I hope everybody at Japanator has had a wonderful new years and is excited for 2015. I know I am because Tsukimonogatari has been released and I'm super excited. After completing Hanamonogatari two weeks prior, I'm ready for the next installment. I've decided to list a few reasons of why I love this series so much before diving head long into the latest series.
1. Monogatari is always surprising me
Nothing is more disappointing than a predicatble story. I went into Bakemonogatari expecting a typical harem anime with some supernatural elements. I expected to be catered for with gratuitous upskirts, ample cleavage, and lots and LOTS of misunderstandings for the protagonist to get away from out of order sexual harassment. Ok, I cannot go on and say "Instead I got a tasteful anime disguised as a harem thus it surprised me" as Senjougahara certainly panders to the male libido in the second episode. Instead it was the stalward nature of Araragi staying by Senjougahara despite affections from multiple girls in the series. His loyalty to one girl shouldn't be possible in a harem anime but it is an underlying focal point in the series. Another is the way everything is vaguely connected. At the end of a serious arc we always treated to little bit of expositon justifying the monster of week. It makes the Monogatari world bigger than we are actually viewing.
2. It's Funny
I think predictability is linked to comedy. If you can predict a joke coming then it won't be funny once it's delivered. One way of subverting this, is misdirecting the audience and throwing another punch line instead of the obvious. Monogatari doesn't do this but peppers the scenes with outragous and goofy reaction faces. These reactions juxtaposed with the otherwise clean and aesthetically pleasing art style, punches harder in the comedy region.
The verbal jousts Araragi has with la belle du jour is also a goldmine for comedy, often in the form of word puns, jests, and put downs. Senjougahara is the Queen when it comes to sharp tongued quips and articulated acumen. I feel a great deal of the comedy is missing whenver Senjougahara isn't part of an arc.
3. The characters are all in some way likeable
Partly due to Akio Watanabe's work on making every character look colorful, attractive, and visually appealing. No one in the series made me groan with pain whenever they were on screen.
I'm going to get a lot of hate from the Monogatari purists, but I disliked Hachikuji. I'm not a loli fan and while her "my tongue slipped" gag was cute, it went on for too long. I also disliked Kaiki. He was the antagonist for nisemonogatari and looked really creepy. However despite my initial feelings for these characters I did grow to like them as the series progressed. Hachikuji's sorrowful goodbye was heartfelt and Kaiki's arc during final story of Monogatari: Second Season was brilliant, completely changing my opinion of him.
4. Tsuhiki Araragi and Platinum Disco
Catchy, ridiculously cute, and I LOVE IT. Oh and the opening is pretty good too.
5. It's fricken beautiful
Whenever I talk about the Monogatari series on my blog or on Japanator, I always need to mention how amazing it looks. Environments are bright with strong bold constrasting colours highlighting the objects and characters. Each scene evokes familirity but with a surreal nature as the characters monologue keeping things visually interesting and emphasising the oddities that litter the Monogatari world. I've read once before that you can take a screen shot of any scene in Monogatari and it'll make a wonderful desktop wallpaper. This is not a lie or hyperbole, it's the truth.
If you're like me then you're about the girl J-Rock group from Osaka SCANDAL. And if you're also like me, you've been waiting desperately for the EU to get some SCANDAL love for some time. Sure you can import the CDs or get a lot of their albums via the American iTunes store, but only a handful have made their way to the UK store.
Fortunately times are changing with their latest release 'HELLO WORLD'. Not only is an international release of their latest album available via iTunes RIGHT NOW! but also, a physical release is scheduled via JPU records and a world tour has been booked! SCANDAL may be playing in a major city near you fellow EU fans. Now that's a way to say HELLO WORLD
Trust me, I'm psyched to see more of my favourite japanese groups get interanational releases and branch out from the land of the rising sun. I've seen Asian Kung Fu Generation live at London last year, something I thought I needed to travel to Japan to see. SCANDAL have previously played at various anime expos interanationally but never on a headlining world tour. I'll be looking forward to seeing The Pillows following in the J-Rock take over.
NB: UK guys, they haven't linked where to buy tickets on the official site but you can actually grab them here
Dear Future Self, I hope you are well.
Please refrain from reading tumblr before writing the weekly One Piece Showdown as it may contain spoilers from the latest episode. Even though the tumblr you follow is often hilarious because it points out the various horrible animation and art in each One Piece episode, it's on the ball when it comes to spoiling MAJOR plot points.
P.S. Buy milk. The one in the fridge is starting to smell.
Law and Doflamingo continue their epic battle on the bridge that connects Dressrosa to Green Bit. Although not as epic as some of the Straw Hat's previous confrontations, its cool to see Doflamingo finally get into some one on one combat and see some of his moves in action. Law, from overusing his Ope Ope Fruit powers starts to struggle to use his Room ability and loses the edge in the fight. Diamente (an officer in the Doflamingo family) calls Doflamingo to say Violet has betrayed them and they know nothing of the Straw Hat's next move. The Holy Demon convinces Diamente to head to the SMILE factory knowing their plans to destroy it.
Before the episode break, it looks like Doflamingo gives Law a killing blow but it seems Oda wants to make it a little bit more tragic.
The last time we saw Bellamy, he had been knocked out of his Block B by Bartolomeo and received orders from Doflamingo to assassinate Luffy. Creeping up to a distracted Luffy who had been reunited with Zoro and Kine'mon, Bellamy gets flashbacks of Luffy cheering him on and that he no longer had any qualms with Luffy upon meeting him again. Unable to follow through with the killing he flees before Luffy can spot him.
Bellemy is greeted by Dellinger (a member of the Diamente army). A weird looking kid as his face looks male and he sounds male but is dressed in hot pants and high heels. I guess anything goes in Dressrosa. Anyways, Dellinger teases Bellemy over the failed murder and informs him that Doflamingo wasn't expecting him to follow through either, but was an excuse to get Bellamy out of the way. Dellinger was also sent to eliminate Bellamy too.
The Straw Hats all connect up via Transporter Snail with Sanji and the Sunny Protection Squad acting like a switchboard. They get everyone up to speed and talk about their next move. Luffy doesn't want the Tin Soldier to go to war due to Rebecca's cries that he will die if he did. Franky on the otherhand disagrees with the Captain. After spending time with the Tontatta he realises he cannot follow through with Law's plan of keeping Doflamingo alive to take down Kaido. Franky wants to fight with the Riku supporters to bring down Doflamingo reign in Dressrosa. Luffy gives Franky the all clear which makes me wonder if he even understands Law's plan fully?
Out of the blue Law comes crashing into Dressrosa with Doflamingo following swiftly, wrecking the whole town with his String String abilty. Positioned perfectly infront of Luffy, Doflamingo executes Law with a pistol, over and over and over again. I can already hear the cries of a hundred fangirls resonate throughout the internet.
I always thought Doflamingo was one of the more interesting characters in One Piece. Never introduced to the Straw Hats until much later but always seen orchestrating major events with the world govenment in-between arcs. He's quite literally the master of puppets. Every appearance he has made prior to this arc is filled with mystery, a devilish grin, and hints of something a lot bigger than the Straw Hats. I'm gonna be sad when he is inevitably Gomu Gomu no Bazooka'd into the afterlife but at least the four warlords of the sea are still largely unknown.
Continuing with Tin Soldier's story; Doflamingo continues to carry out the Dressrosa massacre by controlling Riku and his guards via the string string fruit. In the castle, undercover agent Monet opens the castle doors to allow the Doflamingo family in but is discovered by Riku's daughter Violet. Violet also possesses a special power of Clairvoyance that is of special interest to the intruders.
Doflamingo finally enters the fray after the hearts and minds of the Dressrosa people had been broken and stops Riku's rampage. The people of Dressrosa are thankful even though Doflamingo and his crew are pirates and cheer on their saviour. Doflamingo makes a deal with Riku's daughter Violet; in exchange for not killing Riku, Violet has to be loyal to the Doflamingo family. She agrees and changes her name to Viola progressing up to becoming an officier for the family.
Tin Soldier concludes their plan is to dethrone Doflamingo today relying upon the amount of Toys living in Dressrosa that hate Doflamingo thus having the numbers and also the fact that legendary hero Uso-land (descendent of Montblanc Noland) is here to assist them.
Next episode I hope Rebecca's match finally finishes. She's been fighting for like 10 episodes now and she's just a side character! No Straw Hat has fought that long in this arc yet, they must be slacking after Punk Hazard.