto kicks out. Naito lock in a chinlock, Goto gets out with a few elbows and goes for the ropes but Naito meets him with a kick. Naito goes for the ropes but Goto follows him in and folds him in half with a big clothesline! Goto whacks away with the forearm. Naito comes back with a few of his own and sends Goto into the corner. Naito misses the charge but goes to the ropes but Goto runs him over AGAIN with a clothesline. Goto gets him in the corner and gets a spin kick on Naito and then a Saito suplex. Goto goes for a German suplex but Naito escapes. Goto charges the buckle but misses and Naito gets him over the rope hanging low dropkick. He leaps to the top and lands a missile dropkick. Naito lands the German suplex but Goto kicks out. Naito sets Goto on the buckle but Goto escapes and hits a strike on Naito. He jumps up and goes for the superplex but Naito blocks. Goto keeps fighting but Naito still hanging on. Goto goes to the top rope and finally gets the superplex. Both guys splat on the canvas in a heap. We return from break with both guys down. Goto hits a corner clothesline and he goes right up to the top and lands a big elbow. He tries for the pin but Naito kicks out. He picks Naito up but Naito squirms out. Goto meets him with some forearms, though. He shoots Naito into the ropes and Naito tries a flying forearm but Goto steps out of the way. He then grabs Naito's hair and snaps him back down right on the knee! Damn, that's how you hurt someone permanently. Goto then hits the ushigoroshi! He's not going for the pin though as he sets up for the shotenkai, but Naito lands a knee and gets out. Naito delivers a tornado DDT and now both guys are down. They struggle up and exchange some forearm shots before Naito hits an enziguri and a flying forearm. He drags Goto over and puts him n the top rope for a super hurrancanarana but the pin only gets two. He picks Goto up and Naito tries for gloria (reverse wristlock lift into a suplex) but Goto blocks it. Naito hits a rolling Liger kick and hits gloria but the pin again gets two. Naito tries destino but Goto blocks it and gets a ushigoroshi!  They struggle up and Goto puts Naito in the top rope and gets him up for the super ushigoroshi and hits it! The cover is REALLY close to three. Naito scrambles to get up and lands a few forearms. Goto tries a kick but Naito catches his leg. He drops it and just elbows Goto in the face. Goto responds with a string headbutt and a kick to the guts. He gets Naito up and drills him with a shotenkai but can't get the pin! Goto sets up for a suplex but EVIL shows up. Goto gets him and delivers an ushigoroshi. Bushi goes down. Goto gets Naito with a corner clothesline and sets up for another ushigoroshi but Naito counters into a DDT!  Both guys get to their knees and trade forearms. Goto seems to get the better of it. They are up to their feet and more forearms. Naito lands a palm strike right to Goto's head and then another one. Goto lands a headbutt but Naito hits a dragon suplex. Naito hits Destino and gets the pin! Wow, what a match! Bushi and EVIL beat down Goto and lick him out of the ring. They go out and keep beating on him and takes a few shots at the young boys. Naito struggles to get up as he is presented the trophy.  He calls for a fist bump from the presenter. Who climbs out of the ring and then comes back in to give him the fist bump. That...was odd. Back from break with Naito in the ring. He says he challenges Okada but he will decide WHEN that match happens. Bushi and EVIL toss Goto back in the ring as Naito runs him down saying that only the costume has changed and nothing else. Maybe he should wear a mask Naito asks. They then start laying into him but Okada, Gedo, and Ishii run in to break it up. Okada extends a hand to Goto and Goto shakes it! Okada asks if Naito will challenge him in Ryogoku, and not be scared. He will finish Naito off at Invasion Attack. Naito gets up on the apron and they have a staredown, but Okada backs off and leaves. Naito grabs the mic and says if Okada wants to fight at Ryogoku that bad, he will. he tells Okada not to rush and tranquilo. In the back, Goto says this has to stop before he gets up and leaves. Okada says Goto is a CHAOS member and Naito should be scared. Naito says he is not to subordinate to Okada. He buries the concept of the tournament, saying he shouldn't have to fight right off the bat after winning, but says since the champ challenged him he will do it Studio words now as Naito says Goto was struggling and was quite easy for him in this fight. Again he buries the idea that the tournament cup winner has to fight at Ryogoku. He says Goto is a good wrestler and he respected him, but in this match, Goto disappointed him. The first two matches were a complete wash, no doubt about it. However, the final match was really good so in a tournament format, it can be excused. With Goto, they are going somewhere with this "change" storyline with him but I have no idea where. Great show tonight! We are off next week but after that, we got another double shot of wrestling including the first match on this show featuring the amazing Will Ospreay! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
New Japan Cup time!
Hello! Welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  With WrestleKingdom in the rearview mirror, it's now time to determine the next top contender with the New Japan Cup tournament...

Japanator goes to AniMaine 2016: Day 3

Nov 18 // Soul Tsukino
With our stuff packed in the car, we headed upstairs where Scott Melzer was doing a game demo for Shadowfist. We watched as Scott and a few of the staffers played. It is a zany game that is for sure. Lots of fun and lots of 80's music. With that done we headed downstairs to An Hour with Carrie Keranen. Yup, she recognized me from Saturday morning, even out of my demon gear. Thankfully she wasn't mad about it. In fact, she is a lot of fun to listen to and such a sweet person. The hour was fun with stories of her family and more voice acting stories. Good fun! We headed upstairs to check out the last part of the auction. Most of the good stuff was gone and I didn't have much interest in what was left. Once again the official mascot ended up with the stand-up sign. I have no idea what she does with these things, but it was hers! Back downstairs now for David Williams and Licensing and the Anime Industry. With both ADV films and Sentai Filmworks under his belt David is the go-to guy for industry and production questions. He told stories of actual production of VHS, Laserdisc, and DVDs, as well as streaming anime nowadays. Another awesome story teller. If you ever see him at a con, take in one of his panels, and you will learn something and have fun. At this point, the con was winding down. The staff was beginning to break down some of the equipment and the only panel left on the schedule was closing ceremonies in the main event room. Jeremy and I sat in the game room killing some time and also made one last trip to the dealer's room. Finishing the weekend off is the closing ceremonies and convention feedback in the main events. Colin and Chris hosted this one and it was announced we had a weekend attendance of 345.  That's a good number for our little con. Feedback brought u some new ideas and questions from a few people. And with that, the convention concluded. Jeremy and I headed out to the local Chinese Buffet. I filled up on freshly made sushi, a BIG plate of Mongolian grill (Octopus, noodles, beef strips, and broccoli) a plate of Lamb, clams, duck, and Ham and then a dessert plate. Full to the brim we made the hour drive home. Here is my swag haul: The AniMaine t-shirt, program, badge, a temp badge so I could get my press badge, Kopiko espresso hard candy, Gigi liquid jelly pouch, Brazillian orange Pocky, Choco baby, lemon and orange ramune, a packet of shrimp crackers, 2 old comics from the dollar store, and an Avengers comic given out at the con. Gang, I can never say enough good things about this convention, especially this year. I'm not going to get on my soapbox, but this con started days after the Presidential election and its result. Almost all of the people at this con are from walks of life that weren't treated with the respect they deserve during the campaign and with it over, this convention was the perfect way to escape that, even for a weekend. I've said similar things about AniMaine before, but no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are family here. People treat you with respect and love. Staff is wonderful and if there is a problem, they will fix it. I've been to every AniMaine and it has never lost that feeling that if you have that badge, no matter who you are, you belong. I got to see my old friends and met some new members of the family too.  It has been a great six years. Can't wait for number 7: [embed]35400:5954:0[/embed] Thanks for reading along with my experience. Can't wait for next year! You can find out more about AniMaine from their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  
AniMaine photo
The last day
So Sunday started off on a much better note than day 2 for the reason I actually got sleep! Sleep is a wonderful thing during a convention. Again nothing in the early morning got my attention so I wasn't in a hurry. We both g...

JapanaSix: Top moments from Ajin Season 2

Nov 17 // Karishma Roy
Tosaki and Kei’s Alliance So remember how Tosaki and Kei were enemies playing cat and mouse? Not the case anymore. They form an unlikely but a mutually beneficial alliance stemming from their shared goal to defeat Satou. Tosaki is under threat from his higher ups and will be forced to quit the Ajin Research Department if he doesn’t manage to save the minister whose name is on the kill list. Tosaki desperately needs the job to pay for his currently comatose fiancée’s treatment which confirms that he does indeed have a heart underneath that icy exterior! Meanwhile, Kei and Kou require a powerful ally – an army of their own- to defeat Satou’s team. And Kei, guided by his genius intellect, threatens to kill Tosaki’s fiancée in order to buy time to make the deal that gives him the support and resources he needs. This was an intense and action packed scene.  The fear and tension when Kei orders his IBM to kill the fiancée is palpable as no one in the room was aware that his ghost does the opposite of what it is ordered. As twisted as Kei is, there is something to admire about his cold, logical way of thinking. As for Kou, he is the dumbest guy out there but he provides comic relief and reminds Kei about basic human morals so I’m okay with him being a sidekick.  Satou blowing up the plane Satou appears to be having a lot of fun progressing through his kill list. The second guy he takes out is Mr. Sakurai who despite Tosaki’s warnings decides to fly out on a business trip believing that Satou would hardly follow him all the way to Okinawa. Of course, Hatter shows up like Surprise, bitch! There’s a cool casualness to the way Satou finishes his game, saunters to the first class cabin, kills his target and wishes those who are alive "Bon Voyage" before blowing the plane up. How frickin’ cool is that? I mean, it’s totally evil but also the dude’s a bawse! Satou couldn’t give a damn about practicality so long as he can make his stunts awesome. His only regret would probably be that his game console didn’t make it out intact from the explosion. This whole scene is done incredibly well. I wonder about the secret weapon Satou is working on with Okuyama. They have a copious amount of explosives so is it a bomb? What do you guys think? The conversation between Kei and Hirasawa (aka Bald Guy) This conversation is a significant moment in Kei’s characterisation. We haven’t seen him display vulnerability publicly before as much as he does in this episode. How adorable was his blush when Kou compliments him!? I'm interested to see how his character develops over this season. The Bald Guy seems to be the first person to validate Kei’s ability to remain rational at the expense of emotions and even view it as an asset to their mission. Kei, to my surprise, recounts his father’s demise as a surgeon which came about when he took desperate measures to save a patient who lacked an organ donor by looking into the organ black market. Kei is apathetic in nature most likely because he doesn’t want to end up like his dad and this fear resonates with his humanity. Remember Mr. Nekozawa - the dealer who provides weapons to Satou in exchange for organs? I wonder if Kei's father was connected more closely to Ajins than it is let on.  Ajin with wings This IBM at the end is the sickest of them all. Move aside Kuro-Chan, this fallen angel is number one now. It will be interesting to watch it fight. We learn a lot more about IBM’s thanks to the dope Professor Ikuya Ogura. A big shout out to Kai for being a cool bro and willing to help save Kei if needed despite being abandoned by him. Tosaki’s Kidnapping Tosaki is kidnapped by American agents Douglas Almeida (aka a jerk) and Carly Myers on suspicion of having kidnapped Professor Ogura. Myers initially expresses reluctance about this as Tosaki is a Japanese official but Douglas is a misogynistic ass who treats her like scum and doesn’t value her opinion. Tosaki’s treatment of Izumi isn’t exemplary but he didn’t physically assault or torture her. I hope you kill him, Myers. Izumi tries to save Tosaki using her black ghost but it turns out Myers is also an Ajin and her IBM defeats Kuro-Chan who was weak to begin with as she had been summoned not too long ago. I’m adamant that had Kuro-chan been at full strength, Myers’s IBM would have been defeated. Also, Tosaki deserves a round of applause for some mad acting skills when he was being questioned by the American Agents. In Episode 6, he holds up under torture and doesn’t give away the hideout where not only is Professor Ogura held but the entire operation to defeat Satou is being planned and practiced. Izumi Shimomura’s past This sad tale forced my heart through a shredder. We find out that Izumi’s birth name was Tainaka Yoko. Her stepfather, a violent drunkard, tries to sell her out to the police to make money and her mother doesn’t appear to fight hard enough to protect her only daughter. Feeling betrayed and lonely, Izumi escapes and lives rough on the streets working as a prostitute to survive. She appears to have caught a terminal disease and meets Tosaki during her stay in the hospital. Tosaki reveals that Izumi’s mother had stabbed the stepfather in an attempt to protect Izumi however he had managed to stay alive long enough to pull the knife out from his body and stab her back with it. This resulted in both their deaths. Talk about dramatic! We get a clear understanding of their relationship in this episode. Tosaki enabled her to start a new life: she picked a new name and was given a new purpose – to protect Tosaki. Izumi is emotional when it comes to him because of a sense of gratitude that surpasses duty. I was surprised and impressed when she tackles Kei and shows him that he is unprepared to beat Satou if he can’t even defeat her. I hope Kou regretted trying to white-knight her before by suggesting that a woman shouldn’t do dangerous things. Kou, you were probably only concerned, but forgetting to deactivate the safety before firing a gun makes me think it is you who shouldn’t be involved in dangerous missions. Changing Kei’s mind isn’t easy but Izumi persuades him by pointing out that Tosaki is the only one who knows when Hatter will attack the minister. All I can say is, you go gurl! Tosaki is lucky to have you as his bodyguard. This season keeps getting better! My only complaint is that the ending song by CreepHyp is intolerable. The opening song, a collaboration between pop duos fripSide and angela, sounds okay but I sorely miss flumpool from season 1. Do you guys agree with my choice of top moments from the episodes so far? Will Team Kei manage to rescue Tosaki in episode 7? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! [Ajin 2nd season is available to watch on Netflix]
Ajin photo
Episodes 1 - 6
Ajin season 2 is back on our screens and every episode so far has been KICKING ASS. Check out my highlights from season 1 to refresh your memory of the story so far. This cour continues with the conflict between our...


Japanator goes to AniMaine 2016: Day 2

Nov 17 // Soul Tsukino
With food in my stomach, I headed upstairs to Miraculous: How do we define anime? with Colin and Perry. A good panel with the worldwide scale of anime and cartoon production along with comics and other parts of the fandom that kind of blurs the line of what we as fans call anime. It was back downstairs and the next panel I wanted to go to still had a small line into the panel room so I headed to the dealer's room for a bit and got some goodies and pictures of some cosplayers, and the judging for the cosplay contest had just gotten done in the cosplay cafe. I actually was dressed up as Mirakoshi the demon from my superhero short story series kRaveings, but I don't enter the contest. I didn't get any pics of myself this year but this is what I looked like: This is actually important as the next panel was Coffee with Carrie with Carrie Keranen in the panel room that had the line to it. The line had gone in and it was a full room so I just stepped in to get a few pictures. As soon as I had taken this picture poor Carrie SCREAMED! Ummmm...guess my demon outfit is scarier than I thought. It was heard in the hallways. Many apologies happened soon after but yeah, I can check off "scaring a voice actress half to death" off my bucket list. I decided to stay for the panel as she told all kinds of stories of both her voice acting and herself as she handed out Dunkin' Donuts coffee to people. I didn't partake since I'm not a coffee person, and my face paint was still drying. There was some time to kill after the panel let out as the next panel hadn't started yet. the Anime Millionaire game show was upstairs but I just milled around for a little while before going to Great AMVS- Theory and Practice run by Scott Melzer. Think of it as an appreciation panel from anime music videos. Not just a showing but a discussion of why these videos are so good. During talk of one music video the person in front of me was trying to remember the Ship Happens music video and I chimed in the answer. Scott mentioned how weird it looked from his side talking to a person with a demon peeking over her shoulder with an answer to her question. I just couldn't catch a break that morning it seems. With that letting out I checked out the swap meet over in the cafe but didn't see anything I wanted. I headed up to the main event room to catch the last part of Swim Trunks and Ravers and Bears - Oh My!! with Greg Ayres. If anyone has never been to a con with him, let me tell you Greg is an amazing storyteller and he did not disappoint here. His tale of the cursed play in the Texas megachurch was hilarious. It involved dead birds and "fart juice". And then I had to follow that with my panel. Damn Write! I get paid for this! which is about writing professionally for the media (hint your are reading it right now) and also published fiction writing. I got a small but very engaging audience and I hope I was able to give them the advice they needed to help them out. If you were there and reading this now, thank you for showing up! With that done, it was back downstairs and right into the only long line you will get at AniMaine, the line for Bootleg Bomber. The annual tradition of not only educating on how to spot bootleg anime merchandise but then destroying a bunch of them. Before death came to the bootlegs, the cosplay contest winners were announced, and it looks like we got a good bunch of cosplayers this year. Congrats to all of them. Since the theme of this year's con is food, the method of destruction this year was a fat dryer and a Quesada press. The smells were.... interesting, especially sitting fairly close to the table. But the knocks off got the batter and dip treatment or were squashed and cooked. Fun times had by all. [embed]35399:5953:0[/embed] And to anyone who was at this event, Mary Sue is my waifu. With Bomber ending and the upstairs being readied for the rave, people were milling about around the con for a while. I headed downstairs and walked into the panel room and got an applause from the staffers sitting at the table as I walked in. Seriously. Turns out this is the Weird Games Collection panel with game room staffers Garrett and Churchill. I'm not a huge gamer, but what the hell right? They clapped for me as I entered the room so I can at least see the panel. I am also the only one there. So they explain  some of the weirder concept board and card games that they had on hand like Secret Hitler,  Kittens in a Blender (more on that in a bit), and a game the staff just refer to as Trains. Scott Melzer eventually joined us and he is an expert at these games so I didn't feel like a total putz anymore. With that panel ending and most everyone else upstairs with the oontz oontz oontz of Greg Ayres and the rave (I tried it once. It hurt) Scott, Jeremy, and I sat in the hallways chilling for a while. Carrie had the All about the Ladies women only panel in the other room so there was time to kill. Eventually, the three of us headed down to the games hall and Scott introduced us to Kittens in a Blender. A card game where literally you are trying to save your kittens from a blender and put them in a box. This is a simple easy to follow game and that is perfect for me. It started off on a really ironic moment. I had said that we should take out the "Max" card since Jeremy's cat is named Max and it would be too weird to put that kitten in the blender. Jeremy said there probably isn't even a Max card in this game and Scott dealt out there cards. Guess which blasted card is my very first card in the hand? Yup. There IS a card with a kitten named Max in this game. We stayed there until midnight and the con closing up for the night. Jeremy and I headed up to the room. He had gotten some pizza from the nearby 7/11 earlier and left me some slices. I snacked on candy bars and cocoa for a while as I was watching Dumbo and one of those "watch people damn near die on home video" type shows before getting some sleep. Lots of things to do but had good downtime as well. I would say one of the stranger days I've ever had during a con, but that's what makes these kinds of cons memorable. Stay glues to Japanator as we cover day 3. Can the con be able to funtion on the last day? Find out!
AniMaine photo
Or how to scare a voice actress
So day 2 of AniMaine didn't start with a bang but with a yawn as I got around 2 hours of sleep the night before. As the con got started with a few morning panels, we headed to the restaurant for breakfast buffet. A whole lot ...

Japanator goes to AniMaine 2016: Day 1

Nov 16 // Soul Tsukino
So with that, the journey began as it does every year with Jeremy "Emerje" Crocker from Tomopop and I made the hour-long trip down to the hotel Friday morning. We made some stops at the local dollar store and a stop at an Asian market in the area for some goodies and then arrived at the hotel. We got there around 2 in the afternoon to get registered and our badges. There was little wait to get in and events didn't start until 3pm so we were not going to miss anything. The feelings that I had returned home is not an understatement. Warm welcomes and saying hi to old friends you haven't seen in a while is probably the perfect way to kick things off. Since nothing had started yet and the hotel doesn't open up rooms until 3 as well, the main hall where the registration desk is as well as being a big game room was hoppin' early. Video games were mostly in the lower section while board and card based games were in the upper section. Also one of the screening rooms was open showing anime just down the hall and a new feature AniMaine provided was the "Cosplay Cafe" which was a room where you could buy or read manga, buy con shirts, and buy some yummy homemade snacks to munch one while talking with friends. It also offered up some cosplay repair services if you needed it. I didn't think I'd be in this room much at first, but it turned out to be a handy idea. 3pm rolled around and we went upstairs for the opening ceremonies to the con. Since  staff was still setting up a lot of things and guests were late arriving, it was a quick affair with Colin and Chris opening things up officially and going over a few things. Once that was done we got our stuff and got into the hotel room. With things unpacked, it was off to the screening room for a fan parody block with guest and friend of ours Scott Meltzer. There was some stuff we had seen before and some we hadn't. It got a small crowd of people going in and out of the room as at the same time there were two different games going on in the main events room and David Williams was doing a panel at the same time as well. After some wandering in checking out the dealer's room and saying hi to friends, It was to the panel room for one of my own panels, Damn Write! I write smut. Yes. I hosted a panel with that name. I am a professional. A small group attended but an engaged group of mostly other fan fiction writers and idea were shared and hopefully, some encouragement and advice were given on my part. People seemed pleased and so was I. After I let out Greg had the room for his adult panel while we went to Maine events for Scott's hentai game show! I won't go into to much detail since this site is all ages and the panel certainly was not. A lively engaged crowd and all kinds of fun was had. I don't really want to give me details than that but let's just say I uttered the phrase "I can't post that! I'll get fired!" more than once. After that was done I made a trip to the hotel bar for my annual serving of pineapple juice. Oddly the bar closed at midnight which is new. I'm not quite sure why that is now. The hallways were also cleaned out by the chief of staff so it was back to the room for snacks and stuff before trying to get some sleep. If you are a first-time reader of my AniMaine coverage, it might read like there isn't anything going on on the first day, but trust me that is not the case. AniMaine is a very relaxed con sure, but they always have stuff going on, even if a few friends get together somewhere for a card game. Only a small number of the panels have waiting lines for them, so time can be spent doing things, either stuff on the schedule or off on your own. For such a close knit group as this, most of the first day is catching up with friends you only see once or twice a year, while those new to the con find their way around and  get a feel for things. It was a great way to get things started and there was plenty more to come! Stay glued folks, Days 2 and 3 are coming soon!  
AniMaine photo
The best small con there is.
Hello, Japanator readers and welcome to our post-convention wrap up of AniMaine 2016 from the Best Western Merry Manor Inn in South Portland Maine. I am Soul Tsukino and I will be your guide for this wonderful get-together. A...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 5-7

Nov 16 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 5 This seems like a tale of two kitties. The big thing about this episode is that despite the complete BLOODBATH that occurred in the last episode. It's completely ignored. Wakamatsu getting his skull crushed and then ran into the ring post? He's perfectly fine! Tiger Mask bleeding worse than the infamous Muta scale match with Hiroshi Hase (look it up on YouTube if you aren't squeamish)? Nope, he's all good. I know Japan is known for wrestlers not selling big moves but C'mon! Anyway, the big story point here is that Tiger Mask has joined New Japan Pro Wrestling officially. Before his first match, he runs into Fukuawara Mask. An odd trickster type character who bares a striking resemblance to real life wrestler Ebbasan from about ten years ago. We see Fukuwara mask wrestle Wakamatsu in a match and totally trick Wakamatsu in getting carted out. Tiger Mask ends up fighting Tomoaki Honma.. and of course, pins him after Honma misses the Kokeshi headbutt. Well, give the producers points for accuracy there! At a different arena, the GWM is having a show. Tiger the Dark crushes some guy and it turns out things are not united with the GWM wrestlers. Seems the vets don't like how a newcomer like Tiger the Dark is dominating his opponents, especially the main guy Bosman. It is now apparent that Tiger The Dark (Takuma), Kevin Andersen, and Mike are an island unto themselves in the GWM. This leads to both Tigers being in different battles royal (the proper way to plural battle royal according to Gordon Solie). Tiger the Dark draws number one in a royal rumble style where a new man enters the ring every few minutes (facing 18 nobodies and Bosman) and Tiger Mask is in a regular battle royal where we see Okada, Wakamatsu, Honma, Ishii, Fukuwara Mask, Makabe, and Nagata as an in-ring competitor. They are fighting it out for...rice. Seriously, the biggest wrestling names in Japan are fighting over rice. This episode is short on story. Other than having Tiger Mask join NJPW, there isn't a lot of exposition here. It is a much lighter episode than the last one, but they pretty much ignore everything that happened in that episode too. No healing, no revenge, no nothing. Really detracts from the flow of the series.  Hopefully, this branches into something bigger. Episode 6 Straight up, this episode makes little sense and is so not important to the story it seems to be spoofing itself. So now that he has joined NJPW Tiger Mask's next opponent is Gorilla Jeet Singh. A scimitar wielding psychopath that barely speaks any decipherable language and grunts a groans a lot. Of course, this is a spoof of Tiger Jeet Singh, a wrestler originally from the Punjab (later living in Canada) who was recruit by Antonio Inoki to play a foreign bad guy against him in the '70s, despite not having a whole lot of actual wrestling skill. He would run to the ring carrying a fencing saber and attack fans in the crowd. He wrestled (brawled would be more accurate) for over 30 years, most of it in Japan. Anyway in the lead up to the fight, NJPW is going to have "the next generation of Idol singers" sing a song before the fight. These two little brats are Nama Ham and Yaki Udon, you know their names because they say it constantly and speak in the third person. They hate wrestling and even send out a message on their website about how they were tricked into doing the show. They arrive in the ring for the show and the women wrestling fans damn near boo them out of the building and throw trash at them in the ring. What does any of this have to do with the plot of the series? Red Shoes, got any ideas? Yup. That sums up my feelings on this one. Tiger Mask fights the guy, and the only good thing out of this episode is Gorilla signs voice acting. It is hilarious. One the other hand, the idol singers look and sound awful. I still can't figure out if they just act that way to get attention, they are trying to "play heel", or if they really are as big of brats as they sound. They also both sound, and are animated to look like they are 30 years old. Short and sweet, you can skip this episode completely and you won't lose a thing. Episode 7 This episode was titled "Naoto and Naoto" and promised to be something more about the original Tiger Mask anime. Did it live up to its promise? This episode thankfully has way more purpose than the last episode did. It does have a lot going on with more than one storyline at work in this episode. There is a lot of mention of the past, but it isn't the sole story being told here. Tiger Mask and Haruna are in Okinawa for a New Japan wrestling show. The Main Event is Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata facing Okada and his CHAOS buddy Yoshi Hashi. But before any of that, we see the reporter  Hikari digging around in some archive and then asking a distracted Haruna for an interview with Tiger Mask. The interview is very brief. Hikari tells the story of the original Tiger Mask to him and asks if he is from the Tiger's Den, if he is related to Tiger Mask, and why use the name. He answers he is not from the Den, not related to Naoto Date, and he answers that she should be able to find out why he took the Tiger Mask name on his own. This episode also gave us some background on the bad guy side of things as well. In a follow-up from two episodes ago, Tiger the Dark gets his shot at the GWM US title, thanks to winning the battle royal. He is facing off against Bosman (in the "Kow Bell" arena in Texas) and beats him for the belt. His rookie buddies Kevin and Mike congratulate him backstage \and soon the other wrestlers do too. Bosman is demoted to indy shows and Miss X is called to Mr. X's office. He then explains the story of the original Tiger Mask from their side of things. Original Tiger Mask beat the then top executive of the company Tiger The Great, and nearly sank the organization, leading to the original Mr. X to die is despair. He doesn't say how he became Mr. X or how Miss X got to where she is, but between this and the earlier scene, it does get us up to speed a bit on what has happened since the original show. The other ongoing plot here follows an old street vendor and his granddaughter. The old guy is banged up after a drunken argument over wrestlers being stronger than karate guys. This leads to him seeing an ad about the new Tiger Mask wrestling and he thinks it's the original. His granddaughter follows him to the show, and it's her first wrestling event. She's enthralled but the old guy is skeptical of anyone using the Tiger Mask name. He watches the main event and starts having flashbacks when he sees Tiger Mask use the back suplex just like the original did. Like I said earlier, this episode had a clear purpose of linking the shows together, and it worked. However, it didn't take the clear path to do it, and that's good in this case. An episode like this in most other shows would literally be two characters talking with a mountain of flashbacks and not much else going on, but this show not only breaks things up with stuff going on like Tiger the Dark winning the title and The tag match, but we even got to see the events of the original from both perspectives of the story. And look who also shows up? Speaking of the flashbacks, I give credit because they did these scenes perfectly. The flashback scenes were animated to look as close to anime in the early '70s as possible. The animators here did an amazing job with the retro style in these scenes and I believe having that distinction really made the flashback scenes work. Big Kudos for doing that. So this was easily a much better and more productive to the story episodes than the last one. It had a purpose and fulfilled that, and didn't take the easiest road to do it either. Hopefully, this means we are back on track after going off the rails a bit. Overall These eps were a mixed back. Episode 5 was alright, but a let down after the bloodfest of the previous episode. Episode 6 is a totally skippable wash, but Episode 7 gets it right. Fight On Tiger Mask! [Catch Tiger Mask W on Crunchyroll.]
Tiger Mask W photo
The good, the bad, and the kitty
Heya Japanator readers! Welcome to our look at the Tiger Mask W anime with episodes 5-7. When we last saw our hero, Naoto, under the mask of Tiger Mask, he got the crap beaten out of him but was able to defeat Red Death Mask in the end. Meanwhile, Tiger the Dark is being overlooked. Ley's see what happens next!

Strong Style: Double the action from Niigata!

Nov 15 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted in the first hour by Bushi. Someone new to open up our action. IWGP Tag titles: Global Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma) vs. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows) A rematch from WrestleKingdom 10. No big secret here that Anderson and Gallows are on their way out for the WWE at this point, even if they stuck around longer than Styles and Nakamura who had already left. Josh Barnett starts us off as JR doesn't say anything for a few minutes. Club comes out with Tama Tonga and Fale. GBH come out and Honma's got a smile. We immediately jump ahead in the match as all four are in the ring. GBH sends the club out and poses before Makabe goes outside to fight with Gallows while Honma and Anderson stay in the ring to fight. The camera stays on the fight on the outside WAY too long and misses Honma and Anderson trading clotheslines. Honma finally puts Anderson down with a running clothesline. He scoops Anderson up into a slam and then misses a falling headbutt. As this is going on Gallows and Makabe as still fighting outside. Honma rolls out of the ring and Anderson follows him. Togi has his head placed on the barrier and Gallows kicks the metal to jar Togi while Anderson brings Honma all the way up the entrance ramp. Anderson and Honma trade blows until Gallows runs up and clobbers Honma down. They set him up and give him a decapitator on the ramp and THEN the ref starts to count. Anderson holds Honma's arm off the side of the ramp and Gallows just drops on it. Ouch. Honma scrambles and barely gets back in the ring where Anderson is waiting for him. Anderson starts in with a wristlock and then a hammerlock on the arm. He quickly tags on Gallows who then attacks the wrong arm! He hits some good headbutts but he looks kinda stupid now, so he tags Anderson back in who wraps Honma's correct arm around the top rope and works it over with an arm wrench and then a few kicks on it for good measure. Anderson just throws him down to the mat and tries three times in a row to get the pin but Honma keeps kicking out. He tags in Gallows now who lands some kicks (in the correct arm) before tossing Honma outside where Anderson wraps Honma's arm around the barrier and wrenches back on it. Meanwhile, Togi just gets back up on the apron just for Gallows to nail him down. Anderson goes back outside and kicks Honma and then Gallows slams a chair right on the sore arm. Against Honma scrambles back in the ring, but again he does it really awkwardly like "I'm hurt! Now I'm perfectly fine! Now I'm hurt again" looks kind of hokey doing that. The Club work over Honma some more and they send him to the corner where Gallows goes for a charge but Honma moves. He is almost to the corner when Anderson comes in and kicks Togi off the apron. The ref chases him out as Gallows is pounding on Honma. Gallows goes for a big suplex but Honma blocks it and just muscles the bigger Gallows over for a suplex. Makabe finally gets the tag!  He comes in and clubs both guys down. Gallows tries an attack but Makabe just flattens him with a clothesline. He throws Anderson into the barrier and clotheslines him before running across the ring and clotheslining Gallows. Togi climbs the ropes and beats on Gallows. Togi runs him over with a BIG clothesline and goes for the pin but Anderson breaks it up. Honma comes in and throws Anderson out and both he and Togi do a double clothesline on Gallows, putting the big guy to his knees. Honma goes to the ropes but Anderson trips him and pulls Honma outside while Gallows lands a big bicycle kick to put Togi on the mat. We return from the break with Togi and Gallows making the tag so Honma and Anderson are in the ring now. They exchange some fists before Honma gets the upper hand and gets Karl into the corner when Honma catches him and sends him down with a bulldog. Honma's feeling it now and the crowd is right with him. He nails the falling headbutt and then gets in a middle rope blockbuster! He tries for a pin but doesn't get it. Karl gets up and both starts throwing forearms away back and forth. Again Karl misses a corner charge and Honma sends him down with a clothesline. Togi comes in and takes Gallows down in the corner. GBH try for the doomsday headbutt but Gallows comes in and hits Honma in the top turnbuckle to stop that. Anderson punches out off from Togi's shoulders and sends Makabe right out of the ring. Both Club guys send Honma into the corner where Anderson hits a jumping kick and Gallows hits a clothesline and body press. Honma stumbles out of the corner right into a reverse neckbreaker by Anderson. He tries for a pin but Makabe runs in to break it up., Gallows grabs hold of Togi and sends him out and then goes after him. In the ring Anderson hits a version of his gun stun move He tries for a pin but Honma kicks out. They exchange strikes before Honma just hits the headbutt on Anderson and flattens him. He tries with Gallows but Gallows counters with a kick to Honma's head. He then gets the sit-down powerbomb and yells at Anderson to get him since Karl is the legal guy. Karl uses a bloody Sunday DDT. The Club goes for the magic killer but Togi comes to interrupt it, but Gallows NAILS him in the throat with an uppercut. The club goes for a double clothesline but Honma headbutts the grip to break it and Togi runs down Anderson. Makabe then grabs HONMA and starts chopping him in the corner. He's waking up his buddy. Makabe signals for the big finish as GBH get Anderson up and hit the doomsday headbutt. Togi clothesline's Gallows outside and Honma slams Anderson in the ring. Makabe goes up and hits the king Kong knee drop and then Honma hits the kokeshi headbutt and scores the win! After posing a bit, Tama Tonga grabs the mic and makes the challenge for the title belts. He says his partner will be the new bullet club member and that they will destroy them and become the champions. Togi replies (in English), "Anytime, Anywhere, no problem" . The champs leave and The Club have a huddle and group hug in the ring before Gallows and Anderson bow to the crowd. Oddly JR doesn't mention that this is their last match in Japan as until this point. Backstage Anderson puts over New Japan and even Makabe and Honma before saying that Tama Tonga and the new member of the club will win the belts. He says the club started with these guys and Prince Devitt (Finn Baylor) and that the Bullet Club will go down as the best group in history because they were real and friends. Watch out Okada, watch out Makabe and Honma. Anderson and Gallows may be leaving, but they aren't gone. Studio words from Bushi now. He was just coming off an injury and got a chance to talk to Naito, saying he couldn't keep going like he was (as a curtain jerker). However, he is still his own person and not just a follower of Naito. He doesn't mind what Kushida wants to do with the Juniors division, but the idea that Kushida is what makes the belt shine is a misunderstanding IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Bushi This match was set up the day after WrestleKingdom when Bushi attacked Kushida at a show and blinded him with mist in the eyes, saying he was the next of the juniors in line for the belt. As Bushi comes to the ring JR and Josh talk about the set up for this match and that Bushi said he was sick of the Juniors in New Japan being a foreigners playground. They also point out that Los Ingobernables is based off Naito and others excursion to Mexico. We return from the commercial as the bell rings. Instead of a lock up, Kushida slides down to the mat for a guard position which is a strange position to start a match. Doesn't go anywhere as he gets right back up again. Bushi goes in and Kushida goes for a single leg takedown but the masked man catches him and goes into a waist lock but slides into and armlock. Kushida slides into a reverse and then into a headlock. He flows into a single leg takedown and into a front face lock. Bushi keeps trying to counter but Kushida counters that and keeps the headlock going. Kushida keeps a float on Bushi but the masked man gets out. Kushida whiffs a big spinning kick that the audience appreciates and he reminds Bushi he just nearly knocked his block off. Bushi is able to grab and headlock and they run the ropes avoiding each other's attempts at a move before they both throw a dropkick at the same time and back off for the stare down, much to the applause of the audience. Bushi's no slouch at the mat game either it seems. Bushi complains since Kushida won't shake his hand. Bushi shakes the ref's hand for some reason and when Kushida goes to shake the hand Bushi just gouges right at his eyes. Bushi clubs Kushida but Kushida recovers to get a reverse atomic drop on Bushi and put him down on the mat face first before a cartwheel and then dropkicks Bushi right on the side of the head! Naito and EVIL show up at ringside as Kushida whips Bushi into the buckle but Bushi counters the charge with a kick using the middle ropes for leverage.  Bushi lands a dropkick from the top rope and then does a spinnerooni (the hell?!?) before spitting on Kushida. Bushi grabs Kushida from the apron and pulls him part way through the ropes and then dives down snapping Kushida on the ropes and falling to the floor. With the ref distracted Naito and EVIL go to work. Naito clobbers one of the young boys when EVIL horse collars Kushida with a chair and then smacks it with another chair! Kushida just gets in the ring at 18 and is immediately caught by Bushi who snap mares him over. Bushi locks in a stocks position and gets him up before dropping him down in a DDT. Pin only gets two.  Bushi locks in an STF hold and then starts fish hooking Kushida. Bushi releases the hold and gets up with Kushida trying a feeble chop  He lands some stronger shots to the stomach but Bushi shoots Kushida off and quickly strips off his t-shirt and starts strangling Kushida with it! Bushi releases the shirt and as the ref is warming him, EVIL comes over and slugs Kushida who is near the ropes. Bushi goes to the apron to claw at Kushida's face, but Kushida catches his arm and cranks it on the ropes. Kushida leaps into the ring and puts the masked man down with a clothesline. he starts throwing his karate style kicks to Bushi's arm and Bushi tries to counter by whipping Kushida in the ropes, but instead Kushida hits the rebound elbow. Bushi goes outside but Kushida comes over the top rope and nearly misses Bushi completely. Kushida gets back in the ring as Naito jumps on the apron, and doesn't do anything. Bushi tries to get in the ring, but Kushida nails his running dropkick. He goes up and tries for a moonsault but misses, trying to land on his feet but stumbles backward. Bushi runs up and tries for a code breaker, only for Kushida to grab the wrist and lock in a wristlock! He transitions into a cross armbreaker! Naito gets up on the apron and the ref starts screaming at him. Kushida gets up and tries for a heel kick on Naito but gets both he and the ref. EVIL tries to jump in the ring but Kushida takes him down with one shot and he goes out. Kushida kicks Bushi on the ropes and rolls right to the apron. Kushida jumps in for a slingshot clothesline but Bushi sprays the green mist!  Kushida rolls out of the ring and Bushi hits him with a suicida! Bushi attacks a young boy outside before rolling Kushida in the ring. He lay him on the top rope and hits him with a flying dropkick right to the base of the neck. We come back from commercial as Bushi heads up to the top rope. Kushida counters by running into the corner as Bushi leaps off and rolls through it. Bushi tries a kick but Kushida catches the leg, only for Bushi to kick him in the head with the other foot. Kushida is stunned but counters another Bushi kick and winds up with the baseball punch and crack, right in the jaw. He mounts on Bushi and starts palm striking him right in the face before hooking onto the mask and tries to rip the damn thing off! Bushi doesn't take to kindly and starts yelling before he starts smacking Kushida in the head with palm strikes. This breaks down into a fight before Kushida smacks Bushi with a strike, and Bushi just SLAPS Kushida in the face. Kushida doesn't like that either so he starts through heavy kicks right into Bushi's arm. Kushida takes the arm and wrenches it over his shoulder. He tries it again but Bushi reaches up and hooks Kushida into a backslide attempt. Then get all turned around before Bushi lands a low blow kick. Bushi then tries to put the REF in a backslide and uses that to spray red mist in Kushida's face. Bushi hits the code breaker and goes for the p\in but Kushida kicks out! Bushi scales the top rope and goes for a dive but Kushida catches HIM in the code breaker! Bushi is hurt now as e goes to the corner, Kushida is up and nails a dropkick to the sore arm. He goes for another attack but EVIL grabs the leg from outside the ring. Ryusuke Taguchi comes running over and clobbers him. In the ring, Kushida goes for the Hoverboard lock but can't get it in all the way. Naito gets on the apron and Kushida kicks off him to get Bushi down in the submission. The young boys and Taguchi at ringside block Naito and EVIL from getting in ad Kushida rolls Bushi over in the lock and gets the submission! Backstage Bushi says that he will make Kushida feel the humiliation he feels right now. If Kushida wants to elevate the juniors, go it on your own time. Back in the ring, Kushida says he couldn't see because of the mist, but he could hear the fans cheering. He will make the juniors the best ever. In the studio, Bushi says that the location really elevated the match. It wasn't so much the fans were booing him but will cheer him when he actually wins the title. He wants the junior singles belt and wins the Junior tag title, but he would have to find a partner for that. He says it's Naito's show since they all have individual abilities. He says it's different from teaming with EVIL than it is with Naito. He will keep on fighting! Hour Two! We are greeted by Kenny Omega, who goes pew pew pew. No kidding here folks. We get Studio words from Omega as he talks about throwing A.J. Styles out of the Bullet Club. He said you can't have a leader catering to the fans and that someone needed to take the reigns, there was no one else, it had to be him. He is there to make The Bullet Club the number one heel group in wrestling. He goes on to talk about wanting to face Nakamura, but that Shinsuke was scared and didn't want to lose. He says Tanahashi is no ace, and that on a worldwide scale he means nothing. He wants to take NJPW and lead it to new heights, to make it worldwide. IWGP Intercontinental Title: "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi As already hinted this was supposed to be Omega facing Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura either didn't want to drop the belt or wasn't allowed to so the belt was vacated and Tanahashi was put into this match. This is also Omega's singles debut in the heavyweight division after being the top heel Junior for so long. Omega comes out with Takahashi and Cody Hall in his sweet long black tights. Since we got this for the full hour, we get full introductions for both guys. Tanahashi comes out alone and as Josh says, probably with the useless Captain new Japan outside for support. His shoulder is taped up heavily as well. We come back from break as the bell rings. Both guys circle around and immediately Cody Hall sticks his arms in but doesn't do much. They lock up and trade back waist locks back and forth until they get into the ropes. Clean break from both men as Omega seems proud of it for some reason. Tanahashi locks in a headlock and Kenny tries to get out but can't. Kenny keeps trying, but Tanahashi switches to the other arm on the lock before switching into a waistlock  and then back into the headlock. Omega shoots him off but Tanahashi just runs over him with a shoulderblock. Yujiro Takahashi gets on the apron and grabs Tan, but Omega actually tells them to stop. Josh and JR aren't buying it. "Smart Marks are going to hate you for doing that. I can do this on my own."- Kenny Omega. Cody says something about "No, that's the jabroni way" before he and Takahashi leave. Omega hops in the ring and we get going. They trade wristlocks back and forth until they get into the corner. Tanahashi whips omega in but gets met with a kick when he charges. He comes in again and Omega moves but Tanahashi counters with a strike. Tanahashi goes on the middle rope but Kenny gets underneath him and immediately goes for the one winged angel! Tanahashi scurries out of that real quick and when Kenny goes for a strike Tanahashi kicks him and ducks another Kenny attack before whipping him into the corner. Kenny rebounds right into a back body drop. Omega scrambles over to the corner and Tanahashi is right on top of him with some kicks. he then does Good Vibrations (!?!) on Omega making the crowd cheer. He sets Omega on the top turnbuckle and goes for Nakamura's knee strike but Omega moves and he hits the buckle. Tanahashi tries to strike Omega, but Kenny catches it and drops the arm over the top rope. He comes back in and starts hammering on Tanahashi's arm now, but Tanahashi counters back with some liver punches and a forearm strike to the face. He runs the ropes but Omega tosses him over the top. Tanahashi tries to skin the cat but Omega is waiting for him and catches him into a shoulder breaker on the bad arm. We come back from break with Tanahashi on the floor and Omega goes after him. He starts stomping away on Tanahashi and throws him into the steel barricade. He yanks Tanahashi's arm through the bars and pulls for all his worth. He chokes Tanahashi out with a television wire as well. He whips Tanahashi into the barrier again but when Omega goes charging in, Tanahashi raises the feet and kicks Kenny in the face. However,  Kenny turns around and slugs Tanahashi and then throws him into the barrier again. He gets the ringside area to clean out as he tries a suplex over the barrier but can't get it. He wrings the arm over the barrier and tries it again, slamming Tanahashi down right in a section of metal chairs. He picks Tanahashi up, but also finds a Naito mask and puts it on. He hops on the barrier and does a perfect moonsault onto the standing Tanahashi. Nice! Kenny rolls into the ring as the ref begins to count. Tanahashi struggles and drags himself in at 19. Omega immediately goes for the tape on the shoulder and rips it off. He then gets in an armbar but then switches into a key lock on the good arm. He reaches down and grabs Tan's bad arm and pulls back on it. Ouch! He gets even worse as he bends the arm WAY back and actually leans back it with full body weight. MEGAOUCH! He lets go and then starts pounding on the bad shoulder with elbows before putting the arm in an armlock. Tanahashi counters out with some punches and gets to his feet but when he tries to run the ropes, Omega gets a sleeperhold on!  Tanahashi struggles and Omega turns it into a crossface chicken wing. He hops on Tanahashi's back for more leverage. Tanahashi falls back and squashes Omega down. They both struggle to get up. Omega charges the corner but Tanahashi moves. He strikes Omega a few times but Omega whips him into the ropes. Tanahashi comes off with a flying forearm  He sets Omega up for the middle rope senton, but Kenny pops right up. He scoops up Tanahashi for a shoulder breaker but Tanahashi wiggles out of that. Tanahashi goes for a kick but Kenny catches it and goes for a kick of his own that Tanahashi catches and gets Kenny in a dragon screw leg whip! Back from the break, as Tanahashi goes for the cloverleaf but Omega gets to the rope quickly. Omega gets up and gets a shot in. Tanahashi goes for the slingblade clothesline but Kenny dodges it and gets in a full nelson. he tries for a suplex but Tanahashi won't budge. Tanahashi then gets in a LOUD chop to Kenny's chest. Kenny rebounds off the ropes over Tan's head into the facebuster that he turns into an armbar. He cranks on it with all his might but Tanahashi is able to get to the ropes and break the hold, but Kenny keeps hold of the arm as they get up. He pulls on the arm as hard as he can. Kenny picks up Tanahashi in a foreman's carry and goes for the Finlay rolls but when he kips up, he wobbles the knee badly. He makes it up the corner on one leg and gets the moonsault but can't get the pin. Kenny tries for a gutwrench but can't get it and falls backward with Tanahashi falling right on the bad knee. He gets up and tries to walk it off but tries to get Tanahashi up in a Doctor-bomb but just can't get it. Kenny charges Tanahashi on the ropes but Tanahashi just lifts him up and dumps him over the ropes to the floor. Tanahashi sees this goes right to the corner and up to the top in one motion. He comes off with the body splash on the floor be regrets it as he is grabbing his arm. Tanahashi is the first in the ring and eventually omega hops to the apron. Tanahashi grabs the leg and lays in a nasty looking dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi goes for the cloverleaf again but Kenny kicks off and gingerly gets to his feet. Kenny tries a kick with the good leg but Tanahashi catches it and turns it into a leg whip just as Kenny was trying and enziguri. Tanahashi snaps the leg a few times before locking in the cloverleaf. Kenny nearly gets to the ropes but Tanahashi pulls it back and then really leans back on it. Cody Hall then runs to the ring and drags the ref outside. Suddenly the Young Bucks come out from under the ring and double superkick Tanahashi right in the head. They then spike him with the indy taker and duck out of the ring. The ref returns and Omega hits the Styles clash but can only get two out of it. He tries to get a jumping knee but Tanahashi dodges it and locks in a full nelson into a dragon suplex! Back from the break, and both guys are hurting. They get up to their feet and Omega starts smashing Tanahashi with forearms strikes but then Tanahashi counters back with strikes of his own. Kenny strikes back and Tanahashi gets spun around where Kenny hops up and gets the reverse hurrancanrana that drives Tanahashi right on his head! He goes for the one winged angel but Tanahashi reverses it into his own reverse hurrancanrana! Tanahashi hits a straight jacket suplex. He can't get the pin! Tanahashi tries to go up but then Nick Jackson gets on the apron. Cody tosses Omega a trashcan. he throws it at Tan, but Tanahashi ducks and it clobbers the ref in the back, sending him down. The Jacksons come in and start kicking away. The Jackson's place Tanahashi's arm on the trashcan as Omega goes up top, but Michael Elgin comes running out and kills both Bucks dead and makes Omega crotch himself on the buckle.  Tanahashi gets up and slams Omega right on the trashcan as outside Elgin picks up both Jackson's and walks away with them.  In the ring, Omega tries for a brainbuster but Tanahashi turns it into a spinning neckbreaker before he hits the slingblade clothesline but can only get two. Tanahashi goes up top and hits the high fly flow. He goes up for the second one but it misses Omega. Omega then pulls out a variant of the bomma ye and then nails another running knee of Tan, but he pulls back to much on the cover and Tanahashi rolls through it. Omega hits the third running knee and then scoops Tanahashi up in one winged angel to score the win and the title! We come back as the new champ speaks to us. He goes on about Valentine's Day and mangles some Japanese in the process. He runs down the audience, but then thanks them for coming to the show in perfect Japanese! Backstage Tanahashi is in rough shape. He apologizes to Nakamura for losing and that is it. Kenny, the Bucks, and Cody celebrate backstage  Kenny says that Tanahashi is good, beating the crap out of him with an injured shoulder. But he is 97 kilos now and when he hits 100 kilos he will be unstoppable. In the studio, Kenny says having the crowd cheering for Tanahashi is annoying considering he is busting his ass to make the match look good. His goal is to win the G1 climax tournament and then win the belt at the Tokyo Dome next year! What a show! Even though it was only three matches, all of them were good over the two hours. Even Jim ross was tolerable this week and did a decent job! A lot of fun and a real new beginning for the company!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Double the action!
Hi, gang! Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. I'm fresh off spending the weekend at my home Convention, AniMaine with coverage of that coming soon so keep an eye out for that. ...

Weekend Japanatainment: Cooking with Dog Edition

Nov 13 // Red Veron
[embed]35384:5942:0[/embed] Steak with Garlic Sauce Here is the latest and possibly final video with Francis. An easy steak dish with a garlic sauce made with some really good looking garlic. Just look at the garlic that Chef got, they're so pretty.   [embed]35384:5946:0[/embed] Hamburg Steak If you've never heard of Salisbury steak, it's basically a beef patty not unlike a burger patty with gravy and mushroom bits. It's an easy recipe that beginners might find not hard to make since there aren't much ingredients.   [embed]35384:5947:0[/embed] Omurice - Omelette Rice This is a recipe for "omurice", which is a omelette and rice put together with some chicken and tomato sauce. A simple and staple dish that we see in many anime and manga because mangaka are simple people with simple tastes. Also, Omurice is super delicious too.   [embed]35384:5948:0[/embed] Gyudon - Beef Bowl Beef bowl is an easy dish that is basically thin strips of beef that melt in your mouth cooked in a sweet and salty sauce with onions topped on rice. It's so good and simple.   [embed]35384:5949:0[/embed] Sukiyaki - Japanese Hot Pot The first ever video from Cooking with Dog and it shows how the show has come a long way since 9 years ago. Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish where meats and veg are cooked in a large and wide pot, similar to that of "hot pots",often at a dinner table for people to enjoy immediately after the food inside finishes cooking. Best eaten during wintertime for providing that warm deliciousness.
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Thank you, Francis
YouTube has countless channels on cooking all kinds of food and we love Japanese food here at Japanator for obvious reasons. There is one channel about cooking Japanese food that is very recognizable to many fans of Japanese ...

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

Nov 09 // Salvador G Rodiles
In this case, Ex-Aid’s weakness isn’t its theme, but the way how the team implemented the show’s video game aspects. The staff’s decision to add video game effects in a Scott Pilgrim-esque manner takes away from the action scenes, due to the messages appearing at a speed before the viewer has the chance to register the show’s special touches. Even when the words are viewable, the whole thing feels a bit subpar in comparison to previous Rider shows where the special effects were flashier. For a show that’s doing its best to capture the magic of video games, the special effects in Ex-Aid’s action scenes made the whole thing look like a poorly-made live-action adaptation of an existing title. Thankfully, the series’ choreography is enjoyable when the fights are more focused on the heroes fighting their opponent. While many of Toei’s tokusatsu shows have never had a huge budget, previous Rider shows like Fourze showcased a great mix between its special effects and action to the point where it gives off a better gaming vibe than Ex-Aid. Sure, they got Hironobu Kageyama of JAM Project to voice the series’ transformation belts, but the program can’t keep up with the guy’s energetic lines and songs that cause people’s blood to boil. In fact, the show introducing folks to a dynamic super robot-themed rocket punch can’t make up for it either. Despite this issue, the series still has some promise. As for the show’s combination of medical and video game themes, Ex-Aid manages to make the whole thing work. The main villains were game-related glitches who turned into creatures called Bugsters, and their goal is to infect people with diseases so they can become complete beings. Of course, this adds a bit of intensity to the series since the main Rider has to prioritize in saving the victims before they fully succumb to the bad guy’s diseases. Depending on what the staff does with this idea, the show has the potential to turn this premise into a super serious matter. The other connection is that the show’s main Riders are all different types of doctors, with the program’s lead, Emu, being an Intern Pediatrician. From the looks of it, the series goal might be to use the guy’s status to have him view the medical field in a different way from the pros, as he tends to find a way to balance his patient’s feeling with their condition. Since the show already introduced a total of five Riders, the show’s rivalry angle might serve as a fun way for the audience to see how Emu deals with this outcome. Perhaps the factor that sparks this rivalry between the doctors is that you have an unlicensed doctor who’s a shout-out to Black Jack that wants everyone’s Rider Gashats, the cartridges that act as the source of each Rider’s power, and a guy with an unknown agenda as Riders, which makes you wonder if this will get in the way of the group's goal to stop the Bugsters. Design wise, Ex-Aid is all over the place. The show’s Riders have features that represent various gaming genres, which work well so far.  At first, most of the gang’s tacky choice of colors seem weird on the eyes, but they manage to grow on me as I got to see them in action. As a fan of RPG games, it was nice that Kamen Rider Brave’s knight look was a neat suit from the get-go. Unfortunately, the Bugster’s costumes aren’t as strong as the Rider ones since many of them feel a bunch of rejected Metaroid designs from the Spy-themed Sentai Series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Even though it’s a bit of a step up from Ghost’s early bad guys, there’s something about them that lacks that ferocity that previous Monsters-of-the-Week had. At the moment, Graphite, one of the show’s major villains, sports the best look so I’m hoping that Ex-Aid's later episodes will make way for some cooler looking beasts. Despite its shortcomings, Ex-Aid still isn’t out of the game yet. The chemistry between the show’s four main Riders could lead to some entertaining conflicts, and the series’ latest reveals could take this show to the next level. Since the series is building up to a possible betrayal moment, there’s a high chance that the show’s staff will increase the difficulty and deliver a more exciting product as its development continues further in the week. Who knows, this angle might cancel out the series odd choice of special attack effects and tacky elements.
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid photo
This game is far from Ex-Citing
When it comes to shows with hybrid motifs, I’m always down for titles filled various things that would normally not go together. Even though the latest Kamen Rider series, Ex-Aid, mixes video games with the medical fiel...

Annotated Anime: Keijo!!!!!!!! episodes 2-5

Nov 08 // Nick Valdez
Before I begin, I'd like to discuss a bit of the discourse I've seen surrounding that first episode. While some (rightfully) declared Keijo was an offensive work, others (also rightfully) defended its parodical content. Neither perspective is incorrect since the women (18 and over, as poignantly noted) do have agency, as they have yet to make a decision for someone other than themselves, but the fan service nature of its production rejects that agency. But as I've noticed throughout the last four episodes, the balance between the two perspectives is thrown out of whack when the girls aren't competing.  For example, episode two and three are a training episodes. As Nozomi and her friends practice to take an elite class entry exam, they train in various techniques. Like most sports anime, Keijo adheres to the training episode narrative (girls struggle before eventually succeeding when they exploit a new technique). But try as it might to take this part of the story seriously, the episode's fan service point of view negates a lot of its attempted narrative work. You see when the girls are competing, there's a sense of seriousness in the work regardless of how ridiculous its imagery gets. The girls may fight each other with their butts and boobs, but they're treated like tools or fists. There's a respect for these girls in the animation when they compete. Shots are composed at wide angles, and they usually don't linger in compromising positions. Yet, in the training episodes, there are several shots dedicated to zooming in on these same body parts with less respect. These "butt figure eights" or Nozomi's constriction suit are shown in lower POVs, emphasizing the girls' assets, instead of reflecting hard work (as you would see in sports anime). Then its a matter of breaking down Keijo's parodical take on sports anime. When does the fan service perspective outweigh the exaggerated comedy? As mentioned, the girls' Keijo battles are definite highlights. Leading to things like "Titty Hypnosis," "Shoryucans," "W-Acceleration," "Vacuum Butt Cannon," and "Cerberus," the flame dog automatic butt attack that literally bites into the other girls. With these moments, we're laughing with the series. And so far, the ratio has been on the more positive end. While the second episode (and one match in episode 4), made the imagery more titilating, the rest of the episodes have yet to do that so far. But the visuals wouldn't be as big of a deal as I'm making them if the rest of the show had anything to work with.  Since Keijo's  personality is entirely derived from its imagery, its characterization falls flat. The girls themselves are, forgive me, two dimensional. The only development each girl received so far is a new technique. and only two of those reveals are relevant to the girl's personality type (i.e. the shy girl talks when her skill is revealed to be dope, the klutz has a butt cushion which helps her accidentally steal victory). The worst part about all of this is I'm forgetting all of their names. That's the trouble with exploitation media in general. You can argue stuff like story and characterization away by simply stating "it's meant to be a joke!" But sexual exploitation is always icky when not subverted by the rest of the production. You need something to say its alright to enjoy its explicit fan service. Whether its humor or some kind of satire, it just needs to be something of importance to elevate its schlock. Otherwise, it won't last long.  The difference between Keijo!!!!!!!! and intentionally exploitative productions (such as Grindhouse or Black Dynamite) is there is still not enough done to elevate its exaggeration. It's slowly making its way toward more fun, but right now it's hollow fan service. I'll even go as far to say that if it were not my job, I most likely would not continue on with this series.  But since I've already invested the time, I will keep hoping something more concrete eventually hits the series. While I still believe Keijo!!!!!!!! indeed succeeds as a fan service delivery system, it has lost that unique sense of fun and confusion I felt after watching the premiere.  [Keijo!!!!!!!! is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now]
Annotated Keijo photo
Get it right, get it right, get it tight
The series premiere of Keijo!!!!!!!! was probably the most confusing anime I've seen this season, and most likely the year. Introducing a world in which busty girls attack each other with their butts for money, I expected the...

Weekend Japanatainment - Monarchy Edition

Nov 06 // Red Veron
[embed]35371:5927:0[/embed] Anime: No Game, No Life A pair of siblings who happen to be really good at all kinds of games are bored of their daily lives and want something more--- challenging. They get transported to a magical land by a deity where war has been replaced by games to decide things between nations. The siblings become the rulers of a nation on the brink falling to another nations using their mad gaming skills. A fun show where characters compete in different games with some very clever and entertaining solutions. A bit of ecchi fanservice in there too.   [embed]35371:5928:0[/embed] Anime: Aldnoah.Zero In the far future where humans in Mars has its own royalty, war breaks out between Earth and Mars due to some human nonsense. Plenty of political intrigue and giant robots too. Written by the same guy who wrote Madoka Magica and Kamen Rider Gaim.   [embed]35371:5929:0[/embed] Anime: K A cool premise where Japan is ruled by different kings that supercede the Japanese government despite having a similar political structure to the real world. How? Because superpowers and fashionable' street wear because most of them look like street gangs. This show's animation style is pretty unique and a lot of people love it.   [embed]35371:5930:0[/embed] Anime: Code Geass In an alternate timline where the British royal family is ousted from Britain and flees to what is now the United States to establish the country of Britannia. Britannia is ruled by a monarchy and they have a military giant robots and some super powers so they take over most of the world. This show is about Japan trying to liberate itself from Britannia with the help of Guy Faulkes-type of character who happens to have a super power that lets him get revenge on Britannia.   Who is your favorite anime royalty or anime featuring royalty? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW WITH EVERYONE!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
No Vote for you!
If you've been paying attention to the news lately, the US is having an election in a few days. As much as everyone is already tired of the election news, being able to vote for a leader is better than having one chosen by pe...

Strong Style: New Beginings

Nov 05 // Soul Tsukino
We are welcomed by Okada! NEVER Openweight title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii A WK10 rematch! Not much else to say about these guys I haven't mentioned before. This should be a fight! Ishii enters first. Right out of the gate Jim Ross screws up and calls it the NEVER Overweight title. He then proceeds to forget Ishii's nickname of "The Stone pitbull". It's gonna be a long night if that keeps up. Shibata enters carrying the belt in his hand. Josh Barnett points out something interesting here as Shibata believes a champion has to earn the right to wear the belt to the ring by defending it once. The man has principles. They glare at each other and then go nose to nose. Bell rings and they go right into a lock up. Shibata goes for a punch but Ishii reverses. Shibata lands a shot and keeps asking Ishii to hit him as he keeps smacking him with forearm shots. They go right into exchanging forearms back and forth. Figured as much. They KEEP going back and forth for like 2 minutes before Ishii stumbles back stunned. Shibata snaps him over and lands a kick. We move ahead a bit as Shibata is landing running boots to Ishii's head. He asks for more and gets it! Ishii stumbles back but throws a clothesline. Shibata no sells it. Shibata lands some more kicks but Ishii hits a clothesline to send Shibata down. Ishii put him on the top turnbuckle and lands the avalanche brainbuster! Cover gets two. Ishii hits a powerbomb but only gets two. Shibata locks in a triangle lock on Ishii out of the pin attempt! Ishii gets his foot on the ropes to break the hold. They get back up and more forearms by Shibata. He picks the big guy up and hits the DVD but Ishii pops right up. He hits a suplex but Shibata is up and lands a kick to put Ishii back down. Only gets a 2 count. Shibata locks in a rear choke. but Ishii powers out and reaches the ropes again.  Shibata lands a kick to send them both down. they struggle back up and MORE forearms now. Shibata goes down first. Ishii runs him over with the clothesline and hits a suplex, but Shibata gets up. Ishii hits two headbutts and a low clothesline, but only gets two. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Shibata wiggles out and locks in the armbreaker! He turns it into a triangle and then turns it back into the arm breaker. Ishii gets to the ropes but the damage is done. Shibata gets up and lands some kicks but Ishii gets up. and throws an elbow right to the throat! Shibata lands the back fist!  Shibata tries for the PK but Ishii catches him! Ishii hits a headbutt that stuns Shibata. Ishii with a dropkick! Ishii counters out of a choke attempt. Shibata throws the headbutt but Ishii with the hard smacks. Shibata gets the sleeper. Ishii is down. PK! Shibata gets the win and retains the belt! What a match!  We go to commercial and holy crap a commercial for New Japan World! Cool! In the studio with Okada. He doesn't know the story going on with Goto, but he does remember Goto calling him out in the middle of the ring. Okada teases him by saying he was going to make it title vs. title but that Goto had lost his belt. IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto Goto got a big win over Naito at WK10 while Okada defended the belt a shook the monkey off his back by beating Tanahashi. However, on our last show in a big tag team match, Goto was booed severely when facing up against Okada. Let's see if that plays into the match at all. I'll point out that I saw the original entrance from New Japan and they did a quick montage of ALL the previous IWGP champions before this match. Wish that had been shown here. Goto comes out and he looks incredible. He is wearing all white, including tabi boots. He has on a red oni mask and is painted in white with lots of kanji written on him in black. The subject of former WWFer Jinsei Shinzaki and JR mentions the WWE network.  Jim, YOU DON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE! Barnett says the writing on Goto's face is "fierce warrior". Full introductions for this one. JR mentions Goto has challenged for the belt 8 times and never won it. Bell rings and they do... nothing. They both finally leave the corners and go for a Greco-roman lock up, but back away. Lock up and waist lock by Goto. Okada gets a wristlock but Goto reverses into a full nelson and snaps him over in a chinlock. Okada gets out of it, but Goto goes right into a headlock. Goto up still with the headlock, but takes him down again. for a one count. They go into the ropes and Goto gets a kick in and starts striking Okada down and Okada rolls out of the ring. Goto slides out, but Okada slides in and when Goto enters the ring Okada hits him with a dropkick. Goto comes back in as Okada takes over with strikes and slam before hitting a senton. The cover goes nowhere. Okada grabs a heavenly lock in but Goto gets a rope break. Snapmare but Goto pops up and lands a clothesline. He RAMS Okada's head in the buckle and tosses him outside. Goto runs Okada around the barriers before tossing him inside. All this time JR is going on a rant about how TNA had Okada for months and used him as a Kato like character. "If I were to build a company, I'd do it around Okada." "That's kinda what New Japan is doing." - Josh's reply. Goto leads in with some kicks as Okada gets up but Goto strikes him and tosses him into the corner. He works over the champ with kicks and strikes. Forearms right into the face now. Ref breaks it up as Okada gets up and tosses Goto into the ropes but misses the kick and is clotheslined. Goto gets a reverse chinlock and tags Okada on the head with a chop. Okada gets up and strikes Goto but Goto just hits him back. he goes for a cover and gets two. Meanwhile, JR is bitching about wrestlers playing video games in the locker rooms instead of watching the matches. Josh counters that if the wrestlers are playing video games, they aren't interfering in the matches. Back from the break as Goto gets a suplex, but only two on the count. Okada gets the turnbuckle again and a series of elbows in the face. Okada reverses but hits the buckle again, however, when Goto goes to the ropes, Okada gets in a flapjack. Okada hits some forearms and then a kick to send Goto down. Whip in the buckle and Okada gets the side hit into a DDT and a kip up. He goes for the pin but only two. He slams Goto down and climbs up but Goto pops up, Okada dives over him and Goto clotheslines him in the back of the head. He lands some brutal side kicks and then a spinning kick into the corner. He lands a suplex on Okada and goes for a pin but again, doesn't get it. Okada tries to throw a clothesline but Goto turns it into a spinning neckbreaker. Okada gets into the corner and Goto tries to run in but he hits Goto with a kick. Goto tries the corner again and is lifted to the apron but Okada blocks an attack to send them both down. They get up and start exchanging forearms back and forth. Okada tries a headbutt but Okada hits the clothesline but Okada counters with heavy rain! Cover gets two. Okada hits two low dropkicks but doesn't get the pin. Okada climbs up and hits the missile dropkick. Pin gets a 2 count. Okada hits the slam and climbs up and hits the flying elbow! rainmaker pose! He goes for the rainmaker but Goto spins around and locks in an armlock! Goto tries to wrench back but Okada rolls it over for a pin attempt. Okada breaks and hits the ushigoroshi. He then goes back to the arm breaker. He is stretching the champ now! Okada gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Back from break with Goto up. He lands a kick to the back a few times. More kicks. Goto picks him up and hits a reverse ushigoroshi. Goto goes for the suplex but Okada snakes out to escape, but Goto comes right over and strikes him. He lifts Okada on the buckle and gets a few forearms. Goto picks him up on his shoulders and hits the avalanche ushigoroshi! Count only gets two. Goto picks him up in the suplex but Okada reverses it into a small package. Goto rolls through it and picks him up and hits the shotenkai! Goto goes for the pin but Okada gets his hand on the rope. They get up and Okada hits the rainmaker! Both men down now. They pick themselves up and throw some forearms on their knees. Okada up first and throws some uppercuts. Okada lands a kick and a shot to the face before going into the waistlock. Okada goes for a kick, Goto counters, but Okada counters into the suplex. They struggle for it but Okada hits the dropkick. Okada tries for the Rainmaker, but Goto hits the headbutt. Okada tries it again and gets a headbutt again. Goto tries for a suplex but Okada grabs onto the arm and hits the rainmaker. He then hits it again! He hits it a third and Goto's out. Okada pins him to put it away. We come back from break and the champ has something to say. With all the happenings in NJPW, don't worry. I'm here. Mr. Goto, your revolution ends here. But if you want to keep changing things, join CHAOS. He has no third point. Someone who left said pro wrestling is the greatest, but it's New Japan that is the greatest. Backstage Okada says Goto didn't really change other than his costume. he wasn't so much inviting Goto to CHAOS but extending him a hand to help him change as he wants to. Studio words saying the same thing about Goto. He said Nakamura left to find the best wrestling in the world, but he doesn't agree and thinks New Japan is the best in what they do. The action was amazing. Both matches were fun, even if they were a little slower paced than say stuff from someone Kenny Omega or Nakamura. You could see the intensity in Goto as he looked to kill Okada to get the belt. Jim Ross's commentary through was grating. His rants about wrestlers playing video games, Ishii not wearing socks, Constant WWE mentions, bashing TNA about something that happened 10 years ago, harping that this was Goto's eighth shot at the title he's never won, and mentions of Bill Watts over and over are wearing thin. He is on autopilot and desperately needs new material and less bitching about these dang kids today. He's becoming more like Abe Simpson than anything. Anyway, just giving you all a heads up as next week's article will be a bit delayed as I will be covering the AniMaine Convention again this year with a full report. The big match next time though is Tanahashi and Omega for the vacant Intercontinental title so you will not want to miss that!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Okada defends the belt!
Hi Gang! Welcome to another Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro wrestling on AXS TV. This week it is a New Begining! We are traveling to Osaka fresh off the heels of WrestleKingdom 10 with some big matches from February 11, 2016! Let's get to the matches!

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Delicious

Nov 03 // Red Veron
Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!  
Loot Anime photo
Sweet Tooth for some Sweet Anime Loot
My monthly craving for some anime goodies just got satisfied with the latest Loot Anime box! The lovely folks over at Loot Anime HQ provided us with this month's Loot Anime, and the theme is "Delicious". This month's Loot An...

Weekend Japanatainment - Scary Anime Edition

Oct 29 // Red Veron
[embed]35358:5911:0[/embed] Anime: School Live! Here is an interesting show, take a cute-girl-doing-cute-things kind of show and set it in a zombie apocalypse. Do I have your attention? Yeah, this one is a definite must watch especially with that kind of setting that is actually pretty unique.   [embed]35358:5912:0[/embed] Anime: Ghost Stories This is a show that has been brought over to the US and received an English dub. It was a fairly generic anime horror with kids in actual peril but when it was brought over, the US company that dubbed it, the late ADV films, changed the entire script into a comedy. So what we get is a raunchy and funny show full of jokes and ad-libs by the voice actors turning this horror anime into something quite different.   [embed]35358:5913:0[/embed] Anime: Paranoia Agent This is a show that freaked me out a little bit when I first saw it on late nights on Adult Swim more than a decade ago. The show had atmosphere and mystery with different and separate characters all experiencing odd or weird phenomena that were just plain unsettling at times. It was all thanks to the late anime director  Satoshi Kon, who's made some amazing mind bending anime that just really makes your imagination go wild.   [embed]35358:5914:0[/embed] Anime: Sword Art Online RIP Character development. This show killed it the second it began.   Are there any scary anime or anime with scary elements that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
OBLIGATORY SCARY TIME
It's that time of the year again and I am slapping together an impromptu post about scary anime to coincide with the celebration of Halloween! This yearly event of dressing up and asking for candy from strangers is also about...

First Impressions: March comes in like a lion episodes 1-3

Oct 29 // Red Veron
March comes in like a lion introduces us to Rei Kiriyama, a teenage professional Shogi player who happens to be really good at it. Though that setup sounds like he has it good but he has no real family and very few friends. The show starts out pretty quiet and a bit dreary when we first meet Rei. He lives by himself in a new town where he just moved to and lives a rather lonely existence in his apartment with a nice view of the river. The first episode begins as we follow him as he starts his day and he goes to a shogi match. As we get to know more of Rei, we find that his life isn't all bad but not exactly perfect. Rei is in that self-discovery part of his life (like most teens his age), trying to find his place in the world and figuring things out. These things are explored as Rei plays shogi, the one thing Rei is good at, which makes Rei feel conflicted with each win he makes takes something away from someone else. The second half of the first episode has a dramatic shift in tone that really came out of nowhere. Everything did feel dreary and sad but once that shift in tone happnes, I felt like I was getting hit with a train. Except that train was made of rainbows and happiness. This very much sets up the show, there will be plenty of quiet and sad moments punctuated by some happy and funny moments to break it up. It's much like real life, where even if everything isn't going well, people will try to find something to break that up with something happy to keep their sanity intact. We get to meet more characters in the first few episodes and we find that Rei isn't exactly alone. There are people around him, he has a bit of a problem with connecting with others because of his past, which we learn more and more. The characters we meet are an interesting bunch, providing a lot of comedy and contrast to Rei's more reserved nature. The secondary characters are given some development early on and most of them probably will much like in Honey and Clover. Shogi plays a minor part in the show, with Rei being a professional Shogi player but the viewer doesn't need to know the game at all to enjoy. The Shogi playing is a backdrop and more a plot device used more to show off the nature of the characters playing Shogi. I really want to talk about everything in the show but it would spoil all the good stuff that can surprise viewers. Visually, SHAFT does an excellent job in bringing Chika Umino's art to life and I honestly thought I was watching more of the author's previous work with Honey and Clover, which was made by J.C. Staff, an entirely different studio. While SHAFT made this show, the first episode was much more subtle than their usual work and their trademark motifs and touches are only noticeable to those very familiar with their work. SHAFT faithfully recreates Umino's pretty character designs and even her watercolor pastel art style from her artwork very well.  SHAFT's fingerprints do show up more often with each episode. The very SHAFT moments do make things better in this show, as it perfectly lends itself to the comedy while adding more to the dramatic moments. This is all due to the director, Akiyuki Shinbou, who worked on popular SHAFT productions such as Hidamari Sketch and the Monogatari series, and March comes in like a lion is full of those elements from those shows. Those worried that SHAFT might screw this up or take it too far should be rest assured that SHAFT has had experience with slower paced slice-of-life anime. The songs they chose to start and end the show are by Bump of Chicken and they are just superb. Not quite as diverse as Honey and Clover's soundtrack, but the songs that bookend the show and insert songs go really well with the show and set up the mood just right. Fans of Chika Umino's work will find familiar themes from her previous work, a slice-of-life story with drama that can get heavy at times. It's a coming-of-age story in trying to find a place in the world and not knowing how things will turn out. No actual romance in yet this early in the show, but there might be some down the line. The first episode is a good example of what to expect, and the following two prove that there is more to the show with comedy and not just gloomy teenager stuff all the time. I highly recommend this show for people to watch if they want a grounded and solid slice-of-life drama to balance out all the action and waifu/husbando shows from this season. [Catch March comes in like a lion on Crunchyroll and Daisuki.]
First Impressions photo
Game of Life
It's been almost a decade since the first time I watched the anime adaptation of Chika Umino's Honey and Clover. I was hooked right from the first episode; from its beautiful art and animation to the memorable characters, it ...

Strong Style: Moving on

Oct 29 // Soul Tsukino
Since this is a special show. No greetings from anyone.  The Bullet Club (A.J. Styles/ Kenny Omega) vs. CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura/ YOSHI-HASHI) An all-star tag match. This takes place the night after WrestleKingdom where Nakamura beat Styles, Omega lost the Jr. Heavyweight Title to Kushida and Yoshi was part of the pre-show rumble. Okay, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. We are at the Sumo Hall as all four men are already in the ring. Styles and Nakamura start off Lock up and they reverse waist locks before Nakamura gets the advantage and Styles gets the sit out. Lock up and they go into the ropes and Nakamura goes for the belly rub. Styles drills Nakamura in the back of the head for that and goes right into a wristlock. Nakamura counters with a cartwheel and gets in a wristlock of his own before sliding into a headlock, but Styles whips him into the ropes and a leapfrog but Nakamura hangs onto the ropes. Styles tries for something and misses while Nakamura goes for a knee strike and miss. Styles challenges Shinsuke to come on. Nakamura charges but Styles gets the deep arm drag but Nakamura counters with a leg scissors, but Styles slips out of that and we have a standoff. We jump ahead (probably editing out the Yoshi-Hashi stuff) to a point where Nakamura is landing some kicks to the gut of Styles. Nakamura lands an enziguri to send Styles into the corner. Nakamura gets in the good vibrations and goes for a knee strike but Styles moves. Styles charges in but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut anyway and sets up AJ on the top rope, cartwheels backward and lands the knee strike to the stomach. Nakamura goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He picks up Styles who jumps up and launches into a strike and kick combo but Nakamura ducks the last strike and fires off a combo of his own. Styles goes down and crawls over to the corner for as tag. Kenny comes in and lands a few punches on Nakamura. Shinsuke lands one back but Omega turns around and hits him. Kenny goes to the ropes but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut and then hits an enziguri kick. Shinsuke goes for a side suplex but Omega blocks it and hammers in a few elbows. He spins around and gets Nakamura in a facelock but Yoshi runs in and lands a blockbuster on Omega and holds him so that Nakamura lands the low knee. Pin attempt only gets two as Styles breaks it up. Yoshi tosses Styles from the ring and gets out. Nakamura tries for the booma ye but Kenny catches him and put him down with a Finlay roll, but when he goes up for a moonsault, Nakamura brings the knees up. Nakamura goes for the booma ye again but Kenny lands a clothesline to send Shinsuke in a flip. Kenny dead lifts him from a prone position on the mat and picks him up into a powerbomb position before hitting a doctor bomb on him. He nearly gets the pin but Yoshi comes in and breaks it up. Omega goes for the one winged angel but Nakamura slips out. He holds Omega as Yoshi comes in but Omega ducks and Yoshi clotheslines Nakamura!  Styles comes in and hits the bloody Sunday DDT on Yoshi to take him out. Omega hits a running knee to Nakamura's head and then a second one! Omega tries to pick him up but Nakamura springs to life. Nakamura lands the reverse power slam but when he goes for another move Styles comes flying in with a springboard clothesline. He turns around to attack Nakamura and lands the Pele kick on him before Omega leaps up and hits the reverse hurrancanrana and drives him down. He lifts Nakamura up and hits the one winged angel for the pinfall! Styles and Omega congratulate each other as Nakamura is helped out from ringside. We come back from break with both guys still in the ring. As styles climbs the turnbuckle to congrat the fans, Omega comes up and gives Styles the one winged angel! Omega lays in the boots as the Bucks, Cody, Gallows and Anderson come in to split things up. as Doc, Karl and Cody Hall lift Styles up, the Bucks and Omega land the triple superkick! Anderson and Gallows seemed confused at first, but they join in as the entire group kicks the crap out of Styles. We have a new leader of the Bullet Club. Omega grabs the mic and asks if anyone was surprised. Styles, you have been fired! He renounces being a junior and says he is challenging Nakamura for the IC title! They begin to leave but jump back in the ring and attack the young boys before going after Styles again. Omega then hits the styles clash on AJ. The Club leaves and Styles climbs up to his feet as the crowd cheering for him. He bows to the fans for his final exit. Backstage Styles says he respects NJPW and all it offered him. He will never forget what happened in the ring. But as the saying goes about the best-laid plans. Things did go as New Japan quite wanted. See Styles had been competing for them withgout a contract for a while before this, so they knew he would leave. Having Kenny Omega was the plan. But the original idea was to have Omega defeat Nakamura and win the IC title from him to put him over. But Nakamura put in his notice too, and both he and NJPW thouyght he would hang around for the next big show to drop the belt and put Omega over. Be it either NJPW, The WWE, or Nakamura himself, that was nixed and Nakamura was going to leave for the U.S. earlier than they wanted. Nakamura vacated the belt and it was announced that he would face someone else, but didn't say who. That brings us to January 30th, again at the Sumo hall, and Nakamura's final appeaerence. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Meiyu vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii) Now THIS is an all-star match! The crowd is all for Shinsuke with a chant and red banners everywhere now. Everyone is in the ring as Nakamura makes his entrance.  His partners even hold the ropes open for him. The match starts with Okada and Goto. The crowd starts a big Okada chant surprisingly. Jim Ross surprises me a bit by bringing up the "New 3 Musketeers" that were Nakamura, Tanahashi, and Shibata when they came out of training, and mentions the original 3 musketeers of Great Muta, Masa Chono, and Shinya Hashimoto (Rest in Peace big man). Anyway, Goto and Okada lock up and go right into the ropes where Goto gives the champ a shot and then another. Okada backs them both to the middle of the ring and lands a few forearm shots before running the ropes only to get hit with a shoulderblock by Goto.  Goto lands a low kick and Okada rolls outside. Goto doesn't do that crap and goes outside and throws Okada right back in, but Okada is sneaky as he leaps up and runs across the ring to come back and land a speeding dropkick to send Goto down. Goto looks pissed, but just calmly walks around before slowly entering the ring. Okada turns around and tags Ishii. Shibata (who is wearing a huge bandage around his leg) begs to come in and Goto obliges.  Shibata comes in and they circle a bit before Shibata goes for a waistlock that has them both on the ropes. Clean break. They tie up in a greco-roman style lock up and back into the ropes again. Ishii decides to not go for the clean break instead chopping Shibata right in the chest. Shibata literally brushes that off and begs for more. Ishii lands a few more shots before aiming these suckers right to the throat! Shibata just asks for more. Finally Shibata lands a forearm shot to Ishii's chest and HE asks for more. After three forearm shots he starts firing off forearms and we got a duel. Back and forth for what seems like forever before Ishii goes to the ropes. Shibata goes for a kick but Ishii sidesteps in and lands another forearm. Ishii goes back to the ropes and Shibata lands the boot this time but Ishii just yells at him. He goes for a third time and finally Shibata drops him. Ishii seems to be holding his wrist, but Shibata goes for the legs and locks in his version of the Figure four leg lock. Ishii just yells at him more before Shibata torques the ankle. Ishii reveres the hold, but it's turned right back. Shibata lets go of the hold and Tanahashi tags in. Ishii goes over and tags Nakamura. The crowd is right into this match up as they start cheering. The two old rivals lock up aggressively and right into the ropes. Nakamura gets the belly rub thing in one last time and backs off, challenging Tanahashi. Hiroshi goes for it and Nakamura lands a knee to the stomach. Shinsuke goes for a kick and a knee but misses them both as Tanahashi gets up and dares Nakamura to come get some. He goes for it and Tanahashi lands a sweet armdrag. He locks in a textbook armlock on Nakamura before he tags in Shibata. They both whip Nakamura in and land a double shoulderblock. They give each other a look before they go for an MMA style lock up. They back into the ropes and for the love of chud SHIBATA does the belly face rub to Nakamura! Shinsuke has this look of "you got to be kidding me" before he goes for a strike that Shibata block and Shibata lands a slap to the face. they back off a bit and start over with Shibata trying for a waistlock but Nakamura rolls through it. Shibata then tries for a chinlock but they keep out maneuvering each other. This finally ends up with Nakamura getting a chinlock but Shibata flips him over to the mat and then lands the kick to the back. As he is trying to get up, Shibata keeps land kicks to Nakamura. Shinsuke counters with a block and tries to throw a kick but it misses, only for him to hit the rebound with a spin kick to Shibata's head. Okada and Ishii suddenly come in and send the opposing corner to the floor. As the fight is going on Nakamura sends Shibata down in the corner and lands good vibrations followed up by a jumping knee into a 2 count. Ishii tags in and both he and Okada come in. They both whip Shibata into the ropes and he runs right into THREE BOOTS. Shibata goes down but Nakamura and Okada PICK UP ISHII. The drop him onto Shibata with a sit-down splash and he gets a 2 count. He lands some weak kicks to Shibata to fire him up and then some chops. Shibata just gets mad and stand up as he fires off some forearm shots. He puts down Ishii but then runs over and lands a low dropkick to Nakamura to send him to the floor. Ishii runs up and lands a low kick to Shibata. We come back from the break with Okada legal now as he slams Shibata near the ropes and goes to the apron. He lands the slingshot press. He tries the cover and only gets two before tagging Nakamura back in. Nakamura lands a kick and then gets in a front choke. He brings it back to his corner where Okada tag back in and lands a shot to the back. He tries to whip Shibata in the corner but when he goes running in, he is met with a kick. Okada hits the ropes but he is met with a strike to the face. Shibata rolls over and tags Goto. Goto gets booed big time. Man, the crowd just does not like him. Wonder why (no, I am clueless why they hate him all of a sudden)?  He takes out the two guys in the corner and then lands some stuff kicks to Okada before whipping him to the buckle and lands a twisting kick and streams right into a back suplex. He goes for a pin and nearly gets it, but Okada kicks out. He then gets right on Okada by beating his brains in with elbow strikes. He charges the corner but Okada moves. and lands a DDT into a nip up. He hits a rolling uppercut and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He slams Okada down and goes up top, but Goto gets up and meets him. Okada jumps over him and when Goto turns around Okada hits him with a forearm. He whips Goto in and lands the flapjack before tagging in Nakamura. Shinsuke lands a bunch of deep kicks to Goto who catches one, just t get the enziguri kick to the side of the head. Nakamura hits the ropes but Goto leaps up and hits the ropes too and runs over Nakamura with a clothesline. He tags in Tanahashi who just strolls into the ring. Nakamura gets up and they have  a stare down before Tanahashi SLAPS Nakamura. Shinsuke answers with a forearm and now they are dueling with forearm shots to the jaw. Tanahashi springs off the ropes and hits Nakamura with a flying forearm to the chest. He slams Shinsuke down and hits the senton off the middle rope but can't put him away. Nakamura tries the full nelson but Hiroshi breaks it, then breaks the waistlock before Nakamura tries for a kick but Tanahashi catches that and hits the dragon screw leg whip. He sends Nakamura into the corner but Nakamura dodges the charge setting Tanahashi perfectly on the top rope and a knee strike. He gets caught by Nakamura who lands the reverse suplex  Nakamura shimmies a bit and signals for the booma ye but as he goes for it Shibata comes in and lands a dropkick. Goto comes in and hits the ushigoroshi and Tanahashi goes up for the high fly flow. Shinsuke brings the knees up and down goes Hiroshi. Nakamura goes to whip Tanahashi but Hiroshi reverses it into the slingblade.  Ishii and Shibata tag in now and Ishii runs right over Shibata and starts laying in forearm shots. Shibata answers back with a head to head glare before he starts throwing forearm shots. He unveils a new move as he whips Ishii into the corner and is right behind him with a flying kick. He does it again before throwing more forearm strikes. He hits his sweet hanging dropkick before dragging Ishii up and hitting a half hatch suplex and goes for the cover for two. Shibata looks for a suplex but turns in into a front facelock. Ishii says the hell with that and turns it into a brainbuster suplex. Ishii whips Shibata into the corner and squashes him before gong for the cover but not getting it. Ishii goes for a piledriver but Goto comes in and lands the clothesline. He then runs over and nails Okada. Shibata picks him up and Goto goes for the clothesline but Ishii ducks and Goto clothesline Shibata. Okada comes running in to boot Goto in the face.  All three of CHAOS come in and Nakamura lands a step kick and Okada hits a senton and then Ishii hits the elbow, but can't get the pin. Nakamura and Okada go outside but Goto comes back in. Shibata holds him and they get the move off but Okada comes back in the ring and boots Goto. He tries to boot Tanahashi but Hiroshi catches his leg and gets the leg whip. Nakamura comes in and lands a flying knee but Shibata comes in and lands a big dropkick on Nakamura!  Everyone except Shibata and Ishii rolls to the floor. Ishii comes running across the ring and flattens Shibata with a clothesline. He picks Shibata up, but Shibata lands a spinning back fist! Shibata scurries over and locks in a triangle but Nakamura comes in and kicks Shibata right in the ear. Tanahashi comes in and they start fighting outside the ring. Shibata locks in the reverse choke and Ishii struggles to the ropes. Shibata BLASTS him with a kick to put him down but he goes to the ropes where Okada meets him with his awesome dropkick. Nakamura then hits the booma ye. He tries and pick Ishii up and slaps him around to wake him up. Ishii feels better and lands the brainbuster on Shibata to score the pinfall!  We come back from commercial with Kenny Omega now at ringside. He says that it's Nakamura's last match, but we shouldn't be sad. It's his graduation to go take on the world! He wants Nakamura to admit that he is a chicken and is scared to fight him. Tanahashi appears, grabs a mic and tells Omega that HE will be facing Omega for the IC title and that he is the ACE. Omega backs down from that. Tanahashi leaves as the ref brings Okada and Gedo in and raises the hands of the winners of the match. Nakamura takes the mic. He bows to the fans and asks if he should say something He is grateful to all those he fought and the fans who supported him. He will show the world what he has. He will not say goodbye, just Thank You. Yeahoh! He tries to leave but the other CHAOS guys come out (even Jado!) and he hugs all of them. Okada's even in tears. They give a big pose for the cameras and the crowd is chanting for him. He declares that Pro Wrestling is the greatest. As they leave Okada carries him out on his shoulders. The announcers say this is a celebration for Nakamura, not a mourning of him leaving. Backstage he says it's been a long time and some of the guys are like family. He says he is sure Okada will protect this place. Someone ask about fans waiting for him to come back to wrestling in NJPW and he kinda just doges the question as we end things this week. Well, the first match was nothing to speak of. They hacked a lot out just to skip to the ending. The second match though was great! A fitting way to end a run for Nakamura than that. Skip the first ten minutes and the show is wonderful!  See you all next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
2 stars say goodbye
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  This week we deal with the immediate fallout of WrestleKingdom 10. Okada is still the IWGP Champion, GBH are the new tag cha...

Final Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Oct 28 // Salvador G Rodiles
While Thunderbolt Fantasy’s scene that involved Yao Tu Li resulted in a moment that ended too quickly, it’s thanks to the team’s surprises that this segment was made into a big thing. We barely knew anything about Shang Bu Huan’s background or the limit of his abilities, so his finishing move ended up being the thing that was big enough to leave us amazed with his latest arsenal that no one knew about. Of course, the thing that made the show’s finale spectacular was the fight between Mie Tian Hai and Gui Niao/Lin Xue Ya. Prior to this finale, the series made it seem that this whole story was going to lead to Huan being the one to face off the Xuan Gui Zong’s leader. Aside from the glorious clash between the two characters, the idea that we learned about Ya’s real motives was made this confrontation even more worthwhile. Not only that, the guy was as mysterious as Huan. In a way, his idea of stealing from powerful egotistical villains to break them goes well with Thunderbolt Fantasy’s possible theme about realities’ harsh truths. The nice part about this element was that it applied to any character in the show, regardless of their alignment. Since the butcher does his best to make sure that everyone gets a taste of the knife, his goal to make his characters suffer suited the whole theme of how things don’t always go the way they planned. Whether it was a certain character getting the last laugh on Ya or getting a glimpse of Huan’s true power, Thunderbolt Fantasy was filled with many surprises that made up for its quick battle between Huan and Yao Tu Li. Honestly, that the battle against Yao Tu Li was handled poorly; it's that wasn’t as fleshed out as the previous fights that appeared throughout the series. Nonetheless, the way how Huan took it down was what made the whole thing amazing. While it seemed like something that came out of the left field, it added to the main hero’s mysterious nature. Seeing that the series is getting a sequel, this element could be something that they could expand upon in this new show. For now, it serves as a way to show us that he likely has more surprises up his sleeve than Ya. On top of that, it was nice that he found a way to give Dan Fei hope after it seemed like her mission was going to end in failure; thus fulfilling the butcher’s requirement of a bittersweet ending, except happier than his usual stuff. Even when Thunderbolt Fantasy started off as a straightforward tale about stopping Hai, the show was filled with many elements that foreshadowed towards things getting out of hand. Most of the cast had mysterious backgrounds and there were many folks who exhibited ulterior motives. Accompanied with the weekly over-the-top puppet on puppet action, every episode featured the right amount of elements to keep the audience entertained. This was also thanks to the crew’s hard work in designing the characters and environments for each scene. Throughout the series, the staff did their best to present a set of large environments for the puppets while using both digital and practical effects to give the setting some life. Overall, the detail that the team put into the stages worked well in pulling us into Thunderbolt Fantasy’s world. The show’s food props gave off a mouthwatering feeling and the weather segments were executed in a way that it seemed like the studio was hit with an actual storm. Of course, it was a treat to see the staff go out of their way to showcase their puppets in high-speed battles that knock the world out of balance each week. Just like the environments, the team’s puppet designs were one of the show’s highlights. The detail placed into the cast’s outfits gives each character an elegant look, as the various colorful fabrics make each person shine. To top it off, the puppets’ sculpts on the puppets made sure that each one exhibited a sense of mystery or ridiculousness. One example was Hai’s design, which had him sport a black robe with fancy gold pieces and jewelry. His exquisite mask and collection of swords worked well in making him look threatening, along with being someone of high power. In Urobuchi’s quest to be involved with different mediums, he’s shown us again that his cutting techniques are qualified for high-octane marionette action shows. His style was able to mix well with Pili’s tendency to blow people away with their puppets. Together, they came up with a fine project that taught the main cast the harsh truths about reality, along with giving a new hope to those who survived the final outcome. While the main story is over, there are still plenty of things that Thunderbolt Fantasy could pull off with its sequel. For now, this series is the start of a beautiful thing that can blossom into something that’s even greater than it already is. In fact, it could keep us tied up for a good while. [Feel Thunderbolt Fantasy's shock at Crunchyroll.]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
Now that's what I call electrifying
It’s hard to believe that one of the best shows of the summer was a series that featured puppets involved in cool action sequences. Honestly, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s biggest treat was the way how Urobuchi, Pili Inte...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 2-4

Oct 23 // Soul Tsukino
In the first episode of Tiger Mask W, we were introduced to Naoto and Takuma, the last remains of the Jipang wrestling gym that was put out of business thanks to the Global Wrestling Monopoly. They both have their own way of getting revenge not only for the gym disbanding but also putting Takuma's father in the hospital. Takuma becomes Tiger Dark and joins the GWM while Naoto becomes the heroic Tiger Mask and takes on the GWM's best. Now that the introduction episode is out of the way, we move on to see where the story goes from here. Episode 2: The second episode picks up where the debut left off and the immediate fallout of the debut of the mysterious Tiger Mask. The story starts out with Miss X and the GWM demanding an apology and issuing a challenge at a press conference. Haruna goes to answer the challenge and we find out Tiger's next opponent is a veteran wrestler named Black Python. When the two sides start to squabble, we see the real star of this episode, New Japan Pro Wrestling. You can't really be surprised, with them coproducing this series and all, but this episode focused more on their part in this series even more than Tiger Mask himself. They were just kind of there in the first show, being the biggest company in Japan since the GWM had left. This episode they play a part of a third wheel, with real life wrestler Yuji Nagata appearing for the first time, but in a role of a booker/office guy instead of a wrestler. He wants part of the spotlight of Tiger Mask and the GWM too, so he gets Miss X and Haruna to agree to have a big show at their arena during the big tournament. Things get more interesting when he weasels both of them to have a "prelude" tag team match first (a typical move NJPW does in real life). Black Python's partner is Tiger Dark, while Haruna can't come up with a partner, Yuji "provides" them with Wakamatsu, the young boy wrestler who has been hanging around Okada in the first episode. Yuji and Okada later talk to the boy and tell him to look really good in the match so that NJPW gets the attention. If this story sounds like NJPW trying to shoehorn themselves into the story the hardest they can, you would be right. But, I guess you gotta get wrestlers from somewhere to side with Tiger Mask after all. It can be a little distracting, but with it only being the second episode, hopefully, it won't be quite so noticeable in the future. Speaking of distractions, the show didn't take long to get to the fan service with a Miss X shower scene. It wasn't very long, but it didn't exactly do anything either. She's in a shower and answers the phone. That's it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, LOOK at her and tell me that fan service isn't the goal here. The actual match isn't bad. Being co-produced by NJPW gives it the benefit of having (mostly) realistic looking wrestling, even if most of the bad guys look like rejects from the old HUSTLE "Fighting opera" promotion from a decade ago (look them up and see the guys they had wrestling for them). Black Python especially looked worse for wear with a white beard and one eye. Seriously, they designed him with a mask with one of the eyes just stitched up. A few minor gripes though didn't detract me too much from the episode, though. Being the second episode it set up a lot more possible things, but it still told a story. This felt like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, It was telling you there were bigger things coming, but still able to put something together for you. It will be interesting to see where this show takes us next. Episode 3: Time for a Flashback! Yup. 3 episodes in and we are having a flashback episode. So I'm guessing the big singles match with Black Python isn't going to happen now, especially since he got pinned by NJPW's young boy Wakamatsu. So instead the GWM is bringing in the Red Death Mask. But that is almost an afterthought. In fact, so is NJPW in this episode as they are barely mentioned either after being the focus of the last episode so much. Instead, this episode serves as a flashback, expanding more on what happened in the beginning of the first episode. Things are touched off with Takuma and Kevin Andersen having a bit of time off in waiting for Red Death Mask. Kevin and Takuma end up going to the hospital where Daisuke is recovering. Instead of talking to his father, Takuma hesitates. The rest of the show is flashbacks to how the JinPang gym was disbanded after the GWM challenged them on the JinPang 10th anniversary show and crushed them. With Daisuke in the hospital, we are introduced to Mr. X, the villain of the first Tiger Mask show. Yellow Mask recruits Takuma to join the Lion's Den as the only way to get strong enough to avenge his father. Meanwhile, Azuma is recruited by Kentaro to train at the Original Tiger Mask's training ground. This episode is a complete 180 from the last one. This is entirely back-story expanding upon the events in the first episode. Between Mr. X showing up and finding out Kentaro was the original Yellow Devil, we get a lot more references to the original show, even finding out what happened to the Tiger Mask of the first show. Interestingly we get a few odd name drops. There is a giant tackling dummy in Tiger Mask's old gym named "Roussimoff", the family name to Andre The Giant, and one of the GWM lackeys in the flashback is named, Billy The Kidman, a reference to former WCW and WWE wrestler Billy Kidman. Which is about as bizarre a reference as you can get from a Japanese show. While I think this episode is good and provides more backstory, it seems to kill off the momentum from the last episode dead. No mention of NJPW, or Black Python, or much of anything. Much like real life wrestling, sometimes the story just takes a dead stop for a week. However, I liked this episode a lot more than last week's by far as the flashbacks flowed well with the story that counts, not trying to shoehorn NJPW down our throats. Episode 4: It's now time for the big match between Tiger Mask and Black Python err.. Red Death Mask. Since evidently, no one has seen this new Red Death Mask before. NJPW has set up a preview match for him against Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu seems confident going into the match as he talks to Tiger Mask and Haruna, even saying he wants to meet up with Haruna afterward. This is where I was really surprised. The level of violence shown in this episode was not what I was expecting. Let's just say that Wakamatsu's match with the GWM newcomer doesn't go well for him as I'm pretty sure Wakamatsu suffers a fractured skull. The idea is that Red Death Mask leaves his opponents with a mask of red death, so whomever he faces gets covered with blood. This show does an amazing job at showing just how bad Wakamatsu is doing when you here the crunch of his skull more than once and then the sound of him meeting the ring post is even worse. We get a little bit of a flashback of when Naoto first arrived at the Takaoka garage. Haruna comes home, just after being accepted into high school. They had a promise that when she graduated from high school she would work for him at the garage. He then breaks it to her that they are closing the garage. She, of course, is upset and takes it out on Naoto. I'm really not entirely sure what this particular flashback was supposed to accomplish really. If it was to show the relationship with Haruna and Naoto, it doesn't do a very good job. About the only thing it does show is that despite her appearance Haruna is of legal age, making the earlier scene with Wakamatsu a lot less creepy. We also see more of the wrestling reporter Hikari. She briefly appeared at the end of the last episode, but this is a more proper introduction as she tries to interview Tiger Dark and the other two GWM guys, Kevin Anderson and Mike. She doesn't get much from then and they walk away. However, we do see Tiger Dark and Kevin later. Dark bitches at Miss X that his match is second on the show and Tiger Mask's match is the semi-main event. She basically tells him "Tough Titty!" and he and Kevin go out and wrestle in front of a sparse barely interested audience. Welcome to wrestling kid! Anyway, it's time for the match and yeah, it's even more brutal that the match we saw earlier. There is a really funny spot as Yuji Nagata is at ringside commentating and then tries to go into the ring, only for Red Death Mask to throw him back to the commentator's table. I'm not going to give too much away, but as I've said before, the actual wrestling in this show is amazing and the holds and counter holds are not only well done, but very clever as well. Outside of the flashback scene, this episode is very good, even if it cranks up the violence and gore up several notches. If you are not a fan of animated blood than this wouldn't be for you. But I like that Red Death Mask is actually built up as a dangerous threat and not just plopped into the plot like Odin or Black Python. I also like the subplot here of Tiger Dark being a curtain jerker and getting mad about it. If wrestling has taught me anything when guys get into that frame of mind anything can happen so this may turn into a much bigger part of the plot. However, I wonder if the show peaked TOO early with having Red Death Mask getting his match in episode four. This guy comes just short of collapsing a guy's skull and the first real threat to Tiger Mask. What is the show gong to do between now before we get to the inevitable matches with Yellow Devil and Tiger Dark? I'd hate to see this show become "Monster of the week" like the original Sailor Moon, so that makes me wonder what else this show has in store. Overall, these episodes show this anime is going to be an interesting one. You had three very different episodes here, each putting their contribution to the story. While some of these plots seemed oddly placed, we will see how they fit into things as the show goes on. I can't wait!  
Tiger Mask W photo
Continuing the story
After a smashing premier, what does this new generation of Tiger Mask have to keep the momentum going? Turns out quite a bit!

Weekend Japanatainment - Nintendo Anime Edition

Oct 23 // Red Veron
[embed]35352:5905:0[/embed] Anime: Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach (1986) Here is an early anime OVA featuring the Super Mario Bros on an adventure that isn't really based off any game. The original games, Super Mario Bros only came out the year before this one so it does take liberties with the interpretation of the original game and characters. If this anime looks like something that would air in the United States at the time, that is because a lot of the cartoons that aired in the US were either made in Japan or South Korea (and many still are made in South Korea today), so a lot of those cartoon shows back then were technically anime. Crazy, huh?   [embed]35352:5906:0[/embed] Anime: Pokemon Origins - Episode 1: Red This miniseries is not like the ongoing anime/cartoon series that features the forever young Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Origins takes more after the original Red and Blue/Green versions  from the Gameboy, even naming the main character "Red" and his rival "Blue". This show is a bit more violent than the cartoon and is the source of that horrifiying clip where a Charmander screams in terror as it gets its neck chomped on by a Squirtle.   [embed]35352:5907:0[/embed] Anime: Star Fox Zero - The Battle Begins This promotional tie-in anime with Star Fox Zero was made in collaboration with Shigeru Miyamoto and anime studios Production IG (Ghost in the Shell) and WIT Studio (Attack on Titan). It's got some great production value and I wouldn't mind seeing more in the future.   [embed]35352:5908:0[/embed] Anime: F-Zero Falcon Densetsu Now this is from a time where Nintendo tried to make some anime of their existing properties but it didn't really pan out. I just wished they made more games in this series on modern consoles.   [embed]35352:5909:0[/embed] Game: Super Smash Bros for WiiU/3DS This was quite a surprise, this announcement of a character in the then upcoming Super Smash Bros games was done in anime form featuring Link from The Legend of Zelda games and Pit form Kid Icarus games fighting it out in cool anime action. This excited a lot of people and want more. Hopefully we actually get some cool Nintendo animu. Please, my body is ready.   Is there a Nintendo-based anime that you love or want to see? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know.
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Japanese Nintendo Cartoons
If you've been around the interwebs lately, you may have heard of Nintendo's new gaming device that both does portable and home game console gaming, the new system called "Nintendo Switch". Now I wouldn't be a good "journalis...

Strong Style: Main Event time!

Oct 22 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Okada! IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi A rematch from last year's show where Tanahashi left Okada fleeing the ring in tears. Okada is out to not only keep his belt but also avenge such a devastating loss. Tanahashi worked his way up to become a contender again by winning the G1 classic and earning the briefcase. These guys have met before, but this match brings with it a lot more intensity than ever before. Okada in the studio talks about his not so great history in the dome. He was booed out of the building his first year, was voted out f the main event in favor of the IC Title match one year, and had last year's nightmare loss. His determination to end this streak added some emotion to this year's match. Tanahashi comes out first and JR mentions he hasn't lost in the dome since 2008. When he is called NJPW's Cena they aren't kidding. Tanahashi poses for a bit in the ring. JR mentions that while Okada is the champion, he is an underdog and doesn't get the same respect and that he needs to beat Tanahashi to get it. Okada makes his way out with Gedo following behind. Red Shoes holds the belt high. We come back with the bell ringing and we are underway.  They both just take in the crowd noise before we circle in and go for a knuckle lock before backing off. They lock up and bull each other into the ropes with Okada getting the advantage. Okada gives a clean break, but screw it Tanahashi takes a swing and they trade some punches before backing off. Okada lands a strike that sends Tanahashi down but we get back to where we started. Okada lands a knee to send Tanahashi down but he responds with a strike to the mouth of Okada. They back off but just walk up and stare each other down. Tanahashi swoops Okada in but rainmaker counters with a kick to the head. Okada puts on a cravat into a snapmare. He tries to get a chinlock but Tanahashi gets the hammerlock and Tanahashi ends up getting a waistlock into a headscissor. Okada slips out and gets a headlock on Tanahashi. Tanahashi brings things back up and steps on Okada's knee to escape and goes into a headlock. Okada tries a whip but doesn't get it. Okada gets a wristlock and switches it over so he gets a headlock. Tanahashi lifts him up and dropped on Hiroshi's legs. Tanahashi chopblocks him on the other knee. Okada is already hurt as Tanahashi goes to work on one of the knees with elbow drops. Tanahashi gets down and torques onto the ankle before Okada gets to the ropes. Tanahashi lays on some kicks on the right leg and stomps on the hamstring. Okada pushes Tanahashi off and goes after him in the corner and they get lost for a second before Okada gets pushed off and Tanahashi goes up to the middle rope and lands a body press but doesn't go for the pin. Tanahashi scoots out to the apron but Okada launches a dropkick to send Tanahashi to the floor. We come back from the break as Okada takes a break in the ring before slowly going out and whipping Tanahashi into the barrier. He follows it up with a kick to send Tanahashi over the barrier. He then gets a running start and flies over the barrier and takes out Tanahashi in the crowd. Tanahashi crawls to the ring, but Okada helps him back in. He slams him close to the ropes and lands a senton over the ropes. He goes for the cover but Tanahashi kicks out. Okada then locks in a chin lock and grinds on it. Tanahashi struggles back up and uses a few elbows and uppercut to break. They go into the corner where Okada tries for a dropkick and misses. Tanahashi then goes to the second rope and misses the senton. Okada whips Tanahashi into the other corner and lands a running elbow and a diving uppercut to get a two count. Okada then crosses the arm for a heavenly lock!  Okada lets go and locks in a weird looking chinlock, like his hands, are positioned all wrong. Tanahashi counters with some low punches and Okada breaks the hold. Tanahashi tries a low dropkick to the knee but Okada dodges. Tanahashi lands a flapjack and then a strike before he lands the low dropkick on the knee! They get up and Okada lands some punches but when he goes for a high kick, Tanahashi catches him and gives him a dragon screw leg whip.  Okada rolls onto the apron and Tanahashi climbs for an attack but Okada springs up and punches him. He tries to pick Tanahashi up on his shoulders but drops him. They both end up on the apron. Okada goes for a kick and Tanahashi moves so Okada gets his leg caught in the buckle where Tanahashi gets the screw legwhip again. Okada tries to get in the ring but Tanahashi hits the leg whip again! Okada is still stuck on the apron and Tanahashi hits the slingblade on the apron to send Okada to the floor with a flop. He tries to get up but Tanahashi goes up and lands the high fly flow outside the ring. Tanahashi rolls into the ring with Okada barely moving. He rolls into the ring at 16. Tanahashi with a slam and goes to the second rope and gets a splash on the knees! He grabs Okada's legs and struggles to get the cloverleaf  but Okada is blocking it before getting to the ropes. Tanahashi lays in some kicks. He locks the leg in the ropes and throws a dropkick right into the inside of the knee. Okada gets up and Tanahashi tries for an Alabama slam but Okada reveres it, the reverse and reverse again ending with Okada getting a Tanahashi drop across the knee. They get up and just start trading forearms back and forth. Tanahashi gets and uppercut and goes to bounce off the ropes but Okada lands a dropkick. He gets Tanahashi down and lands four low dropkicks right in the row. He goes for the pin but doesn't get it.  He climbs up the rope and lands a sweet dropkick. He tries for the pin but doesn't get it. Okada with a slam. He goes for the ropes again and lands the Randy Savage elbow! He gives the rainmaker pose as we go to commercial. He picks up Tanahashi and shoots him into the ropes but Okada catches him into a tombstone but Tanahashi rolls it into a pin attempt for two. Tanahashi then grabs Okada's other leg and hits the leg whip! Tanahashi goes into the rope but Okada tosses up a dropkick but Tanahashi catches him and locks in the cloverleaf! Okada's in deep trouble! He keeps going for the rope but can't quite get it. He struggles and gets his hand on the rope to break. Both men are exhausted. He goes into the ropes but Okada shoulders him in a weird spot. Okada tres to pick him up but can't get it. Tanahashi hits the sling blade! Tanahashi climbs up for the high fly flow but he misses! Okada drags him up and scoops him into a tombstone but can't get it. Tanahashi locks in a suplex and gets him over. He goes for a second but Okada turns it into a tombstone! Okada gets the rainmaker and goes for the cover, it's only two! Even Gedo is surprised. We pan out to this awesome crowd as Okada launches up to the top rope and lands the high fly flow! Hw tires to get a pin but no Tanahashi picks Okada up and locks in the arm and lands a rainmaker clothesline of his own! Count only gets two! Okada up first. He takes Tanahashi's head but Tanahashi kicks him right in the leg. He does it again! Tanahashi kicks the leg again! Okada gets him up for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out the back and lands the slingblade and gets a dragon suplex but Okada gets out of the pin. Tanahashi climbs up and lands the high fly flow. He goes up again and hits another one but Okada kicks out of the pin! Both slow to get up and Tanahashi goes outside and climbs the ropes again. He goes for a flying splash but Okada throws a dropkick. He lands right in the gut! Okada drags him up and tries for a suplex but can't get it. He fights it with elbows and gets out, but lands a HARD slap to the face. Tanahashi goes for something but Okada lands the dropkick to the jaw! He tries for the rainmaker but misses, he gets a waistlock and nails Tanahashi in the jaw. He picks up Tanahashi and nails the rainmaker, twice, three times! Tanahashi is out. Okada goes for the pin and he gets it! Okada has finally won! He's killed the demon of the Tokyo dome! The ref and Gedo peel Okada off the mat. He is spent. In the back, Tanahashi is passed out at the table. He says he doesn't know if his dream has been fulfilled or if it has passed on. He then gets up and walks away with Captain New Japan following him. Back in the ring, Okada addresses the crowd. He has three points to make. He says Tanahashi is strong and they should do it again. He will raise NJPW to a new level. His third point is nothing and says that people should keep their eyes on him in 2016. He poses on each ring post in front of the crowd. He goes all the way up the ramp before saying that he will make it rain money in 2016. Backstage he promises to keep working hard for the fans approval. In the studio, he says he is simply glad he win. The crowd loves it when they fight and it was great to finally win over Tanahashi in that atmosphere. He wants to create a better atmosphere in wrestling. This match lived up to everything it was said to be. It was just as incredible watching it on the original show as it was here. While I wish they showed to other two matches, the coverage of WrestleKingdom has been amazing. Lots of fun! Next week we say goodbye to Nakamura with his last match in NJPW! See ya then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Battle for the belt!
Ladies and Gentlemen. It is now time for our Maaaaaaain Event of the evening!  Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight is our last look WrestleKingdom 10 with the main even...

Review: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy

Oct 17 // Josh Tolentino
[Photo by Hiroshi Suga] Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy (Paperback) Written By: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro YamamotoPublished by: VIZ MediaReleased: October 11, 2016MSRP: $14.99ISBN: 978-1421589084 One thing should be made clear right away, for any prospective buyers of the book: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is NOT a recipe book. It's not even a book about sushi, at least not "sushi" in the general sense as a field of Japanese cuisine.   Instead, Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy a book about the sushi served at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Specifically. That makes a significant difference. In some ways, one could see the whole book as something of an extremely elaborate menu or catalog for the restaurant itself. The contents of the book consist of pictures of the various types of sushi served on each , with the opposite page containing information about the dish from Jiro himself. The short paragraphs - blurbs, really - are written in a more anecdotal style, conveying insights ranging from why a given piece is served before or after other types of sushi to things like cooking methods or marketing times. In essence, each entry is a window into a Sukibayashi Jiro staffer's experience of creating and serving that type of sushi. Other, more sobering impressions can be gleaned from the otherwise brief notes, such as the occasional mention of increasing scarcity of fish available for some pieces. These admissions inadvertently highlight ongoing crises with overfishing, oceanic extinctions, and sustainable fishing practices. It might not be long before some of the celebrated pieces detailed in Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy disappear from the menu. The specificity of it all makes the book feel like a journal, a series of notes rather than a carefully organized, comprehensive guide. If Sukibayashi Jiro had a gift shop so that visitors to it could pick up a memento of their reservation, this book would be on the shelf. From the cynic's view, VIZ Media is publishing and selling a promotional brochure for a restaurant that many people will never visit.  That view might hold, if not for the quality of the book itself. [Photo by Hiroshi Suga] Putting aside concerns about the nature of its contents, Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is an utterly gorgeous physical object. Despite the fact that it's a pocket-sized paperback, the book is constructed like a decorative coffee table centerpiece. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, reading the book feels like a genuine aesthetic act, something beyond the information contained in the text and pictures alone. The endpages are carefully textured and the whole thing gives off an aura of classiness largely absent from genuine travel guides or food books. Those readers who want to make the case for keeping and buying physical books in an age dominated by screen-based readers can file this one into evidence for their side. The content also extends past just the sushi. The main section is followed by a subsection detailing best practices for eating sushi, as well as a how-to guide for making reservations at Sukibayashi Jiro itself. In all honesty, the information detailed within isn't much more than one would get on the occasional website article. That said, having it come directly from the horse's mouth gives it an air of authority and authenticity. [Photo by Kenta Izumi] In the end, we have the answers to the dilemmas I posed earlier in the review. The purpose Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is to be an elaborate, if heartfelt and earnest, bit of self-promotion for an expensive  very earnest, heartfelt bit of self-promotion. As for its intended audience, the gift-store patron crowd are the best fit. Beyond them, perhaps a friend who's a mega-fan of Jiro Dreams of Sushi and is planning a visit sometime soon. Genuine sushi afficionados or those less enamored of a famous little restaurant may want to hold off.
Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy photo
Slice of Life
It wouldn't be too much of a stretch at this point to declare that Jiro Ono - head chef at Tokyo's Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant - is one of the most visible Japanese culinary professionals in the world. Thanks to his and his r...

Strong Style: A whole lot of that flippy sh*t

Oct 16 // Soul Tsukino
Introductions by: "Mr. Personality" Katsuyori Shibata IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles: ReDRagon vs. Ricochet/Matt Sydel vs. Roppongi Vice vs. The Young Bucks I was dreading having to cover this one, not because it is a bad match, but because these matches move WAY faster than Jim Ross can cover so he becomes a mess. LKind of timely to cover a Matt Sydel match considering his recent arrest in Japan for pot possession and possible ban from the country. ReDRagon are the champs here. This was the first match on the card and we actually get the intro of the show from the ring announcer. Bucks are out first with Cody Hall. Vice comes out next and Josh mentions once again that Rocky Romero was his student. Sydal and Ricochet out next, pretty much taking the spot where the Time Splitters would have been in these machos, but Shelley started with Ring of Honor and we saw Kushida winning the singles title earlier. O'Reily and Fish are out next. Cody immediately clotheslines Sydal and Ricochet out of the ring, then flatten Vice and send Dragon out too while the Bucks pose. Cody climbs out and tosses Bobby Fish in with Matt, who demands the bell ring and immediately goes for a cover. Fish kicks out and Jackson gets mad and starts pounding on him and tries for another pin but doesn't get it. He picks Fish up and brings him to their corner and tags his brother. It is apparent from the get-go that JR doesn't know which Buck is which and I think they are both annoying. They send Fish over with a double hip toss and then a double cartwheel into a double dropkick. Matt rings the arm and tags, Nick comes in and tags and Matt goes to the top and delivers a double stomp right to Bobby Fish's arm. Right on the elbow joint. The whip Fish in and look to score a double superkick but Fish holds onto the rope. Matt goes forward and Fish kicks him away and then Matt goes after him and gets flipped onto the apron where Kyle O'Reily kicks him to the floor. Fish gets Nick in a takeover before tagging in O'Reily. Dragon teams up on Jackson with a series of knees in the ropes before getting a double arm twist on him. They go for a double kick but Jackson hangs on the ropes and then gives the most god awful hi pitched "Suck it!" scream before tagging in Sydal. Dragon doesn't care and attack both guys in the corner before Sydal flies over the rope and catches Fish was a hurancanrana. Sydal gets a takeover on Fish to send him out while Kyle waits for him and then trades some nice kicks back and forth before Kyle scores with a big one  that ties him in the ropes. Rocky Romero tags in and immediately takes hold of Kyle in the ropes before Beretta comes flying off the top with a double boot. They turn around and tell the Jacksons to Suck it before Matt stumbles into the ring and falls flat on his face and rolls out again. Beretta and Sydal are still legal as Beretta goes for a suplex and Sydal knees him in the head to get out. Sydal goes for a jumping knee but misses, only to get hit with a second one. Beretta comes back with a NICE enziguri kick that lands squarely on the side of the head. Beretta sends Sydal in the corner and it looks like he tags someone, meanwhile one of the Bucks tag Sydal but Berretta comes flying in and nails The Jackson and sends him to the floor. Beretta hits Sydal with a suplex sending him out. Beretta gets the crazy eye before he does a running dive over the top onto both Bucks, Cody, and Sydal at ringside. We skip ahead (like this match needs it) with Ricochet tagging in on nick Jackson. He comes over the top and launches into the other corner to smack Nick with a side again. Matt comes in screeching but Sydal takes him down in a drop toehold and ricochet comes down with an elbow strike. They do simultaneous standing moonsaults on Jackson, but his brother comes in the rings and nails both guys in their backs with knees and tosses them to the floor. Matt looks to go for a dive but Fish and O'Reily come in the ring and nail him with a double kick. They try two splashes in the corner but Nick tosses them both over the top rope. Fish catapults himself over the buckle to take out Cody at ringside while O'Reily lock in an armbreaker over the ropes, leaving Nick screaming. Matt comes flying over them to take out Sydal, Ricochet, and Fish and then turns around to nail O'Reily with a superkick to save his brother. Rocky Romero comes flying outside to take everyone down and Sydal gets in a top rope moonsault. Ricochet goes for a running dive and Cody Hall trips him from outside (or tries to, he botches it) before just climbing into the ring while the ref is taking a leak or something. He grabs Ricochet in his Dad's old razor's Edge but just tosses ricochet outside onto the pile of people. He comes outside and tosses Ricochet into Matt Jackson. He sets up for a Buckle bomb with Nick kicking Ricochet in the head at the same time. Matt sets ricochet hanging off the middle rope and Nick comes down with a swan dive. The pin only gets two. We come back from commercial as the Bucks set up Ricochet for more bang for your buck but Sydal runs in and gets a hurrancanrana on Nick to send him off the buckle and Ricochet gets in two suplexes on Matt. The bucks get up in opposite corners and Sydal and ricochet go back and forth with clotheslines on them before Ricochet launches over the top rope to take out Cody at ringside.  Sydal gets a weird pump handle bomb on one of the Jacksons and Ricochet launches himself into a 540 splash, but the cover only gets two. They set the Bucks up for the double moonsault off the top they won the Jr. Tag tournament with but the dragons interrupt that and Fish spears Sydal right into the corner. Kyle dome in with a kick, followed by Fish, followed by Kyle, followed by Fish. They take Sydal and give him a backbreaker with Kyle give him a knee from the top rope. One of the Bucks comes in again but get met with a kick from Kyle that leads to three suplexes and into a butterfly bomb. O'Reily sets up the reverse powerbomb that leads down to Fish who pushes the Buck off into a reverse electric chair! Fish goes for the pin but Cody yanks him out and tosses Fish into the barrier. He comes charging in but Fish moves and Cody crashes into the barricade, followed by Kyle coming off the apron with a flying knee strike. RedRagon goes for chasing the dragon on one of the Bucks, but the other comes in. Soon all eight guys are in the ring and do a massive eight-person suplex in the ring. Rocky is the freshest of the bunch and takes out both Sydal and ricochet and then Fish out with a hurrancanrana. He smacks a stunned O'Reily and goes CRAZY clothesline everyone in the buckles before he takes out the other three teams with clotheslines as well. Beretta comes in and the double up on Sydal, hanging him from the rope and hitting a flying legdrop into a running dropkick when he hits the ground. Sydal gets up and Sydal hits a jumping knee on Romero, but Romero gives one right back to him. Romero then hits a suicide dive on ReDragon at ringside. Beretta gets Sydal up for their super drop finisher but as Romero comes flying into the ring, Ricochet scrambles in and catches him. Sydal hits a Canadian Destroyer while Ricochet launches Romero up in the air and then delivers a sick kick. They set up for the double moonsault but one of the Jacksons' tags. They hit the move but the Jacksons come in and toss both guys out as Nick tries for a cover on Romero. They set him up and hit the More Bang for your Buck combination and score the win and get the belts! We come back from break as Shibata is in the studio. He explains how it feels like everything leads right to the Dome show. He talks about just getting into the main event in the show previous to this, and felt he had to do better. He didn't really care if it was for the belt since it was a match of two guys who would never quit. NEVER Openweight Title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katsuyori Shibata Now THIS is something I was looking forward to! Both these guys have a straight forward smashmouth style and are the types to damn near kill each other before they let the other guy win. In the lead up to this match these two guys beat the crap out of each other in tag matches and such, but now it is one on one and for the title. JR sounds like he's about to orgasm. Seriously, I like these matches too Hossman, bit calm down. Shibata comes to the ring first in his straight-forward way. Sirens go off and here comes Ishii. We've got a lot of time left, so we are getting full intros here. JR and Josh talk about each guys' influence. You have names like Tenryu, Ohtani, Masa Funaki, and Inoki being named between the two. As Soon as Ishii gets in the ring they have a stare down but back off and into their corners. After another commercial (I'm noticing a lot of these this week) we come back to both guys itching to go. The bell rings and we go immediately into slaps to the face! Smack smack smack. They run to the ropes and Ishii gets the shoulder block. Ishii runs the ropes and just barely misses getting a kick by Shibata, he rebounds and hits another shoulder block. He goes for the low clothesline but Shibata slides out of the way. Shibata goes for a kick but Ishii ducks out of the way. Damn energetic way to start this match! They stand off for a bit before Shibata just casually walks over and points to his neck and dares Ishii to hit him! The Stone Pitbull obliges and here we go as they trade forearms to the side of the neck back and forth. They go for so long we get a shot of the Japanese broadcast team with Jushin Liger and Masa Chono at ringside. The guys in the ring stop for a moment from the clubbing before Ishii gets in some shots before he goes to the ropes but is met with a Shibata knee to the gut. Shibata lays in some kicks to the fallen Ishii before giving him some paltry kicks to the head. Ishii slaps the mat and jumps right back up before blasting Shibata with a forearm and a takeover. Ishii kicks Shibata right in the back and Shibata just sits there like a summer breeze hit him. Ishii gets mad and then sits right down on the canvas and challenges Shibata to HIM in the back. Shibata agrees and then sits down for his medicine. We have a duel of kicks to the back! Shibata wins the battle as Ishii is slow to get up from the last one. He kneels up and Shibata cops him a few times in the chest and now we have a chop duel. Ishii drills in a chop to send Shibata back but he kips right up and lands a forearm right to Ishii's throat. That puts the big guy down. Shibata grabs Ishii's head to pick him up, but Ishii comes back with the Saito suplex! Ishii gets up and starts I with some weak kicks on Shibata's head and face, sending him into the corner. Ishii picks him up and drives in a headbutt and lays in a chop, then a forearm, then a chop, then a forearm. Shibata crumples into the corner. Ishii grabs his arm and sends Shibata into the opposite corner before driving in a clothesline, but that just makes Shibata mad! He throws Ishii into the corner and beats him down with a series of forearms to the face. He runs out to set up his drop kick but Ishii comes running out too. Shibata counters with a single legkick to the head! He locks in a rear choke on Ishii and perfectly turns it into an Inoki style octopus hold. Ishii gets to the ropes but Shibata keeps wailing on him. Shibata with some face wash kicks Shibata picks him up and straight hits him in the shoulder before chopping him a number of times. Ishii pops right up and dares him to hit him harder! Ishii sends Shibata in the corner and starts in with his own facewashes. Ishii dares him to hit harder before Shibata gets up and clobbers Ishii into the corner, Shibata lands the sweet hanging dropkick and Ishii gets right up and nails Shibata to the mat. After another break, both guys are down. Shibata picks him up and gets a suplex, but only gets two on the pin, but he floats into an arm breaker into a triangle on the arm. Ishii gets to the ropes but Shibata starts with kicks to Ishii's arm. They get up and trade Ishii hitting a clothesline and Shibata landing a kick to the jaw, back and forth before Shibata lands a kick and Ishii lands a clothesline, into a suplex duel and back to the kicks and clotheslines. They both just collapse Damn! They will themselves stand and start chopping each other in the throat. Ishii lands a powerbomb and goes for a pin but Shibata kicks out. Ishii picks Shibata and sets him on the tope rope for the super brainbuster, but Shibata locks in a double wristlock to block. Ishii falls to the apron and Shibata gets an armlock, but Ishii lands a headbutt. Ishii lands a big clothesline and then hits a low clothesline but can't get the pin. Ishii tries a suplex, but Shibata counters and lands one of his own. Ishii picked up and Shibata lands some forearms and tries for a front choke. He tries for a suplex but doesn't get it. He tries for the lower kick but Shibata catches him and lands a clothesline. Back from break Shibata lands a dvd but doesn't get a pin. Shibata locks in another rear choke. Ishii tries to reverse but doesn't get it. Ishii gasps for air but gets to his feet and into the ropes but Shibata lands a kick. Shibata goes for the PK but Ishii catches it and delivers a headbutt to Shibata's chin! Ishii hits a clothesline to the back of Shibata's head, then goes for the front but Shibata just gets mad. Headbutt by Ishii. Ishii lands more clotheslines before going for a pin, but Shibata kicks out!  Shibata lands a running kick and another kick before he lands the PK and gets the pin! We have a new champion! Both guys are in a lot of pain. Ishii has to be rolled out of the ring and Shibata has to take a while to get up. Backstage Shibata says he isn't sure who won. He didn't care if the belt was on the line or not, he's not going to change his approach. however, Ishii must have had that boost in motivation since it was his belt. It was a battle of wills. In the studio, Shibata doesn't feel any different because he won his first singles belt. He always keeps a high standard. he feels Ishii got more attention than he did, though. He says that in New Japan, if you hold a belt you can change things, and now that he has a belt, he is going to change things. The action was good this week. Those huge multi-man Jr. matches aren't my favorite thing, but they are all right, but the NEVER match was amazing. The problem was that this show was stalling for a lot of time. Both matches together only accounters for 32 minutes of the show. You know when they are stretching when you get full entrances and a lot of commercials. They even previewed a Bob Dylan special next week during one of those breaks. A good pick for WK 10 matches this week. Next time: THE MAIN EVENT!!
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More from WrestleKingdom 10
Greetings one again to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. We are looking at the big show, WrestleKingdom 10, from the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2016. We have seen some incredible action so far and this week looks to be just as amazing. Let's get to the action!

Weekend Japanatainment - Fall 2016 OP Edition

Oct 15 // Red Veron
[embed]35337:5893:0[/embed] "Ike! Tiger Mask" Anime: Tiger Mask W Let's start off with a show about two wrestlers who wear tiger masks who fight an evil wrestling organization in their own way; one by the path of light, the other by the path of dark. Just from the opening, it looks over-the-top as hell and just feels like a lot of fun. Read more about it from our First Impressions by my fellow Japanator writer Soul Tsukino.   [embed]35337:5894:0[/embed] "Soundscape (サウンドスケープ)" Anime: Hibike Euphonium 2 The first season of this show was loved (and even hated) by many anime viewers so this new one should excite many. The opening looks very fun and well done despite being simple, just what I would expect from Kyoto Animation.   [embed]35337:5895:0[/embed] "Boku wa Boku de Atte" Anime: AJIN 2nd Season The new season for this dark show is now here I really need to catch up. The animation looks vastly improved and the little glimpses of everything in the opening just makes me regret not catching up sooner. Check out our fellow Japanator writer Karishma Roy's Five Best moments from season 1 as well as what to look forward to in this new 2nd season!   [embed]35337:5896:0[/embed] "HISTORY MAKER" Anime: Yuri!!! on Ice No, this show isn't about girls' love on ice but the opposite: it's about boys' love on ice. If you've been around anime watchers on social media, you may have seen a screen cap of the gratuitous male booty from this show. I know this isn't for me (and I am glad that others that love this stuff will enjoy it) but I really dig the opening and song.   [embed]35337:5897:0[/embed] "Seisuu 3 no Nijou" Anime: Occultice;Nine This anime is based off the work from the author of Steins;Gate, hence that familiar naming scheme. Though this one is from the same author and named similarly in style, it has nothing to do with the Steins;Gate universe (or timelimes) but it does exist as video games in said universe. Love the OP.   [embed]35337:5898:0[/embed] "DREAM×SCRAMBLE!" Anime: Keijo!!!!!!!! Here we are. We have reached peak anime craziness. Just when I thought escalation of fanservice and over-the-topness has reached the ceiling, this new anime just broke that ceiling with a butt smash. That firm yet soft buttocks smashing that ceiling with great force by an anime girl (aged over 18) wearing a bathing suit, is exactly what happened. Read more about this anime with our first impressions by fellow Japanator writer Nick Valdez.   Are there any anime or anime openings form the fall season that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! We wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Cool anime OPs for cool weather
The fall anime season is here and I'm gonna be referencing something about the change in weather with the new anime line up but I'll save you from that cliche and I'll bring up that there is something for everyone this season...

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

Oct 12 // Salvador G Rodiles
While a possible outcome for Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc’s stopping point would’ve been before the Danganronpa Zero light novel started, show chose to cover the event that gave birth to the Tragedy that plunged the world into despair. My guess is that the story where Junko lost her memories happened right after the Hope’s Peak High School’s 77th class became her followers. Nonetheless, the series picked a great spot to wrap things up since the point of this whole show was to make the audience miserable. Unfortunately, Hope’s Peak High School’s major event couldn’t surpass the despair from Chiaki’s sad fate. Sure, lots of lives were lost during this catastrophic moment, but it doesn’t come close to the pain that we had to deal with when the Ultimate Gamer experienced the first punishment scene. Either way, it was neat that we were given an idea of how things went haywire before the events of the first game. In the end, it doesn’t hinder Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc solid pacing that got made things more intense each week. The show’s transition from a whacky comedy to a title that makes folks miserable helped the whole thing come together nicely. One moment, you’re laughing at the 77th class’ antics. Then you’re hit with an array of emotions that range from shocked reactions to literal sadness. This feeling that came from watching the show is the spirit of the Danganronpa series since the games played with our emotions in many different ways. Even though the show’s designs didn’t capture the game series’ stylish visuals, Lerche’s strengths in Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was the way how they handled the cast’s reactions to things, along with the timing behind specific scenes. The show’s comedic segments were filled with many exaggerated expressions and the despair-inducing moments are handled in a way where they do their job. Thanks to these aspects, one could tell that everyone was doing their best to ensure that the series achieved its goal of making people suffer greatly. Despite the series’ goal to drive the audience to despair, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was meant to fill our hearts with misfortune while we awaited the resolution to the events that Makoto and the Future Foundation were dealing with in Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc. In the end, I came out in a state of sadness while I waited to see how the whole program would get resolved. It was this feeling that got me to tune in every week since the projects team made did their best to make sure that the transition from a fun title to a depressing one would go smoothly. Another aspect that made the show’s “Despair Arc” fun was its Easter Eggs and the way how they portrayed the gang’s Ultimate Talents. Whether it was seeing brief cameos of characters from the Danganronpa Zero light novel (such as the Ultimate Secret Agent) or seeing Nagito and the Ultimate Hope’s abilities in action, these elements contribute to the evidence that this whole title was a labor of love. Lerche may have had a bad record with the original Danganronpa anime that adapted the first game’s story, but their involvement with Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School proved to us that they can create a show that’s a worthy sequel to the previous titles. This shows that when you have the right folks involved in a project, the final product can result in a wonderful thing that’ll exceed people’s expectations. If Spike Chunsoft decides to join forces with Lerche for another original Danganronpa show again, then we might be in for another entry that’ll bring us the good kind of despair. In the end, I guess this means that hope triumphs after all. [Witness the birth of Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc's Tragedy on FUNimation]
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Hope will never die
Ever since the Danganronpa 3 anime’s staff was revealed, I always had faith that this show would do a great job in wrapping up the whole series. With Kazutaka Kodaka (The Danganronpa game series’ Writer) being inv...

Strong Style: Gold and Grudge match

Oct 09 // Soul Tsukino
We get a big grunting welcome from The Unchained Gorilla himself, Togi Makabe! NEVER Openweight 6-man titles: Toru Yano/Briscoe Brothers vs. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale,Yujiro Takahashi,Tama Tonga) Well, this is a strange one. Yano is, of course, a member of CHAOS but here he is teamed with ROH's Briscoes, Jay and Chicken.. err Mark. On the other side, we have the Bullet Club B-Team. This match was actually announced well before hand, but like a week or two out of this show all of a sudden, they made it a title match for the newly created title. Did New Japan really need a 6-man tag title? Nope, but we got one anyway. The Club walk out with matching white camo pants. Yano comes out with a DVD and a chair, and out come dem boys! Yano tosses water at the club and they attack! Everyone outside the ring bashing on each other. Fale grabs one of the belts and nails Yano with it. Mark Briscoe and Tama Tonga get into the ring but Jay comes in and Briscoes hit a whip into a clothesline and chuck Tonga out of the ring. Yujiro comes in. He SLAPS Jay Briscoe and pays for it as Mark flies in with a double kick to send him down to the mat. Jay runs across the ring and clothesline Yujiro and they both go to the floor. Jay sets Yujiro on the floor and Mark runs the apron to deliver the jumping elbow to the floor on Yujiro. We skip ahead with Tama kicking a down Yano in the ring. Tama then dropkicks both Briscoes off the apron, drawing them in and the ref's attention while Tama and the Club work over Yano in the corner. Fale tags in and slams Yano down before he casually sits on Yano for a two count. He goes over and knocks both Briscoes off the apron. All three club members get in the ring and start kicking away as Yano as he crawls to the corner and gets up. The Briscoes get in the ring for the distraction and Yano unties the turnbuckle pad, Fale comes flying in and boink! Tama and Yujiro try a double team on Yano but he pushes Yujiro into Tama and they both go down. Yano starts posing and Fale tries for a clothesline but Yano ducks it. The other two come in and try a double team, but Yano pulls their hair and sends them down to the canvas. Fale then runs him over with a shoulder block and when Yano tries to get up in the corner, Fale just squashes him. Fale tries for the big splash but misses! Mark gets the tag and he  dropkicks Tama off the apron before going after Yujiro. He chops Yujiro a bunch of times in the corner. Mark goes to whip Yujiro but it is reversed. Yujiro flips Mark over but Mark cartwheels and lands in his feet. He cracks out the Redneck Kung Fu with a crane kick, but Yujiro catches it and tries to upend Mark who cartwheels right through it into a shoulder throw! Mark goes for the pin but Yujiro kicks out. Mark sticks a finger in Yujiro's face and goes "Imma gunna kill you boy!" but when he goes to the ropes Yujiro counters with a kick to the mush. Yujiro sets Mark up for the low dropkick but Mark dodges it and punches him in the gut. He gets Yujiro up in a fireman's carry. Yujiro slips out of it and gets a waistlock but Mark counters with several back elbows. He spins around and tries for a suplex, but Yujiro catches him and gets a fisherman's buster. Both guys go for the tag and Tama comes in first and sails across the ring to knock Jay off the apron. He starts kicking Mark. He whips Mark to the opposite corner but misses the charge when Mark jumps over the top rope and lands a blockbuster to Fale on the outside of the ring! Tama turns around right into a Jay kick to the face and Jay scoops him up and hits the death valley driver. Jay goes for the pin and only gets two. Jay gets a rolling neckbreaker on Tama and nearly gets a pin. Jay stalks a bit before landing a few more kicks to Tonga Jay goes for the Jay driller but Tama counters out. He lands a low kick but pin attempt is only two. Tama picks Jay up and hits an Alabama slam. He goes for another pin and Mark comes in, drawing in Fale for a bit. Tama gets a double under hook but Jay back him into the corner. Tama gets placed on the top rope. Jay goes up and tries to slam him off, but Tama counters. Jay slides off the top rope but gets underneath Tonga and has him on his shoulders. Tonga desperately holds onto the ropes but Yano chucks a chair at Tama's hand! Tama lets go and Mark comes off the top rope with the Doomsday device. Jay makes the cover and gets the win and the brand new belts!   Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito This is a big grudge match. As we've seen in week's past, Goto has had a few run-ins with Los Igobernables. He was attacked by the debuting EVIL and also had a scuffle with Bushi as well. All the members of the goobers come out in suits, with Naito wearing an oni mask and a white suit making him look like the vengeful spirit of Tony Manero. Goto comes out and he has a death GLARE at Naito as he comes down the ramp. He gets in the ring and goes right after Naito, but as the ref is pushing Naito back, Bushi and EVIL attack Goto! The ref chases them off as Naito lays in some stomps on Goto. Goto ain't having any of that and lands some shots back before getting in a lung blower of a kick. Naito bails to the outside of the ring and Goto follows him. EVIL strikes Goto first and Bushi gets in some shots too as the ref is with Naito. EVIL puts a chair around Goto's neck and smacks it with another chair. The ref comes around and starts in with Bushi and EVIL as Naito sets up a table at ringside and drives Goto through it with a neck breaker! We skip ahead a little bit as they are both back in the ring. Goto down in the corner and Naito kicking him. Naito sets Goto on the top and tries for a superplex, but Goto fights out of it. Goto hits a shot to Naito's stomach. He then flips him over in a SUPER Sunset flip. Goto goes for the cover, but Naito somehow kicks out of it! Back from break with Naito down. Goto drags him up and goes for a fireman's carry, Naito gets out of it and lands an enziguri and then a rolling Liger kick! Goto whips him in but Naito hits the flying forearm. He sets Goto on the top buckle and lands a big hurracanrana, but a pin attempt gets two. They both struggle up and Naito is having knee problems. He goes for a pump handle slam but Goto strikes his way out of that. They then just start wailing on each other with forearms. Naito charges in but gets caught into a fireman's carry. Ushigoroshi!  Goto goes for a suplex but Naito lands a knee to the head. Goto is unphased as he hits a big chop and goes for another deadly kick. Naito catches it and throws Goto's leg off that spins around and takes the ref out! Naito goes for the low blow kick but Goto catches the foot and clotheslines Naito into a flip. In a real scary moment Naito lands directly on his head and glad he's not dead from it. Goto goes to suplex Naito but EVIL jumps in and starts hammering on Goto. He grabs Goto and Bushi comes in but sprays the green mist into EVIL's face. Goto grabs Bushi and hits the ushigoroshi on Bushi. The ref gets up and starts shooing Bushi out of the ring as Naito lands the low blow kick and gets a roll up on Goto. Goto kicks out! Naito gets up and tries to land destino, but Goto counters with a straight headbutt. He gets Naito up and hits the shotankai and scores the pinfall! Backstage Goto is happy, not about beating Naito but have won in a match at WrestleKingdom. He vows to become the new face of New Japan in 2016. Backstage Goto is glad to have won a match at WrestleKingdom He vows to become the face of NJPW in 2016. In the studio with Makabe. He says Honma is a top level wrestler, he just hasn't won a belt yet. He is going to help him win a belt, but he isn't going to just hand him one, they are going to have to fight for it. Both foreigners are bigger than them, but the idea of facing them fires him up! IWGP Tag titles: Bullet Club (Anderson/Gallows) vs/ Global Bash Heel (Makabe/Honma) This is going to be fun! The story here is Honma. Building up to this New Japan had been building up Honma with a win in the G1 over Ishii, and then having him and Makabe win the World Tag League to receive this shot. Makabe and Honma are underdogs against the team that had been dominant over the last two years before this, so let's see how this plays out. GBH come out with their World Tag League trophies. Immediately JR screws up Togi Makabe's name AGAIN. Josh Barnett subtly tries to correct him, but JR doesn't get the hint. "Honma, whose voice sounds like he gargled with Drano. Don't try that at home kids."- JR. Gallows and Anderson come out in matching white robes and with Amber Gallows as well. Better her than any of the others. As they get in the ring Makabe yells at them to hurry up. Everyone gets their gear off and we are going to start with Karl Anderson and Honma. Back from the break the bell rings. Anderson gets an early advantage and starts in with strikes to the back. Honma answers right back with some hits of his own, but Karl rakes his eyes. He tries whipping him into the ropes but Honma reverses and lands an elbow to Karl's chin. Honma scoops him up and slams him twice before he rebounds off the ropes and goes for the headbutt. He misses it to no one's surprise. Gallows tags in and throws a bunch of punches. He chucks Honma in the corner and throws more punches before tagging right back out. Really Luke? That was it? Karl comes in and stomps right on Honma's head and then his back. He slams Honma down and smacks his own head to mock him. He rebounds the ropes and yells "GOMENESAI!" for some reason before missing a senton. Honma gets over and tags in Makabe clubs Anderson down and then knocks Gallows off the apron. He slams into Anderson with an axe bomber in the corner before climbing up to punch Karl in the head a bunch of times. He goes for the northern lights suplex but Anderson counters out. Gallows comes in but is met with a jawbreaker from Honma and then GBH hits him with a double clothesline, front and back. All four men roll outside with Gallows and Makabe fighting and Karl and Honma fighting. Makabe goes into the barrier and so does Honma. Gallows grabs Togi's chain he carries with him and clotheslines Makabe with it! Karl is in the ring as Makabe rolls in and starts stomping away. Makabe gets to his knees and Anderson punches him right in the jaw! The ref gives some static but Anderson just drives his elbow right into Makabe's face. He mounts Makabe and keeps punching to the face before tagging out to Gallows who then starts punching Togi in the face. Gallows smacks Honma off the apron and clubs Makabe before turning around and tagging Anderson. Karl comes in ad holds Makabe for Gallows punch in the face, Gallows then holds Makabe so Karl can hit the kick, again aiming for Togi's jaw. Anderson tries three times to pin Makabe but Togi keeps kicking out. He tries to pick up Togi, but Makabe isn't moving. The ref goes to check on him but Anderson just kicks the ref out of the way. Karl gets Makabe up for a lame airplane spin but Makabe wiggles out. Makabe runs him over with a clothesline and gets the tag. Honma comes in as Gallows comes in. Honma slams Anderson and goes for Gallows but can't get him up. He smacks Gallows and THEN gets him up for the slam! Honma sees Karl still down and hits a falling headbutt on him. Anderson gets up in the corner and Honma tries a charge but runs right into Karl's boot. Anderson screams at Honma and Honma scream back before Karl hit's him. He dares Honma to hit him but when Honma hits the ropes, Karl trips him up. Both come in and Honma is sent into the corner where Karl gets a kick and Anderson hits the splash. As Honma stumbles out Gallows picks him up and Anderson hits a reverse neckbreaker. Gallows scoops him up and Anderson hits the running kick into a flapjack. Anderson tries for a cover but Makabe comes in to end that. Togi gets tossed out and Anderson scoops Honma up and gets a swivel gun stun, but Honma kicks out of the pin! After the commercial break, The Club goes for the Magic Killer but Togi runs in the break that up. Gallows gives him a shot to the throat but Togi tosses him from the ring. Anderson tries to whip Honma in, but Honma hits the missile headbutt! He slams Karl down and goes up for the big headbutt but Gallows punches him. Anderson climbs up and tries for a super gun stun, but in a real scary botch, Honma loses his balance and goes down to the apron while Anderson is able to leap into the ring on his feet. Anderson turns around and clobbers Honma a few times before dragging him in the ring. He sets Honma up and gets a sweet running powerbomb, but can't get the pin! Anderson gets frustrated and goes for a gun stun again, but Honma counters. He tries for a clothesline but Anderson counters into another gun stun attempt. Honma counters THAT but Anderson drills in an uppercut. Karl tries for something but Honma flattens Anderson with a shirt headbutt. Both guys tag in and Makabe hits three running clotheslines in a row before Gallows gives him a boot to the face and then hits his old 12 steps slam! He can't get the pin as now Anderson enters the ring. They try a double clothesline but Makabe runs right through it and clotheslines them both down. Karl rolls outside as Gallows and Makabe slam into each other with three clotheslines before Gallows tries for one and Makabe just runs him over. He goes to his corner and DRAGS Honma in before standing him up and slapping him a few times to wake him up. He launches Honma into Anderson and he hits with the missile headbutt! Honma goes up as Makabe puts Anderson on his shoulders as they hit the doomsday headbutt! Anderson is out! Makabe scoops up Gallows and slams him as Honma goes up and hits the big headbutt. Makabe goes up and lands the king Kong knee drop and scores the win! We have new champions! Backstage Makabe says it's just the beginning One must show the fans a dramatic fight. Honma is happy to win the belt at the Tokyo dome. He thanks his partner and says he wouldn't be here without him. Makabe mentions his jaw is really sore, and Honma jokingly says that if Makabe's jaw breaks, HE will be his jaw. Studio words as Makabe says that the opponents had great skills. It was closure for them, but he says he will beat Honma up if he gets lazy or becomes a show-off. If you have too many desires, the fans will leave you, he says. What a great show! All three matches delivered in their own way and came together to make a fun show this week. One of these days JR will get Makabe's name right but at this point, he probably doesn't care. The tag match actually is a really good ending for a couple of stories. At 39, Honma finally won the big one, and it proved as closure in a way for Anderson and Gallows who, like Nakamura and Styles, made their intentions know to go to the WWE during this show. If you follow the WWE, you know how they have done since. Next time, we get Ishii and Shibata beating the slobber out of each other! Hope to see you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Part 2 of WrestleKingdom!
Welcome, my friends to the show that never ends, Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week, we are in week two of our coverage of WrestleKingdom 10, the big event held on Jan. 4, 2016...

Weekend Japanatainment - Anime ENGRISH Edition

Oct 08 // Red Veron
[embed]35321:5880:0[/embed] Anime: Beck Here is an anime where they have a Japanese character that lived in the US for a while but he doesn't really sound like it. They did however got some decent english speaking voice actors to play as the rude foreigners.   [embed]35321:5881:0[/embed] Anime/Game: Persona 4 The Persona series has some really good music but the singing in English sometimes sounds like something different. Though the songs are so good that you can forgive it.   [embed]35321:5882:0[/embed] Anime: Itazura na Kiss Here are two Japanese voice actors trying their best at English but the grammar just makes it worse. Hilarious though.   [embed]35321:5883:0[/embed] Anime: Steins;Gate This one is an intentional bad attempt at English played for laughs with a character who is just the same way when he speaks Japanese.   [embed]35321:5884:0[/embed] Anime: Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic Karen Kujo is my waifu but when I first saw her in this anime, the massive amounts of cringe I got from the ENGRISH almost put me off from watching this show. This show has a lot of moments of bad english but I've learned to just accept it.   Is there an ENGRISH moment in anime that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
English is not easy
Regular anime viewers may have encountered a moment of a poor attempt of speaking English once or twice, even though English is the second most spoken language in the world, not everyone will speak it well. Japan is a country...

Annotated Anime: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc episodes 9-10

Oct 07 // Salvador G Rodiles
From day one, I always had a feeling that Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was going to do something big with the real Chiaki (a.k.a. one of Danganronpa 2's best girls). The second game always made us assume that she was just nothing but an AI that was made to guide Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair’s cast through the Neo World Program that came with the system from the get-go; thus making it obvious that the actual Ultimate Gamer was going to have a huge role in the story. While I came into the series with this thought, it didn’t prevent me from feeling the sadness that came from her fate. Just like her AI counterpart, the real Chiaki was the symbol of hope for her classmates since she did her best to keep everyone together. Perhaps the sad part about this outcome was that the very person who encouraged her to undertake this role ended up being the tool in turning everyone into Junko’s followers. All in all, the whole thing did justice to the Danganronpa game’s tendency to use its major moments to hit the audience really hard. While the whole point of this show was to see how the Danganronpa 2 gang fell into despair, we never really knew about the event that drove them down this path. It was this one little hole that gave the series’ team the ammunition to fill it with the elements that would drive the audience into a state of sadness. The brilliant part about it too was how most of these aspects were able to link back to Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc as a means to set up the truth behind the killing game in the Future Foundation’s headquarters. The unfortunate thing about this moment was that no one was able to save Chiaki while she was a victim of the first punishment segment. In fact, the whole thing gave off a feeling that threw you into a state of denial that some sort of miracle could happen that could save her from her misfortune; however, this is Danganronpa that we’re talking about, so we knew that there was no way that this would end well. Surprisingly, the staff’s decision to use the 8-bit version of “Homicide” from Danganronpa 2, which went well with the depressing scene; thus changing the way how we view this song. Honestly, the team deserves some mad props for doing this since the tune was originally used in the part of the game where we prepare for the title's last ordeal. Because of Chiaki’s scene, this song will continue to make me think of the despair that happened during her final moments. The thing that made this all work was that the show's team took every ounce of hope that the gang had and threw it in a blender. It was a fine example of how you can give the viewers something to grab on to and then crush it before their very eyes. This was also done with Yukizome’s transition to becoming one of Junko’s followers, a twist that also complemented the game series’ surprising aspects. While Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair Arc left us in a state of sadness, Lerche continues to show us that they’re capable of delivering a sequel to the Danganronpa games that’ll please fans of the series. Even if they don’t manage to top the sad feeling that came from Junko’s recent accomplishments, they have shown us that they could handle this brand well when the proper conditions are set in stone. Since it was a nice ride to go from feeling joy to facing misery each week, it’s safe for me to say that it was one of the great moments of the Summer 2016 Anime Season. [Let Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc brainwash you on FUNimation]
Danganronpa 3 photo
Goodbye Hope
There’s something wonderful about having a segment that one saw from a mile away surprise them greatly. In fact, this is one of the joyous feelings that the Danganronpa series offers to its audience. We may have known t...

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Demi-Human

Oct 06 // Red Veron
The anime and manga featured in this month's "Demi-Human" Loot Anime box are One Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, Twin Star Exorcists, and Bleach. Check the video above for a guide to the items in the latest Loot Anime and check out the gallery below for some close up pictures of the items! Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's "Delicious" themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!
Japanator Unboxing photo
Less than Human, More than a Monster
The latest box of anime goodies from Loot Anime just smashed its way to my mailbox and it is all about "those part human, part something else entirely". Loot Anime's latest theme comes to us just at the right time of the yea...

First Impressions: Tiger Mask W

Oct 02 // Soul Tsukino
The story starts off, to no surprise in a wrestling match. Wrestler Daisuke Fujii is getting his clock cleaned by a masked wrestler named Yellow Devil. As poor Daisuke is bleeding and in pain, outside the ring we are introduced to his two young boys, Daisuke's son  Takuma and his friend Naoto Azuma. They are cheering on Daisuke when another wrestler, Odin, comes over and smacks Takuma right in the face. Daisuke gets cut and is bleeding as Yellow Devil slams him down right on the back of his neck and cripples him. Putting him in the hospital and destroying his wrestling gym in the process. This episode does a great job of introducing some of the key players and concepts. We are shown both Takuma and Naoto's methods of training for the last 3 years, and also introduced to the concept. The man who crippled Daisuke and destroyed his gym worked for the Global Wrestling Monopoly, or GWN, and are out for revenge. We are shown the shows first real villain, Miss X, and the wrestlers working for her (including Takuma as Tiger Dark), and the grand entrance of Naoto as Tiger Mask. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag. It features both 2D and 3D animation, but the 2D is a bit uneven at times as it can look like a Flash animation show from the CW or Cartoon Network more than an anime show at times. It tries very hard to match the style of the original show and for the most part, it works, but every so often it slips and misses the mark a bit. As I mentioned before, the story is laid out in a simple way. Nothing to over think here. It comes across as a bit cliché with things like Naoto's coach having a pesky niece who follows him around and Miss X seems to be ... gifted... enough to raise the Titanic, but I think that is the charm of the series. This isn't trying to cash in on the latest fads in what people think anime is supposed to be but is harkening back to a classic series without trying to be something it's not. Of course with NJPW being involved in this show (Kazuchika Okada appears in this ep with more to be featured in future episodes) they got their product placement in as well, even if it only barely fit in the story at this point. But all that was contained in a single short scene so it doesn't linger. Overall, I am digging the first episode. It has a pronounced old school vibe. New fans may not get it as much as us old farts as it doesn't blow you away with its story or animation, but it is just plain fun. You don't need to be an expert on the original series to get it (I have never seen the original) so it can bring in old and new fans alike. So for some old school fun anime, I'd give this one a go!
Tiger Mask W photo
The spirit is born again!
A number of months ago, it was announced during a New Japan Pro Wrestling show that the company was working with animators to bring a new Tiger Mask series to the airwaves of Japan. The day has finally come with the debut of ...


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