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Endless Night photo
Endless Night

Michiko & Hatchin Director's new short takes us to the ice rink


In which figure skating gets to shine
Aug 21
// Salvador GRodiles
To this day, some of the best Animator Expo pieces have been the animated music video. Compare to most of the project's segments, these anime shorts tend to have a beginning, middle, and end to their stories. Mind you, there ...
Bubu & Bubulina photo
Bubu & Bubulina

Animator Expo's 27th short is a colorful treat


Cartoony visuals everywhere
Aug 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Whenever the Japan Animator Expo project pops out a decent piece, a stronger one takes its place. In this case, Takashi Nakamura's (Robot Carnival's "Nightmare" short and Tree of Palme's Director) piece, "Bubu ...
Mythos photo
Mythos

Indie toku series Mythos continues with its origin episodes


Is Tala going to transform soon?
Aug 08
// Salvador GRodiles
In an era where there's only four or five toku series airing in Japan each year, it feels refreshing when people create new projects about costumed heroes and/or monsters. From Garage Hero to Samurai Action Studio's stuff, t...
Comedy Skit 1989 photo
Comedy Skit 1989

Experience Animator Expo short 26's twin-related hijinks


The Showa era of comedy is back, baby
Aug 07
// Salvador GRodiles
Is it me or was this week's Animator Expo short a bit weak on the humor side? Who knows, it might have to do with my lack of experience with Showa era comedy skits. Then again, "Comedy Skit 1989" made me giggle during so...

Ayakashi Zamurai photo
Ayakashi Zamurai

Garage Hero series Ayakashi Zamurai is now on YouTube


This is my trusty dog Pochi
Aug 07
// Salvador GRodiles
You know, it feels kind of weird to see the Toei ocean wave sequence appear before a Garage Hero project. Nevertheless, it's great to see that Bueno and his group got to team up with them and YouTube Space to create Ayakashi...
Hammerhead photo
Hammerhead

Animator Expo's 25th short is ready to smash things up


It's Hammering Time!
Jul 31
// Salvador GRodiles
It seems that I was right about the Japan Animator Expo project returning this week since their latest short is up on their site. Since this is the first episode of the series' third season, it's fitting for the 25t...
Japan Animator Expo photo
Japan Animator Expo

Here's a quick sample of Animator Expo's Third Season


Summer is about to become cool
Jul 24
// Salvador GRodiles
At last, the Japan Animator Expo project has uploaded a trailer for their upcoming season. From the looks of it, the third installment sounds like it'll be better than ever. I mean, we get to see another Tsuburaya hero g...

First Impressions: GATE episodes 1-3

Jul 23 // Josh Tolentino
Of course, future episodes of GATE could prove me entirely wrong. The game of subtext is a perilous thing, and if you can find strange ultranationalist right-wing readings in everything from Mahouka to Knights of Sidonia to Attack on Titan, a show that openly stars members of the actual Japanese military (or "Self-Defense Force" if you want to get technical) is even more vulnerable to that kind of examination. Still, based on the evidence at hand, GATE is a perfectly serviceable fantasy with an interesting nerd-catnip hook. It's the hook that does more work than any one aspect of the show thus far. After all, for about as long as fantasy fiction has existed as a genre, people have been wondering how the medieval, swords-and-sorcery mores of your average Tolkienesque would match up against the grim products of the military-industrial complex. Put plain, we've always wanted to see how Gandalf, Frodo, or Sauron might fare against a machine gun, tank cannon, or jet fighter. If you think that sounds likes a simplistic sort of thrill to base an anime on, you're right. "Guns vs. Dragons" is only a few steps removed from "Boobs" on the scale of primal urges driving creativity, but that doesn't mean thought can't be put into its execution, and on that front, GATE does deliver. A portal opens up in the middle of a Ginza thoroughfare, belching out tens of thousands of orcs, ogres, pig-men, quasi-Roman soldiers, and assorted fantasy staples to wreak havoc on Tokyo's innocents. The man in just the right time and place is 33-year-old Youji Itami, an off-duty soldier and doujinshi-loving otaku, whose training helps save lives just in time for the army to repel the invasion. Fast forward three months and a new Prime Minister (I like this particular off-hand joke about how long it takes to get things done) wants to flex Glorious Nippon's muscle by sending a couple of divisions of Self-Defense Force troops through the titular "Gate", to secure a place on the other side and force the dastardly invaders into negotiations.  One incursion and a second slaughter of fantasy troops later, and Youji is placed in charge of a recon team assigned to probe the countryside on "hearts and minds" duty, which is where the story begins proper, complete with a dragon fight, elf-lady rescue, and the requisite encounter with a gothic lolita (named "Rory", no less) demigoddess. This is the point where GATE reveals itself less to be some strange creature born of secret militaristic urges than a spinoff of the now monolithic "trapped in another world" subgenre of light novel adventures. It is kissing cousins less with preachy alt-history explorations like Zipang or The Final Countdown than with genre, er..."classics" like Familiar of Zero, Sword Art Online, and even Log Horizon.  Its closest relative would be Outbreak Company, though the otaku pandering in GATE is so far limited to portraying Youji and his pal as unashamed geeks and pushing the story into familiar harem-assembly patterns. Already you can see the shape of the show's romantic polygon as the taciturn wizard, bouncy elf, saucy goddess, and normal fellow-human girls take their places in the roster. Honestly the main thing that distinguishes GATE's storytelling has been in the soldiers themselves. Given that creator Takumi Yanai was formerly in the JSDF, it's hardly surprising that the story would be friendly to "the troops", but in light of that history, it's also telling about just which parts of the service GATE is happiest to play up. While the blowout victories against the natives is predictable, the shows spends most of its time showing off Youji and his comrades less as warriors than public servants. Most of the soldier glory shots in the opening sequence are of folks in uniform generally being helpful, pulling carts out of ditches and giving rides to refugees fleeing a dragon attack. Youji himself displays an unusual (for typical portrayals of soldiers, at least) wariness of force and its use, refusing to call for backup to avoid risking innocents or provoking the enemy, and generally being a laid-back, intuitive leader. The shades of Irresponsible Captain Tylor And Yang Wen-li are welcome, and help defuse the potential for jingoistic chest-beating in the early goings. Even the enemy gets comparatively sensitive treatment, with the rank and file types portrayed more as victims in a power play wrought by craven leadership (on both sides of the Gate) than bloodthirsty savages. If there's one thing that doesn't quite square with this even-handed treatment, it's in the abject slaughter and seemingly effortless victory of the modern forces. I mean, sure they've got machine guns and artillery support, but it just doesn't feel right that they're effortlessly gunning down a hundred thousand troops in a single night's battle. By all logic the mere first round of shelling and gunfire should've balked the enemy into routing or stalemate rather than to just dumbly march into the bullets, no matter how foolhardy the generals. I'm not any kind of realism purist here, but the body count just seems unnecessarily inflated to make the disparity in force more dramatic. Besides that, GATE shows a lot of potential to be a fun and eminently watchable bit of summer anime. With a bit of luck, it won't get too bogged down in the less compelling harem wish-fulfillment aspects, further capitalizing on its hook and sensitive characterization.
GATE photo
Hellish Dragon v. Hellfire Missiles
Confession time: When I first set out to write about GATE, I was actually prepared to defend it. That's a weird stance to take with regards to a program I had yet to even watch, I'll admit, but I really was about to get all p...

The Garage photo
The Garage

Feast your eyes on The Garage: Tokusatsu Tutorial's badass insect-themed hero


Get ready to learn about making toku
Jul 17
// Salvador GRodiles
The folks at Garage Hero may be busy with adding the final touches to Ayakashi Zamurai, but that's not stopping them from showing us some images of The Garage: Tokusatsu Tutorial's hero. For the record, the sho...
Yu-Gi-Oh! photo
Yu-Gi-Oh!

SDCC '15: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters' uncut episodes are now on Crunchyroll


Believe in the heart of the cards
Jul 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Good news, everyone; the folks at 4K Media Inc., the company that handles the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise's license and marketing, have announced at Comic Con that Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is now on Crunchyroll in its uncut glory. As ...
Ayakashi Zamurai photo
Ayakashi Zamurai

Garage Hero's Ayakashi Zamurai series unsheathes a new trailer


There's plenty of comedy to go around
Jul 03
// Salvador GRodiles
As Garage Hero continues to work hard on their upcoming projects, the group has taken the time to upload a new Ayakashi Zamurai trailer. This time around, we get to see more of the fantasy samurai show's comed...

Review: Kantai Collection - Kancolle - Season 1

Jun 21 // Anthony Redgrave
Kantai Collection Studio: Diomedea/ Doga KoboRelease Date: January 7, 2015Format: Streamed via Crunchyroll Story-wise, Kantai Collection has had a lot of breathing room when drawing from its game counterpart. The game's main draw were the fleet girls, each one unique in their appearance, personality, and often drawing from anime stereotypes. The game had little to no story but had lots of different fleet girls that needed to be managed and micro-managed. So the anime focuses on the little destroyer that could, Fubuki. She is a new recruit to join the fight against the Abyssal fleet that had mysteriously surfaced. Even though it was advertised as a light-hearted slice of life moe school girl anime, Kancolle mixes in drama, suspense, and action moments that can satisfy the manlier viewer's palette. This title is also a period piece making many references to the Pacific Theatre; from Battle of W island (Battle of Wake Island) to all the fleet girls being based off real world battle ships e.g. Fubuki is based off a Japanese Destroyer Fubuki. However, history buffs may scoff at the inaccuracies depicted in Kancolle but for the average viewer it may provide a rabbit hole of interest into the naval campaigns of WWII. Attention to detail is one of Kancolle's greatest strength though they do blur the lines in this regard.  The mood is never confusing because of its superb pacing. Each episode allows viewers to revel in the banter and gags at the naval base, watch as the battle unfurls from plan to operation, and grow closer to each character as the episode concludes. It follows this formula so the mood flows cleanly between each scene. This cycle is toned down during the middle of the season to give way for a beach episode and a curry cook-off. The latter isn't necessary for viewing but provides the moe fan service that many viewers would be expecting. This formula wouldn't work as well if the fleet girls weren't all charming in their own way. Partly because of their visuals making them all look attractive but also their amplified personalities. Kongou is the loud big sister type with an obsession for the unseen admiral and verbal English tics. Her brash head-strong personality coupled with random linguistic interchanges would come off as annoying, but the latter is a delightful reference to her real world British roots. The fleet girls even wear their personalities in the heart of battle, I really liked how Naka (self-proclaimed idol of the fleet) would exclaim "Please no more autographs" when she was getting attacked. It's these little character points that make all the fleet girls endearing.  The visuals in Kantai Collection are excellent. Like with most school girl anime, all the characters look beautiful and cater to a variety of moe subgenres. Although they do go overboard when there are girls that are battleships and act like animals!? On the animation side, they do a wonderful job converting static 2D portraits from the game into moving anime characters, and then pulling those characters into CG for the battle scenes. I only realized they went CG once the stereoscopic shots of girls firing the cannons made it abundantly clear. The designs are kept wonderfully consistent so nothing looked out of place when they switch between animation styles.  The whole premise of Kantai Collection is interesting as it brings novel ideas to the table. Turning girls into battle ships or vice-versa seemed like a strange concept but they fleshed out the details to make it more than just a throwaway slice of life in disguise. It doesn't copy the game but draws elements from it. For example; in every school girl anime there has to be a bath scene because fan service. But Kancolle makes it a prerequisite as each girl has to take a bath to repair the damages they have sustained. Instant repairs (a rare item in the game) comes in the form of specialized water making the link to the game subtle and not shamelessly promotional. Even the "excessive eater" gag has its place as the larger ships require more energy to run so have to eat more than smaller ships. They never don't explain why they have to exercise though... I went into Kancolle because it looked like a fun dumb slice-of-life about girls that happened to be ships. When I finished the short 12 episode season I was surprised by how good it was for a school girl anime. It didn't overstay its welcome with excessive fan service so the 12 -episode length was just the right on the money. Viewers that have a tolerance or preference towards anime school girls should definitely give this one a run through on Crunchy Roll.  [This review is based on a streaming version of the series viewed by the reviewer at personal expense] Battle of W island
Kantai Collection Review photo
Anchors A-moe
Kantai Collection, often shortened down to Kancolle for the more efficient speaker, has a bizarre premise. It's strange that a veteran anime viewer like myself had to double-take on Kancolle's premise; battle ships that live ...

Touhou photo
Touhou

Memories of Phantasm's fifth episode blasts its way to YouTube


Watch out for Mandragoras
Jun 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Summer is around the corner and Manpuku Jinja has uploaded Fantasy Kaleidoscope ~The Memories of Phantasm~'s fifth episode on YouTube. Compare to the project's previous segments, this one decides to focus on the co...
Rapid Rouge photo
Rapid Rouge

Suit up for Animator Expo's futuristic samurai short


Don't mess with the samurai hacker
May 31
// Salvador GRodiles
When it comes mediums that feature cool-looking armors, I can't help but to fall in love with the designs as I dive into the piece. During the Japan Animator Expo's 24th short, Daisuke Onizuka (Eva 2.0 and 3.0's CGI Director)...
Memoirs of Amorous Gents  photo
Memoirs of Amorous Gents

Animator Expo's 23rd short adapts another Moyoco Anno manga


Gentlemen can be perverts too
May 23
// Salvador GRodiles
We're getting close to the Japan Animator Expo project's final stretch, and the latest piece ends up being another adaptation (slightly NSFW) of a manga by Moyoco Anno. Just like the previous piece that adapted her work, "Mem...
Ibuseki Yoruni photo
Ibuseki Yoruni

Political struggles dominate Animator Expo's 22nd short


Age gates are now a thing
May 17
// Salvador GRodiles
It's hard to believe that Animator Expo's latest short (NSFW), "Ibuseki Yoruni," decided to implement an age gate, since their previous titles like "ME!ME!ME!" didn't have this feature. My guess is that it might be connected ...
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger photo
Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger

Henshin Ninpou: Cellphones and shinobi unite in Cyber Ninja Tekkaraiger


True ninjas never miss their dates
May 12
// Salvador GRodiles
Is it me, or has there been a ton of ninja-related content in these past few months? With Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, Ninja Slayer, and the upcoming ninja-themed toku series, Hayate, the warriors who hide in the shadows ...
Iconic Field photo
Iconic Field

Aw, Snap: Iconic Field shows off Eva Mecha Designer's cool artwork


Sounds like a good time
May 08
// Salvador GRodiles
Talk about an amazing turnaround, people. After the Japan Animator Expo project hit us with a remix and a making-of video, their 21st piece, "Iconic Field," graces our eyes with Ikuto Yamashita's (the Evangelion ser...
Animator Expo photo
Animator Expo

It's time for an extra helping of ME!ME!ME! and Another Impact


Remixes and Making-of Videos for everyone!
May 02
// Salvador GRodiles
Right as we begin the month of May, Animator Expo's 20th short arrives in two parts. Unlike the project's previous helpings, we're thrown back into "ME!ME!ME!" (NSFW) and "Evangelion: Another Impact's" setting; however, ...
Ayakashi Zamurai photo
Ayakashi Zamurai

Check out Garage Hero's Ayakashi Zamurai teaser


Sounds like a sword-clashing good time
Apr 27
// Salvador GRodiles
Garage Hero's Hayate web series may have been put on hold, but their latest project, Ayakashi Zamurai, has received its first teaser. Based on the trailer's content, it looks like the group's hitting us with another fun proj...
I can Friday by day! photo
I can Friday by day!

Sushio's glorious animation skills invade Animator Expo's 19th short


Fridays have gotten even better
Apr 26
// Salvador GRodiles
I love it when a show's premise exceeds one's expectation, since the surprise could improve the medium's quality. Speaking of which, Animator Expo's most recent short, "I can Friday by day!," deceives us into thinking that it...
The Diary of Ochibi photo
The Diary of Ochibi

Animator Expo's Diary of Ochibi adaptation will make you hungry


Are you ready to starve?
Apr 17
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but whenever I watch a food-related piece, my craving for tasty delicacies goes up. Seeing that the Japan Animator Expo project's 18th short starts off with a segment that takes place in a bento, one c...
Three Fallen Witnesses photo
Three Fallen Witnesses

Animator Expo's 17th short hits us with a quick mystery


Only one truth shall prevail
Apr 11
// Salvador GRodiles
It's time to look at another Animator Expo short and we might have to put on our thinking caps. Compare to the other stories, "Three Fallen Witnesses" throws us in the middle of a situation where two detectives are investigat...
Tsukikage no Tokio photo
Tsukikage no Tokio

Suda 51's Animator Expo short takes us to the moon


R.I.P., Kamen Rider-like guy
Apr 03
// Salvador GRodiles
To this day, I have yet to play one of Suda 51's titles; however, I'm familiar with the guy's bizarre storytelling style, since my friends told me about his greatness. Scratch that; I did play Liberation Maiden and the first ...
Anime Sols photo
Anime Sols

Goodnight, Sweet Prince: Anime Sols to shut down in May


Another service bites the dust
Apr 03
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be late to this news, but I felt that it would've been weird to post this on April Fools Day, since most folks might not take it seriously. Then again, it would've been neat to have stuck a true post within the herd of ...
Obake-chan photo
Obake-chan

Check out Animator Expo's adorable ghost short


Ghosts don't have to be frightening
Mar 27
// Salvador GRodiles
If you had a rough day today, then Animator Expo's 15th short might be the thing to lift your spirits. Not only that, Shigeto Koyama's (Diebuster's Mechanical Designs) Obake-chan piece takes the concepts of ghosts and changes...
Hiroyuki Imaishi photo
Hiroyuki Imaishi

Animator Expo's 14th short gives off a nice Panty & Stocking vibe


Imaishi unloads his creative juices on us all
Mar 20
// Salvador GRodiles
Animator Expo has only been back for two weeks and Imaishi's short (NSFW) has hit the Web. Titled SEX and VIOLENCE with MACHSPEED, TRIGGER's piece feels like a mix between Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Dead Le...
Gun Caliber photo
Gun Caliber

Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition shoots its way back to YouTube


Spring is about to get filled with bullets
Mar 14
// Salvador GRodiles
Spring may be known as that the Season of Allergies, but Bueno and Garage Hero have decided to overcome this issue with their fourth YouTube stream of Gun Caliber: Bootleg Edition. This time around, people can watch...
Kann photo
Kann

Animator Expo's 13th short looks artistically amazing


You can't go wrong with artistic visuals
Mar 13
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but these past few weeks felt a bit empty, since the Japan Animator Expo project was on break. Now that the segment's back in action, Mahiro Maeda's Kanón short (NSFW) is ready to wow every...
Animator Expo photo
Animator Expo

Animator Expo's new trailer gives us a taste of its 2nd season


Just in time for the Spring 2015 Anime Season
Mar 06
// Salvador GRodiles
[Update: The list of participants has been updated] As the Japan Animator Expo gets ready for its triumphant comeback next week, the project gives us a spectacular trailer that showcases the new shorts that'll invade the...

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