FRESH MEAT  
|   FROM OUR COMMUNITY BLOGS


CharismaJustice's blog


11:08 PM on 07.04.2013

Some Random Thoughts on Shows I've Watched Recently

I've lost the brainpower to write full reviews, and so in this article, I've shoved together a bunch of shorter thoughts I have on a lot of shows I wanted to write about from the spring season and last year and on.

Shin Sekai Yori


There is some extensive yaoi and yuri, nothing dirty but it's there.

AKIRA but in the farmland, and already destroyed! And monsters! I guess it's not like Akira even with psychic kids. But SSY created an incredibly compelling world and it's methods of storytelling created a work that is one of my favorites I've EVER seen. The show covers the life and times of a girl named Saki, and her experiences in postcataclysmic psychic Japan, complete with monsters, political intrigue and missing children.


I guess it's not like Akira

I found the fact that we watched Saki from elementary school into adulthood to be quite interesting, especially since it was a convienient way for the creators to create plots centered around certain characters (the Shun arc was my favorite) and the fact that these seemingly unrelated events all tied together into the show's mind bending finale was incredible. This show is truly one for the ages.
Find it on crunchyroll!


The Devil is a Part Timer
[youtube]<em>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9I1xFm8SeI</em>[/youtube]
I like this opening a lot

I'll be the first one to say I didn't have high expectations for this show. I've seen tons of manga that seem like this show lying around (demons in the human world), and it just didn't grab my attention, but I tried it out on a whim anyways, and boy was I surprised! This show is freaking hilarious, from when the demons arrive in the human world, to Lucifer becoming a NEET, to even the fact that Satan takes being a MgRonalds employee seriously, the show just has a sense for the comedic.

The plot consists of a hero banishing Satan into another world, which turns out to be the earth we live in, and depriving him of most of his magic power. Satan arrives along with his attendant, Alciel, and instead of going full demon on the earth, they decide to infiltrate from the inside, by acting as normal humans, setting the stage for brilliant comedy. Watch it on Funimation immediately

Arata the Legend

ARE YOU READY FOR AVERAGE!

I got what I wanted from this show, average shounen fare, with some solid action. A few weeks ago I felt like watching something new and actionish, and stumbled upon this show on Crunchyroll and found the generic shounen manga adaptation I was looking for.

The show consists of Arata, a bullied kid who is swapped with a person of the same name in a fantasy world, and then Arata has to use magic powers to save a princess who has been betrayed by the knights of their world. And so Arata goes on a magical quest to save a world while running into his dark side and stopping bullying along the way.

This show is not great, and Iwouldn'treccomend it to most people, unless they were looking for shounen action, much like I was, and if that's what you're into, go for it, It's a pretty show with a somewhat unique plot and powers, and I found it pretty entertaining, albeit generic.

In closing, be on the lookout for another one of these consisting of more older shows, like Bakemonogatari and a Certain Magical Index, which I watched recently, along with some manga reviews, and until next time....

Cya   read


7:56 PM on 05.05.2013

Dual-First Impressions: Valvrave and Gargantia

Ladies and gentlemen I watched CURRENT anime, and not stuff from last season~! Well I watched what was tagged under action, and here are the 2 series I have something that isnt repetitive to talk about. Go watch Attack on Titan, great manga, well done adaptation, I didnt feel like purely gushing in this blog, so I left Attack out.


It's everything in anime ever

Valvrave the Liberator
Sunrise, Directed by Ko Matsuo

Valvrave is an enigma, in that it could go one of two ways, good, or complete shitstorm. When the show begins, we are taken to space school, which sits on a neutral space nation, in the middle of a feud between two rival space factions (I'm gonna say space a lot). When we arrive in space school we meet Haruto, who is a whiny little teenager, with no discernible skills, except for a huge crush on (WAIT FOR IT), his childhood friend, Shoko. A little into the 1st episode, space nation (its actually called Jior), is bombed by space faction #1 (aka Dorssia), and is infiltrated by teenage Dorssian super spies with cute German codenames (L-Elf, Q-Vier), who can apparently take down entire space batallions.

The Dorssian agents are in Jior in order to secure this mecha, known as Valvrave, which is stronger than all other mecha apparently, and they almost manage to do it, but they press a button sending the robot to the surface. Meanwhile Jior is getting bombed to hell, and Haruto sees his childhood friend blown to smithereens, and gets really mad, and finds the Valverave. Haruto decides to get in the Valvrave in order to destroy the Dorssian army, and even gives up his humanity to the robot (more on that later), and he miraculously holds back the invading fleet. He then lands the robot and runs into the agents trying to take the Valvrave, and is promptly shot into swiss cheese, and the agents take the Valvrave. However Haruto turns around (while shot), and bites one of the agents (L-Elf), and bodyswaps with him, and then the director comes onscreen and says "DONT TAKE THIS SHOW SERIOUSLY" (not really, but that would be awesome).


In all seriousness, the action scenes are super cool, and merit watching alone

I've been laying on my sarcasm pretty thick in this synopsis, but in all honesty I've really enjoyed my time with Valvrave, as long as there's fighting going on. I was cringing whenever one of the school scenes happened, because they're uninteresting and cliche', and while some of the character development was interesting, none of it took place in the school. Luckily the majority of the time spend in the show amounts to sparkly robots stabbing each other with katanas in BEAUTIFUL action, and stuff like secret agents and space vampires make this show an interesting romp through space, assuming you aren't looking for Urobochi(more on him later~!) writing in ALL your mecha shows. Oh and its written by the same guy that wrote Code Geass, and the D-Gray Man author did the characters~!


Its Gen time

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Production I.G, Directed by Kazuya Murata, WRITTEN BY GEN UROBOCHI

WHO'S READY FOR INTROSPECTION~! But seriously, this season's dose of Gen is here, and it's pretty good. Gargantia is about space cadet (ensign) Ledo, who is in the space army during an attack on an alien race, and after some intense talk about what it means to be a soldier Ledo's people are nearly wiped out, and during a retreat Ledo is blasted far away due to a wormhole malfunction, and is promptly knocked out. Ledo awakens 6 months later on a fleet of interconnected ships known as the Gargantia, on a now flooded earth, and doesnt speak the language of any of the people there, (who are humans) awkward. Ledo decides the best course of action is to calmly freak out, and use his vastly advanced technology to attempt to escape, despite the objections of his ship computer (who is an amusing fellow I might add). And so Ledo finds himself alone at the edge of his ship without a way to contact his peers and no idea of where he is, also all of the Gargantia fleet is freaking out.


The robot's name is Chamber apparently

Luckily, Ledo's ship computer can translate any language apparently, and quickly learns what is presumably Japanese, and he begins to make peace talks (sorta), and learns about the pirates who have captured one of the Gargantian resource boats, and Ledo sets out to free the boat, and kill every single pirate. Ledo's effortless slaughter of the pirates creates friction throughout the whole boat, as this means more pirates are going to come attack them, but the leaders eventually decide to let Ledo help them militarily, in exchange for Ledo being able to stay. During this time we also meet Kawaii girl Amy(our heroine I believe), who likes Ledo because he does justice type things, like slaughtering pirates and saving people.

Personally I've found Amy uninteresting so far, she feels like the typical perky small girl, but luckily for her the robot steals the show. Ledo's robot has a speech function and a robotic personality (makes sense), and he serves as an outspoken voice of reason, and Ledo's only means of communication to the people of Gargantia. This makes for hilarious scenes where one group of people will be speaking gibberish, while the other will be speaking Japanese, and this flips between groups. I've also found Ledo (our hero I might add), pretty uninteresting, as he has a monotoned personality and also a very vague backstory.

But Overall Gargantia has been living up to my expectations so far in terms of plot, and the interesting setting of flooded Earth helps too. I'm looking forward to further exploring the world, and hopefully the characters get more interesting (Amy and Ledo in particular), but robot Alphonse Elric has been carrying the show for me so far. Additionally the art is beautiful, and it makes the action scenes feel not only vibrant, but somewhat perilous, which is nice.

Overall on Both
It seems to be looking like a mecha spring for me, as these two series seem to have the most wow factor to me (pretty fight scenes).

In closing, How do you feel about these shows? Is Valvrave bad? Is Gargantia bad? Is Gen Urobochi overrated? Drop me a comment~! Be on the lookout for my impressions on Arata the Legend, and reviews of Shin Sekai Yori, and Denpa Kyoushi (back in the mangasphere for once). And until next time.....


So long space cowboy   read


9:47 AM on 04.22.2013

Surprise Girls Und Panzer Review~!

I got bored the other day and ended up watching all of Girls Und Panzer in one sitting on Crunchyroll, opinions ahoy!


Awh. Not a moe guy but awh
Do you like moe? Do you like tanks? Do you like moe girls driving tanks? Girls Und Panzer has you covered. The show is set in a demilitarized Japan where schools can afford tanks for some reason. These tanks are then given to high school girls to destroy each other (it helps not to think about it so hard). The sport in which these tanks are driven is called tankery which is girls only, and crazy popular. Across Japan fleets of high school tanks battle each other in the national tournament for victory, and many teams from across the world to participate with varying degrees of funding and fleet size.

Miho Nihizumi hates tanks. Previously in her life she was a member of a world renowned tankery team, but an accident made her hate the sport to the point where she transferred to a school with no tankery program (Oorai Girls School). Shortly after arriving at her new school she meets some new friends: Saori Takabe, and Hana Isuzu, one fiery, another calm, and normal school life ensues, at least until the student council reinstates tankery, and Miho reluctantly joins due to her friends' interest in the elective.


Uhm yes.

The tankery portion of the show begins with the girls meeting their fellow club members, including a military otaku (and squad mate), the top student in their class, the school's volleyball team (whose funding was cut), and a whole other assortment of girls with no clue what the future lies in store. The show has essentially two parts, the tank battles, and the training and recruiting episodes inbetween battles (in which they recruit new members, find new tanks lying around the school for some reason, and do some quick character development). The tank portions are very well animated, and Miho's battle tactics make for interesting action sequences, and due to the girls colorful nature there's always comic relief.

A lot of the action is done through a first person perspective of Miho's tank, which takes a little getting used to but is a nice way to show off all the work being put into the cg tanks. Additionally the battles are made fun due to the electric settings, like when the girls fight a Russian team in the snow, which changes the feel of the battle to a significant degree.


A peek into the action
The backbone of this show is the characters, who string together a fairly straightforward story (battle, repair, repeat), and the characters do not disappoint. I specifically enjoyed the volleyball team and the student council, who never quite knew what they were doing, which created a lot of activity around them. However, the show does dump a lot of new squads and characters on the viewer near the end, and I found it difficult to care about them, which is a shame because their concepts were interesting, just underexplored. The main characters Miho, Hanan and Saori are solid and likeable to follow around, but ultimately play second fiddle to the rest of the team, which is fine, and their stories are still interesting enough to carry portions of the show (training segments).

Honestly the soundtrack is the weakest portion of the show, and it's very clear the soundtrack wasn't really a focus point on the show. The show consists of one tune being repeated in different keys, with a few different songs at times. The tanks sound effects are well done, ad the seiyuu's do a serviceable job, but the lack of music variation got annoying.


The opening

Ultimately Girls Und Panzer does a solid job in most categories, and doesnt do much wrong at all. However it feels like the show almost played it safe during the 13 episode run. I think that the show is definately an entertaining watch for the action, but don't come in expecting high level storytelling.

Number Score
7.5/10

In closing what did you think of Girls Und Panzer? Have a favorite squad? Is the soundtrack actually great? Am I wrong? Drop me a comment! Share my blogs if you like them, and be on the lookout for a Denpa Kyoushi review soon, I finally finished reading it! And until next time.......


Cya   read


11:46 PM on 04.06.2013

I Just Read: The World God Only Knows

I recently came across a lot of time to read manga due to an excessive amounts of traveling, so here's the first in a series of reviews coming out in the next few weeks

Some Background

Deep in the bowel in the internet there lies a man capable of conqiering any galgame, he is a mysterious figure who can capture 8 heroines simultabeously, an is known on the internet as Kami-sama. Keima Katsuragi is this god, along with being a 17 year old otaku completely disenfranchised with the real world, and a high school student (and genius) to boot. Enter Elsea, a newly graduated devil who is tasked with catching spirits escaped from Old Hell, but there's a catch, the spirits are possessing people (girls mostly, I don't know about men), and the spirits can only be captured by filling an emotional gap in girls' hearts, the issue being, humans have to fix the gaps, and the devils just seal the spirits.

In a twist of fate Elsea is partnered with Keima (against his will), and if they don't capture the spirits, they both die, and so thus begins the great big real world dating sim. Keima must free the runaway spirits by making the host girls fall in love with him, and Keima begins putting his experience in galgames to the test (albeit reluctantly).


He needs to teach me his moves...

TWGOK launched in Shounen Sunday in 2008, and is written by Tamiki Wakaki, there's currently 20+ volumes, and an anime with three seasons, the manga is a full blown phenomenon.

My Thoughts

I came into The World God Only Knows expecting very little, other than something to read on an airplane, and some quick easy ecchi harem fun, 200 chapters later I couldn't wait for more. One has to give the author a lot of credit on his work here, because this series would only work as long as the girls are interesting, and they are 90% of the time. Wakaki manages to put small twists on well established galgame (and manga) archetypes, and manages to put interesting twists on them, which makes Keima's attempts to make them fall in love with him all the more interesting. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised at how pure the romance is in the manga, fanservice is there, but not nearly as often as I expected it to appear after reading descriptions of the series. Additionally, the manga ends up building more and more on the fantasy elements, with goddesses, conspiracies, and backstory galore (but I wouldn't want to spoil that).

But tragically, not all is well in fictional Japan, because TWGOK suffers from several flaws that bog down the good positive story elements, the biggest one being the main character, Keima. Keima is an unlikeable jerk, plain and simple. Keima is so invested in the game world,that he treats all real people as of they're trash, and so he has no friends (except Elsea, who isn't the smartest), and for the first 50 chapters Keima seems to have no redeeming qualities. Eventually Keima becomes more and more likeable (but he's still a jerk), but his disdain can make reading some Of the early chapters hard. Another issue I have is the cast of characters in general, first off its all girls save Keima, second there aren't any major recurring characters until 75 chapters in (so theres essentially a cast of 3 for a long time: Keima, Elsea, and the girl he's seducing). Ironically the reason for this small cast is also what makes the series unique; the girls Keima seduces forget him after Elsea captures their spirit, meaning besides small personality changes all the girls go back to their old selves (or so it seems). These issues are important, but I was able to cope with it enough to say that this is a story I liked overall, and the small cast and unlikeable hero shouldn't be an issue to a lot of people, especially those who've read Welcome to the N.H.K. (which I enjoyed a lot), and eventually the cast expands (and many of the characters come back, but I won't spoil why).


Seriously teach me your tricks sensei..

I'm happy to say that I liked the series' art a lot, and that it's certainly above average, but not really all that unique in style. If you're expecting art like Berserk in your harem manga then you're silly and probably havent read harem manga before. I liked the contrast between the full sized characters and the author's use of deformed characters (chibi etc), and Wakaki does a good job of mixing up those styles to keep readers interested.
One last point worth mentioning is the plot is Katauragi making a girl fall in love with him over 6ish chapters for the entire first 100ish chapters, and it can get a bit repetitive, so your mileage may vary.

In summation don't expect Shakespeare, TWGOK is a harem manga at heart, however it's unique dating sim twist and interesting mythological elements make for an interesting story that kept me hooked, and I HATE harem manga (except Ichigo 100% and Suzuka). The art is above average and the character designs are unique, and the different styles used is a nice touch. I'd be wary if a likeable protagonist is important to you, or if you absolutely despise repetitive plots (it's all making girls fall in love for the first 100ish chapters), but overall I think TWGOK is a heartwarming ad unique story worth at least a glance from most readers.


TELL ME PLEASE KAMI-SAMA

The Number Score
8/10

That's it for this blog, keep an eye out for an Eureka Seven review soon (and ten years too late), Denpa Kyoushi review, and a reply for this month's bloggers wanted. Also, are my opinions wrong? Is Keima not a jerk? Is Elsea the star? Got a particular waifu from this series? Just wanna discuss TWGOK? Drop me a comment! Tweet my Blogs and vote them up if you like them!

And until next time


Baii~!   read


12:58 AM on 03.10.2013

All Science Fiction Anime is Actually History From The Future

In the year 200X mankind is suffering from a debilitating plague due to ongoing overpopulation and alien invasion, however the human race has one last hope, a subtle time machine in which media is sent to the past in a way to avoid suspicion and released as science fiction so that the public fixes the mistakes of the past, unkowingly.


Fear them

Yes, as implausible as it may seem science fiction is actually an account of the future of the human race, an account beginning as of right now, with scientific advances inching humans toward real like Gundams and Ganmen. I'd go as far as to say I know the order of events in which these anime happen, and why they happen as such! Prepare yourselves for the abridged history of the future human race.

2100-2200

All of this happens

In the early 2100's the technology to terraform uninhabitable planets is invented, a discovery used in junction with the improved space engine created in years past allowed for the colonization of planets across the galaxy, creating a new market for trade and housing but also for crime. This space revolution allows for many new jobs, including cleaning litter from wrecked satellites and tracking criminals throughout the galaxy, and the human lifestyle was forever changed.

2200-2300



A Japanese boy by the name of Naoto is struck in the head by an alien, unknowingly creating a portal in his head somehow, which begins introducing incredibly advanced robots into earth's economy, sparking a military and labor robotic revolution. Later, advancements in robotic technology allowed a province known as Zeon to secede from the United Nations, sparking international warfare, contrary to expectations Zeon begins to win battles due to their advanced robotic technology known only as Mobile Suits. Sadly fate had other plans for Zeon, as UN citizen Ray Amuro begins to pilot the UN's response to Mobile Suits (the RX-78 Gundam) the tide turns in the UN's favor, defeating the Zeon, but at the cost of losing half of earth's population.

2400-2500


Yes he was real, don't you feel silly

The earth's core is shattered as the plant species Scub Coral begins to take hold over the entire planet, luckily humans escape via massive arks onto the new human mother planet Gunsmoke. Mankind spends 100 years on Gunsmoke, until a new form of transportation is invented, known as the Galaxy Express.

2500-2600


In the future soundtracks play along to all your actions. Sidenote: HOW GOOD WAS THE CHARLES AND RAY ARC OH MY GOD <3

Traveling along the Galaxy Express mankind unknowingly returns to Earth, due to it having taken a much different form because of the Scub Coral. Humans uncover a prototype mecha in a hole in the deserts, which comes to be called the Nirvash Type-0, along with the discovery of the trapars (physics defying particles allowing for flight), creating an all new type of mechanized warfare, based on the surfing design of the Nirvash Type-0. Meanwhile, scientific studies on the Scub Coral yield a startling discovery, the universe can only contain a certain amount of living organisms, and due to the sheer amount of Scub Coral on Earth that limit is approaching. As with all of human history, great humans step up to fix these problems, and in this era the heroes are Adroc and Renton Thurston, father and son respectively, who fight political corruption and the impending doom using peaceful methods in mechas, now known as LFOs, ushering in 200 years of peace.

2800-3100


And life was in black and white for some reason

The unthinkable happens, the life limit is nearly reached again! However a man known only as the Spiral King comes into power, and commits a mass human genocide using genetically engineered animal hybrids known as beastmen. The beastmen force humans underground, where they live a miserable existance for 300 years.

3100-3125


How the Earth Was Won

A few humans from underground rise up, and begin taking beastmen's mechas from them, particularly one known as Gurren, and another known as Lagann. Gurren and Lagann have the ability to combine, to create a mecha more powerful than all others on Earth, and their pilots Simon and Kamina end up leading a very successful revolt against the then-immortal Spiral King, albeit not without its losses. Kamina is killed along the way but Simon manages to overthrow the Spiral King and begin a new above ground civilization on Earth. However this causes a massive spike in the human population, and the life limit is reached! It turns out the life limit is enforced by aliens opposed to DNA, and these aliens are insurmountably powerful, but by some miracle Simon and his army defeats the aliens, and humankind lives safe for a few more precious years, however how many is unknown until we begin receiving more tapes, so hey, look out for new anime on Crunchyroll or on DVD!


In Closing, is any of this plausible? Should we be worried? Am I just BSing you guys? Drop me a comment! Look out for some manga reviews once my iPad is fixed, so follow my blog here on Japanator!

Open Ended Question of the Blog: What's your favorite or some of your favorite story arcs?
I can rattle off Jupiter Jazz from Cowboy Bebop, the Charles and Ray Arc from Eureka Seven, and Greed Island from Hunter X Hunter to name a few, tell me yours in the comments section, and until next time....


Baii~!   read


7:50 PM on 02.10.2013

Top 5 Anime That Made Me Who I Am

When looking through the annals of history one finds many instances of brutal causality, where something leads directly to events that affect the world in big ways. As I look throughout my history I find that anime has often been my cause, and affected me, in big ways, and here are my 5 favorite examples, lets get biographical.

Another Note to begin, these are not necessarily my favorite anime ever, however they are the ones I believe have prompted me to change my life the most.

5. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

I only watched the show recently, but its paid dividends
"Believe in the me that believes in you" is something I said to the cast of a play I was part of recently, becuase our show wasn't going how we wanted, and things turned around, probably not because of my quote but still, if nothing elseGurren Lagann has stuck in my mind and has caused me to make pushes to get what I want, or try something new, or meet someone new, I often think of Kamina and Simon and their adventures.

For the unfamiliar, Gurren Lagann is about Simon and Kamina, two subterranean people who end up leading the charge for a rebellion against humankind's alien slavers, which causes the world to almost explode and a battle against evolution, exploring the medium of anime and the stories it tells all the while. Gurren Lagann has stuck with me because of things Kamina says to Simon, and has led me to play a varsity sport, start acting, and even singing in front of audience, and I couldn't be happier.

4. Cowboy Bebop/Gundam Wing

Yeah it's two series, get your own list if you're mad.
I dont remember much of Gundam Wing, I was around 5 when it was on TV, and the show was past my bedtime, so my memories are hazy at best. However a few distinct shots of gigantic robots fighting in space stick in my memory, and have left me in awe of space, and the stars. Now I'm 17, and I've seen Cowboy Bebop(when I was like 13, and I've been continually DVRing and watching my favorites since), and space continues to fascinate me, to the point where its what I want to work about for the rest of my life. I know space isn't like how Bebop portrays it, but even so the possibility of other worlds, infinite space, and aliens continues to hook me on what's out in the sky.

If you haven't seen Cowboy Bebop you can get out from under your rock and buy the dvd's, or watch it on Toonami on saturdays (LATE), so that you too can enjoy the exploits of space bounty hunters Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein, and their exploits throughout the galaxy, along with a perfect soundtrack and jazzlike structure. Gundam Wing however, is Gundam and I imagine many of you know what to expect, the best mecha action scenes around, along with a great plot, and good characters that I can't remember at all. I tried to revisit Wing recently, only to find the dub intolerably bad, and just not hooked by the series anymore, find it on DVD or online somewhere.

3. Naruto

I dragged my father 2 hours away on a school night to see this movie
Naruto served as an awakening to me, an awakening to the American anime (and manga) community through Shounen Jump magazine, and the old Toonami block on Cartoon Network. When I first saw Naruto I was in 4th grade, and I hated the idea of it, thinking it was just like Avatar: The Last Airbender(hate that show), but then my friend Simon forced me to watch it (in the middle of the Chunin Exam arc), and I fell in love immediately with the action, and the characters, but mainly the action. Naruto was a lifestyle to me, I bought the games, I subscribed to the magazine (American Monthly Shounen Jump, which was a fantastic product by the way), I saw the one night only movie, and I regret nothing, because it introduced me to the Japanese side of manga, because I heard of a mysterious Naruto Shippuden in Japan, and wanted to be more in the know than my friends, and this led me to manga scans, and online anime sites (sorry fans, I buy stuff now).

Much like a later series on this list, Naruto is a fantastic introduction to anime, with gobs of western appeal, and flashy action to keep kids hooked. Naruto is the tale of Naruto Uzumaki, and his squad of other ninjas as they go about the ninja world doing ninja things, and end up getting involved in political warfare, and conspiracies involving demons. I love Naruto and read it to this day, and think it's relevant to people of all ages and should be seen by all, period.

2. Dragon Ball/Z

I see so many Cells in anime today
Dragon Ball Z is another Gundam Wing to me, except I kept up with it, and I continued watching DBZ, and thus my memory of it is crystal clear, and what a memory it is. Dragon Ball/Z is remarkable if not just for the fact that it tell's our hero, Goku's whole life story, but also because of how innovative it's action and plot structure are, and for it's widespread appeal, how many other 20 year old series still get western releases, none. Dragon Ball had me trying to shoot lasers out of my hands, buy video games, even take karate classes, all to be like Goku, the man who taught me the value of hard work. which my father should've done (no fault to him, he's a wonderful father, its just Goku beat him to it), Goku taught me I have to work for things, mainly by how he beats things up so well.

I distinctly remember being three years old and living in Maryland, I had stayed home sick from preschool, and turned on the TV and watched Dragon Ball Z for the first time, it was the Majin Buu arc at the time, and I remember seeing Goku and Vegeta fighting it out, and obviously my young brain was taken captive. Since then I've watched every episode of Dragon Ball and DBZ, along with DBZ Kai and all the movies, talk about addictive. But DBZ is more than addictive, I grew up with Goku, as he grew up, and while I didn't develop into the biggest asskicker this side of Superman, I did mature with him, and that isn't seen in many other series, and it's a very personal trait, and I've come to adore the series for that reason, and I imagine if I ever have children they'll be watching DBZ from early on.

1. Pokemon

Wish I could've been like that at 10
Much like DBZ I've been watching Pokemon since around age 3, and while I've dropped Pokemon due to it's drop in quality season by season, the first few seasons introduced me to video games, the DS generation introduced me to eSports, roguelikes, gaming clans, and import gaming. The first video game I ever played was Pokemon Crystal for my blue Gameboy Color, which I have to this day. I've now played Pokemon Crystal seven times, most recently importing in Kanto starters and a Mew I glitched in Pokemon Red, but I'm getting off topic. Ash, Misty and Brock kept me hooked on video games throughout generations, by supplementing my gaming imagination with their tv adventures, which led me to subsequent Gameboy Advances, Gamecubes, and Dses (I jumped ship to Pc and Sony handhelds, but X and Y may change things).

Pokemon[i] taught me many things: trust your friends, be kind to others, value the good in the world, and much like DBZ, that I have to work for things, valuable lessons to say the least. However it's the unspoken that makes [i]Pokemon[i] important in my life; [i]Pokemon made me lifetime friends, through trading and general Gameboy envy at young ages, Pokemon also brought me into the eSports community through a clan I joined ({UA} Ultimate Annihilation), I learned about forums, IRC, tournaments, and metagames, which has served me so well that I play on a sponsored DOTA 2 team now (we aren't that good but still), and various eSports have carried my social life in various points of time, all due to my introduction through Pokemon.

Pokemon has led me to buying several game systems, and has often carried my interest in video games, and their surrounding media, and it's impact on who I am cannot be understated as without it I'm not sure where I'd be in this point in time, but what I do know, is I certainly wouldn't be blogging here, because if all of it's other effects weren't enough; Pokemon was my first real foray into anime, if that's not a clincher I don't know what is.

Lastly I have a few other series worth noting that didn't quite make the cut
Honorable Mentions:
Spirited Away: Saw it when I was really young, various psychological impacts.
One Piece: Similar to Naruto but I was way more into Naruto
Yu Gi OH: I ate it up, period.
Fullmetal Alchemist Another one of my major early anime encounters.

Wow it's been a long time since my last blog! Thanks Japanator staff for this wonderful bloggers wanted topic! I've been busy lately and I hope to keep up a more regular blogging schedule, but annyways....
What anime have affected you in your lives? Drop me a comment! I'd love to hear. And until next time...


Auf Wiedersehn   read


8:28 PM on 01.09.2013

Check Out the 80's

I find myself in lots of retro phases, retro games, retro comics, and now retro manga and anime; coincidentally, I picked up all of these habits for the same reason, because they're as good as what we've got now, and at times better. Now it's 2013, animation's crisper, budgets are bigger, and manga covers things people wouldn't dream of back then, so what makes 80's worth revisiting?



I wasn't alive in the 80's, I don't I could've even been conceived back then, and yet due to the availability of media over the web, the past is closer than it's ever been, and when I'm browsing I often unintentionally end up reading an old manga, or watching an old anime, and this isn't a bad thing, it's just interesting that the old is still so popular, and easy to come across, whereas in American comics you have to work a little harder for the old. Moving on, many of you probably know manga and anime are from Japan, and as such releasing them in America is a little difficult, and in the 80's the market for manga and anime in Japan was a fraction of what it is today, and so America never got to see some really fantastic stuff, and while a lot of it is around now, it's still not even close to all of the manga and anime released around that period, which is a huge shame, because the manga and anime America got ended up essentially creating it's own market, and many of the series we hail as classics come from this time.

The Classics

Ready for the manga equivalent of an all star team? The 80's brought many of the franchises we take for granted into the world, and this period was crucial in establishing a western fanbase of Japanese entertainment, and luckily the title's didn't disappoint. Stop if you've heard of one of these: Dragon Ball, Akira, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Ranma 1/2, Fist of the North Star, Ghost in the Shell, Dr Slump, Captain Tsubasa, Saint Seiya, and Berserk! And that's off the top of my head! Not to mention I haven't talked about anime, which had big things coming circa 1980, clearly something happened here that set the framework for the stuff read and watched today. Think of where manga and anime would be today without Dragon Ball, I cant even begin to think about it. But I'm not here to preach about how great these manga are, because none of these are close to perfect, and are all shounen action manga, AKA my favorite genre, and I'm probably a little biased; however what I can say, is a lot of the series launched here set tones that have been resonating for decades, whether it's the Dragon Ball timelapse, or the Saint Seiya tournament fighter, lots of what happens today was being coined back in 1980.


Ah the 80's, a time when Krillin only died once...

Moving on,I don't want to be so broad with this, and It's time to cover individual things that need to be seen

Touch

I've already covered Touch in an article I wrote awhile ago, but I feel like I didn't really do the series justice, because Touch may be the greatest sports manga ever written, bar none. Touch is the brainchild of Adachi Mitsuru, and is a baseball manga covering twins Uesugi Katsuya, and Uesugi Tatsuya, the former a star athlete and student, the latter a lazy good-for-nothing (or so it seems,) and both have a crush on the same girl, their neighbor, Minami. The world knows about this potential romance as well, at least on Katsuya's side, and the whole world thinks they'll be married, after Katsuya pitches the school baseball team into nationals. As the story moves on people see more and more talent in Tatsuya, but he continues to refuse to take up the sport, even joining the boxing team instead, which is another sport he has a knack for; eventually a tragic event thrusts Tatsuya into the limelight, and thus begins the tale of a boy, his brother, and a girl, in this fantastic baseball romantic comedy (bear with me). Adachi Mitsuru is a champion of minimalistic art and clever writing, and his spirit shines throughout the whole series, the drama is TOUCHing, the baseball is good, the characters are funny and well realized, and the art shines in a weird way. All in all Touch forms a baseball manga unlike any other, and it's effects can be seen on anime today, all you have to do is look (Area No Kishi for one.)

Where to Find It
Oddly enough, Touch hasn't gone stateside to my knowledge, and you'll have to resort to scans or something, just send Mitsuru a check.

Minimalist is the only word i can really come up with for the art

Laputa: Castle in the Sky
The first actual Studio Ghibli movie also happens to be my favorite. Laputa successfully blends a steampunk style world with compelling characters and incredible setpieces, a sight for the eyes, and ears to behold (although the dub sucks). I worship at Hayao Miyazaki's feet, lets get that out of the way before I get into detail about this classic. Laputa covers Pattsu and Shita, one a princess, the other a boy who dreams of finding a castle in the sky to redeem his dead father, they meet when Shita's airship gets attacked by pirates, and she falls out, and yet mysteriously floats down safe, as if by magic. This turn of events leads Pattsu and Shita into a national conspiracy involving magic, airships, and robots, stop if you've heard something like this before. Plot aside, the real thing I love about Laputa is the action, insane chases, robots blowing everything up, soldiers falling off flying castles, oh and sky pirates! The movie is just an incredible ride, and deserves to be seen by everyone, oh and the soundtrack is incredible too.


Almost as good as the Spirited Away soundtrack

Where to Find It
Amazon.

Magic Kaito
Hey Kids! Heard of Detective Conan? Maybe Case Closed rings more of a bell. Anyways, before we had Shinichi Kudo's murder adventures, Aoyama Gosho wrote Magic Kaito a manga about thievery that's been irregularly serialized until today, but even more important is the impact Magic Kaito had on Detective Conan, in that protagonist Kaito Kid is a recurring antagonist in Detective Conan and as such Magic Kaito is an interesting series to read, as you can see a lot of Gosho Aoyama's love for mystery; the manga covers brilliant thief and magician Kaito Kid and his exploits in stealing from the rich, or the evil etc, etc... And while in reality, Magic Kaito won't be winning any awards or anything, I've included it over Gosho's other work (Yaiba) due to how much I find this manga's existence interesting, and entertaining.


Not a classic, but a curio.

Where to find it
Online maybe?

Ushio and Tora

Launching in late 1989 Ushio and Tora covers the adventures of the son of a priest who comes into contact with a mystical weapon, which unseals a monster named Tora, whose goal is to kill our protagonist; Tora is whooped pretty fast, because Ushio's magic spear bestows great power and fighting skills, while lengthening his hair, and this makes him a target for the surrounding demons everywhere, initiating magical monster battles. Ushio is interesting mainly due to the characterization, namely Ushio's relationship with his bakemono traveling companion Tora, and their constant attempts to murder each other, even in battles against other monsters. The manga's arcs are on a massive scale, and Ushio's countrywide antics make for great reading. The manga also has some unique Berserk style art, in terms of amounts of toner and ink, and it makes for an image somewhat unique to shounen manga, which is a nice touch. Another thing I like about Ushio is that it's arc's are really seamless, and his travels transition from one to another very well, with various aspects continuing throughout the manga, and all in all Ushio feels like a pretty complete package.

Where to find it
There's a fairly available anime, otherwise read it online.

Honorable Mentions
Hajime No Ippo
Berserk
Dr Slump
High School and Shoujo Manga

In closing, any series I missed? Anything Else Worth Checking out? Are the 90's more relevant? Drop me a comment!
And Until Next time


Sayonara   read


4:46 PM on 01.03.2013

How To Save The Vita

Over the holiday season I picked myself up a bright shiny new PS Vita, and I simply adore it, the system is well made, the games are great, and Sony really backed up the promise of console quality. But sadly, the Vita's in trouble, people simply aren't buying it! Many blame the system's price point, and while I agree, I think there's more than finance to blame here



The Playstation Vita has only sold 4.1 million units in it's debut year, and Sony isn't showing any signs of turning the system around, and while I believe the system itself is fine the way it is, Sony could manage the property differently in order to kickstart a Vita resurrection, and this resurrection would come through games, namely exclusive games. Strong third party support on the Vita is virtually nonexistant, and while the company has managed to bring big franchises like Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty, these efforts haven't be enough to sell the system, because while these games may sell in America, the area the Vita needs global success, and stuff like Call of Duty and Assasin's Creed wont get it success in Japan, a key handheld market. However I think Sony could fix these problems with a price cut and key third party support.


A good sign? Not with zero news for months

The most obvious way to help sell the Vita is lower the price, because the price is taking a great system and making it unable to compete with cheaper, and quality options. The 3DS has a quite low price tag for what consumers get in return, and while the 3DS wasn't always so inexpensive, the price cut, along with some great new games created a swelling market for the handheld, and the market responded by buying lots, and lots of 3DS'. Now compare that to the Vita, I've found a similar bundle, and it's $80 more expensive(and it's the cheapest bundle besides a Vita and a charger,) the Vita currently costs as much as a home console, and just because it's games and graphics are console quality, doesn't mean Sony should sell it for the same price.


I'm having visions of this disaster

Japan is a very different place from America, and the games that sell well there may flop in America. That said, there's one game that kept the PSP alive late into it's lifespan, and while other good games were released, this game has always been a mainstay; the game is Monster Hunter Portable, and it's been shipped over to Nintendo, along with it's console counterpart. Sony needs to make a conscious effort to get Monster Hunter back on a Sony handheld, because the game not only sells systems, it's also a perfect fit! Think about it, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a MonHun with next gen graphics, online functionality, and big beautiful loot in short bursts, it's basically Sony's whole vision with the Vita, console quality handheld gaming, so why not make an effort to get it on the Vita? The game is launching on the Wii U, 3DS, and surprisingly, the PS3, which begs the question, why not make it Cross-Play with exclusive features? It's not Capcom saying no in this situation, anything but! Capcom has been supporting the Vita since launch, bringing it's big name fighting games to the handheld, with little to no compromising. Maybe I don't know much about the politics of third parties, but it seems like Nintendo is vying for the Monster Hunter franchise, and Sony needs to dish out some dough to Capcom, plain and simple.


Soul Sacrifice is a lot like Monster Hunter, and looks incredible, but the MonHun name alone would sell systems in Japan

Moving on, Sony may have created the Playstation brand, but the company that made them a power is a third party that goes by the name of Square Enix, who converted to the Playstation after Nintendo decided to stick with cartridge based systems (the N64), nowadays Square Enix has released one Vita game, Army:Corps of Hell, which irks me in that there hasn't been a big SE franchise on the Vita yet. Final Fantasyis a juggernaut globally, and the Kingdom Hearts franchise is no slouch either, and both of these franchises have a large presence on the 3DS, so where's the Vita love, an Hd remaster of Final Fantasy X with no real news on it to speak of? Once again this has to come down to Sony, because it's not like FF games on the other Playstation's haven't sold, and without some Vita sales to speak of, I doubt that Square Enix will be willing to take the risk. However, perhaps if Sony decides to splurge out for a killer app, then it might be time for the long rumored Final Fantasy VII remake, as a Vita exclusive; if that won't sell systems, I don't know what will. Smaller RPG makers have already came out and supported the Vita, such as Atlus and Nippon Ichi, who have released two of the best and most profitable Vita games out there, Persona 4, and Disgaea 3 and why Sony isn't making more of an effort to motivate Square Enix to join them is unbeknownst to me as they have been one of the company's most important partners for years.


Make it a reality Square. Please?

The final piece of the Vita puzzle doesn't have anything to do with games, or price, and yet everything to do with them, and by that, I mean marketing, Sony just isn't marketing the darn thing well. Commercials for the Vita are few and far between, and the ones that do come on are often either confusing, short, or advertising a bad game. Sony needs to step up the either the amount or the quality of commercials for this great little system next to me, because it deserves better, and the games put out on the Vita really are worth playing. People have told me they'd get a Vita if good games came out, people told me they'd get a Vita if memory cards came with the system, and while the latter is a valid complaint, the games library really isnt an issue on the Vita, there's plenty to play, right when you buy, and the system really rewards you for Playstation Plus (free Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Retro City Rampage, Jet Set Radio, and Final Fantasy Tactics 1,) and in Sony's defense they are taking steps toward fixing the memory card issue, along with the pack in game issue, and they're doing it in a way similar to the PSP, with bundles, and by bundling the Vita with the system's big name games, hopefully sales will spike. But all of that is impossible, if Sony doesn't advertise stuff like these fantastic bundles, or advertise a cheaper Vita, it just wont sell until the commercials make sense, here's hoping.


Like this? What is this ad even for? Video Games? Where?

In closing, is the Vita doomed to failure? Is there another way to save it? What games would you like to see on the Vita? Should I give up and buy a 3DS? And now I return...


To Rolling Up   read


6:29 PM on 12.21.2012

Apocalyptic Manga for Your End of the World Pleasure

As we all know, the world's ending soon, and what better way to prepare then manga! The manga apocalypse isn't as popular as the gaming apocalypse, or the film apocalypse, but there's still several awesome apocalyptic manga for your doomsday bunker pleasure (it takes no electricity folks!)

Safe Bets

Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

Sounds like an awful space movie
An impending apocalypse is an apocalypse nonetheless, and the onslaught of giant titans in Shingeki is about as apocalyptic as things could be. The manga chronicles the attacks of giant titans, on humans in their last bastion, and the humans aren't exactly taking it sitting down, luckily a kid named Eren discovers a strange skill that could turn the tides in this battle, but his friends on other fronts aren't doing nearly as good, and the manga chronicles these adventures as well. Look forward to really stylized art, innovative action, and vulnerable protagonists. Shingeki is so good that an anime adaptation is on the way, along with a live action movie! But we may not get far enough to see these, so import copies while you can.

Nausicaa Valley of the Wind

Isn't that a movie...
You may have heard of the movie, after all it was Hayao Miyazaki's debut. Nausicaa isn't just a straight tie in to the movie however, it's a much longer and detailed version, and the most complete version of how Miyazaki wanted it to turn out. Nausicaa takes place on earth, after industry has sent the world into ruin, Osamu Tezuka style, now the remaining humans live in feudal kingdoms on the wastelands with fleeting technology, and bloody battles. Our hero is the warrior princess Nausicaa based on a Greek maiden, who can fight, and outwit all her attackers, and she has a war to stop over powers unbeknownst to her. The manga features a much darker version of the story, with Nausicaa struggling to keep her dark side in check, along with much more killing, however I think it makes the story more interesting, and the fact that it's a long form manga with beautiful artwork is just a bonus. Potential readers may get annoyed over Nausicaa's high panel count, and wordy nature, I didn't mind it that much, but to some it may be off putting.

For the Kids at Heart

Doraemon Long Story
No you're not seeing things
Doraemon is almost a parellel of Sesame Street in Japan,an incredibly long running kids show, now most prevalent in movies, but the best Doraemon can be found in Doraemon Long Story in which each volume tells of one time bending adventure our heroes go on. In many of the volumes Nobita, and his robot cat Doraemon end up in an unexpected situation when time traveling, many of these situations end up being apocalyptic, whether it's getting stranded in prehistory, or meteors hurtling towards earth. Look forward to sweet humor, and heartfelt plots, along with some shounen action for show. Obviously Doraemon is for kids, so don't expect anything too serious or severe, but still, it's an interesting read.

For the Fighters

Fist of the North Star

All it needs is one liners
ATATATATATATA! One of the most influential action manga out there is also one of the most apocalyptic. FOTNS is set in post apocalyptic Japan, where the world is controlled by bandits and what little people are left live in fear, except for Ken; Ken is a master of Hokuto Shinken (Fist of the North Star), an incredibly dangerous martial art that attacks the insides, rather than the outsides, and attack it does. Readers follow Ken as he kills his brothers, bandit masters of martial arts, and he leaves behind a trail of blood, and corpses, lots of corpses. The manga's art is resemblant of early Jojo's chapters, and its very 80's which may be a turn off to some, but if you're a fan of action, Fist of the North Star isnt one to miss.

Psyren

Who doesn't love psychic teenagers?
What would you do for 500 million yen? Would you brave an apocalyptic world in order to find the secret it contains for an old fortune teller? That's exactly what Ageha Yoshihina does in Psyren, after getting a phone card that takes him to another world, a world mysteriously destroyed, he is then ordered to kill a drifter, AKA a rouge psychic, and as it turns out, Ageha and his comrades he meet are quite good at killing psychics. As the manga moves on it becomes more and more complicated, and the killing of drifters is just a setup for the time traveling, and good versus evil, psychic style. Psyren succeeds due to incredible fight scenes, a well done plot, and clean art, and honestly I don't have much bad to say about it.

For the Survivalists

Cage of Eden

Worst. field trip. ever
Cage of Eden features some of the most intense and realistic survivalism I've seen in fictional media, except for the dinosaurs and extinct monsters; the manga follows Sengoku Akira, a high schooler enjoying his class trip and about to be home, until his plane crashes. Akira wakes up on an abandoned island with nobody nearby, until he runs into Mariya Shiyou, a geekier kid from his class, and they set out on the quest of finding their friends throughout this island, until of course, they find the dinosaurs. It turns out this mysterious abandoned island is inhabited by prehistoric animals, extinct prehistoric animals, and as Akira finds more and more of his classmates and other travelers, more and more dangerous animals start to appear. Worse yet, when they try to make a raft and leave, the raft is immediately consumed by sea monsters, making them wonder even more what's going on in the world. Eden features high quality art, and a well done story with convincing characters and action, except for the fact that Mariya has a freaking dinosaur database on his bottomless computer, anyways, while not technically an apocalypse, EEden features situations that would make Kenshiro shiver, and honestly, since they're so stuck it might as well be.

Also check out Dragon Head for real apocalypse survival

For the Mature

Gantz

One of the rapey-est manga out there
NSFW NSFW NSFW NSFW! You have been warned. Ever been hit by a subway? Well Kei Kurono has, and it got him on a game show, a game show where you kill aliens, dangerous aliens. After his death Kurono gets wrapped up in an intergalactic drama, protecting the human race from an inevitable alien invasion. It turns out Kurono really did die, and a machine called Gantz, under the guise of the moderator of the game show knows all, and is there to prevent earth's destruction, and facilitates all of whats going on. Gantz has beautiful art, and the action scenes are a beautiful disaster, with tons of blood and gore, and lots of dying. Gantz also features sexual content, sometimes excessive, and isn't for anyone under 18, and isn't safe for work either. My biggest complaint is that the manga just slogs along sometimes, and the mature content can be excessive, but it's still an apocalypse worth reading.

In closing, any apocalypses I missed? Any personal favorite apocalypses? Any plans for the end of the world? Comment, Tweet, Facebook my blogs! Read my other stuff too! And until next time!


Ciao!   read


8:34 PM on 12.02.2012

Best Anime/Manga I Missed Out On Until 2012

Well, It's 2012, and how else should the end of the world be celebrated then by talking about the Japanese media of years past, this list contains my favorite things I read/watched this year, however their release dates are irrelevant, you'll be shocked at what I hadn't seen until now.


10. Robotics;Notes:

I have a bias against anime based on visual novels, but Robotics;Notes may have pierced that bias with it's brilliant blend of comedy, sci fi, and not so epic robot fighting. It's compelling characters make for a vibrant cast of personalities, and their respective stories are interesting for the most part. I'm also enjoying the show's transition into sci-fi, slow and steady.The series isn't over, and I look forward to seeing the rest. Notes qualifies because I picked it up 6 episodes in....


Well played 5pb, well played....

9. Baccano!


Yeah, I hadn't seen Baccano until now, it just didn't grab me until I got Netflix in January, man do I feel bad. If Robotics;Notes has a good cast, Baccano has a phenomenal one, and after all, Baccano is all about the characters. The cast feels like a bunch of sports rivalries, as everyone's personalities are always butting heads, and the intertwining tales of the alchemists and the crime lords only feels right because of the characters deliveries and the phenomenal voice acting, it's just good stuff.

8. Sket Dance


I love comedies, I love big raunchy, dirty comedies, with bad words, sex jokes, even stereotypes. Sket Dance is not that comedy, and that's what makes it great, that it doesn't have to go lowbrow. Bossun and friend's misadventures shine because of their characters, much like the two above, and the hilarious situations are all because of the setups these characters create, whether its a game of genesis, or Roman Saotome turning everything into a retro shoujo manga (which is soooo funny) Sket Dance is good clean fun, just don't get too into the storytelling (WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO HAVE A SAD PAST).

7.Howl's Moving Castle

I took a day and watched the complete works of Hayao Miyazaki this year, so I saw quite a few things I've never seen before, and that will stay in my memory forever, starting with Howl's Moving Castle. The movie is the tale of Sophie, a young girl who gets turned into an old lady by a fat witch for some reason, and then Sophie tries to set things right, and runs into a wizard named Howl, and his moving castle, cue WW1 references and kingdom warfare. Howl's shines because of the setting, and the incredible art that Studio Ghibli always brings to the table, and it makes Miyazaki's love letter to British fantasy novels all the more magical, add in some sweet action scenes and you've got one tasty piece of theater.

6. Darker Than Black

I love Darker Than Black, the show just clicks with me, I know it's not a classic or anything, but I still really enjoyed my time with Hei and friends. My best explanation for what makes DtB good is the pacing, the show's two episode format is a really smart way to do things, and the episodic feel makes BONES able to tell stories of many different contractors, and the majority of these stories are quite interesting, and while the show is usually episodic, the little mystery behind the show adds another dark element, mixing with the hero Hei to create a feel thats well, darker than black at times, and lighter than white at times, if that makes any sense.

5. Magi

Magi is the best shounen manga to come out in a long time (in my opinion), and I think there are several reasons for this, one being the really well fleshed out characters, Aladdin, Alibaba, Mor, and Sinbad all shine throughout the show and really make it feel believable. Another great thing about Magi is the pacing, as arcs flow seamlessly into each other, and the plot never feels like it's slowing down, which is a nice touch in any manga. The last thing that makes Magi special is it's setting, which makes one wonder, how has this not been done before? Magi's interpretation on Arabian Nights just works incredibly well as a shounen manga, and the dungeon element is a really nice touch, really looking forward to where this one goes.

4. Princess Mononoke

My second favorite Ghibli movie, I feel bad for not having seen this way earlier. Hayao Miyazaki's Lorax shines in every possible way, a real classic, but not my favorite Ghibli movie, it's definitely something special though.

3. Laputa, Castle in the Sky

Poor Mononoke, if only Laputa didn't exist. If only Miyazaki's magical adaptation of Gullivers Travels was never made, and we never had one of the most influential movies ever. Laputa is incredible, the scene stuck in my mind is the mine cart scene, where the plot moves from train fighting, to minecart racing, to magical exposition, and thats just the opening scenes. Almost all fantasy anime take something from Laputa at this point, and it's just an undisputed classic.

2. Touch

Touch is one of the greatest sports manga I've ever read, and after reading it, I've realized how much of an effect it's had on the industry. Touch is Adachi Mitsuru's masterpiece about twin brothers, Uesugi Katsuya, and Uesugi Tatsuya, one a prodigy at everything (especially baseball), the other seemingly good for nothing, and the two are in love with their childhood friend. Tatsuya is content to let his hardworking brother win, but after a certain events it's Tatsuya in the limelight, no matter how hard their substitute coach tries to make them fail, they succeed and no matter how dark events get, Adachi's humorous baseball manga shines as an example of how to write about baseball. Another thing I love about Touch is the art, its so minimal and round, and yet deep at the same time, I really liked how it's drawn, and it clicks with the manga's small town feel, which is weird because it's set in Tokyo.

1. GTO

If you've read my blog, chances are you've seen me talk about GTO at some point, because I love it, so much.GTO covers delinquent turned teacher Eikichi Onizuka, who finds his first work at a private school, teaching a class famous for bullying, their teachers, but Onizuka is a tough one to take down, and his sense of humor, and his ways of helping the kids make for some of the funniest, and heartwarming things you'll see in manga period. There isn't much to speak of in terms of art, but it gets the job done well, especially for a comedy, and the action scenes flow as well as any shounen manga. If you plan on viewing any of the series I talk about in this blog, please let it be GTO and thank me later.

As always, do I suck? Should I have seen this stuff already? Am I awful for not having Mononoke at the top? Drop me a comment, and tell me these things, I appreciate it, also tweet me or share me with your facebook friends if you're so inclined, and until next time.

Adieu   read


8:50 PM on 11.27.2012

Whats Up With Jump?

Back to the keyboard after a brief (and necessary) vacation, I'm here to talk about a magazine near and dear to my heart, Sheuesha's Weekly Shounen Jump, aka the most popular manga magazine in the world, and the trendsetter of all manga. I have a few suggestions that I think Jump needs to address, and I also have some major praise, prepare for controversy


Goodnight sweet mob boss

Wow, Bakuman and Reborn! are over, two pillars of Jump fallen, and two of the biggest innovators to recently hit Shounen Jump are defunct, and while both anime remain on the airwaves, it's time for the magazine to move on, and yet the ideas set forth in Bakuman should remain prevalent in Jump, because Bakuman pointed out certain holes in the magazine's philosophy that should be addressed, and yet Obata's series also set a precedent for the manga that appear in Jump, as it proved that any manga can be popular with enough love and care put into it, and while that has been apparent for years, Bakuman became a shining example throughout it's serialization period. Anyways, after reading through the completed Bakuman one more time, I realized that Jump really does need to change, and honestly some of the stuff expressed in this work of fiction is quite legitimate, and Jump might make more money if they address some of the things said in Bakuman and also some of my personal complaints, which I believe are shared in a large section of the manga community.

Relying on what works is the right way to do things, and often stepping out of the box unnecessarily is a silly idea, however in a magazine publishing up to 15 manga once a week, a few spots should be given to nonmainstream manga, and while there are sports, and the occasional cult manga in Jump, the ratio is far from equal, and while a 50-50 ratio isn't a smart idea, the magazine should publish at least one Bakuman or even Psyren for every 5ish safe bets, it's just the right gamble to make, because the Bakuman's and other great cult manga pay off well, and for a long time.


Bakuman isn't perfect by any means, but it's pretty darn good

Creativity is still huge in Jump, Sket Dance, Gintama (especially), and even Naruto and One Piece are quite creative, and differ from the norms of their genre in many of the right ways, however the massive presence of the battle manga still lingers over the comedies and sports manga, and battle manga are often the reason Jump sells so well at times, but people are still going to pick up the magazine to read the Naruto's of the world, so why not stick something like Detective Conan in there, to create some more variety, and take a gamble on that, as the few successes will outweigh the failures, cut one of the Hungry Joker's and bet on another Psyren.


Jump is dominated by action and sports manga, and while many of these are fantastic, a few of the unoriginal ones could be cut for something more cult, although at the same time, these manga may not be sucessful, its all a gamble

This leads me to the questionnaires, the bane of the new mangaka, and one of the ways to bring more diversity into Jump's lineup. For the uninformed, the questionnaires are a system introduced by Jump where readers rank their three favorite manga from that week, and send that in to the offices, influencing what ends up in the magazine, and while tankobon sales are also a factor, some series don't end up in a tankobon due to being cut extremely short because of questionnaires, and while this isn't the system's fault by any means, some change's could be instituted to make the system more fair. For one, the system could be changed to where instead of picking three manga, readers rank every series in the magazine from one to fifteen, and decisions are made based on the reader rankings, another easier solution would be to ensure that every manga gets at least one tankobon release, BEFORE being cancelled (cancelled manga still usually end up in a tankobon).

Another way to revamp the questionnaires would be to change the order in which manga are placed in the magazine, as manga are slotted based on their rank in the questionnaires in the manga, meaning the less popular manga end up in the back, and maybe if they ended up near or in the front more often, more readers will see them, instead of just flipping to the front and reading Naruto, as where popular manga are in the magazine isn't gonna stop them from being read. However, the effectiveness of this change is debatable, as I would assume normal human beings would read the whole magazine, despite having favorite sections, I would....


The manga on the cover is Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, a manga about kids trying to kill their teacher, it's like nothing I've read before, but it's not great...

Individualism in manga is not necessarily important concept, Sket Dance is essentially Gintama with a setting change and cleaner humor, and that's not a bad thing, and being "cult" is not synonymous with being good, and often the popular battle manga tell quite good stories, and deliver great experiences, however, as the most popular magazine out there, the rise in Japanese self puplishing creates an intrinsic need for magazine's to innovate more, as the magazine is a dying format in itself, and perhaps the new place for Jump, cult manga and all is online. Digital comics are skyrocketing in popularity as many American magazines make the transition to digital, along with American comic books, and American manga publishers, and it's about time Jump did the same (it's American equivalent already did).

Manga already has a thriving digital community due to illegitimate translations, and scanlation sites have created a massive manga community, and it's all digital, proving it can be done, and while the tradition of Jump magazine is still important, a digital piece can, and should be created, in order to bolster sales, and create new manga, digital exclusivity could be the place for these new "cult" manga, after all, even in Japan self publishing and webcomics are rising due to the popularity of series like Noblesse, and dojinishi, and while a lot of dojinishi is porn, many dojinishi do a lot of things right, and even end up being big hits.


Technically Nobless is manwha, and Korean, but it's still popular.....

My last suggestion for Jump is a more direct one, and a suggestion that tugs at my heartstrings, because I think that if Jump is going to stay paper, its time for Hunter x Hunter to end, I love it, but Yoshiro Togashi just can't do it, its clear. Yoshihiro Togashi's classic about Gon and friends is an amazing tale, and he's crafted an amazing world in his own right however, ever since his health declined Togashi's been missing deadlines, and in the magazine his art quality has dropped drastically (he touches it up for the tankobons), and his refusal to rely on assistances creates a quandary, Hunter is massively popular, but it isn't always in the magazine, creating a flux of whats going to be in Jump next week, and this impacts authors trying to get into the magazine, as they may not get in, or have their manga cancelled abrubtly for Togashi's return.


This was published, and while art doesn't necessarily have to be great, we've all seen what Togashi is capable of drawing

Hunter x Hunter is great, and doesn't have to necessarily be cancelled, perhaps it could be moved to the monthly Jump Square! I just think that if Togashi won't rely more on assistants, and isn't healthy, then it's unfair to other authors trying to get in to do what he's doing, and while I appreciate both his works (he wrote Yu Yu Hakusho as well), I think that he should move the manga elsewhere or buckle down and get it out weekly, and if unknown assistants aren't the way to go, perhaps his wife could help (his wife is the creator of Sailor Moon.) I know Togashi isn't healthy, and perhaps Hunter could just go on another extended hiatus, but coming in and out isn't the right way to go, sorry Gon.


Greed Island remains one of my favorite manga arcs of all time, but still, it's time for a move Gon...

In closing, Jump is gonna be fine, nobody's gonna just up and stop buying it sometime soon, but it could usher in another golden age with a few changes, and who doesn't love golden ages, sorry Gon...

Drop me a comment! Am I awful for saying HxH has gotta go? Is Jump fine the way it is? Is this article the biggest piece of excrement ever? Please god no more moe debate! Am I wrong about Jump?


The golden age, in my opinion


Bye   read


7:04 PM on 11.11.2012

Psycho-Pass Toys With My Mind

This is the second of my reactions to some of the latest anime of this beginning season, Psycho-Pass is a new release from Production I.G and Funimation, and with characters designed by Akira Amano (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!), and written by Urobochi Gen of Madoka fame.


This show casted a whirlwind of different opinions into my mind

What if there was a way to predict future crimes through psychology? Would it be finite? Can people change? Are personality traits unavoidable? Answers to those (and other) questions, and a host of other things make up Psycho-Pass, the cyberpunk detective anime. In the show's first episode viewers are introduced to the MWPSB, a department of inspectors dedicated to preserving the peace by observing citizens' crime coefficient, a.k.a their psychological likelihood of committing crimes, and then solving the problem, whether its stunning the suspect and then taking them in for "corrective" therapy, or eliminating those who are without hope, oftentimes these arrests are done with no other evidence, or even before the crime is committed (like a Minority Report sorta thing). Soon after we discover this, we meet our hero of sorts, Akane Tsunemori, a gifted young woman, assigned to be an inspector at the MWPSB, and soon she learns the job of an inspector, is really just keeping people called the Enforcers under control, not as comrades, but as laborers (essentially), however she doesn't treat them like that to say the least. Anyways, Enforcers are people whose crime coefficients are too high, but are drafted into the MWPSB to help solve these crimes, instead of sitting in jail, the catch is, these enforcers seem perfectly alright, and don't come off as criminals, yet. As the series progresses (as far as 5 episodes takes you) we see different, and sometimes criminal sides of enforcers, and people, and Urobochi clearly wants to make the viewer think about what they're watching, as we encounter tons of different sides of many of the characters, especially our other protagonist, Kogami Sho, who seems to be channeling every anti-hero of all time, with soft, cold, intelligent, and savage sides.


The opening should do an adequate job of describing what I failed to say, Akane is the girl, Sho is the guy

Psycho-Pass' premise is honestly quite brilliant and unique, the closest thing I can think of is Minority Report and yet these two are quite different, but unique doesn't neccessarily mean good, and luckily Gen-san has fleshed out the story to the point where it really does succeed, so many characters stand out, and when there's a mystery to solve, I was usually quite engaged, especially in the net avatar killer case, which was really, really good, the execution of the labyrinthian chase of a man killing internet celebrities, and the clear complications made for some of really brilliant science fiction. The typical episode or arc consists of two parts mystery, one part action, where a case leads up to a satisfying action packed conclusion, where everything just goes crazy, and the savagery of some of the enforcers goes on full display, which manages to add to the mixed messages Psycho-Pass tries to send viewers.

Although the show's premise, and stories are really quite well done and fleshed out, the setting and themes often create a conflicted image, and the underlying themes really get confusing at times. Psycho-Pass thematically often tries to show the world as if there's no black and white, and where criminals are some huge gray, and this psychological system is wrong, and while I agreed with this, and think it's a well done plot device, the surrounding stories and other themes create a show that often seems like it's just trying to preach about something in a bad way. For instance, Kogami Sho, whose crime coefficient indicates he is a criminal comes off as a really intelligent and somewhat mild character, but then when the violence starts he gets absolutely savage and becomes a killing machine, so why would they say otherwise? Perhaps Gen is playing devil's advocate against himself, and Sho's inner turmoil is quite interesting to say the least, but when every criminal the MWPSB investigates ends up being some demented evil soul, beyond redemption apparently, the opposing message of there is a black and white becomes more clear, and I often can't tell just what the show is trying to say, and while I doubt the show is literally trying to preach messages, I feel that the opposing themes can often distract whats going on in the show, and while this juxtaposition happens throughout the series, overall its not enough of a distractor to stop Psycho-Pass' blend of Detective Conan and Minority Report, and honestly, I think it's a good thing that the show isn't telling me what to believe.


Sweet glorious cyberpunk, oh how I revere thee

Despite mixed themes, Gen and Amano did a wonderful job on crafting some layered and believable characters, Kogami, veteran detective Masaoka, to Ginoza (Akane's fellow inspector, who does not share her views on the enforcers), they feel fleshed out and real, and many characters still have sides we haven't seen yet, as the show continues to show that the enforcers may not be as innocent as we were led to believe. However, our leading lady Akane is a huge exception in this nice cast of characters, because she just isn't believable at all. Viewers are supposed to believe that Akane is some sort of genius when she often acts like an idiot in general, and has no clue what the world around her entails, and it's not just because she's new to the system; Akane's background is that her career evaluations were so high that she could've been a higher up in the government etc, but she chose the MWPSB because it was unique to her, but I have a hard time believing that these "foolproof" psychoevaluation machines picked a girl like that for this job, she clearly isn't strong enough (mentally of course), and constantly acts ignorant and second guesses herself, and we're supposed to believe she's some genius. Luckily, much like Mushi-Shi Akane is just someone we follow to keep everyone else mysterious (like Ginko from Mushi-Shi), and the plot still stands strong, but it could be worlds better.


I have nothing but good things to say about art and sound

Grey, green, black, the colors of Psycho-Pass, and while that probably doesn't sound good, the show's art shines, the art almost always suits the mood, white and red for a factory murder, the green and black city streets on a dark night, the bright colors on the internet diving segments, the art just clicks with me, and a lot of the credit should go to Akira Amano's character designs, as her love of the business suit carries over into Psycho-Pass. Moving on, the animation and backgrounds of the show are both smooth and simplistic, yet complex, as futuristic cities feel plausible, and real, an accomplishment in itself. Finally the soundtrack to the show is quite well done, and the mix of rock to orchestra feels pretty right, and the voice actors aren't slacking either.


Voice acting never really bothers me in general lately, you be the judge I suppose

Speaking of judging its time for:

My Verdict



Psycho-Pass stands out as an outlier in my mind, using only the good conventions of the cyberpunk genre (thought provoking, plausible sci-fi), and succeeds in it's mystery elements, and the art and soundtrack only help. However be wary about mixed messages, and a questionable protagonist, but maybe this is all on purpose, only time will tell, and for now, Psycho Pass is pretty good.


Pretty Good

Song of the Week(#1):

The fifth opening of Naruto, Seishun Kyousoukyosoukyoku! By Sambomaster, I won't always be doing Japanese music here though

Is Psycho-Pass worse than Madoka? Should we just get more Madoka? How did Madoka get into this discussion? Are the mixed themes in the show a bad thing? Am I an awful reviewer? Am I being to hasty with my praise? Does cyberpunk suck? Drop me a comment! Share my articles on your Facebook and Twitter if you're so inclined! Fap My blog from time to time! Read my other articles!

And Now,

Adieu   read





Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -